Wednesday, 10 October 1888
The newsometer again points to "dull" and we are anxiously awaiting a change in affairs. The public has of late been so fed upon sensations that the fare of commonplace cannot content its appetite, accustomed to the daily spice of mystery and murder. The uneasiness is especially suburban, and we hear all sorts of stories, many of them of a grimly comic kind, illustrating the dread existing among the households of London. While the social and criminal condition is without interest, political quotations also rule quiet…
An arrest took place this evening in the East End District of Haggerston. A man was noticed making inquiries at lodginghouses, and acting generally, it was thought, in a suspicious way. The attention of a policeman was called to him, and he was taken into custody and brought to Commercial street Police Station at 9 o'clock, where he was detained pending inquiries. These having been made, the police considered there was no reason for keeping the man in custody, and he was liberated after an hour and a half. There has been no other arrest to-day.
At the Clerkenwell Police Court to-day James Phillips, aged 37, a cab washer, and William Jarvis, 40, cab washer, of Hackney road, were charged before Mr Bros with being concerned together in cutting and wounding Detective Sergeant Robinson of the "G" Division, in Phoenix place, St. Pancras, early this morning. Jarvis was further charged with cutting and wounding Henry Doncaster, a private person, on the same occasion.
The heads of the prisoners were bound with blood-stained bandages, and the face of Sergeant Robinson had surgeons straps upon wounds around the left eye.
Mr Ricketts, solicitor, appeared for the prisoners.
Detective Sergeant Robinson said that between 12 and 1 o'clock this morning he was on duty, disguised in female clothing, and in company with Detective Sergeant Mather in ordinary dress. A man named Doncaster and several Italians were watching the actions of a man who was in company with a woman under circumstances of which he had important suspicion. They were in Phoenix place. About 20 minutes to one, two men (not the prisoners) came up to him and asked him what he was doing there. He answered that he was a police officer, and they went away. Shortly afterwards Jarvis came to him and asked , "What are you messing about here for?" Witness took off his woman's hat and answered, "I am a police officer," and added that the other men were with him. Jarvis said, "Oh you are cats and frogs are you?" and struck him a violent blow with his fist. He seized Jarvis by the coat, but Jarvis pulled out an knife and stabbed him over the left eye. He fell to the ground, and Jarvis again stabbed him as he lay, on the bridge of the nose. Lying on his back, witness drew his trucheon and struck at Jarvis' hand which held the knife, but the blow, so intended, missed the hand and struck Jarvis on the head. The prisoner Phillips then kicked him (witness) on the arm and again in the ribs. Both prisoners ran away, and directly afterwards he saw Jarvis strike Doncaster (who had been assisting witness) on the face, and Doncaster cried out "I am stabbed." Jarvis then called, "Come on, George, cats and dogs," and several men came out of the cab yard with pitchforks and other implements, but did not use them. Several constables had by this time arrived, and the prisoners were taken into custody. Sergeant Mather, it was stated, was watching the suspicious men at a little distance and did not hear the scuffle until it was almost over.
Cross-examined by Mr Ricketts - Sergeant Robinson said it was dark, and he did not actually see the blade of the knife, but only what looked like the handle. He had information which he believed might be of importance in regard to the Whitechapel murders. He struck at Jarvis's hand, but after he was stabbed did not care whether he hit him on the hand or the head. A scare had been raised in the neighbourhood that "Jack the Ripper" was about. It was not the case that there were two constables watching the struggle, nor that the crowd appealed to them to protect Jarvis.
Henry Doncaster, of 26 Warner street, Clerkenwell, who appeared with his head and face bandaged, said that he was with Sergeant Robinson on the occasion in question, watching a man and woman through the windows of a cab. They were accosted, and the struggle tok plae as described by the last witness. Witness was running for assistance for Robinson, when Jarvis struck him in the face with something which cut him severely.
Cross-examined - He had heard the rumour that the Whitechapel murderer was about. H ewas not n the dress of a woman.
Dr J. A. Milner gave evidence of dressing the wounds of the prosecutors and of the prisoners. The wounds on Robinson's and Doncaster's faces were "star-shaped," and might have been caused by the metal end of a pocketknife handle. Doncaster's jaw was dislocated; Jarvis was severely hurt.
Mr Ricketts, in asking for bail, said he expected to be able to show that the struggle was caused by misunderstanding owing to the failure to inform the prisoners that Robinson was a constable.
Mr Bros remanded the prisoners, refusing bail.
At the close of the magisterial examination at the above court this afternoon a reporter had an interview with Detective Sergeant Robinson, who stated that the strange man who entered the cab yard with a woman took advantage of the affray between the sergeant and the man now under remand and made good his escape, but Detective Robinson has information to hand which he considers will warrant a most zealous search after the suspect. Accordingly, investigations will be entered on without delay. In the neighbourhood of Eyre street is an Italian colony, and it was at the Gunmakers' Arms where the behaviour of the stranger first aroused suspicion. It appears that there were several people in the house by whom it was remarked that the man's appearance answered the description of the supposed perpetrator of the Whitechapel crimes. When he invited a woman to accompany him from the house, and they left together, some men who had kept an eye upon him followed. Detective Robinson being found on Eyre street Hill, that officer was put upon the track, with the result already stated. On the one side of Phoenix place is the Clerkenwell House of Correction, while on the other side are situated some cabinet works and a cab yard, into which the stranger and the woman were traced. The spot is a lonely one - of itself a suspicious fact, and the suspicion is brightened by the conduct of the female, who appears to have been alarmed by the actions of her companion, and to have hastily made off.
Shortly before closing time this morning three men in the Black Swan publichouse, Hanbury street - George Lucas, James Miller, and Thomas Pearman - 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 were found upon him. After inquiries had been made, however, the man was liberated.