In the months prior to her death, Catherine Eddowes (the fourth canonical victim of Jack the Ripper) had been hop picking in Kent with John Kelly. They returned to London on Friday September 28th, where Kelly went to Cooney’s Lodging House and Kate checked into the Casual Ward on Shoe Lane (where she had been a regular but hadn’t frequented in several months). According to the Superintendent she told him “I have come back to earn the reward offered for the apprehension of the Whitechapel murderer. I think I know him.”
The next morning (September 29th) prior to 8am she is turned out of the Casual Ward for causing some kind of trouble (it is never specified what) and goes to Cooney’s to meet with Kelly. The pair being desperate for money, Kate takes Kelly’s boots to a pawnbroker on Church Street named Jones. She receives the amount of 2/6 for the boots, using the name Jane Kelly (one of her numerous aliases) on the pledge. Using the money they buy food, tea and sugar and breakfast in the lodging house kitchen between 10 and 11am.
The 2/6 does not last long and by afternoon they are both again destitute. Kate leaves Kelly at 2pm in Houndsditch, with the intention of walking to Bermondsey to get money from her daughter. We don’t know if she ever made it that far, but her daughter had moved since she had last seen her. She promised to return to Kelly by 4pm, but he was never to see her alive again.
Kate must have found some money somewhere as she began drinking heavily. Shortly after 8pm PC Louis Robinson of the City Police came across a very drunk Kate lying in a heap on the pavement outside 29 Aldgate High Street, surrounded by a crowd (according to some the crowd had been attracted by her doing an impersonation of a fire engine, but there is no reliable source for this). After ascertaining no one in the crowd knew her, he helped her to her feet and leant her against the shutters of the building, but she promptly slipped sideways. Robinson summoned aid and with the assistance of PC George Simmons, took her to Bishopsgate Police Station. She arrives at the police station at 8.45pm, her arrival being noted by Sergeant James Byfield, and when asked her name she replies “Nothing”. Smelling strongly of drink, she is put in a cell and within five minutes is asleep. An hour later PC George Hutt takes charge of her and visits her every half hour to check on her. At 12.15am on September 30th, Kate is awake and singing softly to herself. She asks when she can be released, and is told “When you are capable of taking care of yourself.” She responds “I can do that now.”
Shortly before 1am she is deemed sober to be released, when asked she gives her name as Mary Ann Kelly (inspiring countless conspiracy theories) and gives her address as 6 Fashion Street. Leaving the station at 1am, she asks Hutt the time. He replies “Too late for you to get anything to drink.” Kate informs him “I shall get a damn fine hiding when I get home.” Hutt shows little sympathy “And serve you right, you had no right to get drunk.” Leaving the station Kate tells him “Goodnight, old cock.” turning left out the doorway, the opposite direction to Flower and Dean Street, probably heading back toward Aldgate High Street.
At around 1.35am she is seen at the corner of Duke Street and Church Passage (the entrance to Mitre Square) by Joseph Lawende, Joseph Hyam Levy and Harry Harris as they leave the Imperial Club on Duke Street. She is talking to a man, facing towards him with her hand on his chest. Levy said to Harris “Look there, I don’t like going home by myself when I see those characters about.” But what in particular about the couple he found distasteful we don’t know. He took no further, notice and nor did Harris, but Lawende took enough notice to be able to describe the couple and later identified Eddowes as the woman he saw after being shown her clothing. He described the man as being (from a report by Chief Inspector Donald Swanson) “age 30 ht. 5 ft. 7 or 8 in. comp. fair fair moustache, medium built, dress pepper & salt colour loose jacket, grey cloth cap with peak of same colour, reddish handkerchief tied in a knot, round neck, appearance of a sailor.”
PC Edward Watkins of the City Police came on duty at 9.45pm on the 29th and started his beat at around 10pm. His beat started from Duke Street through Heneage Lane, through a portion of Bury Street, then through Cree Church Lane, into Leadenhall Street, along Leadenhall Street into Mitre Street, then into Mitre Square, around the square, back into Mitre Street, then into King Street, along King Street, into St James Place, around St James Place, thence into Duke Street. He was last in Mitre Square at 1.30am. At 1.40am PC James Harvey, whose beat took him through Duke Street and along Church Passage as far as the entrance of the Square, does not see or hear anything as he walks down and back out of Church Passage. At 1.44am PC Watkins enters the square and a minute later discovered Catherine Eddowes mutilated body in the South West corner of the square. Two night watchmen and an off duty policeman who were in buildings surrounding the square at the time neither saw nor heard anything suspicious. Catherine Eddowes was murdered, mutilated and her killer escaped in the space of less than ten minutes. He also did it silently and without being seen while fleeing the scene.