10 November 1888
The statement made by the Coroner in the closing of the inquest on the body of Annie Chapman, the most recent of the Whitechapel victims, has created tremendous excitement, not only in London, but throughout the country, and has raised what seemed to be a series of commonplace, purposeless outrages to the position of the most startling sensation of the century. Briefly speaking, Dr. Wynne Baxter stated that there was every reason to believe that the murders which have thrown the East End of London into a state of panic have been committed for the purpose of obtaining specimens of certain portions of the anatomy of the female frame, and that, furthermore, they must have been the work not of a lunatic or common man, but of either a medical student or a surgeon. The victims must have been seized and held by the throat in such a manner as to produce immediate insensibility, the fatal gashes given in a manner which would cause instantaneous death, and the body was cut open in a way that showed that the man who did the deed knew exactly where to find the organs he wanted. In the significant words of the Coroner: "There are no meaningless cuts. The organ has been taken by one who knew where to find it, what difficulties he would have to contend against, and how he should use his knife so as to abstract the organ without injury to it. No unskilled person could have known where to find it or could have recognized it when it was found." It is understood that what relates to the body of Annie Chapman, applies also to those of the three previous victims. The coroner then proceeded to say that a few months ago an American gentleman called at one of the leading London pathological museums, and offered £20 a piece for anatomical specimens, as he wished to issue a complete specimen with each copy of a medical work, which he intends to publish. At the first place he applied he was told that his request could not be complied with, but it was ascertained that he had made a similar application at other museums. The inference, therefore, is that, finding he could not obtain what he wanted, this American induced some needy surgeon or medical student to get the specimens for him, shutting his eyes or asking no questions as to where or how they were procured, or else that some impecunious person with surgical skill and knowledge, hearing that there was a market for the organs, undertook to supply them on his own account, and that he committed the murders in order to get them. Since the days of Burke and Hare murdered 14 people for the sake of selling their bodies to surgeons for anatomical purposes, the British public has received no such horrible sensation as that caused by the disclosures of the Whitechapel inquest.