The police seem to be still groping painfully and hopelessly in the dark after the author or authors of the Whitechapel tragedies. A sensation was caused yesterday by the placards of a Tory evening paper which declared that the assassin was "tracked." The tracking turned out to be nothing more than a very fishy story - subsequently contradicted - concocted by two private detectives in the pay of the paper in question. The Echo a little later distinguished itself by issuing an equally misleading bill, and there was again a frantic demand for copies at all street corners. The objurgations of the purchasers on reading the paper were not loud but deep. The energy and ability with which the Star is managed, and the success it has achieved, may possibly account for these desperate expedients of its rivals to outshine it at any price. If they are satisfied with the price, the Star has no reason for complaint. But, meanwhile, the excitement over the appalling crimes in Whitechapel is becoming more intense. In the neighbourhood itself the inhabitants are almost hysterical with terror. They feel that there is absolutely no protection afforded them by police, and that any night may see a repetition of the recent horrors.
If the Whitechapel monster happened to transfer the scene of his operations to Dublin, he would experience the advantage of finding there a detective department as disorganised as that of Scotland Yard, and from a similar cause. An officer has been imported into the G Division who has brought with him new methods, new discipline, and by all accounts new manners. The men were profoundly dissatisfied with that appointment from the first, and, as your readers may know, demanded from the Commissioner a sworn inquiry into their new officer's capacity and proceedings. The Commissioner informed them that he would rather resign his place than accede to their demand - a reply which fomented the discontent instead of allaying it. Anyhow, I am told that the men are now on the verge of taking a very serious step in order to force the Commissioner to recognise the grievance they have put forward.
This morning Mr. Langham, the City Coroner, opened the inquest upon the body of the woman murdered in Mitre-square on Sunday morning, and whose name has been variously given as Eddowes, Conway, and Kelly
Mr. Crawford, City Solicitor, represented the police, Major Smith, Acting Commissioner, and Mr. Superintendent Forster also being present.
Eliza Gold, the first witness, living at 6 Thrawl-street, identified the body as that of her sister, Catherine Eddowes, who was a single woman, who lived with John Kelly for some years. Witness last saw her alive about four or five months ago. The deceased was a hawker, of sober habits, and before living with Kelly deceased lived with the man Conway for some years, and had children by him. Witness did not know whether Conway, who was an army pensioner, was still alive.
In reply to Mr. Crawford, witness said she had not seen Conway for some years.
John Kelly, living at a lodginghouse in Flower and Dean-street, a market labourer, said deceased had lived with him for seven years. Her name was Conway, and he last saw her on Saturday last at two o'clock in the afternoon. They parted on very good terms in Houndsditch, the deceased saying she was going to Bermondsey to find her daughter. She promised to return by four o'clock. He heard she had been locked up in Bishopsgate for drunkenness, but made no inquiries, believing she would return on Sunday. Deceased never went out for an immoral purpose. When they parted deceased had no money, and she left with the intention of getting some from her daughter. Witness did not know where deceased had got drink on Saturday, considering she had no money. The deceased last year got money from her daughter. On Friday last deceased went to the Mile-end, and stopped in the casual ward. Early in the week witness and deceased were in Kent together, and on Thursday arrived in London, spending the night together at Shoe-lane Casual Ward, as they had no money. On Friday they arranged that deceased would go to the Mile-end Workhouse, and witness stay at a lodginghouse. They pawned a pair of boots on Saturday, and spent the greater portion of half-crown in food and drink. Witness stood outside with bare feet whilst the deceased pawned the boots. It might have been Friday and not Saturday.
Frederick Wilkinson, deputy of the lodginghouse in Flower and Dean street, corroborated the last witness as to Kelly and the deceased living there on good terms. Deceased did not walk the streets. She said the name of Conway was bought and paid for, meaning that she was married.
Police-Constable Watkins deposed to finding the murdered woman in Mitre-square on Sunday morning, as already reported, with her throat cut, body ripped open, and in a pool of blood. Witness had not heard any footsteps or a cry whilst near the square.
Mr. Frederick Foster produced plans and maps of the locality.
Wilkinson, the lodginghouse deputy, recalled, said he could not tell whether any stranger came there between two and three o'clock that morning. Over one hundred people lodged in the house.
Inspector Collett was examined, and deposed to being called to the scene of the murder immediately after the discovery of the body. Three black buttons generally used for women's boots, a small metal button, a metal thimble, and a mustard tin containing two pawn tickets were picked up near the body. There was a piece of apron on the body corresponding with another piece picked up in Goulston street, some little way off. Witness detailed the steps taken by the police, with the object of tracking the murderer. A house to house inquiry had been made in the vicinity with practically no result.
Dr Gordon Brown, surgeon to the city police, described the position of the body when he saw it a few minutes after two o'clock on Sunday morning. The way in which the body was mutilated was horrible in the extreme. There was no blood on the front of the clothes. A piece of the ear, cut off, dropped from the body. In describing the injuries to the abdomen, witness said the left kidney was carefully taken out, and in his opinion this must have been done by someone who knew where to find it. The womb was cut through, leaving a lump of about three quarters of an inch. The rest of it was missing. The wounds were inflicted with a sharp knife, which must have been pointed. Judging by the cuts in the abdomen, a good deal of knowledge of the position of organs in the abdominal cavity was displayed. The parts removed would be of no use for professional purposes. The removal of the left kidney was especially difficult. Such knowledge would be likely to be possessed by a slaughterer of animals. Witness thought the infliction of all the injuries could be done in five minutes. Witness could assign no reason for the parts being taken away. He felt sure there was no struggle. He believed the act was that of one man only. He should not expect much blood on the person inflicting the wounds described.
The inquiry was then adjourned.
The Press Association's Wolverhampton correspondent says Eddowes was a native of that town, and several of her relatives state her father was a tinplate worker. She ran away to London when twenty years of age.
The Evening News, in a third edition to-day, stated that a man was seen to go behind a hoarding in High-street, Shadwell, with a woman at half past four this morning. The watchman on duty followed them, and called "police." The man killed the watchman with his knife, but was secured by several constables who had hurried up. The Evening News stated that it was believed the man was the Whitechapel murderer.
The Press Association was informed upon inquiry at the chief police station for the Shadwell District, in which it was stated that a watchman had been killed this morning, that no information had been received by the police of the alleged murder, and that certainly no arrest had been made in connection with such an occurrence. The rumour created much excitement both in the City and the Whitechapel districts when first circulated.
The Press Association says the man arrested on Wednesday night at Aldgate has been released.
A story was widely circulated in London this morning that "Jack the Ripper" had been caught after a desperate struggle, in which a constable was terribly injured. The police received similar information, but after a searching inquiry the whole affair was proved to be a fabrication.
The Evening News states that a greengrocer named Matthew Packer has been found who states that at a quarter to twelve on Saturday night a man, aged 35, stout, and wearing a wideawake hat and dark clothes, accompanied by a woman with a white flower in her bosom, came to his stall, two doors from the scene of the Berners-street murder, and purchased some grapes. They left in the direction of the club about a quarter past twelve o'clock.
At the meeting of the Common Council of the City of London to-day the Lord Mayor said they were aware of the course he had already taken on behalf of the Corporation in offering a substantial reward for the apprehension of the Whitechapel murderer. He was glad to see that public opinion was entirely in favour of such a step, and would ask them to endorse his action. This was done in a most enthusiastic manner.
A Press Association later telegram says - The most extraordinary rumours were flying about throughout the locality to-day of the capture of the most sought for criminal, and the effect upon a public already well nigh goaded into exasperation at the continued non-success of the police to hunt down the murderer was indescribable.
A Central News telegram says - All persons arrested to-day on suspicion of being concerned in the Whitechapel murders have been released on giving satisfactory explanations, and no one is now in custody in connection with the recent crimes. The surgical evidence given at the inquest to-day has cased a profound sensation. It had been supposed that the murderer had not time to do more than take his victim's life and then roughly mutilate her body, but it now appears that he completed his horrible work with reckless deliberation, and removed certain organs. The additional mutilation of the face is believed to be due to fear on the murderer's art that he may have been seen in the woman's company by some men, and therefore determined to make her identification as difficult as possible.
The announcement of Dr Browne of the disappearance of the uterus from the woman found on the Thames Embankment revived for a time the theory put forward by Mr. Wynne Baker, the coroner in the Hanbury street case. The British Medical Journal, however, states that the foreign physician who sought to purchase specimens was a gentleman of the highest respectability, that he did not offer a large price, and that he left London 18 months ago.
The Central News correspondent at Armagh telegraphed last night - A tramp, whose name is unknown, but who describes himself as "Leather Apron," was arrested by the police here on a charge of drunkenness and disorderly conduct. When taken into the police barrack, he violently assaulted the constable. In his possession were found three halfpence, a knife covered with blood, and a letter, also stained with blood, addressed to the Roman Catholic Primate.
The Central Press has received the following letter bearing E C post mark, written in red ink, and in a round hand, apparently by a person indifferently educated. At the foot is a rude drawing of a sharp-pointed knife blade measuring three inches, and the handle one --
DEAR BOSS - Since last splendid success two more, and never a squeal. I am master of the art. I am going to be heavy on the gilded ---, some duchess will cut up nicely, and the lace will show nicely. You wonder how? O, we R masters. No education like a butcher's, no animal like a nice woman - the fat is best. On to Brighton for a holiday, but we shant idle. Splendid lotof women there. My mouth waters. Good luck there; if not you will hear from me in West End. My pal will keep on at the East a while yet. When I get a nobility womb I will send it on to C Warren, or p'raps to you for a keepsake. O, it is jolly.
GEORGE O. T. High Rip Gang
Red ink still, but a drop of the real in it.