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Weekly Herald
September 28th, 1888



A young woman named Jane Beatmoor, 28 years of age, was the victim of a horrible murder at Birtley, near Gateshead on Saturday night or Sunday morning. It appears that the deceased, who was in delicate health, had been at the Gateshead Dispensary on Saturday for medicine, and on returning home she went out to purchase some sweets with which to take her medicine. She called at several farms while she was out, and at half-past seven at night left the house of an acquaintance named Mr. Newell, evidently with the intention of returning home. She had not arrived at eleven o'clock, and her mother and step-father went to look for her without success, and concluded that she must have spent the night with some neighbour. Early in the morning, a miner, named John Fish, going to work found the body of the deceased at the bottom of the railway embankment in a horribly mutilated condition. The conty police were communicated with and Superintendent Harrison and Sergeant Hutchinson, of Birtley, were soon on the spot. A closer inspection revealed the fact that the lower part of the deceased's body had been cut open and the entrails torn out. She was also cut about the face. The body was conveyed home and a doctor sent for. The affair has caused quite a panic in the district, the resemblance to the Whitechapel tragedies encouraging the idea that the maniac who has been at work in London has travelled down to the North of England to pursue his fiendish vocation. No arrests have been made. Further inquiries made at the scene of the murder do not diminish the shocking brutality of the crime. The unfortunate woman is stabbed in three places--once in the bowels and twice in the face. The wound in the body is very deep, the knife having knocked a piece off the vertebrae. The body was found only a few hundred yards from the Girls' Home by the side of the Colliery Railway. She was last seen at eight o'clock on Saturday night alone, and the man Fish found her about half-past seven on Sunday morning. There were no marks of a struggle, and no trace of footsteps. The police are completely baffled, as the murderer has left not the slightest clue. During Sunday thousands of persons visited the spot where the body was found, and the affair has caused the utmost consternation.

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