Tuesday, 16 October 1888
The City Police have succeeded in discovering Thomas Conway, who some years ago lived with Catherine Eddowes, the woman murdered in Mitre-square. Up to yesterday the efforts of the detectives had been at fault, owing, as was suggested by the City Solicitor at the inquest, to the fact that Conway had drawn his pension from the 18th Royal Irish Regiment under a false name, that of Thomas Quinn. Apparently he had not read the papers, for he was ignorant till the last few days that he was being sought for. Then, however, he learned that the City detectives were inquiring for him, and yesterday afternoon he and his two sons went to the detective offices of the City Police in Old Jewry and explained who they were. Conway was at once taken to see Mrs. Annie Phillips, Eddowes's daughter, who recognized him as her father. He states that he left Eddowes in 1880 in consequence of her intemperate habits. He knew that she had since been living with Kelly, and had once or twice seen her in the streets, but had, as far as possible, kept out of her way, as he did not wish to have any further communication with her.
Superintendent Farmer, of the River Tyne Police, has received information which, it is considered, may form a clue to the East-end murders. An Austrian seaman signed articles on board a Faversham vessel in the Tyne on Saturday, and sailed for a French port. Afterwards it was found that his signature corresponded with the facsimile letters signed "Jack the Ripper," and that the description of the man also corresponded with that of the Whitechapel murdered circulated by the Metropolitan police. A man, wearing a slouched hat, carrying a black leather bag, speaking with a slightly American accent, and presenting a travel-stained appearance, was arrested at Limavady, near Londonderry, yesterday morning by Constable Walsh, on suspicion of being the man who committed the recent murders in the East-end of London. The arrest was made as a result of the police description of the man wanted. The prisoner refused to give his name or any information whatever about himself. A woman and child who were with him were also taken into custody.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES.
Sir, - I am glad to see that the views I was permitted first to offer in The Times upon the use of bloodhounds in cities are endorsed by Mr. Henry Ffennell.
But I would venture a little further than Mr. Ffennell, and say that no country-trained hound should be allowed even to be tried in the streets of London. For town use a bloodhound must be trained in town, and from puppyhood. And if it is to be trained to assist in the detection of murder it must be trained for that one purpose only. Such work would form the supreme test, under the most favourable conditions of time and place, of the finest qualities in the keenest hound.
Any trials such as have been suggested could bring only ridicule on the breed generally, while for the particular hounds tried it would be most unfair.
Bloodhounds, from their extreme nervous temperament, are acutely sensitive to new or strange conditions. To instance this, a few weeks ago I had a bloodhound out, on leash, at an Epping Forest deer-hunt. The shouts and wild noises of the labourers driving the deer from cover to cover so unnerved the hound that, when I tried to work the scent of a deer which had got away after one of the "sportsmen," though he had hit it, the hound proved quite useless. Some mornings later I put her on the scent of a deer which had been seen "running on three legs." The hound worked on leash from the spot where the deer had lodged and took up the stale trail over some rather trying ground without a fault to a point at which, in deference to the Forest bylaws which make no provision for wounded deer being followed up, I deemed it prudent to stop.
While writing on this subject may I instance the precocious powers of well-bred bloodhound puppies. Yesterday morning I took into the woods a 13 weeks' old puppy for the first time, and for its first outdoor lesson. Smearing my boots with a little blood, and letting the puppy scent them, I walked away through thick cover. When I was well out of sight the puppy was unslipped and encouraged forward on my trail, which it took up at a trot, and "set" me without a fault. I continued the lessons with rests and rewards between, and without the blood. The last trial I made was from the centre of a wood, over ground partly covered with dry leaves, partly with heather and bracken. I took a quarter of an hour's start, placing a small brook and a broad, well-trodden green ride between me and the puppy. Neither brook nor ride bothered the hound, and I was tracked down in rather less time than it had taken me to cover the ground.
I dare say that known breeders like Mr. Brough, Mr. Hood Wright or Mr. Collingham Tinker can give similar instances of the precocious power of the bloodhound from six months old and upwards, but in a puppy of 13 weeks such neat working on a scent is interesting, if it is not altogether strange.
York-hill, Loughton, Essex, Oct. 16.
We have received from Dr. Josef S. Bloch, member of the Austrian Parliament, a letter recounting the circumstances of the Ritter trial, which was referred to by our Vienna Correspondent on the 2nd inst. in connexion with the Whitechapel murders and mutilations. Ritter and his wife were tried in 1882 at Rzezow, in Galicia, for the murder and mutilation of a young woman named Frances Mnich, and were sentenced to death. The High Court of Justice quashed the sentence and ordered a new trial, the result of which was also quashed in 1884. A third trial took place, and the High Court, in 1886, unanimously resolved to release the prisoners. According to our Vienna Correspondent, at the trial numbers of witnesses deposed that among certain fanatical Jews there existed a superstition to the effect that if a Jew became intimate with a Christian woman he could atone for his offence by slaying and mutilating the object of his passion, and sundry passages of the Talmud were quoted which, according to the witnesses, expressly sanctioned the form of the atonement. In his detailed comments on the facts of the case, Dr. Bloch observes, in the first place, that the surgical evidence as to the mutilations was insufficient, and that there was no actual evidence of Ritter's intimacy with the murdered woman. There was, on the other hand, evidence to show that she was intimate with a notorious thief, in whose lodging she was seen for the last time. In the second place, there are in the Talmud no passages sanctioning such a form of atonement as has been described, and none such were quoted at the trial. Dr. Bloch, himself a native of Galicia, born and educated in an exceedingly Orthodox family, "having been Rabbi of Orthodox communities for many years, and Deputy of a Polish elective district in which the Orthodox Jews have a majority, solemnly asserts that among these spheres there exists not the least trace of such a superstition" as is mentioned by our Correspondent. In his postscript Dr. Bloch points out that the probability of the guilt of the thief at whose lodging the murdered woman was last seen is strengthened by the fact that countless trials have shown the existence among professional thieves of a superstition which has often been the cause of the mutilation of corpses.
Another correspondent, however, who also writes from Vienna, affirms, as a lawyer of more than 20 years' standing, that our Vienna Correspondent was virtually correct in his statement of the case. He declares that, whatever may be the reading of the Talmud, the superstition in question was clearly proved at the trial as existing among the low-class Jews of Galicia. The Ritters, he says, were acquitted because the only witness against them died in prison, and the rest of the evidence was meagre and incomplete.