31 March 1892
A Man Arrested Though To Be The Genuine Jack
HIS MARRIAGE IN LIVERPOOL
A London cable says: A man named Williams was recently arrested at Melbourne for murdering a woman. Investigations disclosed the fact that Williams had committed a horrible crime in Liverpool before going to Australia. The bodies of a woman of four children, whom the man had murdered, were found today buried under the hearthstone of the house in which had lived. The murderer had endeavored to allay all evidences of his crime by covering the body with quicklime but he was not entirely successful.
The house in which the bodies were found was once occupied by Williams. The bodies first found were wrapped in oilcloth and Turkish towelling. After the three bodies were taken out the police continued their digging, it being rumored that the bodies of other women or girls who had visited Williams were missing. The excitement caused by the discovery of the first three bodies was great, but it reached fever heat when the bodies of two other children were found to have been buried under the house. The first of the children's bodies was that of a girl of 12 years, who had been strangled; the second was that of a girl of 7, the third that of a boy of 5, and the fourth that of a baby about a year old. The throats of the last three victims had been cut.
A plausible theory has sprung up from the discoveries of the bodies, and the further the affair is investigated the stronger the belief grows that Williams is none other than the world known Jack the Ripper. Williams, while a resident of Liverpool, made frequent visits to London. The police have traced his movements between the two places, and it has been found that his visits to London corresponded with the times that the unfortunate women in Whitechapel district were found with their throats cut and their bodies mutilated in the shocking manner that characterized the crimes of the Ripper. The question who Williams really is and how he lived remains a mystery. On his first appearance at Rainhill he stayed at a hotel, where he led a rollicking life, being a man with free manners, with a general style of wealth. He drank plentifully, but not excessively and was always ready for champagne treats. He was fond of society, was a good storyteller, having travelled much, and was always willing to spin a yarn, but when asked about himself he immediately became taciturn. He never gave an inkling of his personal history. He took photographs from acquaintances, but never had himself photographed. A Liverpool newspaper, on the occasion of his marriage to Miss Mather, whom he murdered in Melbourne, tried to get sketch of his career, but Williams refused to give any information regarding himself. Williams often left the hotel in the morning and would not return till evening. His clothing and person used to be covered with dirt and his hands were much blistered. He explained his untidy appearance by saying that he had engaged in putting down new floors in a house.
A laborer has been found who deposes that this statement was true. He says that Williams called upon him to assist in the work of taking up the floors of a kitchen and two other rooms, and hired a plasterer to relay them in cement. These preparations had been completed when the victims came on the scene and the murders must have been effected without delay. Williams left the hotel to occupy the villa, but in a few days he returned, saying that he could not sleep there, that his sister and the children had gone to Port Said and that his plans were unsettled. He afterward returned to the villa but finally came back again to the hotel. He hurried his marriage to Miss Mather. In fact he went to stay at her mother's three weeks prior to the ceremony. The mother was eager for the marriage, as Williams made lavish displays of bank notes, nuggets of gold and diamond rings. In appearance the man was not prepossessing. His age was entered on the marriage register as 34, but he looked 44. He had a sallow complexion and his gait was awkward.
The kitchen was only searched today. The ground under the other rooms will be excavated tomorrow. The body of the woman found today was fully dressed, except that a boot and stockings were missing. Her clothes were of fine quality. The woman had a dark complexion and short black hair, suggestive of a half caste. She wore a wedding ring and a keeper. The rope with which she had been strangled was around the neck and the throat was cut besides. The eldest girl's skull was crushed in and the head was nearly severed from the body.
The brutality of the murder suggests the ferocity of Jack the Ripper. The work of concealing the bodies was carried out carefully. After a deep hole had been dug the bodies of the woman and two of the children were thrown in, and cement was poured upon them. Then the bodies of the two older children were thrown in and more cement was poured into the hole. Next the flagstones were laid over the top of the hole, and finally over all was applied a layer of six inches of cement extending over the entire kitchen.
The discovery of the murders had caused intense excitement.