These words were spoken by William Nichols when identifying the body of his ex-wife, Mary Ann Nichols, who was viciously murdered in an alleyway of Whitechapel, London, in the early hours of 31 August, 1888.
Death in Whitechapel
A little over an hour later her body was found in front of a stable entrance in Buck’s Row, Whitechapel, a dingy and poorly-lit alleyway in the heart of London’s East End – and only about 150 yards from the London Hospital. Cart driver Charles Cross found her body, and was not sure if she was dead or simply unconscious (it was the dark of night). Her skirt had been raised indecently, so he lowered it and went to find the police.
Police Constable Jonas Mizen was the first to reach the scene, with Police Constable John Neil joining him. It was not long before they realised that Polly had been murdered. None of the police officers patrolling, residents of houses along that street, or employees from the slaughterhouse heard or saw a single suspicious thing.
The surgeon made the call that she had been dead for about half an hour. Her stomach had a deep wound and several other incisions which all seemed to be caused by the same sized knife and her throat had been slit twice, so deeply that she was nearly decapitated. The surgeon was surprised there was not more blood, as there were only “about enough to fill two large wine glasses, or half a pint at the most” instead of the copious amounts you would expect. It was initially thought that the scene of the murder had been elsewhere, with her body discarded at this location, but once they lifted her they saw there was a ‘mass of congealed blood’ underneath her body and in her clothes, and concluded that the murder had in fact been committed at the same place her body was found.
It was deduced that her throat had been slit first, killing her instantly. The gorging of the torso was performed after she had died.
Mary Ann 'Polly' Nichols
Her husband William was still required to pay alimony for her, and did so up until he found out she was indeed working as a prostitute. After that he was not required to give her any money as she was obtaining money through illegal avenues. Unfortunately it was all downhill for Polly after that. She spent what years were left to her living in boarding houses and off charity.
When she left, she also stole clothing worth three pounds, ten shillings – quite a substantial amount at that time.
At the time of her death she was sharing a room in a common lodging house in Whitechapel.
A Horrific Crime
There were no tracks or makings found on the cobbles where she died. Nothing at all to hint towards who the vicious murderer may have been.
Polly is considered by most people to be the first victim of the murderer who came to be called Jack the Ripper!
It is said that if you are wandering around Bucks row on a dark night, it is as if you have gone back in time... people have seen a figure, lying on the ground, glowing a greenish colour. The ghostly spectre is seen in the exact spot that Polly's body was discovered.
Put together by Ashley Hall 2013