Friday, 28th September 1888
THE CONFESSION OF CRIME
Telegraphing at noon the Central News says - The man Fitzgerald who accused himself to the police at Wandsworth last night of being the Whitechapel murderer, is a bricklayer's labourer. He says he has been wandering about the country, and appeared to be under the influence of drink. His statements are somewhat incoherent, and his appearance does not tally with the description given at the inquest. The authorities disincline to attach importance to the matter.
The Press Association says - As the consequences of the startling statement made by the Coroner yesterday, public interest in the fate of the unfortunate Annie Chapman has been stimulated afresh, and to-day the subject again occupied the foremost place in conversation. The clue afforded by the Coroner is, of course, being followed up by the police, who have now had the information in their possession for a week, but it has not transpired whether it has yet led to any tangible result. The inquiries of the police necessarily extend to America, and on that account it may be some time before fresh facts can be in the hands of the public. An important point yet to be made clear is whether the object of murder was the same in the case of the woman Nicholls and of Annie Chapman. The Coroner in the former case, when he summed up last Saturday, appeared to think that it was, and at the time of expressing that opinion he must have been in receipt of important information from the sub-curator of the Pathological Museum attached to one of the Metropolitan Hospitals, to which he referred in his summing up on the body of Annie Chapman. The opinion he expressed last Saturday regarding Nicholls' case thus carries weight. The "shabby genteel" man who was seen in Chapman's company shortly before her murder is being sought for, but up to the present it would appear without success. Inquiries at some fo the medical institutions show that similar requests have been made for anatomical specimens, but the conditions could not possibly be complied with.
A bricklayer, who had evidently been drinking, stated to the Wandworth police last night that he committed the Whitechapel murder. He is detained, but his statement is not credited. The name of the man who made the confession is John Fitzgerald. A companion of his named John Locas has made a statement to the effect that Fitzgerald had entered a publichouse in Wandsworth last evening and commenced talking about the Whtiechapel murder, and produced a knife with which he illustrated a theory as to how the murder was committed. He then left, saying he had no home. He will be charged at the Thames Police Court.
The purport of theory built up by the coroner who conducted the inquest concerning one of the Whitechapel murders yesterday has been cabled hither from London. The revelation, such as it is, has given rise to much discussion, and various opinions have been ventured on the subject. Representatives of the Press have been endeavouring to ascertain the name of the American scientist referred to by the coroner, but so far without success. The New York police have had no inquiry addressed to them in this matter by the English authorities.