East London Observer
Saturday, 22 September 1888.
The inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of Mary Ann Nichols, who was brutally murdered in Buck's-row, Whitechapel, on the 31st ult., was resumed on Monday by Mr. Wynne E. Baxter, at the Working Lads' Institute. Whitechapel-road. Further evidence having been given, the Coroner asked the jury if they would close the inquest or have it adjourned. The jury elected to have it adjourned, so as to give the police a chance to make more inquiries, the foreman intimating that in the opinion of the jury the Government should offer a substantial reward. The inquiry was accordingly adjourned.
On Wednesday the Coroner resumed his inquest respecting the death of Annie Chapman, who was found murdered in a yard in Hanbury-street, Whitechapel, on the 8th inst. Dr. Phillips, the divisional surgeon, who made the post-mortem examination, was recalled, and entered into detailed particulars as to the nature of the mutilations inflicted upon the victim. A portion of the body had been removed, and he inferred that it was to obtain possession of this that the operation had been performed. The manner in which the incision had been made indicated a certain amount of anatomical knowledge, and the witness could not himself have effected it, even if there had been no struggle, in less than a quarter of an hour. One other important piece of evidence was that of a woman who saw the deceased talking with a shabby-genteel-looking man, whom she judged to be a foreigner, at half-past five on the morning of the 8th, near the spot where the body was discovered half an hour later. - Edward Stanley, the man referred to as "the pensioner," also gave evidence as to his association with the deceased, but nothing was elicited connecting him in any way with the crime. - After the evidence, a juryman asked. -Is there any chance of a reward being offered by the Home Secretary? - The Foreman: There is already a reward of £100 offered by Mr. Samuel Montagu, M.P. There is a committee getting up subscriptions, and they expect to get about £200. The coroner has already said that the Government are not prepared to offer a reward. - A Juror: There is more dignity about a Government reward, and I think one ought to be offered. - The Foreman of the Jury: There are several ideas of rewards, and it is supposed that about £300 will be got up. It will all be done by private individuals. - The Coroner: As far as we know, the case is complete. - The Foreman of the Jury: It seems to be a case of murder against some person or persons unknown. - It was then agreed to adjourn the inquiry until next Wednesday before deciding upon the terms of the verdict.
On the Saturday night a meeting of one of the recently formed Vigilance Committees was held at the "Crown" Tavern, Mile End-road. The chair was taken by Mr. Aarons, who was supported by many of the leading inhabitants of the district. In opening the proceedings, the Chairman said the Committee had been formed for the purpose of considering what steps should taken for the detection or prevention of crime in the district, and for strengthening the hands of the police, by individual action on the part of the citizens. A comprehensive circular had been printed and sent round, calling attention to the recent outrages which had alarmed the whole of London, and he had little doubt that, in the course of a few days, the Committee would be in a position to offer a substantial reward for the apprehension and conviction of the murderer or murderers. He wished it to be distinctly understood that the Committee was in no way antagonistic to the police authorities, who were doing their best, as he believed they always did, to bring the culprits to justice. He had received many subscriptions to the fund started, and he was glad to say that a letter had just reached from Mr. Spencer Charrington, of the Brewery close by, which was as follows:--
"Anchor Brewery, Mile End, London, Sept. 15, 1888. Sir, - In reply to your letter, asking for a contribution to the reward fund for discovering the perpetrator of the late dreadful murders, I enclose you a cheque for five pounds, and remain, yours truly, SPENCER CHARRINGTON."
He had also received a similar sum from Mr. George Lusk, the builder, and he himself had subscribed a like amount, and several guineas, half-guineas, and other sums had been cheerfully paid. (Cheers). There was one important matter in connection with his canvass, which he thought, the Press should know, and that was that every one he saw, whether a donor or not, expressed a decided opinion that the Government were entirely wrong in declining to offer any reward for information leading to the conviction of an escaped murderer.
Mr. Rogers, one of the Committee, said he could quite endorse the latter remark, for, without exception, he had found every one upon whom he had called thoroughly at variance with the Home Office on the matter; and, in many instances, where he had expected to obtain £5 or £10 without demur, he found that his friends, though willing at all times to give generously to any charitable object, declined to subscribe to the present fund, on the ground that it was the imperative duty of the Home Secretary to issue notification of a reward.
After other speeches, the Chairman pointed out that the reward would be given to any person, policeman or others, who should get hold of the desired clue, and he felt sure that the successful man would be well rewarded in other quarters. In the event of the money subscribed not being utilised for the purpose in view, it had been arranged to hand it over to the funds of the London Hospital or some other charity.
At a subsequent meeting, a letter was read from the Secretary of State declining to offer a reward on behalf of the Government, and considerable irritation was expressed in consequence.
The Daily Telegraph has resumed its animadversions on the Home Secretary, Sir Chas. Warren, and the police force generally, saying: "We have had enough of Mr. Home Secretary Matthews, who knows nothing, has heard nothing, and does not intend to do anything in matters concerning which he ought to be fully informed, and prepared to act with energy and despatch. It is high time that this helpless Minister should be promoted out of the way of some more competent man." . . . It is clear that the Detective Department at Scotland-yard is in an utterly hopeless and worthless condition; that were there a capable Director of criminal investigations, the scandalous exhibition of stupidity and ineptitude revealed at the East End inquests, and the immunity enjoyed by criminals, murder after murder, would not have angered and disgusted the public feeling as it has undoubtedly done."