Elizabeth Phoenix

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Informant and sister-in-law of Mrs. Carthy.

Mrs Phoenix of 157 Bow Common Lane, Bow, went to Leman Street Police Station on 11th November 1888 and stated that from the published descriptions of Mary Jane Kelly she was sure that the deceased had formerly resided at her brother-in-law's house in Breezer's Hill three years previously (ie c.1885).

She described Kelly as being about 5ft 7in tall, rather stout, with blue eyes and hair that reached almost to her waist. She also believed that Kelly's parents had discarded her[1]. Other information given by Mrs Phoenix furnished the press with further (albeit dubious) details:

"At that time she gave her name as Mary Jane Kelly, and stated that she was about 22 years of age, so that her age at the present time would be about 25 years. There was, it seems, some difficulty in establishing her nationality. She stated first that she was Welsh, and that her parents, who had discarded her, still resided at Cardiff, whence she came to London. On other occasions, however, she declared that she was Irish. She is described as being very quarrelsome and abusive when intoxicated, but "one of the most decent and nicest girls" when sober. About two years ago she left Breezers-hill and removed to Commercial-road, from which quarter she had been reported to Mrs. Phœnix as leading an immoral life in the vicinity of Aldgate. She had two false teeth which projected very much from the lips. When living at Breezers-hill, she stated to Mrs. Phœnix that she had a child aged two years, but Mrs. Phœnix never saw it. At that time the deceased had a friend known as Lizzie Williams. Mrs. Phœnix is confident the deceased is the woman to whom she refers, although she has not seen her since she left the neighbourhood of the London Docks, where she was well known."[2]

Mrs Phoenix's statements led the press to trace Mrs. Carthy and subsequent interviews supported claims by Joseph Barnett that Kelly had worked in the West End of London.[3]


  1. Western Mail, 12th November 1888
  2. Morning Advertiser, 12th November 1888
  3. The Jack the Ripper A-Z, Paul Begg, Martin Fido, Keith Skinner (Headline 1996)