The Times (London).
24 March 1892
Perth (Western Australia), March 23.
The Windsor and Rainhill murders occupy public attention here to the exclusion of almost every other topic. The scene in Court yesterday was unparalleled in the history of the colony, and has been compared to that which is usually witnessed at a sensational trial in the backwoods of America. No fewer than 30 justices of the peace were present. Most of them had to be content with standing room, and some sat on the edge of the bench.
The detective who arrested Williams at Southern Cross states that he found him reading a newspaper which had just been received, and which contained an announcement of the discovery of the Windsor murder. Mr. Haynes, Deeming's solicitor, is concentrating his efforts upon delaying as long as possible the extradition of the accused. To this end he is throwing every obstacle that his ingenuity can suggest in the way of the prisoner's embarking in the Ballaarat on Saturday next. Should he succeed in postponing Deeming's removal to Melbourne, he will appeal to the Supreme Court, and in this way the extradition may be indefinitely delayed.
The prisoner has passed another bad night, having been exceedingly restless and wakeful. Today, consequently, he looks haggard, unnerved, and miserable, and it is considered very probable that his health will completely break down before he can be removed. The various dates and other facts bearing upon the case which have been cabled from England have disabused the public mind of the idea that the man in custody was Jack the Ripper. It is calculated that, since Deeming is known to have arrived at the Cape under the name of Ward about April 3, 1888, the date of the first murder in Whitechapel, and to have remained in that colony beyond the period over which the murders extended, he cannot possibly have had anything to do with the London crimes.
The Court was densely crowded today when "Swanston" was again placed in the dock, and the greatest popular excitement prevailed both inside and outside the building. Even the bench was crowded, and every inch of standing room was occupied. Swanston seemed rather less careworn, having apparently recovered somewhat from the effects of his sleepless night. He frequently smiled at amusing episodes in the course of the proceedings, and laughed outright when Mr. Hirschfeldt, the witness who identified him yesterday, was checked for referring to him as the murderer of his wife, the magistrate pointing out that this was prejudging the case.
Cawsey, the Melbourne detective who arrived yesterday with the original warrant for Swanston's arrest, now produced that document, along with the information which was sworn by Considine, another Melbourne detective, and was signed by Mr. Nicholson, police magistrate in that city. At this point an objection was raised by Mr. Haynes, the prisoner's solicitor, on the ground that a verbal correction had been made in the warrant, the date it bore having been altered from 1892 to 1891. The objection, after some discussion, was overruled. Cawsey then deposed to having arrested the accused on Tuesday, the 8th inst., under the Fugitive Offenders Act, which, he said, was in force both in Victoria and Western Australia. Mr. Haynes demanded that proof should be given of the latter assertion, and it was furnished by the production of the official Gazettes. Cawsey was subjected by Mr. Haynes to a searching cross examination, which did not, however, shake his testimony in any way.
Mr. Hirschfeldt was next placed in the witness box, and swore to the identity of the prisoner with the man who was his fellow passenger on board the Kaiser Wilhelm II in November last, and was then passing under the name of Williams. He further stated that he had seen the prisoner in Melbourne subsequently to the arrival of the vessel. He had not, however, seen the prisoner's wife after they reached Melbourne, but he had viewed the body after the discovery of the murder, and had, at a later stage of the proceedings, identified it at the morgue.
This evidence was also made the subject of a severe cross examination, but no admissions tending to diminish its effect were elicited. The local inspector of police thereupon asked the Court to remit the case to Melbourne for trial.
Mr. Haynes objected to this course, contending that the provisional warrant was invalid.
The magistrate replied that it was too late now to raise such an objection, the original warrant having been actually executed and being now in force.
The prisoner was then formally remanded to take his trial at Melbourne.
Mt. Haynes gave notice that he would move in the Supreme Court for a writ of habeas corpus, a proceeding which, if successful, would serve to delay the prisoner's removal for a week. The presiding magistrate, however, decided against Mr. Haynes on every point, although that gentleman in his appeal on the Bench declared that all the telegrams which had been received in reference to the murder were erroneous and misleading.
During these proceedings, which he followed with the keenest attention, Swanston frequently changed his position, in order to prevent several artists, who were present in Court, from sketching his portrait. His defence was very skilfully conducted by Mr. Haynes, who did all he could to trip up the detective Cawsey in testing his knowledge of the facts of the case. For instance, he tried to force the witness to commit himself as to the name of the woman whose remains were discovered at Windsor. Was he prepared, the solicitor for the defence demanded, to swear that the victim's name was Emily? Cawsey, however, refused to commit himself, explaining that he not quite certain on that point. The name might be Emily or it might be Nelly; he could not swear which. The evident object of this point in the cross examination was to support the objection subsequently raised to a remand to Victoria on the ground that the description of the murdered woman was not sufficiently specific, the murdered woman being called Emily in one warrant, and Nelly in another. Mr. Haynes also strenuously endeavoured to make out that the identification was insufficient and by no means that Williams and Swanston were one and the same person. The magistrate who dealt with the case was Mr. Cowan.
A scene of great excitement occurred when the prisoner was removed from the Court to his place of confinement. He was loudly hooted by the crowd, while many of those present, especially the women, yelled at him all kinds of abusive epithets. In accordance with the magisterial remand, Swanston will leave Perth today in charge of the detective Cawsey and a couple of constables. It has transpired that while he was detained in custody at Southern Cross Swanston was at his own request visited by an Anglican clergyman. Reuter's Special Service.
Brisbane, March 23.
Yet another discovery has been made, throwing light on the remarkable career of Deeming in Australia. It has already been stated that he visited Queensland, and the Brisbane police have received information from a lady at Rockhampton which may lead to a fresh charge being added to the list already preferred against the accused. On laving Rockhampton, Williams came to Brisbane, accompanied by a woman, and rented a furnished home in the suburb of Milton. At the time when the rent became due both he and his companion disappeared, and all efforts to trace them proved fruitless. Inquiries since made have elicited the fact that when the landlord, after a few days, entered the house to retake possession, he found remnants of a woman's clothing in the garden. Reuter.
The constables resumed their excavations at Dinham villa, Rainhill, early yesterday morning. The cement in the kitchen, in the passage, and in the smaller kitchen has been entirely removed, and the earth excavated both there and in the pantry, the floor level of which had been raised a step by Deeming and boarded by Joseph Pickering. The back garden has also been dug up, the flags removed, and an excavation made in the coach house. Nothing new was discovered.
While Deeming lived at Birkenhead he was a regular customer of a druggist named Hobson, to whom he professed himself to be a doctor. When he was in the shop one day a well known local medical man entered, and Deeming introduced himself in familiar tones, but the doctor did not like his flashy appearance, with his fur lined overcoat and profuse display of jewellery. Whenever he visited St. Helen's, however, Deeming adopted a morose, taciturn disposition.
It is stated that one man invited to participate in Deeming's banquet at the Commercial Hotel pleaded that his clothes were too shabby, whereupon Deeming gave him five sovereigns to purchase suitable garments. When the dinner was about to be served it was found that there were fewer guests than were expected, and messengers were sent out in search of persons willing to partake of the good things prepared.
Yesterday the box of clothing which Deeming sent to Plymouth in August last, and which has been lying at the railway station ever since, reached Superintendent Keighley at Widnes Police Station, where it was opened and examined. A complete list of the contents was written down. It will be recollected that the Plymouth police had examined the box and found to contain women's and children's clothing with marks supposed to be bloodstained.
A Reuter telegram from Bristol says that yesterday one of the prominent Bristol jewellers made a statement to the effect that a man giving the name of Swanston, and answering in every detail to the description of Deeming, the alleged Rainhill murderer, visited his shop some 15 to 18 months ago and selected articles of jewellery to the value of £250. He gave his name as Swanston and paid for the jewellery by cheque. He said he was stopping at one of the principal hotels in that city. Being satisfied of the bona fides of his customer, who was a perfect stranger to him, the tradesman allowed him to take away a valuable diamond ring worth £90 on approval, and he undertook to get down from London some expensive jewellery which the visitor required. During the two or three days that elapsed before the goods were sent to Bristol the jeweller seems to have received intelligence warning him about the accused, and, when Deeming returned to the shop for the other goods the jeweller managed by a ruse to regain possession of the diamond ring.