From the strangulation of Mrs. Rasamee Mulichan or Fai, a 51 years old housemaid on 14th December 2019 by Somkit Pumpuang, a 55 years old serial killer. He was just released from 14 years of imprisonment after killing 5 women in a span of six months in 2005. This shocking case startled the media and the public. A concern citizen gave the police some tips about his whereabouts leading to his arrest while he was fleeing to Bangkok on 19th December 2019.
Mass media and the public had put pressure on the police and made the national headlines resulting in the immediate arrest in just 4 days. Some of the news outlets called Somkit the Ripper of Thailand, sparking controversial debates and comments. As a criminologist with hands-on experience about imitation in kids, the nickname “The Ripper” should not have been given to Somkit because it could lead to another imitation.
The origin of the Ripper
The Ripper first appeared in an anonymous letter sent to the central news outlet of England on 28th September 1888. This letter was a warning of more murders to come after a case of gruesome murder. Annie Chapman,47, a hooker, was found slaughtered. Her stomach was cut open and her innards spilled out next to her corpse. Some of her stomach’s skin was spreaded on her shoulders while her intestine and pieces of her sexual organs were missing. Her bladder was scarred beyond recognition. The letter officially put the name Jack The Ripper on many following debates and headlines. The media then used this name in pieces of news that was similar to this case.
The Ripper is the given nickname of the notorious serial killer that was infamous for 131 years. He was not caught. This name became a symbol of the criminals that are not yet arrested. Children or juveniles who digest news like this may think that imitating this action would make them well-known and acceptable. If any children try to replicate this crime, they will go on a murderous path leading to self-destruction.
An example from the study by Professor Lary Siegel published in Juvenile and Delinquency (2017) revealed that American teenagers had imitation behaviors from the lyrics by the famous rapper, Eminem which involved drugs and sexual acts.
The imitation theory by Gabriel Tarde proposed that imitation behaviors in children or normal people begin with higher tiered people. For example, the middle class opt to imitate the high class, and teenagers imitate famous people and idols. Behavior imitation doesn’t require face-to-face interactions. This may originate from one-sided observation including social media like violent videoclips, bomb making instructions, aggressive encounters. By watching these videos, these behaviors can be absorbed and imitated by pure observation.
Another interesting research about imitation in children caused by the media by Ohio State University tested 6-12 years old children by sorting them into two groups. The first group watched movies that had violent scenes edited out while the second group watched the unedited movies. These groups spent 20 minutes on watching the videos. After that, they were released into a room full of toys. The researcher hid a gun inside a drawer in that room. The children that watched the unedited movies had violent behaviours toward the toys compared to the other group. 83% of them found the gun, and 27% of them actually gave the gun to the observer. 42% of them played around with the gun.
Surprisingly, none of the children that watched violence-free movies tried triggering the gun. Conversely, the children who watched unedited movies tried triggering the gun about 2-3 times. They also held the gun at 4-5 times longer than children from the other group. The children who tried triggering the gun actually did that about 20 times. One child pointed the gun to the pedestrians while another tried to shoot his friend’s head.
Secondly, the modi operandi between these two cases are quite different. The Ripper’s victims were slaughtered by bladed weapons, and their throats were slited at least two times. The wounds were deep and severe. Their innards were also taken out while some were stolen from their bodies. These actions result in the nickname, The Ripper.
While Somkit Pumpuang had different actions toward the victims. Somkit strangled the victims, drowned them in water, and used ties to finish them. Every victim wasn’t killed by blade weapons. Then, Somkit was not quite like the Ripper.
Lastly, no evidence pointed that The Ripper was male. Specialists and detectives along with many police officers thought The Ripper could be male or female. The detective of the case, Frederick Abberline, had a theory about the female culprit, Jill The Ripper. He suspected that the killer would be a nurse midwife due to their knowledge about woman anatomy. A witness of the fourth murder saw a victim with a mysterious woman which could be the killer. After the killing spree in 1890, Mary Pearcey, the suspected killer, was executed by hanging due to her murder of the wife and the son of her lover. Their corpses looked like other victims.
133 years ago, no one in London, England didn’t know the infamous murder spree of The Ripper. Some people really knew about the in-depth details of this killer. First of all, Mary Ann Nicholls, 42, was found dead in White Chapel, London, England. She had a sore face with two wounds in the stomach,and her throat was severely slited. This was the first official murder by The Ripper. 8 days later, Annie Chapman, 47, prostitute, was found dead in a similar fashion. Her throat was nearly cut off. Her innards were heavily tampered with.
On 28th September 1888, an anonymous letter was sent to the central news outlet warning about more murders. The signature was Jack The Ripper. This was the first time that the official name was revealed by every news outlet which became the horrific incident for everyone in London. When someone carried a black bag, they would be assaulted due to the rumor that the killer would hide a knife in a black bag used for committing future murders.
After receiving the letter for two days, the serial killer claimed two victims within an hour. At 1.00 a.m., Elizabeth was found dead. It seemed that she inadvertently bothered the killer. At 1.45 a.m., Catherine Eddowes,43, was killed. She was deeply cut and scarred. Her insides were explicitly spreaded out.
The police followed her blood trail to a door. There was a message written by chalks, “The Jewes are not the men to be blamed for nothing.” The commander of the local police, Sir Charles Warren was furious about this discovery. This was an insult to the police that couldn’t find the killer. Warren ordered the deletion of the message. He just destroyed the only evidence that could be led to the killer.
On 9th November 1888, the last victim of The Ripper was found on a bed in a dorm. She was the youngest victim. She was Mary Jeanette Kelly, 25. She was found by the landlord. He admitted that this horrific discovery would haunt him for life. Her throat was disfigured. Her nose and breasts were cut off and put on a table. Her insides were put on the decorative frame on the wall. She was completely skinned. Her heart was also on the table too.
The unrest from the London people eventually led to the demand that the commander, Sir Charles Warren, shall resign to take full responsibility of the terrifying incident. The hunt racked up 7 suspects, but there was not enough evidence to point out the real Jack The Ripper.
These suspects were based on police speculations. Moreover, the rumours went awry. There were claims that the killer could ne a nurse midwife, a Polish barber, a king, or a Russian.
Two years later, there was a new suspect. Her name is Mary Pearcey, She was subsequently hanged. Mary killed the wife and the son of her lover. Her modus operandi was similar to The Ripper.
This was the legend of the serial killer that was not identified. They were from various news sources in England. This article might provide knowledge and commentary that reveal further information and debates that lead to other discoveries and studies.
The usage of Jack The Ripper and Jill The Ripper was like John Doe for an anonymous male, and Jane Doe for the female counterpart. In American trial processes, if the culprit is not yet identified, there will be no nickname given. They would be identified with common names. If there are more than one in the same case, the female one starts with Jane Doe.