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Robert Clack
Chief Inspector
Username: Rclack

Post Number: 647
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Tuesday, September 20, 2005 - 1:17 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

July 1909



In subtle cunning and fiendish brutality a criminal, who has lately terrorised certain districts of Liverpool, recalls the methods of “Jack the Ripper,” of Whitechapel notoriety, and of the desperado who, in the early part of this year, committed numerous outrages on women in Berlin. The crimes extend over a period of nearly two months, but it was not until the early hours of Friday morning that the police obtained possession of evidence sufficient to justify them in making an arrest.
The man in custody was formally charged at the City Court with the attempted murder of a young woman named Annie Parkinson. Only evidence of a very brief description was given, and a remand was then ordered. No statement was made as to whether the police suspected that he was the author of other outrages which have been reported. He gave his name as Henry Rudolph Voigt, and appeared to be about thirty-five years of age. Judging by his looks, he is of foreign extraction.
At the time of his arrest he was dressed in a well-cut dark-blue serge suit. Detective Whitworth stated that, when being searched, the prisoner said: “You will find no instrument on me.” In one of his pockets, however, a knife was found. He made no reply to the charge. After this brief evidence Voigt was hurried below.
It appears that the young roman Parkinson, aged eighteen, ran out of a house in Kirby Street, at about nine o’clock on Friday night, screaming that Jack-the-Ripper was in the house. It was some little time before a connected story could be secured from her. The police were quickly communicated with, and, acting on the information she supplied, embarked on a prolonged hunt, which did not end until half an hour after midnight. Part of the chase was accomplished in a four-wheeler, and eventually three police officers entered a house in Brook Road, Bootle.
After searching all the courts and alleys in the neighbourhood they found the prisoner there and arrested him. He was handcuffed and taboo in a cab to the Bridewell. He made no fuss, and the arrest, was effected very quietly.
A young woman who accompanied the detectives on their five hours’ search for the purpose of identification, has stated that on Tuesday night she was accosted by a man who appeared to be a foreigner, although he spoke English fairly well.
Suddenly she noticed the glint of steel in his hand. She at once ran from his side, and, as she did so, an ugly weapon of scimitar shape, with a blade two or three inches thick, was swung through the air. She Screamed and tried to run, and as she did so, she alleges, the miscreant threw out his foot with the intention of tripping her. Luckily she escaped and ran into the open street and raised an alarm. The man got away.
The first of this series of attacks took place on May 3. The injury in each case was a stab rather than a cut, and was inflicted swiftly and almost imperceptibly whilst the man was passing or engaged in a momentary conversation with the woman. All the attacks were perpetrated at night time, between eight and ten o’clock, and the assailant got away without difficulty.
In almost every case, although the victim realised that she had been struck some time elapsed before the wound was discovered. All the victims are recovering from their injuries, but in two or three cases their condition was for a time very serious.
A recent victim was accosted late on Thursday night in Devon Street by a stranger, who, taking a stiletto out of his pocket, stabbed her in the body. He then ran off, and although the police spent the night searching the district for him, no arrest was made.
Six days previously, a respectable woman was mysteriously stabbed whilst, standing in the queue outside the hippodrome Theatre prior to the “second house” performance. It is worthy of note that the present offences are confined to the same area in which little Madge Kirby was murdered.
Within recent months three murders, all of a brutal character, have occurred. Viz., those of Madge Kirby, whose body was found in the cellar of an empty house, a helpless old woman, and a married woman of Roscommon Street.
It will also be recalled that some months ago a child lying in a bassinette in Chapel Street was badly wounded in the body with a knife. In no case yet has the criminal been discovered.
The area in which these Liverpool crimes have been perpetrated has so far been of somewhat limited extent, but the district is studded with traces and damning proofs of unspeakable crimes, committed so far with impunity. The locality referred to may be designated as within a zone embracing Vine Street and Crown Street on the one hand, and Moss Street and Erskine Street on the other.
Between these outlined boundary lines there is a cluster of common-place dwellings, where people of small means congregate. The neighbourhood is burrowed and tunnelled with dark passages and gloomy alleys - once picturesque and renowned in the history of Liverpool as the Strawberry Gardens, where social intercourse and pleasure were great and for years continuous.
Two cases are at the moment receiving the attention of the hospital authorities, as well as of the police. In one instance, an actual partial disembowelment of a woman has taken place. She was decoyed into some dark alley, and subsequently attacked. She was stabbed with a sharp instrument. This victim has now been in the institution referred to for some time, and she is gradually recovering - so it is authoritatively stated - from her deplorable injuries.
Another woman is in another institution, and her case is substantially and practically the same. She is still confined to bed, and will have a long struggle to regain her health and strength. Altogether there have been about eight outrages of the kind, and there is every reason, from surgical inspection, to warrant the assertion that the injuries were inflicted by the same instrument, and probably by the same hand. The instrument used was a very sharp knife, or as some incline to believe, a mounted lance, longer in the haft than usual. The penetrating power of this lance was great, and the wounds are all clean cut.
There was apparently no bungling - only a sudden share thrust and a withdrawal - and it is suggested that the scoundrel had some knowledge of human anatomy. The victims have reported that they did not experience great pain at the time of the outrage, but afterwards they were quite unable to move, and blood flowed freely.
Descriptions of the fiend in human shape which have been obtained describe him as a man of about thirty years of age, well dressed, smart looking, and quick in his movements. He is of dark Complexion, but is hardly thought to be a foreigner. Three of the man’s victims were attacked in one night, and the others at different periods.
In 1888 much excitement was caused in Whitechapel, London, by the murder and brutal mutilation of unfortunate women at different times. Smith, April 3; Martha Turner, August 7; Nichols, August 31; Chapman, September 7, 8. The evidence showed the murderer possessed surgical knowledge.
Two more women were murdered in a similar manner near Commercial Road and Aldgate: E. Watts, of Stride, and C. Conway, of Eddowes, early in the morning of September 30, 1888. The Crown offered a reward of £500 for any information relative to the Aldgate murder.
Another murder took place at Spitalfields in November, 1888, and another on December 28 of the same year. Four other women were murdered during the following year. In February, 1891, a man was arrested on suspicion, but was discharged on March 3.
It is generally understood that the perpetrator of the Whitechapel murders eventually came into the hands of justice, and proved to be a lunatic of the worst type, and unable to plead, and never put upon his trial in consequence.
Whether this is the true sequel or not of the long series of crimes that horrified and paralysed the East End of London for a time we cannot say, but it remains a persistent belief locally that the original Jack the Ripper is no longer living, and that he died a raving lunatic in a criminal asylum.

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