1 October 1888
The East-end of London was yesterday again much excited by the discovery of two more revolting murders. About one o'clock in the morning, the body of a woman, with her throat cut, was found in a yard belonging to a work-men's club, in Berner-street, and an hour later another woman was found murdered in a corner of Mitre-square, Aldgate. In the latter case, the body was also mutilated, and as this was not the case with the woman found in Berner-street, it is supposed that the murderer was disturbed before completely his dreadful intentions, and that then he proceeded towards the City and committed the second crime. The body of the woman found in Berner-street has been identified as that of ELIZABETH STRIDE. It is reported that an arrest on suspicion was made last night in Southwark.
The painful impression created by the shocking Murders in the East-end has hardly had time to lose anything of its intensity, before the country is again startled by the announcement of two fresh revolting outrages in the same locality. For this time two victims have been required in a single night to slake what appears to be an absolutely demoniacal thirst for blood. It is not, of course, proved that the woman found dead in Berner-street on Sunday morning at one o'clock, and the woman found dead an mutilated in Mitre-square three-quarters of an hour later, were killed by one hand; or that the same human fiend was also responsible for the atrocities in Buck's-row, in Hanbury-street, and for that near the London Hospital. But everything tends to support the theory, and, looking at all the circumstances, it is the only credible hypothesis. The outrages have, in all cases, been perpetrated upon women, and women, so far as can be ascertained, of a particular class: and they have been effected in each instance with a swiftness, a dexterity, a noiselessness, and, we might almost say, a scientific skill, which are, surely, very rare accomplishments in the class from which murderers are commonly drawn. Yet, if we can assume (as it seems to us we must assume) and that these five atrocious crimes, or, at any rate, four of them, had a common origin, we are thunderstruck at the mixture of coolness, cunning, and almost superhuman audacity with which they were achieved. We must suppose that the assassin has the hardihood to emerge from his concealment to commit a fresh murder, within a short distance of the scenes of his former diabolical exploits, and to do this at the very time when an army of policemen, and, indeed, a whole population, are on the look out for him. But that is not all. We must believe that, having killed the poor woman found in Berner-street, and being disturbed in his ghastly business, he then walked out into the Whitechapel-road, found another victim, enticed her into Mitre-square, and then and there, without the loss of a needless second, went through his horrible task of mutilation and murder. In fact at the precise moment the police were gathering about the one place of slaughter, another and more horrible shambles was being provided for their inspection scarcely half a mile away. What comes out most strongly in connection with this series of horrors, is the marvellous celerity with which the murderer works. The exact time occupied over the Hanbury-street butchery was a matter of dispute; but in the Mitre-square case there can hardly be any doubt at all. At half-past one a constable patrolled the Square, and saw nothing; at a quarter to two he came upon the body. The murder, and the further outrages, which are partially described (so far as it is possible to describe them) elsewhere, must have been done during that brief interval. What is more, both of yesterday morning's crimes must have been committed within earshot of persons whose attention would have been attracted by the slightest sign of a scuffle or a struggle. There were two watchmen in the houses in Mitre-square, one of whom at least was known to have been awake and on the alert, and who affirms that he usually heard every passing footstep. But not the faintest sound reached him. Silently, swiftly, and remorselessly, the murderer performed operations which a practises surgeon, working with all the appliances about him, could have hardly have affected in the time; and then, as usual, disappeared, leaving not a shred of evidence behind by which he could be traced. Policemen were swarming upon the scene within a few minutes of the discovery, and, son after, a regular cordon was drawn round the neighbourhood; but, up to the present, there is no indication of any clue. The murder is as mysterious as those which have gone before it.
We do not wonder that these unparalleled events have created wide-spread consternation; but we may hope that they will not lead to one of those panics which are always mischievous, and, in a case like this, may be peculiarly dangerous. The only thing to be done is for the public to assist the authorities by preserving their composure, and declining to be led into a frenzy of fear or an epidemic of unfounded suspicion. Otherwise, it is likely enough that, while nothing will be accomplished towards facilitating the capture of the real criminal, innocent people may be placed in peril by the action of an ignorant and infuriated mob. Those who it in their power to influence public opinion would do well to exercise discretion in giving their own hastily-formed deductions to the world, and, still more, in denouncing, on the faith of evidence which a little examination would show to be altogether worthless, particular individuals who may be as guiltless as themselves. Nor need we make these incidents worse by drawing baseless and exaggerated inferences from them. Terrible as they are, they do not show either that society is rotten to the core, or that human life is less safe in the centre of London than it is in the wilds of Texas. We are not all liable to be hacked to pieces in the streets, or murdered in our beds, because some diabolical maniac can decoy the outcasts of the pavement into dark corners and kill them there. Still less is there any justification for the senseless attacks that have been made on the police. Because they have not yet been able to lay their hands upon this fiendish criminal, it does not at all follow that Scotland-yard is utterly incapable and corrupt. Th unprecedented difficulties which the police have had to encounter in their search for this wretch ought not to be forgotten. He has, so far, left them nothing to go upon. There is not a weapon, not a button, not a fragment of clothing, not a footprint, to help them. The slayer of these poor women has been seen by no one. His sanguinary work is done almost in a moment and he vanishes without leaving a trace. At present it is said that every spot in this quarter of the town is visited by the police patrols once in twelve minutes; but, short as are these "beats," it is clear that they allow margin sufficient for the commission of the most revolting crimes. A policeman cannot be everywhere at once; and if the instant he turns his back it is possible for a woman to be killed and cut to pieces on the spot from which the echoes of his footsteps have hardly died away, it must be admitted that both prevention and detection present difficulties of no ordinary character.
At the same time, we trust that these difficulties will not prove insurmountable. If calling into play every resource known to science and civilisation, if patience, energy, and lavish expenditure can accomplish it, the task of catching the Whitechapel murderer must be accomplished. It is impossible to reconcile ourselves to the alternative that this wholesale assassin is to go unpunished, much less that he is to be permitted to continue his atrocities. The numbers of the Metropolitan Police force are none too large, but it is clear that, considerable as the contingent which has been drafted to the Whitechapel district, it stands in need of further reinforcement. The "beats," short as they are, must be still further reduced, and the constables throughout the whole locality must be in touch with one another every few minutes. The last two murders have, at any rate, served to narrow and concentrate the scope of the detective activity. It was probable before, and it is now nearly certain, that the person so eagerly sought for is a resident in a particular quarter of the East-end, or, at any rate, an habitué there. He must have a haunt somewhere near the western portion of the Whitechapel-road, from which he issues before the commission of one of his crimes, and to which he retires swiftly after the deed is done. The murders, it must be recollected, have been peculiarly local in their character. A square of one mile, at the outside, would include the whole five we have mentioned, and the sites of the last four cluster even more closely together in a circle, the centre of which may be placed somewhere near Whitechapel Church. Considering the rapidity with which the police cordon was drawn round the suspected region yesterday morning, it can hardly be doubted that the murderer must have secreted himself in some place of refuge within a few minutes of the revelation of his night's handiwork. It seems pretty clear that he lives in a particular and well-defined district, which, though densely inhabited, and frequented by a shifting and miscellaneous population, is not too large to be permeated through and through by the agents of the law. Nor is this all. It is, as we have already said, evident that the assassin, whether he is the sordid scoundrel he is represented in Dr. WYNNE BAXTER'S fanciful theory, or whether he is the homicidal madman painted by the popular imagination, is a person of singular skill and dexterity in the use of the knife. The silence, the speed, and the unerring certainty of hi operations speak for themselves. He is no novice in the dissection of the human or the animal body. Finally, it is established that he seeks the subjects of his monstrous frenzy in the women of one class, and that he mutilates them when dead in one way. Here are some indications which, to medical and police experts, are not without value. Such as they are, at any rate, they must be followed up this a pertinacity which we refuse to believe will fail of success in the end. Cunning as the murderer is, with perhaps the incalculable cunning of mania, he is, after all, only one man against thousands. There never was a case which demanded more energy, more untiring activity, and more fertility of resource on the part of the police authorities, and we find it difficult to believe that they will not prove themselves equal to the call.
ONE VICTIM IDENTIFIED
The alarm excited by the recent murders in Whitechapel was yesterday revived and intensified by the discovery of two more murders, similar in their shocking details, which had been committed early that morning nearly in the same locality, and it is assumed by the same hand. The first occurred in Berner-street, Commercial-road, and the second, and by far the most horrible, owing to the mutilation to which the body was subjected, in Mitre-square, situate on the west side of Houndsditch, midway between Bishopgate Within and Aldgate. In the former case, a woman, with her throat gashed and torn, was discovered in the back yard of 40, Berner-street, a short distance from Hanbury-street - the scene of the murder of Annie Chapman. The premises are occupied by the International Working Men's Club. The Steward of the Club (Lewis Diemshitz), on coming home early yesterday morning, found the body of a woman lying in a corner of the yard. Having communicated with the police on duty, further assistance was sought from Leman-street Station, and the aid of Dr. Phillips, the divisional surgeon, was requested. A cursory investigation served to determine the cause of death, and the body was removed to the mortuary. Although in this case there was not the mutilation which was perpetrated upon the second victim, discovered an hour later in Mitre-square, reasons exist for believing that the murderer was disturbed, and his designs frustrated.
The murder in Mitre-square is similar in its brutality to that of Annie Chapman. The victim was an unfortunate woman, so poor that robbery could not possibly be suggested as a motive. The scene of the crime - Mitre-square, Aldgate - is an essentially business place during the day, but during the night it may be described as secluded. The main approach is from Mitre-street, running direct from Aldgate, while the square may also be entered by a narrow court, called Church-passage, Duke-street, adjoining the Great Synagogue on the one side, and from another passage of a similar description in St. James's-place on the other side. The square in dimensions is very small; but it contains several blocks of buildings, the most prominent being those of Messrs. Horner and Co., chemists and druggists, and Messrs. Kearley and Tonge, tea merchants. The arrangements of the City Police at this point, and perhaps, owing to the late murders, are said to be very precise, and the circuit of the beat would not extend over eleven minutes. In addition to this, the men were in close touch with each other, and thereby able to have ready communication.
On this occasion the officer on duty was Police-constable Watkins, 145. At half past one o'clock Watkins handed a can of tea to the watchman at Messrs. Kearley's named Geo. Jas. Morris, a naval pensioner, telling him to make it hot in ten minutes' time, when he would be round again. Having made the circuit of the square Watkins left, paraded his beat, and returned at a quarter to two. On entering the square by Mitre-street, he observed by the flickering light of the street lamp, something lying in the south-west corner close to a hoarding, seven or eight feet high, running at the back of Messrs. Taylor and Co., picture frame makers, 8 and 9, Mitre-street. Getting closer to the object, he saw it was a woman, and at once shouted to the watchman to come over. The man immediately came, and, seeing how matters stood, without hesitation made his way to the main thoroughfare, freely blowing a constable's whistle on the route. In a few minutes a large number of police and others were on the spot, in addition to a constable named Pearce, a caretaker at a building about twenty-five yards from the scene of the crime. As the word passed along the Lane, officers from different routes came hurrying up; but early intimation having been conveyed to Bishopsgate Police-station, Chief Superintendent Major Smith, Superintendent Foster, Inspector M'Williams and Inspector Collard immediately organised a "scouting" brigade, to detect and arrest any suspicious looking character. The efforts of the men, however, were unsuccessful.
In the meantime, Dr. Sequeira, of 34, Jewry-street, Aldgate, and Dr. Gordon Brown, divisional surgeon, of North-buildings, Eldon-street, Finsbury-circus, were summoned, and made an examination of the body. The sight was a most shocking one. The woman's throat had been cut from the left side, the knife severing the main artery and parts of the neck. Blood had flowed freely, both from the neck and body, on to the pavement. Apparently, the weapon had been thrust into the upper part of the abdomen and cut completely down, ripping open the body, and in addition, both thighs had been cut across. The intestines had been torn from the body, and some of them lodged in the wound on the right side of the neck. The woman was lying on her back, with her head to the south-west corner, and her feet towards the carriage way, her clothes being thrown up to her chest. Both hands were outstretched by her side. Near where she was lying two or three buttons were picked up and a small cardboard box containing two pawntickets. The supposition is that her pockets were hastily turned out, either for robbery or to evade suspicion as to the motive for the crime. Dr. Brown having taken a pencil sketch of the exact position in which the body was found, at three o'clock it was removed to the City mortuary, Golden-lane, to await a Coroner's inquest.
Morris, the night watchman, in the course of an interview, said:- "About a quarter to two o'clock the policeman upon the beat came and knocked at the door of the warehouse. I answered. He said, 'For God's sake, man, come out and assist me; another woman has been ripped open.' I said 'All right, keep yourself cool while I light a lamp.' Having done so, he led me to the south-west corner, where I saw a woman lying stretched upon the pavement, with her throat cut, and horribly mutilated. I then left the constable, Watkins, with the body, while I went into Aldgate and blew my whistle, and other police-officers soon made their appearance. The whole shape of the woman was marked out in blood upon the pavement. In addition to her throat being cut, there were two slashes across the face, one almost completely severing the nose. The woman was so mutilated about the face I could not say what she was like. She wore a dark skirt and a black bonnet. Altogether her appearance was exceedingly shabby. The strangest part of the whole thing is that I heard no sound. As a rule, I can hear the footstep of the policeman as he passes by every quarter of an hour, so the woman could not have uttered any sound without my detecting it."
The following is the description of the deceased issued by the police authorities with a view to identification:- "Age about 40, no rings on fingers, black cloth jacket, three large metal buttons down the front, brown bodice, dark green chintz dress, with Michaelmas daisies, golden lily pattern; three flounces, dark linsey skirt, thin white skirt, white chemise, brown ribbed stockings, feet mended with white material, a large white neckerchief round neck, pair of men's old lace-up boots. Tattoo marks on right forearm, 'T.C.,' the whole of the clothing being very old. She wore also a black straw bonnet, trimmed with black beads." It may be remarked that the police rely principally on the tattoo marks as a means of identification.
There can be doubt of the similarity in this case to the murders of Nichols and Chapman; but the mystery is somewhat greater, owing to the extraordinary rapidity with which the crimes must have been carried out, and the easy manner in which the murderer appears to have eluded the police. Abundant testimony is forthcoming that the spot was not neglected by the police officials, both in the way of plain clothes and uniform men. Yesterday, however, a further augmentation was made in numbers, and the entrances to the square were entirely blocked.
The body of the woman found in Mitre-square has not been identified. For several hours yesterday, Detective Serjeant Outram, accompanied by another officer, was engaged in making inquiries in the lodging-houses in and around Spitalfields, his object being principally to trace the antecedents of the victim. The pawnbroker's duplicates found near the body bear the dates 31st August and the 28th September. The names given on the tickets were Emily Burrell and Jane Kelly, and the addresses, Dorset-street and White's-row, Whitechapel, both being fictitious. Yesterday afternoon Serjeant Outram accompanied two women and a man from a lodging-house in Spitalfields to the mortuary, one of the former stating her belief that the victim was a Mrs. Kelly. After carefully scrutinising the features for some time, however, they were unable to give a decided opinion on the matter. It may be mentioned that the tattoo marks on the arm are slightly obscured from view unless the arm is almost fully exposed; and further, that the nose and face are hacked about to such an extent as to render recognition almost impossible.
The post-mortem examination of the woman found in Mitre-square was made yesterday afternoon at the City mortuary, Golden-lane. The proceedings lasted from 2.30 until six o'clock. Dr. Brown, of 17, Finsbury-circus, surgeon to the City Police force, conducted the operations, and was assisted by Dr. Sequeira of 34, Jewry-street, and Dr. G. B. Phillips, of 2, Spital-square. Dr. Sedgwick Saunders was also present. The doctors decline to say whether any portion of the body is missing, or to give any information until the inquest is held. This will probably be tomorrow, at the mortuary in Golden-lane. During the day the police thoroughly searched the empty houses in Mitre-street, and the yard where the body was found, and took up a grating near the spot where the woman was found. Nothing, however, in the shape of a weapon was found, nor did the investigation lead to anything likely to throw light upon the matter. The public were not admitted to the square until the late afternoon, after an official plan of the square had been made for production at the inquest.
Mr. Foster, the Superintendent of the City Police, upon being called upon last night, expressed his willingness to afford any information it would be safe to publish. Shortly before three o'clock yesterday morning, he said, he was called up by a report that a terrible murder had been committed just inside the City boundary on the eastern side. Measures had already been take to detect, if possible, the murderer, and these he supplemented by sending out a force of detectives and uniform men. He stated the Police-constable Watkins, who is an old and steady and careful officer, was on night duty in the neighbourhood of Houndsditch, Mitre-square being part of his beat. At half-past one he passed through the square, and looked well round; but the space seemed to be positively empty. The square if well lighted with two lamps, but the corner in which the woman was found is overshadowed by two empty houses; but still the officer feels certain there was nothing in the corner at that time. It is part of his duty to look into this corner, and he is certain he did look in. A quarter of an hour later he again passed through the square, and then was horrified to see a woman, with her throat fearfully gashed, lying there in a pool of blood. On turning his light full on, he further found that she had been disembowelled. Parts of the viscera were lying on the pavement, and another portion was twisted round her throat. He blew his whistle, and, in a few seconds, other officers came running up, and medical aid was summoned; but the woman was, of course, quite dead. Two sides of the square are formed by the extensive warehouses of Messrs. Kearley and Tonge, and Superintendent Foster says the watchman who was on duty in these buildings avers that the square was very quiet at the time, and he did not hear the slightest sound of anything unusual. Near the scene of the murder there is also a night fire-station, and the several men who were on duty also state that they heard nothing to attract their attention. A number of persons living within a few yards have also been questioned, with a similar result, and they further say they saw nothing of a man and a woman about the place. The Superintendent further said that Constable Watkins is a most reliable man, and is, no doubt, correct about the time. Asked whether it was possible for the woman to have been murdered somewhere else, and then carried to the corner, Mr. Foster says he is convinced in his own mind that the foul deed was committed on the spot where the woman was found. The blood was all in one place, and the body could not have been carried about without leaving a trail of blood behind. Her head was lying within a few inches of the wall. He leans to the view that the murderer must have carried marks of the crime away with him. From an inspection of the body he feels sure that the murderer must have carried out the crime in a very short time; that he must have gone about it in a most determined manner, but yet with perfect coolness, and, having completed his work, walked quietly away. The cuts are very clean, but have been inflicted with a very sharp weapon, and with great force. The Superintendent adds that the closest search was made for a clue, but the result was that absolutely nothing was discovered.
In connection with the Berner-street murder, Dr. Blackwell says - "At about ten minutes past one I was called to 40, Berner-street by a policeman, where I found a woman who had been murdered. Her head had been almost severed from her body. She could not have been dead more than twenty minutes, the body being perfectly warm. The woman did not appear a Jewess, but more like an Irishwoman. I roughly examined her, and found no other injuries, but this I cannot definitely state until I have made a further investigation of the body. She had on a black velvet jacket and black dress of different material. In her hand she held a box of cachous, whilst pinned in her dress was a flower. Altogether, judging from her appearance, I should say she belonged to the immoral class; at least, her general get up would lead me to suppose that. I have no doubt the same man committed both these murders, and should say he is a mania, but one, at least, who is accustomed to use a heavy knife. I should say that, as the woman had held the sweets in her left hand, her head was dragged back by means of a silk handkerchief she wore round her neck, and her throat was then cut. One of her hands, too, was smeared with blood, so she may have used this in her rapid struggle. I have no doubt that, the woman's windpipe being completely cu through, she was unable to make any sound. I might say it does not follow that the murderer would be bespattered with blood, for, as he is sufficiently cunning in other things he could contrive to avoid coming in contact with the blood by reaching well forward."
Lewis Diemshitz, a Russian Jew, the steward of the International Working Men's Club, in the yard of which the murder was committed, made the following statement:- "I have been steward of this Club for six or seven years, and I live on the premises. It has been my habit, for some time past, to go on Saturdays to Westow-hill, Crystal Palace, where there is a market, at which I sell my wares. This morning I got back from Westow market, as usual, about one o'clock. I drove up to the gate of the Club-house in my little cart, drawn by a pony, after being all day at the market. When I was passing through the double gates into the yard, I saw something on the ground, and struck a match. Then I saw that there was a woman lying there. At that time I took no further notice, and did not know if she was drunk or dead. I ran indoors, and told some of the members of the Club that something had happened in the yard. One of the members, who is known as Isaacs, went out with me. We struck a match, and saw blood running from the gate all the way down to the side door of the Club. We had the police sent for at once, but I believe it was several minutes before a constable could be found. There was another of the Club, named Eagle, who also ran out to get a policeman. He went in a different direction to the others, and found two officers somewhere in Commercial-road. One of them was 252H. An officer blew his whistle, and several more policemen came. One of them was sent for a doctor. Dr. Phillips. The police surgeon, of Spital-square, and Dr. Kaye, of Blackwall, both came. The police afterwards took the names of all the members of the Club, and they say that all of us have to give evidence about it. It was about five o'clock before the officers left us." Being asked to describe the body, Diemshitz said, "I should think the woman was about 27 or 28 years old. It seemed to me that her clothes were in perfect order. I could see that her throat was fearfully cut. There was a great gash in it over two inches wide. She had dark clothes on, and wore a black crape bonnet. Her hands were clenched, and when the doctor opened them I saw that she had been holding grapes in one hand and sweetmeats in the other. I could not say whether she was an unfortunate, but if she was I should judge her to be rather better class than the women we usually see about this neighbourhood. I do not think anybody in this district, and certainly none of our members, had ever seen her before. When I first saw the woman she was lying on her left side. Her left hand was on the ground, and the right was crossed over the breast. Her head was down the yard, and her feet towards the entrance, not more than about a yard or so inside the gates. I keep my pony and trap in Cable-street, but I went down to the Club first to deposit my goods there."
Morris Eagle, also a Russian Jew, said:- "I frequent this Club, and I was passing into it at twenty minutes to one this morning, just twenty minutes to one this morning, just twenty minutes before the body was discovered. I had been there earlier in the evening, but left about twelve o'clock to take home my young lady. When I returned I came along by the small streets in this district but noticed nothing unusual. There were a number of men and women about, as there always are about that time, but I saw nothing suspicious. When I got back to the club in Berner-street the front door was closed, and so I passed through the gate on the left-hand side of the house, to get in by the side door. I went over the same ground as Diemshitz did later on, but I saw nothing on the ground. The gates were thrown wide back - in fact, it is very seldom they are closed. It is customary for members of the Club to go in by the wide door, to prevent knocking at the front. There is no light in the yard, but of course there are lamps in the street. After I got into the club there was some singing, and after I had been in twenty minutes a man come in, and said something about a woman being in the yard."
A young Russian Pole, named Isaac M. Kosebrodski, born in Warsaw, gave the following information:- "I was in the Club last night. I came in about half-past six in the evening, and I have not been away from it since. About twenty minutes to one this morning Mr. Diemshitz called me out to the yard. He told me there was something in yard, and told me to come and see what it was. When we had got outside he struck a match, and when we looked down on the ground we could see a long stream of blood. It was running down the gutter from the direction of the gate, and it reached to the back door of the Club. I should think there was blood in the gutter for a distance of about five or six yards. I went to look for a policeman, at the request of Diemshitz, or some member of the Club; but I took the direction towards Grove-street, and could not find one. I afterwards went into the Commercial-road, along with Eagle, and found tow officers. I saw a little bunch of flowers stuck above her right bosom."
Joseph Lave, an American living temporarily at the club, said - "I was in the Club yard this morning about twenty minutes to one. I came out first at half-past twelve to get a breath of fresh air. I passed out into the street, but did not see anything unusual. The district appeared to me to be quiet. I remained out until twenty minutes to one, and during that time no one came into the yard. I should have seen any body moving about there."
Abraham Heshburg, living at 28, Berner-street, said:- "I was one of those who first saw the murdered woman. It was about a quarter to one o'clock, I should think, when I heard a policeman's whistle blown, and came down to see what was the matter. In the gateway, two or three people had collected, and when I got there I saw a short, dark young woman lying on the ground, with a gash between four and five inches long in her throat. I should think she was from twenty-five to twenty-eight years of age. Her head was towards the north wall. She had a black dress on, with a bunch of flowers pinned on the breast. In her hand there a little piece of paper, containing five or six cachous. The body was not found by Koster, but by a man whose name who a do not know - a man who goes out with a pony and barrow, and lives up the archway, where he was going, I believe, to put up his barrow on coming home from market. He thought it was his wife at first, but when he found her safe at home he got a candle and found this woman. He never touched it till the doctors had been sent for. The little gate is always open, or, at all events, always unfastened."
The house which adjoins the yard on the south side, No. 38, is tenanted by Barnett Kentorrich, who, interrogated as to whether he had heard any disturbance during the night, said:- "I went to bed early, and slept till about three o'clock, during which time I heard no unusual sound of any description. At three o'clock some people were talking loudly outside my door, so I went out to see what was the matter, and learned that a woman had been murdered. I did not stay out long, though, and know nothing more about it. I do not think the yard bears a very good character at night, but I do not interfere with any of the people about here. I know that the gate is not kept fastened."
Mrs. Mortimer, living at 36, Berner-street, four doors from the scene of the murder says:- "I was standing at the door of my house nearly the whole time between hlf-past twelve and one o'clock on Sunday morning, and did not notice anything unusual. I had just gone indoors, when I heard a commotion outside, and immediately ran out, thinking there was another row at the Socialists' Club, close by. I went to see what was the matter, and was informed that another murder had been committed in the yard adjoining the Club-house, and, on going inside, I saw the body of a woman lying bundled up just inside the gates, with her throat cut from ear to ear. A man touched her face, and said it was quite warm, so that the deed must have been done while I was standing at the door of my house. There was certainly no noise made, and I did not observe anyone enter the gates. It was just after one o'clock when I went out, and the only man whom I had seen pass through the street previously was a young man, carrying a shiny bag, who walked very fast down the street from the Commercial-road. He looked up at the Club, and then went round the corner by the Board School. I was told that the manager or steward of the Club had discovered the woman on his return home in his pony cart. He drove through the gates, and my opinion is that he interrupted the murderer who must have made his escape immediately under cover of the cart. If a man had come out of the yard before one o'clock I must have seen him. It was almost incredible to me that the thing could have been done without the steward's wife hearing a noise, for she was sitting in the kitchen from which a window opens four yards from the spot where the woman was found. The body was lying slightly on one side, with the legs a little drawn up as if in pain, the clothes being slightly disarranged, so that the legs were partly visible."
Charles Letchford, living at 30, Berner-street, says:- "I passed through the street at half-past twelve, and everything seemed to me to be going on as usual, and my sister was standing at the door at ten minutes to one, but did not see anyone pass by. I heard the commotion when the body was found, and heard the policemen's whistles, but did not take any notice of the matter, as disturbances are very frequent at the Club, and I thought it was only another row."
The yard in which the body was found is about ten feet wide. The width is continued for a distance of eight or ten yards, at which point there occurs on the left-hand side, a small row of houses, which are set back a little, so that the width is increased by two feet or more. The extreme length of the court is 30 yards, and it terminates in a workshop. The spot where the murder was committed, therefore, is overlooked on three sides, and as the gates were open on Saturday night any casual pedestrian might easily have seen the commission of the crime. The windows of the Club-room are within ten feet of the spot, while the cottages stand almost opposite, and command a complete view of it. None of the occupants of these houses, however, heard any noise on Saturday night, or on Sunday morning. The persons living in the yard are tailors and cigarette makes, and they are in the habit of retiring very early. None of them saw or heard anything suspicious. The Club is occupied by what is known as the National Workmen's Educational Society, and is affiliated to the Socialist League, of which it is a foreign branch. Its members seem to be largely composed of Russian Jews, and Jews of other nationalities also, find a welcome there. Many of them live on the premises, which, however, are not extensive. At the back there is a hall, and here, on Saturday nights, the members gather for the purpose of debate and amusement. After it had terminated there was a concert, and the noise of the singing would have drowned any cry by woman who was murdered in the yard beneath. Berner-street is a very notorious part of Whitechapel. It is close to a district which was formerly known as Tigers Bay, because of the bad character of the persons who frequented it. A few yards distant is the house wherein Lipski murdered Miriam Angel. During the course of yesterday thousands of persons congregated in the vicinity of the scene of the crime, and it was with the greatest difficulty that the police could keep the street clear. The bulk of the residents are Jews.
The body of the murdered woman, which now lies in St. George's Mortuary, presents a dreadful spectacle. The knife or other implement with which the deed was committed must have been of large size, and the wound is so wide that there is room for the supposition that after the blade had been inserted it was partially turned, and then drawn with great force from left to right. There are two severe contusions on the head, but, with the exception of the injuries mentioned, the body showed no signs of ill-usage. The woman has the appearance of an unfortunate, but not one of the worst class. Her black curly hair had been well combed and tied up, her under-clothing was clean, and her two petticoats and black dress tidy although old. She had on a black alpaca dress, a black jacket trimmed with fur, an old velveteen bodice, once black but now brown, and a crape bonnet, some spare space in which had been filled up by a newspaper, white stockings, white stays, and side spring boots. The bodice of the woman was open, exposing her chest, and the theory built up on this circumstance is that the assassin was intending to mutilate her, when he was interrupted. In the pockets were found two handkerchiefs, a thimble, and a skein of black worsted. There were no rings on the fingers. The height of the deceased is about five feet five inches. In her jacket was pinned a small bunch of roses and ferns. Her hair was matted with wet dirt, showing that a struggle had taken place on the ground. It is not believed, however, that the woman was in a recumbent position when attacked, the theory being that her murderer was standing with his left arm around her neck and that, while so placed, he drew his knife and inflicted a mortal wound. The position of the body when found favours this view, inasmuch as no attempt had been made to disarrange the clothing, and the woman was lying in an almost natural attitude, with her head towards the bottom of the yard at 40, Berner-street, and the legs towards the gates.
After the police authorities had been notified of the murder, the case was given into the hands of Chief Inspector Swanson and Inspector Abberline, of Scotland-yard. In the first instance, the police turned their attention to the Working Men's Club. The doors were guarded, and nor person was allowed to egress. After the body had been removed to St. George's Mortuary, the detectives entered the Club, and made a careful examination of the inmates. Their pockets were searched, their hands and clothing particularly scrutinised, and some of them allege that they were made to take off their boots. All knives had to be produced, and each man had to give an account of himself before he was allowed to depart. The police found nothing suspicious in the Club or upon its members, and in the late morning surveillance was withdrawn. Some of the neighbours were also subjected to investigation, but no clue was found. In the course of yesterday, Sir Charles Warren, chief Commissioner of Police, visited the scene of the murder. A large number of women were yesterday allowed to visit the mortuary with a view to identification. Several of them professed to recognise the deceased, but were unable to state her name or address.
The following is a description of a man stated to have been seen in company with the woman murdered in Berner-street, and for whom the police are looking:- "Age 28, height 5ft. 8in. complexion dark, no whiskers, black diagonal coat, hard felt hat, collar and tie; carried a newspaper parcel; was of respectable appearance."
The police believe that the murderer commenced operations in Berner-street. Here the crime was committed as nearly as possible at one o'clock, and it is probable that the man was proceeding to the commission of further outrage when he was disturbed by the by the arrival of Diemshitz, the steward of the Club, who drove into the yard. Having failed in his purpose, it is assumes that he went towards the City, and on reaching Mitre-square, committed the second murder. Some of the inhabitants of the district have started the theory that, in the case of the murder in Mitre-square, the woman was first chloroformed. The supposition is not sustained by any evidence, and probably is promulgated merely as an explanation of the silence in which the deed was perpetrated. Mr. Wynne Baxter, the Coroner for East Middlesex, has fixed the inquest on the woman murdered in Berner-street for this morning at eleven o'clock at the Vestry Hall, St. George's.
Mitre-square is a thoroughfare leading out of Aldgate, and so comes under the surveillance of the City authorities, who are now for the first time actively interested in the East-end murders. Berner-street is within a stone's throw of Hanbury-street, where the woman Annie Chapman was recently murdered, and adjacent also to Buck's-row, where Mary Ann Nicholls met her death, and to Osborne-street wherein another woman was mutilated. It lies to the right of Commercial-road, going east, and is about eight minutes' walk from Mitre-square. Therefore, it is seen that the murderer has confined his operations to a very small radius. The City police adopt the view that the murderer is a person of respectable appearance, and not one of low class, as is generally supposed.
The Central News understands that as a result of the post-mortem examination of the body of the woman found in Mitre-square, it is shown that the details of the mutilation are almost exactly the same as in the case of Annie Chapman, a certain portion of whose body, it will be remembered, was missing. Up to a late hour last night the victim had not been identified. The woman murdered in Berner-street has been identified as Elizabeth Stride, who, it seems, had been leading an unsteady life, and had resided latterly at Flower and Dean-street. Up to ten o'clock last night Stride's murderer had not been discovered. At eleven o'clock last night a reporter visited Elizabeth Stride's late residence, No. 32 Flower and Dean-street, Spitalfields, a common lodging-house, inhabited by men and women of the poorest kind. The female occupants were afraid to venture into the streets after sunset; but they were listening with eagerness to the information afforded them from time to time by male occupants arriving from the streets. Inquiries made among these people elicit the fact that the deceased, who was commonly known as "Long Liz," left Flower and Dean-street between six and seven o'clock on Saturday night. She then said that she was not going to meet anyone in particular. Stride is believed to be a Swedish woman, from Stockholm. According to her associates she rarely quarrelled with anyone, ad was so good natured that she would "do a good turn for anyone." Her occupation was that of a charwoman. She lost her husband in the Princess Alice disaster on the Thames some years ago. She had lost her teeth, and suffered from a throat affection. She was identified at the Mortuary by John Arundell and Charles Preston, who reside at 32, Flower and Dean-street.
A report reached us at an early hour this morning that a man was last night given into the custody of the police by the Deputy of a lodging-house in Albert Chambers, Gravel-lane, Southwark, as he answered the description of a man wanted for the Whitechapel murder. He said, in answer to questions, that he slept on Blackfriars Bridge on Saturday night. He was taken to Stone's End Police-station.
The Central News is informed that, shortly before midnight, a man, whose name has not yet transpired, was arrested in the Borough, on suspicion of being the perpetrator of the murders in the East-end. Yesterday morning a tall dark man, wearing an American hat, entered a lodging-house in Gravel-lane known as bert Chambers. He stayed there throughout the day, and his peculiar manner riveted the attention of his fellow-lodgers. He displayed great willingness to converse with them, and certain observations he made regarding the topic of the day aroused their suspicion. Last night the mysterious individual attracted the notice of the deputy keeper of the lodging-house, whose suspicions became so strong that he sent for a policeman. On the arrival of the officer the stranger was questioned as to his recent wanderings, but he could give no intelligible account of them, though he said he had spent the previous night on Blackfriars Bridge. He was conveyed to Stone's-end Police-station, Blackman-street, Borough.
Throughout yesterday, the excitement and indignation continued In East London. At three o'clock in the afternoon a meeting of nearly a thousand persons took place in Victoria Park, under the chairmanship of Mr. Edward Barrow, of Bethnal-green-road, and after several speeches upon the conduct of the Home Secretary and Sir Charles Warren for not offering a reward for the discovery of the murderer, a resolution was passed that it was high time both functionaries should resign and make way for some officers who would leave no stone unturned for the purpose of bringing murderers to justice. At Mile-end during the day, four meetings of the same kind were held, and similar resolutions passed, and at 8.30 last evening a meeting of the Vigilance Committee took place at 74, Mile-end-road, when Mr. Aarons, Mr. Reeves, Mr. Lawson, Mr. B. Harris, and others spoke for some time upon the subject of a Government reward. Attention was again called by the speakers to the trouble they had had in getting together even 100/. as the nucleus of a reward fund, owing to the prevalent opinion that such reward should come from the Government; but the treasurer and secretary pointed out that, although many hundreds of persons had declined to subscribe to the fund on that ground, yet many who held the same opinion had subscribed for the purpose of bringing the murderer to justice. In addition to Mr. F Wootton Isaacson, who had subscribed 10/., Mr. Spencer Charrington 5/., Mr. Morris Abrahams 3/.3s., Mrs. Sarah Lane, of the Britannia Theatre, 3/.3s., and others, there was an offer of 100/. from Mr. Montagu, M.P., and a similar sum from an illustrated paper, which showed that there was some belief in the efficacy of a reward fund being started. Unhappily the Committee had been hampered by the prevalent opinion as to the duty of the Home Secretary and Sir Charles Warren, and the fund was not large enough. The police had to do in this instance with no ordinary murderer, and the reward should keep pace with his intelligence, tact, and criminal development, so that those who might be able to solve the mystery should not be withheld from prosecuting their enquiries by the knowledge that they would be losers. A thousand pounds, at least, should have been offered immediately the Hanbury-street murder occurred, if not before that time, with an intimation on the part of the Government that such offer was not to be taken as a precedent. Resolutions in terms of the above were passed, and the meeting was adjourned until Wednesday.
At a meeting held at the Bryanstone Club, Lisson-grove, last night, Mr. J. Bassett in the chair, at the conclusion of a lecture on the "Bishops and the House of Lords," it was proposed by Mr Frederick A. Ford, and seconded by Mr. F. Cornwell, and carried with acclamation, "That, in the opinion of this meeting, the lives of the poor are as valuable as the lives of the rich, and that the efficiency of the Metropolitan Police, so far as the prevention of crime and the detection of criminals is concerned, has been sacrificed to political considerations and ??????? appointments. The Bryanstone Club, therefore, call upon the Government to remove Sir Charles Warren and the present Home Secretary."
The following letter, bearing the E.C. post-mark, and directed in red ink, was delivered to the Central News Agency on Thursday;- "25th September, 1888. Dear Boss, - I keep on hearing the police have caught me, but they won't fix me just yet. I have laughed when they look so clever and talk about being on the right track. That joke about Leather Apron gave me real fits. I am down on _______, and I shan't quit ripping them till I do get buckled. Grand work the last job was. I gave the lady no time to squeal. How can they catch me now? I love my work, and want to start again. You will soon hear of me with my funny little games. I saved some of the proper red stuff in a ginger-beer bottle over the last job to write with, but it went thick like glue, and I can't use it. Red ink is fit enough, I hope - ha! ha! The next job I do, I shall clip the lady's ears off, and send to the police officers, just for jolly - wouldn't you? Keep this letter back till I do a bit more work, then give it out straight, my knife's so nice and sharp. I want to get to work right away if I get a chance. Good luck - Yours Truly, JACK THE RIPPER. - Don't mind me giving the trade name. Wasn't good enough to post this before I got all the red ink of my hands: curse it. No luck yet. They say I'm a doctor now - ha! ha! The whole of this extraordinary epistle is written in red ink, in a free bold, clerkly hand. It was, of course, treated as the work of a practical joker; but it is singular to note that the latest murders have been committed within a few days of the receipt of the letter, that, apparently, in the case of his last victim the murderer made an attempt to cut off the ears, and that he actually did mutilate the face in a manner which he has never before attempted. The letter is now in the hands of the Scotland-yard authorities.
Sir, - As Chairman of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, who communicated, without result, with the Home Secretary, with the view of obtaining, on behalf of the public at large, the offer of a Government reward for the apprehension and convictions of the assassin or assassins in the recent East-end atrocities, we shall be glad if you will allow us to state that the Committee do not for one moment doubt the sincerity of the Home Secretary in refusing the said offer, as he apparently believes that it would not meet with a successful result.
If he would, however, consider that, in the case of the Phoenix Park murders, the man Carey - who was surrounded by, we may say, a whole society steeped in crime - was tempted by money to betray his associates, in our opinion, Mr. Matthews might see his way clear to coincide with our views, and the Government offer would be successful.
The reward should be ample for securing an informer from revenge, which would be a very great inducement in the matter, in addition to which such an offer would convince the poor and humble residents of our East-end that the Government authorities are as anxious to avenge the blood of these unfortunate victims as they were the assassination of Lord Cavendish and Mr. Burke. The whole British nation are as much in favour of a reward now as they were then.
Apologising for troubling you,
We are, Sir, your obedient servants.
1, 2, and 3, Alderney-road, Mile-end, E.,