East London Observer
Saturday, 8 September 1888.
Again does the East of London, to our regret, stand forth in unpleasant prominence by reason of the brutal crimes which have recently been committed. It is the reverse of encouraging to find that each unmitigated ferocity is in existence, in spite of the efforts that are made on all sides to improve the lower class of citizens; and such fearful blots on civilization's record prove that it is not necessary to go far to find human nature at its worst. The two murders which have so startled London within the last month are singular for the reason that the victims have been of the poorest of the poor, and no adequate motive in the shape of plunder can be traced. The excess of effort that has been apparent in each murder suggests the idea that both crimes are the work of a demented being, as the extraordinary violence used is the peculiar feature in each instance. The incidents are repulsive enough in themselves, but it has been the object of one of our contemporaries to do its best, or rather its worst, in the shape of exaggeration and distortion, and thus on horror's head fresh horrors to accumulate. This is to be deprecated; the facts in themselves are ghastly enough. The crimes are distinguished by wanton and unnecessary brutality, and were committed under conditions that would scarcely appear to admit of the escape of the murderer or murderers if police protection approached the standard to be desired. In neither of the instances in question has the murder been committed behind the screen of a closed door; in the George-yard case a semi-public stairway appears to have been the scene of the death struggle, and in the Buck's-row case the murder has been committed in the open street. That this should be possible suggests that police protection is inadequate, and it would be well for our local authorities to spend a little time in ascertaining whether we get what we pay for in this direction. From many matters that have come to our knowledge of late, we are forced to the conclusion that it is not due to the excellence of our police arrangements that the record of assaults and robberies is not far heavier than it is.
Never, since the murder of Harriet Lane, now several years ago, has such excitement existed in Whitechapel as has been the case since the terribly mutilated body of Mary Ann - more commonly known as "Polly" - Nicholls [Nichols] was found lying, in the early hours of Friday morning, outside the Essex Wharf in Buck's-row. The revolting character of the murder, and the terrible similarity which it bore to the cruel murder of Martha Tabram in George-yard only a short distance off, some three or four weeks before, and the apparently unfathomable mystery which surrounded both crimes, have resulted in the very general conclusion that both the crimes are the work of one man. Who that man can be, what could have been his object in murdering two absolutely defenceless women reduced to the lowest depths of degradation in order to get the merest pittance for food and shelter, and what may be his future movements, are all subjects that have been eagerly discussed all over the metropolis since the murder. Nor is it any exaggeration to say that the crowds of people which have daily assembled at the scene of the murder have been reduced to a condition almost of abject terror; they have talked almost in whispers, and a panic-stricken cry has gone up from the inhabitants and tradesmen in the neighbourhood of Buck's-row for more police protection.
In the meantime, the authorities have been trying everything in their power to fathom the mystery which surrounded the horribly mutilated woman. The first essential was of course,
which was opened on Saturday afternoon at the Working Lad's Institute, Whitechapel, where, only a week or two before, another jury had been endeavouring to fathom the mystery which surrounded the death of Martha Tabram. The coroner, however, on this occasion was Mr. Wynne Baxter, who, fresh from his Scandinavian tour, appeared at the inquest in a pair of black and white checked trousers, a dazzling white waistcoat, a crimson scarf and a dark coat. The library in which the inquest was held is a commodious one, but the very large attendance of jurymen - of whom Mr. Horey was made the foreman - police, reporters and interested parties generally, almost filled the room. So soon as the jury were sworn they proceeded under the direction of Mr. Banks, the coroner's officer, to view the body, which was lying in a black shell at the mortuary in Pavilion-yard. The spectacle which met the view of the jury on the lid of the shell being raised was sickening in the extreme, and the terrible abdominal and throat wounds appeared even more horrible than on the previous day by reason of the ghastly condition of the corpse which lay stretched out at full length with the hands by the side. On the return of the jury, the coroner took his seat at the head of a long table, and placed a roll of paper before him on which to enter the depositions, while Mr. Banks, in a business-like way, proceeded to call
an old, grey-headed, and grey-bearded man, who, with head lowered and hands behind his back, came slowly up to the table and gave the name of Edward Walker, his residence being at 16, Maidwood-street, Albany-road, Camberwell. He said that he was formerly a smith. To the best of his belief the body at the mortuary was that of his daughter, whom he had not seen for three years. He recognised it by the general appearance, the loss of some front teeth, and a small mark on the forehead, caused when the deceased was a child. She was 42 years old. About 22 years ago, she was married to a man named William Nicholls, who was still alive. He was a printer's machinist. He and the deceased had been living apart for seven or eight years. The witness last heard of his daughter last Easter, when she wrote him the following letter, from a house in Wandsworth in which she had just before obtained a position as domestic servant:
"I just write to say you will be glad to know that I am settled in my new place, and going on all right up to now. My people went out yesterday, and have not returned, so I am left in charge. It is a grand place inside, with trees and gardens back and front. All has been newly done up. They are teetotallers, and religious, so I ought to get on. They are very nice people, and I have not too much to do. I hope you are all right and the boy has work. So goodbye for the present. - From yours truly,
"Answer soon, please, and let me know how you are".
He replied to this letter, but had not heard from his daughter since. He last saw her alive two years ago, in June, 1886. She was apparently respectable then, but he did not speak to her. It was at a funeral. He was not friendly with her. She lived with him three or four years ago, and after a few words she left him. He did not know what she did afterwards. She was not particularly sober, and that was why they did not agree. He did not think that she was fast. He had no idea of such a thing. She did not stay out particularly late at night. The worst he had seen of her was her keeping company with females of a certain class. After she wrote to him from Wandsworth he sent a kind letter back to her, but he did not see or hear anything of her until he was called to view the body. He had kept her letter because it was his habit to keep letters. It was not the case that he turned her out of doors. She had no cause to be "like this". He had always had a home for her. She had separated from her husband because he "turned nasty" over another man. Her husband left her, and took another woman to live with. The deceased had had five children, of whom the eldest, a young man, was 21 years old, and the youngest, eight. The eldest was living with the witness, and the other four children with their father. He believed that three or four years ago the deceased lived with a man who kept a smith's shop in York-street, Walworth. He did not know that she had lived with any other man: but on one occasion the parish of Lambeth summoned her husband for her maintenance. His defence was that she was living with another man. She denied it, but the summons was dismissed. Until he heard of the murder he did not know that she had left the situation at Wandsworth. Just before taking it she was in Lambeth Workhouse. He knew of nothing likely to throw light on the inquiry. He was not aware that she had any enemies. She was always too good for that. Her only fault was being too good.
the police constable of the J Division of police who found the body - a tall, fresh-coloured man, with brown hair, and straw coloured moustache and imperial. He deposed that on Friday morning, at a quarter to four o'clock, he was going down Buck's-row, Whitechapel, from Thomas-street to Brady-street. Not a soul was about. He was round there about half an hour previously and met nobody then. The first thing he saw was a figure lying on the footpath. It was dark, but there was a street lamp on the opposite side some distance away. The figure was lying alongside a gateway, of which the gate, nine or ten feet high, was locked. It led to some stables belonging to a Mr. Brown. From the gateway eastward the houses began, and westwards there was a Board School. All the houses were occupied. The deceased's left hand was touching the gate. Directly he turned his lantern on the body he noticed blood was oozing from the woman's throat. She was lying on her back with her hands beside her body, the eyes wide open, the legs a little apart, and the hands open. Feeling her right arm he found it quite warm. Her bonnet was beside her on the ground. Without disturbing the body he called a constable who was passing along Brady-street. He came, and the witness said to him, "Here's a woman has cut her throat. Run at once for Dr. Llewellyn." He did so, and the witness seeing another constable pass along Baker's-row, sent him for the ambulance. Dr. Llewellyn came in about ten minutes. In the meantime the witness rang the bell at Essex Wharf on the opposite side of the street. A man appeared at a window, and, in answer to a question said he had not heard any unusual noise. Sergeant Kirby afterwards came and knocked at the door of New Cottage, adjoining the gateway. Mrs. Green answered from an upper window, and said that she had not heard any unusual noise. The deceased was then placed on the ambulance and taken to the mortuary. There, Inspector Spratling came to take a description of the body, which he found was disemboweled. They found no money on the woman, only a comb, a small piece of looking-glass, and a white handkerchief, unmarked. When the witness found the body, there was a pool of blood beneath the neck. He had not heard any noise that night. On the contrary, the place was unusually quiet, and nothing had aroused his suspicion. It was quite possible for anybody to have escaped through Brady-street or into Whitechapel-road, or through a passage in Queen's-buildings. He never saw the deceased before finding her dead. A quarter of an hour previously he was in Whitechapel-road, where he saw some people apparently going to market, and some women.
Replying to jurymen, the witness added that he examined the place where he found the deceased, and saw no track of blood. It did not strike him that somebody might have brought the body in a trap, with the intention of throwing it onto the adjoining railway line. There was a slaughterhouse near, in Winthorpe-street, and two men who had been working there all night, and whom he knew well, came into Buck's-row while the body was being put on the ambulance. They made no observation. With the exception of a man who had passed down Buck's-row while the doctor was present, they were the first of the general public to arrive. They had just finished work, and were on their way home. He had seen them and another man at work in the slaughter-house when he passed it, about twenty minutes past three o'clock.
The next witness was
152, Whitechapel-road, quiet and sedate, as befitted a man who had just come fresh from the unpleasant ordeal of making a post-mortem examination. He deposed that on Friday morning about four o'clock he was called up by a policeman, with whom he went to Buck's-row. He there found the deceased lying on her back with her throat deeply cut; there was very little blood on the ground. She had apparently been dead about half-an-hour. He was quite certain that the injury to her throat was not self-inflicted. There was no mark of any struggle either on the body or near where it was found. About an hour afterwards he was sent for again by the police, and going to the mortuary, to which the body had been carried, found most extensive injuries on the abdomen. At ten o'clock that (Saturday) morning, in the presence of his assistant, he began a post-mortem examination. On the right side of the face was a recent and strongly-marked bruise, which was scarcely perceptible when he first saw the body. It might have been caused either by a blow from a fist or by pressure of the thumb. On the left side of the face was a circular bruise, which might have been produced in the same way. A small bruise was on the left side of the neck, and an abrasion on the right. All must have been done at the same time. There were two cuts in the throat, one four inches long and the other eight, and both reaching to the vertebrae, which had also been penetrated. The wounds must have been inflicted with a strong-bladed knife, moderately sharp, and used with great violence. It appeared to have been held in the left hand of the person who had used it. No blood at all was found on the front of the woman's clothes. The body was fairly well nourished, and there was no smell of alcohol in the stomach. On the abdomen were some severe cuts and stabs, which the witness described in detail. Nearly all the blood had drained out of the arteries and veins, and collected to a large extent in the loose tissues. The deceased's wounds were sufficient to cause instantaneous death.
Questioned by jurymen, the witness said the deceased was a strong woman. The murderer must have had some rough anatomical knowledge, for he seemed to have attacked all the vital parts. It was impossible to say whether the wounds were inflicted by a clasp knife or a butcher's knife, but the instrument must have been a strong one. When he first saw the body, life had not been out of it for more than half-an-hour. The murder might have occupied four or five minutes. It could have been committed by one man so far as the wounds were concerned.
This being the whole of the evidence to be taken that day, Detective-inspector Abberline asked for an adjournment of some length, as certain things were coming to the knowledge of the police, and they wished for time to make inquiries.
The coroner replied that he should like to hear on Monday the two butchers who had been referred to, as well as evidence as to the departure of the deceased from the situation in Wandsworth.
Inspector Abberline having stated that the butchers had been summoned, a juryman asked if the husband could be produced. "Yes", said Inspector Abberline, and immediately after the inquiry had been adjourned till Monday he proceeded to find the husband, and brought him to the mortuary.
The husband of the woman - William Nicholls - is a printer's machinist, and he came to the mortuary dressed in a long black coat, with a black tie, trousers of dark material, and a tall silk hat. He carried an umbrella, and looked very quiet and very gentlemanly. He is very pale, with a full light brown beard and moustache. So soon as the lid of the shell was removed he looked at the contents, and then, with a shudder, turned to Inspector Abberline and said it was his wife. He stated that she was nearly 44 years of age, but it must be owned that she looked nearly ten years younger, as indeed the police first described the body. The husband, who was greatly affected, exclaimed on recognising the body, "I forgive you, as you are, for what you have been to me." He removed one element of doubt in the case, i.e., whether she had been assaulted and her teeth knocked out, as stated, prior to being murdered. The absence of the front teeth was, he said, of old standing. He was in attendance at the resumed inquest on Monday, which was marked by an even larger attendance of witnesses, and by the presence of a large crowd outside the Institute, eager to catch a glimpse of any of the prominent people figuring in the case. To the right of the coroner sat the police with the husband and father of the murdered woman; to the left, the jurymen, and in front a miscellaneous collection of reporters, telegraph boys, messengers, and penny-a-liners.
The first witness called was Inspector John Sparling [Spratling], a keen-eyed man with iron-grey hair and beard, dressed in the regulation blue of the force. He deposed that he first heard of the murder about half-past four on Friday morning while he was in Hackney-road. He went to Buck's-row, where he saw Police-constable Thain, who pointed out the spot where the deceased had been found. The witness there noticed a slight stain of blood on the footpath. The body had been removed to the mortuary in Old Montague-street. Both officers went there and found the body on an ambulance in the yard. It had been placed there because the keys, which had been sent for, had not yet arrived. While waiting the witness took a description, which he completed when the mortuary had been opened and the remains removed into it. He then found the injuries to the abdomen, and therefore he sent for Dr. Llewellyn. When Dr. Llewellyn arrived he made an examination lasting about ten minutes or a quarter of an hour. The witness was not present when the body was stripped.
Detective-sergeant Enright: That was done by two of the workhouse officials.
The Coroner: Had they authority to strip the body?
The Witness: No, sir. I gave them no instructions to strip it. In fact, I told them to leave it as it was.
Sergeant Enright: The clothes belonged to the workhouse.
The Coroner: I don't object to them stripping the body, but we ought to have evidence about the clothes.
The witness, resuming his evidence, said he returned to the mortuary about noon on Friday and found the body stripped and the clothes lying in a heap in the yard. They consisted of a reddish brown ulster, with seven large brass buttons. That was apparently an old garment. The brown linsey dress looked new. There was a grey woollen petticoat and a flannel one, all belonging to the workhouse. Pieces bearing the words "Lambeth Workhouse, P.R." (Princes-road), had been cut out by Inspector Helson, with a view to tracing the body. There was blood on the upper part of the dress body, and also on the ulster. Nowhere else, excepting a little on some linen, that might have been done after the removal of the body from Buck's-row. He saw no blood on the back of the dress, or of the ulster. When he first saw the body the clothes were fastened. The stays did not, however, fit tightly, and he was able to see the wounds without unfastening them. Between five and six o'clock the same morning he directed Police-constable Cartwright to examine the neighbourhood where the deceased was found, including the walls, the yards, and the adjoining railway. About six hours later he personally examined Buck's-row and Brady-street, which ran across the row, but found no blood marks anywhere. Subsequently, in company with Sergeant Godley, he examined the East London and District Railway Lines and embankment as also the Great Eastern Railway yard and other places in the neighbourhood, and found nothing. He was informed that a carman named Green, working at the stables against the gate of which the body was found wiped up the blood there. There was a watchman at the Great Eastern Railway yard. His box was fifty or sixty yards from the place where the body was discovered, but he had heard nothing particular on the night of the murder. The witness visited half-a-dozen persons living in the same neighbourhood, but none had noticed anything suspicious. One of them, Mrs. Purkiss, was out of bed about the time the body was found, and her husband declared that had there been any screaming in Buck's-row they must have heard it. Another of these persons, Mrs. Green, could have looked from her window down upon the spot where the murdered woman was discovered; but nothing had aroused her attention.
Replying to members of the jury, the witness said that Constable Neil was the only one whose duty it was to pass through Buck's-row in the course of his ordinary duty; but, another passed along Brady-street and would be more or less within hearing distance from time to time.
Is it your opinion that the woman was murdered with her clothes off or on?
The Witness: With them on, undoubtedly.
A Juryman remarked that the body remained in the mortuary yard till the children from St. Mary's school could see it.
The Witness: No, sir. It was taken into the mortuary itself about five o'clock or twenty minutes past.
Henry Tomkins, a rough looking man, was next called. He was a horse slaughterer, he said, and lived at 12, Coventry-street, Bethnal Green. He was in the employ of Mr. Barber, and was working in the slaughter house, Winthorpe-street, from between eight and nine o'clock on Thursday night till twenty minutes past four o'clock on Friday morning. He and his fellow workmen generally went home after ceasing work, but that morning they did not do so. They went to see the dead woman because Police-constable Thain had passed the slaughter-house about a quarter-past four and told them that a woman had been murdered in Buck's-row. Two other men besides the witness had been working in the slaughter-house. They were James Mumford and Charles Britten. He and Britten had been out of the slaughter-house previously that night - namely, from twenty minutes past twelve till one o'clock, but not afterwards till they went to see the body. The distance from the slaughter-house to the spot where the deceased was found was not great, Buck's-row being behind Winthorpe-street, and both running in the same direction.
The Coroner: Is yours noisy work?
The Witness: No, sir: very quiet.
The Coroner: Was it all quiet on Friday morning? - say after two o'clock?
The Witness: Yes, sir: quite quiet. The gates were open, and we heard no cry.
The Coroner: Did any one come to the slaughter-house that night?
The witness replied that nobody passed except the policeman.
The Coroner: Are there any women about there?
The Witness: Oh, I know nothing about them. I don't like them.
The Coroner: I don't ask whether you like them. I ask whether there were any about that night?
The Witness: I did not see any.
The Coroner: Not in Whitechapel-road?
The Witness: Oh yes, there, all sorts and sizes. It's a rough neighbourhood, I can tell you.
The Coroner: If anybody had called for assistance from the spot where the deceased was found would you have heard it in the slaughter-house?
The witness replied that it was too far away. When he arrived in Buck's-row with the intention of seeing the deceased, the doctor and three or four policemen were there. He believed that two other men that he did not know were there also. He waited till the body was taken away, but that was not long. Ten or a dozen people came up before it was done. He heard no statement as to how the deceased came into Buck's-row.
The Coroner: Have you read any statement in the newspaper that there were two people besides the police and the doctor in Buck's-row when you arrived?
The Witness: I can't read, sir.
The Coroner: Then you did not see a soul from one o'clock on Friday morning till a quarter past four, when the policeman passed your slaughter-house? - No, sir.
A Juryman: Did you hear any vehicle pass the slaughter-house?
The Witness: No.
Would you have heard it if there had been one? - Yes, sir.
Where did you go between twenty minutes past twelve and one o'clock? - Me and my mate went to the front of the road.
Is not your usual time of leaving off work six o'clock in the morning, and not four? - No, it is according to what we have to do. Sometimes we finish at one time; sometimes at another.
What made the constable call to tell you about the murder? - He called for his cape.
Inspector Joseph Helson said he first received information about the death of Mary Ann Nicholls at 6:45 on Friday morning. Between eight and nine he visited the mortuary, where he saw the body with the clothing still on it. The dress was fastened in front with the exception of two or three buttons, and the stays were also fastened. They were attached with clasps, and were fairly tight, but short. There was blood in the hair and about the collars of the dress and ulster, but none at the back of the skirts. There were no marks on the arms such as would indicate a struggle, and no cuts in the clothing. All the wounds could be seen while the stays were on the body, and could, in the witness's opinion, have been inflicted without the removal of that garment. The only suspicious mark in the neighbourhood of the place where the body was found was one spot, which might have been blood, in Brady-street.
A Juryman: Did the body look as if it had been brought dead to Buck's-row?
The Witness: No; I should say the offence was committed on the spot.
Police-constable Mizen said that about a quarter to four o'clock on Friday morning he was at the corner of Hanbury-street and Baker's-row, when a carman, passing by in company with another man, said, "You are wanted in Buck's-row by a policeman; a woman is lying there." The witness went to Buck's-row, when Police-constable Neil sent him for the ambulance. At that time nobody but Neil was with the body. On returning with the ambulance, he helped to put the deceased upon it.
A Juryman: Did you continue knocking people up after Cross told you you were wanted?
Witness: No; I only finished knocking up one person.
Charles A. Cross, a carman, who appeared in court with a rough sack apron on, said he had been in the employment of Messrs. Pickford & Co. for some years. On Friday morning he left home about half-past three to go to work, and passing through Buck's-row he saw on the opposite side something lying against a gateway. In the dark he could not tell at first what it was. It looked like a tarpaulin sheet, but walking to the middle of the road he saw it was the figure of a woman. At the same time he heard a man about forty yards away coming up Buck's-row in the direction witness had himself come. He stepped back and waited for the new-comer, who started on one side, as if he feared that the witness meant to knock him down. The witness said, "Come and look over here. There's a woman". They both went across to the body, and the witness took hold of the hands while the other man stooped over her head to look at her. The hands were cold and limp, and the witness said, "I believe she's dead." Then he touched her face, which felt warm. The other man placed his hand on her heart, saying, "I think she's breathing, but it's very little if she is." He suggested that they should "shift her", meaning in the witness's opinion that they should seat her upright. The witness replied, "I am not going to touch her." The woman's legs were uncovered. Her bonnet was off, but close to her head. The witness did not notice that her throat was cut, as the night was very dark. He and the other man left the deceased, and in Baker's-row they saw the last witness, whom they told that a woman was lying in Buck's-row. The witness added, "She looks to me to be either dead or drunk," and the other man remarked, "I think she's dead." The policeman answered, "All right." The other man left witness soon afterwards. He appeared to be a carman, but the witness had never seen him before.
The Coroner: Did you see Police-constable Neil in Buck's-row?
The witness: No, sir. I saw no one after leaving home, except the man that overtook me, the constable in Baker's-row, and the deceased. There was nobody in Buck's-row when we left.
The Coroner: Did the other man tell you who he was?
The Witness: No, sir. He merely said that he would have fetched a policeman, but he was behind time. I was behind time myself.
A Juryman: Did you tell Constable Mizen that another policeman wanted him in Buck's-row?
The Witness: No; because I did not see a policeman in Buck's-row.
William Nicholls, of 20, Coburg-road, Old Kent-road, next came from his seat near the police, dressed as on Saturday in his long black coat, black tie, and dark coloured trousers, and looking exceedingly pale. His evidence was given very quietly - so quietly in fact that it sometimes failed to reach the jurymen. He was a printer's machinist, he said, and it was eight years ago since he separated from the deceased. He last saw her alive about three years ago.
The Coroner: Have you heard of her lately?
Witness: No, sir, I have not.
The Coroner: When was the last time that you heard from her?
Witness: I have never heard from her at all.
The Coroner: You don't know what she was doing for the last three years?
Witness: No, sir, I don't.
A Juryman: It has been stated that you were summoned for her maintenance by the Lambeth Guardians, and that you refused to pay because she had been living with another man. Is that true?
Witness: Yes, with another man or men. I had her watched.
A Juryman: You don't know whether she lived with that man up till recently?
Witness: I think not.
Mr. Horey: How long is that ago?
Witness: It is about seven years ago since I was summoned.
Mr. Horey: Did she leave you, or did you leave her?
Witness: She left me, as she had done on many occasions before.
Mr. Horey: Had she any cause for leaving?
Witness: She left of her own free will.
A Juryman: Have you seen the body?
Witness: I have, and recognised it as the body of my wife by her missing teeth, and by the mark on the forehead which she had when a girl, and which was made larger when she was knocked down by a cab in Lambeth, and was taken to St. Thomas' Hospital.
Mr. Horey: It has been said that she left you because you took up with a nurse some years ago.
Witness: No, sir, that is false. I have a certificate of my boy's birth two years after that.
Mr. Horey: You lived with her for twelve or thirteen years, and then parted?
Witness: She left me on five or six different occasions.
Mr. Horey: The summoning job which has been spoken about did not refer to a blacksmith at Camberwell, did it? I mean that that was not the man she was living with then?
Witness: No; it was another man.
Emily Holland, an elderly woman in a brown dress, with a dolman and bonnet, whose naturally pale face was flushed with excitement, and who gave her address in a frightened manner, which necessitated the coroner frequently urging her to speak up, was then called. She lived at 18, Thrawl-street, she said - a common lodging-house - and was married.
The Coroner: Did you know the deceased?
Witness: Yes, I knew her. For about six weeks she slept in the same room with me, but she has not been in my house for the last ten days.
The Coroner: Did you know where she was?
Witness: She told me that she was living in another house, together with a lot of men and women. On Friday morning, at about half-past two o'clock, I was returning from a fire which I had been to see at Ratcliff, when I saw her at the corner of Osborn-street, Whitechapel-road, just outside a grocer's shop there.
The Coroner: Which way was she going?
Witness: She was coming down Osborn-street into the Whitechapel-road.
The Coroner: Was she by herself?
The Coroner: Did you stop to speak to her?
Witness: Yes. She was the worse for drink.
The Coroner: What do you mean? Could she walk straight?
Witness: No; she staggered a bit.
The Coroner: Did she say where she was going?
Witness: No; but she told me she had altered the place where she was living.
The Coroner: Did she tell you where that was?
Witness: No; but I think it was in the next street. Flower and Dean-street, I understood.
The Coroner: Did she say where she was going that night?
Witness: No. I persuaded her to come home with me as she was the worse for drink, and I would get her lodgings where I was living, but she refused to come.
The Coroner: Did she say where she had been?
Witness: She said, "I have had my lodging money three times to day, and I have spent it."
The Coroner: Did she say where she was going?
Witness: No; but when I left her she turned towards this place (Whitechapel-road) and went along there.
The Coroner: What did she do for a living?
Witness: I don't know, sir.
The Coroner: Did she stay out late at night?
Witness: I don't know. She always seemed to keep herself to herself, and I don't know anybody that she knew.
The Coroner: She never spoke about herself you mean.
Witness: No, sir.
The Coroner: Had you seen her before that night?
Witness: No, I had not.
The Coroner: Have you heard of anyone who saw her?
Witness: No, sir.
The Coroner: Do you know whether she used to get the worse for drink?
Witness: I have seen her two or three times the worse for drink.
The Coroner: Did you consider that she was very cleanly in her habits?
Witness: Oh yes; she was a very clean woman.
The Coroner: Did you think she was quarrelsome or good-tempered.
Witness: I have never seen her quarrel with anybody.
The Coroner: Did anyone ever threaten her?
Witness: Not that I am aware of.
The Coroner: Did she seem as if some trouble was weighing upon her?
Witness: Yes, sir.
The Coroner: How long were you with her?
Witness: I had only just met her, and we were talking for about seven or eight minutes. While we were talking the clock at Whitechapel Church struck half-past two.
The Coroner: What were you talking about all that time?
Witness: I was persuading her to come home with me.
The Coroner: Did she say anything about having an appointment?
Witness: No, she did not say that she was to meet anybody. She said she had no money, and that she must make up the amount of her lodgings.
Mr. Horey: I suppose you formed an opinion of what she meant.
Witness: No; she said, "it won't be long before I'll be back."
The Coroner: To your house?
Witness: Yes; she said there were too many men and women at the place she was staying at, and she didn't like to go there.
The Coroner: Where was that?
Witness: I thought from what she told me that it was "The White House."
A Juryman: Do you know of any companions she met?
Witness: Only of one - a female - with whom she ate and drank for a few days.
Mr. Horey: What name did you know her by?
Witness: Only as "Polly."
Mr. Horey: You were the first one to identify her?
Witness: Yes, sir.
Mr. Horey: Were you crying when you identified her?
Witness: Yes; and it was enough to make anybody shed a tear, sir.
Mary Ann Monk - a young woman with a flushed face and a haughty air, who wore a long grey ulster - was the last witness. She was an inmate of Lambeth Workhouse.
The Coroner: Do you know deceased?
Witness: Yes, sir.
The Coroner: When did you last see her?
Witness: About seven weeks ago, in the "Duke's Head" public-house, Lower Kennington-road.
The Coroner: Did she tell you what she was doing?
Witness: No; nothing whatsoever.
The Coroner: Had you seen her in the workhouse?
The Coroner: You don't know any of her acquaintances, I suppose?
Witness: No sir, not in the least.
The jury having arranged to view the clothes again that afternoon, the inquiry was adjourned till Monday week.
Ever since the day of the murder, the whole neighbourhood has been more or less alarmed, nor was the alarm decreased by a story published in one or two newspapers this week, describing how a woman, on leaving the Forester's Music Hall, was accosted by a man who, when near the scene of the murder, hustled her down a turning, where she was stripped of all her money and jewellery by a gang who came up, and was threatened with the same fate as Mrs. Nicholls. Inquiries made into the accuracy of the story have proved it to be absolutely false and groundless. During the week large numbers of people have visited the scene of the murder in Buck's-row, and have discussed in whispers the details of the tragedy. The result of these discussions has invariably been a demand for more police protection - a demand which has been echoed by several correspondents this week - among them Mr. Henry T. Tibbatts, of 24, Artillery-lane, Bishopsgate, who testifies to having seen in the neighbourhood of Osborn-street, &c., fights amounting almost to murder without the interference of the police. These demands have been recognised by the local inspectors by placing a number of additional police on the beats along the Whitechapel and Mile End-roads, in Spitalfields, and along Brady-street, Baker's-row and Buck's-row. The funeral took place on Thursday, when the polished elm coffin, bearing the inscription, "Mary Ann Nicholls, aged 42," was deposited in a hearse supplied by Mr. H. Smith, of Hanbury-street, and driven to Ilford Cemetery, in company with two mourning coaches containing the father of the deceased and his grandson, together with two of the deceased's children. There was a very large number of spectators present, who evinced the greatest sympathy. All efforts to find the murderer or murderers have hitherto proved unavailing. A man called "Leather Apron," who is known to have blackmailed unfortunate women, has been mentioned as the murderer, and was even in the custody of the police last Sunday evening for a time. Although he is looked upon with suspicion, it is believed by the police that he is not the actual murderer, but that he knows more of the mystery than he cares to tell. He is being very closely watched.
|Home: Timeline - Mary Ann Nichols|
|Dissertations: Old Wounds: Re-examining the Bucks Row Murder|
|Dissertations: The Riddle of New Cottage|
|Message Boards: Mary Ann Nichols|
|Official Documents: Bucks Row - Census Listings|
|Official Documents: Polly Nichol's Inquest|
|Press Reports: Atchison Daily Globe - 3 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Austin Statesman - 05 September 1888|
|Press Reports: British Daily Whig - 1 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Daily News - 1 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Daily News - 18 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Daily News - 24 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Daily News - 3 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Daily News - 4 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Daily News - 5 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Daily News - 7 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Daily Telegraph - 1 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Daily Telegraph - 10 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Daily Telegraph - 18 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Daily Telegraph - 19 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Daily Telegraph - 24 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Daily Telegraph - 3 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Daily Telegraph - 4 September 1888|
|Press Reports: East London Advertiser - 1 September 1888|
|Press Reports: East London Advertiser - 22 September 1888|
|Press Reports: East London Advertiser - 29 September 1888|
|Press Reports: East London Advertiser - 8 September 1888|
|Press Reports: East London Observer - 1 September 1888|
|Press Reports: East London Observer - 22 September 1888|
|Press Reports: East London Observer - 8 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Eastern Argus - 1 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Eastern Argus - 8 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Eastern Post - 1 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Eastern Post - 8 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Echo - 1 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Echo - 17 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Echo - 3 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Echo - 31 August 1888|
|Press Reports: Echo - 4 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Echo - 5 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Echo - 6 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Evening News - 1 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Evening News - 31 August 1888|
|Press Reports: Evening Standard - 1 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Evening Standard - 18 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Evening Standard - 24 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Evening Standard - 3 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Evening Standard - 4 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Evening Standard - 7 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Fort Wayne Gazette - 2 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Freemans Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser - 1 Sept...|
|Press Reports: Freemans Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser - 3 Sept...|
|Press Reports: Freemans Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser - 4 Sept...|
|Press Reports: Grimsby Observer - no date|
|Press Reports: Illustrated Police News - 22 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Illustrated Police News - 8 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Irish Times - 18 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Irish Times - 24 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Lloyds Weekly News - 2 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Lloyds Weekly News - 9 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Manchester Guardian - 1 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Manchester Guardian - 3 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Manchester Guardian - 4 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Manchester Guardian - 5 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 1 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 18 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 24 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 3 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 4 September 1888|
|Press Reports: New York Times - 1 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Pall Mall Gazette - 1 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Pall Mall Gazette - 18 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Pall Mall Gazette - 3 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Pall Mall Gazette - 31 August 1888|
|Press Reports: Penny Illustrated Paper - 22 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Penny Illustrated Paper - 29 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Penny Illustrated Paper - 8 September 1888|
|Press Reports: People - 2 September 1888|
|Press Reports: People - 23 September 1888|
|Press Reports: People - 9 September 1888|
|Press Reports: St. James Budget - 8 September 1888|
|Press Reports: St. James Gazette - 18 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Star - 1 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Star - 3 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Star - 31 August 1888|
|Press Reports: Star - 4 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Star - 6 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Times [London] - 1 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Times [London] - 18 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Times [London] - 24 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Times [London] - 27 April 1866|
|Press Reports: Times [London] - 3 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Times [London] - 4 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Walthamstow and Leyton Guardian - 8 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Weekly Herald - 7 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Woodford Times - 21 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Woodford Times - 28 September 1888|
|Press Reports: Woodford Times - 7 September 1888|
|Victims: Mary Ann 'Polly' Nichols|
|Victims: Testimonies of Charles Cross and PC John Neil|
|Victorian London: Buck's Row|
|Witnesses: Henry Tomkins, James Mumford and Charles Brittain|