The Poison Murders of Jack the Ripper

His Final Crimes, Trial and Execution


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About the Book

Considered a primary suspect in the unsolved Jack the Ripper murders, Polish-born Severin Antoniovich Klosowski also gained considerable notoriety as “The Borough Poisoner of Southwark” in the late 1800s. Within a span of five years, Klosowski took on three women as his wives and lethally poisoned each with deadly doses of antimony.
This study of Klosowski’s murders of Mary Spink, Elizabeth “Bessie” Taylor and Maud Marsh includes extensive accounts of the individual crimes, the accompanying investigations and Klosowski’s conviction and execution. The final chapter examines intense police and media speculation that Klosowski may also have been the unidentified serial killer Jack the Ripper, citing period news articles and more recent developments in the notorious case. One appendix provides a detailed timeline of Klosowski’s “poison period” from 1892 to 1903.

About the Author(s)

R. Michael Gordon is the author of several books, and has written extensively on Victorian London and the Ripper phenomenon. He lives in Long Beach, California.

Bibliographic Details

R. Michael Gordon
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 223
Bibliographic Info: 33 photos, appendix, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3327-8
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5178-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Prologue—A Young Man from Poland      1

Section I—A Background of Serial Murder
1. The Ripper and Torso Murders      3
2. The American Murders of Jack the Ripper      37

Section II—The Poison Work of Jack the Ripper
3. A Serial Killer Returns to London      49
4. Mrs. Spink and a Man Called Chapman      57
5. The Slow Death of Bessie Taylor      71
6. A Barmaid Named Maud      81
7. A Death at George’s American Bar      89
8. The Arrest of a Serial Killer      100

Section III—The Investigation of a Serial Killer
9. The Investigation Begins: Other Crimes and a Final Torso      109
10. Coroner Waldo’s Inquest: The Maud Marsh Matter      115
11. The Police Court Does Its Work: The Case of the Borough Poisoner      133
12. The Police Court Continues: Focus on Mrs. Spink and Bessie Taylor      139

Section IV—The King’s Justice
13. The First Day of Trial: The Case of the Borough Poisoner      151
14. The Second Day of Testimony      162
15. Requiem for a Serial Killer      170
16. “You’ve Got Jack the Ripper at Last”      178

Section V—The Future of Jack the Ripper
17. A Century of Speculation and a Pub called the Crown      183

Appendix I. A Chronology of the Borough Poisoner      201
Bibliography      203
Index      209