Wednesday, 14 November 1888
In the Holborn casual ward yesterday the police arrested a man who gave the name of Thomas Murphy. He was taken to the police station at Frederick-street, King's-cross-road, where, on being searched, he was found to have in his possession a somewhat formidable looking knife with a blade about ten inches long. He was therefore detained in custody on suspicion, and the police proceeded to make inquiries into the truth of his statements. The task was rendered very difficult by the confused and contradictory accounts which Murphy gave of himself, and the man was still in custody at 6 o'clock yesterday evening. Murphy is about 5ft. 6in. in height, and has the general appearance of a sailor. His hair and complexion are fair. He is dressed in a blue jersey tucked underneath his trousers, and his coat and trousers are of a check pattern.
Another man was arrested late yesterday afternoon in the neighbourhood of Dorset-street, but was released on inquiries being satisfactorily answered.
The funeral of the murdered woman Kelly will not take place until after the arrival from Wales of some of her relatives and friends, who are expected to reach London this evening. If they be unable to provide the necessary funeral expenses, Mr. H. Wilton, of 119, High-street, Shoreditch, has guaranteed that the unfortunate woman shall not be buried in a pauper's grave. Any person, however, who may be desirous of sharing the expense with Mr. Wilton can communicate with him. The remains, according to present arrangements, will be interred either on Thursday or Friday at the new Chingford Cemetery.
The following statement was made yesterday evening by George Hutchinson, a labourer:- "At 2 o'clock on Friday morning I came down Whitechapel-road into Commercial-street. As I passed Thrawl-street I passed a man standing at the corner of the street, and as I went towards Flower and Dean-street I met the woman Kelly, whom I knew very well, having been in her company a number of times. She said, 'Mr. Hutchinson, can you lend me sixpence?' I said I could not. She then walked on towards Thrawl-Street, saying she must go and look for some money. The man, who was standing at the corner of Thrawl-street then came towards her and put his hand on her shoulder and said something to her, which I did not hear, and they both burst out laughing. He put his hand again on her shoulder, and they both walked slowly towards me. I walked on to the corner of Fashion-street near the publichouse. As they came by me his arm was still on her shoulder. He had a soft felt hat on, and this was drawn down somewhat over his eyes. I put down my head to look him in the face, and he turned and looked at me very sternly, and they walked across the road to Dorset-street. I followed them across and stood at the corner of Dorset-street. They stood at the corner of Miller's-court for about three minutes. Kelly spoke to the man in a loud voice, saying, 'I have lost my handkerchief.' He pulled a red handkerchief out of his pocket and gave it to Kelly, and they both went up the court together. I went to look up the court to see if I could see them, but could not. I stood there for three-quarters of an hour, to see if they came down again, but they did not, and so I went away. My suspicions were aroused by seeing the man so well dressed, but I had no suspicion that he was the murderer. The man was about 5ft. 6in. in height, and 34 or 35 years of age, with dark complexion and dark moustache turned up at the ends. He was wearing a long dark coat trimmed with astrachan, a white collar with black necktie, in which was affixed a horse-shoe pin. He wore a pair of dark spats with light buttons over buttoned boots, and displayed from his waistcoat a massive gold chain. His watch chain had a big seal with a red stone hanging from it. He had a heavy moustache curled up, and dark eyes and bushy eyebrows. He had no side whiskers, and his chin was clean shaven. He looked like a foreigner. I went up the court and stayed there a couple of minutes, but did not see any light in the house or hear any noise. I was out last night until 3 o'clock looking for him. I could swear to the man anywhere. The man I saw carried a small parcel in his hand about 8in. long and it had a strap round it. He had it tightly grasped in his left hand. It looked as though it was covered with dark American cloth. He carried in his right hand, which he laid upon the woman's shoulder, a pair of brown kid gloves. He walked very softly. I believe that he lives in the neighbourhood, and I fancied that I saw him in Petticoat-lane on Sunday morning, but I was not certain. I went down to the Shoreditch mortuary to-day and recognized the body as being that of the woman Kelly, whom I saw at 2 o'clock on Friday morning. Kelly did not seem to me to be drunk, but was a little bit spreeish. After I left the court I walked about all night, as the place where I usually sleep was closed. I am able to fix the time, as it was between 10 and 5 minutes to 2 o'clock as I came by Whitechapel Church. When I left the corner of Miller's-court the clock struck 3 o'clock. One policeman went by the Commercial-street end of Dorset-street while I was standing there, but no one came down Dorset-street. I saw one man go into a lodging-house in Dorset-street, and no one else. I have been looking for the man all day."
The description of the murderer given by Hutchinson agrees in every particular with that already furnished by the police and published yesterday morning.
At a late hour last night the man Murphy was still in custody, and he will be detained until the result of police inquiries into his antecedents, which are being conducted at Gravesend, Woolwich, and other places, is known.
Before the House of Commons went into Committee of Supply yesterday, the HOME SECRETARY made a statement explaining more fully the circumstances of SIR CHARLES WARREN'S resignation. It appears from the correspondence which MR. MATTHEWS read that the late COMMISSIONER of POLICE resigned because he declined to submit to the rule prohibiting all officials connected with the Home Department from publishing any comments or criticisms on departmental matters. Indeed, SIR CHARLES WARREN directly challenged the validity of the rule, contending not only that it was opposed to the spirit of the statutes regulating the Metropolitan Police, but that it would, if enforced, leave the Commissioner and those under his command at the mercy of any irresponsible calumniator. The resignation tendered on these grounds was accepted, with not a little alacrity, by the HOME SECRETARY. It is, however, evident that the disagreement between SIR CHARLES WARREN and MR. MATTHEWS was not confined to this point. There are traces in the correspondence of earlier friction, and attention was drawn in the House to the fact that a previous offer to resign was mentioned. The country will not be satisfied if it is shown that SIR CHARLES WARREN, a very able and energetic public servant, who has maintained the peace in London during a most critical time, has been sacrificed not so much to the exigencies of official punctilio as to a vicious system of dual government. Later in the evening MR. BRADLAUGH revived the old charges against SIR CHARLES WARREN and the Home Office, alleging that the attempts to hold meetings in Trafalgar-square had been suppressed with brutal violence, and that in other respects the police had been encouraged to depart from their ordinary course of duty. MR. MATTHEWS declined to go into the matter, which, he said, ought to have been investigated, if there was any charge of wrong-doing, before the Courts of law. The debate was adjourned before the division was taken on MR. BRADLAUGH'S proposal to reduce the vote for the Commissioner's salary. Meanwhile a great deal will depend upon the appointment of SIR CHARLES WARREN'S successor. Of course rumour is already prematurely busy with this or that name, and speculations are ventured upon, in some quarters, in very confident and positive language. The HOME SECRETARY, however, declared yesterday that the statements he had seen upon the subject were "without any foundation in fact." It will be necessary, before any new appointment is made, to determine whether the Chief Commissioner is to be subjected to the disability against which SIR CHARLES WARREN protested, and whether he is or is not to remain responsible, not only for the force he actually controls, but for the semi-independent organization of the detective department.
SUPPOSED MURDER AT THE EAST-END. On Friday last William Wood, a waterman, was in his boat on the River Thames, off Wapping-stairs, when he noticed the body of a woman dressed in good clothing floating down the river. He secured the body and took it ashore. Wood communicated with the police and they removed the body to the mortuary. The deceased woman was fully dressed with the exception of hat and shoes, which were missing. Inquiries were at once made by the police, and it was ascertained that the body was that of Frances Annie Hancock, who had been missing since October 21. On that day he was seen in the Strand, in company with a tall, fair gentleman with a heavy moustache. She was wearing a gold necklace, and that was the last time she was seen alive. When the body was recovered the necklace was missing. Deceased resided at Prusom-street, Brixton, where, it is stated, she was supported by some gentleman at present unknown. At the inquiry held on Monday evening at the Vestry-hall, Shadwell, by Mr. Wynne E. Baxter, the coroner for the South-Eastern division of Middlesex, on the body of deceased, only evidence of identification was taken. Owing to the mysterious nature of the case and the suspicion that the deceased woman has met her death by foul means, the coroner adjourned the inquiry in order that a post mortem examination might be made of the body and to give the police an opportunity of fully inquiring into the facts of the case.
At CLERKENWELL, a man named AVERY was charged before Mr. Bros with assault under the following circumstances:-Soon after midnight on Monday the prisoner, who had been drinking, seized a man in the street, as a practical joke, and called out to him, "I'm Jack the Ripper, and this is how I do it," at the same time running his hand up the front of prosecutor's clothes. The prosecutor said he was seriously alarmed, and struggled with the prisoner. A constable came up and took the prisoner into custody. The magistrate said that at a time like the present such outrages must be stopped, and he sent the prisoner to gaol for 14 days without the option of a fine.
At Worship street, George Bartlett, 36, described as a jeweller, with no fixed abode, was charged with the unlawful possession of a silver sceptre and other articles supposed to have been stolen. Detective Inspector Reid, H Division, deposed that on the previous night, in Spitalfields, his attention was drawn to the prisoner, who was carrying a shiny black bag (produced). In appearance he somewhat answered the description circulated of a man who had been seen in the neighbourhood of the recent murders. He was followed, and in Brick lane stopped and requested to give some account of himself, particularly as to what he had got in the bag. He displayed great objection to exhibit the contents, and the police found the bag secured with a padlock. The man was removed to the station in Commercial street, and there produced the key of the bag. On opening it various articles were seen, consisting of handkerchiefs, a book, a screwdriver, and the silver staff, described as a sceptre, in question, but no knives. In a back pocket of the prisoner's trousers there was also found a shell, silver mounted. The prisoner was charged with the unlawful possession, but during Tuesday it was found that the church of Old St. Pancras had been broken into and the articles, with others - one stated to be a cross given by the Duke of York - carried off. On the application of the inspector the prisoner was given back into his custody to be charged at Clerkenwell with sacrilege. The magistrate (Mr. Montagu Williams, Q.C.) commended the inspector for the "intelligence and activity" he had shown in the capture.