Wednesday, 19 September 1888
The East End murders still engross the public mind, and as yet nothing of importance has transpired to elucidate these terrible mysteries. The Detective Department of Scotland Yard are having a lively time of it with Sir Charles Warren, and the plaintive wail which is heard hourly in the neighbourhood of Whitehall is, "taking one consideration with another a policeman's life is not a happy one. No!" The arrests made are not calculated to lead to anything, but this afternoon some facts came to hand which might furnish a clue. On the day of the last murder - that of the unfortunate woman in Hanbury street - a man is stated to have changed his clothes in the lavatory of a newsroom near Ludgate Hill, and to have left behind him a pair of trousers, a shirt, and a pair of socks which, when found, were thrown in the dustbin and afterwards carted away by the dust men. The policemen are now on the track of the clothes, which, if found, might lead to a clue.
CHARGE OF ATTEMPTED STABBING
Charles Ludwig, 40, a decently-dressed German of the Minories, was charged at the Thames Police Court to-day with being drunk and threatening to stab Alexander Finsberg, of 51 Leman street, Whitechapel.
The prosecutor said that at three o'clock that morning he was standing at a coffee stall in Whitechapel when the accused came up drunk, and in consequence was refused to be served. He then said to the prosecutor, "What are you looking at?" and pulled out a knife with which he tried to stab the witness. Ludwig followed him round the stall and made several attempts to stab him. A constable then came up and he was given into custody.
Constable 221H said the prisoner was in a very excited condition, and the witness had previously received information that he was wanted in the city for attempting to cut a woman's throat with a razor. On the way to the station he dropped a long-bladed open knife and on him was found a razor and a long-bladed pair of scissors.
Inspector Finlay, H Division, asked the magistrate to remand the prisoner, as they had not sufficient time to make inquiries concerning him.
Constable John Johnson, 886, stated that early that morning he was on duty in the Minories, when he heard loud screams of "Murder" proceeding from a court. The court led to some railway arches, and was well known as a dangerous locality. On going into the court he found the prisoner with a woman. The former appeared to be under the influence of drink. He (witness) asked what he was doing there when he replied, "Nothing" The woman, who appeared to be in a very agitated state, said "Oh, policeman, do take me out of this." The woman was so frightened that she could give no further explanation. The witness got her and the accused out of the court and sent the latter off. He walked with the woman to the end of his beat, when she said, "Dear me, he frightened me very much when he pulled a big knife out." The witness said, "Why didn't you tell me that at the time?" and she said, "I was much too frightened." He then searched for the prisoner, but couldn't find him, and therefore told several other constables what he had seen and heard. The witness had been out all morning trying to find the woman, but up to the present time had not been able to do so. He should know her again. He believed the prisoner worked in the neighbourhood.
Mr Saunders said it was clear the prisoner was a dangerous man, and ordered him to be remanded.
Great excitement prevails, as it is believed that some important discoveries in connection with the recent murders may come to light, and that the prisoner knows something about the tragedies. It has already been ascertained that Ludwig, who now professes that he is not able to speak English, has been in this country for about three months. He accounts for his time during the last three weeks, but nothing is at present known as to what he has been doing before that time. LATEST PARTICULARS A reporter had an interview with Alexander Finsberg, of 51 Leman street, who states that he was assaulted by the man Ludwig, now in custody, into whose antecedents the police are now inquiring. Finsberg, who is a youth about 18 years of age, stated that he was standing at a coffee stall at the corner of Commercial road about a quarter to 4 o'clock this morning when he noticed a man go by in company with a woman. His attention was directed to the man by the fact that he was respectably dressed and was with a poorly dressed woman. The man and woman were going in the direction of the Minories. About a quarter of an hour after the man, who was about 5 ft, 6 in. high and wore a top coat, returned ad went up to the coffee stall. He objected to pay a half penny for a cup of coffee, and there was an altercation. He then pulled out a long-bladed penknife and ran round the stall after Finsberg. A constable came across, and Finsberg gave the man into custody for attempting to stab him. Finsberg describes the man as being about 40 years of age, and walking with a stiff leg. He had a brown and grey beard. Inquiries at the Minories, the address which Ludwig gave upon being charged, show that he is unknown there. The city policeman who states that he saw the prisoner in company with a woman in the Minories has been engaged trying to find the woman, but has not succeeded.
The detectives investigating the last murder in Whitechapel have been directing their inquiries within the last few days to a circumstance which occurred on the day of the murder at the City Newsrooms, Ludgate Circus. A man was seen in the lavatory there changing his clothes, and he left behind him a pair of trousers, socks, and shirt. The clothes were afterwards thrown away and removed by a dust cart.
The strange man is described as about 30 years of age, of respectable appearance, and wearing a dark moustache. Detectives have visited Mr Walker, proprietor of the rooms, several times on the matter, and are trying to trace the clothes as they hope to obtain a clue to the identity of the man for whom they are in search.
Late to-night the police received further important evidence tending to throw light on the crime, but its nature was not allowed to transpire. The police have been investigating the antecedents of Ludwig Wetzel, who is charged with attempting to stab a youth named Fernberg in Whitechapel with whom he had a dispute respecting the price of a cup of coffee at a stall on Sunday night. He lodged at a coffee house in the Minories, but owing to his dirty habit's the proprietor would not allow him to remain the next night. He then went to a hotel in Finsbury, when he produced a number of razors, and his behaviour alarmed some of the inmates. The landlady states that on the day after the murder Wetzel called early in the morning and washed his hands, saying that he had injured himself. Another person has alleged that there was blood on his hands, but respecting this the landlady cannot speak. Wetzel is about 40 years of age, and walks lame, having a stiff leg. The detectives found nothing at the house in the Minories where he lodged. The police have not succeeded in finding the woman with whom the prisoner was seen and who told a policeman he had threatened to stab her.
"K.G.O." writes to the Times suggesting that one or both of the Whitechapel murders were the work of female hands.