The Times (London).
27 November 1888
An atrocious murder was committed last evening at Havant. Between 6 and 7 o'clock a boy named Searle, aged eight years, was seen by another boy named Husband in North street, going in the direction of the Pallant, a well traversed thoroughfare. Husband soon afterwards heard screams coming from the direction in which Searle had gone. Meeting a man named Platt, Husband said he believed that a boy was being murdered in the Pallant. Platt hastened to the spot and found the body of the boy lying against some palings still alive. He had four terrible gashes in this throat. His face was covered with blood. He died immediately afterwards. The police soon were on the alert, and the greatest vigilance was shown. Every outhouse and empty building was searched, but in vain. At 9 o'clock last night a knife was discovered about eight yards from the spot where the murder was committed. The knife is an ordinary back handle pocket knife. The little blade, which was shut, was broken in two, and the large blade, which was open, was stained with blood from one end to the other. The general opinion was at the outset that this was the work of Jack the Ripper, a letter read a few days since and some writing on the shutter in Hanover street, Portsmouth, giving some colour to this supposition. A cooler consideration of the circumstances, however, would lead one to suppose that the horrible deed was not committed by a skilful hand. One cut alone would have been sufficient for the purpose, whereas four clumsy gashes were inflicted. The absence of motive is also perplexing.
One man was arrested on suspicion, some slight coloured marks on his face and his general behaviour attracting suspicion. He wore a sealskin cap and long coat, and was carrying a small bundle. He had dark whiskers, with slight moustache. When arrested he was about to leave by train. He said nothing in reply to the charge. A knife was found on him. It is though that the knife will be instrumental in the ultimate capture of the perpetrator of the murder. The greatest sympathy is expressed for the parents of the deceased, who is described as a quiet, sharp and inoffensive lad.