11 October 1888
STARTLING RUMOUR FROM THE CITY
A CLUE TO THE MURDERER DESTROYED BY HIS EXPRESS ORDERS!
A very strange, startling rumour as to the manner in which Sir Charles Warren performs the duty of Chief Detective of Scotland-yard is current this morning in the City. Those who repeat it assert that is will be verified at the inquest which is now proceeding and a report of which will be continued in succeeding editions. The rumour in question is to the effect that rather than face the danger of allowing a crowd to assemble in a public thoroughfare Sir Charles Warren deliberately destroyed a clue - the only clue which the City Police believed to afford any guidance as to the identity of the assassin.
The facts as alleged are as follows. The murderer, after killing his victim in Mitre-square, just within the City boundary, seems to have gone down Goulston-street, which is outside the City boundary, and under the jurisdiction of Sir Charles Warren. Here he threw away a portion of the murdered woman's apron after wiping his hands. On the wall in close proximity to the place where the bloody apron was found, there was written up the following inscription:-
This inscription was subsequently erased, it was supposed by some stupid blunder.
It is now stated that the erasure was made by the express orders of Sir Charles Warren, who personally superintended the operation! The City police attached the greatest value to this clue, and decided to have the inscription photographed in order that it might be compared with "Jack the Ripper's" letters. Of course there is no proof that the inscription was written by the assassin. But it was not there the previous evening, and the probability is great that it was written by him... In any case the City police were only taking the most obvious of precautions by arranging to have it photographed at once. Pending the arrival of the photographic camera, they stationed one of their own officers in Goulston-street, although it was outside their district, to see that no one tampered with the inscription. Unfortunately they reckoned without Sir Charles Warren.
The Chief Commissioner himself visited the spot. He saw the inscription and at once gave orders for its removal. It was in vain for the City officer to protest. He had no jurisdiction in the Metropolitan Police District. Sir Charles Warren, with the natural instinct not of a detective, but of a soldier responsible for maintaining order in the streets, decided that if the inscription remained it might cause crowds to assemble, and it might besides excite bad feeling against the Jews. He therefore insisted upon the immediate erasure o the inscription, and it was erased accordingly.
The City police are said to be very indignant at this destruction of the only clue by which they had to trace the murderer; and it is roundly asserted that they intend to show up Sir Charles at the inquest to-day. If the facts are stated, the jury will probably formally censure the Chief Commissioner for using his authority to destroy a clue to the murderer, and for subordinating his first duty as detector of crime to the secondary duty of preventing a crowd to assemble. It is pointed out that he could easily have covered up the inscription with a sheet of newspaper, until the arrival of the photographer. That, however, is not Sir Charles Warren's way.
The adjourned inquest on the body of Catherine Eddowes, alias Kelly, aged forty three, who was found murdered in Mitre-square on September 30, was resumed this morning at the City Mortuary, before Mr S.F. Langham, City Coroner. Colonel Sir James Fraser, Major Smith, Superintendent Foster, and Detective-sergeant Outram represented the police authorities, and Mr Crawford (the City Solicitor) appeared for the London Corporation.
Dr Sequira was the first witness to be called. He said he was called to Mitre-square on the 30th of September, and was the first medical man to arrive. He got to the place about five minutes to two o'clock. He agreed with medical evidence already given by Dr Goodwin Brown and Mr Crawford. He was acquainted with the locality. The place where the deceased was found was the darkest place. There would, however, be plenty of light for the murderer to see to inflict the injuries.
Mr Crawford: From what you have seen, have you formed an opinion that the perpetrator of the deed had or had not any design to obtain any particular body part? - I have formed the opinion that he had no design on any particular organ.
Judging from the injuries, would you say the murderer had anatomical skill? - No, I should say not.
Dr Saunders, the medical officer of health for the City of London, who analyzed the contents of the stomach, said he could find no trace of poison. He was present at the post mortem, and he agreed with Dr Gordon Brown and the last witness that the perpetrator of the deed did not possess any anatomical skill, nor had he, in his opinion, any particular design on any particular organ.
The next witness was Anne Phillips, a daughter of the deceased, who said she was a married woman, her husband being a lampblack packer, living at Dilston-grove, Southwark. Her mother always told her that she was married to her father, whose name was Thomas Conway, and he was a hawker. Her father left her mother and witness suddenly seven of eight years ago, and she did not know what had become of him - did not even know whether her father was living. He had been a pensioner. She last saw her mother about two years ago. Witness used to live at King-street, Bermondsey; that was two years ago. She did not leave her address when she left there, and her mother did not know her address. She had two brothers, but her mother did not know their address, which was kept from her to prevent her from applying to them for money. Witness's father knew that the deceased was living with a man named Kelly. Her mother last received money from witness two years ago, when she attended her during witness's confinement.
It was two years ago also when she last saw Kelly with her mother, in a common lodging-house. She had lost all trace of her father, her mother, and her two brothers for the last eighteen months.
A juryman: Why have you not seen your mother for the last eighteen months? - We did not part on very good terms. She used to drink. The coroner said he would like to know if all efforts had been made to trace the father and brothers of the last witness. - Mr Crawford said he would prove that, and Sergeant John Mitchell, who was thereupon called, said he had made every endeavour to find them, but without success. He had found a pensioner named Conway belonging to the 18th Royal Irish, and he had been confronted by the sister of the deceased, but she admitted he was not the murdered woman. Every endeavour had been made to arrest the murderer.
Detective-sergeant Baxter Hunt said he discovered the pensioner Conway, of the 18th Royal Irish. Two of the deceased's sisters had seen him and they failed to recognise him as the man who used to live with the deceased. He made every endeavour to trace the father and brothers of the last witness. The deceased's daughter had not seen Conway. Conway had received his pension in October last.
Dr Brown was recalled. Mr Crawford, questioning him, said: Dr Brown, a theory has been put forward that it was possible for the deceased to have been brought to the square after the murder was committed.
Dr Brown: There is no question that she was murdered in the square. She was not moved after her throat was cut. The blood showed that.
Police constable Roberts deposed that on Sunday night, at ten minutes to nine, before the murder, the deceased was lying on the footway in High-street, Aldgate, drunk, and surrounded by a crowd of people. He set her up against the shutters and she fell down again. He obtained assistance and conveyed her to he Bishopsgate police-station, when she was asked what her name was. She replied, "Nothing!" She was then wearing an apron which he identified as the one produced, a portion of which was found on the body and another portion in Goulston-street after the murder.
P.C. Bifield said he remembered the deceased being brought into the station on the Saturday night at about quarter to nine o'clock, drunk. She remained at the station until one o'clock in the morning and gave her name as being Mary Ann Kelly, of Fashion-street. Deceased told him she had been hopping in Kent.