Florence Maybrick: Death Sentence Commuted - WHAT'S THE RIPPER GOT TO DO WITH IT?

When the killings were happening in Whitechapel, and “Jack the Ripper” was given his moniker, no one could figure-out who this murderer might be. Puck devoted its cover art to that query when it featured Tom Merry’s illustration in its September 21, 1889 issue. Online via Wikimedia Commons. Click on the image for a full-page view.



But ... the death of Florie Maybrick is not the end of this story.

In 1993, stunning events caused many people to believe that James Maybrick was actually the infamous murderer of Whitechapel, "Jack the Ripper." What is the evidence for this surprising development?

A diary, purportedly written by James Maybrick, gives graphic descriptions of the murders committed by Jack the Ripper. Some of the details could only have been known by the actual murderer.

A pocket watch, like the gold watch James Maybrick always wore, was also discovered. A Liverpool grandfather had purchased the antique watch as an investment for his granddaughter. The watch had superficial scratches on the inside cover which could not be read without the help of a microscope.

Using a microscope, the owner could read a signature: "J. Maybrick." At the time, the signature of James Maybrick meant nothing to the owner.

Looking further with the microscope, the owner read the words

I am Jack

written across the center of the cover. Scratched around the edge were the initials of the victims of Jack the Ripper.

The mistress of James Maybrick was known to have lived in the Whitechapel section of London for a number of years. All of the known Ripper murder victims lived in the Whitechapel area.

An 1888 police drawing of the Ripper, based on eye witness reports, looks strikingly like an actual photograph of a hatless James Maybrick.

While there is some evidence that:

  • the diary might be authentic (not a hoax);
  • the watch actually belonged to Maybrick (the scratches were made decades ago);
  • the police drawing is actually Maybrick (compare the drawings yourself); and
  • James Maybrick knew the Whitechapel section of London (from his many visits to his mistress)

most of the world's leading "Ripperologists" say the diary is a fraud.

Using the available evidence, let's determine whether James Maybrick had additional secrets never revealed to Florie. Let's examine whether Maybrick had an even darker side that led to brutal murders. Let's test whether the evidence supports the assertion that James Maybrick, dead in the spring of 1889 from a longtime arsenic addiction, caused the terror in London's East End between August and November, 1888.

The beginning of the diary is undated. It seems to start mid-thought:

what they have in store for them they would stop this instant. But do I desire that? my answer is no. They will suffer just as I. I will see to that...I long for peace of mind but I sincerely believe that that will not come until I have sought my revenge on the whore and the whore master.

The writer of the diary refers to his brothers (the same names as Maybrick's brothers) and his children (Gladys and Bobo). "The whore"—according to those who believe the diary is real and was written by Maybrick—would be Florie Maybrick and the "whore master" would be Brierley, her lover. The Ripper's string of killings is called "my campaign."
Before he terrorized Whitechapel, however, the writer tested "his stomach for murder" in Manchester, a town not far from Liverpool. Here's what the diary says about the murder in Manchester:

My dear God my mind is in a fog. The whore is now with her maker and he is welcome to her ... Did not know if I have the courage to go back to my original idea. Manchester was cold and damp...

No murder in Manchester is associated with Jack the Ripper. The contemporary headlines in London's papers, and all the stories about the Ripper, focus on the horrific crimes in Whitechapel. The diary begins the story of those infamous crimes soon after the Manchester incident.

0 Question or Comment?
click to read or comment
2 Questions 2 Ponder
click to read and respond
0 It's Awesome!
vote for your favorite

Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 01, 1999

Updated Last Revision: Jul 02, 2019

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

"WHAT'S THE RIPPER GOT TO DO WITH IT?" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 01, 1999. Feb 17, 2020.
Awesome Stories Silver or Gold Membership Required
Awesome Stories Silver or Gold Membership Required
Show tooltips