17 September 1888
BALMORAL, Sept. 15.
Prince Albert Victor of Wales went out deer stalking.
On Saturday night a meeting of one of the recently formed Vigilance Committees was held at the Crown Tavern, Mile end road. The chair was taken by Mr. Aaron, who was supported by many of the leading inhabitants of the district. In opening the proceedings, the Chairman said the Committee had been formed for the purpose of considering what steps should be taken for the detection or prevention of crime in the district, and for strengthening the hands of the police, by individual action on the part of the citizens. A comprehensive circular has been printed and sent round, calling attention to the recent outrages which had alarmed the whole of London, and he had little doubt that, in the course of a few days, the Committee would be in a position to offer a substantial reward for the apprehension and conviction of the murderer or murderers. He wished it to be distinctly understood that he was in no way antagonistic to the police authorities, who were doing their best, as he believed they always did, to bring the culprits to justice; but inasmuch as their efforts had been futile, the time had arrived when the individual exertions of every inhabitant of the district was necessary to bring about the apprehension of the man who was desolating London (hear, hear). No man with the slightest feeling in his bosom could contemplate the recent murders without the keenest horror and indignation, and every woman in London was more or less in a state of trepidation and fear owing to the rapidity with which murder had succeeded murder in Whitechapel. No one knew where the assassin would commence next, and it therefore behoved every inhabitant to do his best towards the discovery of the wretch in hiding, whose only occupation seemed to be the slaying of his fellow creatures, selecting his victims from the poorest and most wretched female outcasts. He had received many subscriptions to the fund started, and he was glad to say that a letter had just reached him from Mr. Spencer Charrington, of the Brewery close by, which was as follows:-
"Anchor Brewery, Mile end, London, Sept. 15, 1888.
Sir - In reply to your letter, asking for a contribution to the reward fund for discovering the perpetrator of the late dreadful murders, I enclose you a cheque for five pounds, and remain yours truly,
He had also received a similar sum from Mr. Lusk, the builder, and he himself had subscribed a like amount, and several guineas, half guineas, and other sums had been cheerfully paid (cheers). There was one important matter in connection with his canvass, which, he thought, the Press should know, and that was the fact that every one he saw, whether a donor or not, expressed a decided opinion that the Government were entirely wrong in declining to offer any reward for information leading to the conviction of an escaped murderer.
Mr. Rogers, one of the Committee, said he could quite endorse the latter remark, for, without exception, he had found every one upon whom he had called thoroughly at variance with the Home Office on the matter; and, in many instances, where he had expected to obtain £5 or £10 without demur, he found that his friends, though willing at all times to give generously to any charitable object, declined to subscribe to the present fund, on the ground that it was the imperative duty of the Home Secretary to issue notification of a reward.
Other gentlemen having addressed the meeting, the Chairman pointed out that the reward would be given to any person, policeman or others, who should get hold of the desired clue, and he felt sure that the successful man would be well rewarded in other quarters. In the event of the money subscribed not being utilised for the purpose in view, it had been arranged to hand it over to the funds of the London Hospital or some other charity.
The proceedings terminated in the usual manner.
The police have been in communication with the pensioner Edward Stanley, who is known to have been frequently in the company of the murdered woman, Chapman. Stanley, who is a man of 47 years of age, attended at the Commercial street Police station, on Saturday and made a statement, which was taken down by Inspector Helson. His explanation of his proceedings is regarded as perfectly satisfactory, and as affording no possible grounds for associating him in any way with the recent outrage. In view of his relations with the deceased woman, Stanley felt considerable diffidence in coming forward, but after the expressions of opinion by the Coroner at the inquest on Thursday, he placed himself in direct communication with the police. It was by arrangement that he subsequently proceeded to Commercial street Police station. Stanley has given the police a full account of his whereabouts since he last saw the deceased woman, which was on the Sunday preceding the murder. Since then he has been following his usual employment, and has taken no steps to conceal his movements. The man is described as superior to the ordinary run of those who frequent the lodging houses of Spitalfields. He states that he has known Chapman for about two years, and he denies that she was of a quarrelsome disposition. So far as he is aware, there was no man with whom she was on bad terms, or who would have any reason for seeking her life.
A great deal of alarm is still felt in the district, and it has not been mitigated by the publicity given to the story of Mrs. Lloyd, of Heath street, Commercial road, who has repeated it with further details. According to her statement, on Monday, about eleven p.m., a man, whom she considered mad, ran down Heath street, a narrow thoroughfare, pursued by some youths. They called out to her, "Look what he has behind him." Mrs. Lloyd ran indoors and armed herself with a poker; but her daughter, a girl of about 15 years of age, who remained on the step, saw that the man, who crossed the street and peered in her face, held a knife behind him. He was followed by the youths into Commercial road, and was there lost to view. It is stated that this individual corresponds with a man who was seen on Sunday afternoon, in Flower and Dean street, by a woman, who says that he carried a large knife. He was short in stature, with a sandy beard, and wore a cloth cap, and he behaved very strangely. On Friday night a man named Edward M'Kenna, answering almost exactly to this description, was apprehended by the police and taken to Commercial street Police station. The man gave an address at 16 Brick lane, Whitechapel. The most suspicious article found upon him was small table knife, rather the worse for wear, which M'Kenna asserts he uses for the purpose of cutting his food. According to his own statement, which is fairly detailed, the man has recently been on tramp in Kent, and has only just returned to London. He gains a living by peddling laces and other small articles. M'Kenna also resembles the man seen by the potman at the Ten Bells public house to put his head inside the door and angrily call a woman out of the bar on the morning of the murder. He was also like the man followed by Taylor into Bishopsgate street from the Prince Albert after the murder. Mrs. Lloyd and her daughter, therefore, were summoned to the Commercial street Police station on Saturday morning, where Mrs. Lloyd was confronted with M'Kenna, but failed to recognise him as the man she had seen. In the afternoon a detective made inquiries at 15 Brick lane, a common lodging house, and it was found beyond a doubt that M'Kenna slept there on Friday night; accordingly he was liberated. Inquiries were also prosecuted regarding the man who was arrested in Holloway, with the result that he, too, was discharged, it being maintained that he was a harmless lunatic.
The attention of the police is being directed to the elucidation of another suspicious incident. About ten o'clock on Friday night a man passed through the Tower Subway from the Surrey to the Middlesex side, and said to the caretaker, "Have you caught any of the Whitechapel murderers yet?" He then produced a knife, about a foot in length, with a curved blade, and remarked, "This will do for them." He was followed, but ran away, and was lost sight of near Tooley street. The following is a description of the man:- Age, about 30; height, 5ft 3in; complexion and hair dark, with moustache and false whiskers, which he pulled off while running away. Dress, new black diagonal suit and light overcoat, and dark cloth double peak cap.
A meeting was held, on Saturday, of one of the Vigilance Committees recently formed in Whitechapel. It was reported that there had already been received several contributions to the fund intended to be raised, for offering a reward for the discovery of the murderer. A strong feeling was expressed against the new policy of the Home Office not to offer a reward.