Mary Kelly’s murder was sensationally reported, among other places, in The Illustrated Police News on the 24th of November, 1888. Her body had been discovered on the morning of November 9th by Thomas Bowyer. This image, from the Police News, includes several different scenes ... including a picture of Inspector Fred Abberline. Click on the image for a very clear, full-page view. Image online via the British Library.


Fred Abberline was no stranger to Whitechapel. He had at least 14 years of prior service in that part of London.

When he first took on the Ripper investigation, Abberline believed an earlier East End murder (of Martha Tabram) was also the work of the knife-wielding "Jack." Not until much later did the inspector change his mind about that.

The Metropolitan Police (Scotland Yard) were convinced that most of the many "Ripper" letters were hoaxes. Three (including the one which begins this story) were believed genuine. But Abberline and his investigation team had very little evidence with which to piece together either motives or suspects.

Some accounts claim that Abberline even worked with a self-proclaimed psychic—Robert James Lees—who reportedly consulted with Queen Victoria. The story is told that Lees led Abberline and his men to the place where they would learn the identity of the Ripper. The place to which he led them? Buckingham Palace. (Despite these assertions, the facts seem otherwise:  Lees offered his services to the police, but they were declined.)

After Abberline retired from the police force, in 1892, the Ripper files were closed. The crimes have never been solved. But Abberline revealed his own thinking on the subject when he reportedly told crime writer Nigel Morland

...you’d have to look for him [the Ripper] not at the bottom of London society but a long way up. (See The Conan Doyles Notes:  The Secret of Jack the Ripper, by Diane Gilbert Madsen, at page 55.)

Ripperologists, however, remain doubtful that there was a royal connection to any of the Whitechapel murders.  For them, and their industry, it's beneficial that the crimes were (and are) never solved. 

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5189stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 01, 1999

Updated Last Revision: Jul 21, 2019

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"INSPECTOR FRED ABBERLINE" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 01, 1999. Dec 12, 2019.
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