14 September 1888
The coroner's inquiry into the circumstances of the last Whitechapel murder was resumed yesterday, when evidence was given by the police inspector who examined the body of the deceased, and by Dr. Phillips, divisional surgeon of the H division. The latter detailed the injuries received, and stated that the cause of death was the cutting of the throat, and that the other wounds must have been inflicted after death. In the course of the evidence it was shown that the stripping and washing of the body had been done in consequence of instructions from the Board of Guardians, and not by any order from the police. The inquest was adjourned till Wednesday next.
A resident in Westminster, Mrs. Potter, appeared at the Police Court of that district yesterday, and stated that she had reason to believe that the arm found in the river off Pimlico was that of her daughter, 17 years of age, who had been missing from home since last Saturday morning.
EVIDENCE OF THE POLICE AND THE DOCTOR
The inquest into the death of Annie Chapman, adjourned from Wednesday last, was resumed yesterday, at two o'clock. The proceedings were decidely dull and entirely unsensational. The evidence of the police and the doctor who examined the body constituted the main features of it. As regards the police evidence there was nothing new. It was merely the tendering in proper official form of statements already before the public. Inspector Chandler quietly doled out to the Coroner, sentence by sentence, an account of what he and the constables under his direction had done, Mr. Baxter writing it all down pretty much as it was dictated to him. A few questions were put to the inspector, especially with regard to the blood stains alleged to have been found on the neighbouring fences, as though somebody with blood upon him had been getting over. Both the inspector and afterwards Mr. Phillips, the divisional surgeon, expressed the belief that the marks observed were not blood stains, though to the untrained eye they might easily be taken for such. The Coroner closely questioned the inspector as to the visit of young Mr. Richardson to the backyard in Hanbury-street. Evidently Mr. Baxter had not been quite satisfied with the circumstances attending that visit, but from Inspector Chandler's tone and manner, he had himself apparently no doubt that this young man's evidence was reliable. The jury questioned the police-officer with the view of ascertaining whether it may have been possible that when Richardson went to the yard the body might have been laying there without his perceiving it. The inspector thought that it was very possible if he had only gone to the top of the steps. In that case, as the door opened outwards, it might have concealed the body behind it. Richardson, however, had sworn that he sat on the middle step with his feet on the ground, to cut a piece from his shoe, and it was allowed that in this position he must inevitably have seen the murdered woman. The importance of this point is that upon it depends the limitation of the time within which the murder must have been committed.
Police-sergeant Rayham followed. His evidence bore on the removal of the body to the mortuary and the responsibility for it when there. In this connection the keeper of the mortuary was called. This was an old man, an inmate of the Whitechapel Workhouse, who looked feeble and incapable of exercising an efficient control of the place. The Coroner made some severe remarks on the scandalous want of proper provision for the reception of the dead. From the City right away to Bow, he said, there was no public mortuary, and the miserable shed to which this body had been conveyed was in every way unfitted for the purpose to which it was applied. The jury concurred in the Coroner's remarks, which were fully endorsed by the doctor. Owing to the unsatisfactory arrangements, it turned out that the body had been washed without any authority either of the police or the medical officer responsible for the examination of it. Several questions were put to Inspector Chandler with regard to the mysterious pensioner. The jury thought this man should have been found. The Inspector said that they had quite failed to trace him. Instructions had been sent to the lodging-house people that if he came again the police should be communicated with. As a matter of fact, he had come again, as had been shown on a previous day. Timothy Donovan, the deputy, was now recalled, and, in answer to the question why he had not communicated with the police, replied that the pensioner would not stop. It looks as though the police made a mistake in trusting to a communication from the lodging-house. They ought to have watched for this man themselves.
The evidence of Mr. Phillips, the doctor, was lengthy and minute, and was given line by line to be written down. It substantially confirmed what had been already published on the subject. The doctor's conclusion was that death had been caused by the cutting of the throat. There were appearances which seemed to show that an attempt had been made to sever the bones of the neck, which may probably be taken to imply that the murderer, not content with cutting the throat right through to the spinal bone, had made an effort to cut the head right off. From various symptoms it would appear that the deceased had been partially strangled before the throat was cut, and there were reasons to believe that the murderer, whoever it was, had some rough anatomical knowledge, which would probably have been used to greater effect but for haste. A curious point in the doctor's evidence was that respecting the teeth. Everybody had heard that the deceased had lost her front teeth like the murdered woman Nichols. Mr. Phillips explicitly stated that this woman's front teeth were perfect, and were remarkable sound and good. He testified also that the left hand lay across the breast, in this agreeing with Inspector Chandler, who further added that the right arm lay down by the side. This is in curious contrast with the statement made the previous day by a witness who swore that both hands were clutched upwards as if in a frantic effort to defend the throat. This shows how cautious it is necessary to be in receiving the testimony of untrained observers under great excitement. The inquiry is adjourned till Wednesday next. In the meantime it is understood that great effort will be made to find the missing pensioner.
Inspector Chandler, of the H Division Metropolitian Police, said: On Saturday morning, about 10 minutes past six, I was on duty in Commercial-street, at the corner of Hanbury-street. I saw several men running up the street. One of them said "Another woman has been murdered." I at once went with him to the house, 29, Hanbury-street. I went through a passage into the yard.
Was there any one there? - There were several people in the doorway, some in the yard. I saw the body of a woman lying on the ground on her back. Her head was towards the back wall of the house.
Touching the wall? - No, nearly two feet away. It was about six or nine inches from the steps. The face was turned to the right side, and the left hand resting on the left breast. The right hand was lying on the right side. Her legs were drawn up. The body was lying parallel to the fencing. I remained there myself and sent for the divisional surgeon. I sent to the station for the ambulance and further assistance, and when constables arrived I moved all parties from the passage, and saw that nobody touched the body till the doctor arrived. After the body had been removed this piece of coarse muslin (produced), a small tooth comb, and a pocket comb in a paper case were found. They were lying near the feet of the body. A small piece of paper, a portion of an envelope, was found lying near her head. The paper was produced. It had contained two pills, but the pills were not produced, as inquiries were being made about them. On the back of the envelope was the seal with the words "Sussex Regiment." The rest of the paper was thrown away. It was an embossed letter in blue. On the other side of the envelope was the letter "M" in handwriting, witness imagined in that of a man. There was no postage stamp, but a post office stamp, London, Aug., 88; no letter ; and another stamp which was indistinguishable. There was another mark, "S.P.," on the envelope.
The Coroner: Did you find anything else in the yard? - There was a leather apron saturated with wet about two feet from the water tap. I have shown it to the doctor.
Anything else? - A box commonly used by case makers for holding their nails. It contained no nails. There was also a piece of flat steel which has since been identified as the spring of a perambulator. The yard where the body was found was partly earth and partly flat and round stone. There was no appearance of a struggle. There was no appearance of a man trying to get over the palings, and no evidence of anybody having tried to get over them previously. I examined the adjoining yards. None of the palings were broken, although they have since been broken.
Were there any traces of blood on the palings? - Yes, near the body in the yard. There were no signs of blood in the adjoining yard. There were marks of blood discovered on the wall of No. 25. There were no drops of blood in the passage or approaches. The blood stains were in the immediate neighbourhood of the body only. The splashes of blood on the wall were of various sizes, the largest being about the size of a sixpence.
Did you search the clothing? - Yes. The jacket, a long black jacket, which hung down to the knees, had blood stains round the neck both on the inside and out, and also on the sleeves. It was buttoned down the front. There was a hook at the top. There did not appear to have been any struggle in which the jacket was torn. There were no pockets in the jacket, but a large pocket was worn under the skirt.
Witness produced the pocket, which was provided with a pair of strings for tying it round the waist, and proceeded. The dress was of black stuff. There was a little blood on the outside, at the back, as if she had been lying in it. The arms were blood stained. There were two petticoats and two bodices, all slightly stained. They did not appear to have been injured. There was no other underclothing, and the stockings and shoes were very old. There was no blood on them.
Did you see John Richardson? - Later on in the morning, a little before seven o'clock. It was in the passage of 29, Hanbury-street. He told me he had been in the house that morning, about a quarter to five.
Did he say what for? - He said he went into the back yard and down the cellar to see if all was right, and then went away to his work in the market.
Did he say anything about cutting his boot? - No.
Did he say he was sure the woman was not there? - Yes.
By the Foreman - Witness told him that he did not go to the bottom of the steps leading to the cellar. He went to the top, and looked down.
The Foreman asked the witness if he was going to produce the pensioner Stanley, who was in company with the woman week after week.
Witness - We have not been able to find him, though we have made inquiries. If we can find him, we will produce him.
The Foreman - I think it is very important that the witness should be produced.
The Coroner - I should think if he knows his own business he would come forward himself.
Edward Badham, 31 H - On Saturday last, the 8th inst., I conveyed the body of the deceased from 29, Hanbury-street to Whitechapel Mortuary. I took every portion of the body away with me. Sergeant Thicke examined the body, and described the clothing. Two women were there and described it. They did not touch the clothing. I did not see Sergeant Thicke touch the body.
Inspector Chandler, recalled, said that when he saw the body it did not appear to have been disturbed. He left the body in charge of the mortuary keeper till the doctor arrived.
Robert Mansell, and inmate of the workhouse, deposed that he was mortuary keeper and received the body of the deceased at 7 o'clock on Saturday morning.
The Coroner - Are you prepared to say that no one touched the body till the doctor arrived? - Not till the nurses came and undressed it. The doctor came about 2 o'clock. I may have gone away for a short time, but locked the door. Nobody touched the body except the nurses.
The Coroner - We must have the nurses sent for.
The officer of the court said they had been sent for.
The Coroner pointed out that Whitechapel did not possess a mortuary at all. The place were the body was placed was merely a shed in the workhouse. A mortuary was more needed in the East-end than anywhere else, and yet there was none.
The foreman expressed his concurrence with the expression of opinion. He further remarked that there was a ssubscription among the tradesmen of Whitechapel for the detection of the murderer, and Mr. Samuel Montagu M. P., had offered 100£. If the Government would make the reward larger possibly they might find out
The Coroner - I am not speaking from any official knowledge, but I am told that the Government have determined to give no rewards, not in this particular case, but in cases of murder generally.
Winess proceeded - I picked up a handkerchief taken from the body, but it must have come from round her neck.
Timothy Donovan, recalled, recognised the handkerchief (produced) as one the deceased used to wear. The handkerchief was a common white cotton one with a broad red border, and was very much stained. Witness said that when deceased left the house she was wearing it "three cornerwise" round her neck, and had a woollen scarf underneath it, tied in front in one knot.
The Foreman - Do you recollect Ted Stanley? - No. Witness added that he knew "Harry the Hawker," and he should recognise the pensioner if he saw him, but he did not know him by name. He came every Saturday.
Dr. George Baxter Phillips, divisional surgeon of the H division of police, said - On Saturday, the 8th of September, I was called by the police at 6.20 to 29, Hanbury-street. I arrived there at half-past. I found the dead body of the female in the possession of the police, lying in the back yard on her back on the left hand of the steps that lead from the passage of the house into the yard. The head was about six inches in front of the level of the bottom step, and her feet were towards a shed which proved to be one building in wood at the bottom of the yard. The left arm was placed across the left breast. The legs were drawn up, the feet resting on the ground and the knees turned outwards. The face was swollen and turned on the left side. The tongue protruded between the front teeth, but not beyond the lips. The tongue was evidently much swollen. The front teeth were perfect so far as the first molar, and very fine teeth they were. The witness having described the intestinal injuries, proceeded: I searched the yard, and in doing so found a small piece of coarse muslin, a small-tooth comb, and a pocket comb in a paper case. They had apparently been placed there in order - that is to say, arranged there. The body was cold, but there was a certain amount of heat under the intestine that remained in the body. The stiffness of the body was not marked, but was evidently commencing. I noticed that the throat was dissevered completely, that the incisions of the skin were jagged, and reached right down the neck. On the back wall of the house, between the steps and the drain on the left side, about 18 inches from the ground, there were about six patches of blood, varying in size from a sixpenny piece to a small point and on the wooden paling between the two yards smears of blood corresponding to where the head of the deceased lay. This was about 14 inches from the body. Immediately above the part where the blood had flowed from the neck the blood was well clotted. Soon after two on Saturday I went to the labour yard of the Whitechapel Union for the purpose of further examining the body. I was surprised to find that the body had been stripped and was lying ready on the table for examination. I must report that it was at great disadvantage that I made the examinations - and as on many occasions I have met with the same difficulty I now raise my protest, as I have before, that members of our profession should be called upon to perform their duties under these inadequate circumstances. There is no adequate convenience; the place is most unfit, and at certain seasons of the year it is dangerous to the operator.
The Foreman - I think we can all endorse the doctor's view of the case.
Witness proceeded: The body had evidently been attended to since its removal to the mortuary, probably partially washed. I noticed the same protrusion of the tongue, the bruise over the right malar bone, and reaching over the liver. There was a bruise over the temple, and two distinct bruises, each the size of the top of a man's thumb, on the forepart of the chest. The stiffness of the limbs was now well marked, and there were bruises on other parts of the body. There was an old scar over the left frontal bone. There was an abrasion over the knuckle of the ring finger and there was a distinct mark of a ring or more probably rings having been worn. There were two distinct cuts on the neck from left to right. As to the incisions on the other parts of the body, I am of the opinion that they were made subsequent to the death of the woman, and the absence of blood was due to the large escape of blood from the neck.
The witness here asked whether he should give the details of his examination.
The Coroner said they had to inquire as to how and what means the deceased came by her death, and such information might throw some light on the character of the man who caused it. The witness might give the conclusions he had drawn as to the weapon that was used.
Witness - The cause of death is visible from the injuries I have described.
By the Coroner - I have kept a record of what I observed, and should any person be charged I should be able to give the details if required. From these appearances I am of the opinion that the breathing was interfered with previous to death, and that death arose from syncope or failure of the heart's action in consequence of the loss of blood, caused by the severance of the throat.
What sort of instrument was used? - Probably the same sort of instrument was used at the throat and the other parts of the body. It must have been a very sharp knife with a very thin, narrow blade, and must have been at least six to eight inches in length ; possibly longer.
Was it an instrument that a slaughterer would use? - Yes, well ground down. I think the blade of the knife used in the shoe trade would not be long enough.
Was any anatomical knowledge displayed? - I think there was; there were indications of it. I think the anatomical knowledge was only less displayed or indicated by being hindered in consequence of haste.
Was the whole of the body there? - No. The absent portions were from the abdomen. I think the mode in which they were extracted did show some anatomical knowledge. I am positive there were indications of a struggle in the yard. The deceased had disease of the lungs of long standing and of the membranes of the brain. There was a full meal in the stomach. Although the deceased was fatty there were signs of great deprivation. I am convinced there had been no strong alcohol taken immediately before death. The marks of bruises on the face were evidently recent, especially about the chin and the sides of the jaw. The bruises about the chest were of long standing, probably of days. I am of the opinion that the person who cut the deceased's throat took hold of her by the chin, and then commenced the incision from left to right.
The nurse from the workhouse was now in attendance, and was called. Previously to her being sworn, Dr. Phillips identified the deceased's handkerchief, which had been found round her neck, and had afterwards been washed.
Mary Elizabeth Simonds said - I am a nurse at the Whitechapel Union Infirmary. On Sept. 8 I was requested to attend the mortuary with the senior nurse, whose name I think is Frances Wright. I first saw the body on the ambulance in the yard. It was afterwards taken to the shed and placed on a table.
Were you directed to undress it? - Yes; by the inspector, I think. (Inspecter Chandler was identified as the officer who gave the instruction.) I took the clothes off. I left the handkerchief round the neck.
Did you wash the body at all? - Yes, we washed the stains of the blood from the body. There were stains over the lower part of the body and the legs. There was blood about the chest, which seemed to have run down from the throat. I found the pocket tied round the deceased's waist.
Inspector Chandler stated that he did not instruct the witness to wash the body, which was done at the direction of the clerk to the Board of Guardians.
The inquiry was then further adjourned to Wednesday next.
No fresh facts of importance have transpired in connection with the murder beyond the evidence given at the inquest. There have been no further arrests, but some important information respecting the two lunatics under surveillance has been obtained. The man arrested at Holloway has for some reason been removed to the asylum at Bow. His own friends give him an indifferent character. He has been missing from home for nearly two months, and it is known that he has been in the habit of carrying several large butchers' knives about his person. Inquiries are now being made with a view to tracing his movements during the past two months. Pigott, the man arrested at Gravesend, is still under strict surveillance.
WANDSWORTH. - The Charge Against A Theatrical Manager. - Roland Israel Gideon Barnett, who described himself as a theatrical manager, of Craven-street, Strand, was re-examined on the charge of obtaining a sum of 45£ from Henry Charles Britton, a butcher of Tooting, with intent to defraud, the offence having, it was alleged, been committed in 1878. -- Mr. Pollard appeared to prosecute on behalf of the Solicitor to the Treasury, and Mr. Poland defended the accused. -- Mr. Plowden said he had had an opportunity of reading the information on which the warrant was granted, and unless it could be supplemented by additional evidence he would take upon himself the responsibility of discharging the prisoner, believing that no jury would convict. -- Mr. Pollard thought it right to tell the magistrate that he had no additional evidence. -- Prisoner was accordingly discharged, but on his arrival in the precincts of the court he was immediately re-arrested by Inspector Andrews on an extradition warrant. -- Later in the day he was brought up at Bow-street, charged with committing fraud in Toronto, Canada. He was remanded for a week, bail being refused.
A YOUNG WOMAN MISSING
A Mrs. Potter, living in Spencer-buildings, Westminster, applied to Mr. d'Eyncourt, at Westminster Police-court, yesterday afternoon, stating that she had reason to fear that the arm found in the river off Grosvenor-road belonged to her daughter Emma, a girl 17 years of age, of rather weak intellect, who had been missing from home since Saturday morning, at 11 o'clock. Her daughter had given her some trouble by frequenting the streets at night, and at this time of the year she was particularly troublesome. At two o'clock on Saturday morning a policeman brought her home, and applicant at eleven o'clock in the forenoon went out, leaving her asleep on a couch. On her return her daughter had gone, and from that time she had seen nothing of her, although she had diligently pursued inquires and been to places - the Green Park in particular - where she knew the girl was likely to go. She had been to workhouses and infirmaries without (illegible) , and the only item of information she could gain was from a policeman who had known the girl by sight. He last saw her at half-past five on Saturday evening near Buckingham-gate. Applicant said she had been that morning to see Dr. Neville, the acting divisional surgeon of police, and he remarked that the particulars she gave him of her daughter could in every way correspond to the arm which had been found. The doctor questioned her particularly as to the stature and appearance of her daughter, and, having given his opinion, referred her to the police-court. The applicant, who was referred by the magistrate to the Press, furnished the following description of the missing girl : Tall and well formed, and of rather dark complexion, long arms, and a short nail on the left hand, attired in a brown dress, black jacket, white hat with black velvet band and white lace in front. High lace-up boots.