26 September 1888
Charles Ludwig aged forty years, a German who was unable to speak the English language, and described himself as a hairdresser, of the Minories, was charged on remand with being drunk and disorderly, and intimidating Alexander Feinberg, a young man, living at Leman street, Whitechapel, by threatening to stab him with a knife at High street, Whitechapel. It will be remembered that about half past three o'clock in the morning the prisoner went up to a coffee stall in the Whitechapel road in a drunken condition, and threatened to stab Feinberg with a knife, and he took up a dish in self defence. He was given into custody, and it was stated last week, when he was brought before the magistrate, that he had threatened a woman the same morning with a knife in a narrow and dark alley running out of the Minories. The woman he had threatened, it was stated, was in the precincts of the court, but she was not at present called as a witness. Inspector Abberline asked for a further remand, as he had not sufficient time to institute inquiries. The inspector and the interpreter at the court were permitted admission to the prisoner's cell to put certain questions to him. No additional evidence was at present offered, and Mr. Saunders remanded the prisoner.
SUMMING UP AND VERDICT
IMPORTANT STATEMENT BY THE CORONER
The inquest into the most recent of the four mysterious murders of unfortunate women in Whitechapel was resumed and concluded yesterday at the Working Lads' Institute, Whitechapel road.
Inspector Chandler having stated that there was no new evidence, the Coroner (Mr. Wynne E. Baxter) summed up the case in the following terms:-
Gentlemen of the Jury, I congratulate you that your labours are now nearly completed. Although up to the present they have not resulted in the detection of the 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 given is now on the records of this court, and could be used even of 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 ten shillings a week until his death at Christmas, 1886. She had evidently lived an immoral life for some time, and her habits and surroundings had become worse since her means had failed. She no longer visited her relations, 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. She showed signs of great deprivation, as if she had been badly fed. The glimpses of life in those 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 to hear the sad tale of starvation, or semi starvation, of misery, immorality, and wickedness which some of the occupants of the 6,000 beds in this district have every week to relate at 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 on 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, the 7th of Sept., she divided her time partly in such a place as 35 Dorset street, and partly in "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 about 1.45 a.m. She 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 direction of 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. The words 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 not 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 dispatched. 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 back yard 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 in his reckoning but a quarter of an hour, the discrepancy in the evidence if 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 that 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 had miscalculated the effect of these forces. But many minutes after Mrs. Long passed down Hanbury street cannot have elapsed before the deceased became a mutilated corpse in the yard of No 29, close by here 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 but 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 in 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 the deceased. It was then a little after 6 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 house in full possession of her faculties; although with a very different object to her companion. From the evidence which the condition of the yard afford 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 then have 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 affected 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 with businesslike precision in order near her feet. the murder seems, like the Bucks'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 3 a.m., except for three quarters of an hour, or less, between 5 and 5.45. Mrs. Richardson only dozed after 3 a.m., and heard no noise during the night. Mrs. Hardiman, 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. The rings had been wrenched from her fingers and have not been found, and the uterus has been taken from the abdomen. 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. The organ has been taken by one who knew where to find it, what difficulties he would have to contend against, and how he should 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 abdominal organ seems overwhelming. If the object were robbery, the injuries to the viscera would be 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 an internal organ taken after, at least, a quarter of an hour's work, and taken by a skilled person, we are driven to the deduction that the abstraction of the missing portion of abdominal viscera was the object and the theft of the rings was only a thin veiled blind, an attempt to prevent the real intention being discovered. The amount missing would go into a breakfast cup; and had not the medical examination been of a thorough and searching character, it might easily have been left unnoticed that there was any portion of the body taken. The difficulty in believing that the purport of the murderer was the possession of the uterus 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 missing organ. 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 out 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 informed 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 a piece for each specimen. He stated that his object was to issue an actual specimen with each copy of a publication on which he was then engaged. He was told that his request was impossible to be complied with, but he still urged his request. He wished 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 possible further elucidate this fact, and therefore I have not withheld form you the information. By means of the Press some further explanation may be forthcoming from America, if not from here. Gentlemen, I have endeavoured to suggest to you the object with which this crime was committed, and the class of person who must have committed 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 (sic) and Anne (sic) Tabram were murdered suggested the possibility of such horrid crimes as those which you and another jury have recently been 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 knowledge carries him out of the category of a common criminal, for that 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 the 8th of September. His hands were undoubtedly bloodstained, 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 deerstalker 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 disgrace our civilisation, mar our progress, and blot the pages of our Christianity. I cannot conclude my remarks, gentlemen, 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 jury took only a few moments to consider their verdict, which they did without leaving the room.
The Foreman - We can only find one verdict, and that is "wilful murder against some person or persons unknown." We were about to have added a rider regarding the mortuary accommodation, but that having been done by the jury in the Buck's row case we will allow the matter to stand as it is. We have one request to make. Having sat here for five days, the majority of the jury wish to be exempted from attending any other inquests for at least two years.
The Coroner - We will endeavour to meet your wishes; but if there is any other important case - though I hope there won't be - I am sure you won't object to serving. The number of constant residents in Whitechapel is very limited and the rules is that each shall serve if necessary once in three months.