What’s in a name? Jack the Ripper is an instantly recognisable name. It is a name that is capable of raising goose bumps, sparking heated debate and stirring up speculation – even to this day; 128 years after his macabre acts took place. Although Jack the Ripper put the UK on the murderous map for his crimes, there have been other serial killers in our midst since then. Let’s investigate.
To hear of a serial killer in today’s modern world is often few and far between, but that’s not to say that they haven’t been out there. Thanks to the sensationalist headlines during the Jack the Ripper case, the media these days are often bound by law as to what they can say and print during an active investigation, so as not to cause a mass panic.
Two of the worst serial killers in British history are about to be discussed: Amelia Dyer and Harold Shipman. We’ll put money on the fact you will be familiar with the latter, but less aware of the former.
The Angel Maker
Amelia Dyer was found guilty of murder in 1896, just eight years after Jack the Ripper brought the East End of London to its knees. She had spent the last 30 years committing horrific crimes that shocked and repulsed in equal measure.
She began her criminal life by smothering the babies of desperate mothers before setting up a fake fostering service. She took babies in before drugging and starving them to death. She soon realised it was much easier to move simply into the realm of adoption, killing the children almost as soon as they had been left in her care. She disposed of the bodies by throwing them into the River Thames. It is believed that she killed at least 400 babies.
She was hung at Newgate Gaol.
Harold Shipman is a name that many will recognise. A Doctor by trade, it is reported that he killed more than 250 people over a period of 23 years throughout Manchester and Yorkshire. Under the guise of someone who can be trusted, Doctor Death injected his victims with Diamorphine before re-writing medical records so that their deaths did not appear to be suspicious.
Shipman hung himself in prison in 2004, six years after being apprehended.
While all of these crimes are monstrous in their own right, the Jack the Ripper case is the only one left unsolved, without a formal arrest, conviction, or a confession. It was also one of the first reported of its kind in the media. Perhaps this is why his name is up there as one of Britain’s worst serial killers, firmly on the map.
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