1 September 1888
We must go from home sometimes to hear news, therefore it may be mentioned that at the Cape of Good Hope it is currently reported that Sir Charles Warren will shortly succeed Sir Hercules Robinson in South Africa. Judging by the friction which is known just now to be keenly felt in Scotland-yard, it will perhaps be as well should such a report prove well founded.
THE BODY IDENTIFIED
BUT THE CRIME STILL A MYSTERY
POLICE, HOWEVER, OBTAIN A CLUE.
In Brady-street, Thrawle-street, and other small thoroughfares in the low locality where the deceased was discovered the police have made an almost house-to-house investigation themselves, and caused secret inquiries to be conducted by persons known amongst the force as "nosea," in the hope of finding some link to enable them to unravel the hideous and mysterious crime. A visit to lodging-houses has met with a negative result; but from certain confidential information, respecting a certain place of ill-repute.
Which at the present stage of the inquiry can only be hinted at. Inspector Helson, Inspector Abberline, Detective-sergeant Enright, and other Criminal Investigations experts are zealously working and grasping at the slightest clue in this exceptionally puzzling case.
There is another point of some importance upon which the police rely. It is the statement of John Morgan, a coffee-stall keeper, who says that a woman, whose description answers to that given to him of the victim, called at his stall-three minutes' walk from Buck's-row-early yesterday morning. She was accompanied by a man whom she addressed as Jim. They appeared as if they had had a quarrel. The woman did all she could to pacify him. This morning our reporter had an interview with Mr. John Morgan, at the house where he lodges, 62, Oxford-street, near Bethnal-green-road. He said: It was half-past three or a quarter to four o'clock yesterday morning, when a woman, whom I knew was an immoral character, came to my stall and a man was with her. I am to-day to go to the mortuary before the inquest and see if I can identify her as the one who came there. Well, she was with a man, like a labourer, between 5ft. 4in. and 5ft. 6in. in height, with dark hair and short beard. He and the woman had words. Having had a cup of tea the woman said, "Come on, Jim, let's get home." Then they went away, and I did not think anything more of the occurrence until I heard of this dreadful affair at Buck's-row, near where it was. My stall is at the corner of Cambridge Heath-road. I have seen the woman several times, and could therefore identify her if she is the one I fancy it is. I did not hear any screams-at least, nothing to speak of.
Dr. Ralph Llewellyn made a post mortem examination of the body this morning, the injuries are even more extensive than he at first supposed. It is his impression that she was not murdered at the spot where her body was found, but that her throat was cut, the dreadful abdominal injuries then inflicted, and that the body was then carried, enveloped in her large, heavy cloak, and thrown outside the gateway at Essex Wharf. Mr. Seccombe, Dr. Llewellyn's assistant, is of the same opinions, especially, he says, as there was comparatively little blood where the deceased lay.
On the assumption that the crime was committed by one of a "High Rip" gang, some of whose names are known, the police are, it is stated, empowered by the Chief Commissioner to give money payment to those who give confidential statements, with the additional assurance that any one who turn's Queen's evidence against the actual perpetrator will be at once pardoned of any participation he may have had in the matter. The murder is of such an exceptionally brutal character that the detective officers are using the most strenuous exertions to bring the criminals to justice.
The deceased woman who was found murdered in Buck's-row, Whitechapel, has been identified. From the inquiries made in the neighbourhood, it appeared that a person answering her description had lodged in a common lodging-house, 18, Thrawle-street, Spitalfields. Women from that place were fetched and they identified the deceased as "Polly." who had shared a room with three other females in the place on the usual terms of such ________ nightly payment of 1d each-each having a separate bed. It was gathered that the deceased had lodged in the house only for about three weeks past. Nothing more was known of her by them, but that when she presented herself for her lodging on Thursday night she was turned away by the deputy because she had no money. She was then the worse for drink but not drunk, and went away laughing, saying, "I'll soon get my 'doss' money; see what a jolly bonnet I've got now." She was wearing a bonnet which she had not been seen with before, and left the lodging-house door.
It is asserted that the deceased was seen in the Whitechapel-road, at the corner of Osborne-street, between two and three o'clock yesterday morning; and at a quarter to four she was found within 500 yards of the spot murdered. The people at the lodging-house knew her as "Polly" but at about half-past seven last evening a female named Mary Anne Monk, at present an inmate of Lambeth Workhouse, was taken to the mortuary, and identified the body as that of Mary Ann Nicholls, also called "Polly" Nicholls. She was knew her, she said, as they were inmates of the Lambeth Workhouse together in April and May.
A very general opinion is now entertained that the spot where the body was found was not the scene of the murder. Buck's-row runs through from Thomas-street to Brady-street, and in the latter street what appeared to be bloodstains were found at irregular distances on the footpaths on either side of the way. Occasionally a larger splash was visible, and from the manner in which the marks were scattered it seems as though the person carrying the mutilated body had hesitated where to deposit his ghastly burden, and had gone from one side of the road to the other until the obscurity of Buck's-row afforded the shelter the shelter sought for. The street had been crossed twice within the space of about 120 yards. The point at which the stains were first visible is in front of the gateway to Honey's-mews, in Brady-street, about 150 yards from the point where Buck's-row commences. Some of the police investigating the case declare that very few bloodstains were seen when they first visited the spot.
It is not unlikely that the deceased met her death in a house in or near Brady-street, for some persons state that early in the morning they heard screams, but this is a by no means uncommon incident in the neighbourhood, and, with one exception, nobody seems to have paid any particular attention to what was probably the death struggle of the unfortunate woman. The exception referred to was Mrs. Celville [Sarah Colwell], who lives only a short distance from the foot of Buck's-row. According to her statement she was awakened by her children, who said someone was trying to get into the house. She listened, and heard a woman screaming "Murder, Police!" five or six times. The voice faded away as though the woman was going in the direction of Buck's-row, and all became quiet.
The stable-yard and the immediate vicinity of Essex Wharf have been carefully searched in the hope of finding the weapon with which the crime was committed, but so far without success. A bridge over the Great Eastern Railway is close at hand, and the railway line was also fruitlessly searched for some distance.
The woman Monk says that on May 12th the deceased Nicholls left the workhouse to take a situation as servant at Ingleside, Wandsworth Common. It afterwards became known that Nicholls betrayed her trust as domestic servant by stealing £3 from her employer and absconding. From that time she had been wandering about. Monk met her, she said, about six weeks ago, and drank with her. She was sure the deceased was "Polly" Nicholls, and having twice viewed the features as the lady in a shell, maintained her opinion. So far the police have satisfied themselves, but as to getting a clue to the murderer they express little hope at present.
One of the chief theories of the police with respect to the matter is that the sort of "High Rip" gang exists in the neighbourhood which, blackmailing women of the same class as the deceased, takes vengeance on those who do not find money for them. They base their surmise on the fact that within twelve months two other women have been murdered in the district by almost similar means, and left in the gutter of the street in the early hours of the morning. The theory is that the woman was murdered in a house and killed whilst undressed, her clothes being then huddles on the body, which was afterwards conveyed out, to be deposited in the street. Though a "High Rip" gang is suspected of the deed, most of the detectives who are investigating the case believe that it was the work of a maniac.
Mr. Wynne E. Baxter opened an inquiry this afternoon at the Working Lads' Institute, Whitechapel-road, respecting the death of Mary Ann Nichols.
Inspector Abberline, of Scotland-yard and Inspector Helson watched the case for the police.
Edward Walker, living at 16, Madswood-street, Albany-road, Camberwell, stated that he was of no occupation, though he was a smith when he was at work. He had seen the body in the mortuary and he recognised it as his daughter.
The coroner- You recognise it?-to the best of my belief I recognise it, but I have not seen her for years.
How do you recognise her? - Through her general appearance, and she had a tooth out in front. There was too, a mark on her forehead, by which I recognise her. There is nothing else by which I can recognise her.
What about the mark on the forehead?-That was only a small scar, which she had when a child. It was caused by a fall. Her married name was Mary Ann Nichols.
When was she married?-Oh, over twenty years age-twenty-two years, I think. Her husband's name was William Nichol's.
The coroner-Is he alive or dead?-He is alive. He is a printer's machinist.
Are they separated?-Oh, yes. They have been living apart for seven or eight years. I last heard of her before Easter. She was about forty-two years of age.