12 November 1888
Yesterday the excitement created by the murder in Whitechapel had not abated to any appreciable extent, and the streets of the district were crowded, Dorset-square, the scene of the tragedy, being in the afternoon and evening in a practically congested condition. The crowds which extended even into Commercial-street rendered the locomotion all but impossible. Vendors of pamphlets descriptive of the Whitechapel crimes advertised their wares in shrill tones which could be heard even above the cries of the proprietors of fruit barrows and confectionary boxes, who appeared to be doing a thriving trade. Two police-constables guarded the entrance to Miller's-court, where of course the crowd was thickest, and the adjacent shop of the landlord of the house in which the body of the murdered woman had been found was besieged with people anxious, if possible, to glean further particulars regarding the crime. A very short distance away an itinerant street preacher sought to improve the occasion. The assemblage within and about Dorset-street comprised men and women of various classes, and now and then vehicles drove up containing persons impelled by curiosity to visit the scene of the tragedy. The public excitement was for a time intensified by a report that a woman had been found murdered in Jubilee-street, and the rumour was at once accepted as true. Jubilee-street is situated off Commercial-road, and thither loiterers at once journeyed from various directions, but inquiries elicited the fact that the rumour had arisen in consequence of the removal to the London Hospital of a woman who had met with an accident.
The further post-mortem examination on the body of the deceased, Mary Jeannette Kelly, has led the medical gentlemen to the conclusion that she had been murdered some hours before the discovery of the body. This conclusion, however, conflicts with statements made by people in the neighbourhood. It is asserted that the deceased was seen alive as late as eight o'clock on Friday morning. She was observed about that time standing at the entrance to Miller's-court, and one person says that the woman was seen to purchase milk for her breakfast. A young woman who goes by the name of "Margaret" says-"I saw Kelly the night before (Thursday) in Dorset-street. She told me she had no money, and intended to make away with herself. Shortly after this a man of shabby appearance came up and Kelly walked away with him." This was the first occasion, it is said, on which the deceased was ever known to take a strange man to her room.
Some statements have appeared respecting the deceased's antecedents and as to her having lived for some time in a notorious house in the West-end. There is reason to believe that not only are these statements as to her antecedents well founded, but that she still maintained some sort of communication with the companions of her more prosperous days. Seeing that it was contrary to Kelly's custom for her to bring strangers to her room, it is believed that her destroyer, whoever he may have been, offered her some exceptional inducement to take him there.
While the police have been working zealously in the hope of making some discovery of value, the public themselves appear to have been conscious that the responsibility of the officers of the law is in a measure shared by them. This is seen by an incident which occurred yesterday, and which resulted in the arrest of a strange man at Bishopsgate-street police-station. Some men were drinking at a beer-house in Fish-street-hill. One of them began conversing about the Whitechapel murder, and a man named Brown, living at 9, Dorset-street, thought he detected a blood mark on the coat of a stranger. On the latter's attention being called to it he said the mark was merely paint, but Brown took out a pocketknife and rubbing the dried stain with the blade pronounced it to be blood. The coat being loose, similar stains were seen on the man's shirt, and he then admitted that they were blood stains. The man left the house at once, and Brown followed, and when the stranger had got opposite to Bishopsgate police-station, Brown gave him into the custody of an officer who was on duty there. The prisoner gave the name of George Compton. On being brought before the inspector on duty he protested against his arrest in the public street, observing that in the present state of public feeling, he might have been lynched. The man had been arrested at Shadwell on Saturday by a police-constable, who considered his behaviour suspicious, but he had been discharged, and had come on to London. Brown alleged that Compton, before he left the Fish-street-hill beer-house, had made contradictorary statements respecting his place of residence and the locality in which he worked. Compton does not bear any personal resemblance to the published descriptions of the man who is supposed to be the murderer. The police telegraphed to the authorities at King David-lane station, Shadwell, and, finding Compton's statements to be true, released him.
Another arrest was effected at an early hour yesterday morning in consequence of statements made to the police by two young men living in the neighbourhood of Dorset-street. Like many others in the district, they appear to have been perambulating the streets on the look out for suspicious persons. At about three o'clock yesterday morning they had their attention drawn to two men who were loitering in Dorset-street. The two men separated, and one of them was followed into Houndsditch by the two youths. This man, who was a foreigner, was about five feet eight inches in height. He had a long pointed moustache, and wore a long black overcoat and a cloth deerstalker hat. When near Bishopsgate-street the young men spoke to a policeman, who at once stopped the stranger, and took him to Bishopsgate-street police-station. Here he was searched, and it was found that he was carrying a sort of pocket medical chest, containing small bottles of chloroform. In rather imperfect English he explained that he lived in Pimlico, where he was well known. After this preliminary examination he was taken to Commercial-street police-station. He was detained for some hours on suspicion, but was subsequently discharged.
Another man was also arrested and taken to Commercial-street station, it having been alleged that his movements were suspicious. A man named Peter Maguire says that at about eleven o'clock on Saturday night he was at the publichouse known as the "Clean House," kept by Mrs. Fiddymont, in Brushfield-street, when he noticed a man talking very earnestly to a young woman. The man asked the girl to accompany him, but she refused, and afterwards left the bar. Maguire followed the man, who, noticing that he was watched, ran into Spitalfields-market, Maguire following him. The man then stopped, went up a court, and took off a pair of gloves he was wearing and put on another pair. By a roundabout route he proceeded into Shoreditch, and got into an omnibus, which Maguire followed. A policeman was asked by Maguire to stop this omnibus, but it is said the officer refused to do so, and Maguire continued his pursuit until he met another constable, who at once stopped the vehicle. The man was inside sitting up in a corner. Maguire explained his suspicions, and the man was taken to Commercial-street station. He was, however, discharged after the police had satisfied themselves by inquiries that there was no reason for his detention.
A most minute search has been conducted by the police and medical gentlemen in the room where the crime was perpetrated, but practically nothing in the nature of a clue has been obtained. The man's coat discovered there belonged to Mr. Harvey, who had lived with the woman Kelly, and the ashes, which have been carefully sifted, reveal no traces of human burnt flesh.
There is also some doubt as to whether any portion of the body was removed. On the latter point some important evidence will be given at the inquest which will be opened to-day at Shoreditch Townhall by Dr. Macdonald.
Since the murder, the police in different parts of the metropolis have received information from women who allege that they have been accosted and threatened by a person whom they alleged answers in every particular the description of the man wanted for the murder. On Saturday a female informed a constable that on Friday evening, at five minutes to ten o'clock, she was passing along Grove-road, when a man seized her round the neck. She screamed, and observing that someone was approaching them he released her and went away. Information was given to the police that a respectably-dressed man about 36 years of age, whose clothing and wristbands bore dark-coloured stains, was seen on Friday at about noon at Moorgate-street railway station, and that he traveled by one of the trains. On Saturday the police at Stoke Newington were informed that there was found in Palatine-road, Stoke Newington, a piece of wood cut in the shape of a cross, on which was written in ink the following words:-"This is a fac-simile of the knife with which I committed the murder.-Jack the Ripper." On the other side was written, "I will visit Stoke Newington next Friday.-Jack the Ripper." The police at Commercial-street on Saturday received by post a letter purporting to have come from the murderer. It was as follows: "Dear Boss,-I am coming to do another on Sunday night in the City-road. Then I will let you know when I will give myself up. It will be Tuesday, about twelve o'clock, at the Kingsland-road police-station. Good-bye till Tuesday.-Jack the Ripper."
On Friday night, in the pillar-box at the corner of Northumberland-street, Marylebone-road, was found a letter directed to the police, and its contents were as follows:-"Dear Boss,--I shall be busy to-morrow night in Marylebone-road. I have two booked for blood.-Yours, Jack the Ripper. Look out about two o'clock in Marylebone-road."
Great excitement was caused shortly before ten o'clock last night, in the East-end, by the arrest of a man with a blackened face, who publicly proclaimed himself to be "Jack the Ripper." This was at the corner of Wentworth-street, Commercial-street, near the scene of the latest crime. Two young men, one a discharged soldier, seized him, and the crowds which always on Sunday night parade this neighbourhood, raised a cry of "Lynch him!" Sticks were raised, and the man was furiously attacked, and but for the timely arrival of the police he would have been seriously injured. The police took him to Leman-street station. He refused to give any name, but asserted that he was a doctor at St. George's Hospital. His age is about 35 years, height 5ft. 7in., complexion dark, and dark moustache, and he was wearing spectacles. He wore no waistcoat, but had an ordinary jersey vest beneath his coat. In his pocket he had a double-peaked light check cap, and at the time of his arrest he was bareheaded. It took four constables and four civilians to take him to the station and to protect him from the infuriated crowd. He is detained in custody, and it seems that the police attach importance to the arrest, as the man's appearance answers to the police description of the man who is wanted.
Mrs. Kennedy, who was on the day of the murder staying with her parents at a house facing the room where the mutilated body was found, has made an important statement. She says that at about three o'clock on Friday morning she entered Dorset-street on her way to the house of her parents, which is situated immediately opposite that in which the murder was committed. She noticed three persons at the corner of the street near the "Britannia." There was a man-a young man, respectably dressed, and with a dark moustache-talking to a woman whom she did not know, and also a female poorly clad, and without any head gear. The man and woman appeared to be the worse for liquor, and she heard the man say, "Are you coming?" whereupon the woman, who appeared to be obstinate, turned in an opposite direction to which the man apparently wished her to go. Mrs. Kennedy went on her way, and nothing unusual occurred until about half an hour later. She states that she did not retire to rest immediately after she reached her parents' abode, but sat up, and between half-past three and a quarter to four she heard a cry of "Murder!" in a woman's voice proceed from the direction in which Mary Kelly's room was situated. As the cry was not repeated she took no further notice of the circumstance until the morning, when she found the police in possession of the place, preventing all egress to the occupants of the small houses in this court. When questioned by the police as to what she had heard throughout the night, she made a statement to the above effect. She has since supplemented that statement by the following:-"On Wednesday evening, about eight o'clock, I and my sister were in the neighbourhood of Bethnal-green-road, when we were accosted by a very suspicious-looking man about 40 years of age. He was about five feet seven inches high, wore a short jacket, over which he had a long top-coat. He had a black moustache, and wore a billycock hat. He invited us to accompany him into a lonely spot, as he was known about there, and there was a policeman looking at him." She asserts that no policeman was in sight. He made several strange remarks, and appeared to be agitated. He was very white in the face, and made every endeavour to prevent them looking him straight in the face. He carried a black bag. He avoided walking with them, and led the way into a very dark thoroughfare at the back of the workhouse, inviting them to follow, which they did. He then pushed open a small door in a pair of large gates, and requested one of them to follow him, remarking, "I only want one of you," whereupon the women became suspicious. He acted in a very strange and suspicious manner, and refused to leave his bag in possession of one of the females. Both women became alarmed at his actions and escaped, at the same time raising an alarm of "Jack the Ripper." A gentleman who was passing is stated to have intercepted the man, while the women made their escape. Mrs. Kennedy asserts that the man whom she saw on Friday morning with the woman at the corner of Dorset-street resembled very closely the individual who caused such alarm on the night in question, and that she would recognise him again if confronted with him. There is no cause to doubt this woman's statement.
The police at Cardiff, in answer to inquiries, state that they do not remember the woman Kelly as having lived in that town. It is, of course, very possible that she may have lived there without having become known to the authorities.
A flower-girl, named Catherine Pickell, residing in Dorset-street, states that at about 7.30 on Friday morning she called at Kelly's house to borrow a shawl, and that, though she knocked several times, she got not answer.
Mrs. Elizabeth Phœnix, residing at 157, Bow-common-lane, Burdett-road, Bow, called at the Leman-street police-station at about nine o'clock last evening, and made a statement to the officers on duty which it is thought will satisfactorily establish the identity of the murdered woman. She stated that about three years ago a woman, apparently the deceased from the description given of her, resided at her brother-in-law's house, at Breezers-hill, Pennington-street, near the London Docks. She describes that lodger as a woman about 5ft. 7in. in height, and of rather stout build, with blue eyes, and a very fine head of hair, which reached nearly to her waist. At that time she gave her name as Mary Jane Kelly, and stated that she was about 22 years of age, so that her age at the present time would be about 25 years. There was, it seems, some difficulty in establishing her nationality. She stated first that she was Welsh, and that her parents, who had discarded her, still resided at Cardiff, whence she came to London. On other occasions, however, she declared that she was Irish. She is described as being very quarrelsome and abusive when intoxicated, but "one of the most decent and nicest girls" when sober. About two years ago she left Breezers-hill and removed to Commercial-road, from which quarter she had been reported to Mrs. Phœnix as leading an immoral life in the vicinity of Aldgate. She had two false teeth which projected very much from the lips. When living at Breezers-hill, she stated to Mrs. Phœnix that she had a child aged two years, but Mrs. Phœnix never saw it. At that time the deceased had a friend known as Lizzie Williams. Mrs. Phœnix is confident the deceased is the woman to whom she refers, although she has not seen her since she left the neighbourhood of the London Docks, where she was well known.
A Limerick telegram states that inquiries made in that city had failed to identify the latest Whitechapel victim as a native of that town. The Limerick police were reported to have been communicated with by the London police regarding Kelly's antecedents, but the report was unfounded. It is believed that if Kelly belonged to the city, she left it with her people many years ago.
The Scotland-yard authorities have issued the following proclamation:-
"Murder.-Pardon.-Whereas on November 8th or 9th, in Miller-court, Dorset-street, Spitalfields, Mary Janet Kelly was murdered by some person or persons unknown, the Secretary of State will advise the grant of her Majesty's gracious pardon to any accomplice not being a person who contrived or actually committed the murder, who shall give such information and evidence as shall lead to the discovery of the person or persons who committed the murder.
(Signed) "CHARLES WARREN,
"The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis,
"Metropolitan Police Office, 4, Whitehall-place, S.W.,
10th November, 1888."
The doctors who examined the remains of Mary Jane Kelly, who was found murdered in a house in a court off Dorset-street, Whitechapel, on Friday, state that the woman must have been dead some hours before she was discovered. It is also stated that at about three o'clock on Friday morning a cry of "Murder!" was heard by a woman who lives in the court, and a flower-seller who called at the deceased's house at half-past seven on Friday morning failed to gain admission. Several arrests have been made, but the parties have, with one exception, been discharged from custody. The inquest opens to-day.
MURDEROUS AFFAIR AT GLASGOW.-While a constable was going his beat in St. Vincent-street, Glasgow, early yesterday morning he heard cries of murder. He hastened to the spot, and found Georgina Douglas, aged 30, an unfortunate, lying in a pool of blood in an area. She was conscious, and stated that she and another unfortunate had met an unknown man, and after visiting several public-houses she went with him to a stair at 212, St. Vincent-street. Here he flashed a knife in her face, and stabbed her on the chin. He then caught her by the legs, and threw her out of a window into the area, a distance of 20 feet. The constable had her removed to the infirmary. In the course of yesterday the police apprehended a man, but as Douglas failed to recognise him he was liberated.