William Wallace Brodie
On the 18 July 1889, the day after the murder of Alice McKenzie, William Wallace Brodie, described as respectably attired, though of no fixed abode and without occupation, walked into Leman Street police station and gave himself up, claiming to be Jack the Ripper. He said that having now committed eight or nine murders, only this latest crime bothered him. He appeared to be under the influence of drink, though made a full statement, and appeared in court on 20 July 1889 charged with the murder of Alice McKenzie. The police made a careful check into his background, which showed that he had sailed for South Africa on 6 September 1888, and did not return to England until 15 July 1889, confirming that he could not have been Jack the Ripper. When he appeared in court for the second time, on 27 July, he was discharged, but rearrested for fraud. Brodie had previously been sentenced to 14 years imprisonment for larceny, and was released on licence 22 August 1888, and resided at 2 Harvey's Buildings Strand. On the night Alice McKenzie was murdered, Brodie, being very drunk, was assisted to bed by Mr Salvage, of 2 Harvey's Buildings, and did not go out again until 10.20 am the following morning. In his lengthy and rambling statement to the police, Brodie claimed, he walked from London to Cornwall and back in half an hour. He also claimed he went to seek out a prostitute who had given him a bad disorder 2 years earlier. He said he met a prostitute in Whitechapel whom he described as, 'A fine woman dressed in a bright red dress, boots and hat'. When she lay down under a barrow he cut her throat with his knife, which he whipped out from his outside coat pocket, before wiping it on a wisp of straw which was lying conveniently nearby. He left the knife in his red bag at the York Road Baths. In his statement Brodie said, 'This is the ninth murder that I have committed in Whitechapel, but none of them have caused any trouble to my mind except the last one, what with that, and a worm in my head that wriggles about, I cannot stand it any longer'. While under arrest the police surgeon kept Brodie under observation and declared him, now sane, which suggests that at some point he was not, he was however suffering from acute alcoholism, causing hallucinations.