6 October, 1888
The scene of the first outrage is a narrow Court in Berner-street, a quiet thoroughfare, running from Commercial-road down to the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway. At the entrance to the court are a pair of large wooden gates, in one of which is a small wicket for use when the gates are closed. At the hour when the murderer accomplished his purpose these gates were open - Indeed, according to the testimony of those living near, the entrance to the court is seldom closed. For a distance of eighteen or twenty feet from the street there is a dead wall on each side of the court, the effect of which is to shroud the intervening space in absolute darkness after sunset. Further back some light is thrown into the court from the windows of a workmen's club, which occupies the whole length of the court on the right, and from a number of cottages, occupied mainly by tailors and cigarette makers on the left. At the time when the murder was committed, however, the lights in all of the dwelling-houses in question had been extinguished, whilst such illumination as came from the club, being from the upper story, would fall on the cottages opposite, and would only serve to intensify the gloom of the rest of the court. From the position in which the body was found it is believed that the moment the murderer had got his victim in the dark shadow near the entrance to the court, he threw her to the ground, and with one gash severed her throat from ear to ear. The hypothesis that the wound was inflicted after and not before the woman fell is supported by the fact that there are severe bruises on her left temple and left cheek, thus showing that force must have been used to prostrate her, which would not have been necessary had her throat been already cut. When discovered the body was lying as if the woman had fallen forward, her feet being about a couple of yards from the street, and her head in a gutter which runs down the right-hand side of the court close to the wall. The woman lay on her left side, face downwards, her position being such that although the court at that part is only nine feet wide, a person walking up the middle might have passed the recumbent body without notice. The condition of the corpse, however, and several other circumstances which have come to light during the day, prove pretty conclusively that no considerable period elapsed between the committal of the murder and the discovery of the body. In fact, it is pretty generally conjectured that the assassin was disturbed while at his ghastly work, and made off before he had completed his designs. All the features of the case go to connect the tragedy with that which took place three-quarters of an hour later a few streets distant. The obvious poverty of the woman, her total lack of jewelry or ornaments, and the soiled condition of her clothing, are entirely opposed to the theory that robbery could have been the motive, and the secrecy and dispatch with which the crime was effected are equally good evidence that the murder was not the result of an ordinary street brawl. At the International Workmen's Educational Club - which is an offshoot of the Socialist League, and a rendezvous of a number of foreign residents, chiefly Russians, Poles and Continental Jews of various nationalities, it is customary on Saturday nights to have friendly discussions on topics of mutual interests, and to wind up the evening's entertainment with songs, &c. The proceedings commenced on Saturday about half past eight with a discussion on the necessity for Socialism amongst Jews. This was kept up until about eleven o'clock, when a considerable portion of the company left for their respective homes. Between twenty and thirty remained behind, and the usual concert which followed was not concluded when the intelligence was brought in by the steward of the club that a woman had been done to death within a few yards of them and within ear-shot of their jovial songs. The people residing in the cottages on the other side of the court were all indoors, and most of them in bed by midnight. Several of these persons remember lying awake and listening to the singing, and they also remember the concert coming to an abrupt termination; but during the whole of the time from retiring to rest until the body was discovered no one heard anything in the nature of a scream or woman's cry of distress. It was Lewis Diemshitz, [Diemschutz] the steward of the club, who found the body. Diemshitz, who is a traveller in cheap jewelry, had spent the day at Westow-hill Market, near the Crystal Palace, in pursuance of his vocation, and had then driven home, reaching Berner-street at one o'clock. On turning into the gateway he had some difficulty with his pony, the animal being apparently determined to avoid the right-hand wall. For the moment Diemshitz did not think much of the occurrence, because he knew the pony was given to shying, and he thought perhaps some mud or refuse was in the way. The pony, however, obstinately refused to go straight, so the driver pulled him up to see what was in the way. Failing to discern anything in the darkness, Diemshitz poked about with the handle of the whip and immediately discovered that some large obstacle was in his path. To jump down and strike a match was the work of a second, and it then became at once apparent that something serious had taken place. Without waiting to see whether the woman whose body he saw was drunk or dead, Diemshitz entered the club by the side-door higher up the court, and informed those in the concert-room upstairs that something had happened in the yard. A member of the club named Kozobrodski, but familiarly known as Isaacs, returned with Diemshitz into the court, and the former struck a match, while the latter lifted the body up. It was at once apparent that the woman was dead. The body was still warm, and the clothes enveloping it were wet from the recent rain, but the heart had ceased to beat, and the stream of blood in the gutter terminating in a hideous pool near the club door showed but too plainly what had happened. Both men ran off without delay to find a policeman, and at the same time other members of the club, who had by this time found their way into the court, went off with the same object in different directions. The search was for some time fruitless; at last, however, after considerable delay, a constable, 252H, was found in Commercial-road. With the aid of the policeman's whistle more constables were quickly on the spot, and the gates at the entrance of the court having been closed, and a guard set at all the exits of the club and the cottages, the superintendent of the district and the divisional surgeon were sent for. In a few minutes Dr. Phillips was at the scene of the murder, and a brief examination sufficed to show that life had been extinct some minutes. Careful note having been taken of the position of the body it was removed to the parish mortuary of St. George's-in-the-East, Cable-street to await identification.
Lewis Diemshitz has made the following statement:- "I have been steward of the International Club for six or seven years. I am also a traveller in common jewelry. I went yesterday to Westow-hill Market, a place I usually visit on Saturdays, and I got back about one o'clock this morning. My usual time for getting home from market is between one and two in the morning. I drove home in my own trap. My pony is rather shy, and as I turned into the yard it struck me that he bore too much to the left-hand side, against the wall. I bent my head to see what it was that he was shying at, and I noticed that the ground was not level. I saw a little heap, which I thought perhaps might be some mud swept together. I touched the heap with the handle of my whip and then I found that it was not mud. I jumped off the trap and struck a match, when I saw that it was the body of a woman. I did not wait to see whether she was drunk or dead, but ran indoors and asked whether my wife was there. I did this because I knew my wife had a rather weak constitution, and anything of that kind shocks her. I saw my wife was sitting downstairs, and I at once told the members that something bad happened in the yard. I did not tell them whether the woman was murdered or drunk, because I did not then know. A member named Isaacs went down into the yard with me, and we struck a match. We saw blood right from the gate up the yard. Then we both went for the police, but unfortunately it was several minutes before we could find a constable. At last another member of the club named Eagle, who ran out after us and went in a different direction, found one somewhere in Commercial-road. This policeman blew his whistle and several more policemen came up, and soon after the doctors arrived. The woman seemed to be about twenty-seven or twenty-eight years old. She was a little better dressed, I should say, than the woman who was last murdered. Her clothes were not disarranged. She had a flower in the bosom of her dress. In one hand she had some grapes and in the other some sweets. She was grasping them tightly. I had never seen her before. She was removed about a quarter to five to Cable-street mortuary. When I first saw her she was lying on her left side, two yards from the entrance, with her feet towards the street. I do not keep my trap in the yard but I keep my goods at the club."
Mrs. Mortimer, living at 36, Berner-street, four doors from the scene of the tragedy, says:- "I was standing at the door of my house nearly the whole time between half-past twelve and one o'clock on Sunday morning, and did not notice anything unusual. I had just gone indoors, and was preparing to go to bed, when I heard a commotion outside and immediately ran out thinking that there was another row at the Socialists' Club close by. I went to see what was the matter, and was informed that another dreadful murder had been committed in the yard adjoining the clubhouse, and on going inside I saw the body of a woman lying huddled up just inside the gates with her throat cut from ear to ear. A man touched her face and said it was quite warm, so that the deed must have been done while I was standing at the door of my house. There was certainly no noise made, and I did not observe anyone enter the gates. It was just after one o'clock when I went out, and the only man whom I had seen pass through the street previously was a young man carrying a black, shiny bag, who walked very fast down the street from the Commercial-road. He looked up at the club and then went round the corner by the Board School. I was told that the manager or steward of the club had discovered the woman on his return home in his pony-cart. He drove through the gates, and my opinion is that he interrupted the murderer, who must have made his escape immediately under cover of the cart. If a man had come out of the yard before one o'clock I must have seen him. It was almost incredible to me that the thing could have been done without the steward's wife hearing a noise, for she was sitting in the kitchen, from which a window opens four yards from the spot where the woman was found. The body was lying slightly on one side, with the legs a little drawn up as if in pain, the clothes being slightly disarranged so that the legs were partly visible. The woman appeared to me to be respectable, judging by her clothes, and in her hand were found a bunch of grapes and some sweets. A young man and his sweetheart were standing at the corner of the street, about twenty yards away, before and after the time the woman must have been murdered, but they told me they did not hear a sound."
Charles Letchford, living at 30, Berner-street, says:- "I passed through the street at half-past twelve, and everything seemed to me to be going on as usual, and my sister was standing at the door at ten minutes to one, but did not see anyone pass by. I heard the commotion when the body was found, and heard the policeman's whistle, but did not take any notice of the matter, as disturbances are very frequent at the club, and I thought it was only another row."
In an interview with a representative of the Press, Dr. Blackwell made a statement in which he said that about ten minutes past one he was called by a policeman to 40 Berner-street, where he found the body of the murdered woman. Her head had been almost severed from her body; the body was perfectly warm and life could not have been extinct for more than twenty minutes. It did not appear to him that the woman was a Jewess; she was more like an Irish woman. He roughly examined her, and found no other injuries, but this he could not definitely state until he had made a further examination. The deceased had on a black velvet jacket and a black dress; in her hand she held a box of cachous, whilst pinned in her dress was a flower. Altogether, judging from her appearance, he considered that she belonged to an immoral class. He had no doubt that the same man committed both the murders. In his opinion the man is a maniac, but one at least who is accustomed to use a heavy knife. His belief was that as the woman held the sweets in her left hand her head was dragged back by means of a silk handkerchief which she wore round her neck, and that her throat was then cut. One of the woman's hands was smeared with blood, and this was evidently done in the struggle. He had, however, no doubt that the woman's windpipe being completely cut through she was thus rendered unable to make any sound. Dr. Blackwell added that it did not follow that the murderer would be bespattered with blood, for as he was sufficiently cunning in other things, he could contrive to avoid coming in contact with the blood by reaching well forward.
Shortly before two o'clock on Sunday morning, or about three-quarters of an hour after the crime described above, it was discovered that a second woman had been horribly murdered and mutilated, this being in Mitre-square, Aldgate, within the City boundaries, but on the confines of the now notorious district. It appears that Police-constable Watkins (No. 881), of the City police, was going round his beat, when, turning his lantern upon the darkest corner of Mitre-square, he saw the body of a woman, apparently lifeless, in a pool of blood. He at once blew his whistle, and several persons being distracted to the spot he dispatched messengers for medical and police aid. Inspector Collard, who was in command at the time at Bishopsgate police-station, but a short distance off, quickly arrived, followed a few minutes after by Mr. G. W. Sequeira, surgeon, of 34, Jewry-street, and Dr. Gordon Browne, the divisional police doctor, of Finsbury-circus. The scene then disclosed was a most horrible one. The woman, who was apparently about forty years of age, was lying on her back quite dead, although the body was still warm. Her head was inclined to the left side, her left leg being extended, whilst the right was flex. Both arms were extended. The throat was cut half-way round, revealing a dreadful wound, from which blood had flowed in great quantity, staining the pavement for some distance round. Across the right cheek to the nose was another gash, and a part of the right ear had been cut off. Following the plan in the Whitechapel murders the miscreant was not content with merely killing his victim. The poor woman's clothes had been pulled up over her chest, the abdomen ripped completely open, and part of the intestines laid on her neck. After careful notice had been taken of the position of the body when found it was conveyed to the City mortuary in Golden-lane. Here a more extended examination was made. The murdered woman was apparently about forty years of age, about five feet in height, and evidently belonged to that unfortunate class of which the women done to death in Whitechapel were members. Indeed, one of the policemen who saw the body expressed his confident opinion that he had seen the woman several times walking in the neighbourhood of Aldgate High-street. She was of dark complexion, with auburn hair and hazel eyes, and was dressed in shabby dark clothes. She wore a black cloth jacket, with imitation fur collar and three large metal buttons. Her dress was made of green chintz, the pattern consisting of Michaelmas daisies. In addition she had on a thin white vest, light drab linsey skirt, a very old dark green alpaca petticoat, white chemise, brown ribbed stockings (mended at the feet with white material), black straw bonnet, trimmed with black beads, and green and black velvet, and a large white handkerchief round her neck. In the pockets of the dress were a peculiar collection of articles. Besides a pocket containing tea and other articles, which people who frequent the common lodging-houses are accustomed to carry, the police found upon the body a white pocket handkerchief, a blunt bone-handled table knife, a short clay pipe, and a red cigarette case with white metal fittings. The knife bore no traces of blood, so could have no connection with the crime. When the news of this additional murder became known the excitement in the crowded district of Aldgate was intense. Usually a busy place on a Sunday morning, Houndsditch, and connecting thoroughfares, presented a particularly animated appearance, men with barrows vending fruit and eatables, doing a brisk trade. Crowds flocked to the entrances to the square where the body had been discovered, but the police refused admittance to all but a privileged few. Sir Charles Warren visited the spot at a particularly early hour, and made himself thoroughly conversant with the neighbourhood and the details of the affair. Major Smith, (acting-superintendent of the City police), Superintendent Foster, Detective-Inspector M'William (Chief of the City Detective Department), Detective-sergeants Downs and Outram also attended during the morning. A little while after the finding of the body all traces of blood had been washed away by direction of the authorities, and there was little to indicate the terrible crime which had taken place.
Before proceeding further it may be convenient to describe the scope of the murder. Mitre-square is an enclosed place in the rear of St. Katherine Cree Church, Leadenhall-steet. It has three entrances, the principal one, and the only one having a carriageway, is at the southern end, leading into Mitre-street, a turning out of Aldgate High-street. There is a narrow court at the north-east corner leading into Duke-street, and another one at the north-west, by which foot passengers can reach St. James's-square, otherwise known as the Orange-market. Mitre-square contains but two dwelling houses, in one of which, singularly enough, a City policeman lives, whilst the other is uninhabited. The other buildings, of which there are only three, are large warehouses. In the south-east corner, and near to the entrance from Mitre-street, is the back yard of some premises in Aldgate, but the railings are closely hoarded. It was just under these that the woman was found quite hidden from sight by the shadow cast by the corner of the adjoining house. The officer who found the body is positive that it could not have been there more than a quarter of an hour before he discovered it. He is timed to "work his beat", as it is called, in from ten to fifteen minutes, and is spoken of by his superior officers as a most trustworthy man. The police theory is that the man and woman, who had met in Aldgate, watched the policeman pass round the square, and they then entered it for an immoral purpose. Whilst the woman was laying on the ground her throat was cut, as described above, causing instant death. The murderer then hurriedly proceeded to mutilate the body, for the wounds, though so ghastly, do not appear to have been caused so skillfully and deliberately as in the case of the murder of Annie Chapman in Hanbury-street. Five minutes, some of the doctors think, would have sufficed for the completion of the murderer's work, and he was thus enabled to leave the ground before the return of the policeman on duty. None of the police on duty early on Sunday morning appears to have had particular attention drawn to the man and woman together, and this appears strange at first when it remarked that within the last the few weeks the police have been keeping a particularly keen watch upon suspicious couples. The murderer probably avoided much blood-staining on account of the woman being on her back at the time of the outrage, and leaving the square by either of the courts he would be able to pass quickly away through the many narrow thoroughfares without exciting observation. But one of the most extraordinary incidents in connection with the crime is that not the slightest scream or noise was heard. A watchman is employed at one of the warehouses in the square, and in a direct line but a few yards away on the other side of the square a City policeman was sleeping. Many people would be in the immediate neighbourhood, even at this early hour, making preparations for the market which takes place every Sunday in Middlesex-street (formerly Petticoat-lane) and the adjacent thoroughfares. Taking everything into account, therefore, the murder must be pronounced one of extraordinary daring and brutality. The effect it has had upon the residents in the East of London is extraordinary. All day crowds thronged the streets leading to Mitre-square discussing the crime, and the police in the neighbourhood of the square, under Inspector Izzard and Sergeants Dudman and Philps and other officers, were fully occupied in keeping back the excited and curious people.
A man named Albert Baskert [Bachert] has made the following statement: I was in the Three Nuns Hotel, Aldgate, on Saturday night when a man got into conversation with me. He asked me questions which now appear to me to have some bearing upon the recent murders. He wanted to know whether I knew what sort of loose women used the public bar at the house, when they usually left the street outside, and where they were in the habit of going. He asked further questions, and from his manner seemed up to no good purpose. He appeared to be a "shabby-genteel" sort of man, and was dressed in black clothes. He wore a black felt hat, and carried a black bag. We came out together at closing-time (twelve o'clock), and I left him outside Aldgate Railway Station.
Morris, the night-watchman in Mitre-square, has made a statement, in which he says that at about a quarter to two o'clock the policeman upon the beat knocked at the door of the warehouse. When he replied the constable said, "For God's sake, man, come out and assist me; another woman has been ripped open!" He said, "All right; keep yourself cool while I light a lamp." Having done so, he accompanied the constable to the south-west corner of the square, where he saw a woman lying stretched upon the pavement, with her throat cut and horribly mutilated. He then left the constable and proceeded into Aldgate, where he blew his whistle, and other police officers soon made their appearance. The whole shape of the woman was marked out in blood upon the pavement. In addition to her throat being cut there were two slashes across the face, one of the cuts almost completely severing the nose. The woman's face was so mutilated that he could not describe what she was like. She wore a dark skirt and a black bonnet, and her appearance was exceedingly shabby. The strangest part of the whole thing was that he did not hear the slightest sound. As a rule he could hear the footsteps of the policeman as he passed on his beat every quarter of an hour, so that it appeared impossible that the woman could have uttered any sound without his detecting it. It was only on the night that he remarked to some policemen that he wished the "butcher" would come round Mitre-square and he would give him a doing; yet the "butcher" had come and he was perfectly ignorant of it.
Mr. Wynne E. Baxter, coroner of South-East Middlesex, opened the inquiry on Monday morning at the Vestry Hall, St. George's-in-the-East, on the body of Elizabeth Stride, the woman who was murdered in Berner-street, Commercial-road, on Sunday morning.
The first witness called was William West, of 40, Berner-street, Commercial-road, printer. He said: I live on the premises; it is the International Working Men's Educational Club. There are two windows on the ground floor facing the street, and the door opens into the same street. At the side of the house there is a passage into a yard, and there are two wooden gates at the entrance to the yard; they open into the street. The first passage into the club leads into a room, and the door opens out of this passage. The gates are open at all hours of the day, but are mostly closed at night. The door is not closed till the members leave. There is no particular person to look after it. The room contains three doors leading into the yard. There is no other way out of the yard except through the gate. Opposite the gate there is a workshop, which belongs to a sack manufacturer. There is a stable on the left-hand side before you come to the club. One room is used as a printing office; the men from which left, I should think, about two o'clock in the afternoon. It is a Socialist club, and any working man, whatever his nationality, who professes Socialism, can be a member. I left the club for home at a quarter past twelve o'clock. In the evening there had been a discussion going on in the large room on the first floor, in which there are two windows looking into the street. About one hundred persons were present on Saturday. - When did the discussion cease? About midnight, and the bulk of the people left the premises then. - Which way did they go out? Through the street door, which is the most convenient. Some of the members, about thirty, remained behind. These latter were singing and discussing various questions. - Were the windows open? Partly. - Where did you go when you left? To my lodgings, 2, William-street, Cannon-street-road. - Which way did you go out of the club? - I went out of the yard passage. I noticed the gates were open, so I went that way. - Is there any light in the yard? None whatever. - Are there any lamps in the street that light the yard? There are lamps, but not opposite. - How is the yard lighted? By the light of the club windows. - When you left the club did anything attract your attention? No, sir; I noticed nothing as I looked towards the gates. - Was there anything on the ground? I can't say. - Might there have been? I don't know, it was rather dark, so there might have been. - Did you notice anyone in the yard? No, sir. - Did you meet anybody in Berner-street? I can't recollect; but as I went along Fairclough-street, close by, I noticed some men and women standing together. - Did you see no one nearer? No, sir. - Have you ever seen a man and woman in the yard? About twelve months ago I happened to go into the yard and heard some chatting near the gate, and I at once went there and shut the gate.
Morris Eagle, 4, New-road, Commercial-road said: I am a traveller and a member of the Socialist Club. I was at the club on Saturday night, and did not leave till after the discussion. I went through the front door on my way out at a quarter-past twelve, but returned to the club about twenty to one. When I returned the front door was closed, so I went in at the back door in the yard and along the passage into the club. - Did you notice anything lying on the ground? No; I did not notice anything as I came in. - Could anything have lain there and you not seen it? I don't think so. - How wide is the passage? About nine feet. - Can you say whether the body was lying there then? I could not say for certain. It was very dark near the gates, and only the lights from the club shone into the yard. - If a man and woman had been there would you have seen them? Oh yes; I should certainly have seen them. - When did you hear of the murder? A member called Gidleman told me there was a dead woman in the yard. I went, and saw the woman lying there in much blood. Her feet were about six or seven feet from the gate. - Was she against the club wall? Yes, sir. - Her head towards the yard? Yes, her feet to the gate and her head to the yard. I struck a light and saw her covered in blood. I could not look at her long, so I ran for the police. Another man went for them at the same time. We could not find one at first; but when we got to the corner of Grove-street, Commercial-road, I found two constables and I told them there was a woman murdered in Berner-street. One of them turned his light on down the yard. There were lots of people present in the yard at the time we returned. One of the constables said to his companion, "Go for a doctor," and turning to me he said, "Go to the police-station for the inspector." - Did anyone appear to be touching the body? The policeman touched the body; not those standing close by. The people seemed afraid to go near it. - Cad [sic] you fix the time the discovery was made? About one o'clock was the time that I first saw the body. I did not notice the time, but I have calculated it from the time I left home to return to the club.
By a Juror: On Saturday night there is a free discussion at the club, and any one can go in. There were some women there on Saturday night. They were only those we knew - no strange women. It was not a dancing night, but there may have been a little dancing among the members after the discussion.
The Coroner: If there were singing and dancing going on would you have been likely to have heard the cry of a woman in great distress - a cry of murder, for instance - from the yard? Oh, we should certainly have heard such a cry.
Lewis Deimshitz said: I live at 40, Berner-street, and am steward of the International Working Men's Educational Club. I am married, and my wife lives there too. She assists in the management of the club. I left home about half-past eleven on Saturday morning, and returned home exactly at one o'clock on Sunday morning. I noticed the time at Harris's tobacco shop at the corner of Commercial-road and Berner-street. It was one o'clock. I had a barrow, something like a costermonger's with me. I was sitting in it, and a pony was drawing it. It is a two-wheeled barrow. The pony is kept at George-yard, Cable-street. I do not keep it in the yard of the club. I was driving home to leave my goods. I drove into the yard. Both gates were wide open. It was rather dark there. I drove in as usual, and, all at once, as I came into the gate, the pony shied to the left. That caused me to turn my head down to the ground on my right to see what it was that had made him shy. - Could you see anything? I could see that there was something unusual on the pavement. I could not see what it was. It was a dark object. There was nothing white about it. I did not get off the barrow, but I tried with my whip handle to feel what it was. I tried to lift it up, but I could not. I jumped down at once and struck a match, and as it was rather windy I could not get sufficient light to see exactly what it was. I could, however, see that there was the figure of some person lying there. I could tell by the dress that it was a woman. I did not disturb it. I went into the club and asked where my missus was. I saw her in the front room on the ground floor. There were several members in the front room where my wife was, and I told them all, "There is a woman lying in the yard, but I could not say whether she was drunk or dead." I then took a candle and went out at once, and by the candlelight I could see that there was blood about before I reached the body. I did not touch the body, but went off at once for the police. We passed several streets without meeting a policeman, and we returned without one. All the men who were with me halloaed as loud as they could for the police, but no one came. When I returned a man that we met in Grove-street, and who came back with us, took hold of the head, and as we lifted it up I first saw the wound in the throat. At the very same time Eagle and the constable arrived. I noticed nothing unusual on my approach to the club, and met no one that looked at all suspicious. The doctor arrived about ten minutes after the constable arrived. The police afterwards took our names and addresses and searched everybody. - Did you notice if her clothes were in order? In perfect order as far as I could see. - How was she lying? She was lying on her side, with her face towards the wall of the club. I could not say whether the body was on its side, but her face was. As soon as the police came I ceased to take any interest in the matter. I did not notice in what position her hands were. I only noticed when the doctor came up he undid the first buttons of her dress next the neck, and put his hand it. He then told the constable that she was quite warm yet. He told the constable to put his hand in and feel the body, and he did so. There appeared to me to have been about two quarts of blood on the ground, and it seemed to have run up the yard from her neck. The body was lying, I should say, about a foot from the club wall. The gutter of the yard passage is made of paving stones, the centre being of irregular boulders. The body was lying half on the paving stones. - Have you ever seen men and women in the yard? Never. - Have you ever heard anyone say that they have found men and women there? I have not.
By a Juror: Was there room for you to have passed the body with your cart? Oh, yes. Mine is not a very wide cart; it only took up the centre of the passage. If my pony had not shied perhaps I would not have noticed it at all. When I got down my cart passed the body. The barrow was past the body when I got down to see what it was.
Another Juror: Was any one left in charge of the body while you went for the police? I cannot say, but there were several about when I came back. I cannot say positively, but I do not believe any one touched the body.
Detective-Inspector Reid: All the people who came into the yard were detained and searched? Yes, and their names and addresses were taken. The first question was whether they had any knives. They were then asked to account for their presence there.
By a Juror: Would it have been possible for anyone to have escaped from the yard if he had been hiding there while you went into the club to inform the members? Yes, it would have been possible; but as soon as I informed the members everyone went out, and I do not think it would have been possible for anyone to get out then. - If anyone had run up the yard would you have seen him? Yes, because it is dark just in the gateway; but further up the yard you could see anybody running or walking by the lights of the club. - Do you think anyone could have come out of the gateway without you seeing them? No, I think they could not.
Detective-Inspector Reid stated that the body had not been identified yet.
The Coroner: It has been partially identified: but it is a mistake to say that she has been identified by one of her relatives. It is known, however, where she lived. At this stage in inquiry was adjourned.
The Lord Mayor, acting upon the advice of Colonel Sir James Fraser, K.C.B., the Commissioner of City Police, has, in the name of the Corporation of London, offered a reward of £500 for the detection of the Whitechapel murderer, the last crime having been committed within the jurisdiction of the City. The Common Council have confirmed this action of his lordship.
The following is the placard offering the reward:-
"Whereas, at 1:45 a.m. on Sunday, the 30th of September, a woman, name unknown, was found brutally murdered in Mitre-square, Aldgate, in this City, a reward of £500 will be paid by the Commissioner of Police of the City of London to any person (other than a person belonging to a police force in the United Kingdom) who shall give such information as shall lead to the discovery and conviction of the murderer or murderers.
"Information to be given to the Inspector of the Detective Department, 26, Old Jewry, or at any police-station.
"City of London Police Office, 26 Old Jewry,
"October 1st, 1888."
Mr. Marks has sent a cheque for £300 to the Home Secretary, on behalf of several subscribers, and requested him to offer that sum, in the name of the Government, as a reward for the discovery of the perpetrators of the murders. In returning the cheque, Mr. E. L. Pemberton writes from the Home Office:-
"If Mr. Matthews had been of opinion that the offer of a reward in these cases would have been attended by any useful result he would himself have at once made such an offer, but he is not of that opinion. Under these circumstances, I am directed to return you the cheque (which I enclose) and to thank you and the gentlemen whose names you have forwarded, for the liberality of their offer, which Mr. Matthews much regrets he is unable to accept."
The prompt action of the Lord Mayor in offering a reward for the apprehension of the Mitre-square murderer has been received with general satisfaction. The sum offered by his lordship, together with £400 which two newspapers offer to supply, the £100 offered by Mr. Montagu, M.P., and the £200 collected by the Vigilance-Committee, make an aggregate sum of £1,200. It is probable that the reward will be increased to £2,000, as the Lord Mayor has been urged to open a subscription list, and some members of the Stock Exchange seem disposed to take the matter up.
A singular story is being investigated by the police at Kentish-town. About nine o'clock on Monday morning the proprietor of the Nelson Tavern, Victoria-road, Kentish-town, entered an outbuilding for the purpose of pointing out to a builder some alterations he desired executed, when a paper parcel was noticed behind the door. No particular importance was attached to the discovery until an hour later, when Mr. Chinn, the publican, while reading the newspaper, was struck with the similarity of this bundle with the one of which the police have issued a description, as having been seen in the possession of the man last seen in company of the woman Stride. The police at the Kentish-town-road Police-station were acquainted with the discovery, and a detective officer was sent to prosecute inquiries. It was then discovered that the parcel had not been picked up, but had been kicked into the roadway, where the paper burst, and revealed a pair of dark trousers. The description of the man wanted for the murders gives the colour of the trousers he wore to be dark. The fragments of paper were collected and found to be stained with blood, and it is stated that some hair was found amongst some congealed blood attached to the paper. It was subsequently ascertained from some lads who had been dragging the trousers through the Castle-road that a poor man picked up the article of clothing and carried it off.
On Monday morning, at the Thames Police-court, William Seaman, forty, a builder of 11, Prince's-street Whitechapel, was charged with attempting to murder John Simkin, a chemist, of 82, Berner-street, Whitechapel. Inspector R. Thresher, H Division, watched the case on behalf of the Commissioners of Police. Prosecutor was now able to attend. He stated that on Saturday night, the 8th ult., at ten minutes to twelve, he was about closing his shop-door when prisoner came in alone. He asked for a pennyworth of zinc ointment. Witness got the ointment and gave it to him. Seaman then asked for a pennyworth of powdered alum. Whilst witness was serving accused behind the counter he was facing witness. Suddenly the prisoner struck him a heavy blow with a hammer on the head. Witness had his hat on at the time, but could not say how it got off, as it was afterwards found in the road. This blow caught him on the forehead. Directly the prisoner hit him he rushed round the counter, and again struck him with the hammer. The accused then dropped the hammer, and witness picked it up and gave it to a man who came in. Witness was cut at the back of the ear, and was bruised all over the body. That was the first day he had been able to get out. He had never before seen the prisoner, and he appeared sober. Witness was covered with blood. By Seaman: Witness did not weigh the alum. Prisoner: What is it a pound? That is what caused the dispute. Dr. Francis John Allen M.D., of No. 1, Dock-street, stated that when he was called to the prosecutor he found him suffering from a wound on the forehead and one behind the left ear. The latter was very much swollen and bruised. Prosecutor had considerable difficulty in swallowing, and witness should say he had been seized by the throat. Prosecutor was also bruised all over his body, and at one time his life was in considerable danger through the injuries he had received. The hammer produced would cause the injuries on the forehead. Henry John Smith, a warehouseman of 6, Chamber-street, Whitechapel, said that on the night in question he was opposite the prosecutor's shop, when he heard a scream. He then saw prosecutor's daughter, who called out to witness "They are murdering my father!" Witness went into the shop, and saw prisoner having hold of the prosecutor's throat and punching him about the face and chest. Prosecutor was covered with blood. Witness helped to hold the prisoner until a constable came. Charles M'Carthy, labourer, of 11, Ellen-place, Ellen-street, Whitechapel, stated that about twelve o'clock on the night of Saturday three weeks he was walking along Ellen-street. He heard a scream in the direction of Berner-street. He went into a chemist's shop at 82, Berner-street, kept by John Simkin. He saw Mr. Simkin with his white beard all over blood. He was behind his counter, and prisoner was standing in the shop. Mr. Simkin said to witness "Here is the hammer he hit me with," and gave it to witness. The prisoner made no attempt to escape, and made no remark. The police came and took the prisoner into custody. Constable 85H said when he arrested the accused he said "I shan't tell you what I did it for, but I will tell the magistrate". He had been drinking. When he entered the shop, prisoner had hold of prosecutor tightly by the throat, and was punching him in the ribs with his right fist. The witness M'Carthy handed him the hammer. The prisoner having been formally cautioned, said, "I will say nothing". Mr. Saunders committed him for trial on the charge of attempted murder.
When the post-office in High-street, Aldgate, but a few yards from where the murder took place on Sunday, was opened on Monday morning it was discovered that it had been entered by burglars and the safe forced. The thieves, who must have done their work between Saturday evening and the following morning, appeared to have first entered some adjoining unoccupied premises, and then, forcing the trapdoor, walked downstairs. Making a hole in the staircase they went into the cellar, and from there they got into the office, which is situated on the ground floor. The safe is kept under the counter, and the thief or thieves made a hole in the side, but were unable to reach the gold, and therefore only abstracted a small sum and some stamps. Considering the number of police who must have been all round the building in consequence of the recent murder, the robbery is a most daring one. The police were at once on the spot and Inspector Izzard, and Detectives Bacon, Hunt and Leamen are now investigating the matter. A later account says that the robbery turns out to be more serious than was at first supposed. The safe contained an unusually large amount of money, £370 being locked up in one of the drawers of the safe, and about £49 being in an ordinary bowl just inside one of the compartments. Stamps to the amount of about £350 were also in the safe. The burglars, after discovering the safe, proceeded to wrench open one of the sides. They were successful in this, and managed to reach the money in the bowl and the stamps, which they took. The drawer in which the larger amount of cash was locked was subjected to very rough treatment; but, fortunately, it resisted the thieves' efforts. A sum of about £3, belonging to the postmaster, was also taken from an upper room in the house. The fact that the office had been broken into was discovered by a clerk on his arrival at eight o'clock on Monday morning. On entering the passage he saw that some of the stairs leading from the upper part of the house, and over some steps by which the cellar is reached from the office, had been forced up. He at once informed the police, who then found the damage to the safe. Careful examination by the police shows that the burglars first entered an empty warehouse in Duke-street, just round the corner, and then got into the office through the trap door on the roof. For some time the safety of the office has been suspected by the police and Post Office authorities, who have noticed the comparative ease by which it could be entered from the back on account of the adjacent premises being unoccupied. It is supposed that the robbery took place on Saturday night, for it seems astonishing that any thieves should have been daring enough to enter the premises after the great commotion caused by the discovery of the murders but a few yards away, and the consequent presence of so many police in the district. The thieves do not appear to have left anything behind them which can assist the police. It was officially stated that the amount stolen from the Aldgate post-office is £250 in stamps, ranging from the value of a ½d. to 10s., while £50 in money was also taken.
The inhabitants of Westminster appear to have only on Tuesday morning realised the ghastly enormity of the crime which the discovery of human remains on the site of the new police head-quarters in Whitehall revealed. The details of the discovery are the all-absorbing theme of conversation in the district, and the horrors of the East-end have apparently, at least in this locality, lapsed as of minor importance compared with the discovery of a seventh dreadful crime, this time in the West-end of the Metropolis. The police and medical men connected with the affair were early astir, Dr. Bond, the divisional police-surgeon, and Dr. Hibbert, the assistant surgeon, arriving at the mortuary shortly after seven o'clock for the purpose of holding the post-mortem examination. The body was taken to a building near the House of Lords at seven o'clock last night, and after having been seen by Dr. Bond, who had the remains placed in spirits, they were carefully locked up and left in charge of the police, who had a constable doing duty at the doors of the mortuary throughout the night. The doctors continued engaged until a quarter to nine o'clock, when the examination was completed, having lasted about an hour and a half. The trunk - or rather the upper portion of a trunk - is said to have been much decomposed. The examination of the remains by the medical gentlemen was necessarily limited in consequence of the advanced state of decomposition in which the trunk was found, but was nevertheless of a searching character. Dr. Bond, who conducted the autopsy, declined to give any particulars as to the result of their investigations before they had made their official report to the authorities, which would be immediately. He stated that it was intended to obtain the arm which was discovered in the Thames on the 11th of September from the Ebury-street Mortuary, where it has been preserved, in order to discover, if possible, whether the arm is part of the same body which has been so terribly mutilated and distributed over the metropolis. The arm which was discovered at Lambeth last week is not considered to have any connection with the present case, but notwithstanding, it will, it is stated, be taken to the Westminster Mortuary, together with the limb from Pimlico, and for the same purpose. It has not yet been decided whether an inquest will be held, and this decision will probably depend upon the nature of the report of Dr. Bond, who was instructed by Mr. Troutbeck to make the post-mortem examination. Dr. Bond gives it as his opinion that one will be held.
The detectives commenced their investigations at an equally early hour. Their inquiries at the works where the body was found were resumed, but the result appears to be very discouraging. The officer's operations were confined to questioning the workmen employed on the building and to examining the works in quest of any other portions of a body which might have been deposited there, or a clue to the person or persons who put the remains where they were found. From what can be ascertained they have conclusively established the period about which the parcel was placed in the vault. They have ascertained that it was not in the vault on Saturday - at least, so several of the workmen assert. It appears that several of the men were in the habit of concealing their tools in this particular vault, and could not have failed to have noticed the bundle, although it was situated in a dark spot, had it been there on Saturday afternoon when the men left work. It has been ascertained that the bundle was first noticed in the vault on Monday morning the first thing. A carpenter went there for his tools, and supposed the remains to be something belonging to one of the workmen, and took no notice of them; but as they had not been removed on the following day, he called attention to the parcel, when it was opened by George Budgen, with the results already known. It is therefore evident that it was placed in the vault between Saturday afternoon and Monday morning. As to how it was placed there, and by whom, there has been nothing yet discovered to show. A minute search is being continued on the works for any further portions of this unfortunate victim's body, which it is thought may have been secreted about the foundation.
It appears that about three o'clock on Tuesday afternoon a labourer engaged upon the buildings for the New Central Police Offices, Cannon-row, Westminster, noticed a large bundle in a vault tied up with cord, and drew the attention of the assistant-foreman to it, who ordered him to pull it out and untie it. Upon doing so he found wrapped up in an old black skirt the trunk of a human being much decomposed. The police at King-street Police-station were at once communicated with, and Inspector Marshall, from the Criminal Investigation Department, took charge of the remains, and immediately summoned a doctor. The arms, the legs, and the head had been cut off, and were missing. Nothing in the shape of clothing beyond the black skirt referred to covered the remains, which are those of a female of about twenty-five years of age, so far as it was possible to judge. An opinion was expressed that the body had probably been dead for about a month.
Dr. Nevill, who examined the arm of a female found a few weeks ago in the Thames, off Ebury-bridge, said on that occasion that he did not think that it had been skillfully taken from the body, and this fact would appear to favour the theory that the arm, together with the one found in the grounds of the Blind Asylum in the Lambeth-road last week, belong to the trunk discovered on Tuesday, for it is stated that the limbs appear to have been taken from the body in anything but a skillful manner.
Mr. Troutbeck has decided to hold an inquest on the remains found in Whitehall, but the date has not yet been fixed. The inquiry is not, however, expected to be held until three days' time at the least. The police state that they have no further information.
At the Westminster Police-court, on Monday, John Brown, forty-five, a labourer, working in St. James's Park, was charged with murdering his wife, Sarah, by cutting her throat at 11, Regent-gardens, Regency-street, Westminster. Mr. Chief-superintendent Dunlop attended on behalf of the Commissioners of Police. Constable Powell, 499 A, deposed that at eleven o'clock on Saturday night he was at the police station (Rochester-row) door, when the prisoner came running up, and in reply to a question thrice repeated as to his business, he said, "I have stabbed my wife!" He seemed out of breath. I at once took him to Mr. Fairey, the inspector on duty, to whom he repeated the statement. Inspector D. Fairey, A Division, said that the prisoner was brought into the charge-room by the last witness. Brown said, "I have stabbed my wife at 11, Regent-gardens." Detective-sergeant Waldock was dispatched to see if the information was correct, and the prisoner, who had a wild look about the eyes, was detained. He was perfectly sober. After the lapse of a quarter of an hour a message was received from Sergeant Waldock, and then the prisoner was formally charged with the murder of his wife and placed in a cell. A large spring-backed knife, with a single blade stained with fresh blood, was found on him. Prisoner was placed in the cell, and witness went to 11, Regent-gardens, and there, in a front room on the ground floor, he saw a woman lying in a pool of blood, with her head near the fireplace and her throat cut in two places. She was quite dead. The prisoner made no answer at all to the charge, and only exclaimed, "I have nothing to say." His heavy boots (produced) were stained with blood.
By the Magistrate: The spring-backed knife produced had recently been sharpened. Constable Brown, 88 A, corroborated Inspector Fairey's evidence as to what occurred in the charge-room, and said that on receiving orders to look after the prisoner he said, "I shan't run away; I am only too glad to get here." He took the spring-backed knife out of his pocket and said, "This is what I have done it with. I hope she is dead; she had led me a pretty dance." Detective-sergeant Waldock said he went to 11, Regent-gardens, with a constable after the prisoner had given himself up. On arriving there he found two little boys in their shirts, standing at the door, crying. The prisoner is their stepfather. Witness went into the front parlour and saw a woman with her throat cut lying on the floor, with her head resting on her right arm. There was a large quantity of blood about, and she was quite dead, though still warm. Near her head lay her bonnet. Charles Redding, living at 12, Regent-gardens, next door to the little three roomed house occupied solely by the prisoner and his family, stated that during the last three months they had frequently quarrelled. Shortly before eleven o'clock on Saturday he heard scuffling in the prisoner's front room, then a cry of distress from a woman of "Oh, don't!" This was followed by a dull thud on the floor, and all became quiet. He went to the front door of his house immediately, and saw the prisoner leaving his house. He slammed the door after him, and very hurriedly left the gardens. Mr. Partridge: Did you speak to him? Witness: No. My wife and I went to knock at his door, as we were alarmed. The eldest boy, Robert Young, opened it and he made a statement which caused my wife to go for a policeman. Deceased was in the sitting-room. By the Magistrate: I have observed that the prisoner has been rather strange in his manner lately. He always looked very much excited. Mr. L. Archer, M.R.C.S. 38, Vincent-square, Westminster, said he was called by the police to the deceased on Saturday night. She had two cuts on her throat - one, only a deep flesh wound, an inch and a half long, and a lower one which had divided the upper part of the trachea and gone right to the backbone. The last-described injury was undoubtedly the cause of death. Very considerable violence must have been used to have inflicted the wounds. Deceased was a woman about forty years of age and healthy. Robert Young, a stepson of the accused, nine years of age, said that the prisoner came home from work on Saturday afternoon and his mother was frightened of him. She intended to leave him on Saturday night. He told her that he had "something in a box" for her, and that then he intended to give himself up. Witness knew that his mother went out to see her eldest daughter, and, though he had been sent to bed, he heard his stepfather going in and out. He heard the noise of a scuffle and was aroused by the knocking of the neighbours. By the Magistrate: Six or seven weeks ago the prisoner went to Westminster Hospital, and was there three or four weeks. He subsequently went to a convalescent home, and on his return there was something the matter with him. He kept saying that mother let men into the house, and would look for them before he went to work in the morning and when he came home at night, lighting matches to peer into corners. One night he walked about and lit an entire box of matches. He sharpened the large knife (produced) every day, before mother, both at dinner-time and tea-time, although he did not use it to [eat] his meals. On Saturday when he came home from work the deceased told him (witness) that the prisoner was going to try and kill her. The prisoner never got drunk; he only had a little beer at night-time. Superintendent Dunlop asked for a remand, and the prisoner, who had asked no questions, and had all along manifested an indifferent attitude, was remanded. It is stated that the deceased on the night of the murder went to the district medical officer, and also expressed her fear to the police as to the prisoner's conduct.