Saturday, 20 July 1889
The neighbourhood of Castle-alley, the scene of Wednesday's murder, was last night again thrown into the wildest excitement by an attack on another of the class of women who have been selected for the victims of the recent murders in this district. A woman was heard crying in East Aldgate for help. In the frame of mind that the populace were then, it needed but little alarm to bring a thousand persons together in a remarkably short time, especially in the main thoroughfare at 10 o'clock in the evening. It was about a quarter to 10, when a woman - one of those females whose attire is peculiar to the district - was seen to approach with a man from a dark portion of the thoroughfare near the Aldgate East Station, Whitechapel. The pair did not remain long at the corner before the woman was heard to cry aloud, "No! I won't." The man then seized her, dragged her a short distance along the ground, and flung her upon the kerb. He seized her hair with one hand and with the other produced a knife, with which he struck her. Her screams of "Jack the Ripper" and "Murder" soon attracted attention, and crowds of men and women ran from all directions to the spot whence the screams proceeded. The woman was struggling with her assailant, and the blood with which she was covered gave rise to the dreadful suspicion that she was in the hands of the dreaded and mysterious murderer. Amongst those who first arrived on the scene were several members of the local vigilance association, who have only just recommenced their work, and before the man had time to get far he was seized, and a struggle ensued. It was seen that the man had a long knife in his hand, and it was some time before he could be deprived of it. It was eventually taken from him, but even then his fight for liberty was determined, and in the fray the woman crawled away. Police whistles were heard in all directions, and soon a great number of officers, both of the City and metropolitan force, were on the scene. When the police came up the man was cut and bleeding profusely from wounds inflicted by the mob, who had raised the cry of "Lynch him," and were throwing all kinds of missiles at him. Under a strong escort of City and metropolitan police he was got to the Commercial-street Police Station, where he was charged. When asked whether he had anything to say in reply to the charge he replied, "The woman robbed me." When asked why he drew the dagger he replied, "In self-defence." He said he was a sailor and gave a Scotch name, and said he arrived from South Shields about a week ago. When asked where he was on the morning of the 17th inst., he said he could not say. He did not know where he had stayed whilst in London. On being searched a smaller knife was found in his possession, together with a seaman's discharge.
Albert Backert, of 13, Newnham-street, Whitechapel, one of the Vigilance Committee, who seized the knife and whose clothes were bloodstained, has made a statement which tallies in every respect with the foregoing account, and in the course of which he says that the assailant held the woman's hair in the right hand and the knife in the left.
At 2 o'clock this morning the police had made no fresh arrests. The man had, after careful inquiry into all the circumstances, been liberated, the woman having failed to come forward to prefer a charge.
A man named Brodie, who is well known to the police, having suffered 14 years penal servitude, and who, in fact, is now a license holder, yesterday presented himself at the Leman-street Police-station and gave himself up as the author of the last eight murders committed in Whitechapel. It was at once seen that the man was wandering in his mind and not accountable for what he stated. On being spoken to he re-iterated his statement concerning killing the eight women, and also stated where he had concealed the knife with which he alleged he had stabbed Alice M'Kenzie. The absurdity of his statement regarding the first seven poor creatures was at once apparent, for it is known by the police that when they met with their deaths Brodie was at the Cape of Good Hope, and only returned to England a fortnight ago. It was also conclusively proved that he had nothing to do with causing the death of Alice M'Kenzie. This morning Brodie will be charged before Mr. Lushington at the Thames Police-court with being a wandering lunatic. The report of the capture caused renewed excitement in the East-end, and large crowds of persons again visited Castle-alley, although there is now nothing to be seen there except the spot where the woman was killed. The district is now well covered with police. One singular feature in connexion with the recent murder is that a man is invariably in charge up to 1 o'clock in the morning of the barrows in Castle-alley, but on this particular night, in consequence of not feeling well, he went home at half-past 11. Had this unfortunate circumstance not happened he would in all probability have witnessed the committal of the crime.