27 November 1888
Mr. C. GRAHAM asked the Secretary for the Home Department if he could state why the police rules of Wednesday night last were signed by Sir Charles Warren, seeing that he was no longer Commissioner. He also would ask whether it was true that Mr. Monro had been appointed to the vacant position.
Mr. MATTHEWS replied that although Sir C. Warren had sent in his resignation he had not yet been relieved from the responsibility of the office. No successor had as yet been appointed.
Last evening Mr. Wynne E. Baxter, the coroner for South-east Middlesex, held an inquest at the Shadwell Vestry-hall, on the body of a man unknown, which was found floating in the Thames off Wapping, on Friday last.
Alfred Chapman, a waterman, of 6, Major-road, Bermondsey, deposed that on Friday last, at 9.45 p.m., he was in his boat off Hermitage Wharf, when he found the body of the deceased floating in the water. He secured it, and took it ashore at the Hermitage Stairs, and handed it over to the police. So far as he knew there were no marks of violence on the body, but the deceased had evidently lost the sight of one eye.
Stephen Brown, inspector of Thames police stationed at Wapping, deposed that he searched the body, but only found an old pipe and a brass wedding ring. The man was dressed in a shabby genteel manner, and was apparently between 40 and 45 years of age. On the left side of the body there was a "D" tattooed, which the witness supposed meant that the deceased was a deserter from the army, as it used to be the custom to brand deserters in that way. The body had evidently been in the water about two weeks, and was probably that of a man who was seen to throw himself off Lambeth-bridge on November 3rd.
The jury returned a verdict of "Found drowned."
Between six and seven o’clock last night a boy named Serle, aged eight years, was seen in the North-street, Havant, going in the direction of the Pallant, which is a well-traversed thoroughfare. He was last seen by another lad named Husband, with whom he had some conversation. The unfortunate boy left Husband, who soon after heard screams from the direction in which Serle had gone. Meeting a man named Platt, Husband said he believed a boy was being murdered in the Pallant. Platt hastened to the spot and found the boy lying against some palings still alive. The lad had four terrible gashes in his throat, and his face was unrecognizable, being covered with blood. The poor boy died immediately in Platt’s arms. The police were on the alert, and every outhouse and empty building was searched, but in vain. At nine o’clock last night a knife was discovered about eight yards from the spot where the murder was committed. The knife is an ordinary buck handle pocket-knife, and the smaller blade was broken in two. The larger blade was open and stained with blood. The general opinion at the outset was that the crime was the work of "Jack the Ripper," a letter recently published and some writing discovered on a shutter in Hanover-street, Portsmouth, giving some colour to this supposition. A cooler consideration of the circumstances, however, lead to the supposition that the deed was not committed by a skilful hand, as four clumsy gashes were inflicted. The discovery of the knife within so short a distance would suggest that the murderer did not calculate the probabilities of the clue which the discovery would afford. To describe the excitement which prevailed in Havant and the surrounding neighbourhood last night is nearly impossible. Crowds of people assembled, and when the knife was found the greatest difficulty was experienced in getting it from the crowd for the purpose of examining it.
A respectably-dressed individual, with dark whiskers and slight moustache, wearing a long coat and sealskin cap, was apprehended some hours later by Sergeant Knapston, on suspicion of being the murderer. The prisoner, who carried a small bundle, was arrested at the railway gates, and displayed great nervous excitement. He declined to answer questions. Osborne, the lad who discovered the murder, declares that he saw the prisoner near the spot. There is great excitement in the locality.
The Nottingham Daily Express states that the following letter has been sent to it as having been received by Thomas Porter, of Hucknail Turkard, who immediately handed it over to the county police. The letter bore the East Central postmark:
"November, London, E.C.
I now take the liberty of writing to you hoping I am not taking a liberty in doing so. I have no doubt you will be surprised to hear it is me and a pal of mine doing this work-in Whitechapel; but I feel I cannot continue much longer - shall have to give up - cannot reign much longer. Have been in America some years and since leaving Colorado have been carrying on a ‘deadly’ (word omitted here) in the east of London. I feel at this moment as if I could burn or blow all those dens down, and all those filthy low women in them. When I go to bed at night I can see all my past life before me, can see everything I have done wrong, and thousands of rats; it is dreadful, and when I lie awake in the morning I fancy I’ve been dreaming I am not the man. It is too true, I am the right one. Oh I do wish I had gone to Nottingham when I left Colorado, it makes me feel miserable. Most people think there is only one in the affair, but allow me to tell you - I guess there are two, and that is him who learnt from me how to do it, a scamp, but I am as bad as him now if not worse, for I never feel frightened in cutting a woman up now, felt at times I never should get caught, am just like a maniac. Oh how I wish I could do without any more of this sort of life I have been leading of late - must go on or my pal would do for me - I guess it is a sworn thing between us. When I am talking to a woman I can see the very devil, would give my life any time if I could just speak to some of my old friends. Do feel bad just now, hope the Lord will forgive me all the sins I have committed - always feel better in the afternoon when we go in a public-house, and hear someone reading about the Whitechapel affairs, have many a laugh as if I could not help it, when it is getting dark I do feel funny - my pal is a wild wretch, he has learned me how to do all this. I am a native of Notts, but lived in Hucknall some years ago. My pal is a Bavarian, I guess. We met on board a steamship, and I assure you I was mesmerized when I found out his hideous calling, which had been concealed from me for some time. I had become so intimate with him, and he cast a sort of spell over me. Myself and my pal are just what they call ‘Jack the Ripper,’ we are not the cause of all the nonsense about that letter-writing and that writing on the wall, as we have never done anything of the sort. You must not allow any hope to exist in your body, I really feel miserable, and scarcely know what to do with myself at this moment, except we shall pop off another or two, when I guess we go back to Colorado never to return …Yours good bye JACK THE RIPPER’S PAL."
A strange story comes from Folkestone. About the date of "Jack the Ripper’s" earlier exploits, a man of gentlemanly exterior is said to have taken lodgings for a day or two in Sandgate-road. He alleged as a n excuse for his brief visit that he merely wanted to rest on his way and get his clothes washed. These articles were sent to a laundress, who on opening the bundle found that they were saturated with blood. She at first was disposed to decline the work, but as she knew of no suspicious circumstances beyond the state of the articles, she washed the linen, sent it home, and the owner departed forthwith.
Archibald Benton, 34, a clerk, of Malvern-road, Dalston, was charged, before Mr. Bros with using threatening language to Florrie Roberts, aged 13, on the 22nd and 24th of November.
The complainant said she was walking along Caledonian-road on Wednesday afternoon, when the prisoner, who was a stranger to her, walked at her side for a few seconds, and made use of some very obscene expressions to her, adding that he would "like to cut her up." She managed to get away from him, and on Saturday afternoon, in Upper-street, Islington, Benton again accosted her, making use of similar language. She immediately crossed the road and spoke to a policeman, and the prisoner seeing her do this ran away. He was, however, pursued by the officer and two men, and, after a short chase, captured.
Another girl, rather younger than the complainant, said she was with Miss Roberts on both occasions, and heard the language used by the prisoner. She and her companion were walking home from school. It was stated by the police that the parents of several girls in the neighbourhood had complained of a man having stopped their daughters in the streets to use threatening language to them.
Mr. Bros ordered Benton to pay a fine of 40s. For each offence (4£.), in default to be imprisoned for one month.
Harry Humphreys, 36, a professional billiard player, of Wych-street, Strand, was brought up, on remand, before Mr. De Rutzen, charged with disorderly conduct and making use of threatening language towards Annie Vaughan, of 14, Malvern-road, Kilburn.
Mr. St. John Wontner, solicitor, defended.
The evidence was that while the prosecutrix was waiting for a female relative at the corner of Malvern and Cambridge-roads on Sunday night week, the prisoner accosted her, and then producing a sort of dagger knife from up his sleeve, showed it to her, and said, "This is for you." She screamed and ran away, and the prisoner was afterwards arrested. He had already previously been into a confectioner’s shop and sharpened the knife on the counter.
Detective Glenister said a woman was in court who complained that the prisoner had thrown some sort of fluid over her the night before.
Mr. Wentner said the explanation his client had to give was that he threw some ammonia on the floor of a shop and it smelt strongly.
Mr. De Rutzen: Does she wish to prosecute?
Detective Glenister: No, sir. She declines, as she was not hurt.
Mr. Wontner, for the defence, said he was there to express the prisoner’s deep regret for having behaved in such a foolish way, and to apologise to the young woman for his very improper conduct. The prisoner had returned from the country, and was going to a friend’s house to supper. He was in a larkish mood, and he took the knife - which was an exceptionally long champagne knife - out and went into a shop to pretend to sharpen it, but it was impossible, for it needed a good deal of grinding before it could be made sharp. Then he met the prosecutrix, and in a spirit of frivolity addressed her, and because she resented his overtures he took the knife out. The prisoner was of good family, but being rather wild, he had become reduced in circumstances. Of course he could not say anything in extenuation of the prisoner’s conduct further than to say that he had no intention to do the prosecutrix any harm. Probably the magistrate would require him to find bail, and if that should be the case sureties would be forthcoming.
Charles Brown, Kyrlemore-road, West-Hampstead, having given evidence for the defence, Mr. De Rutzen said he regarded the case as a monstrous and cowardly outrage - cowardly because it was common knowledge as to what had happened to women in the streets of London latterly. The prisoner accosted this young woman, and because she resented it, he produced a dangerous weapon, and said what he could do, and which she naturally interpreted as a threat to do what he had spoken of, and of course she was greatly frightened. It was, he repeated, monstrous and cowardly outrage, and he could not be a party to dealing with such a case as if it were a trivial matter. He should deal with the case as one of threats and order the prisoner to be bound over in his own recognisances in 500£., and to find two sureties in 250£. Each, or to go to gaol for one month in default.