Robert Mann

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Witness at Mary Ann Nichols' and Annie Chapman's inquests. Recently alleged suspect.

Born c.1835, Mile End New Town.

A pauper inmate at the Whitechapel Workhouse described as a labourer[1] and dock labourer[2], Mann was in charge of the workhouse mortuary in Old Montague Street on the morning of 31st August 1888.

He stated that on that morning, he was summoned by police to attend to a body at the mortuary. He arrived at about 5.00am, remaining there until the body was taken inside. He then locked the doors and went for his breakfast.

After breakfast, Mann returned to the mortuary with fellow inmate James Hatfield and undressed the body. He did not recall being told not to touch the body and could not remember if Inspector Joseph Helson was in attendance. He also stated that the clothing was neither torn nor cut, but could not remember where the blood was. He said that Hatfield had to cut the clothing down the front to remove it.

At the Nichols inquest, coroner Wynne Baxter noted that Robert Mann was subject to fits and that his statements were 'hardly reliable'.[3]

Mann was also present at the Annie Chapman inquest, though it was not universally mentioned in the press:

Robert Mansel [sic]: I have charge of the Whitechapel mortuary. On Saturday last I received the body of the deceased at the mortuary about seven o'clock. I was there most of the day. No one touched the body until the nurses came over and undressed it. I remained at the mortuary until the doctor arrived, and the door was locked. The police were in charge of it. No one touched the body except the nurses. I was not present when they laid the corpse out.[4]

(The nurses mentioned in the above account were Mary Simonds and and Frances Wright).

Robert Mann died of pthisis in Whitechapel in 1896.

In 2009, Mann was put forward as a suspect for the Whitechapel Murders by author and historian M. J. Trow.[5]


  1. Census report 1871
  2. Census report 1881
  3. Inquest report, The Times, 18th September 1888
  4. Inquest report, Evening News, 14th September 1888
  5. M. J. Trow, Jack the Ripper: Quest for a Killer (Pen & Sword Books, 2009)