13 September 1888
If Mr. Saunders, the Magistrate at the Thames Police court, wishes to ventilate his views on the foreign labour question, he should avail himself of the newspapers rather than of the judgement seat. The importance of the question - especially at the East end of London - cannot be denied, and there is much to be said in favour of restriction, but the Thames Police court is not the proper place in which to argue the matter. Yesterday a man made application to Mr. Saunders, on behalf of a Polish tailor, whose employer had refused to pay him his wages. "Why does not the man make application himself?" asked Mr. Saunders. "Because he is a Pole," was the answer. "Then let him go back to Poland," said the magistrate, subsequently adding, "The Pole has no business in this country; he is taking the bread out of the mouths of Englishmen." We may remark in passing that this cuts two ways. There is no race that roves so far as our own. Colonies of Englishmen may be found in Paris, Berlin, Brussels, and more or less in all the capitals and great commercial cities of Europe. They penetrate to America, to Africa, to Chine, to New Guinea. Mr. Saunders would find English lawyers even in Egypt, Constantinople, and far off Japan. "He is an Englishman, is he? Then let him go back to England," might be said in every civilised tongue on the face of the earth, and in a great many uncivilised tongues also. However, let that pass. The law of England at present allows any foreigner to settle in this country and while it demands from the man good behaviour, it professes to ensure him justice. Suppose it admitted foreigners and gave them no redress for a wrong, what would follow? Unquestionably increased importation of foreign workers by East end sweaters when they know that they could rob them of their wages with impunity. That is the logical conclusion of Mr. Saunders' absurd deliverance. "You may have a summons, but I hope you won't succeed," said this sapient magistrate. He knew that he had no power to refuse the summons; but he does all he can to deter the Pole from seeking justice by expressing a strong adverse opinion before hearing the case. Mr. Saunders is no doubt animated by excellent motives, but he will never put down sweating in this way; on the contrary, he will only make the lot of the victims harder, and make the sweaters eager to import more toilers whom they can plunder with impunity.
POLICE SAID TO BE ON THE TRACK
INSECURITY IN THE EAST END
THE HOLLOWAY ARREST
POLICE MAKING VIGOROUS EFFORTS
The police efforts are today being vigorously proceeded with, especially in the direction of settling the question of the exact time at which the murder of Annie Chapman actually occurred. Some doubt was originally thrown by them on the evidence of John Richardson, who stated that he was almost on the exact spot where the body was found at a quarter to five on Saturday morning, and that no signs of the murder were then apparent. Proof is now being sought to establish the fact that Richardson was right as to the time.
The search of the police is altogether of a thorough and systematic character. They have accounted for a vast number of the habitués of the common lodging houses in the neighbourhood, but some few men are still unaccounted for. There are a large number of the pedlar class, who frequent the district, and who start on systematic journeys. A few of those on their return will be asked as to whether they saw the murdered woman in the vicinity of Spitalfields Market on Saturday morning last, and, if so, who were her companions. It is extraordinary that a woman who was so well known in the district cannot be traced for four hours. If her whereabouts during the time in question can be ascertained, a very tangible of information will, of course, have been attained.
One of the greatest difficulties in the way of the police is the disposition to withhold evidence. The police believe that vital evidence is being withheld from them by some women who were associates of the two last murdered women because of their terror of sharing a like fate. Several of them have, they believe, actually left the neighhbourhood under the influence of this fear. The Exchange Telegraph Company learns that up to one o'clock today the police had made no other arrests. The detectives from Scotland yard, as well as those belonging to the Bethnal green Division, which has charge of the Buck's row murder, met at the Commercial street Station ti make arrangements with the police as to closely watching certain low quarters during the night. The police still adhere to the statement that they believe they are on the track of the murderer. This individual is being carefully looked for, but they cannot arrest him until they have more evidence to act upon. As evidence of the insecurity prevailing in certain parts of the East end - notably Hanbury street and vicinity - about five persons were accosted yesterday by a gang of roughs, who, amongst other misdeeds, deprived an old man aged 80 of his gold watch and chain.
The police have received some important information as to the hour at which the crime was committed, and the possible neighbourhood of the murderer.
A woman named Durrell has communicated with the authorities in reference to these points. She originally made a statement to the effect that at about half past five o'clock on the morning of the murder she saw a man and a woman conversing outside of No. 29 Hanbury street, the scene of the murder, and that they disappeared very suddenly. She was taken to the mortuary yesterday, and there she identified the body of Chapman as that of the woman whom she saw in Hanbury street. If this identification can be relied upon, it is obviously an important piece of evidence, as it fixes with precision the time at which the crime was committed, and corroborates the statement of John Richardson, who went into the yard at a quarter to five, and has consistently and persistently declared that the body was not then on the premises. Davis, the man who first saw the corpse, went into the yard shortly after six o'clock. Assuming, therefore, that the various witnesses have spoken the truth - which there is not the slightest reason to doubt - the murder must have been committed between half past five and six o'clock and the murderer must have walked through the streets in almost broad daylight without attracting attention, although he must have been at the time more or less stained with blood. This seems incredible, and it has certainly strengthened the belief of many of those engaged in the case that the murderer had not far to go to reach his lodgings.
The slender clue afforded by what has been described as a blood trail in the yard of 25 Hanbury street, was eagerly taken up, but so far it has not resulted in anything that can be described as important evidence, Some persons, including members of the police force, who have examined the marks, have expressed some doubt as to their being blood stains; but others engaged in the investigation assert there is some reason to believe that they are really the tracks of the assassin. In regard to the bloodstained paper found in Bailey's packing case yard adjoining No. 25, Hanbury street, there is practically no room to doubt that it was used by the murderer to cleanse his hands, and thrown by him where it was found. The little girl Laura Sickings and the other inmates of Nos. 29, 27, and 25 have been questioned by the police, and the paper has been handed over to the police doctors for more scientific examination. It has been asserted that the police do not attach much importance to this fresh evidence, but such a statement is misleading, and entirely unauthorised. The detectives engaged in the case have from the first wisely kept their own counsel, and with equal wisdom they have not failed to investigate every scrap of information, no matter how apparently trivial it may appear to be, obtained by or imparted to them in the course of their own inquiries.
The man Piggott is still an inmate of the workhouse infirmary, and it is stated his mental condition has not materially improved. The idea that he was connected in some way with the recent terrible crimes has not been entirely abandoned, and he is still kept under surveillance, while diligent inquiries are being made into his antecedents.
Another arrest on suspicion was made yesterday, this time at Holloway. But it was speedily ascertained that the man was harmless lunatic, and he was sent to the workhouse infirmary. The police engaged in the case on their own initiative have made only one arrest, that of Piser, and in his case their hands were, it is declared, forced to some extent. It is, however, believed, as we say, that more than one suspected man is being closely watched but no arrests will be made until the authorities are in possession of some kind of evidence to justify it. In some quarters - and Dr. Forbes Winslow is particularly emphatic in his assertion - the belief still strongly prevails that the murders were committed by a lunatic suffering from recurrent fits of homicidal mania, and that he will be caught, sooner or later, in the act of attempting another crime. Of course, the police are being flooded with suggestions - some more or less absurd. One of the most recent is one urging that the pupils of the murdered woman's eyes should be photographed, on the chance of the retina retaining an image of the murderer capable of reproduction.
Mr. Wynne E. Baxter, Coroner for the South Eastern Division of Middlesex, resumed the inquest, this afternoon, at the Working Lads' Institute, Whitechapel road, on the body of Annie Chapman, who was discovered murdered on Saturday morning, in the back yard of No. 29 Hanbury street, Spitalfields.
Detective Inspector Abberline, Inspector Helson, Inspector Chandler, and Inspector Beck watched the case on behalf of the Chief Commissioner of Police.
Inspector Joseph Chandler deposed - On Saturday morning, at ten minutes past six, I was on duty in Commercial street, at the corner of Hanbury street, when I saw several men running up. One of them said, "Another woman has been murdered." I at once went with him to the house, 29 Hanbury street. I went into the yard.
Were there any people there? - There were several persons in the passage, but no one in the yard. I saw the body of the deceased lying on the ground on her back. Her head was nearly two feet from the wall at the bottom of the steps.
How far from the steps? - Not more than six or nine inches. Her left hand was resting on her left breast; the right hand was lying down by her right side. Her legs were drawn up, and her clothing was above her knees. Portions of the viscera were lying by her right shoulder, and some pieces of skin were also the left shoulder, in a pool of blood. (Sensation.)
Was the body lying parallel with the steps? - With the fence, Sir, dividing the yard. I remained there myself, and sent for the divisional surgeon - Dr. Phillips. When assistance arrived the body was removed to the mortuary. No one touched the body until the doctor arrived. The doctor came about half past six.
And examined the body? - Yes, and directed that it should be removed to the mortuary. I found a piece of muslin, a small tooth comb, and a pocket comb in case lying near the feet of the body. A small piece of paper and a portion of an envelope were near her head. The paper contained two pills. On the back of the envelope was an embossed seal - in blue - of the Sussex Regiment. On the other side of the envelope was the letter "M," apparently in a man's handwriting.
Any postage stamp? - No; but there was the post mark. "London, August 28, 1888."
Any other marks? - On the lower part of the envelope were the letters "Sp" (supposed to be the first two letters of "Spitalfields"). There was a leather apron, saturated with wet, lying in the yard, together with with a nail box, a piece of flat steel, identified by Mrs. Richardson as a spring. This was close to the body. The apron and the mail box have also been identified by Mrs. Richardson.
Was there any appearance of a struggle there? - No.
Are the palings strongly erected? - No.
Would they bear the weight of a man getting over them? - They might, but they did not give any evidence of that. There was no breakage. I examined the adjoining yard. None of the palings were then broken, although they have since been broken. On the palings in the yard, near the body, were stains of blood, but no blood in the adjoining yard. On the wall of No. 25 there were some marks. They have been seen by Dr. Phillips. Those marks are not blood. They were only bloodstains in the immediate neighbourhood of the body.
Any other blood? - At the head of the body there were a few spots - splashes - and also on the ground.
Did you search the clothing? - Yes, at the mortuary. The outside jacket - a long, black jacket, which came down to the knees - had bloodstains round the neck, both on the inside and outside, and two or three spots on the left arm. The condition of the jacket did not indicate a struggle. A large pocket was worn under the skirt. It was torn down the front and also at the side, but it contained nothing.
What about the dress? - It was a black skirt - a little blood on the off side.
At the back? - Yes. There were two bodices, both stained with blood.
Was she wearing a corset? - No. There were no injuries to the clothing at the lower part of her body. Her stockings were bloodstained. She had her boots on.
Did you see young Richardson? - I saw him later on - about seven o'clock - in the passage.
Did he tell you he had been to the house that morning? - Yes, at about a quarter to five. He told me he went to the back door, and looked down the cellar to see if all was right, and then went away to his work in the market.
Did he say anything about cutting his boot? - Not then.
Did he say he was sure the woman was not there when he went? - Yes.
By the Jury - The back door opens outwards, into the yard on the left hand. Probably, Richardson might not have seen the body on account of the door.
The Foreman: Are you going to call the pensioner who has been alluded to? - We have not yet been able to find him.
The Foreman - His evidence is very important.
The Coroner - If the pensioner knowns his own interest I should think he would come forward himself.
The inquiry is proceeding.
"A DISGRACEFUL SCENE"
Sir - Referring to your letter under the above heading in your last night's issue, we beg to be permitted to place the real facts before you. There are only two houses at the corner of Thomas street, Whitechapel, and they are next door to one another. The one belongs to Mr. Barry, who holds a lease of the premises, and this has for seven years been carried on by him as a waxwork show. The other premises are leased to his daughter, Mrs. Roberts, and here she has, in conjunction with her husband, carried on a similar show to that of Mr. Barry for the last twelve months. These places, we are informed by the proprietors, so far from being "sinks of iniquity," as alleged by your Correspondent, simply serve at the East, at the cheap rate of one penny for admission, the highly useful purpose that the deservedly well patronised exhibition of Madame Tussaud serves at the West. There are wax figures of celebrated persons, a chamber of horrors, an exhibition of ghosts (according to the plan of Professor Pepper). As regards the pictures at which your Correspondent is so horrified, we are informed there are only two, the one single and the other double in the events depicted, and that their character has been greatly exaggerated. Trusting you will find space for this explanation in the next issue of your valuable paper.
We are, Sir, yours faithfully,
Abbott, Earle, and Ogle, Solicitors for Mr. Barry and Mrs. Roberts.
11 Worship street, Sept. 12.
Another instance of the influence of the name of "Leather Apron" was afforded at the Thames Police court today. Sarah Haley, a well known frequenter of the Court, was explaining why she had danced before P.C. 217H, in the Ratcliffe highway, on the previous evening. "He said, Sir, 'Leather Apron' ought to have you." This, of course, did not explain who she had previously got drunk, or why she used bad language. "You are a nuisance of the district," said the Magistrate. "Seven days' hard labour." "Oh, I can sleep that away," said Sarah blithely.
A JAPANESE STABS A WOMAN
Constable 448 K said shortly before twelve o'clock last night he heard screams of "Police!" and "Murder!" He ran towards the crowd that had assembled, and saw prisoner jump through the glass panel of the door of the Asiatic Home. He gained admission to the Home. and then found the prisoner in the yard washing the blood off his hands. Witness took him into custody. The knife was found behind the stove in the Strangers' Home. The blade and handle were smeared with blood. Mr. G.R. Anderson, surgeon, said prosecutrix had a clean cut incised wound in the scalp. It was about half an inch long. It was not a dangerous wound, unless erysipelas were to set in. Mr. Lushington committed the prisoner for trial.
Sir - I have watched with great interest the movements of our plain clothes detectives in search of the unknown murderer, and must give them due credit for zeal and shrewdness. But I venture to think that one great mistake they are making is this. They are in appearance too much the gentleman, and they carry with them too much the ordinary policemen walk. This will not do for the sharp, eagle eyed characters in the East of London, who live by their wits. They can smell them, so to speak, at a distance. In my humble opinion they should assume more of the ordinary working man's dress and manners, and then push in and out among the so called common people, who generally get to know what has happened long before it appears in the papers, and by this means they might possibly hear something to their advantage. Another matter I would suggest is this. The police must be careful they do not get their minds fixed with the idea that the murderer must be a dreadful, wild looking man, for I have had dealings in my time with white, oily tongued villains, as well as black ones. In fact, there are characters about who can keep up a decent appearance, and pass off as swells, yet they can do desperate deeds, and at the same time smile with a sweet air of innocency.