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Walter Purkiss

Witness at Mary Ann Nichols' inquest.

Born Walter Boyton Purkiss, c.1855, Braintree, Essex.

In 1881, Purkiss (as 'Purkins') is listed as living at New Cottage, Buck's Row with his wife Mary Ann, children Sydney (b.1878), Lillian (b.1877) and Florence (b.1880) as well as Mary Anne's mother, Sophia Ballard. His occupation was carpenter and joiner.[1]

By 1888, the Purkiss family had moved to Essex Wharf where Purkiss was the manager. Walter and Mary Ann slept in the front first floor room, overlooking the murder site. On the evening of August 30th, they had gone to bed at about 11pm, but were awake at various times during the night - Walter was awake between 1.00am and 3.00am and his wife, having had a particularly sleepless night, was pacing the room at approx. 3.30am (or about the time of Nichols' murder). Neither had heard anything out of the ordinary and were not aware of the incident until PC John Neil called at their door.[2]


  1. Census report, 1881
  2. Inquest report, The Times, 18th September 1888

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Related pages:
  Walter Purkiss
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 18 September 1888