The large number of attacks against women in the East End during this time adds uncertainty to how many victims were murdered by the same individual. Eleven separate murders, stretching from 3 April 1888 to 13 February 1891, were included in a London Metropolitan Police Service investigation and were known collectively in the police docket as the "Whitechapel murders". Opinions vary as to whether these murders should be linked to the same culprit, but five of the eleven Whitechapel murders, known as the "canonical five", are widely believed to be the work of the Ripper. Most experts point to deep slash wounds to the throat, followed by extensive abdominal and genital-area mutilation, the removal of internal organs, and progressive facial mutilations as the distinctive features of the Ripper's modus operandi. The first two cases in the Whitechapel murders file, those of Emma Elizabeth Smith and Martha Tabram, are not included in the canonical five.
Tabram was murdered on a staircase landing in George Yard, Whitechapel, on 7 August 1888; she had suffered 39 stab wounds to her throat, lungs, heart, liver, spleen, stomach, and abdomen, with additional knife wounds inflicted to her chest and groin. All but one of Tabram's wounds had been inflicted with a bladed instrument such as a penknife, and with one possible exception, all the wounds had been inflicted by a right-handed individual. Tabram had not been raped.
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