18 July 1889
Secrecy and Efficacy of "Jack the Ripper's" Bloody Work.
Secrecy and Efficacy of "Jack the Ripper's" Bloody Work.
London Special to the Philadephia Times, July 17.
Thousands in this great city are quaking with fear. The murderous knife of "Jack the Ripper" is back again and the horrible murder yesterday morning enables him to cut another notch in the handle of his terrible knife. The details of the crime leave no doubt that he was the murderer of Alice Mackenzie, known to some as Kelly. An examination of the body developed the unusual feature that Jack had not done the work with the dull knife heretofore used, as the slashed are clean. The clothes were drawn over the head after the knife had been driven into the neck. A cut four inches long, running toward the groin, had not severed the abdominal wall. On both sides of this cut and along the lateral line below the breast bone there were twenty scratches.
The woman had evidently been taken unawares, as she was strongly built and weighed 140 pounds. She could not have uttered a cry without being heard by the police. Jack adopted his old plan, except that in this case the right hand had been placed over the mouth and the left hand drove the knife into the neck instead. The murder threw Whitechapel into a condition of fearful excitement, and Castle alley was crowded all day. People from all quarters flocked to the scene and stories of the crime were on every tongue. The woman was identified by John McCormick, a porter. He said he lived with her six years. She was forty years old and was from Peterboro. Her family lived there until a month ago, when they lived in a furnished room in Whitechapel. She did charing work and never got her living on the street.
Sometimes she drank too much. He left the house at 1 o'clock yesterday afternoon, as they had a tiff. He gave her a shilling and advised her not to spend it in drink. He was told she returned to the house at 10 o'clock last night and took a blind boy named Geo. Dixon for a walk. McCormick knew no more of the woman and boy. They went to the Cambridge music hall and there met a man and asked him to treat them. She then went home, but left again after, saying she was to meet a man at the Cambridge music hall. Whether or not she met his is not known, but the blind boy has no means to identify him except by his voice.
Nothing could more clearly indicate the cunning of the murderer than the selection of the locality. The alley is a hundred yards long and is dark and encumbered by a mass of wagons and barrows, which formerly were stored in a yard in which excavations were going on. A few feet above, at the bottom, is a network of streets, courts and alleys. On the left side are small factories and workshops, and on the right is a high board fence, shutting off the back yards of a row of small houses facing on Newcastle street.
Newcastle street runs parallel with Castle alley, and just below the scene of the murder they are connected by a narrow court. If approached, therefore, from Whitechapel road the murderer could escape down Castle alley into Old Castle street, and through this to Wentworth street and thence to Commercial street or the lane. If approached from Old Castle street he could escape through Castle alley court into Whitechapel road. If hemmed in on both sides he could still escape through the connecting court to Newcastle street, and thence to Whitechapel road or Wentworth street.
There was further cunning and evidence of intimate knowledge of the locality in the fact that he was just on the boundary line of two police districts. Whitechapel road is patrolled by constables from Leman street station, and no street constables come from the road down the alley because that is in the district belonging to another division. He must have known that an officer could come toward him only from the bottom of the alley and his intimate knowledge of the locality and the police rules made his escape as easy as ever. When it is remembered that in all the eight murders committed he has never once been seen by anybody the fear of him in Whitechapel can be understood, and that there is a superstition in some of the slums that he is invisible does not seem surprising.
The police are absolutely without a clue, Inspector Reid so stated this evening. Jacobs, the only person in the vicinity of Old Castle street, was simply on an errand, and was released directly. Three other men were arrested on suspicion during the early morning and forenoon, but were almost immediately released upon establishing their identity and their whereabouts at the hour of the murder. A search of the lodging houses, which followed close upon the discovery, revealed nothing. Nobody had come in or gone out within an hour who could in any way be connected with the tragedy. The only hope was the examination of barmen and barmaids along Whitechapel road with reference to the presence in their places of the woman Mackenzie prior to the murder.
There is a possibility, judging from the previous cases, that the murderer took her into one of these and got her stupidly drunk before attempting her death. This investigation appears to be the only chance of finding a clue, but it does not appear to have been made. The attempt to surround the scene with a cordon of constables amounted to nothing, as the murderer had passed out into Whitechapel road. Consequently the police stand as before, not knowing which way to turn. No doubt they have done and are doing all in their power.
Chief Commissioner Munis (sic) and Colonel Monsall were on the spot as soon after the murder as the telegraph and horses could bring them. All the detective strength of the metropolitan force had been centred in Whitechapel, and the best brains of Scotland Yard not only are but have been at work on the murderers. Up to a month ago two constables were nightly on the watch in the alley, it being a likely spot for the murderer to select. Up to two weeks ago there was also a nigh watchman stationed in the alley by a man who owned a number of barrows stored there. The withdrawal of all these left the place free.
There is nothing more for the police to work on at present than there was at the last murder on August 9. The murderer is clearly a maniac, but so cool that he makes no mistakes and leaves no traces, and, furthermore, it is evidently without that sense of fear which leads to detection in nine cases out of ten.
London, July 18.
At the inquest to-day over the body of the woman found murdered in Whitechapel district yesterday morning it was found that in addition to two deep gashes across the stomach there were fourteen other wounds on the body, mostly skin deep.