12 December 1888
To the Editor of the Pall Mall Gazette
Although the anxiety to solve the Whitechapel mystery is, for the nonce, allayed, if not extinct, it may interest students of human nature to hear of a somewhat similar case in which the murderer, when discovered, was found to be actuated by a less extraordinary motive that that of solving necromantic problems, attributed to the Whitechapel monster by the writer of "Who is the Whitechapel Demon?", published in your issue of the 6th. inst. Forty or fifty years ago, my grandfather, a Portuguese judge at Coviltra, convicted a man for the murder of sixteen women by stabbing them in the abdomen. For the space of twelve months the inhabitants of the town had been in a state of wild panic at the periodical repetition of such hideous and objectless crimes, as in no case could pillage or lust be ascribed as the cause; the victims, in many cases, being penniless octogenarians. At last the miscreant was caught in flagrante delicto, and on trying him for wilful murder Judge Joao de Campes received from him the confession that he had done it solely to enjoy the fun of watching the grimaces the poor women made in their agony! I have no details of the criminal's modus operandi, as it occurred long before my time; I had in fact forgotten this episode in my grandfather's judicial career until the accounts of the London ghastly tragedies brought to my mind the conviction that should the East end murderer ever be brought to justice, which I do not anticipate, it will be ascertained that his motive has been either a morbid taste of the very same kind, or an exaggerated longing for notoriety, coupled with the love of excitement that feeds on perusing the different versions of his deeds, his intentions, and the means he employs to defeat the combined intellects of the detective administrations of London, which last feat, be it said, might make anybody a little proud.
9 Courthope villa, Wimbledon