18 October 1888
A Correspondent writes: - "Sensational journalism has much to answer for. The other day a woman died from excitement after reading a contemporary's account of the Whitechapel horrors. Yesterday, at the Thames Police-court, the Magistrate gave orders for the committal to a lunatic asylum of a Stepney woman, who had been driven mad by the East-end murders. Probably she, too, had been perusing the horrible details published in certain of the London newspapers."
The body of a woman was found in the Thames, near Putney-bridge, last night. It appeared to have been in the water about twelve hours. Nothing was found upon the body which would lead to identification. The person was apparently between forty and forty-five years of age, 4 feet 9 inches in height, and had a fresh complexion, with a scar on her lower lip. On a finger of the left hand was a wedding ring. The body was conveyed to the Putney Mortuary.
Considerable sensation was caused in Bermondsey this morning. A rumour obtained currency to the effect that another horrible tragedy had been committed in that district, a woman having bee found with her throat cut. The story proved to be unfounded. It had its origin in the fact that at an early this morning a drunken woman fell upon the kerbstone of the pavement in one of the thoroughfares of Bermondsey, and injured her chin. She was discovered lying in the gutter in a semi-conscious state, blood flowing from her chin. It was found, on examination, that she was not seriously injured.
WORKHOUSE MASTERS CENSURED
The Local Government Board and the Holborn Board of Guardians have had a slight quarrel. It arose through the inquiry made by the former Board into the abnormal consumption of wines and spirits at the City-road Workhouse, and the retention of the master of the House. The Local Government Board think the Master should not resign; the Guardians think he should. Not satisfied with the official inquiry they instituted one themselves. A report upon this latter inquiry was submitted at last night's meeting. It stated that during the twelve months ended at Michaelmas thirty-three gallons of gin alone were charged for in the Medical relief Book, which had never been ordered by the doctor or supplied to pauper patients. The Master and the Assistant Master were able to explain fictitious entries in the Medical Relief Book, which was said to have been kept by two inmates, one of whom died nine months ago. "The inaccuracies in the Medical Book," they said, "appeared to have been of so grave a nature and so systematically made that they felt no confidence in the persons responsible for the management of the Workhouse, as beyond a systematic fraud and been committed." Hence they recommended the Guardians to call upon Mr. Daniells and Mr. Hibbert to resign. The recommendation was adopted by ten votes to nine, the figures being challenged by some members.
Sir Charles Warren's bloodhounds are to be utilised in the search in the vaults under the New Police Buildings at Whitehall. The police authorities have determined to make a complete investigation of the vaults. Consequently the search was resumed at eight o'clock last night. A staff of constables under Inspectors Peters and Marshall, visited the vaults with a bloodhound - one of these which had been used in the Hyde-park experiment. They turned over a great deal of the earth on the ground of the vaults, but with no successful results. Up to ten o'clock no further remains had been discovered, and the search was then suspended. The police, however, are not disheartened. They are of the opinion that other portions of the body are still concealed in the vault, and this opinion was strengthened by the actions of the hound.
Dr. Bond, Divisional surgeon of the A division, made a careful examination this morning, at Millbank-street, of the portion of leg found yesterday, and on comparing it with the trunk, already in the mortuary, he is of the opinion that it belongs to the same body. It is, however, in a better state of preservation, and this is accounted for by the fact that it had been sufficiently covered with earth to exclude the air, whereas the trunk was only wrapped up in a skirt. Dr. Bond is also of the opinion that both portions of the body had been lying where they were found for over six weeks, notwithstanding the statements made by people at the works that they were not there on the Friday or Saturday previous to their discovery, and the fact of the leg being in such good preservation is one point in his argument for holding this opinion.
THE ARREST AT KING STREET
A MYSTERIOUS BLACK BAG
A very mysterious incident, in connection with arrest of the man at King-street Police-station, Westminster, whose apprehension was yesterday announced in The Echo, has transpired this morning. It appears that on Monday the man went into the shop of Messrs. Bellamy Bros., Railway-approach, Charing-cross, and after a brief but somewhat incoherent chat with Mr. Batchelor, the manager, he suddenly placed a black bag on the counter, and left the shop. The incident has come to the knowledge of the police authorities, but up to the present they thought it prudent to regard the affair as a secret. The bag contained a razor, a dagger (which bore more or less recent marks of blood stains), several miscellaneous but almost valueless odds and ends, together with a broken piece of looking-glass and a small piece of soap. It is regarded as somewhat suspicious that these latter articles are similar to those found on the Whitechapel victims.
The shiny black bag and its contents were inspected this morning by an Echo reporter, who called at Messrs. Bellamy's in order to verify certain reports respecting their strange visitor. Mr. R. Bachelor, the manager, made the following statement:- "He was such a mysterious-looking person that I could not make him out at all, but it was not until after he left the shop that it somehow occurred to me that his mind was unhinged from some cause or other, and then the Whitechapel murders and the affair at Whitehall came across my mind. It was from reading the special edition of last night's Echo that I felt convinced the black bag was an incident worth mentioning. Well, as soon as the man came into the shop he took out a pencil and commenced to write some words which no one could read. The he straightened himself up, remarked 'You must not be surprised to hear I'm Jack the Ripper - I'm a most mysterious man' and darted out of the shop. He made use of the expression, 'I'm used to cutting people up, and can put them together again. The police are all disguised, and wherever I go I meet them.' He looked to me like a doctor or doctor's assistant, but was rather shabby." The razor and dagger found in the bag have been examined by Dr. Bond.
This morning the police in the Eastern district reported that no arrests had been made during the night. Several suspected localities are being watched night and day, and, indeed, it may be said that within a wide area around the scene of the murders there is scarcely a rood of ground that is not under surveillance.
Beyond one clues, to which allusion has already be made, nothing has transpired to connect anyone to the Whitechapel crimes. Some of the police-officers have received threatening letters, and a postcard, on which the writer says he will kill a certain City officer, is now being investigated by the City police. It is thought that this communication may proceed from a relative of the man who is suspected of the murders.
The supposed clue on which the police are now working is said to relate to a man living in the locality, but not to the visitor to Batty-street. The inquiries are not sufficiently advanced to enable them to make an arrest, even should their suspicions ultimately prove to be well-founded.
Benjamin Graham, 42, glass-blower, of 14 Fletcher's-row, Clerkenwell, was charged on his own confession, at the Guildhall, this afternoon, with committing the Whitechapel murders. Detective Rackley slated that, about 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon the prisoner was brought into Snow-hill Police-station by a man who said that he had told him he had "done" the murders in Whitechapel. Witness asked him what he had to say, and he replied, "I did kill the women in Whitechapel, and I shall have to suffer for it with a bit of rope." He afterwards said that as he was coming from Whitechapel he knocked a policeman down to get away. Prisoner was examined by a doctor, as it was at first thought that he was insane. The doctor reported that he was only drunk. Detective-sergeant Downes applied for a remand. Mr Alderman Rensils remanded him.
An Echo reporter called yesterday afternoon upon Mr. Packer, the Berner-street fruiterer, where the murderer bought the grapes for Elizabeth Stride. It now appears that the man was known by Mr. Packer, who positively asserted, "I had seen him in this district several times before, and if you ask me where he lives I can tell you within a little. He lodges not a great way from the house where Lipski, who was hanged for poisoning a woman, lived." "How many times have you seen him?" was asked Mr. Packer. "About twenty; and I have not seen him since the murder."
The laundress at 22, Batty-street, where a German left a blood-stained shirt, is Mrs. Kuer, also a German. The man, who was arrested, as already stated, and liberated, explained the blood-stains by the fact that he was with a friend who was cutting corn, when the knife slipped and inflicted a wound, when the injured man stanched the cut by using the sleeves of his companion's shirt. There were, however, extensive stains upon the front of it as well, and this the man asserts was done by the blood spurting on to it. Mrs. Kuer denies that she gave information to the police, who were told of the circumstances by a neighbour. Mrs. Kuer says the man had occasionally called with a shirt to be washed. She feels certain she says that the man is entirely innocent of any such offence as was at first suggested by the police. Inspector Reid, Inspector Helson, and other detective officers are pursuing their investigation.
Sir Charles Warren announces that the marked desire evinced by the inhabitants of the Whitechapel district to aid the police in the pursuit of the author of the recent crimes has enabled him to direct that, subject to the comment of the occupiers, a thorough house-to-house search should be made within a defined area. With few exceptions the inhabitants - of all classes and creeds - have freely fallen in with the proposal, and have materially assisted the officers engaged in carrying it out. The search has, indeed, now so far proceeded that it may be expected to conclude this evening.