Saturday, 29th September 1888
A WOMAN'S STRANGE STORY
The Press Association learns that a matter that is thought to have a bearing on the Whitechapel murder is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police. Early on Wednesday morning a man, apparently of thirty-three years of age, accosted a woman in Whitechapel. At his request she accompanied him for a short distance, when he suddenly caught her by the throat and knocked her down. The woman states that her screams alarmed the man, who then ran away. The description she gave of her assailant was as follow:- About 5ft 6 or 8in high, small, dark moustache, dressed in a light coat and dark trousers, black felt hat, and wore a scarf round the neck.
At Dalston Police Court this morning, James Johnson, aged thirty-five, a well set, pale-complexioned man, clean-shaven, and with strong American accent, giving his address as 18 Birdhurst road, St John's hill, Wandsworth, describing himself as a waiter, was charged with assaulting Elizabeth Hudson, in Kingsland, early this morning.
The prosecutor, who is described as an unfortunate, stated that about two o'clock this morning the prisoner accosted her in Hudson road, put his arm round her waist, and threw her on the pavement. He then produced a long knife and attempted to stab her. She screamed "Murder" and "Police" and the prisoner ran away. The knife was long and had a sharp point.
Alice Anderson, calling herself a feather curler, a friend of Hudson, deposed that between one and two o'clock this morning she was in Kingsland road, when the prisoner accosted her, and asked if he could walk home with her. She said she did not mind, and the prisoner accompanied her. At a dark spot, however, he put his arm round her and tried to throw her, but she succeeded in knocking at a door and screamed "Murder." The prisoner then ran off and a quarter of an hour later she heard screaming and running along. She met Hudson, who told her a man had thrown her down and attempted to stab her.
The prisoner denied that he had a knife and said both women ran after him and tried to steal from his pockets.
A constable deposed to hearing cries and to stopping the prisoner, who was running away. No knife was found on the prisoner.
The accused, in answer to the magistrate, again denied the women's story, and said he could produce his friends if necessary.
The magistrate said he had better do so, and postponed the case till this afternoon.
Johnson was again brought up at the Police Court late this afternoon, when his landlady gave him a good character, and said she had known his family for some years. He worked at Spiers and Fonde.
A police constable described the prosecutor and her companion as two very bad characters, and there being no further evidence against the prisoner he was discharged.
The Press Association says that although the police attach no value to the statement made by Fitzgerald, who gave himself up at Wandsworth, they are still pursuing their inquiries into his recent movements. He is detained at Leman-street Police Station.
John Fitzgerald, who was arrested in Wandsworth, charged on his own confession with the Whitechapel murder, has been liberated.