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"Fairy Fay"

An unknown female claimed by two authors as having been a Ripper victim in the alleys of Commercial Road on Boxing Night, 1887. The first author to claim she was a Whitechapel murder victim was journalist and historian Terence Robertson (1921–1970), who wrote in the October 29, 1950 edition of Reynolds News that "Fairy Fay" was the name given to a woman who was killed while taking a short cut home from a Mitre Square pub (although there was no such pub in Mitre Square).

According to Robertson, Inspector Edmund Reid headed the enquiry into the death of the woman for a few weeks until finally frustration set in and, after no information was found, told Scotland Yard he would close the case. It might appear that this alleged Ripper victim arose from the journalist's imagination. Robertson led a colorful and controversial career, and finally apparently died by his own hand in New York City on January 31, 1970 while investigating a Canadian liquor mogul.[1]

The second author known to have written about "Fairy Fay" was Tom Cullen. In his Autumn of Terror, Cullen related the same story told by Robertson, but added the important fact that she was, in fact, mutilated.[2]

The truth appears to be that Scotland Yard had no records of Reid's investigations into the alleged murder of "Fairy Fay". No newspapers have been found with any mention of a woman named "Fairy Fay" who died on Boxing Night, 1887, or any other night for that matter. Nor does the name appear in any death register. Several women with names similar to "Fairy Fay" have been found: Sarah Fayer, Alice Farber, and Emma Fairy. These women died in either December 1887 or December 1886, but none of them were murder victims.[3]

It is because of this that the majority of Ripper authors believe "Fairy Fay" to have been a mythical victim, created by an overzealous reporter.


  1. ? Christopher T. George, "The Strange Career of Terence Robertson and the Origin of ‘Fairy Fay'", Ripperologist no. 73: November 2006)
  2. ? Autumn of Terror, Tom Cullen (Bodley Head 1965)
  3. ? The Jack the Ripper A-Z, Begg, Fido, Skinner (Headline 1991)

Related pages:
  Fairy Fay
       Dissertations: The Importance of Fairy Fay, and Her Link to Emma Smith 
       Message Boards: Fairy Fay 
       Press Reports: Lloyds Weekly News - 08 April 1888