13 February 1889
Reporters and Police of London at Loggerheads
TWO VERSIONS OF THE CASE
London, Feb. 13.
One of those rumors which come from indefinable sources has baffled the researches of the London reporters for the last three days. The men in question are hardly the kind to lose much sleep over a failure of this sort, but there seems to have been really a chance that would have driven an American newspaper man frantic if he had been thrown off the scent as the London reporters claim to have been.
The blame the police for obstructing inquiry and refusing information, and the latter anathematize the men of the quill for spoiling one of the best detective jobs of the century. It is asserted by several reporters that a woman has been kept in close quarters for two days who came near being the prey of the same fiend, possibly the veritable Jack of the unsavory cognomen. In spite of the efforts of the police to keep the circumstance from the public, the matter leaked out and the representatives of the press demanded further information concerning it.
The police stoutly denied that any such event had occurred, and each party is naturally exasperated at the persistence of the other. The woman is said to be but slightly injured, but as yet unable to give an accurate description of her assailant.
There has not been of late a very cordial feeling between the authorities and the reporters, a state of things which is perhaps due to a greater enterprize on the part of the latter, owing to the competition arising from the growth of the cheap press, and the heads of the police heartily detest the increasing inquisitiveness of the writers for the journals which have been so bold to depart from the sober routine of English newspapers.
Since the removal of Sir Charles Warren the force have felt that they should do something to justify the clamor for his dismissal, in which they were as active as they dared to be. They have never given up the search for the perpetrator of the Whitechapel murders, and the more the matter faded from public notice and cased to be the topic of conversation in the slums the better satisfied they were, and the more active have been their endeavors to penetrate the mystery.
There is reason to believe that the stories of real or attempted outrages of a similar character in various parts of the world since the latest east London horror were really put in circulation by Scotland Yard detectives, presumably with the strategical idea, which cannot fail to awaken admiration for its brilliancy of lulling to sleep the vigilance of the real monster and tempting to add another to his list of victims.
The reported outrages in Central America really appear to have been of this kind, and of their promulgation was really due to the ingenuity of the inspectors here, it reflects some credit on their powers of invention. The belief of the Dundee authorities that they have captured the Whitechapel fiend is not shared by the Scotland Yard officials.