7 December 1888
The current number of the British Medical Journal introduces to the public the theory of "an eminent surgeon" about the Whitechapel murders. This superior person prefaces his theory with a little sneer at the theories and speculations of other people who are not eminent surgeons, which, he suggests, "are prompted rather by a desire to account for them (the murders) - that is to say, to find some motive for them - than by any knowledge of the subject." Most writers on the point, says the eminent surgeon, have treated the occurrences as though they were unprecedented in the annals of crime, and therefore he considers "it seems desirable to point out that such is by no means the case."
Thereupon our eminent one goes on to explain that "a certain horrible perversion of the sexual instinct is the one motive and cause of such apparently aimless acts," to quote the German authority, Von Krafft Ebing, and to discourse learnedly on "Psycopathia Sexualis," adding a few examples of previous cases of the same class. This is doubtless a valuable contribution to the literature of the Whitechapel murders, but its value is considerably discounted by the fact that the suggestion as to a "Lustmord," the quotation of Von Kraft Ebing, the dissertation on "Psycopathia Sexualis," and the examples of previous cases, were all given in The Evening News of October 15th, and given much more fully and clearly than the eminent surgeon of the B.M.J. gives them. Yet we do not profess to be a medical journal.
ARREST OF A MAN ANSWERING THE DESCRIPTION OF THE SUPPOSED MURDERER.
The police yesterday made a singular arrest, which was reported to be in connection with the Whitechapel murders. It appears that during the afternoon a man, described as a Polish Jew, was arrested near Drury lane, but for what offence is not exactly clear. The individual, who is of short stature with a black moustache, was taken to the Bow street Police station, where he was detained for a time. In the meantime, a telegraphic communication was forwarded to Leman street Police station, which is the headquarters of the Whitechapel division, requesting the attendance of one of the inspectors. Detective Inspector Abberline immediately proceeded to Bow street, and subsequently took away the prisoner in a cab, which was strongly escorted. While on the one hand he is stated to have stolen a watch for which he is detained, it is believed that, beyond that fact, he corresponds to the description of the supposed Whitechapel murderer, and there are other circumstances which are causing the detective force in the East end to make further inquiry concerning the prisoner. He is well known to the local police and detectives, although he is stated to have been absent from the neighbourhood lately.
Another account says: It was subsequently ascertained that the man was apprehended for stealing a watch, with which offence he has been charged; but the police were led to believe that he was connected, not with the mutilations, but with the recent attempt to murder a woman in George street, Spitalfields. Exhaustive inquiries were made, but as far as can be ascertained the man could in no way be connected with that outrage.