MONDAY, OCTOBER 8, 1888
Very little further progress has been made since Saturday in ascertaining the identity of the young woman whose dismembered body was found in the basement archways of the new police buildings at Whitehall. The period within which the crime was committed has been narrowed down, and the district within which it was perpetrated has also been more clearly marked. It will be recollected that Detective-Inspector Marshall proceeded on Friday to bring the remains of a supposed human leg from Guildford, which was found there by the police on Aug. 24 last. The limb in question was, it is said, pronounced by a local doctor to have been unskilfully amputated, and there was a belief in the neighbourhood that it was part of some person who had been made away with. Ultimately the Guildford police, being unable to glean any information pointing to the commission of a felony, the leg was buried in the churchyard with the customary formalities. The discovery of the woman's trunk at Westminster at once led the Guildford authorities to communicate with Scotland-yard, and, as stated, Inspector Marshall was sent to have the limb disinterred. Every precaution, as usual under like circumstances, was taken to reopen the grave, and the inspector, with the remains encased in an air-tight box, returned with it to London. It was taken to Millbank-street Mortuary, to be compared with the other portions of the victim's body. On Saturday Drs. Bond and Hibbert made an examination, and at once pronounced it to be that not of a human being, but of some four-footed animal. Finally, they were able to declare it was that of a common bear. It now appears that some time ago a gentleman near Guildford had a portion of a fine bear sent to him from Russia, which he cooked, but was unable to eat, and therefore threw the limb away.
With reference to the proposal of using bloodhounds in London, the idea is generally scouted as of little or no practical value by those who know anything about these animals. The first difficulty in using them will, it is said, be to get them laid on the right scent, and once that is done there is the thousand and one cross scents that will run over the track, so that there can be no assurance of their following the same person up. Again, the streets offer the facilities to criminals of getting away in vehicles, 'buses, and trams, and there are the railways to be reckoned with.
Throughout the City great watchfulness is maintained by the police, who express the utmost confidence that a recurrence of the horrible tragedies of a week ago without detection is impossible within the limited area over which they have jurisdiction. No further arrests have been made, and no additional information of value has been obtained.
Immediately following on from the above, the next portion of this issue's report from "The body of the Mitre-square victim…" to "…in the Ilford Cemetery." is reproduced in "News from Whitechapel" page 174. Immediately following on from that, the Telegraph reported:
Extraordinary precautions were taken in the Whitechapel district on Saturday night and last night in view of the possible reappearance of the murderer, but his whereabouts remains unascertained. Volunteers turned out in considerable numbers to assist the police, and patrolled the streets until an early hour in the morning, but they were destined to return to their homes without reward for their valour. Although a large number of police and detectives have been drawn to the East-end from other districts, it must not be supposed that the safety of other parts of the metropolis is disregarded. So far as the number of the force will permit, special attention is being given to all spots where the murderer is at all likely to attempt a renewal of his crime. The parks are being closely watched.
The following letter from the Home Secretary has been received by the president of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee:
"Whitehall, Oct. 6, 1888.
"Sir - The Secretary of State for the Home Department has had the honour to lay before the Queen the petition signed by you, praying that a reward may be offered by the Government for the discovery of the perpetrator of the recent murders in Whitechapel, and he desires me to inform you that, though he has given directions that no effort or expense should be spared in endeavouring to discover the person guilty of the murders, he has not been able to advise her Majesty that in his belief the ends of justice would be promoted by any departure from the direction already announced with regard to the proposal that a reward should be offered by Government. - I am, sir, your obedient servant,
"E. LEIGH PEMBERTON."
The gentleman to whom the above reply was addressed - Mr. George Lusk, of Alderney-street, Globe-street, Mile-end - has given information of a suspicious incident which befell him on Thursday afternoon last. A stranger, who called at his private residence shortly after four o'clock, and who was informed that Mr. Lusk was not at home, appears to have traced the President of the Vigilance Committee to an adjacent tavern. Having manifested great interest in the movements of the volunteer police, he sought an interview in a private room, but owing to the forbidding appearance of the visitor Mr. Lusk seems to have preferred the comparative publicity of the bar parlour. The conversation had scarcely begun, when Mr. Lusk, who was about to pick up a pencil which had dropped from the table, says he noticed the stranger "make a swift though silent movement with his right hand towards his side pocket." Fearing that his conduct was observed, it is added, the man asked to be directed to the nearest coffee-house, and forthwith proceeded to an address in the Mile End-road with which he was supplied. Although Mr. Lusk followed without loss of time, he was not quick enough for his visitor, who abstained from visiting the coffee-house, and has not been heard of since. The man is described as between thirty and forty years of age, about 5 ft. 9 in. in height, of a florid complexion, with bushy brown beard, whiskers, and moustache. In the absence of further evidence it is impossible to say whether any personal injury was actually in store for the head of the "Vigilants," but the ease with which the man escaped has awakened the members of the committee and their colleagues to an increased sense of the difficulty of the task they have in hand.
Immediately following the above, the next portion of this issue's report from "Communications from all parts…" to "…subject of police investigation." is reproduced in "News from Whitechapel" pages 126 - 127. Immediately following that portion the Telegraph reported:
An extraordinary statement bearing upon the Whitechapel tragedies was made to the Cardiff police yesterday by a respectable-looking elderly woman, who stated that she was a "Spiritualist," and in company with five other persons held a seance on Saturday night. They summoned the spirit of Elizabeth Stride, and after some delay it came, and, in answer to questions, stated that her murderer was a middle-aged man whose name she mentioned, and who resided at a given number in Commercial-road or street, Whitechapel, and who belonged to a gang of twelve.
NEW YORK, Oct. 6. - The New York Herald declares that the seaman named Dodge, who recently stated that a Malay whom he met in London threatened to murder a number of Whitechapel women for robbing him, said that he knew the street where the Malay stayed, but that he would not divulge the name until he learned what chance there was of a reward. He stated however that the street was not far from the East India Dock-road, but he was not certain about the house where the man lived.
Another seaman said he thought the Malay was now on a vessel plying in the North Sea.
VIGILANCE SOCIETY. - A circular, signed by the Duke of Westminster, the Earl of Meath, and Sir Robert N. Fowler, has been addressed from the Central Vigilance Society for the Repression of Immorality to various persons who are interested in the forthcoming "elections to municipal offices," with the view of enlisting their co-operation and authority in the prosecution of immorality and those who foster and encourage it in any form. It is pointed out that "hitherto there has not been any general effort for repression and prevention, and interference has been too often limited to the abatement of the nuisance, where it has become too open, by simply driving the perpetrators out of the district, rather than extended to such a punishment as may deter them from a repetition of the offence elsewhere. Thus, by leaving them to renew their misconduct in other localities the authorities have incurred a tedious repetition of the process, oftentimes ending in the return of the offenders to their original haunts." The present desire is to direct attention to the serious nature of the evil which prevails and to express a hope that, in seeking election to positions of local power, candidates will bring this matter prominently to the notice of electors, and in so doing receive their mandate that it shall not continue.
The report of Sir Charles Warren, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, for the year 1887 has just been issued as a Parliamentary paper. In the first paragraph it is stated that the authorised strength of the force at the end of the year was 30 superintendents, 820 inspectors, 1,363 sergeants, and 11,868 constables; total, 14,081; being an increase of two superintendents, 168 inspectors, and 198 sergeants, and a decrease of 89 constables since Dec. 31 in the preceding year. Excluding those who are employed on special duties for various Government departments, public companies, or private individuals, the number of police available for service in the metropolis is 12,460; but, making further allowance for those who are on leave in accordance with the regulation, absences from sickness, or employment on station and outside protection duties, there remain 8,773 police available for duty in the streets. About 60 per cent. of this number is required for night duty, viz., from ten p.m. to six a.m. During the day the ordinary beat duty of the whole of the metropolis devolves upon some 1,537 men; in addition to 464 constables on "fixed points," and 79 at hackney carriage standings. The Metropolitan Police district extends over a radius of fifteen miles from Charing-cross, exclusive of the City, and embraces an area of 688.31 square miles. "It will be seen," says Sir Charles, "that there is great need for a very considerable augmentation, and this has been so reported by the superintendents." The Commissioner proceeds: "The rapid increase both of buildings and population which has taken place in the Metropolitan Police District of late years has outrun the increase which it has been possible to make to the police force. It will be seen that since 1849, when the authorised strength of the police was 5,493, of whom 5,288 were available for police purposes, there have been built 500,852 new houses, while 3,463 are in course of erection, 1,833 miles of new streets have been added to the charge of the police, and the population has increased from 2,473,758 to 5,476,447. To meet this the available strength of the police force for ordinary duties, exclusive of those employed for the protection of public buildings in consequence of the dynamite outrages, is 8,773." He adds; "I have to refer to the remarks of the superintendents on the subject of clubs, viz., that many of them are little better than unlicensed public-houses. I think that all clubs should be placed under supervision. The duties of the police were exceptionally arduous and important owing to the various functions on the occasion of her Majesty's Jubilee; and her Majesty was graciously pleased to approve of the issue of a special medal to members of the Metropolitan Police Force in recognition of their services on that occasion. During the autumn attempts were made by unruly mobs to riot in the streets and Trafalgar-square, which proceedings were successfully coped with by the police. Owing to the concentration of the theatres, the thronging of the streets in the C Division increases from year to year."
Chief-Superintendent Dunlap, of the A Division, after dwelling upon the satisfactory manner in which the Jubilee celebrations passed off, proceeds: "From this pleasing portion of the duties of the year one is compelled to turn most reluctantly to a subject of the most opposite description, namely, the disturbances that have arisen in the name of the unemployed. This matter, most unsavoury to deal with, was one that the professional agitator did not hesitate to improve, and to use the sufferings of the poor as a peg to hang upon and propound his pernicious doctrines. For a lengthened period many poor wretched creatures, homeless, had made the square a sleeping place, uninterrupted by the police, but this gained a notoriety by certain of the residents asking questions through their members of Parliament, thus bringing it under public notice, and the answer elicited from the First Commissioner of Works had the effect of increasing the numbers from scores to hundreds. The illustrated papers then gave sketches of what they termed 'Trafalgar-square by Night.' This was followed by van loads of bread sent by charitable persons with the best of intent, but the loafer soon took cognisance of the transaction, and appeared as if by magic when the bread van arrived, and with equal celerity disappeared when he received the food, much to the injury of the deserving poor who were waiting. This was a golden opportunity for the agitator not to be let slip, and one morning two or three of them appeared on the square, unfurled a black banner with the words 'We will have work or bread' thereon, and after some difficulty induced about thirty of those poor creatures on the square to follow in procession to the offices of the Local Government Board, and from this small procession the whole of the subsequent events that alarmed the West-end of London for many weeks sprang. The numbers increased day by day, and the speeches of the unknown orators were duly chronicled in the daily press, and thus the matter assumed proportions that would never have been arrived at but for the publicity given to the statements of persons anxious for cheap notoriety. Matters thus progressed, assuming greater proportions daily, till these persons began to understand the maxim that 'unity gave strength,' and thus they commenced to make themselves obnoxious, till it was absolutely necessary that energetic steps should be taken to put an end to a state of things that was paralysing trade and ruining the prospects of the entire district. But the moment that the police attempted, in the interest of law and order, to put an end to a subject that was quickly becoming a scandal, they were assailed on all sides, and by a portion of the press also, that it was an attempt to interfere with the liberty of free speech, they were pronounced impertinent, and nothing was too bad in the eyes of some people to say with regard to the Police force. The lamentable events of Nov. 13 and other occasions were the direct outcome of the vicious counselling of a class of people who, although they will thrust their dupes to the front, generally manage to escape scatheless themselves."
Sir Charles Warren's report to the Home Secretary on the Metropolitan Police for 1887, showing that, while a considerable increase had been made in the number of the officers during that year, there had been a slight decrease in the strength of the men. The Commissioner has come to the conclusion that there is great need for a very considerable augmentation.
In reply to the petition of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee praying the Government to offer a reward for the discovery of the perpetrator of the East-end crimes, the Home Secretary states that while he has given directions that no effort or expense be spared in endeavouring to capture the guilty person, he has not been able to advise the Queen that the ends of justice would be promoted by any departure from the course already announced.
A medical examination of the leg which was recently disinterred at Guildford has revealed the fact that it is not a woman's, as was supposed, but that of a bear. It appears that a gentleman living near Guildford had a taste for the flesh of this animal, and a portion of a fine bear was sent to him from Russia, but when it was cooked he did not like it, and the limb was thrown away.