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His wife, Helen Keeping, 40, was acquitted of two counts of assisting an offender. Baccus and Downton were jailed for life and told they would serve at least 34 years before being considered for parole. The tragedy was on the cards. Facebook Twitter Pinterest.

Topics Crime. Reuse this content. Most popular. Following the birth of Christopher, the marriage broke up and she and her son joined her mother in Vancouver.

Dorset murder: year-old killed in seaside home, police say | The Independent

Alma returned to music professionally and one day, after performing in Victoria, found herself enjoying a relaxing drink at the Empress Hotel with a friend; it was 29 December Quite a life so far! By contrast, the third member of our trio, year-old George Stoner, was rather shy and retiring, having been rather a loner as a child with no serious girl-friends. A handsome lad, the fact that he could drive and thus work as a chauffeur-handyman was a big plus to the Rattenburys when they employed him in September Two months later he was living in at the Villa Madeira and embarking on a passionate affair with Alma Rattenbury.

Because of their respective backgrounds and ages, it must be assumed that Alma was very much the instigator. By November Francis Rattenbury was often depressed and suicidal.

5 Chilling Unsolved Mysteries That Were Finally Solved

Now impotent — he and Alma had not had sexual relations since the birth of John — he took refuge in a nightly bottle of whisky. For her part, Alma, still attractive and hoping to enhance her blossoming career as a songwriter, was caught in a dreary domestic situation.

As time went on, however, the formerly shy Stoner, quite unnecessarily, became increasingly aggressive and possessive of Alma, expressing jealousy whenever she and Francis spent time together. Francis was particularly depressed and to cheer him up, Alma organised for them to visit a friend in Bridport the following week.

On the afternoon of 24 March, Stoner had borrowed a wooden mallet from his grandparents in Ensbury Park, supposedly to erect a screen in the garden. Later that evening, Francis was found seriously injured, bludgeoned with a weapon that turned out to be the same mallet. It was not until doctors had taken Francis to hospital for examination and wiped the matted blood away from his head that they realised foul play had taken place and informed the police. She repeated that same story the following morning and was arrested for attempted murder, Francis being still alive at this time.

Two days later, Stoner confessed to companion-housekeeper Irene Riggs that he had done the deed and he was also arrested. On the Thursday, Francis Rattenbury died of his injuries and the charges became ones of murder. Alma Rattenbury and George Stoner were tried together at the Old Bailey on 27 May , there being far too much local interest for the case to be heard at Winchester. It is also worth noting that the shop was opposite one of the three public houses in the street, frequented by Mary Jane Kelly.


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Their innocuous nature was social wallpaper. It would explain why the women did not flinch when first approached. Perhaps Kelly walked up to them at the front and Jack the body dealer grabbed them from behind? As the Jack-the-Ripper murders continued everyone agreed that Kelly was a very frightened woman.

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Did their partnership falter and Jack then take out his anger in such a brutal fashion? All the buildings and murder locations were close to a main thoroughfare used by body dealers in the capital. They all clustered around a convenient road system.


  1. Revisiting the ‘High Street Murders’ of – Dorset History Centre blog;
  2. Invasion.
  3. The Rattenbury murder of 1935 is recalled by John Walker.
  4. And, as we can also see, the first murder victim, Mary Ann Nichols, murdered on Bucks Row, died very close to this hospital venue. All body dealers preferred to adopt a route like this. In other words, what really links all five iconic victims is their geographic alignment within the body trade transportation routes out of the East-End. At a time when streets were stained with human effluent, a good road was essential to supply the needs of medicine.

    For Mary Ann Nichols this meant that she did not just enter random institutions. It is feasible that this may have been her first contact with Jack or an accomplice, even though she may never have guessed it at the time. It was a crime-ridden parish and the main poor law institution was the biggest supplier of dead bodies to St.

    By all accounts, Mary Ann went back on the streets, was caught stealing clothes, and moved between lodging-house, doss sheds, and brothels.

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    She accepted cash for sex, for as little as 3 pence, the price of a stale loaf of bread to eat, prostituting herself to get a shared bed for the night. Yet, the discovery of her body at 3. She may have been a trial run, and this could explain why her connection to Dorset Street was not as obvious to the police as that of all the other victims. Mary Ann did not tend to live in lodging-houses and used poor law institutions much more frequently than the others. This would have made her personal interactions more erratic on the street. Ironically it may also have placed her at the front-end of the body trade happening every night in the dead-houses at the back of workhouses that she was staying in.

    As a servant employed briefly on the premises at Lambeth workhouse in she would have seen and known how all aspects of poor law life worked. Despite the medical mystery surrounding the reasons for her admittance to several infirmaries, during her time inside the premises body dealers were selling dead bodies of men, women, children and infants to Guys and St. It would be very odd indeed if she had not known about the body trade in some respect.

    Or had she simply dossed down at the shed of No. Recently there has been considerable speculation that a pauper named Robert Mann, mortuary keeper for Whitechapel workhouse, may have been Jack-the-Ripper. Modern-day crime profiling, it is claimed, would expect a typical serial killer to have his life-story characteristics. In an intriguing book, Mei Trow, using modern forensic techniques, is convinced that Mann committed the murders because he had ample access to the dead, may have liked working with them, and got his hands on the first victim who was brought to him for safe-keeping.

    The theory has received a lot of publicity but it has been criticised for lacking a convincing explanation as to why someone in a morgue might risk becoming involved in the crimes when under such intense police scrutiny. If one accepts that the police were aware of the operation of a body trade but ignored its day-to-day dealings because they were a shadowy fact of life in the area, then a serial killer would have effectively found the perfect cover story. It was common for the authorities to look the other way when informed of a dealing dispute.

    By way of example, Alfred Feist a workhouse master of St. At the Old Bailey in Feist was charged with 64 counts of profiting from pauper bodies sold from the dead-house of the poor law premises he ran to Guys Hospital. Meantime, Hogg went quiet for a time and re-emerged as a body dealer to St.

    And he had remarkable longevity since his so-called undertaking business remained connected to the medical school until the modern period. The body trade might yet then prove in a similar manner to be the solution to a missing historical context as to how the Jack-the-Ripper murderer remained hidden, calling for new and meticulous evidence-gathering. We need to know evidently much more about all those working in small morgues and dead-houses of workhouse-infirmaries connected to the murders, since Robert Mann was just one of a number of attendants on the dead that police encountered in the course of their enquiries.

    Each and everyone one may have had a connection to the body trade and by implication Jack-the-Ripper. Indeed documentary evidence has been found to suggest that Craig may have been the ex-husband of Mary Jane Kelly. It is postulated that she adopted an alias to disguise a failed marriage. The new book claims that Craig searched for Elizabeth now called Mary Jane who left the martial home after a brief marriage, turned to prostitution, and migrated to the East-End because her ex-husband resented her infidelity.

    She hence adopted various disguises to evade his detection.

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    The new theory posits that the first four iconic murders were blue-prints for the fifth killing in Craig, it is argued, covered up his intentions by making it look like there was a serial killer on the streets. His real focus was to murder his ex-wife out of emotional spite. To do so, he learned how to evade police attention as a court reporter. He murdered her in a brutal fashion to erode any potential links to him, smashing her face and mutilating the body. There would have been a lot of unpredictable events attached to the first four murders and no guarantee of escaping justice before being in a safe position to proceed to a fifth pre-meditated homicide.

    It does provide a motivation for murder but not the skilled means of killing anatomically, or the ability to stage-manage all of the logistical opportunity costs involved. An unanswered question is therefore whether the business of anatomy had some sort of close connection in the Craig family history? It may have pre-dated the Anatomy Act of when criminals, not the poor, were subjects of the dissection table. Did Craig junior know about anatomy skills from Craig senior because a basic hands-on knowledge was handed down in his family-line?

    Phrenologists often attended criminal dissections and took plaster casts for posterity.

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    If so, it would be a striking irony of family history for Dr Wynne Weston Davies, who in his career has specialised in human anatomy teaching and dissection, to have benefitted from the unsavoury side of medical advancement without knowing his potential connection to its long body trafficking history and phrenology. It is here that we need to leave open the dissection room door to the future research enquiries of crime and family historians. For the business of anatomy on the streets was social wallpaper, capable of concealing the most unscrupulous characters across the East-End of Victorian London.

    And in so doing, Jack may have had the method, motive and means to murder undetected in the Metropolis. No copyright clearance required for the map as more than 50 years since first printed.