The brutal murders of five women in London’s East End during the year 1888 left people across the world horrified and shocked. The murderer soon became known as Jack the Ripper, yet despite many attempts to unmask him, his identity still remains unknown.
Over the years, there have been numerous Jack the Ripper suspects all accused of being the killer. However, the lack of conclusive evidence meant that none of the suspects were ever definitively charged. Therefore, the identity puzzle remained unsolved.
After the first Whitechapel murder, terror quickly began to grow. The fear of a possible murderer lurking around the cobbled streets spread like wildfire amongst residents of the East End. With the event of a second murder, their fears only grew stronger.
However, the police began investigating the case and soon started to get leads from locals which influenced the direction of the search.
According to the locals, there was one particular man who ran an extortion racket and threatened the area’s prostitutes. He demanded money from them and would abuse any who failed to abide by his wishes. What’s more, he was also known to carry a leather knife with him at all times and was said to move about silently, without making anyone aware of his presence
The police quickly began to join the dots between this man and the murders. Unfortunately, no-one seemed to have any concrete form of description, name or address to support their claims, except one. The man apparently wore a leather apron and occasionally a deerstalking hat. Thus, the notorious man came to be known as ‘Leather Apron’.
Is there a Ripper Connection?
Unsurprisingly, the police didn’t have sufficient evidence to confirm the murders were indeed carried out by the mysterious Leather Apron. Nevertheless, a local police officer named Sergeant William Thick showed particular interest in the case and started to investigate further.
During his investigations, he was told that the man was often seen hanging about near the Princess Alice Pub, which still survives to this day. Thick then went on to conclude that anyone who was referring to Leather Apron, was referring to a man named Jack Pizer. As a result of Thick’s conclusion, the police began to secretly search for this man, hoping to get some clarity on this particular Jack the Ripper suspect.
However, much to the dismay of the police, journalists and reporters quickly caught wind of the case. Soon the word spread and national newspapers ran stories linking Leather Apron to the Whitechapel murders.
The media put a serious dampener on the ongoing police investigation as the suspect immediately became aware that he was being hunted. Pizer went into hiding on the day that the story was carried by newspapers, which only served to deepen the mystery even further.
The End of Leather Apron
Jack Pizer remained in hiding for five days, eventually being arrested by Thick himself. After an intense interrogation, it was found that the short man with a dark moustache was, in fact, a slipper maker, which explains why the police recovered five long knives from his home.
Despite the already dubious connections, the second Whitechapel murder raised further questions about Pizer’s potential as a Jack the Ripper suspect. One woman told the police that she saw Pizer threaten another woman with a knife on the night of the second murder, however, her description of the woman didn’t match the body of Annie Chapman, the Ripper’s second victim. This gave Pizer a chance to provide an alibi for his whereabouts on the nights of the murders.
Thanks to inconclusive evidence, Pizer was found not guilty and was eventually released after a gruelling 36-hour interrogation.
With so many potential Jack the Ripper suspects, there is always more to explore when it comes to the tale of one of the world’s most infamous murderers. Take the Jack the Ripper tour and learn more about the victims, the suspects, and the investigation. Who knows what clues you may find?
Book your tickets and join in the investigation today.
Richard Cobb – has written 232 posts on this site.
Richard Cobb is a industry expert on everything Jack The Ripper, he is also the founding partner of The Jack The Ripper Tour which has become extremely successful over the last 3 years.