Thursday, 18 July 1889
As briefly reported in our yesterday's issue, another poor woman of the same class as the others so shockingly murdered last year in Whitechapel was yesterday morning found with her throat cut in a terrible manner and her body mutilated. Although the mutilation was not committed so savagely as in the other cases, it is thought that the murderer would have served this, his latest victim, in similar manner but that he was disturbed by some passer-by in his intention and made good his escape. The place in which the murdered woman was found is known as Castle-alley, High-street, Whitechapel. At about ten minutes to 1 yesterday morning, Police Constable Andrews, 272 H, while walking round his beat, and passing through the alley, saw a woman lying on the ground about five feet from Messrs. King's premises. The officer at first thought the woman was the worse for drink, or one of the many outcasts who nightly frequent the alley to seek a shelter. On turning his light down he was horrified to find a woman lying on her back with a terrible gash in the throat. The skirt and petticoat were turned up and the constable could see that there were gashes about the abdomen, but these did not appear to be very deep. Andrews blew his whistle, and directly afterwards several officers appeared on the scene. The constables, acting upon instructions, did not shift the body from the position in which it was found until after Dr. George Bagster Phillips, divisional surgeon, and Dr. Brown had examined it. They, however, felt the face, which was warm, thus proving that the murder had been committed but a very short time before the constable discovered the body.
The doctors, together with several inspectors and detectives attached to the H Division, were quickly on the spot, and the former, having examined the body, pronounced life extinct. They then took minute details of the position of the corpse, which was lying in a pool of blood, and the appearance of the surrounding buildings. The body was then conveyed on a stretcher to the Whitechapel mortuary, in Old Montague-street, where the police took a description of the deceased. She appeared to be a woman about 40 years of age, and evidently had been a member of the poorest class of unfortunate women who infest the principal thoroughfares of the East End. She was about five feet five inches in height, of fair complexion, with dark-brown hair. A tooth was missing, and in this respect the case bears a singular resemblance to those of the two other women who were murdered in Buck's-row and Hanbury-street, as each of these had a tooth missing. There was no covering to the head. The deceased woman was poorly dressed, and one of the nails of a finger of the left hand is partly cut off.
The scene of the murder is probably one of the lowest quarters in the whole of East London, and a spot more suitable for the terrible crime could hardly be found, on account of the evil reputation borne by this particular place, and the absence of any inhabitants in the immediate vicinity. Castle-alley, which is within a quarter of a mile of the scenes of the other murders, is principally composed of workshops, and is about 180 yards in length. The thoroughfare itself is blocked up, both day and night, with tradesmen's carts and wagons and costermongers' barrows, while on the opposite side to the workshops or store-houses is a high dead wall, above which, however, are the windows of some dwelling houses. This alley, which is entered by a passage, not more than a yard in width, between Nos. 124 and 125 Whitechapel-road, is entirely shut off from view of the main road, and would hardly be observed by the ordinary passer-by. At the end of the passage are the Board School and Whitechapel wash-houses, and the thoroughfare, from that end, leads into Newcastle and Wentworth streets, both of which are principally occupied by foreign Jews and the frequenters of common lodging-houses. Although the houses in these two streets are densely populated, the people generally enter them from the Spitalfields end, especially at night time, on account of the dark and lonely nature of Castle-alley, as well as the evil reputation it has always borne among the respectable portion of the inhabitants. The vans and other vehicles which crowd the thoroughfare, notwithstanding the fact that the alley is lighted with three lamps, affords ample cover and secrecy for crime and violence. The exact spot where the body of the unfortunate woman was found was between two wagons, which were fastened together with a chain, outside the premises of Messrs. King and Sons, builders. Right against the wagons was a street lamp, and it was against this that the body of the murdered woman was discovered by the police officer. The murderer, on account of the narrowness and intricacy of the surrounding thoroughfares, would have no difficulty in getting away unobserved; and if, as is believed, he is residing in one of the dozens of common lodging-houses or small houses almost within a stone's throw of the spot where the deed was committed, he would have no trouble in concealing his identity after making his escape. The woman's character, the nature of the wound, and the scene of the crime, naturally connect this murder with the seven similar murders of last year.
As soon as the murder was discovered a cordon of police was drawn around the spot, and the lodging-houses in the surrounding streets were searched, but with no satisfactory result. The news of the crime rapidly spread, and within an hour Mr. Monro, Commissioner of Police, and Colonel Monsell visited the place, and personally superintended the measures taken to effect the capture of the murderer. Within two hours a number of detectives from Scotland-yard were busily engaged in making inquiries into the case, and otherwise assisting Detective-Inspector Reid, the head of the Criminal Investigation Department officers, attached to the H Division. It is only a short time since a large number of officers in the division, who had been specially engaged in watching the district since November last, were withdrawn, and these have already resumed their former work. Constable Andrews passed through Castle-alley, from the time he went on night duty until he found the body, every quarter of an hour, and just before the discovery a police sergeant passed the spot, and neither officer saw anything unusual. This clearly proves that the murder was committed but two or three minutes before the body was found, and the approach of the constable probably caused the murderer to take flight. There is no doubt the murderer enticed his victim to the spot, and the absence of any blood, except where the body was found, proves the deed to have been committed on that spot.
During yesterday a large number of persons connected with common lodging-houses in the district were taken to the mortuary for the purpose of identifying the body, and although many of them stated that they knew the woman well by sight, they did not know her name. The excitement in the neighbourhood was considerable as soon as the news spread, and during the whole of yesterday large crowds assembled in Castle-alley and in front of the gates of the yard in which the mortuary is placed. Three men who were found in the neighbourhood of the murder were taken to the Leman-street Police-station, but after being detained for some time, they were liberated, as soon as their accounts of themselves could be verified. Since the last murder the police have continued to receive letters purporting to come from "Jack the Ripper", and only three weeks since one was received in which the writer stated that it was his intention "to resume operations in July." No reliance, however, is placed on the genuineness of these epistles.
About two o'clock the woman was identified by John M'Cormack as Alice M'Kenzie with whom he had been living for the last six or seven years. Directly afterwards Dr. Phillips made a post-mortem examination of the body, the result of which will be made known at the resumed inquiry.
Mr. James Monro, C.B., Commissioner of the Police of the Metropolis, has presented his report on the force for the year 1888, and it is now published as a Blue-book.
Some idea may be gained of the duties of this force when it is stated that the Metropolitan Police district extends over a circle whose centre is Charing-cross, and its radius 15 miles - that is to say, it includes an area of 688 square miles, extending from Colney-heath, Herts., in the north, to Mogadore, Todworth-heath in the south, and from Lark-hall, Essex in the east, to Staines-moor, Middlesex, in the west. Of course, from this area must be excluded the City, which has its own force. The rateable value of the area was £34,742,779, "but," the Commissioner adds, "of the enormous actual value of the property in charge of the police, it is impossible to form any estimate." Since the year 1849 there have been built in the metropolitan district 513,278 new houses, and 3,132 are still in course of erection; 1,853 miles of new streets have been added to the charge of the police, and the population has increased from 2,473,758 to 5,590,576, which means that, in regard to population alone, the cares of the police have considerably more than doubled - that is, they have increased 126 per cent. If we consider the numbers of the force who have to perform various duties among this vast population and in this vast area we find that the authorized strength at the end of last year was made up thus:- 30 superintendents, 837 inspectors, 1,369 sergeants, and 12,025 constables - a total of 14,261. With increasing population the force has to be increased, and the above figures show an increase of 17 inspectors, six sergeants and 157 constables over those of the previous year. But sickness, casualties, leave of absence, and special duties sanctioned by various Acts of Parliament take away a considerable portion of the men, and the consequence is that only 9,037 police were left for duty in the streets. In 1849 the men so available were 5,288. So that while, as has been shown above, the population under their charge has increased in 40 years by 126 per cent, the force itself has increased by only 70 per cent. It is no wonder, therefore, that the Commissioner says:- "It will be seen that there is great need for a very considerable augmentation, and this has been so reported by the superintendents." In fact, the increase of buildings, population and traffic has outrun the increase which it has been possible to make to the police force. Something has been done in raising the numbers of the men, and providing stations and other accommodation for them. Of these 9,037 men available for duty in the streets, 60 per cent are required for night duty from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. The remaining 40 per cent are detailed for duty in four reliefs in town districts, and two reliefs in country districts from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. During the day the ordinary beat duty of the whole metropolis devolves upon about 1,561 men, and there are beside 522 constables at fixed points, and 88 at cabstands. The pay of the force alone, including chief constables, assistant chief constables, superintendents, inspectors, sergeants, and constables, was £1,130,182. This was made up by a police rate of 9d. in the pound, of which 4d. in the pound is paid by the Treasury; so that in the ended the 31st of March last the parishes contributed £723,807, and the Treasury £582,938 to the Police Fund.
It is satisfactory to notice that the Commissioner is able to state that the efficiency and discipline of the force have been well maintained, and the conduct of the men has been such as to deserve the confidence which is reposed in them by the public. The cases of misconduct at periods of special temptation - such as Christmas - have been fewer in number than for many years past, and throughout the year the behaviour of the men has been excellent. The exposure and constant duty of walking about to which the men are subject are not without their effect. In the course of the year 69 men died, 27 of them from disease of the lungs or pneumonia, while 1,953 suffered from some disease arising from exposure - most of them, of course, during the quarters ending December and March. Of the 993 traumatic injuries suffered, 131 arose from sore feet. The chief surgeon of the force reckons that the daily average loss by sickness is 2.95 per cent, a very slight increase on the year before. More than 200 men were treated in various hospitals, and of these 16 died. Of the 714 men who left the force in the course of the year, 337 were incapacitated by sickness or long service, 90 were dismissed, and others resigned or died. In the appendices a number of interesting facts are given as to the length of service, the commendations they have earned from Judges and magistrates, and other matters connected with the personnel of the force.
In the appendices also will be found set forth in abundant detail some of the many and growing duties which the police are called upon to perform. The following passage from Mr. Monro's report is worth quoting in full:-
"Crime during the year has shown a decided tendency to increase. This fact may be accounted for to a certain extent by circumstances which affected the administration of the force in a peculiar manner at different periods of the year. The agitation which centred on Trafalgar-square and the murders in Whitechapel necessitated the concentration in particular localities of large bodies of police, and such an increase of force in one quarter of the metropolis, it must be remembered, is only procurable by diminishing the number of men ordinarily employed in other divisions. In the present state of the force, increase of protection in the East-end means diminished numbers of police in other quarters, and so long as the available force is hardly sufficient, as it is just now, for the performance of the ordinary and everyday duties of the police, any additional drain on its resources leads to diminished protection against, and consequently increase of, crime. There has been no relaxation of effort on the part of the police to cope with crime; the fact is that the force is overworked, and under such circumstances crime cannot be met or coped with in a satisfactory and efficient manner. The statistics of crime will be found in the tables attached. I need not do more than merely allude to the extraordinary series of murders which occurred in Whitechapel, which gave rise to the greatest excitement in London. I regret to say that in spite of most strenuous efforts on the part of the police the criminal has up till now remained undiscovered."
Among the interesting facts that can be gleaned from the book are the following:- Drivers and conductors deposited with the police 23,187 articles in the course of the year, and of these 10,338 were returned to their owners, and the rest were sold. There were 14,247 licenses of public carriages issued, 38 cab shelters were opened, and 28,147 men were licensed to drive. The convictions for drunkenness recorded against drivers and conductors were 1,527. The number of summonses issued on the application of the police was 12,574, and in 11,710 the result was conviction; this shows a marked increase on 1887. Another growing duty of the police is the taking of persons injured, or otherwise wanting medical aid, to the hospitals. Of such cases there were 6,300 last year - an increase of 300 on the year before. The total number of persons apprehended was 75,807, and of these 49,606 were summarily convicted, 22,711 were discharged, and the remainder committed for trial.
Last evening Mr. Wynne E. Baxter, coroner for the South East Division of Middlesex, opened his inquiry at the Working Lads' Institute, High street, Whitechapel.
Superintendent T. Arnold and Detective Inspector E. Reid were present to watch the case on behalf of the Criminal Investigation Department.
The jury having viewed the body, John M'Cormack was the first witness called. He said - I live at 54 Gun street, Spitalfields. It is a common lodging house. I am a porter. I have seen the body in the mortuary and recognize it as that of Alice M'Kenzie. I can't exactly tell her age, but it was about 40.
The Coroner - Has she been living with you? - Yes, for about six years. I recognize her by her thumb, which was crushed at the top by a machine. The nail was half off.
Did you recognize her face? - Yes, sir; by the scars on her forehead. I also recognized her clothes she was wearing and also the boots. She told me she came from Peterborough. I did not know if she had any children. She worked very hard as a washerwoman and charwoman to the Jews.
When did you last see her alive? - Between 3 and 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon. She left me in bed at that time. She went from me with the intention of paying a night's rent - 8d.
Did you give her the money? - Of course I did. I gave her 1s 8d altogether: to pay the rent, and to so what she liked with the remainder.
You did not see her again? - Not until I saw the body in the mortuary. The deputy told me that my old woman was lying dead in the mortuary, and I went and recognized her.
Was she sober when she left you? - Perfectly.
How came you in bed at 4 o'clock? - As soon as I come home I lie down; and, having a little drop of drink, I go and lie down. When I came home yesterday I went and lay down immediately.
Had the deceased been at work on Tuesday? - No; she told me she went to work on Monday, but I did not believe it. She came home about 7 o'clock on Monday evening, and then she went to bed.
Why did you not believe she went to work? - Because I know she did not.
How do you know? - Because I was told by others she did not go to work.
Did she often come home late at night? - Not to my knowledge. Deceased was usually at home at night. Did you have any words with the deceased yesterday? - I had a few words, and that upset her.
Did she tell you she was going to walk the streets? - She did not: she told me nothing.
Did you not go down to the deputy and ask if the deceased had paid the money? - I did; that was between half past 10 and 11 o'clock.
What did the deputy say? - She told me she had not paid the rent.
Did you say, "What am I to do? Am I to go and walk the streets as well?" - That's what I did say. The deputy said "No, don't you go." I then went upstairs and went to bed. I got up at a quarter to 6 that morning, and that was my usual time.
Did you think she had gone out looking for money? - I can't say nothing about that.
Was the deceased a great smoker? - Yes; she used to smoke, but I can't tell what sort of pipe she smoked; all I can say is she smoked.
Was it a clay pipe or a wooden pipe? - It was always a clay pipe.
In bed? - Yes, of course.
Elizabeth Ryder said - I live at 52 and 54 Gun street, Spitalfields. I am married, and my husband's name is Richard John Ryder, and he is a cooper. I act as deputy of a common lodging house. I have seen the body in the mortuary, and recognize it as that of Alice M'Kenzie. She has been lodging there about 4 months. She lived with John M'Cormack as his wife. I have no doubt about the identity of the body. I knew she was wearing odd stockings. I last saw her alive last night. She was then sober, and was not wearing a bonnet or hat.
Did she speak to you? - Yes. She had been at the lodging house all day. M'Cormack came home between 3 and 4 o'clock in the afternoon.
Do you know whether there had been any disagreement? - I believe there had; but I did not hear anything. When deceased came downstairs between 8 and 9 o'clock she passed through the kitchen and went out.
Did she usually wear a bonnet or hat? - Never; but she wore a shawl, and had one on when she left the lodging house. It was a light shawl, and witness saw it in the mortuary.
Was she a woman who was in the habit of being out late at night? - No. She was generally in bed by 10 o'clock. As far as I know she got her living honestly, and did not get money in the streets. Between 11 and 12 last night M'Cormack came down and asked me if I had seen the deceased since 8 or 0 o'clock. I told him I had not. He then asked me if she had paid the lodging, and I told him she had not. M'Cormack then asked me what he was to do, and I told him to go to bed. He then went upstairs. Before that he told me he had had a few words with the deceased, and sent her down to pay the lodging. Witness told him deceased would soon be home. Deceased had some drink during the day, and when her husband came home from work she was drunk. I did not think it was necessary to make any remark to deceased when she went out. I have seen her smoke in the kitchen. She used to borrow pipes, which were short clay ones, like the one produced.
What time is the lodging house closed? - At 2 o'clock in the morning. A 3.30 this morning I went into the kitchen for the deceased and another young woman, but they had not come home.
Has the other young woman come home? - No.
Did they go out together? - No.
What is the name of this young woman? - Mog Cheeks.
Do you know where deceased got the drink from? - I do not; but there is a public house about two doors away.
Had you seen the deceased with any other man but M'Cormack that day? - No. Between 3 and 4 in the afternoon she went to meet her husband and they came home together. When she went out at night she was alone. Deceased and M'Cormack had lodged on and off at the lodging house for the past 12 months. When they were not there they occupied a room at Crossingham's in White's row. The other woman referred to had lodged there for 18 months, and she was on the streets.
The Foreman - It is important that the woman should be found.
The Coroner - I have no doubt that she will be.
Witness - She was in the habit of staying out all night if she mad no money to pay for her lodging. Police Constable Joseph Allen, 423 H, deposed - Last night I was in Castle alley. It was then 20 minutes past 12 when I passed through. I was through the alley several times. I remained there for five minutes. I entered the alley through the archway from Whitechapel road. I had something to eat under the lamp where the deceased was found. Having remained in the alley for five minutes, I went into Wentworth street. There was neither man nor woman there. There were wagons in the alley - two right underneath the lamp.
Would you swear there was no one in the wagons? - I would not swear to that, as I did not look into them; one of the wagons was an open one. Everything was quiet at the time. The backs of some of the houses in Newcastle street faced the alley, and in some of the upper windows were lights. That was not an unusual thing at that time. I cannot say if any of the windows were open. No sounds came from those houses. On leaving the alley I met Constable Walter Andrews, 272 H, in Wentworth street. It was about 100 yards from the alley where I met Andrews. I spoke to Andrews, who then went towards Goldston (sic ) street.
How do you fix the time? - I looked at my watch. It was 12.30 when I left the alley. At the end is a public house - The Three Crowns - and as I passed the landlord was shutting up the house. After leaving Andrews I went towards Commercial street and met Sergeant Badlam, 31 H, who told me a woman had been found murdered in Castle alley, and he directed me to go to the station. When the sergeant spoke to me it was five minutes to 1 and 1 o'clock when I got to the station.
Police Constable Walter Andrews, 272H, said - About ten minutes to 1 this morning I saw Sergeant Badlam at the corner of Old Castle street, leading into Castle alley. That was on the opposite corner of the public house. The sergeant said, "All right," and I said the same. I then proceeded up Castle alley, and tried the doors on the west side of the alley. While doing so I noticed a woman lying on the pavement. Her lead was lying eastward, and was on the edge of the kerbstone, with her feet towards the building, which was a wheelwright's shop and warehouse.
Was the body touched before the doctor arrived? - Only by my touching the face to see if it was cold. It had not been disturbed.
How far was it from the lamp? - Almost underneath. About 2ft from the lamp post.
Was any wagon there? - Two; one was a scavenger's wagon, and the other a brewer's dray. They were on the same side of the way. The wagons hid the body from persons in the cottages opposite. The head was almost underneath the scavenger's wagon.
Were her clothes up? - Yes, almost level to the chin. Her legs and body were exposed. I noticed that blood was running from the left side of the neck.
You said you felt her? - I touched the abdomen. It was quite warm. I then blew my whistle, and between two and three minutes Sergeant Badlam came up. The sergeant gave me orders to stay by the body and not touch it until the doctor arrived. The body was not touched until Dr. Phillips arrived about five or ten minutes past 1.
Had you seen any one? - I had not. There was not a soul in the alley that I saw. After I saw the body lying on the pavement I heard a footstep coming from Old castle place, and I saw a young man named Isaac Lewis Jacobs. I said, "Where are you going?" He said, "I am going to Wentworth street to fetch something for my supper." At the time he was carrying a plate in his hand. Jacobs came back with me and stayed there until the sergeant arrived.
Had you been in the alley before? - Yes. Between 20 and 25 minutes past 12. I went into the alley after Allen. After he came out I went in some two or three minutes later. No one was in the alley then. After I left Allen I went into Goldston street, then into Whitechapel High street, down Middlesex street, into Wentworth street again. It was there I saw the sergeant as I have already stated.
Did any one attract your attention? - No, I saw no one in Goldston or Middlesex streets.
The Foreman - Do you think the deceased had been drawn to where you found her or murdered there? I think she was killed there. I should think she had been standing up against the lamp post, and then pulled or dragged down. There was no trail of blood away from the body, and no splashes of blood. How long have you been on the beat? - A fortnight.
Do people come there? - People often come to sleep in the vans, but when we find them we turn them out. I have not seen the alley used for immoral purposes, and have not seen any women there at all. How many vans are there at night in the alley? - Six or eight, besides several costermongers' barrows.
Did you see any one the worse for drink about there last night? - I did not.
Isaac Lewis Jacobs said - I live at 12 Newcastle place, and am a boot maker. About ten minutes to 1 this morning I left home to buy some supper in M'Carthy's, in Dorset street. I had occasion to pass Newcastle place into Old Castle street. When I got to Cocoanut place a constable ran up to me; I stopped. He said, "Where have you been?" I replied, "I have been nowhere, I am just going on an errand and have just left my home." The constable then said, "Come with me; there has been a murder committed." I went with him and when we got to Old Castle street he blew his whistle. I believe a sergeant then came up. We then hurried down to the lamp post in Castle alley. I saw a woman lying there in a pool of blood, with a wound in the throat, and another wound in the side. I waited there until another police constable came, and afterwards saw the body removed. Then I went home. Did you see anyone before you saw the constable? - No, Sir.
Does your house look over Castle alley? - No. That is Castle street. I had not been there during the night.
Police Sergeant Badham, 31 H, stated - About 12 minutes to 1 this morning I was in Old Castle street and saw Constable Andrews. I went up to him and said, "All right?" He replied, "All right, sergeant." I then left him and went to visit another man on the adjoining beat. I then went to Pell lane, when I heard two blows from a whistle. I listened for the second blow to ascertain from where it came. On hearing the second whistle I rushed up Newcastle street and met Andrews, who shouted out, "Come on, quick." I threw my cape to the ground and rushed up after him. I saw a woman lying on the pavement on the near side with her throat cut, and her head lying in a pool of blood. The legs and stomach were exposed. I got the assistance of other constables and blocked up the end of the alley, and directed Constable 423 H to fetch the doctor and acquaint the doctor on duty. I also directed Constable 101 H to search the place and also the surrounding streets; and Constable 272 H to remain with the body and not to let any one touch it until the doctor arrived. Sergeant 21 H and the local inspector came up and made search. They were followed by Detective Inspector Reid. I also acquainted the superintendent, and directed other constables to make careful inquiry at the lodging houses, coffee houses, and places where men were likely to go. In the meantime the doctor arrived. I also made search myself, but failed to find trace of any person that was likely to have committed the murder. Had you been in the alley at all that night? - No.
Police Constable George Neve, 101 H, stated - About five minutes to 1 I met the sergeant in Commercial street. He said, "Hurry up into Castle alley. There has been a murder done; go and search all round." I searched all round, but did not find anything. It was all quiet. I then went into Castle alley, to where the body was lying. I searched the conveyances in Castle alley and looked over the hoarding, but could see no trace of any one about. I saw no one move and heard no sound. Did you know the deceased? - I have known her about the place for about 12 months, and have seen her the worse for drink.
Have you ever seen her about at night? - Between 10 and 11 o'clock. It was my opinion she was a prostitute. I have seen her talking to men. I have seen her in Gun street, Brick lane, and Dorset street. I did not know where she lived. I had not seen her before that evening. In fact, I had not seen her for about a fortnight.
Mrs. Sarah Frances Smith stated - I live at the Whitechapel Baths and Washhouses. My husband is a retired police officer, and is superintendent of the baths. I am money taker there. The baths back on to Castle alley, and the window of my room looks into castle alley, close to where the body was found. I went to bed this morning between 12.15 and 12.30. I did not go to sleep, and had no idea that anything had happened, until I heard a knock at the door, and also a whistle blown.
If there had been any call for help in the alley would you have heard it? - My bedstead is up against the wall, next to Castle alley.
At this stage the inquiry was adjourned.