Wednesday, 12 September 1888
The latest reports as to the search for the murderer are not of a hopeful character. On Monday evening it was stated that John Pizer, the man who was detained on suspicion of being concerned in causing the death of the woman Annie Chapman, was still in custody at the Leman-street Police-station. Last night it was decided to release him.
Many reports of a startling character have been circulated respecting the acts of violence committed by a man wearing a leather apron. No doubt many of the accounts of assaults committed on women in this district have been greatly exaggerated, yet so many versions have been related that the police give credit to at least a portion of them. They have, therefore, been keeping a sharp lookout for "leather apron," but nothing has been heard of his whereabouts. The friends of Pizer stoutly denied that he was known by that name; but on the other hand Sergeant Thicke, who has an intimate knowledge of the neighbourhood in which the murder was committed, affirms that he knew Pizer well by sight, and always knew him by the nickname spoken of. Sergeant Thicke also knew that he was in the habit of wearing a leather apron after the news of the murder was circulated. A half-Spaniard and half-Bulgarian, who gave the name of Emanuel Delbast Violenia, waited on the police with respect to this inquiry. He stated that he, his wife, and two children tramped from Manchester to London with the view of being able to emigrate to Australia, and took up their abode in one of the lodging-houses in Hanbury-street. Early last Saturday morning, walking alone along Hanbury-street, he noticed a man and woman quarrelling in a very excited manner. Violenia distinctly heard the man threaten to kill the woman by sticking a knife into her. They passed on, and Violenia went to his lodging. After the murder he communicated what he had seen to the police. At 1 o'clock yesterday afternoon Sergeant Thicke, assisted by Inspector Canaby, placed about a dozen men, the greater portion of whom were Jews, in the yard of the Leman-street Police-station. Pizer was then brought out and allowed to place himself where he thought proper among the assembled men. He is a man of short stature, with black whiskers and shaven chin. Violenia, who had been accommodated in one of the lower rooms of the station-house, was then brought up into the yard. Having keenly scrutinized all the faces before him, he at once, without any hesitation or doubt whatever, went up to Pizer and identified him as the man whom he heard threaten a woman on the night of the murder. Pizer, who has not been allowed to have communication with any of his friends, was then taken back to the station-house. It was then decided, with the approval of Detective-Inspector Abberline, that Violenia should be taken to the Whitechapel mortuary to see whether he could identify the deceased woman as the one he had seen in Pizer's company early on Saturday morning. The result is not announced, but it is believed that he was unable to identify her. Subsequently, cross-examination so discredited Violenia's evidence that it was wholly distrusted by the police, and Pizer was set at liberty.
An important discovery, however, which throws considerable light upon the movements of the murderer immediately after the committal of the crime, was made yesterday afternoon. In the back yard of the house 25, Hanbury-street, the next house but one to the scene of the murder, a little girl noticed peculiar marks on the wall and on the ground. She communicated the discovery to Detective-Inspector Chandler, who had just called at the house in order to make a plan of the back premises of the three houses for the use of the Coroner at the inquest, which will be resumed to-day. The whole of the yard was then carefully examined, with the result that a bloody trail was found distinctly marked for a distance of five or six feet in the direction of the back door of the house. Further investigation left no doubt that the trail was that of the murderer, who, it was evident, after finishing his work had passed through or over the dividing fence between Nos. 29 and 27, and thence into the garden of No. 25. On the wall of the last house there was found a curious mark, between a smear and a sprinkle, which had probably been made by the murderer, who, alarmed by the blood-soaked state of his coat, took off that garment and knocked it against the wall. Abutting on the end of the yard of No. 25 are the works of Mr. Bailey, a packing-case maker. In the yard of this establishment, in an out-of-the-way corner, the police yesterday afternoon found some crumpled paper almost saturated with blood. It was evident that the murderer had found the paper in the yard of 25 and had wiped his hands with it, afterwards throwing it over the wall into Bailey's premises. The house No. 25, like most of the dwellings in the street, is let out in tenements direct from the owner, who does not live on the premises, and has no direct representative therein. The back and front doors are therefore always left either on the latch or wide open, the tenant of each room looking after the safety of his own particular premises. The general appearance of the bloody trail and other circumstances seem to show that the murderer intended to make his way as rapidly as possible into the street through the house next door but one, being frightened by some noise or light in No. 29 from retreating by the way by which he came.
A number of tradesmen in the neighbourhood in which the murder was committed have organized a vigilance committee, and yesterday morning the following notice was published: -" Finding that, in spite of murders being committed in our midst our police force is inadequate to discover the author or authors of the late atrocities, we the undersigned have formed ourselves into a committee and intend offering a substantial reward to any one, citizens or otherwise, who shall give such information as will be the means of bringing the murderer or murderers to justice." The names of a large number of tradesmen are appended to the notices. Mr. S. Montagu, M.P., has offered a reward of £100 for the capture of the authors of the outrage. The police have received some hundreds of letters from all parts of the country offering suggestions of various kinds for the discovery of the person or persons concerned in the death of the poor woman. It is almost needless to say that none of the communications help in any way to elucidate the mystery. A number of persons have also written offering their services, for certain pecuniary considerations, as "special detectives," and give glowing accounts, notwithstanding their previous inexperience in these matters, of their fitness to undertake the office they seek.
Last evening Timothy Donovan, the deputy of the lodging-house in Dorset-street, at which the woman Chapman formerly lived, made a statement to a representative of a news agency. He says he knows "Leather Apron" well. Some months ago he ejected him from the lodging-house, and that was for offering violence to a woman who was staying there. Donovan is surprised that the police have not called on him to go to Leman-street Police-station, as he would have no difficulty in deciding whether the prisoner there is "Leather Apron." Yesterday morning two police-constables visited Donovan and showed him two rings, one a half-worn out "engaged" ring, the other appearing to be a wedding ring, which they stated had been discovered at a pawnbroker's. Donovan did not think they were the rings he had seen Mrs. Chapman wearing. The policemen then left, and Donovan heard no more of the incident. Both Donovan and a former watcher at the lodging-house named West say that when they last saw "Leather Apron" he was wearing a kind of deerstalker hat, double peaked. West describes him as a man not more than 5ft. 4in. in height. Mrs. Fiddyman, the landlady of the house into which it was stated a blood-stained and wild-looking man entered shortly after the hour at which the murder was probably committed on Saturday morning, has been taken to Leman-street Station, and on seeing Pizer she expressed herself as quite certain that he was not the man who came into her house on the occasion spoken of.
Pigott, the other man arrested, whose father was well known in Gravesend for many years as an insurance agent, was first seen in Gravesend on Sunday afternoon about 4 o'clock. He then asked four young men, who were standing in the London-road, near Princes-street, where he could get a glass of beer, he having walked from Whitechapel. The young men told him. Following their directions he jumped into a tramcar going towards Northfleet. The young men noticed that he had a bad hand, and that he carried a black bag. He was without this bag when subsequently seen. He left a paper parcel at a fish shop, kept by Mrs. Beitchteller, stating he was going across the water to Tilbury. Instead of doing so he went to the Pope's Head publichouse, where his conversation about his hatred of women aroused suspicion, and led to his being detained by the police authorities. Superintendent Berry, who is making most active and exhaustive inquiries, found the paper parcel at the fish shop to contain two shirts and a pair of stockings, one of the shirts, a blue-striped one, being torn about the breast, and having marks of blood upon it. At the police-station, Pigott first said he knocked down the woman who had bitten his hand in a yard at the back of a lodging-house in Whitechapel, but he subsequently said the occurrence took place in Brick-lane. What has become of the black bag which Pigott was seen to have in Gravesend on Sunday afternoon is not known. It appears that Pigott of late years has followed the business of a publican, and that seven or eight years ago he was in a good position, giving £8,000 to go into a house at Hoxton. Some question having arisen as to Pigott's mental condition, it may be added that he appeared perfectly rational during his detention at Gravesend.
Sir, - My theory having been circulated far and wide with reference to an opinion given to the authorities of the Criminal Investigation Department, I would like to qualify such statements in your columns.
That the murderer of the three victims in Whitechapel is one and the same person I have no doubt.
The whole affair is that of a lunatic, and as there is "method in madness," so there was method shown in the crime and in the gradual dissection of the body of the latest victim. It is not the work of a responsible person. It is a well-known and accepted fact that homicidal mania is incurable, but difficult of detection, as it frequently lies latent. It is incurable, and those who have been the subject of it should never be let loose on society.
I think that the murderer is not of the class of which "Leather Apron" belongs, but is of the upper class of society, and I still think that my opinion given to the authorities is the correct one - viz., that the murders have been committed by a lunatic lately discharged from some asylum, or by one who has escaped. If the former, doubtless one who, though suffering from the effects of homicidal mania, is apparently sane on the surface, and consequently has been liberated, and is following out the inclinations of his morbid imaginations by wholesale homicide. I think the advice given by me a sound one - to apply for an immediate return from all asylums who have discharged such individuals, with a view of ascertaining their whereabouts.
I am your obedient servant,
L. FORBES WINSLOW, M.B. Camb., D.C.L. Oxon.
70, Wimpole-street, Cavendish-square, W., Sept. 11.
At the Guildhall, before Alderman Sir Andrew Lusk, Alexander Birke, Great Garden chambers, Whitechapel, shoemaker, was charged with stealing from an inclosure in front of 4 Mitre street, Aldgate, an empty wooden case, the property of Messrs. Kearley and Tonge. Evidence was given by a person named Morris. The alderman said an old, empty champagne case was worthless, or nearly so; moreover, there was no actual proof that the accused took it. Witness - But the value of the thing has nothing to do with it. I have known a person convicted for stealing a turnip. Sir Andrew Lusk - Probably; but I never did convict for stealing a turnip, and I never will. Witness - The prisoner has been convicted before. Harris (the gaoler) - I do not know him. The Alderman - The man is not known. No proof has been given that the stole the box, and he had the value is nothing! He has been in prison all night and I now discharge him. The decision was recived with applause, which was instantly suppressed.