At age 47, Annie Chapman had a terminal disease. She met her end, however, in a much more terrifying way. The "Ripper" earned his self-described nickname on the night he killed her.
Since Annie's husband had died, in 1886, Chapman walked the streets, destitute. She sold matches and flowers and, like other Ripper victims, likely picked up "customers" at the Whitechapel pubs.
She last walked the streets of London on September 8, 1888. She was killed on Hanbury Street.
Within three weeks, the Ripper struck again. September 29th was the kind of night that would force most people to stay inside. It was raining and damp. Elisabeth Stride, commonly known as "Long Liz," was out looking for customers. She had been estranged from her husband, John Thomas Stride, since 1882.
Long Liz had a history with the local police. She had numerous convictions for drunkenness before her killer found her on Berner Street. By 1 a.m. on the morning of September 30, 1888, "Long Liz" was dead. Before the Ripper could live up to his name, however, he was interrupted by a passerby.
In the so-called "Maybrick Diary" are these words:
To my astonishment I cannot believe I have not been caught. My heart felt as if it had left my body. Within my fright I imagined my heart bounding along the street with I in desperation following it.
In fact, the potential eyewitness was extremely close. The Ripper was saved, apparently, by the panic of the witness.
...As I write I find it impossible to believe he did not see me, in my estimation I was less than a few feet from him. The fool panicked, it is what saved me. My satisfaction was far from complete, d___ the b______, but I was clever, they could not out do me. No one ever will.
The Ripper was saved, but "Long Liz" was not.
The "diary" states that the killer had not been satisfied. Less than an hour after the murder of Liz Stride, he found an opportunity to strike again.