THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 1888
At Southwark Police-court, yesterday, Collingwood Hilton Fenwick, twenty-six, described as "a gentleman of independent means," residing at 34, Methley-street, Kennington-road, was brought up on remand charged before Mr. Slade with unlawfully cutting and wounding Ellen Worsford with intent to do her grievous bodily harm.
Mr. Slade prosecuted on behalf of the Treasury; and Mr. St. John Wontner appeared for the prisoner.
The facts were fully reported last week. It was alleged that the prisoner met the prosecutrix in the Westminster Bridge-road, and accompanied her to her lodgings in Ann's-place, Waterloo-road, and there, without any apparent motive, stabbed her with a penknife. He then effected his escape, but was followed and given into custody.
According to the evidence of Dr. Farr, the divisional surgeon, the wound, although a nasty one, was not dangerous.
On the case being called on yesterday afternoon Mr. Sims said that the facts had been brought before the Director of Public Prosecutions, and he was instructed to ask that the prisoner should be committed for trial, charged with intent to murder. Information had reached the Treasury that the accused had been guilty of other offences, but as these had been committed beyond the jurisdiction of the court he did not propose to take any cognisance of them.
Mr. Wontner, for the defence, said he could not oppose the application to commit the prisoner; but he denied that his client had been guilty of the other offences imputed to him.
Mr. Slade committed Fenwick for trial at the Central Criminal Court.
Considerable alarm was caused in the East-end yesterday by the report that another murder had been perpetrated in Whitechapel. The rumour was founded upon the fact that an outrage had been committed upon a dissolute woman named Annie Farmer by an unknown assailant, under circumstances bearing strong similarity to those surrounding the previous terrible crimes lately enacted in the same district. Whether the author of the latest scare was also the murderer who up to the present has eluded justice is an open question; but the police, whilst observing their customary reticence as to details, freely expressed the opinion that the man who made the attack upon the woman Farmer yesterday is not the individual who has hitherto been the terror of the locality. They base this view upon the fact that the injuries inflicted by the man yesterday were of a superficial character, and although there were as many as five cuts in the woman's throat none of them indicated that they had been given by an expert hand, whilst they appeared to have been produced by the use of a blunt rather than a keen-edged knife. No weapon of any sort has, however, been found; and the person who is supposed to have murderously assaulted the woman has made good his escape. The scene of the outrage is in George-street, a short turning connecting Thrawl-street and Flower and Dean-street. On one side of this narrow thoroughfare there stand the rear blocks of the Charlotte de Rothschild Model Dwellings, whose frontage abuts upon Commercial-street. On the other side of George-street there is a row of mean-looking tenements of three floors, mostly occupied as common lodging-houses. Although from the exterior these places appear small, no less than thirty-two double beds are to be had at No. 19, besides thirty beds for single men, and sixteen more for single women. They are under the ordinary police supervision, and No. 19 is in charge of a deputy, assisted by a watchman. The latter, in this case, is a mulatto, known as "Darkie," and, according to his statement, a dark man and a woman came to the lodging-house at half-past six o'clock yesterday morning. The man paid 8d for a double bed, and the couple took possession of one of the partitioned-off boxes on the first floor, and nothing more was heard of them until between three and four hours later. What occurred in the interval was described by the woman herself to Ellen Marks, who earns her living as a tailoress, and this witness has made the following statement: "Between half-past nine o'clock and ten o'clock yesterday morning I was standing outside No. 18, George-street, with Mary Callaghan. My boots were off, as a woman was rebuttoning them for me, but otherwise I was fully dressed. We were talking to Frank Ruffle, who had been unloading coke from his cart. At that moment a man came downstairs at No. 19 and ran into the street. He had his collar up, and, making use of a common expression, he said, 'Look at what she has done.' There was blood on his mouth and a scratch, and his hands had blood upon them. He was about 5ft 7in in height, with a fair moustache, and of very sallow complexion. There was a scar of an abscess on the left side of the neck. I should call him a fair man. He wore a blue-black diagonal overcoat, speckled grey trousers, and a hard black felt hat. There was a white handkerchief round the throat. There was nothing in his hands. He seemed excited, and was panting, and as he went off it struck me that he was a sturdily-built man. I never spoke to him. Almost at the same minute I heard a woman scream on the stairs, 'He has cut my throat.' I ran in the direction of Thrawl-street, whither the man had gone, but could not see him, and I came back to No. 19, George-street, and went to the woman's room, which is on the first flight. The woman was sitting on the bed, dressed in a black body and petticoat. Blood was trickling down her neck. I said, 'What has he done?' and she replied, 'He has cut my throat.' I asked for a light, and a woman brought a candle, for the room was very dark. I then saw that there were five or six wounds in the neck, which seemed to me to be gaping and at least 3in long. I asked, 'What else has he done to you - has he done anything else?' and she said 'No.' Next I inquired, 'Do you know him?' and the woman answered 'I knew him about a twelvemonth ago. I drank in his company, and he made himself known to me this morning. He paid 8d for the bed and gave me 6d whilst in the room. I brought him in about 6.30, and when I was half-asleep I felt a knife cross my throat, which woke me up, and I screamed.' The woman was very excited. Then the police came, and the constable 256 H asked me to hold the light whilst he looked for the knife; he found none. The woman was removed in an ambulance to the Commercial-street Police-station, where her injuries were dressed by Dr. Phillips. I have been there and made a statement."
Mary Callaghan, of 7, Thrawl-street, who was in the company of Marks, confirms her story. She saw the man go by, and heard him make a remark. Subsequently she ran to the top of Flower and Dean-street, and asked a bystander if he had seen a man run that way, and he said "No." Afterwards she came back, and went into No. 19, George-street. Later in the day she saw the woman sitting down at Commercial-street Police-station, where questions were being asked her by the police. Callaghan says the woman, who was known to her as Annie Farmer, was respectably connected, and that drinking habits had brought her to her sad condition. She was to be seen nightly round the railings at Spitalfields Church, and used to sleep in odd corners whenever she failed to find some one to pay her for the price of a bed in a common lodging-house.
Frank Ruffle, the carman, who was unloading the coke, added: "About half-past nine o'clock I was outside Lewis's door, and had taken two sacks in. I had been speaking to these two girls - Marks and Callaghan - when I saw a man come out of No. 19, with his collar up, and take to running round the corner into Thrawl-street, and in the direction of Brick-lane. I saw that his mouth was bleeding, and he turned round and made use of a low expression, referring to some woman. About three minutes afterwards a man (Sullivan) came into the street from No. 19, and asked, 'Did you see a man running?' and added, 'He has cut a woman's throat. The woman was on the stairs, and we ran into Thrawl-street, where I lost the man near the Frying Pan. I should say the man was thirty-five years of age. He was clean shaven, with the exception of a slight fair moustache. I have never seen him before. At the corner of Osborne-street I saw two policemen, and I said to them: 'Did you see a man run?' and they replied that they had not; and I then told them what the woman had said about having had her throat cut." Sullivan, the man spoken of by Ruffle, is a waterside labourer, and he lives in a front room on the first floor at No. 19, George-street. His statement is appended: "I went out early yesterday morning, but failing to get employment returned at twenty past nine o'clock with a young fellow named Wm. Kew. We went together into the kitchen, where I left my hook; and I then went to the door and stood on the step, so if the man had wanted to get by me he must have pushed me off the threshold. I saw no one, but I heard a woman scream for the watchman Darkie. I opened the door at the foot of the stairs, and saw a woman in her chemise and knitted petticoat, which was torn in front. Her throat was cut. I saw one slight cut only. The woman said, "Follow that man." I said, "What man?" and she added, "The man who has just gone out; he has cut my throat." I went outside and saw the cokeman (Ruffle), and spoke to him. We ran off, Ruffle about twenty or thirty yards in front. We went to the left into Thrawl-street, and I saw no stranger, but I noticed a man whom I knew. A woman near the Frying Pan public-house said he had gone round the corner into Brick-lane, but we could not find him. We gave information to two policemen outside the Bell public-house." Sullivan states, further, that the mulatto watchman told him that he had let the man and the woman in at six o'clock, but he had not taken particular notice of them. The house contained several "casual" beds, that is, those which are let to irregular comers, as distinguished from the regular frequenters of the place. He had never seen Farmer in the lodging-house before, but he had several times observed her in the streets, and very often drunk. While they were talking to the police at Osborne-place a gentleman came up and said, "I saw the man run down by the side of the Bell."
In the house little notice appears to have been taken of the woman's screams, as noisy outcries are of no uncommon occurrence in the neighbourhood. Philip Harris, one of the lodgers, stated that he heard the screams, and saw the woman come down the stairs in a fainting condition, and bleeding from a wound in her throat. He joined in the chase after the man, who he thinks was about 5ft 6in in height, of middle age, and had a thick black moustache, and who wore a long tweed overcoat of a rough blue material, and a hard felt hat. This witness also asserts - and the statement is confirmed by other persons - that the man had a scar on the left hand side of his throat.
Esther Hall says: I lodge at No. 19, George-street, and sleep in the basement of the house. I was awoke this morning by a man, who told me a murder had been committed. I ran upstairs and saw a woman lying down covered with blood. The deputy put a piece of rag round her throat, and I said, "Are you able to dress yourself." She said she was not, so I dressed her. I then inquired, "Do you know the man/" She replied, "Yes; I was with him about twelve months ago, and he illused me then." Farmer said she undressed when she went to bed this morning, but the man did not; and added that the man had a black moustache, and wore dark clothes and a hard felt hat, and that she thought he was a saddler. Farmer also told me that the man made her drunk before he brought her to the house.
Sarah Turner, who was standing at her door in Thrawl-street at the time of the occurrence, stated that she saw a man running in the direction of Brick-lane, followed by three or four others. She described him as a short, thick fellow, 5ft 4in high. She could not see if he had a moustache, as he was holding his hand up to his mouth. One witness alleged that he stopped the man as he was making his escape from the house, but that he shook him off, striking him with a whip which he held in his hand. Several other persons who were present gave particulars of the man, corroborating in almost every detail the account of his appearance given by the woman herself, viz.: age, 30; height, 5ft 6in; fair moustache; wearing a black diagonal coat and a hard felt hat.
Farmer is believed to be married, but Farmer is understood to be her maiden name. Her age is thirty. She belongs to the "unfortunate" class, and is known in the neighbourhood under various nicknames, such as "Dark Sarah," "Laughing Liz," and "Singing Liz," the last because she formerly obtained a livelihood by singing in the streets. She is said to be the wife of a respectable tradesman in business near the City-road, who, in consequence of her dissipated habits, had separated from her, but allowed her ten shillings a week. The alimony had lately, it is stated, been stopped on account of the woman's course of life. Farmer has three children at school, supported by the father, and is a fairly well-educated woman. When examined at the police-station she was evidently recovering from the effects of drink. For some time Commercial-street Police-station was closed to all inquiries, and although the condition of the woman does not warrant her removal to a hospital, or even detention under medical care, the police have undertaken the charge of her for the present, and they do not disclose her whereabouts. During the day George-street was thronged with a crowd, and two policemen guarded the door of the lodging-house.
At a meeting of the London Working Men's Association, held yesterday at Mitre-court, Temple (Mr. George Potter, president, in the chair), Mr. P. W. Lind reported that the outcome of the two deputations that had waited upon the North Metropolitan Tramway Company was that the directors had kindly made arrangements to start the following penny fares from the 1st of next month: On the Stratford line, from Aldgate to Mile-end-gate, Mile-end-gate to Burdett-road, Burdett-road to Bow Bridge, Bow Bridge to Stratford. On the cars running from Aldgate to Bethnal-green the penny fares would be: Aldgate to Mile-end, the London Hospital to Bethnal-green, Bethnal-green to Earl-street, Hackney. The fares on all cars running from Moorgate-street to the Angel at Islington would also be reduced to one penny, and on the route from Moorgate-street to Dalston, a penny would be charged from Moorgate-street to Shoreditch Church, and from Shoreditch Church to Dalston. Mr. F. Wiginton, on behalf of the industrial classes of the East-end, moved the following resolution: "That the best thanks of the Association be given to the directors of the North Metropolitan Tramway Company for the concessions they have made to the travelling public in general, but especially to the working men and women of the East and Northern districts of London." Mr. F. Whetstone (member of the Islington Vestry), in seconding the motion, expressed the thanks of the Association to Mr. Richardson (chairman) and Mr. Adamson (the secretary of the company), for the courteous way in which they had received the deputations. Several other delegates from working men's associations in the East-end of London having spoken in support of the resolution, it was carried unanimously.
Considerable alarm was caused in the East-end yesterday by the rumour that another woman had been murdered in Whitechapel, but it soon proved that the report was greatly exaggerated. About half-past nine o'clock in the morning a dissolute woman, in a common lodging-house in George-street, called out that the man who had just left her had cut her throat. Five wounds were found upon her, and she was bleeding profusely, but no danger to her life is apprehended, and it has not even been considered necessary to remove her to a hospital. The supposed assailant made his escape.
The selection of a Chief Commissioner of Police will be made at the Cabinet Council at the end of the week. There are very few serious candidates, and the choice practically lies between Mr. Monro and a distinguished outsider - that is, a gentleman unconnected with any police force or with either the navy or the army. The post which Mr. Monro now occupies at the Home Office, in case he succeeds Sir Charles Warren, will not be filled up.