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Alfred Long

Police Constable Alfred Long, 254A.

Witness at Catherine Eddowes' inquest.

Born c.1854. Originally a baker who had served for twelve years with the 9th Lancers, Long joined the Metropolitan Police in 1884, warrant no.69841[1]. Drafted to Whitechapel from A-Division (Whitehall) as part of the effort to increase manpower on the streets of the East End during the height of the 'Ripper' scare.

PC Long discovered the portion of Eddowes' apron and the Goulston Street Graffito at Wentworth Dwellings.

He was walking his beat in Goulston Street at 2.55am, 30th September 1888, whereupon he found a portion of woman's apron (produced at the inquest) lying in the entrance of the staircase to 108-19 Wentworth Dwellings. There were bloodstains on it and one portion was wet. Above it on the wall of the passage was a message written in chalk. At the inquest, PC Long gave the wording as "The Jews are the men that will not be blamed for nothing". The apron piece had not been there when he had passed the spot earlier at 2.20am, though he could not say if the writing had been there also. He took the apron piece to Commercial Street Police Station, reporting it to the Inspector on duty. Long's inquest statement regarding the composition of the writing follows thus:

"The words that were written on the wall - the Jewes are the men that will not be blamed for nothing. I copied the words from the wall into my report - I could not say whether they were recently written. I wrote down into my book and the Inspector noticed that Jews was spelt Juews. There was a difference between the spelling"

After finding the apron he at once searched the staircase in the buildings, though he did not make any enquiries at the tenements therein. He said there were 6 or 7 staircases and searching every one, Long found no traces of blood or recent footmarks. After his search, he went to the station. Before leaving, he was given word that a murder had been committed and left police officer 190H.[2] in charge, instructing him to 'make an observation as to any one who entered the building or left it'.

PC Long returned to Goulston Street at about 5.00am and the writing was still there. He was present when it was wiped off at about 5.30am, but did not hear anybody object to its erasure.[3]

Press reports of the inquest reveal some cross-examination of his interpretation of the writing:

Mr. Crawford: As to the writing on the wall, have you not put a "not" in the wrong place? Were not the words, "The Jews are not the men that will be blamed for nothing"? - I believe the words were as I have stated.

[Coroner] Was not the word "Jews" spelt "Juwes?" - It may have been.

[Coroner] Yet you did not tell us that in the first place. Did you make an entry of the words at the time? - Yes, in my pocket-book. Is it possible that you have put the "not" in the wrong place? - It is possible, but I do not think that I have.

[Coroner] Which did you notice first - the piece of apron or the writing on the wall? - The piece of apron, one corner of which was wet with blood.

[Coroner] How came you to observe the writing on the wall? - I saw it while trying to discover whether there were any marks of blood about.

[Coroner] Did the writing appear to have been recently done? - I could not form an opinion.

[Coroner] Do I understand that you made a search in the model dwelling-house? - I went into the staircases.

[Coroner] Did you not make inquiries in the house itself? - No.

The Foreman: Where is the pocket-book in which you made the entry of the writing? - At Westminster.

[Coroner] Is it possible to get it at once? - I dare say.

Mr. Crawford: I will ask the coroner to direct that the book be fetched.

The Coroner: Let that be done. [4]


Long's examination was postponed until the pocket-book could be fetched. When he returned, confirming what was written in the book, he was subjected to further questions from the jury:

By Mr. Crawford. - The moment he found the piece of apron he searched the staircases leading to the building. He did make any inquiry of the inmates in the tenements. There were either six or seven staircases, one leading down, and the others upstairs. He searched every staircase, and could find no trace of blood or any recent footmarks. He found the apron at five minutes to 3, and when he searched the staircases it would be about 3 o'clock. Having searched the staircases he at once proceeded to the police-station. Before proceeding to the station he had heard that a murder had been committed in Mitre-square. When he started for the police-station he left Police-constable 190 H in charge of the building. He did not know the constable's name; he was a member of the Metropolitan Police. Witness told him to keep observation on the dwelling, to see whether any one left or entered it. Witness next returned to the building at 5 o'clock. The writing was rubbed out in witness's presence at half-past 5, or thereabouts. He heard no one object to the writing being rubbed out.

A juryman. - Having heard of the murder, and having afterwards found the piece of apron with blood on it and the writing on the wall, did it not strike you that it would be well to make some examination of the rooms in the building? You say you searched all the passages, but you would not expect that the man who had committed the murder would hide himself there. Witness. - Seeing the blood there, I thought that the murder had been committed, and that the body might be placed in the building.

The juryman. - You did not search the rooms, but left a man to watch the building, and the whole clue seems to have passed away. I do not wish to say anything harsh, as I consider that the evidence of yourself and of the other members of the police redounds to the credit of all of you; but this does seem a point that requires a little investigation. You find a piece of apron wet with blood; you search all the passages, and then you leave the building in the care of a man to watch the front. Witness. - I thought the best thing I could do was to go to the station and report the matter to the inspector on duty.

The juryman. - I feel sure you did your best.

Mr. Crawford. - May we take it that you thought you would be more likely to find the body of the murdered person there than the assassin? Witness. - Yes.

By a juryman. - Witness was a stranger in the neighbourhood. No one could have gone out of the front part of the building without being seen by the constable left on the spot by witness.[5]


It is noted that PC Long said he was in Goulston Street at 2.20am, the same time as DC Daniel Halse (who was at that time searching the area for the potential killer of Catherine Eddowes), yet there is no report of them seeing each other. However it must be remembered that the Police have a practice of rounding off their timings to the nearest 5 minutes whilst they are undertaking matters of urgency. It is suggested either Long or Halse, or possibly both, did this. Therefore this 2.20am time may be an estimated time by both, meaning they could have just missed each other.

Long was dismissed in July 1889 for being drunk on duty.[6]


References

  1. The Jack the Ripper A-Z, Paul Begg, Martin Fido, Keith Skinner (Headline 1996)
  2. Research undertaken by representatives at Metropolitan Police Archives indicate PC 190 H was most likely William Bettles, however no confirmation has been received to date
  3. Coroner's inquest (L), 1888, No.135, Catherine Eddowes Inquest, 1888 (Corporation of London Record Office)
  4. Inquest report, Daily Telegraph, 12th October 1888
  5. Inquest report, The Times, 12th October 1888
  6. Jack the Ripper: Scotland Yard Investigates, Stewart P Evans & Donald Rumbelow (Sutton 2006)

This page is part of the Wiki: Jack the Ripper project. If you would like to view or make edits to the wiki source, you may view the original wiki page at: http://wiki.casebook.org/index.php/Alfred_Long