24 August 1888
Mr. George Collier, coroner, resumed an inquest yesterday at the Working Lads' Institute, Whitechapel, on the body of a woman supposed to be Martha Turner, who was found dead early in the morning of the 7th inst. on a landing some model lodging houses in Spitalfields. The woman had received 39 wounds, apparently inflicted with a bayonet. The jury returned a verdict of "Wilful murder" against some person or persons unknown.
INQUEST AND VERDICT
Mr. George Collier, the deputy coroner for South East Middlesex, resumed the inquiry at the Working Lads' Institute, Whitechapel, yesterday, into the circumstances attending the death of a woman, supposed to be Martha Turner, aged 35, a hawker, lately living at 4 Star place, Star street, Commercial road, who was discovered on the morning of the 6th inst. lying dead on the first floor landing of George yard buildings, Commercial street, Spitalfields. The woman when found presented a shocking appearance, her body being covered with stab wounds to the number of 29, some of which had been done with a bayonet. How the woman came to be in those dwellings is a mystery which the police as yet have not solved. The affair caused great excitement, and much interest was manifested in the proceedings. The murder was committed on the night of last bank Holiday, and it is remarkable that a similar murder was committed near the same spot on the night of the previous Bank Holiday. Mr. Henry Samuel Tabran, of River terrace, East Greenwich, identified the body of the woman as that of his wife. Her name was Martha Tabran, and she was thirty nine years of age. he last saw her alive eighteen months ago in the Whitechapel road. He had been separated from her for thirteen years on account of her intemperate habits. She took out a warrant for his arrest for desertion, but he agreed to allow her 12s a week. This was carried on for three years; but afterwards, finding that she was living with another man, he only gave her 2s 6d a week. Henry Turner, who stated that he lived at the Working Men's Home, Commercial street, and got his living as a hawker, said that up until three weeks previous to the woman's death he was living with her. He left her because she took to drink. After some further evidence, Mary Ann Connelly (known as "Pearly Poll") said she had known the deceased for four or five months under the name of Emma. She last saw her alive on Bank Holiday at the corner of George yard, Whitechapel. They went to a public house together, and parted about a quarter to twelve. They were accompanied by two soldiers, one a private and the other a corporal. She did not know to what regiment they belonged, but they had a white band round their cap. The witness did not know if the corporal had any side arm. They picked up with the soldiers and entered several public houses, where they drank. When they separated the deceased went away with the private. Before they parted the witness and the corporal had a quarrel, and he struck her with a stick. She did not hear the deceased have any quarrel. The witness never saw the deceased alive again. the witness had tried to identify the two men, and at one of the barracks where the men were paraded before her she picked out two men whom she thought were the men who were with her and the deceased on the night of the murder. That was at Wellington barracks. She had never seen the men before. Neither the witness nor the deceased was sober when they parted on Bank Holiday night, but they were not drunk. Detective Inspector Reid said that up to the present the police had been unable to find the guilty party or parties. The Coroner, in summing up, said that the crime was one of the most brutal that had occurred for some years. For a poor defenceless woman to be outraged and stabbed in the manner in which this woman had been was almost beyond belief. They could only come to one conclusion, and that was that the deceased was brutally and cruelly murdered. The jury, after slight deliberation, returned a verdict of "Wilful Murder" against some person or persons unknown.