On September 10, after the murder of Annie Chapman, we wrote:
"The murderer makes his war only against the class euphemistically denominated unfortunates. We are here confronted with the possibility of monomania, directed for one reason or another against street walkers. The kind of journalism which has recently been popularised in London by a certain newspaper has tended to concentrate on the sexual relations an utterly unhealthy attention which cannot fail to have its aberrant effect on badly balanced minds. A man so constituted as to be capable of imagining that humanity, however unwillingly, would benefit by his purificative efforts may as well feel compelled to exercise his calling in Brick lane as in Northumberland street. On the other hand, the man may, instead, of a fully developed monomaniac, be a mere epileptic subject, in whom every sexual consideration arouses homicidal impulses.
"Although medical jurisprudence tells of no cases analogous to those which have now shocked humanity, it is a well known fact to students of insanity that epilepsy is often induced by amatory desires of an inordinate nature. During the epileptic seizure the whole nervous system is thrown out of gear as our telegraphic apparatus is disordered in a thunderstorm, and the subject becomes not only irresponsible for his acts, but practically unconscious of them. The fit, which is usually a series of convulsions, may be replaced by an impulse towards murder or suicide which springs involuntarily into the mind, and is irresistible. Neither in the case of the woman Nichols nor in the more recent and even more painful case is there any medical statement to indicate whether the pretended purpose of the murderer's interview with his victims had reached a consummation; but this is not absolutely necessary to account for the nerve storm which deranges the faculties. It is, therefore, possible that the murderer is an epileptic."
Yesterday one of our contemporaries adopted the theory, and characteristically put it forth with all the air of originality. When we ventured the suggestion it was received with general silence in the Press, but Sir James Risdon Bennett, the great specialist, an interview with whom we published yesterday, confirms in everything what we put forth. Dr. Savage, too, in the Fortnightly Review, admits the possibility of our epileptic theory, but thinks rather that the murders "depend either on a fiendishly criminal revenge or else upon some fully organised delusion of persecution or world regeneration." "World regeneration" was a part of the explanation which seemed to us partially to account for the crimes, and this would easily associate itself with erotic mania in a person physically exhausted while retaining intense desires.
Dr. Forbes Winslow, with whom our representative had an interview three weeks ago, and who yesterday favoured us with additional comments, is more firmly convinced than ever of the murders being occasioned by homicidal mania which does not by any means exclude the existence of epilepsy.
The police now must, as we formerly suggested three weeks ago, turn their attention to the hospitals and doctors in private practice, to discover, if possible, every case of epilepsy or mania brought under their notice during the last few years. A thorough sifting of doctors' and hospital books may bring to light the horrible disgracer of our civilisation. As bearing further on our theory it is not inappropriate to reproduce what Dr. Edgar Sheppard writes on the subject. He says: I cannot help thinking that these Whitechapel murders point to one individual, and that individual insane. Not necessarily an escaped, or even as yet recognised, lunatic. He may be an earnest religionist with a delusion that he has a mission from above to extirpate vice by assassination. And he has selected his victims from a class which contributes pretty largely to the factorship of immorality and sin. I have known men and women actuated by the best and purest motives who have been dominated by an insane passion of this kind, and who honestly believed that by its indulgence they would be doing good service. There are many such in our various asylums. I was myself all but the victim of an assassin who believed that he had a mission to destroy me as the impersonation of all that was evil and hindered the progress of mankind. He was transferred from my asylum in Middlesex to that of the county where he had a proved settlement and subsequently attacked and imperilled the life of its medical superintendent. A suggestion of this kind may be useful; certainly it can do no harm.
At Aston, yesterday, George Nicholson, baker, 53, was committed for trial, charged with the wilful murder of his wife, Mary Ann Nicholson. The pair were left together by two younger members of the family, the husband being incensed against the wife for no apparent cause. When the son of the deceased returned shortly after, he found that his mother's brains had been battered out with a hatchet and prisoner had disappeared. Prisoner, who has frequently threatened to do a "Whitechapel job," pawned a watch and chain which had been removed from the body of the deceased and made off; but he was soon after captured in a neighbouring town.
Sir - The excitement which the murders in the East end of London has caused throughout the country is very strange. Equally atrocious crimes are of daily occurrence in our very midst, and yet no one is particularly perturbed. And why? Firstly, because the ordinary atrocity to which we are accustomed lacks the sensational element which is so richly provided in the Whitechapel horrors; and secondly, because most people are either utterly ignorant of the villainies which daily take place, or else shut their eyes to them. Wives are beaten and murdered, children are starved and tortured to death, and robberies with violence are committed every day of the week; but these little eccentricities of our fellow citizens are too commonplace to attract public attention. That the perpetrator of the Whitechapel outrages should still be at large is anything but surprising. One has only to inspect the streets of London at night to see how easy it is to commit a crime and yet escape detection; in fact, these proteges of the law, the criminals, may do as they like, but respectable citizens must be very careful how they protect themselves. Another great reason why such "artists in crime" as the Whitechapel demon escape is to be found in that utterly idiotic institution, the coroner's inquest, by means of which every detail which should be kept secret is made public property, and to no purpose, except to put the criminal on his guard. In Germany all cases of suspicious death are taken in hand by the Untersuchungerichter (a law officer), who institutes a private inquiry, and calls in the Kreisphysikus (a specially trained medical man) to examine the case from a medical point of view, and to perform, in conjunction with another medical man, a post mortem examination of the body, according to the hard and fast rules laid down in the "Regulatio fur der verfahren des Gerichtsarzte, &c." The medical description of each portion of the body is taken down in writing by the Richter, and then each of the medical men sends in his opinion as to the cause of the conditions observed. Perfectly reliable scientific knowledge of the case being thus acquired, the Richter and his colleagues then carry on the case. All unnecessary publicity is thus avoided, the relations of suicides are spared from having their family affairs made vulgar gossip, and the police are better enabled to carry out their investigations than would be the case if any other system were employed. One word more, Sir. Every penny a liner, butcher boy, and pseudo psychopathologist has his theory on the cases in question. The value of such theories may be judged from the fact that poor rational medical men can only bring forward hypotheses.
I am, &c.,
Sir - Will you allow me to offer the suggestion that the series of terrible murders lately perpetrated may be the work of a fanatic, possessed with the belief that he has received a mission to put an end to that particular vice practised by his victim? They are all of the same class, and all the murders of the same fiendish nature, no doubt accomplished by the same hand.
I am, &c.,
Sir - With reference to the two recent, hideous and brutal murders committed on Saturday night or Sunday morning, it has struck me that precious time was lost in not at once placing a cordon of police or military, if the latter could have been procured from the Tower barracks, round the locality where the bodies were found for, say, a square mile in extent, and allow no ingress or egress through this cordon until an exhaustive search had been made at every house habited or uninhabited within the radius of the cordon. The murderer or murderers could not have got away very far; the night was cold, and the bodies were found warm; moreover, it is unlikely the fiend or fiends would go any distance without endeavouring to wash or cleanse themselves from the blood of their hapless victims.
I am, &c.,
At the Worship street Police court, yesterday, Mary McCarthy, a powerful young woman, well known at this court, was charged at the close of the day's business with stabbing Ann Neason in the face. The prosecutrix said she was deputy of a lodging house in Spitalfields, and the prisoner was a lodger.
The Magistrate (Mr. Montagu Williams Q.C.): Is it one of the common lodging houses one hears of?
Witness: Yes, sir.
Mr. Williams: Then tell me this. How many beds do you make up there?
Witness: Twenty eight singles and twenty four doubles.
Mr. Williams: By "doubles" you mean for a man and a woman?
Witness: Yes, sir.
Mr. Williams: And the woman can take any man she likes? You don't know if the couples are married or not?
Witness: No, sir. We don't ask them.
Mr. Williams: Precisely what I thought. And the sooner these lodging houses are put down the better. They are the haunt of the burglar, the home of the pickpocket, and the hotbed of prostitution. I don't think I can put it stronger than that. It is time the owners of these places who reap large profits from them were looked after.
Witness than continued her evidence, and said that because the prisoner had become quarrelsome the "missus" told her (witness) to refuse the prisoner's money for the future, and the prisoner out of spite stabbed witness in the face with a piece of a skewer.
Mr. Williams: Who's the "missus" you mention?
Witness: Mrs. Wilmot.
Mr. William: Oh, a woman. She is the owner, then. But she doesn't live there?
Witness: No, sir, in Brick lane.
Mr. Williams: What is she?
Witness: A baker.
Mr. Williams: Has she any more of these common lodging houses?
Witness: Yes, sir, two in Wentworth street, close by where I am in George yard.
Mr. Williams: And how many beds does she provide there?
The prisoner: Sixty or seventy, sir.
Mr. Williams: What is the price of a bed?
Witness: Fourpence and eightpence.
Mr. Williams: Eightpence for a double. Was she a double or single?
Mr. Williams: Is she married?
Witness: No, I don't think so.
Mr. Williams: Then the place is a brothel?
The inspector on duty in the Court said that the beds were let for the night.
Mr. Williams: That makes no difference. The witness says that any woman can take any man in there and so long as eightpence is paid no question is asked. What is that but a house carried on for immoral accommodation.
Mr. Enoch Walker, vestry clerk of Shoreditch, said that he had had a good deal of experience with such places, but they could only be touched by one section of the Criminal Law Amendment Act.
Mr. Williams: Then I hope they will not be exempt from future legislation. They are places where, according to the witness, the thief or the criminal can hide all day for the payment of 4d. or 8d. for a bed each night. As a magistrate I have made it my business to go over some of these places, and I say that the sooner they are put down the better. In my humble judgement they are about as unwholesome and unhealthy, as well as dangerous to the community, as can well be. There are places among them where the police dare not enter, and where the criminal hides all day long. I have seen so much that I hope what I have said will do something to call attention to them.
The prisoner, after the evidence of a police constable had corroborated that of the lodging house deputy, was sentenced to a month's hard labour. She left the dock threatening the prosecutrix.
The East end of London is very much in men's minds and mouths at the present moment, for ghastly reasons - reasons upon which we may as well say at once we do not intend to enter now. The murders that have been committed in this unfortunate region will take their own place - and a unique place it will be - in the history of the last quarter of the nineteenth century. But there are other things belonging to the same period and the same district which will have to be noted by the historian of the future - things which the present horrors may press aside for the moment, but which are intrinsically of much greater importance and will leave a more lasting impression upon our destinies. "Ye have the poor with you always," is a mournful truth, applicable in some form or another to every part of the globe; but there is probably no spot in the world to which it is so peculiarly and directly applicable as the eastern side of our great Metropolis. For years past the Evening News has directed attention to some of the principal causes of this chronic poverty of the East end, and it has always placed to the forefront the free and unregulated importation of foreign paupers. These wretched men and women can exist in apparent comfort under conditions which are simply intolerable to any one born and bred in these islands; but their presence amongst us in such overwhelming numbers leaves the native born workman no option but to sink down to their degraded standard of wages and comfort, or else starve. Now this is not fair; it is not worthy of the name of competition; it helps no one, it profits no one, but a few unworthy sweaters and greedy vampires of that class. But as yet we have done nothing to stop or discourage this baleful importation. It is going on today as freely as ever, and will apparently go on tomorrow and the next day with increasing force. We have not even the assurance that when Lord Dunraven's committee has exhausted its apparently exhaustless inquiries we shall arrive at any definite scheme of prohibition or even regulation.
France is suffering from a somewhat similar evil; but, fortunately for herself, France is not dominated by a set of doctrinaire Dry as dusts who call themselves political economists, and therefore her action is somewhat different from our own. The President has signed a decree in reference to the importation of foreigners into France, and, as a consequence, that importation will be very seriously hampered for the future. The preamble of the decree recognises the evils arising from the number of foreigners residing in France, "which is already considerable, and is being constantly increased by emigration," and then President Carnot goes on to lay down some very stringent conditions and regulations. Every foreigner going to France must, within a fortnight of his arrival, declare to the mayor of the commune in which he proposes to settle the names of his parents, his nationality, the place and date of his birth, his last place of residence, his profession and means of subsistence, and the names, ages, and nationality of his wife and children, if any such accompany him. These declarations must be supported by all necessary vouchers, and in cases of changes of domicile fresh declarations must be made to the mayor of the new residence. Disregard of any of these formalities will involve police penalties, "without prejudice," as the decree significantly adds, "to the right of expulsion appertaining to the Minister of the Interior."
It is easy to see how these minute regulations will in themselves check the evil of foreign immigration from which France is suffering equally with ourselves; but of still greater importance is the knowledge which will be placed at the disposal of the Minister of the Interior as to the means of subsistence possessed by the unwelcome intruders, and the power which this knowledge will give him of exercising his "right of expulsion" with unerring precision and effect. So much for the latest move of the French President. We all know how stringent are the regulations against the landing of alien paupers in the United States, and how jealously Germany and Russia regard the incursion of undesirable foreigners into their respective spheres. In fact, look where we will, apart from home, we find a steady movement in the direction of self preservation from one dominant evil. England is the only country which remains heedlessly and supinely idle, and the result is that England is becoming more and more the dumping ground for foreign refuse of every description. John Bull is a patient animal; but our rulers will do well to consider with themselves whether he is likely to remain so long under existing conditions.
The East end mysteries, instead of being cleared up, tend to become more mysterious. Everything connected with them is extraordinary, and not th least so was the evidence given yesterday before Mr. Coroner Baxter by Mrs. Malcolm. She identified the body of the woman found in Berner street as that of her sister Elizabeth Watts, whose career from respectability to prostitution, she detailed with painful minuteness. Then came more mystery. She said: "I was in my bed at twenty minutes past one on Sunday. I had a presentiment. I felt the pressure of three kisses on me, and heard them." This is a matter upon which the Psychical Society might have something to say. Mrs. Malcolm is, no doubt, impressionable, and probably she often has presentiments which lead to nothing. The strange thing in this case is that her presentiment brought her to the mortuary, where she whom she claims as her sister lay dead. There appears little doubt as to the identification, although the coroner wants further inquiry and although one of the news agencies says Mrs. Malcolm is mistaken. The East end having supped full of horrors recently, the West is now visited by a crime of the most brutal and, happily, unusual character. Yesterday afternoon the trunk of a woman was found in a parcel at the site of the new Metropolitan Police Headquarters on the Embankment. The head and limbs are gone, but the object of the mutilation appears here to have been to facilitate disposal of the corpse. There is a belief that the discovery of human limbs in Pimlico and Newington is connected with this latest tragedy.
The police, of course, are making every effort to "get on the track" of the person or persons implicated in the crime, and there is just a possibility that they may succeed better in this case than they have done in the Whitechapel ones. There are the wrappings of the body to help, but they unfortunately afford only a very fragile clue. Murder in London threatens to become so common as to pall upon even the morbidity of our populations.
In the midst of all the horrible details of life as lived in the poorer districts of London which are coming to light just now it is some comfort to learn that an energetic committee of ladies is carrying on a successful work in the establishment and management of safe and respectable homes for working girls in the Metropolis. The scant salaries earned by the major portion of these toilers will not enable them to make sure of respectable lodgings without some such assistance as that provided by the subscriptions of the philanthropically disposed at the instance of the managing committee. The official report of the work done by the eight homes already established, has just been published, and a very interesting document it is in many respects. For a weekly sum of money very little in excess of what is charged for "dossing" in the common lodging houses of the East end, these girls are secured all the comfort, cleanliness, and safety of a respectable home. The first of these homes was only opened ten years ago, and yet over nine thousand working girls have availed themselves of the advantages offered, and the cry is "still they come." The committee want to be able to apply the same cry to the subscriptions.
Mr. Montagu Williams grows epigrammatic. A case was heard before him, yesterday, in the course of which evidence relating to the system on which common lodging houses are managed in the East end, and Mr. Williams expressed himself in considerable force on the subject. "The sooner these lodging houses are put down the better," he said. Then came the epigram: "They are the haunt of the burglar, the home of the pickpocket, and the hot bed of prostitution." Very undesirable places, evidently, but even prostitutes and burglars (in the intervals of their "bits o' time") must sleep somewhere, and they are less likely to beat and murder each other on a common lodging house than anywhere else.
The vegetarians are responsible for one of the most ingenious theories yet broached in reference to the Whitechapel atrocities. According to the men of the pea soup and lentils, the crimes are directly traceable to the brutal and abominable practice of eating the flesh of animals. The Rev. S. Barnett first broached the theory in a letter to The Times, and it has been followed up and expanded by the orators of the vegetable cause. Let us hope that the fathers of British families will henceforth banish the brutalising beef and murderous mutton from their dinner tables, lest they unawares breed up a race of moral lepers, who will want to wallow in the blood of their kind. But why don't the vegetable ones go a little farther, and prove that the national practice of eating meat will, if persisted in, lead to the revival of cannibalism in the British Isles?
The X indicates the spot where the body was found. The double line shows the extent of the hoarding around the new Police offices and the road, completed but unopened, leading from Cannon row to the Embankment.
Another ghastly discovery was made in London yesterday afternoon. About twenty minutes past three o'clock, a carpenter, named Frederick Wildborn, employed by Messrs. J. Grover and Sons, builders, of Pimlico, who are the contractors for the new Metropolitan Police headquarters on the Thames Embankment, was working on the foundation, when he came across a neatly done up parcel which was secreted in one of the cellars or vaults. Wildborn was in search of lumber when he found the parcel, which was tied up in paper, and measured about 3 ft. long by about 2ft. in width. It was opened, and the body of a woman, very much decomposed, was found carefully wrapped up in a piece of cloth, which is supposed to be a petticoat. The trunk was minus the head, both arms, and both legs, and presented a shocking spectacle. The officials of the works were immediately apprised of the discovery, and the police were promptly in attendance.
The building, which is in course of erection, is the new police depot for London; the present scattered headquarters of the Metropolitan Force, and the Criminal Investigation Department in Great Scotland yard and Whitehall place, having been found too small for the requirements of our police system. the builders have been working on the site for some considerable time now, but have only just completed the foundation. It was originally the site of the National Opera House, and extends from the Thames Embankment through to Cannon row, Parliament street, at the back of the St. Stephen's Club and Westminster Bridge station on the District Railway. The prevailing opinion is that to place the body where it was found the person conveying it must have scaled the 6ft. hoarding which encloses the works, and carefully avoiding the watchmen who do duty by night, must have dropped it where it was found.
A man employed upon the works, and who was one of the first to see the remains, made the following statement:
I went down into one of the cellars, which is about 20 feet by 15 feet in size, to look round, when I saw a parcel lying in a corner, as though it had been thrown there carelessly. I might say that the cellar is really a part of the half finished basement of what are to be the new police offices. The parcel was a paper one, which could easily be carried under the arm. When the parcel was opened I saw that it contained the trunk of a woman, wrapped up in a coarse cloth.
In cutting off the legs a portion of the abdomen had been cut away. The head and arms were also cut off close to the trunk. The police have been digging up rubbish and any place where it seems likely any more remains could be hidden; but I don't think they have found anything more. The contents of the parcel were very much decomposed, and looked to me as though they had been in the place where they were found for three weeks or a month. My opinion is that the person putting the parcel where it was found must have got over the hoarding in Cannon row, and then thrown the bundle down.
Another workman who has a thorough knowledge of the facts connected with the finding of the ghastly remains, made the following statement last evening:
As one of our carpenters was putting away his tools at about five o'clock on Monday night, in one of the vaults which are to form the foundation of the new offices which are to accommodate the police, he saw what seemed to be a heap of paper. As it was very dark in this particular spot even during the day, the matter somehow did not appear to strike him as curious or out of the way, his parting thought being that it was merely a bundle of canvas which was being used on the works.
He consequently mentioned the matter to no one, and having left his tools, came away and went home, thinking no more about the mysterious parcel which was to reveal another dreadful crime, probably perpetrated within a hundred yards of King street Police station, about two or three hundred yards from the present office of the Criminal Investigation Department, and within fifty yards of the Houses of Parliament. Yesterday morning when he went to fetch his tools he became aware of a very peculiar smell proceeding from the dark corner, but at that time made no attempt to ascertain the cause. The matter, however, had taken possession of his mind, and later on in the day he mentioned the circumstance to one or two of his fellow workmen. They at once decided to tell the foreman. This was done, and the foreman, accompanied by some of the men, proceeded to the spot. One of the labourers was called to shift the parcel. It was then opened, and the onlookers were horrified to find that it contained a human body. The legs, arms, and head were missing and the body presented a most sickening spectacle.
It had evidently been dead for many days, as decomposition was far advanced. I never saw such a horrible sight in my life, and the smell was dreadful. After we had got over the first surprise and nausea we sent for the police, and a doctor was also sent for. We could see that the body was that of a full grown woman, and when the doctor came, he said the same thing. Almost immediately after that Dr. Bond, of the Westminster Hospital, came and saw the body. he found that it was very brown, and I believe he said that it was the body from which the arm found in the Thames a few days ago had been cut. The body was wrapped in what looked like part of an old black dress of very common material, and it is a very strange thing that other parts of the same dress have been found in different parts of the yard.
The police took possession of the remains, and gave orders that no stranger was to be admitted to the enclosure. The body could not have been where we found it above two or three days, because men are frequently passing the spot. The place is very dark, and it is possible that it might have escaped notice on that account, but now I come to think of it, I know for a fact that it was not there last Friday, because we had occasion to do something at that very spot.
Asked for his opinion as to how the parcel got into such a curious place, the man said that he could not possibly conceive. The person who put the bundle there could not, he said, very well have got into the enclosure from the Embankment side, as not only would the risk of detection be very great, but he would stand a good chance of breaking his neck. He further stated that the parcel must have been got in from the Cannon row side, a very dark and lonely spot, although within 20 yards of the main thoroughfare, but he could not imagine how the person could get past the watchman.
Dr. Bond, the divisional surgeon in the A division, and several other medical gentlemen, examined the remains, which were handed over to the care of the police. From what can be ascertained, the conclusion has been arrived at, by the medical men, that these remains are those of the woman whose arms have recently been discovered in different parts of the metropolis. Dr. Nevill, who examined the arm of a female found a dew weeks ago in the Thames, off Ebury Bridge, said on that occasion he did not think that it had been skilfully taken from the body, and this fact would appear to favour the theory that that arm, together with one found in the grounds of the Blind Asylum in the Lambeth road, belong to the trunk discovered yesterday, for it is stated that the limbs appear to have been taken from the body in anything but a skilful manner.
On Dr. Bond being asked by a reporter his opinion as to whether the arms above referred to belonged to the body just discovered, the doctor said that of course it was impossible to make any definite statement until the morning, when he would make a post mortem examination. There was, however, a possibility of the limbs and being those of the same person - a fact which is eagerly looked forward to by the police authorities who are prosecuting inquiries in th case now known as the Pimlico mystery. Other persons who have seen the trunk describe it as being in a particularly advanced state of decomposition, so much so, that it was pronounced dangerous by the medical gentlemen present for any one to touch it with the naked hand. One said it was quite black, and upon it being taken to the mortuary disinfectants were freely used, and it was placed in spirit to await the post mortem examination, which will take place at an early hour this morning.
An extraordinary fact is that the lower portion of the trunk, from the ribs, has been removed. It is pronounced by the medical gentlemen to have belonged to a remarkably fine young woman, and this at once gives good grounds to the theory that it belonged to the body of which the arm found on the 11th ult. in the Thames near Grosvenor road formed a part. It will be remembered that on that date the right arm of a woman was discovered in the river, and upon Dr. Nevill having it submitted for inspection, he pronounced it to have belonged to a female apparently from 25 to 30 years of age. This limb had been in the water for about three days, so that if yesterday's discovery is connected with it, the date of the murder would be somewhere about September 8, upon which day the body of Annie Chapman was discovered in Hanbury street, Whitechapel.
The authorities are already in possession of the measurement and proportions of the mysterious arms which have been discovered, and today, at the termination of the post mortem examination, they will be possessed of the dimensions of the upper portions of the trunk, from which, when compared, it may be possible for them to trace a female answering the description in the records of "missing persons."
Has the Pimlico mystery then any connection with the series of murders which have been perpetrated in Whitechapel? This question naturally occurs when it is known that certain portions of the abdomen are missing but there is also another theory equally well founded. It is that the young woman, of whose body portions are now coming to light in such a mysterious manner, has been the victim of an unlawful operation, and, in order to conceal this, the miscreant has removed that portion of the body which would almost undoubtedly have decided such a point. Perhaps, however, the scientific examination may yet throw light upon this subject, seeing that the body has been dismembered in such a careless manner. The woman to which the arm first discovered belonged must have been in a different station of life to the Whitechapel victims, for the contour of the whole limb and the delicacy of the hand clearly indicate this. Then, again, there is the discovery of a woman's arm in the grounds of the Blind Asylum in Lambeth road, which took place but a few days back, and about which the police authorities have been so reticent.
Anyhow, it is suggestive that all the portions found were in a state which would fix the date of the murder as about September 8. So far this is practically the chief clue which the police have. The next is that the woman, in all probability, belonged to Pimlico, for it is in and around this district that the first and the last discoveries have been made. The condition of the remains found yesterday affords, however, but a slight clue to the complexion of the woman. The hair upon the arm pointed to a dark woman, but without a careful examination Dr. Bond was quite unable to say whether such was the case, with the blackened and highly decomposed human flesh which has just been submitted to him. No information has been received by the police, so far as can be ascertained, that would assist them in establishing the identity of the young woman, and this is generally believed to indicate that she must have been a member of that numerous class who have separated themselves from their friends owing to their mode of living.
A later report says that there is now no doubt that a terrible murder has been committed, as from the way in which the body has been treated it is impossible that it could have been spirited away from a dissecting room after having answered the purposes of lawful operation, and a more sickening spectacle then the remains present can scarcely be imagined. The head and neck have been severed at the juncture of the cervical and spinal vertebrae, the arms have been disarticulated at the shoulder joints, while not only are the legs missing, but the pelvis has been sawn clean through, exposing all the viscera, and it is believed that the organ referred to in Annie Chapman's case is also missing; but of course this cannot be definitely decided until the post mortem examination. There is an upward cut in the trunk from the womb, evidently inflicted by an unskilful hand. The remains, it is almost certain, were hidden in the building some time between Saturday evening and Tuesday morning.
The brutal manner in which the present victim has been dealt with suggests a callous and ferocious murderer as living and moving about the community. For weeks he must have kept the body concealed near either his office or apartments, waiting for favourable opportunities to make away with the body piecemeal. The smell must have attracted the notice of some one living or going about near the place, and only by the freest use of antiseptics could it have been prevented from attracting considerable attention.
Again, the murderer must have purchased the antiseptics and disinfectants in considerable quantity, and possibly some chemist may be able to supply the police with a clue. It is to be hoped that every effort will be made to drag the criminal to justice, and that in a few days the public may learn of the arrest of this new monster in human shape.
It has been ascertained that the bundle was first noticed in the vault on Monday morning first thing. The carpenter, Wildborn, went there for his tools, and supposed the remains to be something belonging to one of the workmen, and took no notice of them, but as they had not been removed on the following day, he called attention to the parcel, when it was opened by George Bugden with the results already known. It is, therefore, evident that it was placed in the vault between Saturday afternoon and Monday morning. As to how it was placed there, and by whom, there has been nothing yet discovered to show. The daring with which the man or men risked detection is considered only equalled by the audacity of the Whitechapel fiend. The body must have caused its possessor considerable difficulty in scrambling over the hoarding, and it is thought probable that he may have employed a cab to convey the remains of the unfortunate woman to or near the spot where it was found. If such was the case there is still a probability of a clue being obtained, but at present there is none. A minute search is being continued today on the works for any further portions of this unfortunate victim's body, which, it is thought, may have been secreted about the foundation. The well which has been sunk and filled for the use of the new establishment is to be drained. It is expected that the search will occupy several days.
The police are pursuing their inquiries as to the body found near the Embankment, on the site of the new police buildings yesterday afternoon, but nothing of a definite character has transpired with regard to its identity. Considerable excitement was caused at the site, this morning, shortly before 10 o'clock, through the crane on the top of the scaffolding falling over, without, however, doing injury to any one. This attracted a large crowd of people to the place, and the rumour was set abroad that other portions of the body had been discovered. The police were present in considerable numbers, and the excitement in the neighbourhood still continues.
From further information received, we learn that the driver of the engine of the crane which fell from the scaffolding in Cannon row, Westminster, had a marvellous escape, leaping from the engine as it was falling, and alighting on a platform. He sustained some serious bruises to his leg.
Some surprise has been expressed that the mutilated trunk of a woman was deposited behind a hoarding when it might so much easier have been dropped into the river. There must have been a reason for selecting the foundation of the building which is to become the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police. We do not suppose for a moment it was a grim sneer at the police as somebody suggested this morning. The humour of that is too remote. More probably the trunk was brought along in daylight or at early eve when the dropping of a heavy parcel into the Thames would have been followed by serious consequences in the way of detection.
One of the officials engaged at the works has made the following statement to a Press Association reporter: This morning about five minutes past ten o'clock as Inspector Marshall and several detectives and policemen were searching the vaults and surrounding premises in connection with the new police buildings, for the purpose of discovering any further clue to the mystery of last night, the men engaged on the building were unloading some ironwork from a van. The machinery had to be raised to the top of some scaffolding 60 or 70 feet by means of a two ton crane, capable of lifting 15 cwt. As the machinery was nearing the top the back stay of the crane broke and let the whole thing down. Three men were on the top with the engine, and as the mass began to give way they escaped a terrible fall of 70 feet by clutching the handrails. The driver jumped from the engine, and in doing so he hurt his leg, and was taken to the hospital, where it was found that his injuries were not very serious. We all heard the crashing of timber, and we saw the mass falling. It crashed through the concrete flooring into the vaults below. As the engine struck the floor the boiler burst with a loud report, and the boiling water was scattered in all directions. Fortunately no one was scalded. It was known to those on the works that the police officers were immediately underneath where the mass fell, and the greatest consternation prevailed, as it was fully expected that there would be many fatalities. We all called out as we saw the huge weight coming down, and every one below heard us except a policeman. He did not become alive to the danger till he saw the floor above him crashing in. He immediately jumped on one side, just escaping being crushed to death, the mass of machinery falling with 2ft. of him. The manager of the works, Mr. Brown, was so greatly overcome that medical aid had to be summoned. At the moment of leaving this gentleman had almost recovered from the shock. The work of searching for further parts of the body found last evening has been delayed, but will be proceeded with as soon as the debris have been taken away."
This morning, at seven o'clock, Dr. Bond and his assistant, Dr. Hibbert, were in attendance at the Millbank Mortuary to make an autopsy of the trunk. Their examination last over a couple of hours, and is now only adjourned. The trunk is meantime preserved in spirit.
The examination was necessarily limited in consequence of the advanced state of decomposition in which the trunk was found, but was nevertheless of a searching character.
Dr. Bond, who conducted the autopsy, declined to give any particulars as to the result before they had made their official report to the authorities, which would be immediately. He stated that it was intended to obtain the arm which was discovered in the Thames on September 11 from the Ebury street Mortuary, where it had been preserved, in order to discover, if possible, whether the arm is part of the same body which has been so terribly mutilated and distributed over the metropolis. The arm which was discovered at Lambeth that week is not considered to have any connection with the present case, but, notwithstanding, it will, it is stated, be taken to the Westminster Mortuary, together with the limb from Pimlico, and for the same purpose. This test had not yet been made, but will take place, it is expected, this afternoon. It has not yet been decided whether an inquest will be held, and this decision will probably depend upon the nature of the report of Dr. Bond, who was instructed by Mr. Troutbeck, to hold the post mortem examination. Dr. Bond gives it as his opinion that one will be held.
The mortuary is one only in name, for it comprises an untenanted shop and house at 20 Millbank street, about three hundred yards from the House of Lords.
Professor J. Wentley Axe, principal of the Royal Veterinary College, London, has favoured a representative of the Central News with his views upon the employment of bloodhounds in the detection of murderers. Professor Axe stated that no doubt a leash of bloodhounds might be a useful police auxiliary, but its successful employment would depend upon the efficient training of the dogs and the promptitude with which they were put upon the track. All dogs have a natural instinct for blood odours, but this instinct requires development by training, and in the case of the bloodhound it is necessary to make it an expert at the business.
The dog must in the first phase be familiarised with the odour of blood. The incriminating element of the murder, so far as the dog is concerned, would, of course, be the blood carried in the clothes or upon the boots of the murderer. It is, in fact, a condition precedent of the hunt that some of the blood of the victim should be upon the person of the fugitive. In the country, where the ground and atmosphere may remain undisturbed for a longer period, this system of pursuit would work fairly well. But, said Professor Axe, when you come to deal with the streets of large towns, the ground surface of which must necessarily be impregnated with a number of odours, I apprehend that this fact would materially operate against your success in tracking the murderer with bloodhounds.
The pavements of our own city, for instance, may possibly be stained with the blood of carcases such as sheep in transit, as well, indeed, as with human blood, the result of natural deposit. This would tend to confuse the scent which you desired to follow up unless it were very fresh and strong. Again, the air in large towns is always shifting, or may have been shifted by the ordinary traffic of the street, so that the odours left by the fugitive would not be suffered to abide long without obliteration. Hence, it comes to this, that if you resort to bloodhounds for the tracking of bloodstained fugitives, your dogs must be perfectly trained, must be experts at the business, and next, the condition of the ground must be favourable to the retention of the odour forming the clue. In large towns the latter presents a serious difficulty.
Last night, between nine and ten o'clock, a labouring man, giving the name of John Kelly, 55 Flower and Dean street - a common lodging house - entered the Bishopsgate street Police station, and stated that from what he had been reading in the newspapers he believed that the woman who had been murdered in Mitre square was "his wife." He was at once taken by Sergeant Miles to the mortuary in Golden lane, and there identified her as the woman, to whom he subsequently admitted he was not married, but with whom he had cohabited for seven years.
Kelly gave a full statement as to his own movements and those of the ill fated woman, as to whose identity he was quite positive. In this statement he was borne out by the deputy of the lodging house, Frederick Wilkinson, who knew the poor woman quite well, and who had just seen the body. Kelly, in answer to questions, stated that the last time he saw her - referring to her as "Kate" - was on Saturday afternoon. The last meal she had with him was a breakfast which had been obtained by the pledging of his boots for 2s 6d. Asked if he could explain how it was she was out so late on Saturday night, he replied that he could not say. He left her in the afternoon, believing that she would return to him at the lodging house in Flower and Dean street. He had told her to go and see her daughter, and try to get "the price of a bed for the night." "Who is her daughter?" he was asked, to which he replied, "A married woman. She is married to a gun maker, and they live somewhere in Bermondsey, in King street, I think it is called; but I never went there."
He was then asked if he knew the murdered woman's name, and if he could explain the meaning of the initials "T.C." on her arm. He at once replied that Thomas Conway was the name of her husband, but he could not state whether Conway was dead or alive, or how long, in the latter case, she had been living away from him. being asked why he had not made inquiries before relative to her absence on Saturday night and since, he replied that he thought she had got into some trouble and had been locked up, and he thought he had better wait. She was given to drinking. He had cautioned her not to stay out late at night on account of the previous murders. The reason which had induced him at length to call at the police station was his having read about pawn tickets being found near the murdered woman relating to pledges in the names of Kelly and Birrell. Further questioned on this point, he repeated the reference to the pledging of his boots with a pawnbroker named Jones, of Church street, and stated that the ticket for the other article (a flannel shirt), pledged in the name of Emily Birrell, had been given to them by the latter, who had been with them hopping, and who had slept in the same barn as them.
He further stated that he and the murdered woman were "both Londoners" and that the latter was born at Bermondsey. They had just returned from hopping at a place which he was understood to call Hunton, adding that it was about two miles from Coxheath in Kent. To the question how he obtained his living, he replied, "I job about the markets now." He added that he had worked pretty constantly for a fruit salesman named Lander for over 12 years. He and "Kate" had, he said, gone through many hardships together, but while she was with him he "would not let her do anything bad." He was asked if he knew whether the woman had any relatives besides the daughter mentioned, to which he replied that "Kate's" sister was living in Thrawl street, Spitalfields, with a man who sold farthing books in Liverpool street.
Wood Green inhabitants were intensely excited on Tuesday evening by the report that a postcard had been received at Barrett's sweetstuff factory (abutting upon Mayes road, Wood Green), signed "Jack the Ripper," and asserting that the writer intended to pay a visit to Wood Green and "do" for six of the girls employed at the factory. Some people suppose the postcard is the work of a practical joker; but many persons in the locality fear that it is a postcard from the actual murderer. Great consternation reigns in the neighbourhood of Wood Green, and already people talk of carrying deadly weapons to be prepared for a sudden attack.
There was nothing unusual about the appearance of the streets in Whitechapel and adjoining district last night, unless it be in the fact that there were fewer women parading the foot ways after a late hour. In the evening, from eight o'clock onwards, there was the usual busy current of foot passengers, some returning from work, others promenading for pleasure. In the course of the evening the rumour spread rapidly that another terrible murder had been committed, the body, too, being horribly mutilated. This caused the liveliest excitement, every one asking every one else, "Where was it?" The arrival of evening papers, however, had the effect of subduing the alarm, for on finding that, to use the common pronunciation of the pavement, the tragedy was "down Westminster way," the sting was taken out of the news, and when it was further learnt that there was really nothing to indicate that the Westminster affair was the work of the East end fiend, the matter hardly obtained any attention.
An enterprising show proprietor in the Mile end road displayed a highly coloured and sensational picture of a murderous tragedy which was introduced to the public as "The Murder in Berner street." This attracted the attention of vast crowds, many of whom evidently placed implicit reliance upon the accuracy of the representations.
As the evening wore on, and closing time for the "houses" came, the streets were more and more deserted, the "ladies of the pavement," most of them, withdrawing earlier than usual. One of those who stayed on till the small hours of the morning was asked, "Aren't you afraid to be out at this time of the morning?" She replied, "No." She said the murders were shocking. "But we have no place to go, so we're compelled to be out looking for our lodgings." Another woman, in reply to a similar question, said, "Afraid? No. I'm armed. Look here," and she drew a knife from her pocket. She further declared, "I'm not the only one armed. There's plenty more carry knives now."
The coffee stall keepers are grumbling that their trade has been much injured by the terror in the district, for although the condition of the thoroughfares is as usual up to "closing time," there is a great diminution in the number of their customers after midnight. Indeed, some of them say the trade they get is not worth coming out for.
There is no lack of constables in the streets. They are to be met everywhere. Detectives parade the alleys and courts in twos and threes. It is impossible to be many minutes out of their sight or hearing.
Shortly after four o'clock this morning, a man came up to a coffee stall in Commercial street, and as he drank a cup of coffee it was noticed that his hand was covered with blood. A constable was called, and examined the man, but the cause of the blood stain being obvious he was not detained in custody. The sight of blood upon any person or thing in the district just now is as the proverbial red rag to a bull.
An alarming rumour got abroad this morning that another atrocious murder had been committed in the East end - Bishopsgate street being the locality fixed upon. A representative of The Evening News at once made inquiries at the Bishopsgate Police station, but was informed by the sergeant in charge that nothing whatever had been heard there of the alleged crime. On driving to the Leman street police station he met with similarly negative results, as he did also at the Commercial street Police station. So that it may be safely assumed that there is no foundation for the report.
There is no doubt in the minds of the police that the man Kelly's identification of the woman murdered in Mitre square as Kate Conway is correct. In order that the matter may be fully cleared up, however, it has been deemed advisable to send the man Kelly, in company with Sergeant Outram and other officers, to find the victim's two daughters and her sister.
The Press Association's Bath correspondent telegraphs corroborating the statement of Mrs. Malcolm at the inquest yesterday, as to the history and habits of the woman Elizabeth Watts. She married about 27 or 28 years ago, William Watts, son of a wine merchant in Bath, her husband, being then only about 20 years of age. She was a servant at his father's house. They only lived together two years, when the deceased left her husband, who went to America, but he returned from that country four years ago.
This morning, at the Guildhall Police court, before Mr. Alderman Stone, William Bull, describing himself as a medical student, of the London Hospital, and giving an address at Stannard road, Dalston, was placed in the dock, charged, on his own admission, with having committed the Aldgate murder. The prisoner appeared to have been drinking heavily.
Inspector Izzard said: Last night, at twenty minutes to eleven, the prisoner came into the room at Bishopsgate street Station and made the following statement, which I took down after cautioning him. He said: "My name is William Bull, and I live at Dalston. I am a medical student at the London Hospital, and I wish to give myself up for the murder in Aldgate. On Saturday night, or Sunday morning, about two o'clock, I think, I met the woman in Aldgate. I went with her up a narrow street not far from the main road, for an immoral purpose. I promised to give her half a crown, which I did. While walking along together there was a second man who came up and took the half crown from her. I cannot endure this any longer. My poor head! (He put his hands to his head and cried, or pretended to cry.) I shall go mad. I have done it, and I must up with it." The inspector asked what had become of the clothes he had on when the murder was committed. The prisoner said, "If you wish to know, they are in the Lea, and the knife I threw away." At this point the prisoner declined to say any more. He was drunk, and apparently had been drinking heavily. Part of the statement was made in the presence of Major Smith. The prisoner gave a correct address, but is not known at the London Hospital. His parents are very respectable, and the prisoner has been out of employ. The inspector asked for a few days to make inquiries.
The prisoner, in answer to the Alderman, said he was mad drunk when he made the statement. As for the murder to have been committed by him it was impossible. Inspector Izzard said that when searched the prisoner had on him a very small knife, a halfpenny, and a wheel from a watch.
Prisoner was remanded, the Alderman refusing to grant bail.
At Marlborough street Police court, today, Julia Thompson, 27, a respectably dressed woman, described as a tailoress, of Tottenham Court road, was charged with behaving in a disorderly manner in Rathbone place, Oxford street.
Constable Bennett, 413D, said that about a quarter past one, yesterday morning, he heard the prisoner and a man having some conversation about the Whitechapel murders. They shouted and created a great disturbance. He advised them to go away, which the man did, but the woman said she was not a street walker, and he had no right to interfere with her. She shouted and hollered. She would not go away, so he took her into custody.
In reply to the magistrate, the prisoner denied that she in any way interfered with the policeman, or did anything wrong. It was true that a man spoke to her about the Whitechapel murders, and she remarked that "the murderer might be here," but neither did nor said anything to call for the interference of the police.
Frederick Henderson, a journalist, said that as he was passing Rathbone place he noticed the policeman standing at the corner, and he caught the words "Whitechapel murders." He heard the woman call a man a dirty beast, and then the constable told them to go away, which the man did. The officer walked along a short distance, when he turned back, ordered the woman to go away, seized her by the shoulders, kicked her with his knee, and remarked, "Now will you go away?"
She turned around and said, "Why do you treat me like that?" Witness remonstrated with the constable and followed to the station, the officer informing him that if he did not shut up he would assault him also.
The constable recalled, in reply to the magistrate, said that the affair had been in progress ten minutes before the arrival of Mr. Henderson, and there was no one present but himself and the man he had referred to. At the station Mr. Henderson accused him before the inspector of having kicked the woman, and when he (the constable) suggested that a doctor should be sent for to examine her, Mr. Henderson said that he kicked her with his knee.
Mr. newton (to the prisoner): It was very foolish of you not to go away.
The Prisoner: Yes, I know, but he would not let me go either way.
Mr. Newton: yes, but according to the witness the constable told you to go away, and you did not do so. Go away now.