Friday, 14 September 1888
THE sensation of the week has been Saturday's discovery, in a densely populated part of East London, of the barbarously mutilated body of a murdered woman, making the fourth crime of a similar ghastly sort which has been perpetrated within a stone's throw of one spot in the space of a few months. The excitement incident upon the published reports of this latest atrocity, and the indignation because the guilty party or parties have so long evaded discovery and punishment, have been intense. Nothing in blood-curdling melodrama or fiction is more horrible than these tragedies which are shocking London and the rest of the land. It is to be earnestly hoped that the police will not only be able to bring to justice any person in any way responsible for the fiendish slaughter of the poor outcasts of the East End of London, but that they will also succeed in taking such steps as will prevent the repetition of outrages which would put a naked savage to the blush. Changes have taken place just now in the Criminal Investigation and Detective Departments at Scotland Yard, and the re-organisation of these important branches of the Metropolitan Police ought to lead to greater vigilance and higher efficiency among the officials responsible for ferreting out the evil-doers. There is at present a long and sadly unsatisfactory list of undiscovered London murders, and each addition thereto goes to give a further shaking to the public confidence in the skill of the guardians of life and property.
A FOURTH WOMAN MURDERED AND MUTILATED.
Another murder of a character even more diabolical than that recently perpetrated in Buck's-row, Whitechapel, was discovered on the 8th inst. in the same neighbourhood. At about six o'clock in the morning a woman was found lying in a back yard at the foot of a passage leading to a lodging-house in Old Brown's-lane, Spitalfields. The house is occupied by a Mrs. Emilia Richardson, who lets it out to various lodgers, and it seems that the door which admits into this passage, at the foot of which lies the yard where the body was found, is always open for the convenience of the lodgers. A Mr. and Mrs. Davis occupy the upper storey (the house consisting of three storeys). As Mr. Davis was going down to work at the time mentioned he found a woman lying on her back close to the flight of steps leading into the yard. Her throat was cut open in a fearful manner. So deep, in fact, was the gash, that the murderer, evidently thinking he had severed the head from the body, had tied a handkerchief round it. Upon further examination it was found that the woman's body had been completely ripped open and the heart and other organs placed on the pavement at her side. The fiendish work had been completed by the murderer tying portions of the entrails round his victim's neck. The ground round where the woman lay was covered with clots of thick blood, and the spectacle presented was altogether a sickening one. By those who know the place well it is believed that the woman was murdered in the street and afterwards carried into the passage. This view is, to a certain extent, borne out by traces of blood, which reach to the street. There is, moreover, nothing in the appearance of the ground to indicate a struggle. Davis, the man who found the body, at once communicated with the police at Commercial-street Station, and Inspector Chandler and several constables arrived on the scene shortly afterwards, when they found the woman in the condition described. Even at this early hour the news spread quickly, and great excitement prevailed among the occupants of the adjacent houses. An excited crowd gathered in front of Mrs. Richardson's house, and also around the mortuary in Old Montague-street, whither the body was quickly conveyed. As the corpse was lying in the rough coffin in which it was placed in the mortuary - the same coffin in which the unfortunate Mrs. Nicholls was first placed - it presented a fearful sight. The body was that of a woman evidently of about 45 years of age. The height was exactly five feet. The complexion was fair, with wavy dark brown hair; the eyes were blue, and two lower teeth had been knocked out. The nose was rather large and prominent. The third finger of the left hand bore signs of rings having been wrenched off it, and the hands and arms were considerably bruised. The deceased had on laced-up boots and striped stockings. She had on two cotton petticoats, and was otherwise respectably dressed. Nothing was found in her pockets but a handkerchief and two small combs. It is believed in the neighbourhood to be almost beyond doubt that this murder is but one of a series of fiendish atrocities on women which have been going on within the past few months, and apparently have been committed by the same hand. Looking at the corpse no one could think otherwise than that the murder had been committed by a maniac or wretch of the lowest type of humanity; indeed, one would have to go to the wilds of Hungary or search the records of French lower peasant life before a more sickening and revolting tragedy could be told.
The Whitechapel mortuary in Old Montague-street presented a scene of agitated curiosity, and people flocked around either to see anything that could be seen, or to hear any fresh items of intelligence on the great subject of the moment. The body occupied the same position as that of the recent victim in Buck's-row. Strict orders had come down from headquarters that no one was to be allowed in the yard under any circumstances whatever. The woman had been identified as Annie Sievey, or Siffey, a woman of loose character, and there was an end of the matter. The order was strictly adhered to, except in the case of Dr. Phillips, of Spital-square, the divisional doctor, who was called in to see and examine the body. He is of the opinion that, as in the previous murder, the first wound inflicted was that in the throat, which was of so deadly a character that it would cause instant death. The other mutilations were caused subsequently, and apparently immediately afterwards. There was the same fiendish ripping open of the abdomen up to the breast-bone, with further gashes on the breast which had enabled the murderer to remove the heart.
Mrs. Richardson, who lives at the house in Hanbury-street, states that the appearance of the body when found was simply revolting. She was lying on her back with her legs outstretched. Her throat was cut from ear to ear. Her clothes were pushed up above her waist and her legs were bare. The abdomen was exposed, the woman having been ripped up from groin to breast-bone. In addition to this brutal treatment, the viscera had been pulled out and scattered in all directions, the heart and liver being placed behind the head, and the remainder along her side. No more horrible sight ever met a human eye, for she was covered with blood and lying in a pool of it, which hours afterwards had not soaked into the ground. It was evident at a glance that the murder had been done where the body lay. The enormous quantity of blood and the splash on the fence, coupled with the total absence of stains elsewhere, made this clear. It was also clear that the man had decoyed the poor woman into the yard, and murdered her as she lay where she was found. The passage through the house by which the yard was reached is 25 ft. long and 3 ft. wide. Its floor is bare, and nobody can pass along it without making some noise. The murderer and his victim failed to awaken anybody, however, though people were sleeping only a few feet away. Both front and back door are open all night, and there was no difficulty in reaching the yard. There was a story that a bloody knife had been found in the yard, but this was not true. Not a sound seems to have been made by the woman when attacked. Mrs. Bell, an old lady who lives next door, sleeps by an open window not 20 ft. from the spot, and it is certain that no noise was made, as she sleeps very lightly. The probability is that the woman by five o'clock was stupidly drunk, as she was well on when Donovan, the deputy, last saw her. In this state she could have been easily kept silent until she was unable from loss of blood to speak.
The Scotland-yard authorities have come to a definite conclusion as to the description of the murderer of two, at least, of the hapless women found dead in East London, and the following is the official telegram despatched to every station throughout the metropolis and suburbs: "Description of a man wanted, who entered a passage of the house at which the murder was committed with a prostitute, at two a.m. the 8th. Aged 37, height 5 ft. 7 in., rather dark, beard and moustache; dress, short dark jacket, dark vest and trousers, black scarf and black felt hat; spoke with a foreign accent."
Terrible as is the story, told above, of the murder of Annie Chapman, it is made all the more painfully significant when considered (remarks the Daily Telegraph) in the light of recent records of capital crimes committed in the same locality. Within less than twelve months four women have been done to death, in the streets adjacent to Whitechapel-road, in a manner which has left no room to doubt that resort has been had to foul play of the worst kind. It is a regrettable fact, worthy of the serious attention of residents in this vast metropolis, that vigilant as are the members of the police force, their numbers are not nearly sufficient to enable them, however wisely distributed, to afford a reasonable adequate "safe conduct" to that indefinite and indefinable factor, the "public." The increase of the police establishment has been often advocated by responsible advisers, but the advice has been in the past, as it still is, regarded with indifference by the statesmen in charge of the exchequer. Notice has already been given that attention will again be called to the matter in the next session of Parliament, and it cannot be doubted that the shocking events which are now engrossing the minds of the people of London will lend a melancholy zest to any discussion that may be raised on the subject in the House of Commons. It is obvious, however, that no augmentation of the police force could supply absolute immunity from crimes of the astounding character recently perpetrated. Prevention is said to be better than cure, and what London seems to want is better means of guarding against crime and of bringing offenders, after detection, home to justice. The first of the series of murders was committed so far back as last Christmas, when the body of a woman was discovered with a stick or iron instrument thrust into her body as if she had been interred under the law until recently applicable to suicides, which required a person found guilty of felo de se to be buried at the four cross-roads with a stake driven through the chest. In this case the woman was never identified, and no particular sensation was caused, the death being generally assumed to be the result of a drunken freak on the part of the nameless ruffians who swarm about Whitechapel. The second noticeable tragedy occurred on August 7th last, when a woman named Martha Turner, aged thirty-five, a hawker, was discovered lying dead on the first floor landing of some model dwellings known as George-yard-buildings, Commercial-street, Spitalfields. The body when found presented a shocking appearance, being covered with stab-wounds to the number of 39, some of which appeared to have been caused by a bayonet. At the inquest reference was made to the similarity of this murder to that which had been perpetrated in the same locality at Christmas, and a verdict was returned of "Wilful murder against some person or persons unknown." Scarcely had the emotion caused by this affair had time to abate when another discovery was made which, for the brutality exercised on the victim, was even more shocking. As Constable John Neil was walking down Buck's-row, Thomas-street, Whitechapel, about 3.45 a.m., on Aug. 31, he discovered a woman, apparently between 35 and 40 years of age, lying at the side of the street with her throat cut right open from ear to ear, the instrument with which the deed had been committed having apparently traversed the throat from left to right. The wound was an inch wide, and blood was flowing profusely. She was immediately conveyed to the Whitechapel mortuary, where it was found that besides the wound in the throat the lower part of the abdomen was completely ripped open, the bowels protruding. The wound extended nearly to the breast, and had evidently been effected with a large knife. Buck's-row, where the deceased was discovered, is described as a narrow passage, running out of Thomas-street, containing a dozen houses, said to be of a very low class. An inquest was opened last week, when the body was identified as that of a Mrs. Nicholls, who had been separated from her husband for a period of eight years, and who had of late been leading a disreputable life. The inquiry stands adjourned, and its future course will depend upon the statements which the police authorities may then be able to make. Meanwhile there is a general impression that all the outrages described, including the latest fiendish atrocity, have been conceived and executed by one man, and he in all probability a maniac.
From inquiries which have been made in Windsor, it seems that the deceased was the widow of a coachman in service at Clewer, and not of a veterinary surgeon, as stated by Amelia Palmer in her evidence at the inquest. While deceased lived at Clewer she was known to the police for her drinking habits, and had been in the custody of Superintendent Hayes for the offence, but had not been charged before the magistrates. Her husband was obliged to separate from her owing to her dissolute habits; but, as the witness Palmer stated, he sent her a post-office order, payable at Commercial-road, each week for 10s. There were two children of the marriage, a boy and a girl. The former lay ill for some time in a London hospital, while the latter lived at Windsor, but the police now have no knowledge of their whereabouts. The husband of the deceased woman was obliged to resign his situation owing to ill-health, and he died in Grove-road, Windsor, about Christmas, 1886. These particulars have been forwarded by Superintendent Hayes, at Windsor, to Superintendent Shore, of the Scotland-yard police, in response to telegraphic inquiries, and one of the constables at Windsor was sent to London to identify the remains.
The inquest on the body of Annie Chapman, alias Sivvy, was opened at ten o'clock on the morning of the 10th inst. by the district coroner, Mr. Wynne Baxter. The inquiry was held in the Alexandra Room, at the Working Lads' Institute.
Inspector Helson, J Division, represented the police authorities.
There was a large attendance of the general public in court and in the precincts of the Institute, and the approaches thereto were guarded by a large number of constables. The latest newspaper accounts of the murder were eagerly scanned by those in waiting, who thus passed the interval of time between the opening of the court and the Coroner's arrival. There were everywhere visible signs of the profound impression made by the crime.
Mr. Collier, Deputy-Coroner, was now accompanied by Mr. Wynne Baxter. The jury, having been formally sworn in, went to view the body at the mortuary.
On their return, John Davis deposed: I live at 29, Hanbury-street, Spitalfields. I am a carman. I occupy one front room, which is shared by my wife and three sons. I went to bed on Friday night at eight o'clock, and my sons came in at different times - the last one at about a quarter to eleven. I was awake from three o'clock until five, but fell off to sleep for about half an hour. I got up at a quarter to six on Saturday morning, and went across the yard. The house faces Hanbury-street. On the ground floor there is a front door leading into a passage, which runs right through to the back yard. There is a back door to this passage. Sometimes both doors are open during the night, and I have never known either of them to be locked. Anyone who knows where the latch of the front door is can open it and pass along into the yard. I cannot say whether the back door was latched on Saturday morning when I got down, but the front street-door was wide open and thrown back against the wall. I was not surprised at that. Witness was here asked to describe the general appearance of the yard, but was not very clear in his statements. Some time having been occupied in attempting to illicit answers, the Coroner said that in country inquests the police were always ready to assist him by preparing a plan of any locality which was the subject of investigation. Certainly this was a case of sufficient importance for such a plan, and he hoped that any future time a plan would be laid before him. Inspector Chandler said a plan should be drawn up. The Coroner retorted that it might be then too late to be of any service. Davis, resuming, said: When I opened the back door of the yard I found a woman lying on her back. I called two men who are in the employ of Mr. Bayley, packing-case maker in Hanbury-street. They were standing outside their place of work, which is three doors from 29, Hanbury-street, on the same side of the road. They came and looked at the sight. I do not know them personally. The Coroner asked if these men were known to the police. Inspector Chandler said they were not. The Coroner expressed his surprise at this. Witness: I had to go to my work myself. The Coroner (emphatically): Your work is of no importance compared with this inquiry. To Inspector Chandler: We must find these men out, either with the assistance of the police, or with the assistance of my officer. Witness: The men did not wish to be seen in the job. The Coroner: If they have not been seen and identified yet they must be. Davis (continuing): I informed the inspector at Commercial-street what I had seen in the yard. I have never seen any woman in the passage. I heard no noises on Saturday morning.
Amelia Palmer said: I live at 30, Dorset-street, which is a common lodging-house. I am the wife of a labourer, who is a pensioner from the army. I have known the deceased well for the past five years. I have seen a body at the mortuary, and am quite sure it is that of Annie Chapman. She was a widow. Her husband was formerly a veterinary surgeon at Windsor, and was well known there. He died about 18 months ago. Deceased has lived apart from him for four years. Since the separation deceased had lived principally, though not altogether, in common lodging-houses in the neighbourhood of Spitalfields. She lived two years ago at 30, Dorset-street, with a man called "Sievey." At that time she was receiving 10s. a week from her husband. The money was always sent by P.O.O., payable at Commercial-road. The remittances stopped 18 months ago, and the deceased found that her husband was dead. The fact was ascertained from a brother or sister of her husband living in Oxford-street, Whitechapel. Mrs. Chapman was called Mrs. Sievey, because the man she lived with was a sieve maker. He left her some time ago. I saw the deceased two or three times during last week. I saw her on Monday, Sept. 3, standing in the road opposite a lodging-house, 35, Dorset-street. She had been staying there, and complained of feeling unwell. Deceased had a bruise on one of her temples; I think the right temple. I asked how she got it. Deceased asked me to look at her chest, which was also bruised, and said, "You know the woman," mentioning some name, which I do not remember; but it was a woman who carried out books for sale. That woman and deceased were aquatinted with a man called "Harry the Hawker." Deceased told me that on Saturday, September 1, she (deceased) was with a man called Ted Stanley - a very respectable man. She was in a beershop with him - 87, Commercial-street, which is at the corner of Dorset-street. "Harry the Hawker" was also there, and was under the influence of drink. "Harry the Hawker" put down 2s. for beer; the book-selling woman picked it up, and put down a penny. There was an ill-feeling in consequence, and the same evening the book-selling woman met the deceased and struck her in the face and chest. I saw the deceased again on Tuesday, September 4. I met her as she was walking at the side of Spitalfields Church. The deceased said she felt no better, and should go into the casual ward for a day or two. The deceased told me she had not had even a cup of tea that day. I said, "Here is twopence. Get a cup of tea; but don't have any rum." The deceased was partial to rum, and I have seen her many times the worse for drink. She used to do crochet work, make anti-macassars, and sell flowers. I am afraid she was not particular how she earned her living, and I know that she was out late at times. She has told me so. On Fridays the deceased used to go to Stratford, East, to sell anything she had. I did not see her from Tuesday afternoon until Friday afternoon. On that day I met her in Dorset-street, about five o'clock. She then appeared perfectly sober. I said, "Aren't you going to Stratford to-day?" She said, "I feel too ill to do anything." I saw her again about ten minutes afterwards on the same spot. She said, "It's no use my giving way. I must pull myself together and go and get some money, or I shall have no lodgings." That is the last I saw of her. Deceased told me she had been in the casual ward. Deceased was very industrious when sober, and was a very clever little woman. I have seen her the worse for drink, but I don't think she could take much without it making her drunk. She had been living a very irregular life for five years, more especially since her husband's death. She has a sister and brother in London, but I don't think they were on friendly terms. The deceased had two children at Windsor, and after her husband's death they were put in a school. The coroner said it appeared to be doubtful whether the husband of the deceased was a veterinary surgeon.
Timothy Donovan, 35, Dorset-street, Spitalfields, deputy of the common lodging-house, said: I identify the body at the mortuary as that of a woman who has lodged at my place. She had lived there for four months, but was not at No. 35 last week, until the Friday. Afterwards, at about two or three o'clock, she asked me to allow her to go into the kitchen. I consented, and did not see her until about 1.45 on Saturday morning. At that time I was sitting in the office, and I saw deceased go into the kitchen. Deceased afterwards came upstairs, saying she had not sufficient money for a bed, and adding, "Don't let it; I shan't be long before I am in." The bed she spoke of was the one she usually occupied. The deceased left the house, and I did not see which way she turned, but I believe the watchman did. She had had enough to drink when I last saw her, but she could walk straight. She was generally the worse for drink on Saturdays, but not on other days. When she left the lodging-house on Saturday morning, I said to her, "You can find money for beer, but not for your bed." She replied that she had only been to the top of the street, to the Ringers' public-house. I saw deceased with no man that night. I could not say whether deceased walked the streets. She used to come and stay at the lodging-house on Saturdays with a man of soldierly appearance, and who is said to be a pensioner. She has come at other times with other men, and I have refused to allow her to have a bed. The Coroner: A woman has only one husband at your place? Donovan: The pensioner told me not to let her have a bed with any other man. She did not come to my place with any man on Friday night. As a rule she occupied No. 29 bed by herself. The pensioner and the deceased were together at the lodging-house on Sunday, September 2. The Coroner: Is anything known of this pensioner? Inspector Chandler: No, sir. Donovan (resuming): On the 25th of August the woman told me she was going out to see if the pensioner had drawn his pension. She usually saw him in the street. She was on good terms with all the lodgers, and I never had any trouble with her. About Tuesday, August 28, deceased and another woman had a row in the kitchen before I was up. I afterwards saw them both outside the house, but I did not notice any injury on deceased. Subsequently deceased called my attention to her eye, which was bruised, but she did not tell me how the injury was done.
John Evans deposed: I am nightwatchman at 35, Dorset-street. Deceased used to live there. On Saturday morning I saw her go out of the lodging-house. She went in the direction of Spitalfields Church. That was after she had asked us to keep the bed until she got some lodging money. She never returned. Deceased was the worse for drink, but not badly so. She came into the kitchen soon after 12 o'clock. I heard her say she had been to her sister's, at Vauxhall. I have known that the deceased was out at nights, but I have known only one man with whom she was associated. He used to come with her on Saturdays. That particular man called on Saturday last, the 8th instant, at about half-past two o'clock in the afternoon to make inquiries about the woman. He had heard of her death. I do not know either his name or address. After I had told him what had occurred, he went out without saying a word. I have never heard any man threaten the deceased at any time. I have never heard her express fear of any one. The Coroner: Have you heard any woman at your house say that she had been asked for money by any man? Witness: No. This concluded the witness's evidence, and the coroner adjourned the inquiry.
Mr. S. Montagu, M.P., has offered £100 as a reward for the capture of the Whitechapel murderer, and has asked Superintendent Arnold to issue notices to that effect.
Mr. Wynne Baxter, the coroner for Whitechapel, and a jury, resumed on the afternoon of the 12th inst. the inquest on the body of Annie Chapman. The excitement that for some days has been manifested in the district would appear to have almost wholly subsided, if the feelings of the Whitechapel community are to be judged by the numbers attending the proceedings. Up to the time fixed for the resumption of the inquiry there were only a handful of loiterers around the entrance to the institute, and even when the proceedings had been commenced, there were only a few persons present in addition to the coroner and jury, the usual officials, and the representatives of the press.
The evidence given in addition to that already published, was begun by the deposition of Fontaine Smith, a printer's warehouseman, and a brother of the deceased, who, he said, was his eldest sister. The witness had little to state beyond the fact that he had casually met the deceased shortly before her death in Commercial-street, and that he had then lent her two shillings. The witness gave his evidence in so low a tone of voice that he was only heard with great difficulty more than a few feet from the place where he stood. The next witness, James Kent, was a labouring man, from whose statement it appeared that he was one of the first persons called in to see the body after its discovery by the carman Davis. Kent's evidence was a simple description of the terrible condition in which the murderer had left the corpse, and as presented by him to the jury the details were sufficiently harrowing to justify his statement that immediately after leaving the yard in which the ghastly object lay he had gone to an adjoining public-house for a glass of brandy. The evidence of Amelia Richardson, a widow, who, in conjunction with a person named Taylor, rents the lower part of the house, 29, Hanbury-street, occupied a good deal of time, and although it afforded necessary information as to the names and occupations of those who occupied rooms in the house, failed to furnish any additional information with regard to the circumstances attending the murder. Her statement that there were a number of lodging-houses in the same street, all of which had doors opening from the passage at the front and also into the back yard, which were invariably unfastened, because of the different hours at which the lodgers were accustomed to go to and return from work, warrants the supposition that whoever it was by whom the murder was committed must have had some knowledge of the construction of these houses, and of the facilities afforded for ingress and egress. There was a slight conflict between the testimony of John Richardson, who was called to prove that about a quarter to five he had looked into the back yard of 29, Hanbury-street, and found everything all right, and the evidence given by his mother, previously examined, the divergence arising upon the son's statement that he had known the rear premises to be used at times by persons unconnected with the house for reprehensible purposes, Mrs. Richardson on being recalled denying that she had ever heard of the place being so taken advantage of. The main approach to anything like sensation during the afternoon was occasioned about four o'clock, when John Piser, who had been known in the neighbourhood by the soubriquet of "Leather Apron," was called for the purpose of giving evidence before the jury. It was evident, however, from the small number of persons gathered round the approach to the Institute that the individuality of this witness had not been recognised on his arrival, or the groups who stood outside the building, discussing the latest phases of the recent atrocity, would necessarily have been swelled in so populous a thoroughfare to a considerable crowd. The man is short of stature, and rather thickly set for his height. His hair is dark - almost black - and is somewhat closely cut. He wore a moustache, and about an inch or so of close cut whisker, the rest of the face being shaved, though from the growth of the stubble on cheek and chin the razor had not been in requisition for at least a day or two. His evidence was given with the most perfect coolness, and no one who heard it - especially when he retorted on the coroner's remark that the advice to keep indoors given by his friends was not the best they could have offered, "I should very probably have been torn to bits had I gone out" - would have regarded him as displaying the slightest symptoms of insanity.
The Coroner: I have called you partly in your own interest in order to give you the opportunity of doing so.
The Coroner: Where were you on the Thursday, Aug. 30? - I was in the Holloway-road.
Were you not staying in any house? - Yes. I do not know the number of the house, but it was Crossman's common lodging-house. On Thursday, Aug. 30, or the Friday, I was staying in a common lodging-house, called the Round House, in Holloway-road. I slept there for the night. I went into the lodging-house about a quarter-past two o'clock on Friday morning, and went out at eleven o'clock that morning.
The Coroner: Where were you on Thursday night? - On Thursday night I had my supper at the same house. I went out as far as the Seven Sisters-road, and went down the Holloway-road, and on returning saw the reflection of a fire. When I had come as far as the church in Holloway-road, the lodging-house keeper of the Round house, and one or two constables were talking together. I asked the constable where the fire was, and he said it was far away from there. I asked where he thought it was, and he said it was down about the Albert Docks.
What time was it then? - It was about half-past one, to the best of my recollection. I went as far as the Highbury Railway-station on the same side of the way, and returned back and went into the lodging-house.
Did they not complain about you being late? - No. I asked the watchman if my bed was let. He said they did not keep beds open after eleven. I paid 4d., and sat for a while on the form in the kitchen smoking a pipe, and then went to bed, and got up at eleven o'clock.
That was late, wasn't it? - Yes, sir, rather late.
Did they turn you out? - The dayman came up and told us to get up, as he wanted to make the beds. I got up at once and dressed, and went down into the kitchen.
Is there anything else you want to say? - Nothing else, sir.
What did you mean by the West-end of the town from where you came on the 6th inst? - Peter-street, Westminster, where there is another lodging-house.
The Coroner: I think it is only fair to say that the statements of the witness have been corroborated.
The Foreman of the Jury: I think the jury are of opinion that he is cleared.
Piser: Sergeant Thicke, who arrested me, has known me for 18 years.
The Coroner: Well, well, I do not think it is necessary for you to say any more.
Sergeant Thicke: Knowing the rumours in circulation concerning "Leather Apron," I arrested Piser a 22, Mulberry-street, on Monday morning. I have known him for many years under the nickname of "Leather Apron." When the people in the neighbourhood spoke of "Leather Apron" they referred to Piser. He was released last night at half-past nine p.m.
John Richardson now returned with the knife with which he cut his boot on the morning of the murder. It was an ordinary white-handled table-knife with a short blade.
The Coroner stated that the knife would be retained.
Henry John Holland, called and examined: I passed Hanbury-street on the morning of Saturday last on my way to work at ten minutes past six o'clock. I was passing No. 29. An elderly man named P. Davies, I think, came out, and said there was some one lying in his back yard. I ran through the passage and saw deceased lying in the yard, against the back door. I went into the yard, but I did not touch the deceased or her clothes. No one did so in my presence. I went to find a policeman at the Spitalfields Market. I found one there and he told me he could not come, but that I would find one outside. I went back to the house, and I saw an inspector run in with a young man. It would be about 20 minutes past six when I saw the inspector going in.
A Juror: Did the policeman in Spitalfields Market say why he could not come with you?
Witness: I told him it was a similar case to what had happened a week previous. The policeman said he could not come, but that I would find another policeman out side the market. I could not see him.
Was the policeman engaged on any duty? - He was standing in the market. No one was speaking to him. I made a complaint in the afternoon at the Commercial-street Police-station about this affair, and they took all the evidence I could give.
The Coroner: There was a statement made by the inspector that there are certain places where policemen are under orders not to leave their posts on any account.
The inquest was then further adjourned.
The inquest was resumed at two o'clock on the 13th inst. The proceedings were decidedly dull and entirely unsensational. The evidence of the police and the doctor who examined the body constituted the main features of it. As regards the police evidence there was nothing new. It was merely the tendering in proper official form of statements already before the public. Inspector Chandler quietly doled out to the coroner, sentence by sentence, an account of what he and the constables under his direction had done, Mr. Baxter writing it all down pretty much as it was dictated to him. A few questions were put to the inspector, especially with regard to the blood stains alleged to have been found on the neighbouring fences, as though somebody with blood upon him had been getting over. Both the inspector and afterwards Mr. Phillips, the divisional surgeon, expressed the belief that the marks observed were not blood stains, though to the untrained eye they might easily be taken for such. The coroner closely questioned the inspector as to the visit of young Richardson to the backyard in Hanbury-street. Evidently Mr. Baxter had not been quite satisfied with the circumstances attending that visit, but from Inspector Chandler's tone and manner, he had himself no doubt that this young man's evidence was reliable. The jury questioned the police-officer with the view of ascertaining whether it may have been possible that when Richardson went to the yard the body might have been lying there without his perceiving it. The inspector thought that it was very possible if he had only gone to the top of the steps. In that case, as the door opened outwards, it might have concealed the body behind it. Richardson, however, had sworn that he sat on the middle step with his feet on the ground, to cut a piece from his shoe, and it was allowed that in this position he must inevitably have seen the murdered woman. The importance of this point is that upon it depends the limitation of the time within which the murder must have been committed.
Police-sergeant Bayham followed. His evidence bore on the removal of the body to the mortuary and the responsibility for it when there. In this connection the keeper of the mortuary was called. This was an old man, an inmate of the Whitechapel Workhouse, who looked feeble and incapable of exercising an efficient control of the place. The coroner made some severe remarks on the scandalous want of proper provision for the reception of the dead. From the City right away to Bow, he said, there was no public mortuary, and the miserable shed to which this body had been conveyed was in every way unfitted for the purpose to which it was applied. The jury concurred in the coroner's remarks, which were fully endorsed by the doctor. Owing to the unsatisfactory arrangements, it turned out that the body had been washed without any authority either of the police or the medical officer responsible for the examination of it. Several questions were put to Inspector Chandler with regard to the mysterious pensioner. The jury thought this man should have been found. The inspector said that they had quite failed to trace him. Instructions had been sent to the lodging-house people that if he came again the police should be communicated with. As a matter of fact, he had come again, as had been shown on a previous day. Timothy Donovan, the deputy, was now recalled, and, in answer to the question why he had not communicated with the police, replied that the pensioner would not stop. It looks as though the police made a mistake in trusting to a communication from the lodging-house. They ought to have watched for this man themselves.
The evidence of Mr. Phillips, the doctor, was lengthy and minute, and was given line by line to be written down. It substantially confirmed what had been already published on the subject. The doctor's conclusion was that death had been caused by the cutting of the throat. There were appearances which seemed to show that an attempt had been made to sever the bones of the neck, which may probably be taken to imply that the murderer, not content with cutting the throat right through to the spinal bone, had made an effort to cut the head right off. From various symptoms it would appear that the deceased had been partially strangled before the throat was cut, and there were reasons to believe that the murderer, whoever it was, had some rough anatomical knowledge, which would probably have been used to greater effect but for haste. A curious point in the doctor's evidence was that respecting the teeth. Everybody had heard that the deceased had lost her front teeth like the murdered woman Nicholls. Mr. Phillips explicitly stated that this woman's front teeth were perfect, and were remarkably sound and good. He testified also that the left hand lay across the breast, in this agreeing with Inspector Chandler, who further added that the right arm lay down by the side. This is in curious contrast with the statement made the previous day by a witness who swore that both hands were clutched upwards as if in a frantic effort to defend the throat. This shows how cautious it is necessary to be in receiving the testimony of untrained observers under great excitement. The inquiry was adjourned till the 20th inst. In the meantime it was understood that great effort would be made to find the missing pensioner.