11 August 1888
Mr. Collier, the deputy coroner for South-east Middlesex, opened on Thursday an inquiry at Whitechapel, on the body of Martha Turner, aged 35, a single woman, lately living at 4, Star Place, Commercial Road, who was found lying on the landing of George Yard Buildings, on Tuesday morning last, with over 20 stabs about her person. Previous to calling the first witness, the Coroner said that the body had been identified that morning, but he had just been informed that two other persons had also identified it as quite a different person, and under those circumstances he thought the question of identity had better be left to the last.-- Elizabeth Mahony of 47 George Yard Buildings, Whitechapel, the wife of a carman, stated that on the night of Bank Monday she was out with some friends. She returned shortly before two in the morning with her husband, and afterwards left the house to try and get some supper at the chandler's shop. The stairs were then perfectly clear of any obstacle, and were the same on her return. She and her husband heard no noise during the night, but at 10 o'clock she was told that a murder had been committed in the building. There was no light on the staircase. The spot where the body was found had been pointed out to her. She was sure it was not there at 2 o'clock as she went in, as it was in the wide part of the stairs, and was quite in the dark. A. G. Crow, a cabdriver, of 35, George Yard Buildings, deposed that on Tuesday morning he returned home from work at half-past three. On his way up the stairs he saw somebody lying on the first landing. It was not an unusual thing to see, so he passed on and went to bed. He did not know whether the person was dead or alive when he passed.-- J. Reeves, 37, George Yard Buildings, a waterside labourer, deposed that on Tuesday morning he left home at 5 o'clock to go in search of work. On the first floor landing he saw a female lying in a pool of blood. She lay on her back, and seemed dead. He then gave notice to the police. The woman was a perfect stranger to the witness. Her clothes were all disarranged, as if she had had a struggle with some one. The witness did not notice any instrument lying about.-- Police Constable Barrett deposed to being called by the (illegible) witness to view the body of the deceased. She was lying on her back, and before she was moved a doctor was called, and on arrival pronounced life extinct. The woman's hands were clenched, but did not contain anything. Her clothes were disarranged. -- Dr. T. R. Keleene, of Brick Lane, stated that he was called to the deceased and found her dead. He examined the body and found 39 punctured wounds. There were no less than 9 in the throat, and 17 in the breast. She appeared to have been dead three hours. The body was well nourished. He had since made a post-mortem examination, and found the left lung pentrated in five places, and the right lung in two places. The heart had been penetrated, but only in one place. Otherwise it was quite healthy. The liver was healthy, but penetrated in five places, and the spleen was penetrated in two places. The stomach was penetrated in six places. In te witness's opinion the wounds were not inflicted with the same instrument, there being a deep wound in the breast from some long strong instrument, while most of the others were done apparently with a penknife. The large wound could have been caused by a sword bayonet or dagger. It was impossible for the whole of the wounds to be self-inflicted. Death was due to loss of blood consequent on the injuries. At the conclusion of this witness's evidence the inquiry was adjurned.