Elizabeth Figg
17th June 1959

The first victim of mysterious killer known as Jack the Stripper - whose identity remains as much of a mystery as his infamous predecessor for whom he is named.

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Elizabeth Figg

Elizabeth Figg

Elizabeth Figg's body was discovered by the banks of the Thames at Chiswick. She was a slight woman with a chequered past who had found work in the capital as a prostitute. Her body was found in an unusually serene pose, seated against the base of a willow tree. She was described by the policeman who found her as "quite peaceful, looking across [the river] at that pub, The Ship."

Despite the superficially bucolic scene, her death had been violent. Strangled, she bore abrasions and marks that indicated she had put up a fierce struggle against her murderer. Save for a slip and a blue and white striped dress, she was naked - the soles of her bare feet dirtied.

Her last movements were traced in some detail - with a handful of punters providing details of their encounters with the woman and her pimp (or 'ponce' in the argot of the fifties and sixties) being particularly-closely questioned: he was, after all, Trinidadian in an age where race alone was still grounds for suspicion.

Despite these efforts, her killer was never found. The manner of her death, the public display of her body and its location by the banks of the Thames were all hallmarks of the killer later known to history as Jack The Stripper. Was Elizabeth Figg his first victim - a grisly "trial run" for the string of murders he would commit 5 years later?

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Author: Ian Freud   |  Last updated: 19th February 2015 | © Weird Island 2010-2017
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