Jack the Ripperis widely regarded around the world as being one of the most famous serial killers of all time. However, while the Ripper was busy stalking the streets of Victorian Whitechapel, he certainly didn’t have a monopoly on serial killings in England. In fact, there were actually plenty of other killers out there just lying in wait, searching for their next victim.
The Ripper’s contemporaries ranged from ‘The Yorkshire Witch’ to ‘The Lambeth Poisoner’ – but can profiling his equals help to finally solve the mystery of Jack’s identity once and for all?
The Yorkshire Witch. Real name Mary Bateman, ‘The Yorkshire Witch’ was a professional con-woman who was eventually hanged in 1809 for poisoning a couple she had scammed.
John Williams. He was an Irish sailor who killed two families and their servants in the East End in 1811.
Captain Jeffries. Self-named as Captain Jeffries or ‘The Monster’, Thomas Jeffries was deported to Australia for deserting his post in the Navy. He escaped and went on a rampage, robbing and killing people – even resorting to cannibalism in order to survive. He was eventually hanged in 1826.
William Burke and William Hare. The two intoxicated their victims before murdering them and selling their bodies to a doctor to use in anatomical classes at Edinburgh Medical School.
Thomas Griffiths Wainewright. Murdered up to four people including his sister-in-law in order to collect the payout from a life insurance he recently purchased.
The London Burkers. Real names John Bishop and Thomas Williams, the pair were copycats of Burke and Hare.
Sarah Dazley. She was hanged for poisoning her second husband, though it was thought that she also murdered her child and first husband too.
William Palmer. A physician who was addicted to gambling, Palmer poisoned his friends and relatives in order to collect payouts from their life insurance to fuel his gambling habits.
Mary Ann Cotton. She poisoned up to 21 people, including her children and husbands, before eventually being hanged.
Catherine Wilson. Famous for the rather questionable honour of being the last woman to be publicly hanged in London (in 1862); Wilson was a nurse who poisoned her patients.
Edward William Pritchard. Pritchard was a doctor convicted of poisoning his wife and mother-in-law in 1865.
Margaret Waters. She was a baby farmer who was accused of drugging and starving the children. Up to 19 babies died in her care.
The Lambeth Poisoner. Real name Thomas Neill Cream, he was a doctor who poisoned up to 8 people. He reportedly confessed to being Jack the Ripper before his execution, although he was imprisoned during the Ripper’s killing spree.
Amelia Dyer. Similar to Margaret Waters, Dyer was a baby farmer who strangled up to 400 babies in her care.
The Black Widows of Liverpool. Catherine Flannagan and Margaret Higgins poisoned their victims in order to obtain their insurance payouts.
Mary Ann Britland. Poisoned her husband, daughter and her lover’s wife.
Do you think you’ve got what it takes to crack the riddle of the Ripper’s identity? Book yourself onto one of our Jack the Ripperwalks and see if you can piece together the evidence. You never know – you could be the one to solve the mystery for good!