10 August 1888
An inquest was opened yesterday in Whitechapel on the body of a woman who was found dead at George yard early on Tuesday morning. There were thirty nine punctured wounds on the body. There appeared to be some doubt about the identity of the deceased. The inquiry was adjourned.
Yesterday Mr. George Collier, the deputy coroner for South East Middlesex, opened an inquiry at the Working Lads' Institute, Whitechapel, on the body of Martha Turner, aged 35, a single woman, lately living at 4 Star place, Commercial road, who was found lying on the landing of George yard buildings on Tuesday morning last, with more than 20 stab wounds about her person, as already reported. Previous to calling the first witness, the Coroner said that the body had been identified that morning, but he had just been informed that two other persons also identified it as quite a different person, and under those circumstances he thought the question of identity had better be left till the last. Elizabeth Mahony, of 47 George yard buildings, Whitechapel, the wife of a carman, stated that on the night of Bank Holiday she was out with some friends. She returned shortly before two in the morning with her husband, and afterwards left the house to try and get some supper. The stairs were then perfectly clear of any obstacle, and were the same on her return. She and her husband heard no noise during the night, but at ten o'clock she was told that a murder had been committed in the building. There was no light on the staircase. The spot where the body was found had been pointed out to her. She was sure it was not there at two o'clock as she went in, as it was in the wide part of the stairs and quite in the dark. Alfred George Crow, a cabdriver, of 35 George yard buildings, deposed that on Tuesday morning he returned home from work at half past three. On his way up the stairs he saw somebody lying on the first landing. It was not an unusual thing to see, so he passed on and went to bed. he did not know whether the person was dead or alive when he passed. John Saunders Reeves, 37 George yard buildings, a waterside labourer, deposed that on Tuesday morning he left home at five o'clock to go in search of work. On the first floor landing he saw a woman lying in a pool of blood. She lay on her back, and seemed dead. He at once gave notice to the police. She was a stranger. Her clothes were all disarranged, as if she had had a struggle with some one. The witness did not notice any instrument lying about. Dr. Timothy Robert Kelleene, 28 Brick lane, stated that he was called to the deceased, and found her dead. He examined the body and found 39 punctured wounds. There were no fewer than nine in the throat and 17 in the breast. She appeared to have been dead three hours. the body was well nourished. He had since made a post mortem examination, and found the left lung penetrated in two places, and the right lung in two places. The heart had been penetrated, but only in one place, otherwise it was quite healthy. The liver was healthy, but penetrated in five places, and the spleen was penetrated in two places. The stomach was penetrated in six places. In the witness's opinion the wounds were not inflicted with the same instrument, there being a deep wound in the breast from some long, strong instrument, while most of the others were done apparently with a penknife. The large wound could have been caused by a sword bayonet or dagger. It was impossible for the whole of the wounds to be self inflicted. Death was due to loss of blood consequent on the injuries. At the conclusion of this witness's evidence, the inquiry was adjourned.