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Times (London)
Thursday, 10 January 1889


Yesterday Mr. Wynne E. Baxter, the Coroner for the South-Eastern division of Middlesex, resumed his adjourned inquiry at the Town-hall, Poplar, respecting the death of ROSE MILLETT [Mylett], aged 26, who was found lying dead in Clarke's-yard, High Street, Poplar, on the early morning of December 20 last.

Mr. St. John Wontner represented Mr. Monro, Chief Commissioner of Police; and Superintendent Steed and Detective-Sergeants Bradshaw and Duck, K Division, also represented the police.

Benjamin Payne, of 184, High-Street, Poplar, a grocer's manager, living next door but one to Clarke's-yard, and Richard John Ashby, of 186, High-street, Poplar, whose bedroom looked into Clarke's-yard, both spoke to hearing voices during the night in question down the yard, but no cries of distress.

Dr. Brownfield, in answer to the Coroner, stated that besides Drs. Hibberd and Bond, Dr. MacKellar, chief surgeon of the Metropolitan Police, saw the body. After hearing Dr. Bond's evidence, his own opinion was not at all altered that death was due to homicidal violence. The mark was too straight and too even in witness' opinion to have been caused by the dress or collar of the jacket.

Jane Hill, of 152, High-street, Poplar, said she kept a boarding-house. She had known the deceased five years. She last saw her alive about 12:15 a.m. on Thursday the 20th ult. She was then neither sober nor drunk. Deceased was retching and said she had a touch of the bile. She took her into a public-house and gave her some brandy.

Constable Barrett, 470 K, said he was with Sergeant Golding when the body was found, another officer and himself being left in charge of the body while the Sergeant went for the doctor. He looked for a mark round the neck when he took the body to the mortuary, but could find none.

Mr. Curtain T. Chivers, the Coroner's officer and mortuary keeper, was sworn and said he first saw the body on the morning of the 20th at 9:30. He noticed a mark round the neck and some scratches. The mark was about an eighth of an inch deep, and the scratches were above it. Witness informed Dr. Harris of it; and he said he had not noticed it, but when he made the post mortem examination he would look carefully for it. As the body was lying witness should say the mark could be seen. Witness had seen the body on several occasions. The mark was visible on December 21.

William Randall, assistant to Mr. Chivers, said that when, on January 6, he fastened the body down in the coffin he noticed the mark round the neck. It was about a quarter of an inch deep and there was a bruise on the left of it. He drew the attention of Inspector Bridgeman to it.

Alice Graves, of 18, St. George-street, Spitalfields, deposed that, having seen the body of the deceased in the mortuary, she identified it as that of a fellow lodger who was known by the name of "Drunken Lizzie." Witness last saw her alive at a quarter to 2 on the morning of Thursday, the 20th ult., when she was walking along the Commercial-road with two men, one on each side of her. She was near the George Tavern and was going towards the City. Witness saw that she was wearing a hat. She could not tell whether the men were sober.
By the Jury. - The gas was alight in the window of the George publichouse when she saw the time. Deceased was drunk and was staggering. Witness did not speak to Lizzie. She could give no description of the men, and would be unable to recognize them again were she to see them.
By Mr. Wontner. - The distance from Clarke's-yard to the George was about one and a half mile.

The CORONER, proceeding to sum up, said that there were two points in connexion with the case which were singular, and which required careful attention. The first was that one could not help noticing that if this was a case of strangulation the string that produced the strangulation had not been found, and the second was that there was a medical opinion that this was not a case of homicidal strangulation. Therefore, the case would have to be considered very carefully. With regard to the evidence of identification, it appeared the deceased was about 26 years of age, but the mother did not appear to know whether she was married or not. She may have been married, because she was heard of under different names. One of the witnesses who knew the deceased stated she was more often drunk than sober. Deceased lived at Spitalfields, and it was a curious fact that whenever they had cases of violence in London they were generally associated with Spitalfields. The night before her death the deceased appeared to have left the lodging-house where she lived at about 7:30. She was next seen by the witness Hill at 12:15, when she was undoubtedly under the influence of liquor. She was next seen at about a quarter to 2 o'clock on the morning of the 20th ult. near the George public house, which was some considerable distance from the spot where the body was found. Nothing more was seen of her until the body was found at about 4:30. If the unfortunate woman met her death at the spot where the body was found it might have been done very rapidly, and no serious struggle went on. When the body was found it was in a comparatively natural condition. The usual signs of strangulation, such as protrusion of the tongue and clenching of the hands, were absent, there being nothing at all suggestive of death from violence. It was right to say, as some stress had been laid to the fact, that the police did not discover any mark at the time. The mark was not noticed until the mortuary keeper had the body stripped. The deceased's clothes were not disarranged, so that the violence must have been done with great rapidity. In connexion with the recent so-called Whitechapel murders, there was not the slightest disarrangement of the clothes. It all depended on the suddenness with which the deceased was attacked and the capability of the deceased to resist the attack. The constable who was on the beat stated that he noticed nothing unusual about the body. After Dr. Brownfield and his assistant, duly qualified men, came to the conclusion that this was a case of homicidal strangulation, some one had a suspicion that that evidence was not satisfactory. At all events, they heard that doctor after doctor went down to view the body without his knowledge or sanction as coroner. He did not wish to make that a personal matter, but he had never received such treatment before. Of the five doctors who saw the body, Dr. Bond was the only one who considered the case was not one of murder. Dr. Bond did not see the body until five days after death, and he was, therefore, at a disadvantage. Dr. Bond stated that if this was a case of strangulation he should have expected to find the skin broken, but it was clearly shown, on reference being made to the records of the Indian doctors in the cases of the Thug murders, that there were no marks whatever left. Other eminent authorities agreed with that view. In this case the deceased was completely helpless and would be easily overcome.
In answer to the jury, the CORONER said he did not think any disrespect to him was intended when several doctors were sent to view the body.

The jury returned a verdict of "Wilful murder against some person or persons unknown," and commended the conduct of Sergeant Golding in the matter.

The Times {London} 10 January 1889




WILLIAM JAMES, 33, hawker, was indicted for the manslaughter of William Hall.

Mr. Mead and Mr. Charles Mathews conducted the prosecution; Mr. Keith Frith was counsel for the defence.

It seemed that on the night of December 7 the deceased, a sorter in the General Post Office, was walking home along Marshalsea-street, Borough, with a companion, when a woman, who had been in company with a man, came up to them crying and made a statement to them. The prisoner also came up and spoke to the woman, and then left her, and struck the man in whose company she had been. The man walked away, and the deceased subsequently spoke to a constable about the prisoner. The constable questioned the prisoner, who said he was "Jack the Ripper." The deceased and his companions walked away, and the prisoner afterwards followed them and, as it was alleged, struck Hall a blow which knocked him down and caused his head to come into violent contact with the ground, the force being such that the thud of the fall was heard by a constable who was standing some distance away. The blow rendered the deceased insensible for a time, and he was removed to Guy's Hospital, where he died from the injury he had sustained at half-past 10 on the same morning. The prisoner denied striking the deceased, and said he only pushed him, and he subsequently made a statement to the effect that he heard the man whom he struck in the first instance making improper overtures to the woman, who was a married woman, and that when he returned and pushed the deceased he was under the impression that Hall was the man he had first struck. A witness was called on the part of the defence.


Mr. KEITH FRITH said he was instructed that the prisoner pushed the deceased in consequence of a threatening gesture, and that was the defence which he proposed to raise.

MR. JUSTICE DENMAN said there was no evidence that the push was given in self-defence. It was extremely uncertain whether the prisoner struck the deceased.

Mr. KEITH FRITH said that after what his Lordship had said he would not contest that the case was one of manslaughter, but it was in circumstances of mitigation.

The prisoner then said he was guilty of manslaughter by a shove.

It was stated that the prisoner had been before convicted of assault.

MR. JUSTICE DENMAN postponed sentence.

WILLIAM ATKINS, 21, tanner, was indicted for wounding Lucretia Pembroke, with intent to murder.

Mr. Mead and Mr. Charles Mathews prosecuted; Mr. Ribton, at the request of Mr. Justice Denman, appeared for the defence.

The prosecutrix, a girl of 15, was employed as a waitress at a coffee-shop in Bermondsey, at which the prisoner was a customer. On the day in question the prisoner entered the shop and asked the prosecutrix for a cup of tea. The prosecutrix served him with one, and asked him whether he would have some bread and butter, but he answered in the negative. The prosecutrix was walking out of the shop when the prisoner, having locked the doors, caught hold of her and cut her throat with a penknife, inflicting a serious wound, after which he left the house. The prosecutrix was taken to the hospital, where wound was attended to.

Mr. RIBTON, addressing the jury for the defence, submitted that the prisoner was of unsound mind at the time, and not responsible for his actions.

Evidence was given showing that the prisoner had suffered from epileptic fits, was of morose and sullen temperament, and had received injuries to the head.

Dr. Gilbert, surgeon at Holloway Gaol, said the prisoner, who had been under his care, was of very weak intellect and almost an imbecile, but he knew what he was doing. The jury, after a considerable absence from Court, found the prisoner Guilty on the second count of wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm, and added that they were of opinion that he was of weak mind, but not irresponsible for his actions.

MR. JUSTICE DENMAN said the case was a very shocking one, and he sentenced the prisoner to seven years' penal servitude.

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