12 November 1888
THE SUPPOSED MURDERER SEEN AT KENNINGTON
THE MURDERED WOMAN'S HISTORY
ARREST THIS MORNING
THE INQUEST TODAY
REPORTED LETTER FROM THE MURDERER
It is reported this morning, from Spitalfields, that Mrs. McCarthy, the wife of the landlord of No. 26 Dorset street, this morning received by post a letter signed Jack the Ripper, saying that they were not to worry themselves, because he meant to "do" two more in the neighbourhood, a mother and daughter. The letter was taken immediately to Commercial street Police station and handed to the Inspector on duty.
A Press Association, on inquiring at Commercial street Police station, subsequently was assured that no such letter had been received there.
A reliable correspondent informs us that on Friday morning, about 11.45, a respectably dressed man, a stranger to the locality, was observed to stoop and wash his hands in a puddle at the corner of Clayton street, nearest to the Kennington Oval. He wore a dark suit, black coat, black billycock hat, and had a small black leather bag with him. He was about 5ft 6in in height, under 30 years of age, broad shouldered, and wore a thick brown moustache. The person who saw him wash his hands in this singular place declares that he noticed marks of blood upon one hand. This, of course, occurred at a time when the news of the murder in Dorset street had not reached Kennington. He further describes this mysterious individual as having a sallow complexion and a thin, clean shaved face.
The audacity of the assassin seemed to be a very general theme among the crowds on Friday night, and on all hands could be heard expressions of opinion that the probability was he was then among them, listening to their denunciations of him with diabolical enjoyment. This disposition of the crowd to look at each other for the criminal constituted a real peril for any stranger among them, the women especially making no secret of the longing they felt to lynch somebody, and it looked as though in one or two cases the police were compelled to make arrests to prevent something of the kind being attempted.
The Central News says: The woman murdered in Spitalfields, on Friday, was born in Limerick, her name being Marie Jeanette Kelly. Her parents moved from Limerick to Carmarthen, and here the deceased married a collier whose name is believed to be Davies. He, however, was killed in a colliery explosion and the deceased woman then lived an ill life at Cardiff, afterwards removing to London. Her parents are still living in Wales.
Some statements have appeared respecting the deceased's antecedents, and as to her having formerly lived for some time in a fashionable house in the West end. There is reason to believe that not only are these statements as to her antecedents well founded, but that she still maintained some sort of communication with the companions of her prosperous days. Seeing that it was contrary to Kelly's custom for her to bring strangers to her room, it is believed that her destroyer, whoever he may be, offered her some exceptional inducement to take him there.
Whereas, on November the 8th or 9th, in Miller court, Dorset street, Spitalfields, Mary Janet Kelly was murdered by some person or persons unknown, the Secretary of State will advise the grant of Her Majesty's gracious pardon to any accomplice not being a person who contrived or actually committed the murder, who shall give such information and evidence as shall lead to the discovery and conviction of the person or persons who committed the murder.
(Signed) Charles Warren
The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
Metropolitan Police Office: 4 Whitehall place, S.W.
10th November 1888
"London and Brighton" a paper published on Wednesday, contains the following:
On Sunday the new moon came in. If Jack the Ripper is a lunatic, and if there is any truth in the theory of the susceptibility of lunatics to lunar influence we ought to hear from him in the course of a few days.
About ten o'clock last night, the idle and inquisitive crowd, who since the ghastly discovery was made have infested Dorset street and its immediate neighbourhood, had their attention attracted to the extraordinary behaviour of a man who for some short time before had been officiously making inquiries and generally conducting himself in an unusual manner. Over a pair of good trousers he wore a jersey in place of a coat, and his face was most palpably artificially blacked. His manner led to considerable remark, and at last a cry was raised that he was Jack the Ripper. In the prevailing state of the public mind in the district this was quite enough to inflame the anger of those in the street, and he was at once roughly seized. Fortunately for him, there were a large number of policemen about, both in uniform and plain clothes, by whom he was at once surrounded on the first alarm being given. He at first resisted capture, but, happily for himself, soon realised his position and consented to go quietly to Leman street Police station.
Meanwhile, the officers who had him in charge had the greatest difficulty in saving their prisoner from the fury of the mob, who amid the wildest excitement made the most desperate endeavours to lynch him. As it was, he was very roughly handled and considerably bruised by the time he reached the police station, where he gave name and address which are withheld by the police authorities. He stated that he was a medical man, and had disguised himself in the absurd manner above described in order to endeavour by what he thought were detective means to discover and apprehend the perpetrator of the Whitechapel horrors. He also gave such particulars of himself as enabled the police to quickly substantiate their accuracy, and to discharge him after a short detention in the cells.
Since the murders in Berner street, St. George's, and Mitre square, Aldgate, Detective Inspectors Reid, Moore, and Nairn, and Sergeants Thicke, Godley, M'Carthy, and Pearce have been constantly engaged, under the direction of Inspector Abberline (Scotland yard), in prosecuting inquiries, but, unfortunately, up to the present time without any practical result. As an instance of the magnitude of their labours, each officer has had, on an average, during the last six weeks to make some 30 separate inquiries weekly, and these have had to be made in different portions of the metropolis and suburbs. Since the two above mentioned murders no fewer than 1400 letters relating to the tragedies have been received by the police, and although the greater portion of those gratuitous communications were found to be of a trivial and even ridiculous character, still each one was thoroughly investigated. On Saturday many more letters were received, and these are now being inquired into. The Times says that the detective officers, who are now subjected to a great amount of harassing work, complain that the authorities do not allow them sufficient means with which to carry on their investigations.
On Saturday afternoon a gentleman engaged in business in the vicinity of the murder gave what is the only approach to a possible clue that has yet been brought to light. He states that he was walking through Mitre square at about ten minutes past ten on Friday morning, when a tall, well dressed man, carrying a parcel under his arm, and rushing along in a very excited manner, ran plump into him. The man's face was covered with blood splashes, and his collar and shirt were also bloodstained. The gentleman did not at the time know anything of the murder.
A somewhat important investigation was made on Saturday in the room in Miller's court in which the woman was murdered. The police had reason to believe that the murderer had burnt something before leaving the room after the crime, and accordingly the ashes and other matter in the grate were carefully preserved. Dr. Phillips and Dr. Macdonald, M.P., the coroner for the district, visited Miller's court, and after the refuse had been passed through a sieve it was subjected to the closest scrutiny by the medical gentlemen. Nothing, however, was found at the examination which is likely to afford any assistance or clues to the police.
It seems as though every few paces in this neighbourhood of Spitalfields street singers and preachers are doing their best to take full advantage of the solemnising effect of the successive tragedies. "There is no doubt," said a City missionary, "that the impression has been very profound among these unhappy women. We have had special meetings for them, and at the very outset of our efforts we got 34 of them away to homes, and we have had a good many others since. I knew the poor girl who has just been killed, and to look at, at all events, she was one of the smartest, nicest looking women in the neighbourhood. We have had her at some of our meetings, and a companion of hers was one we rescued. I know that she has been in correspondence with her mother, It is not true, as it has been stated, that she is a Welshwoman. She is of Irish parentage, and her mother, I believe, lives in Limerick. I used to hear a good deal about the letters from her mother there. You would not have supposed if you had met her in the street that she belonged to the miserable class she did, as she was always neatly and decently dressed, and looked quite nice and respectable."
"You have been at this work for a good many years?"
"Seven years in this neighbourhood."
"And do you find the state of things improving in any degree?"
"Well, I think there is a little improvement - some little improvement. I have been out and about the streets at all hours, and have sometimes found a shocking state of things. I remember a year or two back going out one night and finding 11 women who had crept for shelter into the staircase of one house. They were quite destitute, and were sleeping there. The opening of the refuges of one sort and another has done something to reduce the numbers found in this way, but there is still a deplorable state of things."
It may be stated that although Dorset street is only a very short thoroughfare no less than 1500 men sleep every night in the common lodging houses with which it abounds. In Miller's court quite a panic has occurred, and Mr. McCarthy, the landlord of the house, states that the result of the alarm engendered by the murder has already been the loss of four tenants who, presumably, are too frightened to remain in the immediate vicinity of the scene of so terrible a tragedy.
A flower girl, named Catherine Pickell, residing in Dorset street, states that at about 7.30 on Friday morning she called at Kelly's house to borrow a shawl, and that, though she knocked several times, she got no answer.
The Press Association says: The police at Commercial street Station made another arrest at three o'clock this morning, in Dorset street, at the scene of the murder. The man, who does not answer the description of the supposed murderer, was acting very suspiciously, and refused to satisfy the officers as to his recent movements. Inquiries are being made, but at eight o'clock he was still in custody.
Elizabeth Foster, who lives in a lodging house in Dorset street, and whose whereabouts were difficult to ascertain, made the following statement to a Press Association reporter:
"I have known Mary Jane Kelly for the last eighteen months, and we were always good friends. She used to tell me she came from Limerick. She was as nice a woman as one could find, and although she was an unfortunate, I don't think she went on the streets whilst she lived with Barnet. On Wednesday night I was in her lodgings with her, and the next evening I met her in the Ten Bells public house near Spitalfields Church. We were drinking together, and she went out about five minutes past seven o'clock. I never saw her after that."
The statements of the man Barnet, connecting the murdered woman Kelly with South Wales have had the effect of creating considerable additional excitement in this part of the country. Up to the present, however, the investigations by local Press representatives have not resulted in the discovery of Kelly's parents or other relatives. It appears, from inquiries made at Carmarthen and Swansea, that after leaving the former place for the latter, Kelly, who was then only seventeen years of age, entered the service of a Mrs. Rees, who stands committed to the next Assizes on a charge of procuring abortion, and who is the daughter of a medical man formerly resident at Carmarthen. From Swansea it is said that Kelly went to Cardiff, but no trace of her in that town can be discovered.
OBJECTIONS BY THE JURYMEN
At the Shoreditch Town Hall, this morning, before Dr. Macdonald, coroner for North east Middlesex, an inquest was opened upon the remains of the unfortunate woman, Mary Jeanette Kelly, who was found brutally murdered in a house in Miller's court, Dorset street, Spitalfields, on Friday morning, and whose body was afterwards mutilated in the most horrible manner.
The Court room was inconveniently small, and was overcrowded.
Before the jurymen were sworn, one of the men who had been summoned said he did not understand why he should be summoned on a jury in Shoreditch when the murder occurred in Whitechapel.
The Coroner: Do you think we do not know what we are doing?
The Juryman: I object.
The Coroner: You have no right to object. You are summoned here and must do your duty. If any of the jurymen persist in objecting, I shall know how to deal with them.
The Juryman: The murder occurred in the Whitechapel district. I am in the list for Shoreditch, and I do not see why I should be summoned about the matter.
The Coroner (impatiently): I shall not argue with the jury. If any juryman has any distinct objection, let him say so.
Two other jurymen also objected. vThe Coroner: I may tell you that jurisdiction lies where the body lies, and not where the murder was committed; and the body lies in Shoreditch.
The Coroner's officer then asked the jury to select a foreman, but several who were selected refused to fill the post, and some difficulty was experienced before a foreman could be sworn.
After the jury had been sworn, they viewed the body in the neighbouring mortuary, and afterwards went to inspect the scene of the murder. Nearly three quarters of an hour elapsed before their return, and the inquest then proceeded.
The police were represented by Inspectors Abberline and Nairn.
The coroner said he thought the newspapers had made a great deal of unnecessary fuss about the question of jurisdiction. He had had no communication with Mr. Baxter about the matter. The body was removed to the Shoreditch mortuary and therefore came under his (the coroner's) jurisdiction.
Joseph Barnet was the first witness. He said: I used to be a fish porter and afterwards became a labourer. Up to last Saturday I lived at 24 New street. Since Saturday I have stayed with my sister in Portpool lane, Gray's Inn road. I lived with the deceased a year and eight months.
Her name was Marie Jeanette Kelly; at least, so she always told me. I have seen the body and I identify it by the ear and eyes. I am positive it is the same woman. I lived with her in Miller's court for eight months, I believe, but the landlord says it was longer than that. I separated from her on the 30th of last month, because she took a prostitute into her room out of compassion. My being out of work had nothing to do with my leaving her.
I last saw her alive between 7.30 and 7.45 on the night on which she was supposed to be murdered. I went to call upon her and ask after her welfare. I remained with her a quarter of an hour. We were on very friendly terms, but I had nothing to give her and told her so, at the same time saying how sorry I was it was so. We did not have a drink together whilst I was there.
She was quite sober. She was a sober woman generally whilst she was with me, though I have occasionally seen her drunk. When I went there on Thursday evening a female who lived in the court was present whilst I was visiting the deceased. I have had many conversations with deceased about her parents.
She said she was born in Limerick but went to Wales when very young, and came to London about four years ago. Her father's name, she told me, was John Kelly, a "gaffer" at an ironworks in Wales - Carnarvonshire or Carmarthenshire. She also said she had a sister, who was a respectable woman, and that she had seven brothers, six of them at home and one in the Army. I never saw any of these brothers to my knowledge. She said she was married when very young in Wales.
Her husband was a collier named David (sic) or Davies, and she lived with him until he was killed in an explosion. I cannot say how long the accident was after the marriage. She said she was about 16 when she married. After her husband's death she went to Cardiff to meet a cousin, and stayed there a long time, being in the infirmary there for eight or nine months. She was living a bad life with her cousin, who was the cause of her downfall.
After leaving Cardiff she came to London, and lived in a fast house in the West end. Whilst there she said a gentleman asked her if she would like to go to France.
She went there with him, but soon returned, as she did not like the place. She did not say what part of France she went to. On returning to London she walked the streets in Ratcliff Highway. She stayed there some time, and lived with a man named Morganstone, who worked at the Stepney Gas Works. She also lived in Pennington street with a man named Joseph Flaming. She said she was very fond of this man, who was a mason's plasterer, but I do not know what she left him for. I first picked up with her in Commercial street, Spitalfields.
We had a drink together, and I arranged to see her on the following day - a Saturday. On that day we agreed that we should remain together, and I took lodgings in George street, Commercial street, where I was known. >From that time I lived with her until we parted the other day.
On several occasions she has expressed fear of the Whitechapel murderer. I read all the details to her from the papers. She never expressed fear of any particular individual. We have had quarrels, but they were always soon over, and usually we were on the best of terms.
Thomas Boyer, 47, Dorset street, Spitalfields, servant to Mr. McCarthy, the landlord of No. 13 Miller's court, said:
On Friday morning last about a quarter to eleven I was ordered by Mr. McCarthy to go to Mary Jane's room. I only knew her as Mary Jane. He told me to get the rent. I knocked at the door and got so answer, and knocked again, with a similar result. I then went round the corner by the gutter spout where there is a broken window.
Inspector Ledger, G Division, was sworn, and proved that a plan produced was a correct plan of the premises.
Boyer's examination was resumed, and he described from the plan the position of the window he went to. Continuing, he said: There was a curtain on the window, and I put my hand through the broken pane, pulled the curtain on one side and looked in.
I saw two lumps of flesh lying on the table, close against the front of the bed. I looked a second time, and saw a body lying on the bed and blood on the floor. I at once went very quietly back to my master and told him what I had seen. "Good God," he said, "Do you mean to say this?" We both went to the police station at once after my master had had a look through the window. We told the police what we had seen. Only my master and myself knew of the murder before we informed the police. The inspector on duty returned with us to Miller's court. I had often seen the woman in and out of the court whilst she lived there. I also new the last witness, Joseph Barnet. I saw deceased under the influence of drink once, but I never saw Barnet drunk. I last saw deceased alive on Wednesday afternoon. Mr. McCarthy's shop is at the corner of the court.
THE OWNER OF THE HOUSE CALLED
Mr. John McCarthy said:
I am a grocer and lodging house keeper at 27 Dorset street. On Friday morning last, about 10.30, I sent my man Boyer to No. 13, Miller's court, for the rent. He went there and came back in about five minutes, saying, "Governor, I knocked at the door and could not make anybody answer. I looked through the window and saw a lot of blood." I went out with him, looked through the window, and saw the blood and the body lying on the bed. For a moment I could not say anything, but afterwards said, "Harry, don't tell anyone; go and fetch the police." I knew deceased as Mary Jane Kelly. I have seen both alive and dead, and have no doubt about her identity. I followed Boyer to the police station in Commercial street and saw Inspector Beck. I inquired first for Inspectors Reid and Abberline. I saw the inspector on duty and told him what I had seen. He put on his coat and hat and came with me at once. Deceased had lived at No. 13 about ten months with Barnet. I did not know whether they were married or not. They lived on comfortable terms. They had rows occasionally, but nothing of any consequence. Some time ago they broke two windows during a row. The furniture in the room belonged to me - the bed linen and everything. The rent of the room was 4s 6d per week, but deceased was 29s in arrears. I was supposed to get the rent weekly.
Sir - In all our ghastly investigations into these terrible murders have we not been forgetting the poor fallen class from which the murderer has chosen his victims? That there have been detached and desultory efforts made by good sympathising ladies and gentlemen is a well known fact. But has a like thrilling interest been awakened for past and possibly future sufferers, as in the detection and arrest of the brute who yet lives to boast and gloat over their suffering? Surely a body of matrons from the West End of London of all classes - the higher the better - might meet a body of matrons from the East End and take common counsel for the relief of their erring sisters. Many of them are struggling to get back to decent life as of old, and would doubtless listen and then go out to win others to their reformed example. We want some definite, determined, indomitable effort - the good pull and the long pull and the pull all together, and not the feeble cry of lazy pity that only uplifts the eye and shrugs the shoulder, and then relapses into selfish forgetfulness. Last year the Archbishop of Canterbury was at Whitechapel Church consecrating a bishop. In years gone by his noble predecessor, and a predecessor, too, of the Bishop of London, came down as Bishop of the Diocese to the East End, when the plague of cholera had begun, to cheer its death stricken victims. Will not the ladies who preside at Lambeth and Fulham Palaces come down with their husbands all in their humanity to try to stem another plague, devastating these poor fallen creatures?
I am, &c.,
William J. Jenkins
One of the Vigilance Committee
The Press Association says: The report is current at Scotland yard, today, that Sir Charles Warren has sent in his resignation. No official confirmation or denial can be obtained.
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The Murders in the Rue Morgue
By Edgar Allen Poe.
Will be read with special interest at the present time, as it describes step by step how a student found and followed up the clue to a murder, the discovery of which the authorities had declared impossible.
"This mystery is considered insoluble, for the very reason which should cause it to be regarded as easy of solution - I mean for the outré character of its features. The police are confounded by the seeming absence of motive - not for the murder itself - but for the atrocity of the murder."
"In investigations such as we are now pursuing, it should not be so much asked 'what has occurred' as 'what has occurred that has never occurred before?' In fact, the facility with which I shall arrive, and have arrived, at the solution of this mystery, is in the direct ratio of its apparent insolubility in the eyes of the police." See pages 12 and 13.
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