Thursday, 20 September 1888
Yesterday Mr. Wynne E. Baxter, Coroner for the South-Eastern Division of Middlesex, resumed his inquiry, at the Working Lads' Institute, Whitechapel-road, respecting the death of Mary Ann Chapman, who was found murdered in the back yard of No. 29, Hanbury-Street, Spitalfields, on the morning of the 8th inst.
Detective-inspectors Helson and Chandler and Detective-sergeant Thicke, H Division, watched the case on behalf of the Criminal Investigation Department.
Eliza Cooper stated that she lived at 35, Dorset-street, Spitalfields, and had done so for the last five months. Witness knew the deceased, and had a quarrel with her on the Tuesday before she was murdered. On the previous Saturday deceased came in and asked the people there to give her a piece of soap. She was told to ask "Liza." Deceased then came to witness, who opened the locker and gave her a piece of soap. Deceased then handed the soap to Stanley, who went and washed himself. Deceased also went out, and when she came back witness asked her for the soap, which, however, she did not return, but said "I will see you by and by." Stanley gave deceased 2s., and she paid for the bed for two nights. Witness saw no more of deceased that night.
By the CORONER. - Witness was treated by Stanley. On the following Wednesday witness met deceased in the kitchen and asked her to return the piece of soap. Deceased threw a halfpenny on the table and said "Go and get a halfpennyworth of soap." They then began to quarrel, and afterwards went to the Ringers public-house, where the quarrel was continued. Deceased slapped her face and said "Think yourself lucky I did not do more." Witness believed she then struck deceased in the left eye and then on the chest. She could afterwards see that the blow had marked deceased's face.
By the jury. - That was the last time she saw deceased alive. At that time she was wearing three rings on the third finger of the left hand. Deceased bought the rings, which were brass ones, of a black man. Deceased had never possessed a gold wedding ring since witness had become acquainted with her. She had known deceased for about 15 years, and knew that she associated with Stanley, "Harry the Hawker," and other men. Witness could not say whether any of these persons were missing. With the exception of Stanley, deceased used only casually to bring other men to the lodging-house.
Dr. George Bagster Phillips was recalled. Before he was examined,
The CORONER said it was necessary that all the evidence the doctor had obtained from his post-mortem examination should be on the records of the Court for various reasons which he need not then enumerate, however painful it might be.
Dr. Phillips said that had notice been given him he should have been better prepared with the evidence, but he had his original notes with him. While bowing to the Coroner's decision, he still thought it a great pity that he should have to give this evidence, as matters which had since come to light had shown the wisdom of the course pursued on the last occasion, and he could not help reiterating his regret that the Coroner had come to a different conclusion. On the last occasion he mentioned that there were reasons why he thought that the person who inflicted the cut on the woman's throat had caught hold of her chin. He came to that conclusion because on the left side, on the lower jaw, were scratches one and a half to two inches below the lobe of the ear, and going in a contrary direction to the incision in the throat. They were of recent date. The abrasions on the left side and on the right side were corresponding bruises. He washed them, when they became more distinct, whereas the bruises mentioned in his last evidence remained the same. The deceased had been seized by the throat while the incision into the throat had been perpetrated. The witness here stated that in the interests of justice he thought it would be better not to give more details.
The CORONER. - We are here to decide the cause of death, and therefore have a right to hear all particulars. Whether that evidence is made public or not rests with the Press. I might add I have never before heard of any evidence being kept back from a coroner.
Dr. Phillips. - I am in the hands of the Court, and what I was going to detail took place after death.
The CORONER. - That is a matter of opinion. You know that medical men often differ.
Dr Phillips repeated that he did not think the details should be given.
The court having been cleared of all women and boys, the witness proceeded to give medical and surgical evidence, totally unfit for publication, of the deliberate, successful, and apparently scientific manner in which the poor woman had been mutilated, and expressed his opinion that the length of the weapon was at least five to six inches, probably more, and the appearance of the cuts confirmed him in the opinion that the instrument, like the one which divided the neck, had been of a very sharp character. The mode in which the knife had been used seem to indicate great anatomical knowledge.
By the CORONER. - He though he himself could not have performed all the injuries he described, even without a struggle, under a quarter of an hour. If he had done it in a deliberate way such as would fall to the duties of a surgeon, it probably would have taken him the best part of an hour. He had not been able to discover any trace of blood on the walls of the next house.
In answer to the jury, the witness said that he had no practical opinion about a person's eyes being photographed, but his opinion would be useless; also with regard to employing bloodhounds. In the latter case they would more probably scent the blood of the murdered woman. The injuries to the body would produce at once partial insensibility.
Elizabeth Long, 198, Church-row, Whitechapel, stated that she was the wife of James Long, a park-keeper. On Saturday morning the 8th inst., she was passing down Hanbury-street from home and going to Spitalfields Market. It was about 5:30. She was certain of the time, as the brewers' clock had just struck that time when she passed 29, Hanbury-street. Witness was on the right-hand side of the street - the same side as No. 29. She saw a man and woman on the pavement talking. The man's back was turned towards Brick-lane, while the woman's was towards the Spitalfields Market. They were talking together, and were close against the shutters of No. 29. Witness saw the woman's face. She had since seen the deceased in the mortuary, and was sure it was the face of the same person she saw in Hanbury-street. She did not see the man's face, except to notice that he was dark. He wore a brown deer stalker hat, and she thought he had on a dark coat, but was not quite certain of that. She could not say what the age of the man was, but he looked to be over 40, and appeared to be a little taller than deceased. He appeared to be a foreigner, and had a shabby genteel appearance. Witness could hear them talking loudly, and she overheard him say to deceased, "Will you?" She replied, "Yes." They still stood there as witness passed, and she went on to her work without looking back.
By the CORONER. - She saw nothing to indicate they were not sober. It was not an unusual thing to see men and women talking together at that hour in that locality.
The Foreman remarked that the time stated by the witness was not consistent with that stated by the doctor.
The CORONER observed that Dr. Phillips had since qualified his statement.
Edward Stanley stated the he lived at 1, Osborne-place, Osborne-street, Whitechapel. He was a bricklayer's labourer, and was known by the name of "The Pensioner." He knew the deceased, and he sometimes visited her at 35, Dorset-street. He was not there with her more than once or twice, but had been elsewhere with her at times. He last saw her alive on Sunday, the 2nd inst., between 1 and 3 o'clock in the afternoon. At that time she was wearing two rings on one of her fingers. One was a flat ring and the other oval. He should think they were brass ones. Witness did not know of anyone with whom deceased was on bad terms.
By the CORONER. - When he last saw deceased her eye was slightly blackened. His memory might be confused, and it was possible he might have seen deceased after the time he had stated, for when he did see her she certainly had a black eye, and spoke to him about it.
The Foreman. - A previous witness had stated that the blows were not inflicted on deceased's face until the Tuesday.
In answer to the jury, the witness denied that he was in the habit of spending Saturdays and Sundays with the deceased.
The CORONER. - Are you a pensioner?
Witness. - Am I bound to answer this question?
The CORONER. - You have to answer all questions affecting this case that are put to you.
Witness. - I am not a pensioner, and have not been in the Essex Regiment. What I say will be published all over Europe. I have lost five hours in coming here.
The deputy of 35, Dorset-street, was here called into the room and said Stanley was the person they called "The Pensioner." He was the man who used to come to the lodging-house with the deceased on Saturday and stay till the Monday. Stanley had been to the lodging-house six or seven times. The last time he was there was the Saturday before the woman's death, and he stayed till the Monday. Stanley paid for one night, and deceased afterwards paid for Sunday night.
The CORONER. - What do you think of that Stanley?
Stanley. - The evidence given by Donovan is incorrect. When you talk to me, Sir, you talk to an honest man. I was at Gosport from the 6th of August up to the 1st of September. The deceased met me at the corner of Brushfield-street that night.
The Foreman. - Did you see any quarrel?
Witness. - I saw no quarrel, only the effects of it. I have known the deceased about two years, when she was living at Windsor. I was told by a shoeblack that deceased had been murdered, and I then went to the lodging-house and inquired whether it was correct. After I saw the Coroner's observations in the newspapers, I went to the Commercial-street Police-station.
In further examination the witness said he was told the police wanted him.
The CORONER thought the lodging-house keeper had made a mistake in the man.
Albert Cadosch, a carpenter, stated that he resided at No. 27, Hanbury-street. That was next door to No. 29. On Saturday, the 8th inst. he got up at about 5:15 and went out into the yard of his house. As he returned across the yard, to the back door of his house, he heard a voice say quite close to him, "No." He believed it came from No. 29. He went into the house, and returned to the yard three or four minutes afterwards. He then heard a sort of a fall against the fence, which divided his yard from No. 29. Something seemed suddenly to touch the fence. He did not look to see what it was. He did not hear any other noise.
By the CORONER. - He did not hear the rustling of any clothes. Witness then left the house and went to his work. When he passed Spitalfields Church it was about 32 minutes past 5. He did not hear people in the yard as a rule, but had now and then heard them at that time in the morning.
By the jury. - He did not go into the yard twice out of curiosity. He had been under an operation at the hospital. He informed the police the same day of what he had heard. The palings were about 5ft. 6in. in height. He had not the curiosity to look over the fence, as at times the next door people were early risers. When he left the house he did not see any man or woman in Hanbury-street. He did not see Mrs. Long.
William Stevens, a painter, of 35, Dorset-street, deposed that he knew the deceased, whom he last saw alive about 12 minutes past 12 on the early morning of her death. She was then in the kitchen of the lodging-house, and was not the worse for drink. At that time she had rings on her fingers. Witness believed the piece of envelope produced was the one he saw deceased pick up by the fireplace. He noticed it was about the size of the piece produced, and he saw it had a red post mark on it. Deceased then pulled out a box containing pills from her pocket, and the box breaking she put the pills into the piece of paper, and put it into her pocket. He saw deceased leave the kitchen, and thought she was going to bed, as she said she would not be long out of bed.
By the CORONER. - He did not know of any one with whom the deceased was on bad terms.
The CORONER said that was all the evidence forthcoming. It was a question for the jury whether they would adjourn the case or return their verdict.
The Foreman stated that the reward of Mr. S. Montagu, M.P., of £100 had been posted about, but the Government did not, as the Coroner had previously stated, now offer rewards. At the same time, if the Government had offered a reward, it would have looked more official.
After some further conversation, the inquiry was adjourned until Wednesday next, when it will be completed.
No further arrest in connection with the Whitechapel murders had been made up to last night, and the police are still at fault.
The following letter has been sent to the secretary of the Vigilance Committee lately formed in Mile-end: -
"Sir, - I am directed by the Secretary of State to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 16th inst. with reference to the question of the offer of a reward for the discovery of the perpetrators of the recent murders in Whitechapel, and I am to inform you that had the Secretary of State considered the case a proper one for the offer of a reward he would at once have offered one on behalf of the Government; but that the practice of offering rewards for the discovery of criminals was discontinued some years ago because experience showed that such offers of reward tended to produce more harm than good; and the Secretary of State is satisfied that there is nothing in the circumstances of the present case to justify a departure from this rule.
"I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
"Mr. B. Harris, The Crown, 74, Mile-end-road, E."
Christopher Power, 32, clerk, was indicted for maliciously wounding Peter Black with intent to murder him.
Mr. C.F, Gill conducted the prosecution; Mr. Druitt appeared for the defence.
The prosecutor and the prisoner had been in the same employment. The prisoner seemed to have been under the impression that the prosecutor had followed him about, and some time previously to the occurrence he had written two letters to Mr. Black. There was no ground for the impression the prisoner had formed, and the prosecutor believed that he was not in his right mind. On the evening of August 10 the prisoner called at the prosecutor's house and wounded Mr. Black with a knife, which he had held in his hand behind him. Assistance was obtained and the prisoner was arrested, and he denied that he had used the knife.
For the defence the prisoner's landlady was called, and gave evidence to the effect that the prisoner had been strange in his manner.
Dr. Gilbert, the surgeon at Holloway gaol, stated that the prisoner suffered from delusions as to being followed about by people who heard and repeated everything he said, and witness was of opinion that the prisoner was insane and did not know the nature and quality of the act.
Mr. Justice Charles summed up.
The jury found that the prisoner committed the act, but was insane at the time.
Mr. Justice Charles directed the prisoner to be detained as a lunatic during Her Majesty's pleasure.