Thursday, 13 September 1888
The police continued their inquiries and investigations yesterday, but their labours have been entirely without reward, and it is now beginning to be admitted that the detectives are once more at fault.
The man Pigott is still an inmate of the workhouse infirmary, and it is stated that his mental condition has not materially improved. The idea that he was connected in some way with the recent terrible crimes has not been entirely abandoned and he is still kept under surveillance, while diligent inquiries are being made into his previous history. The relatives of the murdered woman Chapman, who occupy respectable positions in life, have taken charge of the remains, which will be interred privately.
A woman named Darrell has made a statement to the effect that about half-past 5 o'clock on the morning of the murder of Mrs. Chapman she saw a man and a woman conversing outside 29, Hanbury-street, the scene of the murder, and that they disappeared very suddenly. Mrs. Darrell was taken to the mortuary yesterday, and she identified the body of Chapman as that of the woman whom she saw in Hanbury-street. If this identification can be relied upon it is obviously an important piece of evidence, as it fixes with precision the time at which the murder was committed and corroborates the statement of John Richardson who went into the yard at a quarter to 5, and has consistently and persistently declared that the body was not then on the premises. Davis, the man who first saw the corpse, went into the yard shortly after 6 o'clock. Assuming, therefore, that the various witnesses have spoken the truth, which there is not the slightest reason to doubt, the murder must have been committed between half-past 5 and 6 o'clock, and the murderer must have walked through the streets in almost broad daylight without attracting attention, although he must have been at the time more or less stained with blood. This seems incredible, and it has certainly strengthened the belief of many of those engaged in the case that the murderer had not far to go to reach his lodgings in a private house.
A man was detained at Holloway Police-station yesterday morning on suspicion of being concerned in the Whitechapel murder. Having been medically examined, however, he was found to be of unsound mind and was sent to the workhouse infirmary.
Yesterday Mr. Wynne E. Baxter, Coroner for the North-Eastern Division of Middlesex, resumed his inquiry at the Working Lads' Institute, Whitechapel-road, respecting the death of Annie Chapman, who was found murdered in the back yard of 29, Hanbury street, Spitalfields, on Saturday last.
Detective-Inspectors Abberline (Scotland-yard) and Helson, J Division, and Sergeant Thicke, H Division, again watched the case on behalf of the Criminal Investigation Department.
Fontaina Smith stated he had seen the body in the mortuary, and had recognized it as that of Annie Chapman, a widow. Her husband's name was John Chapman, and he had been a coachman at Windsor. The deceased had been separated from him three or four years before his death. She was 47 years of age. Some time ago he met the deceased, who first recognized him. She did not say where she was living, or what she was doing. Witness knew nothing about her associates.
James Kent stated he lived at 20, B Block, King David-lane, Shadwell, and was a packing-case maker in the employ of Mr. Bailey, 23a, Hanbury-street, Spitalfields. He went to his work at 6 o'clock in the morning. He got to work between 10 minutes and a quarter past 6 on Saturday morning. His employer's gate was open, and he waited for more of the hands to come up. While he was waiting there an elderly man named Davis who lived two or three doors off, came out of his house and said, "Men, come here." Davis had his belt in his hand. Witness and James Green, who was with the witness at the time, went to 29, Hanbury-street, the house where the man came out. They went through the passage and witness stood at the steps at the back door. He saw a woman lying in the yard by the side of the steps, between them and the partition. Her head was against the house, and the whole of her body was on the ground.
At this stage an officer of the police produced a plan of the building and yard.
Witness, continuing, said the face of the deceased was visible. Her clothes were disarranged and the apron she was wearing appeared to have been thrown over the clothes. Witness did not go down the steps, and believed no other person entered the yard until the inspector (Chandler) came. He could see that the deceased was dead. She had a handkerchief of some kind round her throat. He could not see any blood, but she was besmeared with blood over the face and hands, as though she had been struggling. He did not notice any other injuries. Her hands were raised and bent, with the palms towards the upper portion of her body, as though she had fought for her throat. There were marks of blood about her legs but he did not notice any about her clothes. He did not look very particularly about her things, as he felt too much frightened. Witness then went to the front of the house, to see whether a constable was coming. He then had some brandy, and afterwards went to the shop and got a piece of canvas to throw over the body. When he returned to the house a mob had assembled. The inspector had arrived and was in possession of the yard. Witness could not say whether anyone went to the body before the inspector came, but he did not think so, as everyone appeared too much frightened to go near it. The foreman over witness arrived at the workshop about ten minutes to 6.
James Green, 36, Acton-street, Burdett-road, deposed that he was a packing case maker in the employ of Mr. Bailey. He got to the workshop about ten minutes past 6 on Saturday morning, and accompanied Kent to the back of 29 Hanbury -street. He looked at the body, and then left the premises with Kent. He did not see anyone touch the body, and thought no one went near it. He saw Inspector Chandler arrive, and at that time was on the steps of the landing of his workshop. No one was in the yard when the inspector arrived, but the mob stood at the front door. At that time the body was in the same state as when the witness first saw it.
Amelia Richardson, 29, Hanbury-street, Spitalfields, said she was a widow. She rented half of the house - the ground floor portion, and the workshop and yard. Witness occupied the workshop and carried on business there. She employed her son and a man. They were supposed to begin work at 6 o'clock, but did not do so on Saturday morning. The man did not come until 8 o'clock. He was frequently late. Her son lived in John-street, Spitalfields. About 6 o'clock on Saturday morning her grandson, Thomas Richardson, 14 years of age, who lived with her, went down stairs. They heard some one in the passage, and thought the place was on fire. He returned directly afterwards, saying " Oh, grandmother, there is a woman murdered!" Witness went down immediately, and saw the body of deceased lying in the yard. The police and several others were in the passage, but there was no one in the yard at the time. As she was not properly attired she went back to her room and dressed herself. The police then took possession of the place.
By the CORONER - She occupied the first floor front room and her grandson also slept in the same room. They went to bed about half past 9. She did not sleep through the night, and should say she was awake half of the time. She awoke at 3 o'clock, and only dozed afterwards. She did not hear any noise during the night. Mr. Waker occupied the first-floor back room. He was an old man, and slept there with his son, who was weak minded. The lad was very inoffensive. There were two rooms on the ground floor, and they were occupied by Mrs. Hardyman who had one son, 16 years of age. He also slept there. Mrs Hardyman got her living by selling cat's meat, and also used the room for a cat's meat shop. Her son went out selling the meat. Witness occupied the back room for cooking. When witness went to bed, at half past 9, she locked up that room and took the key with her. It was still locked when she came down in the morning. Mr. John Davis and his wife occupied the third floor front room, together with their three sons. An old woman named Sarah Cox occupied the back room on that floor. Witness kept her out of charity. Mr. Thompson, a carman, his wife, and an adopted little girl, occupied the second floor front room. A few minutes to 4 on Saturday morning witness called Thompson. She heard him leave the house, and before doing so he did not go into the backyard. When he went out she called out "Good morning" to him. Mr. and Mrs. Copsey lived in the second floor back, and were cigar makers. When she went down on Saturday morning all the tenants in the house, except Thompson, were in the house. Witness was not the owner of the house. The front and back doors were always left open, as was the case with all the houses about there, for they were all let out in rooms.
By the jury - She had property in the place, but was not afraid of the doors being left open. She had never heard of any robberies. About a month ago, at 3 o'clock in the morning, she heard a man on the stairs. She could hear any one going through the passage, but did not hear any one on Saturday morning. On market mornings there was a great bustle and noise. On that morning she did not hear any cries. If a person had gone through about half-past 3 it might not have attracted her attention, although she would have heard them. People frequently went through into the back yard, and perhaps some who had no business there. She was confident that no one made a noise in going through on Saturday morning, and those who went through must have kept purposely quiet. If she knew it she would not allow any stranger go through.
Annie Hardyman, 29, Hanbury-street, said she occupied the ground floor front room. On Friday night she went to bed about half-past 10. Her son slept in the same room. She was not awakened during the night, and did not awake until about 6 o'clock, when she heard footsteps in the passage. She woke up her son, and told him to go and see what was the matter. He came back and said a woman had been killed in the yard. Witness did not go out. She did not hear anything during the night, but had often heard people going through the passage into the yard. She had not gone to see who they were. She did not know the deceased, and to her knowledge had never seen her.
John Richardson, of 2, John-street, stated that he acted as a porter in Spitalfields Market and also assisted his mother in the business of packing-case making. Between a quarter and 20 minutes to 5 he went to 29, Hanbury-street. He went there to see whether the place was properly secured, as some months ago it was broken into. He only went there at that time on market mornings, and had done so for a long time past. When he got to the house he found the front door closed. He lifted the latch and went through the passage to the yard door. He did not go into the yard but went and stood on the steps. The back door was closed when he got to it. He stood on the steps and cut a piece of leather from off one of his boots. He cut it with a table knife about 5in. long. It was now at his house in John-street. It being market morning he put the knife into his pocket. He could not say why he put the knife in his pocket, and supposed he did so by mistake. After cutting the piece of leather off his boot he tied up the boot and went out of the house. He did not close the back door, as it closed itself. He was sure he closed the front door. He was not more than three minutes in the house. It was not light, but was getting so, and was sufficient for him to see all over the place. He could not have failed to notice the deceased had she been lying there then. He saw the body two or three minutes before the doctor came, and saw it from the adjoining yard. He went there in consequence of a man named Pearman in the market, telling him there was a murder in Hanbury-street.
By the CORONER - He cut the piece of leather off his boot because it hurt him. He took a piece out on the previous day, but that was not sufficient. As a matter of fact that was the only thing he did at Hanbury-street. He did not go into the yard at all. His object principally in going to the house was to see that the cellar was all right, and he looked and found that it was so.
The CORONER-You do not seem to have taken much trouble to see that it was all right.
Witness, continuing, said he could see the padlock was on the door. He did not sit upon the top step, but rested his feet on the flags of the yard. That would be quite close to the spot where the woman was found. He had been to the house and in the passage at all hours of the night and had seen lots of strangers there. These he had seen at all hours. He had seen both men and women there, and turned them out.
The witness was here sent to fetch the knife he had spoken about.
Amelia Richardson, recalled, said she had never lost anything, and was so confident of her neighbours that she left her door open. A long while ago she missed a saw and a hammer from the cellar. She used to lock the cellar, but on this occasion it was broken open. The cellar door was fastened with a padlock, and after the robbery was committed the door was put to. That robbery was committed early in the morning. She was aware that her son was in the habit of coming to the house to see whether the place was all right. She never had any suspicions that her yard was used for immoral purposes. Her son wore a leather apron while at work in the cellar, and on Thursday she washed it. On Saturday morning the apron was against the fence and the police took possession of it. At that time it was in the yard under the tap. The police found it in the same position in which it was put. The tap supplied the house with water, and the apron was left lying on the stones from the Thursday until Saturday. The police also took away a nail box, but there were no nails in it. On Friday night there was a pan full of water by the tap, and it was in the same position on Saturday morning. Witness had never known that women had been found on the first floor landing, and her son had never spoken to her about it.
By the jury-The pan of water was just under the tap and the apron was not quite under it.
John Pizer, 22, Mulberry-street, Commercial-road, stated he was a bootmaker. He had been known by the nickname of "Leather Apron". He went home on Thursday night from the West-end of the town. He reached Mulberry-street about a quarter to 11 o'clock. His brother and stepmother also lived there. He remained indoors until he was arrested by Sergeant Thicke on Monday morning. Up to that time he had not left the house. His brother advised him to remain indoors as he was the object of a false suspicion. He did so in consequence of that. He was not now in custody and had cleared his character.
The CORONER - I called you to give you an opportunity of doing so.
Witness, in answer to the Coroner, said he was in the Holloway-road on Thursday week.
The CORONER-It is important you should say where you were and give an account of your time.
Witness said he stayed at Crossman's common lodging-house in the Holloway-road. It was called the "Round-house". He slept the night there. It was the night of the London Dock fire and he went into the lodging-house about a quarter past 2 on the Friday morning. He left there at 11 o'clock the same morning. He then saw on the placards the report of another horrible murder. At 11 o'clock the previous night he had his supper at the lodging-house. He then went out and went as far as the Seven Sisters'-road. Then he turned and went down the Holloway-road. He then saw the reflection of a fire. He went as far as the church in Holloway-road and saw the lodging-house keeper of the "Round-house" and one or two constables talking together. He asked a constable where the fire was. He replied it was a long way off. Witness then asked him where he thought it was, and the officer replied, "Down by the Albert Docks." It was then about 1:30 as near as he could recollect. He then went as far as the Highbury railway station, then turned back, and went into the lodging-house. The night watchman did not complain of his being late, but as it was after 11 o'clock, the time when all unoccupied beds would be re-let, witness paid him 4d for another bed. Witness then sat on a form in the kitchen for a time, smoking a clay pipe. He then went to bed. He got up at 11 o'clock when the day attendant told him he must get up, as he wanted to make the bed. He dressed and went down into the kitchen. That was all he had to say.
By the jury - When he spoke of the West-end of the town, he came from a lodging house in Peter-street, Westminster.
The CORONER-I think it only fair to say that this statement can be corroborated.
Detective Sergeant William Thicke, H Division, said that a man named "Leather Apron" having been suspected of the murder, on Monday morning he arrested Pizer at 22 Mulberry-street. He had known Pizer for many years, and when people in the neighbourhood spoke of "Leather Apron" they meant Pizer. He was released from custody on Tuesday night at 9:30.
John Richardson, recalled, produced the knife with which he cut the piece of leather from his boot. He found the knife on his table.
By the jury - His mother had heard him speak of finding people acting immorally in the passage.
The CORONER said he thought the police should have the knife, and handed it to them.
Henry John Holland, 4 Aden-yard, Mile-end-road, stated that on Saturday morning he was passing along Hanbury-street on his way to his work in Chiswell-street. It was about eight minutes past 6 when he passed No. 29. He saw an elderly man come out of the house, and said, "Come and look in the back yard". Witness went through the passage and saw the deceased lying in the yard just by the back door. Witness went into the yard and looked at the deceased, but did not touch her or her clothes. He did not see any one touch her. He then went for a policeman. The first one he saw was in Spitalfields Market. He said he could not come, and witness must get one from outside. He was unable to see another constable.
By the jury - He told the policeman that it was a murder and a similar case to that which had happened in Buck's-row. The policeman was standing by himself and was not doing anything. The same afternoon witness went to the Commercial-street Police-station and reported the conduct of the constable.
The Foreman - I think the constable ought to have gone.
An inspector stated there were certain spots which the constables were not allowed to leave under any circumstances, but they were supposed to send some one else.
The inquiry was then adjourned until to-day.
THE THAMES MYSTERY. - Careful consideration of all the circumstances connected with the finding of the human arm in the Thames, as narrated yesterday in The Times, has strengthened the belief that there is a crime at the bottom of the mystery. Dr. Neville is most emphatic in his declaration that the arm has not been severed from the body for "scientific purposes," and this would seem to dispose of the idea that the throwing of the limb into the Thames is part of a joke on the part of medical students for the purpose of heightening the public alarm at a particular moment. The most diligent search is being made on land and water. It is to be remembered that the Richmond murder was a case of the same character, and the horrible murder and mutilation perpetrated by one low woman was enveloped in mystery for some days until a clue was obtained, which, followed up by the police, led to the unravelling of the whole story.