8 April 1892
London, April 8.
A dispatch from Melbourne states that the coroner's jury which investigated the cause of the death of Mrs deeming, wife of the man who went by the name of Williams at Rainhill, a Liverpool suburb, and under the hearthstone of whose residence, Dinham villa, were found the bodies of his former wife and children, has brought in a verdict of guilty of wilful murder. It will be remembered that after disposing of his other wife and family Deeming married a Miss Mather, of Rainhill, and went to Australia, where that lady suddenly disappeared, and her body was found under the hearthstone, just like the other bodies. Deeming's object in murdering his wife was the same as in the former case - to marry another woman.
While this examination at Melbourne has been proceeding the London police has been busy getting at the ends of the tangled clue that pointed to Deeming being the notorious Jack the Ripper, who murdered half a dozen or more of the depraved women of the Whitechapel district in 1888; and though the evidence is not conclusive it presents many facts that seem to indicate that Deeming and Jack the Ripper are identical. Deeming was in London during the autumn of 1888, when several of the Whitechapel murders occurred. On the 7th of August in that year, Martha Turner was found dead with thirty nine stab wounds on a landing in the model dwellings known as George Yard buildings, Commercial street, Spitalfields. On Aug. 31, another woman belonging also to the unfortunate class, and known as Mrs Nichols, was murdered and mutilated in Buck's Row, Whitechapel.
And just here it will be well to introduce the fact that a dressmaker living in the East end of London has recognized a portrait of Deeming as that of a man who courted her under the name of Lawson in the autumn of 1888. On Sept. 7 came a murder with which the dressmaker connects Deeming. Mrs Chapman was the fourth victim, and her body was found after daylight on the morning of Sept. 8. Her throat had been cut from ear to ear and the body cut open as if by a dissector. The heart lay on the ground, and a portion of the remains had been tied around the neck. Like the other women killed, she was dissolute character, and lived in a wretched and densely populated part of the city.
The dressmaker says that she met Deeming or Lawson, as he was known to her, on the afternoon of Sept. 30 (sic). They had a long conversation on the subject of the Whitechapel murders, and Deeming showed that he was conversant with every one of the horrible details. A remark was made concerning a suggestion in a newspaper that the murders were committed shortly after midnight. Deeming seemed to forget to whom he was talking, and said to the girl, "Look at the time; I could not have committed the murders." The girl was very much struck by this uncalled for remark, and she has often since thought of it.
Though the remark inadvertently dropped by Deeming, and his subsequent actions, aroused a suspicion in the girl's mind that Deeming perhaps was the murderer, she did not until now communicate her suspicions to the police. The dressmaker says that the time Deeming left her company on the evening of Sept. 7 was about an hour before the time at which the medical testimony at the inquest indicated that the Chapman woman was probably murdered. A few days after the crime the man she believed was Deeming disappeared, and she never saw him again.
Deeming in London When the Crimes Were Committed
The dressmaker's statement shows that for part of the time, at least, he was in London, and this again arouses the suspicion that he was there at the time the other murders of that year were committed. There was nothing to prevent him from being there from April to November, 1888, during which time seven murders were committed. The chronology of Deeming's record, so far as ascertained, agrees with the dressmaker's story. It is as follows: Frederick Bailey Deeming marries Miss Mary James, leaves England for Cape Town - 1880. Deeming joined by his wife (now identified as Mary James), in Sydney - 1882. Deeming received six weeks imprisonment for theft - 1882. Absconded from Sydney on charge of fraudulent insolvency - 1886. Returns to England (11th of August) and to Birkenhead, leaving that place and his wife after the birth of his fourth child, about four months afterwards - 1889.
Deeming returned from South Africa in the spring of 1890. He had a formidable assortment of knives. Samuel Mercer, of Rainhill, who was well acquainted with Deeming, says: "Deeming represented himself to me to be a military man, and said he had fourteen scars on him. He went on to talk very glibly as to the engagements and hand to hand encounters which he had gone through as inspector in the army. He would not call himself a soldier, although he had said that he had been under fire. Deeming showed me various weapons, including swords, knives, spears, and an assegai, which he said he had got from Zululand.
"He particularly dwelt on a very handsome sword, which was adorned with silver and a band of gold, and which he said he had fought two hours for. He next showed me a beautiful knife with a sheath made of woven silver wire, and said it belonged to Cetewayo." The opinion that Deeming committed several of the Ripper murders is strengthened in public opinion by the dressmaker's statement.
London, April 8.
Dinham villa, the building in which Deeming, alias Williams, perpetrated the murder of his wife and four children, is to be demolished. Mrs Hayes, the owner, says, "I could not expect people to again occupy the building. I will, however, build another house near or on the site."