Friday, 5 October, 1888
The peace of the London Sunday was disturbed this week in a manner that it has rarely been before by the news published in the papers of the morning that a few hours previously two awful murders had been committed in the East End, and within a third of a mile of each other. Following so closely on the four that had preceded them within a month, and which had already stricken the Whitechapel district with a panic, it is no wonder that a delirium of alarm and indignation should prevail. The thing is so utterly without precedent or parallel, is so, so mysterious and entirely unaccountable, the murderer – for all the probabilities points to its being the work of one hand – is so audacious and yet so cunning, the motive is impossible to understand, that it is no wonder the people should be bewildered, and that terror should reign throughout the district.
The fact is no satisfactory hypothesis has been offered to account for the extraordinary tragedies. To every theory that has been started objections suggest themselves that appear to be serious if not fatal, and all the efforts that have been made to obtain a clue, much less to track the murderer, have failed. Perhaps the theory that has the least formidable objections against it is the work of a monomaniac whose fatal impulse is to make war on the wretched outcasts of the streets.
What is to be done to detect the murderer and quiet the consternation that so naturally exists? That is the question of real importance at this moment. I cannot join in the violent abuse of the police, for I think it is unreasonable and unjust, but at the same time it must be admitted that the machinery under the control of Sir Chas. Warren has proved unequal to the work cast upon it. The responsibility lies with the Home Secretary under these circumstances to devise and put in operation new machinery and to try fresh methods to meet the crisis. However, I have no hesitation in saying that I think Mr. Matthews has not proved himself equal to the occasion. His refusal to offer a reward in accordance with the demand of the public of all classes, has met with severe disapproval, and been very adversely contrasted with that of the Lord Mayor. Why should not a reward be offered of such amount as would stimulate the whole population of Whitechapel to search for the murderer and turn them, especially the women, into amateur detectives? If the Government would offer a reward of say £10,000, I have a strong conviction it would have a magical effect in setting hundreds of people to discover clues to bring the truth to light. If Mr. Matthews continues obstinate – and I have reason to know that he is very obstinate – I hope in such a case the authority of the Cabinet will interpose.
REPORTED CAPTURE OF “JACK THE RIPPER.”
Telegraphing this afternoon the Central News says:- The American who was arrested last night on suspicion of being concerned in the Whitechapel murder was released at ten o’clock this morning, inquiries having shown that his account of himself was entirely satisfactory. At the present moment there is no one in custody. The rumour of the actual murderer being caught has created intense excitement in London, but it is entirely unfounded.
Dr. Langham this morning opened an inquiry into the death of Catherine Eddowes, who was found with her throat cut and her body fearfully mutilated in Mitre-square.
Dr. Gordon Brown, surgeon of the City of London police force, gave evidence as to the state in which the body was found. There was a wound in the abdomen from which a portion of the intestines had been drawn out and placed over the right shoulder. A piece of intestine about two feet long had been detached and placed between the left arm and the body. The throat was cut, the face disfigured, and the lobe of the right ear cut obliquely. When the body was undressed at the mortuary the several portions of the ear fell from the clothing. A post-mortem examination was made on Sunday afternoon. In addition to a number of slashes across the face, the throat was cut, the wound extending from the left ear to about three inches below the lobe of the right ear. The larynx was severed, and all the deep structures severed to the bone, the knife touching the cartilage of the vertebral column. The cause of death was haemorrhage from the carotid artery. Death was immediate and the other mutilations were inflicted after death. The front walls of the abdomen had been laid open, and the intestines detached to a large extent. The left kidney had been carefully taken out. From the nature of the cuts it was evident that the kidney was taken by someone who knew its position and how to take it out. The part said to have been removed in a previous case had in this been cut horizontally through, leaving a stump of three-quarters of an inch, and the rest of the part had been taken away. By Mr. Crawford: The wounds were inflicted by a sharp pointed knife at least six inches long. The person who inflicted the wounds possessed a good deal of knowledge of the position of the organs in the abdominal cavity and the way of removing the parts. The parts removed would be of no use for surgical purposes. Such a knowledge would be likely to be possessed by one used to cutting up animals. The wounds might be inflicted in five minutes. As a professional man he could assign no reason for these parts being taken away. He thought the act was that of one person only. He would not expect to find much blood on the person inflicting the wounds. – The inquiry at this point was adjourned until Thursday next at half-past ten.
All persons arrested today on suspicion of being concerned in the Whitechapel murders have been released on giving satisfactory explanations, and none is now in custody. In connection with the recent crimes the surgical evidence given to-day has caused a profound sensation. It had been supposed that the murderer did not have time to do more than take his victim’s life, then roughly mutilate her body. It now appears he completed his horrible work with reckless deliberation and removed certain organs. The additional mutilation of the face is believed to be due to fears on the murderers’ part that he may have been seen in the woman’s company by someone, and therefore determined to make her identification as difficult as possible. The announcement of Dr. Brown of the disappearance of the uterus revived for a time the theory put forward by Mr. Wynne Baxter, the coroner in the Hanbury-street case. The British Medical Journal, however, states that the foreign physician who sought to purchase specimens was a gentleman of the highest respectability, that he did not offer a large price, and that he left London 18 months ago.