Thomas Bates was the watchman at 32, Flower and Dean Street, the lodging house where Elizabeth Stride was staying at the time of her death. He was one of the last people to have seen her alive. Bates said that Liz was in "cheery spirits" when she left the lodging house at around 7.00pm on the night of 29 September. He also offered some background information on Stride, including the following extract from the Star of 1 October:
Thomas Bates, a watchman, told a reporter that "Long Liz" had lived with them for five or six years, but her real name he never knew. She was a Swede by birth. Her husband was shipwrecked and drowned. She was a clean and hardworking woman. Her usual occupation was that of a charwoman, and it was only when driven to extremities that she walked the streets. She would at times disappear for a month or so - even as much as three months. She returned to the house on Tuesday last, after a prolonged absence, and remained there until Saturday night. That evening she went out about seven o'clock, and she appeared to be in cheery spirits. The fact of her not returning that night was not taken any particular notice of. Their apprehensions, however, were aroused when rumors of the murders reached them. While narrating these facts the watchman was affected, and wound up his statement by exclaiming, "Lor' bless you, when she could get no work she had to do the best she could for her living, but a neater and a cleaner woman never lived."
Thomas was never called to testify at the Stride inquest.Contemporary Sources
The Star - 1 October 1888
The Jack the Ripper A-Z (Begg, Fido and Skinner)