Saturday, 29th September 1888
A PROBABLE CLUE
A matter which is thought to have a bearing on the Whitechapel murders is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police. Early on Wednesday morning a man, apparently about 33 years of age, accosted a woman in Whitechapel. At his request she accompanied him for a short distance when he suddenly caught her by the throat and knocked her down. The woman states that her screams alarmed the man, who then ran away. The description she gave of her assailant was as follows: About 5 feet 6 inches or 5 feet 8 inches in height, small dark moustache, dressed in a light coat and dark trousers, black felt hat, and wore a scarf round his neck.
Shortly after the latest murder the following official telegram was despatched to every police station throughout the metropolis and suburbs:- "Description of a man wanted who entered a passage of a house at which the murder was committed with a prostitute - Aged 37, height 5 feet 7 inches, rather dark beard and moustache, dress short dark jacket, dark vest and trousers, black scarf and black felt hat; spoke with a foreign accent."
At Dalston Police Court to-day, James Johnson, aged 35, a well set, pale-complexioned and clean-shaven man, with a strong American accent, residing at 18 Bridhurst road, Wandsworth, waiter, was charged with assaulting Elizabeth Hudson, by throwing her down on the pavement, and threatening to stab her in Richmond road, Kingsland.
The Prosecutrix, who described herself as an unfortunate, said that the prisoner met her at 2 o'clock that morning as she was going home, threw her to the ground, and then produced a long knife and attempted to stab her. Her cries attracted the attention of the police, who arrested Johnson as he was running away. The prosecutrix said the knife was eight or ten inches long.
Alice Anderson, feather curler, who resides with Elizabeth Hudson, and is her friend, complained of having been attacked in a similar manner by the prisoner.
The police failed to find the knife referred to.
The prisoner denied the allegations of the witness and the prosecutrix, and said they accosted him.
Johnson was proved to be a respectable man, while, on the other hand, the police said the prosecutrix was the worst and most troublesome prostitute in the neighbourhood.
Other evidence having been given,
The magistrate discharged Johnson, remarking that he had got himself into a very awkward scrape.
John Fitzgerald, who was arrested at Wandsworth charged on his own confession with the Whitechapel murder, has been liberated.