The Eastern Post & City Chronicle
Saturday, 7 March 1891.
Since the latest murder outrage in Whitechapel statements have been made in various quarters as to the bad lighting of the district. The London daily press has complained on this score, and only the other evening a question was raised in the House of Commons bearing on the bad lighting of the eastern districts of London. But Mr. Rycroft, the chairman of the Whitechapel Board of Works, states that Whitechapel is one of the best lighted districts in the East of London. However, Mr. Tarling, L.C.C., and also member of the District Board of Works, publicly stated that the reason why Whitechapel was selected as the scene of these revolting crimes was probably on account of the ill-manner in which it was lighted. Clearly there is difference of opinion here. Who is right?
VERDICT OF THE CORONER'S JURY.
On Friday afternoon, last week, at the Working Lads Institute, Mr. Wynne Baxter, coroner for East London, concluded his inquiry into the circumstances of Frances Coles's death, on the 13th inst., in Swallow-gardens. After reviewing the evidence of the witnesses, nearly fifty in number, he said the only possible motive which the evidence disclosed was supplied by the statement made by Sadler himself. That statement, although it inverted the order of some of the events, was corroborated by the witnesses, and bore the impress of truth so far as a drunken man could remember. The condition in which the man was seen after the event, with blood on his face and blood on his hands, carried with it some suspicion that he might have been engaged in the commission of a murderous attack. But the wounds which he was known to have sustained, both in the cowardly assault upon him at the dock gates and earlier in the evening, when they were seen by the watchman of the lodging-house, sufficiently disposed of that aspect of the case. The most damaging piece of evidence against Sadler was undoubtedly that of Duncan Campbell. Sadler himself denied that he ever had a knife to sell or ever sold a knife, and it was noteworthy that when searched at 3:30 in Whitechapel-road by P.C. Sharpe none was found on him. If it was Sadler who sold the knife it would be very important, as the sale took place after ten in the morning, and Sadler cashed his wages account for upward of £4 at the shipping office a quarter of an hour or so afterwards, and, therefore, most probably he would have had some other object than raising a shilling by the sale of the knife. Anyhow, it had not been proved that there were blood stains on the knife. It was for the jury to say whether his subsequent actions were those of a man guilty or innocent of the death of the woman. As soon as he reached White's-row he inquired for deceased, and when he was informed that she had not been home after she went out about midnight, he did not pursue the subject, his whole concern being to get for himself a resting place for the night. Was it likely that if a drunken man had just come from a murder that he would have gone to the place where she was best known, where she was recently seen in his company, and that he would have been artful enough to make the natural inquiry as to whether she was there, and have had sufficient command of himself not to make further inquiry and not to overdo pretended ignorance by expressing surprise, or asking for further information? Sadler was drunk, and it was, therefore, for them to consider whether he could possibly have got to Swallow-gardens in the four or five minutes unaccounted for. But he had to do more than that. He had to find the deceased, and all Sadler's movements after leaving her in White's-row excluded the probability of his having made any appointment with her, for he had been struggling to get a night's rest at the docks, and at a lodging-house close by. If Dr. Oxley's opinion was sound, Sadler at the time of the murder was physically incapable of committing the crime even if he had desired to do so. Whatever amount of anatomical skill might have been displayed in this case, the death of deceased appeared to have been carried out very similarly to those which had preceded. The deceased was in this, as in former cases, the worse for drink and of loose morals, the deed was done under such circumstances that any cry for help would have caused detection, yet nothing was heard; the murder was committed while the woman was on the ground, and in such a manner that it was unlikely that the assailant would get soiled with blood; there was no apparent motive for the crime, no appearance of any struggle, and every reason to believe that death was instantaneous.
The jury retired at ten minutes to three o'clock, and after deliberating for thirteen minutes returned an open verdict of 'Wilful murder against some person or persons unknown,' expressing the opinion that the police had done their duty in detaining Sadler.
At the Thames Police-court on Tuesday afternoon, James Thomas Sadler, 53, a marine fireman, was again brought up on remand in connection with the charge of causing the death of Frances Cole by stabbing her with some sharp instrument, on the 13th ult.
Mr. Mathews, instructed by Mr. Frayling, appeared on behalf of the Treasury; and Mr. Lawless, instructed by Messrs. Wilson and Wallace, represented the prisoner; Superintendent T. Arnold, Chief Inspector Swanson, Inspector Moore, and other officers represented the police. Outside the Court a considerable crowd congregated.
Mr. Mathews, on the prisoner being placed in the box, said: - In this case I appear for the Solicitor to the Treasury, and having had the advantage of a consultation with the learned Attorney General, who has carefully considered the evidence given in the course of the enquiry before the coroner, as well as that most able summing-up to the jury empanelled before him, and having regard to the verdict returned by that jury after a patient and exhaustive enquiry, I do not propose, upon the materials at present in our possession, to proceed further with this prosecution. If it should meet with your sanction it will have the sanction both of the learned Attorney-General and of the Treasury authorities, that no further evidence should now be put or offered against the accused.
Mr. Lawless - I need hardly say, on behalf of the prisoner, that I have no objection to that course.
Mr. Mead - Of course I acquiesce in that course being taken. (To Sadler): You are discharged.
Sadler then left the dock and went into the jailor's room, accompanied by his solicitor. He did not leave there for some time, in order to avoid any demonstration on the part of the crowd outside. Ultimately a cab was drawn up in the yard adjoining the Court, into which Sadler and his solicitor got. As the vehicle drove away the crowd cheered and ran after it. When in Charles-street Sadler put his head out of the cab window and waved his hat.
At the Thames Police-court, Thomas James Sadler, 53, a marine fireman, was on the 3rd inst. again brought up on remand charged with causing the death of Frances Cole in Swallow-gardens on the 13th ult. Mr. Mathews (instructed by Mr. Frayling) appeared on behalf of the Treasury; and Mr. Lawless (instructed by Messrs. Wilson and Wallis) represented the prisoner. Outside the court a considerable crowd congregated. Mr. Mathews, on the prisoner being placed in the box, said: In this case, appearing for the Solicitor to the Treasury, and having had the advantage of a consultation with the learned Attorney-General, who has carefully considered the evidence given in the course of the inquiry before the coroner, as well as the most able summing-up to the jury empanelled, before him, and having regard to the verdict returned by the jury after a patient and exhaustive inquiry, I do not propose upon the materials at present in our possession to proceed further with this prosecution, and, sir, if it should meet with your approval, it will have the sanction both of the learned Attorney-General and of the Treasury authorities, that no further evidence should now be offered against the accused. Mr. Lawless: I need hardly say, on behalf of the prisoner, that I have no objection to that course. Mr. Mead: Of course, I acquiesce in that course being taken. (To Sadler): You are discharged. Sadler then left the dock and went into the gaoler's room, accompanied by his solicitor. He did not leave the buildings, however, for some time, in order to avoid any demonstration on the part of the crowd outside. Ultimately Sadler and his solicitor drove away in a cab. The crowd cheered and followed.