7 October 1888
CRIMES OF LONDON
The horror created in the public mind by the crimes at the East-end of London has become intensified by additional murders committed at the beginning of this present week, the perpetrator of which remains undiscovered, and by the still more mysterious crime on the Westminster Embankment.
The Home Secretary declining to accept the proposal for a large reward, a petition to the Queen was in course of preparation when the Lord Mayor, on behalf of the City Corporation, offered £500 for the apprehension of the guilty parties, a sum which has been largely increased by private subscription.
It is certain no reward would be thought too great that would secure the capture of the assassin who has created so much alarm.
The fearful addition made to those diabolical events on Sunday last seem to show that they are limited to but a few men (or women); possibly only one; and that one (or more) possessed a of a peculiar surgical knowledge and some experience (however obtained); so that it should not be impossible to hunt the secret criminal down.
The greatness of the daring and the risks that were incurred scarcely accord with the idea of sanity. The one murder following another within a few minutes, which may have been interrupted, though not in time to save the life of the victim, shows a determination as well as desperation of purpose which might lead common-sense to a conclusion that would limit inquiry considerably.
The man or woman (for woman is mentioned as a probability) who planned or assisted the crimes must have been familiar with the two spots where the bodies were found; two were within a quarter of an hour's walk of one another, and within that hour the frightful work was done.
Whatever may be the nature of his ordinary occupation or business, the perpetrator must have a home somewhere or other; there must be associates of his leisure hours, persons to walk with, talk with, and with whom he discusses the topics of the day.
Where are they? He appears in the streets at midnight; does his murderous deed or deeds, and returns to his home, be it a cellar or a carpeted apartment with usual appurtenances.
Can it be that no suspicion was ever created about him? Where and how does he carry the large knife which several witnesses speak of? Where does he cleanse himself from the gory stains upon his hands?
He must have walked from Berner-street, the thoroughfare from the Commercial-road where he left one victim, to Mitre-square, at Aldgate, where the second body was discovered in a horribly mutilated condition.
He was divested of fear, and nobody noticed him: the reason being that the two neighbourhoods are so thickly populated, especially about midnight on Saturday, and every man and woman being intent either upon market purchases or the last drop at the closing public-houses as to be regardless of anything else.
It was very dark that last night, and the conclusion is that the murderer was interrupted by the arrival of the carter who came to put up his horse, under the shadow of which the escape was made. The woman was slain, but the whole of the fiendish purpose was unaccomplished; so the man fiend cautiously arose, not without marks of the deed about him, and wended his way to Aldgate.
There in the south-western corner of Mitre-square the body of the second victim of the awful Sunday morning was discovered. A police-constable came suddenly upon the ghastly remains of the perfected slaughter.
The miscreant-perpetrator had satisfied himself and had gone home. The crime of a former occasion, when Annie Chapman was the victim, had been mutilated, with the addition that the present woman's face was so cut and slashed about as to make it hard for the remains to be identified.
Moreover, the miscreant had ripped up the sufferer, dragged out a portion of the intestines, and thrown them about her neck. No wild beast could have done such a thing as that. It was all done in a scarcely appreciable portion of time. The policeman whose beat is in Mitre-square had passed the spot at a little before half-past one o'clock and about a quarter to two he found the dead woman as described.
In this case there was proof of the exercise of some anatomical kill. There was indication also of hurry but no trace of the murderer remained.
The marvel is not that there are human brutes in existence, but that no sounds are heard whilst the crime is occurring.
The coolness, cunning and hardihood of the criminal are astonishing, but more so is the silence of the deed.
A female who lives in Berner-street, only a few houses off, says she was standing at her door nearly the whole time between half-past twelve and one o'clock on Sunday morning, and did not notice anything unusual; she had only just gone indoors when a commotion brought her to her door again, and she found that a murder had been committed.
The deed must have been done she says, "while I was standing at the door of my house". If that were the case we cannot see the police are so entirely to blame for the murderer's escape.
Three times the present number of the police force are needful according to the existing manner to secure the public safety, but where are the ratepayers who would be pleased with such an addition to cost?
The assassin risks his own life's safety upon the inadequacy of the number of the force employed against him; for the present the assassin has the advantage over the policemen; he makes his calculation, in which no doubt much low craftiness is apparent, but there is no reason why the police system should not be amended.
The restricting of the constables' beats to certain times and unvarying regulations is a friendly arrangement for burglars and assassins, who have only to watch the passing of a public protector, and reckon how long it will be before they have a chance of seeing him again.
This is almost as bad as the arrangement of the old constable time, when there were superannuated personages in warm Welsh wigs, with heavy top-coats, big sticks, a rattle and a lanthorn, with which they paraded the streets, crying the hour and the state of the weather, the only effect of which was to disturb the sleep of the peaceful and let the thieves know exactly where they were.
The wiseacres of the remarkable period, with a view of ensuring the fidelity of the guardian of the night, established an order of patrols, who after taking their walk round returned to their "watchboxes" for the rest of the night.
It should be essential to the police system that the exact whereabouts of the constable should not be known at night.
By a system of continual crossing, with alterations every night, dishonest and dangerous characters could to a great extent be baffled, and criminals secured.
Noisy boots, which announce the policeman is coming, and tell the exact spot where he is, should be abolished. The atrocities, which are becoming frequent, warrant a demand for the improvement of unsatisfactory steps taken for public protection.
It is not a vast accession to the number of police-constables that will restore the public confidence; system and skill are needed, and without such requisite additions the public will still be subjected to the alarm of desperate villains emerging from dark lanes and other concealments, pouncing upon unfortunate women, and leading them into dark corners, to kill them.
There is much more knowledge to be acquired by the authorities than has yet been thought of, and some of it will consist of the secret of silence which is possessed by the wicked.
In these, the most recent of the murders which have taken place almost in the midst of multitudes of convivial assemblages returning home and passing within a stone's throw of the murder spot, not a shriek nor a cry was heard.
Women were conducted to the slaughter, they were seen in conversation with their slaughterers who were slightly recognised, but were never recognised again; and we are told that no chloroform or any other subtle agent has been employed to stupefy the victims preparatory to their murder. No one ventures to say, however, in what manner they were silenced.
There were listeners all about the neighbourhood, with feelings quickened by the atrocities which have occurred there, and resolutions armed with a strong sense of individual danger. The fate which had befallen others might be their own at any moment after dark; so that they were interested in bringing the criminal to justice.
Everyone might be thought of as engaged in the work of detection, yet the Satanic death-dealer stole among them whilst many of them were in a state of hilarity, speechifying and singing in happy harmony, and smote down two more of their female neighbours, with a laugh at their organisations, their apprehensions, and their taking up of individuals on suspicion only to put them down again, when the suspicion was found to be without foundation.
All the circumstances that have been mentioned in connection with these two latest murders in the East-end of London tend to show that they were done in perfect silence and within the space of seconds of time.
The assassin emerged from his lair to resume his diabolical exploits, and being conscious of the whole population being on the look-out for him, he goes about his horrid work with a coolness of confidence, caution, and dexterity, notwithstanding the vigilance of the police; and having exploited in Berner-street he walks out into the Whitechapel-road, lures another woman with loss of time into a convenient place, and repeats the deed with augmented diabolism. The age has outlived the system of the magistracy as well as its officials. It is not the constables exclusively who should be censured, nor should the magistrates only be marked for praise. Do the constables ever feel aggrieved when frowns fall upon them from the Bench? Reform it altogether. Petitions to the Queen for the discovery of murderers would not be much use. A thoroughly good detective police would be better.
On Friday night and yesterday morning, the district of Whitechapel was under observation in a manner hitherto, perhaps, unprecedented, but the whole of the metropolis is under the keenest surveillance in order to trap the mysterious murderer, who, it is feared, may spring up in some other part of London. Our detective system has during the past week been increased to a remarkable extent by men drawn from the ranks, and who have been sent out in plain clothes to patrol the street. Yesterday morning, between one and two, Aldgate and Whitechapel presented an almost deserted appearance, but in dark corners and down innumerable courts and alleys lounged detectives and members of the Vigilance Committee, all of them on the alert. In the city, at Aldgate and near Mitre-square, the officers were to be seen walking in couples. The utter absence of plain-clothes officers and detectives from the streets or rather from view, was certainly surprising to one who knew they were about in large numbers. It is an undisputed point that the authorities have realised the necessity of catching the murderer in the act, therefore there is motive in concealing the detectives from view in the courts, alleys and squares which abound in the neighbourhood. It is a general belief among the police that should they catch the assassin he will endeavour to make "short work" of them. They believe him to be a very strong and powerful man.
The story circulated about a woman being lifted insensible from a cab and deposited in Hare-street, Bethnal-green, turns out to have had no foundation in fact.
It is pointed out that the murderer, after the commission of his last crime, undoubtedly proceeded from Mitre-square by way of Church-passage, Duke-Street, Houndsditch, Gravel-lane, Stoney-lane to Goulston Street, at which spot all clue appears to have been lost of him. It would take about 10 minutes for a person to get from Mitre-square to the neighbourhood, so that the murderer was well away from the scene and perhaps safely under cover before Constable Watkins obtained even medical assistance after the discovery of the body. This is a point put forward by the police in favour of bloodhounds being employed, as it was suggested that had one of the hounds been brought on the scene immediately there would have been little, if any, chance of the murderer evading justice. The prevailing opinion among the police now is either that the murderer will keep in hiding for some time until the excitement abates or the precautions are relaxed or that he will find a new field for his operations in another part of London.
It is pointed out by the Daily Telegraph that a search for an individual answering to the description of the man seen talking to the Berner-Street victim shortly before she was murdered on Sunday morning has been made by the police in Whitechapel ever since Saturday, September 1, the day following the Bucks-row tragedy. Information was tendered at the King David's-land Police-station, at about that time, by a dairyman who has a place of business in Little Turner-street, Commercial-road. It may be recollected that on September 1, a desperate assault was reported to have been committed near the music-hall in Cambridgeheath-road, a man having seized a woman by the throat and dragged her down a court, where he was joined by a gang, one of whom laid a knife across the woman's throat, remarking, "We will serve you as we did the others". The particulars of this affair were subsequently stated to be untrue; but the milkman has reason to suppose that the outrage was actually perpetrated, and he suspects that the murderer of Mary Ann Nichols in Bucks-row had something to do with it. At any rate, upon that Saturday night at five minutes to 11, a man, corresponding with the description given by Packer of the individual who purchased the grapes in Berner-street, called at the shop, which is on the left of a covered yard, usually occupied by barrows let out for hire. He was in a hurry and he asked for a pennyworth of milk, with which he was served, and he drank it down at a gulp. Asking permission to go into the yard or shed, he went there, but the dairyman caught a glimpse of something white, and having suspicions, he rejoined the man in the shed and was surprised to observe that he had covered up his trousers with a pair of white overalls such as engineers wear. The man had a staring look and appeared greatly agitated. He made a movement forward and the brim of his hard felt hat struck the dairyman, who is, therefore, sure of the kind he was wearing.
In a hurried manner the stranger took out of the black shiny bag, which was on the ground a white jacket and rapidly put it on completely hiding his cutaway black coat, remarking meanwhile, "It's a dreadful murder, isn't it?" Although the subject had not been previously mentioned. Without making a pause the suspicious person caught up his bag, which was still open, and ushered into the street, towards Shadwell, saying, "I think I have got a clue!" The matter was reported to the police and although a strict watch has been maintained for the reappearance of the man he has not been seen in the street since. He is said to have had a dark complexion, such as a seafaring man acquires. He had no marked American accent, and his general appearance was that of a clerk or student whose beard had been allowed three days' growth. His hair was dark and his eyes large and staring. The bag carried by the young man, whose age the dairyman places at 28, is stated to have been provided with a lock at the top, near the handle, and was made as stated of a black glistening material. In connection with the Whitechapel murders a black bag has been repeatedly mentioned.
The following postal telegram was received by the Metropolitan Police at 11:55 am on Friday night. It was handed in at an office in the Eastern district at 8 pm - "Charles Warren, Head of the Police News, Central Office. Dear Boss, if you are willing to catch me, I am now in City-road lodging, but number you will have to find out; and I mean to do another murder tonight in Whitechapel. - Yours, "JACK THE RIPPER."
Yesterday morning, a letter was received at the Commercial-street Police-station by the first post. It was addressed to the "Commercial-street Police-station" in blacklead pencil, and the contents were also written in pencil and couched in ridiculous language. The police believe the letter to be the work of a lunatic. It was signed "Jack the Ripper," and said he was going to commit another murder in the Goswell-road tonight, and spoke of having "several bottles of blood underground in Epping Forest." He frequently referred to "Jack the Ripper under the ground." Detective-Inspector Abberline has been informed of the correspondence, and the police of the G Division have been communicated with.
The police authorities in Whitehall have had reproduced in fac-simile and published on the walls of London the letter and post-card sent to the Central News Agency. The handwriting, which is clear and plain, and disguised in part, is that of a person accustomed to write a round hand like that employed by clerks in offices. The exact colour of the ink and smears of blood are reproduced in the placard, and information is asked on identification of the handwriting. The post-card bears a tolerably clear imprint of a bloody-thumb or finger mark.
Yesterday, at the Birmingham Police Court, a man was charged on his own confession, with being the Whitechapel murderer. The prisoner was arrested on the strength of a statement he had been making in a public-house, giving a circumstantial account of his proceedings. He now denied any connection with the murders, and explained his "confession" by pleading mental excitement, caused by reading about the affair. He was remanded for inquiries.
A news agency has received a telegram from New York with respect to a statement alleged to have been made in that city by an English sailor named Dodge. The statement is that he arrived in London from China on August 13, by the steamship Glenorchy, that he met at the Queen's Music Hall, Poplar, a Malay cook, and that the Malay said he had been robbed by a woman of bad character and that unless he found the woman and recovered his money he would murder and mutilate every Whitechapel woman he met. The statement also includes the following description of the Malay:- "He was about 5 ft. 7 in. in height, 130lb. in weight, and apparently 35 years of age." Judging from the precise figures relating to the Malay's appearance, it is evident that Dodge must have scrutinised him closely. Inquiries have been made by the news agency in London, but no information has been obtained in verification of the sailor's story. It appears that the Glenorchy returned to London from China on Aug. 14.
The daughter of the woman who was murdered in Mitre-square has been found. Her age is 19, and she is married. She states that her father, Thomas Conway, with whom the deceased cohabited for some time before she met with Kelly, is still living, but he has not yet been traced. Kelly stated in the course of his evidence on Thursday, before the Coroner, that when the deceased left him she told him she was going to try and find her daughter Annie. The latter, however, now states that she did not see her mother that day.
The funeral of the woman Eddowes, the Mitre-square victim, will take place on Monday, at Ilford. The body has been placed in a handsome polished coffin. It has the following inscription:- "Kathleen Eddowes, died Sept. 30. 1888, aged 43 years". All the expenses in connection with the funeral will be borne by Mr. Hawks, Banner-street, St. Luke's. The City authorities, to whom the cemetery at Ilford belong have arranged to remit the usual fee.
Yesterday afternoon, a mysterious occurrence was reported to a correspondent by Mr. Lusk, jun., one of the sons of Mr. George Lusk, chairman of the Vigilance Committee, meeting at 74 Mile-end-road. On Thursday, at 4:15, a man apparently from 30 to 40 years of age, 5ft. 9in. in height, florid complexion, with bushy brown beard, whiskers and moustache, went to the private residence of Mr. Lusk in Alderney-street, Mile-end, and asked for him. He happened to be at a tavern kept by his son, and thither the man went, and after asking all sorts of questions relative to the beats taken by members of the Committee, attempted to induce Mr. Lusk to enter a private room with him.
The stranger's appearance however was so repulsive and forbidding that Mr. Lusk declined, but consented to hold a quiet conversation with him in the bar-parlour. The two were talking, when the stranger drew a pencil from his pocket and purposely dropped it over the side of the table saying, "Pick that up." Just as Mr. Lusk turned to do so he noticed the stranger make a swift though silent movement of his right hand towards his side pocket, and seeing that he was detected assumed a nonchalant air, and asked to be directed to the nearest coffee and dining-rooms. Mr. Lusk directed him to a house in the Mile End-road, and the stranger quietly left the house, followed by Mr. Lusk who went to the coffee-house indicated, and found that the man had not been there, but had given his pursuer the slip by disappearing up a court.
Last night, the reply from the Home Secretary to the petition to the Queen that a reward might be offered by Government for the detection of the Whitechapel murderer was received by Mr. Lusk, the Chairman of the Vigilance Committee. The Home Secretary declines to offer a reward in the belief that no good would come of it, but he states that no effort or expense will be spared in the effort to bring the criminal to justice.
Up to midnight no arrest which the police regarded as of special importance had been made. The excitement at the East-end, more particularly in the street contiguous to where the series of Whitechapel murders have been committed, was very great, the fineness of the night causing some of the thoroughfares to present the aspect of a fair.