Thursday, 4th October 1888
One of the most curious facts revealed at yesterdays inquest on one of the Whitechapel victims was the extraordinary conflict of testimony respecting the identity of the deceased. On the previous day a respectable woman swore positively that the deceased was her sister, and that her name was Watts. She identified her not only from her general appearance but from a mark on the leg which the woman received from the bite of an adder while the two sisters were young. The coroner closely questioned the witness, but she was absolutely positive that eh deceased was her sister, and she caused a sensation among those in court by stating that while in bed on Saturday night, and at the very time that the murder was committed, she felt the pressure of an invisible being leaning over her in the bed and kissing her three times. She was convinced that it was the spirit of her sister. Yesterday nearly half a dozen witnesses were examined and wore that the deceased was a totally different woman. They stated that they knew her well for years, they knew the clothing she wore, and were perfectly acquainted with her daily habits. According to their statements the woman was a Swede, who had lived in England for years, and who, though able to speak English perfectly, never got rid of her foreign accent. The testimony of yesterday's witnesses seems to be overwhelming. One of these witnesses was a man with whom she had lived for a considerable time as his wife, and he was no less positive than the rest as to her identity. The woman who claimed her as a sister certainly told a most extraordinary and circumstantial story, but the authorities now believe that she was mistaken.
A CONFESSION OF CRIME
THE INQUEST ON THE BERNER STREET VICTIM
(PRESS ASSOCIATION TELEGRAMS)
Late last night a man giving the name of John Kelly, 55 Flower and Dean street, a common lodginghouse, came to Bishopsgate Police Station and said he believed the woman murdered in Mitre-square was his wife. Subsequently he identified the body, but admitted he was not married to the deceased. Her real husband's name was Thomas Conway, hence the initials "T.C." He last saw the deceased on Saturday afternoon, when she went to see a married daughter. He also spoke of the pledging of boots and a flannel shirt.
Telegraphing at noon the Press Association says - The identification of the mutilated remains of the woman murdered in Mitre-square is now complete. She has lived seven years with a man named Kelly in Flower and Dean street, Spitalfields, who yesterday fully identified the body, partly by the linen, and partly by the marks on the flesh. He says she had a husband before she came to live with him, and his name was Tom Conway, a pensioner from the Royal Artillery. She had several children by Conway, and one of them was married to a gunmaker in Bermondsey, but, having had a falling out with her husband, they separated. The initials of her husband, "T. C." were pricked in her arm. Kelly and she had been tramping about Kent last week, and on Saturday morning, when they had their last meal together at the lodginghouse in Flower and Dean street, she said she would go to her daughter in Bermondsey. Kelly said he cautioned her to be back early, and not to get into the hands of the Whitechapel murderer, but she assured him she was able to take care of herself. He had no suspicion she had fallen a victim until he read in the papers a description of the pawn tickets found on her, and the marks on her arm. He then told the police, and they showed him the body, which he identified.
At Guildhall this morning, William Bull, describing himself as a medical student in the London Hospital, and living at Stannard-road, Dalston, was charged on his own confession with having committed the murder at Mitre-square.
Inspector Izzard said that at twenty to eleven last night the accused came to his room at Bishopsgate-street Station, and made the following statement:-"My name is Wm Bull, and I live at Dalston. I am a medical student at the London Hospital. I wish to give myself up for murder in Aldgate, on Saturday night or Sunday morning. About two o'clock, I think I met the woman in Aldgate. I went with her up a narrow street not far from main road, for an immoral purpose. I promised to give her half-a-crown, which I did. While walking along together there was a second man, who came up and took the half-crown from her. I cannot endure this any longer. My poor head. (Here he put his hand to his head and cried, or pretended to cry) I shall go mad. I have done it, and I must put up with it."
The inspector asked what had become of the clothing he had on when the murder was committed.
The accused said, "If you wish to know, they are in the Lea, and the knife I threw away."
At this point the prisoner declined to say any more. He was drunk. Part of the statement was made in the presence of Major Smith. The prisoner gave his correct address, but is no known at the London Hospital. His parents were respectable.
The inspector asked for a remand to make inquiries, and this was granted.
The prisoner now said he was drunk when he made the statement.
He was remanded.
The Press Association says it is established by to-day's evidence at the inquiry on the Berner street victim that the woman murdered is Elizabeth Stride, and that Mrs Malcolm was mistaken yesterday in stating the deceased was her sister. The clue afforded by the discovery of the bloodstained knife on a doorstep will be followed up, although it seems certain the knife was not in the place an hour before it was picked up, and the object of the person who put it there is unknown. Michael Kidney will probably be examined again respecting his pretended special information. A house to house visitation was commenced this morning in Whitechapel by the police and detectives who left a handbill, which is as follows:-
On the morning of Friday, August 31st, Saturday 8th, and Sunday 30th September, 1888, women were murdered in Whitechapel, it is supposed by someone residing in the immediate neighbourhood. Should you know of any person to whom suspicion is attached you are earnestly requested to communicate at once with the nearest police station.
Metropolitan Police Office, 30th September, 1888."
No mention of a reward is made.
There is a general belief among the local detectives in the East End that the murderer or murderers are lurking in some of the dangerous dens in the low slums which abound in close proximity to the scene of the murders. Houses supposed to be bolted up for the night have been found to possess secret means of entrance. The house in which Annie Chapman was found is said to have had this secret means of entrance. The police are stated to be contemplating a series of raids on the dens known to contain the most desperate and dangerous characters, with the view of affording a clue to the perpetrators of the recent atrocities.
The Home Secretary and Sir Charles Warren had a long consultation to-day with reference to the murders.
Several arrests on suspicion of being concerned in the Whitechapel murders were made to-day but in every instance the suspect was released soon afterwards on giving satisfactory information. No fresh information has transpired respecting the discovery of the human trunk at the Thames embankment.
A Central News later telegram says - An American who refused to give his name or any account of himself was arrested to-night on suspicion of being the Whitechapel murderer. He accosted a woman in Cable street, asked her to go with him, and threatened that if she refused he would "rip her up." The woman screamed, and the man rushed to a cab. The police gave chase, got up on the cab, seized the man and took him to Leman street Police Station, where he exclaimed to the Inspector, "Are you the boss?" He is detained there, as well as two others arrested to-night.
Mr Wynne E Baxter resumed his inquiry this afternoon on the body of the Berners-street victim, recognised as Elizabeth Watts. The murdered woman was the wife of a wholesale wine and spirit merchant named Watts, of Bath. He had been sent to America by his father, because his wife had been unfaithful to him and had brought disgrace upon the family. There were two children of the union; one, a little girl, was dead; the other, a boy, is now in a boarding-school. Deceased was not subject to epileptic fits. She lived at one time with a man, now dead, who kept a coffee-house . She was a servant of the house of the father of her husband, who only lived with her two years. He returned from America four years ago.
Elizabeth Tanner, living at 32 Flower and Dean street, Whitechapel, recognised deceased as Long Liz. Did not know her nationality. Deceased told witness that her husband and children were lost in the Princess Alice disaster. Last saw her alive on Saturday afternoon in the Queen's Head publichouse, Commercial street. Did not see her again until this afternoon in the mortuary. Witness was quite certain as to the identity. Deceased left a male acquaintance on Thursday to live with witness. Never knew the deceased had a relative in Holborn, and never heard the name of Stride mentioned. The deceased, who was a Swede, worked among the Jews.
Catherine Lane, living with last witness, said she recognised the body as that of Long Liz. Deceased told witness on Saturday she had had a quarrel with her man, and she left on Thursday.
Charles Preston, a barber, living at the same address, also identified the body as that of Long Liz, and said he last saw her alive on Saturday. He understood she was born at Stockholm, and came to England in a foreign gentleman's service. Deceased also gave witness to understand that her name was Elizabeth Stride, and that her mother was still alive in Sweden.
Michael Kidney, labourer, said deceased was Elizabeth Stride. He had lived with her nearly three years. She was a Swede, and was born three miles from Stockholm. Her husband was a ship carpenter at Sheerness, and once kept a coffee-house at Schrisp-street, Poplar. He was drowned in the Princess Alice disaster. Did not see deceased on Thursday. Saw her last on Tuesday, when they parted friendly. He never saw her again, and could not account for her disappearance. She had been away from witness five months. Since he had known her he never neglected her, but treated her as a wife. Witness further stated voluntarily that he asked at Leman-street station for the assistance of a young strange detective as he had important information. He could not get the assistance.
The Coroner pressed witness to divulge his information, but witness only reiterated that he had the information.
Replying to Inspector Reid, he said if the police were under his own control he could catch the murderer redhanded. Witness admitted he was intoxicated when he applied at the police station.
Edward Johnston, assistant to Drs Kay and Blackwell, deposed to being called to see the body.
Thomas Coram, a lad of about eighteen, produced a knife which he found on the doorstep of No 253 Whitechapel road twenty four hours after the murder. The knife produced was twelve inches long, and the handle was neatly folded in a silk handkerchief, which had stains like blood upon it.
Joseph Drage, 282, said he saw the boy find the knife. The handle and blade were covered with blood, which had dried on the knife, which was not on the step an hour previously.
Dr Phillips next gave the result of the post-mortem examination. He said the cut in the throat was six inches long and severed the principal arteries. There was a deformity in the bones of the right leg, but no recent external injuries, except to the throat. The cause of death was loss of blood and the division of the windpipe. Several small articles were found in the clothes of the deceased.
After the examination the inquiry was adjourned till Friday.
The Press Association says that the inhabitants of Westminster appear to have only this morning realised the horrible nature of the crime exposed yesterday in their midst, and details of the ghastly discovery in Whitehall are to-day discussed by everyone with horrified eagerness. The official investigation into the cause of the victims death was commenced at an early hour. Dr. Bond, Divisional Police Surgeon, and Dr. Hibbert, his assistant, arrived at the Mortuary shortly after 7 o'clock. The mortuary is temporarily placed at an untenanted shop, in the house 20 Millbank-street, and the body was removed there at seven o'clock last night and placed in spirits. The doctor's examination of the trunk lasted for almost an hour and a half, and proved a most unpleasant task, owing to the advanced state of decomposition of the flesh. Dr Bond would not state what the result of the examination was until after he has made his official report, which would be immediately, but he stated that it was intended to obtain the arm which was found in the Thames on the 11th September, and which has since been preserved at Ebury-street Mortuary, in order to ascertain whether it had been taken from the same trunk. An inquest will probably be held, but this will depend upon the nature of Dr Bond's report to the Coroner, Dr Troutbeck. Detectives were also early on the scene this morning. They resumed their inquiries among workmen employed at works where the discovery was made. It has been ascertained that the parcel containing the remains was not in the vault on Saturday, as several of the workmen had been in the habit of using the cellar to conceal their tools, and it would have been noticed; as it was the parcel was first seen on Monday morning, but none of the workmen had the curiosity to look what was in it until yesterday, when it was dragged out, with the result already known. A search is to-day being made in the cellars and disused well for any other portion of the remains. During operations at the works this morning and while search was going on an alarming incident occurred. A crane and engine, weighing six or seven tons, fell from the scaffolding about sixty feet high. The crash was tremendous and caused the greatest alarm, as it was known many persons including policemen, were in the vault beneath. Those underneath were terribly startled, and rushed out into the open air, but fortunately not one person was hurt, even the workmen on the scaffold escaping. The accident attracted a great crowd, and much excitement was for a time visible. The search was afterwards resumed under the direction of Superintendent Dunlap, but up to half-past ten there had been no results.
Scares have been created at Wood Green and at Lowestoft by men threatening females with the fate of the victims of the London murders. The police express a determination to bring to punishment the persons who perpetrate these mischievous and idle threats.
The post-mortem examination on the remains found at Whitechapel this morning occupied several hours. The surgeon who examined the remains have come to the conclusion that the arm which was found at Pimlico fitted into the trunk found yesterday. The police have thoroughly inspected the clothing attached to the body with the object of ascertaining if there were any blood stains, but the result of this examination has not transpired. The inquest has been fixed for Monday next.