East London Advertiser
Saturday, 22 September 1888.
THE POLICE STILL AT FAULT.
THE RESUMED INQUESTS.
The inquest as to the death of Mary Ann Nicholls [Nichols], whose shockingly mutilated body was found in a gateway in Whitechapel early on the morning of August 31st, was resumed on Monday.
- Emma Green, whose house is close to the spot where the deceased was found, said her sons went to bed at nine and ten on the night before the murder. Her daughter went to bed about the latter hour. She slept with her in a room on the first floor front. She did not remember awaking till she heard a knock at the street door. That was about 4 o'clock. She opened the window, and saw three or four constables and a couple of other men. She saw the body of a woman lying on the ground. Neither herself nor her sons or daughter heard anything during the night.
- By a juryman: Very rough people go through the street at times. She did not know of any particular house in the neighbourhood to which unfortunate women went. - One or two other neighbours gave similar evidence. -Thomas Ede, a signalman on the East London Railway, said on September 8th he saw a man with a knife in the Cambridge Heath-road, coming to the Whitechapel-road. His appearance was remarkable. He looked as if he had got a wooden arm, or something by his side. As he was in front of the Foresters' Arms he saw about four inches of the blade of a knife. The knife was in his trousers pocket, and he saw it by the coat being thrown back a little. He followed him, and asked three others to do the same. Neither of the men would do so. He followed, the man quickened his pace, and the witness soon lost sight of him. The man was about 5ft. 8in. high. He wore a dark moustache and dark whiskers. He had a double peaked cap, a dark brown jacket, and a pair of dark trousers. He had white overalls, perfectly clean. He walked as though he had stiff knees. -Robert Paul, a carman, said on the morning of the crime he left home just before a quarter to 4. He was passing up Buck's Row and saw a man standing in the middle of the road. The man touched him upon the shoulder, and said, "Come and look at this woman here." He went and saw the woman lying right across a gateway. He felt her hands and face. They were both cold. The morning was very dark. The other man and he agreed that the best thing to be done was to tell the first policeman they met. He arranged the clothes as well as he could. He put his hand to the woman's breast and felt a slight breath, such a one as might be felt in a child two or three months old. He saw no one running away, nor did he notice anything whatever of a suspicious nature. - After some further evidence a juror asked if nothing could be done by the Government in the shape of giving a reward. He said it was terrible that monsters were going about cutting females to pieces to satisfy their hellish thirst for human blood. He would give £25 himself and would be pleased to do it. If it were a person of importance that were murdered, the Home Secretary would be sure to offer a reward. The unfortunate had souls as well as the great. -The coroner informed the juror that the Government had dropped rewards many years ago. -The inquest was adjourned.
The inquest on the woman Chapman, who was murdered in Whitechapel on the 8th inst., was resumed on Wednesday.
Eliza Cooper, a hawker, lodging at 35, Dorset-street, Spitalfields, said she knew the deceased and had a quarrel with her on the Tuesday before her death, in consequence of her bringing Mr. Stanley on the previous Saturday to 35, Dorset-street. The quarrel was about a piece of soap, which she lent the deceased for Stanley to wash himself with. The witness and the deceased went to a public-house on the Tuesday, and while quarrelling there the deceased slapped her on the face, and the witness in return struck her on the left eye and on the chest. The witness last saw her alive the following day, the deceased then wore three rings, but they were all brass rings, not gold. The deceased associated with Stanley and several others, whom she used to bring casually into the lodging-house. - Dr. George B. Phillips, recalled, gave the reasons for his believing that the perpetrator of the crime had held the woman's chin while he cut her throat. -The witness then proceeded to enlarge the evidence he had given at the last sitting, describing the condition of the organs that were cut or injured. One of the organs was entirely absent from the body. The appearance of the cut surfaces indicated that the instrument used must have been very sharp, and showed a certain amount of anatomical knowledge. - Elizabeth Long, married, and living in Church-row, Whitechapel, said she never saw the deceased till Saturday morning, the 8th inst., when she was passing along Hanbury-street to the Spitalfields-market. A public clock had just struck half-past 5 when she passed No. 29, Hanbury-street, and she there saw a gentleman and lady standing on the pavement talking together. She had seen the face of the deceased in the mortuary and recognised it. She did not see the man's face. She only saw he had a brown hat on and he was dark. She could not say what kind of clothes he had on; but she thought he had a dark coat on. He was a man of over 40 years of age by the look of him. He appeared to be a little taller than the woman. He looked like a foreigner - very dark. He looked like what was called shabby genteel. They were talking loudly; and she heard him say "Will you?" The woman said "Yes." That was all she heard. - Edward Stanley, a tall, elderly working man, said he was a bricklayer's labourer, and was known by the name of the "Pensioner." He knew the deceased. He visited her at 35, Dorset-street, once or twice, and at other times elsewhere. He last saw her alive on Sunday, the 2nd inst., between 1 and 3 o'clock. She was then wearing rings. He knew no one she was on bad terms with. He had never been with her week after week, and it was untrue for Donovan, the lodging-house deputy, to say that he had. - William Stevens, living at 35, Dorset-street, saw the deceased at 20 minutes past 12 on the Saturday morning, the 8th inst. She was not the worse for drink, and she wore rings on her finger. When she left the kitchen, where he saw her, she said she would not be long out of bed. -The Coroner (to the jury): Well, that is all the evidence there is. It is a question for you now to say whether you would like to close the inquest, or have it adjourned. -The jury expressed an opinion in favour of an adjournment to see if the police could get any further evidence; and the inquest was accordingly adjourned till Wednesday, the 26th inst.
Charles Ludwig, 40, a respectably-dressed German, was charged at the Thames police-court, on Tuesday, with being drunk and threatening to stab Alexander Finlay. The latter stated that at 3 o'clock that morning, prisoner came up to a coffee-stall in Whitechapel, pulled out a knife and tried to stab him. Ludwig followed him round the stall and made several attempts to stab him. - A constable, who arrested the prisoner, said that on the way to the station, he dropped a long-bladed penknife, and on him were found a razor and a long-bladed pair of scissors. - Another constable stated that early that morning he heard loud screams of "Murder" proceeding from a dark court in the Minories. The court led to some railway arches, and was a well-known dangerous locality. On going into the court he found the prisoner with a prostitute. The former appeared to be under the influence of drink. The woman, who appeared to be in a very agitated condition, said: "Oh, policeman, do take me out of this!" She was so frightened that she could then make no further explanation. He got her and the man out of the court, and sent the latter off. He walked with the woman to the end of his beat, when she said, "Dear me; he frightened me very much when he pulled a big knife out." Witness said: "Why didn't you tell me that at the time?" and she said, "I was too much frightened." He thereupon went and looked for the prisoner, but could not find him, and warned several other constables of what he had seen. He had been out all the morning trying to find the woman, but up to the present time had not been able to do so. He should know her again. He believed the prisoner worked in the neighbourhood. -It has been ascertained that Ludwig, who now professes he is not able to speak English, has been in this country for about three months. He accounts for his time during the last three weeks. -The magistrate ordered him to be remanded.
The Holloway lunatic, who is detained on suspicion in connection with the Whitechapel murders, is a Swiss, named Isenschmid. Some time ago he kept a pork butcher's shop in Elthorne-road, Holloway, and he is what is known in the trade as a "cutter-up." Some years ago, it seems, he had a sunstroke, and since then he has been subject to yearly fits of madness. These fits have usually come on in the latter part of the summer, and on several occasions his conduct has been so alarming that he has been carried off to Colney Hatch. It is a fact of some significance that he was last released just before Christmas. One of his delusions is that everything belongs to him - he has called himself the King of Elthorne-road. On several occasions he has threatened to put certain people's lights out, as he has expressed it, and more than once the landlord of the shop has been warned not to approach his lunatic tenant. One of the alarming practices of Isenschmid when he is mad is his continual sharpening of a long knife, and his disappearance from home for a few days has not been unusual. He went mad some weeks ago, and his frightened wife got an order for his detention in a lunatic asylum, but Isenschmid could not be caught. The police have been looking for him for some little time, and his house has been watched in the expectation that he would go there. It may be only a curious coincidence but the mad pork butcher very closely answers the description of the man who was seen on the morning of the murder near the scene of the crime with bloodstains on his hands. He is about 38 years of age, about 5ft. 7in. in height, of rather stout build, and has hair on his head and face of a ginger colour.
The atrocious murders of Whitechapel are still the all absorbing topic of conversation in the East End, and any fresh item of news or even the vaguest rumour is received with avidity. Now, however, the confidence in the police is becoming less and less as the days pass by without any satisfactory action on the part of the authorities. It is held in several local influential quarters that all has not been done that might have been done. The Press has been flooded with letters from residents in East London offering suggestions and advice, and drawing moral lessons from the outrages all more or less wide of the mark. Several clergymen - notably the Rev. S. A. Barnett, of St. Jude's, Whitechapel, and the Rev. W. Evans Hurndall, of Harley-street Chapel, Bow - have also penned epistles to contemporaries on the subject, but the practical outcome of all the correspondence has only been the airing of certain theories on the social status of the inhabitants of the locality in question. The question of a reward being offered by the Government has occupied much attention, and great indignation has been expressed that the Home Office has not taken steps in the matter. The foreman of the jury sitting on the body of the woman Nicholls, who was found brutally murdered in Buck's-row, has stated that if a substantial reward had been offered in the first case the two last murders would never have been perpetrated. If the matter were put before the Home Secretary and a large reward offered the foreman stated his willingness to subscribe £25 towards it. The local committee, which has been formed chiefly through the efforts of Mr. Aaron, of The Crown, Mile End-road, Mr. B. Harris, Mr. Lusk, and a few other gentlemen, has been steadily working with the object of gaining enough money to offer a further and additional reward to that already published by Mr. Montagu, M.P., but up to the present a large measure of success has not attended their efforts. The committee complain that the people generally do not respond quickly to their appeal for funds. On Monday evening, a meeting of the committee, formed under the title of the Mile End Vigilance Committee, was held at the Crown Tavern, for the purpose of considering the best means for preventing a repetition of the late dreadful murders, and for securing the detection of the criminals. Mr. Lusk occupied the chair, and there were present, amongst others, Messrs. Cohen, Aarons, Houghton, H. A. Harris, Laughton, Lord, Isaacs, Rogers, Mitchell, Barnett, Hodgins, Lindsay, Reeves, Jacobs, and B. Harris, the hon. sec. In the course of the proceedings a long list of subscriptions towards the reward fund for the apprehension of the murderer was read, including £5 from Mr. Spencer Charrington. It was decided that as soon as £100 was gathered the reward bills would be sent out. It transpired that on the 15th inst. the committee sent a letter to the Home Secretary on the subject, which was to the following effect:- "At a meeting of the committee of gentlemen, held at 74, Mile End-road, E., it was resolved to approach you upon the subject of the reward we are about to issue for the discovery of the author or authors of the late atrocities in the East End of London, and to ask you, Sir, to augment our fund for the said purpose, or kindly state your reasons for refusing." To this letter he had received the following communication: "Sir, - I am directed by the Secretary of State to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 16th inst. with reference to the question of the offer of a reward for the discovery of the perpetrators of the recent murders in Whitechapel, and I am to inform you that had the Secretary of State considered the case a proper one for the offer of a reward he would at once have offered one on behalf of the Government, but that the practice of offering rewards for the discovery of criminals was discontinued some years ago, because experience showed that such offers of reward tended to produce more harm than good, and the Secretary of State is satisfied that there is nothing in the circumstances of the present case to justify a departure from this rule. - I am, sir, your obedient servant, G. LEIGH PEMBERTON. - Mr. B. Harris, The Crown, 74, Mile End-road, E."
The inquests on the last two women who have met with their deaths at the hands of the murderer were resumed this week by Mr. Wynne Baxter, but no evidence was elicited of a nature likely to throw any light on the crime. The poor old mortuary keeper, Robert Mann, came in for some strong censure, for having touched the body before the doctor or police saw it; while the question of the great need for a central mortuary, or, at any rate, better accommodation than is provided in Old Montague-street, was well ventilated. At the inquest on Chapman, Dr. Phillips, the divisional surgeon, under protest, gave the details of the mutilation of the deceased. Of course, as might have been expected, they were almost beyond description, and needless to say they did not find their way into the papers. The proceedings were further adjourned, and it is expected that at the next meeting the terms of the verdict, which will doubtless contain allusions to the special features of these outrages, will be settled. Up to the present no further arrests have been made. The comic papers all contain references to the condition of the police under Sir Charles Warren, while three of them devote cartoons to the subject, illustrating the want of organisation there is at Scotland-yard.
There is another theory for the Whitechapel murders, which has the merit of shifting the responsibility in some measure from the shoulders of those on whom it rests for the most part. In a long letter to the Times, "S.G.O." does not rail at the police. He does not even allude to Sir Charles Warren and the military system which has been imported into the management of the metropolitan civil guardians. Strange to say, he is rather inclined to think that our moral police are more implicated in the matter. He believes - and he ought to know - that nearly half a million pounds is raised every year by the missionary societies and for the support of the Established Church. Large sums, he adds, are being collected for a Church Institute which is to be a kind of rallying-place for such movements; and yet, within cheap cab hire of this focus of Christian influence those crimes are committed which leave real savagery far behind by comparison in atrocity. There is no reason to believe that the metropolis enjoys anything like a monopoly in these matters; nay, we are quite sure it does not. And the mischief of it is that the big societies and the palatial institutes do nothing to remedy such a state of things. They are helpless - far more helpless than Sir Charles Warren and his much critisised instruments. That is the worst feature about the societies and the institutes. They are not critisised half enough. They are credited beforehand with practical wisdom as well as sound orthodoxy; and the practical wisdom is conspicuous by absence whatever may be the case with the orthodoxy. At all events this latter characteristic does not qualify them for being a moral police, or redeem them from the charge of being powerless to face such a difficulty as now occurs. They must set their house in order - not the Church House, but the whole ecclesiastical edifice - because this is a very practical age when people like to get value for their money, and some of these outspoken critics like "S.G.O." will be turning their attention from Scotland Yard to Lambeth and Fulham Palaces.
Mr. Wynne Baxter, the coroner, is losing sight, I fancy of the plain duty appertaining to the Court over which he presides, or verdicts would have been already returned in the Whitechapel cases of murder.
It is no part of the duty of a coroner's jury to detect crime. All they have to do is to ascertain the cause of death. Instead of performing this simple task Mr. Baxter would appear to have engaged himself and the juries in an attempt to discover the murderers of the unfortunate women.
The foreman of one of the juries went out of his way to blame the Home Secretary for not offering a reward. Maybe that the Home Office is awaiting the verdicts of the jury first. Let the coroner and his juries first complete the work imposed on them, and then it will be high time to critisise the shortcomings of the Home Secretary.
Perhaps the best remedy for the Whitechapel business comes from Mr. Barnett, whose lifelong work at St. Jude's has familiarised him with the practical facts of existence in the worst quarters of Whitechapel. Mr. Barnett proposes an efficient police supervision, adequate lighting and cleaning, the removal of slaughter-houses with all their brutal suggestions, and the control of tenement houses by responsible landlords, who would look after the character of their tenants and not make huge premiums out of vice. These are practical suggestions, but I do not see how they can be carried out without sanitary and police reforms which mean an overhauling of our present system.