The Times (London).
Saturday, 28 February 1891.
THE WHITECHAPEL MURDER.
Yesterday Mr. Wynne E. Baxter, coroner for East London, resumed his inquiry at the Working Lads’ Institute, Whitechapel, into the circumstances attending the death of Frances Coles, aged 26, who was found dead in Swallow-Gardens, Whitechapel, early on the morning of the 13th inst. James Thomas Sadler, a ship's fireman, now stands remanded from the Thames Police-court, charged with having caused the death of the deceased. Mr. Mathews appeared on behalf of the Treasury; and Mr. Lawless again watched the interests of Sadler.
Sergeant George Bush (Criminal Investigation Department) was called and put in a plan of the locality, showing all the places mentioned in the evidence and the distances from the given points to the scene of the murder. He added that there were eight different routes leading from the archway by which a person might get away, but there were only two entrances to Swallow-gardens itself. A ground plan of the archway was also put in.
Edward Gerard Delaforce, re-called, produced the original articles of the s.s. Liz, showing that she left London on December 24 last, arriving back on the 11th inst. The signatures of Thomas Sadler, fireman, showed when he signed on and off.
John Johnson said, - I am a deputy at the Victoria-chambers, lodging house, 40, Upper East Smithfield. On the early morning of Friday, February 13, Sadler came to the lodging-house, about a quarter-past 1, and asked for a bed, but said he had no money. I told him he could not have a bed without the money. He then began to abuse me very much. I noticed on the left side of his face a scratch, as though he had fallen on his face. I did not notice any blood on his face. He went away soon after, but I do not know in what direction he went. At 6 p.m. the same day he came again and begged my pardon. He then took his bag (a seaman’s) up to No. 36 room. I noticed that his head was hurt, and he told me that he had had it dressed at the London Hospital. He stayed there that night, and the next day the police came and took his bag away.
Thomas Johnson, an able seaman, belonging to the Mandolar, deposed. - I was at the Sailors’ Home, Well-street, and I know Duncan Campbell, who was at the Sailors’ Home with me. I was in the hall on the morning of the 13th inst., and was standing by the fire. Campbell was there also, and I saw another man going out of the hall. That was about 10:30. I did not notice him much, but he had a mark on his left cheek. He was wearing a cap with a shiny peak. I think he was wearing a striped coat, but I am not sure. After the man had gone Campbell told me he had bought a knife for a shilling. On Sunday I went to the Leman-street Police-station, and I recognized the man I had seen in the hall. He was among a lot of others. On Tuesday last, at the Thames Police-court, I again recognized the man I had seen in the hall on the Friday.
By Mr. Lawless. - When we went to Leman-street first I was not asked to identify any one. Several people came in, and Sadler was picked out. At that time I was standing in the row.
Mr. Lawless. - Then you were not asked to identify the man until somebody else had done so in your presence? Witness. - No. I was in the hall before Campbell came in, but I did not see the man speaking to Campbell. I only saw him as he was going out of the door. I did not notice any scar on the man’s forehead.
By the CORONER. - It is not an uncommon thing for a man to have a scar on his face.
By the Jury. - I recognized the man most by his beard and moustache, and also the mark on the cheek.
Mr. Lawless. - You also recognized him as the man you had seen picked out at Leman-street? Witness. - Yes.
Florence Davis, living at the Swan publichouse, Whitechapel-road, said, - On Wednesday, the 11th inst., I remember a man and a woman coming to the house about 12 o’clock. I served them, and the man bought half a pint of whisky, which he took away in a bottle. On Friday morning, the 13th of February, in consequence of something said to me by the barmaid, I looked into the bar, and there saw the man I believe I saw on the previous Wednesday. I have seen the body of the dead woman and also the man Sadler, and I recognize both as the woman and man I saw in the publichouse.
Henry Moore, Inspector Criminal Investigation Department, Scotland-yard, said, - I was at Leman-street on the night of Sunday, the 15th inst., about 11:45, and I told the accused that I was going to prefer a charge against him of wilfully causing the death of Frances Coles, at Swallow-gardens, Whitechapel, on the morning of the 13th inst. He replied, in an undertone, "Yes, yes". I asked him to pay attention while the charge was being read, and he replied, "I don’t see the reason; I know the charge, and I suppose I shall have to go through the routine." I was then searching him, and he said, "The old man has made a mistake about the knife; he never saw me before." I found on him a purse, £2 17s. 4d., 36 seamen’s discharges, a wages account, and eight lottery tickets, a quantity of loose tobacco (no caked tobacco), and a postal order for £2. As he was moved off to the cells he said, "Make it as light as you can, gentlemen."
Edmund Reid, Detective Inspector H Division, gave evidence as to seeing the body of the woman in Swallow-gardens on the morning of the 13th inst., about 3:10. He had it removed to the Whitechapel Mortuary. He produced the two hats found with the body.
Mr. Matthews intimated that those were all the witnesses he intended to call, and Mr. Lawless then said that he wished to call a witness.
Ellen Callana, of 3, North-east-passage, Cable-street, E. - a lodging house - said, - I know the deceased woman, Frances Coles. I have known her for five years. I remember Thursday, the 12th inst., and saw her drinking with Sadler. I next saw her at 6 o’clock, and she was still with Sadler. At 1:30 a.m. I saw her again by the Princess Alice.
Mr. Lawless. - How do you fix the time? Witness. - She told me she had been turned out of Shuttleworth’s, where she had been having something to eat. I went by the publichouse clock. I walked up Commercial-street towards the Minories with her, and asked her what she was going to do. A man spoke to me. He was a very short man, with a dark moustache, shiny boots, and blue trousers, and had the appearance of a sailor. It was not Sadler. Because I would not go with him he punched me and tore my jacket. Frances was about three or four yards away at the time. We were both just getting over drunkenness. He went and spoke to Frances then, and I said, "Frances, don’t go with that man, I don’t like his look." She replied, "I will," and I then said, "If you are going with that man I will bid you goodnight." I left them at the bottom of Commercial-street going towards the Minories, and I went to Theobald’s lodging-house, Brick-lane. I watched them till they turned round by the publichouse into White-street. I first heard of the murder on Friday at 5 a.m., and in consequence of advice I went to Leman-street Police-station and stated what I knew. I was then taken to the mortuary and identified the body as that of Frances.
By the CORONER. - I have never told any one that it was 3 in the morning when I saw Frances with a man.
By Mr. Mathews. - I made a second statement to the police, and I then said it was a mistake. It was not 3 o’clock. I had been drinking with Frances on and off all the day.
By the Jury. - The deputy at Theobald’s lodging-house could tell the time I arrived there.
The CORONER. - Have you asked?
Witness. - Yes. It was about 2 o’clock.
William Friday, a carman in the employ of the Great Northern Railway Company, said, - I am known by the nickname of "Jumbo." On Friday, the 13th inst., I left home about 12:30, and went to the Great Northern Railway depot in Mint-street. I went for a walk with two of my mates, and I lost them in a crowd. I returned to Mint-street alone, entering by the Leman-street end. It was then about 20 minutes to 2. I fixed the time, as I left the depot about a quarter to 2 for my horses. On my way to the station in Royal Mint-street I noticed a man and woman on the opposite side, about five yards from Blue Anchor-yard. That would be 40 or 50 yards from Swallow-gardens. They were standing together, and appeared to be talking. I returned along Mint-street, after booking on, and saw the man and woman standing in the same place. I passed close to them and noticed the woman was dressed in black, and wearing a crape hat. At that time I did not know Frances Coles, and I thought it was a young woman I knew by the name of Kate M’Carthy and her young man Thomas Fowles. I found it was neither Kate nor her young man. The man had a hard felt hat on with a broad rim, and was wearing a dark brown overcoat with a velvet collar. They were standing at the doorway of the house were M’Carthy lives, and that was what made me think it was her. I did not see the man’s face when I passed him: his back was towards me. I went to my stables in Blue Anchor-yard, and when I got back to the station I heard of the murder. I was perfectly sober.
By Mr. Mathews. - I made a statement to the police, and said, - As I passed along I saw a man and woman near a warehouse standing close together. It was quite dark and I could not see what they were like. When I passed again the man turned his head to the door, and the girl hung her head down and I only saw her neck and her hat.
Mr. Mathews. - Then how do you know it was not M’Carthy?
Witness. - I am sure of that; she is not so tall. If it had been her I should have spoken to both her and Fowles. I was taken to the mortuary, but did not identify the woman, although I did the hat by the beads.
By the CORONER. - The man was about 5ft. 8in., and wore a scarf round his neck.
Kate M’Carthy said, - I live at 42, Royal Mint-street. I am engaged to Thomas Fowles. On Thursday, the 12th inst., I was out with him and arrived home at 1:15 and stood talking in the doorway. I stood there for about an hour, and when I got upstairs it was about a quarter-past 2. I saw two men named Knapton and another man pass on the other side, and one of them called out "Good-night." Shortly afterwards Jumbo passed on the opposite side, but I did not see him again.
By Mr. Lawless. - I made a statement to the effect that I stood talking half an hour and that it was a quarter to 2 when I got upstairs. The clock was striking and it must have been a quarter past 2.
The CORONER. - How do you know the time?
Witness. - Because Fowles says so. He looked at his watch.
Thomas Fowles, doorkeeper at the United Brothers’ Club, Commercial-street, said, - I do not leave my work till past 12 o’clock. I arrived at the doorway of Kate’s house about 1 o’clock. I stood there talking for about an hour. I was dressed much the same as I am now and had on a short pilot coat. I did not have an overcoat on. I saw Jumbo pass on the opposite side of the way, but did not see him pass again. It was only five or six minutes after he passed that I stopped there. It must have been about ten minutes past 2, as when I got home it was a quarter-past 2 by my watch.
By Mr. Lawless. - I told Inspector Moore it was about 2 o’clock when I got home. I did not tell him I looked at my watch. I have never mentioned the watch till to-day. Jumbo could not have passed on the same side as I was without my seeing him.
The CORONER then summed up at great length, placing all the facts adduced by the witnesses in review. The case, he said, had many characteristics in common with the murders which had preceded it; but it was for the jury to decide, taking well into consideration Sadler’s drunken condition, the conflicting evidence as to times and the connected account given by him of his movements before and after the murder was committed, whether they could fairly charge him with the deed, or must attribute it to some person or persons unknown.
The jury retired to consider their verdict, and on their return, the foreman said: - "We find that the deceased was wilfully murdered by some person or persons unknown, and we wish to say that we think the police did their duty in detaining Sadler."