فصل 02

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فصل 02

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CHAPTER TWO

MURDER IN THE LIGHT OF DAY

Hanbury Street is a long street that goes from Commercial Street to Baker’s Row, not far from Buck’s Row. Now demolished, number 29 was an old building with three floors. On the ground floor Mrs Hardiman had a cat meat shop. On the first floor Mrs Richardson and her grandson lived in three rooms, and she let out the other rooms. She also had a packing case business in the cellar at the back of the house. Her son, John, helped her in the business but he did not live in Hanbury Street. A carman, John Davis, occupied the attic at the front with his wife and three sons. A total of seventeen poor people lived in number 29, which was a crowded, busy place. From Hanbury Street people entered the house through a door next to Mrs Hardiman’s shop. The door opened to a passage about 7-8 metres long. At the end of the passage there was a door to the backyard. This was where Jack the Ripper murdered another woman in the early hours of September 8th.

It was about 4.45 a.m. when John Richardson arrived at number 29. On his way to work at Spitalfields market he often checked the passage because strangers sometimes came in. This morning he also wanted to check the cellar door at the back. Sometime before thieves broke the lock and stole things. John walked through the passage and opened the door to the yard. Then he sat on some stone steps and took off one of his boots, which was hurting his toe. He cut a piece of leather from the boot with a knife. It was getting light and he could see that the lock on the cellar door was secure. There was nobody in the yard. John left the house and went to the market.

Albert Cadosch, a carpenter, lived at 27 Hanbury Street, next to number 29. He got up at 5.15 a.m. and in a few minutes he went out to the backyard. He was returning to the house when he heard a voice in the next yard say ‘No’. Three or four minutes later Albert came into the yard again and heard a sound like a bump against the wooden fence that separated the yards of numbers 27 and 29. He thought it was somebody falling against the fence, but he did not look to see what it was. Then he left for work and passed Spitalfields Church at about 5.32 a.m.

At 5.45 a.m. John Davis got up. By six o’clock he was ready for work and went downstairs to the backyard. From the top of the steps he saw a horrible sight. On his left between the steps and the wooden fence lay the mutilated body of a woman. Davis ran out into Hanbury Street, where he saw some workmen and shouted, ‘Men, come here!’ They followed him, looked at the body from the steps, then ran to find a policeman.

Inspector Joseph Chandler was on duty in Commercial Street at 6.10 a.m. when some workmen rushed towards him and told him about the dead woman. Chandler arrived at number 29 and noted down that the woman was lying on her back, with a deep cut from left to right across her throat and mutilations to her stomach. The inspector saw a piece of muslin and two small combs that the murderer had put near her feet. The killer also took some rings from her finger. The victim was 1.52m tall. She had dark brown hair and blue eyes. Two lower front teeth were missing. Her clothes were all old and dirty: a long black jacket down to her knees, petticoats, stockings, a black skirt, and boots. Who was she?

Annie Chapman - or Dark Annie to her friends - was 47 years old. Her history told a sad story. Once she had children, but one died and another was disabled. Annie drank a lot and her marriage broke down. The small sum of money which she received from her husband stopped when he died in 1886. Annie worked when possible, selling flowers or making clothes. Sometimes she borrowed money from her relatives. But her taste for alcohol dominated her life, and eventually she had to walk the streets as a prostitute.

Let us follow Annie’s movements before the night of her murder. She lived in a lodging house and paid eight pennies a night. But the week before her murder she was not at the lodging house. She had a fight with a woman about a piece of soap and got a black eye. When she met her friend Amelia Palmer on September 2nd and 3rd she showed her the black eye and a bruise on her face. The next day she told Amelia she did not feel well. She looked pale, so Amelia gave her two pennies to buy something to eat. ‘Don’t spend it on rum,’ she told Annie. Amelia saw Annie for the last time on the 7th. ‘I must get some money or I can’t sleep in my lodgings,’ Annie said.

At about 1.30 a.m. on September 8th Annie was in the kitchen of her lodging house, eating potatoes and talking with the other lodgers. She told the deputy that she did not have any money, but asked him to keep her bed because she wanted to return with the money. She left at about 1.50. Nobody saw her alive again; she never came back for her bed.

Two people were important witnesses in the murder case. One, Albert Cadosch, heard a voice in the yard and a sound like that of somebody falling against the fence between 5.20 to 5.30 a.m. The other, Elizabeth Darrell, said that as she was walking down Hanbury Street at about 5.30 a.m. on her way to Spitalfields market, she noticed a man and a woman talking outside number 29. She only saw the man’s back, but she identified the woman as Annie Chapman later in the mortuary.

Mrs Darrell heard the man say, ‘Will you?’ and the woman reply, ‘Yes’. Mrs Darrell could not describe the man very well. He had a dark complexion and was only a little taller than Annie. He wore a brown deerstalker hat and a dark coat. She had, the impression he was over forty and perhaps foreign.

We know that witnesses often make small errors in time, so the man Mrs Darrell saw was very probably the murderer, and he attacked Annie at approximately 5.30 a.m. On that morning the sun rose at 5.23. Spitalfields market opened at 5.00. It was a busy morning, with a lot of people already in the streets or getting up, and heavy traffic for the market. Five people in number 29 could see the murder scene from their windows. This time Jack the Ripper was in a dangerous situation. But again nobody saw or heard him when he killed Annie in the light of a busy day. And he escaped through the streets like a phantom.

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