Friday, 19 July 1889
The interest and excitement caused by the latest Whitechapel murder have in no way abated, while fresh inquiries only confirm the idea that the crime was committed by the person who so brutally murdered the seven other women of the same class in the same district. During the whole of Wednesday evening and up to a late hour, the main thoroughfares of the East-end were crowded with persons, all of whom anxiously discussed the events of the day. After midnight, however, the streets presented a far different appearance. On ordinary occasions, the Whitechapel, Mile End and Commercial-roads, and Commercial-street are infested with the lowest type of women who get a livelihood on the streets, but as soon as the public-houses were closed both the main thoroughfares and by-streets were completely deserted. A large number of extra police, all of whom are in plain clothes, are now drafted into the district, under the direction of Detective-inspectors Swanson (Scotland-yard) and Reid, and these are posted, both day and night, in every quarter likely to afford a clue to the identity of the missing murderer. Their efforts under present circumstances can hardly be expected to have any successful result, as they have no clue whatever to follow up or work upon. It is a remarkable fact that the assassin was not captured red-handed, for within six minutes of the time the body was found by the officer Andrews another constable had passed through the alley, which was then clear at both ends, while at the Wentworth-street end Sergeant Badham was standing and a constable was patrolling close to the entrance from the Whitechapel-road, and yet these officers saw no one. It was also the opinion of the police and the divisional surgeon that the streets were unusually deserted on Tuesday night, so that had any suspicious person been loitering about he would certainly have been observed. The reign of terror which existed in the East-end towards the latter part of last year has again revived, and publicans particularly are already complaining that the scare will seriously affect their nightly receipts for some time to come.
From inquiries that have been made there is no doubt that the poor woman, Alice M'Kenzie, almost nightly walked the streets. She was well known to the police by sight, and had also been at the Thames Police-court on a charge of drunkenness.
During yesterday several statements and hints were given to the police, principally by persons residing in common lodging-houses. No matter from what source such information comes it is all written down and afterwards carefully inquired into. On Wednesday and yesterday the police received some dozens of letters, each one containing the ideas of the writers how best to capture the man wanted, and although many of these are of a ridiculous character and simply give the police unnecessary trouble each one has to be fully considered.
Mr. Tempenny and others interested in the deceased have declined to accept the offer of the London Evangelization Society and Common Lodging-house Mission to defray the cost of the internment, which will take place on Monday or Tuesday at Plaistow.
Yesterday morning Mr. Wynne E. Baxter, coroner for the South Eastern Division of Middlesex, resumed his adjourned inquiry at the Working Lads' Institute into the circumstances attending the death of Alice M'Kenzie, aged about 40 years, who was found murdered in Castle alley, Whitechapel, early on Wednesday morning.
Sergeant T. Arnold and Detective Inspector Reid watched the case on behalf of the Commissioners of Police and Criminal Investigation Department.
Detective Inspector Edmund Reid, H Division, said - I received a called to castle alley about five minutes past 1 on the morning of the murder. I dressed and ran down at once. On arriving at Castle alley I found the Wentworth street end blocked by a policeman. On arriving at the back of the baths I saw the deceased woman. I saw she had a cut on the left side of the throat, and there was a quantity of blood under the head which was running into the gutter. The clothes were up and her face was slightly turned towards the road. She was lying on her back. I felt her face and body, and found they were warm. Dr. Phillips arrived. At the time I arrived I ascertained the fact that the other end (Whitechapel) was blocked and search was being made through the alley and also in the immediate neighbourhood. The deputy superintendent and his wife at the baths were seen and stated they heard nothing unusual. After the body had been examined by the doctor it was placed on the police ambulance, and underneath the body of the deceased was found the short clay pipe produced. the pipe was broken and there was blood on it, and in the bowl there was some unburnt tobacco. I also found a bronze farthing underneath the clothes of the deceased. There was also blood on the farthing. I produce a rough plan of Castle alley, a correct copy of which will be sent by the draughtsman. During the whole time from the finding of the body only one private person was present, except Lewis Jacobs, who was examined yesterday. Everything was done very quietly. The fence on the other side of the alley, to where the body was found, is about 10ft high. Along that were a row of barrows. Close to where the body was found were two barrows chained together. There was a lamp where the body was found; one outside the public house; one at the entrance to Old Castle street; and one at the entrance to the passage leading into the alley. I do not think any stranger would go down there unless he was taken there. I did not go into the High street, Whitechapel, within a few minutes of my arrival. There are people in High street, Whitechapel, all night. Two constables are continually passing through the alley at night. It is hardly ever left alone for more than five minutes. Although it is called an alley it is really a broad turning, with two narrow entrances. Any person standing at the Wentworth street end would look upon it as a blind street. No stranger would think he could pass through it, and none but foot passengers can. It was raining when the body was removed. It was also raining when I arrived but a very little. The spot under which deceased was lying was dry except where there was blood. I searched the body at the mortuary and found nothing. There is no doubt about the name of the deceased. I have since made inquiries at 54 Gun street, and have ascertained from the deputy, Ryder, that Mog Cheeks, the woman that was mentioned yesterday, stayed with her sister all night. I saw the deputy this morning and she said she would try and get Mog Cheeks here. I have no doubt the deed was committed on the spot where the body was found. I should say she was lying down on the pavement when she was murdered, as if she had been standing up there would have been blood on the wall. She was lying along the pavement, her head being towards Whitechapel. No person, unless he went along the pathway, could have seen the body on account of the shadow of the lamp and the vans which screened the body. Any person going along the road would have seen it. If I wanted to watch any one I would stand under the lamp. The darkness was so great that it was necessary to use the constable's lamp to see that the throat was cut, although it was just under the lamp. I think the alley is sufficiently lighted; there are five lamps here. In another instance of this kind - the Hanbury street murder - two similar farthings were found. The tobacco in the pipe had not been smoked. The pipe was a very old one and was what was termed on the lodging house a "nose warmer."
Dr. George Bagster Phillips, divisional surgeon of the H Division, said that he was called, and arrived at Castle alley at 1.10 a.m. on Wednesday, when it was raining very hard. On his arrival in Castle alley, at the back premises of the wash houses he found the body lying in the position already described, as to which the witness gave full details. Having inspected the body, he had it removed to the shed used as a mortuary in the Pavilion yard, Whitechapel. There he re-examined the body and left it in charge of the police. Yesterday he made a post mortem examination at the same shed - a most inconvenient and altogether ill appointed place for such a purpose. It tended greatly to the thwarting of justice having such a place to perform such examinations in. With several colleagues he made the examination at 2 o'clock, when rigor mortis was well marked. The witness then described the wounds, of which there were several, and these were most of them superficial cuts on the lower part of the body. There were several old scars and there was the loss of the top of the right thumb, apparently caused by some former injury. The wound in the neck was 4 in long, reaching from the back part of the muscles, which were almost entirely divided. It reached to the fore part of the neck to a point 4in below the chin. There was second incision, which must have commenced from behind and immediately below the first. The cause of death was syncope, arising from the loss of blood through the divided carotid vessels, and such death probably was almost instantaneous.
The Coroner - There are various points that the doctor would rather reserve at the moment.
Margaret Cheeks said - I generally live at 52 Gun street. I am married, and my husband's name is Charles Cheeks, when he is with me. He is a bricklayer and has not been living with me for three years. I knew the deceased from living in the same house. I saw her on Tuesday morning getting her husband's breakfast. I have not seen her since.
Margaret Franklin stated - I live at 56 Flower and Dean street and am a widow. I have known the deceased for 15 years. Between 11.30 and 12 o'clock on Tuesday night I saw the deceased and was speaking to her. I was sitting with two others on the steps of a house at the top of Flower and Dean street. Deceased was passing and going in the direction of Brick lane and Whitechapel. We exchanged a few words. I do not think she was under the influence of drink. I have often seen her out as late as that, as she did domestic work for the Jews. I did not see her speak to any on in Brick lane on Tuesday night. The only name I knew her by was Alice. I knew she was living in Gun street with a man that I knew by the name of Bryant. It was the same one that gave evidence yesterday. I have never seen her talking with other men. She worked hard for the Jews and they do not give much. It had just begun to rain when deceased passed.
Catherine Hughes, who was sitting with the last witness, generally corroborated her evidence but stated that it was not raining when she passed and the rain did not come down until a quarter to 1. Detective Inspector Reid - I am certain it was not raining at half past 12, as I was out at that time.
The Coroner said that the inquiry would be adjourned until the 14th of August. In the meantime he hoped there would not be another affair of this kind. People having the character of the victims had it entirely in their hands to prevent this kind of thing. If they could only be induced not to assist the man who did this sort of work it would be stopped, but unfortunately it was hoping against hope, because they would lend themselves to it.
The inquiry was then adjourned.