11 October 1888
DESCRIPTION OF THE VICTIIM.
The medical evidence given at the inquest held on Monday on the headless and limbless body found at Whitehall, has placed the police in possession of a description of the woman who was the subject of the horrible crime thus committed. A great many cases of missing women have been brought before the police, and the number has caused some embarrassment. Now, however, the police have before them the fact that the deceased woman was a plump woman, of about 5ft. 8in. or 5ft. 9in. high; that she had suffered from pleurisy; that she was from 24 years of age upwards; that she had fair skin and dark hair; and that her hand, found with the arm at Pimlico, showed that she had not been used to hard work. Moreover, the police have the fact that the death may have been from six weeks to two months prior to October 2, which would bring the end of her life to about August 20, and the death, moreover, is defined as having been one which drained the body of blood. This last point means that wherever the woman met her death- and it was not in the water- the place would be marked with blood. Anxious search is being made for the missing head.
To The Editor of "THE EVENING NEWS."
SIR- I beg to correct a report in your issue of to-day, under the heading of "Capture of a Suspicious Character." It is stated that the man was stopped by and inspector of the P division. After an exciting chase up the Old Kent-road the man was apprehended at my instigation, and was taken to the Peckham Police-station. Also, the tramcar incident was on Monday.- I am, &c., W.H. BEHENNA October 10.
To The Editor Of "THE EVENING NEWS."
SIR- Allow me to contribute my little experience to the discussion now current as to the value of the bloodhound (or sleuth-hound, as I prefer to call it) as a detective. Some years ago I owned a dog of the best strain, a son of Mr. Holford's famous Regent. I took great interest in training Reveller to follow the lightest scent, which he soon learned to do admirably. One instance will suffice. A very little time after I took him in hand, I one day showed him a dry bone, quite free from blood, and unprepared by any artificial scent. I then started a lad with the bone, giving him instructions to conceal it a few miles away, the route and hiding place being both unknown to me. An hour after, I myself started with the dog, and with unfaltering and unerring scent he led me from Upper Norwood, over Streatham Common, to Tooting Beck Common, and to a bush at the later place, wherein the bone, which I had previously marked, was found. The distance was over three miles. But the sleuth-hound's scent is merely the high development of a faculty common to all dogs. As a humourist recently remarked, when two dogs meet and converse, they do not say, "Where have you been?" or "What have you seen?" but "What have you smelt?" I am daily reminded of this by the conduct of a Newfoundland dog, used as a yard dog at Messrs. C.T. Brock and Co.'s great firework factory, where I am engaged. At the present time, owning to the pressure of the November business, many fresh hands are temporarily employed. These are always introduced to and smelt by the dog. After this introduction, he invariably scents them every day as they enter the gate, until his sight is as accustomed to them as his nose, and they can go to their work unmolested as soon as the latter organ has satisfied him as to their bona fides.- I am. &c., W. GRIST South Norwood. London. S.E., October 10.
As I told the reader yesterday, both Antoine Leger and Papavoine were guillotined. Through their crimes left no doubt in the minds of experts as having been committed by homicidal maniacs, though Dr. Georget's pamphlet- also mentioned yesterday- was followed by still more luminous treatises on the same subject by even more eminent authorities than he- namely, Esquirol and Orfila, many years had to elapse before the tribunals were to be influenced by the theory of moral irresponsibility in their verdicts against a certain class of homicides.
And yet if Leger's and Papavoine's deeds could and did leave a doubt as to motive with both judges and jury, a case which happened less than a twelve-month after ought to have dispelled such doubt for ever. I am writing from memory, and may be mistaken in some minor details, but am absolutely certain of the main facts of the tragedy. In one of the most populous quarters of Paris there lived a woman keeping a greengrocer's and fruiterer's shop. Frugal and hard-working, all her exertions seemed to tend to the welfare of her only child, a little girl between four and five. A few doors further down the street there was an establishment, half café, half public-house, of the kind still to be seen in the humbler thoroughfares of the French capital. The servant of the publican bought her provisions at the fruiterer's just named, and , if I remember rightly, had been recommended to the situation by its owner. At any rate, though she had not been there more than fortnight a friendly feeling had sprung up between the two women. One afternoon in the end of the summer the servant, Henriette Cournier, came in, and in the course of a conversation told the fruiterer that she was not very comfortable in her new place. The widow happened to mention that she was going to take her little daughter for a walk, and Henriette Cournier by her conduct or manners, either to herself (the witness) or her child, had ever justified such reluctance, the witness frankly answered in the negative, adding that on the contrary Henriette was considered by her a very honest girl, and had been uniformly kind to her, and appeared to be exceedingly fond of her little daughter.
Nevertheless, the child went with Henriette Cournier, who, after passing through the shop of her employers, who were both absent, took it up to her attic, laid it on the bed, methodically cut its throat, and as methodically proceeded to disembowel. As she was about to lock her door, "in order," as she confessed, "to escape from the horrible sight," she heard the mother coming up the stairs. Without leaving her time to ascend, she shouted out to her, "It's no use coming up, your little daughter is dead." The mother thought at first that the girl was perpetrating a ghastly joke; in another moment she was convinced of the horrible reality. I do not know whether Henriette Cournier was executed or not, but if her sentence was commuted, her sex rather than her mental condition, about which, however, there could be no doubt, must have influenced her judges, because more than a cycle afterwards Orfila had to explain again and again to magistrates as well as to juries that homicidal mania is the madness of an hour or a minute, as the case may be, and perfectly consistent with precedent and subsequent sanity of mind. He went further still. He cited the case of a journalist, well known at the time, who was confined in a lunatic asylum as a homicidal maniac. One day his attendant, being alone with him, notices that he is hiding a formidable life preserver under his coat. "I suppose you mean to kill me with this," says the keeper, not leaving his patient time to attack. "Remember that if you do," he continues, "you'll be guillotined." "No, I won't," comes the reply. "I have thought it out, the doctors will say I am mad." " Not this time, " replies the keeper, "because it will be proved that you premeditated it." "I'll lay you a wager that Orfila will get me off, for I have been looking at his book lately; " retorts the madman. The keeper never loses his presence of mind. "Where's the book?" he asks, "I should like to have a look at it myself." It's downstairs in the doctor's library; go and get it, and I'll show you the passage." There is no need to state that the keeper failed to keep the appointment when once out of the room.
Here, then, we have not only absolute premeditation, but a perfect consciousness on the part of the maniac of the legal bearings of his premeditated act at the very moment of its execution. Orfila lived to see his theory at least accepted partially, though he was too old to take share in the debates, for the celebrated trial in which Drs. Gromier and Tavernier successfully advanced this theory took place but a few months before Orfila's death. On the evening of September 15, 1851, the Celestins Theatre at Lyons was crowded from floor to ceiling. Suddenly the performance of "Adrienne Lecouvreur" was interrupted by a terrific cry, a young matron had been stabbed to the heart by a stranger standing behind her in the ampitheatre. The murderer, Antoine Emmanuel Jobard, not even endeavoured to escape. "I am a miserable wretch," he exclaimed, "do with me what you like." He was taken to the town-hall, and when the examining magistrate entered the cell a few hours afterwards he found the prisoner praying, but thoroughly calm and composed. He did not know Madame Ricard, he confessed that any other victim would have suited him quite as well, that in fact he had at first selected a woman with whom he had passed the previous night in a house of ill-fame, but that he was first of all afraid that her companions would lynch him, and that secondly she was too handsome. "I wish to have the time to repent before I die," he said, "else I should have committed suicide long ago, but I was afraid to appear before my Maker with this horrible sin upon me without confession." Everything went to prove that Jobard was fully cognizant of the consequences of his act; that he had carefully shifted from one part of the theatre to another in order to get a victim which he might not miss. He had calmly awaited his opportunity until the box-keeper, whom he thought was watching him, had departed; nay, he had tried to avert what he thought suspicion by assuming a great interest in the play, smiling every now and then, to said attendant in order to convince him that the play, and the play only, had brought him to the theatre. He had quietly drawn his knife from his breast and pretended to pare his nails with it when he deemed himself too much observed. He had even shifted between whiles, on perceiving a little girl on the opposite side of the theatre, whom he thought within easier reach; in one word, his presence of mind had never left him for a single instant. Nevertheless, this man was a homicidal maniac, but it was difficult to persuade the jury, perhaps the judges. The verdict of twenty years penal servitude (not detention in a madhouse, or, as we should call it, "during the Queen's pleasure") was based not upon the absence of moral responsibility. Orfila had only conquered partially.
I might quote a dozen similar cases; I will not weary the reader, and conclude to-morrow with the biography and trial of Philippe, the only precedent in criminal annals of the Whitechapel murders; of Philippe, whose exploits were known under the title of "the St. Bartholomew of Unfortunates." A.D.V.
RESUMED INQUEST ON CATHERINE EDDOWES.
The inquest into the death of Catherine Eddowes (or Conway), who was found murdered and mutilated in Mitre-square on the morning of the 30th ult. Was resumed to-day at the city mortuary in Golden-lane by the City Coroner and a jury.
Dr. Sequeira was the first witness. He said that he was the first medical man called to the place of the murder. He corroborated previous witnesses that the murderer had no special design on any part of the woman's body, and showed no great anatomical skill.
Dr. Sidgwick Saunders, the Medical Officer of Health for the City, said he had analysed the stomach, with special reference to narcotic poisoning, but with negative results.
Annie Phillips, a married woman, said she was the daughter of the deceased. Her father, Thomas Conway, was the husband of the deceased. He did not live with her. He had left home suddenly, but on good terms, and she had never seen or heard of him since. He was a teetotaler. She had no idea where her father was living. He did not live with her mother because of her drunken habits. He was a pensioner, she thought, for life. He had been a pensioner in the 18th Royal Irish since witness was eight years old. She was now 23. It was between seven and eight years since he left her mother. She was not in the habit of seeing anything of him after he left witness, about fifteen or eighteen months ago. Her mother used to apply to him for money very frequently. She had not applied to witness for two years and one month. Witness had in the meantime moved, and did not leave her new address. She never saw her mother's maggiage lines, but her nother always told her she was married to her father.
By Mr. Crawford (City Solicitor) : She was not quite sure that her father was a pensioner in the 18th Royal Irish. Her mother had not received maney from witness for two years and two months. She never had a letter from her mother. She had seen Kelly and her mother in the lodging-house in Flower and Dean-street. The last time was about three years ago. She knew they were living as man and wife. Her father was living with her two brothers. She did not know where they were living. She knew her father was with them because he always he always lived with them. She had not seen them for 18 months. She had lost all trace of her father, her mother, and her two brothers for at least 18 months, and could not give the police the slightest clue where to find them. She did not know whether her mother had been living recently with anybody but Kelly.
The Coroner said it would be well to call some one to prove that every effort had been made to find Conway and his sons.
Sergeant John Mitchell, of the City Detective Force, was then called, and said he had done everything to find the father and brothers of last witness, without success. He had found a pensioner named Conway, belonging to the 18th Royal Irish. He is not identified as the father of the last witness. Every endeavour and every inquiry has been made to find the man.
Detective Baxter Hunt said he had discovered Conway, of the 18th Royal Irish. He had confronted him with two of the deceased's sisters, and they failed to recognise him as the man who used to lived with the deceased. He had made every endeavour to trace the Thomas Conway and the brothers referred to by the witness Phillips.
A Juryman: Why did you not take the daughter?
Witness: At that time the daughter had not been found.
Mr. Crawford: It shall be done.
Another Juryman: Is it possible for a pensioner to be in the army without your knowing his address?
Mr. Crawford: It is just possible he may not be drawing a pension in the name of
Conway. They take such various names, but everything is still being done to find him.
Dr. Brown, City police surgeon, recalled, said that from the way the blood had flowed he did not think the deceased moved in the least bit after the injury to the throat. The murder was undoubtedly committed where the body was found.
Police-constable Robinson, 931, said he was called to 29, High-street, on Saturday night, 29th ult., and found a woman lying outside drunk. He had since identified her as the deceased. There was a crowd, and he asked if there was anybody there who knew her and got no answer. He then picked her up and carried her to the side by the shutters. He tried to lean her against the shutters, and she fell sideways down again. He got assistance and took her to the police-station, where she was locked up.
By Mr. Crawford: It was about nine o'clock on the Saturday evening when the deceased was put in the police cell. She was then wearing an apron
[The bloody apron was here produced, torn and tattered, and the deceased's daughter, Mrs. Phillips, burst into tears.]
Witness (continuing) : Yes, that is the apron.
Station-Sergeant Byfield said he remembered the deceased being brought to Bishopgate-street station on Saturday, September 29, at about a quarter to nine o'clock. She was drunk and put into a police cell, where she remained till one o'clock in the morning. She was then discharged. She gave the name Mary Ann Kelly, 6, Fashion-street, Spitalfields. She said on being liberated that she had been hopping.
By a juryman: Had she food in the cell?
Would it be possible for a person locked up very drunk at nine o'clock to be sober at one o' clock in the morning? - Yes.
Police-constable John Hutton, 968 City, said that on Saturday, the 29th ult., at a quarter to 10 p.m., he took over the care of the prisoners at Bishopgate Station, among them the deceased. He visited her several times till five minutes to one the following morning. The inspector was out visiting, and he was directed by Sergeant Byfield to see if there were any prisoners fitted to be discharged. He reported the deceased sober, took her to the office, where, after giving the name of Mary Ann Kelly she was discharged. When told to pull the outer door to she said, "All right, old cock." The door was closed to about half a foot, and saw her turn to the left.
By a Juryman: Was it left entirely to your discretion to decide whether the woman was sober or not?
Witness: No, that is left to the inspector of the acting-inspector. I brought out the deceased for the sergeant to decide. About 12:30 she asked witness when she was to be discharged, and he replied, "When you are able to take care of yourself." She replied, "I am quite capable, now."
By Mr. Crawford: At two minutes before one in the Station-yard, she asked what time it was , and he replied, "Too late for you to get any more drink"; telling her it was just on one. She replied, "Then I shall get a ----- fine hiding when I get home." Witness said, "Serve you right, you've no right to get drunk." He noticed she was wearing an apron. The apron produced to the last witness, was, to the best of his belief, the apron. The distance from the station to Mitre-square was about 600 yards. With ordinary walking, it would take a person eight minutes to go to Mitre-square.
Mr. George James Morris, watchman to Messrs. Kearley and Tonge, tea merchants, Mitre-square, said he went on duty at six o'clock on the evening of Saturday, 29th ultimo. About a quarter to two o'clock in the morning he was called by Police-constable Watkins. The door was "on the jar," and he (witness) was then sweeping the steps towards the door. Watkins said, "For God's sake, mate, come to my assistance." Seeing the constable rather agitated he thought him very ill, so taking his lamp went outside, when the constable said, "Oh, dear, here's another woman cut in pieces." Witness having seen the woman, ran up into Aldgate, blowing his whistle. Two police-constables soon appeared. He saw no "suspicious" persons. He had heard no noise in the square previous to being called by Police-constable Watkins. (The inquiry is proceeding).
FRESH EVIDENCE EXPECTED AT TO-DAY'S INQUEST.
A "WANTED" MAN.
WHITECHAPEL QUIETER NOW.
A reporter who patrolled the East-end districts, last evening, states that the popular excitement has almost entirely subsided. More women were in the streets than have been for weeks past, and there were no signs of special police precautions. It is understood, however, that the police have in no degree relaxed their vigilance, and that the number of plain-clothes men and amateur patrols has not been reduced.
The authorities are greatly harassed by the multitudinous letters pointing to "clues" in this or that locality. Sometimes 70 or 80 written communications and telegrams from all parts of the country arrive at the East-end District Police Office in one day. Certain of the writers have boldly incriminated individuals, and have offered to give full information, with the addendum that they hope to share in the reward. Every item of authenticated private information is eagerly investigated, and , even at the risk of being trifled with, anonymous communications as supposed clues receive due attention. Yesterday afternoon, for instance, the police at Leman-street, acting on evidence believed to be of a highly important character, took steps to keep under observation a man believed to be guilty of these horrible murders. It is thought that this last clue will lead to elucidating the crime in some measure, even if it does not result in the immediate apprehension of the criminal. The police have strong reasons to believe that the perpetrator of the East-end murders is not now in Whitechapel. His quarters are said to be in a far more fashionable part of the metropolis.
Shortly before closing time yesterday morning three men in the lack Swan public-house, Hanbury-street, being struck by the demeanour of a stranger who was present, submitted him to interrogation, and finally to a search. The three men assert that they took from him a large clasp knife, and that, with the assistance of a constable, they conveyed him to Commercial-street Police-station, where two more knives, four rings, hairpins, and money were found upon him. After inquiries had been made, however, the man was liberated.
Some time ago a man is stated to have landed from a ship at Deptford, who declared that if he could find her he would "do" for a certain woman, who, he conceived, had injured him. He further alleged that he would "do" for any other woman of her class. Yesterday the police gave the man's description as follows: Age, 28; height, 5ft. 5in. or 5ft. 6in.; complexion fair; whiskers about a month's growth; dressed in dark clothes.
A respectably-dressed young man, named Stephen Rourke, was charged , before the Manchester City justices, yesterday, with annoying and using threatening language towards Mrs. Sarah Burgess, wife of a cab-driver. According to Mrs. Burgess' statement the prisoner accosted her in Lower Moss-lane as she was returning home about twenty minutes past twelve o'clock in the morning. She refused to have anything to do with him, but he continued to annoy her, and at last threatened her, describing himself as the author of the atrocities in Whitechapel. At length another young man came to the complainant's assistance, and prisoner was given into custody. The police having represented that a state of terror existed in the city and neighbourhood, the accused was remanded for inquiries.
A great deal of fresh evidence will be given to the adjourned inquest, which will be held to-day, at the City Coroner's Court, Golden-lane, upon the body of the Mitre-square victim. Since the adjournment, Shelton, the Coroner's officer, has, with the assistance of the City Police authorities, discovered several new witnesses, including the daughter of the deceased, who was found to be occupying a respectable situation as a domestic in the neighbourhood of Kennington. She states that they saw the deceased standing at the corner of Duke-street, Aldgate, a few minutes' walk from Mitre-square. This was as near as they can recollect about half-post one o'clock, and she was then alone. They recognized her on account of the white apron she was wearing. The contents of deceased's stomach has been analysed, but no trace of a narcotic can be discovered. Ten witnesses will be called to-day, and the coroner hopes to conclude the inquiry this sitting.
Sir Alfred Kirby, colonel of the Tower Hamlets Fusiliers, recently made an offer to provide 30 or 50 men belonging to that regiment for service in connection with tracking the perpetrator of the Whitechapel and Aldgate tragedies. The Home Secretary has just written to Sir Alfred, saying that having consulted Sir Charles Warren he had come to the conclusion that it would not be advisable to put the men on for sevice. It is thought that several considerations have pointed to this determination, the principal being that in the event of any injury happening to the men the question of compensation might be attended with some difficulty.
During yesterday frequent inquiries were made of the Liverpool head constable, Captain Bower, as well as at the detective office, with reference to the action of the Liverpool police in regard to tracing the person or persons supposed to be concerned in the recent atrocities in Whitechapel. A statement has been widely circulated to the effect that one of the supposed criminals was traced to Liverpool, that he had left the city, and that the police had lost sight of him. As a matter of fact, the head constable and the detective department knew nothing of the circumstance until the statements in the newspapers were brought under their notice. The head constable has given instructions for the various railway stations and the departing steamships to be closely watched, and an efficient staff of detectives are endeavouring to give every possible assistance to the London police, but up to last night no trace, so far as Liverpool is concerned, has been found of the criminal. The reward offered for the discovery of the assassin is posted up outside the police stations, and during the day it was eagerly perused by a large number of persons. The Liverpool police do not profess to have any distinct theory as to the identity of the murderer, or any tangible information likely to lead to an arrest. They are, however, deluged with suggestions from various quarters as to the solution of the mystery, but none of these have been found to be of any practical value.
Early this morning rumours were current in various parts of the metropolis that another horrible murder had been committed in the East. Arbour-street, Commercial-road, was the situation fixed upon for the alleged atrocity, and it was said that a woman had there been murdered and mutilated. A representative of The Evening News was at once despatched to Leman-street Police-station to make inquiries, and was there informed that nothing of the kind alleged had taken place.
Another man gave himself up at Kilburn, and was taken to Leman-street Police-station, but after being questioned there by Inspector Abberline he was discharged.
The particulars of a sad case of suicide which took place at No. 65, Hanbury-street, Spitalfields, a house few doors away from the spot the unfortunate woman Annie Chapman was murdered, reached Dr. Macdonald, the coroner for North-east Middlesex, this morning. It appeared that the top floor of that address is occupied by a silk weaver named Sodeaux, his wife, and a child aged eight years. For some time past Mrs. Sodeaux has been depressed, and since the perpetration of the horrible murders which have taken place in the district during the past few weeks she has been greatly agitated. On Sunday she was found to have a razor in possession, and it was taken from her, as it was thought she meditated suicide. The following day she appeared to be more cheerful, and was left alone with her child. Yesterday, however, she left her room, saying she was going on an errand, but when some time elapsed, and she did not return, her daughter went in search of her, and was horrified to find her hanging with a rope round her neck to the stair banisters. The child ran for assistance, but no one would go up to the body, and eventually the police were called in and the body cut down. Life was then extinct, but as the body was quite warm, it is believed that had assistance been rendered immediately on the discovery being made the woman's life might have been saved. The inquest on the remains will be held on Saturday morning, at 11 o'clock.