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 Mary Jane Kelly

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Mary Jane Kelly

  • Original Name Marie Jeanette
  • Birth 25 Aug 1863 Ireland
  • Death 9 Nov 1888 Spitalfields, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Greater London, England
  • Burial Leytonstone, London Borough of Waltham Forest, Greater London, England
  • Plot 10 Row 66 No 66
  • Memorial ID 1847

Victim of Jack the Ripper. At the age of 25, she was the fifth and last of five confirmed Ripper victims. Most modern investigators and researchers believe that Jack the Ripper had more victims than the five confirmed ones. Mary Jane Kelly was born in Limerick, Ireland, the daughter of John Kelly, an Irish ironworker. Mary had six brothers who lived at home, a brother in the Army, and a sister who worked in the markets. When Mary was young, her family moved to Caernarvonshire, Wales, and at sixteen, she married a collier named Davis. Two years later, he was killed in an explosion, and Mary left Cardiff to live with a cousin in London in 1884. There she began to drink heavily and drifted into prostitution. For eight months, she lived in an infirmary being treated for venereal disease. With a pretty face, dark hair and the youthful hourglass figure coveted in that time, she was better educated than most people, and could read and write. For a while she worked as a high class prostitute in London's upscale West End, where she met a gentleman who took her on vacation to France. Returning after only ten days, she complained that France did not suit her, and she would soon move on to other men. Eventually she would live with Joseph Barnett, a coal porter. They would live together at 26 Dorset Street in the Whitechapel area of East London, in a house that had been converted into a hotel, living in room 13 on the ground floor. She had lost the key, and had broken a window in the door, allowing her to reach through and open the door from the outside. When Mary took to sleeping with another prostitute, Maria Harvey, Barnett moved out. The afternoon of November 8, 1888, Maria left early in the afternoon, indicating that she would not return until the next day. Despite the news of the awful Ripper murders happening just blocks from where she lived, Mary would continue to walk the streets at night as that was the only way she could earn money. Mary apparently went out about 6:00 pm, and one of her neighbors in room 5, a prostitute named Mary Ann Cox, would later testify at her inquest that she saw Mary on the street about midnight, apparently intoxicated and with a customer, heading back to her lodgings. Other neighbors would testify that they heard her singing in her room until about 1:00 am. When Mary Ann Cox returned to her room about 3:00 am, Mary Kelly's room was dark and silent. Mary Kelly's body was discovered at 11:00 that morning, in her room, when the assistant landlord, Thomas Bowyer, went to collect on overdue rent. Police were immediately summoned, and very quickly, senior police inspectors arrived at the scene. Mary's murder was the only Ripper murder scene to be photographed by the police. The Ripper had hacked off her nose and ears, slashed her face, and removed much of her face leaving her with no features. Her right carotid artery had been severed, leading to her immediate death. Her clothing had been neatly folded next to the bed, as if she had willingly undressed in front of her killer. Her body had been hacked and cut open, and most of her organs had been removed and left on the table. The police doctors held a postmortem at Shoreditch Mortuary, with some of the most experienced medical men in London performing the autopsy – no less than four medical doctors were present. The inquest, held two days later, quickly determined her death to be murder. For several months afterwards, there were no murders in Whitechapel, and the press soon speculated that the Ripper murders were over with. On July 16, 1889, another drunken prostitute named Alice McKenzie was murdered in Whitechapel, and the officiating doctor at her autopsy, Dr. Thomas Bond, thought her to be a victim of the Ripper, but the press made little mention of her death. Despite the most extensive investigation by police at the time, Jack the Ripper was never found, and today, numerous theories about his identity continue to surface.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 1847
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Mary Jane Kelly (25 Aug 1863–9 Nov 1888), Find A Grave Memorial no. 1847, citing St Patrick's Roman Catholic Cemetery, Leytonstone, London Borough of Waltham Forest, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .