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 Jack the Ripper: A Suspect Guide 
This text is from the E-book Jack the Ripper: A Suspect Guide by Christopher J. Morley (2005). Click here to return to the table of contents. The text is unedited, and any errors or omissions rest with the author. Our thanks go out to Christopher J. Morley for his permission to publish his E-book.

John Richardson

At around 4.45am Saturday 8 September 1888 John Richardson, 35, who lived at 2 John Street and worked as a porter at Spitalfields market, and who also helped his mother at her packing case business, was on his way to work, when he called in at 29 Hanbury Street to check the locks on the yard where his mother ran her business from. A few months previously it had been broken into and a saw and hammer were stolen.

Richardson, noticing everything was at it should be, paused to sit on the yard step to trim a piece of leather from his boot which was causing him discomfort when walking. He sat on the second step, with his feet resting on the yard floor. Richardson, who was described as tall, stout with dark brown hair and a brown moustache, and who spoke with a rather husky voice, would later tell the inquest, 'It was not quite light at the time, but there was enough light to see all over the place', and felt sure he would have seen a body if it had been lying there. One hour later John Davis, while on his way to work, discovered the mutilated body of Annie Chapman, just yards from where Richardson had claimed to have sat only one hour before.

Dr George Bagster Phillips examined the body, and declared that she had been dead for at least two hours, probably longer, putting the time of death at 4.30am.

When the inquest learned that Richardson carried a knife, and a leather apron belonging to him had been found under a tap in the yard, he briefly came under suspicion. Richardson was requested to produce the knife he had used to trim his boot, an examination of it showed it could not have been the murder weapon. It was an old, quite blunt five inch long table knife, he had generally used to cut up carrots for his pet rabbit. If Richardson was Jack the Ripper, he would hardly have produced the actual murder weapon for the police to examine. The leather apron, which the police took possession of when they searched the yard, was one he wore when he worked in the cellar, it had been washed by his mother Amelia Richardson, because it was a bit mildewed, and had been left in the yard since Thursday and appeared to have not been moved.

Albert Cadosch, a 23 year old carpenter, who lived next door at number 27 went into his yard at about 5.15am when he heard a woman's voice say, No, followed by the sound of something falling against the fence. When Cadosch left his house to go to work he passed Spitalfields Church and noticed the time was 5.32am. Cadosch probably heard Annie Chapman with her killer, and if he had been a little more curious and peered over the fence, which was about 5ft 6 inches high, would have almost certainly seen Jack the Ripper attacking one of his victims.

Elizabeth Long, who was on her way to Spitalfields market where she worked as a cart minder, passed 29 Hanbury Street as the brewers clock struck 5.30, and noticed a man and woman talking loudly. She overheard the man say, Will you, and the woman reply, Yes.

At the mortuary, Mrs Long, when viewing the body of Annie Chapman was certain it was the same woman she had seen. Mrs Long was unable to give a good description of the man because she hardly saw his face, except to say that he was dark and wore a brown deerstalker hat, had a shabby genteel appearance and looked like a foreigner. She could not say what age he was, but looked to be over 40 and appeared to be a little taller than the woman.

Albert Cadosch's and Elizabeth Long's version of events show that Chapman was almost certainly killed about 5.15 or 5.30 and not earlier as Bagster Phillips claimed. Dr Phillips admitted that he may have miscalculated the time of death, due to the loss of blood from the body and the coldness of the morning, combined with the evidence of the witnesses. Therefore the body was not in the yard when John Richardson trimmed his boot

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Related pages:
  John Richardson
       Dissertations: Considerable Doubt and the Death of Annie Chapman 
       Press Reports: Evening Standard - 10 September 1888