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Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Jack the Ripper Story - The First Victim Martha Tabram

By Georgi Dagnall

A woman's survival in the East End was almost totally dependent on a man sharing his wages and home with her. Without a provider or a job of her own, she would likely become a prostitute to survive. An East End prostitute would sell herself for the price of a drink or a few crusts of stale bread. She would have sex on any dark street corner. Her clients were often drunk and could be violent. Her danger increased after she received her few pennies of payment. Gangs of thugs regularly beat prostitutes for their meager earnings, sometimes killing them in the process. Many prostitutes ended their days as unidentified murder victims. Most of these women were quickly forgotten.

A handful of these women have been given a strange dose of fame and immortality thanks to the blade of Jack the Ripper. The first of these unlucky women that we shall meet is Martha Tabram. She was murdered here in the early morning hours of Tuesday, August 7, 1888.

The story begins with the evening's accounts from Mary Ann Connelly, better known on the streets as Pearly Poll. Mary Ann Connelly and Martha Tabram had been drinking late on Monday with two soldiers, a corporal and a private. Poll and her soldier went off on their own shortly before midnight while Martha and her soldier walked in the direction of the George Yard Buildings. About 30 minutes later, Poll and her soldier separated with the soldier heading in the direction of the George Yard Buildings. This is the last time Mary Connelly would see Martha Tabram.

Later in the night, two residents would walk past Martha's body on the landing of the George Yard Buildings. The second resident, John Reeves would take notice of the pool of blood surrounding Martha, and reported the murder to the Police Constable, PC Barret.

When PC Barrett examined the body, he saw the remains of a plump middle-aged woman, 5 feet 3 inches or 1.6 meters tall with dark hair and complexion. She wore a black bonnet, a brown petticoat covered by a dark green skirt and a long dark jacket and boots. Her old and ragged clothes were torn open at the front, and she had been stabbed. She was lying on her back with her legs open and her skirts pulled up. The condition of her skirts and legs led Barrett to believe that she had recently had sexual intercourse.

There was no blood outside the immediate area where the body was found, suggesting that the woman had been murdered in this location. Her clenched hands suggested that she tried to fight back, but the lack of blood around her mouth indicated that she had died quickly from the stab wounds. Neighbors in this crowded building heard no sounds of a struggle mere steps away from their flats.

PC Barrett followed procedure and sent for a doctor to examine the body. Dr. Timothy Killeen examined the body around 5:30 AM and estimated that the woman had died about 3 hours earlier, around 2:30 AM. The body was moved to the mortuary where Killeen performed an autopsy. With the clothes removed from the body, he could see that the woman had been stabbed, not once or twice, but 39 times. Altogether there were 22 stab wounds to the woman's trunk, 5 punctures to the left lung, 2 punctures to the right lung, 1 to the heart, 5 to the liver, 2 to the spleen, and 6 to the stomach. He also found blood between the skull and the scalp, which suggests that the woman's head had been impacted shortly before her death. Contradicting Police Constable Barrett, the doctor did not see any evidence of sexual intercourse.

Perhaps Martha was murdered by one of the soldiers three hours after she and Pearly Poll separated. Or maybe she split off from the soldier and picked up another client in the same area, and this new client murdered her. Or maybe she was murdered by Jack the Ripper.

The overkill of 39 stab wounds suggests the murderer felt a great deal of passion, perhaps even anger. Could Martha have teased her client with a joking remark that drove him into a fit of rage? Or was this the first murder of a serial killer who was excited by thrusting his knife into a body over and over again?

To learn more about Jack's first victim, visit

This content was written and provided by Georgi Dagnall. For further information, please visit

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Ghost Writer, Inc. - Book Ghostwriter Karen S Cole

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Executive Director and President of Ghost Writer, Inc., Karen Cole writes. GWI at Ghostwriting Book Services is a renowned inexpensive and affordable professional freelance writers, book authors, ghost writers, copy editors, proofreaders, coauthors, manuscript rewriters, graphics and CAD, digital and other photographers, marketers, promoters, publishing/production assistance, and screenplay writers, editors, developers and analysts service.

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