Detective-inspector Wilding, the chief detective-officer at Bow police-station, has charge of the case of supposed murder at Poplar, and most vigilant inquiries are being prosecuted with the object of unraveling the mystery. Notwithstanding the medical evidence at the inquest, the police authorities of the Poplar and Bow districts affect to discredit the theory that a murder has been committed, their explanation being that the woman died from natural causes; whilst as to the mark on the neck, said to have been caused by strangulation, it is contended that it might easily have been made by a tight-fitting dress collar. The police state that the deceased woman was quiet and well-behaved- so far as such a description can apply to one of her class. Clarke's-yard, in which the body was found, is enclosed by two high doors, which, it appears, have latterly been shut at night owing to the annoyance caused by men and women resorting to the place; but from an inspection of the yard and its surroundings, it is clear that any person might gain access to it from the rear, and thus avoid a busy thoroughfare like High-street, Poplar. The police attach no importance to the suggestion which has been made to the effect that the Whitechapel murderer is responsible for the death of the woman. Clarke's-yard has a number of houses shutting upon it, but the occupants do not appear to have heard cries or noises of any kind on the night of the supposed murder.
It is now practically certain that the deceased woman was known by the name Lizzie Davis, and it appears that she went under the name of Rose Millett also. Some time ago she was an inmate of the Sick Asylum at Bromley, and whilst staying there her daughter who is stated to be about six years of age, was sent to a school at Sutton, where the child now is. It is also stated that the deceased woman’s mother lives somewhere in the neighbourhood of Baker’s-row, Whitechapel, but as yet police have not been able to find her. On Wednesday night, between seven and eight o’clock, before the deceased left the common lodging house in George-street, Spitalfields, where she lived, she borrowed 2d. from the deputy to pay her fare to Poplar. As to her subsequent movements, little is definitely known, although several people have come forward and given various accounts as to where they saw her. With reference to the earring which is supposed the murderer had taken away, it has been ascertained that the woman, when she left her lodgings, was wearing only one ornament, and this, was found in her ear untouched.
As soon as possible, the nurse who attended the deceased whilst she was an inmate of the infirmary will be taken to see the body, for the purpose of settling the matter of identification.
Last night there was a very pleasant scene, and one entirely in keeping with the season, at Harley-street Chapel, Bow-road, when beef, bread, tea, sugar and the materials for a good-sized Christmas pudding ere distributed to the representatives of about 2,400 of the very poorest families (about 12,000 persons) of the district. The distribution was entirely on unsectarian lines, was a special effort in connexion with Mr. Hurndall's East London Mission and Relief Work, the work being done chiefly by that gentleman and Mr. dean, the treasurer of the fund. The work of the mission itself was carried on throughout the year, during which a large number of tickets for meat, grocery, and coals were distributed to the most needy, and dinners to women, children and unemployed men. Before the distribution a large number of the recipients of the good things assembled in the chapel, where the Lord Mayor, who was accompanied by the Lady Mayoress, addressed them.
The Lord Mayor said all his life he had had great sympathy with the poor and a desire to assist in alleviating any distress and poverty that might exist. There were people who were really poor, and those who only professed to be poor, but he believed the really poor were fully represented in that district. Suggestions had been made to him that he should start a fund at the Mansion-house for dealing with the distress at the East-end of London, but while in some cases such funds might do good, he was constrained to say, from what he saw three years ago, he did not feel disposed to open such a fund, unless there were proper and better centres for distribution than existed on the last occasion-(Cheers.) The provision for the distribution of such a fund should be adequate and discriminating, and he was inclined to think that three years ago the really poor did not get that benefit from the fund that they were entitled to; those who did not deserve it were on that occasion the chief recipients of the benefit. He would rather take a centre such as that chapel, with a man at the head of it who knew all the facts and circumstances, and who personally knew a great many of the poor, and assist that, than undertake the duty of raising a fund and placing it in the hands of those who knew very little about it.-(Applause.) Although he was quite approved of it, he must confess that he looked upon such a distribution as only temporary assistance to those who were poor-it scarcely relieved in the slightest degree the existing distress. It did not deal with the cause which produced poverty. Charity, or what savoured of it, was not a permanent remedy for poverty, and we ought to try to arrive at and remove its causes. Several methods for that have been suggested, but he thought it exceeded the ability of man to devise any method of permanently removing poverty. Emigration had been suggested. That might be good if organised under a proper system, and no doubt much could be done by the Government in that direction; but they had cut much of the ground from under their feet by not retaining more than they had done of the Crown colonies, to which emigrants might be sent. In the colonies there was plenty of land and opportunity for ten times the population we had in the East-end, and only with a proper system of emigration they could not only be made a great boon to these people, but they could be carried on without loss, and even made to pay. The really unemployed might be placed in a position on the other side of the Atlantic where they could make a substantial living, and yet retain their name as Englishmen. That would be doing a great good country. The great fear was that such a scheme, not well considered, might take away only the health and strength of the less wealthy classes, and might leave us with people who would not add to the physical and mental health and strength of the nation. A proposal which has been made over and over again was that of stopping the influx of pauper foreigners-(Applause.) They must know from their own experience that these people very often occupied positions which they themselves could fill, and, more than that, that their labour thrown upon the market here tended to reduce the wages of those belonging to our own country. It was not a popular idea amongst a certain class of thinkers, but he was inclined to the opinion that some
That some bar should be placed upon the admission of pauper foreigners.-(Applause.) Let every man who came to this country give some evidence that he had some means which would enable him to add to the wealth, and not to the poverty of the country. That was a subject worthy the serious attention of our statesmen. It was also suggested that alterations should be made in our land laws which would relieve the working classes from the necessity of seeking work in the large towns. He hoped that before long some scheme would be devised by which the land not now under cultivation, but capable of being cultivated, should be brought into cultivation, and thus more employment be found for those who are resided in the rural districts. The present Allotment Act might be extended, and so the people might be kept in the country, which they loved better than the towns. If the local authorities and corporations were to do their duty fully, they would take care that better provision was made for housing of the poor. It was a disgrace to the age in which we lived that so many people should be living in dwellings which were in an entirely unsanitary condition. He hoped that they would find that the recently established county council for London, which he welcomed with sincere satisfaction, would do something to remedy this state of things. Education was doing a great deal, and so were the ministers and visitors in the various districts, but they could not do much unless everybody endeavoured to help himself. It was no use sitting down in despair and expecting others to help if they did nothing for themselves. In conclusion, his lordship wished them all a happy Christmas.
A hearty vote of thanks to the Lord Mayor and Lady mayoress, who was presented with a bouquet of roses, concluded the proceedings.
The erection of the new police alarms, which are placed by way of experiment in various parts of Islington, was completed yesterday, and the alarms are now ready for use. Nearly a score of alarm posts have been fixed, all in telegraphic communication with Upper-street station, and Chief Inspector Tyler has caused to be distributed 100 keys between police and civilians. The police on beats adjacent to the alarm posts will hold keys for enabling them to get at the telegraphic apparatus, and responsible persons residing near who care to have a key will be supplied. There are two codes, one for police assistance only and the other for the ambulance; and the American company who have gained permission to experiment have contracted for the supply of a horse, van, and man to be always ready at the police-station to answer the calls, with necessary constables, and also to convey the prisoners to the station. This ready means of communicating and bringing of help will, it is thought, be of considerable value; and the fact of the horses always being harnessed to the van will enable the police to turn out quicker than the firemen.