9 April 1891
(Before SIR P.H. EDLIN, Q.C., Chairman, sitting
JOHN HILL, 31, a ship's fireman, was indicted for an assault with intent to ravish. Mr. Besley prosecuted for the Treasury. The prosecutrix, Elizabeth Tilley, a woman of respectable appearance, said she was a widow, and gained her living as a laundress. About 9 p.m. on March 10 she was returning from a house near the East India Docks, where she had been at work, to her home at Bromley. In Old Brunswick-road, or, as she called it, the Dock-walk, the prisoner ran out from a dark passage. Witness was carrying a parcel and an umbrella. The prisoner seized her and threw her to the ground, which was covered with snow. Twice she rose to her feet, and each time he threw her down again. The third time he fell with her. He held her by a handkerchief which she had round her throat, and thrust his fingers into her mouth to prevent her from screaming. He told her that "Jack," meaning, it was suggested, "Jack the Ripper," had got her, and threatened to use his knife against her if she was not quiet. Witness then described the further acts of the prisoner. A boy who was passing witnessed this part of the assault, but, although she called on him for help, he did not interfere. She said she continued to struggle, and at last escaped from him, and ran down the street until she met some men, into whose arms she fell exhausted. Police-constable 61 K R then came up, and at once searched the neighbouring streets and publichouses. He found the prisoner in a court near the scene of the assault. He was carrying the parcel which the prosecutrix had left on the ground, and appeared to have been drinking. The constable, in spite of violent resistance from the prisoner, succeeded in taking him to the police-station. The jury found the prisoner Guilty, and commended the constable for the promptness with which he had acted. The learned Chairman said he had been struck by the prisoner's manner during the trial, and should postpone sentence until the medical officers of the prison had had an opportunity of seeing him.