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Was Elizabeth Stride a Victim of Jack the Ripper?

In 1888, the most infamous murders of all time took place in London’s East End. Five prostitutes, destitute women who knew of no other way to survive, were slaughtered and mutilated by a supposedly unknown killer who bears the nickname Jack the Ripper.
The victims are listed below:

Mary Ann Nicholls, Friday 31st August
Annie Chapman, Saturday 8th September
Elizabeth Stride, Sunday 30 September
Catherine Eddowes, Sunday 30 September
Mary Jane Kelly, Friday 9th November


This is the accepted list and we will go with it for this article.  They were attacked from the front and strangled and lowered gently to the ground.  The killer never cut their throats or mutilated them from their left. 

The canonically third Ripper victim Elizabeth Stride met her violent death at the hands of the Ripper on 30th September, a Sunday. Stride's left cheek was only a few inches from a wall.

At 12.45 am, Elizabeth was seen being attacked by a man, not necessarily her killer, on Berner Street. Fifteen minutes later she was discovered just inside Dutfield’s yard along the same street with her throat cut. No mutilations had taken place. She was seen talking to a man at 12.45 am by James Brown who heard her refuse the man by saying, “Not tonight, some other night”. It looks like she had a date with the Ripper and turned this man down. The Ripper may have needed to make dates with these women for the important thing for him was getting them to suitable killing sites.

Many Ripperologists contend that Elizabeth Stride was not a Ripper Victim. But the fact remains that both her and the woman killed later that night Catherine Eddowes carried the same throat wounds (page 14, Jack the Ripper Whitechapel Map Booklet 1888). The Ripper victims had their throats cut from left to right and Dr Bond stated that Stride’s was cut from right to left. Dr Blackwell examined the neck and decided that the throat was indeed cut from left to right as the others had been and that Dr Bond was led astray by the fact that the killer didn’t use as much force when he cut Stride’s throat as he had done with the others.

Stride didn't need to be knifed for all the killer had to do was pull her scarf tight to kill her and it was already very tight.  The Ripper was not going to change his throat cutting enterprises.
The body was placed on its side while with the other murders the victims were laid on their backs. It may be the killer never intended to mutilate her though he would have liked to. He knew the woman had been attacked minutes before just a few feet away and seen so it was too dangerous to spend time mutilating her. There is no reason to believe the killer was disturbed though it is possible. Catherine Eddowes however was put on her side first by the Ripper for she had mud on one side of her face off the ground. The Ripper then put her on her back. When the Ripper puts two women on their sides in the one night it shows they must have had the same killer. The Ripper strangled Eddowes as she stood up. Why did he place her on her side after? He may have done this to have a look in case policemen were hovering about and then he put her on her back to continue with his evil task.
Stride was strangled to death like the previous Ripper victims (page 59, Jack the Ripper’s Black Magic Rituals). This was why there wasn’t much blood. Only the Ripper would have cut the throat of a woman already dead. This was his only mutilation of her.
The Ripper maybe didn’t intend to kill that night. He was always prepared to kill but he didn’t expect the opportunity to present itself.  But it did and he availed of it.  If so, that was why he didn’t indulge himself in mutilating Stride. And that was why he needed a piece of Eddowes’ apron to wrap Eddowes’ organs in later on. In the other killings he already had something with him to contain the organs. That both killings looked like a wonderful surprise for the Ripper shows that both were the Ripper’s work. The closeness in time and place of the two killings strongly indicates the work of the one man.
Very near Berner Street where Stride was murdered a man apparently in his early thirties boasted in a pub called the Red Lion Public House that he knew the murderer and that they would hear about the murderer in the morning and then the man disappeared. Just a few hours later Stride was found murdered. Stride was a Ripper victim.
That night Israel Schwartz saw a man stop and speak to a woman near the gateway where the murder later took place. The man tried to pull her into the street but threw her down on the footpath. She screamed – but not loudly. Schwartz saw a second man standing lighting his pipe watching this. The attacker shouted Lipski at the other man. 

I think suggestions that Schwartz misheard the man calling Lizzie and thinking it was Lipski are far fetched.  He was bound to have heard the name Lipski before.  Abberline claimed Schwartz felt the man could have called Lipski at him or the other man.  So it was clearly not said to Liz Stride.  But as he said at the start that it was shouted to the other man that recollection is the accurate one for the first memories carry more weight than later ones.  Memory alters over time. 

Plus the other man deserved to be called Lipski for he did not help the woman.  He in fact scared Schwartz and intimidated him and Schwartz even went past his own front door his refuge by mistake as he found him so threatening.  Frightened people make mistakes.

The man followed Schwartz for a time and when Schwartz looked around he saw that the man was gone.

It is said that it was Schwartz that the first man was calling Lipski to. But the man was attacking a woman and was unlikely to notice that Schwartz was a Jew and why not shout to other people who must have been around even if a little distance away. And it was dark at the time. The man was not going to kill her and had no reason to get Schwartz scared off.  If you are going to murder and you are seen what it the point of scaring a witness away when he or she has seen you attacking the victim?

The second man was very recognisable as a Jew and probably wanted to follow Schwartz to make him feel threatened and to get him off the scene.  He was was trying to make sure Schwartz didn’t return for another look.
The man who threw Stride down on the footpath was not the killer. She did not scream much as if she was not overly frightened of him and it looks like one of the attacks that prostitutes continually had to deal with.  He does not bear any resemblance to the descriptions of the Ripper (page 54, The Crimes of Jack the Ripper). (It is important to devote a thought to the following claim made by some: Aaron Kosminski killed Stride but none of the other women. He was the one identified by a Jewish witness and that this witness was Schwartz. Kosminski was an emaciated homeless incoherent madman. Nobody mentions the attacker seen with Stride as fitting that description.)
The Ripper would have dragged her into the gateway not the street. She had cachous in her hand when she was found as if she felt safe with the man who killed her. She would not have felt safe with a man who had just been violent towards her.  That man went away.  Lipski got rid of Schwartz and went back to her.  Then "Lipski" befriended her.  He was alone with Stride and he comforted her and got her out of sight. The Ripper always formed an acquaintance rapport with his victims.

He violently induced unconsciousness and cut her throat. The killer was in a hurry. It seems that only the Ripper would use the knife on a woman who had died by strangulation. The knife was taken away as it was in all Ripper crimes.
We conclude that the second man who was called Lipski then was probably her killer.  His behaviour was the biggest giveway and he had been called dangerous to his face at the scene.  Lipski was a nickname used as a form of slander against Jews. The second man then was a Jew. The killer of Elizabeth Stride was a Jew. If she was not killed by the Ripper then she must have been killed in a domestic but this can’t have been. Her man wasn’t a Jew nor did he look 35 as the second man did.

Schwartz would have had a good look at the man who was abused as Lipski - a very good look. The police were definite that the Ripper was a Polish Jew and it is interesting that Schwartz pretended to be a Hungarian Jew but was actually a Polish one.  He was not going to tell enough to get the killer put away for Jews stood by their own kind.
Schwartz told the press that the second man carried a knife.
Why wasn’t the knife mentioned to the police? Because Schwartz was a Jew and the second man was a Jew and Jews didn’t squeal on Jews. The press was insistent that during an interview Schwartz said the second man had a knife. It rings true for Schwartz was in a hurry to get away from the scene. He didn’t shout for a policeman after seeing a woman attacked so he was afraid and the police were not trusted. He had to have been more than just afraid of the man, he had to have been afraid of the knife! Schwartz admitted running as far as the railway arch when he realised the second man was following him. He was afraid of this man but gave no reason for being afraid of him in his police statement. The knife explains the fear.
The second man must have had a knife or been the killer or both when he never came forward. He had no reason not to come forward otherwise.
Schwartz said to the papers that the second man tried to stop the attack on Stride. This is probably true for the attacker called Lipski to the other one as if he had been annoying him or getting in the way. And we know that Elizabeth trusted the man she went into the yard with like he had just saved her from an attack or something.

When the attacker made off which Schwartz didn’t see, the second man followed Schwartz to scare him off. He may have taken Elizabeth’s knife to do that with. The details are lacking so this is possible. Then he went back and killed her in the yard with her knife.  It is possible that the Ripper had more than one knife and used another knife to get rid of Schwartz and then because there was no time to lose used it on Stride instead of his usual knife.  It is simpler to assume he had his own spare knife with him. 
Why did the first man call the second man Lipski? Had he called him Murdering Jew which he meant by Lipski we might have seen the reason. The reason was most likely because the attacker was trying to get Elizabeth away from there and she wouldn’t go so he used violence. Why did he try to pull her out of the shadows into the street? He gave up and left her with the man he suspected of being a Jewish killer – perhaps his suspicion was aroused by the knife Schwartz reported as being in the suspect’s hand. Perhaps he thought no harm would come to her when he saw the second man leaving the scene to follow Schwartz. That could be another reason why the second man did that. It was in the off-chance that the attacking man would think he had gone and leaving Elizabeth to his mercy when he would return.
Stride and the Knife
The main reason why some hold that Stride was not murdered by the Ripper is that she was not killed with the same knife used on Catherine Eddowes later that night. The knife was possibly Stride’s own knife which many prostitutes had taken to carrying for protection or perhaps the Ripper had two knives and on this occasion didn’t employ his usual knife. Because she had been attacked just minutes before her murder but not by the killer she may have retained her knife in her hand. Did she attack the killer with it and did he disarm her? Not likely – there are indications that she trusted her killer.  She may have put the knife away and then he struck when it was safely in her pocket.  She was rendered unconscious.  Then he reached for her knife and used it.
If the killer used Stride’s knife then the killer didn’t use his usual knife for two reasons. One was for speed. He had no intention of spending a second longer by going to the trouble of getting his own knife out with this woman for it risked capture. This would indicate that she withdrew her knife when the other man attacked her and she then let the Ripper hold her knife for her because she trusted him and he was comforting her. The second was because he knew it could be told what kind of knife was used. He didn’t want the police to think that anybody other than the man who assaulted her earlier was the killer. Both of these would indicate that the Ripper had been seen by Schwartz. Who knows. Maybe the man who attacked Stride had a knife that he dropped and which the killer used for speed. The killer would have carried a knife for self-defence and another one for butchering any prostitutes if the opportunity arose.
The knife used on Stride had been sharpened for it made a clean cut, and it had no point on it but was rounded (page 61, 62 Jack the Ripper Black Magic Rituals). The killer didn’t just happen to be carrying such a sharp knife and kill her on impulse. The man carrying the knife intended to kill and was experienced enough to know that he didn’t need a pointed knife. Perhaps the Ripper carried this knife and used it just because he got the opportunity. And having got the bloodlust maybe he returned to his lair to get his favourite knife and then he set out with it in search of a prostitute to kill with it. Later that night Catherine Eddowes was found murdered.
There is no reason to hold that the Ripper used only one knife when he was mutilating. The fact that the knife used on Chapman could have passed for a butcher’s knife or an amputating knife may mean more than one was used. Perhaps he used a different knife when he knew the knife would be seen as it was by Schwartz. He knew that the police were into trying to find out what kind of knife he used on his victims.
The Ripper may have carried two knives in case the opportunity to commit more than one murder would arise. Maybe he was afraid of losing a knife.

Spotlight: Israel Schwartz

Did Schwartz see the Ripper and his victim virtually together?

Though some try to confuse the issue, we should follow the police record.  Here it is. 

12.45 a.m. 30th. Israel Schwartz of 22 Helen [sic - Ellen] Street, Backchurch Lane, stated that at this hour, on turning into Berner St. from Commercial Road & having got as far as the gateway where the murder was committed he saw a man stop & speak to a woman, who was standing in the gateway. The man tried to pull the woman into the street, but he turned her round & threw her down on the footway & the woman screamed three times, but not very loudly. On crossing to the opposite side of the street, he saw a second man standing lighting his pipe. The man who threw the woman down called out apparently to the man on the opposite side of the road 'Lipski' & then Schwartz walked away, but finding that he was followed by the second man he ran so far as the railway arch but the man did not follow so far. [Here there is a marginal note. 'The use of "Lipski" increases my belief that the murderer was a Jew'.] Schwartz cannot say whether the two men were together or known to each other. Upon being taken to the mortuary Schwartz identified the body as that of the woman he had seen & he thus describes the first man, who threw the woman down: age about 30 ht, 5 ft 5 in. comp. fair hair dark, small brown moustache, full face, broad shouldered, dress, dark jacket & trousers black cap with peak, had nothing in his hands.   Second man age 35 ht. 5 ft 11in. comp. fresh, hair light brown, moustache brown, dress dark overcoat, old black hard felt hat wide brim, had a clay pipe in his hand.

Schwartz himself felt that the Lipski was shouted at the other man.  The other man followed him to get rid of him.  He even had Schwartz so unnerved that he went past his own front door!  The man who threw Stride about had nothing in his hands.  She didn't scream much.  He was very unlikely to have been the killer.  She held on to cachous in her hand indicating she was not scared of the man who cut her throat.  The second man was probably the Ripper.  The first man looks like he was trying in his rough way to get her away from the area.

Schwartz as a Jew would not have betrayed his own fellow Jew.  He is thought to have identified the killer but refused to testify against him for it would mean sending a Jew to the gallows.  But read the newspaper account again.  What if he thought the man abusing Stride was the murderer?  If so, he would have identified the wrong man.  The belief that the Ripper was spotted by a Jew at Mitre Square who refused to testify against him is the correct one.

Some reason, "The killer was in anti-Jewish mode that night for he called Lipski and then wrote the Goulston Street Message".  While there is a link between the two incidents the link is in fact that the second man was the killer and who being told to his face he was a Jewish killer went and proved it later and even wrote a taunt about it at Goulston Street.  "The Jews are the men who will not be blamed for nothing."

Stride was a Ripper victim for the following reasons:

She looked at peace and did not struggle as if she trusted the killer - pointing to him being cold-blooded as Jack uniquely was.

Like all the victims she was killed after the pubs had closed.

The knife was not a common knife.

The Ripper was a Jew and a man at the scene was called a murdering Jew.

The man scared a witness out of the way.

The killer intended to mutilate but didn't get the chance.

The killer cut her in the expert way the Ripper did.

Stride was the kind of victim the Ripper went for.

She was cut by a man who knelt at her right side the same as the other victims.

The argument against that she bled slowly to death for about ten minutes and thus the killer had time to mutilate her supposes too much. Dr Blackwell said, "She would have bled to death comparatively slowly on account of some vessels on one side only of the neck being cut and the artery not completely severed."  If somebody was about even if he and Stride could not be seen he had to retreat.  Plus there had been a violent incident involving Stride on the street shortly before so there would have been too much attention around.

Dr Phillips was convinced that the killer of Eddowes and Stride was not the same man.

But she had the Ripper's signature which was how the legs were always put up in a sexual way.

The Ripper wrote a message in Goulston Street after killing Catherine Eddowes that night implicating the Jews as the men who will not be blamed for nothing. A piece of her apron was found dumped there.  This makes sense if he had been seen at the scene of the killing of Stride and been called a Jew and when Stride died at a spot frequented by Jews socialising.  Blaming the men implies he blamed the Jews at the club.  It might be said the Ripper knew the Jews there did it not him but that is a far-fetched idea. It would still suggest he was probably a Jew for he must have been in their company. 

The graffiti commands the reader not to blame and is defiant as if the killer is supremely confident. Serial killers are famous for commanding and being arrogant. The message rings authentic. It does not really have any purpose apart from the fact that Stride died in a Jewish context. The yard where she was killed was the property of Jewish Socialists and there were complains of men with poor character frequenting it. Lipski an insult against Jews was uttered at the scene of the crime and that it was Jews who saw the Ripper with Eddowes and acted like they had seen one of their own. It has a context therefore it is really the Ripper's work.

It is possible the Ripper feared that the Stride murder would not be linked to him as he only got cutting her throat and needed to assert in some way that he did it. He was a Jew and was not innocent of the crime so he was not to blame for nothing. The apron piece and the message were about linking the two murders together.

Stride died at the hands of the Ripper.