16 August 1888
At noon yesterday there was a parade of Coldstream and Grenadier Guards at the Wellington Barracks, Pimlico, for the purpose of the possible identification of one or more of the men on a charge of murder. Soon after eleven o'clock two police-officers-Inspector Reid and Detective-sergeant Caunter-arrived with Mary Ann Conolly (otherwise "Pearly Poll") and requested permission to make inquiries with regard to the murder of Martha Turner at Whitechapel on the night of Bank Holiday. The "assembly" call was at once sounded, and the men were drawn up in quarter-column, after which they filed through a passage, where Inspector Reid, Sergeant Caunter, and another police-officer were stationed with "Pearly Poll." The woman was asked to scrutinize the faces of the soldiers as they passed, for the purpose of seeing if she could pick out either of the men who were with her and the deceased on the night on which the murder was committed. After a small number had filed past "Pearly Poll" picked out a man wearing stripes, and taken by her to be a corporal, as the one who went away with the deceased woman. "That's him," exclaimed she; "I'm positive." The suspect was temporarily detained, and the filing by of the others continued. When a few more had passed, the woman, scanning the features of every one intently, pointed to a private as being the second man. She positively declared that he accompanied her to a house in the district where the murder took place. "Are you positive?" [Poll] was asked, and "Pearly Poll" nodded, and replied, "Certain." The military authorities immediately placed all the books, showing the time at which the suspected men left and returned to the barracks on the night mentioned, at the disposal of Inspector Reid and Sergeant Caunter. It was pointed out that the "corporal" was but a private with good conduct stripes, a man of exemplary character, who was in the barracks by ten o'clock on Bank Holiday night. Other evidence as to his innocence, and also respecting the private's movements on the night of the crime, was also forthcoming. The former man was at once exonerated, while the second, also a man of exceptionally good character, was formally told that further inquiries must be instituted. These inquiries were duly conducted, and he, too, was told that no stain rested upon him, as it was clearly a case of mistaken identity. It is asserted that, as "Pearly Poll" has "identified" two innocent men, who could not have been in Whitechapel at the time she said, the police will not further seek her aid in elucidating the mystery. Neither of the men worse side-arms when they left the barracks on Bank Holiday, and could not possibly have been in each other's company. The authorities say that they must now look elsewhere for a clue.