26 September 1888
Charles Ludwig, aged 40, a decently dressed German, was again brought up at the Thames Police court today. He was charged with being drunk and threatening to stab Alexander Fineberg, of 51 Leman street, Whitechapel. Ludwig professed not to understand English. The evidence of the prosecutor was that at three o'clock on the morning of Tuesday last he was standing at a coffee stall in the Whitechapel road, when Ludwig came up in a state of intoxication. The person in charge of the stall refused to serve him. Ludwig seemed much annoyed, and said to witness, "What are you looking at?" He then pulled out a long bladed knife, and threatened to stab witness with it. Ludwig followed him round the stall, and made several attempts to stab him, until witness threatened to knock a dish on his head. A constable came up, and he was then given into custody. On the application of Detective Inspector Abberline of Scotland yard, Mr. Saunders again remanded the accused for full inquiries to be made. He also allowed Inspector Abberline to interview the accused, with the interpreter, Mr. Savage, to ascertain if he would give any information as to where he was on certain dates.
One of the funniest sights yesterday at Knavesmire was the congratulating of Prince Albert Victor as an officer of the 10th Hussars, by the Duke of Cambridge. Whatever else Prince Albert Victor may be, his soldiering is hardly of the description that calls for public recognition yet.
CLOSE OF INQUEST
CORONER'S SUMMING UP AND VERDICT
The inquest on the body of Annie Chapman, who was found horribly mutilated in a yard at 29 Hanbury street, Commercial road, on September the 8th last, was concluded today.
No further evidence in relation to the case was forthcoming. The Coroner, therefore, summed up the evidence to the Jury. He first congratulated them on the fact that their labours were nearly completed; "although, up to the present, they have not resulted in the detection of the criminal," continued the Coroner, "I have no doubt that if the perpetrator of this foul murder is eventually discovered, our efforts will not have been useless. The evidence given is now on the records of this Court, and could be used even if the witnesses were not forthcoming; while the publicity given has already elicited further information, which may perhaps be of the utmost importance."
Mr. Baxter then dealt with the evidence given by the various witnesses. After referring to the life which the deceased had been leading, Mr. Baxter continued:- "The glimpses of life in those days which the evidence in this case discloses is sufficient to make us feel that there is much in the nineteenth century civilisation of which we have small reason to be proud; but you who are constantly called together to hear the sad tales of starvation, of semi starvation, of misery, immorality, and wickedness, which some of the occupants of the five thousand beds in this district have every week to relate to Coroner's inquests, do not require to be reminded of what life in a Spitalfields lodging house means. It was in one of these that the older bruises found on the temples and on front of the chest of the deceased were received, in a trumpery quarrel, a week before her death. It was in one of these that she was seen a few hours before her mangled remains were discovered."
"On the afternoon and evening of Friday, the 7th of September (continued the Coroner) she divided her time partly in such a place as 35 Dorset Street, and partly in the Ringers public house, where she spent whatever money she had, so that between one and two on the morning of Saturday, when the money for her bed is demanded, she is obliged to admit that she is without means, and at once turns out into the street to find it. She leaves there at 1.45. a.m. She is seen off the premises by the night watchman, and is observed to turn down Little Paternoster row into Brushfield street, and not in the more direct direction of Hanbury street. On her wedding finger she is wearing two or three rings, which appear to have been palpably of base metal, as the witnesses are all clear about their material and value. There is then the evidence of Mrs. Long, who states that she saw the deceased standing within a few yards of the place where the murder was committed in Hanbury street. That was about four hours after Annie Chapman had left Dorset street."
"But many minutes after Mrs. Long passed them cannot have elapsed," said the Coroner," before the deceased became a mutilated corpse in the yard of 29 Hanbury street, close by where she was last seen by any witness. This place is a fair sample of a large number of houses in the neighbourhood. It was built, like hundreds of others, for the Spitalfields weavers, and when hand looms were driven out by steam power, these were converted into dwellings for the poor. Its size is about such as a superior artisan would occupy in the country, but its condition is such as would to a certainty leave it without a tenant. In this place seventeen persons were living, from a woman and her son sleeping in a cat's meat shop on the ground floor to David and his wife and their three grown up sons, all sleeping together in an attic. The street door and the yard door were never locked, and the passage and the yard appear to have been constantly used by people who had no legitimate business there. There is little doubt that the deceased knew the place, for it is only 300 or 400 yards from where she lodged. If so, it is quite unnecessary to assume that her companion had any knowledge; in fact, it is easier to believe that he was ignorant both of the nest of living beings by whom he was surrounded, and of their occupations and habits."
"The deceased was not intoxicated at the time, and she therefore entered the house in full possession of her faculties, although with a very different object to her companion. From the evidence which the condition of the yard affords and the medical examination discloses, it appears that after the two had passed through the passage and opened the swing door at the end, they descended the three steps into the yard. On their left hand side there was a recess between these steps and the palings. Here a few feet from the house and a less distance from the paling they must have stood. The wretch must then have seized the deceased, perhaps with Judas like approaches. He seized her by the chin. He pressed her throat, and while thus preventing the slightest cry, he at the same time produced insensibility and suffocation. There is no evidence of any struggle. The clothes are not torn. Even in these preliminaries, the wretch seems to have known how to carry out efficiently his nefarious work. The deceased was then lowered to the ground and laid on her back; and, although in doing so she may have fallen slightly against the fence, this movement was probably effected with care. Her throat was then cut in two places with savage determination, and the injuries to the abdomen commenced. All was done," said the Coroner, "with cool impudence and reckless daring; but, perhaps, nothing is more noticeable than the emptying of her pockets, and the arrangement of their contents with businesslike precision in order near her feet."
"The murder seems, like the Buck's row case, to have been carried out without a cry. The brute who committed the offence did not even take the trouble to cover up his ghastly work, but left the body exposed to the view of the first comer. This accords but little with the trouble taken with the rings, and suggests either that he had at length been disturbed, or that, as the daylight broke, a sudden fear suggested the danger of detection that he was running. The body had not been dissected, but the injuries have been made by some one who had considerable anatomical skill and knowledge. There are no meaningless cuts. The organ has been taken by one who knew where to find it, what difficulties he would have to contend against and how he should use his knife so as to abstract the organ without injury to it. For instance, no mere slaughterer of animals could have carried out these operations. It must have been some one accustomed to the post mortem room."
"The conclusion that the desire to possess the missing abdominal organ seems overwhelming. We are driven to the deduction that the abstraction of the missing portion of abdominal viscera was the object, and the theft of the rings was only a thin veiled blind, an attempt to prevent the real intention being discovered. The amount missing would go into a breakfast cup; and, had not the medical examination been of a thorough and searching character, it might easily have been left unnoticed that there was any portion of the body which had been taken."
"Within a few hours of the issue of the morning papers containing a report of the medical evidence given at the last sitting of the Court, I received a communication from an officer of one of our great medical schools, that they had information which might or might not have a distinct bearing on our inquiry. I attended at the first opportunity, and was informed by the sub-curator of the Pathological Museum that some moths ago an American called on him, and asked him to procure a number of specimens of the organ that was missing in the deceased. He stated his willingness to give £20 a piece for each specimen. He stated that his object was to issue an actual specimen with each copy of a publication on which he was then engaged. He was told that his request was impossible to be complied with, but he still urged his request. He wished them preserved, not in spirits of wine, but in glycerine, in order to preserve them in a flaccid condition, and he wished them sent to America direct. It is known that this request was repeated to another institution of similar character. Now is it not possible that the knowledge of this demand may have incited some abandoned wretch to possess himself of a specimen? It seems beyond belief that such inhuman wickedness could enter into the mind of any man, but, unfortunately, our criminal annals prove that every crime is possible. I believe that publicity may possible further elucidate this fact, and therefore I have not withheld from you the information. By means of the Press some further explanation may be forthcoming from America, if not from here."
"It is a great misfortune that nearly three weeks have elapsed without the chief actor in this awful tragedy having been discovered. Surely, it is not too much even now to hope that the ingenuity of our detective force will succeed in unearthing this monster. It is not as if there were no clue to the character of the criminal or the cause of his crime. His object is clearly divulged. His anatomical knowledge carries him out of the category of a common criminal, for that knowledge could only have been obtained by assisting at post mortems, or by frequenting the post mortem room. Thus, the class in which search must be made, although a large one, is limited. Moreover, it must have been a man who was from home, if not all night, at least during the early hours of the 8th of September. His hands were undoubtedly bloodstained, for he did not stop to use the tap in the yard as the pan of clean water under it shows. If the theory of lunacy be correct (which I very much doubt) the class is still further limited; while if Mrs. Long's memory does not fail, and the assumption be correct that the man who was talking to the deceased at half past five was the culprit, he is even more clearly defined. In addition to his former description, we should know that he was a foreigner of dark complexion, over 40 years of age, a little taller than the deceased, of shabby genteel appearance, with a brown deerstalker hat on his head and a dark coat on his back. If your views accord with mine," said Mr. Baxter, in concluding his address to the jury, "you will be of opinion that we are confronted with a murder of no ordinary character, committed not from jealousy, revenge, or robbery, but from motives less adequate than the many which still disgrace out civilisation, mar our progress, and blot the pages of our Christianity."
The Jury, without retiring, returned a verdict of "Wilful murder against some person or persons unknown."