Friday, 5 October 1888
There is unhappily only too good reason to justify the common belief that the manifest failure of justice, as so far exhibited, to overtake the perpetrators of the fell crimes of Whitechapel tends directly towards the procuration of further enterprises of evil and the encouragement of the conviction among the professed criminal classes that the purposes of wickedness may be pursued with impunity. Public critics have been blamed with considerable severity for making an attack upon the police, whom they have accused of a culpable neglect of duty. It is always a painful task for the responsible journalist to call the police force to account. In general his duty is to support its body and to acknowledge the sterling service that it renders under trying circumstances. But by recent occurrences the reflection is inspired that its efficiency has deteriorated. Six murders of the most ghastly character have been committed in London, and the murderers have not been captured. Those crimes have all been perpetrated within a narrow area, and not one of them has been traced to its source. The failure of justice might be conceivably excusable if the district were less infamously notorious. But it has been known for a long time pas to the police as a nest of crime. It is to be presumed that they were in possession of its dangerous history, and it is but reasonable to ask why now when the epidemic of evil has reached a head, those whose duty it has been to observe it are apparently so helpless. The police force of London have long known the Whitechapel district to be an Alsatia - a locality in which crime is bred - and with all the information at their command they have failed to anticipate the terrible results that have followed upon the toleration of the means of infamy. Upon such a district a stern watch should have been kept, unceasing in its vigilance and untiringly strict in its acuteness. Had the duty been properly performed the first of the awful murders that have disgraced the greatest metropolis of the world ought to have been the last, and the criminal should not have enjoyed a single hour of successful impunity. But the triumph of wickedness, or of madness - however it is describable - begot further crime, and the public since have been shocked by the narration of such deeds of infamy that only too surely afford encouragement to the criminal. It is a time when public attention is fastened rather upon the success of crime than upon the punishments following upon its commission, and it is an evil tale that the triumph of wrong should appear to be in the ascendant. It is now quite apparent that there are criminal classes in London that have for their object the making of war upon society, and that have not been deterred by the certainty of condign punishment. It is a fair question to ask what the police and detective forces are doing, and the public are entitled to urge upon the consideration of those who are highest in authority that the services for which they pay so highly ought to show a larger and more practical result in the interests of the community at large.
Those who of late have given attention to the reports of proceedings in the police courts of London and its outlying districts must have noticed that there has been a remarkable recrudescence of crime. To mention but one instance, it appears that Clapham and its neighbourhood have been made the happy hunting ground of the burglar. When in any form crime is successful the result is surely that its enterprises are extended, and we now find that cases of robbery with violence are more frequent than at any previous period known in criminal records. All this represents a serious warning. If once it is supposed that the police are incapable, it follows as certainly as the night the day that the criminal classes, organised as now most perfectly they are, will take advantage of that ineptitude. There is, taking all circumstances into consideration, only too good reason to believe that the London Police Force, though highly experienced and trained, is insufficiently controlled and directed. It is provided for sufficiently in the national expenditure, and it is not the fault of the men that their duty is incapably rendered. No blame attaches to them as a body. They are brae and well instructed, skilled in their duty and sufficiently acquainted with their responsibilities. But it is very clear that the heads of the Department have failed to use the materials at their command to the best account in the interests of the public service. Their rank and file cannot be held to account while the leaders exhibit a lapse in their responsibility. There is under the command of the HOME SECRETARY and of the Commissioners of Police in London a vast and ably instructed force, most highly trained and experienced. If there occurs a failure to trace the designs of criminal impulse - as recently manifested - to their ultimate sources, the reproach will be perilous and permanent. We believe that sooner or later the criminals now being sought will be tracked to their lair, but in the meantime the public cannot cease to condemn the failure to seize them, or an they avoid the conclusion that had the knowledge of the detective department been properly applied - with acuteness, with precision, and with timely prevision - some of the terrible tragedies that have shocked the sense of humanity might have been avoided. An awful lesson has been taught, and it remains to be seen whether its dismal teaching will be appreciated.
INQUEST ON THE MITRE SQUARE VICTIM
IMPORTANT MEDICAL EVIDENCE
The inquest on the body of Catherine Eddows, alias Conway, alias Kelly, found murdered in Mitre square, Aldgate, on Sunday morning last, was opened before Mr S. F. Langham, the City Coroner, at the City Mortuary, Golden lane, at 11 o'clock this morning. Major Smith, Assistant Police Commissioner, and Superintendent Foster represented the city police force; the city solicitor represented the London Corporation.
Eliza Gould, residing in the Minories, said she recognised the deceased as her sister. Her name was Catherine Eddows. She was a single woman, about 43 years of age, who had been living for some years with John Kelly. She last saw the deceased alive four or five weeks ago. Deceased used to get her living by hawking, and was of sober habits. Previous to living with Kelly she had lived with a man called Conway, by whom she had had two children. She did not know whether the deceased parted from Conway on good or bad terms.
John Kelly was next called. He recognised the body as that of Catherine Conway, a woman with whom he had been living for seven years. She was a street hawker. He saw the murdered woman last on Saturday afternoon in Houndsditch, where he parted from her on very good terms. She then said she was going to her daughter's and would return by 4 o'clock. She did not return, and he heard that she had been locked up for being drunk, but he made no inquiries. Witness was not aware that the deceased went out for immoral purposes. He certainly never suffered her to do so. She occasionally drank to excess. She had no money when she left him on Saturday afternoon. She was going to her daughter with a view of getting a little help, so that they might not both be compelled to walk the streets. He knew no one who was likely to injure her, nor was he aware that she had seen Conway recently.
By Mr Crawford - Deceased has not on any recent occasion absented herself from him at night. They had no angry conversation on the Saturday afternoon. He had lived with her in the same lodginghouse for several years. On Friday night deceased slept in the casual ward at Mile End. They arrived in London from Kent on Thursday and slept in a Shoe Lane casual ward, having no money. On Friday afternoon witness earned sixpence, and it was decided at the insistence of the deceased hat he should have fourpence to pay for his lodging, while she kept twopence and went to the casual ward at Mile End. She was quite sober when she left witness on the Saturday afternoon.
The next witness examined was Frederick William Wilkinson, the deputy of the lodginghouse at which the deceased woman and Kelly had lived for the last seven or eight years. They always seemed on very good terms, quarrelled occasionally, but their quarrels were not of a serious character. He thought deceased got her money by hawking in the streets and "cleaning" among the Jews. He saw her at the lodginghouse on Friday before the murder, and again for the last time on Saturday morning. She was quite sober then. She was not in the habit of walking the streets at night.
Police Constable Watkins deposed that he was on duty in the neighbourhood of Mitre square early on Sunday morning. His beat - which was described - would take 12 or 14 minutes, and he was patrolling from 10 o'clock on Saturday night till half-past one on Sunday morning, at which time he passed through Mitre square and looked at the different passages, corners, and warehouses. There was no one about. If any persons had been there he must have seen them. Re-entering Mitre square at 1.44 a.m. he saw the body of a woman lying on her back in the corner with her throat cut and the abdominal viscera displayed. He ran across the road for help. He returned, accompanied by a watchman named Morris, whom he sent for assistance. There was nobody about at the time. Police Constable Holland subsequently came up, followed by a doctor. He heard no footsteps as of any person running away.
Frederick William Foster, of 36 Old Jewry, an architect (whose plans were produced) gave evidence as to the positions, distances, dimensions, &c, &c. He said it would take a quarter of an hour to get from Berner street to Mitre square.
Wilkinson, the deputy of the lodging house, was then recalled, and produced a register of the beds let every evening, which showed that Kelly was sleeping in "52 single" on Friday and Saturday nights. He did not remember any stranger coming to the house about 2 o'clock on Sunday morning. Six strangers were present at the house on Saturday night, but he could not say at what times they came in, neither could he remember any stranger going out after 12 o'clock on that same evening.
Inspector Collard then gave evidence. Having received information on the Sunday morning that a woman had been murdered, he proceeded to Mitre square, arriving there soon after 2 o'clock. The body was not touched until the arrival of Dr. Brown. The body was then examined, and conveyed to the mortuary. A constable picked up some buttons and a small mustard tin containing two pawn tickets near where the body was lying.
A list of the deceased's clothes was then put in and read by the Coroner. She had not money about her. A portion of the apron of the deceased was also produced, much torn and bloodstained, which was said to correspond to another portion found in Goldson street.
Dr. Gordon Brown, surgeon to the City of London Police, described the position in which the body of the deceased was lying when he arrived in Mitre square. The face of the murdered woman as disfigured, her throat cut across, and her right ear was cut completely through. The body was quite warm, and no rigor mortis had as yet supervened. There was no blood on the front of the murdered woman's clothes, nor was there any evidence of recent intercourse. A post mortem examination was made on Sunday afternoon. Even then the body was not quite cold. After washing the left hand carefully a recent bruise the size of a sixpence was discovered at the back between the thumb and first finger. There were also slight bruises on the right shin. Witness proceeded to describe the condition of the face, which was very much mutilated. The throat was cut across from ear to ear to the extent of about six or seven inches. The sterno-mastoid muscle, the large vessels of the left side of the neck, the larynx, and all deep structures of the throat and neck were severed, the knife marking the vertebral cartilages behind. The carotid artery had been just touched by the knife while the internal jugular vein was opened an inch and a half. The injuries must have been inflicted by some sharp and pointed instrument. The cause of death was haemorrhage form one of the arteries of the neck. In witness's opinion the abdominal dissection was made after death, so that not much blood would escape on to the hands of the murderer. The stomach and its contents were removed by witness for further examination. The left kidney had been carefully taken out.
Mr Crawford - Do you draw any special conclusions from that?
Witness - I think somebody who knew the position of the kidney and how to remove it must have taken it out. The uterus was cut horizontally through, and a considerable portion of it was taken away, together with some of the ligaments. The cervix uteri was uninjured.
By Mr Crawford - My opinion is that the woman was lying on the ground at the time the wound in the throat was inflicted. It was cut with a sharp knife. Such knife must have been pointed from the wounds in the face and abdomen, and was probably six inches long. The person who inflicted the wounds must have possessed a good deal of knowledge. Considering the position of the abdominal organs, the parts removed would be of no use for any professional purpose. To abstract the left kidney implies great knowledge of its position. Such a knowledge might be possessed by a person accustomed to the cutting up of animals. It would take five minutes to inflict the wounds found upon the murdered woman. I can assign no reason why these particular organs should be taken away. If eel sure there was no struggle, and I think the act was that of one person only. There was no reason to believe that any drug had been administered. I should not expect to find much blood on the murderer. He windpipe being at once severed, the woman would be unable to cry. Fitted the piece of apron produced to that found in Goldson street, and found that they corresponded. Both pieces were stained with blood.
The inquiry was then adjourned for a week.
The excitement and indignation which are apparent in the east of London have been increased to-day by the startling announcement by Dr. Browne at the inquest that a similar organ missing from the body of Annie Chapman had been cut away from the body of Kate Eddowes found in Mitre square. There had been a suspicion of this fact which now renders the murderer's object all the more mysterious, since the doctor is so emphatic in his assertion that the obtaining of these portions of a woman's body could be of no use to medical research. Dr Browne stated that the clever manner in which the left kidney and the other organ were removed betokened that the murderer was well versed in anatomy, but not necessarily human anatomy, for he could have gained a certain amount of skill by reason of being a slaughterer of animals. These remarks conclusively show that the same hand which caused the death of the previous victims is also responsible for the killing of Kate Eddowes, and in all probability Elizabeth Stride in Berner street, although in the latter case he may have been disturbed before he had time to complete the mutilation in the peculiarly horrible manner which characterises his fiendish work.
The three men who were arrested late last night have been liberated, they having satisfactorily established their identity. The man apprehended under suspicious circumstances when leaving the Three Nuns Tavern in Aldgate was very violent throughout the night, and refused to satisfy the police as to his antecedents until this morning, when he was discharged.
Since the release of these men this morning the police have made no other apprehensions in connection with the crimes, but the most extraordinary rumours were flying about throughout the locality to-day of the capture of the much sought-for criminal, and the effect upon a public already well nigh goaded into exasperation at the continued non-success of the police to hunt down the murderer was indescribable.
The announcement of Dr. Browne of the disappearance of the uterus revived for a time the theory put forward by Mr Wynne Baxter, the Coroner in the Hanbury street case. The British Medical Journal, however, states that the foreign physician who sought to purchase specimens was a gentleman of the highest respectability, that he did not offer a large price, and that he left London 18 months ago.
The detective force to-day actively continued their inquiries with a view of establishing the identity of the remains found in the vault of the new police headquarters, but up to to-night their efforts had not been successful, and they do not anticipate any immediate discovery of importance. The fact that the arm found in the Thames belongs to the trunk discovered on Tuesday seems incontestably established. The theory that the victim was a lady or person of good position is not much countenanced by the police or doctors. It is much more likely that she was a person of the unfortunate class or a servant. It has been ascertained that the head was very clearly cut from the body, and that the victim was a dark complexioned woman, presumed to be about twenty-six years of age, and about 5 feet 7 or 8 inches.
Sir Charles Warren, in reply to a communication from the Metropolitan Board of Works, says the anonymous statements as to the change in the system of police reliefs are utterly fallacious. Constables are seldom or never drafted from their districts, except for promotion, or for some particular cause. With regard to the Detective Department, Sir Charles says a short time ago he made arrangements which still further reduced the necessity for transferring officers from districts which they knew thoroughly. He will be happy to give every attention to the proposals which the Board may make for improving the efficiency of the force.
Late this evening a man dressed in a black suit and white molton overcoat was observed waiting about the entrance to Mission Hall Court, Shoreditch, where a tea was being given to a number of unfortunate girls who are in distress owing to the present agitation. On the police coming up a bayonet in a sheath was found concealed under his overcoat. He said he was looking for the murderer, and would run him through. He was detained at the Commercial street Police Station. He gave the name of John Kesel Joseph.