1 October 1888
TWO WOMEN MURDERED
THE SAME FEARFUL MUTILATION
In the early hours of yesterday morning two more horrible murders were committed in the East-end of London, the victim in both cases belonging, it is believed, to the same unfortunate class. No doubt seems to be entertained by the police that these terrible crimes were the work of the same fiendish hands which committed the outrages which had already made Whitechapel so painfully notorious. The scenes of the murders just brought to light are within a quarter of an hour's walk of each other, the earlier discovered crime having been committed in a yard in Berner-street, a thoroughfare out of the Commercial-road, while the second outrage was perpetrated within the City boundary, in Mitre-square, Aldgate. In neither case can robbery have been the motive, nor can the deed be set down as the outcome of an ordinary street brawl. Both have unquestionably been murders deliberately planned, and carried out by the hand of some one who has been no novice to the work; again it must be added that no reliable clue has yet been obtained.
Berner Street is a narrow, badly-lighted, but tolerably respectable street, running out of the Commercial-road, a short distance down on the right-hand side going from Aldgate. It is a street consisting mainly of small houses, but which has lately been brightened and embellished by one of the fine new building of the London School Board. Just opposite this is an "International and Educational Club", domiciled in a private house, standing at the corner of a gateway leading into a yard in which are small manufacturing premises and four small houses occupied by Jewish families. The yard gates are usually closed at night, a wicket affording admission to the lodgers and others residing in the houses. The club was on Saturday evening winding up the Jewish holidays by a lecture on "Judaism and Socialism". A discussion followed, which carried on the proceeding to about half-past twelve, and then followed a general jollification, accompanied, as the neighbours say, by a noise that would effectually have prevented any cries for help being heard by those around. The mirth however was brought to a sudden and dreadful stop. The steward of the club, who lives in one of the small houses in the yard, had been out with some sort of market cart, returned home just before one (Sunday morning). He turned into the gateway, when he observed some object lying in his way under the wall of the club. Unable to see clearly what it was, he struck a match and found that it was a woman. He thought at best she was drunk, and went into the club. Some of the members went out with him and struck another light, and were horrified to find the woman's head nearly severed from her body and blood streaming down the gutter. The police were summoned, and the poor creature was borne to St George's dead house.
The corpse was still warm, and in the opinion of the medical experts, who were promptly summoned to the place, the deed of blood must have been done not many minutes before. The probability seems to be that the murderer was interrupted by the arrival of the cart, and that he made his escape unobserved, under the shelter of darkness, which was almost total at the spot. The efforts of the police to trace the murderer have been without result as yet. The body has been identified as that of a woman named Elizabeth Stride, who had been living in a common lodging-house in Flower and Dean-street, and had been in the habit of frequenting this neighbourhood, where it appears she was familiarly known as Long Lizzie. She has a sister living somewhere in Holborn, and her husband, from whom she has been separated some years, is said to be living in Bath. The body when found was quite warm. In one hand was clutched a box of sweets, and at her breast were pinned two dahlias; she was respectfully dressed for her class, and appears to be about thirty-five years of age. Her height is 5ft. 5 in. and her complexion and her hair are dark. She wore a jacket made of dark diagonal cloth, feather trimmings, a black skirt, velveteen bodice, crepe bonnet, side-spring boots, and white stockings. Medical men were busy yesterday in minutely examining the body, and this morning about eleven Mr Wynne E. Baxter opened an inquest. The woman's movements have been traced up to a certain point. She left her lodgings in Flower and Dean-street between six and seven o'clock on Saturday evening, saying that she was not going to meet anyone in particular. From that hour there is nothing certainly known about her up to the time at which her body was found, lifeless indeed, but not otherwise mutilated than by the gash in her throat, which had severed the jugular vein and must have caused instantaneous death.
At the precise moment that the police were gathering about the place of slaughter in Berner-street, another and more horrible shambles was being provided for their inspection scarcely half a mile away. Shortly before two o'clock Police Constable Watkins (No. 881), of the City Police, was going round his beat, when, turning his lantern upon the darkest corner of Mitre-square, Aldgate, he saw the body of a woman, apparently lifeless, in a pool of blood. He at once blew his whistle, and several persons being attracted to the spot, he despatched messengers for medical and police aid. Inspector Collard, who was on command at the time at Bishopsgate police-station, but a short distance off, quickly arrived, followed a few moments after by Mr G.W. Sequeira, surgeon, of 35, Jewry-street, and Dr Gordon Brown, the divisional police doctor of Finsbury-circus. Chief Superintendent Major Smith, Superintendent Foster, Inspector McWilliams, and Inspector Collard immediately organized a "scouting" brigade, to detect and arrest any suspicious looking character, but no one was taken into custody.
In the meantime Dr Sequeira and Dr Gordon Brown made an examination of the body. The sight was a most shocking one. The woman's throat had been cut from the left side, the knife severing the main artery and other parts of the neck. Blood had flowed freely, both from the neck and body, on the pavement. Apparently, the weapon had been thrust into the upper part of the abdomen and drawn completely down, ripping open the body, and, in addition, both thighs had been cut across. The intestines had been torn from the body, and some of them lodged in the wound on the right side of the neck. The woman was lying on her back, with her head to the south-west corner, and her feet towards the carriage way, her clothes being thrown up on to her chest. Both hands were outstretched by her side. Near where she was lying two of three buttons were picked up, and a small cardboard box containing two pawntickets. The supposition is that her pockets were hastily turned out, either for robbery or to evade suspicion as to the motive for the crime. Dr Brown having taken a pencil sketch of the exact position in which the body was found, at three o'clock it was removed to the City Mortuary, Golden-lane, to await a coroner's inquest.
The following is the description of the deceased issued by the police authorities with a view to identification:- "Age about forty, no rings on fingers, black cloth jacket, three large metal buttons down the front, brown bodice, dark green chintz dress, with Michaelmas daisies, golden lily pattern; three flounces, dark linsey skirt, white chemise, brown ribbed stockings, feet mended with white material, a large white neckerchief round neck, pair of men's old lace-up boots. Tattoo marks on right forearm, 'T.C.', the whole of the clothing being very old. She also wore a black straw bonnet, trimmed with black beads". It may be remarked that the police rely principally on the tattoo marks as a means of identification.
For several hours yesterday Detective Sergeant Outram, accompanied by another officer, was engaged in making inquiries in the lodging-houses in and around Spitalfields, his object being principally to trace the antecedents of the victim. The pawnbroker's duplicates found near the body bear the dates 31st August and 28th September. The names given on the tickets were Emily Burrell and Jane Kelly, and the addresses Dorset-street and White's-row, Whitechapel, both being fictitious. Yesterday afternoon Sergeant Outram accompanied two women and a man from a lodging-house in Spitalfields to the mortuary, one of the former stating her belief that the victim was a Mrs Kelly. After carefully scrutinizing the features for some time, however, they were unable to give a decided opinion on the matter. It may be mentioned that the tattoo marks on the arm are slightly obscured from view unless the arm is almost fully exposed; and, further, that the nose and face are hacked about to such an extent as to render recognition almost impossible.
On approaching the scene of the murders yesterday morning it was easy to see, no nearer than a mile away, that something unusual was in the air. Along all the main thoroughfares a constant stream of passengers, all impelled by the same motive of horrified curiosity, was rolling towards the district. The scanty details which had then transpired was eagerly passed from mouth to mouth. There was but one topic of conversation. The few acres of streets and houses between Mitre-square and Berner-street seemed to be a goal for which all London was making.
At the actual places the scene was naturally even more remarkable. The two adits to Mitre-square were blocked by hundreds, and during part of the day thousands, of persons struggling for a place where they could look at the fatal spot. A bar of police kept the crowd outside the square. As one of those was heard enquiring, "What did they want to see? The body had been taken away long ago, and even the blood was all washed away". However, the barren satisfaction of trying to peer round the fatal corner continued to be enjoyed by long lines of men, women, and children, going and returning. After a glance at one place, the spectators hurried away to the other. From Commercial-road, Berner-street seemed a sea of heads from end to end. At both places on the fringe of the crowd the opportunity for business was seized by costers with barrows of nuts and fruit, a hop - even being open for the purpose in Mitre-street. One remark, overheard in Commercial-road, was in this strain: "Well, it brings some trade down this end anyway".
At nightfall the stream ran the other way. There seemed to be an exodus of disreputability from the East. Along the two great avenues leading westward the miserable creatures who apparently have most to fear from the mysterious criminal seemed to be migrating to a safer and better-lit quarter of the metropolis. The noisy groups fleeing before the approaching terrors of night were conspicuous among the better-dressed wayfarers in Holborn and the Strand.
At three o'clock yesterday afternoon a meeting of nearly one thousand persons took place in Victoria Park, under the chairmanship of Mr Edward Barrow, of the Bethnal-green-road. After several speeches upon the conduct of the Home Secretary and Sir Charles Warren, a resolution was unanimously passed that it was high time both officers should resign and make way for some officers who would leave no stone unturned for the purpose of bringing the murderers to justice, instead of allowing them to run riot in a civilized city like London. On Mile-end waste during the day four meetings of the same kind were held and similar resolutions passed. The Whitechapel Vigilance Committee have addressed to the Queen a petition praying that, in the interests of the public at large, he Majesty will direct an immediate offer of a large reward for the capture of the murderer.
And where, forsooth, is Mr Matthews all this while? (asks the Daily Telegraph). What has her Majesty's Secretary of State for Home Affairs been doing about these very disquieting "home affairs"? We do not know whether these regularly repeated assassinations of helpless fallen women have sufficed to bring Mr Matthews to town, except that the issues of a letter on the subject of offering a reward for the detection of the criminal appears to prove that our Home Secretary has at last heard of what is happening. Truly, the public generally would like at last to know whether Mr Secretary Matthews still sees "nothing in the present case to justify a departure from the rule". Justice - personified unhappily just now in helpless, heedless, useless figure of the Right Honourable Henry Matthews - out at length to arouse herself, and scout the capital, obliterate the slums, search between the very bricks and mortar, in order to unearth this unspeakable villain whose deeds appal a whole kingdom. If it be of an avail, we would once more urge Mr Matthews to wake up and do his duty. If it be of no avail then the protest against his ineptitude will assuredly become a clamour, a demand, an insistence; and Lord Salisbury will have to dismiss the Minister who had not the good sense enough to resign.
The double murder yesterday was one of those events which fortunately occur but rarely in the history of communities, and the sensation of awestruck horror which they produce is natural enough. There is only one topic to-day throughout all England. Poor Mr MORLEY'S painstaking speech at Norwich has simply been blood-smudged out of the thoughts of men. Two murders, apparently done by the same hand which perpetrated the other four, are enough to startle even the most careless and indifferent into attention and eager interest. All London vibrated yesterday with horror and indignation, not to much purpose, for we are all at fault. Theories there are enough and to spare, but it one thing to spin theories and another to discover a clue that will lead us to the lair in which the murderer lurks. In presence of so phenomenal a crime, Society stands helpless, wringing its hands in a somewhat inane kind of fashion, but not knowing the least in the world what to do or how to do it.
For one thing we may be truly thankful. What an incalculable blessing it is that these six undiscovered murders occurred in Whitechapel, and not in Ireland! If they had taken place in six different places in Ireland, what an uproar there would have been, even if the ghastly concomitants of mutilation had not been added to murder! Ireland is so far away from us that we see nothing but the glaring central facts; and six consecutive murders all undiscovered would be held to be ample justification for the summoning of Parliament and the passing a new Coercion Act in hot haste. Hot the Times and all the rest of the claque of Coercion would have revelled in each gory detail as affording ample proof of the innate ferocity of the Celt; and how clearly Society would have accepted the ghastly half dozen as so many irrefutable arguments in favour of subjecting Ireland to martial law, suspending the Habaes Corpus Act. And all the rest of the absurd specifics which the quacks of the Union habitually invoke whenever any exceptional act of criminal atrocity stains the annals of the sister isle! If we were governed from Dublin my a majority, as ignorant and as prejudiced as the English majority at St Stephen's, a spanking Coercion Act would promptly be passed, forbidding any one to be out of doors after midnight in Whitechapel, an extra body of police would be drafted into the district, and the honest poor people saddled with an extra police tax, and when they protested, a strong party would arise which would insist that they protested, a strong party, a strong party would arise which would insist that all the murders were essentially political in their origin, and the Rev. Lord SYDNEY GODOLPHIN OSBORNE and the Rev. SAM A BARNETT were hand in glove with the assassin. Nay, we are not by any means sure that the dominant party in College-green might not bring out a pamphlet, entitled "Barnettism and Crime", and garnish it with a forged letter from the vicar of St Jude's to some unknown correspondent, saying:- "You know my position; I was compelled to condemn the murders; but have I not done my best to turn them to the advantage of the cause of the East End? I have written to the Times to say that they have not been in vain". Fierce and intolerant Unionists would declare that a chain of many links connects the ghoul who makes necklaces of the viscera of his victim with the Archbishop of CANTERBURY, and Society in Dublin would declare that the right thing to do is to "shoot the whole lot". As, however, we are all near enough to see the facts as they are; and as we are fortunately not governed from a distance, but have our affairs in our own hands, we are spared such an ebullition of folly and crime as would inevitably have occurred if the murders and been committed not in London but in Galway or Kerry.
The only practical thing to be done is to keep a sharp look out, and to dismiss once and for all the coroner's theory as to the motive of the murder. The coroner seems to have been the innocent victim of a somewhat stupid hoax. If he had made inquiries of the sub-curator of the Pathological Museum he would have discovered that the figure named is a quite preposterous and impossible price for the missing portion of the human body. It is best to set the plain facts plainly forth, and the following letter of prices current containing latest quotations for various parts of the human body suffices to blow the coroner's theory into the air:-
The following are the prices which we are paying at present of anatomical subjects:-
For one corpse . £3 5 0 For one thorax . 0 5 0 For one arm, one leg, one head on neck and One abdomen net . 0 15 0
These prices refer to pickled dissecting-room subjects. The organ removed by the murderer can be had for the asking at any post mortem room twelve hours after death.
This being so, what comes of the coroner's theory that the murders were committed in order to secure the bonus of £20 offered by a mythical American for the organ in question? The first thing to be done in order to get on the right track is to get off a wrong one. Now that the coroner's clue turns out to be no clue, we may perhaps, by diligent searching, come upon a clue that will lead us to a real criminal. At present everybody, the police as much as any one else, seems to be completely at sea.
ARRESTS AND CLUES
INQUEST ON ONE OF THE VICTIMS
The one topic of conversation in London to-day is the discovery in the East-end yesterday. The two murders perpetrated during the night of Saturday-Sunday are described on page 7, and there is really very little of importance to chronicle this afternoon. As to apprehensions, there have been several, but none which is likely to lead to anything satisfactory. One man was arrested last night at coffee shop opposite the Thurlow Arms public-house, at West Norwood. Suspicion appears to have been excited by his face being much scratched, and by marks, apparently, of blood upon his clothes. Tow other men are being detained at Leman-street police-station pending inquiries as to their whereabouts on Saturday night. On one of these men was found 1s.4Όd. in money and a razor. In reply to the inspector, he said that he had walked from Southampton, and belonged to the Royal Sussex Regiment. An examination of his boots, however, was not at all confirmatory of this statement, and he was taken to the cells for inquiries to be made about him.
The excitement in the East-end shows no signs of abating. A street row, such as only too frequent in the district, occurred in Great Garden-street early this morning. The rumour immediately spread that another murder had been attempted, and that the fiend had been captured. A great crowd collected, and the police had considerable trouble in clearing the mob away.
The police have made one discovery, which they are of opinion affords a clue to the direction in which the murderer made his escape. Yesterday afternoon a portion of an apron was found in Goldstein-street, and when the body of the woman found in Mitre-square was searched, it was discovered that she was wearing the upper portion of the apron to which the piece found belonged. It is therefore concluded that the murderer made his way into Whitechapel. Again: Early this morning a police-constable was passing on his beat in the Whitechapel-road, when he came upon a black-handled knife, keen as a razor, and pointed like a carving-knife. The blade was ten inches long, about the length of weapon assumed by Dr Phillips to have been used by the Hanbury-street murderer.
The police have received information that about half-past ten on Saturday night a man, aged about thirty three years, entered a public-house in Batty-street, Whitechapel, and while the customers in the house were in conversation about the Whitechapel murders he stated that he knew the murderer, and that they would hear about him in the morning, after which he left. It being thought that this was idle talk no notice was in this case taken of the matter, but after the murders had been discovered information was given to the police.
The inquest on the body of Elizabeth Stride - otherwise "Long Liz" who was found foully murdered with her throat cut, in Berner-street early yesterday morning, was fixed to commence at the Vestry Hall, Cable-street, St George's-in-the-East, at eleven o'clock to-day. Mr E. Wynne Baxter directed the inquiry, and afforded every facility to members of the press. Some delay was caused by the difficulty encountered in getting together the requisite number of jurors, so that the inquest really did not commence until nearly half past eleven. The jury, having been duly sworn, proceeded, accompanied by the coroner, to view the body.
William West, of 40, Berner-street, was the first witness called. He said he worked as printer on the premises of the International Working Men's Club. At the side of the house was a passage which led into the yard, the wooden gates of which passage were usually locked, though they sometimes remained open all night. The club consisted of from seventy-five to eighty members, all of whom were Socialists. Witness was in the club on Saturday evening until a quarter-past twelve. About nine o'clock a discussion was going on, a hundred persons or more being present. It ceased soon before midnight; some persons left; while between twenty and thirty members remained behind, some continuing the discussion among themselves, others singing. The windows of the club were partly open. He left the club at a quarter-past twelve, and went home to his lodgings at 2, William-street, Cannon-street-road. Noticing that the yard gates were open, he looked towards them. The yard was lit only by the light of the windows of the club and of the houses surrounding it. There was nothing unusual near the gates to attract his attention. He returned to his lodgings accompanied by his brother and another man. They met no one in Berner-street.
The following description has been circulated by the police of a man said to have been seen with the woman Stride (murdered in Berner-street) during Saturday evening:- "Age twenty-eight. Slight. Height, 5ft. 8in. Complexion dark. No whiskers. Black diagonal coat. Hard felt hat. Collar and tie. Carried newspaper parcel. Respectable appearance".
Suspicion falls upon a man whom the police find to have been absent from his lodgings between the 8th and 29th September. The description of this missing man is as follows:- Age, 40; height 5ft. 5in.; complexion dark; hair, short and dark; small side whiskers, wearing black diagonal cut-away coat, dark striped trousers, and dark felt hat.
Mrs Mortimer, living at 36, Berner-street, four doors from the scene of the tragedy, has made the following statement:- "I was standing at the door of my house nearly the whole time between half-past twelve and one o'clock on Sunday morning, and did not notice anything unusual. As the body when found was quite warm, the deed must have been done while I was standing at the door of my house. There was certainly no noise made, and I did not observe any one enter the gates. It was just after one o'clock when I went out, and the only man I had seen pass through the street previously was a young man carrying a black, shiny bag who walked very fast down the street from the Commercial-road. He looked up at the club, and then went round the corner by the board school".
In connection with this statement the following should be noted:- A man named Albert Barkert says: "I was in the Three Nuns Hotel, Aldgate, on Saturday night, when a man got into conversation with me. He wanted to know whether I knew what sort of loose women used the public bar at that house, when they usually left the street outside, and where they were in the habit of going. He asked further questions and from hi manner seemed to be up to no good purpose. He appeared to be a shabby genteel sort of man, and was dressed in black clothes. He wore a black felt hat and carried a black bag. We came out together at closing time (twelve o'clock), and I left him outside Aldgate railway station.
The police must have been close upon the murderer's heels at Mitre-square. The fact that he gives proof of the possession of anatomical skill does much to narrow the inquiry. Not one man in a thousand could have played the part of Annie Chapman's murderer. In one of these new cases, if not in both, we have evidence of a similar kind. Meanwhile no means of detection should be left untried. Twelve years ago a murder at Blackburn was traced out by the help of a bloodhound, and, thanks to the sagacious instinct of the dog, the murderer was convicted and hanged. The experiment which was successful at Blackburn might, the Times thinks, once more be of avail.