8 September 1888
Another ghastly murder has been committed in the Whitechapel district this morning, the circumstances of the crime being almost identical with those which horrified London last week. Although the woman has not yet been identified, there can be little doubt that she belonged to the "unfortunate" class; indeed, it is said that she was drinking at a public-house at five o'clock this morning. The murder was effected precisely the same way as that of Mary Ann Nicholls [Nichols], the throat being cut and the lower part of the body horribly mutilated. The only clue to the mystery, at present, is the knife, which this time the assassin left behind him. It is not much, but not unfrequently the instrument with which a murder has been committed has led to the unravelling of the mystery. We are less than ever disposed to put any value on the theory that these murders of unfortunate women are the work of a gang of miscreants who levy black mail. The idea always appeared to us highly improbable, for the simple reason that, were such a gang in existence, the testimony of some of those who had paid blackmail would be forthcoming. There can be little doubt, however, that the murders had one common origin. The whole four were committed in or near Whitechapel, for though Hanbury-street, the scene of the latest tragedy, is actually in Spitalfields, it is very close to the Whitechapel border. All the circumstances favour the theory that they are the work of a lunatic with homicidal tendencies. The swiftness and secresy of the murders, and the success of the perpetrator in destroying all traces of his presence, rather support the theory than tell against it, for criminal lunatics are often far more cunning than sane men. As all the murders were committed in the same locality, there can be little doubt that the murderer, whoever he is, will be found in or near Whitechapel. To the people of that district the inability of the police to unearth the assassin must cause great uneasiness. It is not possible always to have a policeman in every street. The dissatisfaction arises from the fact that the police, as they have become militarised, seem to have lost the art of detecting murders.
A WOMAN HORRIBLY MUTILATED
BODY FOUND IN BACK YARD
Another murder, of a most brutal nature, has been committed in Whitechapel. At a spot only a few hundred yards from where the mangled body of the poor woman Nicholls was found just a week ago, the body of another woman, mutilated and horribly disfigured, was found at about six o'clock this morning. She was lying in the back yard of 29, Hanbury-street, Spitalfields, a house occupied by Mrs. Richardson, a packing-case maker. As late as five o'clock this morning it is said the woman who is at present unidentified, but is supposed to have been one who frequents the streets of the neighbourhood, was drinking in a public-house near at hand called the Ten Bells. The wounds upon the poor woman, so far as is at present known, are almost identical with those found upon the body of the woman Nicholls. The throat was cut in a most horrible manner and the stomach ripped up.
A crime of even a more revolting character than that recently committed at Buck's-row, where Mary Ann Nicholls was killed in a barbarous manner, was discovered this morning in Hanbury-street, Whitechapel, not five minutes walk from the scene of the previous tragedy. As may well be imagined, the inhabitants in the district are seized with the greatest alarm, and at every street corner near the spot crowds of neighbours continue to assemble and discuss this latest edition of Whitechapel mysteries.
Hanbury-street (lately known as Brown's-lane), is a respectable thoroughfare at the back of the Whitechapel-road, and it is but a few yards from Spitalfields Working Men's Club. No. 29, Hanbury-street, is a building of about four storeys, the rooms being let to tenants of the working classes. The room in front, on the ground floor, is used as a cat's-meat shop.
From the front door is a passage about twenty feet long, leading to a small paved yard. It was in this yard that the body of a middle-aged woman, terribly mutilated, was discovered this morning, lying in a pool of blood. The sight was too shocking to describe. The poor creature was found by John Davis, a man employed in the Spitalfields Market. He is a married man, and lodges with his wife in a room at the top of the house. He went down this morning, at six o'clock, when he saw the deceased lying prostrate and lifeless in the yard.
Dr. Phillips, of Spital-square, the Divisional Surgeon of Police, was at once apprised of the case as soon as it was reported to the police by John Davis. On arriving there Dr. Phillips found that the woman's throat had been cut nearly to the vertebrae, that she was completely disemboweled, and other dreadful injuries had been inflicted. She was then removed to the mortuary. To show the barbarity with which the crime was committed, the poor creature's intestines were lying near her.
A further examination showed that the woman had a bruise on her chest - supposed to be a rather old-standing injury - as it is believed that for this injury she had been in St. Bartholomew's Hospital. She went by the nickname of "Sibby," but it is believed that her right name is Annie Chapman. Her husband, a pensioner, allowed her, it is stated, 10s. a week. Late last night she was at Vauxhall.
At half-past five o'clock this morning she was in a public-house - believed to be the Ten Bells, Church-street, where, it is alleged, she was drinking with a man. This tavern is about five minutes' walk from the scene of the crime.
Chief Inspector West, Inspector Chandler, and other officers, were promptly investigating the case. Inquiries were at once made as to the man said to have been seen with the woman drinking in a public-house, and later on
Was issued. It was as follows: - "Woman, about 45 years of age, found murdered in a yard at 29, Hanbury-street. Length of body 5ft 4in, Hair (wavy) brown; blue eyes. Two teeth deficient in the lower jaw. Rings recently taken off from hands. (This is believed to be the case, from the marks left on the woman's fingers.) Black hat, black cloth jacket, and brown linsey bodice, and skirt trimmed black, light striped petticoat, lace boots, old and dirty." On the body were found some papers in the name of a soldier of a Surrey Regiment. These papers were almost illegible.
Mary Davis, wife of the man who discovered the deceased in the yard, made the following statement this morning - "The bell was ringing for six o'clock, and that is how I know the time that my husband went downstairs. He then said to me, 'Old woman, I must now go down, for it is time I was on to my work.' He went down, but did not return, as he tells me that when he saw the deceased, and the shocking state in which she was, he at once ran off for the police. We never heard any screams, either in the night or this morning. I went down myself shortly after, and nearly fainted away at what I saw. The poor woman's throat was cut, and the inside of her body was lying beside her. Someone beside me then remarked that the murder was just like the one committed in Buck's-row. The other one could not have been such a dreadful sight as this, for the poor woman found this morning was quite ripped open. She was lying in the corner of the yard, on her back, with her legs drawn up. It was just in such a spot that no one could see from the outside, and thus, the dead creature might have been lying there for some time." The murdered woman had lodged on and off at 35 Dorset-street, Spitalfields, a common lodging-house, for the past eight or nine months. Last night she had not anything to pay for her lodging, and she stated to the deputy that she should "Go out and get some money." She did not return. Recently she was an inmate of the Whitechapel Workhouse for a brief period, occasionally making use of the casual ward when her funds would not permit of her paying for her lodging in Dorset-street.
James Wiltshire and Alfred Henry Gunthorpe, two milkmen in the employ of the Dairy Supply Company, Museum-street, Bloomsbury, were driving in separate carts through Hanbury-street early this morning. Wiltshire passed the thoroughfare at twenty minutes to six. He says, "There was no bother then, and no sign that a murder had been committed. There were people about, but I did not notice anyone in particular." Alfred Henry Gunthorpe passed through part of Hanbury-street into Brick-lane, shortly after, and he saw nothing of a suspicious character.
It is reported that two men have identified the body found in Spitalfields as that of a woman, whom they say is known as Ellen Clarke. They assert that they were drinking with her last night.
One singular circumstance in connection with the discovery is the statement of a lad, named Richardson, that at half-past five he passed through the yard, and the body was not there. This, however, can be accounted for by the fact that the body lay in a corner, and might not have been observed by the young man. The doctor, too, says that the deceased had been dead for about two hours when he was called to see her.
The police have, at present, no reliable clue to work upon, the fact that no weapon, or anything to give the slightest trace of the murderer, was near the body.
The excitement in the neighbourhood of Whitechapel this morning is intense. The discovery of this terrible crime, following as it does so rapidly upon the murders in George-yard and Buck's-row, seems to have paralysed the inhabitants with fear. All business in the vicinity of the scene of the murder, has, apparently, for the time, been stopped. The streets were, this morning, swarmed with people, who stood about in groups, and excitedly discussed the details of this morning's murder. The opinion is now firmly expressed that the murders have been committed by either the same person, or the same gang of persons. All these murders have been committed either shortly before or after midnight, and the dead bodies of the victims have been found in the morning. But the police authorities have yet been able to bring the crimes home to anyone. Such was the gist of the conversation which was carried on by the excited throng. Great anxiety is also felt for the future. While the murderer is at large they cannot feel safe. These people, however, were not content with simply discussing the subject of the murder. Every little diversion that was likely to create excitement, was eagerly sought after. Consequently, a poorly-clad woman,
In Commercial-street attracted attention, and was quickly surrounded by a large and sympathetic crowd. The poor woman was in a very distressed condition. She averred that the murdered woman was her mother. She had, she said, been to the mortuary, but the police would not allow her to see the body. A police-constable ultimately arrived and requested the woman to "move on." She refused to do so, and struggled violently. A man who was present, and who apparently was acquainted with the woman, however, lifted her on to his shoulder and carried her away. Almost at the same moment the cry of
Was raised. It was then seen that a youth - apparently about 19 years of age - was being chased along Commercial-street by a large crowd of men, boys, and women. The lad turned down a side street. A constable; however, was in the street, and captured the runaway. The prisoner was taken to the police-station, accompanied by a crowd of several hundred persons. Then
The crowd immediately surrounded the ambulance, and the police had the greatest difficulty in forcing their way through it. One woman, who ran forward and looked through a small opening in the covering of the ambulance, asserted that the woman's head was almost completely severed from her body. It was also rumoured that it was the body of another woman who had been found dead this morning, and who, it is thought, has also been the victim of a foul murder.
Excitement was once more caused in the Whitechapel-road by the appearance of a two-horse van belonging to the Great Eastern Railway Company, being rapidly driven towards the London Hospital. On the floor of the van lay the body of a man apparently dead. The body was covered over, but the face was exposed to view. A police-constable and four workmen were also in the van. The van, though driven at such a rapid rate, was followed by a crowd, which gradually increased in size while on its way to the hospital.
It is currently reported in Hanbury-street that this morning the following paragraph, written in chalk, was seen upon the wall of one of the back gardens there, and four persons distinctly stated they had actually seen the writing. The words are, "I have now done three, and intend to do nine more and give myself up, and at the same time give my reasons for doing the murders." Whether there is any truth in the matter remains to be seen.
There have been several rumours of arrests to-day, but we are assured that these reports are without any foundation.
THE ASSAILANT ARRESTED
At five minutes after eleven o'clock a most exciting incident took place. A man suddenly attacked a woman in the Spitalfields Market while she was passing through. After felling her to the ground with a blow, he began kicking her and pulled out a knife. Some women who had collected, having the terrible tragedy that brought them there still fresh in their minds, on seeing the knife, raised such piercing shrieks of "Murder!" so that they reached the enormous crowds in Hanbury-street. There was at once a rush for Commercial-street, where the markets are situate, as it was declared by some, that there was another murder, and by others that the murderer had been arrested. Seeing the immense crowd swarming around him, the man, who was the cause of the alarm, made more furious efforts to reach the woman, from whom he had been separated by some persons, who interfered on her behalf. He, however, threw these on one side, fell upon the woman, knife in hand, and inflicted various stabs on her head, cut her forehead, neck, and fingers before he was again pulled off. When he was again pulled off the woman lay motionless - the immense crowd took up the cry of "Murder," and the people who were on the streets raised cries of "Lynch him!" At this juncture the police arrived, arrested the man, and after a while had the woman conveyed on a stretcher to the police-station in Commercial-street, where she was examined by the divisional surgeon.