East London Advertiser
Saturday, 28 February 1891.
On Friday at the Working Lads' Institute, Whitechapel, Mr. Wynne E. Baxter resumed the hearing of the adjourned inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of Frances Cole, who was found with her throat cut, under an archway in Swallow-gardens, Whitechapel, early on the morning of the 13th inst. Mr. Charles Mathews again appeared for the Director of Public Prosecutions; and Mr. H. H. Lawless, instructed by the Sailors' and Firemen's Union, of which Sadler is a member, represented the accused. Superintendent Arnold and Inspector Flanagan, Criminal Investigation Department, watched the case for the police.
Sarah Fleming, deputy at the lodging-house, 8, White's-row, Spitalfields, said that she had been engaged in the capacity of the deputy there since July last year. During that period she had known the woman whose body she had seen in the mortuary to sleep at the lodging-house at intervals. The deceased was known as Frances. The witness saw her in the kitchen at about half-past 10 on the night of the 13th inst. Shortly after 11 a man whom she had since seen in custody came to the house and asked for Frances. His face was then very dirty, as though he had had a fall; but the witness did not notice any blood on him. He asked to be allowed to go in the kitchen, but the witness refused to allow him to go. While her back was turned, however, he slipped in, and the witness afterwards saw him sitting by the side of the deceased in the kitchen. Frances left the house a little after 12, and the witness never saw her alive after. She did not see Sadler leave the house; but about 3 in the morning he came into the office and asked to be allowed to go into the kitchen. The witness refused, and Sadler called her a very hard-hearted woman. He complained of having been robbed.
Police-constable William Bogan deposed that at about 1:15 a.m. on the 13th inst. he found Sadler lying in the main entrance-gate of the London Dock. The witness lifted him up, and then noticed that he had a slight abrasion over the left eye. Sadler said he wanted to go in to get aboard his vessel, the Fez. The witness told him that he was too drunk to be admitted, and requested him to go away. A few moments after a couple of men came out of the docks and offered to pay Sadler's night's lodging. He refused, saying, "I don't want your money, you dock rats." Some more words passed, and the witness had to threaten to lock him up. The witness moved the man two or three yards further away and then left him. It would then be about 1:30 a.m. Half-an-hour later he again saw the man on the pavement in front of the Mint. He was then in company with Sergeant Edwards, and complained of having been assaulted near the London Docks. He said that he had been kicked in the ribs, and was afraid they were broken. Police-constable 161 H came up while they were talking, and in company with Sergeant Edwards and the man proceeded in the direction of the Minories, leaving the witness alone. It would take four or five minutes for a man to walk from Swallow-gardens to the place where the witness met the sailor. When the witness saw the man the second time he had some fresh wounds. There was blood running down the right side of his face. It was quite possible the man might have been assaulted since the witness saw him at the dock gates.
John Dooley, a dock labourer, stated that about 1:15 on the morning of Friday, the 13th inst., he was in company with another dock labourer, named Harvey, outside the gates of the London Docks. A man, who appeared very drunk, wanted to go through the gate, but this the gatekeeper would not allow, and the policeman on duty there pushed him away. Harvey spoke to the man and advised him to go away, whereupon he abused Harvey and struck him. The witness went to his mate's assistance, when the man also struck him. It was not a violent blow. The witness told the man that if the policeman were not present he would "give him something." The policeman soon after went away. The witness noticed that there were some grazes on the man's face. After the constable had gone away, the witness struck the man with his fist on the left side, knocking him down. In falling he struck his head against the door of the gate. The witness and his mate then went away, returning to the lodging-house together. The witness remained up to make some tea, and about 10 minutes after the same man whom he had struck came and knocked at the door and entered the kitchen where the witness was. His head was then bleeding, and blood was running down his face. Mr. Peakall, the landlord of the house, was then in the kitchen, and the man asked him for a bed. Mr. Peakall told him to go to the hospital and get his head dressed first, and then he could have a bed.
George Peakall, landlord of the Melbourne Chambers, a common lodging-house in East Smithfield, stated that on the morning of the 13th inst., about a quarter to 2, a man came into the lobby and asked him whether he could have a bed. The witness told him that he could not, on account of the condition he was in. He had a cut over the right eye. The man said he had been knocked down and robbed, adding that he had no money. He was very drunk, and as he was leaving remarked, "You're a pretty lot of beauties."
Police-sergeant Wesley Edwards: deposed that at about 2 a.m. on the morning of the 13th inst., he was on duty at the Mint-pavement, when a man, whom he had since identified as Sadler, came up and complained that he had been assaulted by some men at the dock gates. He asked him how it occurred, and Sadler gave an account of the attack made upon him. The witness then went on to say that he walked with the man about 30 yards in the direction of the Minories, and was joined by Police-constable Hyde. They examined the man's ribs to see if they were broken, and the constable said that the ribs were not broken, but only bruised. The man then walked away, saying, "No, I don't think I'm so much hurt, after all." Altogether there was not more than 10 minutes between the time he met the man and the time he left him. The Tower clock struck 2 as Constable Hyde arrived. It would take a man from two to three minutes to walk from the spot where they parted, which was about 30 yards from the Mint-pavement to Swallow-gardens. The man walked away very sharply.
Police-constable Frederick Hyde stated that on the morning of the 13th inst., he was on duty in the vicinity of the Mint-pavement, when he saw Sergeant Edwards in company with a man whom he had since identified as Thomas Sadler. The Tower clock struck 2 as the witness got up to them. When Sadler left he proceeded in the direction of the Minories. It was two or three minutes past 2 when he left.
Solomon Gutteridge, employed by the Great Northern Railway, said he was positive that there was nobody in the roadway when he passed through the archway at about 2:12 a.m.
James Flanagan, an inspector of police, said he was called to Swallow-gardens at 2:30 a.m., and in the archway he found Dr. Oxley examining the dead body of a woman. On the removal of the body he made an examination of the archway. He found a piece of newspaper, and on opening it saw that it contained 2s.
Other witnesses were examined who testified to Sadler's movements after half-past 3 o'clock. The inquest was then adjourned.
The inquest resumed on Monday.
A waiter at a coffee-house in Whitechapel said that he served Sadler with some cocoa at half-past 6 on the morning of the murder. He was drunk, and complained that his ribs were broken.
A fish porter, named Haswell, said that he saw the deceased woman leave some refreshment rooms at a quarter to 2, and walk away in the direction of Brick-lane.
Duncan Campbell, a seaman, said that at Sadler's solicitation he bought from him a clasp knife with a metal handle at half-past 10 on the morning of the murder. When he heard of the murder he examined the knife, and could see no stains upon it. On rubbing it with his fingers in water the water was slightly coloured.
Edward Delaforce Gray, clerk at the Tower Hill shipping office, proved the presentation at half-past 10 in the morning of Sadler's wages certificate for £4 15s. 1d.
A statement made by Sadler to Inspector Swanson when he was brought to Leman-street Station was put in and read. It gave a detailed account of his doings and whereabouts from the time he was discharged from the Fez steamer on the 11th inst. Sadler also stated that after he had been knocked about at the dock gates, he went to the lodging-house, and found Cole there. When he was turned out of the house, leaving the woman behind, he believed he went towards the London Hospital. He denied having had a knife in his possession.
Other evidence having been taken, Mr. Oxley, the surgeon who was called to see the body on its discovery, expressed his opinion that the wound could not have been inflicted by a man who was incapably drunk, and that the knife purchased by Campbell could hardly have produced so large and clean a cut.
The inquiry was then adjourned.
On Tuesday afternoon Sadler was brought up on remand before Mr. Mead, at the Thames Police-court. Mr. Charles Mathews appeared to conduct the prosecution on behalf of the Treasury, and Mr. Lawless represented the prisoner. The prisoner did not appear in the same clothes as he wore last week, being dressed in a suit of brown cloth. He was perfectly self-possessed. When the case was called on, Mr. Mathews, addressing the magistrate, said: "I appear in this case on behalf of the Treasury, and I am going to ask you whether it will be convenient and right that the prisoner shall be further remanded on the evidence that is already before you. As you are aware, the case is at this moment under the investigation of a coroner's jury, and it is imagined that that inquiry will terminate in the course of Friday next. Whether, sir, under those circumstances it would be both convenient and right that the prisoner should be remanded for a week it is for you to determine; but in making this application that the prisoner should be remanded upon the evidence already before you, I am happy to be able to tell you that my learned friend, Mr. Lawless, to whom the interests of the prisoner are entrusted, joins with me in the desire that the case should stand over." Mr. Lawless agreeing to the desirability of a remand, Mr. Mead said, under these circumstances he would comply with the request, and grant a remand until that day week.
The Daily News places before its readers some important facts bearing upon the series of murders in Whitechapel which ended with the butchery of a woman in Pinchin-street on September 10th, 1889. Some 12 months previously, when only three or four of the tragedies had occurred, the attention of a gentleman engaged at the Customs House was attracted to the theory, held very generally at the time, that the perpetrator of the crimes was one of the crew of a vessel trading between London and some foreign port, and he resolved to see whether it would not be possible to submit the theory to practical test. He accordingly engaged in a series of laborious researches, which ultimately yielded a result to which great importance attaches. In the first place, this gentleman carefully scrutinised the shipping returns of the previous 10 months, with a view to see whether any particular vessel was in the London docks on each of the several dates of the Whitechapel murders, that is to say, during the Christmas week of 1887, and on August 7th, August 31st, and September 7th, of 1888. This initial research yielded a result which afforded a good groundwork for further investigation. A particular vessel of small tonnage, trading between London and a near Continental port, had been lying in one of the upper docks on the occasion of each of the murders. While the Customs official was in the midst of his investigation, other crimes took place, but they in no way served to disturb the calculations that were in hand, for the vessel to which attention had been directed was in a lower dock on each occasion. The next phase of the inquiry was concerned with the crew; and here, as will readily be imagined, considerable difficulty was experienced in making any headway. Ultimately, however, the situation underwent a change, and though at first it seemed that the theory on which the investigations were grounded must be abandoned as hopeless, further inquiry proved that the theory had only acquired additional strength. What had happened was this. A murder had occurred when the vessel in question was several days' journey from England; but the new weight that was subsequently given to these researches was derived, firstly, from the discovery that, at the time of the tragedy, a companion vessel to the one that was at sea - that is to say, a vessel engaged in the same trade, and hailing from the same port - was in one of our docks; and, secondly, from the discovery that one of her crew was a man who had formerly served on the other vessel. From that moment, of course, this particular man - who was not of English nationality - became the object of special inquiries on the part of the gentleman who was pursuing this line of search. He opened up communications with the responsible persons connected with the two vessels, and presently learnt this significant fact - that the sailor in question, although in the first place engaged by the commander in the ordinary way, had, on subsequent occasions, thrust himself forward as one of the crew on various pretexts, and had on the last voyage resorted to the tactics of a stowaway, having secreted himself in the hold and remained in hiding until the vessel had proceeded some miles on her voyage. The gentleman who had interested himself in this matter afterwards put himself into communication with the British representative at the port to which the vessels belonged, with the result that certain particulars as to the antecedents of the sailor were gleaned. Another murder having taken place under similar conditions, so far as the movements of the two vessels were concerned, the matter was brought to the notice of the Home Office, with the result that the authorities at Scotland-yard were instructed to take action. No arrest was, however, made, the man to whom special attention had been directed never returning, so far as could be ascertained, to the port of London. The opinion is entertained that, in some way or other, the intelligence was conveyed abroad that the police were watching the vessels coming from the particular port in question, and that the man was thus put upon his guard.
It will be understood, concludes the Daily News, that these facts are given for what they may be worth, without any inference being drawn from them. It may well be that they point to nothing more than a series of mere coincidences.
On Thursday, Dr. Macdonald, the coroner for North-East London, received information of the sudden death of Charles Guiver, aged 34 years. He died the previous night at No. 8, White's-row, Spitalfields, the common lodging-house where Frances Cole and Sadler were seen previous to the murder. The deceased was one of the principal witnesses at the inquest. Dr. Dukes, of Brick-lane, who was called after death, is unable to account for the same, and the coroner has ordered a post-mortem examination to be made.