Last updated: September 29, 2017

Annie Chapman - 8th September 1888

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Annie Chapman - 8th September 1888

'Dark Annie', as she was often called, was the second victim in the series of five murders of prostitutes in the Whitechapel, a district of London. Her full name was Eliza Ann Smith, but she was also known as Annie Chapman. She was the mother of three children.

Annie led a difficult life from a young age. She lived together with her relatives and husband, John Chapman, while they had three children. Tragically, their eldest daughter died of meningitis at the age of 12 and their youngest, a son, was born disabled. Perhaps due to the stress of these difficulties, both Annie and John took to excessive drinking. They eventually separated, yet John continued to provide Annie with an allowance until his death. It was not until after his death, which was attributed to alcoholism, when she turned to prostitution to survive.

The murder occurred during the early dawn hours of Saturday, September 8, 1888. This crime was especially grotesque, as she was disemboweled and missing her uterus. Investigators believed that the 47 year-old woman was suffocated before her throat was slit in a truly violent fashion. Her body was discovered by a carman, a driver of a carriage, and was immediately reported to police. Despite her frequent alcohol use, there was no evidence that she had consumed alcohol in the hours leading to her death. It was during the investigation of Annie's death that the investigators began to discuss the theory that her killer had expert anatomical knowledge, and even perhaps medical training, though this has never been proven.

Since police did not want to attract public attention, Annie was buried at Manor Park Cemetery in a small, secret funeral. Some of her Smith relatives met her coffin at the cemetery for the burial. Unfortunately, her grave no longer exists since it was buried over long ago. She was survived by her daughter, Annie Georgina Chapman, who died in 1958.


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