Search

Did Jack the Ripper’s family die in 1943 wartime London air-raid disaster?

PUBLISHED: 00:01 04 September 2012

Cheryl Baker as Mary Nichols and Anthony Smith as Jack the Ripper

Cheryl Baker as Mary Nichols and Anthony Smith as Jack the Ripper

Archant

The identity of Jack the Ripper has finally been unravelled in a dramatic evening at an East End church on the 124th anniversary of the first victim in the Whitechapel Murders.

The Victorian serial killer who butchered at least five women—some say more—on the streets of Whitechapel was named on Friday evening as the father of three members of the Lechmere family who died in the 1943 Bethnal Green wartime air-raid disaster two generations later.

He was a Pickford’s cart driver, Charles Cross, who was identified at the end of a drama staged by the Stairway to Heaven Memorial Trust at St John on Bethnal Green Church.

Cross was found at the scene of the first Whitechapel murder, in Buck’s Row on August 31, 1888, and told police he was on his way to work at 3.45am when he found Mary Nichols’ body.

But Cross gave a false name—he was really Charles Lechmere, according to Ripper experts Christer Holmgren and Edward Stow.

All subsequent murders were on the route between his home at 22 Doveton Street and his work depot at Broad Street in the City.

He escaped suspicion because police were looking for an educated man with possible medical knowledge.

Lechmere was working class—but his mother cut up carcasses for cats’ meat for a living, so may have had anatomical knowledge from her.

Highlight of the evening was a play starring the charity’s patrons, TV’s gardener Tommy Walsh and former Bucks Fizz member Cheryl Baker.

Sue Lechmere, the great-granddaughter of the man who could have been the Ripper, played the part of prostitute Emily Holland, last person to see Polly Nichols alive.

It raised £2,200 towards the memorial being erected in Bethnal Green Gardens honouring the 173 men, women and children crushed to death in a stampede in a public shelter during an air-raid alert on March 3, 1943.

Latest East London News Stories

3 minutes ago

Kids were climbing the wall in east London at Swanlea School’s fifth annual family day.

12:41

Applications have opened for free training in film and TV production for people in east London who are unemployed or on low pay.

11:53

People living in Tower Hamlets have the second highest levels of problem debt in the country, a survey has revealed.

09:08

“Another day, another dollar,” says a man in a blue and grey jacket as we arrive at the world’s biggest arms fair.

Detectives investigating the murder of Marvin Couson - who died 13 years after he was shot in Shoreditch - believe he might have been an innocent victim in a dispute between rival criminal gangs from London and Birmingham.

If you haven’t entered the Thames Gateway Business Awards yet, you’re in luck - the deadline for two categories has been extended.

Detectives investigating the sexual assault of a teenage girl in Bethnal Green have released CCTV footage in a bid to trace a man they suspect of attacking her.

Yesterday, 17:04

The Duke of Cambridge quizzed recovering addicts about their thoughts on legalising drugs during a visit to a Shoreditch recovery charity today.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now