Jack the Ripper was a murderous madman who terrorized prostitutes in the late 1880ís. Time has not diminished the gruesomeness of the killings. All the victims\' throats were cut; some victims were disemboweled; and the killer took organs from some of his victims. When fear of the Ripper peaked, the killings stopped, and a century of speculation ensued (jack 1). Many authors have tried to sift through the evidence and have arrived at their own theories as to the identity of the killer. Still there has never been conclusive proof of who the murderer was and what were his motives. To understand the difficulty of solving the murder it is necessary to look at the historical circumstances, the Ripperís victims, and the suspects involved.

The crimes took place during a period of English history known as the Victorian
period. This era was named after Queen Victoria who became Queen in 1837 (Stitson 1). She ruled Great Britan until 1901. This was a time when industrialization grew and people flooded into the city to find work. It was also a time when the British Empire was expanding and many foreign workers traveled to London and competed with the locals for jobs.

The class system, a sharp division between rich and poor kept the two groups
isolated from each other as much as possible (stitson 1). Wealthy Victorians lived a life of ease and comfort and took little interest in the lives of the poor. The Victorians lived with many strict moral restraints. They were supposed to keep their emotions and desires in check. Men considered women to be virgins or whores. They felt that their wives and girlfriends were pure and that they had to turn to prostitutes to satisfy their desires. Prostitutes in this era were primarily from the lower classes. Many were to be found in the East End. "Gentlemen" usually visited the poor East End only when drinking with male friends or when looking for a prostitute. The East End, Whitechapple, in the 1880ís was a small area of London crowded with ninety thousand people (Sugden 3). There was little or no plumbing or sanitation and disease and pollution were a constant problem. There was also a large population of European Jews who were not well accepted by their English neighbors. The English feared that the immigrants would take their jobs and compete for the overcrowded housing available.

The police in London at this time had to control and protect the poorer class
members of society. At the same time they had to answer to the members of the
prosperous English society and protect the royalty. Two years before the Whitechapel
murders by Jack the Ripper, riots broke out in the area because people were camping in the streets due to mass unemployment. General Charles Warren, a professional soldier was appointed as Chief Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police to handle the confrontation. He was later knighted for controlling the riots, but the local people never forgot the fact that he used force and many arrests to stop the riots on "Bloody Sunday" (Abrahamsen 21). This affected the cooperation level he would later receive. He was to face his biggest challenge when trying to solve the Ripper murders.

The first murder in Whitechapel definitely attributed to Jack the Ripper happened
on August 31, 1888. The victim was a forty-two year old prostitute named Mary Nichols,
nicknamed Polly. A friend last saw her at 2:30 in the morning. She was very drunk and said she was going to earn the price of a room for the night. A workman discovered her body at 3:40 that same morning. Her throat was slashed all the way to her vertebrae. She had several rough incisions in her abdomen. No one heard her scream; the examining doctor felt that she might have been strangled first. Her former husband identified the body the next day. She was the mother of five children.

The police had no clue who could have murdered Mary Nichols. Later writers have suggested that she was murdered by a group of three men and dumped along Buckís Row (Knight 126). Forensic evidence and the doctorís testimony suggest that she was killed where she was found, and that one man carried out the murder. Since she was a pauper, robbery was not the motive and police feared