Notes on Hallie Rubenhold's "The Five" (2019) - Part 2. Annie Chapman


Chapter 8. Dark Annie

Pages 145, 146: Just as in the case of Polly Nichols, there also exists no reliable evidence to suggest that Annie Chapman either worked as a prostitute or identified herself with the trade.
As the police were still of an opinion that the Whitechapel murders were committed by either a high-rip extortion gang or a lone prostitute-killer (believed at this stage to be John Pizer, known as 'Leather Apron'), it was essential that the victim be identified with the sex trade. Evidently, with no heed paid to Charles Warren's order of 19 July, the police of H Division simply wrote the word 'prostitute' into the space provided for 'occupation' on Annie's forms.

The police did not believe the murderer was John Pizer. According to a report written by Inspector Joseph Henry Helson dated 7 September 1888 - the day before the murder of Annie Chapman - "at present there is no evidence whatsoever against him." [S. P. Evans and K. Skinner, "The Ultimate Jack the Ripper Sourcebook", (2001), p. 27; see discussion in the online article "Deconstructing Hallie" by David Barrat, 18 July 2020.]

Page 146: Following 'enquiries made amongst women in the same class ... at public houses in the locality' the police could find not a single witness who could confirm that she had been among the ranks of those who sold sex.19
Note 19 (on page 363): PRO: Home Office Papers: HO 144/221/A49301C, f 136, ff. 137-45 (Police investigation: Elizabeth Stride).

The quotation is from a police report about the murder of Annie Chapman (not Elizabeth Stride) dated 19 October [transcribed in Evans and Skinner, The Ultimate Jack the Ripper Sourcebook (2001), page 76], which reads "Enquiries were also made amongst women of the same class as deceased, and at public houses in the locality." [my emphasis] It is the last of nine items in a list summarising police enquiries. There is nothing to indicate that these enquiries were intended to establish whether Annie was a prostitute, or that no one could be found to confirm that. A descriptive form included with the report gives "Prostitute" as her profession or calling [see the review of "The Five" by Paul Begg in Ripperologist, number 164 (May 2019), page 79, and the online article "Deconstructing Hallie" by David Barrat, 18 July 2020].

Page 148: However, Cooper later claimed to have seen Annie 'with several other men', though added 'she only brought them casually to the lodging house'.21
Page 363, note 21: The Times, 20 September 1888. Again, to confuse matters further, there are several versions of this statement. The People claimed Cooper said 'bring men into the lodging house', while various other papers, such as the Freeman's Journal on the same date, claimed she said that Annie 'used to bring them to the public house', which holds different implications altogether.

Freeman's Journal was published in Dublin and would not have had its own reporter at the inquest. The lodging house is specified in several evidently independent reports in London newspapers, including the fullest version of this statement in the Daily News, 20 September 1888 [transcript at Casebook; see discussion in the online article "Deconstructing Hallie" by David Barrat, 18 July 2020].