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East London Advertiser
Saturday, 25 August 1888.

CRIME IN EAST LONDON.

It has been our unpleasant duty, these last few weeks, to chronicle an exceptional amount of crime which has been committed in the East End. We readily admit that it is to the sensitive mind unpalatable reading, but the obligation is laid upon a newspaper to reveal in its social diagnosis the worst as well as the best features of human action. This week the record of crime has been increased by another tragic murder, together with three cases of supposed infanticide. So quickly has one tragedy followed another that it would almost seem as if there was a reason for crime as well as a reason for everything else. But after all, reducible as most things are now to a spiritual or natural law, all these unhappy circumstances may only be a chain of singular coincidences, having not the remotest connection with each other. However it is not our present intention to view the facts from a scientific or psychical standpoint, but to consider them in a social and general aspect. Now a murder in Whitechapel or Bethnal Green is regarded by the public altogether differently from a similar occurrence in Belgravia or Mayfair. "Crime clothed in greatness" - or in wealth, the two are identical - is always treated very tenderly by Mrs. Grundy, who has ever much sympathy for those "rich in this world's goods". But let a poor man sin in East London - that dreadful vile place to her way of thinking - then "virtue rears a high seat, and justice stern must fill it." Perhaps she even goes so far as to suggest a moral top-boots and blanket society for the poor savages in the howling wilderness of the East End. Indeed, some fearful-minded persons think the inhabitants of particular parts of our district are all ruffians and viragoes, who acquired a taste for thieving and violence in their mother's arms. The finger of scorn is only too frequently held up to us by those whose sense of justice and even common honesty should tell them how undeserved is this wholesale condemnation. Such opinions and sentiments are so ridiculous that were it not for the harm they do it would not be worth while to notice them. What are the facts? The statistics or returns of criminal offences show that, in proportion, there is really no more crime, either of a greater or lesser degree, in East London than in any other part of the metropolis, or, for the matter of that, in Great Britain. Taking into consideration its area, which is extensive, and its population, which is most varied, there is but an ordinary average of public offence, although the customary sensational headline, "Another East-End Tragedy", is frequently to be met with. Now, it is very much easier to particularise loosely and condemn, than to generalise logically and be just. Notwithstanding the unusual amount of recent crime in our district - crimes in which the worst human passions have been shown in all their fiendish ignominy - there is no cause for despair over the state of the people. Strike an average in this generation and in the last, and when they are compared together, there will be shown a happy improvement in our condition. East London is not on a moral and social "down grade," for the lower strata in our population, in which most of these evils arise, is slowly but surely being reached by the influences of a better age and a truer charity.



THE MYSTERIOUS MURDER IN WHITECHAPEL.
THE VICTIM IDENTIFIED.
THE POLICE AT FAULT.
THE CONCLUSION OF THE INQUEST.

This week the excitement respecting the mysterious murder of the poor unfortunate in George Yard has somewhat toned down, although interest in the case is as deep as ever. Last week a number of rumours, some of them very contradictory to each other, were current, but after investigation most of them were proved to be without foundation. It is only due to the police to say that they have been exerting every energy to clear up the mystery, although success has not yet attended their efforts. The inquest was adjourned for a fortnight in order to give the police time to make inquiries, and also to give opportunity for identification, and last Thursday - the day on which the adjourned inquest was held - was looked forward to with great expectation, as it was known early in the week that the woman really had been identified, and that some important evidence would be forthcoming. Outside the Working Lad's Institute, in the Whitechapel-road, a small crowd gathered as 2 o'clock drew near, and as the witnesses passed in one by one they were very narrowly scrutinised. Mr. Banks, the coroner's officer, and the police-constables engaged on the case together with Inspector Reid who really is investigating the facts, arrived about half-past one, followed shortly after by Dr. Keeling [Killeen], who was first called to the spot where the woman was found. Mr. George Collier, the deputy coroner for South Eastern Middlesex, appeared on the scene at 2 o'clock and the proceedings commenced. The large hall of the institute, as on the previous occasion, was utilised, but there were no public present, while the witnesses were accommodated with seats outside in the passage. The names of all the jurymen - some 20 in number - were first read out, and no one was absent, and they having been resworn, the coroner briefly intimated to them the course of procedure. The first witness called was a short, well-dressed working man about 45 years of age. His name was Henry Samuel Tabram, and he said he lived at 6, River-terrace, East Greenwich. He was a foreman packer in a furniture warehouse. Last Tuesday week he identified the body of deceased as that of his wife. Her Christian name was Martha, and her age was between 39 and 40. He last saw her alive about 18 months ago in the Whitechapel-road. As far as he could judge she was then in her usual state of health. He had been separated from her about 13 years. It was not a mutual separation. He had refused to live with her on account of her drinking habits. She at one time had taken out a warrant against him and had him locked up. For about the first three years he had allowed her 12s. a week, and since then he used to only allow her 2s. 6d. a week as he had found out how she had been going on. She was living with another man, and he would not help to support him. He believed she lived with this man on and off for 10 years. That man was then outside the room. He did not know whether his wife had followed any occupation, and he came to hear of her death through the papers. His evidence was listened to most carefully, and it seemed to create an impression, but the next witness proved more interesting still, for he was the man with whom deceased had lived previous to her death. He was slovenly dressed, short, and somewhat dirty in appearance. Speaking rather indistinctly he said his name was William Turner, and he lived at a working-man's home. He was a carpenter by trade but had been a hawker in the streets for some years. Up to three weeks previous to her death he had been living with deceased. On and off he had been living with her for about 10 years, but occasionally he had had to leave her on account of her drunken fits. She used to sell things in the street. He last saw her alive the Saturday before Bank Holiday, the 4th of August, in Leadenhall-street, and he heard of her death on the day of the inquest (the 19th August). It was about 2 o'clock in the afternoon when he saw her, and she said she had no money, so he gave her 1s. 6d. to get some stock. He was with her about 20 minutes. During the whole time they had lived together when deceased had any money she spent it in drink. She was not in the habit of staying out late. When he was with her she came home mostly about 11, and on Saturdays about 12 or 1. It would average, he thought about 11, but when she got a drinking fit he used to leave her to her own resources. She had no regular companions, though anybody who lived in the streets always knew a lot of people. While he was with her she never walked the streets to his knowledge. He had seen her in the company of both male and female companions. They had had drinks together at various public-houses, but they never used to stay out late together. They generally got home about eleven. He never knew that she was aquainted with a woman of the name of Pearly Poll until he heard of the death of deceased. When she was sober they usually agreed pretty well together. He himself was as a rule a man of sober habits. When she was going all wrong he did not quarrel with her, but simply used to leave her. There were times when she had stopped out all night. She was subject to fits, for he had seen her in them; it was mostly drink that brought them on. He had never seen her in one unless she had been in drink. She accounted for herself by saying that she had been out in the streets all night, and once she said she had been taken to a police-station while in a fit. He had had no family by her. - Following this witness came the landlady of the house where deceased had last lived. She was nervous and very indistinct and rambling in her remarks. Having been sworn she deposed that she was Mrs. Mary Bousfield, the wife of William Bousfield, a wood cutter, living at 4, Star-street, Commercial-road. To the best of her belief the deceased was named Martha Turner. That was the name she went by. She left her lodgings there about three weeks ago. She got her living by selling matches. Witness had known her about four months. As far as could be seen during that time she was a woman of temperate habits. Witness had told the officer that deceased was a woman who would rather have a glass of ale than a cup of tea. She owed some rent. Witness did not believe she knew two persons in the street, for she was a very retired person, and never brought anyone home with her. Previous to deceased coming to witness's house she was living with a man of the name of Turner. Deceased told witness that Mr. Turner was very good, and helped to support her two children, whom she, witness had never seen. - Inspector Reid: Deceased left without giving any notice. Her furniture consisted of two mattresses only. Deceased returned one night after she left unbeknown to witness, and left the key of her room. - The next evidence was that of Mrs. Ann Morris, a very respectable woman, dressed quietly in black. She lived at 23, Fisher-street, Mile End, and said she was a widow, and the sister of Mr. Tabram, the husband of deceased. She last saw deceased alive at 11 o'clock on Bank Holiday. She was then going into a public-house, the sign of which witness thought was the White Swan in the Whitechapel-road. Nothing more was seen of her after that. Deceased drank very heavily. As far as witness' judgement went she considered deceased was on the streets. They were only on speaking terms, and she had seen very little of her lately. Witness had heard she was a hawker, but had never seen her doing anything for a living. Witness knew nothing of the circumstances of her death. - By Inspector Reid: Deceased had been charged before a magistrate three times with annoying witness. The last time she was sentenced to seven days' hard labour. She thought witness was encouraging her husband and this was why she caused the annoyance. She had had two children, boys - one of whom was 17 - by her brother. - The next witness was a big woman, whose name had been much talked about, as she was the last seen in company with the deceased. It could be seen what her unhappy position was. This was Mary Ann Connelly, better known as "Pearly Poll". - Inspector Reid asked that she might be cautioned, and so Mr. Collier then explained that she need not answer any question, but what she did say would be taken down, and could be used in evidence against her on a future occasion. Having said she quite understood this, she was sworn, and then in a husky low voice, stated that she lived in lodgings, and last at Corsingham [sic] lodging-house in Dorset-street, Spitalfields, where she had been these two months. She was a single woman and was an unfortunate. She knew deceased for about four or five months, who went by the name of Emma. Witness last saw her alive on Bank Holiday, at the corner of George-yard, and was with her about an hour and three quarters. They separated at a quarter to 12. They were in the company of two soldiers - one a private and the other a corporal. She did not know what regiment they belonged to, but they had a kind of white band round their caps. She could not say whether the corporal had on his side arms. They all four went into a public-house and they were drinking together for the whole of the hour and three quarters but not in the same house. After they separated deceased went with the private and witness and the corporal went up Angel-alley. Witness did not quarrel with the deceased, and neither did the private or the corporal quarrel with her. They all parted good friends. Witness did not know what became of deceased, and did not see her any more. Deceased didn't drink much, but witness did not know what she did for a living. She had tried to identify the men, but had not been successful. To the best of her belief the soldiers she picked out were the men who were with them on the night in question. It was at the Wellington Barracks where the men were paraded before her. She had never seen the soldiers before. She left the corporal at the corner of George-yard about 10 minutes or a quarter past 12, who went towards Aldgate while she went towards Whitechapel. Witness first heard of the murder on the Tuesday, the day after Bank Holiday. - By Inspector Reid: She had threatened to drown herself since the murder, but it was only for a lark. She went to her cousin's, Mrs. Shean, who lives at No. 4, Fuller's-court, Drury Lane, and she remained there two days and two nights. She did not know she was twice wanted to go to a parade of the men at the Tower. - By the Coroner: Deceased had been drinking on the night of the murder, and witness was in the same condition. During the hour and three quarters they were drinking they had some ale and a little rum. She saw nothing more of the soldier who went away with deceased. - This concluded the evidence, and Detective-Inspector Reid then came forward and volunteered the information respecting the steps that had been taken to discover the perpetrator of the crime. He said a large number of persons had come forward with statements respecting the case, and in each case those statements had been thrashed out. Deceased was said to have been seen on the Sunday previous with a corporal, and these persons had been taken to the Tower, and all the corporals and privates out on leave on that night paraded before them. But the persons had failed to identify the men. Police-constable Barratt, who was said to have spoken to a corporal on the night of the 7th, also went to the Tower but he failed to pick out the man. Then Pearly Poll came on the scene, and there was another parade at the Tower, and she failed to pick out either of the men who were in the company of herself and deceased. She stated they had white bands round their caps, which indicated they were in the Coldstream Guards, so he went with her to the Wellington Barracks. She picked out two men whom she said she was quite positive were the men who had been with her and her companion in the drinking bout on the Bank Holiday. One of the men had three stripes and bore a very good character. She persisted, however, that he was the man she went up Angel-alley with, but he (the inspector) made very careful inquiries, and had found that that man was at home with his wife all night, from 8 p.m. till 6 a.m. on the following morning. The other man picked out as the one who went with deceased was in barracks at five minutes past 10. So the identification had failed, but their inquiries were still proceeding, and he should be very pleased if anyone could come forward to help them in ascertaining who the soldiers were. - The coroner then proceeded to sum up. He said the greatest and every assistance had been offered by the military authorities in trying to discover who was the perpetrator of the dreadful crime. Of course there was not the slightest aspersion cast on the soldiers who had been selected as the men. This was one of the most horrible crimes that had been committed for certainly some time past. The details were very revolting, as they would remember from the doctor's evidence on the last occasion, and the person who had inflicted the injuries could have been nothing less than a fiend. He then went over the points of the evidence, and said he thought they could bring in no other verdict than one of wilful murder, as it was quite out of the question that the wounds could have been self-inflicted. The only conclusion was that she had been foully and brutally murdered, and he should direct them to bring in a verdict accordingly. The jurymen then considered their verdict, and the doctor was appealed to as to whether he could tell whether or not the woman had had any children. - Dr. Keeling stated that he had made the most careful examination, and he could find no trace of the woman having had any children. - The witness Tabram was then recalled, and stated that he had had two children by the deceased, both boys, one was 15 and the other 18 years of age. After further consultation the jury's foreman, Mr. F. W. Hunt, stood up and said they found a unanimous verdict that the deceased had been feloniously and wilfully murdered by some person or persons unknown, but the jury wished to add a rider to the effect that they thought it was a wrong thing to allow the passages of these model lodging-houses to remain unlighted at night time. This verdict was then accepted by the coroner, the jurymen were dismissed, and the proceedings terminated.


Related pages:
  Martha Tabram
       Home: Timeline - Martha Tabram 
       Dissertations: Martha Tabram: The Forgotten Ripper Victim? 
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       Dissertations: The Silence of Violence: A Witness to the Tabram Murder E... 
       Message Boards: Martha Tabram 
       Official Documents: Martha Tabram's Inquest 
       Press Reports: Bradford Observer - 14 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Bradford Observer - 24 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Bradford Observer - 8 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily News - 10 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily News - 15 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily News - 24 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily News - 8 August 1888 
       Press Reports: East London Advertiser - 11 August 1888 
       Press Reports: East London Advertiser - 18 August 1888 
       Press Reports: East London Observer - 11 August 1888 
       Press Reports: East London Observer - 18 August 1888 
       Press Reports: East London Observer - 25 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Eastern Argus - 11 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Eastern Argus - 25 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Eastern Post - 11 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Eastern Post - 18 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Eastern Post - 25 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Echo - 10 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Echo - 13 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Echo - 15 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Echo - 17 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Echo - 23 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Echo - 7 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Echo - 9 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 10 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 11 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 14 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 15 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 24 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 7 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 8 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening Standard - 10 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening Standard - 24 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening Standard - 8 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Manchester Guardian - 11 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 10 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 15 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 16 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 24 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 8 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Pall Mall Gazette - 24 August 1888 
       Press Reports: People - 12 August 1888 
       Press Reports: People - 19 August 1888 
       Press Reports: People - 26 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Star - 24 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Star - 31 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Star - 7 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Star - 8 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 10 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 24 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Weekly Herald - 17 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Woodford Times - 10 August 1888 
       Victims: Martha Tabram 
       Victorian London: George Yard 
       Witnesses: Mary and William Bousfield 
       Witnesses: P.C. Thomas Barrett