SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 1888
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
THE MURDER IN THE EAST-END.
Mr. CONYBEARE: I wish to ask the Home Secretary whether he has seen an account in the evening papers of another terrible murder in the East-end of London, and whether he does not think it time to replace Sir Charles Warren by some officer who will investigate these crimes. (Cries of "Order.")
The SPEAKER: Order, order. The hon. member must give notice of such a question.
Mr. CONYBEARE: I will give notice.
The SPEAKER: At the table, not verbally.
Mr. GRAHAM: Is it true that Sir Charles Warren has already resigned?
Mr. W. H. SMITH: No.
Another appalling murder was committed in the East-end yesterday morning. At a quarter to eleven, the body of a woman named Mary Jane Kelly was found dead in a room of the ground floor of 26, Dorset-street, the entrance to which is from Miller's-court. Her throat had been cut from ear to ear, and the body had been mutilated in the most revolting manner, the nature of the injuries leading the police to believe that the perpetrator is the man who recently committed the crimes of a similar character in the same neighbourhood. A post-mortem has been made, but the official results are not stated. The hour at which the deed was done can only be conjectured, as the last evidence of the woman being alive was at one o'clock in the morning, when she was heard singing. There is absolutely no clue to the murderer.
ANOTHER terrible murder, accompanied, as in previous cases by hideous circumstances of mutilation and dismemberment, has spread new panic among the population of East London. It differs, indeed, from its predecessors in the fact that it has been committed within doors, instead of in the open street or in a back yard. This, however, would only indicate that the murderer has learnt the unusual lesson of caution with his success. The revolting incidents of the latest crime show too clearly an affinity with those of the former atrocities in the same district to leave any reasonable doubt that it is the work of the same ferocious monster who perpetrated the others. It is a fact of startling significance that this unspeakably horrible tragedy in Dorset-street is the seventh in the ghastly catalogue of recent East-end murders. Sickening as are the details of this last atrocity, one of the worst features about it is that the murderer has left no traces behind him. Still, the crime had apparently been but recently committed at the time of its discovery, and the scent of the criminal should be fairly fresh. The public will wait with painful eagerness for some intimation that the police are on the wretch's track, and that now at last there is a chance of running him down. Should they fail here, as in the other previous crimes in this dreadful series, to obtain any real clue to the perpetrator, they will undoubtedly add, whether justly or unjustly, to the mass of discontent which has been steadily gathering for a long time past in the public mind with respect to the guardianship of life and property in the Metropolis. For our own part, we may frankly say that we need no such evidence of fresh failure, and, indeed, we should think it scarcely fair to allow ourselves to be influenced by any such evidence, in declaring that the whole condition of the Force is absolutely deplorable. The fact is patent, and the mind of the Metropolitan community is deeply impressed by it. As to the men who compose the Force, they have never had, and they have not now, any firmer friends or warmer advocates than ourselves. They are not highly paid, and they are not drawn from a class generally educated to the exercise of authority, of patience, or of discipline; yet, as a body, they have for years past displayed all these qualities in ample measure, and have thereby earned the respect - we might almost say the friendship - of the people.
So much for the personnel of the Force itself. It is with its direction that we are now concerned, and in that regard we are sorry to say that a disastrous change has been gradually coming over it. The original idea was that there should be a due admixture of the civil and the military elements, and that, while the latter was to be introduced for the maintenance of discipline, it was to be kept in strict subordination to the former. The legal, constitutional, intellectual element in the administration of the police was always intended to be supreme, and to find representation in a high functionary, whose watchful office it would be to see that it prevailed. This element, however, has almost entirely died out, and the Force has drifted into the hands of a mere soldier, with results which we see only too plainly to-day in the deplorable condition to which it has sunk, and in the miserable record of undiscovered murders which stands to its account. Against the present Chief Commissioner personally we have not a word to say. Every one knows him to be an upright, conscientious, zealous, and fearless officer, who has devoted his energies without stint to the work confided to him, and has performed it to the best of his lights. In some respects, indeed - in that of firmness, for instance, as displayed in the face of unjust and ignorant clamour - he may even be said to have added to the reputation which he brought with him from other fields of duty. Nor is he much to blame for having failed - as failed he has - in the particular sphere to which he has been last transferred. If a career distinguished hitherto is to be clouded in its close by the shadow of ill-success, the fault lies less with the Chief Commissioner himself than with those who placed him where he now is. Sir CHARLES WARREN may very naturally suppose that the qualities of which he had already given proof in the service of the State were such as were required for his present post, since this seemed to be the opinion of persons best acquainted with his record, and who had had the amplest opportunity of studying his characteristic gifts. As a matter of fact, it would be difficult either for him or for them to have made a greater mistake. The faculties which had enabled Sir CHARLES to do such good work for his country elsewhere are precisely those which are of least value - if, indeed, they are not a positive snare to him - in his present position; the aptitudes demanded of him, on the other hand, are exactly those which his training and antecedents have given him the least opportunity of acquiring. A Chief of Police in a great capital like London, compelled to do his responsible and arduous work under English conditions and according to English ideas, requires to have a little of the soldier in his composition, more of the administrator, most of all of the lawyer, the man of business, and the man of the world. In Sir CHARLES WARREN'S case the proportions of these ingredients are as nearly as possible reversed. He has abounded in the qualities which it was desirable that he should possess only in moderation, and he has been signally lacking in qualities of which it is impossible to have too much. The result is failure - a failure which reflects no personal discredit on the Commissioner, but which is nevertheless fraught with the gravest danger to the public.
The position, it is fair to admit, does not wholly owe its disastrous aspect to the Chief Commissioner of Police. It has been made infinitely worse by what we have called the helpless and heedless ineptitude of the Home Secretary. Mr. HENRY MATTHEWS' capacities in the Law Courts may not have been exaggerated. His reputation even there - or, at any rate, his reputation as an advocate of the first rank - is not of very long standing, but it may, for all we know, have been deserved. In transferring him, however, from the Law Courts to Whitehall and the House of Commons as great a mistake was made as when Sir CHARLES WARREN exchanged South Africa for Scotland-yard. The round peg was just as conspicuously thrust into the square hole in the one case as in the other. Not for the first time it was shown that a clever barrister may make a wretchedly incapable Minister, and that ability of a wrong or an unsuitable kind is of just as little use - we might almost say is quite as injurious - to its possessor as absolute all-round incapacity. It is curious to note how, in Mr. MATTHEWS' as in Sir CHARLES WARREN'S case, the "defects of his qualities" - that is to say, of the qualities which have made him succeed in other kinds of work - have proved his ruin. The Home Secretary suffers from having too much of the legal "paste" in his composition, just as the Chief of the Police is unfortunate in having too little of it. If Mr. MATTHEWS would sometimes forget that he is a lawyer it would be as much the better for him as it would be for Sir CHARLES WARREN if at times he failed to remember that he is a soldier. Unluckily for the able and estimable Queen's Counsel who, for his sins or ours, has been placed at the head of the Home Department, he never for a moment forgets his forensic traditions and ideas, or even his forensic manner; he never seems to have risen to the perception that a demeanour and a mode of dealing with men and things which are in their place in an address to a jury or an argument before a bench of Judges may be singularly and irritatingly inappropriate in a deliberative assembly. The Home Secretary, however, is even more out of his element in Whitehall than he is in the House of Commons. If he has failed to win confidence or popularity among his fellow-members of the Legislature, he has failed even more signally to secure the goodwill and respect of the people, whose wants and ways he labours under a fatal inability to understand. No man is fit for Mr. MATTHEWS' position who has not realised the value of such qualities as tact and sympathy in dealing with public complaints. Englishmen as a nation have grown to hate the domination of "red tape" in matters which concern the safety of their lives and the sanctity of their domestic relations, in questions which touch their affections and homes. Never to get an answer from the Minister who is mainly, or wholly, concerned in these matters, except that "he fails to see" this, or "cannot understand" that, or "sees no reason to alter his views" about the other, is simply exasperating to the English mind, and certain, eventually, to beget in it the strongest determination to put an end as soon as possible to such a Minister's authority.
A SEVENTH MURDER.
ANOTHER CASE OF HORRIBLE MUTILATION.
Yesterday a seventh murder, the most horrible of the series of atrocities attributed to the same hand, was committed in Whitechapel. As in all the previous instances, the victim was a woman of immoral character and humble circumstances, but she was not murdered in the open street, her throat having been cut and the subsequent mutilations having taken place in a room which the deceased rented at No. 26, Dorset-street. She has been identified as Mary Jane Kelly, and is believed to be the wife of a man from whom she is separated, and the daughter, it is said, of a foreman employed at an iron foundry in Carnarvon, in Wales. The unfortunate woman was twenty-four years of age, tall, slim, fair, of fresh complexion, and of attractive appearance. The room, which she occupied at a weekly rental of 4s, was on the ground floor of a three-storeyed house in Dorset-street, which is a short thoroughfare leading off Commercial-street, and in the shadow of Spitalfields Church and Market. Kelly was last seen alive on Thursday night; but as late as one a.m. yesterday morning she was heard by some lodgers in the house singing "Sweet Violets." No other noise appears to have been distinguished, and it was not suspected that she was at that time accompanied by a man. Entrance to her apartment was obtained by means of an arched passage, opposite a large lodging-house, and between Nos. 26, and 28, Dorset-street, ending in a cul de sac known as Miller's-court. In this court there are six houses let out in tenements, chiefly to women, the rooms being numbered. On the right-hand side of the passage there are two doors. The first of these leads to the upper floors of the house in which Kelly was living. It has seven rooms, the first-floor front, facing Dorset-street, being over a shed or warehouse used for the storage of costers' barrows. A second door opens inwards, direct from the passage, into Kelly's apartment, which is about 15ft. square, and is placed at the rear corner of the building. It has two windows, one small, looking into a yard, which is fitted with a pump. The opposite side of the yard is formed by the side wall of houses, which have whitewashed frontages, and are provided with green shutters. From some of these premises, on the left-hand side of the court, it is possible to secure a view, in a diagonal direction, of the larger window, and also the doorway belonging to the room tenanted by the deceased. In this room there was a bed placed behind the door, and parallel with the window. The rest of the furniture consisted of a table and two chairs.
It was at a quarter to eleven o'clock yesterday morning that the discovery of the latest tragedy was made. The rents of the tenements in Miller's-court are collected by John McCarthy, the keeper of a provision and chandler's shop, which is situated on the left-hand side of the entrance to the court in Dorset-street. McCarthy instructed his man, John Bowyer, a pensioned soldier, to call for the money due, the deceased woman having been 29s in arrear. Accordingly Bowyer knocked at the door of Kelly's room, but received no answer. Having failed to open the door, he passed round the angle of the house and pulled the blind of the window, one of the panes being broken. Then he noticed blood upon the glass, and it immediately occurred to him that another murder had been committed. He fetched M'Carthy, who, looking through the window, saw upon the bed, which was against the wall, the body of a woman, without clothing, and terribly mutilated. The police at Commercial-street and at Leman-street, both stations being within five minutes' walk, were instantly informed, and in response to the summons Inspector Beck arrived. This officer despatched a message for Inspector Abberline and Inspector Reid, both of the Detective department. Nothing, however, was done until the arrival of Mr. T. Arnold, the Superintendent of the H Division of Metropolitan Police, who, shortly after eleven o'clock, gave orders for the door of the room to be broken open. The last person to have left the place must have closed the door behind him, taking with him the key from the spring lock, as it is missing. A most horrifying spectacle was presented to the officers' gaze, exceeding in ghastliness anything which the imagination can picture. The body of the woman was stretched on the bed, fearfully mutilated. Nose and ears had been cut off, and, although there had been no dismemberment, the flesh had been stripped off, leaving the skeleton. The nature of the other injuries was of a character to indicate that they had been perpetrated by the author of the antecedent crimes in the same district; and it is believed that once more there are portions of the organs missing. That the miscreant must have been some time at his work was shown by the deliberate manner in which he had excised parts, and placed them upon the table purposely to add to the horror of the scene. Intelligence was promptly conveyed to Scotland-yard, and personally to Sir Charles Warren. Meanwhile the street was as far as possible closed to traffic, a cordon of constables being drawn across each end, and the police took possession of Miller's-court, refusing access to all comers in the expectation that bloodhounds would be used. Acting upon orders, the detectives and inspectors declined to furnish any information of what had occurred, and refused permission to the press to inspect the place. Every precaution was taken to preserve any trace of evidence which might be existing. Mr. Phillips, the divisional surgeon, was called, and he shortly afterwards received the assistance of other experts, among them being Dr. Bond, who came from Westminster in obedience to special instructions, and Dr. Gordon Browne, the City Police surgeon, who conducted the post-mortem in the case of the Mitre-square murder. Dr, J. R. Gabe, who viewed the body, said he had seen a great deal in dissecting rooms, but he had never witnessed such a horrible sight as the murdered woman presented. Before anything was disturbed a photograph was taken of the interior of the room. There was comparatively little blood, death having been due to the severing of the throat, the mutilations having been subsequently performed. It was evident that a large and keen knife had been used by a hand possessed of some knowledge and practice. That the woman had had no struggle with her betrayer was shown by her position and the way in which her garments, including a velvet bodice, were arranged by the fireplace. The medical men were engaged until past four p.m. in their examination upon the spot, the police, having satisfied themselves that no weapon had been left, reserving a complete investigation of the contents of the room for a later opportunity. Mr. Anderson, the recently-appointed Assistant-Commissioner, had driven up in a cab at ten minutes to two o'clock, and he remained for some time. Detectives searched all the adjacent houses for suspicious characters, but without result. All the inmates were able satisfactorily to account for their whereabouts. Not one of them had heard any sound to point to the hour when the woman must have been attacked by her assailant. The walls are of thin match lining, which makes this circumstance the more unaccountable, and the couple in the room overhead had slept soundly without being awakened by scuffling in the room beneath them.
Elizabeth Prater, the occupant of the first floor front room, was one of those who saw the body through the window. She affirms that she spoke to the deceased on Thursday. She knew that Kelly had been living with a man, and that they had quarrelled about ten days since. It was a common thing for the women living in these tenements to bring men home with them. They could do so as they pleased. She had heard nothing during the night, and was out betimes in the morning, and her attention was not attracted to any circumstances of an unusual character. Kelly was, she admitted, one of her own class, and she made no secret of her way of gaining a livelihood. During the day the police succeeded in finding John Barnett, the man with whom the deceased had cohabited until a week ago, when they separated in consequence of a quarrel, in the course of which the window was broken. Barnett is a porter at the market close by, and he was able to answer the police that on Thursday night he was at a lodging-house in New-street, Bishopsgate-street, and was playing whist there until half-past twelve, when he went to bed. Another witness states that she met the deceased near the church in Commercial-street on Thursday night about seven o'clock. As far as the statements furnished to the police go, there is no actual evidence forthcoming that a man entered the room in Miller's-court. No one was seen to go there with the deceased, and there is still no clue to the identity of the mysterious and crafty assassin who has again become the terror of Whitechapel. In Dorset-street, however, the fact of a man having been in the company of a woman would probably attract no notice from those who are accustomed to such an incident. The street is fairly lighted, and, late at night especially, is pretty well frequented. It is one of those spots where a good deal of street gambling may be detected at times. Deceased was observed in the company of a man at ten p.m. on Thursday, of whom no description can be obtained. She was last seen, as far as can be ascertained, in Commercial-street, about half-past eleven. She was then alone, and was probably making her way home. It is supposed that she met the murderer in Commercial-street. The pair would have reached Miller's-court about midnight, but they were not seen to enter the house. The street-door was closed, but the woman had a latchkey. A light was seen shining through the window of the room for some time after the couple must have entered it.
Shortly after four o'clock yesterday a covered van was driven to Miller's-court, and in a few minutes the remains were placed in a shell and quietly removed to the mortuary adjoining Shoreditch Church to await the inquest, at the Shoreditch Town Hall, on Monday. The room was then closed, the window being boarded up and the door padlocked. There were at times considerable numbers of spectators in the vicinity of Dorset-street, but when the police cordon was withdrawn the bystanders grew fewer. Dorset-street is made up principally of common lodging-houses, which provide not less than 600 registered beds. In one of these establishments Annie Chapman, the Hanbury-street victim lived. Curiously enough, the warehouse at No. 26, now closed by large doors, was until a few weeks ago the nightly resort of poor homeless creatures, who went there for shelter. One of these women was Catherine Eddowes, the woman who was murdered in Mitre-square.
The above chart represents the locality within which, since April last, seven women of the unfortunate class have been murdered. The precise spot where each crime was committed is indicated by a dagger and a numeral.
April 3. - Emma Elizabeth Smith, forty-five, had a stake or iron instrument thrust through her body, near Osborn-street, Whitechapel.
Aug. 7. - Martha Tabram, thirty-five, stabbed in thirty-nine places, at George-yard-buildings, Commercial-street, Spitalfields.
Aug. 31. - Mary Ann Nicholls, forty-seven, had her throat cut and body mutilated, in Buck's-row, Whitechapel.
Sept. 8. - Annie Chapman, forty-seven, her throat cut and body mutilated, in Hanbury-street, Spitalfields.
Sept. 30. - A woman, supposed to be Elizabeth Stride, but not yet identified, discovered with her throat cut, in Berner-street, Whitechapel.
Sept. 30. - A woman, unknown, found with her throat cut and body mutilated, in Mitre-square, Aldgate.
Figure 7 (encircled) marks the spot in Goulston-street where a portion of an apron belonging to the woman murdered in Mitre-square was picked up by a Metropolitan police-constable.
Figure 8. Nov. 9. - Mary Jane Kelly, 24, her throat cut and body terribly mutilated, in Miller's-court, Dorset-street.
From the sketch map of the locality given it will be seen that the sites of all the seven murders, five of which are, without any hesitation or doubt, ascribed by the police to one man, are contained within a limited area. A comparison of the dates reveals remarkable coincidences. The murderer has invariably chosen the latter part of the week, and when the deed has not been committed on the last day of the month it has taken place as near the 7th or 8th as can be. The Berner-street and Mitre-square murders occurred early on Sunday, Sept. 30, and the interval of about five weeks has been unusual, but was probably to be explained by the extraordinary activity of the police after the double event, or due, as some have it, to the temporary absence of the perpetrator from the country. It was on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 8, that Annie Chapman was killed in Hanbury-street, and it was on the last day of August (a Friday) that the Buck's-row tragedy took place. The two earlier murders - the one in George-yard and the other in Osborne-street - are not believed to have been the work of the miscreant who is still at large; but it is a peculiar fact, taken in conjunction with the coincidence of dates already remarked, that the murder of Mrs. Turner, in George-yard, occurred on the 7th day of August.
Sir Charles Warren did not visit the scene of the murder, but during the afternoon Colonel Monsell, chief constable of the district, and Chief Constables Howard and Roberts inspected the interior of the house. All the constables and detectives available were distributed throughout the district, and a house-to-house visitation was commenced, and all who knew the deceased woman were interrogated as to the persons last seen in her company. There was no clue.
While it is the universal belief in the district, and for only too obvious reasons, that this series of crimes has been perpetrated by the same hand, the conviction forces itself upon the police authorities that the murderer has been terrified by the hue and cry raised in consequence of his previous deeds of blood, and has thus been led to change his plan. Maniac he may be; a coward he certainly is; and hence, when he deemed it no longer safe to butcher his victims in the street, he followed them indoors. Whether this has increased the prospect of detection in the present instance it is yet premature to say.
Amongst the populace there was very widespread disappointment that bloodhounds had not been at once employed in the effort to track the criminal. The belief had prevailed throughout the district that the dogs were ready to be let loose at the first notice of a murder having been committed, and the public had come to possess greater confidence in their wonderful canine instincts and sagacity than in all Sir Charles Warren's machinery of detection. They even attributed the fact that more than a month has passed since the last revolting outrage to the fear which it was thought had been inspired by the intimation that these detectives of nature would be employed. At a late hour last night it was officially stated that the bloodhounds had not been used. They were not absolutely forgotten, but apparently were not at hand, and the conclusion was come to that the trail must inevitably have been destroyed long before they could have come upon the scene by the constant stream of persons to and from the narrow street. The validity of this objection has been called in question by experts, and it would certainly have given satisfaction to the public mind if an experiment had been made. A better opportunity than the present instance afforded could hardly have occurred. A correspondent writes: "The Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, who have recently relaxed their efforts to find the murderer, have called a meeting for Tuesday evening next, at the Paul's Head Tavern, Crispin-street, Spitalfields, to consider what steps they can take to assist the police in this latter matter."
Immediately following on from the above, the next portion of this issue's report from "As yet the murderer…" to "…and the man was liberated." is reproduced in "News from Whitechapel" pages 201 - 205. The Telegraph then reported:
LORD MAYOR'S DAY AT THE EAST-END. - Last night some 3,000 of the poorest inhabitants of Whitechapel were, through the generosity of the Lord Mayor (Mr. Alderman Whitehead) and several influential residents at the East-end, invited to the Great Assembly Hall, Mile-end-road, where they were liberally regaled with a meat tea, and where a miscellaneous entertainment had been provided for them. The Lord Mayor sent £100 towards defraying the cost, while Mr. Sheriff Newton contributed £50.