East London Observer
Saturday, 10 November 1888.
Another Horrible Tragedy.
The Head Cut Off.
The Bloodhounds at Work.
Once more was there enacted yesterday (Friday) morning in East London, one of those sadly terrible scenes with which the district has been only too familiar during the past few months.
To describe the event as clearly and succinctly as possible, it is necessary to describe the neighbourhood which has been the scene of this latest crime. Dorset-street has been made familiar during the recent inquests on the bodies of other mutilated victims, by reason of so many of the unfortunates and their companions who were called as witnesses, living there. In truth, the street is almost entirely occupied with the lowest class of lodging-houses - registered and unregistered - relieved occasionally by a stable or a cheap provision shop. Leading off the street - which by the way, is almost opposite the Spitalfields Church, and abuts on Commercial-street - are a number of small courts, such as Farnham-court, and Mellow-court, devoted to an even lower class of people than those who frequent the lodging houses - the lowest class of unfortunates. Immorality is carried on in these houses, openly and with impunity. It was in one of these houses in Mellow-court - a mere passage with room enough only for one person to pass at a time, and widening into a kind of a courtyard faced, by about half-a-dozen houses - that the tragedy of Friday morning took place. According to all accounts, the woman who was murdered was not a regular habitue of the place; on the contrary, she was rather well dressed, apparently about twenty-five years of age, and even good looking. As to what time she came to the house on Friday morning, and as to the description of the man who accompanied her, no definite information has been received at the time of writing, thanks to the extreme reticence of the police. This much, however, has been found, that some payment was made by the man for the use of the room; that that payment was received by someone residing in the house; and that the murderer and his victim entered the place in the small hours of Friday morning - between one and two o'clock as near as can be gathered. The couple proceeded to a front room of the upper floor of the house, and it was on a wretched looking piece of furniture that the murder was committed. The inhabitants of the house are not early risers, and it was not till ten o'clock on Friday morning that they even thought to ascertain the reason why the door of that front room was locked. Their suspicions being aroused on receiving no reply to their summons, the door was broken open, and the body of the murdered woman was revealed. As to the exact nature of the mutilations inflicted, nothing can be yet positively stated - at all events until the exhaustive examination which is being made by Dr. Dukes, of Brick lane, and Dr. Phillips, of Spital-square, is completed. This much, however, is known, that the head, as in the case of the Mitre-square victim, is nearly, if not entirely, severed from the body, and that the abdominal wounds correspond in nearly all their details to those inflicted upon previous victims. The news spread that the Whitechapel murderer had been at his ghastly work again, and within an hour after that, Dorset-street was closed to the public by cordons of police, while some thousands of excited, frightened-looking people completely blocked up the entrance to the street from Commercial-street and Bell-lane.
That the work is that of the murderer of Tabram, Smith, Chapman, Eddowes and Stride is only too evident. Quite apart from the extraordinary coincidence of the date - it being on the 8th of September that the Hanbury-street victim was murdered, and about the same period of the previous month that Tabram was also butchered - the similarity and ghastly nature of the wounds, and the class of women, all point to the same hand. Another curious coincidence is that although the window of the opposite house can almost be touched from that of the room in which the victim lies, no unusual noise or scream was heard by the occupants either of that room or of any of the adjoining houses.
The excitement yesterday was intense, and although Detectives Thicke, Reid, and a host of others from Scotland-yard were engaged in investigations on the spot within an hour after the discovery, no clue as to the whereabouts of the murderer has yet been found up to the time of going to press.
We understand that the two bloodhounds which were kept in reserve for such an emergency were telegraphed for during the day, and that for the purpose of giving them the scent the body of the victim was allowed to remain in the room in which it was found, till a late hour in the afternoon.