10 November 1888
Another Horrible Murder in Whitechapel.
One More Woman Falls a Prey to the Monster.
This Times a Victim Murdered in Her Own Home.
The Corpse Even More Horribly Mutilated Than Those of the Previous Victims -
Bloodhounds Taken to the Scene of the Atrocity, but They Fail to Keep the Scent of the Murderer -
The Latter Took Advantage of the Concentration of the Police in the West End of London, Due to the Lord mayor's Show, and of the Consequent Relaxation of the Strict Watch Kept in Whitechapel, to Perform His Sanguinary Crimes -
This Time Several people have seen the Supposed Murderer, Who Is Described as Respectably Dressed -
The Woman was Forced to lead an Immoral Life in Order to Keep a Roof Over the Head of Her Boy.
(Special Cable Despatch to the World.)
London, Nov. 9.
Another horrible murder of the well known Whitechapel type was perpetrated this morning within three hundred yards of the spot where the woman Annie Chapman was killed last September. The details of this tragedy are even more revolting than those of the six which preceded it.
The accurate circumstances of the affair are difficult to discover, the police, as usual, placing every obstacle in the way of the investigations of the reporters. But all reports go to prove it a murder far surpassing in fiendish atrocity all the terrible crimes with which the East End of London has been familiarized within the past six months.
A woman, twenty six years old, named Mary Jane Kelly, had live for four months in a front room on the second floor of a house up an alley known as Cartin's Court, in Dorset street. This poor woman was in service a short time ago, but since she came to reside in the court had been recognized by the neighbors as a person who, like so many unfortunate members of her sex in the East End, managed to eke out a wretched existence by the practice of immorality under the most degrading conditions. The court faces a small square with a narrow entrance, and is surrounded by squalid lodging houses, with rooms let out to women of the unfortunate class.
Mrs. Kelly is described as a tall woman, not bad looking, with a dark complexion and as generally wearing an old black velvet jacket. She was wearing this jacket this morning when about 8.15 she went down the court, jug in hand, and returned shortly afterwards with milk for her breakfast. This was the last seen of her alive.
The woman was behind in her rent and had been told by her landlord that he would put her out if she did not pay him today. She went to the streets last night to earn money to pay her rent, and it seems to be clearly established that she returned to her room with a man. No one has been found who saw the man go in, but some neighbors heard him talking with Mrs. Kelly in the room and heard her singing, as though drunk.
At 11 o'clock this morning a man named Bowyer, an agent of the landlord, went into Mrs. Kelly's room to collect the rent. When he knocked at the door he received no answer. Removing the curtain drawn across the window of the room, and looking through a broken pane, Bowyer saw the woman lying in bed on her back, stark naked, while marks of blood were all over the place. He tried the handle of the door, and found it locked, while the key had been removed from the lock. Without going into the room Bowyer called the police, who promptly proceeded to conceal all the facts in the case.
In less than two hours the doctors had the body in the Morgue and were examining it precisely as they did the Mitre square victim. They refused to give any details concerning the examination.
All of Them Apparently Committed by the Same Hand Within a Few Months.
The first of the series of Whitechapel murders dates back to April 3, when Emma Elizabeth Smith was found dead in a yard near Osborn street with a large hole in her abdomen, made by a sharp iron stake or some similar instrument. There was nothing of the horrifying mutilation of the body which has made the five subsequent murders world famous in the annals of crime. Evil deeds are common enough in the slums of London, and this was a woman of the street, killed, it was presumed, by a jealous lover or an angry husband. The public read that the "affair was in the hands of the police," and promptly forgot it.
Very early on the morning of Aug. 7, John Reeves, living at George Yard buildings, Whitechapel, was coming downstairs to go to work. The house was divided into tenements of three and four rooms each, all occupied by working people. On the first floor landing Reeves found the body of a woman in a pool of blood. She had been stabbed in thirty two places with a sharp pointed instrument, probably a bayonet. The walls of the house are thin and ordinary conversation on the lower landing can easily be heard in the rooms upstairs. Yet no one in the house, not even four people sleeping twelve feet way from where the body was soaking in blood, heard any unusual noise that night. Elizabeth Mahoney, who lives in the house, did not go home until 2 o'clock in the morning and the body was not there then. The murdered woman was identified as Martha Tabram, another outcast. She was buried and forgotten.
It is not at all likely that the two murders mentioned had anything to do with "maniac murders," as the last four of the Whitechapel crimes are called, and which are no doubt the work of the same person. Except that the criminals are undetected they ought to be entirely disassociated. Polly Nichols, another vagrant of the streets, was the first victim to the shocking brutality of the fiend. At 3.45 o'clock the morning of Aug. 31 Policeman John O'Neil was walking through Buck's Row, Whitechapel, when he saw what he thought was a woman asleep on the pavement. He prodded her with his foot and said, "Come, old girl, you can't sleep here." The woman never moved and he stooped down to turn her over to get a look at her face. His hands were bathed in warm blood. He had passed the same spot scarcely fifteen minutes before, and a most atrocious murder had been committed while he was gone. If there had been a cry for help or a scuffle for life he could scarcely have helped hearing it the whole length of his beat. Three men working in a slaughter house nearby never heard a sound. The woman's head was nearly severed back to the vertebra, which was also slightly injured. One gash under the left ear reached nearly to the centre of the throat. Another cut, starting from the right ear, was almost as long. The woman's skirts were torn from her body and her abdomen ripped open so that the bowels protruded. One cut, extending from the pubic arch to the breastbone, was such as only a strong man, skilled in the use of a knife, could have made. The victim's front teeth were knocked out and her face much bruised. Her hands gave evidence that she struggled desperately for life.
When Policeman O'Neil was questioned closely he recollected that the body was lying on its back, with outstretched hands, as though it had been placed where it was found.
A gateman was on duty all night at the crossing of the Great Eastern Railway, scarce sixty yards from where her body was found, but h heard no screams.
In less than a week there was another murder, evidently by the same hand, only the fiendish brutality to the victim was worse. This time, too, it was a courtesan. Annie Chapman was once the wife a well to do veterinary surgeon living at Windsor. Drink and immorality separated her from her husband who allowed her 10 shillings a week to live on. He died, and the allowance ceased, and the poor woman joined the innumerable army of street walkers. No. 29 Hanbury street, Spitalfields, is a tenement house, let out to many families, most of whom keep lodgers. In this house, as in most houses of its class, there is no lock on the front door. Anybody can pass into the hall from the street. For protection the tenants lock the doors opening in the landings. There is a large yard in the rear of these tenement houses and it is a common custom for women of the street to take men there for privacy. Beyond doubt this was the case with Annie Chapman. Like the woman Nicholls, she had not had money to pay for her bed. She said to the lodging house keeper:
"Save a bed for me; I shan't be long."
John Davies, a carman, lives at No. 29 Hanbury street. He was not well the night of the murder and woke at 3 a.m. At 5, or shortly after, he went downstairs to the back yard. There was nobody there then. At about 5.40 he went to the yard again. When he reached the lower hall he noticed that the back door was closed and the front door was wide open. When he opened the back door he saw Annie Chapman's bleeding body at the foot of the steps.
Davies had been lying awake in bed and had heard no scream or cry for help. He did hear footsteps in the hallway, but that was nothing unusual, for some people in the house had to go to work at 6 o'clock and they were up and stirring. The murder had been committed inside of forty minutes, and not one of the 500 people within sound of a woman's voice had heard even a groan.
Made bold by the failure of the police to catch him, or even to get on his track, the murderer carved this victim to his heart's content. The details are too horrible to print. The physician who examined the body asked to be spared relating them to the coroner's jury. Mrs. Burridge, a shopkeeper in Blackfriars road, died in a fit while reading an account of the horror in a newspaper.
Though circumstances show that the murderer had less than 40 minutes at his disposal, there was no sign of hurry about his work. He cut up his victim as deliberately and as skilfully as the surgeon operates upon a cadaver at the dissecting table. He killed her, as he did the other women, by almost cutting her head from her shoulders, and then proceeded to disembowel her, attaching a portion of the intestines to her neck. The matrix he cut out and carried away with him. This gave rise to the theory of the American offering fabulous sums for specimens of that organ, although in the other victims it was not carried away at all.
On Sunday, Sept. 23, a young woman was murdered at Gateshead, near Newcastle upon Tyne, in the North of England. All the circumstances, even to the peculiar mutilation of the body, point to the Whitechapel fiend as the murderer.
The panic created by this piece of butchery and the increased vigilance of the police seemed to have frightened the murderous maniac off, but on the morning of Sept. 30 he sallied out again. At 1 o'clock he met Elizabeth Stride, or "Hippy Lip" Anne, in Berner street and cut her throat for her. The fact that the body was not otherwise mutilated makes it possible that it was not the work of the same assassin. But the doctors who have examined the wounds in the throat believe that it is. Here is the physician's description of the wound:
"There was clean cut incision on the neck. It was six inches in length, and commenced two and one half inches in a straight line below the angle of the jaw, three quarters of an inch over an undivided muscle, and then, becoming deeper, dividing the sheath. The cut was very clean, and deviated a little downward. The artery and other vessels contained in the sheath were all cut through. The cut through the tissues on the right side was more superficial and tailed off to about two inches below the right angle of the jaw. The deep vessels on that side were uninjured. From this it was evident that the haemorrhage was caused through the partial severance of the left carotid artery."
Berner street is a badly lighted, narrow thoroughfare, inhabited by tolerably respectable people. The Workmen's International Educational Club has a building there. There is a stable in the rear of it, shut off from the street by two stout wooden gates. There is a small door in one gate, fastened with a latch. The probability is that the murderer got the woman just inside this small door, cut her throat and was frightened away by the noise of people loving about in the Club. There were any number of people astir in the neighborhood when Elizabeth Stride's life was taken, but no one heard a sound. The steward of the Club found the body just inside the wooden gate when he went there after 1 o'clock Sunday morning.
The body was still warm, and the blood was trickling under the gate down the pavement to the gutter. The steward called some of the members in the Club, who were simply staggered by the sight before them. One man said that he had closed the gate himself when he passed through the yard twenty minutes previous. The woman was identified. Her life story is a sad one, but there are thousands like it in London - and in New York, too, for that matter.
Meanwhile, to follow the murderer. While the police were carrying the body of Elizabeth Stride to the deadhouse, he was knifing another woman ten minutes walk from the spot - as the World readers can see by following the diagram of the locality from No. 5 to No. 6. To read of Mitre Square a New Yorker might think of it in comparison with Tompkins square or Washington Square. In reality it is a small court about the size of the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. It is, as I cabled the World the day of the murders, accessible by four "private" roads, such as only a Londoner familiar with the locality would think of entering. It is outside the bailiwick of the Metropolitan Police, and is patrolled by the City of London Police.
The officer Watkins, who covered that beat that Sunday night, is considered one of the most reliable men on the force. He talks like a shrewd, careful fellow. At 1.30 Sunday morning he walked through Mitre Square. Two street lamps were burning there and three windows in a large warehouse were ablaze with light. The policeman could see the watchman of the warehouseman reading within. All was quiet. Exactly fifteen minutes later the policeman passed that way again. His feet slipped in the blood of another murdered woman.
The policeman could have heard a woman's shriek from one end of his beat to the other, but he did not hear one that night. Not a sound disturbed the ear of the watchman in the warehouse. Just inside the railing, not twenty feet from the dead body, an ex policeman lived with his family, and the windows of their bedrooms faced the square. No cry for help disturbed their slumbers. The murdered woman was lying in the position portrayed in the picture.
In this case, again, the murderer had time to mutilate his victim unmolested. Her throat was cut first, of course. Then the assassin's knife was thrust into the upper part of the abdomen and drawn completely down, ripping open the stomach and exposing the intestines.
This woman was identified as Catherine Eddowes, a street hawker, living with a man named Kelly. If the day's business was bad, as was often the case, she tried to make a little money in the street at night.
On Oct. 2 another mutilated body of a woman was discovered, and this crime is by some attributed to the Whitechapel murderer. It was found in an open vault on the site of the projected Grand Opera House, within a stone's throw of the Grand and Metropole Hotels, and within sight of Police Headquarters at Scotland Yard.
The body was in an advanced state of decomposition, and had been subjected to mutilations similar in fiendish ingenuity to those inflicted on the Whitechapel victims. The head and arms had been separated from the body; the abdomen cut vertically and the viscera exposed. The monster evidently had more time and was able to perform his terrible task with greater leisure. He had wrapped up the remains and corded them. One arm was missing. A month before a woman's arm had been found floating in the Thames at Pimlico, and this is believed to be the missing member.
The locality is one of the busiest and wealthiest parts of London, and is by day thronged with thousands of people. But at night it is somewhat deserted, and the Thames Embankment, with its brilliant electric lights and heavy shadows, is considered one of the most dangerous spots of all London after 10 p.m.
Plenty of Talk and Arrests on Suspicion, but No Clue to the Murderer.
It would take a page of The World to merely mention the theories printed in the newspapers.
The Pall Mall Gazette has carefully culled and condensed the best of them, and I cannot do better than reproduce its summary:
THE JEKYLL AND HYDE THEORY: That the murderer lives two lives and inhabits two houses or two sets of rooms. Possible the culprit is an army doctor suffering from sunstroke. He has seen the horrible play, lives in Bayswater or North London, in perhaps a decent square or terrace, dresses well. Goes out about 10 p.m., straight to Whitechapel. Commits deed. Home again by breakfast, Wash, brush up, sleep. Himself again.
BY A POLICEMAN: That no one but a policeman could have eluded vigilance. Therefore -
AVENGING LIPSKI: That some of Lipski's compatriots have turned wholesale murderers for the purpose of showing that the police are mostly fools.
THE SCIENTIFIC SOCIOLOGIST: That the murderer is a scientific sociologist who wished to bring forcibly before the public mind the natural corollary of the impunity with which the maiming of women is regarded by magistrates and judges.
THE GANG THEORY: Some think that such a series of murders could only have been successfully executed by a gang of two or more.
THE WORK OF A RELIGIOUS MANIAC: The murders point to one individual, and that individual insane. Not necessarily an escaped, or even as yet recognized, lunatic. He may be an earnest religionist with a delusion that he has a mission from above to extirpate vice by assassination. And he has selected his victims from a class which contributes pretty largely to the factorship of immorality and sin.
THE BURKE AND HARE THEORY: Suggested by Mr. Wynne Baxter that the murderer is employed to get anatomical specimens for some experimentalist.