The Eastern Post & City Chronicle
Saturday, 14 September 1889.
A WOMAN MURDERED AND MUTILATED.
THE VICTIM'S HEAD AND ARMS CUT OFF.
THE TRUNK FOUND IN A SACK.
At an early hour of Tuesday morning the inhabitants of Whitechapel were thrown into a state of wild excitement by a rumour to the effect that the notorious criminal "Jack the Ripper" had been again at his fiendish work in their midst. It was about six o'clock on Tuesday morning when the news first became noised abroad, and within half an hour of that time an excited crowd had collected in the neighbourhood of Pinchin Street, Backchurch Lane, St. George's, the locality in which the tragedy was said to have been committed, and which lies in close proximity to the scenes of the outrages which have given Whitechapel its evil reputation.
The scene of the tragedy is a roadway arch abutting on a place known as Dark Alley. There is nothing whatever to prevent a person so desirous of walking through a yard which lies on the further side of the arch which forms part of the new Great Eastern Railway goods depot at Bishopsgate.
Shortly after 5 o'clock Police-constable Pannell [Pennett], 239 H, was patrolling his beat when, by the light of the breaking day, he noticed a bundle under the massive open structure. On examining it, it was found to be the trunk of a woman with the arms attached, but the head and legs are missing. It was slightly decomposed. The abdomen bore those brutal evidences of the work of Jack the Ripper which characterised the previous murders in the locality. The stomach was cut in a shocking manner. Pannell immediately summoned further assistance, and within a short time Superintendent Arnold and a large body of plain clothes and uniform officers were hastening to the scene with an ambulance and medical assistance. It was certified that the mutilated trunk was that of a woman who had been dead at least four days, but only left exposed under the arch during the night. It was removed to the St. George's mortuary for the purpose of a further medical examination.
As an instance of the organisation of the police in the district since the recent murders, it may be mentioned that a special telegraphic signal has been arranged by which the fact of such a crime as the present one can be promptly conveyed to other police-stations.
Shortly before 6 o'clock Tuesday morning Scotland yard received this message:- "Whitechapel again; " and in the space of a few minutes they were able to telegraph all over the metropolitan police district the following message:- "At 5:40 a.m. trunk of a woman found under the arches in Pinchin Street, E., age about 40; height, 5 ft. 3 in.; hair dark brown. No clothing except chemise very much torn and blood-stained. Both elbows discoloured, as if from habitual leaning on them. Post-mortem marks around waist, apparently caused by a rope."
Immediately upon the circulation of this telegram, the Thames Police, under Detective-Inspector Regan, and Chief-Inspector Moore, displayed the utmost vigilance. Assisted by Sergeants Moore, Francis, Howard, Davis and Scott, these officers at once got their various craft on the river and boarded all the vessels at the mouth of the Thames and in the Docks. Attention was particularly directed towards the cattle boats, and those from Spain and America. Among those boarded in the London Docks were the City of Cork, the Cadiz, the Malaga, the Gallicia; and the Lydian Monarch in the Millwall Docks. The operation of searching these vessels had not concluded until a late hour in the evening, and so far as the investigations had gone, the captains of the various vessels were able to give satisfactory accounts as to their crews. After the removal of the remains to the mortuary, Mr. Clark made a brief medical examination of them. The trunk exhibited signs of decomposition, and in the opinion of the medical man death had taken place some four days ago. In the meantime communications, giving full particulars, had been sent to Scotland Yard, and Mr. Monro, the Chief Commissioner, Colonel Monsell, the Chief Constable of the district, Superintendent Swanson, Detective-inspector Miller, Superintendent Arnold, of the H division, and local Inspector Reid all visited the scene of the discovery and made inquiries as to the matter. Later in the day Detective Inspector Tonbridge, who had charge of what was known as the Thames mystery a short time ago, went to the mortuary and saw the remains. Mr. Clarke, Dr. Gordon Brown (the City Police surgeon), and two other medical gentlemen who have had experience in previous cases of this nature shortly after made a more careful examination of the remains. The body was well-nourished and cared for. One of the several doctors who viewed the remains expressed the opinion that had he been asked to dissect the body in the manner in which he saw it, he could not have done it more neatly and skillfully. In consequence of the similarity of the mode of dismemberment pursued in this case and those of the recent Battersea and Rainham mysteries, the officers engaged in those cases were consulted and their general opinion is that the resemblance in the cases are so remarkable as to give grounds for the belief that the present crime is one with a different origin to the previous Whitechapel atrocities.
The New York Herald on Wednesday published a really remarkable story. It vouches for the accuracy of it, stating that the facts can be set forth on affidavit, if necessary, and asserts that a police-inspector and a constable will bear out the statement in some important particulars. According to that journal, on Sunday morning, at five minutes past one o'clock, a man called at the office, and stated that another murder had been committed, and a woman's mutilated body found in Backchurch Lane, Whitechapel. He gave the name of John Cleary, and said he lived at 21, White Horse Yard, Drury Lane. Two reporters were at once dispatched to Backchurch Lane, and, with a police-inspector and constable, searched the neighbourhood. They found nothing, and the whole matter was forgotten. On Tuesday, however, when the news of the discovery was noised abroad, the representatives of our contemporary immediately instituted inquiries, but discovered that no John Cleary lived, or had lived, at the address given, and no person of the name could be found there. The journal argues that it is certain there was an intention on the part of the party or parties who had the body in keeping to place it in Backchurch Lane on Saturday night, where it was found on Tuesday. If coincidences be of any value, it may be noted that this was the anniversary of the Hanbury Street murder.
The archway selected by the miscreant to receive the gruesome parcel is in about as lonely a spot as could be found anywhere in the neighbourhood and has often been resorted to by tramps and outcasts of all sorts as a sleeping place when all other shelters failed them. On this account, according to one constable, officers on duty there, have been accustomed to closely inspect these arches as they go their rounds, and as the whole of the space is open to the scrutiny of a policeman passing along the pavement, by merely turning his bull's-eye into the arch, it is assumed to be practically impossible that the body can have lain there more than a very short time before discovery. The people around complain, however, with angry vehemence, of the infrequency of police patrol. It is the rarest thing in the world they say to see a policeman round those arches or the side streets contiguous. One man has declared that a short time since a woman was screaming murder at the top of her voice for twenty minutes, about four o'clock in the morning, and no policeman was attracted to the spot. It was nothing very serious, said the man, "only some joker beating his wife," but he thought it showed how unprotected those parts were about there.
On Wednesday morning at 10 o'clock Mr. Wynne E. Baxter, coroner for the district, opened an inquest into the cause of death of the woman whose mutilated remains were discovered on Tuesday morning in a railway arch in Pinchin Street, Backchurch Lane. The inquiry took place in the Vestry Hall, Cable Street, St. George's-in-the-East, where ample room was found for all having business there, the accommodation for the Press being, thanks to the vestry officials, unusually good.
Inspectors Moore and Reid watched the case on behalf of the Metropolitan Police. There was no attendance on the part of the general public, nor was there any excitement in the neighbourhood.
The jury, having been empanelled, their first duty was to view the remains, which were lying in the mortuary. The opinion of some who had seen the remains in previous murders was that the present outrage was not the work of the same hand that is popularly held responsible for the "Whitechapel tragedies." Appearances pointed more to a similarity between this and the mutilated portions of a body found in the Thames, and on which an inquest was held at Battersea. The wounds in the case of the earlier murders were inflicted with great force and ferocity. In the two later cases the work of disarticulation had been very cleanly and not unskillfully done. This was particularly remarkable in the Pinchin Street outrage. The head had been severed from the body without any bungling strokes, and the legs had been taken off exactly at the thigh joints. As soon as the jury had seen the body, Dr. Phillips proceeded with his autopsy, which was not concluded at the rising of the Court.
After evidence had been taken, the Court adjourned until the 24th inst., at 10 o'clock.