Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Jack The Stripper

How Many Did he Kill?

Accounts of the case differ as to whether they consider six, seven, or eight of the dead women to be victims of Jack The Stripper. Seabrook's theory regarding the police sub-divisions in which the bodies were found works best if we only consider the last six victims to be the work of Jack The Stripper. Yet while the deaths of Elizabeth Figg and Gwynneth Rees were different in some ways Figg was strangled manually rather than with a ligature, for instance, and not fully stripped, while Rees' body was found on a rubbish heap, all be it by the banks of the Thames.

But there are also similarities that seem unlikely to be mere coincidence. Both were prostitutes, and in both cases the dead women's possessions were removed from the bodies, and Rees was stripped before death. Even if the four and a half year gap between Figg's death and the rest of the series suggests an isolated incident, the same can't be said for Rees, whose death fits fairly well into the chronology of the other murders.

There was also no other convincing motive for someone else to have murdered the women these kind of murders were exceptionally rare at the time, and the theory that Rees was killed to protect an illegal abortion racket fails to convince. Ultimately, though, the true circumstances and chain of events that led to any of the eight women's deaths has never been categorically established.

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