11 September 1888
The Manchester Courier correspondent says:- "Apropos of the fearful and as yet undetected murders which have followed each other in such rapid succession in Whitechapel, an eminent French savant told me last night of a similar case which occurred 25 years ago in Paris, and created at the time a great sensation. He had then in his employment a young man named Phillippe, of good family - bright, intelligent and amiable - who in every way gave satisfaction to his employers, and was generally esteemed. One night he absented himself from home, and the next morning the police called to say that he had been arrested for no less than seventeen heartless murders, the victims being women of the same class as those who have lately been so fiendishly butchered in London. It was by the merest chance he was discovered, his intended eighteenth victim happening to see him secrete a razor under the pillow. The room was over a wine shop, and she, on the plea of feeling unwell, said she would step downstairs for a glass of brandy, which he, unsuspicious that he had been observed, allowed her to do. The woman called the police and Phillippe was arrested, when he candidly confessed that he was the man who had been searched for in vain for so long. The most notorious murderer in the annals of French crime, Phillippe afterwards stated that his actions had been simply the result of a horrible mania, and that he had escaped detection only by a series of the most marvellous disguises that could be suggested by the deadly cunning of the maniac.
There is apparently little abatement of the panic and excitement caused by the murder of Saturday. Crowds numbering many thousands gathered all day about the scene of the crime. The reported capture of "Leather Apron" produced a remarkable demonstration, for the news flying like wildfire through the throngs of people dispersed over a score of streets, lanes and alleys. A wild outburst of cheering was kept up for half an hour, and was succeeded by a monster chorus of "We'll hang 'Leather Apron' on a high gallows tree." There is a tendency among classes claiming to be more logical than the multitude to regard "Leather Apron" as the murderer, but the conclusion is considered premature, to say the least of it, although appearances and antecedents alike are decidedly against the man of mystery now in the hands of the police. A remarkable result of the crime has been the organisation of a number of vigilance committees throughout Whitechapel district. The movement has been taken up with so much zeal that some of these volunteer police societies started with a hundred members, whose duty it is to contribute from their numbers ten men per night to the work of patrolling the streets.
Sir Charles Warren has suddenly re-appeared at his office from the Continent, where he was spending a holiday which had not run half its course. Such a proceeding on the part of the Chief Commissioner of Police is explained in two ways. It is supposed that his hasty return is due to the fourth murder of a sanguinary series, all evidently the work of the same perpetrator, all committed in the same neighbourhood and within brief intervals from each other, but all, so far, most eloquent testimony to the feebleness in some vital respects of the Metropolitan Police system. Sir Charles is blamed among other things for having recently transferred the whole detective force of East London to the West, the effect of the change being to import total strangers where a personal knowledge of the criminal classes is a first essential of success in dealing with them. It is held on the other hand that the Chief Commissioner has not abandoned his holiday so much for the purpose of stimulating the search for the "man monster" as in order to adopt precautions against the threatened renewal of Socialist demonstrations, with their probabilities of consequent disturbances.
INQUEST ON THE VICTIM
NUMEROUS ARRESTS ON SUSPICION
"LEATHER APRON" IN CUSTODY
NO CLUE TO THE MURDERER
LONDON, MONDAY EVENING
There was no diminution in the excitement to-day around the scene of the latest Whitechapel murder, and the police activity has been shown in various directions. About nine o'clock this morning a man named John Piser, residing at 22 Mulberry street, Commercial road, was arrested at his home on suspicion of being the unknown man who has been described as "Leather Apron." The arrest was effected very quietly, but when it became known some time afterwards there was great excitement. The prisoner by trade is a boot finisher, and lives with his stepmother and a married brother. He has recently been in a convalescent home. He is a Jew about 35 years of age. He had the character of being entirely inoffensive, and a most unlikely person to be confounded with the description and character of "Leather Apron." He was taken to Leman street Police Station. He was detained there some hours while inquiries were being prosecuted by police. These were satisfactory and during the afternoon the prisoner was quietly liberated. On this becoming known there was great rejoicing among his co-religionists, who gathered in large numbers. Meanwhile, information had been received that what was believed to be an important arrest had been effected at Gravesend. On Sunday night a communication was made to Superintendent Berry that a suspicious-looking individual was at the Pope's Head publichouse, West street. A sergeant, who was dispatched to the place, arrested the man, who was found to have been bitten in the head. Prisoner, whose name was William Henry Piggott, aged 52, explained this by stating that while going down Brick lane, Whitechapel, at half-past four on Saturday morning, a woman fell down in a fit. He stooped to pick her up, when she bit him. He then hit her, and as two policemen came up he ran away. Piggott's clothing was carefully examined by Dr Whitcombe, the divisional surgeon, and it was announced that two shirts which Piggott carried in a bundle were stained with blood, and also that blood appeared to have been recently wiped off his boots. After the usual caution, prisoner made a further statement to the effect that the woman who bit him was in the street at the back of a lodging-house when seized with the fit. He added that he slept in a lodginghouse in Osborne street on Thursday night, but on Friday was walking the streets of Whitechapel all night. He tramped from London to Gravesend on Saturday. He was a native of Gravesend, and told the police that he had been keeping several publichouses in London. As the prisoner's description tallied in some respects with that furnished by the headquarters of the man "wanted," Superintendent Barry decided to detain him until morning. In response to a telegram Inspector Abberline proceeded to Gravesened this morning, and decided to bring the prisoner back to Whitechapel so that he could be confronted with the woman who had furnished the description of "Leather Apron."
On arriving at London Bridge Station Piggott was driven to Commercial street, and news of his arrival having spread quickly, the police station was soon surrounded with an excited crowd. Piggott arrived at Commercial street in much the same condition as when taken into custody. He wore no vest, had on a battered felt hat, and either from drink or fright appeared to be in a state of extraordinary nervous excitement. Mrs Fiddymont, who is responsible for the statement respecting a man resembling "Leather Apron" being seen at the Prince Albert publichouse on Saturday was sent for as were also other witnesses likely to be able to identify the prisoner, but after a brief scrutiny it was the unanimous opinion that Piggott was not "Leather Apron." Nevertheless, looking to his condition of mind, it was decided to detain him until he could give a somewhat more satisfactory explanation of himself and his movements. After an interval of a couple of hours the man's manner becoming more strange and his speech more incoherent the divisional surgeon was called in, and he gave it as his opinion that the prisoner's mind was unhinged. A medical certificate to this effect was made out, and Piggott will for the present remain in custody.
At several of the police stations in the East End of London men suspected of being concerned in the tragedy have been in custody during the day, but on investigation only a brief detention has been found necessary, except in the two cases above noted.
As evidence of the effect which the murders have had on the public mind several drunken men have professed to be connected with the outrages, and in one or two instances have been taken to the police station surrounded by an excited crowd, with the result only of wasting the time of the police, and adding to the panic which prevailed in some parts of the metropolis.
Inquiries made in Windsor to-day make it highly probable that Mrs Chapman was the same woman who had been in Superintendent Hayes's custody for drunkenness, though she was never brought before the magistrates. It was stated at the inquest to-day that the murderered woman was the wife of a vetinary surgeon, but it would appear from information received from Windsor that in her happier days Mrs Chapman was the wife of a respectable coachman in the service of a gentleman at Clewer, near Windsor, but who was compelled to retire from service through ill health. His illness lasted for some time, and he died at Grove road, Windsor, at Christmas 1886. Chapman had been forced to separate from his wife in consequence of her habits. During her residence in the East End, and until his death, she received an allowance of 10s a week from her husband. There were two children, a boy and a girl. The boy was admitted to a London hospital, and the girl was for some time at Grove road, Windsor, but nothing is known of their present whereabouts. We understand that Superintendent Hayes sent one of his men to London, and the policeman identified the body at Whitechapel mortuary as that of Mrs Chapman, formerly of Windsor.
Every available detective who could be spared from the other districts of the metropolis has been drafted into Whitechapel and altogether the police authorities have been working with exceptional vigour in the hope of capturing the monster who within only a few months has done to death no fewer than four miserable women. Their efforts have not been rewarded with any considerable measure of success. Some six or seven men have been arrested on suspicion, but most of them speedily satisfied the police of their innocence and were released. One man, however, is still in custody at Bethnal green Police Station awaiting the result of further inquiries, and another man has been sent to the lunatic ward of the workhouse, preliminary to his removal to an asylum. The latter, who gave the name of Piggott, was arrested at Gravesend, and the police had for some time cherished the hope that he was the criminal. His boots and clothing bore traces of blood, his shirt was torn, and the forefinger of his left hand had been severely bitten. He further admitted that he was in Whitechapel at the time of the murder, and that the wound on his finger was inflicted by a woman with whom he had quarrelled and fought on Friday night. Piggott was taken to Whtiechapel, but all the witnesses failed to identify him as the man wanted, and after careful examination Dr Phillips, divisional surgeon, certified that the man was insane. There is, however, something mysterious about Piggott, and he will be closely watched for some time to come. The two rings which the murderer wrenched from the finger of his victim have not been offered in pawn, and the police have failed to obtain a single fresh clue.
In consequence of the reticence shown by the police in giving information it was understood that the man Piser, alleged to be "Leather Apron," had been released, but it appears from later information that he is still in custody. It is stated that this person is a well-known character in the East End, and that the police attach considerable importance to his capture. It is stated that since the police made public his description he has been missing to the officers who knew him to frequent the neighbourhood of Whitechapel at night, and this is considered an important circumstance in connection with the arrest. When the officers lost sight of him a vigilant search was made, but without any result until this morning. Detective Sergeant Thicke, who made the arrest, has been watching the house in which he was concealed for several days, and at nine o'clock this morning made his final effort to secure the man. He had no difficulty in effecting this object, the man submitting quietly, and accompanying the officer through the streets unobserved. It is understood that the prisoner did not reside at the house in which he was arrested. He is detained at the Leeman street Police Station, but at midnight as far as can be ascertained, had not been charged with any specific offence. In the meantime, however, a large number of officers are directing their investigations into the mans antecedents. They do not know what to do with the man, now that he is in custody. As was anticipated, the greatest difficulty is and will be experienced in bringing the crime home to any person owing to the mystery which surrounds its perpetration. The local police to-night, we are informed, requisitioned the assistance of some experts. Amongst those who came from Scotland Yard were Detective Inspector Abberline and Superintendent Shaw, the latter an officer who perhaps knows more about crime and criminals than any man in the detective service. The prisoner was seen by these officers, being brought from the cells to the superintendent's office, where it is stated he was prevailed upon to make a statement. It is believed this man, if not personally guilty, is able to throw some light on the criminal.
The police have no power to detain the man Piser for any considerable time without charging him, and for this reason it is believed the man will shortly be brought up and charged on suspicion. Public opinion runs so high in the neighbourhood against the person known as "Leather Apron" that the police have set aside the rules generally adopted in such cases. No matter where a man is arrested he is conveyed to the police station in which the crime has been committed, but in this case it is thought unadvisable to remove him, and the statement made this evening by the police that the man had been liberated is believed to have been a ruse to prevent any unpleasant manifestations of public indignation in the vicinity of the police station.
Considerable importance is attached to the apprehension of the man Piggott by the Whitechapel police. He still adheres to the statement he made shortly after his arrest, that he was in the vicinity at the time of the murder. The police surgeon having given orders that the man should be watched, he is under close observation. Under the lunacy laws it is necessary to charge a person said to be a lunatic within three days; therefore unless the man recovers he will have to be brought before a magistrate.
Investigations concerning the man are being closely followed up, but at midnight nothing of material importance to the case in hand has been discovered, nor has any of his friends or relatives been found.
The series of murders which now even the police believe to be the work of one man is engaging the attention of a large force of plain clothes detectives. At 8 o'clock last night the Scotland Yard authorities circulated a description of a man they say, "entered the passage of the house 29 Hanbury street, at which the murder was committed, with a prostitute, at 2 am. on the 8th." They give his age as 37; height, 5 feet 7 inches; and add that he is rather dark, had a beard and moustache, was dressed in a short, dark jacket, dark vest and trousers, black scarf, and a black felt hat, and spoke with a foreign accent.
There is a waxworks show to which admission can be obtained for one penny, in the Whitechapel road, near the Working Lad's Institute. During the past few days a highly-coloured representation of the George Yard and Buck's Row murders - painted on canvas - have been hung in front of the building, in addition to which there were placards notifying that life size wax models of the murdered women could be seen within. The pictures have caused large crowds to assemble on the pavement in front of the shop. This morning, however, another picture was added to the rest. It was a representation of the murder in Hanbury street. The prominent feature of the picture was that they were plentifully besmeared with red paint - this of course representing wounds and blood. Notices were also posted up that a life-size waxwork figure of Annie "Sivens" could be seen within. After the inquest at the Working Lad's Institute had been adjourned a large crowd seized them and tore them down. Considerable confusion followed, and order was only restored by the appearance of an inspector of police and two constables. A man attired in workman's clothes and who appeared to be somewhat the worse for drink then addressed the crowd. He said - "I suppose you are all Englishmen and women here; then do you think it right that that picture (continued the orator, pointing to the one representing the murder in Hanbury street) should be exhibited in the public streets before the poor woman's body is hardly cold." Cries of "No, no, we don't" greeted this remark, and another scene of excitement followed. The crowd, however, was quickly dispersed by the police before the showman's property was further damaged.
Commenting on the Whitechapel murder, the Chronicle says:- London is disgusted with the inadequacy of the police protection which Sir Charles Warren gives. The present regime must be mended or ended.
The inquest on the body of Annie Chapman alias Sievey was opened at 10 o'clock this morning by the District Coroner, Mr Wynne Baxter. The inquiry was held in the Alexandra Room at the Working Lad's Institute.
Inspector Helson, J Division, represented the police authorities. There was a large attendance of the general public in court, and in the precincts of the Institute and the approaches thereto were guarded by a large number of constables. The latest newspaper accounts of the murder were eagerly scanned by those in waiting, who thus passed the interval of time between the opening of the court and the coroner's arrival. There are everywhere visible signs of the profound impression made by the crime, which even exceeds in its fiendish brutality the one committed a week ago, and the investigation of which now stands adjourned until Monday next.
Mr Collier, Deputy Coroner, now accompanied Mr Wynne Baxter. The Jury, having been formally sworn, went to view the body at the mortuary.
John Davis deposed - I live at 29 Hanbury street, Spitalfields. I am a carman. I occupy one front room, which is shared by my wife and three sons. I went to bed on Friday night at 8 o'clock, and my sons came in at different times - the last one at about a quarter to 11. I was awake from 3 o'clock until 5, but fell off to sleep for about half an hour. I got up at a quarter to 6 on Saturday morning, and went across the yard. The house faces Hanbury street. On the ground floor there is a front door leading into a passage which runs right through to the back yard. There is a back door to this passage. Sometimes both doors are open during the night, and I have never known either of them to be locked. Anyone who knows where the latch of the front door is can open it and pass along into the yard. I cannot say whether the back door was latched on Saturday morning when I got down, but the front street door was wide open and thrown back against the wall. I was not surprised at that. Witness was here asked to describe the general appearance of the yard, but was not very clear in his statements, some time having been occupied in attempting to elicit answers.
The Coroner said that in country inquests the police were always ready to assist him by preparing a plan of any locality which was the subject of investigation. Certainly this was a case of sufficient importance for such a plan, and he hoped that any future time a plan would be laid before him.
Inspector Chandler said a plan should be drawn up.
The Coroner retorted that it might then be too late to be of any service.
Davis, resuming, said - When I opened the back door of the yard I found a woman lying on her back. I called two men who were in the employ of Mr Bayley, packingcase maker, in Hanbury street, on the same side of the road; they came and looked at the sight; I do not know them personally.
The Coroner asked if these men were known to the police?
Inspector Chandler said they were not.
The Coroner expressed his surprise at this.
Witness - I had to go to work myself.
The Coroner (emphatically) - Your work is of no importance compared with this inquiry. To Inspector Chandler - We must find these men out either with the assistance of the police or with the assistance of my officer.
Witness - The men did not wish to be seen in the job.
The Coroner - If they have not been seen and identified yet they must be.
Witness - I informed the inspector at Commercial street of what I had seen. I have never seen any women in the passage. I heard no noises on Saturday morning.
Amelia Palmer said - I live at 30 Dorset street, which is a common lodging house. I am the wife of a labourer, who is a pensioner from the army. I have known the deceased well for the past five years. I have seen the body at the mortuary, and I am quite sure that it is that of Annie Chapman. She was a widow. Her husband was formerly a vetinary surgeon at Windsor and was well known there. He died about 18 months ago. Deceased had lived apart from him for four years. Since the separation deceased had lived principally, though not altogether in common lodginghouses in the neighbourhood of Spitalfields. She lived two years ago at 30 Dorset street, with a man called "Sievey." At that time she was receiving 10s a week from her husband. The money was always sent by P.O.O. payable at Commercial road. The remittances stopped 18 months ago, and deceased found that her husband was dead. The fact was ascertained from a brother or sister of her husband, living in Oxford street, Whitechapel. Mrs Chapman was called Mrs Sievey because the man she lived with was a sieve maker. He left her some time ago. I saw the deceased two or three times during the last week. I saw her on Monday, September 3rd, standing in the road opposite a lodging house, 36 Dorset street. She had been staying there, and complained of feeling unwell. Deceased had a bruise on one of her temples - I think the right temple. I asked how she got it. Deceased asked me to look at her chest, which was also bruised, and said, "You know the woman," mentioning some name which I do not remember, but it was a woman who carried out books for sale. That woman and deceased were acquainted with a man called "Harry the Hawker." Deceased told me on Saturday, September 1st, she (deceased) was with a man called Ted Stanley - a very respectable man. She was at a beer shop with him - 87 Commercial street, which is at the corner of Dorset street. "Harry the Hawker" was also there, and was under the influence of drink. "Harry the Hawker" put down 2s for beer, the book selling woman picked it up and put down a penny. There was an ill-feeling in consequence, and the same evening the book-selling woman met the deceased and struck her in the face and chest. I saw the deceased again on Tuesday, September 4th. I met her as she was walking at the side of Spitalfields' Church. The deceased said she felt no better, and should go to the casual ward for a day or two. The deceased told me she had not had even a cup of tea that day. I said, "Here is twopence, get a cup of tea, but don't have any rum." The deceased was partial to rum, and I have seen her many times the worse for drink. She used to do crochet work, make anti-macassars, and sell flowers. I am afraid she was not particular how she earned her living, and I know that she was out late at times. She has told me so. On Fridays the deceased used to go to Stratford East to sell anything she had. I did not see her from Tuesday afternoon until Friday. On that day I met her in Dorset street about 5 o'clock. She then appeared perfectly sober. I said, "Aren't you going to Stratford to-day?" She said, "I feel too ill to do anything." I saw her again about ten minutes afterwards on the same spot. She said, "It's no use in my giving way. I must pull myself together and go and get some money or I shall have no lodgings." That is the last I saw of her. Deceased told me she had been in the casual ward. Deceased was very industrious when sober, and a very clever little woman. I have seen her the worse for drink, but I don't think she could take much without it making her drunk. She had been living a very irregular life for five years, more especially since her husband's death. She has a sister and brother in London, but I don't think they were on friendly terms. The deceased had two children at Windsor, and after her husband's death they were put in a school.
The Coroner said it appeared to be doubtful whether the husband of the deceased was a vetinary surgeon.
Timothy Donovan, 35 Dorset street, Spitalfields, deputy of the common lodginghouse said - I identify the body at the mortuary as that of a woman who has lodged at my place. She has lived there for four months, but was not at No 35 last week until the Friday afterwards. At about 2 or 3 o'clock she asked me to allow her to go into the kitchen. I consented and did not see her until about 1.45 on Saturday morning. At that time I was sitting in the office, and I saw the deceased go into the kitchen. Deceased afterwards came upstairs, saying she had not sufficient money for a bed, and adding, "Don't let it; I shan't be long before I am in." The bed she spoke of was the one she usually occupied. The deceased left the house, and I did not see which way she turned, but I believe the watchman did. She had enough to drink when I last saw her, but she could walk straight. She was generally the worse for drink on Saturdays, but not on other days. When she left the lodging-house on Saturday morning I said to her, "You can find money for beer but not for your bed." She replied that she had only been to the top of the street to the Ringer's publichouse. I saw the deceased with no men that night. I could not say whether deceased walked the streets. She used to come and stay at the lodging house on Saturdays with a man of soldierly appearance, and who is said to be a pensioner. She has come at other times, with other men, and I have refused to allow her to have a bed.
The Coroner - A woman has only one husband at your place?
Donovan - The pensioner told me not to let her have a bed with any other man. She did not come to my place with any man on Friday night. As a rule she occupied No 29 bed by herself. The pensioner and deceased were together at the lodginghouse on Sunday September 2.
The Coroner - Is anything known of this pensioner?
Inspector Chandler - No sir.
Donovan (resuming) - On 25th of August the woman told me she was going out to see if the pensioner had drawn his pension. She usually saw him in the street. She was on good terms with all the lodgers, and I never had any trouble with her. About Tuesday, August 28th deceased and another woman had a row in the kitchen before I was up. I afterwards saw them both outside the house, but I did not notice any injury on deceased. Subsequently deceased called my attention to her eye, which was bruised, but she did not tell me how the injury was done.
John Evans deposed - I am night watchman at 35 Dorset street. Deceased used to live there. On Saturday morning I saw her go out of the lodging-house. She went in the direction of Spitalfields' Church. That was after she had asked us to keep the bed until she got some lodging money. She never returned. Deceased was the worse for drink but not badly so. She came into the kitchen soon after 12 o'clock. I heard her say she had been to her sister's at Vauxhall. I have known that the deceased was out at nights; but I have known only one man with whom she was associated. He used to come with her on Saturdays. This particular man called on Saturday last, the 8th instant, at about half past 2 o'clock in the afternoon to make inquiries about the woman. He had heard of her death. I do not know either his name or address. After I had told him what had occurred he went out without saying a word. I have never heard any man threaten the deceased at any time. I have never heard her express fear of anyone.
The Coroner - Have you heard any woman at your house say that she had been asked for money by any man?
Witness - No
This concluded the witness's evidence and
The Coroner adjourned the inquiry until Wednesday at 2 o'clock.