Pictured above: Chief Inspector John du Rose of Scotland Yard, who led the inquiry. Right, the final victim Bridget O'Hara, known as Bridie, and centre, the industrial estate in Acton where she was found murdered on February 16, 1965.
ON February 16, 1965, a woman’s body was found on a desolate industrial estate in Acton. She had been murdered.
Her name was Bridget O’Hara, known to those close to her as Bridie. She was 27 and shared something in common with five other women who had been found dead in or near west London the year before – she had been a prostitute.
O’Hara was the last victim in what became known as the Jack The Stripper case, a grisly saga which was also referred to as the Hammersmith Nudes Murders.
Six women, all of whom had been sex workers, had been murdered by the same man, or so police believed. Two more deaths were connected to the case but the circumstances in which the women were killed differed from the others.
The murders were named after Jack The Ripper, the infamous murderer who had killed prostitutes in the East End during the late 19th century. Like his namesake, he had his own trademark, namely stripping his victims completely naked and in some cases removing their teeth. The first official victim, 30-year-old Hannah Tailford, was found dead near Hammersmith Bridge. She had been strangled.
Just as tragic as the death of these women is the fact that Jack, like his 19th century counterpart, was never caught. The Met devoted huge amounts of hours and manpower to cracking the case, with 7,000 suspects being interviewed, but police never got their man.
After Bridget O’Hara’s death, the murders stopped and there has much speculation over who the culprit was, with crime historians narrowing the list of suspects down to a handful of men.
One of them was security guard Mungo Ireland, who worked on the Heron Trading Estate, in Acton, where Bridget O’Hara was found.
Former British boxing heavyweight champion Freddie Mills had also been named as a potential suspect. Ireland committed suicide in March 1965 under the pressure of suspicion, while Mills was shot in the head in his car in July 1965. The death of both suspects led police to close the book on the case.
Welsh author Neil Milkins published a book last year pointing the finger at Harold Jones, a child killer from Wales who was living in Fulham at the time of the murders.
Jones developed cancer which Milkins believes was responsible for bringing his murder spree to an end. In any case, Jack The Stripper was never caught.