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Does The Killer Scope Out Locations Before He Kills?

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  • Does The Killer Scope Out Locations Before He Kills?

    I've always been fascinated by the locations of the killings, as all of them with the exception of Nicholls in Buck's Row take place in broadened out areas which are arrived at through narrow passages. I thought the victims might have self-selected this way as they led their punter to these places. But now I'm wondering if it's possible that The Whitechapel Murderer is a lot more organized than he appears, and perhaps he did what a number of serials have done since, which is scout locations and check on them carefully before committing a murder there. If that's the case, then he would know about prostitutes taking their tricks to the backyard or 1st floor of 29 Hanbury Street. He would perhaps even know the customs of the people living in that house--what time they woke & went out to work etc etc. He may even have visited that back yard. He would know that the Club in Duffield's Yard was raucous and loud until late so that a killing in the shadows might not be overheard. He would know that the warehouse caretakers in Mitre Square didn't venture out at night and that few people were walking in that neighbourhood in the small hours. If Nicholls was the first, he didn't get what he was after. Sounds like he was disturbed probably by the guys who found the body. He may have decided to be more careful in future. And if so, it paid off for him. Which means he might be site-specific rather than victim-specific. He decides it's his night for fun. Hangs around his chosen location. Waits for someone to go--or totter--by. Says 'hallo'.

  • #2
    Wouldn’t he be making it harder for himself Chava? It would almost have been a case of ‘shepherding.’ I know that your not suggesting that he hung around Mitre Square hoping for luck but if he was in that vicinity and met up with a prostitute (maybe a couple of streets away) who pointed at a likely spot wouldn’t she have been suspicious if her punter expressed a preference for a different spot?

    I struggle with the idea of the killer being too familiar with the locations though as this would introduce the added risk of being recognised. It’s one of the reasons that I’m not keen on BS Man (Sorry Abby) or Hutchinson or Packers Man.

    Im not saying that I’m right Chava but I’ve always tended to think that the ripper would have been led by the victim and reassured that they were in a ‘safe’ spot (possibly with the victim saying that she’d used the spot before with no problem)
    Regards

    Herlock




    “...A yellow fog swirls past the window-pane
    As night descends upon this fabled street:
    A lonely hansom splashes through the rain,
    The ghostly gas lamps fail at twenty feet.
    Here, though the world explode, these two survive,
    And it is always eighteen ninety-five.”

    Comment


    • #3
      Hello Chava,

      I am afraid that this is a question that will never be answered. The problem is that we are dealing with a serial killer and not a cool, calculating bank robber. So no matter how cautious he might have been in pre-selecting the murder locations there is always the possibility that the desire to kill in general or to kill a particular victim overrode any other considerations.

      c.d.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post
        Wouldn’t he be making it harder for himself Chava? It would almost have been a case of ‘shepherding.’ I know that your not suggesting that he hung around Mitre Square hoping for luck but if he was in that vicinity and met up with a prostitute (maybe a couple of streets away) who pointed at a likely spot wouldn’t she have been suspicious if her punter expressed a preference for a different spot?

        I struggle with the idea of the killer being too familiar with the locations though as this would introduce the added risk of being recognised. It’s one of the reasons that I’m not keen on BS Man (Sorry Abby) or Hutchinson or Packers Man.

        Im not saying that I’m right Chava but I’ve always tended to think that the ripper would have been led by the victim and reassured that they were in a ‘safe’ spot (possibly with the victim saying that she’d used the spot before with no problem)
        hey herlock
        but what about bs man makes you think he was familiar with that location?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by c.d. View Post
          Hello Chava,

          I am afraid that this is a question that will never be answered. The problem is that we are dealing with a serial killer and not a cool, calculating bank robber. So no matter how cautious he might have been in pre-selecting the murder locations there is always the possibility that the desire to kill in general or to kill a particular victim overrode any other considerations.

          c.d.
          I understand your point. But then when you look at the behaviour of other serials, it does present itself as a possibility. Any number of them including GSK actively surveilled or creepy-crawled houses of potential victims. GSK actually hid ligatures under cushions etc so that they'd be there when he needed them. The thing is I'm not going to dismiss the possibility that this serial killer was not equally as cool and calculating as a bank robber. In fact his behaviour seems to have been extremely organized. He kills first. Takes his trophies. Disappears. He doesn't seem to panic even when someone walks or rides right in on a murder in progress which is what happened in Duffield's Yard. Which is why I think he does notice and explore places where he thinks he can get away with murder. And get away with murder he certainly did.

          Comment


          • #6
            The thing is I'm not going to dismiss the possibility that this serial killer was not equally as cool and calculating as a bank robber.

            Hello Chava,

            Neither am I. My point is that his behavior does not have to be all one way or another. We have no way of knowing if an overwhelming desire to kill ever outweighed his usual demeanor and previously adhered to M.O.

            c.d.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Chava View Post

              I understand your point. But then when you look at the behaviour of other serials, it does present itself as a possibility. Any number of them including GSK actively surveilled or creepy-crawled houses of potential victims. GSK actually hid ligatures under cushions etc so that they'd be there when he needed them. The thing is I'm not going to dismiss the possibility that this serial killer was not equally as cool and calculating as a bank robber. In fact his behaviour seems to have been extremely organized. He kills first. Takes his trophies. Disappears. He doesn't seem to panic even when someone walks or rides right in on a murder in progress which is what happened in Duffield's Yard. Which is why I think he does notice and explore places where he thinks he can get away with murder. And get away with murder he certainly did.
              i agree that the the ripper was highly organized. and very familiar with the east end. i also think he may have known mary kelly and her place. and he may have been familiar with the spots he killed, especially if he frequented prostitutes,and hung out in local bars like i think he probably did. but i still think he let them lead him to their spots.. false sense of security, they also now the best places etc. now that being said, i dont think its out of the question he may also have known those spots they took him and hung around NEAR them, knowing thats where they might take them. i dont think he actually hung out at the murder spots.. hed be waiting around too long and probably if a woman showed up they would already be with a client.



              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Abby Normal View Post

                hey herlock
                but what about bs man makes you think he was familiar with that location?
                That question is illogical.
                One cannot legitimately ask questions about an identity that has not been linked to actual individual, with at least some degree of confidence.
                Who is BS Man? Where does he live?

                We only know of this identity through a story told to Abberline by Schwartz.
                What do we know about Israel Schwartz? Very little, ironically.
                Yet you're happy to talk about people from his story, as through it were an uncontroversial fact that they existed.
                Show me a press report that provides good evidence that the police have determined who either BS Man or Pipeman is, including name and address...
                Andrew's the man, that is not blamed for nothing

                Comment


                • #9
                  Practically the whole of Whitechapel,in the early hours,was a safe place to kill.Moving on foot,a problem to face was how long was it safe to be on the streets ,or in a public place,after a killing?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    It's not so much the location of where the victims are killed but that the killer clearly wants them to be found, possibly specifically by those who do.

                    There is no attempt whatsoever to either cover, disguise or hide the bodies. They are deliberately left to be found and at the soonest opportunity after the killer is at a safe distance. There is a gradual pattern.

                    Polly Nicholls - found by a passer by on the way to work.
                    Annie Chapman - found by someone living/working at 29 Hanbury Street.
                    Elizabeth Stride - found by Diemschutz when returning from a day at Crystal Palace (apparently a regular trip).
                    Catherine Eddowes - found by PC Watkins who's beat was familiar to those in the area around that time of night.
                    Mary Kelly - found by Thomas Bowyer on the morning he was due to come to her room to collect the rent.


                    Of course it may be a coincidence but the killer does appear to know when and how the bodies are likely to be found. They do not appear to be left much longer than necessary, almost as if the killer wants them to be found before rigor mortis has a chance to properly take hold. Either way, it's certainly seeking a reaction. And the apron piece is certainly upping the ante. No-one but the killer could possibly drop it at Goulston Street and again it is meant to be found. For the killer it's all about the response and reaction that manifests after the murder has been discovered rather than the kill itself.

                    ​​​

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The killer was present of mind enough to allow the women to lead him to places they felt comfortable and safe. This was high risk on his behalf but it put them at ease and allowed them the sense of still being in control. As prostitutes they would know where the most convenient and discreet places would be to conduct business. If it was discreet enough to conduct their business it was discreet enough for him to conduct his.

                      1) Polly Nichols chose the long dark road behind Whitechapel station, plenty of courtyards and side alleys and it was very poorly lit. Seems he didnt allow her to take him to her preferred spot and acted quite quickly.
                      2) Annie Chapman knew that the backyard of 29 Hanbury Street was accessible and she led him to the spot where she died.
                      3) Elizabeth Stride was interesting in the sense whilst she was found down an alleyway, it was right beside quite a busy and noisy club. A sense of impatience here which (in my view) almost led to him being caught. I imagine Liz was not as forthcoming as Jack would have liked and hence the high risk approach he took here.
                      4) Catherine Eddowes knew Aldgate relatively well and the fact the spot where she was found was in the darkest corner of Mitre Square would suggest she selected this spot for discretion.
                      5) Mary Jane Kelly was pure luck from his perspective. I believe he may have had some prior awareness of MJK (purely my speculation) but when he saw her on the street he most likely assumed she would lead him to an alley somehwere, only to take him to a private lodging room - something he probably was not expecting but happy to take full advantage of.

                      I don't see how reasonably in any of those scenarios could Jack have scoped any of those locations out in advance and the women most certainly would have been street smart enough not to be led by the client. Regardless of Jack there were many other dangers to prostitution that required due care.
                      Last edited by erobitha; 10-09-2020, 08:42 AM.
                      "When the legend becomes fact... print the legend"
                      - The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I agree with everything you say above, erobitha.

                        Such murders were very rare, despite what some would have us believe, so after Martha Tabram's murder [regardless of who killed her - I do suspect it was Jack], it would have been more important for the killer to let subsequent victims make the initial approach and lead him to their preferred location, where they could both expect to have enough time alone and undisturbed to do what they came for. If the woman did the picking up, she'd have trusted her instincts that he wasn't a monster, and he'd have been able to strike when the moment was right, without giving her the least warning of what was to come. As the murders continued, and potential victims were more on their guard - or as much as they could afford to be, in desperate times - it would have become more important to let the woman walk into her own trap, without trying to force the pace.

                        I see the killer as an opportunist, who always kept his wits about him, because he had so little control over who could witness an initial encounter. I do suspect things didn't go to plan with Liz Stride because the location appears to have been of her own choosing, and was far from ideal from his point of view. If she wasn't going to take him anywhere quieter, his agitation may have shown, alerting her to his real intentions and giving him little option but to cut quickly and run off to find another, more obliging and unsuspecting victim.

                        In any series of murders, I would expect the killer to have at least one such close shave, and this one was doing his thing outdoors, in the streets of London, where he could expect to be seen before and after any of his encounters, if not during. The second he was away on his toes unseen, he was relatively safe - as long as he could avoid being searched before he could dump any incriminating evidence.

                        Love,

                        Caz
                        X
                        "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Abby Normal View Post

                          hey herlock
                          but what about bs man makes you think he was familiar with that location?
                          Hi Abby,

                          I see what you mean but I meant (and perhaps didn’t explain very well) that I didn’t think that the killer would risk being seen in an area where he might have been known. Of course we don’t know where BS man came from but my comparison was that I’m doubtful that he’d have killed after being seen. I could be wrong of course Abby but it was just a case of me doubting whether the killer would have killed after being seen or if he’d have killed in an area where he was known.
                          Regards

                          Herlock




                          “...A yellow fog swirls past the window-pane
                          As night descends upon this fabled street:
                          A lonely hansom splashes through the rain,
                          The ghostly gas lamps fail at twenty feet.
                          Here, though the world explode, these two survive,
                          And it is always eighteen ninety-five.”

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I agree with Caz and Erobitha.

                            The Stride Murder is the one that I’ve had most doubts about recently (purely on location) All of the murders carried a level of risk of course but Stride seems a singularly poor choice of location for a killer (inherent risks accepted) who wanted to avoid capture. Singing and loud voices would have told him of a packed club. The time of night tells him that it was around the time when customers would have been heading home via a door that was a very few feet away. An area at the back of the yard where someone might emerge and a gate opening onto a street with people passing or even entering the gateway.

                            Im certainly not ‘decided’ but the above plus the lack of mutilation and the witness altercation is tending me toward an angry/drunken punter or maybe someone she knew?

                            Ask me next week and I might say ‘ripper’ though.
                            Last edited by Herlock Sholmes; 10-09-2020, 12:25 PM. Reason: misspelling
                            Regards

                            Herlock




                            “...A yellow fog swirls past the window-pane
                            As night descends upon this fabled street:
                            A lonely hansom splashes through the rain,
                            The ghostly gas lamps fail at twenty feet.
                            Here, though the world explode, these two survive,
                            And it is always eighteen ninety-five.”

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post

                              Hi Abby,

                              I see what you mean but I meant (and perhaps didn’t explain very well) that I didn’t think that the killer would risk being seen in an area where he might have been known. Of course we don’t know where BS man came from but my comparison was that I’m doubtful that he’d have killed after being seen. I could be wrong of course Abby but it was just a case of me doubting whether the killer would have killed after being seen or if he’d have killed in an area where he was known.
                              got it thanks for clarifying

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