Wednesday, 9 January 1889
Yesterday the shocking murder of a woman at Godalming was brought to light. It appears that on Monday evening an artist, named Jenkins, enticed his sweetheart, named Emily Jay, into his studio, which is situated in a garden almost in the middle of the town. He there first seduced her, and then strangled her and made off, locking up the place. Yesterday he walked into the Punchbowl Inn, about ten miles distant, and confessed the deed. The landlord at once took him to Guildford and handed him over to the police, to whom he made a statement. Two constables were sent over to Godalming, and found the body as described by the prisoner, the face being a horrible sight, a handkerchief being stuffed into her mouth and a boa tied tightly round her neck. The body awaits an inquest.
The murderer, Ebenezer Jenkins, on being questioned by Superintendent Berry, of the borough police, stated that he had committed the murder about 8 o'clock on Monday night, and that his victim was his sweetheart, Emily Jay by name, and about 19 years of age. Jenkins further said that he was an artist, and had resided with the girl's mother, and had kept company with the deceased, to whom he was engaged. He had enticed her into his studio, which was situated some distance from the house, and had ravished her and strangled her. Jenkins then handed over the key of the studio to Superintendent Berry. After making this statement Jenkins became very excited, and expressed a hope that he might be hanged. He was detained in custody, and was later on handed over to the county police, who were quickly on the spot, together with Deputy Chief Constable Barker, who has charge of the case. The news of the murder soon spread, and the spot was visited by hundreds of persons during the evening. A doctor who was called in declared from a casual examination of the body that death was due to strangulation. Much sympathy is felt for the relatives of the deceased girl, her mother being a widow. The deceased and Jenkins appeared to be on most affectionate terms, and were seen walking in the direction of the studio about 7.30, or half an hour before the time Jenkins says he committed the deed. The studio, it may be mentioned, is only about 200 yards from the principal street of Godalming, and it is situated within a few yards of a main road, while it is also surrounded by cottages. It is thought strange that no cries for help were heard. The victim was a quiet and steady girl and well known in the town. Jenkins is an artist by profession, and is well connected. He was always fashionably dressed and mixed in good society. He is about 21 years of age. Half an hour after committing the deed he appears to have entered a public house close to where he lives, and had something to drink, which he paid for with a jubilee half crown. The coin has since been identified as the one which the deceased wore in her brooch, and this Jenkins has admitted. After leaving the public house he appears to have made his way towards Haslemere and to have slept the night at the Seven Thorns public house, about eight miles distant. The Coroner for West Surrey has been communicated with, and the inquest will probably be held today. The prisoner was last night brought before one of the county magistrates, and, sufficient evidence having been given, he was remanded until Saturday next.
Some blood has been found on the prisoner's shirt sleeves and the front of his shirt, which he says came from a bite which the girl inflicted on his finger. The prisoner also states that he prayed for the girl after he has murdered her. No motive has been assigned for the crime, but it is believed the prisoner's mind had been affected by reading the accounts of the Whitechapel murders.