Friday 6 November 2009

Jack the Ripper


I have no interest in who was Jack the Ripper. We'll never know; and I find certain people's fascination with serial killers a bit disgusting. That said, I am fascinated by how early the murders were exploited for commercial interests. I just came across this:-

WHITECHAPEL NUISANCES. - Thos. Barry surrendered to take his trial for creating a nuisance by carrying on a show in the Whitechapel-road, and thereby causing large numbers of disorderly people to assemble and obstruct the public highway. This was a prosecution instituted by the Highway board of Whitechapel. - The defendant was the occupier of two houses in the Whitechapel-road, and it was alleged on the part of the prosecution that, finding his ordinary attractions had entirely failed to arouse public interest he took advantage of the excitement which had been caused by the murders in Whitechapel to exhibit ghastly and disgusting representations of the victims. It was stated that the public exhibited disgust at this feature of the exhibition, and that it was modified to some extent, but the horrible crimes that had taken place in the neighbourhood were still sought to be made objects of attraction to the public. - Mr. Purcell, for the defence, argued that the accused had a right to carry on the business of a showman if he pleased, and the only question for the consideration of the jury was whether he carried on his business in such a manner as to create a nuisance to the public. He calld witnesses to show that exhibitions of all kinds - rifle galleries, fortune telling, cocoanut shying - took place in the same neighbourhood, and that a great deal of the noise and obstruction was caused by these exhibitions, rather than by the defendant's show. - The jury found the defendant "Guilty." - There was a similar charge against another defendant named Lindley, for a nuisance in the same locality, and the accused pleased "Guilty." - The defendants were liberated, on their undertaking to abate the nuisance, and come up for judgment if called upon.

Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, 10 February 1889

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