TUESDAY, OCTOBER 23, 1888
At the Westminster Sessions House, yesterday, Mr. Troutbeck resumed the inquest on the human remains which were discovered in a vault at the police offices now being erected on the Victoria Embankment, on Tuesday, Oct. 2.
Evidence was given by Mr. Brown, foreman of Messrs. Grover, the builders of the new offices, and several men connected with the works, that in their opinion the remains were not in the vault on the Friday or Saturday before the discovery.
Mr. Thomas Bond declared that the leg and foot must have been lying among the debris for several weeks, decomposition having taken place there. The upper part of the leg was in a good state of preservation, but the foot was decomposed. Mr. Hibbert and himself made a careful examination of the limbs at the mortuary. The leg had been severed from the thigh at the knee joint by clean incisions, and he had no doubt that the limbs belonged to the trunk discovered a fortnight before.
The coroner, in summing up the evidence, remarked that after the verdict had been found the police would be left to make inquiries, and, if possible, elucidate the mystery, for it most certainly was one. Most probably the other parts of the body would turn up some day, for, so far as he could see, the aim had been to destroy the possibility of identity rather than to destroy the body.
The jury returned a verdict of found dead.
A terrible murder is reported from South Wales. John Harper, aged five years, son of a tinplate worker, having on Saturday been missed from home, search was made, and at midnight his body was discovered in a wood disembowelled, and with his throat cut from ear to ear. He had previously complained that a butcher's assistant, named Thomas Lott, aged eighteen, had wished to undress him in a wood, and, on the latter being arrested, he confessed to the murder.
WORK AMONG THE CASUALS. - Lord Kinnaird presided yesterday afternoon over the opening of the new premises erected between Duke-street, Manchester-square, and James-street, Oxford-street, in which the work hitherto conducted amongst the casuals of that locality in "The Ragged Church" is for the future to be conducted. His lordship was supported by Mr. F. A. Bevan, Mr. George Hanbury, Mr. P. Gough, the Rev. Donald Fraser, D.D., the Rev. F. B. Meyer, B.A., the Rev. Nevile Sherbrooke, Dr. Habershon, Mr. Mark Stewart, M.P., Mr. A. G. Fraser, and others. The Rev. C. H. Spurgeon was prevented from ill-health, from taking part in the proceedings. Lord Kinnaird pointed out that in the immediate vicinity of several of the West-end squares a work of great interest had been carried on for many years among the poorest and most degraded of the population of London. Hundreds of families were accommodated in several large blocks of buildings near the new church. In one court alone there were four of the lowest lodging-houses, containing altogether 400 men. Many of the casuals were respectable workmen out of employment, for whom it was intended to provide sleeping accommodation, admission to be by small payment or by ticket. If there were more such shelters in London much of the dissatisfaction amongst this class would be silenced. The work of the mission included a ragged school, night schools, and mother's meetings, for the efficient conduct of which funds were urgently required.
WORSHIP-STREET. - "A MOST MONSTROUS PROCEEDING." - John Dowling, sanitary inspector and street keeper of the parish of Bethnal-green, was summoned by a costermonger named Nathan for detaining a barrow. - Mr. Voss, vestry clerk, defended. - The detention of the barrow arose out of the proceedings directed by the vestry of the parish in their efforts to clear the streets of costermongers and others after eleven o'clock on Sunday mornings, it being now sought to put down a system of Sunday trading which has been tolerated during the last twenty-five years, and has become nothing less than a Sunday fair. This action of the vestry has led to numerous prosecutions of shopkeepers exposing their goods outside the shops, and the seizure of costermongers' stalls, &c., left unattended after eleven o'clock in the streets. - Nathan said he left his barrow and board for a few minutes whilst he went to repay a publican a sovereign, and, returning, found the barrow in possession of the street keeper, who refused to give it back. It was taken to the parish green-yard, and he was told to call for it next morning. He went, and the street keeper not being there, he was told he would not be able to get it till the Thursday. He complained that he would be hindered getting his living during the time, and that his children would starve, and was then told, not by the defendant, but by another man employed by the vestry, "Well, let them starve." He went on the Thursday, and then 5s was demanded as "yard fee," and because he could not pay it, not having been able to go out, his barrow was still detained. - The magistrate (Mr. Montagu Williams, Q.C.) expressed the opinion that it was not only a high-handed proceeding, but a monstrously cruel one. - Mr. Voss said that under the 65th sec. of the Act 57, Geo. III., cap. 29, the vestry, by its officer, was empowered to seize and impound such goods, and to charge such fee as they thought fit. - The magistrate: But surely you do not suggest that a man has no right to leave his barrow for a moment just as I have to keep my carriage standing in the street. - Mr. Voss: He has been summoned for obstruction. - The magistrate: If he caused an obstruction he should have been summoned again. I say, and I shall continue to say, that this was a most monstrous proceeding, and prevented the man earning his livelihood. - Mr. Voss: He could have had his barrow if he had paid the greenyard fee of 2s 6d or 5s, whatever it was. - The magistrate: You talk of 2s 6d or 5s as if they grew in these people's pockets. - The defendant went into the witness-box, and being sworn, said that the complainant did not call for his barrow. He (defendant) attended every morning from ten till eleven o'clock. - The complainant said he went before ten, and waited till past eleven, and the street keeper was not to be seen. On the Thursday he tendered 3s 8d, and they would not give up the barrow, and when he said he would have to go to the magistrate, the man said he did not care for the magistrate, for he had bigger people behind him who could spend money to support him. - Mary Donovan, called by complainant to bear out his statement that on the Monday the street keeper was not to be found, said that her barrow was seized at the same time, and she went to get it back, but could not, although she told them she had a sick husband and four little children to support, and nothing for them to eat until she went out hawking. They would not give her barrow up on the Thursday unless she paid 5s. She could not pay, and they had got her barrow still, and the landlord had put the brokers in on her "bits o' things" because she had had no barrow to go out with. - The magistrate (indignantly to Mr. Voss): What do you say to that? - Mr. Voss: This man, sir, was acting under his orders. The vestry makes certain regulations. - The magistrate: I think it is a most extraordinary proceeding, and if this statement is true, a more high-handed and grossly cruel action could not be. - Mr. Voss: These people, sir, set the parish at defiance. They leave their goods in the street to the mercy of the world. - The magistrate: The mercy of the world! Here is a woman with a sick husband and four children deprived of the means of living by the vestry, and has now got the brokers in. - Mrs. Donovan added that, when she could not get her barrow on the Thursday, she said she should go to the magistrate, and the defendant replied that he did not care for the magistrate. - Mr. Voss said the defendant denied that statement. - The magistrate remarked that it was water on a duck's back as far as he was concerned. Much more serious was it to hear that a man was told by a parish servant to "let the children starve." - Mr. Voss agreed that that was a serious allegation, and he would like to call that man as a witness. Would the magistrate grant an adjournment? - The magistrate refused, remarking that that would be keeping the complainant out of his barrow still longer. He should make an order for its instant delivery. Mrs. Donovan had not taken out a summons to recover hers, but he thought it should be given up. - Mr. Voss said it should be done.
HIGHGATE - THE SCHOOL BOARD AND THE POOR. - Thomas Liddell, labourer, of East-end, Finchley, was summoned by the Finchley School Board for not sending his daughter regularly to school. - The wife of the defendant, a respectable-looking woman, said it was true, as the visitor had stated, that the girl had only attended thirty-three times out of a possible sixty, but the fact was she had to keep her at home to mind her baby while she went to work to keep the children from starving. Her husband was very unfortunate, and did not succeed in getting more than three weeks' work a year. - Mr. Bodkin told her she was bound to send the girl to school. - Mrs. Liddell: What am I to do? Am I to let the children starve? - Mr. Homan (one of the magistrates): No doubt your child's proper duty is to nurse the baby, but the law says she must go to school. It is a very hard case. - Mrs. Liddell: I send her as often as I can, but I can't go to work and leave a baby with no one to look after it. - Mr. Bodkin: We have nothing to do but see that the child is sent to school. You had better apply to the School Board Committee to grant a half-time certificate. - Mr. Moore, the visitor, said the defendant was an intemperate man, but this the wife denied. - The Bench then made an attendance order.
Mr. Troutbeck yesterday concluded the inquest on the remains recently found in a vault of the new police buildings on the Embankment. It had been previously established by medical testimony that the trunk and limb were those of a woman over twenty years of age, who had never been a mother, and had not been accustomed to hard work. The jury returned a verdict of found dead.
At the Worship-street Police-court yesterday, John Dowling, sanitary inspector and street-keeper in the employment of the Bethnal-green Vestry, was summoned by a costermonger named Nathan for detaining his barrow. The complainant stated that on Sunday morning, the 14th, he left his barrow for a few minutes while he went to repay a sovereign he had borrowed, when the defendant seized it, and it had ever since been detained in the parish green-yard. All his applications to get it back had been refused unless he paid the yard fee, 5s, which he was unable to do. In consequence, he had been deprived of the means of earning his livelihood. Mr. Montagu Williams strongly condemned the cruel proceedings of the vestry authorities, and made an order for the instant delivery of the barrow.