4 October 1888
There was one little fact mentioned by Mr. Furniss last night which the Whitechapel detectives would do well to remember. "The photograph of Müller, the murderer of Mr. Briggs," was printed, said Mr. Furniss, "from an old negative of a popular preacher." This is a timely reminder of the deceptiveness of appearances. The papers are full of suggestions for the searching of all "suspicious characters." But if it is to come to that, there would be more sense in searching all the respectable-looking than all the ruffianly-looking.
Even so gruesome a subject as the Whitechapel murders gives rise to humorous incidents. Yesterday afternoon the placard bearing the words "The Whitechapel Murders.--Where are the Police?--Looking after the Unemployed!" was carried before a rather straggling procession from Hyde Park down Oxford-street. A large number of police were in attendance, and most of the people walking by, and seeing the happy accord between inscription and fact, amused themselves by pelting the police with jokes. The constables finally got so angry at the chaff to which they were subjected that they tore the truth-telling and offensive placard down
There is some sense, though not much importance, in the suggestion that the Whitechapel murders afford the practitioners of occult science (or religion) an unexampled opportunity to prove and advertise the genuineness of their pretensions. If spiritualists, clairvoyants, and thought-readers all "lie low and say nuffin'," we may at least conclude that, whatever spirits may be present at their séances, public spirit is notably absent. Interviews with Carlyle and Shakespeare may be all very interesting, but a short conversation with one of the six spirits so recently sent to their long abode, "unhousel'd, disappointed, unanel'd," would for practical purposes be worth more than a volume of trans-Stygian Carlylese. Clairvoyants, even if the mere local influence be sufficient to unseal their spiritual eyes, might set to work upon "Jack the Ripper's" letter and determine whether it be genuine or a hoax. Why does the Society for Psychical Research stand ingloriously idle?
A SUSPICIOUS AMERICAN.
Three men are in custody at Leman-street, two of whom were arrested last evening, the other giving himself up as the murderer at a late hour last night. To all of these the police are at present inclined to attach no small importance; and although declining to give any details to the press, seem by their manner hopeful as to the arrests at least furnishing them with something to work upon. At about 9.40 last night a man was arrested in the vicinity of Ratcliffe Highway, by Sergeant Adams, 26 H. He had evidently jut come out of a public house, and was intoxicated. A number of women followed him, shouting that he was the Whitechapel murderer, one of them alleging that he had accosted her during the evening and threatened to "rip her up." A Boy giving his address as 362, Cable-street made a statement to Sergeant Adams to the effect that he was certain this man was the murderer, as he had seen him slink into his horse down there and change his clothes in the morning. On the strength of the boy's and teh woman's statements, Sergeant Adams arrested him and conveyed him to Leman-street station. He declined to give any name or address, and stated that he was a Scandinavian, and intended leaving for New York to-day. He is described as a tall man with a black beard, very muscular, and of a decidedly American appearance. He has an American accent, and is very respectably dressed. He wears a large gold chain and watch. The police decline to give any information as to his statements when examined, or as to whether he had anything suspicious in his possession. Another man, said to answer the description of the man who was seen in company with a woman prior to the Berner-street murder, was arrested in the Commercial-road last night. Being followed by a crowd of women and boys, he hurriedly called a cabman and asked to be driven to Finsbury-square, but a constable, thinking the case a suspicious one, had him arrested and taken to Leman-street station. The only importance which can be attached to this arrest is that the man somewhat answers the description of the Berner-street murderer. The man from Shadwell who gave himself up is a desperate-looking character, but the police do not attach any importance to his statements.
It transpires that the sensational report circulated this afternoon by the Evening News, which we quoted with reserve in the last edition, is altogether without foundation. We have since then had time to make inquiries at Scotland-yard, where it is stated that the murderer was not arrested at Shadwell, nor was any night watchman killed there.
The inquest on the body of Catherine Eddows, alias Conway, alias Kelly, found murdered in Mitre-square, Aldgate, on Sunday morning last, was opened, before Mr. S. F. Langham, the City coroner, at the City mortuary, Golden-lane, at eleven o'clock this morning. Major Smith, assistant police commissioner, and Superintendent Foster represented the City police force. The City Solicitor represented the London Corporation. The jury having viewed the body, which lay in the adjoining mortuary, Mr. Crawford, the City Solicitor, said he appeared for the police authorities, and, if it was necessary, he hoped the coroner would allow him to put questions during the inquiry. The coroner assented. The arrangements for the accomodation of press-men were hopelessly inadequate, and formed a marked contrast to a similar feature in Mr. Wynne Baxter's court.
Eliza Gould, residing in the Minories, said she recognized the deceased as her sister. Her name was Catherine Eddows. She was a single woman, about forty-three years of age, who had been living for some years with John Kelly. She last saw the deceased alive four or five weeks ago. Deceased used to get her living by hawking, and was of sober habits. Previous to living with Kelly, she had lived with a man called Conway, by whom she had had two children. She did not know whether the deceased parted from Conway on good or bad terms.
In answer to Mr. Crawford, witness said it might be seven or eight years since she saw Conway. Her sister lived with him on friendly terms; as she had also done with Kelly.
John Kelly was next called. He recognized the body as that of Catherine Conway, a woman with whom he had been living for seven years. She was a street hawker. He saw the murdered woman last on Saturday afternoon, in Houndsditch, where he parted from her on very good terms. She then said she was going to her daughter's, and would return by four o'clock. She did not return, and he heard that she had been locked up for being drunk, but he made no inquiries. Witness was not aware that the deceased went out for immoral purposes; he certainly never suffered her to do so. She occasionally drank to excess. She had no money when she left him on Saturday afternoon; she was going to her daughter with a view of getting a little help, so that they might not both be compelled to walk the streets. He knew no one who was likely to injure her; nor was he aware that she had seen Conway recently.
In answer to a juror, witness said the murdered woman usually returned home about nine o'clock.
By Mr. Crawford: Deceased had not on any recent occasion absented herself from him at night. They had had no angry conversation on the Saturday afternoon. He had lived with her in the same lodging-house for several years. On Friday night deceased slept in the casual ward at Mile-end. They arrived in London from Kent on Thursday, and slept in a Shoe-lane casual ward, having no money. On Friday afternoon witness earned sixpence, and it was decided at the instance of deceased, that he should have fourpence to pay for his lodging, while she kept twopence and went to the casual ward at Mile-end. She was quite sober when she left witness on the Saturday afternoon.
The next witness examined was Frederick William Wilkinson, the deputy of the lodging-house at which the deceased woman and Kelly had lived for the last seven or eight years. They always seemed on very good terms; quarelled occasionally, but their quarrels were not of a serious character. He thought deceased got her money by hawking in the streets, and "cleaning" among the Jews. He saw her at the lodging-house on the Friday before the murder, and again for the last time on the Saturday morning. She was quite sober then. She was not in the habit of walking the streets at night. He knew of no one with whom she was at variance.
By Mr. Crawford: Kelly returned to the lodging-house on Saturday evening, paid his money for his bed, and remained indoors all the evening, going to bed about ten or eleven o'clock.
At a recent meeting of the Whitechapel district board of works, the following resolution was passed: "That this Board regards with horror and alarm the several atrocious murders recently perpetrated within the district of Whitechapel and its vicinity, and calls upon Sir Charles Warren so to regulate and strengthen the police force in the neighbourhood as to guard against any repetition of such atrocities."
Sir Charles Warren has sent the following reply:--
Sir,--In reply to a letter of the 2nd inst. from the clerk to the Board of Works for the Whitechapel district, transmitting a resolution of the Board with regard to the recent atrocious murders perpetrated in and about Whitechapel, I have to point out that the carrying out of your proposals as to regulating and strengthening the police force in your district cannot possibly do more than guard or take precautions against any repetition of such atrocities so long as the victims actually but unwittingly connive at their own destruction. Statistics show that London in comparison to its population is the safest city in the world to live in. The prevention of murder directly cannot be effected by any strength of the police force, but it is reduced and brought to a minimum by rendering it most difficult to escape detection. In the particular class of murders now confronting us, however, the unfortunate victims appear to take the murderer to some retired spot and place themselves in such a position that they can be slaughtered without a sound being heard. The murder therefore takes place without any clue to the criminal being left. I have to request and call upon your Board, as popular representatives, to do all in your power to dissuade the unfortunate women about Whitechapel from going into lonely places in the dark with any persons, whether acquaintances or strangers. I have also to point out that the purlieus about Whitechapel are most imperfectly lighted, and the darkness is an important assistant to crime. I can assure you, for the information of your Board, that every nerve has been strained to detect the criminal or criminals and to render more difficult further atrocities. You will agree with me that it is not desirable that I should enter into particulars as to what the police are doing in the matter. It is most important for good results that our proceedings should not be published, and the very fact that you may be unaware of what the Detective Department is doing is only the stronger proof that it is doing its work with secrecy and efficiency. A large force of police has been drafted into the Whitechapel district to assist those already there to the full extent necessary to meet the requirements, but I have to observe that the Metropolitan Police have not large reserves doing nothing and ready to meet emergencies, but every man has his duty assigned to him, and I can only strengthen the Whitechapel district by drawing men from duty in other parts of the metropolis. You will be aware that the whole of the police work of the metropolis has to be done as usual while this extra work is going on, and that at such times as this extra precautions have to be taken to prevent the commission of other classes of crime being facilitated through the attention of the police being diverted to one special place and object. I trust that your board will assist the police by persuading the inhabitants to give them every information in their power concerning any suspicious characters in the various dwellings, for which object ten thousand handbills, a copy of which I enclose, have been distributed. I have read the reported proceedings of your meeting, and I regret to see that the greatest misconception appears to have arisen in the pubic mind as to recent action in the administration of the police. I beg you will dismiss from your minds as utterly fallacious the numerous anonymous statements as to recent changes stated to have been made in the police force of a character not conducive to efficiency. It is stated that the Rev. Daniel Greatorex announced to you that one great cause of police inefficiency was a new system of police whereby constables were constantly changed from one district to another, keeping them ignorant of their beats. I have seen this statement made frequently in the newspapers lately, but it is entirely without foundation. The system at present in use has existed for the last twenty years and constables are seldom or never drafted from their districts except for promotion or for some particular cause. Notwithstanding the many good reasons why constables should be changed in their beats, I have considered the reasons on the other side to be more cogent, and have felt that they should be thoroughly acquainted with the districts in which they serve. And with regard to our Detective Department, a department relative to which reticence is always most desirable, I may say that a short time ago I made arrangements which still further reduced the necessity for transferring officers from districts which they knew thoroughly. I have to call attention to the statement of one of your members that in consequence of the change in the condition of Whitechapel in recent years, a thorough revision of the police arrangements is necessary, and I shall be very glad to ascertain from you what changes your board consider advisable, and I may assure you that your proposals will receive from me every consideration.--I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
IMPORTANT MEDICAL CONCLUSIONS.
The post-mortem examination of the human remains found on Tuesday on the site of the new police-offices was necessarily limited, in consequence of the advanced state of decomposition in which the trunk was found, but, nevertheless, it was of a searching character. Important conclusions were arrived at. One conclusion was the definite and clear decision that the arm found on the bank of the Thames at Pimlico three weeks ago is a limb cut from this trunk. Immediately Dr. Bond saw the headless and limbless body, he said, "I have an arm which will fit that," and yesterday he attached to the trunk the arm which was examined by Dr. Nevill three weeks ago. This arm was stated by Dr. Nevill not to have been cut off with scientific skill; but he said it had not been unskilfully cut away from the shoulder--it having been cut with some care from the flesh above the shoulder, and with the arm-pit attached. Another conclusion arrived at was that the arm found in the grounds in front of the Blind School, Southwark, had nothing whatever to with this crime. The "Lambeth arm" is stated to have been the subject of dissection, and is supposed to have been placed where it was found for a hoax.
Decomposition had advanced too far to allow the doctors to form an opinion as to whether the remains are those of a dark or fair person, but they agree upon this--that the deceased was a very fine woman, and that the body was exceedingly well nourished. All the internal organs were found intact, the heart, lungs, and liver presenting a perfectly normal appearance. The lower extremities had been severed in such a way that the missing portion included a part of the lower intestine. The medical gentlemen adhered to their formerly expressed diagnosis as to the approximate length of time that has elapsed since the body was cut up--namely, about six weeks. After giving directions for the trunk to be replaced in the spirits of wine, no doubt with a view to completing his examination upon a future day, Dr. Bond proceeded to the Home Office for the purpose of placing his notes at the disposal of the authorities for their guidance at the inquest, which will be opened by Mr. John Troutbeck, the district coroner, at the Westminster Sessions-house at three o'clock on Monday next. It is worthy of mention that the doctors made yesterday's examination under most trying circumstances, for, added to the condition of the remains, there were in the mortuary the bodies of the woman who was murdered by her husband in Westminster on Saturday, of a man who had committed suicide by hanging, and of a woman who was killed on Sunday by a boiler explosion. In the afternoon the keeper of the mortuary at Ebury Bridge conveyed the arm which was found in the Thames at Pimlico to the Westminster mortuary, where Dr. Hibberd was in waiting. The trunk was then placed on one of the tables, and the medical gentleman found that the arm fitted it exactly, the jagged edges of the flesh corresponding in every part. So far from the contour of the arm denoting that it belonged to a person of good position in life, Dr. Thomas Nevill, the surgeon who was first called upon to examine the limb, thought it was that of a woman who had been engaged in domestic or other work, the fingers being plump and the nails badly kept. However that may be, an important discovery was made in the course of yesterday afternoon, which tended to show that the deceased was not one of the lowest class. Inspector Marshall gave instructions to the coroner's officer to have the material in which the trunk was wrapped thoroughly cleansed, and this having been done it proved to be about two-thirds of a woman's dress made of black broché silk, with a flounce about three inches wide at the bottom. This important link in the chain of evidence has been taken charge of by Mr. Marshall, while Dr. Hibberd has taken possession of a piece of bloodstained newspaper, presumably for microscopical purposes.