5 October 1888
A DRUNKEN FREAK
The "medical student" - or, rather, the foolish young fellow who describes himself as a medical student - and who made a "confession" to the police at the Bishopsgate Police station, again appeared at the Mansion House today. He was stated to reside at 6 Stannard road, Dalston, and was charged with committing the murder in Mitre square, Aldgate. The facts, which have been reported, showed that the prisoner, on Tuesday evening last, entered the charge room of the Bishopsgate Police station, and made a statement which Inspector Izzard, after cautioning him, wrote down. It was to the effect that on the night, or rather the morning, of the murder, he met the woman in Aldgate, and went up a back street with her. He gave her a half crown, which another man took away from her. He had, he added, committed the murder, and could not put up with the suspense any longer. The accused was, however, very drunk at the time he made the statement. Inquiries had been made, and it was ascertained that the prisoner was very well connected, and that he was not according to his father's statement out on Saturday evening. Today Inspector Izzard said that the inquiries had led to the most satisfactory conclusion. Defendant bore a most irreproachable character, and he had been in his employ for a long time. Mr. Alderman Shaw said that he was very sorry he was unable to punish the prisoner in some way. It was, indeed, a most dangerous thing now that these scares were about for people to make such foolish statements. He would now be discharged. Prisoner said that since he had been locked up he had signed the pledge.
An evening paper yesterday afternoon perpetrated a hideous hoax upon the London public. It told a circumstantial story of how the murderer at Whitechapel had been caught. He had inveigled a girl round a hoarding in the Shadwell High street, had been followed and watched by a watchman, who raised an alarm and tried to arrest him, had killed the watchman, and finally been overpowered by the police.
It so happened that yesterday at 1.30 p.m. I chanced to be lunching with a great City magnate - a man who commands millions, and possesses many friends. At his hospitable board sat an actor, an army captain, a Magistrate, two or three professional men, a stockbroker, and a financier or two, and as they enjoyed the liberality of the genial gentleman who sat at the head of the board, the talk turned upon the story of the murderer's arrest.
"We heard it in the House, early this morning," said the stockbroker.
"Yes," said the actor; "but the watchman is not dead, he is only badly wounded."
"I hear," remarked a financier, "that a policeman was badly stabbed, too."
"And it seems to be a fact," added a financier, "that they find it is the man they have been looking for."
Yet, after all, no such incident had occurred. The story was a catchpenny one, and had been published because - but I leave my readers to fill in the reason.
Hoaxes are not unfrequent. I once managed a great daily paper in London. One night a man came in - a "penny a liner," as they call themselves - and brought in "flimsy" containing the account of a horrible tragedy. A body, or parts of a body, had been found near waterloo Bridge, cut up in such a way as to leave no doubt that a horrible murder had been committed. Did we want the news?
"Why, cert'n'y." our sub editor said.
And in it went.
The details of that dreadful murder appeared in every paper next day; and they went on day after day, for fresh pieces of flesh or blood stained rags were discovered, and the police danced hither and thither, and found nothing and nobody.
Then the papers led the police a lesson. They saw it was time for Henderson to resign; they hinted the detectives were better fitted for taking in plain sewing or light washing than detecting crime, and they pointed out what an awful state London was in.
Time rolled on, and at length it transpired that the whole "tragedy" was a hoax, in which the reporter had had no inconsiderable hand, the parts of the body having been got from a wild medical student who shared in the plunder. Hoaxes are sometimes unintentional. For some years London papers used to be supplied with reports of hangings by an execution penny a liner, who saw the malefactor turned off in good form, and then wrote the report which appeared in every paper. He got to be quite an adept at this work, and knew exactly when a criminal would be respited and when he would be hanged, and there, as certainly as the principal performer in the execution appeared on the drop, this reporter appeared in the jail yard ready to see him off.
At length a case arrived in which the country was greatly interested, but the penny a liner was ill and could not go to the execution. So he "satisfied" himself that the man would really be hanged, and then on the morning of the execution sent round a neat little account of his "taking off." The newspapers published it. There was some little comment on the part of the man's being hanged; and then came official news of a respite - the man had been reprieved at the last moment - not hanged at all.
Well, this upset the reporter a little, but he got over the scrape somehow, and determined to be all right next time. A little while afterwards he was again so ill that he could not go to the execution however. The murderer was on the scaffold; the chaplain was droning out the last part of the service; the executioner was strapping his legs - all was ready, when suddenly a telegraphic messenger burst into the yard with a dispatch. "Stop!" roared the governor of the jail, "perhaps it is a reprieve." he murderer for a moment brightened up, the executioner scowled, for he feared losing his fee; the Chaplain stopped at "Dust to dust," and listened, while the Governor tore the envelope open. Then he read the following:-
"From B____, to the Governor of _____ Gaol.
Please telegraph at once to me whether the prisoner _____ has really been hanged this morning. Reply paid."
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ECHO
I thank you for drawing attention to the suffering of what, I fear, is a large and increasing number of men - husbands with intemperate wives. I, unfortunately, am of that number. Several years ago I became a total abstainer, thinking my wife would follow; but so such thing. She has become, if possible, worse; although she has signed the pledge scores of times; but the longest time she kept it was four months, sometimes not as many hours. She has no trouble, infirmity, or any of the usual causes which sometimes are excuses of intoxicating drinkers. Without warning or notice she takes articles of clothing out, pawns them, and is often drunk by noon. I am in the exact position of the man supposed in your article having children to bring up, for whose sake I must keep the home together and bear this heavy burden silently and unaided, because for me "there is no remedy." And, besides, being in business in a City office, my living depends upon my respectability, my pen, and brains; but these would be almost valueless elsewhere. It is not separation that is wanted, it is divorce. Separation would throw the woman upon the streets, as shown in the recent Whitechapel murders; whereas divorce and freedom would give the woman a chance of marrying again if she repented and conducted herself properly. Surely it is time some Member of Parliament took up the subject to relieve us. You say quite right - "Daily I go to my labour without hope, and daily I return home with dread." Is it always to be so?
Your article of the "Touch and Go Papers" entitled "The Cry of Despair," of the 2nd inst., came under my notice and decided me to appeal to the public generally to agitate for legislation on a most important subject - namely, drunkenness in wives, which may be the means of saving men from the gallows, or murder and suicide. I am one of those unfortunate men but without children, who has endured hardship, and almost starvation, through a drunken wife, lost three responsible positions where a wife's services were required, and the friendship of my employers, who tolerated it as long as they could, hoping for better things, but without avail. I have been married nearly five years, my wife was an attractive, businesslike woman, but through her folly I have laid idle quite eighteen months altogether; have been going from bad to worse ever since. Broken in health, and quite in pocket, with everything in pawn or sold, even to my last shirt, I have been compelled to forsake my wife and filthy home for ever, my kindness of heart and patience completely worn out, for my tortured life won't stand the perpetual strain any longer; further trials of the last few years would render me insane, and perhaps drive me to a suicide's grave. Trusting you will publish all or part of this true tale,
I beg to remain, yours sincerely,
A Poor Victim
Sir, In your issue of yesterday, in the column of "Touch and Go," there appeared a letter from one signed "A." I think the letter was headed "A Cry of Despair." I, for one, wish to state I fully concur with the writer, and think something should be done without delay to relieve a husband, who is a sober and hardworking man, from a drunken or a worthless wife - a woman who does everything possible to make a man's home the last place he cares to come to. The way the laws are at present, a woman can mock her husband to scorn and simply refuse to do anything for him, and yet the husband is compelled to go to his daily toil and to put up with whatever treatment his wife chooses to meet out to him. I ask, is it just that a husband so placed should have no remedy?
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ECHO
In your report of the proceedings at the Worship street Police court, on Tuesday last, and which appeared in your columns of yesterday, I am stated to have made an observation to the Magistrate - Mr. Montagu Williams - which (in consequence, perhaps, of my addressing the Magistrate and not the reporter) has been somewhat misrepresented.
The Magistrate denounced, in very strong language, the tendency to immorality and crime which the common lodging houses of the East end fostered, and the facilities they afforded for the concealment of the criminals and outcasts of society. The inspector of police present made a remark to the Magistrate, and I, as amicus curiae, said - not, as reported, that there was only one section in the Criminal Law Amendment Act which could deal with these cases - but that such cases, the indiscriminate letting of beds to strangers of both sexes could not be dealt with under the Criminal Law Amendment Act, unless it could be proved that the premises were used for habitual prostitution. The Magistrate suggested that further legislation was required. That may be desirable; but does it not suggest to any ordinary observer that the same law which would prevent a travelling tinker and his wife or companion from staying at a common lodging house in a "double" would also apply to Lord Baldash and Lady Nocash staying at the Grand or any other hotel? I agree with the Magistrate that these houses are the haunts of, to a large extent, the criminal class; but these houses are inspected by and are under the eyes of the police. Suppress the houses, and what becomes of the habitués? They are not suppressed. So long as the class exists they will have their haunts and resorts. You do not destroy vermin by simply destroying their nests. Neither can you suppress wickedness and crime by driving them into holes and corners. Mr. Montagu Williams professes to have had large experience with this class of people. Suggestions for the amelioration of the criminal class, and for the prevention of criminal practices, from an authority such as Mr. Williams, are what Society is now anxiously waiting for.
I am, &c.,
Vestry Clerk, St. Leonard, Shoreditch.
"Men in London are, "the Bishop of Liverpool avers, "living little better than beasts. The state of that district illustrates (so the prelate says) the opinion of an old divine, that if the man is left to himself he is half devil, half beast."
Mr. Stuart Cumberland, being asked whether "thought reading" would be of any avail for the detection of the Whitechapel murderer, answers very naturally that a thought reader is not a clairvoyant, and must first have his suspected murderer to hand to operate upon. Thought reading then might be applied to advantage at a later stage - when the hare is caught.
What a splendid sensational journalist Dr. Parker would have made if he had not taken to the pulpit. It looks as though his highest ambition is to arrest attention by the utterance of startling things, regardless of any consideration as to their wisdom or folly. Yesterday the Doctor freely expressed his opinion on the East end murders, and upon crimes of violence in general. He declared that every pulpit in London should denounce the crimes which London mourned. We fail to see the reason why. We are all ready to go out into the streets and swear at large if thereby we could secure the murderer; but denunciation is not detection. The Doctor further declared that every congregation should offer a reward for the discovery of the criminal. Again, we fail to see the reason why. The offering of rewards is the proper business of the Home Office, or of public bodies like the Common Council. From the East end murders the Doctor passed to crimes of violence in general, and declared that it was "no use trying moral suasion upon garroters, violent robbers, cruel husbands and fathers; they must be flogged. Church Congresses and Nonconformist Assemblies should suspend their sittings that these tremendous grievances should be attended to" very good. Dr. parker will not have long to wait for his opportunity. Next week, when the Congregational Union meets, let him stand up at the commencement of the proceedings and move that all other business shall be suspended in order that the Assembly shall discuss the introduction of a Bill enacting that person convicted of crimes of violence shall be punished with the cat. As a matter of fact, garroters and violent robbers are punished by flogging now, though the Doctor appears not to know it. As to wife beaters, the proposal will create a fresh difficulty for Magistrates, who often find that the women are reluctant to prosecute, either from affection or from fear. Pass a law that every wife beater shall be flogged and the inevitable result would be that the unhappy women would be more reluctant than ever to seek redress for their wrongs. For our part, we do not see why the world's business should be stopped because one cunning murderer eludes capture; but if Dr. Parker thinks otherwise he should shut the City Temple and place a placard on its doors thus inscribed:- "Closed till further notice - gone in search of the Whitechapel murderer!"
The bloodhound, otherwise called the sleut or sleuth hound (from the Saxon sleut, the track of a deer), was formerly in common use in Great Britain. We read of Bruce and Wallace being tracked by bloodhounds when they were pursued by their enemies. Sir Walter Scott sings of the moss trooper, brave William of Deloraine, who had
Baffled Percy's best bloodhounds;
and he also relates how the "noble child," the heir of Branksome,
Heard the mountains round,
Ring to the baying of a hound
Burst on his path a dark bloodhound,
His tawny muzzle tracked the ground,
And his red eyes shot fire.
It was commonly supposed that the bloodhound was originally a cross between the deep mouthed Southern hound and the old English staghound. The colour of the true breed is nearly always a reddish tan, darkening gradually towards the upper parts till it becomes mixed with black on the back; the muzzle is tawny, and the limbs and tail are of a lighter colour than the back. The colour seems to be one of the chief distinctions between this dog and the dog known as the Talbot hound.
Our ancestors were well aware of the sagacity and power of a bloodhound in following the track of any other animal, dead or alive. But a bloodhound must be first trained. This is commonly done by taking the animal to the spot from whence a deer or other animal has been dragged away for a mile or more. In company with an older dog it is then led on, or encouraged, till, together with its companion, the drag has been successfully hunted. A portion of the venison is then given to it as a reward. After the lapse of some days the dogs are again taken to a spot from whence a man has started whose shoes have been rubbed with the blood of a deer. This lesson is by degrees extended and amplified until the hound who is being trained has become fully capable of hunting by itself, for the purpose either of woodcraft, war or "following gear,!" by which appellation pursuit after plundered property used to be designated. It is almost impossible to defeat the pursuit of a bloodhound on a fresh track, but it is said that the most probable way to arrest the pursuit is to cross through a pool of water, or to spill some blood on the track.
In Cuba there exists a peculiar variety of bloodhound, which does not exceed in size an English shepherd dog. This breed has historical interest on account of its employment in subduing an insurrection of the Maroons in Jamaica. This insurrection broke out in July, 1795, and hostilities were successfully waged against the Government by the savages. At last, in the month of September, the General Assembly determined to follow the expedient which had been resolved on prior to the Treaty of 1738, viz., to employ bloodhounds. This, it was conceived, would discover the concealment of the Maroons, and prevent the fatal effects which resulted from their manner of fighting in ambuscade. The Assembly were not unaware that the measure of calling in such auxiliaries and of urging the canine species to the pursuit of human beings would probably give rise to much observation and animadversion in the Mother Country. Some even thought that the co-operation of dogs with British troops would give not only a cruel, but also a very dastard, complexion to the proceedings of the local Government. It was answered to these objections that the safety of the island and the lives of the inhabitants were not to be sacrificed to any false apprehensions in the Mother Country, and that it is not an act of cruelty or of cowardice to employ brute beasts as instruments of war. By the practice of nations, elephants have been employed in Asiatic battles, and so have horses in European conflicts. But in the end this destructive revolt was brought to a happy termination. On the 14th December the Commissioner who had been sent to Havannah for assistance arrived at Montenegro Bay with forty chasseurs and one hundred Spanish bloodhounds. Such extraordinary accounts were spread of the terrific appearance and savage nature of these animals that a most salutary and powerful effect was produced on the rebels, who now displayed strong and indubitable evidences of submission, and renewed their solicitations for peace with great earnestness. Not a drop of blood was spilt after their arrival on the island.
With regard to the use of bloodhounds in the pursuit of criminals in this country, about a century and a half ago, when deer stealing was a common crime, the keepers of parks relied on bloodhounds for the detecting of the poachers. Also about the beginning of this century "the Thrapston Association for the Prevention of Felons in Northamptonshire" kept a bloodhound to pursue sheep stealers. These dogs, however, are now kept only for curiosity or ornament. One of the species was immortalised by Landseer, who exhibited a large picture of that animal in a sleeping attitude in the British gallery, Pall Mall, in 1835.
The improved order of our police, and the modern discovery of telegraphy, have caused the general use of the bloodhound for criminal purposes to fall into desuetude. But from time to time its wonderful instinct has been brought into service at the call of the public, on the occasion of some more than ordinary crime, such as the murder at Blackburn which occurred about twelve years ago, when a bloodhound was employed with signal success.
MORE REMAINS FOUND
EXPECTED IDENTIFICATION AND ARREST
Inspector Marshall, who, with large number of detectives, is prosecuting inquiries as to the discovery in Whitehall, this morning proceeded to Guildford to bring to London some human remains discovered near the railway line there. A woman's leg has been there found, and it is stated that to was boiled in the first instance. The limb is to be brought to London today to be compared by Dr. Bond with the trunk found at Whitehall. It is believed that very important information has been obtained, which will shortly lead to the identification of the murdered woman and an arrest.
MURDERER STILL AT LARGE
POLICE WITHOUT A CLUE
THE VIGILANCE COMMITTEE'S WORK
ONE MEMBER CONFIDENT
The miscreant is still at large, and no clue has been discovered which is likely to lead to his capture. This is a summary of the columns of information and imagination which are today given to newspaper readers.
The excitement in the neighbourhood of the murderer's terrible exploits shows no diminution in intensity. It has been ministered to by a series of rumours of a particularly sanguinary character. Vivid imaginations tell of women being molested, of their narrow escapes, and - as in one case yesterday - of another victim of the murderer's ferocity, with a generosity of detail that in itself is a compliment to their ingenuity. These stories have generally not the slightest truth in them. Shadwell gave an excellent instance of this yesterday. The City and the central portion of London had been flooded with details of the murderer's last victim, when Shadwell - the locale of the crime - was in delightful innocence of the event, and the victim walked about in refreshing unconcern that he had been sacrificed to the mysterious vengeance of the murderer. Everywhere in the East end there is a singular susceptibility to panic and terror. It is not too much to say that the unfortunate creatures who ply their wretched vocation in the streets are almost paralysed with fear. How much so this is the case is attested by the deserted condition on the East end thoroughfares after half past twelve at night, and the unbroken solitude in which the side streets, alleys, and backways slumber.
Now the police themselves seem to despair of getting a clue to the miscreant. They are certainly not relaxing their efforts. The number of the force and of disguised detectives on duty last night was as large as ever; and they were joined, too, by about fifty volunteer patrols - working men whose indignation has taken this unselfish character. Should the murderer again attempt to give effect to his infamous designs in the Whitechapel district he will require, in the interest of his own personal security, not only to avoid the uniformed and plain clothed members of the Metropolitan Police Force, but to reckon with a small, enthusiastic body of amateur detectives. Convinced that the regular force affords inadequate protection to life and property in this densely populated neighbourhood, a number of local tradesmen decided a few weeks ago to appoint a Vigilance committee of a novel and interesting character. One of the principal duties of this body was to themselves patrol the most secluded parts of the district in the dead of night with a view to running the criminal to earth.
This Committee decided to call in professional assistance rather than rely solely upon their own resources. For this purpose they engaged the services of two private detectives - men who, though unattached to either the Metropolitan or City Police Forces, hold themselves out as experts in the unravelling of mysteries. At the disposal of these executive officers are placed about a dozen stalwart men, possessing an intimate acquaintance with the highways and byeways of Whitechapel. Only those who have been selected who are "physically and morally" equal to the task they may any night be called upon to perform. As they were previously numbered among the unemployed, it became unnecessary to fix a high scale of remuneration. Shortly before twelve o'clock these assassin hunters are despatched upon their mission. Their footfall is silenced by the use of galoshes, and their own safety is assured by the carrying of police whistles and stout sticks. The area over which this additional protection is afforded is divided into beats, each man being assigned his respective round.
Nor is that all. At half an hour after midnight the committee rooms close by Act of Parliament, and thence emerge those members of the committee who happen to be on duty for the night. Like sergeants of police they make their tours of inspection, and, while seeing that their men are faithfully performing their onerous duties, themselves visit the most sequestered and ill lighted spots. It appears that usually the volunteer policemen leave their beats between four and five o'clock in the morning. Suspicions, surmises, and possible clues are notified to the nearest police stations from time to time, and one member of the committee at least honestly believes that he is on the right track. Whether his private opinion is justified by fact, time alone can reveal. Meanwhile, he and his colleagues are determined to leave no stone unturned, and firmly continue to maintain that the dark places of Whitechapel demand a more thorough watchfulness on the part of the police than is at present devoted to them.
PRISONER ANSWERS DESCRIPTION.
A Bishop Stortford Correspondent telegraphs:
A man has been arrested at Tiptree Heath on suspicion of being concerned in the Whitechapel murders. He was met by Police Sergeant Creswell, of whom he asked alms. He objected to be searched, and insisted on keeping his hand in his pocket. He was taken to Kelvedon, and it was seen that the appearance of the man answered to the description circulated by the Metropolitan Police of the Whitechapel murderer in almost every particular. He was detained in custody.
Coroner Wynne, E. Baxter resumed the inquest at the St. George's Vestry hall, Cable street, E., on the body of the woman who was murdered in Berner street late on Saturday night last, about whose identity there seems yet some doubt. The evidence given at the last hearing went to prove that the body is that of Elizabeth Stride, who lived in a common lodging house in Flower and Dean street, Spitalfields. At the previous hearings the deceased, in the Coroner's charge to the Jury, was described as Elizabeth Stride, but today she was alluded to as a woman unknown.
was today recalled. He said he had re-examined the body of the deceased. He had been unable to find any injury to, or absence of, hard or soft palate or roof of the mouth of the deceased. Witness said he had also examined the two handkerchiefs which had been mentioned, and could discover no traces of blood upon them.
"I have also examined the contents of the deceased's stomach," continued Dr. Phillips, "and am convinced that she had not swallowed the skin or seed of grapes within many hours of her death."
Referring to the knife which had been found by the lad Coram, in Whitechapel, the doctor continued - "I have examined the knife, and find that it has been used in a chandler's shop, and is what is known as a slicing knife. The blade has been recently sharpened - probably on a kerbstone. Such a knife could have produced the injuries on the throat of the deceased; but it is not such a weapon as I should have concluded upon as having been the instrument used; and from my opinion as to the probable position of the body when the injuries were inflicted, I should say it would be an improbable weapon. I should say that the deceased had been seized by the shoulders, placed on the ground, and that the perpetrator of the deed was on the right side of the body when he inflicted the cut. "I am of opinion (continued the witness) that the cut was inflicted from left to right, and therefore arises the improbability of such a long knife having inflicted the wound in the neck."
The proposition of your correspondents, "W.E. Corner" and "Henry Bax," that the police should be supplied with noiseless boots is simply absurd. They seem to forget that the desired "noiseless boots" would lead to no end of serious frights, and possibly fatalities. What is more fatal to a nervous person than to become suddenly aware of the presence of an unknown person behind one. Even a strong minded man would be very apt to be "frightened out of his wits" by the "sudden feeling" that someone were behind him.
The idea is ridiculous.
Harley street, W.