Monday, 24 December 1888
The mystery surrounding the murder at Poplar has in no way diminished, and the excitement in the neighbourhood has become intense. Up to a late hour last night the police had made no arrests. Only two persons have been able to throw any light on the identity of the unfortunate woman, and one of these is a young woman named Graves, resident in Whitechapel. She called on the coroner's officer, Mr. Chivers, who resides in High-street, Poplar, on Saturday night and made the following statement:-
"My name is Alice Graves. I live at 18, George-street, Spitalfields. I am an unfortunate, and I identify the body as that of another unfortunate whom I had known for some time past and was intimate with. I knew her by the name of 'Lizzie.' I last saw her alive on Thursday morning at 2:30. She was standing outside the George, Commercial-road, and was in the company of two men. She was then the worse for drink. I passed her and went home."
This statement is regarded as of the utmost importance, inasmuch as it leaves only one hour and 45 minutes to be accounted for between the time of her last being seen alive and the discovery of her body by Sergeant Golding. The other person who has identified the body is Mrs. Hill, of Simpson's-row, High-street, Poplar, which address is about 30 or 40 yards from Charles-yard, where the body was found. Her statement corroborates in several particulars that made by Alice Graves. She visited the mortuary yesterday afternoon and recognized the body as that of Alice Downey, alias "Fair Alice," alias "Drunken Liz." She was, however, unable to say where the deceased had been residing. It was only occasionally that she visited Poplar. Mrs. Hill said that she saw the deceased at half-past 11 on the night preceding the murder. She then complained of being without money, and added that she did not know what to do. Mrs. Hill gave her some coppers and bade her good night. She was then perfectly sober. She had been an inmate of the Bromley Sick Asylum, quitting it about a month ago.
As far as the movements of the deceased can be traced it would appear that she went into the East India Dock-road after leaving Mrs. Hill, and thence walked along until she reached Commercial-road. It is supposed that, after having been seen in the company of two strange men in the Commercial-road by Alice Graves at 2:30 a.m. on Thursday, she walked back to the East India Dock-road, which is the main thoroughfare through Poplar. Late on Wednesday night or early on Thursday morning an engineer, whose name has not been reported, while passing along the East India Dock-road near the Eagle Tavern, noticed a woman's hat within the railings of a garden in front of a private dwelling. He thought nothing of this at the time, but on hearing of the murder he acquainted the police with the incident. There were no indications of a struggle in the yard where the woman was found, and doubts have arisen as to whether her life was taken in the yard or not. The discovery of the hat, which is supposed to have belonged to Downey, in the East India Dock-road, shows that the woman must have been helplessly intoxicated or rendered powerless by her assailant or assailants. It would have been a very easy task to carry her from the spot where her hat was found to the yard in which she was discovered. It is but a few hundred yards from the one place to the other, and the streets just here are very badly lighted.