The relative of Annie Chapman told The News it is “personal” after being affronted by the new Ripper and Co Southsea bar and restaurant in Osborne Road. The new premises opens on July 28 and is already fully booked as punters flock to the new venue.
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Annie Chapman, aged 47 at the time of her death, is the great great grandmother of the descendant, who is calling for the licence of the bar to be revoked or the name changed after joining the Ripper and Co Protest Group. An online petition on Change.org has amassed over 1,000 signatures so far.
Annie Chapman was murdered and disemboweled by Jack the Ripper on September 8, 1888, in London. She was one of at least five women brutally killed and mutilated by the predatory serial killer. The others to fall victim were Polly Anne Nichols, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly.
The 62-year-old relative of Annie Chapman, who does not want to be named, previously lived in Portsmouth but now resides elsewhere in the country. He was first told about Ripper and Co Southsea by Hallie Rubenhold, the author of “The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper”, who appeared on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour to discuss the immersive concept.
The relative says the bar does not need Jack the Ripper’s name in it. “He could call it Frankenstein and Friends or Freddy Krueger, which are fictional people. Jack the Ripper is not fictional. He murdered and disemboweled my great great grandmother. That’s a real event,” he said.
“You wouldn’t want a Moors Murderers or Fred West themed pub. It is extremely offensive. Five ladies were murdered by this man. And (the bar’s owner) is paying tribute to him.”
He added: “If it was a fictional character I would not object, but it's glorifying a mass murderer.”
Annie Chapman’s great great grandson is also unhappy about the signage of the bar with it depicting Jack the Ripper in a top hat “creeping up on women” and showcases a dagger, as well as having the signage of “Ripper and Co Southsea”.
When comments from people defending the bar were put to him, the relative was adamant the venue could still impact the behaviour of some people to carry out crimes such as sexual assaults. Asked if the bar could have an influence on people, he said: “Yes”, adding: “Of course it glorifies violence against women. Five women were killed by that man. None of the women deserved to die.”
He continued: “To many people it is not personal but to me it is.”
He also criticised the authority, saying: “I don’t think Portsmouth City Council should have granted the licence under that name. The name and the signage promotes violence against women.”
Dan Swan, the bar’s owner, previously said: “We feel we have done everything in our capability to appease the concerns around our new bar without affecting its uniqueness. We will continue to work with any authority to ensure our guests have a safe, enjoyable experience and give the best message to our followers.”