Friday, 12 October 1888
So far as public knowledge goes, the police are still entirely at fault in their search for the Whitechapel murderer. The several clues which have been spoken of have so far led to nothing. It does not follow that there should be any despair of ultimately securing the perpetrator, and certainly there ought not to be, and weare sure there will not be, any relaxation of effort, any lessening of vigilance, or neglect of fresh ingenuities in pursuit of the object. At the inquest on the Mitre square murder yesterday the true story was told of the writing on the wall, as to which there had been some mystery. On the night of the murder and after it was committed the words were found in the neighbourhood chalked up that "The Juews are the men that will not be blamed for nothing." There is some variety in the report as to the spelling, but the word was accepted as intended for Jews, many of whom reside in the locality. One of the constables properly wished to have the record photographed before it was obliterated, but this was unaccountably not done. A superior officer to him ordered it to be sponged out to prevent the public indignation against the Jews from becoming dangerous. This was in the circumstances a perfectly inadequate motive, and there was none other. It will be speculation altogether whether the writing was the work of the murderer; or whether if it was not it does not rather indicate that he sought thus to divert attention from himself, and to lay the blame upon the Jews as to whose reputation some question had before been made in the journals which in the most unguarded manner discussed the previous outrages. The value of the actual writing would, however, have been less in the words that the characters themselves, and the chances which these would have afforded is lost. No prejudice can possibly from such an occurrence attach to the Jews in Whitechapel. It would be very unfair upon such a foundation to build up any theory injurious to them. Little was elicited at the inquest that was not known before beyond an expression of opinion by the doctors which destroys the anatomical conjectures that so terribly harassed the public mind. The verdict was the only one that could be returned, and the secret of the atrocity continues unstruck and bewildering.
INQUEST ON THE MITRE SQUARE VICTIM
STRANGE INCIDENT IN LIVERPOOL
ARREST IN BELFAST
The adjourned inquest on the body of Catherine Eddowes, alias Kelly, aged 42, who was found murdered in Mitre square on September 30, was resumed this morning at the City Mortuary, Golden lane, before Mr S. F. Langham, City Coroner.
Colonel Sir James Fraser, Major Smith, Superintendent Foster, and Detective-Sergeant Outram represented the police; and Mr Crawford, the City Solicitor, appeared for the London Corporation.
Dr. Sequeira was the first witness called. He said he was called to Mitre square on the 30th September, and was the first medical man to arrive. He reached the place about five minutes to 2 o'clock. He agreed with the medical evidence already given by Dr. Goodwin Browne and by Mr Crawford.
Mr Crawford - From what you have seen have you formed an opinion that the perpetrator of the deed had or had not any design to obtain any particular part of the body? I have formed the opinion that he had no design on any particular organ.
Judging from the injuries would you say the murderer had any anatomical skill? No, I should say not.
Dr. Saunders, medical officer of health, and public analyst for the City of London, said he had received the stomach of the deceased for analysis, and had carefully examined its contents, more particularly for poisons of the narcotic class, with negative results. There was not the faintest trace of these or any other poisons. The witness added that he was present at the post-mortem examination of the body, and he had formed the opinion that the wounds were inflicted by some one who possessed no great amount of anatomical skill. He agreed with the previous witness that the perpetrator of the deed had not desire to obtain any particular organ.
Annie Phillips, of Dilston Grove, Southwark, the wife of a lampblack packer, said she was a daughter of the deceased, who had always told her she was married to her father. Her father was Thomas Eddowes, a hawker. He left her mother suddenly, and she did not known what had become of him. They were not on very good terms, but he did not say they would never see him again when he left them. She had never seen or heard of him since. He was a teetotaller, and he left the deceased because she took to drink. The witness had not the slightest idea where he was now. He had never used any threats to the deceased. Her father had been in the 18th Royal Irish Regiment between seven and eight years ago. The deceased often applied to the witness for money. She last applied to her about two years ago at a house in King street, Bermondsey. She had seen Kelly in a lodginghouse with the deceased, and they were living together as man and wife. She believed her father was living with her two brothers, but she did not know where they were.
The Coroner said he would like to know if all efforts had been made to trace the father and brothers of the last witness.
Mr Crawford stated that Sergeant John Matchell said he had made every endeavour to find them, but without success. Mr Crawford said there was great difficulty in tracing these matters as the men had such a variety of names.
Dr. Brown was recalled and Mr Crawford addressed him, said - A theory has been put forward that it was possible for the deceased to have been brought to the square after the murder was committed.
Dr Brown - There is no question that she was murdered in the square. She was not moved after her throat was cut. The blood showed that.
Then you have no doubt she was murdered in the square? I have not.
Police Constable Roberts deposed that on the Saturday night previous to the murder the deceased was lying on the footway in High Street Aldgate, drunk, surrounded by a crowd of people. He set her up against the shutters, and she fell down again. He obtained assistance and conveyed her to the Bishopsgate police station, when she was asked what her name was. She replied "Nothing." She was then wearing an apron which he identified as the one produced, a portion of which was found on the body, another portion being found in Gouldstone street after the murder.
Police Sergeant James Bifield said he remembered the deceased being brought to the station on Saturday night about a quarter to nine o'clock drunk. She remained there until 1 o'clock in the morning and then gave her name as Mary Ann Kelly of Fashion street. She said she had been hopping in Kent.
By the Foreman of the Jury - Do you believe it possible for a person who is very drunk at 9 o'clock to be perfectly sober three hours and a half afterwards? Yes.
Police Constable George Henry Hunt said he had care of the prisoners at Bishopsgate street on the 29th of September, and amongst others the deceased. At five minutes to 1 o'clock he ascertained that the deceased was sober, and after she gave her name she was discharged.
Foreman of the Jury - Is it left to you entirely to use discretionary powers to discharge prisoners locked up for drunkenness?
The Witness - No; it is left to the inspector and acting inspector. It was not I who discharged her, but the acting inspector. In the witness's opinion the deceased was capable of taking care of herself when she was discharged. She did not tell him where she was going. She asked him what time it was and he replied "Too late for you to get any more to drink." He afterwards told her it was 1 o'clock and she said she would get a hiding when she got home. He replied that it would serve her right, as she had no business to get drunk. He had seen the apron, and believed it was the one she was wearing when she was locked up. The distance from the station to Mitre square was about 400 yards, and it was eight minutes walk.
George James Morris, watchman to Messrs Kearley and Tonge, tea dealers, Mitre square, was the next witness. He said that he went on duty at 7 o'clock on Saturday evening, the 29th September. At a quarter past or a quarter before 2 o'clock on the following morning Police Constable Watkins went to him, and in an agitated manner said "Oh dear, here is another woman murdered in the corner." He had heard the descriptions already given of the finding of the body and he agreed with it. When the body was found he ran up Mitre street into Aldgate and blew his whistle for police assistance. He did not see any suspicious persons about at the time. He told two constables that there had been another terrible murder in Mitre square.
George Clapp, caretaker, of 5 Mitre square, Aldgate, said that on the Saturday night before the murder, at 11 o'clock, he went to bed in a room at the back of the second floor. Between 5 and 6 o'clock on the Sunday morning he heard that the murder had been committed. He had, however, heard no noise during the night.
Mr Joseph Lewende, commercial traveller, said that on the Saturday night, accompanied by some friends, he passed Church Passage, near Mitre square, where he saw a man and woman together. He saw the woman's back, and did not see her face. The man was taller than the woman. She had on a black jacket and a black bonnet. The man had on a cloth cap with a peak. He had given a description of the man to the police.
Mr Crawford said in the interests of justice he did not desire that the description should be published.
The Coroner - Quite right. Would you know the man again?
The Witness - I doubt it.
Mr Crawford - Did either the man or the woman appear in an angry mood? No, she placed her head on the man's breast as we passed. The witness further said that he had seen the clothes of the deceased, and believed they were the same as those wore by the woman he saw in the street.
Police Constable Alfred Long deposed to finding a portion of the deceased's apron in Goulston street with smears of blood upon it. On the wall in the same street was written -
"The Jews are the men that will not be blamed for nothing."
The witness reported the fact to the inspector on duty at Commercial street Station.
Detective Halse, of the City Police, deposed tat on hearing of the murder he was with two other officers at the corner of Houndsditch, and immediately ran to the square. He gave instructions to search the neighbourhood and interrogate every man. He himself questioned two men in Wentworth street. He passed the spot in Goulston street where the apron was found at 2.20. On returning to Mitre square he heard of the finding of the apron. He went to the place and saw some chalk writing on the wall, and sent for Inspector M'Williams with a view of having the writing photographed. The Metropolitan Police, thinking the words might cause a riot or outbreak against the Jews, decided to have it rubbed out. Witness had suggested that the word Jews should be rubbed out. The exact words were:-
"The Jews are not the men that will be blamed for nothing."
The writing was done recently. Witness protested against the rubbing out, but it was within the district of the Metropolitan Police and they had their way.
A juryman complained that the police after finding the piece of apron in Goulston street, had not prosecuted their inquiry by searching the Model Dwellings. The clue had been kept up to that tie, and then it was lost.
Mr Crawford said that he could call witnesses to prove that a vigilant search was made in all the dwellinghouses in and around Goulston street.
Police Constable Long, having returned with his book, gave a copy of the writing from the wall. He said his attention was afterwards called to the fact that the word Jews was spelled "Juews." After he found the piece of apron he searched the staircase leading into the buildings, but he made no inquiries from the tenants. The writing was rubbed out about 5 o'clock in the morning.
The Coroner summed up in an almost inaudible tone. He was understood to say there was nothing to suggest that more than one person was concerned in the murder, and therefore suggested that their verdict should be wilful murder against some person unknown.
A verdict was accordingly returned to this effect.
It will have been noticed that at the inquest to-day Detective Halse, of the city police stated, in reference to the writing on the wall in Goulston street, that instructions were originally given for the inscription to be photographed, but that at the insistence of a member of the Metropolitan Police, who feared a riot, the words were rubbed out notwithstanding witness's protest. The Pall Mall Gazette having announced that the order for the removal often writing was given personally by Sir Charles Warren, who visited the spot shortly after the discovery was made, our representative saw Sir Charles Warren's private secretary, who, on returning from the Chief Commissioner's room, stated - "Sir Charles Warren was in Goulston street shortly after the murders, and if he had wished to make any communication to the Press on the subject he would have done so then." In reply to a further question as to whether he was to understand from this that Sir Charles Warren preferred to say nothing about the allegation our representative was informed that such was the case.
A prominent member of the Criminal Investigation Department at Scotland yard stated to-night that the police are at present without any information of a sufficiently direct character to charge any particular person with the Whitechapel murders, but the efforts of the police, so far from being relaxed, are being continued with the utmost rigour and vigilance.
Last night a man named Geary entered Leman street Police station and stated that he was the Whitechapel murderer. He was obviously drunk. The police having ascertained that he resided in the neighbourhood, he was discharged.
The Scotland Yard authorities having satisfied themselves that the man arrested at Eltham could have had nothing to do with the Whitechapel murders, he will be set at liberty in due course. No arrests have been made to-day within the metropolitan district, and no persons are now in custody in connection with the East End atrocities.
Public attention is at present absorbed with the revelations made at the inquest on the Mitre square victim, which had caused a profound sensation in the East End of London. It will be remembered that the first announcement respecting the writing on the wall in Goulston street was made on Monday last, and an attempt was made at the time to throw doubt upon the accuracy of the statement, but the scepticism is sufficiently disposed of by the evidence given on oath before the coroner to-day. We may add that the order to erase the words on the wall was given by a very highly placed officer in the Metropolitan Police Force, with the humane intention of averting an increase of the anti-Jewish feeling which at the time was unfortunately, but undoubtedly, very general in the East end of London. So real were the apprehensions of the police authorities in this connection that on the Sunday night of the murders the chief police stations in the East end were reinforced with 30 constables each. It is obvious, however, that every purpose would have been secured by the obliteration of the offensive inscription after and not before it had been photographed and the feeling is general and most marked that the officer by whose orders the sponge was passed over the wall, was guilty, to say the least, of a very grave error of judgement. We may add that we were in possession of the facts connected with the writing on the wall on Monday following the murders, but decided, in view of the excited state of popular feeling, not to make them public. On Monday last, however, it came to our knowledge that it had been decided to make a clean breast of the matter at the inquest, and there was therefore no need for further silence on our part.
The following curious story is vouched for as being strictly correct, at last so far as the young lady referred to is concerned:- On Wednesday evening the young lady in question was walking along Shiel road, Liverpool, no far from Shiel Park, when she was stopped by an elderly woman, aged about 60, who in an agitated and excited manner urged her most earnestly not to go into the Park. She explained that a few minutes previously she had been resting on one of the seats in the Park when she was accosted by a respectable-looking man dressed in a lack coat, light trousers, and a soft felt hat, who inquired if she knew if there were any loose women about the neighbourhood, and immediately afterwards he produced a knife with a long thin blade, and sated that he intended to kill as many women in Liverpool as in London, adding that he would send the ears of the first victim to the Liverpool Daily Post. The old woman, who was trembling violently as she related this story, stated that she was so terribly frightened that she hardly knew how she got away from the man. She could not see anything of either a policeman or a park keeper, but in addition to warning the young lady she appears to have mentioned the matter to some workmen whom she met afterwards in Shiel road. The steamers leaving Liverpool for America and other ports are now being carefully watched by police, and the passengers are closely scrutinised by detectives, there being an idea that the perpetrator of the Whitechapel murders may endeavour to make his escape via Liverpool.
Considerable excitement prevailed in Belfast to-night in consequence of the arrest of a person alleged to be the Whitechapel murderer. The name of the prisoner is John Foster. He is aged about 30, and was arrested in a lodging-house in Memel street by Constable Bernard Carlan, Ballymacarrell Barracks. The prisoner when taken into custody failed to give a satisfactory accont of himself. On being searched at the police station the sum of £19 in gold and 4s 5½d in silver and copper was found in his possession, in addition to a large American clasp knife and three razors, which bear blood-stains. The accused has been in Belfast since Sunday evening last, having arrived here from Glasgow, and gone to the latter city from Edinburgh. He will be brought before magistrates in the morning.
(FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT)
At the petty sessions here, to-day, before Captain Preston, R.M., and Mr George A. Edwards, J.P., a tramp named William Robinson, who gave his name as "Leather Apron," and in whose possession a blood-stained knife and a letter addressed to the Roman Catholic Primate, which was similarly blood-stained, were found, was brought up charged with drunkenness and disorderly conduct at Armagh on last Thursday night. He was also charged with having violently assaulted Constable M'Morris in the police station. On the following morning he opened the letter which turned out to be a begging letter signed "Mick M'Guire of Clare." The letter gave a glowing account of what the M'Guires had done for Catholic Emancipation. When asked by the police why he did not give his real name in the letter, he replied - "Ah, do you think I'm a fool? What kind of a name would William Robinson be to go to the Roman Catholic Primate with?"
The information of Constable M'Morris stated that he arrested the defendant in Market street for drunkenness. When they brought him to the barrack they searched him, and witness was about taking him down to the strong-room when he turned round and deliberately struck him a blow with his clenched flat on the forehead. He also tore off his cape as he was taking him down stairs. When in the dayroom he gave his name as "Leather Apron." He had a large table knife in his pocket covered with blood, and an envelope containing a letter addressed to the Roman Catholic Primate, also covered with blood. He tore all his clothes to pieces n the lock-up.
Head Constable Magee stated that the prisoner had been remanded under the name of "Leather Apron," but from inquiries he had made he thought it right to say that he could not possibly be "Leather Apron." His name was William Robinson, and he had been convicted at Warren-point Petty Sessions on the 21st August for assaulting the police there, and he had got six weeks' imprisonment. He had only been liberated on the day of his arrest, and could not therefore have anything to do with the atrocities in London. With regard to the blood, he thought it right to mention that when he got drunk, not knowing the knife was there, he cut his hand by thrusting it into his pocket.
The Magistrates sentenced the prisoner to two months' imprisonment with hard labour.
Sergeant Donnellan asked what would be done with the knife?
Prisoner - It is my property.
Captain Preston said he would not get it for the present.
Prisoner - That is a terrible way to treat a man in this part of Ireland.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE IRISH TIMES
SIR, - From time to time I have read in your journal of the manner in which the police authorities have and are being troubled and deceived by persons coming forward and making voluntary confessions that they are the persons guilty of these horrible butcheries.
On investigation these self-accusations turn out either to be the ravings of a drunken person or a deliberate attempt to hoax the authorities, ending in the discharge of the self-incriminated.
Is there no law, sir, to grapple with such persons and under which they could be committed to prison until their heads would cool, and thus give them ample time for recovering their judgement? A few lashes of the cat would be very effective in teaching such troublesome ness a lesson.
The authorities, in my opinion, are liable to enough public odium in their tracing of crime without having to undergo the perplexity and annoyance entailed by the idle and groundless accusations which, especially in connection with the above murders, they have been troubled with.
Cookstown, County Tyrone,
Oct. 10th, 1888.