Jack the Ripper in the New Zealand Press
“Jack the Ripper” was one of several names given to a serial killer active in London in 1888. Newspaper coverage, both at home and overseas, was extensive but few people with an interest in Jack have had easy access to this material. Indeed it is fair to say that some of the many authors who have written about the case have paid scant regard to contemporary archives!
It is hard to be certain exactly how many murders were committed by the Ripper. The minimum number is probably five – Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly – with all five being murdered between August and November 1888. However there were another six murders that the Metropolitan Police investigated under the umbrella heading of the “Whitechapel murders”.
Newspapers of the time give graphic accounts of the murders and also chronicle the rise and fall of various suspects. When I first became interested in “Jack the Ripper” most experts were confidently identifying “Leather Apron” as the killer but had they studied the material contained in this book they would have immediately removed him from their list of suspects.
An added bonus for the reader of the material I have extracted from the archives is the insight it gives into life in the poorer parts of Victorian London. The extreme poverty of many residents living in the capital city of the British Empire will be quite shocking to the twenty-first century reader.
- Martin Nicholson, April 2012
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