31 August 1888
HORRIBLE MURDER IN BUCK'S
The Central News says: Scarcely has the horror and sensation caused by the discovery of the murdered woman in Whitechapel some short time ago had time to abate when another discovery is made which, for the brutality exercised on the victim, is even more shocking, and will no doubt create as great a sensation in the vicinity as its predecessor. The affair up to the present is enveloped in complete mystery, and the police have as yet no evidence to trace the perpetrators of the horrible deed.
The facts are that Constable John Neil was walking down Bucks-row, Thomas-street, Whitechapel, about a quarter to four o'clock this morning, when he discovered a woman between 35 and 40 years of age lying at the side of the street with her throat cut right open from ear to ear, the instrument with which the deed was done traversing the throat from left to right. The wound was about two inches wide, and blood was flowing profusely. She was discovered to be lying in a pool of blood.
She was immediately conveyed to the Whitechapel mortuary, when it was found that besides the wound in the throat the lower part of the abdomen was completely ripped open, with the bowels protruding. The wound extends nearly to her breast, and must have been effected with a large knife.
As the corpse lies in the mortuary it presents a ghastly sight. The victim seems to be between 35 and 40 years of age and measures five feet two inches in height. The hands are bruised, and bear evidence of having engaged in a severe struggle. There is the impression of a ring having been worn on one of deceased's fingers, but there is nothing to show that it had been wrenched from her in a struggle. Some of the front teeth have also been knocked out, and the face is bruised on both cheeks and very much discoloured.
Deceased wore a rough brown ulster, with large buttons in front. Her clothes are torn and cut up in several places, bearing evidence of the ferocity with which the murder was committed.
The only way by which the police can prosecute an inquiry at present is by finding some one who can identify the deceased, and then, if possible, trace in whose company she was last seen.
In Buck's-row, naturally, the greatest excitement prevails, and several persons in the neighbourhood state that an affray occurred shortly after midnight, but no screams were heard, nor anything beyond what might have been considered evidence of an ordinary brawl. In any case, the police unfortunately will have great difficulty in bringing to justice the murderer or murderers.
The woman murdered in Whitechapel has not yet been identified. She was wearing workhouse clothes, and it is supposed she came from Lambeth. A night watchman was in the street where the crime was committed. He heard no screams, and saw no signs of the scuffle. The body was quite warm when brought to the mortuary at half-past four this morning.
Immediately on the affair being reported at the Bethnal Green Police-station, two inspectors proceeded to the mortuary and examined the clothes in the hope of being able to discover something likely to lead to the murdered woman's identification. In this they were not successful, as the only articles found on the body were a broken comb and a piece of looking glass. This fact leads the police to think that the unfortunate woman belongs to the class known as "unfortunates," and that she spent her nights in common lodging-houses where such articles are necessary. The wounds, of which there are five, could only have been committed with a dagger or a long sharp knife. The officers engaged in the case are pushing their inquiries in the neighbourhood as to the doings of certain gangs known to frequent these parts, and an opinion is gaining ground amongst them that the murderers are the same who committed the two previous murders near the same spot. It is believed that these gangs, who make their appearance during the early hours of the morning, are in the habit of blackmailing these poor unfortunate creatures, and when their demands are refused, violence follows, and in order to avoid their deeds being brought to light they put away their victims. They have been under the observation of the police for some time past, and it is believed that with the prospect of a reward and a free pardon, some of them might be persuaded to turn Queen's evidence, when some startling revelations might be expected. Up till noon Mr. Wynne E. Baxter, the Coroner for the district, had not received any official intimation of the occurrence, but he will probably do so during the day, and the inquest will most likely be held on Monday morning.