Saturday, 6 October 1888
The latest reports to hand bring no intelligence of a tangible clue to the East End atrocities, which are still the all absorbing topic here. The police, I am told, are receiving something like five thousand letters daily, containing suggestions and theories. The Vigilance Committee are leaving no stone unturned in their endeavours to solve the problem.
It is stated tonight that Sir Charles Warren has been inquiring into the practicality of employing trained bloodhounds in special cases in the streets of London. These dogs many years ago were employed in tracking criminals with great success notably in the case of the discovery of the Blackburn murderer some twelve years since. The improved order of our police, however, and the modern discovery of telegraphy have caused the general use of the bloodhound for criminal purposes to fall into desuetude.
It is hoped that the four days' confinement undergone by the young man Bull, who, in a drunken freak, describing himself as a medical student, surrendered as the Whitechapel murderer, will have a deterrent effect on the notoriety-mongers who appear to think they are perpetrating a good joke by hoaxing the police. During the last day or two there have been several of these bogus confessions, consequently the police have been occupied in examining the truth of these reports, verifying the accounts given by the self-accused man of his identity, and ascertaining his whereabouts at the time of the murders, therefore considering a sharp punishment should be inflicted upon fellows who thus needlessly occupy the time of magistrates and add to the work of the police. At a time like the present it is absolutely necessary that every one of these confessions should be carefully examined into, because there is no real clue as to the age, appearance, or position in life of the murderer. Indeed, scarcely a murder takes place in which the criminal's identity is not clearly defined without men coming forward to denounce themselves. Sometimes the self-denunciation is made by a drunken man, but it must none the les be inquired into, for although it may be only a tipsy freak it may also be a case in which liquor has unsealed the lips. In other cases it appears to be a craving for notoriety, while in a third it is the outcome of the feeling prevalent among a section of the lower class of satisfaction at bamboozling the police. For whatever the object, the offence should be a punishable one, and a good flogging would be the most suitable penalty and the best deterrent.
The news of the quick recovery of Lady Londonderry's stolen jewels by the Edinburgh police is being used as a handle against Sir Charles Warren's men here, and it is suggested to-night that before Mr Matthews resigns he should import a dozen or two of these canny Scots for special duty in the East End.
RESUMED INQUEST ON THE BERNER STREET VICTIM
THE DOCTOR'S EVIDENCE
Mr Wynne Baxter to-day resumed the inquiry at Vestry Hall, Cable street, into the circumstances attending the death of the woman, Elizabeth Stride, who was found with her throat cut in a yard off Berner street, Commercial road, on Sunday morning last.
Dr. Phillips was recalled and said he had examined more fully the roof of the mouth of the deceased and found no injury to or absence of any part of either the hard or the soft palate. He was sure the deceased had not swallowed either the skin or substance of a grape within many hours of her death. The abrasion that he spoke of on the right side of the leg was only an apparent abrasion, for on washing it the stain was removed and the skin found to be entire. He had also examined a knife given him by the police, and he found it to be such a knife as would be used in a chandler's shop, and was called a slicing knife. It had blood upon it which had characteristics similar to those of a warm-blooded animal. It had been recently blunted, and its edge turned by being rubbed on a stone such as a kerb stone, and it had been evidently once a sharp knife.
By the Coroner - Such a knife could have produced the incision and wounds on the neck, but he thought it improbable that this particular knife had been used by the murderer. Witness believed that the deceased had been seized by the shoulder, placed on the ground, and that the perpetrator was on her right side when he inflicted the cut. The cut was made from the left to the right, and therefore arose the unlikelihood of a long knife being used.
The Coroner - Can you form any opinion how it was that the right hand of the deceased had so much blood upon it?
Witness - I cannot. It is a mystery. It was smeared all over, and had several clots upon it. Of course, in giving that answer I am taking it for granted that the hand had always remained in the position I found it in, resting across the body.
The Coroner - Had she been dead long?
Witness - She must certainly have been alive within an hour of the time I first saw the body.
The Coroner- Would the injuries take long to inflict, do you think?
Witness - Only a few seconds. It might have been done in two seconds. There seemed to be a knowledge by the murderer of how to cut a throat in order to bring about a fatal result. There was a great dissimilarity in this case and Chapman's. In the latter case the neck was severed down to the vertebrae bone and there had been an attempt to separate the vertebrae. It was not necessary that much blood should have been on the hands of the person inflicting the injury, as the hands had evidently been away from the wound. There was no perceptible trace of any anaesthetic having been used. The absence of noise is a difficult question under the circumstances to account for. It must not be taken for granted that there was no noise. If, however, there was no noise it was quite impossible to account for it. Witness believed deceased was lying down on the ground when her throat was cut on account of the absence of blood from the left side of the body, and between that and the wall.
Dr Blackwell recalled, said he agreed with Dr. Phillips as to the unlikelihood of a long knife having been used.
Sven Ollsen was the next witness called, who gave evidence and said he was the pastor of the Swedish church in Prince's square, and had known the deceased 17 years. She was a Swede, and was born at Landarv, near Gothenberg, on November 27th, 1848. He produced a register of marriages copied from an old book by a previous pastor, which described her as married to an Englishman named Thomas Stride, a carpenter.
William Marshall, 64 Berner street, warehouse labourer, said he saw deceased about a quarter to 12 talking to a man in Berner street. He was of middling height, with a black coat and light trousers. He wore a cap with a small peak. He was more like a clerk than a sailor or butcher. Deceased walked away with the stranger.
James Brown, of Fairclough street, said about a quarter to 1 he saw a man and woman at the corner of Berner street. After he got home he heard cries of murder. That was twenty minutes later.
William Smith, constable on the Berner street beat, said it to twenty-five minutes to complete his round, and he was at the scene of the murder twenty minutes before the body was found, but saw nothing and heard no cries. At that time he saw the deceased and a man near the spot.
The man Kidney who lived with deceased identified a hymn book produced.
Detective Inspector Reid gave a detailed account of steps taken by the police on the discovery of the body, and said inquiries were still proceeding, but up to the present without success.
The inquest was then adjourned until October 23.
The man arrested at Bishop Stortford on suspicion of being concerned in the Whitechapel murders was set at liberty this afternoon, the police having ascertained that the account he gave of himself was correct. No further arrests have been made, and no persons are now in custody. The facsimiles of the letter and postcard addressed to the Central News and signed "Jack the Ripper" have now been posted up at each police station in the Metropolitan District. It will be remembered that in the post-card, which was posted on Sunday afternoon, the writer stated that "Number One" (the Berner street victim) squealed a bit. Until to-day it had been assumed that as in the case of the other victims the cutting of the throat caused instantaneous death. But in his evidence before the coroner to-day, Dr. Phillips expressed his opinion that in this instance the victim did have time to scream.
The funeral of Kate Eddowes, the Mitre square victim, will take place on Monday afternoon in Ilford Cemetery. The police have commenced a systematic search of unoccupied buildings in the Whitechapel district.
Practically nothing of any moment transpired to-day in connection with the recent murders. As originally surmised, the confession of the young fellow William Bull, who has been detained by the city police since Tuesday last, came to nothing, and he was discharged to-day after severe censure for the silly practical joke had played upon the police.
At the time of telegraphing the police admit they have practically no clue, but the activity at headquarters betokens that the authorities are fully alive to the responsibility resting upon them. The proceedings at the inquest to-day on the body of the Berner street victim have again thrown some doubt on the identity of the person murdered. Indeed the mystery seems to deepen as time goes on. The deputy of the lodging house where the deceased was said to live, as well as the man Kidney, who said he lived or three years with deceased, were both positive that the body was that of Elizabeth Stride, and gave what was considered to be conclusive evidence on that point. It was evident at the time that the doctors were startled by the statement, and have since, as a result of another investigation of the body, totally disproved the evidence of the witnesses mentioned. The doctors to-day stated that they could find no trace of any injury to the palate as indicated, and it certainly seems very strange that the man Kidney could by any possible means be mistaken, especially as the clerk of the Swedish Church in the East End swore that he had known her for seventeen years as Elizabeth Stride, and produced the marriage register. Another significant circumstance is that the jury to-day were sworn to inquire into the death of a "person unknown," while at the previous hearings the were sworn to inquire into the death of Elizabeth Stride.
A man who was arrested at Tiptree Heath on suspicion of being concerned in the Whitechapel murders, was able to give a satisfactory explanation of his movements, and was discharged.
It is stated that Detective Inspector Marshall this morning went to Guildford to bring to London a woman's leg, which had been discovered there near the railway. Superintendent Berry, of Guildford, is in communication with the authorities at Scotland Yard with reference to the recent discovery of human remains at Guildford Railway Station, which it is considered may probably be part of the trunk of the female discovered at Whitehall.
A later telegram from a Guildford correspondent says some sensation was caused in Guildford to-day, by a report that the remains which were discovered on August 24th in a brown paper parcel lying on the railway near the station were supposed to be part of the body of a woman, the trunk of which was found in a vault of the new police barracks at Whitehall. It will be remembered that the remains found at Guildford consisted of a right foot and portion of a left leg, from the knee down to the ankle, where it had been severed. The police doctor examined the limbs at the time and certified them to be human, while he also considered them to be those of a woman, but the flesh had been either roasted or boiled. No clue had been found to solve the mystery, but after the discovery at Whitehall, Superintendent Berry of Guildford borough police wrote to the Scotland Yard authorities, with the result that Detective Inspector Marshall, who has the Whitehall mystery in hand, proceeded to-day to Guildford and had the remains, which had been buried in the cemetery, disinterred, and in the evening he conveyed them to London. Mr Marshall, in reply to the correspondent, stated that he could form no opinion as to whether the remains were part of the trunk referred to above, but on his arrival in London he would immediately taken them to Dr. Bond and Mr Hibberd, by whom they would be carefully examined.
(FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT)
This morning the tramp arrested last night who described himself as "Leather Apron," and in whose possession a blood-stained knife and a blood-stained letter addressed to the Roman Catholic Primate were found, was brought before Captain Preston, R. M., who remanded him for eight days. He opened the letter in the day room and read it for those present. It turned out to be a begging letter, and the signature was Mick M'Guire, from Co. Clare. It purported to give an account of what the M'Guires had done for the Church in days gone by. However he informed the police that his real name is William Robinson.