Wednesday November 14th 1888
Another terrible murder has been committed in Whitechapel. This, the latest of the series of crimes which have kept the East of London in a state of fear almost amounting to a panic, exceeded in its cold-blooded, fiendish atrocity any that have preceded it. In one most important circumstance this murder differs in a startling manner from all that have gone before it. It was committed, not in the open air, but in the house into which the murderer had been taken by his victim.
The scene of the murder is No. 2 Miller-court, Dorset-street. Commercial-street, a district composed of large warehouses, squalid street and registered lodging-houses. The court is a very small one, about 30 feet long by 10 feet broad. The murder was committed some time after midnight. The unfortunate woman's name was Mary Jane Kelly. She had been married for some years, or at any rate had lived regularly with a man named Kelly. But it is known she went on the streets and took to prostitution. Kelly went out as usual on Friday evening, and was seen in the neighbourhood about ten o'clock in company with a man, of whom, however, no description can be obtained. She was last seen, as far as can be ascertained, in Commercial-street about half-past eleven. She was then alone, and was probably making her way home. It is supposed that she met the murderer in Commercial-street, and he probably induced her to take him home without indulging in more drink; at any rate nothing was seen of the couple in the neighbouring public-houses nor in the beer house at the corner of Dorset-street. The pair reached Millar-court about midnight, but they were not seen to enter the house. The street door was closed, but the woman had a latch key, and as she must have been fairly sober, she and her companion would have been able to enter the house and reach the woman's room without making a noise. A light was seen shining through the window of the room for some time after the couple must have entered it, and one person asserts positively that the woman was heard singing the refrain of a popular song as late as one o'clock on Friday morning.
About ten o'clock on Friday morning, Mr. McCarthy, the landlord of the house, sent a man who works for him with orders to see Kelly and obtain from her some money on account of the rent of which she was largely in arrears. The man went to the window, and on looking into the room saw the body of a woman dead, and mutilated in such a ghastly manner that the observer nearly fainted from horror. The place seemed like a shambles. Blood was everywhere and pieces of flesh were scattered about the floor, while on the little table in full view of the window, was a hideous heap of flesh and intestines. McCarthy sent his man for the police, and Inspector Back, of Commercial-street Station, and Inspector Abberline, of the Criminal Investigation Department, stationed at Leman-street, arrived within ten minutes. A strong squad of police was also dispatched from Commercial-street Station to assist the regular patrol men in maintaining order. The door was forced open and the police officers entered the room. The sight, in truth, was enough to un-nerve strong men. The pieces of flesh which had been dimly seen through the grimy window proved inexpressibly more ghastly at a close view. Large pieces of the thighs had been cut off and thrown about with brutal carelessness. Both breasts of the unhappy victim had been removed, and one of them lay on the table alongside a confused and horrible mass of intestines. The throat had been cut with such ferocious and appalling thoroughness that the head was almost severed from the trunk. The body, which was almost naked, had been ripped up and literally disembowelled. The chief organs had been entirely removed; some were thrown upon the floor, and others placed on the table. It is stated upon authority which should be reliable that the uterus, as in the case of the Mitre-square victim, had been removed and taken away by the fiend, but upon this important point the police officers and surgeons refuse in the most emphatic manner to give the slightest information. It is almost self-evident, however, that had that particular organ not been removed the police would gladly have said so, if only to allay in some slight measure the panic which has again set in with painful intensity among the poor people in the crime-plagued district.
Sir Charles Warren arrived at Miller's-court at a quarter to two o'clock on Friday afternoon and remained until the completion of the post mortem examination, which lasted two hours. The surgeon's report, in consequence, will be of an unusually exhaustive character. Sufficient is know, however, to place the crime beyond doubt in the same category as those perpetrated in George-yard, Buck's-row, and Mire-square. The greatest excitement prevailed in Whitechapel, and several arrests were made.
An inquest was held at the Shoreditch Town Hall on Monday, before Dr. MacDonald M.P., the coroner for the district on the body of the woman who was so brutally murdered and mutilated in her room in a court off Dorset-street, Spitalfields, on Friday morning. A description was given by one witness of a man who entered the house with the deceased at midnight on Thursday. After hearing the medical evidence, the jury returned a verdict of wilful murder against some person or persons unknown.
On Monday night police received information of a most important nature in connection with the Whitechapel murder. A man who knew the deceased made a long and detailed statement, which was not shaken after severe examination, and the police now believe that they are in possession of a clue which will probably enable them to track the murderer. Immediately after the statement had been taken down it was farwarded to the headquarters of H division, and an investigation was at once commenced.