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East London Advertiser
Saturday, 29 December 1888.


Another mysterious crime has been committed at the East End, a woman having been found lying dead from strangulation in Clarke's-yard, High-street, Poplar. Mr. W. E. Baxter, the coroner for South-east Middlesex, held an inquest on Friday on the body, the facts elicited being as follows: Police-sergeant Robert Golding stated that on Thursday morning at a quarter-past 4 he was on duty in High-street, Poplar, in company with a constable. Whilst passing Mr. Clarke's yard he saw, some distance up the yard, the body of a woman apparently dead. She was lying on her left side with her left arm under her. The right leg was under her, and the left at full length. The body was warm. The clothes were not disarranged. The body was lying parallel with and under the wall. He left the constable in charge and went for the divisional surgeon, whose assistant came, and pronounced life extinct. The body was then removed to the mortuary. He found one shilling in silver and two pence in bronze, together with a phial which was empty. The woman was wearing a black alpaca dress. She had no hat on, and her hair was all rough, and fell over her face. Witness had examined the ground, but could not find any marks of a scuffle. The features of the woman were familiar to him, and he believed she was an unfortunate. - Thomas Dean, a blindmaker, deposed that he passed through Clarke's-yard late on Wednesday night. He did not notice the body then, and he must have done had it been there. He knew that women of ill-fame were in the habit of frequenting the spot, which was open to anyone, there being no gate. His house was right opposite the gate, but during the night he heard no noise. - Mr. Matthew Brownfield, divisional surgeon of police, deposed to making a post-mortem examination. He found the body to be that of a woman about 30 years of age, complexion fair, hazel eyes, and well nourished. Blood was oozing from the nostrils, and on the right side was a slight abrasion. On the right cheek was a scar apparently of old standing. The mark on the nose might have been caused by any slight violence. On the neck he found a mark which had evidently been caused by a cord drawn tightly round from the spine of the back of the lobe of the left ear. He had since found that the mark could be produced by a piece of four-fold lay cord. Beside the mark, the impression of the thumbs, and middle and index fingers, were plainly visible on each side of the neck. There were no injuries to the arms or legs. On opening the brain he found the vessels engorged with almost black fluid blood. The stomach was full of food, recently eaten, and there was no smell or sign of poison. The cause of death, in his opinion, was suffocation, by strangulation. There were no signs of a struggle except the mark on the cheek. In reply to the coroner, witness said he did not think the woman could have done it herself, as in that case he should have expected to find the cord round the neck, but it was not, nor had any cord been found near the spot. He ascribed the finger marks to the woman's efforts to pull off the cord. He thought the murderer must have stood at the left rear of the woman and having the ends of the string wrapped round his hands, thrown the cord round her throat and crossing his hands so strangled her. Where the hands crossed would be just where the marks and the cords were absent. The cords being tight would prevent the woman from crying out for help. Having studied the questions as to the position of the man and the force used, he thought it quite possible that the cord was run through two holes or rings and then twisted by a turn of the wrist until death ensued. - Constable Costella deposed that his beat extended the whole length of High-street, and took in the spot where the woman was found. He went on duty at 10 p.m., and between then and the time the woman was found he passed the spot six times. On none of these occasions did he see anything to arouse his suspicions. - The coroner said that the law only allowed him to call in one doctor, but the jury had power to summon a second one if they thought it necessary. It seemed very much as if a foul murder had been committed, and all the available evidence should be got before the jury concluded the case. Under those circumstances he thought it would be better to adjourn at this point and give his officer and police time to make inquiries. - This was agreed to, and the inquiry was then adjourned.

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       Press Reports: Advertiser - 10 January 1889 
       Press Reports: Daily Chronicle - 28 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily Chronicle - 29 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily News - 22 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily News - 24 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily News - 25 December 1888 
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       Press Reports: East End News - 21 December 1888 
       Press Reports: East End News - 4 January 1889 
       Press Reports: East London Observer - 12 January 1889 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 20 December 1888 
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       Press Reports: Evening News - 28 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 29 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Frederick News - 22 December 1888 
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       Press Reports: Mitchell Daily Republican - 27 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 22 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 24 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 25 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 26 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 28 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 29 December 1888 
       Press Reports: New York Herald - 22 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Newark Daily Advocate - 22 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Star - 24 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 10 January 1889 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 22 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 24 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 26 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 29 December 1888 
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