LONDON on Wednesday had another thrill of sensation on it becoming known that a new street tragedy of the horrible sort which have become in popular parlance associated with the appellation of the mysterious monster "Jack the Ripper" had taken place. It can scarcely be said that a repetition of these awful occurrences excites the feeling akin to sentimental panic which former mutilations have aroused, for one can get, in a great community, accustomed - and consequently less susceptible to shock on being made aware of ghastly detail - to crime which is ordinarily appalling; but the indignation among all classes of Londoners is nevertheless intense, and the desire to put a period at once and for ever to the hideous slaughter of some of the lowest of sin's soiled sisters is paramount in every circle. Let us hope that the mystery will soon be fully solved and the atrocities in consequence cease.
Another of the series of diabolical crimes which so startled London some months ago was (said the London Daily Chronicle of Wednesday) committed late on Tuesday night or at an early hour on Wednesday morning. The scene of the crime is also within the same restricted area as before, and the murderer would appear to have been able to shield himself from discovery so effectually as to leave, as hitherto, no trace behind. Shortly before one o'clock on Wednesday morning the constable on the beat while passing through Castle-alley, Whitechapel, noticed the form of a woman lying in the shadow of a doorway. He at first thought it was one of the wanderers so numerous in the neighbourhood, especially at this season, and was about to rouse the woman, when he was horrified to discover that she was dead, blood flowing from a wound in the throat. The body was in a pool of blood, which flowed from a gash in the stomach, evidently inflicted with a sharp knife or razor.
Immediately upon the arrival of the officers the exits from the alley were guarded, while each individual in the small crowd that had collected was searched for any likely weapon, but without avail. It was stated in the neighbourhood that a man who in the popular imagination was believed to be "Jack the Ripper" had been arrested, but the police would on Wednesday morning early neither affirm nor deny the rumour. This man, however, was said to answer the description of the supposed famous murderer who was a terror to the district a few months ago, inasmuch as he was stated to be tall, to wear a long coat, and a small cap. He had dark, almost black, hair, a small very dark moustache, and a small dark beard or goatee. A reporter, who was on the scene early in the morning, interrogated a man who declares he saw the prisoner arrested, and who gave this description. The police had thrown several buckets of water over the footpath to wash the bloodstains away; but in the edge of the roadway, and under the waggon, the reporter found several clots of blood. The officers at once gave the alarm and within a few minutes several other constables were on the spot. The officials at the Commercial-road station were informed of the discovery, and the superintendent in charge at once dispatched a messenger in a cab for the divisional surgeon.
The woman who is apparently about 45 years of age, is (according to a published report) supposed to be named Kelly, as she was known by that name to Mrs. Smith, the keeper of some baths in Castle-alley, whom she visited on Saturday preceding the horrible occurrence. The spot where the body was found is right under a street lamp. She lay in the middle of the footpath on her back with her clothing considerably disarranged. Mrs. Smith, who lives about a dozen yards off, was in a room overlooking the alley, and she states that she heard no sound as of anyone falling.
Castle-alley is occupied on one side by a set of brick buildings, some of which are used as stables, and some are empty. Each side of the alley is lined with handcarts and waggons, and it was within a yard of a couple of the latter that the body was found. There was just room for a man to stand between them out of sight of anyone who might be passing, but the presumption was that the woman and her murderer entered Castle-alley either from Petticoat-lane or from Castle-street together, and that while passing an unoccupied building he stabbed her in the neck. This wound was a very deep one, and penetrated the neck close under the left ear, and was of such a character that the woman must gave fallen insensible at once, and have bled to death very rapidly. It was probably after she fell that the wound in the abdomen - which was also on the left side, and very low down - was inflicted. This wound was from two to three inches long, but not of sufficient depth to permit of any of the intestines protruding. It was further surmised from the mud on the front of the woman's clothes that she fell face downwards, and was afterwards turned over on to her back for the attempted mutilation. The wound on the neck appeared to have been inflicted with a large knife.
Several persons whose actions were open to suspicion were taken into custody in the neighbourhood on Wednesday, but on Thursday morning every one had been liberated.
The following are the dates of previous murders and names of the victims, so far as known:
Christmas week, 1887. - An unknown woman found murdered near Osborne and Wentworth-streets, Whitechapel.
August 7, 1888. - Martha Turner found stabbed in thirty-nine places, on a landing in model dwellings, known as George-yard-buildings, Commercial-street, Spitalfields.
August 31. - Mrs. Nicholls, murdered and mutilated in Buck's-row, Whitechapel.
Sept. 7. - Mrs. Chapman, murdered and mutilated in Hanbury-street, Whitechapel.
Sept. 30. - Elizabeth Stride, found with her throat cut in Berner-street, Whitechapel.
Sept. 30. - Catherine Eddowes, murdered and mutilated in Mitre-square Aldgate.
November 9. - Mary Jane Kelly, hacked to pieces at No. 26, Dorset-street, Spitalfields.
The police believe that the perpetrator of the murders is a foreign Jew butcher employed on a cattle boat plying to the Continent. It was on Wednesday ascertained that some cattle boats arrived on Tuesday at the docks and sailed again next morning, and this has led the authorities to issue orders to the East-end Thames Police to watch all vessels about to leave the Thames, especially cattle boats which trade between London, Oporto, and other Spanish ports, and also America ports, and request the cattle men to give an account of themselves on the night of the 16th or the morning of the 17th inst. Detective-inspector Regan, Thames Division, and a large staff of detective officers under him, are, in consequence, engaged in carrying into effect the order, and all passenger vessels are boarded by the officers, and the passengers carefully scrutinised.
As a corroboration of the above theory, and justifying the action of the Thames police, a letter was received a few days ago by Mr. Albert Backert [Bachert], Whitechapel, as chairman of the vigilance committee, commencing: "Eastern Hotel, Pop-." And then thickly penning the words out. Mr. Backert states that he was urged to treat the matter as a practical joke; but in view of the writer "Jack the Ripper," threatening to re-commence operations about the middle of July, and Wednesday morning's murder, inquiries have been made, with the result that it has been discovered that there is an Eastern Hotel in the East India Dock-road, Poplar, which is within a stone's throw of the docks, and where a number of sailors put up. It is thought probable that the murderer may have been on a voyage during the interval between the Miller's-court murder and the one which on Wednesday renewed the horrors which have shocked the world.
Mr. Wynne Baxter, Coroner for the South-East Division of the County of London, opened an inquiry at the Working Lads' Institute, Whitechapel-road on the afternoon of July 18th, into the death of the woman who was found early the same morning lying dead in Castle-alley, Whitechapel.
John M'Cormack said: I live at a common lodging-house, 54, Gun-street, Spitalfields. I am a porter. I have seen the body in the mortuary, and recognise it as Alice M'Kenzie. She was about 40 years old, and had been living with me as my wife for about six years. I recognise her by the thumb on the right hand, which had been crushed at the tip. She also had a scar on the forehead. I know the clothes she wore and recognise them. She said she came from Peterborough. I do not know whether she ever had any children. She worked very hard as a washerwoman and charwoman for the Jews. I last saw her alive between three and four o'clock on Tuesday afternoon. She left me in bed at the time, to go and pay a night's rent, which was 8d. In addition, I gave her another shilling to do what she liked with. I did not see her again until I saw the body in the mortuary. The deputy told me my "old woman" was lying dead in the mortuary, and I went there. I go to work pretty early in the morning, and generally lay down when I get home. Deceased did not go to work on Tuesday. She told me she went to work on Monday, but I was told by others she had not been to work. She was always at home until last night. Yesterday I had a few words with her, and that upset her. She did not say she was going to walk the streets. I went down to the deputy and asked whether she had paid the money. That was about half-past ten or eleven o'clock, when I found she had not returned. The deputy told me she had not paid the rent. I said to the deputy, "What am I to do? am I to walk the streets too?" She said, "No." I immediately went upstairs and went to bed. I got up the next morning at my usual time. The Coroner: Did you think she went out looking for money? Witness: I can't tell you that; I don't know. Examination continued: Deceased was a great smoker, but I cannot explain the kind of pipe she smoked.
Elizabeth Ryder, wife of John Ryder, a cooper, said - I act as deputy at 54, Gun-street, a common lodging-house. I knew the deceased woman, who lived there some time with M'Cormack. Deceased was not a woman to be out late at night, and I don't think she got money on the streets. Between eleven and twelve last night M'Cormack came down and asked me if "Alice" had paid her lodging, and I said "No." He asked witness what he should do. I said, "Go to bed." He added, "I had a couple of words with her, and sent her down to pay the lodging." I said, "You know what she is; she will be home." When I saw her in the day she had been drinking, and was in drink when she left the house. I thought it very strange that she should go out, but I did not make any remark to her. I often saw her smoking a short clay pipe. She would borrow a pipe and purchase the tobacco. The Coroner: Is the lodging-house closed during the night? Witness: Yes; at two o'clock in the morning. There was another young woman waiting up for her at half-past two. By the jury: I do not know where the deceased got the drink from. I never saw deceased with any other man but M'Cormack.
Police-constable Andrews, 272 H, said: At ten minutes to one this morning I saw Sergeant Baddam [Badham] at the corner of Old Castle-street, leading into Castle-alley. He said, "All right?" I replied, "All right." We then proceeded through the alley, and while trying the doors on the west side, in the middle I saw a woman lying on the pavement. Her head was lying westwards, nearly resting on the edge of the kerb; she was close to a lamp - about two feet away - directly in front of a wheelwright's. There were two waggons in the roadway - one was a brewer's dray, the other a scavenger's cart. The vehicles would hide the view of a person's body from the opposite windows. The Coroner: Where the woman's clothes disarranged? Witness: Yes; they were thrown up to her chin, and exposed the lower part of the body. Blood was running from the left side and from the neck. I felt her hand, and it was quite warm. I blew my whistle, and Sergeant Baddam came up and gave orders not to touch the body until Dr. Phillips arrived. After I saw the body lying on the pavement I heard a footstep. The next minute I saw a young man named Isaac Lewis Jacobs, living close by. He came back with me. At about 12.23 or 12.25 I went through the alley, but nobody was there then. I met Police-constable Allen at that time. I went down one side of the alley and up the other. I looked in the vans, and saw nothing there. I then went into Goldstone-street, walked round into High-street, through Middlesex-street, and then into Wentworth-street, where I met the Sergeant. No one in High-street specially attracted my attention. By the Jury: By the position in which I found the deceased I should think she was murdered on the spot. I have been on duty on that beat before. Whenever any one was found sleeping in the vans we turned them out. Altogether there were six or eight vans in the alley, besides several barrows, left there at night. The Three Crowns was open when I passed at 12.25.
Mrs. Charlotte Smith, wife of a superannuated constable, said: I reside at the Baths, Goldstone-street. My bed-room window looks on to Castle-alley. I went to bed between 12.15 and 12.30. I did not hear a sound. I had not been to sleep when I was called up. My window does not open at that side. If there had been any noise in the alley I must have heard it, as I was sitting on the bed reading when I was called up. At this stage the inquiry was adjourned.