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Times (London)
Monday, November 12, 1888


The two arrests made on Friday night in connexion with the recent murder in Dorset-street, Spitalfields, were found after a short investigation to have nothing to do with it, and consequently the unfortunate persons were liberated by the police, with many apologies for their temporary detention.

Since the murders in Berner-street, St. George's, and Mitre-square, Aldgate, on September 30, Detective-Inspectors Reid, Moore, and Nairn, and Sergeants Thicke, Godley, M'Carthy, and Pearce have been constantly engaged, under the direction of Inspector Abberline (Scotland-yard), in prosecuting inquiries, but, unfortunately, up to the present time without any practical result. As an instance of the magnitude of their labours, each officer has had, on average, during the last six weeks to make some 30 separate inquiries weekly, and these have had to be made in different portions of the metropolis and suburbs. Since the two above-mentioned murders no fewer that 1,400 letters relating to the tragedies have been received by the police, and although the greater portion of these gratuitous communications were found to be of a trivial or even ridiculous character, still each one was thoroughly investigated. On Saturday many more letters were received, and these are now being inquired into. The detective officers, who are now subjected to a great amount of harassing work, complain that the authorities do not allow them sufficient means with which to carry on their investigations.

Great difference of opinion exists as to the exact time, or about the time, the murder of Mary Jane Kelly took place. Mrs. Maxwell, the deputy of the Commercial lodging-house, which is situated exactly opposite Miller's-court, the place in which the room of the murdered woman is situated, gave positive information that she saw Mary Jane Kelly standing at the entrance to Miller's-court at half-past 8 on Friday morning. She stated that she expressed surprise at seeing Kelly at that early hour, and asked why she was not in bed. Kelly replied, "I can't sleep. I have the horrors from drink". Mrs. Maxwell further stated that after that she went into Bishopsgate-street to make some purchases, and on her return saw Kelly talking to a short, dark man at the top of the court. When asked by the police how she could fix the time of the morning, Mrs. Maxwell replied, "Because I went to the milkshop for some milk, and I had not before been there for a long time, and that she was wearing a woollen cross-over that I had not seen her wear for a considerable time". On inquiries being made at the milkshop indicated by the woman her statement was found to be correct, and the cross-over was also found in Kelly's room. Another young woman, whose name is known, has also informed the police that she is positive she saw Kelly between half-past 8 and a quarter to 9 on Friday morning. Against these statements is the opinion of Dr. George Bagster Phillips, the divisional surgeon of the H Division, that when he was called to the deceased (at a quarter to 11) she had been dead some five or six hours. There is no doubt that the body of a person who, to use Dr. Phillip's own words, was "cut all to pieces" would get cold far more quickly than that of one who had died simply from the cutting of the throat; and the room would have been very cold, as there were two broken panes of glass in the windows. Again, the body being entirely uncovered would very quickly get cold. It is the opinion of Mr. M'Carthy [McCarthy], the landlord of 26, Dorset-street, that the woman was murdered at a much earlier hour than 8 o'clock, and that Mrs. Maxwell and the other person must have been mistaken.

The police, on making a more minute search of the room in which the body was found, on Saturday morning discovered in the fireplace the charred rim and wirework of a woman's felt hat, as well as a piece of burnt velvet. These, no doubt, formed a portion of a hat and velvet jacket belonging to and worn by Kelly, which are missing. A woman, who is known by the name of Julia and who was in the habit of continually visiting Kelly's room, states she knew that she had two cotton shirts there. These the police are unable to find, and believe they were consumed with the hat and jacket. As a proof that the fierce fire must have been made in the fireplace, there was found a large quantity of ashes, and the rim, the handle, and spout of the kettle had been burnt away from the remaining portion of the vessel. The police are of the opinion that the murderer did his fiendish work in daylight, and burnt the above-named articles probably because they were bloodstained. In support of that theory, they have ascertained that on Wednesday night the dead woman purchased a halfpenny candle at the neighbouring chandler's shop, and on the room being searched this candle was barely half consumed. Detective-Inspector Abberline has interviewed a girl named Kennedy, who states that about half-past 3 on the morning of the murder she went to her parent's house, which is opposite the room occupied by Mary Jane Kelly, and on reaching the court she saw a woman talking to two men. Shortly afterwards, when inside her father's house she heard a cry of "Murder" in a woman's voice, and she alleges the sound came from the direction of Kelly's room.

After the discovery of the murder on Friday morning, great curiosity was expressed as to whether bloodhounds would be used to endeavour to trace the murderer to his hiding-place, but these much-talked-of animals were not forthcoming. In fact, no one seemed to know for certain where they were kept. Some officers believed they were at Thornton-heath, others that they were at the Portland-road Station.

As early as half past 7 on Saturday morning, Dr. Phillips, assisted by Dr. Bond (Westminster), Dr. Gordon Brown (City), Dr. Duke (Spitalfields) and his (Dr. Phillips') assistant, made an exhaustive post-mortem examination of the body at the mortuary adjoining Whitechapel Church. It is known that after Dr. Phillips "fitted" the cut portions of the body into their proper places no portion was missing. At the first examination which was only of a cursory character, it was thought that a portion of the body had gone, but this is not the case. The examination was most minutely made, and lasted upwards of 2 hours after which the mutilated portions were sewn to the body, and therefore the coroner's jury will be spared the unpleasant duty of witnessing the horrible spectacle presented to those who discovered the murder. The ashes found in the fireplace of the room rented by the deceased woman were also submitted to a searching examination, but nothing likely to throw any light on this shocking case could be gleaned from them.

Joseph Barnett, who for about 20 months lived with the murdered woman, and was separated from her on Tuesday week, and who is now residing in a common lodging-house in New-street, Bishopsgate, gives her an excellent character for generosity of disposition, and says he lived happily with her until she brought another woman, whom he called Julia, to stay in the house. Through this quarrels arose, which eventually led to Barnett leaving her. He had seen her once or twice since that time and had on each occasion given her money. Kelly was an Irishwoman. She was in the habit of going nightly to a publichouse at Fish-street-hill; but Sergeant Bradshaw, on making inquiry at the house in question, found that she had not been there for upwards of a month past.

During the whole of yesterday Sergeant Thicke, with other officers, was busily engaged in writing down the names, statements, and full particulars of persons staying at the various lodging-houses in Dorset-street. That this was no easy task will be imagined when it is known that in one house alone there are upwards of 260 persons, and that several houses accommodate over 200.

The inquest will be opened at 11 o'clock this morning by Dr. Macdonald, Coroner for the North-Eastern Division of Middlesex, at the Shoreditch Town-hall. On Saturday, both Dr. Macdonald and Mr. Wynne Baxter, the coroner for the other portion of the district, visited Dorset-street, and each gentleman maintains that the murder occurred in his district; but removing the body to the Shoreditch mortuary settled the point as to who was to hold in inquiry, as that building is in Dr. Macdonald's district. After the inquiry is over, or when the coroner signs the certificate of burial, a question will probably arise as to which parish will have to defray the cost of the burial of the deceased, as, although the inquest will be held in Shoreditch, the murder took place in Whitechapel.

The following notice of pardon to accomplices who may give information leading to conviction, has been issued by Sir C. Warren:-

MURDER. - PARDON. - Whereas on November 8 or 9, in Miller-court, Dorset-street, Spitalfields, Mary Janet Kelly was murdered by some person or persons unknown: the Secretary of State will advise the grant of Her Majesty's gracious pardon to any accomplice, not being a person who contrived or actually committed the murder, who shall give such information and evidence as shall lead to the discovery and conviction of the person or persons who committed the murder.

                           CHARLES WARREN, the Commissioner of Police
                                                         of the Metropolis.
Metropolitan Police-office, 4, Whitehall-place,
S.W., Nov. 10, 1888.

The public excitement has abated to hardly any appreciable extent, as was shown by the crowded state of the streets in the neighbourhood of Whitechapel yesterday. There was a report that a woman had been found murdered in Jubilee-street, but this turned out to be untrue.

Great excitement was caused shortly before 10 o'clock last night by the arrest of a man with a blackened face who publicly proclaimed himself to be "Jack the Ripper." This was at the corner of Wentworth-street, Commercial-street, near the scene of the latest crime. Two young men, one a discharged soldier, immediately seized him, and the great crowd, which always on a Sunday night parades this neighbourhood, raise a cry of "Lynch him." Sticks were raised, the man was furiously attacked, and but for the timely arrival of the police he would have been seriously injured. The police took him to Leman-street station, when the prisoner proved to be a very remarkable person. He refused to give any name, but asserted that he was a doctor at St. George's Hospital. He is about 35 years of age, 5ft. 7in. in height, of dark complexion, with dark moustache, and was wearing spectacles. He wore no waistcoat, but had an ordinary jersey vest beneath his coat. In his pocket he had a double-peaked, light check cap, and at the time of his arrest was bareheaded. It took four constables and four other persons to take him to the station and protect him from the infuriated crowd. He is detained in custody, and it seems that the police attach importance to the arrest, as his appearance answers to the police description of the man who is wanted.

Shortly after 10 o'clock last night as a woman named Humphreys was passing George-yard, Whitechapel, she met in the darkness and almost on the identical spot where Martha Tabram was murdered, a powerful-looking man wearing large spectacles. Trembling with agitation she asked, "What do you want?" The man made no answer, but laughed and made a hasty retreat. The woman shouted "Murder" several times and soon alarmed the neighbours. Uniformed policemen and detectives ran to the yard from all directions. They entered a house into which the man had retreated, and he was apprehended. A crowd of people quickly collected, who exhibited an almost unanimous inclination to lynch the mysterious person, but the police were fortunately able to protect him. Being taken to Leman-street Police-station, he accounted for his presence in the yard by the fact that he was paying a visit to a friend who is an inhabitant of it. He referred the police to a well-known gentleman at the London Hospital, and in the result he was set at liberty.

Other men who were in custody yesterday on account of suspicious movements have been released, all of them having given satisfactory explanations.

The Glasgow police reported last night that when a constable was going his rounds, he heard shouts of "Murders," and on hastening forward found an unfortunate named Georgiana Douglas, aged 30, lying in a sunken area in St. Vincent street, Glasgow, in a pool of blood. She said she had entered the stair above with an unknown man, who suddenly stabbed her in the chin and threw her out of the staircase window from a height of 20 feet. She was removed in an ambulance wagon to the hospital. A man was apprehended yesterday, but she could not identify him. She said her assailant had dark whiskers and looked like a sailor. At 11 o'clock last night no further arrests had been made. The Whitechapel tragedies are causing the Glasgow police to take extra precautions. All the policemen have, per circular, been instructed to keep their ears open, and if they hear any cry of distress, such as "Help," "Murder," or "Police," they are to hasten to the spot at once.

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