20 October 1888
SIR CHARLES WARREN ON THE SPOT.
The police were, yesterday morning, engaged in excavating the ground in the basement rooms of the new buildings at Whitehall, where the recent discoveries of human remains have been made, and, to assist them in finding, if possible, any of the missing parts of the body, have employed a bloodhound. Their search up to mid-day was fruitless. Sir Charles Warren inspected the premises yesterday.
THE POLICE HAVE SERIOUS SUSPICIONS.
GRAVE POLICE SUSPICIONS.
The half kidney sent to the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, is now in the hands of the City police surgeon, but only a cursory examination has yet been made of it. A small portion only of the renal artery adheres to the kidney, and it will be remembered that in the Mitre-square victim a large portion of the renal artery adhered to the body. This leads the police to attach more importance to the matter than they otherwise would. The half kidney has been preserved in spirits for some time.
As we have already stated, the cardboard box which the chairman received is about 3½ in. square, and was wrapped in paper. The cover bears a London post-mark, but the stamping is not sufficiently clear to enable it to be stated from what postal district of the metropolis the article was sent. On this point it is expected that the assistance of the Post Office officials will be invoked. The portion of the kidney which is enclosed has, according to the medical experts, been preserved for some time in spirits of wine.
The incident of the box containing a portion of a kidney sent to Mr. Lusk of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee was yesterday the subject of much comment in the East-end. It is regarded by the police as a hoax. Even if the kidney forwarded to Mr. Lusk, the chairman of the Vigilance Committee, would prove to be the half of a human organ - and there is medical discrepancy on this point - it could not have been the one extracted from the body of the murdered woman Eddowes. A medical man is said to have ventured to assert - relying upon a microscopic examination - that the organ showed indications of disease from drink. Dr. Sedgwick Saunders, medical officer of the City of London, says this at once disproves the theory that the organ could have belonged to Eddowes, by stating that the right kidney of the woman was perfectly healthy, and presumably the left would be in a similar condition.
Dr. Saunders, alluding to the report that a medical man declared the half kidney had belonged to a female, remarked to a reporter who interviewed him: "It is a pity some people have not the courage to say they don't know. You may take it that there is no difference whatever between the male and female kidney. As for those in animals, they are similar. The cortical substance is the same, and the structure only differs in shape.
I think it would be quite possible to mistake it for a pig's. You may take it that the right kidney of the woman Eddowes was perfectly normal in its structure and healthy, and by parity of reasoning, you would not get much disease in the left. The liver was healthy, and gave no indications that the woman drank. Taking the discovery of the half of a kidney, and supposing it to be human, my opinion is that it was a student's antic. It is quite possible for any student to obtain a kidney for the purpose.
A Press representative had an interview, yesterday afternoon, with the Curator of the Pathological Museum at the London Hospital. In the course of the conversation that gentleman stated that the microscopical examination of the article proved it to be the anterior of the left human kidney. It has been preserved, in his opinion, in spirit for about 10 days. The Curator further added that all other statements which had been made were entirely erroneous. Until the portion of the kidney has undergone a more minute examination it is almost impossible to say whether it has been extracted from the body of a male or female. The idea of its being a practical joke is not generally endorsed, especially as so pronounced an opinion has been given by two medical gentlemen, Dr. Openshaw and Mr. Reed. The box and its contents were taken from Leman-street to the City Police office in Old Jewry, and Dr. Gordon Browne, police-surgeon, will examine and make a report in due course. The extra police precautions are still in force.
A statement which apparently gives a clue to the sender of the strange package received by Mr. Lusk was made last night by Miss Emily Marsh whose father carries on business in the leather trade at 218, Jubilee-street, Mile End-road. In Mr. Marsh's absence Miss Marsh was in the front shop, shortly after one o'clock on Monday last, when a stranger, dressed in clerical costume, entered, and, referring to the reward bill in the window, asked for the address of Mr. Lusk, described therein as the president of the Vigilance Committee. Miss Marsh at once referred the man to Mr. J. Aarons, the treasurer of the committee, who resides at the corner of Jubilee-street and Mile End-road, a distance of about thirty yards. The man, however, said he did not wish to go there, and Miss Marsh thereupon produced a newspaper in which Mr. Lusk's address was given as Alderney-road, Globe-road, no number being mentioned. She requested the stranger to read the address, but he declined, saying, "Read it out," and proceeded to write something in his pocketbook, keeping his head down meanwhile. He subsequently left the shop, after thanking the young lady for the information, but not before Miss Marsh, alarmed by the man's appearance, had sent the shop-boy, John Cormack, to see that all was right. This lad, as well as Miss Marsh, gives a full description of the man, while Mr. Marsh, who happened to come along at the time, also encountered him on the pavement outside.
The stranger is described as a man some forty-five years of age, fully six feet in height, and slimly built. He wore a soft felt black hat, drawn over his forehead, a stand-up collar, and a very long black single-breasted overcoat, with a Prussian or clerical collar partly turned up. His face was of a sallow type, and he had a dark beard and moustache. This man spoke with what was taken to be an Irish accent. No importance was attached to the incident until Miss Marsh read of the receipt by Mr. Lusk of a strange parcel, and then it occurred to her that the stranger might be the person who had dispatched it. His inquiry was made at one o'clock on Monday afternoon, and Mr. Lusk received the package at eight p.m. the next day. The address on the package, curiously enough, gives no number in Alderney-road, a piece of information which Miss Marsh could not supply. It appears that on leaving the shop the man went right to Mr. Aaron's house, but did not call. Mr. Lusk has been informed of the circumstances, and states that no person answering the description has called on him, nor does he know any one at all like the man in question.
As Saturday and Sunday - the days which the Whitechapel murderer has hitherto chosen for his work - come round week by week, special precautions are taken by the police as well as by the self-constituted vigilance committee. Last night, when the policemen on night duty were drawn up in their respective station-yards, preparatory to going on their beats, the last letter sent by "Jack the Ripper" was read over to them. It was pointed out that the writer intimated his intention of committing further murders last night, and the necessity for special vigilance was impressed on the police.
The police complain that their work is increased and morbid excitement created, by the statements made as to alleged arrests of an important character. Both the Metropolitan and City police deny that there was any American or any other man suspected at Bermondsey, whose apprehension was reported to have taken place. There is a clue upon which the authorities have bean zealously working for some time. This is in Whitechapel, not far from the scene of the Berner-street tragedy, and the man is, indeed, himself aware that he is being watched; so much so, that, as far as observation has gone at present, he has scarcely ventured out of doors.
The police called on Mr. Packer, of 44, Berner-street, yesterday morning. Mr. Packer, when asked his opinion as to where the murderer lodged - for he had seen him several times before the fatal night - remarked, "In the next street." It is considered he is not far wrong in his conjecture; but the police do not deem it prudent to say what steps are being taken in the matter.