2. The police were baffled as the number of murders increased
The murder of Mary Ann Nichols did not initially draw significant attention from either the police or the press. Violence against prostitutes in Whitechapel was not uncommon. Then the body of another murdered woman was discovered a week later, bearing the same double throat slashes found on Nichols. The murderer partially eviscerated the second victim, Annie Chapman, and coupled with the evidence of a possible link to the first murder, the press took notice. Driven by public demand and press sensationalism, Chief Inspector Donald Swanson of the Metropolitan Police took overall command of the investigation into the murders. A leather apron, discovered after the death of Nichols but before that of Chapman, was linked in the press to the murderer. The press called the crimes the Leather Apron Murders, the police referred to them as the Whitechapel Murders.
On September 30, a Sunday, the bodies of two women, both murdered by having their throats cut, were found. The first, Elizabeth Stride, had her throat cut, but the mutilations present in the previous victims were not present. The second, Catherine Eddowes, was the most severely mutilated of any of the bodies yet found. According to the police surgeon who examined the body the killer would have required at least five minutes, if not longer, to inflict the number of injuries and dissections upon the body. On November 9, 1888, the body of Mary Jane Kelly was found in Spitalfields, in the room where she resided. She had been completely mutilated, internal organs removed and spread across the room, though her heart was missing. These five murders comprise the so-called canonical murders, the only five attributed to the person known to history as Jack the Ripper. But were they?