16 November 1888
A Groom's Description of the Last Victim's Companion
IS HE THE RUSSIAN MURDERER?
He Saw Jack the Ripper
London, 13th.--The hopes of the police of catching the Whitechapel murderer, which had almost entirely died out, were raised to-day by the testimony at the Kelly inquest of George Hutchinson, a groom, who had known the victim for some years, and who saw her with a male companion shortly before 2 o'clock on the morning of the murder. Hutchinson testified that he saw a well dressed man accost the woman on the street at the hour mentioned, on Friday morning, and his acquaintance with her impelled him to follow the pair as they walked together. He looked straight into the man's face as he turned to accompany the woman, and followed them to Miller Court out of mere curiosity. He had no thought of the previous murders and no suspicion that the man contemplated violence, since his conspicuous manifestations of affection for his companionn formed a large part of the incentive to keep them in sight. After the couple entered the house Hutchinson heard sounds of merriment in the girl's room, and remained at the entrance to the court for fully three-quarters of an hour. About 3 o'clock the sounds ceased, and he walked into the court, but finding that lights in the room had been extinguished, he went home. There is every reason to believe Hutchinson's statement, and the police place great reliance upon his discription [sic] of the man, believing that it will enable them to run him down.
It is possible that the Whitechapel fiend when caught, may prove to be Nicholaus Wassilyi, who filled Paris with horror sixteen years ago. Nicholaus was a Russian, well educated and wealthy. He fled from Russia owing to a religious persecution in 1872, and went to Paris, where his peculiarities attracted much attention. All day long he remained in his room studying. In the evening he wandered thought the slums, talking with abandoned women and trying to persuade them to give up their evil ways. Finding that words were of no avail, he changed his tactics and gave large sums of money for their promise to reform. He also threatened them, but all to no effect. One day a girl who had reformed for a time through his efforts, but had returned to the old and evil ways, was found mudered, and Wassilyi disappeared. Seven other women of the same character were slain in quick succession before the murderer was captured. In each case the body was mutilated as were the Whitechapel victims. The Russian was caught inthe act of strangling a girl, was tried, declared to be insane, and sent to a private asylum in Toraspol, Russia, from which he was discharged on January 1st, 1888. It is not known where he is at present.