Could the Double Event Have Been Prevented?

DATED: 26.07.16

The Date: September 30th, 1888

The Location: Whitechapel, London

The Double Event

This fateful night in the East End of London has gone down in the history books as the night that Jack the Ripper killed not just one, but two, unfortunate victims.

While the killer has seemingly got away with multiple murders over the course of a few months, and his identity remains a mystery to the world, the evidence that was found suggests that the Double Event could have been prevented. Were it not for the insurmountable fear that accompanied the discovery of a woman lying dead in the gutter, the killer may well have been apprehended that night, and the life of another saved.

Elizabeth Stride

On Berner Street, as it was then, there was an International Working Men’s club, and on this fateful night, it was packed to the rafters – thanks to a talk earlier in the evening. A passageway down the side of the building – Dutfields Yard, was where the club steward Louis Diemschultz was moving his horse and cart at approximately 1 am, when he came across the body of a woman, lying in the street in a pool of blood: her throat had been slit right open.

Both he and his pony started at this discovery, and his mind instantly thought of his wife – was she safe? He ran back inside to get help and to check on his love.

Catherine Eddowes

Just 12 minutes’ walk away in Mitre Square, a young police officer PC Watkins was on beat. He was walking the same route and would pass through approximately every 15 minutes or so. At 1.30am, he passed through the Square and saw nothing out of the ordinary. However, when he returned at 1.44am, he discovered a young woman, throat slit and disembowelled, complete with facial mutilations.

A witness states that he saw a shabby looking man with a woman in the square shortly before the murder. It is likely to have been the Ripper with his next victim.

In Hindsight

Many believe that back in Dutfield Yard, Diemschultz actually stumbled across the Ripper mid-murder, and his pony starting may have been because the killer was fleeing the scene. This could be largely due to the fact that his post-killing ritual of mutilating the body had not been carried out and the victim was still bleeding out upon discovery.

Had Diemschultz stuck around instead of heading inside to look for his wife, he might have caught the man responsible – the tally of Jack the Ripper victims may have been reduced and his reign of terror over the East End of London may have been brought to an end.

As it turns out, many believe he fled to Mitre Square where he found another victim and finished the task he set out to do just 45 minutes prior.

In hindsight, it is easy to make these assumptions, but the reality may well have been very different – in fact, Diemschultz may have been killed himself had he have apprehended Jack the Ripper.

All we do know for sure is that many theories and conjecture exist when it comes to discovering the identity of the killer – and the Jack the Ripper victims are still very much crimes that need to be solved.

Want to know more about the victims, the suspects and the case in general? Our walking tour is the best place to start!



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The Jack the Ripper Casebook