The first murder victim of Jack the Ripper, Mary Ann "Polly" Nichols was born on August 26, 1845 in London. Her death has been attributed to the notorious unidentified serial killer, who is believed to have killed and mutilated five women in the Whitechapel area of London from late August to early November 1888. She was found lying on the ground in front of a gated stable entrance in Buck’s Row, Whitechapel, around 3:40 am on August 31st, about 150 yards from the London Hospital by cart driver named Charles Cross. No one had reported hearing or seeing anything suspicious before the discovery of the body.
Doctor Henry Llewellyn, who arrived on the scene around 4:00 am, determined that she had been dead for about 30 minutes. Her throat had been slit twice from left to right and her abdomen mutilated with one deep jagged wound, several incisions across the abdomen, and three or four similar cuts on the right side caused by the same knife. He expressed surprise at the small amount of blood at the crime scene, "about enough to fill two large wine glasses, or half a pint at the most.” His comment led to the supposition that Nichols was not killed where her body was found, but the blood from her wounds had soaked into her clothes and hair, and there was little doubt that she had been killed at the crime scene by a swift slash to the throat. Death would have been instantaneous, and the abdominal injuries, which would have taken less than five minutes to perform, were made by the murderer after she was dead. Nichols was buried at the City of London Cemetery, in a public grave numbered 210752 (on the edge of the current Memorial Garden). In late 1996, the cemetery authorities decided to mark her grave with a plaque.
Michael Thomas Barry is a columnist for CrimeMagazine.com and author of Murder and Mayhem 52 Crimes that Shocked Early California 1849-1949. His book can be purchased from Amazon through the following link: