The Serial Homicide Case of the Day, from "Hunting Humans, the Encyclopedia of 20th Century Serial Killers" , by Michael Newton
The entire Encyclopedia, three other complete books, 80 minutes of video, an interactive and searchable serial killer mapping system, and much much more is included in the Mind of a Killer CD-ROM!
Look here every weekday for a new Case of the Day, and on Tuesdays and Fridays for a Case of the Day with a picture!
"Jack the Stripper"
Seventy years after Jack the Ripper murdered and disemboweled prostitutes in London's East End, a new generation of hookers learned to live with the ever-present fear of a lurking killer. This "Jack" carried no knife and penned no jaunty letters to the press, but he was every bit as lethal (claiming eight victims to the Ripper's five) and possessed of far greater longevity (operating over nearly six years, instead of the Ripper's ten weeks). At the "conclusion" of the case, both slayers shared a common attribute: despite a wealth of theories and assertions, neither "Jack" was ever publicly identified.
On June 17, 1959, prostitute Elizabeth Figg, 21, was found floating in the Thames, clad only in a slip, her death attributed to strangulation. Four and a half years passed before discovery of the next murder, with the skeleton of 22-year-old Gwynneth Rees unearthed during clearance of a Thames-side rubbish dump, on November 8, 1963. The cause of death was difficult to ascertain, and homicide investigators later tried to disconnect both murders from the "Stripper" series, but today the better evidence suggests that these were practice runs, the early crimes committed by a killer who had yet to hit his stride.
Thirty-year-old Hannah Tailford was the next to die, her naked corpse discovered in the Thames by boatmen on February 2, 1964. Her stockings were pulled down around her ankles, panties stuffed inside her mouth, but she had drowned, and the inquest produced an "open" verdict, refusing to rule out suicide, however improbable it seemed.
On April 9, 1964, 20-year-old Irene Lockwood was found naked and dead in the Thames, floating 300 yards from the spot where Tailford was found. Another drowning victim, she was four months pregnant when she died. Suspect Kenneth Archibald confessed to the murder later that month, then recanted his statement, blaming depression. He was subsequently cleared at trial.
Helen Barthelemy, age 20, was the first victim found away from the river. On April 24, her naked body was discovered near a sports field in Brentwood, four front teeth missing, with part of one lodged in her throat. Traces of multi-colored spray paint on the body suggested that she had been kept for a while after death in a paint shop, before she was dumped in the field.
On July 14, 21-year-old Mary Fleming was discarded, nude and lifeless, on a dead-end London street. Witnesses glimpsed a van driver near the scene, but none could finally describe the man or vehicle with any certainty. Missing since July 11, Fleming had apparently been suffocated or choked to death -- as opposed to strangled -- and her dentures were missing from the scene.
Margaret McGowan, 21, had been missing a month when her nude corpse was found in Kensington, on November 25, 1964. Police noted the familiar traces of paint on her skin, and one of her teeth had been forced from its socket in front. The last to die was 27-year-old Bridget O'Hara, last seen alive on January 11, 1965, her body found on February 16, hidden in some shrubbery on the Heron Trading Estate, in Acton. Her front teeth were missing, and pathologists determined she had died on her knees. The corpse was partially mummified, as if from prolonged storage in a cool, dry place.
Despite appeals to prostitutes for information on their "kinky" customers, police were groping in the dark. Inspector John Du Rose suggested that the last six victims had been literally choked to death by oral sex, removal of the teeth in four cases offering vague support for the hypothesis. A list of suspects had supposedly been narrowed down from 20 men to three when one of those committed suicide, gassing himself in the kitchen and leaving a cryptic note: "I cannot go on." It might mean anything -- or nothing -- but the murders ended with the nameless suspect's death, and so police seem satisfied, although the case remains officially unsolved.
Who was the Stripper? Suspects range from a deceased prize fighter to an unnamed ex-policeman, but police favored a private security guard who worked the night shift on the Heron Trading Estate, his rounds including the paint shop where at least some of the victims were apparently stashed after death. The only "evidence" of guilt is the cessation of similar crimes after the suspect's suicide, but numerous serial killers -- from the Ripper to the modern Zodiac and Babysitter -- have "retired" once they achieved a certain body-count. The best that we can say for Scotland Yard's solution is that it is plausible, but unconfirmed.
This case and hundreds more, plus over 80 minutes of video (including documentaries and interviews with both killers and experts), artwork, hundreds of photographs, an interactive mapping system, and the text of four complete books is included in the award-winning CD-ROM.
Find out About Mind of a Killer CD-ROM, and
Order your copy today!
Pherone.com is an excellent source for pheromones.