The East London district of Whitechapel was last night once again in the icy grip of terror as news broke of yet another brutal attack on a female resident. The woman, in her 60s, was making her way home from a Women’s Institute meeting during the early part of Tuesday evening when she was attacked.
The victim, Mrs Dolores Mason, aged-64, told reporters. “It was around 8.00pm when a man wearing a top hat and a cloak approached me. He asked me for the time and seemed pleasant enough, but as I looked at my watch, he suddenly produced a sheet of A4 paper and began ripping it to shreds. He then threw the torn remnants into my face and ran off. I’ll never forget the look on his face as he ripped up that sheet of paper. His eyes were crazed, like those of a wild animal, and there was drool running down his chin. It was terrifying!”
This is the 9th such incident in the last year by the fiend, who has earned the grim nickname “A4 Jack”, and whose unprovoked attacks have left police baffled and local women afraid to leave their homes after dark.
His modus operandi is always the same. His victims are always female and aged between 45 and 90. He always strikes after dark and chooses quiet, ill-lit areas to ply his macabre trade. He approaches his victims and usually asks for the time of day or the whereabouts of the nearest pub. Then, as soon as the woman starts to reply, the fiend pulls out a sheet of blank A4 paper, rips it into shreds, and throws it in the victim’s face before running away.
The Police remain baffled and appear powerless to stop these chilling attacks.
Det Insp. Alan Hargreaves of The Metropolitan Police told a packed press conference last night: “We are clearly dealing with a very dangerous, and obviously deranged individual and we urge the public not to approach him, especially if you’ve got any paper on you. At present we’re working on a number of leads, including a series of cryptic messages we have received from the man we suspect may be responsible for these crimes.
He then showed reporters a brief slideshow of the messages left at the scenes of the crimes. The first, which was scrawled in red ink on a torn scrap of what appeared to be A4 printer paper, simply said:
Dear Boss. I’m down on paper and I won’t stop ripping till I’ve run out. Catch your saucy Jack if you can.”
The second message, which police found daubed in bright red paint in a stairwell close to the scene of one of the outrages, was equally cryptic, saying simply:
“The Whelk are the ones that won’t be blamed for nothing.”
This may well be a grim reference to the Whitechapel Whelk satirical magazine, which has a well-earned and unsavoury reputation, for furiously ripping up sheets of paper – particularly those presented by would-be contributors for sub-editing.
Insp. Mason then went on: “It’s possible that our man could be a frustrated, inept satirist, who has had his copy rejected by The Whelk for being poorly-written, unfunny rubbish. In the meantime we advise all members of the public to stay indoors during the hours of darkness and to be especially wary of going out if a thick fog is swirling around – particularly if the gaslights are casting the long shadow of a tall, cloaked figure, wearing a top hat and carrying a bit of paper”.
In a completely separate incident, the body of a 42-year-old prostitute was discovered last night in a small square close to Whitechapel Road by a policeman with a cape and a lamp. Her corpse had been hideously mutilated, her uterus had been severed from her womb, and her entrails draped across her shoulder. However, the police are dismissing the incident as insignificant, and, almost certainly the work of a harmless copycat prankster.
The Illustrated London