Tuesday, 2nd October 1888
The two terrible murders committed in the Whitechapel district of London on the night of Saturday have revived the panic that was excited by the earlier crimes of the series. There is wild commotion amongst the residents of the poor and densely populated part of the Great City which has been the scene of the atrocities, and a sentiment of profound horror holds the inhabitants of all London enthralled. Even the strongest minds cannot but be susceptible to the gruesome fascination which the circumstances of these mysterious enormities must exercise. All the murders have been committed within a small area; all the victims have been women of the same class - the outcasts of the night; all have been slain in the same way; some have been mutilated in a manner that cannot be described, so revolting are the details, and the mutilations were invariably wrought by a person well acquainted with anatomy and with the work of the dissecting room; in every case the murderer has come and gone like a shadow, leaving no trace of his presence beyond the lifeless body soaking in blood. Unseen except by those whom he lures to their doom, no human eye beholds the swiftly-enacted tragedy, and the escape of the fiend. No sound of a scuffle, no cry of despair from the victim, no echo of retreating footsteps betray his presence. The first of the two murders of Saturday night, or Sunday morning, was committed under the windows of a Socialist Workingmen's Club, in which several members were at the time engaged in convivial recreation. A few yards off are inhabited houses, at the door of one of which a woman was standing up to within a few moments of the discovery of the murder. In those few moments the murderer decoyed his prey to the spot and slew her. Apparently he was scared from completing the outrage in the usual way by mutilating the body. Half an hour later, within half a mile of the spot, he had selected another wretched creature, won her confidence, brought her to an unfrequented passage in a place called Mitre-square, and there with remorseless brutality shed her blood. No interruption saved her remains from desecration. Like her unfortunate predecessors in the list of the murdered, she was first killed by a knife slash across the throat; then, even while the life-blood spurted from the severed arteries, her intestines were torn from the mangled trunk. A policeman on his beat found the body. He was at the same place only a quarter of an hour previously, and the crime had not then been committed. So that in fifteen minutes this phenomenal assassin must have performed the preliminary deed of slaughter, and subsequent operations which not every trained surgeon could effect in the time. Yet at the end of this brief period during which he was free from disturbance the murderer had accomplished his purpose in its entirety and vanished, leaving no trace. A watchman was on the alert a few yards off, and he heard the sound of the policeman's footsteps as he passed on his patrol and as he returned fifteen minutes later, but not the slightest noise reached his ears in the interval. Without a second's delay a cordon of police invested the neighbourhood, but the perpetrator of so many foul crimes had already made good his escape. He must have been drenched with blood, yet nobody noticed him, and he reached his lair in safety. The supreme daring, the marvellous coolness, celerity, and cunning that distinguish his horrible work are not less remarkable than the scientific skill with which he accomplished the brutality that perfects the crime. He is a mystery, a revelation, an enigma amongst monsters in human shape. In all the blood-curdling literature of murder there is no prototype of him. He cannot come from the ranks of ordinary murderers; there is nothing common to him and the unhappy wretch who, to gratify avarice, anger, or any other passion, takes away life. Nor yet is it clear that he kills for the savage delight of killing. Of course, theories as to his motive are numerous, and generally absurd. In default of a better explanation it is suggested that he must be a homicidal madman - a truism, if ever there was one. No sane man, as the term is generally understood, would be capable of such deeds. What seems clear is; first, that he knows the district intimately, and that he has some place of refuge in it; secondly, that he possesses some surgical knowledge and great dexterity in the use of the surgeon's knife; thirdly, that he mutilates possibly for wantonness, but possibly for a definite purpose of an entirely different character. He may be a mad scientist, and in that case it should not be difficult to discover him amongst the population of Whitechapel, where scientists - sane or mad - do not abound, and where such a man could not, were his cunning never so great, avoid betraying himself. He may be a maniac of another sort, or he may be - though not probably - a mere wild beast of exceptional ferocity, a kind of man-wolf. Whatever he is, one certain fact is, that the police are powerless against him, and that the ingenuity of the London detectives has been employed so far vainly in ill-directed attempts to establish his identity.
REWARDS OFFERED FROM MANY SOURCES
LETTER FROM THE HOME SECRETARY
INQUEST ON ELIZABETH STRIDE
STATE OF THE WHITECHAPEL DISTRICT
(FROM OUR CORRESPONDENTS)
(By Freeman Special Wire)
It is now eight weeks since the first of the Whitechapel murders was committed, and many theories as to the motive have been put forward in the Press and otherwise. It was stated at the time of Chapman's murder that near where the body was found the police discovered some handwriting in chalk upon the wall affirming that "this is the fifth; when I do fifteen more I give myself up." The police denied this statement, but the sinister prediction appears to be now in course of fulfilment. The coroner's ingenious theory of Annie Chapman's murder seems to be entirely destroyed by Sunday's horrors. These have caused the public and the police to revert to the original idea that the murderer is some maniac who takes a fiendish delight in slaughtering and hacking up wretched women of the class to which the victims belonged. The supposition that he is a medical man, or at least has some anatomical skill, seems to be borne out by the circumstances of at least one of Saturday night's murders, as well as by that of the woman Chapman. Of the two women killed on Saturday night, one has not yet been identified. In her case the mutilations are horrible, but it is said that they show signs of having been done by someone having a knowledge of dissection. If the murderer is a maniac he does not appear to exhibit any outwards signs of wildness or lunacy, because no person of that description has been seen by any of the thousands of police in the district. The way in which the murders have been committed certainly show that if the man is a maniac he has brought the art of moving about stealthily to perfection, and that his powers of eluding the police are simply marvellous. The latest suggestion is that the murders were not committed in the places where the bodies were found at all, but in some secret room or cellar kept by the murderer; that the wretched victims were enticed into this cellar, and after being killed and mutilated, were taken out into the street in a sack and deposited where they were subsequently found. This theory seems to be ridiculous, but it is gravely given to the public as accounting for the absence of any screams or noises at the scene of the murders.
The public indignation at the inability of the police by their existing methods to bring to justice the murderers of the six unfortunate women who have been so foully done to death in the East End of London found a practical shape to-day. The barrier of reticence which has been set up on all occasions when the representatives of the newspaper Press have been brought into contact with the police authorities for the purpose of obtaining information for the use of the public has been suddenly withdrawn, and instead of the customary stereotyped negatives and disclaimers of the officials there has ensued a marked disposition to afford all necessary facilities for the publication of details, and an increased courtesy towards the members of the Press concerned. Another direction in which the officials have been awakened to a sense of their public responsibility has been by the spontaneous offers of substantial rewards by public bodies and private individuals towards the detection of the criminal or criminals guilty of these desperate crimes. Following on the refusal of the Home Secretary to place Government funds at the disposal of the police for this purpose there was much dissatisfaction expressed and the feeling which this refusal provoked, though not finding public expression at the time, has been stimulated by the more recent crimes to outward manifestation. A meeting of the Vigilance Committee, which has for some time been formed in Whitechapel, was held to-day at Mile-End, and a resolution passed calling upon the Home Office to offer a substantial Government reward for the capture and conviction of the murderer, and a letter embodying this was at once sent to the Home Secretary. One of the murders of Sunday morning took place within the precincts of the city of London, and this fact led one of the Common Councilmen to-day to give notice that at the next meeting he would move that a reward of £250 should be offered by the Corporation for the detection of the Mitre square murderer; but the necessity for this step was removed when later in the day the Lord Mayor, Mr Polydore de Keyser, after consulting with Colonel Sir James Fraser, K.C.B., Chief Commissioner of Police of the City of London, announced that a reward of £500 would be given by the Corporation for the detection of the miscreant. The proprietors of the Financial News, a monetary organ, also came forward on behalf of several readers of that journal with a cheque for £300 which was forwarded by their request to the Home Secretary who was asked to offer that sum for the same purpose in the name of the Government. The proprietors of the Evening Post, which is also chiefly devoted to the interests of the financial world, has commenced a subscription list with a sum of fifty guineas, and has invited other contributions towards a reward fund.
The excitement which was created in parts of London on Sunday by the news of the atrocious crimes of Berner street and Mitre square was doubly intensified this morning when the daily newspapers carried the startling news into every household; and to-day there has been but one subject of conversation everywhere. Thousands of people visited the localities of the crimes, but there was nothing then to see.
In connection with the Mitre square murder, a startling discovery was made during this afternoon. Sergeant Dudman had his attention drawn to 36 Mitre street, a house a short distance from the spot where the murdered woman was found, and there he found what appeared to be bloodstains upon the doorway and underneath the window, as if a person had wiped his fingers on the window ledge, and drawn a bloodstained knife down part of the doorway. Mr Hurting, who lives on the premises said he had only just before noticed the stains, and then quite by accident. Almost immediately afterwards some police officer had his attention drawn to similar marks on the plate glass window of Mr W Smith, at the corner of Mitre square, but Mr Smith sconted the idea that this could have anything to do with the murders, as the windows were covered at 9 o'clock by shutters. The discovery, notwithstanding, caused increased excitement for a time in the locality. The only other trace left by the murderer was a portion of an apron picked up in Goldston street which corresponded with a piece left on the body of the victim, and this seemed to show that the murderer had escaped in the direction of Whitechapel.
During the day all sorts of stories were brought to the police with the object of showing that more or less effective "clues" to the perpetrators of the murders had been obtained. One informant deposed that about half-past 10 on Saturday night a man, aged about 32 years, entered a public house in Batty street, Whitechapel, while the men in the public house were talking about the Whitechapel murders. He stated that he knew the murderer, and that they would hear about him in the morning, after which he left. It being thought that this was merely idle talk no notice was taken of the matter. Another story was to the effect that a man of light complexion had been struggling with the woman Stride in Berner street, and that he threw her down, but it being thought that it was a man and wife quarrelling nobody interfered with them. A description was circulated this morning of a man who is said to have accosted a woman in the vicinity of Commercial road on Saturday night, and to have threatened to cut her throat if she did not give him money. The woman gave him a shilling and he went away.
The young man, Albert Bachert, of 13, Newnham street, Whitechapel, has made a further statement this morning to a representative of the Press Association. It will be noticed that the man who spoke to him in the Three Tuns Hotel on Saturday night carried a black shining bag, and it is remarked that the only man Mrs Mortimer observed in Berner street nearly two hours afterwards also carried a black shining bag. Mrs Mortimer said - "The only man whom I had seen pass through the street previously was a young man who carried a black shining 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.
Albert Bachert says - "On Saturday night at about seven minutes to twelve, I entered the Three Tuns Hotel, Aldgate. While in there an elderly woman, shabbily dressed, came in and asked me to buy some matches. I refused, and she went out. A man who had been standing by me remarked that those persons were a nuisance, to which I responded, 'Yes.' He then asked me to have a glass with him, but I refused as I had just called for one myself. He then asked me if I knew how old some of the women were who were in the habit of soliciting outside. I relied that I knew, or thought, that some of them who looked about twenty-five were over thirty-five, the reason they looked younger being on account of the powder and paint. He asked if I could tell him where they usually went with men, and I replied that I heard that some went to places in Oxford street, Whitechapel, others to some houses in Whitechapel road, and others to Bishopsgate street. He then asked whether I thought they would go with him down Northumberland alley, a dark and lonely court in Fenchurch street. I said I did not know, but supposed they would. He then went outside and spoke to the woman who was selling matches and gave her something, I believe. He returned to me and I bid him good night. At about ten minutes past twelve, I believe, the woman was waiting for him. I do not think I could identify the woman, as I did not take particular notice of her, but I should know the man again. He was a dark man, about thirty-eight years of age, height about five feet six or seven inches. He wore a black felt hat, dark clothes (morning coat), black tie and carried a black shiny bag.
The Press Association learns this evening that a singular discovery which is supposed to afford an important clue to the murderer is being investigated by the police at Kentish Town. It appears that about nine o'clock this morning the proprietor of the Nelson Tavern, Victoria Road, Kentish Town, entered the urinal adjoining the premises for the purpose of pointing out to a builder some alterations he desired executed, when a paper parcel was noticed behind the door. No particular importance was attached to the discovery until an hour later, when Mr Chinn, the publican, while reading the newspapers was struck with the similarity of this bundle with the one of which the police have issued a description as having been seen in the possession of the man last seen in company of the woman Stride. The police at the Kentish Town road Police Station were acquainted with the discovery , and a detective officer was at once sent out to prosecute inquiries. It was then discovered that the parcel was not picked up, but was kicked into the roadway, where the paper burst and revealed a pair of dark trousers. The description of the man wanted for the murders gives the colour of the trousers he wore to be dark. The fragments of paper were collected and found to be stained with blood, and it is stated that some hair was found also amongst some congealed blood attached to the paper. It was subsequently ascertained from some lads, who had been dragging the trousers through the Castle road, that a poor man picked up the article of clothing and carried it off. Detectives are investigating this strange discovery.
During last night and to-day no less than five men were arrested in the East End of London in connection with the murders. Three were at different times conveyed to Leman street Police Station, but one was immediately liberated. Another was detained until noon to-day, when he was set at liberty after giving a statement of his movements. The third man was detained until the afternoon when he, after due inquiry, was also liberated. Of the two men detained at Commercial street, one was liberated soon after his arrest, but the other, named Frank Raper, was kept in custody. After some inquiries, however, he was liberated.
A meeting of the Whitechapel District Board of Works was held this evening - Mr Robert Gladding presiding. Mr Calmur said he thought that the board as the local authority should express their horror and abhorrence of the crime which had been perpetrated in the district. The result of these tragedies has been loss of trade in the district and the stoppage of certain trades by reason of the women being afraid to pass through the streets without an escort. The inefficiency of the police was shown by the fact that but an hour or two later than the tragedies in Berner street and Mitre square the post office in the vicinity had been broken into and much property stolen. The Rev Daniel Greatorex said the emigrants' houses of call were feeling the panic to such an extent that emigrants refused to locate themselves in Whitechapel, even temporarily. He ascribed the inefficiency of the police to the frequent changes of the police from one district to another, whereby the men were ignorant of their beats. Mr J Brown suggested that the Government should be communicated with rather than the Home Secretary or the Chief Commissioner of Police, who were really only on their trial. A resolution was adopted calling upon Sir Charles Warren and the Home Secretary to increase the police force.
The following letter has been received this evening by the editor of the Financial News:-
MY DEAR SIR - I am directed by Mr Matthews to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of this date, containing a cheque for £300 which you say has been contributed on behalf of several readers of the Financial News, and which you are desirous should be offered as a reward for the discovery of the recent murders in the East End of London. If Mr Matthews had been of opinion that the offer of a reward in these cases would have been attended by any useful result he would himself have at once made such an offer, but he is not of that opinion. Under these circumstances I am directed to return to you the cheque (which I enclose), and to thank you and the gentlemen whose names you have forwarded for the liberality of their offer, which Mr Matthews much regrets he is unable to accept.
I am, sir, your very obedient servant,
Harry H. Marks, Esq.
Sir James Risdon Bennett, the eminent physician, says that he has no doubt whatever that the East End murders have been the work of a homicidal maniac, suffering, probably, from an erotic delusion. His mania must be so acute as to be assuredly noticed by the persons with whom he casually associates. Sir James is confirmed in his opinion that the theory of the murders being committed for physiological purposes is utterly untenable.
The inquest on the body of Elizabeth Stride was opened at eleven o'clock this morning by Mr. Wynne Baxter at the Vestry Hall, Cable-street, Commercial-road. The body on being viewed by the jury, presented a dreadful sight, the head being almost severed from the body by one awful gash.
William West was the first witness examined. He said he lived at the International Working Men's Institute and Club, Berner-street, at the side of which is a passage leading to the yard. Two large gates protected the entrance to the yard, and these were sometimes open at night. In the yard there were two or three small tenements. Witness was at the club on Saturday night from about half-past ten. The bulk of the members left the club by the front door before twelve. Witness's business address was Berner street, but he lived at 2 William street, Commercial road, whither he went at half-past twelve. Before leaving he noticed that the gates were open, but there was nothing on the ground.
Louis Diemshitz, steward of the club, deposed that he returned to his house at the club at one o'clock. He drove through the open gates of the yard, when the pony shied at something on the ground. Jumping down he struck a light. He then saw it was a woman. He called his wife and got a candle, when he saw blood. He sent for the police, and just before they arrived a man whom he did not know took hold of deceased's head and showed a wound in the throat. All the people in the club were searched before they left, and their names and addresses taken.
Inspector Reid said he would be prepared with further evidence to-morrow, and the inquiry was accordingly adjourned.
A Central News telegram says - The announcement that the Lord Mayor of London had decided to offer a reward of £500 has caused general satisfaction. Newspapers and private individuals and associations have already offered £700, so that the total sum at the disposal of anyone who shall give information leading to the murders is now £1,200. It is probable that the amount wil be soon not less than £2,000, as an effort will be made to induce the Lord Mayor to open a Mansion House fund, and then in a disposition on the Stock Exchange to take the matter up. The city of London police have issued bills this evening offering £500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the murderer.
The Central News has to-day received through the post a postcard smeared with blood in the same writing and similarly signed as the mysterious letter received last week. The writer boasts gloatingly of having committed Sunday's double crime, regretting he had not time to cut off the victim's ears to send to the police.
The Whitechapel horrors remain shrouded in impenetrable mystery. The ineptitude of the police is causing the most serious misgivings in the public mind. The detective department seems to be utterly devoid of the slightest resource in attempting to meet the frightful emergency that has arisen. I am informed that it was not until yesterday that the normal strength of the force in the district where the murders were committed was increased. That it might have been supposed would have been the first step taken by Sir Charles Warren and Mr. Matthews, but only yesterday did it strike them to adopt it and send fifty additional constables to Leman street. The detectives are themselves, I hear, completely demoralised by the success with which the murderer has baulked them up to the present. All the commonplace expedients of Scotland Yard have proved utterly useless in this case, and the authorities appear to be incapable of conceiving any new plan of coping with the difficulty. The result is that the panic which has already set in with terrible intensity in the East End is rapidly spreading over London. The immunity with which these awful crimes have been committed will tempt the murderer or his imitators to extent the field of operations. The criminals may be caught in the long run, but it is feared that it will not be until a long course of uninterrupted success in their ghastly work has made them careless in the adoption of the cunning precautions which have so entirely checkmated the police up to the present.
Opinion is still very fiercely against Mr. Matthews and Sir Charles Warren. Between them they appear to have destroyed whatever utility the London police may ever have possessed as detectives of crime. It is pretty well known that a serious conflict is raging at the present moment between the First Commissioner of Police and the Home Office, a conflict which is largely accountable for the paralysis which prevails at Scotland Yard. Mr. Matthews represents the opinions and methods of Mr. Munro, while Sir Charles Warren has his own notions and is determined to carry them out. There appears to be little doubt entertained that the upshot of the business will be the resignation of both the Home Secretary and Sir Charles Warren. But Mr. Munro is as inveterate a muddler as either of them, and he certainly should not be permitted to remain drawing a handsome salary from the public for mismanaging its business. When he controlled the Detective Department a great proportion of the officers were employed in watching Irish members instead of doing their proper duty. The people of London are paying dearly now for Mr. Munro's proceedings.
To-day the man Waddell, who is suspected of being the Birtley murderer, was arrested near the village of Yetholm, about seven miles from Kelso, and is at present in custody there awaiting instructions from Inspector Harrison of the Gateshead police. Considerable excitement has prevailed all along the borders of Northumberland and Roxburghshire owing to the frequent rumours current that Waddell was in the neighbourhood. The police were all on the alert, but though the man wanted was reported as having been seen first at one place and then at another, he managed to keep out of their hands.
The Kelso correspondent of the Central News telegraphs - The apprehension of the man Waddell at Yetholm has given great satisfaction to the district. It is believed that he has made a complete confession of the crime. The arrest was made by Mr. William Stenhouse, wool dealer, Yetholm, who encountered the man on a lonely road leading out of Yetholm to the hills by way of Halterburn. On being questioned he admitted his name was Waddell, that he came from Birtley, and he stated that the woman Savage was his wife. He professed to be looking for harvesting, but Mr. Stenhouse remarked that he would not get what he wanted among the hills, and offered him work if he would return. Quite willingly, apparently, he retraced his footsteps, and Mr. Stenhouse conveyed him directly and without resistance to the police station.