The Bury ID

Introduction

In 2005 Robert D. Keppel et al. published a modus operandi and signature analysis of the 1888-1891 Whitechapel murders, defined as the murders of Emma Smith, Martha Tabram, Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, Mary Jane Kelly, Rose Mylett, Alice McKenzie, the Pinchin Street Torso and Frances Coles (1).  They outlined a collection of shared signature characteristics and a pattern of escalating violence in the murders of Tabram, Nichols, Chapman, Eddowes and Kelly and determined that these murders were committed by the same person.  They also included Stride as a victim in this series on the assumption that her murder was interrupted (2).  In their article Keppel et al. made no attempt to link these “Jack the Ripper” murders to any named suspect in the case.  In this paper I map the 1889 murder of Ellen Bury in Dundee, Scotland, committed by her husband, William Bury, to the signature description published by Keppel et al. and show that there is ample behavioral and other evidence to link this murder to the perpetrator of the Jack the Ripper murders.

Jack the Ripper’s Signature

Signature analysis is a common form of modern crime scene assessment and signature evidence, sometimes referred to using another term, such as linkage analysis evidence, has been successfully introduced at many trials in countries around the world (3).  Unlike modus operandi, which refers to “the offender’s actions during the commission of a crime that are necessary to complete the crime,” signature, or the killer’s “calling card,” refers to “those actions that are unique to the offender and go beyond what is necessary to kill the victim” (4).  While MO can change from crime scene to crime scene within a series of murders, the serial killer’s signature remains stable (5).  Individual components of a serial killer’s signature can vary in how they are expressed, vary in the degree of their expression or be entirely absent at a given crime scene due to the specific circumstances of that murder (6).

Keppel et al. described Jack the Ripper’s signature as containing the following elements: 1) picquerism (sexual pleasure achieved through cutting and stabbing), 2) a need to immediately incapacitate victims before inflicting additional injuries, 3) overkill and complete domination over victims, 4) a need to display victims to others in an effort to further reduce the victims and to shock those discovering their bodies, 5) posing of the victims’ bodies, including sexually degrading positioning of the victims’ legs, which became more pronounced as the series progressed, 6) postmortem mutilation, which eventually escalated to removal of organs from the victims’ bodies, and 7) preplanning (7).  Keppel et al. examined data from the state of Washington’s Homicide Investigation Tracking System (HITS) database, which included murders committed between 1981 and 1995, and found that there were no prostitute murders in the 3,359 cases in the HITS database that included this combination of signature characteristics.  The combination of unusual body position and mutilation alone occurred in only 0.05% of the HITS cases, and neither of these two cases involved a prostitute (8).  Other aspects of Jack the Ripper’s signature were similarly rare.  For example, abdominal trauma occurred in only 1.5% and genital trauma in less than 0.1% of the HITS cases (9).  While admitting that “it is not possible to determine the rarity of the characteristics in murders from 1880s London based on a database from the United States” (10), they wrote, “murderers who stab and kill female prostitutes, leave their bodies in unusual positions, and probe, explore, or mutilate body cavities are extremely rare.  It would be extremely unusual to find more than one of these killers, exhibiting that combination of signature characteristics, operating in the same area at the same time” (11).  Keppel et al. found the combination of signature characteristics in a subset of the Whitechapel murders to be sufficiently unique to conclude that a single person was responsible for these murders.  Their conclusion is supported by the lack of other known murders from Victorian Britain that can be linked to this combination of signature characteristics, with one notable exception—the 1889 murder of Ellen Bury.

Account of the Ellen Bury Murder

William and Ellen Bury were married in the East End of London in April, 1888.  William Bury was 28 and Ellen Bury was 31.  Prior to their marriage William and Ellen Bury both worked for the general dealer James Martin, William Bury delivering sawdust for him and Ellen Bury working as a prostitute in a brothel that he kept.  Ellen Bury had inherited shares worth £300 from an aunt and following the marriage, she obtained a horse and cart for her husband and William Bury thereafter worked as a self-employed sawdust merchant.  The couple lived in the East End of London throughout the period of the Jack the Ripper murders.  In January, 1889 the Burys moved to Dundee, Scotland.  William Bury forged an offer of employment from Malcolm, Ogilvie & Co. in Dundee to persuade Ellen to move with him.  After briefly renting a room at 43 Union Street, the Burys took up residence at 113 Princes Street in Dundee on January 29.  On February 10, William Bury walked into a police station in Dundee to report the death of his wife.  He spoke to Lt. James Parr.  Bury told him that on the night of February 4, he and his wife had been drinking.  The following morning he said that he discovered the body of his wife.  He said that she had a rope around her neck, suggesting that she had committed suicide.  William Bury indicated that he cut her body and put it into a trunk.  He expressed concern to Parr “that he would be apprehended as Jack the Ripper” (12).

Two officers at the police station, Lt. David Lamb and Det. Peter Campbell, visited the Bury residence.  Lamb and Campbell found Ellen Bury’s body packed inside a trunk, as William Bury had indicated.  She was lying on her back and wearing only a chemise.  Lamb stated, “the right leg was broken in two and doubled back under [the] lid of [the] box.  [The] left leg [was] bent back so that the foot was over [the] right shoulder” (13).  Dr.  Charles Templeman was called to the scene.  A deep red mark around Ellen Bury’s neck suggested that she had been strangled.  Her abdomen had been mutilated and a foot of intestine was protruding from one of the cuts.  Some of Ellen Bury’s clothing and possessions had been burned in the fireplace of the residence.  William Bury was immediately charged with Ellen Bury’s murder and taken into custody.  During Bury’s trial, Dr. Templeman testified that one of Ellen Bury’s injuries was a “mark on [the] left temporal muscle” which indicated “a blow or fall before death.  A stick or poker is more likely than [a] fist to have caused it” (14).  The experienced police surgeon, Dr. Henry Duncan Littlejohn, who also examined Ellen Bury’s body, concurred, testifying, “My opinion is that a struggle having taken place a blow was struck on [the] left temporal muscle.  It is in a hollow and not so likely to have been caused by a fall.  This blow would render deceased either wholly or semi-unconscious.  I think the application of [the] ligature to [the] neck followed producing suffocation and that while [the] deceased [was] moribund the various wounds on the belly and elsewhere [were] inflicted” (15).

The mutilations of Ellen Bury’s body were focused on her abdominal and genital areas.  They were described in detail in the medical report prepared by Dr. Templeman and Dr. Alexander Mitchell  Stalker.  They wrote:

“There was an incised wound in the centre of the abdomen, extending downwards from the umbilicus for four and a half inches.  It penetrated the abdominal cavity, and through it protruded part of the omentum, and about a foot of intestine, part of which was dry and black from exposure to the air.  This cut was ragged towards the lower part.

Commencing at the inner end of the fifth right costal cartilage, was a cut running downwards and to the left for seven and a half inches.  This was quite superficial, with the exception of the last inch, where it penetrated through the skin into the muscular layer of the abdomen.  Half an inch to the right of this, and running parallel to it, was a similar cut, five inches in length and superficial throughout.  Two inches to the right of, and commencing on a level with the umbilicus was an incised wound, three quarters of an inch in length and penetrating through to the muscular layer.  From the lower end of the wound opening into the abdomen, on the left side were several superficial cuts little more than penetrating the cuticle, and running downwards to the pubis.

Running downwards from the centre of the pubis to the outer side of the left labium was an incised wound 2 ½ inches in length, penetrating the skin and fat.  On the inner side of the right labium was a wound 2 inches in length, penetrating the skin.  Beginning about an inch behind the anus was an incised wound running forwards and to the left, into the perinaeum, and dividing the sphincter muscle.

At the lower border of the ribs on the left side in the nipple line were two abrasions each an inch in length.

The edges of all the wounds above described were everted and marked throughout by a line of capillary haemorhage, and we are therefore of opinion that they must have been inflicted during life or very shortly after death, while the body still retained its warmth and vital elasticity.  The other injuries described were all of recent origin.

There were other two cuts on the abdomen—one two inches to the inner side of the right anterior superior iliac spine, and the other at an almost corresponding level on the opposite side.  They were each about half an inch in length, running downwards and inwards and penetrating to the muscular layer.  These were free from any trace of haemorhage” (16).

Templeman and Stalker also reported, “Over the bridge of the nose was a small incised wound penetrating the skin only, half an inch in length, running obliquely downwards from right to left” (17).

William Bury was convicted of Ellen Bury’s murder on March 28, 1889, and he was executed by hanging for her murder on April 24, 1889.  A few days prior to his execution, he confessed in writing to the murder.

Mapping the Ellen Bury Murder to Jack the Ripper’s Signature

Two authors of popular books about William Bury, Euan Macpherson (The Trial of Jack the Ripper) and William Beadle (Jack the Ripper Unmasked), both raised the issue of a signature match between the Ellen Bury murder and the Jack the Ripper murders, however they did not relate their analyses to the professionally developed description of Jack the Ripper’s signature published by Keppel et al. Macpherson described a “modus operandi” of strangulation and mutilation (18), while Beadle confined his remarks about signature to the mutilations (19).

The Ellen Bury murder can be closely mapped to the signature described by Keppel et al.  Picquerism, or “sexual pleasure gained by stabbing, cutting, or slicing of another person” (20), is evident in the series of cuts and stabs that were performed by William Bury in Ellen Bury’s abdominal and genital areas.  Most of these occurred around the time of death, while two others (the ones described as being free of hemorrhage) were definitely postmortem.

William Bury incapacitated Ellen Bury prior to murdering her.  As noted earlier, Dr. Littlejohn testified that Ellen Bury had been rendered either semi-conscious or unconscious through a blow to the head prior to her strangulation.

Dr. Templeman testified that Ellen Bury’s mutilations “were not necessarily fatal” (21), but the much more experienced Dr. Littlejohn stated that he did not believe that she would have survived these injuries (22), so it’s reasonable to conclude that overkill was probably present in the Ellen Bury murder.  While the level of violence in the attack on Ellen Bury was significant (an incapacitating blow to the head, followed by ligature strangulation and mutilation to the extent of opening the abdominal cavity), it was obviously a considerable step down in intensity from the preceding Mary Jane Kelly murder, and so if the Ellen Bury murder was indeed committed by Jack the Ripper, it would represent a break in the continuing escalation of violence in the Jack the Ripper series.

Keppel et al. noted that signature characteristics can be “diluted” in expression or entirely absent in a given murder within a series due to the specific circumstances of that murder (23).  William and Ellen Bury were known by name to be living at their Princes Street residence by other residents in the area.  William Bury could not perform mutilations more severe than those of Mary Jane Kelly and continue with the escalation of violence in the Jack the Ripper series, while at the same time displaying his victim to others, another key element of his signature, without revealing that he was Jack the Ripper.  Hence, there would be a plausible explanation for his scaling down of the mutilations in the Ellen Bury murder.

The element of “domination and control” which Keppel et al. identified within Jack the Ripper’s signature was clearly present in the Ellen Bury murder.  As examples of this signature characteristic, Keppel et al. cited the use of a knife to penetrate the victim’s body, desecration of the victim’s sexual regions, posing and mutilation (24).  All of these things occurred in the Ellen Bury murder.  In addition, William Bury placed Ellen Bury’s body into a trunk and he burned some of her clothing and possessions in the fireplace of the residence.

Ellen Bury’s body, which was naked except for a chemise, was found in an unusual position inside the trunk.  As noted earlier, the body was on its back and “the right leg was broken in two and doubled back under [the] lid of [the] box.  [The] left leg [was] bent back so that the foot was over [the] right shoulder” (25).  A number of considerations support the conclusion that William Bury deliberately placed the body into this bizarre, sexually degrading position and that this position was neither incidental nor necessary.  Ellen Bury’s body was found in William Bury’s residence, and so he was under no constraint of time which could have resulted in a hurried or thoughtless positioning of the body.  William Bury substantially emptied the trunk prior to placing Ellen Bury’s body into it (there was only a skirt and a petticoat beneath the body) (26), and so he would have been able to place the body into the trunk in any one of a number of different ways.  Books and other items were tightly packed around the body in the trunk, which shows that he was carefully arranging the contents of the trunk and not haphazardly shoving things into it.  The Ellen Bury murder was a sexual homicide, her genital mutilations having been described earlier, and a sexualized positioning of her body would be consistent with that.  Finally, William Bury tilted Ellen Bury’s head to one side (27), which provides independent evidence that he was actively posing the body.  The trunk had a depth of just over 2 feet (28), and so the tilting of her head to one side would not have been necessary in order to fit her body into the trunk.  The configuration of Ellen Bury’s body parallels what occurred in the Jack the Ripper murder series, where victims were also found on their backs, with their legs positioned in a sexually degrading way, and with their heads turned to one side.

In describing Jack the Ripper’s need to display his victims to others, Keppel et al. wrote, “No efforts were made to hide or dispose of the victims…this killer obviously left the victims where others would find them” (29).  The placement of Ellen Bury’s body into the trunk was not an attempt by William Bury to disguise the location of her body, as William Bury directed police to the trunk at the Dundee police station.  He would have fully expected the police to visit the scene and to view the shocking things he had done to his wife’s body.  Hence, William Bury displayed his victim’s body to others at Princes Street.

There is conflicting evidence as to whether or not Ellen Bury’s murder was planned.  The murder weapon, a piece of rope or cord obtained from provision merchant Janet Martin, was obtained on the same day as the murder if, as William Bury claimed, the murder occurred on the night of February 4.  This obviously suggests the possibility of preplanning.  However, William and Ellen Bury had only just moved into their Princes Street residence on January 29 and William Bury was continuing to obtain items for the residence on a daily basis from Martin or shopkeeper Marjory Smith (30).  It is therefore possible that the piece of rope was obtained for some other purpose but used by William Bury to commit the murder.  In his letter of confession, written just two days prior to his execution, William Bury wrote, “I admit that it was by my own hands that my wife Ellen Bury met with her death on 4th Feb in the house 113 Princes Street Dundee by Strangulation.  But I solemnly state before God as a dying man that I had no intention of doing so before the deed was done” (31).  There is no compelling reason to disregard William Bury’s claim that the murder was not planned.  William Bury lived with Ellen Bury’s corpse for days before reporting her death to the police, which suggests that the murder was unexpected and that he was unsure about what action to take to escape from his predicament.  An unexpected murder would have led to poor escape options and would explain William Bury’s decision to attempt to talk his way out of a murder charge by approaching the police.  When he visited the Dundee police station, William Bury told Lt. Parr that “he feared being apprehended as the Ripper.”  Bury was clearly concerned that there would have been a national manhunt for him as Jack the Ripper if he had fled the scene.  During their brief marriage the Burys had frequently argued over money, and on one of these occasions Ellen Bury had threatened to report her husband to the police (32).  The Ellen Bury murder could reasonably have resulted from a domestic dispute, and so the possible absence of preplanning should not be viewed as an obstacle in linking her murder to Jack the Ripper’s signature.

Table 1: Signature Comparison of the Martha Tabram and Ellen Bury Murders

Signature Characteristic Martha Tabram Ellen Bury
Picquerism yes yes
Incapacitation yes yes
Overkill ? ?
Domination and control yes yes
Body displayed for others yes yes
Unusual body position yes yes
Sexually degrading body position yes yes
Mutilation yes yes
Removal of organs/body parts no no
Abdominal trauma yes yes
Genital trauma yes yes
Preplanning yes ?

[Note.  According to Chief Inspector Donald Swanson, there was an external injury to Martha Tabram’s genital area.  This was an incised wound.  It was three inches long, one inch deep, and was inflicted with a knife.  This single injury exemplifies the three signature characteristics of genital trauma, mutilation and picquerism.  Also, Dr Timothy Killeen, who examined Martha Tabram’s body, does not appear to have expressed an opinion on the presence of overkill in her murder.]

Discussion

The Ellen Bury murder can be closely mapped to the complex and highly unusual signature of Jack the Ripper.  The information obtained from the HITS database and the absence of any other known Victorian murders that can be linked to Jack the Ripper’s specific combination of signature characteristics suggest that Jack the Ripper’s signature was extremely rare, if not absolutely unique, within the pool of murders committed in Victorian Britain.  There is therefore a very high probability that William Bury was either a copycat killer or Jack the Ripper.

A copycat explanation of William Bury can be easily dismissed.  Jack the Ripper was known to the British public as a murderer who cut his victims’ throats.  There had been one cut throat murder after another, from Mary Ann Nichols to Mary Jane Kelly, during the late summer and fall of 1888.  In 1889 any person attempting to duplicate a Jack the Ripper murder would reasonably be expected to cut his victim’s throat, and indeed this is what occurred in the copycat murder of Alice McKenzie.  William Bury, however, did not cut Ellen Bury’s throat.  Neither did he abandon her body, as an imitator of Jack the Ripper would have done.  William Bury did not go to the police with a story that Jack the Ripper had murdered his wife and there is no evidence that William Bury took any particular interest in the Jack the Ripper case prior to Ellen Bury’s murder—e.g., no collection of Jack the Ripper newspaper clippings was found in his residence and there was no testimony at his trial which indicated that he closely followed the case.  Finally, two of the signature characteristics linking the Ellen Bury murder to Jack the Ripper (incapacitation and the sexually degrading positioning of the victim’s legs) are subtle and not things a copycat would be expected to reproduce.  Neither of these two things occurred, for example, in the copycat murder of McKenzie.

The suggestion that William Bury’s relatively minor mutilations of Ellen Bury could have been an incomplete and abandoned attempt to attribute her murder to Jack the Ripper can also be dismissed.  The main set of mutilations was performed around the time of death, in the heat of the moment, and was part of the murder sequence itself.  These mutilations could not have been part of a post-homicide effort to disguise his identity as the murderer.  In addition, two subsequent mutilations, performed after the time of death, as well as other later behaviors linking William Bury to the Jack the Ripper murders, such as the sexually degrading positioning of Ellen Bury’s body in the trunk, are inconsistent with the abandonment of an effort to implicate Jack the Ripper.

What remains, then, is the very high probability that William Bury was Jack the Ripper.  Describing a very high probability falls short of making a positive identification.  What rules out the remote possibility that the signature match was a coincidence and that William Bury was not Jack the Ripper is the list of corroborating pieces of circumstantial evidence.

William Bury lived in the East End of London, in Bromley-by-Bow, at the time of the Jack the Ripper murders.  While it would have been a significant walk from Bow to the Jack the Ripper murder locations (33), Bury owned a horse and cart in connection with his work as a self-employed sawdust merchant and so the Whitechapel area would have been within easy striking distance for him.  William Beadle noted, “His job, hawking sawdust around the streets, would have given him a good knowledge of East London” (34).  William Bury was accustomed to sleeping in a stable when he worked for James Martin, and a stable somewhere in the Whitechapel area could have been the anchor point of the murders.  At Bury’s trial, James Martin provided testimony which indicated that Bury was indeed spending leisure time in Whitechapel in 1888.  He described two incidents in which he found Bury drunk there, one incident occurring inside and one outside a pub (35), which show that Bury was not simply traveling into the area to sell sawdust.

William Bury was involved with prostitutes.  He had lived at James Martin’s brothel, he contracted venereal disease (36) in all likelihood from a prostitute, and he married a prostitute.  The Jack the Ripper murder series began just three months after William Bury contracted venereal disease, raising the possibility of an anger or revenge motive being at least partly responsible for the murders (37).

Eyewitness descriptions must be treated with caution, as they often contain inaccuracies, however there are important connection points between William Bury and many of the ones that exist.  According to William Bury’s Dewsbury prison record (Bury had been convicted of vagrancy in 1884), he was 5’2” (38), and according to one newspaper report, he was 5’3½” “in his boots” (39).  Wearing a hat, then, he would have stood a little over 5’4″.  This would have put him just a few inches taller than Annie Chapman and Catherine Eddowes, who were both wearing boots and headgear when they were murdered, and would therefore align him with the height estimates provided by Elizabeth Long and Joseph Levy, who both claimed that the man they saw was only slightly taller than the woman standing next to him.  At a little over 5’4”, Bury would also align well with the 5’5” height estimates provided by Israel Schwartz and Caroline Maxwell.  William Bury had a dark complexion (40) and dark brown hair (41), but he had a “fair moustache” (42), his facial hair being described as “light sandy-coloured” (43).  Long and Maxwell both described a man who was “dark” (44) and Joseph Lawende a man whose moustache was “fair” (45) and “inclining to be sandy” (46).  Long described a man “who appeared to be a foreigner” (47) and William Bury was described by a contemporary observer as having “features somewhat of the Jewish or Semitic type” when viewed from the side (48).  William Bury was 29 at the time of the Jack the Ripper murders, which makes him a good fit with the age estimates provided by Schwartz, Lawende and Maxwell.  Because of the discrepancies among the various eyewitness descriptions, no single person could perfectly fit all of them, but William Bury aligns with them in a number of different ways.

William Bury had struck Ellen Bury with a punch or blow to the face in public places on more than one occasion (49), and so brazenly assaulting a woman in a public place was within his demonstrated range of behavior.  Women’s trinkets, including necklets, a thimble and two finger rings “of very inferior metal” (50) were found in one of the two trunks at William Bury’s residence.  Ellen Bury wore good jewelry (51) and it is not reasonable to believe that the necklets and finger rings belonged to her.  The thimble did not apparently belong to Ellen Bury either, as no associated pins or needles were found (52).  A padlock was on the trunk containing these items, suggesting that William Bury kept this trunk locked, even though he had no apparent reason for doing so.  While it cannot be proven that the necklets, thimble and finger rings came from one or more of the Jack the Ripper victims, two finger rings had been taken from Annie Chapman by her killer and no thimble had been found with her body, even though she would have been expected to own one due to the nature of some of her work (53), and so the cache of items in the trunk is consistent with that scenario.

The Goulston Street Graffito was found chalked above a piece of apron cut from Catherine Eddowes.  It was written in what was described as a “good schoolboy hand” (54).  At Bury’s trial, his sister-in-law, Margaret Corney, testified that Bury could write in “several hands” (55).  Two chalked messages (“Jack Ripper is in this seller” and “Jack Ri(p)per is at the back of this door”), with the appearance of having been written by children, but apparently written by Bury (56), were found at the back of his residence in Dundee following Ellen Bury’s murder.  The “door” message in particular has the same markedly vertical structure as the Goulston Street Graffito in the transcription made by Police Commissioner Charles Warren (57).  William Bury did not remain in his residence at all times following Ellen Bury’s murder.  If he had become concerned about schoolboys possibly breaking into the back of his residence and discovering Ellen’s body while he was away, he could have chalked these messages in order to scare them off.  Because they were made to appear to be the chalkings of children, he would easily have been able to deny having written them.  It’s also worth noting that William Bury’s handwriting samples contain numerous instances in which he capitalizes a word that would not normally be capitalized, and in the Goulston Street Graffito, a word is capitalized  that would not normally be capitalized (“blamed” in the Warren transcription).

Finally, William Bury engaged in the post-homicide behavior of burning some of his victim’s clothes in the fireplace, which parallels what occurred at the Kelly crime scene (58).  This was not an attempt to destroy all of Ellen Bury’s bloodstained clothing, as Ellen’s bloodstained ulster was found inside the trunk containing her body.  By itself this is a devastating piece of corroborating evidence.

While the significance of most of these pieces of circumstantial evidence can be individually questioned, there are too many of them in accumulation to entertain the possibility that the close signature match between the Ellen Bury murder and the Jack the Ripper murders could have been a coincidence.  We can therefore now confidently identify William Bury as Jack the Ripper.

Table 2: Common Objections to Identifying William Bury as Jack the Ripper

Objection Explanation
Ellen Bury’s throat was not cut The MO of a serial killer can change from crime scene to crime scene
Ellen Bury’s mutilations were relatively minor A signature characteristic of a serial killer can be reduced in its expression due to the specific circumstances of a murder
William Bury could have killed prostitutes closer to where he lived Some serial killers prefer to kill at a distance, and William Bury’s horse and cart gave him the means to do so
Jack the Ripper would not have approached the police Due to Ellen Bury’s mutilations, flight from the crime scene could have led to a national manhunt for William Bury as Jack the Ripper
The evidence against William Bury is purely circumstantial Circumstantial evidence alone can be sufficient to obtain a murder conviction

Appendix: The Copycat Murder of Alice McKenzie

Apart from the Ellen Bury murder, the Victorian murder that seems closest to Jack the Ripper’s signature is the murder of Alice McKenzie, which occurred in July, 1889, three months after William Bury’s execution.  The McKenzie murder did not include the signature characteristic of incapacitation.  Jack the Ripper was a murderer who quickly subdued and silenced his victims.  The person who murdered Alice McKenzie was the exact opposite of that.  Dr. George Bagster Phillips, who examined McKenzie’s body, wrote that there was “no physiological reason why the woman should not have uttered a cry” (59).  The signature characteristic of overkill was also absent in the McKenzie murder.  Alice McKenzie’s mutilations were superficial and her abdominal cavity was not opened.  Keppel et al. noted the gradual increase in the severity of the mutilations during the course of the Jack the Ripper series (60).  While William Bury had a strong and obvious situational incentive to significantly deescalate his mutilations of Ellen Bury, Alice McKenzie’s murderer apparently had no such incentive.  Finally, Keppel et al. pointed out that the posing of the victims’ bodies became more blatant as the Jack the Ripper series progressed (61).  While the bizarre posing of Ellen Bury’s body fits with that progression, the posing of Alice McKenzie’s body, which simply consisted of the drawing up of her clothes (McKenzie’s body was found lying on its side), does not.  The Alice McKenzie murder was a copycat murder and was not the work of Jack the Ripper.

 

References

(1) Keppel, Robert D, Joseph G Weis, Katherine M Brown and Kristen Welch. “The Jack the Ripper Murders: A Modus Operandi and Signature Analysis of the 1888-1891 Whitechapel Murders.” Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling 2.1 (2005): 1-21.

(2) Ibid., 19.

(3) Labuschagne, Gérard. “The Use of Linkage Analysis Evidence in Serial Offense Trials.” Crime Linkage: Theory, Research and Practice. Ed. Jessica Woodhams and Craig Bennell. Boca Raton: CRC (2015): 200-1.

(4) Keppel, Robert D, Joseph G Weis, Katherine M Brown and Kristen Welch. “The Jack the Ripper Murders: A Modus Operandi and Signature Analysis of the 1888-1891 Whitechapel Murders.” Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling 2.1 (2005): 14.

(5) Ibid.

(6) Douglas, John E and Corinne Munn. “Violent Crime Scene Analysis: Modus Operandi, Signature, and Staging.” FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin 61.2 (1992): 3; Bateman, Alicia L and C Gabrielle Salfati: “An Examination of Behavioral Consistency Using Individual Behaviors or Groups of Behaviors in Serial Homicide.” Behavioral Sciences and the Law 25.4 (2007): 530; Keppel, Robert D and William J Birnes. Serial Violence: Analysis of Modus Operandi and Signature Characteristics of Killers. Boca Raton: CRC, (2009): 8.

(7) Ibid., 15-7.

(8) Ibid, 18.

(9) Ibid.

(10) Ibid, 17.

(11) Ibid., 18

(12) Trial Transcript from the Trial of William Henry Bury for the Crime of Murder. JC36/3. National Archives of Scotland. 1889.

(13) Ibid.

(14) Ibid.

(15) Ibid.

(16) “Medical Report on Victim by Dr C Templeman and Dr AM Stalker.” Trial Papers Relating to William Henry Bury for the Crime of Murder at 113 Princes Street, Dundee. JC26/1889/15/4. National Archives of Scotland. 1889.

(17) Ibid.

(18) Macpherson, Euan. The Trial of Jack the Ripper. Edinburgh: Mainstream (2005): 171-2.

(19) Beadle, William. Jack the Ripper Unmasked. London: John Blake (2009): 92, 275.

(20) Keppel, Robert D and William J Birnes. Serial Violence: Analysis of Modus Operandi and Signature Characteristics of Killers. Boca Raton: CRC (2009): 119.

(21) Trial Transcript from the Trial of William Henry Bury for the Crime of Murder. JC36/3. National Archives of Scotland. 1889.

(22) “The Princes Street Tragedy.” Dundee Advertiser (29 Mar. 1889): 6.

(23) Keppel, Robert D and William J Birnes. Serial Violence: Analysis of Modus Operandi and Signature Characteristics of Killers. Boca Raton: CRC (2009): 8.

(24) Keppel, Robert D, Joseph G Weis, Katherine M Brown and Kristen Welch. “The Jack the Ripper Murders: A Modus Operandi and Signature Analysis of the 1888-1891 Whitechapel Murders.” Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling 2.1 (2005): 18-9.

(25) Trial Transcript from the Trial of William Henry Bury for the Crime of Murder. JC36/3. National Archives of Scotland. 1889.

(26) Ibid.

(27) Macpherson, Euan. The Trial of Jack the Ripper. Edinburgh: Mainstream (2005): 24.

(28) “Tragedy in Dundee.” Dundee Advertiser (12. Feb. 1889): 5.

(29) Keppel, Robert D, Joseph G Weis, Katherine M Brown and Kristen Welch. “The Jack the Ripper Murders: A Modus Operandi and Signature Analysis of the 1888-1891 Whitechapel Murders.” Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling 2.1 (2005): 16.

(30) Trial Transcript from the Trial of William Henry Bury for the Crime of Murder. JC36/3. National Archives of Scotland. 1889.

(31) Macpherson, Euan. The Trial of Jack the Ripper. Edinburgh: Mainstream (2005): 102.

(32) Statement by James Martin. Precognition Against William Henry Bury for the Crime of Murder at 113 Princes Street, Dundee. AD14/89/160/1. National Archives of Scotland. 1889.

(33) Beadle, William. Jack the Ripper Unmasked. London: John Blake (2009): 75. (Beadle indicated that it takes about 40 minutes to walk from Bow to Spitalfields.)

(34) Beadle, William. Jack the Ripper: Anatomy of a Myth. Dagenham: Wat Tyler (1995): 162.

(35) “The Princes Street Tragedy.” Dundee Evening Telegraph (28 Mar. 1889): 2.

(36) Statement by James Martin. Precognition Against William Henry Bury for the Crime of Murder at 113 Princes Street, Dundee. AD14/89/160/1. National Archives of Scotland. 1889.

(37) Beadle, William. Jack the Ripper Unmasked. London: John Blake (2009): 45.

(38) West Yorkshire, England, Prison Records, 1801-1914. No. 2795.

(39) “Dundee Circuit Court. The Princes Street Tragedy.” Dundee Advertiser (19 Mar. 1889): 2.

(40) “Tragedy in Dundee.”  Dundee Advertiser (12 Feb. 1889): 5.

(41) “Shocking Tragedy in Dundee.” Dundee Courier and Argus (12 Feb. 1889): 3.

(42) “Tragedy in Dundee.”  Dundee Advertiser (12 Feb. 1889): 5.

(43) “The Dundee Murder.” Dundee Courier and Argus (29 Mar. 1889): 5.

(44) Evans, Stewart P. and Keith Skinner. The Ultimate Jack the Ripper Companion. N.Y.: Skyhorse (2009): 110; Beadle, William. Jack the Ripper Unmasked. London: John Blake (2009): 186.

(45) Evans, Stewart P. and Keith Skinner. The Ultimate Jack the Ripper Companion. N.Y.: Skyhorse (2009): 138.

(46) “Is Deeming the Whitechapel Murderer?” Daily Telegraph (8 Apr. 1892): 5.

(47) Evans, Stewart P. and Keith Skinner. The Ultimate Jack the Ripper Companion. N.Y.: Skyhorse (2009): 110.

(48) “Shocking Tragedy in Dundee.” Dundee Courier and Argus (12 Feb. 1889): 3.

(49) Trial Transcript from the Trial of William Henry Bury for the Crime of Murder. JC36/3. National Archives of Scotland. 1889.

(50) “Inventory of Articles Found in Accused’s House.” Trial Papers Relating to William Henry Bury for the Crime of Murder at 113 Princes Street, Dundee. JC26/1889/15/5. National Archives of Scotland. 1889.

(51) Beadle, William. Jack the Ripper Unmasked. London: John Blake (2009): 71, 247.

(52) Ibid., 265.

(53) Ibid.

(54) Evans, Stewart P. and Keith Skinner. The Ultimate Jack the Ripper Companion. N.Y.: Skyhorse (2009): 262.

(55) Trial Transcript from the Trial of William Henry Bury for the Crime of Murder. JC36/3. National Archives of Scotland. 1889.

(56) Macpherson, Euan. The Trial of Jack the Ripper. Edinburgh: Mainstream (2005): 32; Earp, Steve. “Some Handwriting Characteristics of the Princes Street Graffiti.” William Bury, Victorian Murderer (24. Apr. 2019).  http://williambury.org/blog6/2019/04/24/some-handwriting-characteristics-of-the-princes-street-graffiti/.

(57) Evans, Stewart P. and Keith Skinner. Jack the Ripper: Letters from Hell. Thrupp: Sutton (2004): 23.

(58) Beadle, William. Jack the Ripper Unmasked. London: John Blake (2009): 245-6.

(59) Evans, Stewart P. and Keith Skinner. The Ultimate Jack the Ripper Companion. N.Y.: Skyhorse (2009): 509.

(60) Keppel, Robert D, Joseph G Weis, Katherine M Brown and Kristen Welch. “The Jack the Ripper Murders: A Modus Operandi and Signature Analysis of the 1888-1891 Whitechapel Murders.” Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling 2.1 (2005): 19-20.

(61) Ibid., 16.

[updated July 16, 2020]

 

“The Bury ID” © 2017-20 by Steve Earp.  All rights reserved.

An earlier version of this article appeared as “Identifying William Bury as Jack the Ripper” in Ripperologist: The Journal of Jack the Ripper, East End and Victorian Studies 139 (2014): 2-9.