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James Brown

Witness at Elizabeth Stride's inquest.

Brown, a dock labourer of 35 Fairclough Street, testified to seeing a woman with a man at 12.45am, 30th September 1888 in Fairclough Street whilst he was getting his supper from a chandler's shop on the corner with Berner Street. He saw the couple standing by the Board School; the woman had her back to the wall, facing the man who had his arm up against it. Brown heard the woman say "No, not tonight, some other night" which attracted his attention. There was no trace of an accent in the woman's voice.

The man was described as being about 5ft 7in tall and stoutly built, wearing a long overcoat which went down almost to his heels. He was wearing a hat, but Brown was unable to describe it. It was quite dark, so he could not tell if the woman was wearing a flower on her jacket, but both appeared sober.

Brown went home and finished his supper. Fifteen minutes later he heard screams of 'Police!' and 'Murder!', but on opening his window he could not see anybody in the street. A short while later, he saw a police officer at the corner of Christian Street. A man called to the constable that he was wanted and Brown watched him run to Berner Street.[1]

He told the coroner that he was almost certain that the woman was the deceased.

The time of Brown's sighting appears to coincide with that of the incident witnessed by Israel Schwartz. Brown's timings are estimates and it was particularly dark; although he was summoned to the inquest, there are no police reports on him, which may suggest that his evidence was not considered reliable.[2]


  1. Inquest report, The Times, 4th October 1888
  2. Jack the Ripper: The Facts, Paul Begg (Robson 2006)

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