Francis Thompson and the Serial Killer Coincidence.
The English poet Francis Thompson (1859-1907) is a suspect for the Jack the Ripper murders. This is partly because he had the ability, motive, opportunity and weapon needed to commit the murders of at least 5 women in London’s Whitechapel in 1888. His letters, prose and poems hint that he believed he killed these women in order to perform as bizarre ritual designed to perform a kind of necromancy and control the minds of those around him. Some of why Thompson could be the Ripper is said to be mere coincidence and circumstantial evidence. Here is another coincidence concerning Thompson and that of England’s most Prolific Serial Killers.
Of Britain’s 936 towns, Francis Thompson's primary areas of habitation feature as the killing grounds of other infamous British murderers, including the most prolific serial killers. In 1864 when Thompson was aged five, he became lost whilst out shopping with his mother in the market of Ashton-under-Lyne, near Manchester. It was an unforgettable moment for Thompson as the first time that he felt, 'world-wide desolation and fear.' In the 1960's, a child was kidnapped from Ashton's marketplace. He would be tortured and killed by the couple, Myra Hindley and Ian Brady, in an event to be remembered as the 'Moors Murders'. On January 31 2000, Manchester resident, dubbed by the press 'The Gentle Murderer,' Dr Harold Shipman was convicted for killing fifteen of his elderly female patients through a lethal dose of morphine. He was formally charged at Ashton-under-Lyne's Police Station. Dr Shipman, is believed to have killed a further one hundred and fifty people, is considered England's most prolific murderer. It was in Manchester that Thompson, a doctor's son, studied as a surgeon and first began his chronic opium habit gained from the addictive morphine that the drug contained. It was also in Manchester, in 1977, that Peter Sutcliffe, the 'Yorkshire Ripper,' picked up a prostitute before killing her at the Southern Cross cemetery. Another of Sutcliffe's killings was in Preston - where Thompson was born. In 1886, while Thompson was homeless, he spent his nights sleeping on the Charing Cross embankment of the Thames River. In the 1980's, before Dr Shipman, there was Dennis Nilsen. Known as England's second most prolific murderer, his victims included tramps found sleeping along the Charing Cross embankment. When Thompson was fourteen in 1873, he began studies at Durham. In the same year Mary Ann Cotten, England's third most prolific murderer, was tried in Durham and hung for the lethal poisoning of fourteen males. The youngest victim was aged fourteen. In 1906, Thompson boarded at a monastery in the town of Crawley Sussex. He had been previously living in Kensington. In 1949, police captured the multiple murderer George Haigh at his Kensington hotel. Haigh confessed to killing his last victim in Crawley Sussex.