Elizabeth Stride: A Life of Struggle and Resilience

Elizabeth Stride, our third victim, had a story much different than Polly or Annie. She wasn’t born in these slums. She was Swedish, a strong-willed woman who came to London chasing love, just like many of us do. She married John Stride, knowing about her past, and they built a life here in the East End. He did adverts, she continued as a sex worker… they were making it work.

But like so many women back then, tragedy had a way of finding her. John died, and that whole boating accident mess…she was left alone again, fighting to survive. This woman, she had spirit. Refused to be a victim. She even left an abusive relationship, choosing homelessness over living with a violent man. Eight and a half years in the doss houses… the strength that takes, I can’t fathom it.

The Night of the Murder

Now, the night of September 29th… Elizabeth was here, looking for clients. We even have a witness, Israel Schwartz, seeing her around midnight, being harassed by two men. Maybe one was her killer? We’ll never know, because Schwartz was scared off, and who can blame him with what was happening in these streets.

But what’s crucial is the next morning. Louis Diemschutz, a delivery man with a horse and cart…  imagine, the fog rolls in, so thick he couldn’t see his own hand, as he heads down Dutfield’s Yard, just off Berner Street.

The Discovery

Now, Louis, reliable sort, he notices his horse stops dead. Something ain’t right. He doesn’t get down right away, doesn’t want to stumble into trouble in the dark. He squints into the fog, trying to make out what’s wrong. Maybe a pile of rubbish, some drunk blocking the path? But a delivery man knows his routine, and this…this feels wrong.

He climbs down cautiously, lantern in hand, and that’s when he sees a shape on the ground. A bundle of clothes, maybe? He takes a few steps closer…and the horror hits him. A woman lying there, still in the blackness.

His first panicked thought is she’s just passed out, needs help. But then, even in the dim lantern light, he sees the blood. His heart pounding, he knows he can’t deal with this alone. This ain’t a drunk, this is…is it murder? He’s no hero, Louis isn’t. He scrambles back to his cart and hurries away, the fog swallowing him up.

The place he goes, the only place anyone goes for help around here…the pub.  Maybe he hopes to find a policeman inside, someone tougher than him. Instead, he grabs two other men, their courage likely bolstered by a pint or two. They follow him back to Dutfield’s Yard, lanterns held high.

How She Was Found

That’s when the true nature of what happened becomes clear. It’s Elizabeth Stride, as confirmed by the coroner’s inquest, throat cut like those other poor women. But here’s what sets her apart: there’s no other mutilation. And she’s still warm to the touch, the life barely gone from her body.

Elizabeth lay on her side, dark coat blending into the predawn gloom. As one of the men reached out, his fingers trembled. Her skin was still warm, life barely fled from her body.  But the warmth couldn’t hide the stark contrast – the blood on her neck, already starting to clot, a sickeningly bright red against her pallor.

Liz mortuary photo
Walk in her footsteps

She wasn’t on her back like the others. It was almost…merciful, the men might have thought, if they weren’t reeling from the shock. Her throat was slashed, a deep cut left to right, the killer’s mark in crimson. But the frenzy, the violence of his other attacks…that was missing.

They looked at each other, a silent question hanging in the air. Had something frightened the killer off? Or worse, was he still lurking, his bloodlust unsated, watching them from the shadows?

Liz grave

The Almost-Caught Killer

The police reckon she was murdered just minutes before. Meaning that horse didn’t stop because of the body, it stopped because the killer was right there! If Louis had been braver, walked on instead of fetching help… he might have caught Jack the Ripper in the act. It’s a chilling thought, isn’t it?

The Media’s Cruelty and What’s Next

You know the worst part? The newspapers called Elizabeth ‘Lucky Liz’, because she wasn’t as torn up as the others. Lucky? She was murdered! But that same night, barely an hour later…the killer found a fourth victim, Catherine Eddowes. And this time, the monster seemed hellbent on making up for lost time…