The first attack attributed to Jack is often said to have taken place in October 1837 - although the sources for this story are non-contemporary, and recent research has unearthed reports from earlier in the year that bear the hallmarks of 'Jack'.
As told, the attack took place on Clapham Common as serving girl Mary Stephens was walking to work. As she passed the entrance to dark alley, a strange figure leapt out at her and grabbed her tightly - immobilising her with his arms. Holding her still, he proceeded to kiss her face and tear her clothes with his claws - his hands being, according to her "cold and clammy as those from a corpse."
When Stephens screamed, Jack released her and residents came to her aid - although they were unable to find any trace of her assailant.