Tuesday, 13 November 1888
It was announced yesterday shortly after the House of Commons met that Sir CHARLES WARREN had resigned, and the post, the very difficult and responsible post, of head of the London police is, therefore, now vacant. The outcry against the officer who has given up his place was not a just one, even though it is admitted that his ideas of police management were too much of a military sort. The persons and prints that vociferated against him were possibly influenced less by any failure of detective ingenuity than by dislike of the man who had put an effectual check upon the political extravagances of Trafalgar square and the intimidatory efforts against order and society of the socialist faction. Circumstances, however, favoured their attacks. The unspeakable horrors of the Whitechapel murders, and the angry impatience of the community, made the position of Sir CHARLES WARREN a very unenviable one. It is possible that he did as much in the case as any man could have done. The allegations that there were differences between the chief and his general staff were probably the invention of the gossipers, who are now such a busily mischievous influence in the Press. That Mr MONRO and Sir CHARLES WARREN did not agree is admitted, the former having given up his position; and that the Criminal Investigation Department needed reformation no one denies. But there is no reasoning with a public which is exasperated. Had Sir C. WARREN been lucky enough rapidly to find the miscreant maniac of the East End, he would have been proclaimed the best police officer in Christendom. He pays the penalty of his ill-fortune, and there is no use discussing the matter further. Of course if it came to be anything like the question whether he was to go or the HOME SECRETARY, the former must be the sacrifice. The question of moment is the choice of his successor, and it will be evident that for a variety of reasons, the office of head of the London police will henceforth be one involving the most serious obligations and imposing the most trying tasks. A military man is unsuitable for it. That may be taken as established by experience. An accomplished police officer, who knows nearly every nook and cranny of the metropolitan area under police control, who is acquainted with all the habits and characteristics of such criminals as a vast city of mixed population produces, who is in perfect sympathy especially with the men of his detective organisation, and is prepared to give them a fair freedom and initiative, judging by results - such a guardian of the public peace, property, and life, if at any time he should need further military aid, can very easily obtain it. The occasions will be exceptional when that demand arises. But the occasions are constantly present when instead of conflicts in the open streets with political bravoes, his duty will be in the courts and alleys where ruffianism nestles, where it preys upon the helpless and defies the grasp of the law. Many striking precedents could be quoted from the history of great cities to show that the outbreak of the worst classes of crime unaccounted for, sudden and daring, can only be controlled by the exercises of such extreme keenness and sharpened exertion as will be supplied for the service of the public by those trained by long years of special observation for such a description of duty. The HOME SECRETARY assures the country, meanwhile, that everything is being done that can be rationally suggested to bring about the discovery of the murderer. The offering of a reward is not included in the measures taken, because rewards have proved a failure as an instrumentality, alike when home secretaries presided of another party and now. The department does not despair of finding the perpetrator of these unexampled outrages. It must not relax for an instant in the pursuit. The revelation may possibly be sudden, and as may seem accidental. At any moment it may satisfy the agony of much more than a local suspense. But the authorities have a right to fair consideration. To embarrass them in their inquiries by placing them one after another upon their defence, is to destroy the best hope of achieving what is universally desired.
According to a statement which has been sent out by the Press Association the immediate cause of Sir CHARLES WARREN'S resignation was his difference with the HOME SECRETARY as to the latter's having chosen to regard the Criminal Investigation Department as to some extent separate from the police force and its chief, and having continued to seek advice from its former head, Mr MONRO, after Mr MONRO had retired from the service. Those statements may be true as thus pointed, but it is manifest that had there been no Whitechapel crimes there would have been no such collision of authority, and it was the constant external attack and reproach upon the HOME SECRETARY himself, and the effort to drive him out, that led to the irregular endeavour, if such it was, to obtain assistance anywhere in tracking the criminal. Those who sought to make a party or personal use of the opportunity have not succeeded against the Minister, and it may be expected that now, at all events, they will permit the police to carry on their work without interruption or misrepresentation of the means brought into requisition. If Mr MONRO or anybody else can be supposed on any good ground able to get at the heart of the mystery, the doing of this would be such a proof of fitness as must commend the approval of everybody for an appointment where the special claim from success would be commanding.
The Home Secretary scored a success to-night. His statement in answer to Mr Cuninghame Graham of the grounds on which he decided not to offer a reward in the Whitechapel cases made a visible impression on the House, and produced a marked reaction of feeling in his favour. Mr Matthews was warmly cheered on both sides of the House, and the prolonged debate which was expected collapsed on the spot under the weight of his satisfactory explanation. Afterwards in the lobby the remarkable demonstration evoked by his statement was the topic of conversation, and it was agreed that the Minister had with one effective stroke gone far to dissipate the prejudices existing against him in certain quarters, while he had immensely strengthened his position as a member of the Government.
Another rumour was confirmed a few hours after its publication in the newspapers. This was the report that Sir Charles Warren had resigned. The town was considerably excited by the announcement, which drew an interested audience to the Strangers Lobby of the Commons, where the Home Secretary, in answer to a question, informed the House that the Chief Commissioner had thrown up his post. The communication was loudly cheered by the Opposition, especially the Radical and Nationalist sections, who bore a special grudge against Sir Charles, and rejoiced uproariously at what they considered the triumph of his overthrow. It must be added, however, that the Ministerial statement was received with quiet satisfaction by several members of the majority, and it will certainly gratify the general public, who have ceased to seek excuses for the Chief Commissioner's administrative blunders. It may be said that Jack the Ripper has added Sir Charles Warren to the number of his victims, for the impunity attending the series of East End atrocities proved even to the friends and defenders of the Chief Commissioner his unfitness for an office wholly foreign to his special capabilities. The Metropolitan police force will exult in the resignation of a commander who worried them a good deal with martinet arrangements and regulations, which the men resented as unnecessary, as well as irksome. There is reason to believe that Sir Charles doffs the gorgeous blue and silver uniform of the Chief Commissioner under compulsion, having had more than one plain intimation from Downing street that the Government would regard his resignation as the most graceful and becoming act of his official career.
Sir Charles Warren's resignation, it seems, is the direct result of the article recently published over his name in Murray's Magazine, and with respect to which the Home Secretary at the close of last week, in reply to a question, informed that House that he had in effect reprimanded the Chief Commissioner. Sir Charles Warren's explanation was generally considered very unfortunate, his plea that he was unaware of the rule of the service prohibiting members from discussing it in the public prints being regarded as a confession of ignorance of his duties which aggravated the offence. Many predicted that the terms in which Mr Matthews referred to the incident would be followed by the resignation which, as it now turns out, was promptly forwarded by the Chief Commissioner in reply to the rebuke from the Home Office. It is not forgotten in his official epitaph that Sir Charles Warren did good work in his method of dealing with the Trafalgar square disturbances and other ebullitions of social disorder, and that, moreover, under his management the police force, whose demoralised condition caused the retirement of Colonel Henderson, has been decidedly improved.
We are officially informed that Sir Charles Warren tendered his resignation of his appointment as Commissioner of Metropolitan Police on Thursday last. The relations between Sir Charles Warren and the Home Office have for some time been strained. The action of the department in reference to the resignation of Mr Monro caused the first serious difference of opinion. Sir Charles took exception to certain of the methods of the Assistant Commissioner, and he intimated to Mr Matthews that either he or Mr Monro must resign. A few days afterwards Mr Monro's resignation was announced. Sir Charles complains that Mr Monro's resignation was accepted without consultation with him, and that prior to the Home Secretary's statement in the House of Commons this evening he (Sir Charles) was not even aware of the reason assigned by his subordinate for severing his connection with Scotland Yard. Since Mr Moore's transference to the Home Office matters have become worse. Sir Charles complains that whereas he has been saddled with all the responsibility, he has had no freedom of action, and in consequence his position has daily become more unbearable. Although Mr Monro has been no longer in evidence at Whitehall place, he has to all intents and purposes retained control of the Criminal Investigation Department. Indeed, it was added, Mr Matthews this evening admitted that he was deriving the benefit of the advice of Mr Monro in matters relating to crime, and was in communication with him at the present time on the subject of the organisation of the detective staff.
This division of authority Sir Charles Warren has strenuously fought against. He maintains that if the Commissioner is to be responsible for the discipline o the force instructions should be given to no department without his concurrence.
Latterly, in spite of the remonstrances of Sir Charles Warren, the control of the Criminal Investigation Department has been withdrawn more and more from Whitehall place. Every morning for the last few weeks there has been a protracted conference at the Home Office between Mr Monro, Mr Anderson, and the principal detective inspectors, and the information furnished to the Commissioner in regard to these conferences has been, he states, of the scantiest character. These facts will explain how, apart from any other consideration, it was impossible for Sir Charles Warren, holding the views he did in regard to the functions of the Commissioner, could continue in command.
The reproof of the Home Secretary last week in reference to the article in Murray's Magazine competed the rupture. Sir Charles thereupon took counsel with his friends and immediately tendered his resignation to the Home Secretary. This morning his books and papers were removed from the commissioners' office, and this was the first intimation in Whitehall place that he had relinquished his position.
There was much speculation in the lobby this evening as to Sir Charles Warren's successor, and in the best informed circles Mr Monro was looked upon as the most likely person to be selected for the vacant post. It was pointed out that the resignation of Sir Charles Warren practically arose out of a difference of opinion with Mr Monro, and that inasmuch as Mr Monro, although nominally shelved, had really gained the day, therefore it was only natural that he should assume control of the force and develop the system of administration, the proposition of which led to his transference to the Home Office. On the other hand, it is believed in some quarters that the present opportunity will be seized to emphasise the distinction between the Criminal Investigation Deparment and the ordinary members of the force to which Sir Charles Warren takes exception, in which case a provincial chief constable who has attracted much notice by his successful organisation and his disciplinary tact is mentioned as the possible head of the uniformed police, with Mr Monro as the head of the detective branch, as an independent branch of the force.
THE INQUEST AND VERDICT
AN IMPORTANT CLUE
DESCRIPTION OF THE MURDERER
The police at Commercial street Station made another arrest at 3 o'clock this morning in Dorset street at the scene of the murder. The man, who does not answer the published description of the murderer, was acting very suspiciously, and refused to satisfy the officers as to his recent movements.
It is reported that Mrs M'Carthy, wife of the landlord of No 26 Dorset street, this morning received by post a letter signed "Jack the Ripper," saying they were not to worry themselves, because he meant to do two more in the neighbourhood - a mother and daughter this time. The letter was immediately taken to the Commercial street Police Station and handed to the inspector on duty.
Later inquiries show that such a letter was received by Mrs M'Carthy. The text was as follows:- "Don't alarm yourself. I am going to do another; but this time it will be a mother and daughter." The letter, which was signed "Jack the Ripper," was at once handed to the police authorities.
Elizabeth Foster, who lives in a lodginghouse in Dorset street, has made the following statement:- "I have known Mary Jane Kelly for the last 18 months, and we were always good friends. She used to tell me she came from Limerick. She was as nice a woman as one could find, and although an unfortunate, I don't think she went on the streets whilst she lived with Barnett. On Wednesday night I was in her lodging with her, and the next evening I met her at the Ten Bells publichouse, near Spitalfields Church. We were drinking together, and she went out about five minutes past seven o'clock. I never saw her after that."
A man dressed in woman's clothes was arrested on Saturday night in Clerkenwell. He sid he only did it for a freak.
This morning Dr. Macdonald, M.P., coroner for North East Middlesex, opened an inquest at Shoreditch Town Hall on the body of Mary Jeanette Kelly, murdered in Miller's court, Dorset street, Spitalfields, during Thursday night or Friday morning. The jury having been sworn, proceeded to view the body, and afterwards visited the scene of the murder. On their return evidence was taken. The crowd was much smaller than at inquests on the previous victims.
Mr Vander Hant represented the Whitehapel Vigilance Committee. Inspector Abberline was present on behalf of the police.
The Coroner complained of the unfounded statements in the Press as to alleged communications between himself and Mr Wynn Baxter with regard to jurisdiction.
Joseph Barnett, labourer, deposed - I identify the body of deceased woman as that of a young woman with whom I have lived for eight months. I separated from her on the 18th of last month. I left her because she brought another woman to live in our room. I saw deceased last between half-past 7 and a quarter to 8 on Thursday night. We were on friendly terms before leaving. I said I had no money. Deceased was sober. She told me her father's name was John Kelly, and he was gaffer of ironworks in Carnarvonshire. She was born in Limerick, and was married in Wales to a man named Davis, who was killed in a colliery explosion. After leading an immoral life in Cardiff deceased came to the house in the West End of London. A gentleman induced her to go to France. She returned and lived at Ratcliffe Highway, then at Pennington street. I first met her in Commercial street, and arranged to live with her. At deceased's request I read to her newspaper reports of previous Whitechapel murders. Did not hear her express fear of any person.
The jury expressed a wish that Dr. Phillips, police surgeon, who was not present, should have attended so that some medical evidence might be taken.
Thomas Bowyer, Dorset street, Spitalfields, said - On Friday morning I went to the house of the deceased to collect rent for Mr M'Carthy. I knocked but I got no answer. I found a window broken.
Inspector Ledger now put in the plan of the premises.
Bowyer resumed - I put the curtain aside, and on looking in I saw two lumps of flesh on the table. Looking a second time I saw a body on the bed and a pool of blood on the floor. I reported discovery to the police.
John M'Carthy, grocer, lodginghouse keeper, Dorset street, deposed - I sent last witness to Miller's court for rent. Within five minutes he came back saying he had seen blood in No. 13 room of Miller's court. I went and saw the body. I could say nothing for a little time, but when I recovered I accompanied my man to the police. An inspector came with me to the house. I do not known that Barnett and deceased had any serious quarrel. I let the room at 4s 6d a week. Deceased was 29s in arrear. I often saw deceased the worse for drink. When drunk she became noisy, and sang.
Mary Anne Cox deposed - I live at 5 Miller's court, opposite the deceased. About midnight on Thursday I saw deceased in Dorset street. She was very much the worse for drink. I saw her go up the court with a short, stout man, shabbily dressed. He carried a pot of ail, and wore a black coat and hat, had clean shaven chin, sandy whiskers and moustache. Deceased wished me good-night, and went into her room. I heard her singing the song - "A violet I plucked from mother's grave." I afterwards went out of my room. Coming back at one o'clock she was still singing. I again went out, and on coming back I saw the light in deceased's room had been put out. All was silent. I heard footsteps in the court about 6 o'clock. I did not sleep after going to bed. If there had been a cry of murder during the night I must have heard it.
Elizabeth Prater, Miller's court, said - I live in the same house. I went into my own room at 1 o'clock on Friday morning. I then saw no glimmer in deceased's room. I awoke about 7 o'clock and heard a suppressed cry, "Oh, murder!" appearing to come from the court. Did not take particular notice, as frequently I hear such cries.
Caroline Maxwell, wife of the lodging-house deputy in Dorset street, was next sworn.
The Coroner cautioned her to be careful, as her evidence differed from other statements made.
Mrs Maxwell then deposed - I saw deceased at the corner of Miller's court shortly after 8 o'clock on Friday morning. Deceased told me she felt ill and had vomited. I went with my husband's breakfast, and on my return saw the deceased speaking with a man outside the Britannia public-house. I cannot give a particular description of the man. He wore dark clothes and a sort of plaid coat. Deceased wore a dark skirt with a velvet body shawl, and no hat. The man was short and stout.
Sarah Lewis, Great Powell street, stated - I visited a friend at Miller's court on Friday morning at half-past 2 o'clock. I saw a man standing on the pavement. He was short, stout, and wore a wideawake hat. I stopped with a friend, Mrs Keyler. I fell asleep in a chair, and woke at half-past 3. I saw awake till a little before 4. I heard a female voice scream "Murder" loudly. I thought the sound came from the direction of deceased's house. I did not take much notice. Such cries are often heard. At 8 o'clock on Wednesday night when with a female friend I was accosted in Bethnal green by a gentleman who carried a bag. He invited one of us to accompany him. Disliking his appearance we left him. The bag was about nine inches long. The man had a pale face, dark moustache and wore dark clothes, n overcoat, and a high felt hat. On Friday morning when coming to Miller's court about half-past 2, I met that man with a female in Commercial street. As I went into Miller's court they stood at the corner of Dorset street.
Dr George Baxter Phillips, deposed - I am surgeon to H Division Metropolitan Police. I cannot give the whole of my evidence to-day. On Friday morning, about 11 o'clock, I proceeded to Miller's court, and in a room there found the mutilated remains of a woman lying two thirds over towards the edge of the bed nearest the door. Subsequent to the injury which caused death the body had been removed from the opposite side of the bed which was nearest the wooden partition. The presence of a quantity of blood on and under the bed leads me to the conclusion that the severance of the carotid artery, which was the immediate cause of death, was inflicted while the deceased was lying at the right side of the bedstead, and her head and neck on the right hand corner. That is as far as I propose to carry my evidence to-day.
The Coroner said he proposed to continue taking evidence for another hour.
The jury wished to adjourn for some time.
The Coroner replied that he would resume in a quarter of an hour.
During the adjournment.
The Coroner's officer reported to the Coroner that an official of the Shoreditch Vestry had been persuading the jury that they ought not to have been summoned to this inquest at all.
On the jury reassembling.
The Coroner said - May I ask you, gentlemen, this? It has been reported to me that during your brief absence for luncheon someone has made a statement to you that you ought not to have been summoned here to-day. Is that the fact?
The Foreman - So far as I know nothing of the kind has taken place.
Several jurors added that there was no truth whatever in the statement.
The Coroner - Then I must have been misinformed. I should have taken are that if I had found anybody interfering with my jury he would have had a quiet life next week.
The inquiry then proceeded.
Julia Venturney deposed - I occupy a room in Miller's Court, and the man I am now living with is named Harry Owen. I knew the deceased. It was sometime before I became acquainted with her, but when I knew her she told me her name was Kelly, and she was a married woman. I knew the young man, Joe Barnett, with whom she lived. They lived happily together. He objected to her walking the streets. I have frequently seen the deceased the worse for drink, but when she was cross Joe Barnett would go out and leave her to quarrel with herself. She told me that she was fond of another man, that she could not bear the man Joe she was living with. Strangely, the other man, she said, was named Joe. She went to bed on Thursday night in Miller's court about 8 p.m. She did not sleep. She could not tell why, but she did not sleep at all. Perhaps she dozed a bit. She heard a strange sound with some door which was not like the way in which the deceased used to shut the door. There was no nose in the court that night, and she heard no singing. If there had been any singing she must have heard it. The deceased used to sing Irish songs.
Inspector Walter Beckett, H Division, stationed at Commercial street, said information was brought to the stationhouse at five minutes to 11 on Friday morning. He went at one and gave directions to prevent anyone leaving the court, and he directed other constables to make a search.
Inspector G. Abberline, of Scotland Yard, said he was in charge of the case on behalf of the police. He reached the court about 11.30 on Friday last. When he reached the place he was informed by Inspector Beach that the bloodhounds had been sent for, and were on their way, and Dr. Phillips said it would be better not to force the door until the dogs arrived. At 1.30 Superintendent Arnold arrived, and stated that the order for the dogs had been countermanded, and gave directions for the door to be forced. I looked through the window and saw how matters really were before we entered. I subsequently took an inventory of the things in the room.There were traces of a large fire having been kept in the grate, and the spout of the kettle had been melted off. We have since gone through the ashes of the grate and have found portions of the brim of a hat and portions of a shirt. I consider that the articles were burnt to enable the murderer to se what he was about. There was a small piece of candle standing in a broken wine glass. The key of the lock had been missing for some time, and the door could be opened by putting a hand through the broken window and pushing the latch back. A man's clay pip was found in the room belonging to Barnett.
The Coroner said that was all the evidence they were prepared to lay before the jury to-day. It was for them to say whether they were satisfied with it or whether they would adjourn and hear the further evidence on a future occasion. If the coroner's jury came to the conclusion as to the cause of death, that was al they had to do. The police would take charge of the case, and it was for the jury to say whether they had sufficient evidence to enable them to come to a conclusion as to the cause of the death of Mary Jane Kelly. If that was the case there was no occasion for a further adjournment; but the matter was one entirely for the jury.
The Foreman said the jury considered that they had heard enough evidence to justify them in coming to a verdict.
The Coroner - Then, gentlemen, what is your verdict?
The Foreman - Wilful murder against some person or persons unknown.
The Coroner - You are perfectly satisfied as to the identity of the deceased?
The Foreman - We are sir; perfectly satisfied.
This closed the inquiry.
During the day a large crowd loitered about Dorset street discussing the crime, and extraordinary statements were made by persons professing to have special information on the topic. Among those who visited the locality were two officials of the Royal Irish Constabulary, a prominent Post Office official, and two or three members of Parliament. At the time of this despatch no suspected person was in custody.
The police this evening have received information which not only establishes a clue to the perpetrator of the Dorset street murder, but places the authorities in possession of an accurate description of the person seen in the company of the murdered woman shortly before her death.
It appears that a man, apparently of the labouring class, with a military appearance, who knew the deceased woman, has this evening lodged with the police a detailed account of the occurrence of an incident which attracted his attention on the morning of the murder, and although this story has been sifted and the narrator cross-examined, he adheres to it rigidly. For this reason the police believe the clue a new and important one. The informant stated that on the morning of the 9th he saw the deceased woman, Mary Jeanette Kelly, in Commercial street, Spitalfields, in the vicinity of where the murder was committed, in the company of a man of respectable appearance. The man was about five feet six inches in height and 34 or 35 years of age, with dark complexion and a dark moustache curled upwards at the ends. He wore a long dark coat trimmed with astrachan, a white collar with black necktie, in which was affixed a horseshoe pin. He wore a pair of dark gaiters, with light buttons, over buttoned boots, and displayed from his waistcoat a massive gold chain. The highly-respectable appearance of the man was in such contrast to the appearance of the woman that few could have failed to notice them at that hour of the morning. This description, which agrees with that given of the person seen with the deceased by others, is much fuller in detail than has yet been in possession of the police, and the importance which they attach to it may be estimated from the fact that immediately it was taken a special messenger was sent with it to the headquarters of the H division, where Detectives Abberline, Nairn, and Moore set about an immediate investigation.
About midnight a man was arrested in the neighbourhood of Islington charged, on his own confession, with being the Whitechapel murderer. The police at King's Cross road Station absolutely refuse to afford any information, and it is not known whether they attach much importance to the matter, as the man was, in the opinion of the divisional surgeon, intoxicated. The probability that any important results will follow the arrest does not appear great.