14 November 1888
THREE ARRESTS THIS MORNING
At an early hour this morning a Press Association reporter was informed that between midnight and four o'clock three arrests were made in the eastern district in connection with the murders. About one o'clock some young men had their suspicions aroused by the peculiar behaviour of a man in the vicinity of the Spitalfields Flower Market. He accosted two women, and, after conversing with them for a considerable time, tried to persuade them to accompany him into one of the small streets adjoining the market. Theses thoroughfares are in general gloomy and badly lighted, and, the women being suspicious, refused to go with the man. He was followed for some distance by the watchers, and ultimately handed over to a policeman, who took him to Commercial street police station. Here he refused to give an account of himself, on the ground that he did not wish his parents to be alarmed by police inquiries regarding him. Questioned as to his whereabouts on Thursday night and Friday morning last, the man gave various explanations, and contradicted himself so frequently that it was considered advisable to detain him until his identity and antecedents were thoroughly investigated. The two men taken into custody at Leman street police station were alleged to bear some resemblance to the recently published descriptions of the man last seen in the company of the deceased woman Kelly. They were able, however, to give satisfactory accounts of themselves; and after these had been verified by the police, the men were set at liberty.
Last evening a groom named George Hutchinson, who is now working as a labourer, made the following statement to the reporter of a news agency:-
On Thursday I had been to Romford, in Essex, and I returned from there about two o'clock on Friday morning, having walked all the way. I came down Whitechapel road into Commercial street. As I passed Thrawl street I passed a man standing at the corner of the street, and as I went towards Flower and Dean street I met the woman Kelly, whom I knew very well, having been in her company a number of times. She said, "Mr. Hutchinson, can you lend me sixpence?" I said, "I cannot, as I am spent out, going down to Romford." She then walked on towards Thrawl street, saying, "I must go and look for some money." The man who was standing at the corner of Thrawl street then came towards her, put his hand on her shoulder, and said something to her which I did not hear; they both burst out laughing. He put his hand again on her shoulder, and they both walked slowly towards me.
I walked on to the corner of Fashion street, near the public house. As they came by me his arm was still on her shoulder. He had a soft felt hat on, and this was drawn down somewhat over his eyes. I put down my head to look him in the face, and he turned and looked at me very sternly. They walked across the road to Dorset street. I followed them across and stood at the corner of Dorset street. They stood at the corner of Miller's court for about three minutes. Kelly spoke to the man in a loud voice, saying, "I have lost my handkerchief." He pulled a red handkerchief out of his pocket and gave it to Kelly, and they went up the court together. I went to look up the court to see if I could see them, but could not. I stood there for three quarters of an hour to see if they came down again, but they did not, and so I went away. My suspicions were aroused by seeing the man so well dressed, but I had no suspicion that he was the murderer. The man was about 5ft 6in in height and about thirty four or thirty five years of age, with dark complexion, and dark moustache turned up at the ends. He was wearing a long dark coat trimmed with astrachan, a white collar, with black necktie in which was affixed a horseshoe pin. He wore a pair of dark "spats" with light buttons over button boots, and displayed from his waistcoat a massive gold chain. His watch chain had a big seal with a red stone hanging from it. He had a heavy moustache, curled up, dark eyes, and bushy eyebrows. He had no side whiskers, and his chin was clean shaven. He looked like a foreigner. I went up the court, and stayed there a couple of minutes, but did not see any light in the house or hear any noise.
I was out on Monday night until three o'clock looking for him. I could swear to the man anywhere. I told one policeman on Sunday morning what I had seen, but did not go to the police station. I told one of the lodgers here about it on Monday, and he advised me to go to the police station, which I did at night. The man I saw did not look as though he would attack another one. He carried small parcel in his hand about eight inches long, and it had a strap round it. He had it tightly grasped in his left hand. It looked as though it was covered with dark American cloth. He carried in his right hand which he laid upon the woman's shoulder a pair of brown kid gloves. One thing I noticed, and that was that he walked very softly. I believe he lives in the neighbourhood, and I fancied that I saw him in Petticoat lane on Sunday morning, but I was not certain. I have been to the Shoreditch mortuary and recognised the body as that of the woman Kelly whom I saw at two o'clock on Friday morning. Kelly did not seem to me to be drunk, but was a little bit "spreeish". I was quite sober, not having had anything to drink all day. After I left the court I walked about all night, as the place where I usually sleep was closed. I came in as soon as it opened in the morning. I am able to fix the time, as it was between ten and five minutes to two o'clock as I came by Whitechapel Church. When I left the corner of Miller's court the clock struck three. One policeman went by the Commercial street end of Dorset street while I was standing there, but not one came down Dorset street. I saw one man go into a lodging house in Dorset street, and no one else. I have been looking for the man all day.
One result of the publication of the description of Kelly's assassin has been to augment the staff of private and amateur detectives who are now on the outlook for the murderer. The street in the East End are now patrolled all night through by members of vigilance committees and others, one result of their real being almost hourly reports to the police of suspicious movements by various individuals, or of what are considered likely clues. Various reports as to rewards are also afloat, and have fired the imagination of a considerable number of people. The latest is that the Baroness Burdett-Coutts has offered any person - police official or civilian - who may capture, or enable the authorities to capture the perpetrator of the murders the sum of £1 per week for life, or in lieu thereof a large sum of money down.
The police have received from Mr. Samuel Osborne, wire worker, 20 Garden row, London road, a statement to the effect that he was walking along St. Paul's Churchyard yesterday behind a respectably dressed man, when a parcel, wrapped in a newspaper, fell from the man's coat. Osborne told him that he had dropped something; but the man denied that the parcel belonged to him. Osborne picked up the parcel, and found that it contained a knife, having a peculiarly shaped handle and a thick blade, six or seven inches long, with stains upon it resembling blood. The parcel also contained a brown kid glove, smeared with similar stains on both sides. Osborne found a constable, and together they searched for the mysterious individual, but without success. The parcel was handed to the City police authorities, who, however, attach no importance to the matter.