20 September 1888
Yesterday, at a meeting of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, a communication was received from the Home Secretary, refusing to offer a reward for information likely to lead to the detection of the perpetrator or perpetrators of the East end murders. In this letter it is stated that the practice of offering rewards for the discovery of criminals was discontinued some years ago, because experience showed that such offers of reward produced more harm than good.
The adjourned inquest upon Annie Chapman, the last of the Whitechapel murder victims, was resumed yesterday, when Dr. Phillips, the divisional surgeon of police, who made the post mortem examination, after again protesting against being called upon to give details of the mutilation of the body, stated that two portions of the body were missing. The inquiry was further adjourned.
It was reported yesterday that at an early hour in the morning a woman was assaulted in Down street, Piccadilly, by a man who stabbed her, and afterwards attempted to cut her throat. However, further inquiries show that the seriousness of the attack had been exaggerated. It seems that the injured woman, Adelaide Rogers, of 21 Stangate, Westminster bridge road, ran out of Down street between two and three o'clock yesterday morning, and informed a policeman stationed in Piccadilly that she had been stabbed. She was bleeding profusely from a serious wound on the side of the right cheek, and had already become faint from loss of blood. She was at once conveyed to St. George's Hospital, where her injuries were attended to by Dr. Ward, and where she still lies in a state of considerable prostration, but in little danger. Dr. Ward is uncertain whether the wound was inflicted by a thrust with a blunt knife or a blow from a stick. The police incline to the latter view, and are not disposed to attach much importance to the case. They are in possession of Mrs. Rogers' description of the man by whom she was attacked, but decline to communicate it to the Press on the ground that her accounts are contradictory. It is stated, however, that the man is tall, dark, and respectably dressed.
The number of paupers in London on Saturday last, exclusive of lunatics in asylums and vagrants was 91,488, as compared with 89,764 on the corresponding day of last year, 86,376 in 1886, and 85,592 in 1885. The vagrants relieved numbered 985, of whom 787 were men, 178 women, and 20 children under 16 years of age.
The annual hop fair, which usually opens the hop season for Herefordshire and Worcestershire (The Worcester district), was held yesterday at Worcester, and owing to the lateness of the season the attendance both of planters and merchants was comparatively small. Messrs. J.H. Meredyth and Co.'s report on the fair is as follows :- "In consequence of the exceptional late ness of the present season, picking is only just becoming general in this district, and the supply of hops at the fair was therefore limited, and the unusually small number of 186 pockets was pitched in addition to those represented by sample. Of these 156 passed the market scales. Low, unripe, and inferior hops were neglected, whilst those of fair quality sold readily at about £8 to £10 per cwt., more money being both given and refused for some special lots. Complaints are general that so far the crop comes down lighter than was expected, and owing to the persistent blight and cold weather in August, the hops on most plantations are small, though they show a fair amount of condition on the kilns. With a moderately good finish the yield of this district is estimated at from 16,000 to 20,000 pockets, but only a small proportion of these are likely to be really fair and of choice quality.
Yesterday the resumed inquest into the circumstances attending the death of Anne Chapman, who was murdered in the back yard of 29 Hanbury street, was held at the Working Lads' Institute, Whitechapel road, before Mr. Wynne E. Baxter, coroner.
Chief Inspectors West, Abberline, Helson, and Chandler were present to watch the case on behalf of the police.
Eliza Cooper, who said she lodged at 35 Dorset street, Whitechapel, deposed that she was a hawker, and knew the deceased with whom she had quarrel. This was on the Tuesday before the deceased's death, and was in consequence of something which happened on the previous Saturday. The quarrel was over Mr. Stanley, and was about some soap which the deceased had borrowed from her for him. One word brought up another, and they continued the quarrel until they arrived at the "Ringers" public house, when the deceased slapped her (witness's) face, and she (witness) struck her back, hitting her over the temple. The blow inflicted a mark. She saw the deceased last at the "Ringers" on the Wednesday. At that time she was wearing three rings on the wedding ring finger of the left hand. They were all brass. She did not know anything about her having had a gold wedding ring.
Do you know anyone with whom she associated? - Only Stanley, Harry the Hawker, and several others.
A Juror - Who were the "several others"? - I could not say.
Are any of them missing? - I cannot say. She only brought them casually to the lodging house. Dr. Phillips, who made the post mortem examination, was recalled.
The Coroner said he had considered the question of not going into the details of the mutilations, but thought it was essential that all the evidence which could be obtained should appear on the records.
Dr. Phillips protested that the evidence was unnecessary, and added - On the last occasion I mentioned reasons why I thought the perpetrator of the murder caught hold of the woman's chin before he cut her throat. I should like to state that on the left side of the face, just below the lower jaw, there were three partially healed wounds. These had evidently been interfered with, and on the corresponding side of the face I found bruises such as would be caused by the pressure of fingers.
After some further remarks, Dr. Philips said - I still think that to give the details will be to thwart justice.
The Coroner - We are here to inquire into the cause of death, and we are bound to hear all the evidence which can be obtained. Whether the evidence should be published I must of course leave to the representatives of the Press themselves to decide. I have listened very attentively to what you (the doctor) have said, but I certainly never before heard in an inquiry of this kind a request that certain evidence should be kept back. I may say that I have delayed taking this evidence as long as possible, so that the interests of justice might be served. It is now a fortnight since the murder was committed, and therefore justice has had some little time to avenge itself. I have done all I can in the interests of justice.
Dr. Phillips - You are here to inquire into the cause of death, and what I have to detail as to it. The mutilation all took place subsequent to the death.
The Coroner - That is your opinion. I can quite imagine that it is correct, but after all it is only opinion, and it may be rebutted. In the opinions of other medical men we often see this, and I must therefore trouble you for your further evidence.
The jury said they were strongly of opinion that the evidence should be given.
Dr. Phillips then requested that the evidence given by him on the former occasion might be read over, and, this having been done, he said the abdominal wall had been removed in three parts - two from the anterior part. There was a greater portion of skin removed on the right side than on the left. On adjusting these three flaps it was evident that a portion surrounding and constituting the navel was wanting. The womb itself and two thirds of the bladder were absent from the body and could nowhere be traced. It was apparent that these absent portions, together with the division of the large of the large intestine, were the result of the same incising cut, and hence his opinion that the length of the weapon was at least five or six inches, and probably more. The wounds generally confirmed him in his opinion that the instrument must have been of a very sharp character. The removal of the abdominal wall indicated certain anatomical knowledge, as did the cutting in three portions of the abdominal wall, and the non cutting of the intestine. Also the way in which the womb was removed showed this in a more marked degree.
The Coroner - Can you say how long it would take to do all this?
The Witness - I may say that I myself could not have performed all the injuries I saw inflicted on the deceased, even without a struggle, under a quarter of an hour; but if I had proceeded with the deliberation of a surgeon, it would have taken me an hour. Hence I say the removal was done hastily. My idea is that the mutilations were committed with the object of obtaining possession of the womb.
The Coroner - There is a distinct variance in the medical evidence in this case from that given in the case of the woman Nichols. The doctor in that case was strongly of opinion that the wounds in the abdomen were inflicted before the throat was cut. In this case Dr. Phillips says the throat was cut first.
A Juror - What we should like to know is whether it is probable that the two murders were committed with the same instrument.
Dr. Phillips was understood to say that he was unable to give any information upon the point. The Foreman - Was the question of photographing the eyes considered, and if it had been done, would it have been likely to have been of use? - Witness said he had no experience on the point. Has any suggestion been made as to the employment of bloodhounds? - The police consulted me upon the question, but I do not think it would have been successful, because the blood of the victim must have been stronger than that of the murderer, and would have been more likely to have been traced.
Were the indications of suffocation such as might have produced the insensibility? - Quite so. Mary Long, Church row, Whitechapel, said - On the Saturday morning, the day of the murder, I was passing down Hanbury street, on the way to Spitalfields market, about half past five o'clock. I passed 29 Hanbury street. I saw a man and a woman standing on the pavement talking. His back was turned towards Brick lane, and her back towards the market. They were standing within a few yards of the door of No. 29. I saw the woman's face, and having seen the deceased's face I am sure she was the person.
Did you see the man's face? - Only that I noticed he was dark. I could not recognise him again. He was wearing a brown felt hat. I think he had on a dark coat.
Could you tell his age? - No, I could not.
Was he a boy or a man? - A man certainly. He looked to be over 40 years of age, and was a little taller then the deceased.
Did you form any idea as to what he was - whether he was a labourer? - He looked shabby genteel, and seemed to be a foreigner; but whether a labourer or not I cannot say.
Were they talking loud? - Yes. I heard him say "Will you?" and she replied "Yes." I then passed them, and left them standing where I had seen them.
Did they look back at all? - No.
Were they sober? - I saw nothing to indicate that either of them was the worse for drink.
Did you see where they went to? - No, I did not.
Is it not an unusual thing to see a man and woman talking in that way? - No. I see a lot of them sometimes standing talking.
A Juror - Is she quite correct about the time? Dr. Phillips, who saw the body soon after six o'clock, said the deceased had been dead two hours.
The Coroner - The doctor very considerably qualified the statement, because he gave reasons why the body would get cold sooner.
By the Jury - She was quite certain it was half past six (sic) o'clock, as the clock struck directly afterwards.
Edward Stanley, of Oswald place, Oswald street, Spitalfields, deposed - I am a bricklayer's labourer, and am known as a pensioner. I knew the deceased, and had been in the habit of visiting her monthly, or once or twice a month. I last her alive on Sunday, the 2nd of September, between one and three o'clock in the afternoon. She was wearing two rings, which I had given her. One was a sort of oval ring, and the other was a flat ring. I should think they were brass rings.
Do you know anyone with whom she was on bad terms? - No. She had a slight black eye when I last saw her. She told me something about an altercation. It is possible that I might have seen the deceased later than the Sunday, as I was doing nothing all the week. I have not been in the habit of staying with the deceased from the Saturday to the Monday.
The Coroner - Are you a pensioner? - Am I obliged to answer that question?
I am thinking that it may affect your financial position, perhaps, if it is found out you are not a pensioner - Well, my financial position is having to attend here upon an empty stomach, and in having my name published all over Europe. I shall perhaps lose my place through being here now.
Then you were never in the Sussex Regiment? - No. It must have been some other man.
Donovan, the lodging house keeper where deceased stayed, was recalled and identified the witness, whom he knew as the pensioner. He was the man who used to come to the lodging house and stay with the deceased from the Saturday to the Monday. and he it was who told him (witness) to let no other man have the bed.
The Coroner - How many times have you seen him there? - Six or seven times.
In reply to the Coroner, Stanley said, "Please cross all that out;" and he added that what he had stated was correct. He was at Gosport from the 6th of August to the 1st of September, and could not have been at the lodging house, so that he could not have been there then.
By the Coroner - I have known the deceased for two years. Upon seeing the remarks of the coroner on the last occasion. I went to the Commercial road police station, and told them all I knew. I went there voluntarily, and am here the same. On hearing of the murder, I, the same day, went to the lodging house and asked if it was true. On finding it was I was surprised, and went away, as I knew I could give no information about it. I don't want to be here now; it's all a loss to me to come, I can tell you.
Witness, who had several times in the course of the examination expressed annoyance at being there without payment, was informed that his expenses would be allowed, and appeared to derive considerable satisfaction from the intimation.
Adolphus Caposch (sic), carpenter, lodging next door to 29, Hanbury street, said - About a quarter past five o'clock in the morning of the 8th inst., I was in the yard. I returned in about five minutes, and heard a voice close to me, but I could not say on which side, or in which yard, say "No." I went in and came back into the yard in three or four minutes, and then I heard a sort of fall against the fence which divides the yard from No. 29.
What sort of noise was it? - Well, as if something had touched the fence suddenly. The voice I heard appeared to come from the yard of No. 29. I did not look to see who it was. Afterwards I left the house on my way to my work, and I saw by the clock it was about half past five o'clock. Do you often hear people in these yards? - Not often, but sometimes I do.
By a Juror - I told the police the same day, within an hour and a half of hearing of the murder. The fence is about five or six feet high. Next door there is a packing case maker's, and I did not think it strange to hear the fall against the fence.
The Coroner - Did you see a man or woman in the street? - No; I only saw workmen passing by to their work.
William Stevens, 35 Dorset street, said he last saw the deceased alive at 25 minutes past twelve o'clock on the morning of the murder. She was then in the kitchen of 25 Dorset street, and was wearing the rings on her finger. She was not the worse for drink. He noticed her pick up a piece of paper near the fireplace, and believed the part of an envelope produced with "Sussex Regiment" stamped upon it, was the piece. She took out of her pocket a pill box, and two pills fell out of it. These she put into the piece of envelope and put it into her pocket. When she went out of the kitchen he thought she had gone to bed, because she said she should not be long out of bed.
Do you know of anyone with whom the deceased was on bad terms? - No, I do not.
The Coroner - We have now heard all the evidence which can be produced; and it is a question for the jury to consider whether they would close the inquiry or have another adjournment.
The foreman said he did not see that any good would result from keeping the inquest open.
A Juror - Is there any chance of a reward?
The Foreman - Yes. Mr. S. Montagu, M.P., has offered reward of £100; and we are getting up subscriptions for the purpose of increasing the amount or offering another reward. Intimation has been made that the Government will not offer a reward.
After some further conversation, the inquiry was further adjourned for a week.
Yesterday morning a meeting of the Vigilance Committee, of which Mr. Lusk is president, met again at 74 Mile end road, for the purpose of receiving the reports of their honorary officers. The Secretary said that on the 15th inst. the committee sent a letter to the Home Secretary to the following effect:- "At a meeting of the committee of gentlemen, held at 74 Mile end road, E., it was resolved to approach you upon the subject of the reward we are about to issue for the discovery of the author or authors of the late atrocities in the East end of London, and to ask you, sir, to augment our fund for the said purpose, or kindly state your reasons for refusing." To this letter he has received the following communication:-
"Sir, - I am directed by the Secretary of State to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 16th inst., with reference to the question of the offer of a reward for the discovery of the perpetrators of the recent murders in Whitechapel, and I am to inform you that had the Secretary of State considered the case a proper one for the offer of a reward he would have offered one on behalf of the Government, but that the practice of offering rewards for the discovery of criminals was discontinued some years ago, because experience showed that such offers of reward tended to produce more harm than good, and the Secretary of State is satisfied that there is nothing in the circumstances of the present case to justify a departure from this rule.
I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
G Leigh Pemberton."
The landlord of the house in Finsbury, where the man Weitzel, now in custody, charged with attempting to stab a youth in Whitechapel, stayed at various times, made the following statement to a representative of the Press Association yesterday morning - "I must say I have been very suspicious of the man since the last murder at Whitechapel. On the day after that event, that is Sunday, he called here about nine o'clock in a very dirty state and asked to be allowed to wash. He said he had been out all night, and began to talk to me about the Spitalfields affair. He wore a felt hat, a dirty greyish suit, and yellow sea-side slippers. He brought with him a case of razors, and a large pair of scissors, and after a time he wanted to shave me. I did not like the way he went on, and refused. Previous to this I had not seen him for about 18 months and he made most contradictory statements as to where he had been. I did not see whether he had any blood on his hands, for I did not watch him very closely, and wanted to get him out of the place as soon as possible. He is a most extraordinary man, is always in a bad temper, and grinds his teeth in rage at any little thing which puts him out. I believe he has some knowledge of anatomy, as he was for some time an assistant to the doctors in the German army, and helped to dissect bodies. He always carried some razors and a pair of scissors with him, and when he came here again on Monday night last he produced them. He was annoyed because I would not let him sleep here, and threw down the razors in a passion, swearing at the same time. If there had been a policeman near I should have given him into custody. I noticed on this occasion a great change in his dress. Whereas on the former visit he looked very untidy, he was at this time wearing a top hat and looked rather smart. He has told me that he has been living in the West end, but I believe he is well known at the cheap lodging houses in Whitechapel. From what he has said to me I knew he was in the habit of associating with low women. On Monday last he remained here till about one o'clock, and I then turned him out, as he is a very disagreeable fellow and very dirty in his habits. The police have not been to see me yet about him."