Mary Jane Kelly - 9th November, 1888

Mary Jane Kelly - 9th November, 1888



Mary Jane Kelly holds the distinction of being the last official victim of Jack the Ripper. She was the only member of the "Canonical Five", a group of five women whose murders are attributed to Jack the Ripper, to be killed at her place of residence. There is little confirmed information available about the early life of Mary Jane; the only information we have is that which was compiled by detectives after her murder.

Mary Jane was born in or near Limerick, Ireland, around 1863, and appears to have turned to prostitution after the death of her husband, whom she married at the age of 16. By 1884, she moved to London to work in a "high-class" brothel. She traveled as far as Paris in the style of a "lady" during this time, but she didn't stay with the brothel long.

Eventually, she ended up in the dangerous London district of Whitechapel, living with a man named Joseph Barnett, who was usually employed in the construction industry. Perhaps as long as a week before her murder, Mary Jane and Joseph had an argument which prompted Joseph to leave her and end their relationship. He might have felt somehow responsible for her fate, since he told a newspaper, "She would never have gone wrong [turned to prostitution] again," had they been able to work things out. Most of the information that we know about Mary Jane came directly from interviews with Joseph after her murder.

Mary Jane's murder was one of the most violent and disturbing. Her body was found by Thomas Bowyer, who went to her apartment to collect past due rents. After fetching the police, they discovered that she was missing her heart, and that her breasts had been almost completely removed. She also had mutilations and deep cuts on every part of her body, making her almost unrecognisable.

Jack the Ripper's fifth victim was given a Roman Catholic burial, per the request of Joseph Barnett, and was buried in Leytonstone in a public grave. In 1990, her grave was marked with a simple gravestone, marking the tragic end of her short life.