20 October, 1888
[SUBJECT OF ILLUSTRATION].
The adjourned inquest on the body of Catherine Eddowes, alias Kelly, aged forty-three, who was found murdered in Mitre-square on September 30th, was resumed on Thursday morning at the City Mortuary, before Mr. S. F. Langham, City Coroner.
Dr. Sequeira was the first witness called. He said he was called to Mitre-square on September 30th, and was the first medical man to arrive. He got to the place about five minutes to two o'clock. He agreed with the medical evidence already given by Dr. Goodwin [Gordon] Brown and by Mr. Crawford. He was acquainted with the locality. The place where the deceased was found was the darkest place. There would, however, be plenty of light for the murderer to see to inflict the injuries. Mr. Crawford: From what you have seen, have you formed an opinion that the perpetrator of the deed had or had not any design to obtain any particular part of the body? I have formed the opinion that he had no design on any particular organ. Judging from the injuries, would you say the murderer had any anatomical skill? No, I should say not. Dr. Saunders the medical officer of health for the City of London, who analysed the contents of the stomach, said he could find no trace of poison. He was present at the post-mortem examination, and he agreed with Dr. Goodwin Brown and the last witness that the perpetrator of the deed did not possess any anatomical skill, nor had he, in his opinion, any particular design on any particular organ.
The next witness was Anne Phillips, a daughter of the deceased, who said she was married, her husband being a lampblack packer, living at Dilston-grove, Southwark. Her mother always told her that she was married to her father, whose name was Thomas Conway, and he was a hawker. Her father left her mother and witness suddenly seven or eight years ago, and she did not know what had become of him - did not even know whether her father was living. He had been a pensioner. She last saw her mother about two years ago. Witness used to live at King-street, Bermondsey; that was two years ago. She did not leave her address when she left there, and her mother did not know her address, which was kept from her to prevent her from applying to them for money. Witness's father knew that the deceased was living with a man named Kelly. Her mother last received money from witness two years ago, when she attended witness during her confinement. It was two years ago also when she last saw Kelly with her mother, in a common lodging-house. She had lost all trace of her father, her mother, and her two brothers for the last eighteen months. A Juryman: Why have you not seen your mother for the last eighteen months? We did not part on very good terms. She used to drink. Police-sergeant John Mitchell, said he had made every endeavour to find the father and brothers but without success. He had found a pensioner named Conway belonging to the 18th Royal Irish, and he had been confronted by the sister of the deceased, but she admitted he was not the husband of the murdered woman. Every endeavour had been made to arrest the murderer. Detective-sergeant Baxter Hunt gave corroborative evidence.
Police-constable Roberts [Robinson] deposed that on the Saturday night, at ten minutes to nine, before the murder, the deceased was lying on the footway in High-street, Aldgate, drunk, and surrounded by a crowd of people. He sat her up against the shutters and she fell down again. He obtained assistance and conveyed her to the Bishopsgate Police-station, when she was asked what her name was. She replied, "Nothing!" She was then wearing an apron, which he identified as the one produced - a portion of which was found on the body and another in Goulston-street after the murder. Police-constable Byfield said he remembered the deceased being brought to the station on the Saturday night, at about a quarter to nine o'clock, drunk. She remained at the station until one o'clock in the morning, and gave her name as being Mary Ann Kelly, of Fashion-street. Deceased told him she had been hopping in Kent.
George James Morris, watchman to Messrs. Kearley and Tonge, tea dealers, Mitre-square, said that at a quarter to two in the morning Police constable Watkins came to him in a most agitated manner, and said, "Oh dear! - here is another woman murdered in the corner!" Witness had not seen any suspicious person about at the time. If there had been any cry of distress he would certainly have heard it. Police-constable James Harvey testified that he was called to the square by the watchman Morris. He had care of the prisoners at Bishopsgate-street.
Dr. Joseph Lawende, commercial traveller, said that on Saturday night he was at the Imperial Club in Duke-street, Aldgate, and accompanied by some friends, he passed Church-passage, near Mitre-square, where he saw a man and a woman together. He saw the woman's back, but did not see her face. The man was taller than the woman, who wore a black jacket and a black bonnet. The man wore a cloth cap with a peak. He had given a description of the man to the police. (Mr. Crawford here said in the interest of justice he did not desire that this description should be published, and the coroner said he was quite right.) Asked would he know the man again, witness doubted it. It was a few minutes after half-past one. Neither the man nor the woman appeared in an angry mood? She placed her hand on the man's breast as though to push him away. He was not curious enough to look back to see where they went. He had seen the clothes of the deceased, and believed they were the same as those worn by the woman he saw in the street. Mr. Joseph Levy, of Hutchinson-street, Aldgate, said he was with the last witness. He did not like to go home by himself and meet such characters. He expressed his fears when he saw the man and woman and hurried on.
Police-constable Long next went into the box and gave evidence of the finding of a portion of the deceased's apron in Goulston-street on the morning of the murder. It was lying in the passage leading to the staircase of some model dwellings. Above it on the wall was written in chalk, "The Jews are the men who will not be blamed for nothing." The apron was not at this spot at twenty minutes after two. He could form no opinion as to whether the writing on the wall had been recently done. The word "Jews" was spelt "Juees." Detective Halse, of the City police force, said that he saw some chalk writing on the wall in Goulston-street. Detective-superintendent M'William shortly afterwards arrived, and gave directions for the writing to be photographed, but afterwards, thinking that the writing might cause a riot, and that there might be an outbreak against the Jews, decided to have the writing rubbed out. Mr. Crawford: Did anyone suggest taking away the word "Jews" and leaving the rest to be photographed? Yes, I did. It was the fear of a riot that caused the writing to be rubbed off? Yes. The writing was on the ground of the Metropolitan police force, and it was one of their officers who ordered it to be rubbed out. Witness protested against the rubbing out.
The jury returned a verdict that the deceased was murdered by some person or persons unknown.
Notwithstanding the apparently conclusive evidence given at the inquest by Michael Kidney as to the identity of the Berner-street victim, many people believed that the poor creature was really Elizabeth Watts, formerly of Bath. It will be remembered that Mrs. Mary Malcolm, of Red Lion-square, swore positively that the deceased was her sister, Elizabeth Watts, and that she had last seen her on the Thursday preceding the murder. The Central News state that, as a result of inquiries prosecuted by them they have succeeded in finding Elizabeth Watts alive and well in the person of Mrs. Stokes, the hard-working respectable wife of a brickyard labourer, living at Tottenham. Mrs. Stokes says:- "My father was a publican in the village of Colerne, near Chippenham, Wiltshire. There were eight children in our family, four girls and four boys. I have one sister in New Zealand, and a brother still lives in Wiltshire, but I have no idea where the rest of the family are. My maiden name was Elizabeth Perrin. I have been married three times. My first husband was Mr. Watts, a wine merchant at Bath, to whom I was married at Bristol. My second husband's name was Speller, whom I married at Deal; and my third and present husband's name is Stokes, to whom I was married at St. Andrew's Church, New Kent-road, on December 15th, 1884. He has been employed lately at Plowman's Brickfield, Tottenham. Mrs. Malcolm, who gave evidence at the inquest, is my sister, but I have not seen her for years, and I do not expect to see her until I attend the adjourned inquest on the 23rd inst. My sister, Mary Malcolm, has never, as she swore, given me any money. It is untrue that I saw her on the Thursday preceding the murder. I was out washing that day at Mrs. Peterkin's laundry, near White Hart-lane. I never used to meet her, as she said, in Red Lion-street, to receive a shilling from her. I am not short of clothes, and I never lived in Commercial-road, nor kept a coffee house in Poplar. I may take a little drink now and then, but my sister never saw me in drink. My two children by my first husband, Watts, were taken from me, and that preys on my mind at times. I never quarrelled with my first husband. Watts's friends did not approve of our marriage on account of my being a poor girl. He was sent abroad, and died in America, leaving me with the two children, a boy and a girl. Where they are I do not know. Their father's friends took the children from me, and I was placed in the lunatic asylum of Fisherton House, near Salisbury. The relieving officer of Bath got me out and I then went to live as a domestic servant at Walmer. There I made the acquaintance of Speller, whom I afterwards married at Deal Church. He was engaged on a vessel in the Royal Navy, which was stranded on St. Paul's Island, and there he died. His half-pay was then stopped, and I was left destitute. Subsequently I was put in the Peckham Lunatic Asylum, under Dr. Stocker and Dr. Brown, because I endeavoured to gain possession of my two children, whom I have never seen or heard of since they were taken from me. The Lunacy Commissioners afterwards pronounced me to be sane, and I was again discharged, perfectly destitute. Owing to my troubles my memory is somewhat impaired. I married my present husband, Stokes, four years ago."
The funeral of Catherine Eddowes, the victim of the Mitre-square murder, took place on Monday at Ilford Cemetery. The body was removed shortly after one o'clock from the mortuary in Golden-lane, where a vast concourse of people had assembled. A strong force of City Police, under Mr. Superintendent Foster, was present, and conducted the cortege to the City boundary. At Old-street a large number of the Metropolitan Police were present under Inspector Barnham. The cortege passed Whitechapel parish church, and along Mile-end-road, through Bow and Stratford to the cemetery. The sisters of the ill-fated woman and the man Kelly, with whom she had lived for seven years, attended the funeral. Along the whole route great sympathy was expressed for the relatives.
The Home Secretary has addressed the following letter to the President of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee:- "Whitehall, October 6th, 1888. Sir, - The Secretary of State for the Home Department has had the honour to lay before the Queen the petition signed by you, praying that a reward may be offered by the Government for the discovery of the perpetrator of the recent murders in Whitechapel, and he desires me to inform you that, though he has given directions that no effort or expense should be spared in endeavouring to discover the person guilty of the murders, he has not been able to advise her Majesty that in his belief the ends of justice would be promoted by any departure from the direction already announced with regard to the proposal that a reward should be offered by Government. - I am, Sir, your obedient servant, E. LEIGH PEMBERTON.
The Pall Mall Gazette having announced that the order for the removal of the writing was given personally by Sir Charles Warren, who visited the spot shortly after the discovery was made, a representative of the Press Association visited Whitehall-place on Thursday afternoon, for the purpose of asking whether this statement was correct. The reporter saw Sir Charles Warren's private secretary, who on returning from the Chief Commissioner's room, said, "Sir Charles Warren was in Goulston-street shortly after the murders, and if he had wished to make any communication to the Press on the subject he would have done so then." In reply to a further question as to whether he was to understand from this that Sir Charles preferred to say nothing about the allegation, the reporter was informed that such was the case.
A news agency has received a telegram from New York with respect to a statement alleged to have been made in that city by an English sailor bearing the peculiar name of Dodge. The statement is that he arrived in London from China on the 13th of August by the steamship Glenorchy, that he met at the Queen's Music-hall, Poplar, a Malay cook, and that the Malay said he had been robbed by a woman of bad character, and unless he found the woman and recovered his money he would murder and mutilate every Whitechapel woman he met. The statement also includes the following description of the Malay: "He was about 5ft. 7in. in height, 130lb. in weight, and apparently thirty-five years of age." Judging from these precise figures relating to the Malay's appearance, it is evident that Dodge must have scrutinised him very closely. Inquiries have been made by the news agency in London, but no information has been obtained in verification of the sailor's story.
A Reuter's telegram says the New York Herald declares that Dodge said that he knew the street where the Malay stayed, but that he would not divulge the name until he learned what chance there was of a reward. He stated, however, that the street was not far from the East India Dock-road, but he was not certain about the house where the man lived. Another seaman said he thought the Malay was now on a vessel plying in the North Sea.
A strange statement bearing upon the Whitechapel tragedies was made to the Cardiff police on Monday by a respectable-looking elderly woman, who stated that she was a Spiritualist, and, in company with five others, held a séance on Saturday night. They summoned the spirit of Elizabeth Stride, and after some delay the spirit came, and, in answer to questions, stated that her murderer was a middle-aged man, whose name she mentioned, and who resided at a given number in Commercial-road, or Street, Whitechapel, and who belonged to a gang of twelve. At another Spiritualistic séance held at Bolton on Tuesday a medium claims to have revealed the Whitechapel murderer. She describes him as having the appearance of a farmer, dressed like a navvy, with a strap round his waist, and peculiar pockets. He wears a dark moustache, and bears scars behind the ears and other places. He will, says the medium, be caught in the act of committing another murder.
The Vienna correspondent of the Standard states that Dr. Bloch, a member of the Austrian Reichsrath for the Galician constituency of Kokomea, has called his attention to certain facts which may throw a new light on the Whitechapel murders, and perhaps afford some assistance in tracing the murderer. In various German criminal codes of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as also in statutes of a more recent date, punishments are prescribed for the mutilation of female corpses with the object of making from the uterus and other organs the so-called "diebalichter" or "schlafslichter", respectively "thieves' candles" or "soporific candles." According to an old superstition, still rife in various parts of Germany, the light from such candles will throw those upon whom it falls into the deepest slumbers, and they may, consequently, become a valuable instrument to those of the thieving profession. Hence arose their name. In regard to these "schlafslichter," quite a literature might be cited. They are referred to by Ave Lallement in his "Das Deutsche Gaunerthum" published in Leipzig in 1858; by Loffler, in "Die Mangelhafte Justiz" by Thiele, and numerous others. They also played an important part in the trials of robber bands at Odenwald and in Westphalia, in the years 1812 and 1841 respectively. The "schlafslichter" were heard of, too, at the trial of the notorious German robber, Theodor Unger, surnamed "the handsome Charley," who was executed at Magdeburg in 1810. It was on that occasion discovered that a regular manufactory had been established by gangs of thieves for the production of such candles. That this superstition has survived among German thieves to the present day was proved by a case tried at Biala, in Galicia, as recently as 1875. In this the body of a woman had been found mutilated in precisely the same way as were the victims of the Whitechapel murderer. At that trial, as at one which took place subsequently at Zeszow, which is also in Galicia, and in which the accused were a certain Ritter and his wife, the prevalence among thieves of superstition was alluded to by the Public Prosecutor. In the Ritter case, however, the Court preferred harping on another alleged superstition of a ritual character among the Jews of Galicia, which, however, was shown to be a pure invention of the Judenhettzer. Dr. Bloch, who for ten years was a rabbi in Galicia and has made the superstitions of that province his special study, affirms that the "thieves' candle" superstition still exists among robbers of every confession and, as he believes, also of every nationality. He considers, however, that it prevails most among German thieves. Among other German laws where the crime in question is dealt with, the "Code Theresiana," chap. xxii., clause 59, may be referred to.
Sir Charles Warren witnessed a private trial of bloodhounds in one of the London parks at an early hour on Tuesday morning. The hounds were the property of Mr. Edwin Brough, of Wyndgate, near Scarborough, who for years past has devoted himself to bloodhound breeding. He was communicated with by the police, and came to London on Saturday evening, bringing with him two fine animals named Barnaby and Burgho. Mr. Brough tried both dogs in Regent's-park at seven o'clock on Monday morning. The ground was thickly coated with hoar frost; but they did their work well, successfully tracking for nearly a mile a young man who was given about fifteen minutes law; they were tried again in Hyde Park on Monday night. It was of course dark, and the dogs were hunted in a leash, as would be the case if they were employed in Whitechapel. They were again successful in performing their allotted task, and at seven o'clock on Tuesday morning a trial took place before the Chief Commissioner. In all half a dozen runs were made, Sir Charles Warren in two instances acting as the hunted man. In consequence of the coldness of the scent the hounds worked very slowly, but they demonstrated the possibility of tracking complete strangers on to whose trails they had been laid. The Chief Commissioner seemed pleased with the result of the trials.
Superintendent Farmer, of the River Tyne Police, has received information which, it is considered, may form a clue to the Whitechapel murders. An Austrian seaman signed articles on board a Faversham vessel in the Tyne on Saturday, and sailed for a French port. Afterwards it was found that his signature corresponded with the facsimile letters signed "Jack the Ripper," and that the description of the man also corresponded with that of the Whitechapel murderer circulated by the Metropolitan Police.
Upwards of seven hundred letters giving information have been inquired into by the police, with a vast amount of trouble, and with no success. The difficulties the police have to contend with have been enchauced by so many men wandering about the East-end who, by their strange behaviour, unaccountable movements, and apparent resemblance to the vague description of the man who is wanted, have given rise to suspicions which have necessarily terminated in police investigation. The murder scare has spread to other parts of the Metropolis, as an instance of which, about noon on Saturday, a sensation was occasioned in the locality of High Holborn. A gentleman was proceeding along Holborn in the direction of the City, when he was suddenly pounced upon by a strange man of the labouring class, who exclaimed, "This is Jack the Ripper." A struggle ensued, and the two fell heavily to the ground. The scene soon attracted a very large crowd of people, who quickly collected, thinking that the Whitechapel murderer had been arrested. Much excitement prevailed, and the man was conveyed to the police-station.
The following communication has been received from the Home Office, in answer to a request that a free pardon might be proclaimed to an accomplice or accomplices of the murderer:- "October 12th, 1888, Sir - I am desired by the Secretary of State to thank you for the suggestions in your letter of the 7th inst. on the subject of the recent Whitechapel murders, and to say in reply that, from the first, the Secretary of State has had under consideration the question of granting a pardon to accomplices. It is obvious that not only must such a grant be limited to persons who have not been concerned in contriving or in actually committing the murders, but the expediency and propriety of making the offer must largely depend on the nature of the information received from day to day, which is being carefully watched, with a view to determining that question. With regard to the offer of a reward, Mr. Matthews has, under the existing circumstances, nothing to add to his former letter. - I am Sir, your obedient servant, GODFREY LUSHINGTON."
The East End murderer is still at large. After another week we seem as far from capturing him as ever. The police, in spite of all their efforts, appear to have absolutely no clue of a definite character. There is only one comforting feature in the present state of affairs. Up to the time of writing no other murders of the same horrible type have been committed. The police may fairly claim some credit for this fact. They have helped to put an end to the fiendish work, and at any rate for the present. They have been assisted by the class of women against whom the murderer's energies are directed. These poor creatures are more careful of themselves than usual. Between the police and the women the murderer, doubtless, finds it difficult to continue his awful operations. There is too much reason to fear that he is just biding his time, waiting for the present precautions to be relaxed, when he will be at it again. We can only hope that before that time arrives he will be in the clutches of the law.
It is becoming quite the thing amongst the residuum to personate "Jack the Ripper." The cornerman has at last found a change of occupation. Instead of making our streets hideous by violent and disorderly conduct, he goes about the less frequented thoroughfares with a large knife, which he brandishes in the face of defenceless women. It is hard to say which is the more objectionable proceeding. It is clear, however, that this new form of idiotcy must be sternly repressed. It is satisfactory to notice that a number of these cowardly brutes have been promptly handed over to the police. If this continues to be done, and if the magistrates give them no quarter, they will soon give up their new game.
Female detectives! This is the latest idea. Sir Charles Warren has been urged to enroll women in his force, and the suggestion has the support of Miss Frances Power Cobbe. In a letter to the Times she says that a female detective would pass unsuspected where a man would be instantly noticed; she could extract gossip from other women much more freely; she could employ for whatever it might be worth that gift of intuitive quickness and mother wit with which her sex is commonly credited. We are bound to assume that Miss Cobbe wrote her letter in sober earnest and after mature consideration. But the communicated certainty reads more like a grim joke than anything else. It is the female employment question carried to a ludicrous extreme.
[SUBJECT OF ILLUSTRATION.]
A remarkable feature in the case of the discovery of the mutilated body at Whitehall is the number of missing women brought to the notice of the authorities by persons making inquiries respecting the remains. It is thus shown that very many women leave their friends without communicating with them, and pass out of site of those nearest to them. No trustworthy clue to the murder has yet been obtained from these inquiries, though each piece of information is closely sifted.
Mr. John Troutbeck, coroner for Westminster, opened an inquest on the remains of the woman discovered in the vault of the new police office on the Thames-embankment. Assembling at the mortuary in Millbank-street, the jury were sworn, and viewed the remains there, afterwards adjourning to the Sessions House Broad-Sanctuary, where the evidence was taken.
George Budgen deposed to finding the remains.
Mr. Thomas Bond: I am a surgeon and reside at the Sanctuary, Westminster Abbey. On October 2nd, shortly before four o'clock, I was called to the new police buildings, where I was shown the decomposed trunk of a body. It was then lying in the basement, partially unwrapped. I visited the place where it had been discovered, and found that the wall against which it had lain was stained black. The parcel seemed to have been there for several days, and it was taken to the mortuary that evening and the remains placed in spirits. On the following morning, assisted by my colleague, I made an examination. The trunk was that of a woman of considerable statue and well nourished. The head had been separated from the trunk by means of a saw. The lower limbs and the pelvis had been removed in the same way. The length of the trunk was seventeen inches, and the circumference of the chest thirty-five and a half inches and the waist twenty-eight and a half inches. The parts were decomposed, and we could not discover any wounds. The breasts were large and prominent. The arms had been removed at the shoulder joints by several incisions, the cuts having apparently been made obliquely from above downwards, and then around the arm. Over the body were clearly defined marks, where string had been tied. It appeared to have been wrapped up in a very skillful manner. We did not find marks indicating that the woman had borne any children. On opening the chest we find that the rib cartilages were not ossified, that one lung was healthy, but that the left lung showed signs of severe pleurisy. The substance of the heart was healthy, and there were indications that the woman had not died either of suffocation or of drowning. The liver and stomach, kidneys, and spleen were normal. The uterus was absent. There were indications that the woman was of mature age - twenty-four or twenty-five years. She would have been large and well nourished, with fair skin and dark hair. The date of death would have been from six weeks to two months, and the decomposition occurred in the air, not the water. I subsequently examined the arm brought to the mortuary. It was the arm of a woman, and accurately fitted to the trunk; and the general contour of the arm corresponded to that of the body. The fingers were long and taper, and the nails well shaped; and the hand was quite that of a person not used to manual labour.
Mr. Charles O. Hibbert, assistant to Mr. Bond, was also examined, as was likewise Inspector Marshall, of the Criminal Investigation Department. The inquest was adjourned for a fortnight.
The police are in possession of what is likely to prove a most important piece of evidence in connection with the discovery of the mutilated body in a cell of the new police buildings at Westminster. It has been supplied by an inhabitant of Llanelly, of South Wales. He happened to be in Cannon-row on the Saturday before the body was found, and at an hour when the place was practically deserted. His attention was at that moment directed to a man who climbed over a hoarding into the ground whereon the new police office is being erected, and where afterwards the body was discovered. Two other men were with him, who had a barrow on which was a bundle. The whole proceeding seemed curious, and afterwards, when the remains were found, the South Walian "put two and two together," handed in his information, and also a description of the man. The result is that a workman has since been interviewed in the vicinity, who admits having been on the spot the day in question, though his business there is not very clear. Beyond this the police, it is said, succeed in obtaining no clue.