4 October 1888
At a recent meeting of the Whitechapel Board of Works the following resolution was passed:- "That this board regards with horror and alarm the several atrocious murders recently perpetrated within 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." In reply thereto Sir Charles Warren has sent the following:
In reply to a letter of the 2nd. inst. from the Clerk to the Board of Works for the Whitechapel District, transmitting a resolution 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 unwillingly, 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 cannot directly 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 of 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 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 It is most important for good results that our proceedings should not be published, and the very fact that you may be unaware of what the Detective Department is doing is only the stronger proof that it is doing its work with secrecy and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 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 withdrawing 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 10,000 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 misconceptions appear to have arisen in the public 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 Reverend Daniel Greatrex 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 constable should be changed on 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,
Metropolitan Police Office
4 Whitehall place
October 3, 1888.
SCENES IN THE EAST END - MORE ARRESTS
The Press Association states that the reign of terror which has prevailed in the East end since Sunday continues and that the popular excitement and indignation seem to be growing more intense. Late last night the wildest rumours were afloat, and the district east of Aldgate witnessed a series of extraordinary scenes. Again and again reports were put about that the murderer had been captured in this and that district. Shortly before midnight a story was circulating in Fleet street to the effect that the murderer had been surprised in the act of attempting one of his now too familiar outrages on a woman in Union street. The story, it appears, had its origin in the following circumstances:- Just at ten o'clock a well dressed man rushed out of the Three Nuns public house in Aldgate, followed by a woman who, in a loud voice, declared to the loungers and passers by that he had molested and threatened her. While he was thus being denounced to the crowd, the stranger hailed a cab, jumped in and proceeded to drive off. A hue and cry was at once raised, and the vehicle was followed by an excited mob, which rapidly grew in numbers. It was the general belief that the murderer who had been terrorizing the East end was the occupant of the cab, and a hot pursuit was given. In a moment or two the cab was stopped, and a police constable got in, secured the man, and directed the cabman to drive to the Leman street police station. Here the prisoner was formally charged on suspicion. The cab was followed to the station by the woman who had raised the outcry. She stated to the police in the most emphatic manner that the prisoner had first accosted and molested her in the street, and that when she refused to accede to his proposals he threatened physical violence. While the woman was making her statement the prisoner was holding down his head and looking at the ground, and he never once attempted to make a remark. When, however, a man stepped forward to corroborate the girl's story, he looked up angrily and denied the truth of the allegations with considerable emphasis. The woman was then asked if she desired to make any charge, but she declined to do so, and shortly after left the station. It was, however, deemed prudent by the officer in charge to detain the man pending enquiries. He is a determined looking fellow, apparently about forty years of age, with a dark moustache and clearly cut features. On his pockets being searched no weapon of any kind was found. He gave his name, but refused to state his address. When removed to the cell his attitude became impudent and defiant, and in the course of the conversation which he carried on with a slightly American accent while pacing up and down his place of confinement, the frequency with which he used the word "Boss" was particularly noticed. Thus, turning suddenly to one of the inspectors who happened to be in the cell at that moment, he suddenly exclaimed, "Look here, Boss, I don't care a _____." It is probable that no special significance is to be attached to the use of language such as this; but the police point to the fact that the word "Boss", to judge by the now notorious letter sent by Jack the Ripper is a favourite expression with the miscreant who has so far eluded justice. The man is stated to have been slightly under the influence of drink when brought to the station. Throughout the night he maintained the attitude of defiance he had from the first assumed, and little or no information regarding his identity and the nature of his movements could be extracted from him. He remains in custody.
Between nine and ten o'clock last night another arrest was made in the Ratcliff Highway by Sergeant Adams, of H Division. The officer in question, hearing a woman screaming for help in an adjoining court, proceeded in the direction of the cries, and met a man, who was evidently a foreigner, leaving the place. The sergeant took the man into custody, more especially as it occurred to him that he bore striking resemblance to the published police description of the man who is said to have been seen with "Long Liz" on the Saturday night preceding her murder. The captive, who went quietly to the Leman street police station, told the sergeant that he was sailing from this country for America today. At the police station the man told the inspector in charge that he was a Maltese, and willingly furnished his name and address. No weapons were found upon him. The inquiries that were instituted proving to be satisfactory, the man was released in the course of the morning.
A third arrest was made in Shadwell at a late hour last night in the neighbourhood of Cable street, and a man brought to Leman street. Here the man was able to give a satisfactory explanation as to his identity and other particulars, and he was at once discharged.
As bearing on the identification of the woman Conway, who was murdered in Mitre square, additional evidence has been obtained since Kelly first made his statement. A sister of the deceased, Eliza Gold, and Frederick Wilkinson, the deputy of the lodging house at which she had lived off and on for nearly ten years, having seen the corpse at the mortuary, and agree in their belief that it is that of Catherine Eddowes, otherwise Conway or Kelly. From their statements it would appear that Eddowes, though in the poorest circumstances, bore a generally good character, and was at all events not a member of the unhappy class from which the other victims have been selected. Kelly, Wilkinson and Mrs. Gold all declare that she worked hard as a charwoman during four or five months in the winter, and throughout the greater part of the summer tramping the country - always with Kelly - hopping, fruit picking, or hay making. She was born, it appears, in Wolverhampton rather more than forty years ago, but soon after her birth her parents moved to London, where she was educated at the Dowgate Charity School, and where she has since lived. She became acquainted with a soldier named Thomas Conway - whose initials "T.C." they are that are tattooed on her arm - and subsequently went to live with him. They continued together for about twelve years, during which time several children were born. Ten years ago, however, Conway deserted the woman; and neither she nor her relatives have heard anything of him since that time. On finding herself alone, Eddowes - or Conway as she was generally called - went to live at a common lodging house at 55, Flower and Dean street; and there, seven years ago, she became acquainted with John Kelly, with whom she lived ever since. Eddowes was last seen by Kelly on Saturday afternoon, when he told her to go and see her daughter and get the price of a bed for the night.
The inquest on the body of Elizabeth Stride, who was on Tuesday identified as Elizabeth Watts, was resumed at the Vestry Hall, Cable street, yesterday, at one o'clock, before Mr. Wynne Baxter, the coroner. Elizabeth Tanner, Flower and Dean street, said she was the deputy of a common lodging house. She had seen the body in the mortuary, and recognised it as that of "Long Liz", who had lodged at her house on and off for six years. The deceased used to tell her that she was a Swedish woman. She never told her where she was born. She told her that she was a married woman, but that her husband had gone down in a ship. She last saw the deceased alive at half past six o'clock on Saturday afternoon in the Queen's Head public house in Commercial road. She had then no bonnet or cloak on. The witness left the deceased in the kitchen. She had seen the body in the mortuary that afternoon, and recognised it. She identified it not only by the features; but by the fact that the roof of the deceased's mouth was missing. The deceased had accounted for this by saying that she was in the Princess Alice, steamer, when it went down, and got injured. The deceased had paid for her bed for Saturday night. The witness knew nothing of deceased's male acquaintances, but she told her that she left a man she had been living with to come and stay at the witness's lodgings. The witness had never heard of a man named Stride in connection with the deceased, who had told her that she worked for Jewish employers. The deceased spoke English and Swedish well, but the witness never knew of the deceased being acquainted with her own country people. She had never heard her say that she had broken a limb in childhood.
Catherine Lane, charwoman, of Flower and Dean street, said that she had been living at the lodging house from the 4th of February this year. She identified the body in the mortuary as that of "Long Liz", who had lived at the lodging house. The witness had known her for six or seven months, and had frequently seen her in Fashion street. She saw the deceased when she was cleaning the deputy's rooms, and last saw her between six and seven o'clock on Saturday evening with a long cloak on. She saw the body in the mortuary on Sunday afternoon last and recognised it. She never knew of the deceased having a sister.
Charles Preston, the next witness, said he lived at Flower and Dean street, and was a barber. He had lodged there eighteen months, and he identified the body in the mortuary as that of "Long Liz". He understood that the deceased was a Swede, that she came to England in a foreign gentleman's service, and that she had been married, and her husband had gone down in a ship. the deceased had also told him that she had a coffee house in Chrisp street, Poplar. He knew of no one likely to have injured the deceased, nor had he ever heard her say she was frightened of any one.
The coroner remarked that of the evidence of the last witness was to be believed, Mrs. Malcolm's evidence could not be accurate. The evidence related to two different persons.
The witness further said that he had always known the deceased as Mrs. Stride, and she had said her mother was alive in Sweden.
Michael Kidney, of Dorset street, waterside labourer, identified the body at the mortuary as that of the woman he had been living with who was known as Elizabeth Stride. He had known her about three years, and she had lived with him nearly all that time. She was thirty eight years of age, and had told him she was born three miles from Stockholm. She informed him that her husband was drowned when the Princess Alice went down. The roof of her mouth was gone. The witness last saw the deceased alive on Tuesday week. She was in the habit of going away at times; and during the time he had known her she had been absent five months. He had treated her as if she was his wife. He did not think the deceased went away with any other man. It was the drink that induced her to leave him. The deceased had told him that she was the mother of nine children and that some friends of her husband had some of the children. Mrs. Malcolm was very like the deceased in a appearance. The witness further stated voluntarily that he asked at Leman street station for the assistance of a young and strange (sic) detective, as he had important information. He could not get the assistance. The coroner pressed the witness to divulge his information, but he only reiterated that he had the information. Replying to Inspector Reid, he said that if the police were under his own control he could catch the murderer red handed. The witness admitted that he was intoxicated when he applied at the police station.
Mr. Edward Johnston, assistant to Drs. Kay and Blackwell, who was the first medical man to examine the body, gave evidence similar to that given by Dr. Blackwell. It was he who undid the dress of the woman in order to find out whether the chest was warm.
A lad named Thomas Corim deposed to finding, about half past twelve on Monday morning, a knife opposite no. 253, Whitechapel road. The knife was produced. It had a long fixed blade and resembled a baker's or much worn butcher's knife. It was blood stained, and the handle was wrapped in a dirty white cloth, upon which also appeared blood marks.
A policeman stated that his attention was called to the knife by the last witness. He was passing the spot continually and had not noticed the knife or the handkerchief which was bound round the handle. A horse had fallen down at the place a few minutes previously, and he had helped in getting it up. There were only about a half dozen people about then, but the knife might have been laid down during that time. About an hour previously, whilst standing near the street door, he saw the landlady let out some female. The knife was not there then.
Dr. Phillips, police divisional surgeon, deposed to having made, together with Dr. Blackwell, a post mortem examination of the woman on Monday. The body was fairly nourished. The cause of death was undoubtedly from the loss of blood from the left carotid artery and the division of the windpipe. He had noticed a black mark on one of the legs of the deceased, but could not say that it was due to an adder bite.
At this stage the inquest was further adjourned till tomorrow at two o'clock in the afternoon.