Following on from www.thejacktheripperwalk.com‘s first instalment of Alice McKenzie’s mysterious case, let’s find out how she died and researchers’ take on who the killer was.
The main cause of death was ruled as being from the severance of an artery. Other injuries included various bruises on the chest and abdomen, a cut on the abdomen, and a vertical wound from the breast to the navel, as well as roughly eight scratches from the navel towards the genitalia, though more injuries were noted. Phillips believed that there might have been anatomical knowledge demonstrated, and a sharp, pointed weapon had been used.
With Alice’s murder occurring only eight months after the final Ripper murder, and in the centre of Whitechapel, the inevitable question of whether the Ripper had begun a new murderous spree was on everyone’s minds.
Phillips disagreed and claimed that the marks were superficial, and the crime was committed in a different way to the Ripper’s. He wrote:
“After careful and long deliberation, I cannot satisfy myself, on purely Anatomical and professional grounds that the perpetrator of all the “Wh Ch. murders” is our man. I am on the contrary impelled to a contrary conclusion in this noting the mode of procedure and the character of the mutilations and judging of motive in connection with the latter.”
“I do not here enter into the comparison of the cases neither do I take into account what I admit may be almost conclusive evidence in favour of the one man theory if all the surrounding circumstances and other evidence are considered, holding it as my duty to report on the P.M. appearances and express an opinion only on Professional grounds, based upon my own observation.”
However, his view was not shared by all. Dr. Bond disagreed, reporting to Sir Robert Anderson:
“I see in this murder evidence of similar design to the former Whitechapel murders, viz. sudden onslaught on the prostrate woman, the throat skilfully and resolutely cut with subsequent mutilation, each mutilation indicating sexual thoughts and a desire to mutilate the abdomen and sexual organs. I am of opinion that the murder was performed by the same person who committed the former series of Whitechapel murder.”
The police themselves were equally divided. Despite Thomas Bond’s view, Anderson felt that the killing was not by Jack the Ripper (but he admitted that he was away at the time, so could not have seen evidence or the body first-hand):
“I am here assuming that the murder of Alice M’Kenzie on the 17th of July 1889 was by another hand. I was absent from London when it occurred, but the Chief Commissioner investigated the case on the spot and decided it was an ordinary murder, and not the work of a sexual maniac.”
All the while, the Commissioner, James Monro, (who investigated the murders in Anderson’s absence), felt that it was a Ripper killing and increased policing of Whitechapel by over 20 men:
“I need not say that every effort will be made by the police to discover the murderer, who, I am inclined to believe, is identical with the notorious Jack the Ripper of last year.”
Today, most researchers feel that Alice’s murder was not by Jack the Ripper and that she was killed as a result of some kind of quarrel (either with McCormack or a client); the mutilations are thought to have been committed to try and make it look like the work of the Ripper. Some researchers, however, do believe she may have been a Ripper killing, but cannot explain the long gap between crimes or the relatively superficial nature of the mutilations.
So, what do you think?
Why not take our Jack the Ripper walk and see if you can make a connection between the murder of Alice McKenzie and the Ripper’s victims?