|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.
Jill the Ripper
William Stewart, in the book Jack The Ripper-A New Theory, suggested that the Ripper was a woman abortionist or midwife who might have been betrayed, perhaps by a woman she had helped. The midwife was then sent to prison, where upon her release had swore revenge on her own sex. Stewart believed the abortionist/midwife would be able to pass through the streets with bloodstained clothing without attracting attention, and would explain why when Mary Kelly was murdered, she was laid on the bed unclothed with her clothes neatly folded on a chair, awaiting an abortion from the midwife she had contracted.
Stewart however was not the only theorist to believe that the Ripper may have been a woman. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes had earlier suggested that the killer might have disguised himself as a midwife when making his escape through the crowded streets while heavily bloodstained. According to author Donald McCormick, Inspector Abberline at the time of the murders discussed the possibility that the Ripper may have in fact been a woman, with his friend Dr Thomas Dutton, after Mrs Caroline Maxwell reported seeing and speaking to Mary Kelly hours after she was supposedly murdered. Maxwell was quite adamant that it was Kelly she saw and not someone else. Abberline cross questioned Maxwell again and again, but failed to prove she was lying or mistaken. Abberline asked Dutton, - 'Do you think it could be a case of Jack the Ripper, but Jill the Ripper. And was it possible that the killer dressed up in Kelly's clothes to disguise herself, and when spoken to by Maxwell pretended to be Mary Kelly'. Dutton replied he believed it was doubtful, but if the killer were female the only kind capable of perpetrating such an act would be a midwife, for they might just possibly possess enough surgical skill and knowledge of anatomy to carry out these diabolical crimes. William Stewart was predated in his assumption that the Ripper was a woman by Lawson Tait, an eminent surgeon, who suggested In 1889 that the Ripper was 'A big strong woman who worked in one of the local slaughterhouses'.
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