Jack the Ripper 1888 header image.

MARY NICHOLS BODY MOVED

THE DISCOVERY AT THE MORTUARY

LLEWELLYN ORDERS THE BODY'S REMOVAL

Dr Llewellyn was by now becoming a little disconcerted at the number of sightseers that were arriving at the scene, and he ordered that the body be removed to the mortuary where he would make a further examination.

Thain and Neil duly lifted the body onto the police ambulance, in reality little more than a wooden handcart.

HER CLOTHING WAS SOAKED WITH BLOOD

As they did so, Thain noticed that the back of the woman’s clothing was soaked with blood, which he presumed had run down from the neck wound.

He also observed a mass of congealed blood underneath the body, which was around six inches in diameter and which had begun to run towards the gutter.

HAS THE MURDER BEEN COMMITED ELSEWHERE?

The relatively small amount of blood found at the scene, coupled with the fact that no-one in the vicinity had heard a sound would, by the end of the day, lead to speculation that the murder had been carried out elsewhere and the body simply dumped where it was found.

As The Times informed its readers:-

“...it seemed difficult to believe that the woman received her death wounds there..If the woman was murdered on the spot where the body was found, it is impossible to believe she would not have aroused the neighborhood by her screams, Bucks-row being a street tenanted all down one side by a respectable class of people...”

This theory was given some consideration at the subsequent inquest into the woman’s death but the Coroner was quick to dismiss it in his summing up:-

“The condition of the body appeared to prove conclusively that the deceased was killed on the exact spot in which she was found.

There was not a trace of blood anywhere, except at the spot where her neck was lying, this circumstance being sufficient to justify the assumption that the injuries to the throat were committed when the woman was on the ground, whilst the state of her clothing and the absence of any blood about her legs suggested that the abdominal injuries were inflicted whilst she was still in the same position.”

THAIN'S HANDS COVERED IN BLOOD

Evidently most of the blood had been absorbed into the clothing, a fact that was all too apparent to PC Thain, whose hands became covered in the stuff as he lifted her onto the ambulance.

When Inspector Spratling arrived at the scene at around 4.30am, the body had already been removed, and the blood was being washed away by one of the local residents.

INSPECTOR SPRATLING'S DISCOVERY

Spratling headed round to the mortuary in nearby Old Montague Street, which was in reality little more than a brick shed, and there began taking down a description of the deceased.

At first he noticed only the neck wounds previously noted by Dr Llewellyn, but on closer inspection he discovered something that had so far eluded everyone. Beneath her blood stained clothing a deep gash ran all the way along the woman’s abdomen, she had been disembowelled.

Spratling sent immediately for Dr Llwelleyn in order that he might comment on the newly discovered injuries. But before the medic had arrived and could carry out a more detailed inspection, two senile workhouse paupers, Robert Mann and James Hatfield, stripped the body of its clothing and proceeded to wash it down, dumping the garments in an untidy pile in the mortuary yard.

The Coroner would later criticize the police for allowing this to happen, whereas the police were adamant that they had given instructions that the body was not to be disturbed until Llwelleyn had conducted a full and detailed post-mortem examination.

Mary Nichols is identified by her father and ex-husband.