28 February 1891
On Friday at the Working Lads' Institute, Whitechapel, Mr. Wynne E. Baxter resumed the hearing of the adjourned inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of Frances Cole [Coles], who was found with her throat cut, under an archway in Swallow-gardens, Whitechapel, early on the morning of the 13th inst. Mr. Charles Mathews again appeared for the Director of Public Prosecutions; and Mr. H. H. Lawless, instructed by the Sailors' and Firemen's Union, of which Sadler is a member, represented the accused. Superintendent Arnold and Inspector Flanagan, Criminal Investigation Department, watched the case for the police.
Sarah Fleming, deputy at the lodging-house, 8, White's-row, Spitalfields, said that she had been engaged in the capacity of deputy there since July last year. During that period she had known the woman whose body she had seen in the mortuary to sleep at the lodging-house at intervals. The deceased was known as Frances. The witness saw her in the kitchen at about half-past 10 on the night of the 13th inst. Shortly after 11 a man whom she had since seen in custody came to the house and asked for Frances. His face was then very dirty, as though he had had a fall; but the witness did not notice any blood on him. He asked to be allowed to go in the kitchen, but the witness refused to allow him to go. While her back was turned, however, he slipped in, and the witness afterwards saw him sitting by the side of the deceased in the kitchen. Frances left the house a little after 12, and the witness never saw her alive after. She did not see Sadler leave the house; but about 3 in the morning he came into the office and asked to be allowed to go into the kitchen. The witness refused, and Sadler called her a very hard-hearted woman. He complained of having been robbed. Blood was running down the sides of his face. There was blood on both cheeks and on the palm of his right hand.
Police-constable William Bogan deposed that at about 1.15 a.m. on the 13th inst. he found Sadler lying in the main entrance-gate of the London Dock. The witness lifted him up, and then noticed that he had a slight abrasion over the left eye. Sadler said he wanted to go in to get aboard his vessel, the Fez. The witness told him that he was too drunk to be admitted, and requested him to go away. A few moments after a couple of men came out of the docks and offered to pay Sadler's night's lodging. He refused, saying, "I don't want your money, you dock rats." Some more words passed, and the witness had to threaten to lock him up. The witness moved the man two or three yards further away and then left him. It would then be about 1.30 a.m. Half-an-hour later he again saw the man on the pavement in front of the Mint. He was then in company with Sergeant Edwards, and complained of having been assaulted near the London Docks. He said that he had been kicked in the ribs, and was afraid they were broken. Police-constable 161 H came up while they were talking, and in company with Sergeant Edwards and the man proceeded in the direction of the Minories, leaving the witness alone. It would take four or five minutes for a man to walk from Swallow-gardens to the place where the witness met the sailor. When the witness saw the man the second time he had some fresh wounds. There was blood running down the right side of his face. It was quite possible the man might have been assaulted since the witness saw him at the dock gates.
John Dooley, a dock labourer, stated that about 1.15 on the morning of Friday, the 13th inst., he was in company with another dock labourer, named Harvey, outside the gates of the London Docks. A man, who appeared very drunk, wanted to go through the gate, but this the gatekeeper would not allow, and the policeman on duty there pushed him away. Harvey spoke to the man and advised him to go away, whereupon he abused Harvey and struck him. The witness went to his mate's assistance, when the man also struck him. It was not a violent blow. The witness told the man that if the policeman were not present he would "give him something." The policeman soon after went away. The witness noticed that there were some grazes on the man's face. After the constable had gone away, the witness struck the man with his fist on the left side, knocking him down. In falling he struck his head against the door of the gate. The witness and his mate then went away, returning to the lodging-house together. The witness remained up to make some tea, and about 10 minutes after the same man whom he had struck came and knocked at the door and entered the kitchen where the witness was. His head was then bleeding, and blood was running down his face. Mr. Peakall, the landlord of the house, was then in the kitchen, and the man asked him for a bed. Mr. Peakall told him to go to the hospital and get his head dressed first, and then he could have a bed.
George Peakall, landlord of the Melbourne Chambers, a common lodging-house in East Smithfield, stated that on the morning of the 13th inst., about a quarter to 2, a man came into the lobby and asked him whether he could have a bed. The witness told him that he could not, on account of the condition he was in. He had a cut over the right eye. The man said he had been knocked down and robbed, adding that he had no money. He was very drunk, and as he was leaving remarked, "You're a pretty lot of beauties."
Police-sergeant Wesley Edwards deposed that at about 2 a.m. on the morning of the 13th inst., he was on duty at the Mint-pavement, when a man, whom he had since identified as Sadler, came up and complained that he had been assaulted by some men at the dock gates. He asked him how it occurred, and Sadler gave an account of the attack made upon him. The witness then went on to say that he walked with the man about 30 yards in the direction of the Minories, and was joined by Police-constable Hyde. They examined the man's ribs to see if they were broken, and the constable said that the ribs were not broken, but only bruised. The man then walked away, saying, "No, I don't think I'm so much hurt, after all." Altogether there was not more than 10 minutes between the time he met the man and the time he left him. The Tower clock struck 2 as Constable Hyde arrived. It would take a man from two to three minutes to walk from the spot where they parted, which was about 30 yards from the Mint-pavement to Swallow-gardens. The man walked away very sharply.
Police-constable Frederick Hyde stated that on the morning of the 13th he was on duty in the vicinity of the Mint-pavement, when he saw Sergeant Edwards in company with a man whom he had since identified as Thomas Sadler. The Tower clock struck 2 as the witness got up to them. When Sadler left he proceeded in the direction of the Minories. It was two or three minutes past 2 when he left.
Solomon Gutteridge, employed by the Great Northern Railway, said he was positive that there was nobody in the roadway when he passed through the archway at about 2.12 a.m.
James Flanagan, an inspector of police, said he was called to Swallow-gardens at 2.30 a.m., and in the archway he found Dr. Oxley examining the dead body of a woman. On the removal of the body he made an examination of the archway. He found a piece of newspaper, and on opening it saw that it contained 2s.
Other witnesses were examined who testified to Sadler's movements after half-past 3 o'clock. The inquest was then adjourned.
The inquest was resumed on Monday.
A waiter at a coffee-house in Whitechapel said that he served Sadler with some cocoa at half-past 6 on the morning of the murder. He was drunk, and complained that his ribs were broken.
A fish porter, named Haswell, said that he saw the deceased woman leave some refreshment rooms at a quarter to 2, and walk away in the direction of Brick-lane.
Duncan Campbell, a seaman, said that at Sadler's solicitation he bought from him a clasp knife with a metal handle at half-past 10 on the morning of the murder. When he heard of the murder he examined the knife, and could see no stains upon it. On rubbing it with his fingers in water the water was slightly coloured.
Edward Delaforce Gray, clerk at the Tower Hill shipping office, proved the presentation at half-past 10 in the morning of Sadler's wages certificate for £4 15s. 1d.
A statement made by Sadler to Inspector Swanson when he was brought to Leman-street Station was put in and read. It gave a detailed account of his doings and whereabouts from the time he was discharged from the Fez steamer on the 11th inst. Sadler also stated that after he had been knocked about at the dock gates, he went to the lodging-house, and found Cole there. When he was turned out of the house, leaving the woman behind, he believed he went towards the London Hospital. He denied having had a knife in his possession.
Other evidence having been taken, Mr. Oxley, the surgeon who was called to see the body on its discovery, expressed his opinion that the wound could not have been inflicted by a man who was incapably drunk, and that the knife purchased by Campbell could hardly have produced so large and clean a cut.
The inquiry was then adjourned.