17 November 1888
Mr. HOWELL asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he would consider the propriety of strengthening the law for regulating common lodging-houses in the metropolis, and of seeing that the provisions now in force were more fully carried out as regarded inspection, registration, and overcrowding.
Mr. MATTHEWS said he was informed by the police authorities that the provisions of the existing law were fully carried out. There were officers specially appointed in every district in London to inspect common lodging-houses and to enforce the existing regulations against overcrowding and insanitary conditions. Reports on the subject were made in writing.
Mr. HOWELL further asked whether those crimes which had occurred not only very recently during the last few years in the East-end of London had more or less been associated with the question of lodging-houses.
Mr. MATTHEWS said he could not assent to that proposition in its general form.
Mr. HILL, chairman of the Parks’ Committee, announced that a letter had been sent in to him from a deputation of Socialists representing the Socialist League, asking the board to grant permission for six bands to enter Victoria Park on Sunday next, to accompany a demonstration to be held in commemoration of "Bloody Sunday." He moved that the standing orders be suspended and the deputation introduced.
This was seconded and agreed to, and the deputation, which was headed by a Mr. Parker, and which included a member of the gentler sex, was introduced.
Mr. PARKER, addressing the board, said that the public had a right to use Victoria Park, and he wished to say that if the board refused their application the Socialists intended to go there whether they liked it or not. - (cries of "Order") - and any responsibility for disturbance would rest with the board.
The CHAIRMAN (warmly). - Are you come here to ask a favour, or have you come to threaten us? - (Hear, hear.) Anything you like to do outside the decision of the board has nothing to do with us, and you must take the consequences. If you put your case fairly and properly before us we shall be happy to meet you as far as we can.
Mr. PARKER said their desire was simply to make this demand.
Mr. COOK regretted that the board had been threatened, but this should not influence them. He moved that permission be granted.
Mr. DRESSER ROGERS seconded and Mr. LINDSAY supported the motion, which was ultimately agreed to.
The SOLICITOR stated that he had received the interim report of the Royal Commission on the work of the board.
Mr. E. RIDER COOK thought that the board ought not to allow the report to pass without notice. It must be very satisfactory to all members, and, he could not help adding, satisfactory to the public as well - (hear, hear) - to know that the commissioners had reported that what wrongdoing had taken place had been confined to only two of the members of the board and to officers in one very small department of the very many departments of the board. The commissioners said that the censure which they felt it right to pass referred only to a very small surface of the board’s operations. They also said that, as far as regarded the conduct of the vast majority of the members, they (the commissioners) had nothing to complain of. A great many charges had been made against members of the board, anonymous and otherwise, but with the exception of the two members mentioned in the report the charges had, the commissioners said, not been substantiated. - (Hear, hear.) In the course of discussion, Mr. JUDGE moved the reference of the report to a special meeting of the board, with a view to some action being taken against the persons whose conduct was adversely reported upon, but this was not agreed to, and eventually the report was referred to the Works and General Purposes Committee for consideration.
The police had yesterday two men in custody on suspicion in connexion with the East-end murders, but both these persons were subsequently discharged. The police guard has been withdrawn from Miller’s-court, Dorset-street, the scene of the last murder.
The funeral of the woman, Mary Jane Kelly, will not take place until Tuesday next, when the remains will be interred in the Catholic cemetery at Leytonstone, by the request of the deceased’s friends.
At the Thames Police Court yesterday, before Mr. Lushington, John M’Carthy, 28, was charged with being concerned in assaulting and robbing Michael Hadsburg, of 3, Well-street, Whitechapel.
Prosecutor said on Thursday evening he went into a public-house and had some drink, when he saw the prisoner, who said to him, "Are you ‘Jack the Ripper?’" He replied he was. Witness had some more drink, when prisoner suddenly caught hold of him and held him. Four or five other men then commenced knocking him about, and robbed him of 5s., which he had in his trousers pocket. All the men ran away, and the witness called out "Police!" The men were taking him to the police-station when they robbed him, and they then ran away.
Constable 434 H said while in Leman-street he heard cries of "Police!" and "Help!" He saw a crowd running. Prosecutor complained of being robbed and kicked by five men. Soon afterwards he gave prisoner into custody for robbing him. Prisoner said, "Prosecutor came into the house and said something about ‘Jack the Ripper.’ I said, ‘I believe he is "Jack the Ripper," and have a good mind to give him into custody.’ I then caught hold of him to give him into custody, as he was such a suspicious-looking man, when he called out ‘Police!’"
Prosecutor, recalled, said when prisoner asked him if he was "Jack the Ripper," he also looked round him and said, "Have you got any revolvers?"
Prisoner denied assaulting and robbing prosecutor, and called a witness.
The latter, a woman named Florence Murphy, said prosecutor was dancing about in the house, saying he was "Jack the Ripper." He also commenced writing, and had a lot of "Yankee notions" about him, and that caused a crowd to get about him. Prisoner did not take hold of prosecutor.
Mr. Lushington committed prisoner for trial.
At the Worship-street Police Court yesterday, before Mr. Bushby, Mary Ann Johnson, 30, and Christine De Grasse, 23, both women of ill repute, were charged with the offence of solicitation - a Polish Jew named Wolff Levioline being the prosecutor.
The prosecutor said that on the previous night he had occasion, in pursuit of his occupation as a traveller, to go to Whitechapel. He completed his business, and at 11.30 he was on his way home to St. Ann’s-road, Tottenham, when he was accosted by Johnson, who made a proposition to him which he declined. The women then called out, "You are Jack the Ripper," and the other woman, who had accosted him, joined in the cry. An excited crowd soon collected, and fearing that the consequences might be very unpleasant for himself, witness took refuge in the Commercial-street police-station, and then the police took the women into custody.
The prisoners both said that they simply said the prosecutor "Looked like Jack the Ripper," as he had a shining bag.
Mr. Bushby said the public must be protected from this kind of molestation, and he fined the prisoners 20s. Each. In default they were committed for 14 days. At Bow-street yesterday, before Mr. Bridge, a man named Edward Shannon, aged 44, a bricklayer, was charged with being a suspected person, loitering for the supposed purpose of committing a felony.
Mr. Clinch, a job master, of Keppel-street, said that on Thursday night, about eleven o’clock, he saw the prisoner in the neighbourhood dressed in woman’s clothes. He followed him into Bedford-place, and owing to the suspicious manner in which he entered a doorway, witness gave information to the police, and the accused was taken into custody.
Police-constable 299 E deposed that he touched the prisoner on the shoulder, and really thought he was a woman until he spoke, and said, "I am here on a bit of business." At the station he said he was looking out for "Jack the Ripper." He was wearing a hat and veil and a skirt.
Mr. Bridge remanded him for inquiries.
Alfred Clark, 25, a private in the Grendier Guards, was charged with being disorderly, using obscene language, and assaulting Constable 189 H while in the execution of his duty.
The officer said that about a quarter to twelve on Thursday night he saw prisoner in High-street, Whitechapel. He was using filthy language towards another constable, and witness requested him to go away. Clark was taken away by two other soldiers, but he broke away, flung off his belt and cape, and wanted to fight witness. He tried to get him away, when Clark hit him across the face with his cape. Witness and 84 H arrested the accused, who threw them both down. He also kicked witness all over the body and legs, saying, "I’ll do for all you Whitechapel policemen. I’ll knock your ¾ head off." Prisoner had to be held down until assistance arrived, when he was conveyed to the police-station.
Constable 84 H gave corroborative evidence, and said prisoner threatened to kick the other officer’s brains out. Clark kicked at the constable’s head, and knocked his helmet off.
Prisoner said he was very sorry for what he had done.
Clark was given a fair character by his superior officer.
Mr. Lushington said the accused had behaved in the most malicious manner. He might thank his good fortune that it had not terminated more seriously. He would be sentenced to three months’ hard labour.
The Kensington police are investigating a strange case, reported to them by a domestic servant named Amelia Ponting. It appears that on Wednesday night the girl was found in an almost unconscious condition in Pembridge-square. She informed the police that at Notting-hill-gate she was spoken to by a gentleman who followed her to Pembridge-square, and suddenly seized her, and pressed against her face a handkerchief, which was saturated with chloroform. A description of the man has been circulated by the authorities. The girl states that she can identify her assailant, whom she described as being 5ft. 8in. In height, of fair complexion, with whiskers and moustache. He wore a dark coat, and light check trousers. The charge upon which he is wanted is one of attempted assault.