12 September 1888
In another page we give particulars of the further investigations which the police have made into the circumstances of the murder of Annie Chapman at Whitechapel.
Yesterday a woman's arm was found in the Thames at Pimlico. Though the limb appeared to have been removed from the body with some amount of skill, there was no reason to suppose it had been amputated professionally.
A FRESH CLUE.
Although no fresh arrests were made yesterday in connection with the Whitechapel murders, the police have obtained a clue which, although at present of a very slender character, may, they think, develop into an important piece of evidence. It appears that on the morning of the murder of the woman Chapman, a man, whose name is for the present withheld, was in Hanbury-street, and noticed a woman in the company of two men. They appeared to be quarrelling, and he heard the men make use of threats. Such an incident is, however, very common in the district, and the man, after taking a good look at the disputants, passed on his way. It is not known whether the man made a statement to the police as soon as he heard of the murder. If he did so, no action was taken upon it until yesterday, when it seems to have struck the police that Piser might have been one of the men seen in Hanbury-street at the time in question. The man was requested to attend, at Leman-street Police Station, and on his arrival about one o'clock some twenty men, mostly brought in from the adjacent thoroughfare, were paraded before him. The result somewhat startled the police, for the man, without a moment's hesitation, pointed to John Piser as the man whom he heard threatening a woman in Hanbury-street on the morning of the murder. Piser calmly protested that the man was entirely mistaken, but he was put back to the cells. The authorities do not express much confidence in their ability to establish a case against Piser. Piser's friends and relatives are not seriously alarmed at the alleged identification, for they are confident they will be able to prove an alibi without difficulty. Beyond the alleged identification, there is practically no evidence against Piser. His lodgings have been thoroughly searched more than once, and nothing of a suspicious character has been found. Strenuous efforts have been made to find the rings torn from Chapman's fingers by the murderer, but not a trace of them has been found. It is probable that they have been destroyed, and with them it is feared disappears the most hopeful means of bringing the murderer to justice. The police during the afternoon and evening made (illegible) inquiries into the statements made by the man who professed to identify Piser. The manner of this man, who is apparently of Spanish blood and displays a blue ribbon on his coat, did not inspire much confidence in his veracity, and he was severely cross-examined by a sort of informal tribunal consisting of experienced detective officers. The witness added to his first statement that he not only saw the prisoner in Hanbury-street on the morning of the murder, but that he actually took him by the collar when he was about to strike the woman. The man, it appears, first volunteered his statement on Monday, and he has since displayed anxiety to view the remains of the murdered woman Chapman. This curiosity, which was really believed to have been the inspiring motive of his voluntary testimony, was not gratified. Piser is physically a very weak man, and for that reason does not keep at work very closely. He is ruptured and in other ways infirm, and has been under hospital treatment on and off for a long time past. Each time the police searched Piser's lodgings they found no trace of blood-stained clothing, or indeed anything of a suspicious character; but they carried off five knives, which were at once subjected to chemical analysis. All are of the class used in the leather currying trade, having blades about six inches in length, with stout handles sometimes notched in a peculiar way. There was to all appearance no blood either on the blades or the handles. Meanwhile the police continued their inquiries into the witnesses? statements, with the result that about eight o'clock they arrived at the conclusion that the man had not stated the truth, and that there were no grounds for keeping Piser any longer in custody. He was accordingly set at liberty, and at once proceeded to Mulberry-street, where he received the congratulations of his relatives and friends. The conduct of the man who professed to identify Piser caused much indignation.
The man Pigott is still under surveillance at the Whitechapel Infirmary. It has been suggested that he is feigning insanity, but the physicians who have examined him are of a contrary opinion.
Another communication says: An important discovery, which throws some considerable light upon the movements of the murderer immediately after the committal of the crime, was made yesterday afternoon. A little girl happened to be walking in the back garden or yard of the house, 25, Hanbury-street, the next house but one to the scene of the murder, when her attention was attracted to peculiar marks on the wall and on the garden path. She communicated the discovery to Detective-Inspector Chandler, who had just called at the house in order to make a plan of the back premises and the three houses for the use of the coroner at the inquest, which will be (illegible) The whole of the yard was then care (illegible) with the result that a bloody trail was (illegible) marked for a distance of five or six (illegible) in the direction of the back door of the house. Further investigation left no doubt that the trail was that of the murderer, who it was evident after finishing his sanguinary work had passed through or over the dividing fence between Numbers 29 and 27, and thence into the garden of No. 25. On the wall of the last house there was found a curious smear which had probably been made by the murderer, who, alarmed by the blood-soaked state of his coat, took off that garment and knocked it against the wall. Abutting on the end of the yard at 25 are the works of Mr. Bailey, a packing-case maker. In the yard of this establishment in an out of the way corner the police found some crumpled paper stained, almost saturated, with blood. It was evident that the murderer had found the paper in the yard of 25, and had wiped his hands with it, afterwards throwing it over the wall into Bailey's premises.
Another fresh point was elicited in the form of a statement made by a woman named Darrell, who minds carts on market mornings in Spitalfields Market. She asserts that about half-past five on Saturday morning she was passing the front door of No. 29, Hanbury-street, when she saw a man and a woman standing on the pavement. She heard the man say "Will you?" and the woman replied "Yes," and they then disappeared. Mrs. Darrell does not think she could identify the couple.
Mr. S. Montagu, M.P., has offered 100l. as a reward for the capture of the Whitechapel murderer.
Joseph Carter, 34, tinker, was charged at Worship-street with being drunk and disorderly at 4 o'clock at the police-station. - Police-constable 171 H division said that on the previous afternoon the prisoner addressed him at the door of the Commercial-street Police-station, and said he wanted to go in to see the man charged with the Whitechapel murder. He was not sober. He would not go away, and remained outside creating a disturbance, and was eventually locked up. - Mr. Bushby asked the prisoner - a rough looking man - if he denied being drunk, and the prisoner replied that he had had a drop. - Mr. Bushby : Then you will pay a fine of 5s. - Prisoner : I can't pay. I've got no 5s. - Mr. Bushby : Five days in default.
William Griffiths. 22, a dissipated fellow, calling himself a labourer, and living in Great Garden-street, Mile-end, was charged with being drunk and disorderly in Hanbury-street, Spitalfields. - Police-constable 155 (165?) H said that about three o'clock that morning the prisoner was wandering in Hanbury-street, and witness spoke to him, asking what he was doing there. The prisoner replied by foul language. It was necessary to keep the street, at present frequented as it was in consequence of the murder, clear, and the prisoner refusing to go away, he was taken into custody. The prisoner said he was drunk, and only went to see the house. - Mr. Bushby fined him 5s. for being drunk.
About twenty minutes to one yesterday afternoon, a man named Frederick Moore, employed at Messrs. Wards' timber yard, Grosvenor-road, had his attention drawn to a curious looking object lying on the mud on the banks of the Thames, immediately opposite where he was working. Moore procured a ladder, and descended to the bank below the wharf. On approaching the object he was startled to find that it was a human arm. It was partly wedged between some timber belonging to Messrs. Chapple. - Having secured it he handed it over to the care of Police-constable Janes, 127B, who conveyed it to the Gerald-road Police-station. Inspector Adams, of the B division, at once took charge of the case, and his first care after communicating the discovery to Scotland-yard was to send for Dr. Neville, of Pimlico-road and Sloane-street, the nearest medical man, who soon arrived at the police-station and made a most careful examination of the remains. He had no difficulty in deciding that the arm was that of a well-formed, tall, and well-nourished young woman, probably about twenty-five years of age. It had been cut off at the shoulder with some sharp instrument. Dr. Neville did not feel called upon to express a positive opinion either way, but he (would?) not deny that the work had been neatly done. Some skill too had been shown in the manner in which the limb had been removed from the trunk, but the handiwork was scarcely good enough for a person acquainted with the principles of anatomy. The flesh was comparatively fresh, and was not quite free from blood, but it had been in the water at least two or three days. The arm had been removed from the trunk after death, and it bore no bruises or signs of violent usage. It is possible that the arm may have been placed where found by some medical student or practical joker, but this view is not shared by the authorities. Inquiries are, however, being made at the various hospitals and private medical schools.
BALMORAL, SEPT. 11,
Yesterday morning the Queen went out attended by Lady Churchill.
Prince Albert Victor of Wales, attended by Major Miles, arrived at the Castle.
In the afternoon her Majesty drove, accompanied by Princess Alice of Hesse, and attended by the Hon. Harriet Phipps.
Princess Beatrice and Prince Albert Victor also drove out.