5 January 1889
The following are the full particulars of the seventh murder in Whitechapel:-
The scene of the last crime is at No. 26,Dorset street, Spitalfields, which is about two hundred yards distant from35 (sic) Hanbury street, where the unfortunate woman, Mary Ann Nicholls, was so foully murdered. Although the victim, whose name is Mary Jane Kelly, resides at the above number, the entrance to the room she occupied is up a narrow court, in which are some half a dozen houses, and which is known as Miller's Court; it is entirely separated from the other portion of the house, and has an entrance leading into the court. The room is known by the title of No. 13. The house is rented by John McCarthy, who keeps a small general shop at No. 27, Dorset street, and the whole of the rooms are let out to tenants of a very poor class. As an instance of the poverty of the neighbourhood, it may be mentioned that nearly the whole of the houses in this street are common lodging houses, and the one opposite where the murder was enacted has accommodation for some 300 men, and is fully occupied every night.
About twelve months ago Kelly, who was about twenty four years of age, and who was considered a good looking young woman, of fair and fresh coloured complexion, came to see McCarthy with a man named Joseph Kelly, who she stated was her husband, and who was a porter employed at the Spitalfields market. They rented a room on the ground floor, the same in which the poor woman was murdered, at the rental of 4s a week. It had been noticed that the deceased woman was somewhat addicted to drink but Mr. McCarthy denied having any knowledge that she had been leading a loose or immoral life. That this is so, however, there can be no doubt; for about a fortnight ago she had a quarrel with Kelly, and, after blows had been exchanged, the man left the house, or rather room, and did not return. It has since been ascertained that he went to live at Buller's common lodging house in Bishopsgate street. Since then the woman has supported herself as best she could, and the police have ascertained that she had been walking the streets.
Kelly had a little boy, aged about six or seven years, living with her, and latterly she had been in narrow straits, so much so that she is reported to have stated to a companion that she would make away with herself as she could not bear to see her boy starving. There are conflicting statements as to when the woman was last seen alive, but that upon which most reliance appears to be placed is that of a young woman, an associate of the deceased, who states that at about half past ten o'clock on Thursday night she met the murdered woman at the corner of Dorset street, who said to her that she had no money, and if she could not get any would never go out any more, but would do away with herself. Soon afterwards they parted, and a man, who is described as respectably dressed, came up and spoke to the murdered woman Kelly, and offered her money. The man then accompanied the woman to her lodgings, which are on the second floor, and the little boy was removed from the room and taken to a neighbour's house. At any rate, none of those living in the court or a 26 Dorset street, saw anything of the unfortunate creature after about eight o'clock on Thursday evening, but a person living in the court opposite heard her singing, it is said, the song "Sweet Violets", but this person is unable to say whether anyone else was with her at that time. Nothing more was seen or heard of her until her dead body was found.
At a quarter to eleven yesterday morning, as the woman was 30s in arrears with her rent, McCarthy said to a man employed by him in his shop, John Bowyer, "Go to No. 13 (meaning the room occupied by Kelly) and try to get some rent." Bowyer went, and on knocking at the door was unable to obtain an answer. On looking through the keyhole he found the key was missing. The left hand side of the room faced the court, and in it were two large windows. Bowyer, knowing that when the man Kelly and the dead woman had their quarrel a pane of glass in one of the windows was broken, went round to the side in question. He put his hand through the aperture and pulled aside the muslin curtain which covered it. On looking into the room a shocking sight presented itself. He could see the woman lying on the bed, entirely naked, covered with blood and apparently dead. Without waiting to make a closer examination, he ran to his employer and told him he believed the woman Kelly had been murdered. McCarthy at once went and looked through the broken window, and, satisfying himself that something was wrong, despatched Bowyer to the Commercial street police station, at the same time enjoining him not to tell any of the neighbours what he had discovered. Inspector Back (sic), H Division, who was in charge of the station at the time, accompanied Bowyer back, and on finding that a murder had been committed at once sent for assistance. Dr. Phillips, the divisional surgeon of police, and Superintendent Arnold were also sent for. On the arrival of the latter he caused a telegram to be sent direct to Sir Charles Warren, informing him what had happened, and Inspector Abberline, who had already arrived, despatched a message to Sir Charles Warren to bring the bloodhounds.
Mr. Arnold, having satisfied himself that the woman wad dead, ordered one of the windows to be removed. A horrible and sickening sight then presented itself. The woman lay on her back on the bed, entirely naked. Her throat was cut from ear to ear, right down to the spinal column. The ears and nose had been cut clean off. The breasts had also been cleanly cut off and placed on a table which was by the side of the bed. The stomach and abdomen had been ripped open, while the face was slashed about, so that the features of the poor creature were beyond all recognition. The kidneys and heart had also been removed from the body and placed on the table by the side of the breasts. The liver had likewise been removed, and laid on the right thigh. No portion of the body, however, had been taken away by the murderer. The thighs had been cut. A more horrible or sickening sight could not be imagined. The clothes of the woman were lying by the side of the bed, as though they had been taken off and laid down in the ordinary manner. While this examination was being made a photographer, who, in the meantime, had been sent for, arrived and took photographs of the body, the organs, the room and its contents. Superintendent Arnold then had the door of the room forced. It was a very poorly furnished apartment, about 12 feet square, there being only an old bedstead, two old tables and a chair in it. The bedclothes had been turned down, and this was probably done by the murderer after he had cut his victim's throat. There was no appearance of a struggle having taken place, and, although a careful search of the room was made, no knife or instrument of any kind was found.
After a careful examination of the remains by several doctors, the body was placed in a shell, which was put into a cart and conveyed to the mortuary. It was at ten minutes to four o'clock that a one horse carrier's cart, with the ordinary tarpaulin cover, was driven into Dorset street, and halted opposite Miller's Court. From the cart was taken a long shell or coffin, dirty and scratched from constant use. This was taken into the death chamber, and there the remains were temporarily confined. The news that the body was about to be removed caused a great rush of people from the courts running out of Dorset street, and there was a determined effort to break the police cordon at the Commercial street end. The crowd, which pressed round the van, was of the humblest class, but the demeanour of the poor people was all that could be desired. Ragged caps were doffed and slatternly looking women shed tears as the shell, covered with a ragged looking cloth, was placed in the van, The remains were taken to the Shoreditch mortuary, where they will remain until they have been viewed by the coroner's jury. Dr. McDonald, coroner, in whose district the murder has happened, has fixed Monday morning for the opening of the inquest at Shoreditch Town Hall.
From inquiries made among the persons living in the houses adjoining the court, and also those residing in rooms in No. 26, it appears clear that no noise of any kind was heard. Up to the present time, the occurrence is enveloped in as much mystery as were the previous murders. The man Kelly was quickly found, and his statement ascertained to be correct. After the examination the windows were boarded up and the door padlocked, by direction of the police. It was reported that bloodhounds would be laid on to endeavour to trace the murderer, but for some reason the project was not carried out, and, of course, after the streets became thronged with people that would have had no practical result. The street being principally composed of common lodging houses, persons are walking along it all hours of the night, so that little notice is taken of any ordinarily attired man. The murderer, therefore, had a good chance of getting away unobserved.
A correspondent who last night saw the room in which the murder was committed says it was a tenement by itself, having formerly been the back parlour of No. 26, Dorset street. A partition had been erected, cutting it off from the house, and the entrance door opened into Miller's Court. The two windows also faced the court, and, as the body could be seen from the court yesterday morning, it is evident that, unless the murderer perpetrated his crime with the light turned out, any person passing could have witnessed the deed. The lock of the door was a spring one, and the murderer apparently took the key away with him when he left, as it cannot be found. The more the facts are investigated, the more apparent becomes the cool daring of the murderer. There are six houses in the court besides the tenement occupied by the deceased.
A young woman named Harvey, who had slept with deceased on several recent occasions, has made a statement to the effect that she had been on good terms with the deceased, whose education was much superior to that of most persons in her position of life. Harvey, however, took a room in New Court, off the same street, but remained friendly with the unfortunate woman, who visited her in New Court on Thursday night. After drinking together, they parted at half past seven o'clock, Kelly going off in the direction of Leman street, which she was in the habit of frequenting. She was perfectly sober at the time. Joseph Barnett (called in other reports Kelly), an Irishman, at present residing in a common lodging house in New Street, Bishopsgate, informed a reporter last evening that he had occupied his present lodgings since Tuesday week. Previously to that, he had lived in Miller's Court, Dorset street, for eight or nine months with the murdered woman Mary Jane Kelly. They were very comfortable together until another women came to sleep in their room, to which he strongly objected. Finally, after the woman had been there two or three nights he called his wife and left her. The next day, however, he returned and gave Kelly money. He called several other days and gave her money when he had it. On Thursday night he visited her between half past seven and eight and told her he was sorry he had no money to give her. He saw nothing more of her.
A somewhat important fact has been pointed out, which puts a fresh complexion on the theory of the murders. It appears that the cattle boats bringing life (sic) freight to London are in the habit of coming into the Thames on Thursdays or Fridays and leave again for the Continent on Sundays or Mondays. It has already been a matter of comment that the recent revolting crimes have been committed at the week's end, and an opinion has been formed among some of the detectives that the murderer is a drover or butcher employed on one of these boats - of which there are many - and that he periodically appears and disappears with one of the steamers. This theory is held to be of much importance by those engaged in this investigation. There is also, it is to be noted, a striking similarity in the period of the month in which the crime has been committed, for while two of the most atrocious of the other murders were committed on the 7th of the months of September and August, this was commenced or committed on 8th - approximately the same period in the month. This would seem to indicate that the murderer was absent from the scene of these horrors for fixed periods, and that his return was always about the same time.