An Evening Newspaper and Review
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 1888.
The Whitechapel murder is no doubt very foul, loathsome, and horrible. But when all is said and done, that is no reason why people should go stark staring mad over it. It is difficult to regard one suggestion made on Saturday as the product of anything but sheer lunacy. The people of East London, we are told, "must form themselves at once into vigilance committees, with sub-committees, which should at once devote themselves to volunteer patrol work at night. The unfortunates who are the objects of the man-monster's malignity should be shadowed by one or two of the amateur patrols. They should be cautioned to walk in couples. Whistles and a signalling system should be provided, and means of summoning a rescue force should be at hand. We are not sure that every London district should not make some effort of the kind." The suggestion that every "unfortunate" in London should be shadowed by a couple of respectable householders with reserves in the rear ready to rush up on hearing a whistle, is the one gleam of the irresistibly comic in the whole of this gruesome tragedy.
It is to be hoped that the police and their amateur assistants are not confining their attention to those who look like "horrid ruffians." Many of the occupants of the Chamber of Horrors look like local preachers, Members of Parliament, or monthly nurses. We incline on the whole to the belief which we expressed on Saturday that the murderer is a victim of erotic mania which often takes the awful shape of an uncontrollable taste for blood. Sadism, as it is termed from the maniac marquis whose books sound the lowest depth obscenity has ever touched, is happily so strange to the majority of our people that they find it difficult to credit the possibility of mere debauchery bearing such awful fruitage. The Marquis de Sade, who died in a lunatic asylum at the age of seventy-four, after a life spent in qualifying for admission to gaol and escaping from prison, was an amiable-looking gentleman, and so, possibly enough, may be the Whitechapel murderer.
Another case in point is that of the man Williams, whose butchery of two whole families in the Ratcliffe Highway is described in De Quincey's essay on "Murder as One of the Fine Arts." He too was a murderous maniac; but he was "a fiend in human shape" in the moral sense only. Physically he was a man of benevolent aspect, of gentlemanly bearing, and of a peculiarly soft and pleasant voice. De Quincey relates how the "maniac" once asked a girl what she would think if he was to appear by her bedside at midnight with a knife in his hand. "If it was any one else," she replied, "I should be terribly frightened; but as soon as I heard you speak, I should be reassured."
REPORTS AND SKETCHES ABOUT THE LATEST.
The many conflicting accounts of the murder in Whitechapel which were current on Saturday have now given place to more definite information. The victim has been identified as a widow named Chapman, whose husband was a veterinary surgeon at Windsor. She had been frequenting low lodging-houses in the East-end for some time. She was not the occupant of 29, Hanbury-street, Spitalfields, where the body was found. That is a tenement let out to many families of lodgers. It is nearly certain that she made her way into the yard, which is easily accessible through the house at all hours of the night, in company with her murderer, for the purpose of privacy, and that she was not killed in another place and then carried to the spot where she was found. The fact that no cry from the poor woman reached any of the numerous inmates of the house shows that the assassin knew his business well. The wounds inflicted by him were exactly similar to those which caused the death of the woman Nichols eight days before. Nichols, it will be remembered, was found with her throat cut, and frightfully mutilated, upon the pavement of Buck's-row. Rather more than three weeks previously Martha Tabran was picked up dead on the stairs of George-yard-buildings, Whitechapel, with thirty-nine stabs on her body. It is important to notice that, although some of the stabs might have been inflicted by an ordinary knife, others, according to the medical evidence, were far too formidable to have been produced by anything but "some kind of a dagger." The case of Emma Smith, who died from the effects of a barbarous assault in the early morning of Easter Tuesday last, is different, and possibly it ought to be entirely dissociated from the murders of the last month. Smith lived long enough to describe the outrage; and her account was that at half-past one in the morning she was passing near Whitechapel Church when some men set upon her, took all the money she had, and then inflicted the most revolting injuries upon her. But the crimes of August and September naturally separate themselves from the other, both by reason of the considerable interval which elapsed and by the more determined method of the later assassin or assassins. Probably Smith's assailants did not mean to kill her outright. But there is no room for doubt that the slayer of Tabran, Nichols, and Chapman meant murder, and nothing else but murder.
THE SCENE OF THE MURDER.
"Although the Whitechapel murders are without example, the police have also," as the Times remarks, "an unexampled number of data from which to draw their conclusions. The most salient point is the maniacal frenzy with which the victims were slaughtered, and unless we accept, as a possible alternative, the theory that the assassin was actuated by revenge for some real or supposed injury suffered by him at the hands of unfortunate women, we are thrown back upon the belief that these murders were really committed by a madman, or by a man whom a sottish passion interlaced with a lust for blood places too far outside the pale of human feelings to be governed by commonly recognized motives."
It was a woman named Amelia Farmer, who was a fellow-lodger with the deceased, who identified the body. She was taken to the mortuary, and immediately recognized her friend, apparently being much touched at the dreadful spectacle. Later on she made a statement of what she knew of the history of the murdered woman. Annie Chapman had for a long time been separated from her husband, a veterinary surgeon at Windsor, by mutual agreement, and had been allowed 10s. a week by him for her maintenance. About eighteen months ago the instalments suddenly ceased, and, upon inquiry being made, it was found that the husband had died. Annie Chapman had two children, but where they were she could not say. The deceased had a mother and sister, who were living in the neighbourhood of Brompton or Fulham - she thought, near the Brompton Hospital. Last Monday Chapman had intimated her intention of communicating with her sister, saying, "If I can get a pair of boots from my sister I shall go hop-picking." Another relation, a brother-in-law of the deceased, lived somewhere in or near Oxford-street. Farmer asserted that her murdered friend was apparently a sober, steady-going sort of woman, and one who seldom took any drink. For some time past she had been living occasionally with a man named Ted Stonley, who had been in the militia, but was now working at some neighbouring brewery. Ted Stonley was a good-tempered man, rather tall, about 5ft. 10in., fair, and of florid complexion. He was the last man in the world to have quarrelled with Chapman, nor would he have injured her in any way. At the beginning of the week the deceased had been rather severely knocked about in the breast and face by another woman of the locality through jealousy in connection with Ted Stonley. As a regular means of livelihood she had not been in the habit of frequenting the streets, but had made antimacassars for sale. Sometimes she would buy flowers or matches with which to pick up a living. Farmer was perfectly certain that on Friday night the murdered woman had worn three rings, which were not genuine, but were imitations, as otherwise she would not have troubled to go out and find money for her lodgings.
Timothy Donovan, the deputy at the lodging-house, 35, Dorset-street, where the deceased frequently stayed, states that the deceased stayed there on Sunday night last. She had been in the habit of coming there for the past four months. She was a quiet woman, and gave no trouble. He had heard her say she wished she was as well off as her relations, but she never told him who her friends were, or where they lived. A pensioner or a soldier usually came to the lodging-house with her on Saturday nights, and generally he stayed until the Monday morning. He would be able to identify the man instantly if he saw him. After the man left on Monday deceased would usually keep in the room for some days longer, the charge being eightpence per night. This man stayed at the house the Saturday to Monday; when he went the deceased went with him. She was not seen at the house again until Friday night last about half-past eleven o'clock, when she passed the doorway, and Donovan, calling out, asked her where she had been since Monday, and why she had not slept there, and she replied, "I have been in the infirmary." Then she went on her way in the direction of Bishopsgate-street. About 1.40 A.M. on Saturday morning she came again to the lodging-house, and asked for a bed. The message was brought upstairs to him, and he sent downstairs to ask for the money. The woman replied, "I haven't enough now, but keep my bed for me. I shan't be long." Then as she was going away she said to John Evans, the watchman, "Brummy, I won't be long. See that Jim keeps my bed for me." She was the worse for drink at the time. He saw nothing of her again until he was called to the mortuary on Saturday, when he identified the deceased by her features and her wavy hair, which was turning grey.
Mrs. Fiddymont, wife of the proprietor of the Prince Albert public-house, at the corner of Brushfield and Stewart streets, half a mile from the scene of the murder, states that at seven o'clock on Saturday morning she was standing in the bar talking with another woman, a friend, in the first compartment. Suddenly there came into the middle compartment a man whose rough appearance frightened her. He had on a brown stiff hat, a dark coat, and no waistcoat. He came in with his hat down over his eyes, and with his face partly concealed asked for half a pint of four ale. She drew the ale, and meanwhile looked at him through the mirror at the back of the bar. As soon as he saw the woman in the other compartment watching him he turned his back, and got the partition between himself and her. The thing that struck Mrs. Fiddymont particularly was the fact that there were blood spots on the back of his right hand. She also noticed that his shirt was torn. As soon as he had drunk the ale, which he swallowed at a gulp, he went out.
No corroboration of the reported statement that the victim was served in a public-house at Spitalfields Market on its opening at 5 A.M can be gained, while the report that the murderer left a message on a wall in the yard which was made out to read "Five: 15 more, and then give myself up," turned out to be untrue. With respect to the statement that a knife and apron were discovered beneath the body of Annie Chapman, it may be said that there was no knife; and though an apron was found, it belonged to a man in the house, and no importance is attached to the fact, the police not having taken possession of it.
[A report of the inquest and of arrests of suspected persons will be found on another page.]
THE WHITECHAPEL MURDER.
ARREST OF "LEATHER APRON" TO-DAY.
DISCOVERY OF KNIVES.
AN IMPORTANT ARREST AT GRAVESEND.
The excitement in the East-end, consequent upon the murder of a woman, on Saturday, is increasing to-day, for at nine o'clock this morning Detective-Sergeant Thicke, of the H Division, who has had charge of the case, succeeded in arresting the man known in the locality as "Leather Apron;" and in his possession the police found a large number of long-bladed knives and several hats. On receiving the report of this arrest we made inquiries at the Criminal Investigation Department, Scotland-yard, when our representative was informed that it was perfectly true that the man "Leather Apron" had been arrested. But in regard to the question as to how far they believe him to be connected with this or any previous murder in Whitechapel the superintendent in charge preserved a strictly non-committal attitude. Whether any of the "police theories" includes such a possibility, therefore, remains for the present an open question.
With regard to this man about whom so much has been rightly or wrongly reported, the case briefly summed up is as follows:- That the murders are evidently the work of a maniac, and this man is quite crazy enough to fall within that class. His brutality, manifested in his attacks on Whitechapel women of the unfortunate class are quite in keeping with the late fiendish deeds. He disappeared from his accustomed haunts just about the time of the George-yard murder, has not been in any of the lodging houses in which he has slept for years, and since that murder has been seen, it is said, only once or twice in a district in which he is known by sight to many. Furthermore, a man exactly answering his description was found one night sleeping on the steps in the very house and in the very passage through which the victim of Saturday was led to her death.
Another arrest has been made in connection with the murder. A man giving the name of William Henry Pigott, aged about forty, was found in the Pope's Head Tavern, at Gravesend, last night, and was taken in charge by the police. His hand has been bitten, and there are blood marks on his clothes. He admitted having been in the neighbourhood of Buck's-row on Saturday morning, where he said he quarrelled with a woman who bit his hand. He thereupon knocked her down and ran away. The police are prosecuting inquiries. A later telegram from Gravesend states that Piggott has been handed over to the charge of Inspector Abberline. The authorities are reticent, but we have reason to believe that they attach greater importance to this arrest than to that of the man called "Leather Apron." He is to be brought to London immediately, and if further inquiries should justify the step, he will be formally charged at Worship street to-day.
The inquest on the body of the unfortunate victim of the latest Whitechapel tragedy was commenced this morning. The excitement into which the neighbourhood was thrown on Saturday has not in any degree abated. The people stand at the street corners, excitedly discussing the horrible details of the crime. A large crowd collected round the Working Lads' Institute, where the inquiry is being held, and another crowd of equally large proportions was waiting outside the doors of the mortuary. The court was opened at ten o'clock, and as soon as the jury had been duly sworn, they proceeded with the coroner, Mr. Wynne Baxter, to view the body and the deceased's clothes. At a quarter past ten the inquiry proper commenced.
John Davies, a carman, was the first witness called. He said he lived at 29, Hanbury-street, and had resided there for a fortnight. He occupied one room at the third-floor back. His wife and three sons lived with him. He retired to rest at eight o'clock on Friday night. He woke at 3 A.M. on Saturday morning and remained awake until 5 A.M. Then he fell off to sleep until a quarter to six, when he heard Spitalfields Church clock. He had a cup of tea which his wife made, and went downstairs into the back yard, where he saw the deceased. When he came downstairs he found the back-yard door closed. The front street door was wide open, but that was nothing unusual. On opening the back door he saw a woman lying on her back between the stone steps and fence on the left-hand side. He called two men who were waiting outside a workshop in Hanbury-street to look at the body, and then they ran to find a constable, all leaving the house together. Witness went to Commercial-street police-station. He was not the first to leave the house that morning, a Mr. Thompson left at half-past three.
Amelia Palmer said she lived at a common lodging-house in Dorset-street, Spitalfields. She knew the deceased well, and had known her for five years. The body at the mortuary was that of Annie Chapman, widow of Frederick Chapman, who lived in Windsor, and was a veterinary surgeon, but who died about eighteen months ago. The witness here gave some particulars of the career of the deceased, which were practically identical with the statement published on page 7, and need not therefore be repeated. She added, however, that the poor woman was nicknamed Mrs. Sivvey, because she lived some time with a sieve maker, who left the neighbourhood eighteen months ago. She was acquainted with the man called Harry the Hawker, and she told witness on Monday that she was on the previous Saturday in a beer-shop with a man of the name of Ted Stonley. Harry the Hawker was also there, under the influence of drink. A disturbance occurred, and ill-feeling was aroused in consequence. On Tuesday last witness saw the deceased again near Spitalfields Church. She then said she was very ill and should go into a casual ward to pull herself round. Witness gave her twopence to get something to eat as she had had nothing to eat that day. Witness was afraid the deceased was not particular how she got her living, and was out late at night. On the afternoon of Friday she met deceased at about 5 o'clock, when she said: "I am too ill to do anything; it is no use, I must pull myself together and get some money from somewhere." That was the last time she saw her alive. The deceased was a very straightforward and industrious woman when she was sober, but she had been living a very irregular life since the death of her husband. Witness did not know any one likely to injure deceased.
Mr. Edward Montague Rashdale, a young gentleman twenty-six years of age, who resided at 103, Eccleston-square, Belgravia, was found dead in his bed yesterday morning. In his right hand he grasped a revolver, with which he had shot himself through the head. On the previous evening he had returned somewhat unexpectedly from a visit to some relatives in Suffolk, but nothing strange in his manner was noted. In the morning his valet found him dead. Deceased left no written communication behind him, nor can any reason be assigned for his act.
Off Lambeth this morning the body of a woman, apparently between forty and fifty years old, was found floating in the river, in which it is supposed she has been a week. She has black hair, is about 4ft. 3in. in height, and was scantily attired in a rough brown ulster. She has not been identified.
The Daily Chronicle says: - "The Metropolitan Police are simply letting the first city of the world lapse into primeval savagery. In the space of a year and a half, despite the protests of the press and of local authorities, they have permitted district after district to fall under the terrorism of the youthful rowdy. Marylebone was recently scourged by tribal warfare. Whitechapel, according to their own admission, has for a year or two been swarming with gangs of blackguards, who live by extorting, under threats of brutal torture, blackmail from the unfortunate women who flit through its alleys like midnight birds of prey. There is now reason to think that they have finally handed over this afflicted neighbourhood to the tender mercies of an assassin, who butchers his victims almost within earshot of the street patrols. One good result, we believe, will spring from this outbreak of crime in Whitechapel. The people of London will tolerate no longer the crotchets of Scotland-yard, which sacrifices the efficiency of the preventive and detective for the sake of developing the fine military side of the police force."
The Morning Advertiser says : - "Should these deeds go 'unwhipt of justice,' and remain in the long catalogue of undiscovered crimes, there will be substantial ground for public distrust, and ample reason for that reorganization of the London police system which, in the opinion of many people, has long been an importunate necessity."
The Standard says: - "The affair is one which should put the police authorities on their mettle, for if they bungle it their credit will be disastrously impaired and a serious blow given to the public confidence in their abilities. This, of course, is well understood at headquarters. Every nerve will be strained in the chase of this bloodthirsty scoundrel, and we trust that the pursuit will be short, sharp, and speedily successful."
The Daily News says: - "The police have a good deal of lost ground to recover. In the past year or two they have failed to bring many terrible offenders to justice. The Kentish Town murder is still one of the mysteries of crime, and so is the murder at Canonbury. A lady was murdered near Bloomsbury-square last year - the murderer has not been found. At about the same time a solicitor's clerk was murdered in Arthur-street with precisely the same result. It is certain that no effort will be spared; but the public will hardly be satisfied with an assurance of that sort. The police must somehow contrive to win this time."