4 September 1888
Mr. Wynne E. Baxter, the Coroner for South East Middlesex, resumed yesterday the inquest on the body of Mary Ann Nichols, aged 42, the wife of a machinist, who was murdered in Buck's row, Whitechapel, early on Friday morning. the following evidence was taken:-
Inspector John Spratling, J Division, said at half past four o'clock on Friday morning he was in the Hackney road, when he received information of the finding of the body of the deceased in Buck's row. Witness proceeded to the spot directly, and there saw Police constable 96 (Thain), who pointed to where the body had been found. Witness noticed stains of blood and water between the stones. They told him that the body had been removed to the mortuary in Old Montague street, where they went together. The body at that time was on the ambulance in the yard waiting for the mortuary keeper, and when he arrived the body was placed on the bench. Witness was about to take a description of the under garments when he discovered the injuries to the abdomen. He at once sent for Dr. Llewellyn. He did not notice any blood marks between the groin and the knees, the skin of which was clean.
The coroner - Was there any evidence of it having been washed?
The Witness - I should say not. I left the examination to the doctor.
That question was not asked the doctor? - The doctor made an examination then, lasting ten minutes or a quarter of an hour.
That was an examination of the abdominal injuries only, and not of the whole body? - Yes, sir.
Who stripped the body? - Two workhouse people. I don't know who they were, but I gave them no instructions.
The Coroner - It is important that the clothes should be described and the position they were in.
Witness, continuing his evidence, said he went to the mortuary again about twelve o'clock the same day. The clothes were lying in a heap in the yard, and consisted of a brown ulster somewhat worn, a new brown winsey (sic) dress, grey wool petticoat, flannel petticoat, these last two being marked "Lambeth Workhouse P.R.," drab or brown corsets in fair condition, which had no cuts on them.
The Coroner - Were they fastened when you saw them?
Witness - Yes, they were fastened at the back.
Were they fastened at the front? This a most important point - I did not remove them from the body, so I could not say.
Well, who can give us this information; or shall we have to examine them for ourselves? - Inspector Helston can tell you more about it. I noticed a blood stain on the back of the dress.
Did you examine Buck's row? - Yes; between five and six o'clock in the morning, and also the railway and yards abutting on the street.
Did you examine the street for blood stains, I mean? - Yes, between eleven and twelve o'clock I examined Buck's row and Queen street, but found no blood stains in either. I subsequently, in company with Sergeant Godley, examined the East London District Railway embankment and the Great Eastern Railway yard for blood stains and weapons, but found none.
Who wiped up the blood that we have heard of? - One of Mr. Brown's men.
Is there not a constable on duty at the gate of the Great Eastern Railway Company's yard? - Yes; that is about 50 yards away from the spot. I have questioned him, and he heard nothing during the night. A Mrs. Green, whose rooms overlook the spot, said she heard nothing during the whole of the night, though she was up from three till half past four o'clock.
How far is the slaughter house away? - About 150 paces, going round by the Board School.
A Juryman - How far away from Buck's row was the nearest constable except Neil?
Witness - There is another constable whose beat takes in the east side of Brady street, which runs at the top of Buck's row. When witness examined the body he came to the conclusion that the woman had been murdered in her clothes, as there was a large quantity of blood on the neck of the dress just where the head had touched it. He did not think that the woman had been dressed after the murder.
Henry Tomkins, 112 Coventry street, Bethnal green, a horse slaughterer, said - I am employed by Messrs. Barber, and was working all night on Thursday. I started at eight o'clock at the slaughter house, Winthorpe (sic) street, and finished about a quarter past four.
The Coroner - Where did you go then?
Witness - We generally go for a walk.
Where did you go that morning? - I went to look at the murdered woman, which a policeman had told us of a few minutes before. He said there had been a woman murdered in Buck's row.
Who worked with you? - There are three of us work together, James Mumford, Charles Brittan, and myself.
When did you go out before four o'clock? - I and Brittan left the slaughter house at twelve o'clock, and returned about one o'clock or a little later. We did not leave the place after, till we were told of the murder.
Did you go far? - No, only as far as the court.
The latter part of the night were you at the door at all? - No.
Was it quiet in the slaughter house, say from two o'clock? - Yes; very quiet.
Are your gates and doors open, and could you hear what passed in the street? - All our gates were open, but I heard no noise nor cry.
Did any one come to the slaughter house that night? - No one but the policeman.
I suppose some people do come and look you up? - Well, yes, now and then.
Some of them women? - I never take notice of them. I don't like them.
Never mind that. Did you see any that night? - Not about there; but there were some in the Whitechapel road; plenty, of all sorts.
Now, supposing any one had called out in Buck's row "Murder! Police!" or something like that, should you have heard it? - No; our place is too far away for that.
Who went to see the woman first? - Two of us went first, and my mate came after. There were three or four policemen, a sergeant, and the doctor, and I think there were two men there before me.
Inspector Helston, J Division, said - at 6.45 on Friday morning I received information of the affair at my house. I first went to Bethnal green Police station and made myself acquainted with the facts, after which I went to the mortuary. The body was fully dressed, except the bonnet. The bodice of the dress was open for about four buttons from the top. They might have been undone by the doctor. The stays were shorter than usual, and did not reach the hip. There were no blood marks on either of the petticoats. The back of the dress just about the shoulders was soaked in blood, which had flowed from the wound in the neck. The ulster was also saturated, and between that and the dress the blood was clotted. The other parts of the body were clean, but did not give one the impression that the body had been recently washed. The face was bruised, as if by a blow on the cheek, and the right jaw appeared to have been struck. There were no marks of any ring being torn off the finger, and there were no appearances of any struggle having taken place. All the injuries to the abdomen could have been inflicted while the woman was wearing her stays. I have examined the spot where the body was found in Buck's row. There were no signs of any blood on the large gates where the body was laid, and, as the paint was fresh, they would, had they been there, have been easily visible. With the exception of one stain in Brady street, which might have been blood, I saw nothing to show that blood had been spilled. I should say that the outrage was committed on the spot. The clothes were not disarranged enough for the body to have been dragged any distance.
Police constable George Maizen, 55H, said - On Friday morning, at 20 minutes past four, I was at the end of Hanbury street, Baker's row, when some one who was passing said, "You're wanted down there" (pointing to Buck's row). The man appeared to be a carman. (The man, whose name is George Cross, was brought in and the witness identified him as the man who spoke to him on the morning in question.) I went up Buck's row and saw a policeman shining his light on the pavement. He said, "Go for an ambulance," and I at once went to the station, and returned with it. I assisted to remove the body. The blood appeared fresh, and was still running from the neck of the woman.
Charles Allen Cross, a carman, in the employ of Messrs. Pickford, said on Friday morning I left home at half past three. I went down Parson street, crossed Brady street, and through Buck's row. I was alone. As I got up Buck's row I saw something lying on the north side in the gateway to a wool warehouse. It looked to me like a man's tarpaulin, but on going into the centre of the road I saw it was the figure of a woman. At the same time I heard a man coming up the street in the same direction as I had done, so I waited for him to come up. When he came up, I said, "Come and look over here; there is a woman." We then both went over to the body. I bent over her head, and touched her hand, which was cold. I said, "She is dead." The other man, after he had felt her heart, said, Yes, she is." he then suggested that we should shift her, but I said, "No, let us go and tell a policeman." When I found her clothes were up above her knees, we tried to pull them over her, but they did not seem as if they would come down. I did not notice any blood.
The Coroner - Did you not see that her throat was cut?
Witness - No; it was very dark at the time. We left together and went up Baker's row, where we met a constable. I said to him, "There is a woman in Buck's row on the broad of her back. She is dead or else drunk." the constable said he would go, and I left him and went on to work.
The Coroner - Did you see Police constable Neil about?
Witness - No, I did not see any one at all, except the constable I spoke to. I don't think I met anybody, after I left my house till I got to the body.
William Nichols said - I am a machinist, and live at Coburg road, Old Kent road, and the deceased was my wife. I separated from her on Easter Monday eight years ago. I have not seen her for over three years, nor do I know what she had been doing.
By the Jury - I don't know whom she has lived with; but I do know that she was given to drink, and that she left me many times. I took her back, but she would get drunk, so I had to leave her.
A Juror - Did you not take on with a nurse girl?
Witness - No. My oldest child by this woman is two years and a half old, after I had parted from my wife.
Jane Oran said - I live at 18 Thrawl street, which is a common lodging house for single women. I have known the deceased for six weeks; she slept in the same bed as I. She has not been in the house for the last eight or ten days. I saw her about half past two on the morning she was murdered in Whitechapel road. I asked her where she was living, and she said that she was staying where men and women were allowed to sleep, and that she should come back to my house to her own room.
The Coroner - Did she say where she was living?
Witness - I think she said Flower and Dean street. I tried to persuade her to stay with me that night, but she was in drink and refused. I never saw her have any trouble; she always kept herself to herself, as if she was melancholy. I believe that she had been living in Boundary street since she left my house.
Mary Ann Monk, an inmate of the Lambeth Workhouse, said - I know the deceased. I last saw her in a public house in the New Kent road.
Coroner - Had you ever seen her in the workhouse?
Witness - Yes; I saw her six or seven years ago in the Lambeth Workhouse.
The inquiry was then adjourned for a fortnight.
The inquest upon the body of the woman Nichols, murdered in Whitechapel on Friday, was resumed yesterday. The men who fetched the body, the police who were fetched to the spot, and the husband of the deceased woman were examined; but no further light was thrown on the affair, and the inquest was adjourned for a fortnight.