10 September 1888
It is absurd to lay down the proposition that a Police Commissioner is unable to cope with assassins if he suppresses a street riot. The fact is, that the great majority of our policemen are not detectives and never can be. Some of them in the exercise of their ordinary duty show remarkable sagacity as well as courage, and where a man of this kind makes himself serviceable should be promoted to the higher form of police service. It is impossible to have police patrols in every street, it is equally impossible to hunt down a cunning criminal like the Whitechapel miscreant by means of Vigilance Committees, unless, indeed, the Vigilance Committees were numerous enough, and sufficiently reckless of legality in their mode of action to suppress prostitution altogether. When we come to think of the circumstances of the Whitechapel murders, we at once see how favourable the circumstances are to the criminal. The murderer and his victim seek out solitude; they shun observation, and the victims selected are just of that wretched class of precarious women who are found wandering about the streets because they have not enough money to pay for a bed in a common lodging-house. No ordinary policeman, except by some fortuitous accident, and certainly no Vigilance Committee, are likely to detect a criminal who makes use of such advantages, and whose first swift stroke makes a cry impossible in the very act of murder. Where our police system is defective is on the detective side. The restless activity, the sleuth-hound persistence, the almost unerring instinct which used to characterise the detectives of thirty of forty years ago seem to have disappeared. The administration of Mr. Howard Vincent at Scotland-yard was by no means a success, and his successors have not done better. We incline to think that the reason of the deterioration of our detectives will be found in bureaucratic management. The Forresters seldom failed to hunt down their men, but they had a large amount of free action.
The Detective Department at Scotland-yard needs instant revision, now that the political part of its work has been removed to the Home Office. Provision should be made for the employment of men of a superior class to that which will consent to pass through the ranks of the force, and a number of foreign agents capable of making themselves acquainted with the inner life of Polish, Russian, and German Jew element in the metropolis should be engaged. At present the force is in an unsatisfactory condition.
THE LAST TERRIBLE MURDER
THE VICTIM - HER LIFE AND HABITS
IS THE MURDERER A MANIAC?
NIGHT SCENES OF VIOLENCE
POLICE MAKING ARRESTS
MYSTERIOUS VISITOR AT THE "CLEAN HOUSE."
The excitement at Whitechapel and Spitalfields over the last of the terrible series of crimes has by no means abated. Deep mystery still envelopes the murders. The execration of the foul deeds which have now stirred the not easily moved East-enders is at its height. There is a general and loud demand for police action. The mystery surrounding the crime serves, of course, to aggravate the interest.
is a question to which is attached a terrible importance. "For all we can tell," said an agitated woman in the crowd yesterday assembled before the house at which the body had been found, "the murderer may be one of the mob listening to the speechifying about it." It was anything but improbable. That the assassin should have been there would have been quite in keeping with the cool audacity which must of necessity be characteristic of the man who, in all probability, has perpetrated all four of the murders which have so shocked this locality.
It seems to be pretty conclusively established that the victim in this case is Annie Chapman, the widow of a veterinary surgeon who died about a year and a half ago at Windsor. She had long been separated from her husband, who appears to have allowed her 10s. a week while he lived; and she has been known for the past six years among the lodging-houses of the neighbourhood in which she met her death. She appears to have maintained herself to some extent by making antimacassars or selling articles in the street, but there is little room for doubt that her earnings in this way were eked out by less creditable courses. She cohabited, it is said, for a time with a sieve-maker, commonly known as Jack Sivvy, and the name appearing in the summonses for the inquest is "Annie Siffey."
Those who know her best spoke of her as a quiet, inoffensive creature, not given to drink, and earning her living respectably in so far as she could. She had relatives, and a friend who had lodged with her, and had been in the habit of writing her letters for her, says that last week she expressed her intention to go hop-picking if she could get her sister to provide her with a pair of boots. She had, it is said, a sister and a mother, and also two children - a daughter travelling with a circus company in France, and a crippled boy about four years of age at some sort of Charity school near Windsor. Judging by the appearance of the woman, as she lay in the mortuary on Saturday, she must have been about five and forty years of age. She was a little over five foot in height, well and strongly built, with dark hair, with features somewhat plain and unprepossessing, her nose being especially flat and broad. For some months past she has been in the habit of frequenting a lodging-house in Dorset-street, Spitalfields, an extremely low and turbulent spot, just in front of Spitalfields Church, on the opposite side of Commercial-street.
The deputy in the lodging-house, No. 35, states that she had been there for the past four months, and, on Saturday evenings usually came with a pensioner or a soldier. The man generally left on Monday and Chapman would stay in the place for the early part of the week, paying 8d. a night. Last Monday night the two left together, and she was not seen again till about half-past eleven last Friday night, when she reappeared, and in answer to enquiries said she had been in the infirmary. This was probably the truth, as the deputy of the lodging-house had during her absence found letters which showed she had been under treatment at St. Bartholomew's Hospital.
She had probably come out of the infirmary with little or nothing in her pocket, and after putting in an appearance at the lodging-house, passed out into the street till just before two on the fatal Saturday morning, when she returned eating baked potatoes, and, according to the deputy, somewhat the worse for drink. This, a Daily News reporter had some reason to believe, was a mistake on his part. The woman probably was quite sober, and wanted a bed. She passed downstairs into the kitchen, and a demand was made for payment for a bed. "I haven't got enough," she replied, and turning to go out into the street, "Keep my bed for me," said the poor creature, "I shan't be long: I won't be long, Brummy," she added to the watchman as she passed out; "See that Jim keeps my doss for me." That was just before two o'clock last Saturday morning. About a quarter before six she was found in a dirty little yard up in a muddy corner beneath some broken palings, her head nearly severed from her body, and her person mutilated in a manner too horrible for description.
How came she there, and who was her assassin? These are the questions that are now being discussed over the East of London with a degree of excitement and agitation quite distressing in its intensity, and with effects in themselves not a little serious and alarming. There can be little reasonable doubt that the unfortunate woman went out into the streets to obtain the price of her bed; that she went in the ordinary way of her outcast sisterhood into this little back yard, as it is likely enough her wont had been, and there, in the grey dawn, under the back windows of the houses crowded with people, she suddenly found herself in the clutches of a homicidal maniac. Before she had time to utter so much as a cry or make one resisting movement, her throat was cut.
She was treated, in fact, precisely as poor Nicholls had been in a neighbouring street within a few days. So far as can be made out, there is really no reason whatever to suppose that the murder was committed elsewhere and the victim carried here, or that any "gang" were concerned in it. In all human probability the one hundred and fifty police who, it is asserted, have been drafted down into this neighbourhood for special duty in connection with this shocking affair have to pit their wits against the ferocious cunning of a monomaniac, who in all ordinary respects is, it may be, perfectly sane and seemingly quiet and inoffensive. The marvellous astuteness and deep cunning of certain phases of madness are (remarks the Daily News), of course, perfectly familiar to doctors, and the very fact of the person's being taken by lunacy out of the range of the motives, the fears, and the agitations which would beset a sane mind, if we can conceive a sane mind planning and executing such a scheme, would no doubt tend to give the calm audacity which has hitherto baffled all attempts to solve these frightful riddles.
Hanbury-street is a narrow thoroughfare, having Commercial-street at the western end and Baker's-row, Whitechapel, at the eastern extremity. It bisects Brick-lane, which runs between Bethnal-green-road and Whitechapel-road. The District Railway line, which has its terminus at Mile-end, opposite the London Hospital, is situated to the eastwards, and it divides Buck's-row from Hanbury-street, which was lately called Brown-lane. This neighbourhood is described as a very rough one, and respectable people are accustomed to avoid it. It is inhabited by dock labourers, market porters, the tenants of common lodging-houses, and a certain number of cabinet-makers, who supply the furniture establishments of Curtain-road. Leather aprons and knives are, therefore, by no means uncommonly to be seen in the district. In these squalid parts of the Metropolis aggravated assaults, attended by flesh wounds from knives are frequently met with, and men and women become accustomed to scenes of violence. The people do not appear, however, to interfere with each other's affairs, unless provoked. Late at night there are many scenes of degradation and immorality, and with these the man now sought by the police was evidently familiar. It is this information which enabled him to commit murder unperceived and to escape without detection.
The houses in Hanbury-street are seldom more than two or three storeys in height, No. 29 has two rooms on the ground floor, with a cellar below. Above there are two floors, the front rooms each having two windows, and there is an attic, with one large window, of a character to indicate that the house was originally occupied by silk weavers. The window of the ground-floor room in the front has a pair of green shutters, and the apartment is used as a cat's-meat shop. On the right of this shop there is a narrow door opening into a passage about 3ft. wide and 20ft. long, leading down two stone steps into a yard at the back. The flooring of this passage is bare and rough; the doors, at each end, have no locks; and there is nothing to prevent anyone knowing the ways of the place to walk from the street into the yard.
The yard is of small dimensions, about 15ft. square. It contains a shed, in which packing cases are made, and is separated from the adjoining properties by fences about five feet high. No outlet exists at the rear whatever, and the theory has been formed that the murderer and his victim entered the yard by the ordinary process, and that the way of escape led in the same direction. Not a sound was heard to fix any time when either event could have occurred. On Saturday the sun rose at twenty-three minutes past five; for half an hour previously the light would be such as to render it difficult for anyone to distinguish even near objects.
At a quarter before five o'clock John Richardson, of 2, St. John-street, son of the landlady of 29, Hanbury-street, the proprietor of a packing-case business, as usual went to his mother's to see if everything was right in the back yard. A short while before there had been a burglary in this place. Richardson sat down on the steps to cut a piece of leather from his boot. The door would then partially hide the corner between the house and the fence. The man is quite clear that he saw nothing to attract his attention before he left. About twenty-five minutes past five Albert Cadosch, living at No. 31, the next house on the left hand side, entered the yard adjoining that of No. 29. He states that he heard some talking on the other side of the palings, and he distinguished the word "No." There was then, he fancied, a slight scuffle, with the noise of something falling, but he took no notice, thinking that it was from his neighbours.
Half an hour later, at six o'clock, one of the lodgers at No. 29, John Davis, before going to his work, walked along the passage into the yard. He was horrified to discover near to the steps, close to the fence, the recumbent body of the woman Chapman, covered with blood, the head towards the wall, and the knees drawn up, with the clothing disarranged. Her throat had been cut, and there were frightful gashes and hideous mutilations of the body. At once Davis ran to the Commercial-street Police-station, giving the alarm on his way to some men who were waiting to begin work.
Fifteen persons sleep in the house behind which the discovery was made, and most of them saw the dreadful sight. It is the opinion of Mrs. Richardson that the deceased had not moved an inch after she was struck, but had died instantly. The blood had flowed to the doorstep, and the witness believes that the murderer must have gone away with blood marks on his clothing. A pan of water stood in the yard, but it had not been used. All that appears to have been done by the miscreant was first to silence the woman by cutting her throat, almost from ear to ear, and then, with a large and keen weapon, to rip the body from groin to breastbone; throwing the organs thus exposed under one arm. It is the divisional surgeon's opinion, as communicated to his chiefs, that death had taken place some two or three hours prior to the first examination of the corpse, shortly after its discovery. If that view of the medical aspect of the case be correctly stated, the time of the murder must have been earlier than four in the morning, which seems difficult to reconcile with the statements of other witnesses.
The excitement has, as we say, been intense. The terror is extreme. The house and the mortuary were besieged by people, and it is said that during part of Saturday people flocked in in great numbers to see the blood-stained spot in the yard, paying a penny each. In the Whitechapel-road, "Lines on the Terrible Tragedy" were being sold, and men with the verses round their hats, were singing them to the tune of "My Village Home." A wretched wax-work show had some horrible picture out in front, and people were paying their pence to see representations of the murdered woman within. The result of all this sort of thing working up the excitement natural to the shocking tragedy is startlingly illustrated by the experience of the divisional surgeon of police. Mr. Phillips says that he and his assistant were out of their beds nearly all Saturday night in attendance on cases of assault, some of them of the most serious character, arising directly or indirectly out of the intense excitement occasioned by the discussion of this affair. Unless Mr. Phillips' experience is different from that of other medical men in the locality, this certainly shows that even so dreadful a murder as that which has just taken place is only a part of the mischief such an occurrence originates.
In the course of Saturday night and yesterday morning the police arrested two men on suspicion of being concerned in the crime. One was found by an officer in Buck's-row shortly after one o'clock on Sunday morning. He appeared to be hiding in the street, and when accosted by the officer, rushed off at great speed. An alarm was raised, and, after a sharp race, the man was arrested. He was a villainous-looking fellow, with long hair and shaggy beard, dressed only in a pair of ragged blue serge trousers and an old dirty shirt. He resisted his captors, but was eventually secured, and conveyed to Bethnal-green Police-station. No weapon was found upon him. He gave an account of himself, upon which enquiries were set on foot, which resulted in the man being released from custody. The second arrest was effected in Gloucester-street, where a man, aged about forty, having the look of a seafarer, was arrested. It was obvious, however, from the replies that he gave, and his general appearance, that he was not the man sought for, and after he had spent some time in Commercial-street Station, he was also set at liberty.
A man was arrested at Deptford yesterday afternoon, on suspicion of being the murderer, and Inspector Chandler went down to see him. He has not yet been brought up to Commercial-road Police-station. It is understood, however, that not much importance is attached to this arrest. Inspectors Abberline and Helson, indeed, stated, at a late hour last evening, that they were not in possession of any clue likely to lead to a definite result. They and several detective officers had been engaged in following up every point which might lead to information, but without a satisfactory result.
SIR,- As usual, Drink seems to be intimately associated with these crimes, as with a great many more of a similar character, and yet Parliament legalises the trade, Magistrates grant licences, some medical men recommend the dangerous stuff, hundreds - aye thousands - hourly drink it, and to excess; ministers of religion sanction its use at the sacramental table, parents send their young children to the public-houses and gin palaces to purchase it, with results too awful to contemplate. How much longer is this to go on? "Remove the cause, and the effect will cease!" Fortunately, The Echo is a valuable help to this end. -Yours faithfully, REFORMER.
THE EAST-END TRAGEDY.
THE HUNT FOR "LEATHER APRON."
ARREST AT GRAVESEND.
STATEMENTS BY THE PRISONER.
IS HE "LEATHER APRON."
A correspondent telegraphs this morning that a man has been arrested at Gravesend in connection with the murder. Between eight and nine o'clock last night, Supdt. Berry, of Gravesend, had a communication made to him that there was a suspicious looking individual at the Pope's Head public-house, West-street, and at once dispatched a sergeant to the house, and the man was arrested and taken to the police-station.
It was noticed that one of his hands was bad, and on examining it, the superintendent said it had evidently been bitten. When asked how he accounted for his hand being in this condition, the man said he was going down Brick-lane, Whitechapel, at half-past four o'clock on Saturday morning last, when a woman fell down in a fit. He stopped to pick her up, when she bit him. He then hit her, and, as two policemen came up, he ran away.
Having examined the man's clothing very carefully, Dr. Whitcombe, the police surgeon, was sent for, and the doctor discovered blood-spots on two shirts which the man was carrying in a bundle. The doctor also expressed an opinion that blood had been wiped from off his boots. After being cautioned, the man is alleged to have stated that the woman who bit him was at the back of a lodging-house at the time. He also said that on Thursday night he slept at a lodging-house in Osborne-street, Whitechapel, but that on Friday, he was walking about Whitechapel all night, and that he came from London to Gravesend by road yesterday. This morning he states that his name is William Henry Piggott, and that he is 52 years of age. He further said that some years ago he lived at Gravesend with his father having at one time held a position there connected with a friendly society. The man appears to be in a very nervous state. Detective-sergeant Abberline late in the morning arrived at Gravesend from Scotland-yard, and conveyed the man to London.
The statement made by the man Piggott, who has been arrested at Gravesend on suspicion of being the Whitechapel murderer, is considered to be of such a character as to warrant Detective-sergeant Abberline conveying the man to London; and it has not yet transpired whether either of the arrests is likely to lead to the identification of the culprit. The Press Association has been informed that in more than one case a brief investigation has proved that the persons suspected could have no connection with the outrage, and have accordingly immediately been released.
Piggott, who was detained at Gravesend in connection with the Whitechapel murders, was brought to London Bridge by the 10.18 train in charge of Detective Abberline who was met at the station by Detective Stacey, from Scotland-yard. The prisoner was not handcuffed, and was smoking a clay pipe and carrying a white cloth bundle. He passed quickly out of the station, no one among the public apparently noticing him, and was driven in a four-wheel cab to the Police-station in Commercial-street. He has not yet been charged.
ANSWERS "LEATHER APRON'S" DESCRIPTION.
The man arrested at Gravesend arrived at Commercial-street Police Station at 12.48 in custody of Detective-Inspector Abberline, and is now detained pending the arrival of witnesses who have been sent for to identify him. He answers to the description of "Leather Apron," and when taken into custody was without a vest. His clothes are, as we say, spotted in several places with blood, and his hands are cut in several places. He has black hair. He is apparently just recovering from a severe attack of delirium tremens. Great excitement was manifested in the neighbourhood when his advent became known, and a considerable crowd gathered in the vicinity of the police-station awaiting the result of the investigation. The police believe they have secured the right man. If the evidence is satisfactory, the prisoner will be brought up at Worship-street to-day.
On being examined by the police at Commercial-street Station, Piggott was found to be bespattered with blood from head to foot, even his boots bearing marks of a sanguinary struggle. In his pockets were found a few pence and a piece of lead pencil. He sits in the cell in a state of deep lethargy, taking apparently no notice of anything. His whole demeanour betokens a recent bout of excessive drinking.
He adheres to his original story about having been bitten by a woman in a fit and having thus sustained an injury to his hand. Piggott, who is about 5ft. 6in. in height, is respectably dressed in grey trousers, black morning coat, and a black bowler hat. His clothes, however, show signs of having been exposed to the weather, and have evidently not been brushed recently. The prisoner has a florid complexion, and wears an iron-greybeard, cut in the style generally worn by Americans.
There is, as we have stated, a wax-work show, to which admission can be obtained for one penny, in the Whitechapel-road, near the Working Lads' Institute. During the past few days a highly-coloured representation of the George-yard and Buck's-row murders - painted on canvas - have been hung in front of the building in addition to which there were placards notifying that life-size wax models of the murdered woman could be seen within. These pictures have caused large crowds to assemble on the pavement in front of the shop. This morning, however, another picture was added to the rest. It was a representation of the murder in Hanbury-street. The prominent feature of the pictures was they were plentifully besmeared with red paint; this, of course, representing wounds and blood. Notices were also posted up that a life-size wax-work figure of "Annie Sivens" could be seen within. After the inquest at the Working Lads' Institute had been adjourned, a large crowd assembled outside the "show." Much indignation was expressed at the exhibition of these revolting pictures. The result was that some of the crowd seized them and tore them down.
and order was only restored by the appearance of an inspector of police and two constables. A man attired in workman's clothes, and who appeared to be somewhat the worse for drink, then addressed the crowd. He said, "I suppose you are all English men and women here - (cries of 'Yes, yes') - then do you think it right that that picture (continued the orator, pointing to the one representing the murder in Hanbury-street) should be exhibited in the public streets before the poor woman's body is hardly cold."
Cries of "No, no; we do not," greeted this remark, and another scene of excitement followed. The crowd however was quickly dispelled by the police before the showman's property was further damaged.
The Press Association says:- About nine o'clock this morning, a detective arrested a man believed to be "Leather Apron," who is wanted in connection with the Whitechapel murder, at 22, Mulberry-street, Commercial-street.
The real name of the man arrested is John Piser, but his friends deny that he has ever been known under the nickname of "Leather Apron." When the detective called at the house, the door was opened by Piser himself. "Just the man I want," said the detective, who charged him on suspicion with being connected with the murder of the woman "Sivey." The detective searched the house, and took away some finishing tools, which Piser is in the habit of using in his work. By trade he is a boot-finisher, and for some time has been living at Mulberry-street with his step-mother (Mrs. Piser) and a married brother, who works as a cabinet maker. When he was arrested by the detective this morning his brother was at work, and the only inmates of the house were the prisoner's stepmother, his sister-in-law, and a Mr. Nathan, for whom he has worked.
His mother and his sister-in-law declared positively to a representative of the Press Association that Piser came home at half-past ten on Thursday night, and has not left the house since. They state that Piser is unable to do much work on account of his ill-health, and that he is by no means a strong person, as, some time ago, he was seriously injured in a vital part. About six weeks ago he left a convalescent home, of which he had been an inmate on account of a carbuncle on his neck. He is about 35 years of age, and since he was three years old has been brought up by Mrs. Piser. He lost his father some sixteen years ago.
At the Leman-street Police-station, to which Piser was taken, a large force of police were kept in readiness with drawn staves. Only a few people amongst the crowd seemed aware that an arrest had been made, and so quietly did the police act in Mulberry-street that few even in the neighbourhood connected the arrest with the murder. The police at Leman-street refuse to give any information, and some officials who had come from Scotland-yard, denied that such an arrest had been made, but this statement was, of course, incorrect, seeing that the arrest is admitted by the prisoner's relatives. The prisoner is a Jew.
The prisoner is not "Leather Apron." So, so it would appear from later information. It is said that Piser has been able to satisfy the authorities of his innocence of all association with the crime. He was then, of course, discharged. For the moment the chief interest centres in the Gravesend arrest.
The Officers of the Criminal Investigation Department were this morning engaged in making every possible endeavour to trace out the man known as "Leather Apron." Special search was made on Saturday night at all the low common lodging-houses in the Metropolis, whilst officers kept a good look-out for him not only in the neighbourhood of Whitechapel, but also around St. Luke's, Holborn, and King's-cross, in which districts he is said to be well known to a number of disorderly women. On Saturday night the police at Holloway received information that a man resembling the published description of "Leather Apron" entered a house in Eltham-road, Holloway, and that when a conversation ensued, with the people with regard to the murder at Whitechapel, he hurriedly left the house. The police of Limehouse, on Saturday, also received information that "Leather Apron" entered a coffee-house in Colt-street, and that when he heard reference to the murder he again hurriedly left the house without being served with what he required.
The excitement in Whitechapel on its becoming known that a man alleged to be "Leather Apron" had been arrested was intense. The police-station was surrounded by a numerous crowd, and all over the neighbourhood the one topic of conversation was that "Leather Apron" was caught. The police, however, refuse to give any details about the matter. The man, apparently, has not yet been definitely charged with any offence, but is detained on suspicion. Detective Thicke, who arrested Piser (the alleged "Leather Apron"), in company with another police-officer, visited the house, 22, Mulberry-street, where the prisoner was found, after he had been removed to the station. They proceeded to closely question the man's relatives and friends in the house as to his antecedents and whereabouts during the last few weeks.
A representative of the Press Association interviewed several residents of Mulberry-street, which is a narrow thoroughfare off Commercial-street East. They all gave the man who had been arrested a good character and speak of him as being a harmless sort of person. A young woman residing next door said she had known Piser as a next-door neighbour for many years, and had never of his bearing the name of "Leather Apron." He had always seemed a quiet man, and unlikely to do any such a crime as that of which the police suspect him. She says she heard him about the yard a day or two back, but had not seen him in the street the last few days.
There is no truth in the statement that knives were found in the prisoner's possession. The Exchange Telegraph reporter says that it is expected that he will be confronted with one or two women who will be examined as to his identity. There is, however, a report current that he has been released, but of this we have received no confirmation.
"We would lynch the villain." This, with similar remarks, passed from group to group of excited persons as they gathered together this morning in the streets, discussing the latest particulars - rumour and fact - with reference to the murder or "Dark Annie," for the poor creature killed at No. 29, Hanbury-street, was generally known by this name. The excitement was intensified by the report that another murder had actually been committed - a later atrocity than that of Saturday morning. Upon enquiries of the police, however, it was found that no additional crime had been perpetrated.
Several persons have at different points of the Metropolis, been questioned and temporarily detained, as it was thought their description tallied with that of the man last seen with the deceased.
To-day many person are again visiting the locality of the crime. There are still traces of blood in the corner of the yard where the deceased woman was found. Mrs. Richardson, who superintends a packing-case business carried on at the back of the premises, says that, strangely enough her grandson, Charles Cooksey, was to have slept in the back room on Friday night; but he told her he did not like to, remarking, "I shan't sleep in there to-night, granny." That room, on the ground-floor, within six feet of where Annie Chapman's body lay, was unoccupied. "Had my grandson slept there," said Mrs. Richardson, "he must have heard the miscreant kill the poor woman."
Whitechapel literally swarms with policemen and detectives to-day. Some of them brought in a powerful man to Leman-street soon after twelve o'clock. A large crowd followed, and it was rumoured that his arrest had something to do with the recent tragedies. As to this the police were quite reticent, and, all that could be ascertained was that the man was apparently in drink, and strongly resisted his retention by the police.
Reports are constantly arriving at headquarters of men whose description resemble that of the murderer being arrested. At noon no fewer than seven persons were in custody in different parts of the East-end on suspicion. The police at the various centres have, however, received strict instructions from Scotland-yard not to communicate details to the Press.
The Coroner's inquiry as to the death of the deceased was opened this morning at the Working Lads' Institute, Whitechapel-road by Mr. Wynne E. Baxter.
Inspector Chandler and Inspector Helson watched the case for the police.
There was a large attendance of the general public in Court and in the precincts of the Institute, and the approaches thereto were guarded by a large number of constables. The latest newspaper accounts of the murder were eagerly scanned by those in waiting, who thus passed the interval of time between the opening of the Court and the Coroner's arrival. There are everywhere visible signs of the profound impression made by the crime, which equals in its fiendish brutality the one committed a week ago, and the investigation into which now stands adjourned until Monday next.
Mr. Collier, Deputy-Coroner, now accompanied Mr. Wynne Baxter. The Jury having been formally sworn in, went to view the body at the mortuary.
John Davis, 29, Hanbury-street, said he was a carman at Leadenhall Market. He occupied one room there at the top of the house in the front. His wife and three sons lived in the same room. Witness went to bed at eight o'clock on Friday night. One of his sons came in at about a quarter to eleven; the others came in at different times. Witness was awake from about three o'clock until five o'clock. Then he dropped off to sleep till a quarter to six, when he heard the bell of Spitalfields Church. He went down to the back-yard at six o'clock. The front door, which led to the yard, was not locked; nor was the yard door.
Is neither of them locked at night?
Witness said he had never seen them locked. Sometimes the front door was open all night. When witness went into the yard on Saturday morning the back yard door was shut. He could not say if it was latched. The front door was wide open. He was not surprised at that, as he often saw both doors open. There was a fence about five feet high between the yard of 29, Hanbury-street and the house next door. On going down the steps witness saw the deceased lying flat, between the steps and the fence. She was lying on her back with her head towards the house. Her clothes were disarranged. I did not go into the yard, but at once proceeded to the front of the door and called two men who worked for Mr. Bailey, three doors from 29, Hanbury-street. The men came into the passage. They saw the woman but did not go into the yard. I do not know the men's names, but know them by sight. I have not seen them since. The two men then went to fetch the police. I left the house with them.
The Coroner asked if these men were known to the police.
Inspector Chandler said they were not.
The Coroner expressed his surprise at this.
Witness - I had to go to my work myself.
The Coroner (emphatically) - Your work is of no importance compared with this enquiry.
To Inspector Chandler - We must find these men out, either with the assistance of the police or with the assistance of my officer.
Witness - The men did not wish to be seen in the job.
The Coroner - If they have not been seen and identified yet they must be.
Witness - I went to Commercial-street Police-station to report the case. I did not
inform anyone in the house what I had discovered. I afterwards returned to Hanbury-street, but did not go into the house again.
The Coroner - Have you ever seen the deceased before?
Witness - No, sir.
Witness continuing said, I was not the first down that morning. There was a man named Thompson, who lives in the house, who was called at half-past three.
In answer to further questions witness said I have never seen women who did not belong to the house in the passage myself as I have only lived in the house a fortnight. I did not hear any noise on Saturday morning. I returned to the house again on Saturday afternoon.
was next called. She said I live at a common lodging-house at 30, Dorset-street, Spitalfields. I have lived there for four years. My husband is a dock labourer, and I earn my living by working for Jews. I go out charing for them. My husband has also been a soldier.
The Coroner - Did you know the deceased?
Witness - Yes, sir, well. I have known her quite five years. I have seen the body of the deceased at the Mortuary, and I am quite sure it is the body of Annie Chapman. She was the widow of Frederick Chapman, who lived in Windsor. He was a veterinary surgeon. He died about eighteen months ago. The deceased had lived apart from him for four years or more. The deceased lived in various places, but principally in common lodging-houses in the neighbourhood of Spitalfields. She lived at 30, Dorset-street, about two years ago. She then lived with a man who made iron sieves. At that time she was receiving 10s. a week from her husband. That payment stopped about eighteen months ago, and she then found out that her husband had died. She ascertained that fact from a brother or sister of her husband, who lived in Oxford-street, Whitechapel. The deceased was nicknamed "Mrs. Sivey" because who lived with a man who made sieves. I do not know the sieve-maker's name, but I know him well by sight. I saw him last about eighteen months ago in the City. He then told me he had left the deceased, and was then living in the neighbourhood of Notting-hill. Since that time the deceased has been living in the neighbourhood of Spitalfields. I saw the deceased two or three times last week. I saw her on Monday last. She was standing in the road, opposite 35, Dorset-street, a lodging-house where she had been staying. She then had no bonnet or jacket on, and complained of feeling ill.
I noticed that there was a bruise on the right side of her forehead. I asked her how she got the black eye. She said, "Yes, look at my chest." She opened her dress, and showed me a bruise on her chest. She said, "You know the woman," and mentioned some name, which I do not remember. I know the woman by sight. It is a woman who goes out selling books. Both this woman and the deceased were acquainted with a man named "Harry the Hawker." The deceased told me that on Saturday, Sept. 1st, she was with a man named Ted Stanley - a very respectable man - she was in a beer shop with him at 87, Commercial-street, which is at the corner of Dorset-street. "Harry the Hawker" was also there. He was under the influence of drink. He put down a two shilling piece to pay for some beer. The woman - one who sells books - picked it up and put down a penny. The same evening the book-selling woman met the deceased and struck her in the face and breast. That, said witness, accounted for the bruises. On the Tuesday I saw her again. I met her near Spitalfields Church. That was some time in the afternoon. She said she felt no better. She should go to the casual ward, and stay there a few days. She would then pull herself round.
Witness, continuing, said - I said to her, "You look very pale; have you had anything to eat?" She said "I have not had a cup of tea to-day." I then gave her twopence, and told her to go and get a cup of tea. I told her not to spend it in rum, as I knew she was partial to rum. I have often seen her the worse for drink. She used to earn a living by doing crochet work and selling flowers in the street.
In answer to the Coroner, witness said she was afraid the deceased was not particular how she got her living. She was often out late at night. On Fridays the deceased used to go to Stratford to sell anything she had to sell.
Witness, continuing, said - I saw the deceased again on Friday afternoon last. I met her in Dorset-street. That was about five o'clock. She appeared to be perfectly sober. I said, "Are you not going to Stratford to-day?" She said, "I have been too ill to do anything." I left her immediately afterwards. I returned about ten minutes afterwards, and found her standing in the same place. She then said, "It is no use my giving way. I must pull myself together and get some money, or I shall have no lodgings." That is the last time I spoke to the deceased.
By the Coroner - When I saw her on the Friday the deceased told me that she had been in a casual ward. The deceased was a straightforward and industrious woman when she was sober. I have however, often seen her the worse for drink, although I do not think she could take much. She has been living an irregular life during the last five years. Since she left her husband she has had no fixed home, and seemed to have given way altogether. She has a sister and mother, but I don't think they were on friendly terms.
( At this point of the proceedings Inspector Abberline entered the room, and it was rumoured that the murderer had been arrested.)
Timothy Donovan said: - I live at 35, Dorset-street, Spitalfields. I am the deputy of the common lodging-house there. I have seen the body, and identify it as that of a woman who lodged at 35, Dorset-street. She has lodged there during the last four months. She was not there, however, any day last week until two o'clock on Friday afternoon. She then asked me (added the witness) to allow her to go down into the kitchen. I allowed her to go down. I asked her where she had been all the week, and she said in the Infirmary. She went out again about 1.45 or 1.50 a.m. the next morning. There was a vacant bed, the one she usually occupied. When she went out she said to me,
now, but don't let the bed. I will be back soon." She had been drinking at the time. I did not see her again alive.
By the Coroner- Witness did not see the deceased with a man that night. She used sometimes to come to the lodging-house, and stay with a man whose name I don't know. He was said to be a pensioner, and had a soldier-like appearance. She had come at other times, with other men; but I have refused her admission. The pensioner told me not to let her go in with any other man. The deceased did not return with a man on Friday night. The deceased usually occupied a bedroom by herself, for which she paid eightpence a night.
with her yesterday week. He was a man of about forty-five years of age, about 5ft, 6in. or 5 ft. 8 in. in height. Sometimes he was dressed like a dock labourer, and sometimes would have a gentlemanly appearance. He had rather a dark complexion. The deceased usually met him at the top of the street. The deceased was on very good terms with the other lodgers, and I never had any trouble with her.
John Evans, of 30, Dorset-street, described himself as a night watchman. "30, Dorset-street, is a lodging-house." "Have seen the body?" "Yes." "Do you recognise her?" "Yes," said he; "she used to live at our lodging-house. She was there last on Saturday morning, leaving the house at about a quarter to two. I went to her and asked her if she had money enough for the lodging." "No, not sufficient," she said, "but," she added, speaking this time to the deputy, "I shan't be long before I get it." I watched her (said witness) go into a court called Paternoster row, and walk into Brushfield-street. She then turned towards Spitalfields Church.
inquired the Coroner. -"Yes," said the witness. -"Badly so?" said the Coroner. - "No; not badly so."- "Did she say what she had been doing that night?" asked Mr. Baxter. "Been to her sister's at Vauxhall." She afterwards sent one of the lodgers for a pint of beer. She then herself went out - it was now after twelve - returning shortly before a quarter to two. It was then I asked her for her lodging money." "You knew," asked Mr. Baxter, "she had been
"Yes," said witness, hazarding the additional remark, "Of course, once she had 10s. a week from her people."
"Now," asked Mr. Baxter, "did you know any man she associated with?" "Only one - the pensioner. He sometimes came with her on Saturdays. Why, he called on Saturday last to enquire about her after the body had been taken to the mortuary. This was about half-past two." "Did he give his name or address?" "No." "Did he give any idea of how it occurred?" "No; he went straight out towards Spitalfields Church - he didn't say another word."
The Coroner then recurred to Sunday week; but the witness did not see "Dark Annie" leave the lodging-house with the pensioner on that morning. A few days later- on the Thursday - she and a woman whom they knew as Eliza had
The deceased then got a blow on the chest and a slight black eye. "Was this a row about a man?" queried the Coroner. "No, there was no man in question that I know of."
The Foreman: Did you ever hear anyone threaten her? -No.
The Coroner: Did you ever hear her express any fear of anyone? - No.
The Coroner: Did you ever hear any or the other women in the lodgings say that they had been threatened? - No.
The Coroner - Or hear any of them say they had been asked for money? - No, Sir.
The Coroner - Then, gentlemen, we will leave it here. - The inquest was then adjourned until Wednesday, at two o'clock.