10 September 1888
The public mind has recently been greatly shocked by the horrible stories appearing in the daily journals of a series of murders committed in Whitechapel, one of the worst of the Alsatian districts of London. In that quarter of the great metropolis repeated crimes have been committed, and there appears to be an extraordinary difficulty in tracing them to their source. On Saturday another tragedy was reported, the details of which are equally shocking. This is the fourth murder perpetrated within a short period, and its mystery is increased by certain words written on the wall of the yard where the body of the female was found - "Five, fifteen more and then I give myself up." The utterance may mean much or little. But upon primae facie view it is that of a dangerous madman at large, and strange stories are in circulation suggesting that such actually is the case. What has transpired hints at a desperate career of crime, and perhaps the public may be shocked at any moment by its revelation. The problem is now in the hands of detectives, and it may be assumed that they speedily will discover the clue. The whole story is melancholy, and the more so from the obscurity. It exhibits the darkened side of the lowest class of London life, and startles the community by its incidents of utter self-abandonment. The contemplation of such evil is shocking. With present information it is hard to account for it. It would however appear that the madness of drink brought about the terrible triumph of evil over good, as in this case recorded, and while the public wait for details they are forced to the conclusion that the crime was engendered in the insanity of an intemperance that killed the moral sense of the person or persons who carried it out.
The scene yesterday afternoon at the East End gave an instructive insight into what we might expect in periods of public panic when the crowd loses its head under the pressure of mixed anger and fear, and the popular temper heats to the danger point. The locality in which the butchery of Friday night was committed is also the theatre of the previous three murders charged with good reason to the same hand. It lies off the Whitechapel road, part of the main artery through the vast region lying east of Aldgate pump. There are many dangerous slums in this poorer London, with its million and a half of a population - it does not include the entire east - and the district which has been the theatre of such horrible tragedies has always borne a bad name. Anybody who walked in the Whitechapel and its continuation, the Mile End road on a Saturday afternoon when the cosmopolitan multitude, representing twenty nations, are abroad will see for himself the elements which have brought upon certain districts the character of places to be shunned even in daytime. Yesterday, at 4 o'clock, the throng in the neighbourhood of the murder numbered thousands. Every one of the heavy forbidding by-streets leading to the spot was packed with the curious and idle - a repulsive gathering it must be owned, for the vast majority represented the human types whose ways and works have earned for this part of the great Babylon its evil fame. These natural denizens were mingled with a better class - working men evidently wasting their Saturday half-holiday in the gratification of a morbid curiousity, with not a few horror hunters who might be carriage folk. Everybody was talking of one thing, and it was interesting to note how excited all seemed to be.
Even the Cockney, callous through familiarity with the daily tragedies of one kind or another, are fairly shocked and scared by deeds more monstrous and terrible than this generation has known. The East Ender is more apt to be staid than respectful over even such subjects as the loss of life by murder, but there was none of this yesterday; the hard and villainous faces which were numerous enough showed something like pity and indignation and while the assassin, if he was among us, would not have looked peculiar in such a gathering it is certain that if the worst of us - burglar, bully, wife-beater, pickpocket, highwayman or worse still though we might be - had our hands upon him we would have lynched him there and then in an honest impulse of avenging justice.
The air was filled with murder. It was the talk, there was nothing else to hear. Men, women and children all chattering at once, with deep oaths, and shrill feminine denunciations. The crowd had its nerves strong and its blood up. It was evidently raging in a blind way to go for somebody or something. It did partly indulge this mood, for the evening papers printed an interview with an inmate of the dingy lane called Hanbury street, who had described a male acquaintance of the murdered woman as of Jewish appearance. The tribe have been in very bad odour here, especially since the revelations of the sweating system. In fact there is a sort of "Judenhetze" afoot, and the natives, swift to condemn the Israelite on the ground that if he did not murder the woman he is taking the bread of Christian mouths, soon began to exclaim against the chosen people, and to threaten those present. Those were a considerable fraction of the throng, and being a congrous and choleric race, the whole evening onwards was enlivened with a series of free fights and single combats between Jew and Gentile. All the time there was a steady movement from every approach upon the scene of the tragedy. This was a very small and grimy yard, occupied by half a dozen stalwart constables who prevented the mob from swamping the place. The sergeant in charge could do nothing to hinder the inmates of the house from turning an honest penny out of the murder. This they did by charging that sum for a peep at the corner where the deed was done and the body lay. The pennies were paid as fast as they could be taken. The entry purchased you fell into single file with the procession of sightseers before and behind, passed two or three feet into the yard, saw some broken cases, a pair of steps and other things, and then in a corner a large irregular dark stain on the ground. Before you had well set eyes on it you found yourself quietly elbowed outside, for the coppers were moving too fast and time was too short to allow you more than a glance for your copper.
We have word to-night of another arrest, which is said to be of great importance. The natural hope is that it will prove of the greatest, and that the murderer is really laid by the heels. Until he is there will be a decided feeling of insecurity, not only in the East but in every other part of London. As for the affected locality, the inhabitants are simply in a state of terror. The only parallel for the condition should be the panic fuelled in Edinburgh by the atrocities of Burke and Hare. There is a disposition, not without sense under the circumstances, to criticise with alacrity the efficiency of the police. It is now unanimously agreed that the group of four murders are the work of the same hand, probably that of a homicidal maniac, whose illness has taken a specially fearful shape. Three crimes of the kind have already gone "un... of justice" the police having utterly failed to find a clue. There will be an outcry, and probably an agitation, if they are again unsuccessful. As it is many are inclined to think that the organisation of the force is almost as much beyond the requirements of a community which has so grown and altered as that of the old "Charley" system was when Sir Robert Peel displaced him by the "bobby." And it is beyond argument that the 13,000 police who safeguard this sheepfold of five millions are greatly inadequate for the purpose.
SHOCKING MURDER OF A WOMAN
A REVOLTING CRIME
LONDON, SATURDAY AFTERNOON
SEARCH FOR THE MURDERER
A painful sensation was created all over London to-day when it was known that early this morning another shocking murder, with even more horrible details than those which characterised others reported recently in the same quarter, was perpetrated in Spitalfields. Again the victim is a woman, again there has been a fearful mutilation of the body, and this is the fourth tragedy of the kind in the East End within a very short period. The first occurred some months ago, the others quite recently. The second case was that in which the body of an "unfortunate" was found in a lodging-house at Georgeyard Buildings, Whitechapel, covered with wounds inflicted with a knife. Then came the brutal murder and mutilation of a Mrs Nichols in Buck's row, Whitechapel, in the early morning of Friday last, and now there is a fourth case, which, although as stated in the report below, perpetrated in Spitalfields, is nevertheless within a few hundred yards of Buck's row, Whitechapel. This neighbourhood is to-day in a state of wild excitement, bordering on panic, for the other cases are fresh in everybody's memory, and nobody has been brought to justice for any one of the crimes. The victim is again a woman of the "unfortunate" class, but the circumstances are so atrocious and revolting as to render it difficult to state the facts.
The victim was found in the backyard at No. 29 Hanbury street, Spitalfields (close to the spot where the other unfortunate women have been found), by a Mr Davis, who lodges in the house. As Mr Davis, who is a market porter, was going to work at about 6 o'clock, he happened to go into the backyard, which is a piece of ground flagged with stones about thirty feet long, and immediately behind the door, in the left hand corner, close to a brick wall, he found the woman lying, horribly mutilated, in a pool of blood. Her head was facing the door, the throat was cut and the body ripped. A large knife stained with blood and a leather apron, it was first reported, were discovered near the body; but this is not so. There was, it is true, an apron, but that belonged to a young man who lives in the house, and uses it in his work. There were blood stains on the wall, and there is no doubt that the murder was committed where the deceased was found, although no one - and there were four families in the house at the time - heard the least sound. The house is occupied by a Mrs Emilia Richardson, who lets it out to various lodgers, and it seems that the door which admits into the passage at the foot of which lies the yard where the body was found, is always open for the convenience of the lodgers - a fact, no doubt, known to the perpetrators of the crime.
A Mr and Mrs Davis occupy the upper storey (the house consisting of two storeys). When Mr Davis found the woman she was lying on her back close up to the flight of steps leading into the yard. The throat was cut open in a fearful manner - so deep, in fact, that the murderer, evidently thinking that he had severed the head from the body, tied a handkerchief round it so as to keep it on. It was also found that the body had been ripped open and disembowelled, the heart and abdominal viscera lying by the side. The fiendish work was completed by the murderer tying part of the entrails round the victims neck. There was no blood on the clothes.
Hanbury street is a long street which runs from Baker's row to Commercial street. It consists partly of shops and partly of private houses. In the house in question, in the front room, on the ground floor, Mr Harderman carries on the business of a seller of catsmeat. At the back of the premises are Mrs Richardson's, who is a packing-case maker. The other occupants of the house are lodgers. One of the lodgers named Robert Thompson, who is a carman, went out of the house at half-past three in the morning, but he heard no noise. Two unmarried girls, who also live in the house, were talking in the passage until half-past twelve with young men, and it is believed that they were the last occupants of the house to retire to rest.
The body is that of a woman evidently of about forty-five years of age. The height is five feet exactly. The complexion is fair, with wavy dark brown hair. The eyes are blue, and two teeth have been knocked out in the lower jaw. The nose is rather large and prominent. The third finger of the left hand bore signs of rings having been wrenched off it, and the hands and arms were considerably bruised. Deceased wore laced up boots and striped stockings. She wore two cotton petticoats, and was otherwise respectably though poorly dressed. Nothing was found in her pockets but a handkerchief and two small combs, besides an envelope bearing the seal of the Sussex Regiment.
The excitement in the vicinity is intense, and unfounded rumours are flying about. One report has it that the leather apron found near the place where the body lay belonged to a man whose name is unknown, but he is nicknamed "Leather Apron" and evidently known in the district. A further report stated that another woman was nearly murdered early in the morning and was taken to the hospital in a dying condition. Several persons who were lodging in the house, and who were found in the vicinity where the body was found, were taken to the Commercial street station, and are now being closely examined, especially the women who were last with the deceased.
The woman is believed to be Annie Siffey. She is described as about forty-five years of age, with dark wavy hair, and rather stout. She was known as one of the unfortunates, and has been in the habit of living in a common lodging-house at 35 Dorset street. One of the women who also lives there recognises her from the description given. The deceased was, it is said, seen in Spitalfields Market this morning at two o'clock, and therefore the murder must have been committed between that hour and six.
The excitement in the vicinity is intense, and many are the rumours that are flying about. One report is that a leather apron and a long knife have been found near the place where the body lay, and that these belong to the man known in the neighbourhood as "Leather Apron" and after whom the police have been hunting for the past few days in connection with last weeks tragedy in Buck's row. Several persons staying at the lodging-house were taken to the Commercial street Police Station and closely questioned, but the police authorities are extremely reticent as to what has transpired. It is, however, believed to be almost beyond doubt that the latest murder is but one of a series of fiendish atrocities on women which have been going on within the past few months, and apparently have been committed by the same hand. Many people hold the view that the woman whose body was discovered this morning must have been murdered outside, or in a neighbouring house, and the body carried into the dark yard, where the murderer evidently thought it was safe from discovery for some time. The police, fortunately, have more facts and evidence to go on with than they had in connection with the Buck's row tragedy. Looking at the corpse no one could think otherwise than that the murder had been committed by a maniac or wretch of the lowest type of humanity; indeed one would have to go to the wilds of Hungary or search the records of French lower peasant life before a more sickening and revolting tragedy could be told.
Colonel Mansell, Chief Constable of the district, visited the locality early this forenoon, and subsequently inspected the body of the victim in the presence of the local police officers and the divisional surgeon. The only foundation for this story of the leather apron is that an apron of this character was hanging on a nail in the passage leading to the yard. The landlady of the house has two sons, who are employed as cabinet-makers, and use heavy leather aprons in the exercise of their trade. The police have no doubt that one man is responsible for all the recent murders of women in the district and they are convinced that the horrible crimes are the work of a madman.
There are a number of conflicting statements as to whether the murderer has been really arrested, but the police are very reticent on this point. It is believed that in any case they have a clue which will sooner or later lead to the perpetrator of the murder being brought to justice. There is no truth in the report which has been circulated that the following words were written on the wall of the house in which the body of the woman was found - "Five, fifteen more, and then I give myself up." Large numbers of people are to be seen parading Whitechapel road, by far the majority of whom are foreigners. In a house in the yard where the body was found is a catsmeat dealer's shop, and it has been ascertained that the leather apron of which there has been so much said belongs to the occupier of this shop. The police attach no importance whatever to the finding of the apron. Two men passing through Brick lane this afternoon were denounced by the crowd as the murderers, and were attacked. They called upon the police for protection, and were taken to Bethnal green police station, and there released.
The terror and excitement were somewhat abating when, at 11.15, the people who had congregated in Commercial street were thrown into a fresh state of alarm. It was rumoured that about a quarter of an hour previously the man who was supposed to be the murderer, or connected with the murder, had been seen in the locality, but this statement, owing to the want of previous success in detecting the perpetrators of the other murders was received with incredulity. A short time afterwards, however, a young man apparently abut 25 years of age, was seen running down Commercial street at full speed, followed by a large body of policemen with drawn batons, and a large crowd of persons. The man was gradually gaining on his pursuers but owing to the cries of policemen a large body of men and women blocked the street. The man at once grasped the situation and rushed down a side street. The excitement at this time became intense, as it was thought that the man, who was supposed to be the murderer, would escape. After an interval of about two minutes however a cheer was raised, and shortly afterwards the man was seen between five or six policemen. It would be almost impossible to describe his appearance; he was the picture of terror, the colour of his face being between a ghastly white and yellow. He is about the medium height, and was fairly dressed. When the police arrived in Commercial street the people crowded round in order to look at the captured man, but they were kept at a distance by a body of policemen. The man was taken to the Commercial street Police Station. It is thought that in consequence of this arrest a clue will be obtained as to the perpetrator of the dastardly crimes which have thrown the inhabitants of the district into the greatest state of alarm during the last few weeks.
Owing to the confusion and excitement which prevail in the locality it is impossible to obtain confirmation of the reported arrest in connection with the crime, but a correspondent sends an account which places the above incident in a different light. He says - At five minutes after 11 o'clock a man suddenly attacked a woman in the Spitalfields Market, while she was passing through. After felling her to the ground with a blow, he began kicking her, and pulled out a knife. Some women who had collected, having the terrible tragedy that brought them there still fresh in their minds, on seeing the knife, raised such piercing shrieks of "Murderer," &c that they reached the enormous crowds in the busy street. There was at once a rush for Commercial street, where the markets are situate, as it was shouted out by some that there was another murder, and by others that the murderer had been arrested. Seeing the immense crowd swarming round him, the man who was the cause of the alarm made more furious efforts to reach the woman, from whom he had been separated by some persons who interfered on her behalf. He, however, threw them on one side, fell upon the woman knife in hand, and inflicted various stabs on her head, and cut her forehead, neck and fingers before he was again got away from her. The woman then lay motionless. The crowd then took up the shout of "Murder!" and the people who were on the skirts raised cries of "Lynch him." At this juncture the police arrived, arrested the man, and after a while had the woman conveyed on a stretcher to the police station in Commercial street where she was examined by the divisional surgeon. She was found to be suffering from several wounds, but none of them considered dangerous.
Mrs Elizabeth Bell, of 31 Hanbury street, stated to a reporter all she knew of the matter, in the following words:- I have been living here some time and I wish I had never come. Such a terrible sight is enough to shock any woman with the hardest heart. The house is open all night next door, and this poor creature was taken into the yard, and butchered, no doubt by the same man who committed the others. We were all roused at six o'clock this morning by Adam Osborne calling out, "For God's sake get up; here's a woman murdered." We all got up and huddled on our clothes, and on going into the yard saw the poor creature lying by the steps in the next yard with her clothes torn and her body gashed in a dreadful manner. The people in the house next door were all asleep, I believe and knew nothing of the matter until the police came and roused them up. I cannot be sure if anybody in the house knew of the murder or took part in it, but I believe not. The passage is open all night, and anyone can get in, and no doubt that is what happened." All the other tenants of the house gave the same opinion, and those in the house of Mr Richardson at 29, where the murder occurred, state that they heard no cries of "Murder" or "Help" or anything unusual during the night.
Reference is made in the above report to a mysterious being bearing the name of "Leather Apron," concerning whom a number of stories have for a week or more been current in Whitechapel. A reporter of the Star, who has been making some inquiries among a number of women in the East-end gives the following description of the man:-
He is five feet four or five inches in height, and wears a dark close fitting cap. He is thickset and has an unusually thick neck. His hair is black, and closely clipped, his age being about 39 or 40. He has a small black moustache. The distinguishing feature of his costume is a leather apron, which he always wears, and from which he gets his nickname. His expression is sinister, and seems full of terror for the women who describe it. His eyes are small and glittering. His lips are usually parted in a grin which is not only not reassuring, but excessively repellent. He is a slipper-maker by trade, but does not work. His business is blackmailing women late at night. A number of men in Whitechapel follow this interesting profession. He has never cut anybody, so far as is known, but always carries a leather knife, presumably as sharp as leather knifes are wont to be. This knife a number of the women have seen. His name nobody knows, but all are united in the belief that he is a Jew or of Jewish parentage, his face being of a marked Hebrew type. But the most singular characteristic of the man is the universal statement that in moving about he never makes any noise. What he wears on his feet the women do not know, but they agree that he moves noiselessly. His uncanny peculiarity to them is that they never see him or know of his presence until he is close by them. * * * "Leather Apron" never by any chance attacks a man. He runs away on the slightest appearance of rescue. One woman whom he assailed some time ago boldly prosecuted him for it, and he was sent up for seven days. He has no settled place of residence, but has slept oftenest in a fourpenny lodging-house of the lowest kind in a disreputable lane leading from Brick-lane. The people at this lodging-house denied that he had been there and appeared disposed to shield him. "Leather Apron's" pal "Mickeldy Joe," was in the house at the time, and his presence doubtless had something to do with the unwillingness to give information. "Leather Apron" was last at this house some weeks ago, though this account may be untrue. He ranges all over London, and rarely assails the same woman twice. He has lately been seen in Leather-lane, which is in the Holborn district.
Up to midnight on Saturday no arrest had been made. The police confess they have no clue, but they are making every effort to put an end to the mystery, and to bring the criminal to justice. A large number of detectives and police are scouring the neighbourhood. Shortly after midnight the police received information that three rings answering the description of those taken from the murdered woman had been taken in pledge by a pawnbroker in Mile End road. A woman who knew deceased well was at once sent to see if she could identify the rings, but she failed to do so. In the meantime the police had ascertained that the person who pledged them had a right to do so. Mrs Fiddymont, wife of the proprietor of the Prince Albert publichouse half a mile from the scene of the murder states that she will be able to identify the man who entered her house early on Saturday morning with stains of blood on him.
Although the police have made most diligent inquiry after the murderer of the woman, whose real name is Chapman, they had up to last night failed to find the slightest clue to his where abouts. As a matter of fact, they are in the dark as to the personal appearance of the man for whom they are looking. It is true that they possess the description of a man who is known as "Leather Apron," and will arrest him if he can be found, but their theory is that "Leather Apron" is more or less a mythical personage, and that he is not responsible for the terrible crimes with which his name has been associated. All the same the details of his appearance have been widely circulated, with a view to his early apprehension. All the police in the vicinity are on the look-out for him.
On Saturday night a large force of police constables and detectives closely watched the neighbourhood. Men were posted at all the entrances and exits of the numerous alleys and passages in the neighbourhood, who every few minutes made a thorough examination of the places under their surveillance, and from time to time these were visited by the Inspectors on duty, with a view to ascertaining whether any suspicious character had been observed. From ten o'clock at night until late in the morning a large crowd occupied Hanbury street, in the vicinity of the notorious house, No. 29. When the publichouses emptied the occupants swarmed into the street, causing a good deal of trouble to the police by their behaviour. The people living in the adjoining houses obtained no rest until between four and five o'clock, when the crowd gradually melted away, only, however, to reassemble again in greater force as soon as daylight appeared. In the course of Saturday night and Sunday morning the police arrested two men on suspicion of being concerned in the crime. One man, whose appearance left little doubt in the minds of his captors that he was the Hanbury street murder, was found by an officer in Buck's row shortly after 1 o'clock on Sunday morning. A murder was, it will be remembered, committed in the neighbourhood but a short time since, and the police have since been constantly pursuing their investigation in that quarter. The man upon whom suspicion rested presented a most forbidding appearance. He appeared to be hiding in the street, and when accosted by the officer, rushed off at the top of his speed. An alarm was raised, and after a short race he was arrested. He was a villainous-looking fellow with long hair and shaggy beard, dressed only in a pair of ragged blue serge trousers and an old dirty shirt. He resisted his captors, but was eventually secured and conveyed to Bethnal Green Police Station. It was said at the time that he was carrying a long knife concealed in the sleeve of his shirt, but on examination no weapon was found upon him. He gave an account of himself which was, in the first instance, considered unsatisfactory, but inquiries were immediately set on foot, and in the result the man, who appears to be a common vagrant, was released from custody. The second arrest was effected in Gloucester street, where a man aged about 40, having the look of a seafarer, was arrested. It was pretty obvious, however, from the replies which he gave, and his general appearance that he was not the man sought for, and after he had spent some time in Commercial street Station he was also set at liberty. It is suggested that the first mentioned man is the person who has been spoken of by Mrs Fiddymont, wife of the proprietor of the Prince Albert public-house, situate at the corner of Brushfield street and Stewart street. Mrs Fiddymont has stated to the police that at seven o'clock on Saturday morning a rough-looking man came into the place and got some ale. He presented an excited appearance, and some blood-spots were said to have been observed on his right hand. This man, however, had a coat and hat on. The police, however, who gave information very unwillingly, and who do not accept the theory that the crime has been committed by the man designated "Leather Apron," are indisposed to believe that the person seen by Mrs Fiddymont has any connection with the crime. They are unwilling, indeed, to accept assistance or suggestion from any private source and work upon a plan of their own, which consists of frequent visits to the common lodging-houses of the neighbourhood and a strict watch at night on all the streets in the vicinity.
All day to-day five policemen have guarded the scene of the crime in Hanbury street. No one was admitted unless he lived in the house. In the street half a dozen costermongers took up their stand and did brisk business in fruit and refreshments. Thousands of respectably dressed persons visited the scene, and occasionally the road became so crowded that the constables had to clear it by making a series of raids upon the spectators. The windows of the adjoining houses were full of persons watching the crowd below. A number of people also visited the house in Dorset street where the murdered woman lodged. It may be mentioned here that the soldier who had frequently visited the woman at this place did not return to the house on Saturday night. The police, however, attach no importance to this circumstance.
Inquiries have been made at Vauxhall and at Windsor where Chapman or "Sievy," as she was more generally called, is said to have relatives, but so far without any fresh information obtained as to her antecedents. The deceased has been identified by persons who have known her since she has lived in London, but her relatives, if she possesses any, have not yet communicated with the police. The small portion of writing on the envelope found upon the body, bearing the stamp of the Sussex Regiment, has not yet been identified or traced. The authorities of St Bartholemew's Hospital, where the woman spent some time, have been communicated with, but they have not been able to afford any information of a useful character.
The usually lively condition of Whitechapel and Spitalfields on a Sunday was considerably augmented to-day by reason of the excitement aroused by the murder. In the course of the day nearly a dozen persons were arrested, and conveyed to the Commercial street Police Station. In the afternoon a vast crowd had collected about the streets. As each apprehension was made they rushed pell mell towards the station, obviously under the idea that the murderer of the woman had been caught. Shortly before five o'clock a man was arrested in Dal street after a long chase on a charge of assault. The officer who arrested him proceeded with his prisoner by way of Hanbury street to the police station and so was obliged to make his way through the crowd. Outside the house his prisoner stood in some danger of being mobbed, but the crowd eventually gave way, and the prisoner was safely lodged in the station.
A few minutes later two men were arrested in Wentworth street. As soon as the crowd saw them in the hands of the police there were loud cries of "Leather Apron," and thereupon hundreds of persons turned out from the side streets and followed the officers in a tumultous throng to the station. Not five minutes afterwards a woman was apprehended on some small charge, and the excitement became so intense that a posse of officers was sent out from the building to preserve order. These marched three and four abreast up and down the pavement, and while they were so engaged yet another prisoner was brought in. There was a good deal of shouting in the mob, which surged about in a dangerous fashion, but by-and-bye a diversion was caused by the rapid passage along Banbury street of three men who were supposed to be two detectives and their prisoner. The centre man bore a striking resemblance to "Leather Apron," and the cry of "That's him," having been raised, a rush was made at him, but the little party immediately turned down a side street, and the police prevented the crowd from proceeding further.
In the neighbourhood of the mortuary, which is situated in Eagle place, at the Whitechapel end of Hanbury street, all was quiet during the day. The green doors opened now and again to admit some inspectors of police and several medical gentlemen, but all others were rigidly excluded. The inquest on the body will be held to-morrow (Monday) by Dr MacDonald, the coroner for the district. Dr Phillips, the surgeon, and the witnesses who first discovered the body, will be called, and the police will also give certain evidence. Dr Phillips believes that the woman had been dead for two hours or more when she was discovered. It is a remarkable fact, however, that the man Richardson, who first went into the yard where the corpse was discovered says that he actually sat down on the step of the passage to cut a piece of leather off his shoe and yet did not see the body. This, however, may be explained by the circumstances that the passage door opens outward and toward the left, and so would conceal the body behind it. It is the custom to leave both of the passage doors open at night, and although they were found shut on the morning of the murder no suspicion was excited on that account.
The advisability of employing bloodhounds to trace the perpetrator of the crime has been eagerly discussed by the inhabitants of the district. It is considered by experts that the time has gone by for such an experiment, and it is pointed out also that in the case of the Blackburn murderer, who was discovered by this means, the circumstances were different, and that the present case does not admit of that. To-night the police are posted in strong force throughout the neighbourhood. Their precautions are such that they consider it impossible that any further outrage can be perpetrated. The inhabitants of the place, however, although by day regarding the matter as one for discussion and excitement rather than serious regard, profess to fear that the miscreant will soon be at his dark work again, and that if he be captured at all he will be taken redhanded in the commission of another horrible crime.
LONDON, SUNDAY NIGHT
To-night Hanbury street, Whitechapel, was in an all but impassable state owing to crowds which had assembled in the neighbourhood of the scene of the latest East End tragedy. Some thousands of people passed through the locality during the early part of the day, and the police authorities at Commercial street Police Station had a number of constables drafted from other parts of the metropolis and these as the evening advanced were busily occupied in keeping the people moving. The public excitement as the day advanced appeared rather to grow than diminish, and strong evidence of the fact was apparent to-night. Not only did large crowds of the poorer classes loiter in the vicinity of the spot where the murder was committed, but a number of the more well-to-do were to be seen either gazing with awe-stricken faces at Mrs Richardson's house, in the rere of which the murdered body of the victim was found, or endeavouring to glean some additional particulars as to the circumstances of the tragedy. Up to half-past nine o'clock to-night the police at Commercial street were unable to say that their investigations had been attended with success, though our reporter elicited a statement regarding which important developments might, it is thought, be expected. The Deptford police had made a communication to the effect that a man had been arrested by them under suspicious circumstances. On receipt of the information at Commercial street, Inspector Chandler at once started for Deptford and at the time of telegraphing he had not returned with his charge, but was momentarily expected. The lapse of a few hours will suffice to show whether the man in custody at Deptford is in any way connected with the crime. The police authorities of Scotland Yard and Whitechapel are fully conscious of the difficult nature of the task they have before them in identifying any particular individual with the series of appalling crimes. "God knows," said an official to our reporter, "but we may have another to-night, though we have men patrolling the whole of the region of Whitechapel and Spitalfields." That the police are putting forth every effort there can be no doubt. To-night there is a large force on duty one-third of the men are in plain clothes, and even those entitled to leave on absence are retained. That the public are anxious to second their efforts is testified by the presence on record at Commercial street of no less than fifty personal statements, made with the object of assisting in the work of identification. One officer has been occupied many consecutive hours in writing those statements, and up to nine o'clock to-night they were being supplemented by others.
The police are not permitted to make public the written evidence, if evidence it can be called. It is doubtful if it will ultimately prove of much value, but one special representative, in pursuing his investigations to-night, heard in the presence of the police a statement which ought not to be altogether dismissed as unworthy of notice. The informant was a young woman named Lyons, of the class commonly known as "unfortunates." She stated that at 8 o'clock this afternoon she met a strange man in Flower and Dean street, one of the worst streets in the East end of London. He asked her to go to the Queen's Head publichouse at half past 6 and drink with him. Having obtained from the young woman a promise that she would do so he disappeared, but was at the house at the appointed time. While they were conversing Lyons noticed a large knife in the man's right hand trouser pocket, and called another woman's attention to the fact. A moment later Lyons was startled by a remark which the stranger addressed to her - "You are about the same style of woman as the one that is murdered," he said. "What do you know about her?" asked the woman, to which the man replied, "You are beginning to smell a rat, foxes hunt geese but they don't always find them." Having uttered these words the man hurriedly left. Lyons followed until near Spitalfields Church, and turning round at this spot and noticing that the woman was behind him the stranger ran at a swift pace into Church street, and was at once lost to view. One noteworthy fact in this story is that the description of the man's appearance is in all material points identical with the published description of the unknown, and up to the present undiscovered, "Leather Apron."
Over two hundred common lodginghouses have been visited by the police in the hopes of finding some trace of this mysterious and much talked-of person, but he has succeeded in evading arrest. The police have reason for suspecting that he is employed in one of the London sweating dens as a slipper-maker, and that as it is usual to supply food and lodging in many of those houses he is virtually in hiding. Though "Leather Apron" was a figure well known to many policemen in Whitechapel district prior to the murder of Mrs Nicholls in Buck's row, the man has kept himself out of the way since, and this is regarded as a significant circumstance. A statement made to an inspector this evening that a man was heard making use of violent threats towards some women in a publichouse in Hanbury street on Friday night, is not considered to be of much importance, as neither of the parties can be identified. The police feel strongly that some effort should have been made to detain the man who is alleged to have had a drink early on Saturday morning in a public bar with blood stains upon him. The generally accepted theory is that the whole series of murders are the work of one, but a medical opinion is that the knife wounds on the woman found in August in George yard may after all have been self-inflicted. Whether this was so or not the wounds were not of the kind inflicted on the later victims. The inquest will be opened to-morrow, at 10 o'clock, at Lad's Industrial Institute. The Bethnal Green police have made no arrest in connection with the murder of Mrs Nicholls.
The man arrested at Deptford has not up to the present been brought to Commercial street Police Station for the purpose of identification and no further particulars concerning him can be obtained. Inspector Chandler has been to Deptford to see the prisoner, but what the result of his inquiries is is kept secret, but it is understood that not so much importance is attached to the arrest as was the case in the first place.