THE Whitechapel mystery is a mystery still. That is the terrible fact which the Government and Sir CHARLES WARREN have to consider this morning. The ghoul is still abroad seeking fresh victims, and perchance finding them before next morning's Star is in the hands of our readers. We on Saturday made a proposal which we are glad to see has already been partially carried into effect. There is, we find, one large Vigilance and Patrol Committee at work in the haunted districts. But one is not enough. If there is any public spirit in the East-end, there will be 20 such bodies formed before as many hours have passed. The Vigilance Association should lend a hand, and the Law and Liberty League, and the popular clubs, should join in. Half a dozen sensible citizens in any street can put the matter through, as it would be put through in New York almost before the ink on this paper is dry. We are hourly receiving fresh evidence of the utter inadequacy and unskilfulness of the police. Out of the 2,600 men who are responsible at night for the safety of the inhabitants of London, not a tenth, not a twentieth, are capable of efficient detective work. To add to the list of clumsy follies which have made Sir CHARLES WARREN'S name stink in the nostrils of the people of London, the CHIEF COMMISSIONER has lately transferred the whole of the East-end detectives to the West and moved the West-end men to the East. That is to say, he has deprived the people of Whitechapel of the one guarantee they had for reposing confidence in their ordinary guardians - viz., that to the **ined skill of the detective was being added the local knowledge indispensable when the investigation of criminal or semi-criminal quarters is in question. Whitechapel, then, is practically defenceless. It must defend itself.
But this is not all. We have another charge of criminal folly to make against the Government and the police. We have had four undetected murders of utterly unparalleled atrocity and horror, and yet no reward has been offered for the discovery of the criminal. Yet there can be little doubt that there are people in the district who either will not or dare not speak. We have to take human nature as it is, and make provision accordingly. The terrifying proportion of undetected crime in London tells its own tale, and suggests its own remedy. We press, therefore, for the immediate proclamation of a reward of £500 for the discovery of the Man Monster or of his accomplices, if accomplices there be. That will not do away with the necessity for local volunteer action, but it will render it infinitely more effective. The hunt for the mad CAIN in our midst must begin in earnest; but the bloodhounds must be fed.
At Bristol yesterday afternoon a young woman named Rosina Spinnull, who had married last week in the absence of her lover, was stabbed four times in the back by the latter, a Liverpool sailor, aged 21. The wounds penetrated the lungs.
It was the boast of Mr. Howard Vincent, at the time he was head of the Criminal Investigation Department, that London is the safest city in the world; and so it would seem to be - for the assassin. The undiscovered murders of recent years make a long list. Passing over the murder of Mrs. Squires and her daughter in their shop at Hoxton in broad daylight; the killing of Jane Maria Clousen in Kidbrook-lane, near Eltham; the murder of the housekeeper to Bevingtons, of Cannon-street, we come to, perhaps, the best remembered and most sensational of the mysterious crimes of the past. On the morning of Christmas-day, 1872, Harriet Buswell was discovered with her throat cut. She was a ballet-girl, employed at the Alhambra, and had been accompanied to her home, 12, Great Coram-street, by a "gentleman," supposed to have been a German, who on the way purchased some apples, one of which was left in the room, and bore the impression of his teeth. This half-eaten apple was the sole clue to the murderer, who was never found. A German clergyman named Hessel was arrested at Ramsgate on suspicion three weeks after the murder, but a protracted magisterial investigation resulted in his complete acquittal.
Mrs. Samuel was brutally done to death at her house in Burton-crescent, and a few doors further up Annie Yeats was murdered under precisely similar circumstances to those attending the death of Harriet Buswell.
Miss Hacker was found dead in a coal-cellar in the house of one Sebastian Bashendorff, in Euston-square, and Hannah Dobbs was tried, but acquitted. An almost identical case happened in Harley-street. In this case the victim was unknown.
Another unknown woman was discovered lying in Burdett-road, Bow, murdered.
Mrs. Reville, a butcher's wife, of Slough, was found sitting in a chair with her throat cut, but no one was apprehended.
Then there was the murder of an unfortunate in her home near Pye-street, Westminster. A rough fellow was known to have gone home with her, and he left an old and dirty neckerchief behind, but he was never found.
Mrs. Samuel was killed with impunity in the Kentish Town Dairy.
The murderer of Miss Clark, who was found at the foot of the stairs in her house, George-street, Marylebone, has gone unpunished.
Besides these there are the cases in which the victims have been men. A grocer's assistant was stabbed to death in the Walworth-road by a man who was stealing a pound of tea from a cart. The act was committed in the sight of a number of people, but the man got away, and to this day has not been captured. Mr. Tower, returning from midnight service on New Year's eve was found in the Stoke Newington reservoir. The police failing to get the faintest clue adopted the theory of suicide, but could get nothing to substantiate it. On 29 March 1884, E. J. Perkins, a clerk in a City office at 2, Arthur-street West, was murdered and from Saturday till Monday his body lay in a cellar in the basement of the building. Lieutenant Roper was shot at the top of the barrack stairs at Chatham, and, though Percy Lefroy Mapleton, who was hanged for the murder of Mr. Gould on the Brighton Railway, accused himself of the murder, it was proved that he could have had no connection with the lieutenant's death. Urban Napoleon Stanger, the baker, of Whitechapel, who vanished so mysteriously, we pass over. The list, though incomplete, is ghastly enough.
The police, justly or unjustly, come in for a large share of the blame of these undiscovered crimes. It is true that Whitechapel is densely populated and difficult to cover, but it is also true that under anything like intelligent police management such a quartette of openly committed murders could hardly have occurred. One thing is absolutely certain, and that is that murderers will always escape with the ease that now characterises their escape in London until the police authorities adopt a different attitude towards the Press. They treat the reporters of the newspapers, who are simply news-gatherers for the great mass of the people, with a snobbery that would be beneath contempt were it not senseless to an almost criminal degree. On Saturday they shut the reporters out of the mortuary; they shut them out of the house where the murder was done; the constable at the mortuary door lied to them; some of the inspectors at the offices seemed to wilfully mislead them; they denied information which would have done no harm to make public, and the withholding of which only tended to increase the public uneasiness over the affair.
Now if the people of London wish murderers detected they must have all this changed. In New York, where the escape of a murderer is as rare as it is common here, the
agents in ferreting out crime than the detectives. They are no more numerous or more intelligent than the reporters of London, but they are given every facility and opportunity to get all the facts, and no part of any case is hidden from them unless the detectives' plan makes it necessary to keep it a secret. The consequence is that a large number of sharp and experienced eyes are focussed upon every point of a case, a number of different theories develop which the reporters themselves follow up, and instances in which the detection of a criminal is due to a newspaper reporter are simply too common to create any particular comment. Reporters are not prying individuals simply endeavoring to gratify their own curiosity. They are direct agents of the people who have a right to the news and a right to know what their paid servants the police and detectives are doing to earn the bread and butter for which the people are taxed. No properly accredited reporter ever wishes to know or print anything that will thwart the ends of justice, but he does desire and is fully entitled to the fullest scope in examining all the details of the case. The sooner the police authorities appreciate and act on this the sooner the Whitechapel fiend will be captured and human life in London rendered a little more safe.
"T. C. M." writes: - May not the horrible murders of Whitechapel be the act of some insane butcher or dissecting-room porter? Mrs. Richardson's account of the ghastly sight of the last poor victim seems to bear out my theory of the crime being the deed of some miscreant who has been accustomed to some such work on the dead subject. As a medical man I am struck by the fact of the viscera being taken out and placed alongside of the unfortunate victim, as if for inspection by the demonstrator at a post-mortem examination. Anyhow, I think all dissecting room or post-mortem porters of the hospitals or mortuaries and even veterinary assistants should be scrutinised as to their state of mind also, and especially should some account be ascertained of all such persons who have lately left such situations, either of their own free will or by dismissal.
The Secretary of the St. Jude's District Committee writes: - A few days after the murder of the woman in George-yard, last month, a meeting of about 70 men, residing in the buildings in the immediate neighborhood, was held, and after discussion a committee of twelve was appointed to act as watchers. We wish to suggest that other committees should be formed without loss of time. If some communication could be set up between these committees, when constituted, our powers would be strengthened, and our opportunities improved.
AN IMPORTANT ARREST AT GRAVESEND.
RELEASE OF "LEATHER APRON."
A Man Thought to be "Leather Apron" Arrested and Released - A Man who Admits He Quarreled with a Woman in the Neighborhood of Hanbury-street Captured at Gravesend - Opening of the Inquest on the Victim.
The Press Association says: - About nine o'clock this morning a detective arrested a man as "Leather Apron," who was wanted in connection with the Whitechapel murder, at 22, Mulberry-street, Commercial-street. The real name of the man arrested is John Piser, but his friends deny that he has ever been known under the nickname of "Leather Apron." When the detective called at the house the door was opened by Piser himself.
said the detective, who charged him on suspicion of being connected with the murder of the woman Sivvy. The detective searched the house, and took away some finishing tools which Piser is in the habit of using in his work. By trade he is a boot finisher, and for some time has been living at Mulberry-street with his stepmother (Mrs. Piser) and a married brother, who works as a cabinet-maker. When he was arrested by the detective this morning his brother was at work, and the only inmates of the house were the prisoner's stepmother, his sister-in-law, and a Mr. Nathan, for whom he has worked. His mother and his sister-in-law declared positively to a representative of the Press Association that Piser came home at half-past ten on Thursday night, and
They further stated that Piser is unable to do much on account of ill-health, and that he is by no means a strong person, as some time ago he was seriously injured in a vital part. About six weeks ago he left a convalescent home, in which he had been an inmate on account of a carbuncle on his neck. He is about 35 years of age, and since he was three years old has been brought up by Mrs. Piser. He lost his father some 16 years ago. At the Leman-street Police-station, to which station Piser was taken, a large force of police were kept in readiness with drawn staves. Only a few people amongst the crowd outside seemed aware that an arrest had been made, and so quietly did the police act in Mulberry-street that few even in the neighborhood connected the arrest with the murder. The police at Leman-street refuse to give any information, and some officials who had come from Scotland-yard
but this statement was, of course, incorrect, seeing that the arrest is admitted by the prisoner's relatives. The prisoner is a Jew.
Our reporter writes: - The man arrested by Detective-Sergeant Thicke is now at Leman-street Station. He fits the description of "Leather Apron" exactly, and this similarity is the cause of his arrest. He denies, however, that he is the man wanted, and says he never wore a leather apron in the streets. He is waiting, however, to be recognised, or the contrary, by some people from Wilmot's Lodging House who know "Leather Apron" well. He went along submissively with Detective-Sergeant Thicke. His stepmother and his stepsister deny in the strongest terms that he is "Leather Apron." They say that he has been steady
for his stepbrother, Piser, who is a boot manufacturer. Before that time he was ill with a carbuncle on his neck, and confined for some time in a hospital. The women were in great trouble over the arrest, but assured a Star reporter that he was never out late at night while living at home, and that assaults on street-women and the robbing of them was simply impossible, as he was a sober, industrious, and kind-hearted man.
Piser was kept for about two hours at Leman-street Station, and then taken up to Commercial-street. At half-past twelve he was ushered into the main office of the station, half a dozen policemen guarding the doors. Piser sat down on the seat next the outside wall. He looked
No questions were asked him, the only ceremony being that a woman sitting in the corner behind the table was told to look sharp. She had been sitting there all the forenoon, doubtless for the purpose of identification. Then Piser was taken into the inner office, the doors were closed, and the further ceremonies were known only to the detectives.
A later dispatch says: The man arrested by the police this morning and erroneously described as "Leather Apron" was able to satisfy the authorities of Bethnal-green Station of his identity and of his absolute innocence of anything connected with the Spitalfields tragedy. Consequently he was immediately discharged. The police, however, attach far more importance to the arrest which has been made at Gravesend, but will not express an opinion until witnesses who have been sent for have seen him.
Reports are constantly arriving at headquarters of men whose descriptions resemble that of the supposed murderer being arrested. At noon there were no fewer than seven persons in custody in different parts of the East-end on suspicion. The police at the various centres have, however, received strict instructions from Scotland-yard not to communicate details to the press. Several of those detained have been released.
A correspondent telegraphs this morning that a man has been arrested at Gravesend in connection with the murder. Between eight and nine o'clock last night Superintendent Berry, of Gravesend, had a communication made to him that there was a suspicious-looking individual at the Pope's Head Public-house, West-street, and at once despatched a sergeant to the house, and the man was arrested, and taken to the police station. It was noticed that one of his hands was bad, and on examining it the superintendent said it had evidently been bitten. When asked how he accounted for his hand being in this condition, the man said he was
at half-past four o'clock on Saturday morning last, and a woman fell down in a fit. He stooped to pick her up, when she bit him. He then hit her, and as two policemen came up he ran away. Having examined the man's clothing very carefully, Dr. Whitcombe, the police-surgeon, was sent for, and the doctor discovered blood spots on two shirts, which the man was carrying in a bundle. The doctor also expressed an opinion that blood had been wiped from off his boots. After being cautioned the man is alleged to have stated that the woman who bit him was at the back of a lodging-house at the time. He also said that on Thursday night he slept
Whitechapel; but that on Friday he was walking about Whitechapel all night, and that he came from London to Gravesend by road yesterday. This morning he states that his name is William Henry Piggott, and that he is 52 years of age. He further said that some years ago he lived at Gravesend, his father having at one time held a position there connected with a friendly society. The man appears to be in a very nervous state. Detective-Sergeant Abberline has arrived at Gravesend from Scotland-yard.
Pigott was brought up this morning to London-bridge by the eighteen minutes past ten train, in charge of Detective Abberline, who was met at the station by Detective Stacy from Scotland-yard. The prisoner was not handcuffed, and was smoking a clay pipe and carrying a white cloth bundle. He passed quickly out of the station, no one among the public apparently noticing him, and was driven in a four-wheeled cab to the police-station in Commercial-street. He has not yet been charged.
The prisoner stands barely 5ft. high. He has a long dark beard, and he wears dark clothes. He is without a waistcoat, and there are several bloodstains on his clothes. Apparently he has been drinking heavily, his condition indicating a recent recovery from delirium tremens. He still maintains that his hand was bitten by a woman whom he knocked down. The prisoner is now locked up in the cells awaiting the arrival of witnesses with a view to identification.
of 29, Hanbury-street, was called. He said: I am a carman, and I have lived at 29, Hanbury-street, for a fortnight, occupying one room at the top of the house with my wife and three sons. My window was closed during the night. I was awake from three to five on Saturday morning, but fell off to sleep at five till a quarter to six. Then I got up, had a cup of tea, and went downstairs to the backyard. The yard door was shut, but I do not know whether it was latched, for I was too upset at what I saw to remember. The yard is a large one, separated from the yards on both sides by close wooden fences about 5ft. 6in. in height.
The Coroner: I hope the police will have a plan ready for me by the next time. I may say that in the country the police always used to give me a little plan in cases of any importance at all, and certainly this is of sufficient importance to warrant the taking of that trouble.
One of the inspectors present informed the Coroner that a plan would be ready by the time to which the inquest was adjourned.
Witness, proceeding, said: Directly I opened the back door leading into the yard I saw a woman lying near the fence. She was lying flat on her back, with her clothes up above her knees. I ran back along the passage to the front door, and
whose names I don't know, but whom I know by sight.
The Coroner: Have the names of those men been ascertained?
Inspector Chandler: I have made inquiries, but I cannot find the men.
The Coroner: They must be found.
Witness: They work at Bailey's, the packing-case maker's, but I could not find them on Saturday as I had my work to do.
The Coroner: Your work is of no consequence compared with this inquiry.
Witness: I am giving all the information I can.
The Coroner: You must find these men, either by the assistance of the police or my officer. Now, did these men come when called?
Witness: Yes, sir; they came, and then we all went and fetched the police. I informed the inspector at the Commercial-street station, and he sent some constables.
Had you ever seen the woman before? - No, sir.
Were you the first down that day, as far as you know? - No; because a man named Thompson had to get up to go to work at about half-past three, but I don't suppose he went into the yard.
Have you ever seen women in that yard who don't belong to the house? - Mrs. Richardson says that women do go there, but I have never seen any, having only been there a fortnight.
Did you hear any noise this Saturday morning before you saw the body lying in the yard.? - No, sir.
of 30, Dorset-street, the common lodging-house in which the deceased frequently slept, said: I am a married woman, but my husband, who was formerly a soldier and then a dock laborer, had an accident, and so I go out to do work for the Jews, washing, charing, &c. I knew the deceased well, and have done for quite five years. I have seen the body, and am quite sure it is the body of Annie Chapman. She was the widow of Frederick Chapman, who was a veterinary surgeon at Windsor, and who died about 18 months ago.