“You shouldn’t be here!” Edmund Reid shouted as he stepped through the crowds. “This is a crime scene, not a theatre!” He pushed his way through the last of the reporters, all scribbling furiously on their pads, and muttered, “Bloody vultures.”
“Inspector,” the doctor called. Reid walked up to him.
“What do we have, Doctor?”
“Woman, late thirties, maybe early forties.” As Reid looked down at the body the doctor added, “It is obvious what killed her.”
“My God.” Reid continued to look down at her and saw the wounds in her stomach and neck. “Has she got a name?”
“Not yet,” the doctor replied. “By the look of her, I’d say she was from a workhouse; so I got some people to ask around, see if anyone was missing.”
“Good. What do you think the murder weapon was?”
“A knife. I’d guess about eight inches long by the look of these incisions. They’re deep and poorly done.”
“What are you saying?”
“I’m saying whoever did this wasn’t a professional killer,” the doctor said, standing up. “I can’t find anything that would identify who it was.”
“We may learn more in a cleaner environment,” Reid mused. He turned back to the nearby police officers. “Get this corpse straight to the mortuary and lead anyone who comes to identify her down there.”
He and the doctor watched as two of the officers dragged the body away and then stared at each other.
“I’ve not seen anything like it before, Sir,” the doctor admitted. “Whoever did this wanted her to suffer before she died. The neck injuries were the last to be received.”
“I’ll talk to my superiors about it,” Reid muttered. He turned around to the rest of the officers holding the reporters back. “I want this place cleaned up and these people out of here,” he ordered. “Now!”
1st September 1888
The bell rang and both Jacob and Sarah looked at the door. A man wearing a long coat and chewing on a cigar came through the door.
“Good afternoon,” he said. “I am Inspector Reid.”
“What can we do for you, Inspector?” Sarah asked him.
“I am here to discuss yesterday’s murder,” he said simply. “I wish to ask Mr Levy a few questions.”
“Me?” Jacob asked. “Why do you want to question me?”
“Did you make a delivery to fifty-six Flower and Dean Street two days ago?” the inspector asked him curtly.
“Yes,” Jacob answered slowly, blinking.
“Then you may know this woman.” The inspector took out a small photograph and both Jacob and Sarah looked at it. Sarah then turned to Jacob while he stared at the photo.
“That’s Mary Nichols,” Jacob said after a moment.
“Are you looking for her?” Sarah asked Reid, worry in her voice.
“She’s the victim,” Reid replied. “We’re looking for her killer.”
“You don’t honestly think I killed her do you?” Jacob asked, handing the photograph back to the inspector.
“No, no.” Reid shook his head. “I was merely wondering what it was you saw two days ago.”
“She gave me the money she owed and shut the door again.” Jacob shrugged. “There wasn’t a lot to see.”