TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 1888
THE BUCK'S-ROW TRAGEDY
Yesterday, at the Working Lads' Institute, Whitechapel-road, Mr. Wynne Baxter, coroner for the North-Eastern District of Middlesex, resumed his inquiry relative to the death of Mary Ann Nicholls, the victim of the Buck's-row tragedy, on Friday morning, Aug. 31.
Dr. Llewellyn, recalled, said he had re-examined the body and there was no part of the viscera missing.
Emma Green, who lives in the cottage next to the scene of the murder in Buck's-row, stated that she had heard no unusual sound during the night.
By the Jury: Rough people often passed through the street, but she knew of no disorderly house in Buck's-row, all the houses being occupied by hardworking folk.
Thomas Ede, a signalman in the employ of the East London Railway Company, said he saw a man with a knife on the morning of the 8th.
The coroner was of opinion that this incident could have no reference to the present inquiry, as the 8th was the day of the Hanbury-street murder. He would, however, accept the evidence.
Witness then said: On Saturday, the 8th inst., at noon, I was coming down the Cambridge-heath-road, and when near the Forester's Arms I saw a man on the other side of the street. His peculiar appearance made me take notice of him. He seemed to have a wooden arm. I watched him until level with the Forester's Arms, and then he put his hand to his trouser's pocket, and I saw about four inches of a knife. I followed him, but he quickened his pace, and I lost sight of him.
Inspector Helson, in reply to the coroner, stated that the man had not been found.
Witness described the man as 5 ft. 8 in. high, about thirty-five years of age, with a dark moustache and whiskers. He wore a double-peaked cap, a short dark brown jacket, and a pair of clean white overalls over dark trousers. The man walked as though he had a stiff knee, and he had a fearful look about the eyes. He seemed to be a mechanic.
By the Jury: He was not a muscular man.
Walter Purkess, manager, residing at Essex Wharf, deposed that his house fronted Buck's-row, opposite the gates where deceased was discovered. He slept in the front room on the second floor and had heard no sound, neither had his wife.
Alfred Malshaw, a night watchman in Winthorpe-street, had also heard no cries or noise. He admitted that he sometimes dozed.
The Coroner: I suppose your watching is not up to much?
The Witness: I don't know. It is thirteen long hours for 3s and find your own coke. (Laughter.)
By the Jury: In a straight line I was about thirty yards from the spot where the deceased was found.
Police-constable John Thail stated that the nearest point on his beat to Buck's-row was Brady-street. He passed the end every thirty minutes on the Thursday night, and nothing attracted his attention until 3.45 a.m., when he was signalled by the flash of the lantern of another constable (Neale). He went to him, and found Neale standing by the body of the deceased, and witness was despatched for a doctor. About ten minutes after he had fetched the surgeon he saw two workmen standing with Neale. He did not know who they were. The body was taken to the mortuary, and witnessed remained on the spot. Witness searched Essex Wharf, the Great Eastern Railway arches, the East London Railway line, and the District Railway as far as Thames-street, and detected no marks of blood or anything of a suspicious character.
By the Jury: When I went to the horse-slaughterer's for my cape I did not say that I was going to fetch a doctor, as a murder had been committed. Another constable had taken my cape there.
By the Coroner: There were one or two working men going down Brady-street shortly before I was called by Neale.
Robert Baul, 30, Forster-street, Whitechapel, carman, said as he was going to work at Cobbett's-court, Spitalfields, he saw in Buck's-row a man standing in the middle of the road. As witness drew closer he walked towards the pavement, and he (Baul) stepped in the roadway to pass him. The man touched witness on the shoulder and asked him to look at the woman, who was lying across the gateway. He felt her hands and face, and they were cold. The clothes were disarranged, and he helped to pull them down. Before he did so he detected a slight movement as of breathing, but very faint. The man walked with him to Montague-street, and there they saw a policeman. Not more than four minutes had elapsed from the time he first saw the woman. Before he reached Buck's-row he had seen no one running away.
Robert Mann, the keeper of the mortuary, said the police came to the workhouse, of which he was an inmate. He went, in consequence, to the mortuary at five a.m. He saw the body placed there, and then locked the place up and kept the keys. After breakfast witness and Hatfield, another inmate of the workhouse, undressed the woman.
The police were not present? - No; there was no one present. Inspector Helson was not there.
Had you been told not to touch it? - No.
Did you see Inspector Helson? - I can't say.
Was he present? - I can't say.
I suppose you do not recollect whether the clothes were torn? - They were not torn or cut.
You cannot describe where the blood was? - No, sir; I cannot.
How did you get the clothes off? - Hatfield had to cut them down the front.
A Juryman: Was the body undressed in the mortuary or in the yard? - In the mortuary.
The Coroner: It appears the mortuary-keeper is subject to fits, and neither his memory nor statements are reliable.
James Hatfield, an inmate of the Whitechapel Workhouse, said he accompanied Mann, the last witness, to the mortuary, and undressed the deceased. Inspector Helson was not there.
Who was there? - Only me and my mate.
What did you take off first? - An ulster, which I put aside on the ground. We then took the jacket off, and put it in the same place. The outside dress was loose, and we did not cut it. The bands of the petticoats were cut, and I then tore them down with my hand. I tore the chemise down the front. There were no stays.
Who gave you instructions to do all this? - No one gave us any. We did it to have the body ready for the doctor.
Who told you a doctor was coming? - I heard someone speak about it.
Was any one present whilst you were undressing the body? - Not as I was aware of.
Having finished, did you make the post-mortem examination? - No, the police came.
Oh, it was not necessary for you to go on with it! The police came? - Yes, they examined the petticoats, and found the words "Lambeth Workhouse" on the bands.
It was cut out? - I cut it out.
Who told you to do it? - Inspector Helson.
Is that the first time you saw Inspector Helson on that morning? - Yes; I arrived at about half-past six.
Would you be surprised to find that there were stays? - No.
A juryman: Did not you try the stays on in the afternoon to show me how short they were. - I forgot it.
The Coroner: He admits that his memory is bad.
The Coroner: We cannot do more. (To the police): There was a man who passed down Buck's-row when the doctor was examining the body. Have you heard anything of him?
Inspector Abberline: We have not been able to find him.
Inspector Spratley, J Division, stated he had made inquiries in Buck's-row, but not at all of the houses.
The Coroner: Then that will have to be done.
Witness added that he made inquiries at Green's, the wharf, Snider's factory, and also at the Great Eastern wharf, and no one had heard anything unusual on the morning of the murder. He had not called at any of the houses in Buck's-row, excepting at Mrs. Green's. He had seen the Board School keeper.
The Coroner: Is there not a gentleman at the G.E. Railway? I thought we should have had him here.
Witness: I saw him that morning, but he said he had heard nothing.
The witness added that when at the mortuary he had given instructions that the body was not to be touched.
The Coroner: Is there any other evidence?
Inspector Helson: No, not at present.
The Foreman thought that, had a reward been offered by the Government after the murder in George-yard, very probably the two later murders would not have been perpetrated. It mattered little into whose hands the money went so long as they could find out the monster in their midst, who was terrorising everybody and making people ill. There were four horrible murders remaining undiscovered.
The Coroner considered that the first one was the worst, and it had attracted the least attention.
The Foreman intimated that he would be willing to give £25 himself, and he hoped that the Government would offer a reward. These poor people had souls like anybody else.
The Coroner understood that no rewards were now offered in any case. It mattered not whether the victims were rich or poor. There was no surety that a rich person would not be the next.
The Foreman: If that should be, then there will be a large reward.
Inspector Helson, in reply to the coroner, said rewards had been discontinued for years.
The inquiry was then adjourned until Saturday.
At Woolwich Police-court, yesterday, a labourer, named Edward Quinn, aged thirty-five, was placed in the dock, before Mr. Fenwick, charged nominally with being drunk at the police-station. - His face and hands were much bruised, and he was considerably blood-stained. The magistrate was about to dispose of the case briefly, when the prisoner remarked that he had a complaint to make. He said: On Saturday I was at a bar down by the Arsenal, at Woolwich, having a drink. I had stumbled over something in the street, just before, and had cut my face and knuckles, as you see, and I had bled a good lot. While at the bar a big, tall man came in and stood beside me and looked at me. He got me in tow, and gave me some beer and tobacco, and then he said, "I mean to charge you with the Whitechapel murders." I thought it was a joke, and laughed, but he said he was serious, and pointed to the blood about me. I said, "Nonsense! Is that all the clue you have got?" He then dropped the subject, and took me for a walk until we got to the police-station, where he charged me with the Whitechapel murders. - Mr. Fenwick: Were you not drunk? - Quinn: Certainly not, sir. - Mr. Fenwick: You will be remanded until to-morrow. - Quinn: This is rather rough. I am dragged a mile to the station and locked up, and I am to wait another day with all this suspicion of murder hanging over my head. - Mr. Fenwick: I will take your own bail in £5 for your reappearance. - Quinn: I object to the whole thing. Me murder a woman! I couldn't murder a cat. (Laughter.) - The prisoner was then released on his recognisances.
TO THE EDITOR OF "THE DAILY TELEGRAPH"
SIR - The terrible Whitechapel tragedies, with their lurid revelation of the condition of life amongst the East-end poor, emphasise the need of getting more amongst the massed population. We want, it is true, better police protection, and for this I would suggest the use of our idle military for many public police duties. This arrangement would allow of a much larger unmilitary police for patrol and inspection work, at no additional cost.
But the people themselves need to be got at, and got at in their own homes. The homes of the poor should be regularly and frequently visited by level-headed, trained Christian men and women, who, by counsel, sympathy, encouragement, temporal help judiciously administered, action in matters sanitary, and by other good and practical means, might largely purify the moral atmosphere, and keep the unfortunate in life's fray from running into excesses in their despair. This is a kind of work which several of us in East London are endeavouring to carry on, but we get scant sympathy and help from the affluent classes. Our funds are allowed to exhaust themselves, and the work, which sorely needs rapid development, is checked, if not arrested. I employ eight such men and women as those I have described, but with a practically empty exchequer I cannot take a single step forward, whatever may be the urgency. It is well for the peace of mind of many of the prosperous that they are ignorant of the real condition of the poor and also of the sentiments of many of the destitute. Next year Paris celebrates the centenary of her great revolution. My deep conviction is that the French are more than a hundred years ahead of us in revolutionary experience. It needs but for suitable leaders to be forthcoming, and the impoverished multitudes of London will rise as one man. Ten thousand may be driven out of this square or that, but when half-a-million people spring to their feet, there will be another kind of reckoning. Why not deal with the matter whilst there is time? Those of us who are doing our best in East London will most gladly give up our posts to any who can do the very trying work better; but whilst we stand in the breach let us not be forsaken. - Faithfully yours,
Harley-street Chapel, Bow.
16, Cottage-grove, Bow, London, E., Sept. 17.
CHURCH OF ENGLAND PURITY SOCIETY - The council of this society have determined to send to every clergyman in the United Kingdom and to about 6,000 laymen of influence a report of the committee on purity adopted by the Lambeth Conference of the Bishops of the Anglican Communion in July last. In this report the committee call upon all, whether of their own communion or not, to rally round the standard of a high and pure morality, and especially do they press upon those who have the cure of souls to ask themselves what they are doing, or can do, to protect their flocks from the deadly ravages of sin. Satisfied as to the gravity of the evil, and feeling that nothing short of general action on the part of all Christian people will avail to arrest it, the bishops have determined to confer with the clergy and laity of their several dioceses as to how best to bring about a general reformation of manners, especially to guard the sanctity of marriage, to purify art and literature, and to enforce or amend the laws framed to guard the innocent, punish the guilty, rescue the fallen, suppress the haunts of vice, and remove temptation from the thoroughfares.
Mr. Wynne Baxter yesterday resumed the inquest relative to the death of Mary Ann Nicholls, who was found murdered in Buck's-row, Whitechapel, on the 31st ult. The evidence did not throw any new light on the mysterious tragedy, and the inquiry was further adjourned till Saturday next.