28 September 1888
The East end is being punished for the Whitechapel murders in a way that it scarcely merits. The visits of fair West enders who have "districts" or courts, or who sing at concerts, and in a thousand other ways cheer the leisure of their poorer brethren have, for the time being, entirely ceased. The East end clergy are left to fumble at their own Gordian knots with their more clumsy fingers.
But the women whose lot it is to live in the East have been still more sorely discomfited. The three different kinds of murder - the first of mere violence, the second of jealousy, and the third apparently of the Burke and Hare type - which have lately disgraced the slums of Whitechapel, and those who profess to guard them, seem to raise three specific dangers to women who would go their errands in the streets. The consequence is that few women who can help it walk through Whitechapel now after dark.
FEMALE TERROR IN NEWRY
Considerable uneasiness prevailed in the neighbourhood of Chapel street, Newry, yesterday evening. A young girl, named Duffy, residing with her parents in that street, came running home from a field in the suburbs, where she had been to bring home the cows for the night, and announced that she had been accosted by a strange man only partially dressed. He leaped out of a hedge, and chased her through the field. He called out that he was "Leather Apron" and that he was the murderer of the Whitechapel victims. When the girl reached home she was almost breathless. Her father at once ran and informed the constabulary, who went to the field, but failed to find the stranger. An alarm of a similar kind has been exciting the people of Warrenpoint and the district. So great is the panic amongst the female portion of the community that not one of them can be induced to go out on the Newry road after dark. The police believe that the mysterious man is some half crazy individual.
WOMAN SEIZED BY A MAN
The Press Association learns that a matter that is thought to have a bearing upon the Whitechapel murders is being investigated by the Metropolitan police. Early on Wednesday morning a man, apparently of about 33 years of age, accosted a woman in Whitechapel. At his request she accompanied him for a short distance, when he suddenly caught her by the throat, and knocked her down. The woman states that her screams alarmed the man, who then ran away. The description she gave of her assailant is as follows:- About 5ft 6in or 5ft 8in high, small dark moustache, dressed in light coat and dark trousers, black felt hate, and wore scarf round his neck
THE MISSING AMERICAN
THE CONFESSION OF FITZGERALD
The incident to which Mr. Wynne Baxter so emphatically referred in summing up the evidence given at the inquest on the body of Annie Chapman, occurred some months since. So, at least, declares a morning contemporary. According to this authority, the person who made the singular application, as described by Mr. Baxter, at one of the great London hospitals, and which he repeated at a scientific institution, was for some time a student at the hospital in question, and it is stated he would have been able to procure what he required without incurring any risk. As a matter of fact, according to the experience of demonstrators of anatomy, there is no such value to be attached to what was mentioned by the Coroner, who was informed that £20 would be given by the American in every case. In a pecuniary sense there would be no value attaching at all.
Inquiry at the London Hospital, Whitechapel road, the nearest institution to the scene of the murder, elicited the fact that no applications of the kind indicated have recently been made to the warden or curator of the pathological museum. An opinion was expressed that an American pathologist would scarcely endeavour to obtain his specimens from London, when the less stringent laws prevailing on the Continent would render his task comparatively easy there. It was stated, however, that a considerable number of Americans, holding medical degrees or more, were in the habit of studying at London pathological museums. On the other hand, if the real object was to add to the practical value of a technical publication in preparation, as alleged, the purposes in view could have been easily obtained in America, without the necessity of committing murder.
It is the theory, however, of some among those who are well acquainted with the medical details of the recent mysterious deaths in Whitechapel, that the offer of £20 must have become known to some one in the habit of frequenting dissecting rooms, and that, under temptation, this individual has yielded to the impulse of taking life. The circumstances that two murders had been perpetrated in the streets of Whitechapel within a short period without causing much comment would have led, it is supposed, the miscreant to assume that the police protection in the neighbourhood was so insufficient that he might commit a third murder with impunity. Upon the body of Mary Anne Nicholls, the Buck's row victim, there were indications that the murderer had entertained, but not fully carried out his project, and had had to hurry away to evade discovery. In the case of Annie Chapman the opportunity was more favourable, and the object was attained. Although many hospital authorities do not attach very great importance to the story, the police have given due attention to the matter.
It is said that the man Fitzgerald, who confessed to the police at Wandsworth that he committed the last Whitechapel murder, is still in custody. The police have been instituting rigid inquiries as to his antecedents, but they are not now disposed to attach much importance to his statement. What could have induced him to make the assertion is not known. By some officers it is stated he had been drinking lately, and, through reading the details given at the inquest, had become more or less excited. While in this state, some suppose, he made his "confession" with the object of attracting attention. Though in some quarters the affair was yesterday regarded as of trivial importance, the police carried on their inquiries with redoubled energy. It is not yet known whether Fitzgerald will be put upon the charge sheet.
A case came before the Portsmouth magistrates yesterday, which strikingly illustrates the excitement caused all through the country by the Whitechapel atrocities. A woman, named Eleanor candy, charged Joseph Woods with indecently assaulting her. She alleged that he knocked her down and declaring "that he was one of the Whitechapel men," committed the assault. On the other hand, it was contended for the defence that the woman told the defendant she carried a whistle since the Whitechapel murders, and the defendant replied that he carried a knife. Whereupon the complainant called the police, and the defendant was apprehended. He was acquitted of the charge of assault, but bound over in £10 to keep the peace.
Fitzgerald is still in custody at Leman street police station. He has, however, not yet been formally charged. The police authorities, it is understood, place but little credence in the statements made by Fitzgerald, and he will, in all probability, be discharged.
APPEARS TO BE A HOAX
"The horrible discovery in Southwark" may possibly turn out to be a hoax. The accounts of the discovery - which stated that a lime covered arm had been found in Lambeth road - are, at all events, greatly exaggerated. The parcel, which was found in the garden fronting the Blind Institution, did not, our reporter learns on inquiry at the Kennington lane Police station, contain an arm, but simply a bone. Whether this is a human bone or not is not at present known. The police, however, are apparently inclined to regard the affair as a hoax.