Wednesday, 14 August 1889.
A SCENE AT THE CLERKENWELL
William Wallace Brodie, aged 32, a fireman, was indicted at the London County Sessions, on Monday, for obtaining, by false pretences, from Mr. Peter Rigley Pratt, a jeweller, of Clerkenwell-road, a gold watch, value £9 9s., with intent to defraud. Early in the day, when the grand jury came into Court with a true bill of indictment against the prisoner, he was asked by Mr. Sage (the clerk) if he was guilty or not guilty. The prisoner, in a loud voice, replied, "I ain't charged with that; I am here for the murder of Alice Mackenzie." A plea of not guilty was then entered, and the prisoner ordered to stand down. In the afternoon he was again brought up, and given in charge of the jury. Mr. Burnie, who prosecuted, said the prisoner had pretended that his brother had a sum of money belonging to him. He went to the prosecutor and said he was returning to South Africa. He wanted to purchase some silver watches, and made an appointment for the next day to receive them. He then went to his brother and spoke to him about money, and his brother said he had none belonging to him. He then returned to the prosecutor, and begged to be allowed to show his brother a gold watch, which the prosecutor permitted him to do on the face of his statement that his brother had money which belonged to him. The prisoner pawned the watch in the Strand, and was not apprehended for several days, when he was found at the Thames Police-court. The prosecutor was then called. As soon as he came into the body of the Court the prisoner, who had been clutching the dock rail, rushed towards him, and in a loud and savage voice cried out, "There he is; he is one of the syndicate who are going to carry me about in a cage and exhibit me as the man who committed all the East-end murders." He then endeavoured to strike the prosecutor, but was seized by the dock warder. His conduct was so violent that several other warders were summoned from the cells. Chief-warder Cave was then examined as to the prisoner's state of mind. He said he had been in custody for a fortnight, during which time he had had him under his observation. He had been seen by the medical officers of the prison, and when he was brought up on remand a certificate was sent to the Magistrate to the effect that he was quite sane. The prosecutor was then sworn, and as he got into the witness-box to give evidence the prisoner, grinding his teeth, again made a desperate effort to get at him, and it required the aid of a dock-full of warders to hold him down. By order of the judge he was removed to the cells, and the excitement which had prevailed during the scene soon subsided. The learned Chairman said he thought under the circumstances the jury had better be discharged without giving a verdict, and the trial postponed until next sessions. From what he had observed he thought the medical officers of the prison should see the prisoner again. The trial was accordingly postponed. The prisoner is the man who made a statement at Leman-street Station to Inspector Moore that he was "Jack the Ripper," and that he was the murderer of Alice Mackenzie. His story was investigated, it was found that there was no truth in it, and he was then charged with being a wandering lunatic. He made a statement to the Magistrate, who directed him to be charged on his own confession with the murder of Alice Mackenzie in Castle-alley. He was acquitted, and then apprehended on the present charge.