The Eastern Post & City Chronicle
Saturday, 25 August 1888.
On Thursday afternoon the adjourned inquest on the unfortunate woman who was so cruelly murdered on the night following Bank Holiday, and whose body was discovered on the landing of a lodging house in George Yard, Whitechapel, early on the morning of Tuesday, the 7th inst., was resumed at the Working Lads' Institute, Whitechapel Road, before Mr. Geo. Collier, the deputy coroner.
We need scarcely recount the circumstance of this brutal affair, the wretched victim of whom Mr. Collier described as a fiend, was found having no less than 39 wounds on her body, bleeding to death in a dark and separated part of the building in question.
A considerable amount of mystery surrounds the whole affair, which the police have entirely failed to unravel, and the evidence they have been able to obtain has been very meagre indeed. No arrest has been made, and it would seem that as usual the "clever" detective officers have been relying upon some of the same miserable class of the wretched victim to "give them the clue."
Before the Coroner, Sergeant Green, of the H division, and Detective Reid appeared for the police.
The first witness called was Henry S. Tabrhau [Tabram], of River Terrace, Greenwich, who deposed that the deceased
Witness said he was a foreman packer in a furniture warehouse at Deptford. He had seen the body of the deceased and identified her as his wife, Martha Tabrhau. She was about 39 years of age. He had been separated from her some 13 years, chiefly in consequence of her drunken habits. He had allowed her 12s. per week for over three years, but finding she was living an immoral life he discontinued the same. He had since, however, allowed her 2s. 6p. per week, and the last time he saw anything of her was some 18 months since in the Whitechapel Road, she was then the worse for liquor.
Henry Turner Carpenter, of the Working Man's Home Commercial Street, having been sworn, deposed that he had been living with the deceased up to within the past three of four weeks. Their intimacy had been for about nine years. She was a street-hawker, and he had also for some time past been a street-hawker. They had not lived "regularly" together for more than 12 months. On the Saturday previous to Bank Holiday, he met deceased in Leadenhall Street, and she then told him she had no money to buy stock with, and was very hard up. He gave her some money for that purpose.
In answer to the coroner, witness said deceased was one of those women, that if she had money she would spend it on drink. She had very frequently stayed out late at night, but he was not a ware for what purpose.
The Coroner: Did you know any of her associates?
Witness: No, Sir.
The Coroner: Did you know that she was associating with the woman Connelly?
Witness: Certainly not, sir. Continuing, witness said they had lived very comfortably together till the deceased took to intemperate drinking.
The Coroner: Did you quarrel?
Witness: No, sir. I simply left her.
The Coroner: Oh, I see. You thought that the best.
Witness: Yes, sir.
At the request of the police officers,
The Coroner questioned the witness as to the deceased staying out all night. He said she had done so on more than one occasion, but as an excuse she told him that she had been taken to the police-station. Deceased was subject to fits when under the influence of drink. Witness had no idea where she passed the nights in question, having her statement only that she had been in a police-station.
Mrs. Mary Bousfield, of 4, Star Place, Commercial Road, was the next witness called, and said the deceased, whom she knew as "Mrs. Turner," had lived at her house up to three weeks previous to her death. She knew the previous witness, who she understood was the husband of the deceased, who was a hawker, and was not a woman of what may be termed intemperate habits, but she would at any time rather have a glass of ale than a cup of tea. In answer to the Coroner: Deceased was fond of a glass. Replying to further questions witness said deceased and Turner seemed to get on all right together, and she believed the man was kind to her and also assisted to support her two children.
The Coroner: Then she was not habitually "boozing."
Witness: No, sir. I cannot say she was a woman that got habitually drunk.
In reply to an inquiry by the police officer, witness said deceased left her house without giving notice of her intention to go.
The next witness called was Mrs. Ann Morriss, of 23, Fisher Street, Mile End, who said she was a widow and the sister-in-law of the deceased. She last saw her alive on Bank Holiday, 6th inst. Deceased was then going into the "White Swan," Whitechapel Road. She was then quite alone. It was between seven and eight o'clock in the evening. Witness did not follow deceased in because she knew that she drank very heavily. She had her suspicions that she got her living on the town. Witness had frequently obliged deceased with small sums of money. Deceased had more than once been charged by witness with annoying her. She had broken witness's windows. She knew nothing as to the cause of her death.
In answer to the coroner, witness said deceased had been charged before a magistrate more than once. Some dispute arose, and deceased seemed to feel witness had wronged her. A sentence of seven days stopped the annoyance.
Mary Ann Connelly, a big, burly-looking woman, who has figured somewhat conspicuously in the matter, having been taken to the several barracks to endeavour to identify the soldiers who are alleged to have been in company with her and the deceased on the Monday night, was the next witness called.
At the request of the police this witness was formally cautioned before giving evidence. The woman did not seem, however, a bit alarmed.
She deposed: I am an "unfortunate," and a single woman. I have been lodging in a house at Dorset Street, and knew the deceased by the name of "Emma," for about six months. I last saw her alive on the night of Bank Holiday, at about 12 o'clock, or a little after. I left her at George Yard. She was in the company of a soldier. We had met two of them that evening. One was a corporal, and the other a private. I do not know what regiment they belonged to, but they certainly had white bands round their caps. The corporal had side arms, I believe. We picked them up together, and when we parted I went away with the corporal and deceased with the private. She went up George Yard and I walked up Angel Alley. I afterwards waited some time for the deceased, but was not able to see her. I had a quarrel with the corporal, and then went away up towards Commercial Street.
In answer to the coroner, witness said she had never seen the soldiers before.
In answer to questions by the police,
Witness said she did not hear any screaming. She and the deceased had parted friendly. She first was made acquainted with the murder on Tuesday morning.
Detective Reid: Did you not threaten to drown yourself?
Witness: Yes, but I did not mean it. I had no occasion.
The Detective asked the coroner to put certain questions to the witness.
Mr. Collier: Have you been two days and two nights absent from your usual neighbourhood since the occurrence.
Witness: Yes, I have. I stayed with my cousin in Drury Lane.
Detective Reid said the witness had really stayed away when she knew quite well she was wanted.
Witness: Nothing of the kind. I did not know I was wanted at the station.
In answer to a Juryman,
Witness said both deceased and she were "a bit the worse for drink," but neither of them were intoxicated. They had been together on the night in question sometime about two hours.
Detective Reid said that was all the evidence the police had to offer. Up to the present time they had failed to discover the individual or individuals who had committed the deed.
The Coroner briefly summed up, and remarked that it were unnecessary to travel over the evidence. That the poor wretched woman had been brutally murdered there was not the shadow of a doubt. He sincerely trusted the guilty parties would be brought to justice.
The jury, who consulted for several minutes, ultimately returned a verdict of wilful murder against some persons unknown.
The husband of the deceased was recalled previous to the verdict, and said there were two children of the marriage, one of whom was 18 years of age.
|Home: Timeline - Martha Tabram|
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|Message Boards: Martha Tabram|
|Official Documents: Martha Tabram's Inquest|
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|Press Reports: Times [London] - 10 August 1888|
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|Press Reports: Weekly Herald - 17 August 1888|
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|Victims: Martha Tabram|
|Victorian London: George Yard|
|Witnesses: Mary and William Bousfield|
|Witnesses: P.C. Thomas Barrett|