9 October 1888
Mt. John Troutbeck, coroner for Westminster, opened the inquest yesterday on the remains found in the neighbourhood of Whitehall last week. The jury assembled at the mortuary, Millbank street, where they were sworn, and where the remains were viewed. Afterwards an adjournment was made to the Sessions House, where the following evidence was taken.
Frederick Wildbore, carpenter, of Clapham Junction, said:- I am employed at the new police station buildings, Westminster. On Tuesday afternoon last I was at work at the building. On the Monday morning at six o'clock I had occasion to go and look for my tools, which my labourers had placed in the new vaults on the previous Saturday. When I went at six o'clock on Monday morning I noticed what I took to be an old coat lying in a recess.
The Coroner - Was it behind anything?
Witness - No, sir; it was perfectly open, though the place was dark. My labourers had previously removed my tools. I went again about half past five the same day with my tools. Next morning I went again and noticed the same thing. I drew my mate's attention to it. I struck a wax vesta and looked at the object. That was the first time I had noticed it particularly. We looked closely at it, but did not form any idea of what it was, and both went away.
The Coroner - Did you report it?
Witness - Not then. I informed Mr. Brown, assistant foreman, about one o'clock, when he cane down to where I was at work. We both went and looked at it, and found it a curious parcel. I left it to his decision.
The Coroner - Was it opened in your presence?
Witness - No, sir, not in my presence. I had not been at the spot for eight days before the previous Saturday, and then there was nothing to see. About three quarters of an hour after I left Mr. Brown with the parcel I heard that a body had been found in it. The parcel remained in the same position from the Monday to the time I drew Mr. Brown's attention to it, and Mr. Brown saw it as I first saw it. There was nothing in the vault but the parcel and the debris from a drain which had been opened near there. This vault had been used to place tools in for some weeks will within the last three weeks, when we had a lock up, and even after that I placed my tools there, as I considered them safer than in the lock up. I had not noticed any similar parcel before, and I saw no one taking one about the works. A plan of the works was here handed to the witness, and explained by him.
The Coroner - Was there any difficulty in getting to the vault by the way you went?
Witness - No, sit; except to anyone who did not know the way.
A Juror - Was there a hoarding all round the place?
Witness - Yes, there was.
George Budgen, residing at 51 Salisbury buildings, Walworth, deposed - I am a bricklayer's labourer. On the Tuesday afternoon referred to, about 2.55, I was in the vault of the Embankment new police buildings. The foreman told me there was a parcel in the basement. He asked me to see what it was. I went and struck a light. I saw a parcel. The top was bare, the rest was wrapped in some old cloth. I examined it and could make nothing of it. I thought it was a lot of old bacon thrown there. I took it by the strings and dragged it across the open trench, where there was light. I cut off the three or four coarse strings which were round it. I think there were three strings round it and one across. When I undid the parcel I saw it was part of a human body. There were others with me when I opened the parcel. I had not seen the parcel before.
Did you take a light? - Yes I took a lamp. Without that I could see nothing. It was as dark as the darkest night that ever was there. The police took charge of the body.
Thomas Hawkins, detective, A division, said - About 20 minutes past three on the afternoon of the 2nd inst., Mr. Brown came to the Kind street police station, and from what he told the inspector I was sent to the new building adjacent in Cannon row. I saw lying in one of the vaults a portion of human remains. It was wrapped in some dress material tied with string, recently cut (material and string produced). I went with one of the men a little further along and saw more dress material. The body was much decomposed. I left a police constable in charge of the body, with instructions that nothing should be removed, while I sent to the police station and reported the matter to the Chief Superintendent. Dr. Bond was sent for, and shortly after he arrived. The whole of the witnesses were directed to go to the police station, where their statements were taken. About five o'clock Detective Inspector Marshall took over the body. The place where the parcel was pointed out to me was very dark, and it was impossible to see without a light. There was a trench in front of the vault, which is scarcely visible in the daylight, and anyone conveying the body to where it was found would have to go over this trench. Frederick Moore, 86 Great Peter street, deposed - I am a deal porter. I found the right arm shown to the jury.
The Coroner - When?
The coroner's officer informed the coroner that the arm was found at about a quarter to one on the 11th September.
The witness, continuing, said - I was standing outside the gate of 113, Grosvenor road, where I work. My attention was called to the arm where it lay in the mud. It was underneath the sluice, which comes out of the distillery there.
The Coroner - What did you do?
Witness - I said it was no arm. I tried to reach it, but could not. One of my fellow workmen got a ladder. I then found it was an arm. It was quite bare. There was a string tied tightly round the top. I could see nothing more. I gave the arm to a policeman on the Embankment.
How was the tide? - Low, running down fast.
Where does the sluice come from? - From the Millbank Distillery.
William James, police constable, 127 B, said - About 12.45 on the 11th of last month I was on duty on the Grosvenor Embankment, when my attention was called by the last witness to a human arm, which, he said, had been found on the mud below the Embankment. I procured some paper and wrapped up the arm, which I conveyed to the Ebury road police station, where it was seen by the doctor.
The Coroner - Did you find any other remains?
Witness - No, sir. I was on special patrol on the Embankment for a week after, but could find nothing more.
Charles W Brown, 5 Hampton terrace, Hornsey, deposed - I am assistant foreman at the buildings of the new police offices, Whitehall. They are shut off from the surrounding streets by a hoarding about 7ft high.
The Coroner - How many entrances are there?
Witness - There are three. Two in Cannon row and one on the Embankment. There are gates, which are as high as the hoarding.
How long is it since the vaults referred to have been completed? - About three months.
Who was admitted besides the workmen? - No one, unless they had business with the clerk of the works.
Was any one kept at the gates? - No. There were "No admittance" boards up.
How are the works left on Saturday? - Locked up, except one small gate in Cannon row. There is no watchman there. No one is left on the premises at night. There is a latch on the small gate. The latch is let down. No one could open it unless he knew how to do it. It is opened by a small know of string close to the top of the door.
What are the approaches to the vaults? - Planks laid crossways down the road. At the bottom of the planks it is very dark. The floors and drains have to be laid in the vaults yet. The carpenters were at work in them a week before the remains were found.
Was there any appearance of any locks having been forced? - No.
Do you think it would require a previous knowledge of the building to get to the vaults? - Yes, I do.
Why? - Because no one would think of going to the place where the parcel was found unless he knew something about it.
Who called your attention to the parcel on Tuesday? - Wildbore. He asked me could I spare a moment or two to see a parcel. I went to the place. He struck a light. I thought I saw an old coat in the corner with what I fancied was a piece of ham in it. I took no more notice for some time. Then I got a lamp and had another look. I went up and told Mr. Cheney, foreman bricklayer, and asked one of the labourers to go and fetch a curious parcel out of the corner in the vault. I went down again, and Budgen had just got the parcel out. I was not aware of any smell.
The Foreman - Were there any tools stolen from there since the works commenced?
Witness - Only one such theft that I know of.
The foreman expressed his opinion that it was a very lax thing of the contractors to leave the door with only a small string to fasten it, which anyone could open.
Thomas Cheney, foreman bricklayer of the works, gave evidence in corroboration of that of the last witness.
Ernest Head, general labourer at the works, was in the vault on Saturday, the 25th ult., at twenty minutes to five o'clock, in order to get a hammer. This he looked for in the very place where the body was subsequently found. There was no parcel there then. He was, so far as he knew, the last on the works, and it was he who locked up the place.
In answer to the jury, the witness said the secret cord of the small door was only known to the men on the works. It could not be known to anyone else, though it might have been seen by anyone who looked for it and who knew where it was.
The coroner's officer, Constable 634 A, gave evidence as to the removal of the trunk of the body and the arm which had been found to the Millbank mortuary.
Mr. Thomas Bond, 7 The Sanctuary, Westminster Abbey, deposed - I am a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. On October 2nd, shortly before four o'clock, I was called to the new police buildings on the Embankment. I was there shown the decomposed trunk of a woman lying in the basement. It had been removed from the vault, and the string around the parcel had been cut and the contents partially unripped (sic). I visited the place where it was found, and saw the wall against which it had been lying. The wall was stained black. I was not able to form any opinion as to how long the parcel had been lying there, but it seemed to me by the stains on the wall to be several days. I directed the detectives to take charge of the surroundings of the trunk, and had the trunk removed to the mortuary, where I proceeded and made arrangements for its reception. It was taken there that evening, and I superintended the disinfection and placing the remains in spirits. On the following morning I made an examination, assisted by my colleague, Mr. Hebbert. The trunk was that of a woman of considerable stature and well nourished. The head had been separated from the trunk through the sixth cervical vertebrae.
The Coroner - Was that sawn?
Mr. Bond - It had been sawn through. The lower limbs and the pelvis had been removed by the fourth lumbar vertebrae being saw through by a series of long sweeping cuts. The length of the trunk was 17 inches: the circumference of the chest 35 and a half inches, and that of the waist 28 and a half inches. The parts were very much decomposed. We examined the skin for marks of injuries or wounds, but none could be detected. The breasts were large and prominent, and the nipples well shaped. The skin was light, and some parts were not much decomposed. Other parts, especially round the cut surfaces, were very much decomposed. The arms had been removed at the shoulder joint by several incisions, and cuts apparently having been made from above downwards and then round the arm straight through the joint. In fact, it had been disarticulated through the shoulder joint. Over the body were clearly defined marks where the string had been tightly tied. It appeared to have been wrapped up in a very skilful manner. On close examination we could find no marks on the abdomen indicating whether the woman had had children or not. We examined the skin of the neck for wounds, but it was so far decomposed that we could make out no wounds before or after death, except the cutting up. The neck had been severed by the cricoid cartilage. That had been sawn through just as the vertebrae had been sawn through. On opening the chest we noticed that the rib cartilages were not ossified, that one lung was healthy, and that the right lung was firmly adhered to the chest wall and diaphragm, showing that at some time the woman had had severe pleurisy.
The Coroner - That was old?
Mr. Bond - yes. The substance of the heart was healthy, and there was no blood in it, and no staining of the lining membrane of the heart, which is rather an indication that the woman did not die of suffocation or drowning. The liver was normal, and the stomach contained about one ounce of partly digested food. The mucus membrane of the stomach presented nothing abnormal. We noticed no inflammation. The kidneys and spleen were normal, and the small intestines and the part that attaches the intestines to the body were in place and healthy. The lower part of the colon or large bowel and of the pelvic viscera were absent - that includes the uterus, bladder, and rectum. The woman must have been of mature age - at any rate, 24 or 25 years of age. She appeared to be a large, well nourished person, with fair skin and dark hair. The appearance of the breast would indicate that she had not suckled a child.
The Coroner - It is, however, possible that she may have borne a child?
Mr. Bond - It is. The date of death, so far as we can judge from the state of decomposition, would have been six weeks to two months. The decomposition occurred in the air, and not in water. I subsequently examined an arm which had been brought to the mortuary. This arm has been examined by Mr. Hebbert and fully described. I found that the arm exactly fitted the trunk, and that the general contour of the arm corresponded to that of the body. It was a fleshy, rounded arm. The hand was long, the fingers were tapering, and the nails well shaped - quite the hand of a person who had not been used to manual labour.
The Coroner - About the cuts of the mutilation - were they made after death?
Mr. Bond - Oh, undoubtedly, after death.
The Coroner - From the fragments you saw, there is nothing to indicate what the cause of death was?
Mr. Bond - Nothing whatever.
The Coroner - Nothing to show whether it was sudden or a lingering death?
Mr. Bond - There is only this to say, that it is not death from suffocation, but more likely death from haemorrhage. The indications point that way.
The Coroner - Can you give any opinion as to the height of the woman?
Mr. Bond - From measurements Mr, Hebbert and I have carried out together, we believe that height of the woman to have been 5ft 8in. She was not very fat, but fully developed - a tall, big woman.
Mr. Charles A Hebbert, demonstrator of anatomy at Westminster Hospital, deposed that he had made an examination of the right arm, which had been separated from the trunk at the shoulder joint by cuts which passed completely round the arm. The upper part was surrounded with a piece of string tightly tied. The hand was long and well shaped. There were no scars or marks of any kind, and no bruises. The arm had apparently been separated after death. It was done by a person who knew the whereabouts of the joint, and could hit it pretty readily. There were not many cuts, but they had been made with a perfectly sharp knife. The arm and trunk exactly corresponded. A certain amount of skill was shown in dividing the joints, but the cuts were not such as would have been made in a dissecting room.
Inspector Marshall, Criminal Investigation Department, deposed that he went to the police buildings on the Thames embankment, and saw the trunk referred to by the previous witnesses. The corner from which it had been drawn was pointed out to him. He saw that the wall was a good deal stained. He examined the ground and found a piece of newspaper. Mr. Hebbert handed him two pieces of material which he said had come from the trunk. He made a thorough search about the vaults in the immediate vicinity, but nothing more was found, nor anything suspicious observed. With regard to the piece of paper, which was stained, he had since made inquiries and found it was a piece of the Echo of the 24th August last. He found it on the ground where the trunk had been taken from. With regard to the material in which the trunk was wrapped, he had had inquiry made, and found it was broché satin cloth, of Bradford manufacture, but of old pattern, probably three years. It had a flounce six inches deep at the bottom. It would probably cost sixpence halfpenny per yard when new. From the appearance of the parcel he should have thought it had been there some days.
The inquiry was then adjourned for a fortnight.
At the inquest opened, yesterday, by Mr. Troutbeck in the Westminster Sessions House, on the mutilated female trunk lately discovered at Whitehall, the interest centred mainly in the evidence given by Drs. Bond and Hebbert, who described the remains as those of a tall, well grown woman, unaccustomed to manual labour, and whose death was not due to drowning or suffocation, but apparently to haemorrhage. The arm found in the Thames fitted the body perfectly. The inquiry was adjourned for a fortnight.
At the Barnet Police Court yesterday, before the Earl of Strafford, Tilden Dove, bricklayer, of Friern Barnet, was charged with having violently assaulted Sarah Grimsey and Thomas Grimsey, also of Friern Barnet, on the 2nd inst. The complainants keep a general shop at Friern Barnet, and have recently taken County Court proceedings against the prisoner in respect of a debt of long standing. This created ill feeling on the part of Dove, and his annoyance was increased by an attempt to put an execution into his house on the 2nd inst. The same night the prisoner's sister went to Mr. Grimsey's shop, and having ordered various articles was about to take them away, with the remark that "Tilly Dove" would pay for them. Mrs. Grimsey said she could give no further credit, and would not allow the removal of the goods. Some time after she had closed her shop and retired to rest Mrs. Grimsey was aroused by a loud knocking at her private door, and on going down in her nightdress to see who was there, she was dragged into the street by the prisoner and three or four male and female friends, and badly knocked about. Her husband and several neighbours, who were alarmed by her cries for help, hurried into the street and heard the prisoner urging someone to "Whitechapel" Mrs. Grimsey. They went to her assistance, and the prisoner and his friends were prevented from using further violence. Dr. Brunton was called to examine complainant, and found her cut and bruised. She had since been confined to bed. The prisoner was ordered to pay 50s, to go to gaol for one month, with hard labour.
Although the police were unremittingly active in their investigations no arrest was made yesterday, nor was any clue discovered which is likely to lead to a practical result. At one time it was reported that an arrest had been made in Baker's row, and some excitement was caused. Inquiries, however, proved that, so far from being taken into custody in connexion with the murders, the man arrested was conveyed to Bethnal Green police station on the charge of stealing an oil barrel in Baker's row. Some disturbance was caused owing to his resisting the police, but with assistance the officer secured him. A reporter had some conversation yesterday with an old frequenter of lodging houses in the East end, whose experience may be worth stating in view of the theory that the series of murders is the work of a man with anatomical knowledge. The informant stated that during a period of several years spent in doss houses, he has come into personal contact with men in reduced circumstances, some of them professional men - in two or three instances surgeons - who had been compelled to seek such refuges as the doss house deputy could offer them. The informant, moreover, considered that it would be a comparatively easy matter for an astute man to commit crimes such as those now under investigation, and to return to his lodgings without exhibiting the slightest trace of his work. He thinks that the reported carrying of some kind of handbag by the supposed murderer is a fact of some importance, and confirms the suspicions that the culprit is really in hiding within a very short distance of the scene of his crimes.
Among the many clues which the police are following up is that based on the information of a tradesman in the Whitechapel road, who asserts that on the night on which the last murders were committed a man entered his premises about ten o'clock for refreshments. The description which afterwards appeared in the Press of the garb and physical appearance of the man who was seen talking to his victim in Berner street and close to the Board School corresponded in every particular with the exception of the shiny black bag. The same person called at his shop on two subsequent occasions, making but a brief stay, but as he (the tradesman) had no assistants present considerable delay occurred before he could follow, and eventually on both occasions he was lost in the maze of courts and alleys that abound in the vicinity of Baker's row. The detectives and constables are carefully watching and following men and women seen in company at night in the streets under suspicious circumstances, and observing where they go in the hope of obtaining a clue.
We are officially informed that Sir Charles Warren, the Chief Commissioner of Police, has made arrangements for the employment of bloodhounds to track the murderer in the event of any further atrocities of the "Whitechapel" type being committed. An instruction has been issued to the police that they are not to remove the body of the victim, but to send notice immediately to a veterinary surgeon of the South west district who holds several trained bloodhounds in readiness to be taken to the spot where the body may be found and to be at once put on the scent. No details as to the plan which will be followed are given. The plan of operations will to a great extent depend upon the circumstances of any particular case in which the aid of the bloodhounds may be called into requisition. On Saturday night a man entered the Bull's Head public house, in New Oxford street, and handed to the young ladies behind the bar a parcel, which was placed on a sideboard to await the arrival of the proprietor or the manager. Some time afterwards one of the customers asked to see an evening paper, and in drawing it from under the parcel the latter fell to the floor, revealing three knives of the kind usually used by butchers. The knives were examined, and found to measure, 20, 14 and 10 inches respectively, and there was also a leather sheath and strap to be worn round the waist. On Sunday information was given to the police at Bow street, and in the absence of the manager, the stranger called and asked for his parcel, saying he had made a mistake. He was told to call for it on the following day, but up to a late hour last night he had not put in an appearance. Should he appear he will be arrested and required to explain how the weapons came into his possession and for what purposes they were intended. A man who saw the stranger enter the house with the parcel states that he was of small stature, and appeared to be a poor workman. The knives, which are quite new, do not give the name of the manufacturer.
Last evening, at the Three Nuns Hotel, Aldgate, a well attended meeting of the representatives of various trade and labour organisations in the East end of London was held for the purpose of deciding upon concerted action in night patrol for the prevention of further crimes and the capture of the perpetrator or perpetrators of the recent murders. The chair was taken, in the absence of Mr. Phillips, C.C. (representative of the ward in which the meeting was held) by Mr. John Chandler, representing the Riverside Labourers' Society.
The Chairman said the delegates present felt it their duty, as working men residing in that portion of the metropolis, to do what they could in assisting the police in the prevention of the horrible crimes that had occurred in their midst, and in capturing the assassin. Their policy was, not to interfere with and hamper the action of the police, but to supplement the police, and with that object they had met together to devise the necessary plans.
Mr. Kelly read the minutes of a previous meeting, remarking that the committee represented between 20,000 and 30,000 working men in the East end belonging to the different labour organisations. They wanted these men to know through the Press of the action that had been taken, but they desired on the other hand that there should be a certain secrecy as to the plan of operations that would be acted upon.
Mr. Phipps, of the Coopers' Society of London, then moved a resolution recommending the close watching by working men patrols, of all the dark and secluded spots likely to be the scenes of future murders. He did not consider single patrols would be safe and wise. To do useful work the men would need to go in couples.
Mr. Watson, president of the East London Shipping Trades Society, seconded the resolution, remarking that he wished that during one of the night patrols a member of their body might have the pleasure of the assassin's company. He would guarantee not to let the assassin slip through his fingers.
The Chairman, in supporting the resolution, said the inhabitants of the East end could better than the police look after the holes and corners and the precincts of the lodging houses.
After some further observations by other speakers, the resolution was carried. Mr. Kelly said they had arranged already for the patrol of 57 men. The committee had paid about £17 out of their own pockets. The committee calculated that they could put 70 men on the streets at night for a fortnight or three weeks for £150. They would require to cover not only Whitechapel, but also Mile end, the dicks, Bethnal green, and the death-traps of Shadwell. The members of the vigilance organisation would wear a distinctive mark and use a pass word by which they would be known to the police and to each other. The proceedings then terminated, and the committee held a private meeting to decide upon the details of future work.
At the Croydon Police Court yesterday Thomas Johnson, of Middle row, Croydon, was charged with using threatening language to Ellen White, the wife of a knife grinder. The prosecutrix stated that on Sunday evening she was in company with her sister in law, when the prisoner addressed her and said he had been watching her all day, and that she was a pretty young woman. She told him she did not wish him to speak to her, and he replied that she would be a very fortunate woman if she slept at home that night, and added, "With a little trouble I could stop your laugh before eleven o'clock." The prisoner assumed a threatening attitude, and said, "What I have said I mean." Detective sergeant Ward said the women came to him, and, in consequence of what they told him, he went to a common lodging house and arrested the prisoner, who refused to give any address, and called the witness "a contemptible dog," and said, "I shall meet you some other time, and if I do you will know it." The prisoner was examined by the divisional surgeon, who pronounced him sane. The prisoner said he was first accosted by the women. The Bench ordered him to find two sureties of £5 each, and to enter into his own recognisances in £10 to keep the peace for one month. He was removed in custody.
At half past one o'clock yesterday afternoon, the remains of the unfortunate woman, Catherine Eddowes - the victim of the Mitre square tragedy - were removed from the City mortuary in Golden lane to Ilford Cemetery for interment. The deceased, who was 43 years of age, had not been married. Her relatives and friends being persons in very poor circumstances, Mr. Charles Hawkes, undertaker, of Banner street, St. Luke's, offered to defray the entire cost of the interment. His offer was readily accepted by the deceased's relatives, one o'clock yesterday being fixed for the funeral. Some slight delay, however, was occasioned by the late arrival of some of the deceased's friends. At one o'clock there were not more than a score of persons gathered together in Golden lane, but a quarter of an hour later the number had swelled to several hundreds. Five minutes later an open hearse drove up to the mortuary gates, followed at some distance by a mourning coach. The body of the deceased woman, which had been placed in a handsome polished elm coffin, surmounted with a plate in gilt letters, with the following inscription:- "Catherine Eddowes, died September 30th, 1888, aged 43 years," was then brought out of the mortuary and placed on the funeral car. Considerable sympathy was manifested by those admitted within the walls of the mortuary for the deceased's relatives, all of whom were neatly attired in black, and who wept bitterly as this part of the painful ceremony was being performed. The deceased was followed to her grave by her four sisters, Harriett Jones, Emma Eddowes, Eliza Gold, Elizabeth Fisher; her nieces, Emma and Harriett Jones; and John Kelly, the man with whom she had cohabited, who, like the rest of the mourners, was dressed in black. Punctually at half past one the hearse moved from the mortuary, followed by a mourning coach, in which were seated the deceased's sisters, the third vehicle - a brougham - containing the representatives of the Press. Never, perhaps, had Golden lane and the precincts of the mortuary presented a more animated appearance. The footway was lined on either side of the road with persons who were packed in rows five deep, the front row extending into the roadway. Manifestations of sympathy were everywhere visible, many among the crowd uncovering their heads as the hearse passed. A strong body of City police, under the supervision of Mr. Superintendent Foster and Inspector Woollett, kept the thoroughfare clear, and conducted the cortege to the terminus of the City boundary. The route taken was along Old street, through Great eastern street into Commercial street. On reaching Old street the funeral car was met by a body of the metropolitan police, who, under the supervision of Inspector Burnham, of the G Division, kept the roadway clear for its passage. Emerging into Whitechapel road, the cortege passed slowly through a densely packed mob, which lined the roadway on either side, and extended as far as St. Mary's Church. The sympathy shown here was more marked than at any other point of the route, the majority of the women having no covering to their heads, whilst a number of the rough looking labouring men removed their caps as the body passed. Opposite Whitechapel parish church a number of policemen were drawn up, it being rumoured that a demonstration might be attempted. Beyond the marks of sympathy referred to, nothing whatever occurred, and the services of the police were consequently not brought into requisition. The cortege then proceeded rapidly along the Mile end road almost unobserved, and after passing through Bow and Stratford it turned into the Ilford main road, reaching the cemetery shortly before half past three, when the interment took place.
LYCEUM THEATRE - Mr. Richard Mansfield announces a benefit performance, under the most distinguished patronage, on Friday evening, October 19, in aid of the Night Shelters for the Poor of the East end of London, on which occasion Mr. Mansfield will appear in his original character of Prince Karl.
Frederick Lawrence, 32, carman, living in Pedro street, Clapton, was charged on remand, before Mr. Horace Smith, with assaulting his wife, Eliza, on the 30th ult. When the case was before the court last week Mrs. Lawrence accused her husband of locking her out on the Saturday night. She gained admission, she said, when the door was opened by the landlord, and then her husband struck her in the face, knocked her down, and kicked her in the abdomen. She further alleged that he seized a knife and threatened to serve her as the women in Whitechapel had been served. In the struggle her arm was cut. At the suggestion of the magistrate the woman was examined by Dr. Jackman, the divisional surgeon, who said that there were some injuries which might have been caused by violence, but they were very slight indeed. The prisoner denied his wife's accusations, and said that Superintendent Hayes, of the Windsor police, could say something about his wife and about his character too. Mr. Smith then adjourned the case for inquiries. Sergeant Trice, 11 J, now handed the magistrate a communication from the Windsor police, containing a list of convictions against Mrs. Lawrence, dating from 1884, for assaults, disorderly conduct, &c. The magistrate put each item in the list separately to the woman, but she denied that she had ever been convicted. Mrs. Smith told her to be careful how she answered, but she still persisted in her denial, and bursting into tears, she said that the prisoner had been living on her earnings for the past month. This was contradicted by the evidence of the prisoner's employer (a contractor named Potter), who said the accused had been in regular employ for some time past. The police gave the man a good character, and two landladies spoke as to the violent conduct of the wife, one saying that on one occasion Mrs. Lawrence mixed "horse oil" (which she believed was poisonous) with her husband's coffee, and that on another she put her arm through a pane of glass and then went to the police and said that her husband had stabbed her. Mr. Horace Smith discharged the prisoner, and he told Mrs. Lawrence that he did not believe a word she had said. He should consider whether he should lay the evidence before the Treasury with a view to a prosecution for perjury.
Thomas Tyson, 24, costermonger, was charged, before Mr. Biron, with assaulting Eliza Cudney. Police constable 379 P stated that between eleven and twelve o'clock at night he was on duty, and heard cries for help and "Murder." He hurried to the corner of Peckham road and saw the prosecutrix severely injured about the face. She pointed to the prisoner, who was running away. The witness followed and took him into custody. The prosecutrix, who is an unfortunate, stated that the prisoner spoke to her and gave her a coin, and afterwards tried to take it away. She was alarmed by his violence, and called for help. He struck her and knocked her about. Mr. Biron said it was a cowardly assault. Women of the "unfortunate" class must be protected as well as others. He sentenced the prisoner to two months' hard labour.
John Leary, 41, was charged with being found on enclosed premises for the supposed purpose of committing a felony. John M'Ewan, provision dealer, of 36 New road, Whitechapel, said that at twenty minutes to one o'clock on Monday morning he was aroused by a knock at the side door. He there saw Constable Soper, and from what the officer told him let him in. The witness and Soper went into the yard where they found the prisoner close against the wall. Constable King was on the wall, and when he got up he picked up a knife. The prisoner was taken into custody. The only way the prisoner could have got into the yard was by scaling the wall, which was seven feet high. Constable Soper, H division, said he was with Constable King and they heard a noise at the rear of the prosecutor's premises. They also noticed a light in the yard, and the witness went to the front of the house to see if there were any lights. Finding there were none he returned, and helped King to get on the wall. The witness aroused the prosecutor, and found the prisoner in the yard. The accused was taken into custody, and when asked what he was doing there, he said, "Oh, you know." He afterwards said he went there for a lodging. Constable King said he saw prisoner with a knife. The prisoner dropped the weapon when he saw the witness. A key and a box of matches were found on the prisoner. The accused was known to the police, and had been previously convicted. Mr. Saunders sentenced the prisoner to three months' hard labour.
George Sullivan, 30, a man of peculiar appearance, was charged with threatening to stab Mrs. Ellen Jansen. The prosecutrix said that between ten and eleven o'clock on Saturday night the prisoner came into her mother's house in St. George street, E., - a beer house - and asked to be served. He behaved in a suspicious manner, and the witness would not serve him. The prisoner was walking up and down the bar, and the witness told him not to annoy the customers. He had a long knife in his hand, and with it made an upward motion, saying, "Look here! I'll do this to you." The prisoner went out, and she followed him, but lost him. She, however, found him again in a public house, and he said, "You can't lock me up. I've only just come out of Colney Hatch. I was there two years." The witness then gave him into custody. The accused frightened her very much, and she had not got over her fright yet. Mr. George Stacey, relieving officer, who happened to be in court, said he knew the prisoner well. He had been in all the county asylums in Middlesex, and all the asylums in and around London. Mr. Saunders remanded the prisoner for inquiries as to the state of his mind.
James Ward, of 63 Robertson street, Wandsworth road, was charged, before Mr. Plowden, with being insane and not under proper control. Police constable 94 V said that on Saturday evening he was on duty at Lavender hill, when the prisoner came up to him and wished to give himself into custody. The witness asked what for, and the prisoner replied for murdering his wife. He added that he had cut her throat with a knife. He took him to the police station and communicated with the divisional surgeon. Mr. Doring, the divisional surgeon, said he went to 63 Robertson street, but could find no trace of the woman. He went back to the police station and asked the prisoner where the woman was. The prisoner burst into tears, and said he had murdered her, but could not give any reason why. Mr. Plowden - Was he sober? The doctor answered in the affirmative, and added that the prisoner also stated that he did not know what had become of the woman. He was suffering from temporary delusions. Inspector Godden informed the magistrate that he had made inquiries, and found that the prisoner's wife was residing with a friend in the country, and was quite well. Mr. Plowden said the prisoner had not done anything which the law could take hold of, and allowed him to be discharged.