|A Ripperologist Article|
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by GAVIN BROMLEY
The testimony of Albert Cadosch has been the subject of debate and, in some cases, misunderstanding over the years. The debate has been over whether the events he related were of any relevance to the murder and the misunderstanding over what it was he actually claimed to hear and the timing involved.
Albert Cadosch went into the back yard of his lodging-house at 27 Hanbury Street on the morning of 8th September 1888 and heard noises coming from the neighbouring yard of No. 29. About three-quarters of an hour later the body of Annie Chapman was discovered in the yard of 29 Hanbury Street. The timing relating to Cadosch’s visits to the back yard has been given variously as somewhere between 5:15 and 5:25 a.m. and it has been said that he heard a voice exclaim ‘No’ followed by the sound of someone falling against the fence, giving us the impression that this must have been the sound of the killer striking.
Of course there is a problem not only with the exact time and the time difference between the events that Cadosch related, but also with the general time of what he witnessed compared to the testimony of other witnesses. Dr. Phillips estimated the time of death as being at least two hours before he saw the body at 6:30 a.m. which would give the time of death as 4:30 at the latest. Although coroner Wynne Baxter said that Phillips had qualified his opinion and the coldness of the morning may have affected his judgment of the time of death, there is some debate over how this would be affected. Also there is the testimony of Elizabeth Long, which on the face of it conflicts with that of both Cadosch and Phillips, in that she said she saw the deceased with a man outside No. 29 at about 5:30. These issues will be discussed in a future article. The intention of this article is to look closely at Cadosch’s statements.
John Richardson sat on the steps leading into the back yard of No. 29 at about 4:50 for two or three minutes and did not see the body at that time. When John Davis came into the back yard at just after 6:00 he was met with the gruesome sight of Annie Chapman’s mutilated body.
Richardson, Cadosch and Davis were the only witnesses who said they went into the yards of Nos. 27 or 29 between about 4:50 and 6:00. No one else came forward to say they had been in either yard in that time period.
House and yards
Let’s first take a look at what the reports and inquest testimony tell us about No. 29 and the backyards of that house and of No. 27.
In his inquest testimony John Davis gave the following details:
The house faces Hanbury-street, with one window on the ground floor and a front door at the side leading into a passage which runs through into the yard. There is a back door at the end of this passage opening into the yard. Neither of the doors was able to be locked, and I have never seen them locked. Any one who knows where the latch of the front door is could open it and go along the passage into the back yard.
- When you went into the yard on Saturday morning was the yard door open or shut?
- I found it shut. I cannot say whether it was latched—I cannot remember. I have been too much upset. The front street door was wide open and thrown against the wall. I was not surprised to find the front door open, as it was not unusual. I opened the back door, and stood in the entrance.
- Will you describe the yard?
- It is a large yard. Facing the door, on the opposite side, on my left as I was standing, there is a shed, in which Mrs. Richardson keeps her wood. In the right-hand corner there is a closet. The yard is separated from the next premises on both sides by close wooden fencing, about 5 ft. 6 in. high…
There was a little recess on the left. From the steps to the fence is about 3 ft. There are three stone steps, unprotected, leading from the door to the yard, which is at a lower level than that of the passage. Directly I opened the door I saw a woman lying down in the lefthand recess, between the stone steps and the fence. She was on her back, with her head towards the house and her legs towards the wood shed.1
Also to note about the back door was that it would shut on its own as indicated by John Richardson at the inquest: I did not close the back door; it closes itself.2
The ‘closet’ referred to as being in the right hand corner of the yard would be the outside lavatory or privy. A water closet (W.C.) is “a privy; especially, a privy furnished with a contrivance for introducing a stream of water to cleanse it”.3
Another report gave the detail about the steps leading down to the yard.
The passage of the house leads directly to the yard, passing the door of the front parlour, the yard being about four feet below the level of the passage, and reached by two stone steps. The position of the steps creates a recess on their left, the fence between the yard and the next house being about three feet from the steps.4 Davis’s estimate of the distance between the steps and the fence was given slightly differently in another account. Between the steps and in fence, on the left hand side, is a recess about 3ft 6in wide.5 However from another report we see that Davis’s account was confused.
Witness was asked to describe the general appearance of the yard, but was not very clear in his statements. Some time having been occupied in attempting to elicit answers.6
More details of the layout of the house and yard were given in another account:
NO. 29, HANBURY STREET DESCRIBED.
The houses in Hanbury-street are seldom more than two or three storeys in height, No. 29 has two rooms on the ground floor, with a cellar below. Above there are two floors, the front rooms each having two windows, and there is an attic, with one large window, of a character to indicate that the house was originally occupied by silk weavers. The window of the ground-floor room in the front has a pair of green shutters, and the apartment is used as a cat’s-meat shop. On the right of this shop 7 there is a narrow door opening into a passage about 3ft. wide and 20ft. long, leading down two stone steps into a yard at the back. The flooring of this passage is bare and rough; the doors, at each end, have no locks; and there is nothing to prevent anyone knowing the ways of the place to walk from the street into the yard.
The yard is of small dimensions, about 15ft. square. It contains a shed, in which packing cases are made, and is separated from the adjoining properties by fences about five feet high. No outlet exists at the rear whatever, and the theory has been formed that the murderer and his victim entered the yard by the ordinary process, and that the way of escape led in the same direction. Not a sound was heard to fix any time when either event could have occurred. On Saturday the sun rose at twenty-three minutes past five; for half an hour previously the light would be such as to render it difficult for anyone to distinguish even near objects.8 The final sentence regarding the amount of light is not really true. As the sun rose at 5:23 then it would be reasonably light at that time and even half an hour previously, though gloomy, there would still be enough light to see fairly clearly for a reasonable distance.
An alternative estimate of the length of the passage from the front door to the back is given as follows: The passage through the house by which the yard was reached is 25ft. long and 3ft. wide. Its floor is bare, and nobody can pass along it without making some noise.9
So the reports give a length for the passage of about 20 to 25 ft long. According to the Goad’s and OS maps the depth of the building of No. 29 and No. 27 was about 30 ft.
A more grim account of the house was given as follows:
There stood the dingy house in the back yard of which the crime took place, the ditto of its dingy neighbours. A mangling house, with the yellow paint peeling off its wall like skin disease, flanks it on one side; an ordinary dwelling house on the other. To reach the back yard of No 29, you must traverse the “hall” and passage of the house; there is no back entry, for, as already said, the houses flank each other closely, leaving no intervening space. On traversing the passage, you reach a back door, from which three steps lead downward—that is, to the level of the ugly, little, stony, slimy back yard. This back yard is separated from the next neighbour’s by a paling so low that one may vault over it with the utmost ease. In the narrow level space between the steps and the paling was found the murdered body.10
Further information was given about the layout of the house and yard and the location of bloodstains found which indicated that Chapman was murdered where she was found.
The yard is a small one, square in shape, with a 4ft. fence on either side. The fence is old and rotten. There is a woodshed at the back. The yard is roughly and irregularly paved with stones of all sizes and shapes rammed into the ground. The back door of the house which leads into the yard is a plain board frame, with no lock on it. Two stone steps are just outside, and in the narrow space between these steps and the fence the body lay. It was evident at a glance that the murder had been done where the body lay. The enormous quantity of blood and the splash on the fence, coupled with the total absence of stains elsewhere, made this clear. It was also clear that the man had decoyed the poor woman into the yard, and murdered her as she lay where she was found. The passage through the house by which the yard was reached is 25ft. long and 3ft. wide. Its floor is bare, and nobody can pass along it without making some noise. The murderer and his victim failed to awaken anybody, however, though people were sleeping only a few feet away. Both front and back door are open all night, and there was no difficulty in reaching the yard.11
Inspector Chandler’s testimony gave clarification about where blood was found.
- Were there any traces of blood on the palings?
- Yes, near the body in the yard. There were no signs of blood in the adjoining yard. There were marks of blood discovered on the wall of No. 25. There were no drops of blood in the passage or approaches. The blood stains were in the immediate neighbourhood of the body only.12
Another report remarked:
There were some marks of blood observable in the passage, but it is now known that these were caused during the work of removal of some packing-cases, the edges of which accidentally came in contact with the blood upon the spot from which the unhappy victim was removed.13
Aperture in the fence
The palings of the dividing fence between Nos. 29 and 27 are not exactly described or depicted consistently in contemporary drawings. The sketches and accounts do not give a clear indication of how wide the gaps between the slats were, though there appear to be large gaps in some drawings.
Some indication of an aperture at a critical place in the palings is given in the following report on the evening of 20 September 1888.
DETECTIVES IN COUNCIL.
A further consultation of the detectives engaged in the case was held this morning, and an officer again visited the back-yard of No. 29, Hanbury-street, and made a careful inspection of the palings leading from that house to No. 27, where resides the young man Cadosh, who stated at the inquest that he heard sounds proceed from the spot where the body lay at a quarter-past five on the morning of the murder. An examination of the fence shows that immediately over the place in the yard there is an aperture in the palings by which the dead body could have been plainly visible, while anyone moving in the yard might easily have been seen.14
From this it appears there was a large enough gap for someone in the yard of No. 27 to have seen enough of the body to alert them to what was going on or to have seen any movement by the killer. However, it could be that the aperture would only have allowed a reasonable (though restricted) view of part of the neighbouring yard close to the fence if the observer was directly in line with the gap. From an angle the gap would appear more narrow and would possibly not have allowed the observer to have seen a great deal, if anything at all, and at the point where they could have seen enough, they would have been facing the back door and not looking across at the fence.
But this aperture was only more closely inspected as late as 20 September. On 13 September, Inspector Chandler’s testimony at the inquest was given as follows:
- Are the palings strongly erected? –
- Would they bear the weight of a man getting over them? –
- They might, but they did not give any evidence of that. There was no breakage. I examined the adjoining yard. None of the palings were then broken, although they have since been broken [my emphasis]. On the palings in the yard, near the body, were stains of blood, but no blood in the adjoining yard. On the wall of No. 25 there were some marks. They have been seen by Dr. Phillips. Those marks are not blood. They [sic] were only bloodstains in the immediate neighbourhood of the body.
- Any other blood?
- At the head of the body there were a few spots—splashes—and also on the ground.15
Chandler states that the palings were not broken and makes no reference to any gap in the palings, only referring to blood spatters on them which indicate they had been examined closely. He also states that they had since been broken, so an examination a week later would not have given the police a view of how the fence looked on the morning of the murder. We have no way of knowing exactly where and to what extent but it could be that the aperture that was above the spot where the body had been was part of the damage Chandler had seen after the murder. It may have been caused by someone trying to get a view of the body from the yard of No. 27 following Davis’s discovery on the morning of the 8th. Incidentally Chandler also pointed out that the ‘blood’ found at No. 25 was not of any relevance.
Another early report gives the following detail.
About a quarter before six she was found in a dirty little yard up in a muddy corner beneath some broken pailings [sic], her head nearly severed from her body, and her person mutilated in a manner too horrible for description.16
However this is contradicted by Inspector Chandler’s comments and it may be that the fence was seen by a reporter after the damage that Chandler noted, had been done. It is possible that there was a gap to some extent in the palings and this gap may have been the intended slight gap between the palings when they were erected, or some slight breakage in the wood. The report suggests the aperture was directly above where the body had lain which suggests it did not extend to the ground. The Star report, from the day of the murder (quoted above), states that the fence was old and rotten.
If there was a gap just above where the body had lain then it’s possible that something may have been visible from the yard of No. 27 if a person was directly facing the place where the aperture was as they passed it.
Cadosch’s story (first reports)
From the various accounts given, Albert Cadosch heard voices or an exclamation and someone falling against the fence in the next yard about three-quarters of an hour before Annie Chapman’s mutilated body was discovered there. Sometimes this is stated to have occurred at just after 5:15 with the fall following shortly after the exclamation. In part this combines errors and ambiguities in the early reporting with a possible misunderstanding of what was said at the inquest. Three segments from the Daily News of 10th September 1888 give us the following details:
At twenty minutes past five a lodger went into the yard and noticed nothing to excite his suspicion. At a few minutes to six another lodger went there, and saw a sight that sent him screaming through the house. All, then, had been done in half an hour.
The lodger who came down at 5.25 fancied he heard a slight scuffle, with the noise of someone falling against the pailings, but he took no notice of that. They take very little notice in Hanbury street, even of strangers to the house, who sometimes turn in for a sleep on the stairs before the markets open.
Albert Cadosch, who lodges next door, had occasion to go into the adjoining yard at the back at 5.25, and states that he heard a conversation on the other side of the palings, as if between two people. He caught the word “No,” and fancied he subsequently heard a slight scuffle, with the noise of a falling against the palings, but thinking that his neighbours might probably be out in the yard, he took no further notice and went to his work.17
The first segment gives us a time of 5:20 for an unnamed lodger being in the yard. This does not mention which yard the lodger was in and implies it was No. 29 as it then makes reference to the lodger (John Davis) at that house who found the body ‘there’, however it does appear to be a reference to Cadosch and the report (typical of early reports of all the murders) seems to be combining different details into one account.
The second segment again doesn’t name Cadosch but it is clearly a reference to him, as we can see from the third segment, which names him and gives further details. These last two reports give the time for him being in the back yard as 5:25, though the second segment does not mention any voices and it was the scuffle and sound heard against the fence that were said to have happened at that time.
The third segment states that the voices were heard at 5:25 and the ‘scuffle’ and noise of the ‘falling against the palings’ occurred ‘subsequently’ so this could mean immediately afterwards or a few minutes later. Only in this segment is reference made to Cadosch hearing voices. Here it describes it as a conversation ‘as if between two people’ and he caught the word ‘no’. ‘As if’ may suggest he heard only one person speaking but inferred from the tone that they must have been talking to someone else.
That it is sometimes said the woman made an exclamation probably comes from reports such as that in the Irish Times where it was stated that ‘as he passed the wooden partition he heard a woman say “No, no.”’18
These reports leave ambiguities and have inaccuracies so we have no definitive account of what happened and exactly when. However more details were given in the following account:
On visiting the house next door to the tragedy, 27, our representative saw Mr. Albert Cadosen [sic], a carpenter, who resides there and works in Shoe-lane, Fleet-street. He says: I was not very well in the night and I went out into the back yard about 25 minutes past five. It was just getting daylight, and as I passed to the back of the yard I heard a sound as of two people up in the corner of the next yard. On coming back I heard some words which I did not catch, but I heard a woman say “No.” Then I heard a kind of scuffle going on, and someone seemed to fall heavily on to the ground against the wooden partition which divided the yard, at the spot where the body was afterwards found. As I thought it was some of the people belonging to the house, I passed into my own room, and took no further notice.19
Here we have reference to Cadosch hearing the sound as of there being two people in the yard as he first went outside. No other reference to this specific detail appeared in other reports but it seems quite explicit and distinct from the time when he heard the voices which was when he was ‘coming back’, a detail also included in this report. At that point he heard them talking but could not tell what they were saying except he heard a woman say ‘No’. This specifically refers to there being two people (rather than ‘some’ as some newspaper reports and Chief Inspector Swanson’s report20 indicate), but this is one of the few references I could see for the word ‘No’ being said by a woman (other reports do not specify who actually said the word). Assuming the voices were those of Chapman and her killer, if Cadosch did hear a woman’s voice, Chapman was therefore alive at that point. Again this report does not imply any substantial time before he then heard a scuffle and the fall, and adds the detail here that it sounded like someone falling heavily onto the ground against the fence. Also Cadosch said in this account that he then went to his room (and took no further notice), as opposed to leaving directly for work, which is what he implied happened at the inquest. However, given that Cadosch subsequently said at the inquest that he made two visits to the back yard, this reference to returning to his room may have been meant by Cadosch to apply to returning inside after his first visit rather than immediately before leaving for work. As this report does not refer to two separate visits, it could have been a mistaken inference by the reporter that Cadosch went to his room after hearing the fall.
Why Cadosch was in the backyard?
This report also tells us why Cadosch was going outside as he said that he was not very well in the night. This is also hinted at by the following detail of his inquest testimony reported in The Times:
By the jury. - He did not go into the yard twice out of curiosity. He had been under an operation at the hospital.21
Cadosch was recovering from an operation and not feeling well and the most likely consequence of this, in light of his visits outside, would be to have to go to the outside privy. As a small construction with a door it means that once inside he would not see anything happening outside and would also not be able to hear any noises from outside so well.
Also worth bearing in mind is that if Cadosch was not feeling well, yet was still having to get ready for work (without sick pay in those days, time off work for an ailment was not a viable option unless absolutely necessary) taking any interest in what was happening over the fence would not be his first priority, particularly as he was used to hearing sounds from the yard of No. 29 in the mornings as we see from his inquest testimony. If there had been an aperture in the fence through which he may have been able to see, if he was hurrying to get to work and perhaps not feeling too well even if he glanced across to the fence before he was directly facing the aperture then he probably would not have seen anything.
The location of the privy, which was Cadosch’s destination, was given by him at the inquest: ‘I went through the yard of my house to the far end of the yard furthest from 29.’ 22
It was therefore at the end of the yard of No. 27 on the left side (as looking from the back door) ‘furthest from 29’.
The back doors of Nos. 27 and 29 were near to the fence that divided their yards and the outside privies were in the furthest corner away from the fence. The steps from the back door of No. 29 were said to be about 3 or 3½ feet from the fence. As Cadosch came outside he would be walking diagonally away from the fence dividing Nos. 27 and 29.
The opposite would be true as he returned to the house.
Cadosch was probably not as tall as the fence or at least his eye level (on average about 4 or 5 inches less than a person’s height) would be below the height of the fence. He himself gave the height of the fence as 5’ 6” to 6’. Also anyone in the yard of No. 29 would have had to be shorter than the height of the fence else Cadosch may have got a glimpse of the tops of their heads when walking back towards the house.
The photograph on the left shows that No. 27 had a small window between the back door and the fence. If this window was there in 1888 it may have allowed occupants of No. 27 to see at least the tops of heads of anyone in the yard of No. 29. However Cadosch did not say he had seen anyone, even a glimpse of the top of a head and the uncertainty he expressed at the inquest over where the voice came from implies he had not actually seen anyone in the yard.
So let’s get an accurate idea of what Cadosch claimed he heard and when he heard these sounds. When we look at the inquest testimony as reported in the various newspapers it is clear that there are differences in the interpretations of what was said. Some reports give more details but there are often subtle differences in the implications of what was said by Cadosch. Details are condensed or misreported and though a ‘composite’ account can be made caution has to be applied in doing so.
Inquest testimony & Police Report
The account of Cadosch’s testimony is given in The Times as follows:
Albert Cadosch, a carpenter, stated that he resided at No. 27, Hanbury-street. That was next door to No. 29. On Saturday, the 8th inst. he got up at about 5:15 and went out into the yard of his house. As he returned across the yard, to the back door of his house, he heard a voice say quite close to him, “No.” He believed it came from No. 29. He went into the house, and returned to the yard three or four minutes afterwards. He then heard a sort of a fall against the fence, which divided his yard from No. 29. Something seemed suddenly to touch the fence. He did not look to see what it was. He did not hear any other noise.
By the CORONER. - He did not hear the rustling of any clothes. Witness then left the house and went to his work. When he passed Spitalfields Church it was about 32 minutes past 5. He did not hear people in the yard as a rule, but had now and then heard them at that time in the morning.
By the jury. - He did not go into the yard twice out of curiosity. He had been under an operation at the hospital. He informed the police the same day of what he had heard. The palings were about 5ft. 6in. in height. He had not the curiosity to look over the fence, as at times the next door people were early risers. When he left the house he did not see any man or woman in Hanbury-street. He did not see Mrs. Long.23
This may have created some confusion about the times involved. Various reports condensed information, which may have given a false impression. This makes it appear that he got up at 5:15 and immediately went into his back yard. As he returned across the yard (after some unspecified period) he heard a voice say ‘no’. So from this it has sometimes been taken that he heard the voice at just after 5:15.
This report (and we find this with all the inquest reports) only makes mention of him hearing the word ‘no’. There is no implication that he heard a conversation as the earlier reports indicated. Also, we are told that he was not certain where the voice came from. However, this uncertainty about where the voice came from has perhaps been overstated sometimes. It is worth noting that he said he heard a voice ‘quite close to him’. If the earlier reports of him hearing a conversation were correct then as he returned from the privy the voices would at first appear indistinct, particularly if the couple were keeping their voices low so as not to attract attention or disturb anyone inside No. 29 as well as the person they could hear in the yard of No. 27. Also, Cadosch would be coming from the furthest point away from where Chapman was found. So as he got near to the back door the voices would have appeared louder as he would have been getting nearer to them and would have been just the other side of the fence from anyone in the yard of No. 29 who were near the spot where Chapman’s body was found. This ‘closeness’ of the voice as he went back into the house and the fact that the back door of No. 27 was near to the dividing fence suggests the voice came from just over the other side. However, as Cadosch was not prepared to commit himself as to where the voice had come from, though he did say he thought it came from there, we cannot assume the voice did actually come from No. 29.
He may not have been certain about the location of the voices but he was certain that the sound he subsequently heard (of something falling against the fence) came from No. 29. This indicates that there was probably some activity in the neighbouring yard at that time and, if so, then it’s quite likely that the voices he had heard also came from the yard. Though, of course, this is not necessarily the case. It is sometimes queried whether the sound of the fall would definitely have come from the dividing fence between No. 27 and No. 29, pointing to his uncertainty regarding the location of where the voice came from, but Cadosch did not express any doubt regarding the fall. He gave no qualification as he had done with the location of the voice. The sound of the fence being struck would have been quite distinct regarding where it had come from, whereas a voice, particularly if the person was whispering, would have been more difficult to locate. A police version of Cadosch’s statement is given in Chief Inspector Donald Swanson’s report of 19th October 1888:
5.25 a.m. 8th Sept. Albert Cadosch of 27 Hanbury Street, (next door) had occasion to go into the yard at the rear of No. 27, separated only by a wooden fence about 5 feet high, and he heard words pass between some persons apparently at No. 29 Hanbury Street, but the only word he could catch was “No”.
5.28 a.m. 8th Sept. On Cadosch going back into the yard again he heard a noise as of something falling against the fence on the side next No. 29 Hanbury Street, but he did not take any notice.24
This official report mentions that Cadosch heard more than one person, but that the only word he could pick out was ‘no’. This reflects the story in the original newspaper reports and it is odd that nothing was said to imply this at the inquest. Note that at no point do we have confirmation in the inquest reports or this police report of how many people were in the yard, what their gender was or whether it was a man or woman who said ‘no’. We can only infer from this that there were at least (and possibly only) two people, one of them uttering the word ‘no’ either as part of a sentence or as a single word response. There was nothing to imply any special emphasis as to how the word was uttered but it does not appear to have been in exclamation, and we also cannot infer that it was uttered as a rebuke.
In all reports of the inquest testimony there is reference to Cadosch returning to the yard after three or four minutes. This period is also reflected in Swanson’s report as the time given for Cadosch hearing the voices was 5:25 and his return outside when he heard the fall against the fence is given as 5:28. Sometimes the evidence has been interpreted as Cadosch hearing an exclamation of ‘No’ closely followed by an object falling against the fence. There were at least three or four minutes between those events.
Also, Swanson’s report follows some of the original newspaper reports in the time given for Cadosch hearing the voices. That is, 5:25.
Obviously, the times given by Cadosch will not be exact to the minute and each individual event could have been a minute or two earlier or later than the times given. Cadosch was just estimating how long he felt it had been between events some time after these otherwise mundane happenings occurred, but it gives us a fair estimate of the times involved in Cadosch’s outings into his back yard. All that we know is that these events occurred between the two times when Cadosch seemingly made reference to a clock: about 5:15 when Cadosch got up and 5:32 when he passed the church. He didn’t make reference to checking a clock at 5:15 but in keeping with other people (for example, John Davis) probably knew the time from the church bells striking the quarter-hour.
Also to be noted is that Cadosch said that he had no reason to suspect there was anything amiss as he often heard his neighbours making a noise against the fence caused by the packing cases.
Differences with early reports
The more dramatic description given in the early reports of the sounds he heard including a scuffle and something falling heavily are absent from the inquest testimony. This may be because the reporters of the early accounts exaggerated what was said, or because Cadosch himself had played up what he heard originally to make it sound more dramatic. Whether he had actually heard these more dramatic sounds or not, he may have then decided to play down what he had heard at the inquest because he was receiving criticism, or feared he would, for not having acted upon what he heard, when if he had it may have prevented the murder.
The First Visit
Let’s take a closer look at Cadosch’s testimony starting with his first entry into the back yard. This has been variously stated to be 5:15 and 5:25.
The following report offers a more specific account of some of these details.
I got up about a quarter past five in the morning, and went into the yard. It was then about twenty minutes past five, I should think. As I returned towards the back door I heard a voice say “No” just as I was going through the door. It was not in our yard, but I should think it came from the yard of No. 29. I, however, cannot say on which side it came from.25
Taken on its own, the first line says that he got up at 5:15 and implies he immediately went into the yard. However the second line appears to say that it was 5:20 by the time he went into the yard. Early reports on the 10th gave the time as 5:25 for when he heard the voices. This could have been a mistake by the report, but there may be some way that the times match those given at the inquest as we will see.
Also in this account, it says he heard the voice ‘just as [he] was going through the door’. This seems to confirm that he was at the back door (or near there) when he heard the voice and therefore would be quite near to it if it came from just the other side of the fence.
Regarding the timing of when he was outside, consider this account of his testimony:
About a quarter past five o’clock in the morning of the 8th inst., I was in the yard. I returned in about five minutes, and heard a voice close to me, but I could not say on which side, or in which yard, say “No.” I went in and came back into the yard in three or four minutes, and then I heard a sort of fall against the fence which divides the yard from No. 29.26
Here it is mentioned that Cadosch said he returned across the yard (from the outhouse) after about five minutes and heard the voice. This report states that he was in the yard at 5:15, so from this it appears he walked back across the yard at 5:20 and heard the voice. However, this reference to the five minutes spent in the yard may push the time to 5:25 if he only went into the yard at 5:20 as other reports imply. On the other hand this ‘five minutes’ was probably this report’s way of describing Cadosch’s reference to it being ‘twenty past 5’ which was noted in the other reports apparently as the time at which he was in the yard. The various newspapers reported the timings slightly differently and it’s difficult to deduce exactly what Cadosch said.
Another report appears to clear this up:
… he got up at about 5.15 A.M., and went into the yard, and in returning about 20 minutes past five he heard a voice quite near him, and he thought probably it was in the yard of No. 29.27
This report clearly states it was at about 5:20 that Cadosch returned across the yard to the house and heard the voice. However, this may have been a misinterpretation by that particular newspaper and from all the accounts it appears the testimony may have been ambiguous on this point.
There are various elements to his testimony regarding this:
He got up at 5:15
At some point while in the yard (either when he first went out or as he returned to the house) it was 5:20
He was in the yard for 5 minutes before returning to the house, hearing the voice on the way inside
It all depends on the time when he went into the yard. If he got up at 5:15 and went immediately to the yard then he would have heard the voice at about 5:20. However, if it were 5:20 when he went into the yard (and the Telegraph report can be read this way) he would have heard the voice at 5:25 if he returned five minutes later. On the other hand, in this scenario it depends on whether the five minutes referred to in the Morning Advertiser simply referred to his presence in the yard at 5:20 (i.e. five minutes after he got up) and therefore renders points 2 and 3 above as referring to the same time period or if it correctly reflected that he said he returned to the house five minutes after going outside.
So the more likely summary based on the various reports would be:
5:15: Cadosch gets up and goes into back yard to the outhouse (possibly hearing people in the yard next door if one of the early reports is correct).
5:20: Cadosch returns to the house and hears a voice or voices but is only able to pick out the word ‘no’.
This actually reflects the time that Coroner Wynne Baxter gave in his summing up.
Cadosh says it was about 5.20 when he was in the back yard of the adjoining house, and heard a voice say “No”.28
An alternative summary, if the interpretation of the Morning Advertiser did refer to an extra five minutes, is:
5:15: Cadosch gets up.
5:20: Cadosch goes into back yard to the outhouse.
5:25: Cadosch returns to the house and hears voices but is only able to pick out the word ‘no’.
This would bring the timing in line with the police report and the early newspaper reports.
Though the newspaper reports of the inquest testimony make it sound as if he got up and immediately went to the yard, from piecing together the early reports and all the reports of his inquest testimony, it appears he was in the back yard at 5:20 (though it is not clear whether this was the outward or return journey back to the house). On his first trip he may have been in the outhouse for about 5 minutes. It could be that it was in this period that the killer and Chapman came into the yard, as Cadosch does not mention hearing any voices in his inquest testimony until he was going back into the house. However, the report in Lloyd’s mentions him being aware of two people in the yard on first going outside.
The Second Visit and Time In Between
Returning to the inquest testimony to pick up on the detail regarding his second visit outside:
He went into the house, and returned to the yard three or four minutes afterwards. He then heard a sort of a fall against the fence, which divided his yard from No. 29. Something seemed suddenly to touch the fence. He did not look to see what it was. He did not hear any other noise.
By the CORONER. - He did not hear the rustling of any clothes. Witness then left the house and went to his work.29
The report in The Times, among others, gives the impression that Cadosch heard the sound of the fall as he went back outside.
Also we can see that Cadosch was asked about sounds other than the bump being heard. Another account of this part of his testimony gives the following detail:
Three or four minutes the witness was again in the yard of the house in which he lived, and heard “a sort of fall” against the fence. He did not look to see what it was.
The Coroner - Had you heard any previous noise? - No, sir.30
The coroner’s questions regarding other noises were possibly asked in order to refute or confirm the early press reports that he had heard other sounds prior to the ‘fall’ against the fence such as the scuffle and someone falling heavily on the ground.
As already stated, while he expressed some doubt about where the voices came from he was unequivocal about where the sound of the ‘fall’ came from. If he was trying to play down the significance of the sounds he heard (so, for example, the ‘scuffle’ was no longer mentioned) he was still expressing certainty about where the sound of the ‘fall’ had come from. People at the time and since have picked up on his description of the sound being caused by a ‘fall’ with its implications that this could have been the moment Annie Chapman fell down under the attack from the killer.
Swanson’s report also implies that the ‘fall’ was heard immediately on going back outside—‘On Cadosch going back into the yard again he heard a noise as of something falling against the fence on the side next No. 29 Hanbury Street’.
However, doubts are raised by this interpretation in the Telegraph:
I went indoors, but returned to the yard about three or four minutes afterwards. While coming back I heard a sort of a fall against the fence which divides my yard from that of 29. It seemed as if something touched the fence suddenly. The Coroner: Did you look to see what it was? - No.
- Had you heard any noise while you were at the end of your yard? - No.
- Any rustling of clothes? - No. I then went into the house…31
‘While coming back’ after returning to the yard implies that he heard the sound while going back into the house, though there is still some ambiguity as it could equally have meant ‘while coming back to the yard’ as confirmation of the previous sentence. However, the coroner’s question ‘Had you heard any noise while at the end of your yard’ [my emphasis] implies he was asking about anything Cadosch may have heard while he had been at the end of the yard (i.e. away from the house and presumably while in or near the privy) prior to hearing the fall, whereas if he’d asked ‘did you hear any noise while at the end of the yard’ this would have been more ambiguous as it could equally have referred to after he’d heard the fall. Some of this uncertainty is to some extent cleared up in the following account:
I went indoors, but I came back again into the yard about three or four minutes afterwards, and proceeded to the end of the yard. In coming back I heard a sort of fall against the fence which divided my yard from that of 29. It seemed as if something seemed to touch the fence suddenly.
- Had you heard any noise while you were at the bottom of your yard? - No, sir.32
This states that he proceeded to the end of the yard and then ‘in coming back’ heard the fall.
So it does look as if he said that he heard the noise while returning to the house, but if there is any ambiguity remaining it is cleared up by looking again at the Daily News account:
Three or four minutes the witness was again in the yard of the house in which he lived, and heard “a sort of fall” against the fence. He did not look to see what it was.
The Coroner - Had you heard any previous noise? - No, sir.33
Here it is reported that Cadosch said he had not heard anything previous to this ‘fall’ and if we compare this with the other reports of this part of his testimony it seems to confirm that he was returning to the house. The testimony according to the Standard and the Telegraph was that he had not heard anything at ‘the bottom (end) of the yard’ and the News reported this testimony as he had not heard anything ‘previous’. It appears he stated that previous to hearing the fall he was at the bottom of the yard and so heard the fall as he was walking back to the house. Of course it could be that the News misinterpreted what he meant but overall these reports indicate that he was going back towards the house when he heard the noise.
An odd point about his description of the sound against the fence as he expressed it at the inquest is his reference to something ‘suddenly touching it’. When something falls against anything, there is always going to be a ‘sudden’ transition from it not touching the other object to it actually touching it! Cadosch’s statement implies something more subtle than the description given in the early reports of something falling heavily against the ground and fence. Again, whether it was Cadosch himself who exaggerated what he had heard in the original reports or it was down to the reporters, he appeared to be playing down the story as it appeared in the early reports.
Another report tells us:
Something seemed to strike the fence suddenly. He did not look to see what it was. He heard no struggling.34
This may simply be this newspaper’s way of condensing what Cadosch said. However, it could be a detail not picked up by the other newspapers and that is Cadosch mentioned, or was specifically asked about any struggling.
His testimony went on to say:
At that time in the morning do you often hear people in these yards?
- Now and then. They make packing cases at 29, and I sometimes hear them.
- The Foreman - Had you not the curiosity to look over the palings when you heard the fall?
- The Witness - Well, now and then a packing case falls against the palings, and I did not think that there was anything wrong.35
Leaving the House
After talking about the sound Cadosch heard of something falling against the fence the inquest testimony addresses what Cadosch did next.
Did you then leave the house?
- Yes, sir, to go to work. It was about two minutes after half past five.36
This sounds as if Cadosch left the house at 5:32. However, where he actually was at this time is clarified by the following: Witness then left the house and went to his work. When he passed Spitalfields Church it was about 32 minutes past 5.37
Here the time of 5:32 applies to his passing of Spitalfields Church. Again this highlights the necessity of referring to more than one report to clarify the details. Other newspapers gave this same detail.
Regarding whether he saw anyone when he departed from the house for work, The Times reported:
When he left the house he did not see any man or woman in Hanbury-street. He did not see Mrs. Long.38
This implies that he saw no one in the street when he left the house (though, of course, children aren’t excluded by his statement!). This also tells us that he did not see Elizabeth Long who said she was walking along Hanbury Street at about that time.
However, another account of his testimony gives the following detail:
The Coroner - Did you see a man or woman in the street?
- No; I only saw workmen passing by to their work.39
Cadosch meant that he did not see any couples around. The account here refers to not seeing any man or woman, but in another report it refers to him not seeing any man and woman with the implication being that no man and woman were seen together by Cadosch.
By the Coroner. - I did not see any man and woman in the street when I went out.40
The coroner’s question was probably asked to establish if Cadosch had observed the couple Elizabeth Long had seen.
However, Cadosch stated that he did see workmen going to work. In another account Cadosch only mentioned seeing one workman:
By the Coroner - I did not see any man and woman in the street when I went out. I did not see Mrs. Long, one of the witnesses here to-day. I saw a workman passing on the other side.41
‘Passing’ implies that the workman was walking along the pavement on the other side of the road opposite, or nearly opposite, No. 27, rather than further along the road. No further details regarding the direction in which he (or they) were heading is given. By referring to the extra detail of the man passing ‘on the other side’, this report appears to give a more detailed account than the previous one. This may be an indication that it was also more accurate in referring to just one workman.
Can the details in the early reports be ignored?
So can we largely ignore what was said in the early reports, since Cadosch clearly stated at the inquest that there were no other sounds other than the fall on his second visit to the yard? This may refute the early reports with their references to a scuffle and a person falling on the ground and this cautions us against making any definite inferences from the early reports.
That certain details were not mentioned at the inquest does not mean they did not happen. In the case of the socalled ‘scuffle’ and someone falling to the ground, this was possibly refuted at the inquest as Cadosch said he heard no other sounds prior to hearing the ‘fall’. However, nothing seems to have been clarified at the inquest regarding the hearing of the word ‘no’. Nothing was stated about how many people were heard or whether there was a conversation even if the words could not be clearly heard. This is frustrating as it leaves a couple of details from the early reports unconfirmed. Some of the details in the early reports were confirmed at the inquest such as the reference to Cadosch not feeling very well being confirmed by his statement at the inquest to having had an operation, so clearly some of the early details were correct.
Cadosch’s uncertainty about where the voice came from may refute the detail about hearing two people in the yard of No. 29 as he first went outside - as I passed to the back of the yard I heard a sound as of two people up in the corner of the next yard. On coming back I heard some words which I did not catch, but I heard a woman say “No.”42 However, it could be that he could not be certain where the sound of these two people came from (whatever the sound was that he could detect, though it would probably be movement of some sort), but this detail was not mentioned or asked about at the inquest. As with other details from the early accounts, they were expressed less dramatically or with less certainty at the inquest. But before we dismiss this as it was not mentioned, also remember that no reference was made at the inquest to any conversation of which he could only pick out the word ‘no’. Only the word ‘no’ is mentioned in the reports of the inquest testimony. Yet in his report, Swanson refers to voices and a conversation from which only one word could be picked out, which suggests the police statement made by Cadosch contained such a reference. There was no denial of any other voices, but there was nothing in the testimony to say they were heard. The early reports may actually help to clarify Cadosch’s timings between hearing the voice and hearing the fall. These reports do not suggest any great difference in time between the sounds Cadosch heard and imply they occurred at about the same time. It appears that details Cadosch gave were corrupted and combined, so the time of 5:25 may have been his estimate for when he heard the fall. If his time of 5:20 did refer to when he went back inside the first time, this would imply he felt there was five minutes between the sounds. This may have included a minute or two for time spent in the privy and so he therefore deduced it would be about ‘3 or 4 minutes’ between going back in the house the first time and coming back outside.
Did it relate to the murder?
Possibly, Cadosch did not hear anything relating to the murder. Either he heard Chapman with a previous client (which would explain why no one came forward) or it was someone from No. 29, or someone else, in the yard, though there are no press statements or testimony to suggest anyone else was in the yard at this time. As for the suggestion that the sounds could have been someone discovering the body (and someone fell against the fence in horror or exclaimed ‘no’) surely the discoverer would have made more noise than this; perhaps even quickly going back into the house, leaving the swing door to shut and make a noise.
Perception of Time
Of course Cadosch was not being exact with his times and we cannot know for sure that it was, for example, 5:20 exactly (even by his own time reference) when he was in the yard, or even at what point that was (whether on leaving or returning to the house), so all of the times Cadosch gave have a minute or two margin either side.
The perception of the length of a period of time is relative. How do you objectively perceive four minutes? It depends on the circumstances. If you are doing something interesting it appears to go quickly. If you are bored it appears to drag. If you have a deadline against which you are trying to achieve something then time appears to go quickly, whereas if you are just trying to kill time it will conversely seem to go more slowly. For example, a football fan whose team are a goal ahead going into four minutes of injury time at the end of the match will feel that time is going very slowly; whereas a rival fan in the other stand whose team are trailing by that single goal will think time is flying by.
The length of time taken to complete a mundane task is difficult to judge, particularly if you are remembering it some hours later. From Cadosch’s inquest testimony the following was reported:
By a Juror - I told the police the same day, within an hour and a half of hearing of the murder.43
In another account:
By a Juryman: I informed the police the same night after I returned from my work.44
Cadosch appears to have only heard about the murder much later, informing the police ‘the same night’ after he returned from work, which was only within an hour and a half of him hearing about it. This also needs to be borne in mind when assessing Cadosch’s timings.
Cadosch said he got up at about 5:15 and passed Spitalfields Church at 5:32. In that approximate 17 minute period he had gotten out of bed, gone to the outside lavatory twice and left the house to go to work getting as far as the church.
The times that Cadosch gave must be treated with some caution and any exact timing cannot be trusted. However, if we do use Cadosch’s timings as given at the inquest and, as implied by Swanson’s report, to the police we can build a reasonable picture of the likely range of times involved.
Based on the times given in the early reports and at the inquest we get the following:
So a more likely summary based on the inquest testimony would be:
5:15: Cadosch gets up and goes into back yard to the outhouse.
5:20: Cadosch returns to the house and hears voices but is only able to pick out the word ‘no’.
5:23 / 5:24: Cadosch returns to the house and hears voices but is only able to pick out the word ‘no’.
5:24: – ? Cadosch goes back to house and he hears a bump against the fence. Possibly he goes to his room first before leaving for work 45
?: Cadosch leaves for work
5:32: Cadosch passes Spitalfields Church
The alternative summary with the extra five minutes, which brings the times in line with early reports and Swanson’s report, is:
5:15: Cadosch gets up.
5:20: Cadosch goes into back yard to the outhouse.
5:25: Cadosch returns to the house and hears voices but is only able to pick out the word ‘no’.
5:28 / 5:29: Cadosch goes back into the yard and into outhouse.
?: As Cadosch goes back to house he hears a bump against the fence. He immediately leaves for work
5:32: Cadosch passes Spitalfields Church
We will fill in the gaps shortly.
Much has been made of the time anomaly with Elizabeth Long. Long passed along Hanbury Street at just after 5:30. She established the time by the chimes of the Brewer’s Clock in Brick Lane (whereas Cadosch used Spitalfields Church for his timing). She saw a couple outside, or near, No. 29; the woman she later said was Annie Chapman after she saw the body in the mortuary. Questions relating to Long’s testimony will be discussed in a future article. However if certain events happened very closely in time—the couple went into the house a few seconds after Mrs. Long had passed them, and went into the yard just before Cadosch came out of the privy, then the voices Cadosch heard could have been less than a minute after Mrs. Long passed them outside (or near) No. 29. If Cadosch did hear the voices as late as 5:25 (his time) then this could have been about a minute after Long saw them (just after 5:30 her time), so on such close timing we could be talking of a difference of just six minutes. A bit more leeway at either end and we could be talking seven minutes. This, of course, assumes that the early comment credited to Cadosch that he heard people in the yard as he first went out was not correct. At the other end of the scale if we assume Cadosch heard someone next door as he went outside at before 5:20 then the difference is at least, say, 11 minutes.
What can we ascertain by working back from when he passed the church at 5:32?
We are told that Cadosch worked as a carpenter in Shoe Lane, near Fleet Street. For the quickest route he would head towards Commercial Street, go along Brushfield Street and then southwest along Bishopsgate. The quickest way to get to Brushfield Street would be to go down Wilkes Street, then along Fournier Street, passing the church as he said he did.
Spitalfields Church was just over 150m from 27 Hanbury Street by walking down Wilkes Street. Clock faces were on each of the four sides of the steeple, which was situated on Commercial Street. The east-facing clock face would be visible as Cadosch got to the bottom of Wilkes Street. To actually reach the church steeple on the corner of Commercial Street would be about another 50m. To reach the church by walking to the end of Hanbury Street and then going down Commercial Street would be more than 230m. It is unlikely that he went this way as it was further to walk. While Cadosch said it was 5:32 as he went past the church, he may have meant as he was in the process of going past as opposed to the time when he had actually gone past it. He may have looked at the time as he walked by the church along Fournier Street.
If Cadosch was not feeling that well, his walking pace may have been a bit slow. A fair range for walking speed is about 1.2 to 1.5m/s. The average for a male adult is about 1.3 to 1.4m/s.
That the time was 5:32 (and of course it may not have been exactly 5:32) was probably noticed by Cadosch on the church clock as he was passing the church somewhere between the corner of Wilkes Street and Fournier Street and the corner of Fournier Street and Commercial Street. At the extremes of how we could interpret the information it may be that he took as little as about 1¾ minutes to reach a point where he saw it was 5:32 by the church clock; or it could be that it took as long as about 2¾ minutes for him to pass the church on Commercial Street. A fair average would be about 2 to 2½ minutes. It would have been 5:29:15 at the earliest that he left Hanbury Street and maybe as late as about 5:30:15. These times assume it was exactly 5:32 when Cadosch noted the time on the church clock, and there is probably leeway either side of up to 30 seconds.
Cadosch probably went to the backyard the second time for one last ‘visit’ to the privy before having to go to work, so after hearing the fall he may have left the house immediately. But note the early report saying he went to his room, which may have referred to this occasion.
This means, if he did leave the house as soon as he had come back from outside on the second occasion, then allowing a few seconds for him to walk the approximate 30 feet from the back door to the street, he would have heard the fall at about 5:29 to 5:30 allowing time to pass Spitalfields Church at 5:32. Of course it depends how long his visit to the outhouse was on that second occasion to get other time information.
Activity in the privy
OK, a bit of warning here: don’t read this next bit if you’re eating. Cadosch said he had been unwell as he had had an operation, which implied he was going into the yard to use the outhouse. He didn’t say whether the operation had affected his bladder or his bowels (the latter would entail a longer time in there), though if he was feeling unwell it may be he needed to go to the privy in order to vomit. A visit to the lavatory in order to relieve the bladder may take less than a minute. For something more substantial it would perhaps take at least two minutes allowing for clean-up time as well. The second visit would perhaps have been shorter if his previous visit had been the more productive one or if he was desperate to purge his system and so wouldn’t have required too much ‘waiting’ time. Then allowing a bit of time for cleaning up, he could have been ‘good to go’ in less than a couple of minutes. Another point to consider is that in the early Echo report Cadosch said he not been well in the night. It may be that he’d done what was necessary in a bucket or chamber pot during the night and in the morning one of his visits to the outhouse was to empty it (though this would more likely have been done on his first trip).
OK, for those of you who are eating, you can start reading again now.
The back yards of nos. 27 and 29 were not a hive of activity between 5 and 6 o’clock. Some people were getting up to go to work but not all were at that time. Visits to the privy would not have been common at that time and during the night use of the chamber pot or a bucket would have sufficed. At No. 29 it appears no one needed to use the privy until John Davis appeared to be heading there at just after 6am. There were no documented trips into the backyard of No. 27 in that time period other than Cadosch’s.
It has been said that if Cadosch went back outside as late as 5:28 he would have had to have been quick on the lavatory and run to get to Spitalfields Church for 5:32. By working back it could take, as an average, 2 ¼ minutes to get to the church from 27 Hanbury Street meaning he could have left as late as 5:29:45. Give another 30 seconds (to be generous) to get to the front door from the backyard, gives a time of 5:29:15 at the latest to hear the fall against the fence. Allowing two minutes for his visit to the privy would mean he returned to the backyard at 5:27:15 at the latest. If we consider that the church clock may have shown a time slightly later than 5:32 and the fact that he may have needed to spend less time on the lavatory then a time of 5:28 for his return to the back yard is not inconceivable. All this is meant to demonstrate that Cadosch did not need to have an exceptionally brief visit to the lavatory and then run to work in order to pass Spitalfields Church at 5:32 if he came outside into the yard for the second time as late as 5:28.
Allowing that he would have been in there for at least a minute would give a total time of at least four or five minutes since he heard the voice or voices.
Swanson times and time in privy on the second visit
Cadosch doesn’t give any time for how long he spent in the privy, just that he came out three or four minutes after going in the first time. He doesn’t make it sound that his trip to the privy was all that long.
5:28 was the time Swanson gave for the hearing of the fall. It may be that the three or four minutes was taken to be the time that it took for him to hear the fall including time spent in the outhouse.
But possibly this was a misinterpretation of the times Cadosch gave. Swanson implies Cadosch heard the fall on coming outside. At the inquest Cadosch appears to have said he heard the voice at 5:20. In the early reports the time of 5:25 could apply to the time he heard the voice or the time he heard the fall. If the time of 5:25 was said by Cadosch to apply to the fall but was construed as referring to the voice, then as Cadosch had stated it was three or four minutes after hearing the voice and this was believed to be the time before hearing the fall (rather than just coming back outside), Swanson mistakenly added this time to 5:25.
Either way Cadosch probably left his house sometime about 5:29 to 5:30.
If he left the house directly after his second visit outside the fall would have been heard at about 5:29 to 5:30 as it would not have taken that long to negotiate the 30 feet from the back door through the house, say 10 to 15 seconds, unless he paused to do something else first, such as put on his coat. If Cadosch had gone to his room first to do something then it could have taken, say, a minute or two before leaving, putting the sound of the fall as being at sometime between about 5:27 to 5:29. Cadosch may have spent longer in his room, but none of the newspaper reports of his inquest testimony or Swanson’s report (which times the fall at 5:28) imply that there was a great deal of time between hearing the noise and Cadosch leaving his house.
Depending on the time spent in the lavatory (say a minute to three minutes) then his second appearance in the yard was sometime between 5:24 to 5:28. The length of time he spent in the lavatory the second time is not implied as being very long in his inquest testimony and in the other reports. That he specified it was three or four minutes before coming back outside and then didn’t specify a further length of time spent in the yard before hearing the fall suggests there was not that much extra time than the three or four minutes he mentioned. Indeed his ‘3 or 4 minutes’ may have included the time he spent in the outhouse, though his testimony does read as if it referred only to the time before he came back outside.
His appearance in the yard could have been as late as 5:28 which is the time indicated in Swanson’s report for the sound of the fall.
However, a longer visit to the privy followed by the need to return to his room for something before going to work could mean his second appearance in the yard would have been as early as about 5:23.
Assuming he left the house immediately after hearing the fall:
If he spent a few minutes going to his room:
If we then take three or four minutes from these times, he would have heard the voices at sometime between about 5:19 and 5:26. Incidentally, if he heard the voices as late as 5:26 and then allowing say a minute for Long to pass her couple and this couple to get to the yard, using Cadosch’s timeline, Long may have passed the couple at about 5:25 leaving only a discrepancy of about 5 minutes between their timings for their accounts to tally if they both related to Chapman.
This time range tie-in with the range for hearing the voices obtained from the interpretations of the inquest reports and Swanson’s report—5:20 to 5:25.
He said it was about 5:20 by the time he was in the yard for his first visit. However, it isn’t clear if this was before going to the lavatory or on returning from the lavatory and we’re relying on his perception of time. It would take him a minute or so to get some clothes on, or at least straighten himself up and get downstairs to the toilet. However, he was not exact about the time he got up so we could still say it was about 5:15 at the earliest when he first went outside. So taking all the estimates from working forward from his inquest testimony (plus information in other reports and Swanson’s report) and working back from when he passed the church and taking a reasonable range of times for certain events:
Our more likely complete summary would be:
5:15: Cadosch gets up and goes into back yard to the outhouse.
5:20: Cadosch returns to the house and hears voices but is only able to pick out the word ‘no’.
5:23 / 5:24: Cadosch goes back into the yard to the privy.
5:24 – 5:30: Cadosch goes back to house and he hears a bump against the fence. Possibly he goes to his room first before leaving for work
5:29 - 5:30: Cadosch leaves for work
5:32: Cadosch passes Spitalfields Church
Our alternative summary if we have an extra five minutes:
5:15: Cadosch gets up.
5:20: Cadosch goes into backyard to the outhouse.
5:25: Cadosch returns to the house and hears voices but is only able to pick out the word ‘no’.
5:28 / 5:29: Cadosch goes back into the yard and into outhouse.
5:29 / 5:30: As Cadosch goes back to house he hears a bump against the fence. He immediately leaves for work
5:32: Cadosch passes Spitalfields Church
If the testimony report was correct regarding Cadosch’s return to the house at about 5:20 after his first visit outside, he left immediately for work after his second trip and therefore heard the noise at about 5:30 at the latest, then this would give 10 minutes between Cadosch hearing the voice(s) and hearing the fall. If he returned outside after four minutes and then spent six minutes on the lavatory this would account for the time. However, Swanson’s report indicates a shorter duration between the events—only three minutes between hearing the voices and hearing the fall.
So taking the early reports, Swanson’s report and one interpretation of the inquest reports regarding the timing of the visit outside we are looking at a shorter duration—about three or four minutes. Allowing for at least a minute in the outhouse the second time this is probably about four or five minutes, a time Cadosch may have implied in his early statements to the press.
Although the early reports state it was 5:25 when Cadosch heard the voices, it may be that was time he estimated that he heard the fall. Both sounds are implied as happening at about the same time in the early reports so it could be that in interpreting Cadosch’s story incorrectly they applied the time to the wrong incident. Though no mention was made of any delay after going back in the house the second time in most reports, an early report makes mention of Cadosch going back to his room. Again this may be a mistake and this referred to his first visit. However, it may be that Cadosch returned to his room first for a couple of minutes to get something (for example, a coat) or rest a little if he was feeling unwell before then leaving for work. This could bring his second return to the house (and the time he heard the fall) forward to about 5:26 or even 5:25 as Cadosch himself may have said.
This, however, would leave at least four minutes before going to work. He may have gone back to his room for this time or it could be that he estimated the time difference between the sounds correctly (5 minutes) but incorrectly estimated the actual time they occurred. If he left for work at 5:29 or 5:30 and heard the fall immediately before leaving, then he therefore heard the voices at 5:24 or 5:25, which brings us back to Swanson’s times with the only mistake being that he gave three minutes between the events rather than five.
Killer striking between Cadosch’s visits
If we consider that Cadosch did hear Chapman and the killer and that the sound of the fall was caused by the killer striking and Chapman falling against the fence or the killer knocking it as he lowered Chapman to the ground, it would be odd for the killer to have waited for over three or four minutes after Cadosch had gone back into the house to pick his moment, a period in which no-one was in the next yard, and then to strike after Cadosch had come back outside even if it was while he was in the privy. If the attack had begun just before Cadosch came back outside it would be odd for Cadosch to have heard nothing on his way to the privy the second time only to hear the ‘fall’ on returning to the house. As the killer would have been ‘working’ from the right side of Chapman’s body (i.e. the side away from the fence) he would not likely have made the sound accidentally as he ‘worked’.
The killer would hardly likely start the attack if he heard someone so close. Only once Cadosch had gone back into his house would the killer have struck.
It could be that when Chapman and the killer got to the backyard of No. 29, Cadosch was already in the yard of No. 27, maybe in the outhouse. As Cadosch was aware of people in a neighbouring yard, so the killer would have been aware of Cadosch and so would have delayed the onset of the attack, even further assessing if it was worth going ahead with it altogether. In one of the early reports Cadosch was said to have been aware of two people in the next yard 46 as he first came out. No mention is made of voices at this point so it could be that he heard movement of some sort. Either way, if Cadosch was aware of someone in the next yard, so the killer (and Chapman) would have been aware of him.
Dr. Phillips testified that it would have taken the killer at least 15 minutes to perform all the mutilations.
The Coroner: Can you give any idea how long it would take to perform the incisions found on the body?
Dr. Phillips: I think I can guide you by saying that I myself could not have performed all the injuries I saw on that woman, and effect them, even without a struggle, under a quarter of an hour. If I had done it in a deliberate way, such as would fall to the duties of a surgeon, it would probably have taken me the best part of an hour.47
This is in contrast to the opinions of Dr. Sequiera and Dr. Brown regarding the murder of Catherine Eddowes. In a press report Sequiera said he thought the mutilations would have taken the killer about three minutes48, while Dr. Brown testified at the inquest that he thought it would take at least five minutes. While use of the phrase ‘at least’ leaves his opinion open-ended he implied it would not have taken much more than five minutes. Sequiera’s opinion expressed in the press may have been given prior to finding out about the missing organs, so he may not have taken that into account. Catherine Eddowes was more extensively mutilated than Annie Chapman so the injuries on Chapman would have taken slightly less time to inflict, thus Phillips’ estimate seems excessive compared to those of Sequiera and Brown. The killer probably had at most 10 minutes in the case of Catherine Eddowes between police patrols49, which would refute Phillips’ opinion. Karyo Magellan, author of By Ear and Eyes, who has studied the forensic pathological evidence extensively in the series of murders, suggests that it would probably have taken no more than three minutes for someone who had anatomical knowledge to have inflicted all the injuries found on Chapman and Eddowes and the killer would have been ‘dallying’ if he took as long as five.50 There were also signs of strangulation with Chapman and so the time taken to subdue her in this way also has to be taken into account, though to bring about unconsciousness is possible in less than 30 seconds and need not have taken any more than a minute.
The time between Cadosch hearing the voice and hearing the fall could, in this case, have been enough time for the killer to strike and inflict all the injuries on Annie Chapman and the sound of the ‘fall’ against the fence could have been caused by the killer himself. It can only be speculated upon as to how the fence was knocked, but if it was the killer then Cadosch’s presence could have caused him to become agitated and somehow fall or lean too heavily against the fence.
If the ‘fall’ had been heard as Cadosch came out this could be explained by his presence startling the killer causing him to lose his balance and catch himself against the fence. However, the reports—as we have seen—suggest that Cadosch heard the noise on returning to the house from the lavatory. This would mean that the killer would already have heard Cadosch come back out from the house, and only ‘fell’ against the fence on Cadosch returning to the house. It may be that on Cadosch first coming back out, the killer, although startled to hear someone so close, would have thought that the fence would keep him hidden and the person would have no reason to look over. He would have kept a watch on Cadosch as best as he could through the palings or listened carefully to hear where Cadosch went. On hearing him going into the privy he then may have continued with the mutilations or started to finish up his task. On Cadosch then re-emerging from the privy the killer, in hastily changing his body position ready to flee or keep an eye on the next yard through a gap in the fence, may have leant against the fence a bit more quickly than he intended and struck the fence, possibly trying to glimpse through the palings to see again that Cadosch would not be a problem, particularly as Cadosch would be walking roughly towards that corner of the yard.
If there was an aperture in the fence, as suggested by the report of the 20th September, then it is possible the killer may have used it to look into the neighbouring yard when Cadosch came out to see what he was doing. A slight gap may have allowed a reasonable view of the neighbouring yard with an eye pressed up close. If it was any larger maybe the killer put his hand, his body (perhaps a shoulder) or something else against it to stop Cadosch from being able to glimpse the horrors the killer was perpetrating in the neighbouring yard through it. If Cadosch could have seen enough to suggest movement or a dead body on the other side, then the killer may have wanted to prevent this. Bear in mind that Cadosch would have been coming back towards the fence (albeit obliquely) from the outhouse and the killer might have feared there was a chance that Cadosch might get sight of his activities through the aperture.
Such a covering would have to be something that would not attract too much attention. A hand may have not been the best shield to avoid arousing suspicion, but with little time to think or act the killer may have used the first thing that came to mind. He may have used his shoulder as just seeing some cloth might have been less conspicuous than a hand from the perspective of someone on the other side.
The killer may also have just been prepared to flee or strike out at Cadosch if he had looked over, but he would have waited first in case it was unnecessary to bring attention to himself. If forced to flee before being ready, he would also potentially have to go into the street with blood on his hands. This would not be his ideal escape plan especially if the body was soon discovered and the alarm went up, even more so as it was quite light at that time of day. Again, if he felt it was only a matter of time before someone came out or looked out of a window, he would prefer to have cleaned up a bit first to escape unnoticed into the streets. Obviously, if he had been forced to flee then problems such as having bloody hands would be preferable compared to the possibility of being trapped in the yard, but ideally he would want to leave unseen and reasonably free of blood.
Anyway, to the killer’s relief Cadosch just continued into the house. At this point the killer may have decided that he had pushed his luck far enough and someone continually coming out into the next yard was making him feel uneasy and he decided that was the time to leave. Also, the killer wouldn’t necessarily know it was the same person who kept coming outside. It may also have made him acutely aware that someone could walk out into the yard he was in at any moment. In addition, he may have thought that the noise he made against the fence (which would probably appear more amplified from his attentive perspective) might attract more attention from inside No. 29 if there were open windows, or even from No. 27 where the occupant was going back inside. He may have finished cleaning up at this point or did whatever he felt he had to do and then left, carefully stopping the backdoor from banging shut so as not to attract further the attention of people in No. 29 51. Cadosch may have left a few seconds or up to a minute or so before and so the killer would have walked into the street unseen by Cadosch. He may even have carefully looked into the street first from the already open front door in order to see that there would be no witnesses to him leaving the house.
He may even have watched as Cadosch headed away from the direction of No. 29 towards Wilkes Street.
In the time Cadosch was in the privy perhaps the killer took the opportunity to complete his immediate goal, perhaps to conceal the organ he took and clean up.
If Cadosch did stop and do something first before leaving the house, it may be that the killer left No. 29 first and so by the time Cadosch appeared in the street the killer could have been one of the ‘workmen passing by to their work’.52
If Cadosch returning outside did unsettle the killer and deter him from continuing then this may indicate a prevention of the killer's full intentions. In all other outside murders (relating to the Macnaghten Five)—Nicholls, Stride and Eddowes—there are indications that the killer may have been interrupted. However in the case of Chapman, on the face of it, there appeared to be no obvious interruption. When the body was discovered by Davis there was nothing to suggest that the killer had very recently left the scene. This would indicate that the injuries found on Chapman were all that the killer intended to do (either pre-planned or decided on impulse at the scene). But if Cadosch did force the killer to flee then the injuries found on Chapman may not reveal the killer's full intent, instead merely indicating the amount of time he had with each victim before someone came along.
If he was interrupted during all the outdoor murders commonly believed to have been committed by the same man (Nichols, Chapman, Stride and Eddowes), then it is difficult to draw any conclusions from the amount of injuries found on the women. However there is an apparent escalation which cannot be ignored even though the sample from which this conclusion is drawn is a small one, and there is no definite indication that he was interrupted in any of the murders. On the other hand it could be that it was coincidental that he had slightly longer in each succeeding murder (except that of Stride) and therefore was able to do more damage in each successive case. The questions raised about Kelly's inclusion in the canon due to the greater extent of her injuries compared to the other victims would be even less persuasive if this was the case.
In the case of Nichols he may have been interrupted, possibly by Charles Cross, not long after striking—perhaps barely a minute or so. In the case of Stride we can point to the arrival of Diemshutz and in the case of Eddowes there is a strong likelihood of interruption given the small window of opportunity in which the killer had to strike with the approach of PC Watkins or, more likely, PC Harvey being the prompt for the killer to flee. In most of these cases it was the person who discovered the body who may have disturbed the killer. This is unlikely in the case of Chapman in which Davis discovered the body. If it was Davis's approach that alerted the killer then it is likely that either he would have passed Davis in the passage or he would have to have fled over the fence into the yard of No. 27 or No. 31.
Perhaps it was only in the case of Kelly, when he had the chance to go indoors, that he got to destroy a body to the extent he had envisaged when he embarked on the series of murders in August 1888. As speculated many times, he may have killed before, even years before, maybe in other locations, and so any escalation sought in his murderous activities may already have occurred before August. Indeed, the reason for the delay between the murder of Eddowes and Kelly may have been that he had given up trying to fulfil his purpose in the open and sought the opportunity for a prostitute to take him inside a room where he had little chance of being interrupted. However, the killer would not have been able to perform the same mutilations in the outside murders as were inflicted on Kelly, as he moved his knife beneath the victims' clothing as opposed to having no such restrictions in the case of Kelly. Therefore he would not have been in a position to do as much damage, but it could be that any of the victims discovered outside may have had more mutilations or body parts removed if he'd had more time.
Cadosch’s story as it appeared in the early newspaper reports, the inquest reports and the police report does contain inconsistencies. These may have been as a result of Cadosch changing details of his story or because of exaggerations in the press, people not taking the details of his story correctly or making incorrect inferences. The times that Cadosch gave for events cannot be taken as exact as he was estimating the times for mundane events much later. He didn’t realise the significance of those events until about an hour and a half before he left work that night. So we cannot draw any definite conclusions from his times even if we accept that it was the killer and Chapman that Cadosch heard in the yard of No. 29. For example, Cadosch’s ‘3 or 4 minutes’ could have been anywhere between two and six minutes to give a bit of margin either side for a rough estimate.
But regarding Cadosch’s reliability, compare his uncertainty about what he heard with Long’s certainty that she had seen Chapman—a woman she’d never seen before and glimpsed for a few seconds in unremarkable circumstances. This would appear to make Cadosch a more reliable witness, as he was not motivated to make his testimony appear more important. Though, against this we have the early reports that may have reflected accurately what he said at that time and which contradicted some of his statements at the inquest. Also to consider is that he may have felt ashamed of not having taken more notice of what was happening the other side of the fence and so played down what he heard. But if his inquest testimony was truthful then, although he expressed doubts about where the voice came from, it does seem likely that it came from No. 29 as he was only able to pick out one word and that was at the point he was at his back door which was near the spot where Chapman was later found, having walked from the furthest point of his yard from that of No. 29 and so the voices would be getting louder.
Cadosch, however, does give us something a bit more concrete. He was certain that he heard something fall against the fence dividing No. 27 and No. 29. He was in no doubt about that. This suggests there was someone in the yard of No. 29 at about 5:25 to 5:30 (by Cadosch’s timings) even if the voices were unrelated. If Chapman already lay dead at this time, this could have been someone discovering the body. However, it would be expected that someone would make more noise at such a gruesome discovery, even if they weren’t going to tell anyone about it afterwards. It may also have been someone in the yard prior to Chapman’s murder, but who subsequently did not come forward to say there was nobody in the yard at about 5:25. Nonetheless, Cadosch heard something or someone in the yard of No. 29.
Sometime between about 4:50 and 6:00, Annie Chapman was killed in the corner of the backyard of No. 29 Hanbury Street near to the house and the fence separating the yards of Nos. 27 and 29. The fence was about 5’ 6” to 6’ in height. The bloodstains found at the spot and the absence of any blood elsewhere indicated that she had been killed where she was found.
Cadosch got up at about 5:15, possibly telling the time by the Church bells chiming the quarter hour. It was reasonably light outside at that time as sunrise was at 5:23. He may have detected someone in the yard of No. 29 as he first went outside at about 5:15 to 5:20; possibly hearing some slight movement from over the fence. The backdoor of No. 27 probably swung towards the fence of No. 29, which would have obscured anyone in the corner of the yard where Chapman was found from someone who stood at the top of the steps leading into the yard of No. 27. The detection of somebody being in the yard at this point was, however, only reported in one newspaper.
Cadosch went to the privy as he’d had an operation and had been feeling unwell in the night. This was located in the left hand corner of yard from the back door, the furthest point away from the corner of No. 29 where Chapman was found. He would therefore have been walking back towards that corner when returning to the house.
He came out of the privy and went back inside at sometime between about 5:20 and 5:25, hearing at least one voice, possibly two, but only clearly hearing the word ‘No’, which was not expressed with any special emphasis. This was mentioned in one report as being spoken by a woman. Assuming it was Chapman and her killer who were in the yard, Chapman was alive at this point.
Although he was uncertain from where the voice came, he did say he thought it came from No. 29. Also, he heard the one word clearly as he was walking through his back door meaning he would be nearest the corner of the yard of No. 29 where Chapman was later found and so nearer to anyone speaking there.
He came back outside three or four minutes later to go again to the lavatory (sometime between 5:23 and 5:29), hearing nothing. This three or four minutes may have included the time spent in the privy, though Cadosch specifically said at the inquest that it was ‘3 or 4 minutes’ after he had first returned to the house that he came out for the second time. Swanson’s report only implied a difference of three minutes between hearing the voice and hearing the fall. Cadosch was in the outhouse for an undisclosed amount of time, but possibly as little as a minute, or maybe at least two minutes.
However, taking into account possible misinterpretations of Cadosch’s various statements it could be that he said he heard the fall at about 5:25, being about five minutes after hearing the voice, including a minute or so in the privy to add to his ‘3 or 4 minutes’.
He came back out of the privy and returned to the house (sometime between 5:24 and 5:30) hearing something fall against the fence. He either went to his room for a few minutes before going to work, or left immediately for work. Either way he left at about 5:29/5:30. He only saw a workman or workmen passing by on the opposite side of Hanbury Street as he left. He saw no couples around and didn’t see any women. He passed Spitalfields Church at about 5:32 by the church clock.
If Elizabeth Long did see Chapman and the killer outside, or near, No. 29 at just after 5:30 by the Brewer’s Clock, then this need not conflict too much with the timings of Cadosch. If Cadosch did hear the couple for the first time as late as 5:25 by his timing then allowing a minute for Long to pass the couple and for them to reach the backyard of No. 29, there need only have been a discrepancy of six minutes between the clocks they used for reference. Of course, if Cadosch detected the couple as early as just after 5:15 this discrepancy is as much as 16 minutes. A more reasonable time for Cadosch first detecting the couple is 5:20 (either as he first came outside or when he heard the voice), thus giving a discrepancy of about 11 minutes.
The time difference between Cadosch going back into the house after hearing the voice (with Chapman alive at that point) and hearing the fall against the fence, on returning to the house the second time is between four and 10 minutes, though probably nearer the former. Even four minutes would probably be sufficient time for the killer to have inflicted all the wounds found on Chapman, according to the opinion of Dr. Sequiera, with Dr. Brown suggesting at least five minutes (albeit both opinions were given in the case of Catherine Eddowes).
It may be that not long after the killer and Chapman reached the yard, Cadosch came out of his back door for the first time or they were aware of someone being in the privy as they reached the yard. The killer would likely have waited for Cadosch to go back into the house before striking, and so minimising the chance of anyone hearing a noise should Chapman have struggled. So Cadosch’s initial trip outside may have delayed the killer’s attack.
When Cadosch came outside for the second time, the killer was possibly startled and he may have decided to finish up. As Cadosch then came out of the privy a minute or so later, possibly sooner than the killer anticipated, the killer may have stumbled or leant more heavily than he intended against the fence, possibly to see through, or block, an aperture in the palings or in an attempt to prepare for a quick escape should it be necessary, though waiting first in case it was unnecessary to bring attention to himself.
In any case, Cadosch’s appearances in the yard might have deterred the killer from continuing, fearing discovery at any moment—especially if he then fell against the fence in his agitated state and so potentially brought more attention to himself. So he fled after Cadosch went back inside. If Cadosch went to his room first, the killer may have left before Cadosch left for work. If Cadosch left immediately, the killer, as he got to the open front door, may even have seen Cadosch leave (Cadosch would have had his back to No. 29 as he left his house to head towards Wilkes Street) and so waited by the open door of No. 29 until he felt it safe to leave without being seen.
It is one thing to take risks when there is a potential for someone to come outside and discover you, but something else when someone is actually very close by. The killer was taking the risk that someone would come into the yard or would see him from a window, but when someone had actually come outside just the other side of the fence and a noise had been made to possibly attract their attention that risk was starting to become reality.
If the killer was interrupted then he may not have fulfilled all his intentions. As there are possibilities of interruptions in the other outdoor murders it may be that rather than indicating an increase in the level of violence exhibited by the killer in each successive murder, it merely indicates the amount of time he had with each victim before being disturbed.
Special thanks to Jane Coram.
Many thanks also to Debra Arif, Neil Bell, John Bennett, Melissa Garrett, Jake Luukanen, Karyo Magellan, Don Souden and Adam Wood.
1 Daily Telegraph, 11 September 1888
2 Evening Standard, 13 September 1888
3 Webster’s Dictionary 1913
4 Evening Standard, 10 September 1888
5 Daily News, 11 September 1888
6 Evening Standard, 11 September 1888
7 To the left if looking at it from the street.
8 Echo, 10 September 1888
9 The Star, 8 September 1888
10 Daily News, 11 September 1888.
11 The Star, 8 September 1888
12 Daily News, 14 September 1888. Inspector Chandler’s testimony.
13 Manchester Guardian, 10 September 1888
14 Echo, 20 September 1888
15 Echo, 13 September 1888
16 Daily News, 10 September 1888
17 Evening Standard, 11 September 1888
18 Irish Times, 15 September 1888
19 Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper, 9 September 1888
20 Report by Chief Inspector Donald Swanson, 19 October 1888. The Ultimate Jack The Ripper Sourcebook/Companion by Stewart P. Evans and Keith Skinner p. 75 – see later
21 The Times, 20 September 1888
22 Evening Standard, 20 September 1888
23 The Times, 20 September 1888
24 Report by Chief Inspector Donald Swanson, 19 October 1888. The Ultimate Jack The Ripper Sourcebook/Companion by Stewart P. Evans and Keith Skinner p. 75
25 Daily Telegraph, 20 September 1888
26 Morning Advertiser, 20 September 1888 (Cadosch’s name is given as ‘Adolphus Caposch’)
27 Glasgow Herald, 20 September 1888
28 Daily Telegraph, 27 September 1888
29 The Times, 20 September 1888
30 Daily News, 20 September 1888
31 Daily Telegraph, 20 September 1888
32 Evening Standard, 20 September 1888
33 Daily News, 20 September 1888
34 Irish Times, 20 September 1888
35 Daily News, 20 September 1888
36 Daily News, 20 September 1888
37 The Times, 20 September 1888
38 The Times, 20 September 1888
39 Morning Advertiser, 20 September 1888
40 Daily Telegraph, 20 September 1888
41 Evening Standard, 20 September 1888
42 Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper, 9 September 1888
43 Morning Advertiser, 20 September 1888
44 Daily Telegraph, 20 September 1888
45 As indicated in Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper, 9 September 1888 (already noted above)
46 Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper, 9 September 1888
47 Daily Telegraph, 20 September 1888. Karyo Magellan suggests that by 'duties as a surgeon' Phillips meant as a forensic pathologist conducting a medico-legal autopsy - hence the considerable time.
48 The Star, 1 October 1888
49 See City Beat: Parts 1 and 2 (Ripperologist 74 and 75) for analysis.
50 Opinion expressed to me in an email. The issue regarding anatomical knowledge and its effects on the timing are hard to assess, having to take into account various factors such as whether the organ taken was the target of the killer. Whatever level of knowledge they indicate there were a definite amount of cuts and injuries on the body which would have taken a certain amount of time to inflict. The doctors quoted had differing opinions on the level of skill indicated by the injuries.
51 The door would shut on its own – “I did not close the back door; it closes itself” – John Richardson, Evening Standard, 13 September 1888
52 Morning Advertiser, 20 September 1888. ‘Workman’ (singular) according to the Evening Standard same date