10 October 1888
We are to be burdened with another prize fight. Mr. Richard K. Fox has come over from America to "back" Kilrain to fight "anybody," and Sullivan is said to have accepted the challenge. It is to be hoped our Princes will refrain from patronising the pugilists this time.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ECHO
SIR, - I find that not only in the Whitechapel atrocities, but in many other assassination cases there are certain individuals who are idiotic enough to give themselves up stating they are guilty of the crime, and when taken before the Magistrate they plead innocence, as a rule state they were drunk, or had been drinking heavily, and knew not what they were saying, &c., and they are constantly discharged from custody by the Magistrate; but this is after numerous inquiries have been made into the character, &c., of the individual giving himself up. The police and detectives have quite sufficient work in hand, without having extra running about to institute inquiries on theses groundless self-accusations. It appears the Magistrate has no jurisdiction in his power to inflict any fine or punishment; but when drunkenness is the excuse, could not the person be fined for being drunk? - I am, Sir, yours faithfully, J.E.W
Bromley, Oct. 7
INFORMATION FOR CANDIDATES
The officials in the Criminal Investigation Department make an explanation to-day of certain statements as to the working of the force. It is said that statements recently made as to the enrolment of candidates for detective - that is to say, criminal investigation - work in the Metropolitan Police, are incorrect. As a matter of fact, for some years past the standard height in the Metropolitan police has been 5ft. 8½in., and in the beginning of 1887 it was raised to 5ft. 9in., but the Commissioner has power from the Secretary of State to accept candidates as short as 5ft. 7in., The Commissioner has at all times been prepared to obtain the Secretary of State's sanction to his enrolment. The limit of age is 35, but, as a rule, candidates are not taken over the age of 27. There is no rule, and never has been any rule, made by the Commissioner that candidates on joining must serve for tow or three years as constables in divisions before being appointed to the Criminal Investigation branch. As a general rule, however, the Department has ascertained that the candidates who have applied to be appointed direct to detective duties have not possessed any special qualifications which would justify their being so appointed.
Mitre-square, it is curious to note, had been the scene of several tragic events before the Catherine Eddowes was murdered there the other day. It was the scene of the capture of the dynamiters who blew up a portion of the Tower, and twenty years since two men blew up the house in which they lived, and themselves with it, by some foolish experiments with gunpowder.
The civic authorities are in mourning and Gog and Magog incline to weep. Not on account of the Whitechapel murders; but because the incoming Lord Mayor will have no allegorical displays or emblematic groups in his show this year. He will not, however, ride in a cab like Lord Mayor Allen, but go in good state, and give any money that is saved in "Emblems" to the poor.
"The trials of bloodhounds in Hyde Park," writes a Correspondent, "with which Sir Charles Warren 'seemed pleased,' are scarcely what is required. There are hounds in London which have been trained to follow a trail through a street, and these are the animals that are required. In one respect, however, it is easier for a hound to follow a trail over a dirty pavement than over a frozen field. The grease on the former preserves the scent for the dog."
A DESCRIPTION OF THE VICTIM
The detective police, to whom is committed the duty of investigating the circumstances of the mystery connected with the discovery of the headless and limbless body found in Whitehall, have by the medical evidence given at the inquest been placed in possession of a description of a woman who was the subject of the horrible crime thus committed. As was stated on Monday, a great many cases of missing women have been brought before the police, and the number has caused embarrassment. Now, however, the police have before them the fact that the deceased woman was a plump woman of about 5ft. 8in. or 9in. high; that she had suffered from pleurisy; that she was from 24 years of age upwards; that she had fair skin and dark hair; and that her hand, found with the arm at Pimlico, showed that she had not been used to hard work. Moreover, the police have the fact that the death may have been from six weeks to two months prior to the 2nd of October, which would bring the end of her life to about the 20th of August, and the death moreover is defined as having been one which drained the body of blood. This last point means that wherever the woman met her death - and it was not in the water - the place would be marked with blood. Anxious search is being made for the head.
Since the inquest on Monday, Inspector Marshall has been diligently prosecuting inquiries in connection with the finding of the trunk of a woman at Whitehall, and it is expected that he will be in a position to furnish further important evidence at the adjourned inquest on the 22nd inst. The spot where the body was found is still watched by the police, who will continue to guard the place until after the inquest. The fact that everyone is of opinion that no stranger could have put the parcel in such and out-of-the-way corner considerably narrows the inquiry; and on Monday week other workmen will be called who will prove that the parcel was not in the vault on the Saturday before the Monday when it was found. The men engaged on the works have taken the matter in hand, and are endeavouring to ascertain the person who is responsible for depositing the remains in the vault. No stone, in fact, is being left unturned to discover some clue to the mystery.
ANOTHER IMPORTANT CLUE
The East-end crimes still excite wide-spread interest and alarm in Whitechapel and the immediate district. Trade in many callings has been seriously affected, and some of the common lodging-houses are now almost denuded of female occupants of a certain class, the police having had direct information that unfortunate woman who lately resided in Whitechapel and Spitalfields, are now residing at Battersea, Hammersmith, Notting-hill, Chelsea, and other populous suburban parishes.
Inspector Reid, Inspector Abberline, Inspector Chandler, and other of the chief officers are pursuing their investigations with the utmost rigour. Indeed, since the commission of the murders the detectives have been at work almost night and day. Many of them are heavy pecuniary losers, having in their zeal to find a clue, paid money which, even under the head of "extraordinary expenses," the Receiver would not sanction. Some of this money had been given to women who either associated with or knew the victims. The ordinary routine in the detection of criminals has been departed from, and any suggestion, however novel, is discussed by the authorities, and acted on if at all of a feasible character.
Sir Charles Warren's bloodhounds have not yet arrived in Whitechapel. They are, it is said, being trained; but should they be required to aid in the work of detecting fresh crimes, the hounds will be despatched to any spot in London with the utmost speed. As to their practical use opinions are much divided. "If the murders had taken place in any of the parks," said a Criminal Investigation officer to an Echo reporter, "the hounds would have been there as soon as the police, nut with hard, stony ground, and the many other obstacles to scent a trail, it is not thought they will be of any use."
The authorities are greatly harassed by the multitudinous letters pointing to "clues" in this or that locality. Sometimes seventy or eighty written communications and telegrams from all parts of the country arrive at the East-end District Police Office in one day. Certain of the writers have boldly incriminated individuals, and have offered to give full information, with the addendum that they hope to share in the reward.
Every item of authenticated private information is eagerly investigated and, even at the risk if being trided with, anonymous communications as to supposed clues receive due attention. This afternoon, for instance, the police at leman-street, acting on evidence believed to be of a highly important character, took steps to keep under observation the man believed to be guilty of these horrible murders. It is thought that this last clue will lead to elucidating the crime in some measure, even if it does not result in the immediate apprehension of the criminal. The police have strong reason to believe that the perpetrator of the East-end murders is not now in Whitechapel. His quarters are said to be in a far more fashionable part of the Metropolis.
There has also, our reporter was informed, been an arrest at Chingford. It is doubtful, however, whether it is of much importance.
Some time ago, writes a reporter, a man is stated to have landed from a ship at Deptford, who declared that if he could find her he would "do" for a certain woman, who, he conceived, had injured him. He further alleged that he would "do" for any other woman of her class. To-day the police give the man's description as follows:- Age, 28; height, 5ft. 5in. or 5ft. 6in.; complexion, fair; whiskers about a month's growth; dressed in dark clothes.
Upon inquiry at the principal Police-stations in the East-end at four o'clock this morning, a reporter was informed that no further arrests had been made in the district, and that there is now no one in custody. At all the stations matters are reported to be unusually quiet, a state of affairs due in a great measure, no doubt, to the elaborate system of patrols recently instituted by the police in the neighbourhood, and the disappearance of many of the most disorderly characters from the streets at a comparatively early hour.
It is sometimes supposed that London Detective have a very easy time of it, amusing themselves and spending the public money. As a matter of fact (says the City Press), every man is provided with a diary, in which he is required to keep, day by day, an account of all his movements, the investigations in which he has been engaged, the results of his efforts, the journeys he has made, the expense he has incurred, and so forth.
"Now, I want to be taken to the Police-station!" This was the exclamation with which William Griffiths, a young fellow of 18, a general dealer, of Mildmay-avenue, Islington, accosted Constable 200 J last night in the Essex-road. "If you don't take me," he abruptly added, "I shall murder somebody tonight. I am," he declared, " 'Jack the Ripper'," at the same time producing a rough-looking pocket-knife. The constable disregarded him, and told him to go home. However, shortly after he came out of a public-house, almost immediately falling down in what appeared to be a fit. However, the constable, on lifting him up, saw that he was drunk. "Only a drunken fit," exclaimed the man to the Dalston Magistrate when he appeared before him. - "And a foolish one, too," said the Magistrate. "Find a surety in £5 to keep the peace for three months, or go to prison for twenty-one days."
Walter Henry Knott, 25, a house painter, was charged at Marylebone Police-court to-day, with being drunk and disorderly, and making use of bad language; also with assaulting the police. The evidence was that the prisoner went to No. 10, Fordwych-road, West Hampstead, on Tuesday night, and opening the scullery window, called to his wife, who was servant there, and was with her mistress in the kitchen. The mistress became alarmed because of the language the prisoner was using, and she gave the servant permission to let him in, and she herself went upstairs. The prisoner continued his bad language, and threatened to give his wife the Whitechapel rip, and followed that up by attempting to hit her. She escaped, and locked him in. A policeman was then brought, and, after a desperate struggle, ejected the prisoner from the house. Outside he assaulted the constable. The Magistrate was now informed that there was a summons against Knott for threatening his wife; and Mr. Newton decided to hear it at once. The wife stated that she was married to the prisoner five years ago, since which time he had done scarcely any work, and she had had to go into service to earn her own living and help to support him. He had been most cruel to her, and had threatened her life many times. He had been bound over to keep the peace towards her. He was in favour of her going to her situation, and had twice gone there and received half-sovereigns from her. On the 6th of September he went to where she was employed, and behaved so badly that her mistress was terrified, and she had to go to the police-station about him. On the way the prisoner told her that if he got one day's imprisonment through her, he would do for her when he came out. She was going in fear of her life. - Mr. Newton fined the prisoner 40s., or one month's imprisonment, and after that to find two sureties in £5 each to keep the peace for three months.