11 September 1888
The inquest on the body of Annie Chapman, alias Sivvey, was opened at ten o’clock yesterday morning by the district coroner, Mr. Wynne Baxter.The enquiry was held in the Alexandra Room, at the Working Lads’ Institute.
Inspector Helson, J division, represented the police authorities.
There was a large attendance of the general public in court and in the precincts of the institute, and the approaches thereto were guarded by a large number of constables. The latest newspaper accounts of the murder were eagerly scanned by those in waiting, who thus passed the interval of time between the opening of the court and the coroner’s arrival. There are everywhere visible signs of the profound impression made by the crime.
Mr. Collier, deputy-coroner, now accompanied Mr. Wynne Baxter. The jury, having been formally sworn in, went to view the body at the mortuary. On their return,
John Davis deposed – I live at 29, Hanbury-street, Spitalfields. I am a carman. I occupy one front room, which is shared by my wife and three sons. I went to bed on Friday night at eight o’clock, and my sons came in at different times – the last one at about a quarter to eleven. I was awake from three o’clock until five, but fell off to sleep for about half an hour. I got up at a quarter to six on Saturday morning, and went across the yard. The house faces Hanbury-street. On the ground floor there is a front door leading into a passage, which runs right through to the back yard. There is a back door to this passage. Sometimes both doors are open during the night, and I have never known either of them to be locked. Anyone who knows where the latch of the front door is can open it and pass along into the yard. I cannot say whether the back door was latched on Saturday morning when I got down, but the front street door was wide open and thrown back against the wall.I was not surprised at that. Witness was here asked to describe the general appearance of the yard, but was not very clear in his statements. Some time having been occupied in attempting to elucidate answers,
The coroner said that in country inquests the police were always ready to assist him by preparing a plan of any locality which was the subject of investigation. Certainly this was a case of sufficient importance for such a plan, and he hoped that at any future time a plan would be laid before him.
Inspector Chandler said a plan should be drawn up.
The coroner observed that it might be then too late to be of any service.
Davis, resuming his evidence, said – When I opened the back door of the yard I found a woman lying on her back. I called two men who are in the employ of Mr.Bayley, packing-case maker, in Hanbury. They were standing outside their place of work, which is three doors from 29, Hanbury-street, on the same side of the road. They came and looked at the sight. I do not know them personally.
The coroner asked if these men were known to the police.
Inspector Chandler said they were not.
The coroner expressed his surprise at this.
Witness. - I had to go to my work myself.
The Coroner. – Your work is of no importance compared with this inquiry. (To Inspector Chandler.) - We must find these men out, either with the assistance of the police, or with the assistance of my officer.
Witness. – The men did not wish to be seen in the job.
The Coroner. – If they have not been seen and identified yet, they must be.
Davis (continuing). – I informed the inspector at Commercial-street what I had seen in the yard.I have never seen any women in the passage. I heard no noises on Saturday morning.
Amelia Palmer said – I live at No.30, Dorset-street, which is a common lodging-house. I am the wife of a labourer, who is a pensioner from the army. I have known the deceased well for the past five years.I have seen a body at the mortuary, and am quite sure it is that of Annie Chapman. She was a widow. Her husband was formerly a veterinary surgeon at Windsor, and was well known there. He died about eighteen months ago.The deceased had lived apart from him for four years. Since the separation the deceased had lived principally, though not altogether, in common lodging-houses in the neighbourhood of Spitalfields. She lived two years ago at 30, Dorset-street, with a man named “Sivvey.” At that time she was receiving 10s. a week from her husband.The money was always sent by post-office order, payable at Commercial-road. The remittances stopped 18 months ago, and the deceased found that her husband was dead. The fact was ascertained from a brother or sister of her husband living in Oxford-street, Whitechapel. Mrs. Chapman was called Mrs. Sivvey, because the man she lived with was a sieve maker. He left her some time ago. I saw the deceased two or three times during last week. I saw her on Monday, Sept. 3, standing in the road opposite a lodging-house, 35, Dorset-street. She had been staying there, and complained of feeling unwell. The deceased had a bruise on one of her temples ; I think the right temple. I asked how she got it. The deceased asked me to look at her chest, which was also bruised, and said, “You know the woman,” mentioning some name, which I do not remember, but it was a woman who carried out books for sale. That woman and the deceased were acquainted with a man called “Harry the Hawker.” The deceased told me that on Saturday, Sept. 1, she (deceased) was with a man called Ted Stanley – a very respectable man. She was in a beer-shop with him – 87, Commercial-street, which is at the corner of Dorset-street. “Harry the Hawker” was also there, and put down 2s. for beer ; the book-selling woman picked it up, and put down a penny. There was an ill-feeling in consequence, and the same evening the book-selling woman met the deceased and struck her in the face and chest. I saw the deceased again on Tuesday, Sept. 4. I met her as she was walking at the side of Spitalfields Church. The deceased said she felt no better, and should go into the casual ward for a day or two. The deceased told me she had not had even a cup of tea that day. I said, “Here is twopence. Get a cup of tea.” Deceased used to do crochet work, make anti-macassars and wall flowers. I am afraid she was not particular how she earned her living, and I know that she was out late at times. She has told me so. On Fridays the deceased used to go to Stratford, East, to sell anything she had.i did not see her from Tuesday afternoon until Friday afternoon.On that day I met her in Dorset-street about five o’clock. She then appeared perfectly sober. I said, “Aren’t you going to Stratford to-day?” She said, “I feel too ill to do anything.” I saw her again about ten minutes afterwards on the same spot.She said, “It’s no use my giving way. I must pull myself together and go and get some money, or I shall have no lodgings.” That is the last I saw of her.The deceased told me she had been in the casual ward. She was very industrious, and was a very clever little woman. She had been living a very irregular life for five years, more especially since her husband’s death.she has a sister and brother in London, but I don’t think they were on friendly terms.the deceased had two children at Windsor, and after her husband’s death they were put in a school.
The coroner said it appeared to be doubtful whether the husband of the deceased was a veterinary surgeon.
Timothy Donovan, 35, Dorset-street, Spitalfields, deputy of a common lodging-house, said – I identify the body at the mortuary as that of a woman who has lodged at my place. She had lived there for four months, but was not at No.35 last week until the Friday. Afterwards at about two or three o’clock, she asked me to allow her to go into the kitchen.i consented, and did not see her until about 1.45 on Saturday morning. At that time I was sitting in the office, and I saw deceased go into the kitchen.Deceased afterwards came upstairs, saying she had not sufficient money for a bed, and adding, “Don’t let it ; I shan’t be long before I am in.”The bed she spoke of was the one she usually occupied.the deceased left, and I did not see which way she turned, but I believe the watchman did. I saw the deceased with no man on Saturday night.I could not say whether deceased walked the streets.she used to come and stay at the lodging-house on Saturdays with a man of soldierly appearance, and who is said to be a pensioner.She has come at other times with other men, and I have refused to allow her to have a bed.
The Coroner. – A woman has only one husband at your place?
Donovan. – The pensioner told me not to let her have a bed with any other man. She did not come to my place with any man on Friday night.As a rule she occupied No. 29 bed by herself.The pensioner and deceased were together at the lodging-house on Sunday, Sept. 2.
The Coroner. – Is anything known of this pensioner?
Inspector Chandler. – No, sir.
Donovan (resuming). – On the 25th of August the woman told me she was going out to see if the pensioner had drawn his pension. She usually saw him in the street. She was on good terms with all the lodgers, and I never had any trouble with her. About Tuesday, august 28, the deceased and another woman had a row in the kitchen before I was up. I afterwards saw them both outside the house, but I did not notice any injury on deceased. Subsequently the deceased called my attention to her eye, which was bruised, but she did not tell me how the injury was done.
John Evans deposed. – I am night watchman at 35, Dorset-street. The deceased used to live there. On Saturday morning I saw her go out of the lodging-house.she went in the direction of Spitalfields Church. That was after she had asked us to keep the bed until she got some lodging money. She never returned. She came into the kitchen soon after twelve o’clock. I heard her say that she had been to her sister’s at Vauxhall. I have known that the deceased was out at nights, but I have known only one man with whom she was associated. He used to come with her on Saturdays. That particular man called on Saturday last, the 88h instant, at half-past two o’clock in the afternoon to make inquiries about the woman. He had heard of her death. I do not know either his name or address. After I had told him what had occurred he went out without saying a word. I have never heard any man threaten the deceased at any time.i have never heard her express fear of any one.
The Coroner. – Have you heard any woman at your house say that she had been asked for money by any man?
Witness. – No.
This concluded the witness’s evidence, and the coroner adjourned the inquiry until Wednesday at two o’clock.
Notwithstanding the presence of a large number of detectives and policemen in Whitechapel and Spitalfields and numerous arrests- not confined entirely to the East-end – the solution of the mystery attending the recent murders in Whitechapel seems as far off as ever. Early yesterday morning a report spread through the neighbourhood that “Leather Apron” was arrested, but its verification was a matter of no little difficulty, seeing that the police at Leman-street station, at which the man was alleged to be detained, refused all information.It appears, however, that at about nine o’clock Detective Thicke called at 23, mulberry-street, Commercial-road East, and upon the door being opened by a man named John Piser the officer said he wanted him in connexion with the murder of a woman in Hanbury-street. Piser was then taken to Leman-street police station and detained pending inquiries. After a short investigation it was doubted that the prisoner was the “Leather Apron” of whom so much has been heard. He has been living in Mulberry-street for some time with his step-mother and married brother, and his relatives and neighbours stated that they never heard him called by such a nickname as “Leather Apron.” Mrs. Piser, his sister-in-law, stated most positively that he was in ill-health, and had not been outside the door since half-past ten on Thursday. About six weeks ago he left a convalescent home, of which he had been an inmate on account of a carbuncle on his neck. Like most of the residents in Mulberry-street, he was a jew, and earned his living as a boot finisher. This fact accounted for the discovery of a number of sharp knives in his house. Some time after the arrest two detectives visited Mulberry-street and closely questioned the residents in No. 22, but these investigations, judging by what happened subsequently, resulted entirely in Piser’s favour. The neighbours when questioned gave him a good character, his sister-in-law scouting the possibility of his having been guilty of such a crime, and describing him as “an easy-going man.”
So quietly did the police effect the arrest in the morning that few people saw it, and those who did had no idea that it had any connexion with the recent tragedies in the district. As the news spread, however, the excitement in the district became intense, and was momentarily heightened, the crowd being largely composed of Piser’s co-religionists. Soon after three o’clock a scene of the most extraordinary character took place, the participators being in a mental condition little short of frenzy. A message was brought to Piser’s house to the effect that Piser was about to be released. Hundreds of Jewish men and women were in Mulberry-street. They danced about, they danced about, clapped their hands, and shouted in great flee, some crying, in shrill voices, “Praise Jehovah.” When tired of these demonstrations of joy, they made a rush in the direction of Leman-street police-station, in the hope of meeting and welcoming the released man. It may be mentioned that Piser was confronted by Mrs. Fiddymont and another woman, who were acquainted with “Leather Apron.” They were quite unable to identify Piser as that person.
Inquiries made in Winsor, yesterday, elicited the fact that the murdered woman had a connexion with that place. Confirmation of this was found in the statement of Amelia Palmer, a pensioner’s wife, who gave evidence at the coroner’s inquiry, and whose intimate knowledge of the deceased’s mode of life cleared up one or two points which might not otherwise have been elucidated. Superintendent Hayes, of the Windsor Borough Police, on Saturday received a telegram from Superintendent Shore, Detective Department of Scotland-yard, and immediately made inquiries.A woman, who is believed to have been Mrs. Chapman, was on one occasion in Superintendent Hayes’s custody, but she was never brought before the magistrates.it has been stated that the murdered woman was the wife of a veterinary surgeon, but at the inquest yesterday, from information in his possession, the coroner expressed a doubt as to the correctness of the evidence on this point.It appears from information received from Windsor that in her happier days Mrs. Chapman was the wife of a respectable coachman in the service of a gentleman at Clewer, but the man was compelled to give up service in consequence of ill-health. His illness lasted for some time, and he died in Grove-road, Windsor, at Christmas, 1886. Chapman had been forced to separate from his wife in consequence of her habits.The deceased had two children, a boy and girl.the boy was admitted to a London hospital as a patient, and the girl was for some time at Grove-road, Windsor ; but nothing is known of their present whereabouts.we understand that Superintendent Hayes sent one of his men to London yesterday afternoon, and that the policeman identified the body at the Whitechapel mortuary as that of the Mrs. Chapman formerly of Windsor.
Great excitement was caused in the neighbourhood of Commercial-street police-station in the course of the afternoon, on account of the arrival from Gravesend of a “suspect” whose appearance resembled in some respects that of “Leather Apron.” This man, whose name is William Henry Pigott, was taken into custody on Sunday night at the “Pope’s Head,” Gravesend. Attention was first attracted to Pigott by the fact that he had some blood stains on his clothes. Superintendent Berry, the chief of the local police, was communicated with, and a sergeant was sent to the “Pope’s Head” to investigate the case.On approaching the man, who seemed in a somewhat dazed condition, the sergeant saw that one of his hands bore several recently inflicted wounds.Being interrogated as to the cause of the injuries, pigott made a rambling statement to the effect that whilst he was going down Brick-lane, Whitechapel, at half-pastfour o’clock on Saturday morning he saw a woman fall in a fit, and when he stooped to pick her up she bit him on the hand. Exasperated at this he hit her, but seeing two policemen coming up he then ran away. The sergeant, deeming the explanation unsatisfactory, took Pigott to the police-station, where his clothing was carefully examined by Dr. Whitcombe, the divisional surgeon.The result of the scrutiny was an announcement that two shirts which Pigott carried in a bundle were stained with blood, and also that blood appeared to have been recently wiped off his boots. After the usual caution, the prisoner Pigott made a further statement to the effect that the woman who bit him was in the street at the back of a lodging-house when seized with the fit.he added that he slept at a lodging-house in Osborne-street on Thursday-night, but that on Friday he was walking the streets of Whitechapel all night. He tramped from London to Gravesend on Saturday.He gave his age at 52, and stated that he was a native of Gravesend, his father having some years ago had a position there in connexion with the Royal Liver Society. As the prisoner’s description tallied in some respects with that furnished by headquarters of the man “wanted,” Superintendent Berry decided to detain Pigott. In response to a telegram apprising him of the arrest Inspector Abberline proceeded to Gravesend yesterday morning, and decided to bring the prisoner at once to Whitechapel, so that he could be confronted with the women who had furnished the description of “Leather Apron.” A considerable crowd had gathered at Gravesend railway station to witness the departure of the detective and the prisoner, but his arrival at London-bridge was almost unnoticed, the only persons apprised of the journey beforehand being the police, a small party of whom were in attendance in plain clothes. Inspector Abberline and the prisoner went off at once in a four-wheel cab to Commercial-street, where from early morning groups of idlers had hung about in anticipation of an arrest. The news of Pigott’s arrival at once spread, and in a few seconds the police-station was surrounded by an excited crowd anxious to get a glimpse of the supposed murderer. Finding that no opportunity of seeing the prisoner was likely to occur, the mob, after a time, dispersed, but the police had trouble for some hours in keeping the thoroughfare free for traffic.
Pigott arrived in Commercial-street in much the same condition as when taken into custody.He wore no vest, had on a battered felt hat, and he appeared to be in a state of great nervous excitement. Mr. Fiddymont, who is responsible for the statement respecting a man resembling “Leather Apron” being at the “Prince Albert” on Saturday, was sent for, as were also other persons likely to be able to identify the prisoner, but after a very brief scrutiny it was the unanimous opinion that Pigott was not “Leather Apron.” Nevertheless it was decided to detain him until he could give a somewhat more satisfactory explanation of himself and his movements. After an interval of a couple of hours the man’s manner became more strange, and his speech more incoherent, the divisional surgeon was called in, and gave it as his opinion that the prisoner’s mind was unhinged. A medical certificate to this effect was made out, and Pigott will for the present remain in custody.
At several of the police-stations in the East-end of London men suspected of being concerned in the tragedy have been in custody during the day, but on investigation only a brief detention has been found necessary, except in the two cases already referred to. It is stated that altogetgher seven people have been detained since Saturday night.
Several events have happened which show what an effect the murders have had upon the public mind.Several men asserted that they had been connected with the outrages, and were in one or two instances taken to the police-station surrounded by an excited crowd. But the only result was to waste the time of the police, and to add to the panic which may be said to exist in the East-end.
A later account says that notwithstanding assertions to the contrary, Piser, who is alleged to be “Leather Apron,” is still in custody, and the police attach considerable importance to the capture.It has been stated that since the police made public his description he has been missing to the officers, who know him to habitually frequent the neighbourhood of Whitechapel-road by night, and this is considered an important circumstance in connexion with the case.When the officers lost sight of him a vigilant search was made, but without any result until yesterday morning. It is understood that the prisoner did not reside at the house in which he was arrested.He is detained at the Lemab-street Police-station, but at midnight, as far as could be ascertained, he had not been charged with any specific offence. In the meantime, however, a large number of officers are directing their investigations into the man’s antecedents in every quarter.The local police last night requisitioned the assistance of some experts. Among those who went from Scotland-yard to the East-end were Inspector Abberline and Superintendent Shaw, of the Criminal Investigation Department, an officer who, perhaps, knows more about crime and criminals than any other man in the service. The prisoner was brought from the cells to the superintendent’s office, where he was seen by the officials. Whether he made a statement or not is, of course, not known. It is beyond the power of the police to detain Piser any length of time without charging him. Public opinion is so high in the neighbourhood against the person known as “Leather Apron” that the police have for once set aside one of the rules invariably adopted in such cases. No matter where a man is arrested for any particular crime, he is conveyed to the police-office in the neighbourhood where the crime is committed, but in this case it was thought advisable not to remove Piser, and the statement made last evening by the police that he had been liberated is believed to be only a trick to prevent any unpleasant manifestations of public indignation in the vicinity of the police-station.
Considerable importance is attached to the arrest of Pigott, who remains in custody in a similar condition to that in which he was when arrested. He still adheres to his original statement that he was in the vicinity of the crime early on Saturday morning.The divisional surgeon of police who examined him having given orders for the man to be watched, Pigott has been conveyed to the Whitechapel Infirmary, where several officers have him under observation. Under the lunacy laws it is necessary to charge within three days a man supposed to be a wandering lunatic. Therefore, unless the man recovers, he will have to be brought before a magistrate.the divisional surgeon has intimated that if, at the expiration of 48 hours, Pigott exhibits no signs of recovery he will be charged. In the meantime investigations concerning him are being actively pursued, but at midnight nothing had been discovered, nor had any of his friends or relatives been found. Dr. Phillips will, pending the expiration of the allotted time for Pigott’s detention, analyse the stains which are so profusely displayed about his garments.
James Squires, 26, bricklayer, Dorset-road, West-green, Tottenham, was charged with assaulting elixabeth Murphy and Matilda Wall. – the first-named prosecutrix said she was the wife of a tram-driver living in Olinda-road, Stamford-hill. At twelve o’clock on Saturday night, returning home from Stamford-hill with Mrs. Wall, a neighbour, and the wife of a farrier, the prisoner followed them from a tramcar and pushed between them. – Mrs. Wall called out that squires wanted her watch, whereupon he struck her in the mouth. Her face was grazed, and the back of her head cut. Squires then fell against a lamppost, striking the back of his head, becoming insensible, and they thought he was dead. The prisoner said he was rendered insensible by two men. Both the women were drunk and carrying on, and Mrs. Wall struck him first. – Mrs. Wall admitted that she was carrying a pint of whisky, but neither she nor her companion were drunk. – constable 525 N said that on Sunday morning, at one o’clock, he was called to Olinda-road. He found Squires lying on the road, bleeding from the back of his head. The prosecutrix having charged him with assault he was taken into custody, but on inquiring how the prisoner had received his injury Mrs. Wall said “I did it. That’s the Whitechapel murderer. I kicked him on the head.” All three were drunk, especially Mrs. Murphy. – Both women protested that they were sober, but Mr. Smith quicjly disposed of the case by discharging the prisoner.
THE STABBING AFFAIR IN SPITALFIELDS. - Upon inquiry at the London Hospital yesterday it was ascertained that the woman who was stabbed in the neck by the blind pedlar in the neighbourhood of Buck’s-row was progressing as well as could be expected. She has not made any statement.
The police have made several arrests in connection with the Hanbury-street murder, but only two of the parties apprehended have been detained in custody. One of the prisoners, named Pigott, is believed to be insane. He has a wound upon his hand, and the injury he says was inflicted by a woman on Saturday morning in Whitechapel.Some stains were found on two shirts he was carrying when arrested, and a surgeon has expressed his belief that they are blood stains. The inquest on the murdered woman was commenced yesterday, and was adjourned to next Wednesday.It is now stated that the deceased was not the widow of a veterinary surgeon as at first reported. Her husband was a coachman, who formerly resided in Windsor.
LYCEUM THEATRE. – Her Royal Highness the princess Mary, Duchess of Teck, occupied the Royal box of this theatre last evening, and witnessed for the second time Mr. Richard Mansfield’s performance of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”
SIR CHARLES WARREN. – The London correspondent of the Liverpool Daily Post says :- “Sir Charles Warren has returned to London from the Continent, unexpectedly and earlier than he intended. It is understood that the Commissioner’s movements are not in connexion with the East-end murders, but in consequence of a fear on the part of the police that the Socialists will again become troublesome shortly. During the past week the red flag bearers have had a preliminary demonstration, and came in collision with the constabulary.”
THE HOP HARVEST. – A Canterbury correspondent telegraphs :- The ingathering of the hop crop is progressing as rapidly as the insettled weather will allow.during the last few days the work has beenmuch interrupted by heavy rain and thunderstorms, and the latest reports received from nearly all the districts represent the crop as going off very fast, the deterioration being caused by the raw, damp air and foggy nights.Im Mid-Kent, where the ravages of mould and vermin are more serious than in any other district, one planter alone has nearly 400 acres which have entirely collapsed since Wednesday last. This will represent a loss of several thousands of pounds. Two other large growers in the same division have at least 100 acres each which are utterly worthless. In the more favoured districts some heavy crops are being realised. In East Kent several planters have an average of a ton per acre, others 15cwt., some 12DO HALF cwt., and many 10 cwt. The quality of all the best hops is pronounced to be superior to last year’s growth.