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Francis Hewitt


Born Francis Fisher Hewitt, Holland, Lincolnshire in 1830. Married to Amy Casson (1833-1914) with five children; Alice (1856), Frances (1860), Harriet (1867), John (1867-71) and Clara (1871).

A painter and decorator who had previously lived in Nottinghamshire before settling in London where he resided in Goulston Street and Wentworth Street[1]. In 1888 he was the Superintendant of George Yard Buildings.

Hewitt lived only twelve feet from where the body of Martha Tabram was found. He testified as having heard no sound during the night, but his wife Amy claimed to have heard a cry of "Murder!" echo through the building. This can most probably be disregarded, as first, the cry occurred (according to Mrs. Hewitt) during the evening of August 6th, hours before the actual murder and secondly, she claimed that the cry did not seem to come from the interior of the building, but rather from the outside.

The Hewitts explained that "...the district round here is rather rough and cries of murder are of frequent, if not nightly occurrence...".[2]

A further press report stated that "Mr. Francis Hewitt, the superintendent of the dwellings, who with his wife occupied a sleeping apartment at nearly right angles with the place where the dead body laid, procured a foot-rule, and measured the distance of his sleeping apartment from the stone step in question; it was exactly 12 ft."[3]

Later interviewed by The Times, Francis Hewitt said he believed that Tabram was seen in a public house with two soldiers on the night of her death.[4]

He died in Whitechapel in 1890[5].


  1. Census reports 1861/1871/1881
  2. Echo, 13th August 1888
  3. East London Observer, 18th August 1888
  4. The Jack the Ripper A-Z, Paul Begg, Martin Fido, Keith Skinner (Headline 1996)
  5. BMD records, Whitechapel 1890, Vol 1c, p.280

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Related pages:
  Francis Hewitt
       Dissertations: The Silence of Violence: A Witness to the Tabram Murder E...