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East London Observer
Saturday, 18 August 1888.

The Body is identified.
But Where is the Murderer?

The identity of the woman who was found so cruelly murdered and outraged at 37, George-yard buildings, on the morning after Bank Holiday has at least been decided, and henceforth the murdered woman will be known as Martha Turner. It cannot, however, be said with any degree of certainty that that was her correct name: it was simply the name by which she was known among her equally unfortunate associates on the streets - because, unhappily, one result of the inquiries made has been to connect the deceased with that class of women whom poverty or misfortune have driven to seeking a living upon the streets of London. The woman who identified the poor unfortunate was Connolly, otherwise known as "Pearly Poll," a tall, masculine looking woman, who had been hunted up by Inspector Reid, of the Criminal Investigation Department, who has the case in hand. But beyond identifying the body, "Poll" gave another piece of information, which seemed at the time likely to prove immediately useful. She stated that on the night preceding the murder, she was in company with the deceased in the Whitechapel-road, when they were accosted by two soldiers, who invited them to drink at a neighbouring public-house. The invitation was accepted, and the women and soldiers stood drinking there till late in the night, when something was said in the hearing of Connolly about the deceased accompanying one of them to George-yard. The whole party then left the house, but as to the after movements of the deceased, "Pearly Poll" professed complete ignorance. As bearing on this incident, the statement of Police-constable Barrett, 226 H, who, it will be remembered, gave evidence at the inquest as to being called to George-yard and finding the body, is important. That officer was on duty in the neighbourhood of George-yard at about two o'clock on the morning of the tragedy, and he noticed a soldier loitering. Barrett remarked that it was quite time he was in barracks, and the soldier replied that he was waiting for a comrade who had accompanied a woman to one of the buildings close at hand. At a parade of soldiers which took place at the Tower on Monday, Barrett identified the man whom he had accosted as described, but the soldier refused to give any account of himself. This information was considered by Inspector Reid to be sufficient to warrant him in taking Connolly to the Tower in order to endeavour to identify the soldiers with whom she and the deceased had been drinking, two of whom had been placed under temporary arrest on suspicion. Inspector Reid, accompanied by "Pearly Poll", proceeded to the Tower on Monday afternoon, where she was confronted with every non-commissioned officer and private who had leave of absence at the time of the outrage. They were paraded at the back of the Tower, unseen by the public - of whom on Monday there was a large number frequenting the historic structure - and "Pearly Poll" was asked, "Can you see either of the men you saw with the woman now dead?" "Pearly Poll," in no way embarrassed, placed her arms akimbo, glanced at the men with the air of an inspecting officer, and shook her head. This indication of a negative was not sufficient. "Can you identify anyone?" she was asked. "Pearly Poll" explained, with a good deal of feminine emphasis, "He ain't here." The woman was very decided on this point, and the men were then dismissed, while the two men upon whom a faint share of suspicion had rested were considerably relieved at their innocence being declared. As soon as the murder was known the suspected corporal was interviewed by the police and questioned. He had his bayonet with him when on leave at the time of the outrage, but this he at once produced, and no trace of blood was discovered upon it. His clothing, too, was also examined, and upon it there was no incriminating blood-stain. After the parade, Adjutant A. W. Cotton, the officer in command, stated that all the men were now entirely exonerated; indeed the men themselves were most anxious to afford every facility to the police, and gave all the information in their power to assist the officers of justice in their investigation. There is one fact noted by Inspector Reid which seems to prove that the murderer was a military man, and that is the wound on the breast bone of the woman. It will be recollected that at the inquest, when asked his opinion as to the instrument with which the wounds were inflicted, Dr. Keeling [Killeen] replied that they were undoubtedly committed with an ordinary pocket-knife - all except the wound on the breast bone. As to the instrument with which that had been caused he could not say with any degree of certainty, but of this he was sure that it must have been an heavy, dagger-pointed instrument, since an ordinary knife-blade would have been broken by contact with the bone. There have been many visitors to George-yard-buildings since the murder with the rather morbid purpose of seeing the place where the deceased was discovered. Here there is still a large surface of the stone flags crimson-stained. It is at the spot where the blood oozed from the poor creature's heart. The police authorities regard as little short of marvellous the fact that no dweller in this model block heard any disturbance. Mr. Francis Hewitt, the superintendent of the dwellings, who with his wife occupied a sleeping apartment at nearly right angles with the place where the dead body laid, procured a foot-rule, and measured the distance of his sleeping apartment from the stone step in question; it was exactly 12 ft. "And we never heard a cry," remarked Mr. Hewitt. Mrs. Hewitt remarked that early in the evening she did hear a single cry of "Murder." It echoed through the building, but did not emanate from there. "But," explained Mr. and Mrs. Hewitt in a breath, "the district round here is rather rough, and cries of 'Murder' are of frequent, if not nightly, occurrence in the district." From an interview with Connolly, it appeared that Martha Turner had lived apart from her husband for some years, and latterly had attempted to get her living by hawking.

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       Press Reports: Echo - 23 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Echo - 7 August 1888 
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       Press Reports: Evening News - 10 August 1888 
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       Press Reports: Evening News - 14 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 15 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 24 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 7 August 1888 
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       Press Reports: Evening Standard - 10 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening Standard - 24 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening Standard - 8 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Manchester Guardian - 11 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 10 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 15 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 16 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 24 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 8 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Pall Mall Gazette - 24 August 1888 
       Press Reports: People - 12 August 1888 
       Press Reports: People - 19 August 1888 
       Press Reports: People - 26 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Star - 24 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Star - 31 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Star - 7 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Star - 8 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 10 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 24 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Weekly Herald - 17 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Woodford Times - 10 August 1888 
       Victims: Martha Tabram 
       Victorian London: George Yard 
       Witnesses: Mary and William Bousfield 
       Witnesses: P.C. Thomas Barrett 
  Pearly Poll
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       Press Reports: Echo - 20 September 1888