TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 1888
MARYLEBONE. - A COWARDLY OUTRAGE. - Harry Humphrey, 36, a billiard player, of Wych-street, Strand, was brought up on remand charged with disorderly conduct and making use of threatening language towards Annie Vaughan, of 14, Malvern-road, Kilburn. - Mr. St. John Wontner, solicitor, defended. - The evidence was that while the prosecutrix was waiting for a female relative at the corner of the Malvern and Cambridge roads, on Sunday night week, the prisoner accosted her, and then producing a sort of dagger from his sleeve, showed it to her, and said, "This will do for you." She screamed and ran away, and he went into a public-house where he was afterwards arrested. He had previously been into a confectioner's shop and sharpened the knife on the counter. - Mr. Wontner, for the defence, said he was there to express his client's deep regret for having behaved in such a foolish way, and to apologise to the young woman for his very improper conduct. The prisoner had returned from the country, and was going to a friend's house to supper. He had taken a good deal to drink, and was in a larkish mood; and he took with him the weapon, which was an exceptionally long champagne knife, and went into a shop to pretend to sharpen it; but it was impossible, for it needed a good deal of grinding before it could be made sharp. Then he met the prosecutrix, and addressed her, and because she resented his overtures he took the knife out. He was of a good family, but, being rather wild, he had become reduced in circumstances. Of course he could not say anything in extenuation of prisoner's conduct further than to say that he had no intention to do the prosecutrix any harm. Probably the magistrate would require him to find bail, and if that should be the case sureties would be forthcoming. - Charles Brown, of Kyriemore-road, West Hampstead, having given evidence for the defence, Mr. De Rutzen said he regarded the case as a monstrous and cowardly outrage. Cowardly because it was common knowledge as to what had happened to women in the streets of London latterly. The prisoner accosted this young woman, and because she resented it he produced a dangerous weapon, and said what he could do. This was naturally interpreted as a threat to do what he had spoken of, and, of course, she was greatly frightened. It was, he repeated, a monstrous cowardly outrage, and he was not going to be a party to dealing with such a charge as if it were a trivial matter. He should deal with the case as one of threats, and order the prisoner to be bound over in his own recognisances in £500, and to find two sureties in £250 each, or go to gaol for one month in default.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
The SPEAKER took the chair at three o'clock.
SIR CHARLES WARREN.
Mr. CUNINGHAME GRAHAM asked the Home Secretary why the police rules of Wednesday night last were signed by Sir Charles Warren, seeing that he was no longer Commissioner.
Mr. MATTHEWS said that although Sir Charles Warren had sent in his resignation as Chief Commissioner of Police, he had not yet been relieved of the responsibilities of his office, and therefore properly continued to discharge his functions. No successor had yet been appointed.
MURDER AND ARREST AT HAVANT.
A correspondent telegraphs that a boy named Serle, aged eight years, while playing in the Fairfield, Havant, early last evening, was suddenly attacked by a stranger, who seized him and cut his throat from ear to ear, leaving the dead body on the spot where it fell. A lad passing shortly afterwards, saw the corpse, and at once gave the alarm. The police and people turned out in large numbers, and the neighbourhood was scoured in the hope of finding the murderer. Shortly after seven o'clock a man was arrested by Sergeant Knapton, at the Railway-gates, Emsworth, on suspicion of being concerned in the outrage. He was respectably dressed, wore a sealskin cap and a long coat. He had dark whiskers and a small moustache, and was carrying a bundle. He showed great excitement when arrested, and declined to answer the questions put to him. The lad who discovered Serle asserts that he saw the prisoner near the scene of the murder. No motive can be assigned for the crime.
Another report states that between six and seven o'clock last night it appears that a boy, named Serle, was seen near a shop in the North-street, going in the direction of the Pallant, a well-traversed thoroughfare. He was last seen by another lad, named Husband, with whom he had some conversation. The unfortunate boy left Husband, who soon after heard screams from the direction in which Serle had gone. Meeting a man named Platt, Husband said he believed a boy was being murdered in the Pallant. Platt hastened to the spot, and found the child lying against some palings still alive. He had four terrible gashes in his throat, and his face was unrecognisable, being covered with blood. The poor little fellow died immediately in the arms of his discoverer. The police were soon on the alert, and the greatest vigilance has been shown. Every outhouse and empty building has been searched, but in vain. At nine o'clock the knife was discovered, about eight yards from the spot where the murder was committed, and where a large pool of blood indicated the nature of the crime. It is an ordinary buck-handle pocket knife. The small blade was closed, and was broken in two. The large blade was open, the weapon being so completely covered with blood that the finder could not touch it without being smeared. The general opinion at the outset was that this was the work of "Jack the Ripper," the letter recently published and the writing on the shutter in Hanover-street, Portsmouth, giving some colour to this suggestion. It seems, however, that the horrible deed was not committed by a skilful hand, four clumsy gashes having been inflicted. One man has been arrested on suspicion, some marks on his face and his general behaviour attracting attention. He wore a sealskin cap, and was dressed in a long coat, carrying with him a small bundle. He had dark whiskers and slight moustache. Sergeant Knapton made the arrest as the man was about to leave by train. The accused, who trembled violently and exhibited much emotion, would not speak a word. A knife was found on him. At 10.30 last night the superintendent of the district arrived on the scene, and contingents of police have been sent out in all directions to scour the district. No further clue has been obtained. The greatest sympathy is expressed for the parents of the deceased, who is described as having been a quiet inoffensive lad.