Saturday, November 10, 1888
ANOTHER WHITECHAPEL MURDER.
During the early hours of yesterday morning another murder of a most revolting and fiendish character took place in Spitalfields. This is the seventh which has occurred in this immediate neighbourhood, and the character of the mutilations leaves very little doubt that the murderer in this instance is the same person who has committed the previous ones, with which the public are fully acquainted.
The scene of this last crime is at No 26 Dorset-street, Spitalfields, which is about 200 yards distant from 35 Hanbury-street, where the unfortunate woman, Mary Ann Nicholls, was so foully murdered. Although the victim, whose name is Mary Ann (or 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 M'Carthy, 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 12 months ago Kelly, who was about 24 years of age, and who was considered a good-looking woman, of fair and fresh complexion, came to Mr M'Carthy, with a man named Joseph Kelly, who she stated was her husband, and who was a porter employed at Spitalfields Market. They rented a room on the ground floor, the same in which the poor woman was murdered, at a rental of 4s [four shillings] a week. It had been noticed that the deceased woman was somewhat addicted to drink, but Mr M'Carthy denied having any knowledge that she had been leading a loose or immoral life. That this was 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 as she could, and the police have ascertained that she has been walking the streets. None of those living at the court or at 26 Dorset-street, saw anything of the unfortunate creature after about 8 o'clock on Thursday evening, but she was seen in Commercial-street, shortly before the closing of the public house, and then had the appearance of being the worse for drink. About 1 o'clock yesterday morning a person living in the court opposite to the room occupied by the woman heard her singing the song "Sweet Violets," but this person is unable to say whether any one 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 11 yesterday morning, as the woman was 35s [thirty five shillings] in arrears with her rent, Mr M'Carthy said to a man employed by him in his shop, John Bowyer, "Go to No 13 (meaning the room occupied by Kelly) and try and get some rent." Bowyer did as he was directed, and on knocking at the door was unable to obtain an answer. He then turned the handle of the door, and found it was locked. 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 the side in question. He put his hand through the aperture and pulled aside the muslin curtain which covered it. On his 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. M'Carthy 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. During this time the door had not been touched. On the arrival of the Superintendent Arnold he caused a telegram to be sent direct to Sir Charles Warren, informing him what had happened.
Mr Arnold, having satisfied himself that the woman was dead, ordered one of the windows to be entirely removed. A horrible and sickening sight then presented itself. The poor 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 The lower portion of the body and the uterus had been cut out, and these appeared to be missing. 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 ft. 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. Dr Phillips, on his arrival, carefully examined the body of the dead woman, and later on made a second examination in company with Dr Bond, from Westminster, Dr Gordon Brown, from the City, Dr Duke from Spitalfields, and Dr Phillip's assistant. Mr Anderson, the new Commissioner of Police, Detective-Inspectors Reid and Abberline (Scotland Yard), Chief Inspector West, H Division, and other officers were quickly on the spot. After the examination of the body it was placed in a shell, which was put into a van and conveyed to the Shoreditch mortuary to await an inquest.
From enquiries made among person 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. No suspicious or strange-looking man was seen to enter or leave the murdered woman's room, and 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, who have considerable difficulty in keeping the street clear of persons. Dr M'Donald, coroner in whose district the murder has happened has fixed Monday morning for the opening of the inquest, which will be held at Shoreditch Town-hall. It was reported that bloodhounds would be laid on to endeavour to trace the murderer, but for some reason this project was not carried out, and, of course, after the streets had 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 during all hours of the night, so that little notice is taken of any ordinarily attired men, the murderer, therefore, had a good chance of getting away unobserved.
With regard to Kelly's movements just before the murder, a report says that she was seen as usual in the neighbourhood about 10 o'clock on Thursday evening in company with a man of whom, however, no description can be obtained. She was last seen, as far as can be ascertained, in Commercial-street about half-past 11. She was then alone, and was probably making her way home. It is supposed that she met the murderer in Commercial-street, and he probably induced her to take him home without indulging in more drink. At any rate, nothing more was seen of the couple in the neighbouring public-houses, nor in the beerhouse at the corner of Dorset-street. The pair reached Millers-court about midnight, but they were not seen to enter the house. The street door was closed, but the woman had a latchkey, and, as she must have been fairly sober, she and her companion would have been able to enter the house and enter the woman's room without making a noise. A light was seen shining through the window of the room for some time after the couple must have entered it, and one person asserts positively that the woman was heard singing the refrain of a popular song as late as 1 o'clock yesterday morning, but here again there is a conflict of testimony which the police are now engaged in endeavouring to reconcile.
The same reports, describing the removal of the mutilated body, says at 10 minutes to 4 o'clock a one-horse carrier's cart, with the ordinary tarpaulin cover was driven into Dorset-street, and halted opposite Millers-court. From the cart was taken a long shell or coffin, dirty and scratched with constant use. This was taken into the death chamber, and there the remains were temporarily coffined. 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 described. 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.
Mr John M'Carthy, the owner of the houses in Millers-court, who keeps a chandler's shop in Dorset-street, has made the following statement as to the murdered woman:--
The victim of this terrible murder was about 23 or 24 years of age, and lived with a coal porter named Kelly, passing as his wife. They, however, quarrelled sometime back and separated. A woman named Harvey slept with her several nights since Kelly separated from her, but she was not with her last night. The deceased's christian name was Mary Jane, and since her murder I have discovered that she walked the streets in the neighbourhood of Aldgate. Her habits were irregular, and she often came home at night the worse for drink. Her mother lives in Ireland, but in what county I do not know. Deceased used to receive letters from her occasionally. The unfortunate woman had not paid her rent for several weeks; in fact she owed 30s altogether, so this morning I sent my man to ask if she could pay the money. He knocked at the door, but received no answer. Thinking this very strange he looked in at the window, and to his horror he saw the body of Kelly lying on the bed covered with blood. He immediately came back to me, and told me what he had seen. I was, of course, as horrified as he was, and I went with him to the house and looked in at the window. The sight I saw was more ghastly even than I had prepared myself for. On the bed lay the body as my man had told me, while the table was covered with what seemed to me to be lumps of flesh. I said to my main "Go at once to the police-station and fetch some one here." He went off at once and brought back Inspector Back (sic) who looked through the window as we had done. He then despatched a telegram to superintendent Arnold, but before Superintendent Arnold arrived, Inspector Abberline came and gave orders that no one should be allowed to enter or leave the court. The Inspector waited a little while and then sent a telegram to Sir Charles Warren to bring the bloodhounds, so as to trace the murderer if possible. So soon as Superintendent Arnold arrived he gave instructions for the door to be burst open. I at once forced the door with a pickaxe, and we entered the room. The sight we saw I cannot drive away from my mind. It looked more like the work of a devil than of a man. The poor woman's body was lying on the bed, undressed. She had been completely disembowelled, and her entrails has been taken out and placed on the table. It was those that I had seen when I looked through the window and took to be lumps of flesh. The woman's nose had been cut off, and her face gashed beyond recognition. Both her breasts too had been cut clean away and placed by the side of her liver and other entrails on the table. I had heard a great deal about the Whitechapel murders, but I declare to god I had never expected to see such a sight as this. The body was, of course, covered with blood, and so was the bed. The whole scene is more than I can describe. I hope I may never see such a sight again. It is most extraordinary that nothing should have been heard by the neighbours, as there are people passing backwards and forwards at all hours of the night, but no one heard so much as a scream. I woman heard Kelly singing "Sweet Violets" at 1 o'clock this morning. So up to that time, at all events, she was alive and well. So far as I can ascertain no one saw her take a man into the house with her last night.
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 by 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. The door of Kelly's room is just on the right-hand side on entering from the street, and other houses -- three on either side -- are higher up the passage.
The young woman Harvey, who had slept with the deceased on several 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 in 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 7 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. Harvey never saw her alive afterwards. 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 happy and comfortable together until another woman came to sleep in the room, to which he strongly objected. Finally, after the woman had been there two or three nights he quarrelled with the woman whom 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 7 and 8 and told her he was sorry he had no money to give her. He saw nothing more of her. She used occasionally to go to the Elephant and Castle district to visit a friend who was in the same position as herself.
Another account gives the following details: Kelly had a little boy, aged about 6 or 7 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 10 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 some 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. Nothing more was seen of the woman until yesterday morning, when it is stated that the little boy was sent back into the house, and the report goes, he was sent out subsequently on an errand by the man who was in the house with his mother. There is no direct confirmation of this statement. A tailor named Lewis says he saw Kelly come out about 8 o'clock yesterday morning and go back. Another statement is to the effect that Kelly was seen in a public-house known as the Ringers at the corner of Dorset-street and Commercial-street, about 10 o'clock yesterday morning, and that she met there her lover, Barnet (sic) and had a glass of beer with him. This statement is also not substantiated.
A somewhat important fact has been pointed out, which puts a fresh complexion on the theory of the murders. It appears that cattle-boats bringing in live freight to London are in the habit of coming into the Thames on Thursdays or Fridays, and leave 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, who believe that the murderer does not reside either in the locality or even in the country at all. It is thought that he may be either a person employed upon one of these boats or one who is allowed to travel by them, and inquiries have been directed to follow up the theory. It is pointed out that at the inquests on the previous victims the coroners have expressed the opinion that the knowledge of anatomy possessed by a butcher would have been sufficient to enable him to find and cut out the parts of the body which in several cases were abstracted.
The Whitechapel Vigilance Committee who have recently relaxed their efforts to find the murderer, have called a meeting for Tuesday evening next, at the Paul's Head Tavern, Crispin-street, Spitalfields, to consider what steps they can take to assist the police.
A Mrs Paumier, a young woman who sells roasted chestnuts at the corner of Widegate-street, a narrow thoroughfare about two minutes' walk from the scene of the murder, told a reporter yesterday afternoon a story which appears to afford a clue to the murderer. She said that about 12 o'clock that morning a man dressed like a gentleman came up to her and said, "I suppose you have heard about the murder in Dorset-street?" She replied that she had, whereupon the man grinned and said, "I know more about it than you." He then stared into her face and went down Sandy's-row, another narrow thoroughfare which cuts across Widegate-street. Whence he had got some way off, however, he vanished. Mrs Paumier said the man had a black moustache, was about 5ft 6in, high, and wore a black silk hat, a black coat, and speckled trousers. He also carried a black shiny bag about a foot in depth and a foot and a half in length. Mrs Paumier stated further that the same man accosted three young women, whom she knew, on Thursday night, and they chaffed him and asked him what he had in the bag, and he replied, "Something that the ladies don't like." One of the three young women she named, Sarah Roney, a girl about 20 years of age, states that she was with two other girls on Thursday night in Brushfield-street which is near Dorset-street, when a man wearing a tall hat and a black coat, and carrying a black bag, came up to her and said, "Will you come with me?" She told him that she would not, and asked him what he had in the bag, and he said, "Something the ladies don't like." He then walked away.
A further report received late last night says:--"Not the slightest doubt appears to be entertained in official headquarters that this fresh crime is by the same hand which committed the others. There is also, it is to be noted, a striking similarity of the month in which the crime has been committed, for while two of the most atrocious of the other murders in the same district were committed on the 7th of the month of September and August, this was committed on the 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. The late storms might account for the crime on this occasion being a day later, the suggestion, of course, being that the murderer journeys across the sea on some of the short passages.
"Last night nothing further was known at Scotland-yard. In fact, all the enquiries centre in the east of London, whither have been sent some of the keenest investigators of the country. The murders, so cunningly continued, are carried out with a completeness which altogether baffles investigators. Not a trace is left of the murderer, and there is no purpose in the crime to afford the slightest clue, such as would be afforded in other crimes almost without exception. All that the police can hope is that some accidental circumstance will lead to a trace which may be followed to a successful conclusion."
The latest account states upon what professes to be indisputable authority that no portion of the woman's body was taken away by the murderer. As already stated, the post-mortem examination was of the most exhaustive character, and surgeons did not quit their work until every organ had been accounted for and placed as closely as possible in its natural position.
A man's pilot coat has been found in the murdered woman's room, but whether it belonged to one of her paramours or to the murderer has not been ascertained. Late yesterday evening a man was arrested near Dorset-street on suspicion of being concerned in the murder. He was taken to Commercial-street police-station, followed by a howling mob, and is still detained there. Another man, respectably dressed, wearing a slouch hat and carrying a black bag was arrested and taken to Leman-street station. The bag was examined, but its contents were perfectly harmless, and the man was at once released.
Another murder, if possible of a more hideous character than the atrocities already committed in Whitechapel, has taken place in the same neighbourhood. No revolting circumstance is wanting to the crime, which has manifestly been committed by one who took a demoniac pleasure in his ghastly work. The victim is again a woman, and of the same class as that to which the miserable creatures foully murdered last August and September belonged, and her body has been mutilated even more hideously than those of the former victims. It would be impossible to describe literally the scene before those who discovered yesterday morning her remains in Dorset-street. No imagination could conceive the effects of the malign and depraved fury of the murderer. A man, going yesterday forenoon to 26, Dorset-street, Spitalfields, tenanted by MARY ANN KELLY, for arrears of rent, found the door locked. Looking through a broken window, he saw her mutilated remains on the bed. Examination showed that a murder had recently been committed with every circumstance of atrocity. All had apparently been done with frightful celerity and completeness; and the murderer seems to have vanished, leaving no trace of his identity, no clue to his whereabouts, with even greater mystery hanging over his last deed than that which shrouds the former Whitechapel murders. KELLY was seen, it appears, about 11 o'clock on Thursday night with a man of whom nothing definite is known. It is also stated that she was seen yesterday morning. But as to this there is some conflict of evidence, and it is unfortunate that little can be told of her until she was found, about 11 o'clock in the forenoon yesterday, dead and frightfully mutilated. There is the best possible desire to assist the police, and no pains will be spared to discover the murderer. But we must not be surprised if justice is again baffled. The maniac, if such the murderer be, combines cunning with his madness; and he had time to make his escape. If he was seen in the company of his victim, the description of him is very vague and uncertain, and the surroundings of Dorset-street are such as to make it easy for him to elude detection in a few minutes. But it can scarcely be doubted that the same person who murdered several poor women in August and September in Whitechapel has returned to his old haunts, and been again at his hideous work. Two such monsters in human form there cannot be. The murderer of Mitre-square is, no doubt, the murderer of Dorset-street.
When evidence is not to be had, theories abound. Even the most plausible of them do not carry conviction; but enough is known to justify search being made in certain specific directions. In this, as in the other crimes of the same character, ordinary motives are out of the question. No hope of plunder could have induced the murderer to kill one who, it is clear, was reduced to such extremity of want that she thought of destroying herself. The body bore the marks of the frenzy and fury that characterized the previous murders. An appetite for blood, a love of carnage for itself, could only explain what has been done. And there are the same indications of dexterity, if not anatomical skill, such as would be possessed only by one accustomed to handle a knife. It will be remembered that in the case of the woman CHAPMAN [sic], murdered in Mitre-square, the face was so disfigured as to make identification very difficult. The same treatment befell KELLY, whose features were barely recognizable. When the former murders were under discussion, it was noted as a curious fact that they occurred about the end of the week, and this and other circumstances suggested the theory that the assassin did not habitually live in London, but visited it at intervals - that he came, to state one form of this theory, in one of the cattle boats which weekly call here. Some circumstances attending this latest crime give more plausibility to this suggestion. But, whoever he may be, it is plain that some wild beast in human shape haunts the resorts of the outcasts of the East-end to lure them to a terrible death.
Indignation and alarm will prompt, we may be sure, all sorts of wild and foolish suggestions, and blame will be cast, very much at random, in many directions. Some people think that it speaks well for their hearts to lose their heads in such circumstances; and it is possible that MR. MATTHEWS and SIR CHARLES WARREN will not escape some sweeping censure in Parliament. Might we ask those who have reproofs on their lips to formulate before they utter them the precise means and devices which they say should have been resorted to? There is no lack of police in Whitechapel, and they have had the assistance of a private Vigilance Committee. It is true a Government reward has not been offered; but does anyone, reflecting upon the circumstances of the seven murders committed in Whitechapel since last Christmas, believe that a reward of £1,000 or more would have elicited one fact now unknown, or that it might not have fostered a multitude of bewildering fictions? Excellent sometimes in breaking up a confederacy of vice, rewards are useless if the crime be committed, as the crime at Dorset-street no doubt was, in secrecy and silence by one man. It is, of course, open to any one to say that if the Home Office or Scotland Yard employed detectives of superlative acuteness, such as exist only in the pages of novelists, all would have been made clear. But such a theory can be put forward, not to be believed, but only as a pretext for noisy abuse. Of all forms of superstition, few are more abject than the notion that anything, no matter what, can be done by a Government Department. The savage smashes his idol if an earthquake overturns his hut or a high tide carries away his canoe; the modern fashion is in similar circumstances to assail the Home Office. It will be the paramount duty of the HOME SECRETARY and SIR CHARLES WARREN to leave no stone unturned, and they will be assisted as far as possible in their inquiries by the whole community. But there is much more profitable occupation than vague windy abuse of people who cannot create evidence. Deep searching of hearts, humiliation of spirit, and sorrowful reflection over the causes which make these unspeakable atrocities possible, would be more seemly than cheap declamation about the shortcomings of the police.