Rare postcard from ‘Jack the Ripper’, sent to police in 1888, just weeks before he killed again, to go under the hammer in Kent
PUBLISHED: 12:39 07 September 2017 | UPDATED: 12:39 07 September 2017
Fascinating note was sent to the Met Police at height of the killing spree
A postcard which claims to have been sent by infamous Victorian killer Jack the Ripper, is set to go under the hammer at auction in Kent.
The postcard was received at Ealing Police Station on October 29, 1888 from someone claiming to be responsible for the brutal murder of at least five women in the slums of the East End.
Never found, the killer spread panic in the capital with his horrific murders which involved cutting the throats of women and then brutally mutiliating them.
Ever since then, a whole industry has grown up around just who was the guilty man.
It was one of a number of notes sent to police claiming responsibility during the long-running manhunt.
It contains a threat to kill two women and was sent on a significant date. Mary Kelly, one of the five of his confirmed victims, was murdered less than two weeks later.
It reads: “Beware there is two women I want here they are bastards, and I mean to have them with my knife is still in good order it is a students knife and I hope you liked the half of kidney. I am Jack the Ripper.”
The card is being sold by Grand Auctions in Folkestone on behalf of Doreen Hall, whose late husband John was an officer with the Metropolitan Police.
He was given the item as a memento after the Ripper file was closed and he left the force in 1966. He later became a publican in Dover.
Mrs Hall said: “I found the card when I was going through my husband’s papers after his death. It makes you stop and think that when you touch the postcard it could have been handled by Jack the Ripper 130 years ago. It’s a scary thought.”
Jonathan Riley of Grand Auctions says the postcard was received by the police in 1888 so it is contemporary to the period when the Whitechapel murders – as they were known – were bringing terror to the streets of London
The authenticity of the card as a vital piece of police evidence is indisputable – it was placed in the Met’s official Jack the Ripper file where it remained until it was closed.
Said Mr Riley: “The comment about his student’s knife could be important because many people thought the murderer may have had some medical or surgical training.”
Grand Auctions has consulted a range of experts, including the Jack the Ripper Museum in London and The Whitechapel Society, especially Stewart Evans, author of a book about letters relating to Jack the Ripper.
Mr Riley added: “Nothing like this from the police files has ever come up for sale before with such convincing provenance, so we are dealing with a very rare artefact indeed involving someone who still casts a chilling shadow even after all these years.
“More than a century after the Whitechapel murders, the killings have never been solved and the identity of Jack the Ripper remains a mystery. It continues to grip the public’s imagination and the story is never very far from the news headlines, with books, films and TV programmes all dedicated to the subject.
“So could this postcard with its 43 menacing words be from the Ripper? We will never know for sure.”
The sale takes place at the Folkestone head office of Grand Auctions on October 9.