Mistakes Made by Police in the Ripper Case

DATED: 07.02.15

The Ripper case is more than a century old. Suffice to say, the person who created havoc, not just in Whitechapel but all over the world is no longer amongst us. However, the Ripper’s identity remains elusive to us to this day. Countless theories have surfaced over the decades; some with value; others completely unimaginable and foul, yet none of those have offered anything conclusive enough to solve the case. With each passing year, it becomes more and more apparent that the identity of Jack the Ripper may never be revealed to us. Ever.

Law enforcement authorities who worked the Ripper case during that time must take some responsibility for this. There were quite a few oversights on their behalf that should have been avoided or rectified quickly, but that never happened. Some experts and Ripperologists conclude that as one of the reasons why the Ripper escaped justice. In today’s post, thejacktherippertour.com will look at some of these mistakes in detail.

The Write Off

Mishandling evidence is a critical mistake for any investigation. Some errors are irredeemable, and the Ripper case was no exception. The case in question being the Catherine Eddowes murder site. The killer, suspected to be the Ripper, wrote graffiti on a nearby wall. Every effort should have been made to preserve it, study it, and examine it for clues or evidence. Maybe new leads could have been generated that way. Instead, a quick photograph was taken, and graffiti was wiped clean at the orders of Crime Scene Commissioner, Charles Warren.

Tampering of Evidence

The graffiti was not the only piece of evidence to be mishandled. Mary Ann Nichols was one of the victims of the Ripper. As she laid in the morgue awaiting autopsy, Robert Mann, a Whitechapel Workhouse inmate, removed her clothes and scrubbed off all traces of blood. In this process, he had removed any trace of evidence that might have led the police to the identity of the killer. Of course, Mann did not do this intentionally, he was under the impression that the body needed to be cleaned before burial. It was a poor example of miscommunication between departments.

Incorrect Criminal Profiling

Many criminal experts and Ripperologists fault incorrect criminal profiling as a vital mistake in the Ripper investigation. According to them, the hunt for the Ripper started off on the wrong foot from the very beginning. All efforts were, therefore doomed to failure from the start. Without creating any kind of criminal profile, the authorities immediately began to look for the killer. With very specific features and characteristics in mind; a male in his mid-30s, dressed all in black and mentally unstable. The real Ripper had to be very methodical in his approach, or how else did he remain elusive and still commit acts of crime so smoothly – despite the increase in the number of constables on patrol during the night?

The one consequence of unsolved murder cases, is that it opens the floodgates for speculation. That is, after all, what we are doing as well. The bottom line is that much could have and should have been done to bring the Ripper to justice. The opportunities were there for the taking but, unfortunately, they were never availed and all we are left with today are dozens of theories and no conviction.

You can learn more on the Ripper saga by taking a guided Ripper Tour. The tour is both entertaining yet informative and offers a glimpse of the life in Whitechapel back then, and how the investigation proceeded over the years. Take the Ripper tour today!


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