20 July 1889
The Murderer Caught by the Police, Red-handed
Supposed Murderer of the Whitechapel Victims Arrested and Placed in Prison
A Man Arrested Earlier Confesses to the Crimes, but His Story Is Disbelieved
London, July 20.
At three o'clock this morning the shrieks of a woman were heard near St. George's buildings, in the Whitechapel district. A few minutes after the police caught a man running away, knife in hand. The police then entered the building and found a woman's body terribly mutilated. It is believed that the perpetrator of all the Jack the Ripper murders has been captured at last.
London, July 19.
There is no doubt that the murderer of Alice Mackenzie, known to some as Kelly, is also guilty of the following crimes:
In Christmas week, 1887, an unknown woman was found murdered near Osborne and Wentworth streets, Whitechapel;
Aug. 7, 1888, Martha Turner was stabbed in 30 places on the landing of the George Yard buildings, Commercial street, Spitalfields;
Aug. 31, Mrs. Nicholls was murdered and mutilated in Bucks row, Whitechapel;
Sept. 7, Mrs. Chapman was murdered and mutilated in Hansbury (sic) street, Whitechapel;
Sept. 30, Elizabeth Stride had her throat cut in Berner street, Whitechapel;
Sept. 30, Catherine Eddowes was murdered and mutilated in Mitre Square, Aldgate;
Nov. 9, Mary Jane Kelly was hacked to pieces at No. 26 Dorset street, Spitalfields.
All these murders were audacious, the last extraordinarily so. Police were in front, behind, and all around the assassin when he killed his eighth victim.
The murderer is clearly a maniac, but so cool that he makes no mistakes and leaves no traces, and, furthermore, he is evidently without that sense of fear which so often leads to detection. Jack the Ripper has sent several letters to the police lately, after a long cessation of these epistles. They were in the usual braggadocio form and bear the old signature. A letter was also received by Albert Brackett (sic) leader of the vigilance committee, three weeks ago. All the letters stated that the author would begin work again in July.
Many theories regarding the Whitechapel murders have been advanced by detectives, criminals, philosophers, court experts, newspaper men, and experts on insanity. The theory that most prevails is that the murderer is a religious crank who imagines he has a mission to perform, and like the fanatics of Mahomet's time, the more atrocious the butcheries he performs, the greater saint he thinks himself. It is a fact that all the Whitechapel murders have occurred about the 8th of the month, and it is claimed that every new outbreak has occurred with a change of the moon. This, it is thought, indicates that the murderer is a maniac and has periodical fits of insanity. Who is he and what is he is a problem to be answered. Many officials of the detective service hold the theory that the murderer is a crazy butcher. The fact that the victims of the fiend have been selected from the lowest class of women is considered proof by many that the murderer is a religious fanatic. Others are sure that the assassin is an escaped lunatic.
Said George Moore, the novelist:
"My theory is that they are the work of some weak brained zealot of the purity class. Perhaps this unspeakable wretch thinks that by creating a panic among the poor women he preys on he may frighten them from their profession. It is an insane idea, of course, but a conceivable one. He is the loathsome outcome of the puritanism of the day. That is my idea."
Said Mr. Walter Besant:
"He is a criminal of the lowest class. That I think is proved by the status of his victims. It is also proved that he has a rough and ready knowledge of anatomy. He would seem also to be a bird of passage. It is hardly conceivable that with that horrible lust of blood constantly torturing him and spurring him on to commit fresh outrages he would have remained in London so long without it mastering him. Here, then, we have three considerations - lowness of class, knowledge of anatomy, nomadic life. Those traits would be united in a ship's butcher. Not many ships carry live cattle for slaughter nowadays, because they are provided with ice rooms. But there are still to be found ships without those conveniences. I have made a voyage round the cape in a ship on which we slaughtered our cattle for the table."
Mr. Henry Labouchere said:
"It does not seem possible to form a theory which will hold water. I have seen and heard of a score, but never one without a hole in it. As to whether Jack the Ripper is one person or more, well even that is doubtful. I shall say that he (or they) lives at a distance from Whitechapel. The man must have some hiding place in which to conceal his clothes, which can hardly escape bloodstains, and in that district everybody was so much on the qui vive that he could not have found such secrecy as was needful. Mad? Well, no; I should say he was conspicuously sane. I have seen something of mad people, and they all talk. They can't keep a secret. If course this man has particular reasons for keeping his tongue between his teeth. If he were caught in Whitechapel the mob would make short work of him. But still his silence speaks for sanity. Then he is clever enough to laugh at the police, though that doesn't take any great amount of genius. The police have bungled the affair terribly. But I don't see why a murderer, even such a murderer, need be mad. It is a taste."
London, July 19.
An Englishman was arrested this morning on a charge of having murdered the woman whose body was found Tuesday morning in Castle alley, Whitechapel. After being taken into custody the prisoner confessed that he had killed the woman. He said the weapon he used to accomplish his purpose was an ordinary pocket knife. He carried no other weapon. He declared that he lived nowhere, and that he just arrived from abroad. The prisoner is six feet tall, fair complexion, and carries himself with a military air. He appears to be insane.
London, July 19.
The identity of the man taken into custody this morning on suspicion of being the Whitechapel murderer is carefully concealed for the present by the authorities. He has confessed that he murdered all the women whose bodies have been found in and about the Whitechapel district. He gave the names of his victims, dates upon which he killed them, and all the ghastly and indecent details connected with the terrible crimes. The police believe that he is a lunatic but that possibly the story he tells is true and that he is the man for whom they have for so long been searching.
London, July 19.
The city was profoundly excited and greatly overjoyed by the widespread rumor that the police had finally captured the perpetrator of the Whitechapel outrages, and that the murderer had made a full confession of his crimes. At Scotland Yard, however, the police authorities denied all knowledge of any such arrest and still declared they have no clue to the miscreant.
London, July 19.
The man whom the police have in custody on suspicion that he is the perpetrator of the Whitechapel horrors was arrested before daylight this morning, a policeman's attention having been drawn to him through his drunken talk, which appeared to indicate that he had some knowledge of the last Whitechapel murder. He was allowed sufficient time to sober off, after which he was closely questioned by the police, but his answers did not confirm the suspicion that he might be the murderer. The first impulse of the officers was to release him. They were, however, so greatly impressed with the accurate knowledge the prisoner showed of all the details of the circumstances of an entire series of Whitechapel atrocities, that they sought counsel of their superiors at the Central station, from which orders were promptly sent to hold the prisoner until the truth or falsity of his story could be positively determined, and he is now detained at Leman street station strongly guarded.
London, July 19.
The man arrested on suspicion of being the Whitechapel murderer, is not Jack the Ripper. The police tonight say he is only a drunken lunatic, and they attach no importance to his confession. The man will be arraigned in the police court tomorrow on the charge of vagabondism.