The coroner's inquiry into the death of Mary Jane Kelly was held on Monday by Dr. McDonald, at Shoreditch Town Hall. Some of the jury complained that the murder did not take place in their district, and that Mr. Baxter was their coroner; but Dr. McDonald declared that, the body being found in Shoreditch, jurisdiction rested with him. After the jury had visited the mortuary and seen the body.
James Barnet, fish porter, aged about 26, said deceased lived with him about one year and eight months. He was positive as to the woman being Mary Kelly. He lived with her in 13 Room, Miller's court, for over eight months. He separated from her on the 30th October on account of her harbouring another woman. He last saw her alive about half past seven on Thursday night. Witness was out of work. Deceased was sober when he left her. She told him she was born in Limerick, and taken to Wales when very young. Her father was an ironworker in Wales. She had married a collier named Davis, who was killed in an explosion. After leaving Cardiff she came to London, and lived in a West end house of ill fame; but witness first met her in Commercial street, Whitechapel.
Thomas Bowyer, 37, Dorset street, servant to Mr M'Carthy, landlord of deceased's room, No 13, on Friday morning. He knocked at the door about a quarter to eleven, but received no reply. There was a broken window, and he pulled aside the curtain. Looking in he saw on the table pieces of flesh. Then he saw a body lying on the bed and blood on the floor. Witness returned and told M'Carthy. They afterwards went to the police station together.
John M'Carthy, grocer and lodging house keeper, gave corroborative evidence, and added that after he had seen the body he accompanied the last witness until they met Inspector Beck, who returned to the spot.
Mary Ann Cox, a widow, living in No 5 room, Miller's court, said she had known the deceased between eight and nine months. She last saw her alive at a quarter to twelve in Miller's court on Thursday night, when she was very intoxicated. She was then with a short, stout man, very shabbily dressed. He wore a long, dark overcoat and a billycock hat, and he had a pot of ale in one hand. He had a blotched face and a small carroty moustache. The man slammed the door in witness's face, and the deceased bade her goodnight and said she was going to hear a song. Afterwards she heard the deceased sing "The violet I plucked from mother's grave." She again passed the deceased's room, and there was a light there at two o'clock. She heard no noise or cries of "Murder." She heard some men go to work early in the morning. The man she saw with the deceased was apparently about 35 years of age.
By the jury: She could not see what was going on in the room as the blinds were down. She would know the man with the deceased if she saw him again.
By the coroner: She would have heard a cry of "Murder" had there been one.
Elizabeth Prater, wife of a boot machinist, living in No 20 Room, Miller's court, said that deceased lived in the room below hers. Witness left her room at five o'clock on Thursday evening and returned about one o'clock on Friday morning. She waited about the stairs for twenty minutes. There might have been a light in the deceased's room or there might not, but she did not take any notice. She used to hear the deceased walking about her room. Witness went to bed about half past one. She was awakened about half past three and four, and she heard some one say, "Oh, murder" in a sort of faintish voice. She had often heard cried of "Murder" near the court, and therefore she didn't take particular notice in this case. She did not hear the cry a second time, nor did she hear bed and tables being pulled about. Witness did not hear any singing in deceased's room at half past one o'clock.
Caroline Maxwell deposed that she lived with her husband at 14 Dorset street. She had known the deceased for about four months. She had spoken to the deceased only twice. Witness saw her at the corner of the court between 8 and 8:30. She spoke to the deceased and said, "Why, Mary, what brings you out?" Deceased replied, "Oh, Carry, I have felt so bad." The deceased was standing against the wall on the pavement. Witness asked her to have a drink, but the deceased refused, stating that she had just had one. On returning from getting her husband's breakfast, she saw Kelly standing outside the Britannia public house, about 8:45, in company with a man. She could not give any description of the man. He was stout and had dark clothes on.
Sarah Lewis, of 24, Great Pearl street, a laundress, said she was at No 2 room, Miller's court, at half past two o'clock on Friday morning. She saw a man, apparently stout, standing at the entrance to the court. Later she saw another man and a woman near the court. She afterwards went up to No 2 room and fell asleep in a chair. She soon awoke, however, and sat in the chair until four o'clock, when she heard a female voice scream "murder" loudly. On Wednesday last witness was going along Bethnal Green road in company with another woman, when a gentleman spoke to them and asked them to follow him. He had a shining leather bag with him, which he put on the pavement and said, "Do you think I have anything in that?" They afterwards ran away, as they were afraid of him. He had a black moustache and a very pale face. On Friday morning, at half past two, as witness was going to Miller's court, she met the same man with a woman near the Britannia public house in Commercial street. He was short man, apparently about forty years of age. He had a high round felt hat and a brownish coat. On both occasions he carried a bag.
Dr. Phillips, divisional surgeon, was the next witness. He deposed that he was called by the police on Friday morning at about eleven o'clock and went to Miller's court. He saw a room the door of which led into a passage running out of 25 (sic) Dorset street. The room had two windows, and two of the panes of the window were broken. Finding the door locked, he looked through the broken panes and satisfied himself that the mutilated corpse lying on the bed was not in need of any immediate attention from him. He learned that there was no one else in the room to whom he could render any professional assistance. Having ascertained that probably it was advisable that no entrance should be made into the room at that time, he remained until half past one, when the door was broken open. The direction to break it open was given by Superintendent Arnold. Miller's court was in charge of Inspector Beck. When he first arrived, on the door being opened, it knocked against a table which he found close to the left hand side of the bed. The mutilated remains of a female were lying two thirds over towards the edge of the bedstead nearest the door. She had only some under linen garments upon her, and from further examination he was sure her body had been removed subsequent to the injury which caused her death from the side of the bedstead which was nearest to the wooden partition. The large quantity of blood under the bedstead, the saturated condition of the palliasse, the pillows, and the sheets at the top corner of the bedstead nearest the partition led him to the conclusion that the severance of the right carotid artery, which was the immediate cause of death, was inflicted while the deceased was lying on the right side of the bed stead with her head and neck in the top right hand corner.
The coroner said it was clear that the severance of the artery was the immediate cause of death, and unless the jury required more, this was all the evidence Dr. Phillips proposed to give that day.
The jury concurred.
Inspector Abberline described his entrance into deceased's room. There was a quantity of ashes in the grate, which has since been sifted without any discovery. Some articles of women's clothing had evidently been burnt.
The jury returned a verdict of wilful murder against some person unknown.
One noteworthy incident during the day was the receipt of Mrs. M'Carthy, wife of the landlord of the house where the murder was committed, of a postcard bearing a Folkestone postmark, and signed "Jack Sheridan, the Ripper," in bad spelling and equally bad calligraphy. The writer said: "Don't be alarmed; I am going to do another, but this time it will be a mother and daughter." The card, which, unlike many of the previous communications of a similar character, was written in black ink, was at once handed over to the detectives. The handwriting was of a different character from that of former letters on the subject.
The antecedents of the victim have been variously stated, but as far as can be ascertained from statements made by persons with whom she lodged, and companions in whose company she usually spent the evenings when residing in the locality in which she was murdered, there is little doubt that she came to London from Cardiff some five or six years ago, leaving in that town those friends whom she has afterwards described as being "well to do people." She is stated to have been an excellent scholar and an artist of no mean degree. It would appear that on her arrival in London she made the acquaintance of a French woman residing in the neighbourhood of Knightsbridge, who, she informed her friends, led her to pursue the degraded life which has now culminated in her untimely end. She made no secret of the fact that while she was with the woman she drove about in a carriage and made several journeys to the French capital and in fact led a life which is described as that "of a lady." By some means, however, she suddenly drifted into the East End. Here fortune failed her , and a career which stands out in bold and sad contrast to her earlier experience was commenced. Her experience of the East End appears to have begun with a woman who resided in one of the thoroughfares off Ratcliff Highway, now known as St. George's street. This person appears to have received Kelly direct from her West End home, for she had not been very long with her when, it is stated, both women went to the French "lady's" residence and demanded her box which contained numerous dresses of a costly description. Kelly at last indulged in intoxicants, it is stated, to an extent which made her an unwelcome friend. From St. George's street she went to lodge with Mrs. Carthy at Breezer's Hill, Pennington street. This place she left about eighteen months or two years ago, and from that time seems to have left Ratcliff altogether, and taken up quarters in Dorset street. No one appears to have known anything definitely about her after she arrived at Commercial street.
The unfortunate victim is described as being a woman about 25 years of age, 5ft 7in in height, rather stout, with blue eyes, fair complexion, and a very good head of hair. She had two false teeth in her upper jaw. She was known to be leading a gay life in the neighbourhood of Aldgate. Mrs. Carthy states that the deceased when she left her place went to live with a man in the building trade, and who she (Mrs. Carthy) believed would have married her. She, however, was awakened by Kelly some short time ago at two o'clock in the morning, when she was with a strange man, and asked for a bed for the night. On that occasion Mrs. Carthy asked the deceased if she was not living with the man who took her from the neighbourhood. She replied in the negative, and explained her position. From this time she was never seen in the neighbourhood.
THE POLICE AND BLOODHOUNDS
In order to arrive at the truth of the conflicting statements which have appeared as to use or non use of bloodhounds in the attempts to track the murderer of Marie Janet Kelly, the last Whitechapel victim, a representative of the Central News had an interview with Mr. W.K. Taunton on the subject. It will be remembered that at Sir Charles Warren's request Mr. Borough (sic), the well known bloodhound breeder of Scarborough, was communicated with shortly after the Mitre square and Berners street tragedies, and asked to bring a couple of trained hounds up to London for the purpose of testing their capabilities in the way of following the scent of a man. The hounds were named Burgho and Barnaby, and in one of the trials Sir Charles Warren himself acted as the quarry, and expressed satisfaction at the result. Arrangements were made for the immediate conveyance of the animals to the spot in the event of another murder occurring, and in order to facilitate matters, Mr. Brough, who was compelled to return to Scarborough, left the hounds in the care of Mr. Taunton, of 8 Doughty street. Mr. Taunton said: "After the trial in Regent's park, Burgho was sent to Brighton, where he had been entered for the show, which lasted three days. In the meantime Barnaby remained in my care. Burgho would have been sent back to me, but as Brough could not get anything definite from the police he declined to send the dog, and wrote asking me to return Barnaby. I did not do so at first, but, acting on my own responsibility, retained possession of the dog for some time longer. About a fortnight ago I received a telegram from Leman street police court, asking me to bring up the hounds. It was then shortly after noon, and I took Barnaby at once. On arriving at the station I was told by the superintendent that a burglary had been committed about five o'clock that morning in Commercial street, and I was asked to attempt to track the thief by means of the dog. The police admitted that since the burglary they had been all over the premises. I pointed out the stupidity of expecting a dog to accomplish anything under such circumstances and after such a length of time had been allowed to elapse, and took the animal home. I wrote telling Mr. Brough of this, and he wired insisting that the dog should be sent back at once, as the danger of its being poisoned if it were known that the police were trying to trace burglars by its aid was very great, and Mr. Brough had no guarantee against any pecuniary loss he might suffer in the event of the animal being maltreated. Therefore there has not been a 'police bloodhound' - that is to say, a trained hound - in London for the past fortnight. The origin of the tale regarding the hounds being lost at Tooting whilst being practised in tracing a man I can only account for in the following way: I had arranged to take Barnaby out to Hemel Hempstead to give the hound some practice. The same day a sheep was maliciously killed on Tooting Common, and the police wired London asking that the hounds might be sent down. I was then some miles away from London with Barnaby, and did not get the telegram until my return late in the evening. Somebody, doubtless, remarked that the hounds were missing, meaning that they did not arrive when sent for, and this was magnified into a report that they had been lost. At that time Burgho was at Scarborough. Under the circumstances in which the body of Marie Janet Kelly was found I don't think bloodhounds would have been of any use. It was then broad daylight and the streets crowded with people. The only chance the hound would have would be in the event of a murdered body being discovered, as the others were, in the small hours of the morning and bring put on the trail before many people were about."