September 9, 1888
OLD WORLD NEWS BY CABLE
"Whitechapel Startled by a Fourth Murder"
from our own correspondent.
London, Sept. 8.-- Not even during the riots and fog of February, 1886, have I seen London so thoroughly excited as it is to-night. The Whitechapel fiend murdered his fourth victim this morning and still continues undetected, unseen, and unknown. There is a panic in Whitechapel which will instantly extend to other districts should he change his locality, as the four murders are in everybody's mouth. The papers are full of them, and nothing else is talked of. The latest murder is exactly like its predecessor. The victim was a woman street walker of the lowest class. She had no money, having been refused lodgings shortly before because she lacked 8d. Her throat was cut so completely that everything but the spine was severed, and the body was ripped up, all the viscera being scattered about. The murder in all its details was inhuman to the last degree, and, like the others, could have been the work only of a bloodthirsty beast in human shape. It was committed in the most daring manner possible. The victim was found in the back yard of a house in Hanbury-street at 6 o'clock. At 5:15 the yard was empty. To get there the murderer must have led her through a passageway in the house full of sleeping people, and murdered her within a few yards of several people sleeping by open windows. To get away, covered with blood as he must have been, he had to go back through the passageway and into a street filled with early market people, Spitalfields being close by. Nevertheless, not a sound was heard and no trace of the murderer exists.
All day long Whitechapel has been wild with excitement. The four murders have been committed within a gunshot of each other, but the detectives have no clue. The London police and detective force is probably the stupidest in the world. The man called "Leather Apron," of whom I cabled you, is still at large. He is well known, but they have not been able to arrest him, and he will doubtless do another murder in a day or so. One clue discovered this morning by a reporter may develop into something. An hour and a half after the murder a man with bloody hands, torn shirt, and a wild look entered a public house half a mile from the scene of the murder. The police have a good description of him and are trying to trace it. The assassin, however, is as cunning as he is daring. Both in this and in the last murder he took but a few minutes to murder his victim in a spot which had been examined but a quarter of an hour before. Both the character of the deed and the cool cunning alike exhibit the qualities of a monomaniac.
Such a series of murders has not been known in London for a hundred years. There is a bare possibility that it may turn out to be something like a case of Jekyll and Hyde, as Joseph Taylor, a perfectly reliable man, who saw the suspected person this morning in a shabby dress, swears that he has seen the same man coming out of a lodging house in Wilton-street very differently dressed. However that may be, the murders are certainly the most ghastly and mysterious known to English police history. What adds to the weird effect they exert on the London mind is the fact that they occur while everybody is talking about Mansfield's "Jekyll and Hyde" at the Lyceum.