1, Monday, September
(The Daily Telegraph, Tuesday, September 11, 1888, Page 3)
At the Working Lads' Institute, Whitechapel-road, yesterday morning [10 Sep], Mr. Wynne Baxter opened an inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of Annie Chapman, a widow, whose body was found horribly mutilated in the back yard of 29, Hanbury-street, Spitalfields, early on Saturday morning. The jury viewed the corpse at the mortuary in Montague-street, but all evidences of the outrage to which the deceased had been subjected were concealed. The clothing was also inspected, and subsequently the following evidence was taken.
[Davis] deposed: I am a carman
employed at Leadenhall Market. I have lodged at 29,
Hanbury-street for a fortnight, and I occupied the top front room
on the third floor with my wife and three sons, who live with me.
On Friday night I went to bed at eight o'clock, and my wife
followed about half an hour later. My sons came to bed at
different times, the last one at about a quarter to eleven. There
is a weaving shed window, or light across the room. It was not
open during the night. I was awake from three a.m. to five a.m.
on Saturday, and then fell asleep until a quarter to six, when
the clock at Spitalfields Church struck. I had a cup of tea and
went downstairs to the back yard. 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.
[Coroner] 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.
[Coroner] 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.
The Coroner: I hope the police will supply me with a plan. In the country, in cases of importance, I always have one.Inspector Helson:
[Insp Helosn] We shall have one at the adjourned hearing.
The Coroner: Yes; by that time we shall hardly require it.
Examination resumed: 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. The clothes were up to her groins. I did not go into the yard, but left the house by the front door, and called the attention of two men to the circumstances. They work at Mr. Bailey's, a packing-case maker, of Hanbury-street. I do not know their names, but I know them by sight.
The Coroner: Have the names of these men been ascertained?
Inspector Chandler: I have made inquiries, but I cannot find the men.
The Coroner: They must be found.
Davies: They work at Bailey's; but I could not find them on Saturday, as I had my work to do.
The Coroner: Your work is of no consequence compared with this inquiry.
Davies: I am giving all the information I can.
The Coroner (to witness): You must find these men out, either with the assistance of the police or of my officer.
Examination resumed: Mr Bailey's is three doors off 29, Hanbury-street, on the same side of the road. The two men were waiting outside the workshop. They came into the passage, and saw the sight. They did not go into the yard, but ran to find a policeman. We all came out of the house together. I went to the Commercial-street Police-station to report the case. No one in the house was informed by me of what I had discovered. I told the inspector at the police-station, and after a while I returned to Hanbury-street, but did not re-enter the house. As I passed I saw constables there.
[Coroner] Have you ever seen the deceased before? - No.
[Coroner] Were you the first down in the house that morning? - No; there was a lodger named Thompson, who was called at half-past three.
[Coroner] Have you ever seen women in the passage? - Mrs. Richardson has said there have been. I have not seen them myself. I have only been in the house a fortnight.
[Coroner] Did you hear any noise that Saturday morning? - No, sir.
Amelia Palmer, examined, stated: I live at 35,
Dorset-street, Spitalfields, a common lodging-house. Off and on I
have stayed there three years. I am married to Henry Palmer, a
dock labourer. He was foreman, but met with an accident at the
beginning of the year. I go out charing. My husband gets a
pension, having been in the Army Reserve. I knew the deceased
very well, for quite five years. I saw the body on Saturday at
the mortuary, and am quite sure that it is that of Annie Chapman.
She was a widow, and her husband, Frederick Chapman, was a
veterinary surgeon in Windsor. He died about eighteen months ago.
Deceased had lived apart from him for about four years or more.
She lived in various places, principally in common lodging-houses
in Spitalfields. I never knew her to have a settled home.
[Coroner] Has she lived at 30, Dorset-street? - Yes, about two years ago, with a man who made wire sieves, and at that time she was receiving 10s a week from her husband by post-office order, payable to her at the Commercial-road. This payment stopped about eighteen months ago, and she then found, on inquiry of some relative, that her husband was dead. I am under the impression that she ascertained this fact either from a brother or sister of her husband in Oxford-street, Whitechapel. She was nick-named, "Mrs. Sivvy," because she lived with the sieve-maker. I know the man perfectly well, but don't know his name. I saw him last about eighteen months ago, in the City, and he told me that he was living at Notting-hill. I saw deceased two or three times last week. On Monday she was standing in the road opposite 35, Dorset-street. She had been staying there, and had no bonnet on. She had a bruise on one of her temples - I think the right. I said, "How did you get that?" She said, "Yes, look at my chest." Opening her dress, she showed me a bruise. She said, "Do you know the woman?" and gave some name which I do not remember. She made me understand that it was a woman who goes about selling books. Both this woman and the deceased were acquainted with a man called "Harry the Hawker." Chapman told me that she was with some other man, Ted Stanley, on Saturday, Sept. 1. Stanley is a very respectable man. Deceased said she was with him at a beer-shop, 87, Commercial-street, at the corner of Dorset-street, where "Harry the Hawker" was with the woman. This man put down a two shilling piece and the woman picked it up and put down a penny. There was some feeling in consequence and the same evening the book-selling woman met the deceased and injured her in the face and chest. When deceased told me this, she said she was living at 35, Dorset-street. On the Tuesday afternoon I saw Chapman again near to Spitalfields Church. She said she felt no better, and she should go into the casual ward for a day or two. I remarked that she looked very pale, and asked her if she had had anything to eat. She replied, "No, I have not had a cup of tea to-day." I gave her two-pence to get some, and told her not to get any rum, of which she was fond. I have seen her the worse for drink.
[Coroner] What did she do for a living? - She used to do crochet work, make antimaccassars, and sell flowers. She was out late at night at times. On Fridays she used to go to Stratford to sell anything she had. I did not see her from the Tuesday to the Friday afternoon, 7th inst., when I met her about five o'clock in Dorset-street. She appeared to be perfectly sober. I said, "Are you going to Stratford to-day?" She answered, "I feel too ill to do anything." I left her immediately afterwards, and returned about ten minutes later, and found her in the same spot. She said, "It is of no use my going away. I shall have to go somewhere to get some money to pay my lodgings." She said no more, and that was the last time that I saw her. Deceased stated that she had been in the casual ward, but did not say which one. She did not say she had been refused admission. Deceased was a very industrious woman when she was sober. I have seen her often the worse for drink. She could not take much without making her drunk. She had been living a very irregular life during the whole time that I have known her. Since the death of her husband she has seemed to give way altogether. I understood that she had a sister and mother living at Brompton, but I do not think they were on friendly terms. I have never known her to stay with her relatives even for a night. On the Monday she observed: "If my sister will send me the boots, I shall go hopping." She had two children - a boy and a girl. They were at Windsor until her husband's death, and since then they have been in a school. Deceased was a very respectable woman, and never used bad language. She has stayed out in the streets all night.
[Coroner] Do you know of any one that would be likely to have injured her? - No.
The Coroner (having read a communication handed to him by the police): It seems to be very doubtful whether the husband was a veterinary surgeon. He may have been a coachman.
35, Dorset-street, Spitalfields, said: I am the deputy of a
common lodging house. I have seen the body of the deceased, and
have identified it as that of a woman who stayed at my house for
the last four months. She was not there last week until Friday
afternoon, between two and three o'clock. I was coming out of the
office after getting up, and she asked me if she could go down in
the kitchen, and I said "Yes," and asked her where she
had been all the week. She replied that she had been in the
infirmary, but did not say which.
A police-officer stated that the deceased had been in the casual ward.
Witness resumed: Deceased went down in the kitchen, and I did not see her again until half-past one or a quarter to two on Saturday morning. At that time I was sitting in the office, which faces the front door. She went into the kitchen. I sent the watchman's wife, who was in the office with me, downstairs to ask her husband about the bed. Deceased came upstairs to the office and said, "I have not sufficient money for my bed. Don't let it. I shan't be long before I am in."
[Coroner] How much was it? - Eightpence for the night. The bed she occupied, No. 29, was the one that she usually occupied. Deceased was then eating potatoes, and went out. She stood in the door two or three minutes, and then repeated, "Never mind, Tim; I shall soon be back. Don't let the bed." It was then about ten minutes to two a.m. She left the house, going in the direction of Brushfield-street. John Evans, the watchman, saw her leave the house. I did not see her again.
[Coroner] Was she the worse for drink when you saw her last? - She had had enough; of that I am certain. She walked straight. Generally on Saturdays she was the worse for drink. She was very sociable in the kitchen. I said to her, "You can find money for your beer, and you can't find money for your bed." She said she had been only to the top of the street - where there is a public-house.
[Coroner] Did you see her with any man that night? - No, sir.
[Coroner] Where did you think she was going to get the money from? - I did not know. She used to come and stay at the lodging-house on Saturdays with a man - a pensioner - of soldierly appearance, whose name I do not know.
[Coroner] Have you seen her with other men? - At other times she has come with other men, and I have refused her.
[Coroner] You only allow the women at your place one husband? - The pensioner told me not to let her a bed if she came with any other man. She did not come with a man that night. I never saw her with any man that week.
In answer to the jury witness said the beds were double at 8d per night, and as a rule deceased occupied one of them by herself.
The Coroner: When was the pensioner last with deceased at the lodging-house? - On Sunday, Sept. 2. I cannot say whether they left together. I have heard the
deceased say, "Tim, wait a minute. I am just going up the street to see if I can see him." She added that he was going to draw his pension. This occurred on Saturday, Aug. 25, at three a.m.
In reply to the Coroner, the police said nothing was known of the pensioner.
Examination continued: I never heard deceased call the man by any name. He was between forty and forty-five years of age, about 5 ft. 6 in. or 5 ft. 8 in. in height. Sometimes he would come dressed as a dock labourer; at other times he had a gentlemanly appearance. His hair was rather dark. I believe she always used to find him at the top of the street. Deceased was on good terms with the lodgers. About Tuesday, Aug. 28, she and another woman had a row in the kitchen. I saw them both outside. As far as I know she was not injured at that time. I heard from the watchman that she had had a clout. I noticed a day or two afterwards, on the Thursday, that she had a slight touch of a black eye. She said, "Tim, this is lovely," but did not explain how she got it. The bruise was to be seen on Friday last. I know the other woman, but not her name. Her husband hawks laces and other things.
testified: I am night watchman at 35, Dorset-street, and have
identified the deceased as having lived at the lodging-house. I
last saw her there on Saturday morning, and she left at about a
quarter to two o'clock. I was sent down in the kitchen to see
her, and she said she had not sufficient money. When she went
upstairs I followed her, and as she left the house, I watched her
go through a court called Paternoster-street, into
Brushfield-street, and then turn towards Spitalfields Church.
Deceased was the worse for drink, but not badly so. She came in
soon after twelve (midnight), when she said she had been over to
her sister's in Vauxhall. She sent one of the lodgers for a pint
of beer, and then went out again, returning shortly before a
quarter to two. I knew she had been living a rough night life.
She associated with a man, a pensioner, every Saturday, and this
individual called on Saturday at 2.30 p.m. and inquired for the
deceased. He had heard something about her death, and came to see
if it was true. I do not know his name or address. When I told
him what had occurred he went straight out, without saying a
word, towards Spitalfields Church. I did not see deceased and
this man leave the house last Sunday week.
[Coroner] Did you see the deceased and another woman have a row in the kitchen? - Yes, on Thursday, Aug. 30. Deceased and a woman known as "Eliza," at 11.30 a.m., quarrelled about a piece of soap, and Chapman received a blow in the chest. I noticed that she had a slight black eye. There are marks on the body in a similar position.
By the Jury: I have never heard any one threaten her, nor express any fear of any one. I have never heard any one of the women in the lodging-house say that they had been threatened.
At this stage the inquiry was adjourned until tomorrow (Wednesday).
2, Wednesday, September
(The Daily Telegraph, Thursday, September 13, 1888, Page 3)
Mr. Wynne Baxter yesterday [12 Sep] resumed the inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of Annie Chapman, whose body was found brutally mutilated in the back yard of 29, Hanbury-street, Spitalfields, at six o'clock on the morning of Saturday last.
The Police were represented by Inspector Abberline, of the Criminal Investigation Department, and Inspector Helson, J Division.
printer's warehouseman, stated: I have seen the body in the
mortuary, and recognise it as that of my eldest sister, Annie,
the widow of John Chapman, who lived at Windsor, a coachman. She
had been separated from her husband for about three years. Her
age was forty-seven. I last saw her alive a fortnight ago, in
Commercial-street, where I met her promiscuously. Her husband
died at Christmas, 1886. I gave her 2s; she did not say where she
was living nor what she was doing. She said she wanted the money
for a lodging.
[Coroner] Did you know anything about her associates? - No.
James Kent, 20, Drew's Blocks, Shadwell, a packing-case maker, said: I work for Mr. Bayley, 23A, Hanbury-street, and go there at six a.m. On Saturday I arrived about ten minutes past that hour. Our employer's gate was open, and there I waited for some other men. Davis, who lives two or three doors away, ran from his house into the road and cried, "Men, come here." James Green and I went together to 29, Hanbury-street, and on going through the passage, standing on the top of the back door steps, I saw a woman lying in the yard between the steps and the partition between the yard and the next. Her head was near the house, but no part of the body was against the wall. The feet were lying towards the back of Bayley's premises. (Witness indicated the precise position upon a plan produced by the police-officers). Deceased's clothes were disarranged, and her apron was thrown over them. I did not go down the steps, but went outside and returned after Inspector Chandler had arrived. I could see that the woman was dead. She had some kind of handkerchief around her throat which seemed soaked in blood. The face and hands were besmeared with blood, as if she had struggled. She appeared to have been on her back and fought with her hands to free herself. The hands were turned toward her throat. The legs were wide apart, and there were marks of blood upon them. The entrails were protruding, and were lying across her left side. I got a piece of canvass from the shop to throw over the body, and by that time a mob had assembled, and Inspector Chandler was in possession of the yard. The foreman gets to the shop at ten minutes to six every morning, and he was there before us.
James Green, of Ackland-street, Burdett-road, a packing-case maker, in the same employ as last witness, said: I arrived in Hanbury-street at ten minutes past six on Saturday morning, and accompanied Kent to the back door of No. 29. I left the premises with him. I saw no one touch the body.
29, Hanbury-street, deposed: I am a widow, and occupy half of the
house - i.e., the first floor, ground floor, and workshops in the
cellar. I carry on the business of a packing-case maker there,
and the shops are used by my son John, aged thirty-seven, and a
man Francis Tyler, who have worked for me eighteen years. The
latter ought to have come at six a.m., but he did not arrive
until eight o'clock, when I sent for him. He is often late when
we are slack. My son lives in John-street, Spitalfields, and he
works also in the market on market mornings. At six a.m. my
grandson, Thomas Richardson, aged fourteen, who lives with me,
got up. I sent him down to see what was the matter, as there was
so much noise in the passage. He came back and said, "Oh,
grandmother, there is a woman murdered." I went down
immediately, and saw the body of the deceased lying in the yard.
There was no one there at the time, but there were people in the
passage. Soon afterwards a constable came and took possession of
the place. As far as I know the officer was the first to enter
[Coroner] Which room do you occupy? - The first floor front, and my grandson slept in the same room on Friday night. I went to bed about half-past nine, and was very wakeful half the night. I was awake at three a.m., and only dozed after that.
[Coroner] Did you hear any noise during the night? - No.
[Coroner] Who occupies the first floor back? - Mr. Walker, a maker of lawn-tennis boots. He is an old gentleman, and he sleeps there with his son, twenty-seven years of age. The son is weak-minded and inoffensive. On the ground floor there are two rooms. Mrs. Hardman occupies them with her son, aged sixteen. She uses the front room as a cats' meat shop. In the front room on the first floor on Friday night I had a prayer meeting, and before I went to bed I locked the door of this room, and took the key with me. It was still locked in the morning. John Davies and his family tenant the third floor front, and Mrs. Sarah Cox has the back room on the same floor. She is an old lady I keep out of charity. Mr. Thompson and his wife, with an adopted little girl, have the front room on the second floor. On Saturday morning I called to Thompson at ten minutes to four o'clock. I heard him leave the house. He did not go into the back yard. Two unmarried sisters reside in the second floor back. They work at a cigar factory. When I went down all the tenants were in the house except Mr. Thompson and Mr. Davies. I am not the owner of the house.
[Coroner] Were the front and back doors always left open? - Yes, you can open the front and back doors of any of the houses about there. They are all let out in rooms. People are coming in or going out all the night.
[Coroner] Did you ever see anyone in the passage? - Yes, about a month ago I heard a man on the stairs. I called Thompson, and the man said he was waiting for market.
[Coroner] At what time was this? - Between half-past three and four o'clock. I could hear anyone going through the passage. I did not hear any one going through on Saturday morning.
[Coroner] You heard no cries? - None. Supposing a person had gone through at half-past three, would that have attracted your attention? - Yes.
[Coroner] You always hear people going to the back-yard? - Yes; people frequently do go through.
[Coroner] People go there who have no business to do so? - Yes; I daresay they do.
[Coroner] On Saturday morning you feel confident no one did go through? - Yes; I should have heard the sound. They must have walked purposely quietly? - Yes; or I should have heard them.
By the Jury: I should not allow any stranger to go through for an immoral purpose if I knew it.
Harriett Hardiman [Hardyman, Hardman], living at 29, Hanbury-street, catsmeat saleswoman, the occupier of the ground-floor front room, stated: I went to bed on Friday night at half-past ten. My son sleeps in the same room. I did not wake during the night. I was awakened by the trampling through the passage at about six o'clock. My son was asleep, and I told him to go to the back as I thought there was a fire. He returned and said that a woman had been killed in the yard. I did not go out of my room. I have often heard people going through the passage into the yard, but never got up to look who they were.
of John-street, Spitalfields, market porter, said: I assist my
mother in her business. I went to 29, Hanbury-street, between
4,45 a.m. and 4.50 a.m. on Saturday last. I went to see if the
cellar was all secure, as some while ago there was a robbery
there of some tools. I have been accustomed to go on market
mornings since the time when the cellar was broken in.
[Coroner] Was the front door open? - No, it was closed. I lifted the latch and went through the passage to the yard door.
[Coroner] Did you go into the yard? - No, the yard door was shut. I opened it and sat on the doorstep, and cut a piece of leather off my boot with an old table-knife, about five inches long. I kept the knife upstairs at John-street. I had been feeding a rabbit with a carrot that I had cut up, and I put the knife in my pocket. I do not usually carry it there. After cutting the leather off my boot I tied my boot up, and went out of the house into the market. I did not close the back door. It closed itself. I shut the front door.
[Coroner] How long were you there? - About two minutes at most.
[Coroner] Was it light? - It was getting light, but I could see all over the place.
[Coroner] Did you notice whether there was any object outside? - I could not have failed to notice the deceased had she been lying there then. I saw the body two or three minutes before the doctor came. I was then in the adjoining yard. Thomas Pierman had told me about the murder in the market. When I was on the doorstep I saw that the padlock on the cellar door was in its proper place.
[Coroner] Did you sit on the top step? - No, on the middle step; my feet were on the flags of the yard.
[Coroner] You must have been quite close to where the deceased was found? - Yes, I must have seen her.
[Coroner] You have been there at all hours of the night? - Yes.
[Coroner] Have you ever seen any strangers there? - Yes, plenty, at all hours - both men and women. I have often turned them out. We have had them on our first floor as well, on the landing.
[Coroner] Do you mean to say that they go there for an immoral purpose? - Yes, they do.
At this stage witness was despatched by the coroner to fetch his knife.
Mrs. Richardson, recalled,
said she had never missed anything, and had such confidence in
her neighbours that she had left the doors of some rooms
unlocked. A saw and a hammer had been taken from the cellar a
long time ago. The padlock was broken open.
[Coroner] Had you an idea at any time that a part of the house or yard was used for an immoral purpose? - Witness (emphatically): No, sir.
[Coroner] Did you say anything about a leather apron? - Yes, my son wears one when he works in the cellar.
The Coroner: It is rather a dangerous thing to wear, is it not?
Witness: Yes. On Thursday, Sept. 6, I found my son's leather apron in the cellar mildewed. He had not used it for a month. I took it and put it under the tap in the yard, and left it there. It was found there on Saturday morning by the police, who took charge of it. The apron had remained there from Thursday to Saturday.
[Coroner] Was this tap used? - Yes, by all of us in the house. The apron was on the stones. The police took away an empty box, used for nails, and the steel out of a boy's gaiter. There was a pan of clean water near to the tap when I went in the yard at six o'clock on Saturday. It was there on Friday night at eight o'clock, and it looked as if it had not been disturbed.
[Coroner] Did you ever know of strange women being found on the first-floor landing? - No.
[Coroner] Your son had never spoken to you about it? - No.
John Piser [Pizer] was then called. He said: I live
at 22, Mulberry-street, Commercial- road East. I am a shoemaker.
[Coroner] Are you known by the nickname of "Leather Apron?" - Yes, sir.
[Coroner] Where were you on Friday night last? - I was at 22, Mulberry-street. On Thursday, the 6th inst. I arrived there.
[Coroner] From where? - From the west end of town. The Coroner: I am afraid we shall have to have a better address than that presently.
[Coroner] What time did you reach 22, Mulberry-street? - Shortly before eleven p.m.
[Coroner] Who lives at 22, Mulberry-street? - My brother and sister-in-law and my stepmother. I remained indoors there.
[Coroner] Until when? - Until I was arrested by Sergeant Thicke, on Monday last at nine a.m.
[Coroner] You say you never left the house during that time? - I never left the house.
[Coroner] Why were you remaining indoors? - Because my brother advised me.
[Coroner] You were the subject of suspicion? - I was the object of a false suspicion.
[Coroner] You remained on the advice of your friends? - Yes; I am telling you what I did.
The Coroner: It was not the best advice that you could have had. You have been released, and are not now in custody? - I am not.
Piser: I wish to vindicate my character to the world at large.
The Coroner: I have called you in your own interests, partly with the object of giving you an opportunity of doing so.
[Coroner] Can you tell us where you were on Thursday, Aug. 30?
Witness (after considering): In the Holloway-road.
[Coroner] You had better say exactly where you were. It is important to account for your time from that Thursday to the Friday morning.
[Pizer] What time, may I ask?
The Coroner: It was the week before you came to Mulberry-street.
Witness: I was staying at a common lodging-house called the Round House, in the Holloway-road.
[Coroner] Did you sleep the night there? - Yes. At what time did you go in? - On the night of the London Dock fire I went in about two or a quarter-past. It was on the Friday morning.
[Coroner] When did you leave the lodging-house? - At eleven a.m. on the same day. I saw on the placards, "Another Horrible Murder." Where were you before two o'clock on Friday morning? - At eleven p.m. on Thursday I had my supper at the Round House.
[Coroner] Did you go out? - Yes, as far as the Seven Sisters-road, and then returned towards Highgate way, down the Holloway-road. Turning, I saw the reflection of a fire. Coming as far as the church in the Holloway-road I saw two constables and the lodging-housekeeper talking together. There might have been one or two constables, I cannot say which. I asked a constable where the fire was, and he said it was a long way off. I asked him where he thought it was, and he replied: "Down by the Albert Docks." It was then about half-past one, to the best of my recollection. I went as far as Highbury Railway Station on the same side of the way, returned, and then went into the lodging house.
[Coroner] Did any one speak to you about being so late? - No: I paid the night watchman. I asked him if my bed was let, and he said: "They are let by eleven o'clock. You don't think they are to let to this hour." I paid him 4d for another bed. I stayed up smoking on the form of the kitchen, on the right hand side near the fireplace, and then went to bed.
[Coroner] You got up at eleven o'clock? - Yes. The day man came, and told us to get up, as he wanted to make the bed. I got up and dressed, and went down into the kitchen.
[Coroner] Is there anything else you want to say? - Nothing.
[Coroner] When you said the West-end of town did you mean Holloway? - No; another lodging house in Peter-street, Westminster.
The Coroner: It is only fair to say that the witness's statements can be corroborated.
William Thicke [Thick], detective sergeant, deposed:
Knowing that "Leather Apron" was suspected of being
concerned in the murder, on Monday morning I arrested Piser at
22, Mulberry-street. I have known him by the name of
"Leather Apron" for many years.
[Coroner] When people in the neighbourhood speak of the "Leather Apron" do they mean Piser? - They do.
[Coroner] He has been released from custody? - He was released last night at 9.30.
John Richardson (recalled)
produced the knife - a much-worn dessert knife - with which he
had cut his boot. He added that as it was not sharp enough he had
borrowed another one at the market.
By the Jury: My mother has heard me speak of people having been in the house. She has heard them herself.
The Coroner: I think we will detain this knife for the present.
Henry John Holland,
a boxmaker, stated: As I was passing 29, Hanbury-street, on my
way to work in Chiswell-street, at about eight minutes past six
on Saturday. I spoke to two of Bayley's men. An elderly man came
out of the house and asked us to have a look in his back yard. I
went through the passage and saw the deceased lying in the yard
by the back door. I did not touch the body. I then went for a
policeman in Spitalfields Market. The officer told me he could
not come. I went outside and could find no constable. Going back
to the house I saw an inspector run up with a young man, at about
twenty minutes past six o'clock. I had told the first policeman
that it was a similar case to Buck's-row, and he referred me to
two policemen outside the market, but I could not find them. I
afterwards complained of the policeman's conduct at the
Commercial-street police station the same afternoon.
The Coroner: There does not seem to have been much delay. The inspector says there are certain spots where constables are stationed with instructions not to leave them. Their duty is to send some one else.
The Foreman of the Jury: That is the explanation.
The Coroner: The doctor will be here first thing tomorrow.
This afternoon the inquiry will be resumed.
3, Thursday, September
(The Daily Telegraph, Friday, September 14, 1888, Page 3)
Yesterday [13 Sep] Mr. Wynne Baxter, coroner, resumed, at the Working Lads' Institute, Whitechapel-road, his adjourned inquiry relative to the death of Annie Chapman, who was murdered in the back yard of 29, Hanbury-street, on Saturday morning last.
The police were represented by Inspectors Abberline, Helson, and Chandler.
Inspector H Division Metropolitan Police, deposed: On Saturday
morning, at ten minutes past six, I was on duty in
Commercial-street. At the corner of Hanbury-street I saw several
men running. I beckoned to them. One of them said, "Another
woman has been murdered." I at once went with him to 29,
Hanbury-street, and through the passage into the yard. There was
no one in the yard. I saw the body of a woman lying on the ground
on her back. Her head was towards the back wall of the house,
nearly two feet from the wall, at the bottom of the steps, but
six or nine inches away from them. The face was turned to the
right side, and the left arm was resting on the left breast. The
right hand was lying down the right side. Deceased's legs were
drawn up, and the clothing was above the knees. A portion of the
intestines, still connected with the body, were lying above the
right shoulder, with some pieces of skin. There were also some
pieces of skin on the left shoulder. The body was lying parallel
with the fencing dividing the two yards. I remained there and
sent for the divisional surgeon, Mr. Phillips, and to the
police-station for the ambulance and for further assistance. When
the constables arrived I cleared the passage of people, and saw
that no one touched the body until the doctor arrived. I obtained
some sacking to cover it before the arrival of the surgeon, who
came at about half- past six o'clock, and he, having examined the
body, directed that it should be removed to the mortuary. After
the body had been taken away I examined the yard, and found a
piece of coarse muslin, a small tooth comb, and a pocket hair
comb in a case. They were lying near the feet of the woman. A
portion of an envelope was found near her head, which contained
[Coroner] What was on the envelope? - On the back there was a seal with the words, embossed in blue, "Sussex Regiment." The other part was torn away. On the other side there was a letter "M" in writing.
[Coroner] A man's handwriting? - I should imagine so.
[Coroner] Any postage stamp? - No. There was a postal stamp "London, Aug. 3, 1888." That was in red. There was another black stamp, which was indistinct.
[Coroner] Any other marks on the envelope? - There were also the letters "Sp" lower down, as if some one had written "Spitalfields." The other part was gone. There were no other marks.
[Coroner] Did you find anything else in the yard? - There was a leather apron, lying in the yard, saturated with water. It was about two feet from the water tap.
[Coroner] Was it shown to the doctor? - Yes. There was also a box, such as is commonly used by casemakers for holding nails. It was empty. There was also a piece of steel, flat, which has since been identified by Mrs. Richardson as the spring of her son's leggings.
[Coroner] Where was that found? - It was close to where the body had been. The apron and nail box have also been identified by her as her property. The yard was paved roughly with stones in parts; in other places it was earth.
[Coroner] Was there any appearance of a struggle there? - No.
[Coroner] Are the palings strongly erected? - No; to the contrary.
[Coroner] Could they support the weight of a man getting over them? - No doubt they might.
[Coroner] Is there any evidence of anybody having got over them? - No. Some of them in the adjoining yard have been broken since. They were not broken then.
[Coroner] You have examined the adjoining yard? - Yes.
[Coroner] Was there any staining as of blood on any of the palings? - Yes, near the body.
[Coroner] Was it on any of the other yards? - No.
[Coroner] Were there no other marks? - There were marks discovered on the wall of No. 25. They were noticed on Tuesday afternoon. They have been seen by Dr. Phillips.
[Coroner] Were there any drops of blood outside the yard of No. 29? - No; every possible examination has been made, but we could find no trace of them. The blood-stains at No. 29 were in the immediate neighbourhood of the body only. There were also a few spots of blood on the back wall, near the head of the deceased, 2ft from the ground. The largest spot was of the size of a sixpence. They were all close together. I assisted in the preparation of the plan produced, which is correct.
[Coroner] Did you search the body? - I searched the clothing at the mortuary. The outside jacket - a long black one, which came down to the knees - had bloodstains round the neck, both upon the inside and out, and two or three spots on the left arm. The jacket was hooked at the top, and buttoned down the front. By the appearance of the garment there did not seem to have been any struggle. A large pocket was worn under the skirt (attached by strings), which I produce. It was torn down the front and also at the side, and it was empty. Deceased wore a black skirt. There was a little blood on the outside. The two petticoats were stained very little; the two bodices were stained with blood round the neck, but they had not been damaged. There was no cut in the clothing at all. The boots were on the feet of deceased. They were old. No part of the clothing was torn. The stockings were not bloodstained.
[Coroner] Did you see John Richardson? - I saw him about a quarter to seven o'clock. He told me he had been to the house that morning about a quarter to five. He said he came to the back door and looked down to the cellar, to see if all was right, and then went away to his work.
[Coroner] Did he say anything about cutting his boot? - No.
[Coroner] Did he say that he was sure the woman was not there at that time? - Yes.
By the Jury: The back door opens outwards into the yard, and swung on the left hand to the palings where the body was. If Richardson were on the top of the steps he might not have seen the body. He told me he did not go down the steps.
The Foreman of the Jury: Reference has been made to the Sussex Regiment and the pensioner. Are you going to produce the man Stanley? Witness: We have not been able to find him as yet.
The Foreman: He is a very important witness. There is evidence that he has associated with the woman week after week. It is important that he should be found. Witness: There is nobody that can give us the least idea where he is. The parties were requested to communicate with the police if he came back. Every inquiry has been made, but nobody seems to know anything about him.
The Coroner: I should think if that pensioner knows his own business he will come forward himself.
Sergeant Baugham [Badham], 31 H, stated that he conveyed
the body of the deceased to the mortuary on the ambulance.
[Coroner] Are you sure that you took every portion of the body away with you? - Yes.
[Coroner] Where did you deposit the body? - In the shed, still on the ambulance. I remained with it until Inspector Chandler arrived. Detective-Sergeant Thicke viewed the body, and I took down the description. There were present two women, who came to identify the body, and they described the clothing. They came from 35, Dorset-street.
[Coroner] Who touched the clothing? - Sergeant Thicke. I did not see the women touch the clothing nor the body. I did not see Sergeant Thicke touch the body.
Inspector Chandler, recalled,
said he reached the mortuary a few minutes after seven. The body
did not appear to have been disturbed. He did not stay until the
doctor arrived. Police-constable 376 H was left in charge, with
the mortuary keeper. Robert Marne, the mortuary keeper and an
inmate of the Whitechapel Union Workhouse, said he received the
body at seven o'clock on Saturday morning. He remained at the
mortuary until Dr. Phillips came. The door of the mortuary was
locked except when two nurses from an infirmary came and
undressed the body. No one else touched the corpse. He gave the
key into the hands of the police.
The Coroner: The fact is that Whitechapel does not possess a mortuary. The place is not a mortuary at all. We have no right to take a body there. It is simply a shed belonging to the workhouse officials. Juries have over and over again reported the matter to the District Board of Works. The East-end, which requires mortuaries more than anywhere else, is most deficient. Bodies drawn out of the river have to be put in boxes, and very often they are brought to this workhouse arrangement all the way from Wapping. A workhouse inmate is not the proper man to take care of a body in such an important matter as this.
The foreman of the jury called attention to the fact that a fund to provide a reward had been opened by residents in the neighbourhood, and that Mr. Montagu, M.P., had offered a reward of £100. If the Government also offered a reward some information might be forthcoming.
The Coroner: I do not speak with any real knowledge, but I am told that the Government have determined not to give any rewards in future, not with the idea to economise but because the money does not get into right channels.
To Witness: Were you present when the doctor was making his post-mortem? - Yes.
[Coroner] Did you see the doctor find the handkerchief produced? - It was taken off the body. I picked it up from off the clothing, which was in the corner of the room. I gave it to Dr. Phillips, and he asked me to put it in some water, which I did.
[Coroner] Did you see the handkerchief taken off the body? - I did not. The nurses must have taken it off the throat.
[Coroner] How do you know? - I don't know.
[Coroner] Then you are guessing? - I am guessing.
The Coroner: That is all wrong, you know. (To the jury). He is really not the proper man to have been left in charge.
the deputy of the lodging-house, 35, Dorset-street, was recalled.
[Coroner] You have seen that handkerchief? - I recognise it as one which the deceased used to wear. She bought it of a lodger, and she was wearing it when she left the lodging-house. She was wearing it three-corner ways, placed round her neck, with a black woollen scarf underneath. It was tied in front with one knot.
The Foreman of the Jury: Would you recognise Ted Stanley, the pensioner?
A Juryman: Stanley is not the pensioner.
The Coroner (to witness): Do you know the name of Stanley? Witness: No.
The Foreman: He has been mentioned, and also "Harry the Hawker."
Witness: I know "Harry the Hawker."
The Coroner, having referred to the evidence, said: It may be an inference - there is no actual evidence - that the pensioner was called Ted Stanley.
The Foreman said he referred to the man who came to see the deceased regularly. The man ought to be produced.
The Coroner (to witness): Would you recognise the pensioner? - Yes.
[Coroner] When did you see him last? - On Saturday.
[Coroner] Why did you not then send him to the police? - Because he would not stop.
The Foreman: What was he like? - He had a soldierly appearance. He dressed differently at times - sometimes gentlemanly. A Juror: He is not Ted Stanley.
Mr. George Baxter Phillips,
divisional-surgeon of police, said: On Saturday last I was called
by the police at 6.20 a.m. to 29, Hanbury-street, and arrived at
half-past six. I found the body of the deceased lying in the yard
on her back, on the left hand of the steps that lead from the
passage. The head was about 6in in front of the level of the
bottom step, and the feet were towards a shed at the end of the
yard. The left arm was across the left breast, and the legs were
drawn up, the feet resting on the ground, and the knees turned
outwards. The face was swollen and turned on the right side, and
the tongue protruded between the front teeth, but not beyond the
lips; it was much swollen. The small intestines and other
portions were lying on the right side of the body on the ground
above the right shoulder, but attached. There was a large
quantity of blood, with a part of the stomach above the left
shoulder. I searched the yard and found a small piece of coarse
muslin, a small-tooth comb, and a pocket-comb, in a paper case,
near the railing. They had apparently been arranged there. I also
discovered various other articles, which I handed to the police.
The body was cold, except that there was a certain remaining
heat, under the intestines, in the body. Stiffness of the limbs
was not marked, but it was commencing. The throat was dissevered
deeply. I noticed that the incision of the skin was jagged, and
reached right round the neck. On the back wall of the house,
between the steps and the palings, on the left side, about 18in
from the ground, there were about six patches of blood, varying
in size from a sixpenny piece to a small point, and on the wooden
fence there were smears of blood, corresponding to where the head
of the deceased laid, and immediately above the part where the
blood had mainly flowed from the neck, which was well clotted.
Having received instructions soon after two o'clock on Saturday
afternoon, I went to the labour- yard of the Whitechapel Union
for the purpose of further examining the body and making the
usual post-mortem investigation. I was surprised to find that the
body had been stripped and was laying ready on the table. It was
under great disadvantage I made my examination. As on many
occasions I have met with the same difficulty, I now raise my
protest, as I have before, that members of my profession should
be called upon to perform their duties under these inadequate
The Coroner: The mortuary is not fitted for a post-mortem examination. It is only a shed. There is no adequate convenience, and nothing fit, and at certain seasons of the year it is dangerous to the operator.
The Foreman: I think we can all endorse the doctor's view of it.
The Coroner: As a matter of fact there is no public mortuary from the City of London up to Bow. There is one at Mile-end, but it belongs to the workhouse, and is not used for general purposes.
Examination resumed: The body had been attended to since its removal to the mortuary, and probably partially washed. I noticed a bruise over the right temple. There was a bruise under the clavicle, and there were two distinct bruises, each the size of a man's thumb, on the fore part of the chest. The stiffness of the limbs was then well-marked. The finger nails were turgid. There was an old scar of long standing on the left of the frontal bone. On the left side the stiffness was more noticeable, and especially in the fingers, which were partly closed. There was an abrasion over the bend of the first joint of the ring finger, and there were distinct markings of a ring or rings - probably the latter. There were small sores on the fingers. The head being opened showed that the membranes of the brain were opaque and the veins loaded with blood of a dark character. There was a large quantity of fluid between the membranes and the substance of the brain. The brain substance was unusually firm, and its cavities also contained a large amount of fluid. The throat had been severed. The incisions of the skin indicated that they had been made from the left side of the neck on a line with the angle of the jaw, carried entirely round and again in front of the neck, and ending at a point about midway between the jaw and the sternum or breast bone on the right hand. There were two distinct clean cuts on the body of the vertebrae on the left side of the spine. They were parallel to each other, and separated by about half an inch. The muscular structures between the side processes of bone of the vertebrae had an appearance as if an attempt had been made to separate the bones of the neck. There are various other mutilations of the body, but I am of opinion that they occurred subsequently to the death of the woman and to the large escape of blood from the neck. The witness, pausing, said: I am entirely in your hands, sir, but is it necessary that I should describe the further mutilations. From what I have said I can state the cause of death.
The Coroner: The object of the inquiry is not only to ascertain the cause of death, but the means by which it occurred. Any mutilation which took place afterwards may suggest the character of the man who did it. Possibly you can give us the conclusions to which you have come respecting the instrument used.
The Witness: You don't wish for details. I think if it is possible to escape the details it would be advisable. The cause of death is visible from injuries I have described.
The Coroner: You have kept a record of them?
Witness: I have.
The Coroner: Supposing any one is charged with the offence, they would have to come out then, and it might be a matter of comment that the same evidence was not given at the inquest.
Witness: I am entirely in your hands.
The Coroner: We will postpone that for the present. You can give your opinion as to how the death was caused.
Witness: From these appearances I am of opinion that the breathing was interfered with previous to death, and that death arose from syncope, or failure of the heart's action, in consequence of the loss of blood caused by the severance of the throat.
[Coroner] Was the instrument used at the throat the same as that used at the abdomen? - Very probably. It must have been a very sharp knife, probably with a thin, narrow blade, and at least six to eight inches in length, and perhaps longer.
[Coroner] Is it possible that any instrument used by a military man, such as a bayonet, would have done it? - No; it would not be a bayonet.
[Coroner] Would it have been such an instrument as a medical man uses for post-mortem examinations? - The ordinary post-mortem case perhaps does not contain such a weapon.
[Coroner] Would any instrument that slaughterers employ have caused the injuries? - Yes; well ground down.
[Coroner] Would the knife of a cobbler or of any person in the leather trades have done? - I think the knife used in those trades would not be long enough in the blade.
[Coroner] Was there any anatomical knowledge displayed? - I think there was. There were indications of it. My own impression is that that anatomical knowledge was only less displayed or indicated in consequence of haste. The person evidently was hindered from making a more complete dissection in consequence of the haste.
[Coroner] Was the whole of the body there? - No; the absent portions being from the abdomen.
[Coroner] Are those portions such as would require anatomical knowledge to extract? - I think the mode in which they were extracted did show some anatomical knowledge.
[Coroner] You do not think they could have been lost accidentally in the transit of the body to the mortuary? - I was not present at the transit. I carefully closed up the clothes of the woman. Some portions had been excised.
[Coroner] How long had the deceased been dead when you saw her? - I should say at least two hours, and probably more; but it is right to say that it was a fairly cold morning, and that the body would be more apt to cool rapidly from its having lost the greater portion of its blood.
[Coroner] Was there any evidence of any struggle? - No; not about the body of the woman. You do not forget the smearing of blood about the palings.
[Coroner] In your opinion did she enter the yard alive? - I am positive of it. I made a thorough search of the passage, and I saw no trace of blood, which must have been visible had she been taken into the yard.
[Coroner] You were shown the apron? - I saw it myself. There was no blood upon it. It had the appearance of not having been unfolded recently.
[Coroner] You were shown some staining on the wall of No. 25, Hanbury-street? - Yes; that was yesterday morning. To the eye of a novice I have no doubt it looks like blood. I have not been able to trace any signs of it. I have not been able to finish my investigation. I am almost convinced I shall not find any blood. We have not had any result of your examination of the internal organs.
[Coroner] Was there any disease? - Yes. It was not important as regards the cause of death. Disease of the lungs was of long standing, and there was disease of the membranes of the brain. The stomach contained a little food.
[Coroner] Was there any appearance of the deceased having taken much alcohol? - No. There were probably signs of great privation. I am convinced she had not taken any strong alcohol for some hours before her death.
[Coroner] Were any of these injuries self-inflicted? - The injuries which were the immediate cause of death were not self-inflicted.
[Coroner] Was the bruising you mentioned recent? - The marks on the face were recent, especially about the chin and sides of the jaw. The bruise upon the temple and the bruises in front of the chest were of longer standing, probably of days. I am of opinion that the person who cut the deceased's throat took hold of her by the chin, and then commenced the incision from left to right.
[Coroner] Could that be done so instantaneously that a person could not cry out?
Witness: By pressure on the throat no doubt it would be possible.
The Forman: There would probably be suffocation.
The Coroner: The thickening of the tongue would be one of the signs of suffocation? - Yes. My impression is that she was partially strangled. Witness added that the handkerchief produced was, when found amongst the clothing, saturated with blood. A similar article was round the throat of the deceased when he saw her early in the morning at Hanbury-street.
[Coroner] It had not the appearance of having been tied on afterwards? - No. Sarah Simonds, a resident nurse at the Whitechapel Infirmary, stated that, in company of the senior nurse, she went to the mortuary on Saturday, and found the body of the deceased on the ambulance in the yard. It was afterwards taken into the shed, and placed on the table. She was directed by Inspector Chandler to undress it, and she placed the clothes in a corner. She left the handkerchief round the neck. She was sure of this. They washed stains of blood from the body. It seemed to have run down from the throat. She found the pocket tied round the waist. The strings were not torn. There were no tears or cuts in the clothes.
Inspector Chandler: I did not instruct the nurses to undress the body and to wash it.
The inquiry was adjourned until Wednesday.
4, Wednesday, September
(The Daily Telegraph, Thursday, September 20, 1888, Page 2)
In the Whitechapel Working Lads' Institute, yesterday [19 Sep] afternoon, Mr. Wynne E. Baxter, Coroner for East Middlesex, resumed his inquiry respecting the death of Mrs. Annie Chapman, who was found dead in the yard of the house 29, Hanbury- street, Whitechapel, her body dreadfully cut and mutilated, early on the morning of Saturday, the 8th inst. The following evidence was called:
Eliza Cooper: I
am a hawker, and lodge in Dorset-street, Spitalfields. Have done
so for the last five months. I knew the deceased, and had a
quarrel with her on the Tuesday before she was murdered. The
quarrel arose in this way: On the previous Saturday she brought
Mr. Stanley into the house where I lodged in Dorset-street, and
coming into the kitchen asked the people to give her some soap.
They told her to ask "Liza" - meaning me. She came to
me, and I opened the locker and gave her some. She gave it to
Stanley, who went outside and washed himself in the lavatory.
When she came back I asked for the soap, but she did not return
it. She said, "I will see you by and bye." Mr. Stanley
gave her two shillings, and paid for her bed for two nights. I
saw no more of her that night. On the following Tuesday I saw her
in the kitchen of the lodging-house. I said, "Perhaps you
will return my soap." She threw a halfpenny on the table,
and said, "Go and get a halfpennyworth of soap." We got
quarrelling over this piece of soap, and we went out to the
Ringers Public-house and continued the quarrel. She slapped my
face, and said, "Think yourself lucky I don't do more."
I struck her in the left eye, I believe, and then in the chest. I
afterwards saw that the blow I gave her had marked her face.
[Coroner] When was the last time you saw her alive? - On the Thursday night, in the Ringers.
[Coroner] Was she wearing rings? - Yes, she was wearing three rings on the middle finger of the left hand. They were all brass.
[Coroner] Had she ever a gold wedding ring to your knowledge? - No, not since I have known her. I have known her about fifteen months. I know she associated with Stanley, "Harry the Hawker," and several others.
The Foreman: Are there any of those with whom she associated missing? - I could not tell.
A Juryman: Was she on the same relations with them as she was with Stanley? - No, sir. She used to bring them casually into the lodging-house.
divisional surgeon of the metropolitan police, was then recalled.
The Coroner, before asking him to give evidence, said: Whatever may be your opinion and objections, it appears to me necessary that all the evidence that you ascertained from the post-mortem examination should be on the records of the Court for various reasons, which I need not enumerate. However painful it may be, it is necessary in the interests of justice.
Dr. Phillips: I have not had any notice of that. I should have been glad if notice had been given me, because I should have been better prepared to give the evidence; however, I will do my best.
The Coroner: Would you like to postpone it?
Dr. Phillips: Oh, no. I will do my best. I still think that it is a very great pity to make this evidence public. Of course, I bow to your decision; but there are matters which have come to light now which show the wisdom of the course pursued on the last occasion, and I cannot help reiterating my regret that you have come to a different conclusion. On the last occasion, just before I left the court, I mentioned to you that there were reasons why I thought the perpetrator of the act upon the woman's throat had caught hold of her chin. These reasons were that just below the lobe of the left ear were three scratches, and there was also a bruise on the right cheek. When I come to speak of the wounds on the lower part of the body I must again repeat my opinion that it is highly injudicious to make the results of my examination public. These details are fit only for yourself, sir, and the jury, but to make them public would simply be disgusting.
The Coroner: We are here in the interests of justice, and must have all the evidence before us. I see, however, that there are several ladies and boys in the room, and I think they might retire. (Two ladies and a number of newspaper messenger boys accordingly left the court.)
Dr. Phillips again raised an objection to the evidence, remarking: In giving these details to the public I believe you are thwarting the ends of justice.
The Coroner: We are bound to take all the evidence in the case, and whether it be made public or not is a matter for the responsibility of the press.
The Foreman: We are of opinion that the evidence the doctor on the last occasion wished to keep back should be heard. (Several Jurymen: Hear, hear.)
The Coroner: I have carefully considered the matter and have never before heard of any evidence requested being kept back.
Dr. Phillips: I have not kept it back; I have only suggested whether it should be given or not.
The Coroner: We have delayed taking this evidence as long as possible, because you said the interests of justice might be served by keeping it back; but it is now a fortnight since this occurred, and I do not see why it should be kept back from the jury any longer.
Dr. Phillips: I am of opinion that what I am about to describe took place after death, so that it could not affect the cause of death, which you are inquiring into.
The Coroner: That is only your opinion, and might be repudiated by other medical opinion.
Dr. Phillips: Very well. I will give you the results of my post-mortem examination. Witness then detailed the terrible wounds which had been inflicted upon the woman, and described the parts of the body which the perpetrator of the murder had carried away with him. He added: I am of opinion that the length of the weapon with which the incisions were inflicted was at least five to six inches in length - probably more - and must have been very sharp. The manner in which they had been done indicated a certain amount of anatomical knowledge.
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. The whole inference seems to me that the operation was performed to enable the perpetrator to obtain possession of these parts of the body.
The Coroner: Have you anything further to add with reference to the stains on the wall?
Dr. Phillips: I have not been able to obtain any further traces of blood on the wall.
The Foreman: Is there anything to indicate that the crime in the case of the woman Nicholls was perpetrated with the same object as this?
The Coroner: There is a difference in this respect, at all events, that the medical expert is of opinion that, in the case of Nicholls, the mutilations were made first.
The Foreman: Was any photograph of the eyes of the deceased taken, in case they should retain any impression of the murderer.
Dr. Phillips: I have no particular opinion upon that point myself. I was asked about it very early in the inquiry, and I gave my opinion that the operation would be useless, especially in this case. The use of a blood-hound was also suggested. It may be my ignorance, but the blood around was that of the murdered woman, and it would be more likely to be traced than the murderer. These questions were submitted to me by the police very early. I think within twenty- four hours of the murder of the woman.
The Coroner: Were the injuries to the face and neck such as might have produced insensibility?
The witness: Yes; they were consistent with partial suffocation.
Mrs. Elizabeth Long
said: I live in Church-row, Whitechapel, and my husband, James
Long, is a cart minder. On Saturday, Sept. 8, about half past
five o'clock in the morning, I was passing down Hanbury-street,
from home, on my way to Spitalfields Market. I knew the time,
because I heard the brewer's clock strike half-past five just
before I got to the street. I passed 29, Hanbury-street. On the
right-hand side, the same side as the house, I saw a man and a
woman standing on the pavement talking. The man's back was turned
towards Brick-lane, and the woman's was towards the market. They
were standing only a few yards nearer Brick-lane from 29,
Hanbury-street. I saw the woman's face. Have seen the deceased in
the mortuary, and I am sure the woman that I saw in
Hanbury-street was the deceased. I did not see the man's face,
but I noticed that he was dark. He was wearing a brown
low-crowned felt hat. I think he had on a dark coat, though I am
not certain. By the look of him he seemed to me a man over forty
years of age. He appeared to me to be a little taller than the
[Coroner] Did he look like a working man, or what? - He looked like a foreigner.
[Coroner] Did he look like a dock labourer, or a workman, or what? - I should say he looked like what I should call shabby-genteel.
[Coroner] Were they talking loudly? - They were talking pretty loudly. I overheard him say to her "Will you?" and she replied, "Yes." That is all I heard, and I heard this as I passed. I left them standing there, and I did not look back, so I cannot say where they went to.
[Coroner] Did they appear to be sober? - I saw nothing to indicate that either of them was the worse for drink.
Was it not an unusual thing to see a man and a woman standing there talking? - Oh no. I see lots of them standing there in the morning.
[Coroner] At that hour of the day? - Yes; that is why I did not take much notice of them.
[Coroner] You are certain about the time? - Quite.
[Coroner] What time did you leave home? - I got out about five o'clock, and I reached the Spitalfields Market a few minutes after half-past five.
The Foreman of the jury: What brewer's clock did you hear strike half-past five? - The brewer's in Brick-lane.
Osborn-place, Osborn-street, Spitalfields, deposed: I am a
The Coroner: Are you known by the name of the Pensioner? - Yes.
[Coroner] Did you know the deceased? - I did.
[Coroner] And you sometimes visited her? - Yes.
[Coroner] At 35, Dorset-street? - About once there, or twice, something like that. Other times I have met her elsewhere.
[Coroner] When did you last see her alive? - On Sunday, Sept. 2, between one and three o'clock in the afternoon.
[Coroner] Was she wearing rings when you saw her? - Yes, I believe two. I could not say on which finger, but they were on one of her fingers.
[Coroner] What sort of rings were they - what was the metal? - Brass, I should think by the look of them.
[Coroner] Do you know any one she was on bad terms with? - No one, so far as I know. The last time I saw her she had some bruises on her face - a slight black eye, which some other woman had given her. I did not take much notice of it. She told me something about having had a quarrel. It is possible that I may have seen deceased after Sept. 2, as I was doing nothing all that week. If I did see her I only casually met her, and we might have had a glass of beer together. My memory is rather confused about it.
The Coroner: The deputy of the lodging-house said he was told not to let the bed to the deceased with any other man but you? - It was not from me he received those orders. I have seen it described that the man used to come on the Saturday night, and remain until the Monday morning. I have never done so.
The Foreman: You were supposed to be the pensioner.
The Coroner: It must be some other man?
Witness: I cannot say; I am only speaking for myself.
[Coroner] Are you a pensioner? - Can I object to answer that question, sir? It does not touch on anything here.
Coroner: It was said the man was with her on one occasion when going to receive his pension?
Witness: Then it could not have been me. It has been stated all over Europe that it was me, but it was not.
The Coroner: It will affect your financial position all over Europe when it is known that you are not a pensioner? - It will affect my financial position in this way, sir, in that I am a loser by having to come here for nothing, and may get discharged for not being at my work.
[Coroner] Were you ever in the Royal Sussex Regiment? - Never, sir. I am a law-abiding man, sir, and interfere with no person who does not interfere with me.
The Coroner: Call the deputy.
deputy of the lodging-house, who gave evidence on a previous
occasion, was then recalled.
The Coroner: Did ever you see that man (pointing to Stanley) before? - Yes.
[Coroner] Is he the man you call "the pensioner"? - Yes.
[Coroner] Was it he who used to come with the deceased on Saturday and stay till Monday? - Yes.
[Coroner] Was it he who told you not to let the bed to the deceased with any other man? - Yes; on the second Saturday he told me.
[Coroner] How many times have you seen him there? - I should think five or six Saturdays.
[Coroner] When was he last there? - On the Saturday before the woman's death. He stayed until Monday. He paid for one night, and the woman afterwards came down and paid for the other.
The Coroner: What have you got to say to that, Mr. Stanley?
Stanley: You can cross it all out, sir.
[Coroner] Cross your evidence out, you mean? - Oh, no; not mine, but his. It is all wrong. I went to Gosport on Aug. 6 and remained there until Sept. 1.
The Coroner: Probably the deputy has made a mistake.
A Juror (to Stanley): Had you known deceased at Windsor at all? - No; she told me she knew some one about Windsor, and that she once lived there.
[Juror?]You did not know her there? - No; I have only known her about two years. I have never been to Windsor.
[Juror?] Did you call at Dorset-street on Saturday, the 8th, after the murder? - Yes; I was told by a shoeblack it was she who was murdered, and I went to the lodging- house to ask if it was the fact. I was surprised, and went away.
[Juror?] Did you not give any information to the police that you knew her? You might have volunteered evidence, you know? - I did volunteer evidence. I went voluntarily to Commercial-street Police-station, and told them what I knew.
The Coroner: They did not tell you that the police wanted you? - Not on the 8th, but afterwards. They told me the police wanted to see me after I had been to the police.
Albert Cadosch [Cadoche] deposed: I live at 27,
Hanbury-street, and am a carpenter. 27 is next door to 29,
Hanbury-street. On Saturday, Sept. 8, 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. 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
The Coroner: Did you look to see what it was? - No.
[Coroner] Had you heard any noise while you were at the end of your yard? - No.
[Coroner] Any rustling of clothes? - No. I then went into the house, and from there into the street to go to my work. It was about two minutes after half-past five as I passed Spitalfields Church.
[Coroner] Do you ever hear people in these yards? - Now and then, but not often.
By a Juryman: I informed the police the same night after I returned from my work.
The Foreman: What height are the palings? - About 5 ft. 6 in. to 6 ft. high.
[Coroner] And you had not the curiosity to look over? - No, I had not.
[Coroner] It is not usual to hear thumps against the palings? - They are packing-case makers, and now and then there is a great case goes up against the palings. I was thinking about my work, and not that there was anything the matter, otherwise most likely I would have been curious enough to look over.
The Foreman of the Jury: It's a pity you did not.
By the Coroner. - I did not see any man and woman in the street when I went out.
35, Dorset-street, stated: I am a painter. I knew the deceased. I
last saw her alive at twenty minutes past twelve on the morning
of Saturday, Sept. 8. She was in the kitchen. She was not the
worse for drink.
[Coroner] Had she got any rings on her fingers? - Yes.
[Witness was] Shown a piece of an envelope, witness said he believed it was the same as she picked up near the fireplace. Did not notice a crest, but it was about that size, and it had a red postmark on it. She left the kitchen, and witness thought she was going to bed. Never saw her again. Did not know any one that she was on bad terms with. This was all the evidence obtainable.
A Juryman: Is there any chance of
a reward being offered by the Home Secretary?
The Foreman: There is already a reward of £100 offered by Mr. Samuel Montagu, M.P. There is a committee getting up subscriptions, and they expect to get about £200. The coroner has already said that the Government are not prepared to offer a reward.
A Juror: There is more dignity about a Government reward, and I think one ought to be offered.
The Foreman of the Jury: There are several ideas of rewards, and it is supposed that about £300 will be got up. It will all be done by private individuals.
The Coroner: As far as we know, the case is complete.
The Foreman of the Jury: It seems to be a case of murder against some person or persons unknown.
It was then agreed to adjourn the inquiry until next Wednesday before deciding upon the terms of the verdict.
5, Wednesday, September
(The Daily Telegraph, Thursday, September 27, 1888, Page 2)
Yesterday [26 Sep] afternoon Mr. Wynne Baxter, coroner for East Middlesex, concluded his inquiry, at the Whitechapel Working Lads' Institute, relative to the death of Mrs. Annie Chapman, whose body was found dreadfully cut and mutilated in the yard of 29, Hanbury-street, Whitechapel, early on the morning of Saturday, the 8th inst.
The Coroner inquired if there was
any further evidence to be adduced.
Inspector Chandler replied in the negative.
The Coroner then addressed the jury. He said: I congratulate you that your labours are now nearly completed. Although up to the present they have not resulted in the detection of any criminal, I have no doubt that if the perpetrator of this foul murder is eventually discovered, our efforts will not have been useless. The evidence is now on the records of this court, and could be used even if the witnesses were not forthcoming; while the publicity given has already elicited further information, which I shall presently have to mention, and which, I hope I am not sanguine in believing, may perhaps be of the utmost importance. We shall do well to recall the important facts. The deceased was a widow, forty-seven years of age, named Annie Chapman. Her husband was a coachman living at Windsor. For three or four years before his death she had lived apart from her husband, who allowed her 10s a week until his death at Christmas, 1886. Evidently she had lived an immoral life for some time, and her habits and surroundings had become worse since her means had failed. Her relations were no longer visited by her, and her brother had not seen her for five months, when she borrowed a small sum from him. She lived principally in the common lodging houses in the neighbourhood of Spitalfields, where such as she herd like cattle, and she showed signs of great deprivation, as if she had been badly fed. The glimpses of life in these dens which the evidence in this case discloses is sufficient to make us feel that there is much in the nineteenth century civilisation of which we have small reason to be proud; but you who are constantly called together to hear the sad tale of starvation, or semi-starvation, of misery, immorality, and wickedness which some of the occupants of the 5,000 beds in this district have every week to relate to coroner's inquests, do not require to be reminded of what life in a Spitalfields lodging-house means. It was in one of these that the older bruises found on the temple and in front of the chest of the deceased were received, in a trumpery quarrel, a week before her death. It was in one of these that she was seen a few hours before her mangled remains were discovered. On the afternoon and evening of Friday, Sept. 7, she divided her time partly in such a place at 35, Dorset- street, and partly in the Ringers public-house, where she spent whatever money she had; so that between one and two on the morning of Saturday, when the money for her bed is demanded, she is obliged to admit that she is without means, and at once turns out into the street to find it. She leaves there at 1.45 a.m., is seen off the premises by the night watchman, and is observed to turn down Little Paternoster-row into Brushfield-street, and not in the more direct route to Hanbury-street. On her wedding finger she was wearing two or three rings, which appear to have been palpably of base metal, as the witnesses are all clear about their material and value. We now lose sight of her for about four hours, but at half-past five, Mrs. Long is in Hanbury-street on her way from home in Church- street, Whitechapel, to Spitalfields Market. She walked on the northern side of the road going westward, and remembers having seen a man and woman standing a few yards from the place where the deceased is afterwards found. And, although she did not know Annie Chapman, she is positive that that woman was deceased. The two were talking loudly, but not sufficiently so to arouse her suspicions that there was anything wrong. Such words as she overheard were not calculated to do so. The laconic inquiry of the man, "Will you?" and the simple assent of the woman, viewed in the light of subsequent events, can be easily translated and explained. Mrs. Long passed on her way, and neither saw nor heard anything more of her, and this is the last time she is known to have been alive. There is some conflict in the evidence about the time at which the deceased was despatched. It is not unusual to find inaccuracy in such details, but this variation is not very great or very important. She was found dead about six o'clock. She was not in the yard when Richardson was there at 4.50 a.m. She was talking outside the house at half-past five when Mrs. Long passed them. Cadosh says it was about 5.20 when he was in the backyard of the adjoining house, and heard a voice say "No," and three or four minutes afterwards a fall against the fence; but if he is out of his reckoning but a quarter of an hour, the discrepancy in the evidence of fact vanishes, and he may be mistaken, for he admits that he did not get up till a quarter past five, and that it was after the half-hour when he passed Spitalfields clock. It is true that Dr. Phillips thinks that when he saw the body at 6.30 the deceased had been dead at least two hours, but he admits that the coldness of the morning and the great loss of blood may affect his opinion; and if the evidence of the other witnesses be correct, Dr. Phillips has miscalculated the effect of those forces. But many minutes after Mrs. Long passed the man and woman cannot have elapsed before the deceased became a mutilated corpse in the yard of 29, Hanbury-street, close by where she was last seen by any witness. This place is a fair sample of a large number of houses in the neighbourhood. It was built, like hundreds of others, for the Spitalfields weavers, and when hand-looms were driven out by steam and power, these were converted into dwellings for the poor. Its size is about such as a superior artisan would occupy in the country, but its condition is such as would to a certainty leave it without a tenant. In this place seventeen persons were living, from a woman and her son sleeping in a cat's-meat shop on the ground floor to Davis and his wife and their three grown-up sons, all sleeping together in an attic. The street door and the yard door were never locked, and the passage and yard appear to have been constantly used by people who had no legitimate business there. There is little doubt that the deceased knew the place, for it was only 300 or 400 yards from where she lodged. If so, it is quite unnecessary to assume that her companion had any knowledge - in fact, it is easier to believe that he was ignorant both of the nest of living beings by whom he was surrounded, and of their occupations and habits. Some were on the move late at night, some were up long before the sun. A carman, named Thompson, left the house for his work as early as 3.50 a.m.; an hour later John Richardson was paying the house a visit of inspection; shortly after 5.15 Cadosh, who lived in the next house, was in the adjoining yard twice. Davis, the carman, who occupied the third floor front, heard the church clock strike a quarter to six, got up, had a cup of tea, and went into the back yard, and was horrified to find the mangled body of deceased. It was then a little after six a.m. - a very little, for at ten minutes past the hour Inspector Chandler had been informed of the discovery while on duty in Commercial-street. There is nothing to suggest that the deceased was not fully conscious of what she was doing. It is true that she had passed through some stages of intoxication, for although she appeared perfectly sober to her friend who met her in Dorset-street at five o'clock the previous evening, she had been drinking afterwards; and when she left the lodging-house shortly before two o'clock the night watchman noticed that she was the worse for drink, but not badly so, while the deputy asserts that, though she had evidently been drinking, she could walk straight, and it was probably only malt liquor that she had taken, and its effects would pass off quicker than if she had taken spirits. Consequently it is not surprising to find that Mrs. Long saw nothing to make her think that the deceased was the worse for drink. Moreover, it is unlikely that she could have had the opportunity of getting intoxicants. Again the post-mortem examination shows that while the stomach contained a meal of food there was no sign of fluid and no appearance of her having taken alcohol, and Dr. Phillips is convinced that she had not taken any alcohol for some time. The deceased, therefore, entered the yard in full possession of her faculties; although with a very different object from her companion. From the evidence which the condition of the yard affords and the medical examination discloses, it appears that after the two had passed through the passage and opened the swing-door at the end, they descended the three steps into the yard. On their left hand side there was a recess between those steps and the palings. Here a few feet from the house and a less distance from the paling they must have stood. The wretch must have then seized the deceased, perhaps with Judas-like approaches. He seized her by the chin. He pressed her throat, and while thus preventing the slightest cry, he at the same time produced insensibility and suffocation. There is no evidence of any struggle. The clothes are not torn. Even in these preliminaries, the wretch seems to have known how to carry out efficiently his nefarious work. The deceased was then lowered to the ground, and laid on her back; and although in doing so she may have fallen slightly against the fence, this movement was probably effected with care. Her throat was then cut in two places with savage determination, and the injuries to the abdomen commenced. All was done with cool impudence and reckless daring; but, perhaps, nothing is more noticeable than the emptying of her pockets, and the arrangement of their contents with business-like precision in order near her feet. The murder seems, like the Buck's-row case, to have been carried out without any cry. Sixteen people were in the house. The partitions of the different rooms are of wood. Davis was not asleep after three a.m., except for three-quarters of an hour, or less, between five and 5.45. Mrs. Richardson only dosed after three a.m., and heard no noise during the night. Mrs. Hardman, who occupies the front ground-floor room, did not awake until the noise succeeding the finding of the body had commenced, and none of the occupants of the houses by which the yard is surrounded heard anything suspicious. The brute who committed the offence did not even take the trouble to cover up his ghastly work, but left the body exposed to the view of the first comer. This accords but little with the trouble taken with the rings, and suggests either that he had at length been disturbed, or that as the daylight broke a sudden fear suggested the danger of detection that he was running. There are two things missing. Her rings had been wrenched from her fingers and have not been found, and the uterus has been removed. The body has not been dissected, but the injuries have been made by some one who had considerable anatomical skill and knowledge. There are no meaningless cuts. It was done by one who knew where to find what he wanted, what difficulties he would have to contend against, and how he should use his knife, so as to abstract the organ without injury to it. No unskilled person could have known where to find it, or have recognised it when it was found. For instance, no mere slaughterer of animals could have carried out these operations. It must have been some one accustomed to the post-mortem room. The conclusion that the desire was to possess the missing part seems overwhelming. If the object were robbery, these injuries were meaningless, for death had previously resulted from the loss of blood at the neck. Moreover, when we find an easily accomplished theft of some paltry brass rings and such an operation, after, at least, a quarter of an hour's work, and by a skilled person, we are driven to the deduction that the mutilation was the object, and the theft of the rings was only a thin-veiled blind, an attempt to prevent the real intention being discovered. Had not the medical examination been of a thorough and searching character, it might easily have been left unnoticed. The difficulty in believing that this was the real purport of the murderer is natural. It is abhorrent to our feelings to conclude that a life should be taken for so slight an object; but, when rightly considered, the reasons for most murders are altogether out of proportion to the guilt. It has been suggested that the criminal is a lunatic with morbid feelings. This may or may not be the case; but the object of the murderer appears palpably shown by the facts, and it is not necessary to assume lunacy, for it is clear that there is a market for the object of the murder. To show you this, I must mention a fact which at the same time proves the assistance which publicity and the newspaper press afford in the detection of crime. Within a few hours of the issue of the morning papers containing a report of the medical evidence given at the last sitting of the Court, I received a communication from an officer of one of our great medical schools, that they had information which might or might not have a distinct bearing on our inquiry. I attended at the first opportunity, and was told by the sub-curator of the Pathological Museum that some months ago an American had called on him, and asked him to procure a number of specimens of the organ that was missing in the deceased. He stated his willingness to give 20 for each, and explained that his object was to issue an actual specimen with each copy of a publication on which he was then engaged. Although he was told that his wish was impossible to be complied with, he still urged his request. He desired them preserved, not in spirits of wine, the usual medium, but in glycerine, in order to preserve them in a flaccid condition, and he wished them sent to America direct. It is known that this request was repeated to another institution of a similar character. Now, is it not possible that the knowledge of this demand may have incited some abandoned wretch to possess himself of a specimen. It seems beyond belief that such inhuman wickedness could enter into the mind of any man, but unfortunately our criminal annals prove that every crime is possible. I need hardly say that I at once communicated my information to the Detective Department at Scotland- yard. Of course I do not know what use has been made of it, but I believe that publicity may possibly further elucidate this fact, and, therefore, I have not withheld from you my knowledge. By means of the press some further explanation may be forthcoming from America if not from here. I have endeavoured to suggest to you the object with which this offence was committed, and the class of person who must have perpetrated it. The greatest deterrent from crime is the conviction that detection and punishment will follow with rapidity and certainty, and it may be that the impunity with which Mary Ann Smith and Anne Tabram were murdered suggested the possibility of such horrid crimes as those which you and another jury have been recently considering. It is, therefore, a great misfortune that nearly three weeks have elapsed without the chief actor in this awful tragedy having been discovered. Surely, it is not too much even yet to hope that the ingenuity of our detective force will succeed in unearthing this monster. It is not as if there were no clue to the character of the criminal or the cause of his crime. His object is clearly divulged. His anatomical skill carries him out of the category of a common criminal, for his knowledge could only have been obtained by assisting at post-mortems, or by frequenting the post-mortem room. Thus the class in which search must be made, although a large one, is limited. Moreover it must have been a man who was from home, if not all night, at least during the early hours of Sept. 8. His hands were undoubtedly blood-stained, for he did not stop to use the tap in the yard as the pan of clean water under it shows. If the theory of lunacy be correct - which I very much doubt - the class is still further limited; while, if Mrs. Long's memory does not fail, and the assumption be correct that the man who was talking to the deceased at half-past five was the culprit, he is even more clearly defined. In addition to his former description, we should know that he was a foreigner of dark complexion, over forty years of age, a little taller than the deceased, of shabby-genteel appearance, with a brown dear-stalker hat on his head, and a dark coat on his back. If your views accord with mine, you will be of opinion that we are confronted with a murder of no ordinary character, committed not from jealousy, revenge, or robbery, but from motives less adequate than the many which still disgrace our civilisation, mar our progress, and blot the pages of our Christianity. I cannot conclude my remarks without thanking you for the attention you have given to the case, and the assistance you have rendered me in our efforts to elucidate the truth of this horrible tragedy. The Foreman: We can only find one verdict - that of wilful murder against some person or persons unknown. We were about to add a rider with respect to the condition of the mortuary, but that having been done by a previous jury it is unnecessary.
A verdict of wilful murder against a person or persons unknown was then entered.We thank Alex Chisholm and Casebook Productions for allowing us to use their transcriptions of the inquests.