1. From source A we can learn many things about the reaction of the local people in response to the brutal White Chapel Murders of Martha Tabrum and Polly Nicholls, firstly we can tell from the opening of the article in the East End Observer that local people believe the two murders to be linked “the two murders”. In addition to this the fact that both murders were reported in the same article implies that they believe them both to be the work of the same killer.
This belief could also be partially due to the fact that both murders were very brutal and without addition motive such as robbery as the victims were considered the poorest of the poor, which would make them unlikely targets for robbery. It was because of these facts that people at time suggested the “idea that both crimes are the work of the demented being”, this quote also further supports the fact that people at the time believe them both to be the work of the same killer as they believe them both t be the work of a madman.
2. There are many similarities between the information given in sources A, B and C, sources B and C are reports written for official purposes and give detailed accounts of injuries suffered and the way the victims were found. However source A is an article from an East London newspaper and gives a dramatized report on the murders.
The most prominent similarity that can be drawn between the 3 sources is that of the nature of the crime, in source C we are told that Elizabeth Strides cause of death was the killer “cutting her windpipe in two”. This shows that the killing was of a violent nature, this is apparent because the killer would have had to use a large amount of force in order to sever the windpipe completely.
Source B backs up source C when we are told that:
“No unskilled person could have known where e to find the organs”. This shows that the killer although violent had
“considerable anatomical skill” and composure in order to commit the murders in the manner they were done in.
Source A also backs up sources B and C in the fact that it agrees, “extraordinary violence used was a peculiar feature in each instance”.
Another similarity that is evident throughout the sources A, B and C is that all 3 mention or imply the use of a knife or similar weapon; source B tells us of how the killer knew “how he should use a knife”. This shows that the coroner was in no doubt that Nicholls was murdered with a knife and even names it as the murder weapon.
This is backed up largely by Dr Fredericks report where we are told that there was a “long incision which commenced on the left side” side of strides body. This implies that that Dr Frederick believed a knife or similar weapon to be the weapon used in the murder.
One difference that is very apparent in the source is the difference in tone and detail between source A and the other 2 sources, it is because of this that I do not think that information form source A to be as accurate as information in sources B and C. I have taken this view as I believe that the paper would have exaggerated and changed information to sell papers where as sources C and B were official reports so information would have been more accurate and detailed.
3. Sources D and E are very useful in is understanding the state and of Whitechapel at the time of the murders and in effect how the Ripper was able to avoid capture. One of the most telling factors in the Ripper being able to avoid capture was there were almost no sighting of the Ripper, furthermore many of the few reported sightings were contradictory and uncertain:
“I think he was wearing a dark coat but I cannot be sure”.
This is a good example taken from Evidence given by Elizabeth Long at Annie Chapmans inquest, it clearly illustrates that little or nothing could done with the evidence form sightings asevidence given was not clear and certain.
Altough it was not completely the polices fault that the Ripper was able to avoid capture many at the time felt that there were not enough police patrolling the streets, this is clearly shown in source E which is a article from a local paper written shortly after the first two murders and says;
“police force on the spot should be strengthened”.
This could have been a telling factor in the Rippers avoidence of capture as there was not a strong presence felt on the streets and therefore it would have been relatively easy not to be seen or caught, in addition to this the lack of police would have become more evident to the Ripper as more murders were commited. This would have increased the Rippers confidence in not getting caught, this is clearly reflected in the murders themselves as they seem to increase in brutality as the series progresses.
The ripper was aided somewhat though by the general state of Whitechapel at the time of the murders, source E tells us that at the time of the murders there was “open and defiant ruffianism” in Whitechappel. This would of meant that the police would have had to of dealt with a lot of fights which would have stretched there already
understrengthed force even more making it easier for the Ripper to escape unseen.
Finally the structure of whitechapel would have been key in the Ripper not being caught, we are told in source E that whitechapel is “connected by a network of narrow, dark and crooked lanes”. This would of meant that the Ripper would have been relatively easy for the Ripper to dissapear through the maze of dark lanes and alleys with each containing “some headquarters of infamy, furthermore it would have made it harder for an accurate description to be obtained at night.