August 31, 1888 – Mary Ann Nichols becomes the first victim of Jack the Ripper

He wasn’t the first serial killer, but he was one of the earliest of what we now recognise as the modern urban serial killers. And even today, he’s certainly the best known – which is doubly odd since the identity of the killer dubbed Jack the Ripper is still unknown (and likely to remain that way).

Although there are those who attribute two earlier murders – those of Martha Tabram and Emma Smith – to him, Mary Ann Nichols was the first murder to be agreed by all Ripperologists to be his doing. Nichols was an occasional prostitute and a heavy drinker, who was found dead after being savagely mutilated and left to bleed out outside a house on Buck’s Row, in Whitechapel. She was 43 years old.

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