12 December 1888
William Atkins, 21, labourer, was charged yesterday at the Southwark Police court, before Mr. Sheil, with feloniously cutting and wounding Lucretia Pembroke, with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm. Detective Sergeant Bradford, M Division, stated that in consequence of information received he went on the previous night to 21 Limasoll street, Bermondsey, where he saw the prisoner, and in the presence of Detective Haigh told him they were going to take him into custody for cutting a girl's throat at a coffee house in Spa road. The prisoner replied, "Is she dead?" Witness replied, "No; but she is very dangerously ill in Guy's Hospital. Her throat is cut, and she says you did it with a knife you took out of your pocket. Have you got a knife about you?" The prisoner replied, "Yes. This is the only knife I have got," handing him a pocket knife (produced.) He then took the prisoner to the station, and went to Guy's Hospital, where he saw the injured girl, who made a statement to him. He returned to the station, and said to the prisoner, "I have just come from the hospital, where I have seen Lucretia Pembroke. I asked her if she knew the man who had wounded her; she said, "Yes, I know him well. It was Bill Atkins; we call him 'Silly Bill.' He whitewashed and papered a room for us a fortnight ago. He came in about four in the afternoon, and asked for a pennyworth of tea, which I gave him, and as I was walking away I saw him take a knife out of his pocket and cut my throat with it. I screamed, and he ran out in the back yard." The prisoner said, "Yes, I did whitewash and paper the room." On being searched nothing was found on him except the knife produced. In answer to Mr. Sheil, witness said there were no marks of blood on the knife. He added that the doctor was not in attendance. The girl had very serious wounds. Mr. Sheil remanded the prisoner for a week.
The proceedings taken at Bow street yesterday against lodging house keepers are most satisfactory. Some lodging houses in London, it is clear, would be best improved off the face of the earth; but, meanwhile, the sanitary inspectors can at least see that there are no scandalous violations of the laws of health and decency. Between the sweeping demands of some social reformers and the grave warnings of political economists, it may be difficult to decide how much can be wisely done by legislation for the relief of poverty. But here, at all events, the duty of society to the poor is plain. The may be protected in the way the law already allows against insanitary dwellings. The example set at Bow street will, we hope, be followed in the East end. A season of activity in inspection is happily setting in. Mr. Lakeman, one of the most diligent Factory Inspectors, stated yesterday to the House of Lords' Committee on Sweating that since the inquiry opened sanitary authorities had suddenly found it to be their duty to recommend various workshops to his supervision. He had not previously received any such co-operation. In the new era of local government now beginning we trust it will not be necessary for Parliamentary Committees to awaken the local authorities to a sense of their duty.