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Frederick News
Maryland, U.S.A.
10 September 1888

FIENDISH MURDERS

London Agitated Over Four Incredibly Horrible Crimes

A MYSTERIOUS ASSASSIN

His Victims Are All Fallen Women - He Is Not Satisfied with Merely Killing Them, but Terribly Mutilates Their Bodies

New York, Sept. 10.
The Sun's special cable dispatch from London says:

This great city has forgotten all about politics, international complications, and other things which usually interest it, and its millions are thinking and talking only of the horrible murder of a wretched woman in Whitechapel, that most miserable and thickly crowded section of London. The horror of the murder is increased by the fact that it is the fourth crime of the same kind, all apparently without motive, all perpetrated upon wretched women of the lowest class, all perpetrated beyond doubt by the same murderous fiend or madman, and each a more horrible and bloodthirsty crime than the last. The papers circulated in the afternoon that the criminal had been captured in the person of an insane Jew turns out to be false, and the murderer is still at large.

Your correspondent has just returned from an inspection of the locality and of the dingy courtyard of the small lodging house in which the woman was butchered. The miserable inhabitants were clustering like flies about lamp posts at the public house doors, scanning the passers by with morbid looks and curiosity, and formulating most bold and romantic theories. The unhappy women from whose ranks the murderer had chosen his four victims were much less numerous on the streets than usual, and those poor wretches whom want had driven out were invariably seen walking two or more together and displaying a nervous timidity in striking contrast with their usual bearing. Everybody was relating more and more horrible details of the murder, but without exceeding the truth. Imagine fiendish ingenuity exhausted in efforts to horribly maltreat a human body, and it will give some idea of the crime.

Of the victim, Annie Sievey, or "Black Annie," little is known. She was simply one of the countless throng of homeless, friendless women. Her death, but for its brutality, must have been a release to herself, and a gain to society. It had come as a blessing to an individual whom I found industriously feigning tragic sorrow and collecting a penny each from the morbid crowd that pressed in to the new scene of crime.

Suggestions as to forming a vigilance committee have been made by two newspapers, and are eagerly taken up in the locality of the murder. The police will have to watch these enthusiastic outbursts or there will be trouble among the ignorant men of Whitechapel, who are new to the institution of lynching. One newspaper goes so far as to recommend that the citizens shall constitute themselves guards to follow upon the beat of every woman of the class when the monster draws his victims, to arrange whistling or other signals with women, and pounce on all characters who seem suspicious.

The police are industriously looking for a certain individual who is probably innocent. Since Friday's murder one newspaper has been clamoring for the arrest of a so called Leather Apron, who is minutely described, but who is probably a half mythical character, if not altogether the product of some heated imagination. This individual is supposed to prey upon the lowest class of women, whom he blackmails. Here is a part of his description as given to the police:

He is five feet four or five inches in height, and wears a dark, close fitting cap. He is thick cat and has an unusually thick neck. His hair is black and closely clipped. He has a small black mustache. The distinguishing feature of his costume is a leather apron which he always wears, and from which he gets his nickname. His expression is sinister, and seems to be full of terror for the women who describe it. His eyes are small and glittering. His lips are usually parted in a grin, which is not only not reassuring, but excessively repellent. He always carries a leather knife, as sharp as leather knives are wont to be. This knife a number of the women have seen. His name nobody knows. In moving about he never makes any noise. What he wears on his feet the women do not know, but they agree that he moves noiselessly. His uncanny peculiarity to them is that they never see him or know of his presence until he is close by them. Leather Apron never by any chance attacks a man. He has a pal named Mickeldy Joe.

Leather Apron is in all probability one of the despicable class of creatures, numerous here as everywhere, known in police language as Alphonses in Paris and as lovers in New York. A leather apron was found beside the murdered woman. This does not prove that the fanciful Leather Apron did the deed, but that the real murderer is a man of some intelligence who reads the newspapers, and thought by leaving purposely a leather apron to strengthen the theory which had been gaining ground as to the murderer's identity. It is certain that the creature who makes murder his delight, whether insane or not, has studied the science of killing his victims without making any noise. Within a few feet of where he killed the woman several persons were sleeping, among them an old woman, Mrs. Bell, whose window was open, and who declares no sound could have been made without rousing her. That the killer's love of killing grows with the number of his victims is plain, and should the next few days develop another horrible crime, it is impossible to guess what the British state of mind will be.

The opinion that this unknown man, who murders for the pleasure of killing, must be insane, though almost universally accepted, finds opponents in the mass of those whom the atrocities have aroused into discussion.


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