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9am, September 18, 1888: Scotland Yard takes over hunt for Annie Chapman’s murderer

PUBLISHED: 13:12 03 October 2013 | UPDATED: 13:22 03 October 2013

Chief Insp Donald Swanson

Chief Insp Donald Swanson

MPS archive

Scotland Yard sends in their top detective in the latest development in the Whitechapel Murders to take over the hunt for Annie Chapman’s brutal killing in a backyard at 29 Hanbury-street.

29, Hanbury-st, where Annie Chapman is murdered on September 8, 1888 29, Hanbury-st, where Annie Chapman is murdered on September 8, 1888

Chief Insp Donald Swanson is given charge of the investigation on September 15, 1888, when Chapman’s killing seven days before on September 8 is finally linked to Polly Nichols’ murder on August 31 just a mile away in Buck’s-row.

Swanson was freed from all other duties by the Assistant Metropolitan Commissioner Dr Robert Anderson and given his own office at Scotland Yard from which to co-ordinate the complex investigation.

He is given permission to see “every paper, every document, every report, every telegram” concerning the investigation and is in daily contact with Insp Frederick Aberline who has been dispatched to Commercial Street police station, round the corner from Hanbury-street.

Swanson says in his report: “An immediate and searching enquiry was made at all common lodging houses to track down anyone who had entered that morning with blood on his hands or clothes.” But nothing comes of it.

Chapman had been wearing brass rings that night, but these are not found at the scene. All the pawnbrokers in the neighbourhood are searched, but the rings are never traced.

The murder is linked to Polly Nichols’ killing the week before in Buck’s Row. Polly had also been killed by a slash to the throat and stomach.

Police are unable to satisfy a growing public fear that a killer remains on the loose on the streets as an ‘autumn of terror’ descends across Whitechapel and Spitalfields.

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