The Times (London).
Wednesday, 18 February 1891.
THE WHITECHAPEL MURDER.
Mr. Wynne E. Baxter, the East London Coroner, resumed the inquiry yesterday, at the Working Lads’ Institute, Whitechapel, into the circumstances attending the death of the unfortunate woman who was found murdered in Swallow-gardens in the early hours of Friday last.
Mr. Charles Mathews appeared to watch the case on behalf of the Public Prosecutor; and Superintendent Arnold, H Division, represented the police.
The CORONER, in opening the proceedings, said that, in view of the turn events had taken, and considering the fact that a man was in custody charged with the crime, their inquiry would have to take a much larger range than he had at first deemed necessary. They would not only have to trace the movements of the deceased woman, but also those of the man Sadler, now in custody. Under those circumstances he thought that in the interest of justice they must go fully into the matter.
The first witness called was James William Coles, who was examined by Mr. Mathews. He said: - I am now an inmate of Bermondsey Workhouse. On Saturday last I went to the Whitechapel Mortuary, and there saw the body of a woman whom I identified as my youngest daughter. Her name was Frances Coles, and near as I can say she was 26 years of age. I last saw her alive on Friday, the 6th February, when she came to see me. She was in the habit of coming to the workhouse every Friday.
Where was she living? - She deceived me about that.
Where did she tell you she was living? - At 42, Richard-street, Commercial-road. I thought she was working at Hora’s, wholesale chemists, in the Minories. She had a sister living at 32, Ware-street, Kingsland. She had a peculiar mark on one ear as if it had been torn by an earring. She had had that mark for three or four years. The knuckles of her left hand were covered by a hard skin caused by her work as a labeller. On Friday week, when I saw her, she promised to come again on the Sunday, but she did not, and I never saw her alive again.
The CORONER here said that the Common Lodginghouse Mission had written to him offering to bury the deceased and defray all the expenses, and asked the witness if he would accept the offer. The witness said he would be only too pleased to do so.
Mary Ann Coles, a single woman residing at 32, Ware-street, Kingsland-road deposed:-I have been to the mortuary and identify [sic] the body lying there as that of my sister Frances. I have not seen her since Boxing-day. She was in good health then, but very poor, and at her request I gave her something to eat and drink. She told me she was living with a widow at Richard-street. I noticed the mark on her ear. Before she left I gave her a dress, the same dress I saw on Sunday when I went to the mortuary. The hat trimmed with crape and the long black jacket I know she bought.
The CORONER. - Did you know she had left Mr. Hora?
Witness. - No, I did not. She said they were short of work in the winter, and she could only earn from 6s. 2d. to 7s. per week.
By the jury. - I never called at Richard-street, and did not know she did not live there. I never saw any of her friends. She always came to me alone, and I do not think she used to drink.
Peter Lorenzo Hawkes said:- I am assistant to my mother, a milliner, at 25, Nottingham-street, Bethnal-green. On Thursday last, between 7 and 8 in the evening, a woman came into the shop and asked to be shown some hats. I showed her several, and she selected a black crepe hat, the price of which was 1s. 11½d. After I told her the price she went outside the shop and spoke to a man whom I had seen looking in at the window. She went away in the company of this man, but returned shortly after and said she would have the hat she had selected, and gave me 2s., and I gave her a halfpenny change. She was wearing an old black hat with an edging of beads.
The CORONER. - You have been to the mortuary. Can you identify the hat she was wearing as the one you sold her?
Witness. - Yes, I am sure it was the hat I sold. The other hat I was shown at the mortuary is similar to the one she wore when she came to our shop. I identified the body on Friday, and on Saturday I went to the police-station at Leman-street, and there saw a number of men.
Mr. Mathews. - From among those men did you identify the man who looked through your shop window on the 13th?
Witness. - Yes.
Mr. Mathews. - And that man was Sadler?
Witness. - I believe so. I read in the newspaper that it was he.
The CORONER. - Have you not seen Sadler and had Sadler pointed out to you since?
Witness. - No.
The CORONER. - Then I am afraid your evidence will not connect the two.
Mr. Mathews. - I will prove later on by a constable that the man the witness picked out was Sadler.
Charles Gyver, a night watchman at a common lodging-house, 8, White’s-row, Spitalfields, deposed:- I have known the deceased for the past three years as a casual lodger. She went by the name of Frances. She only stayed a night or two a week, and was known as a prostitute. She used to bring different men to the house.
The CORONER. - Have you seen the body in the mortuary?
Witness. - No.
The witness was then sent to the mortuary.
Samuel Harris, a fish curer, employed by Mr. Abrahams, of 50, Virginia-road, Bethnal-green, said:- I lodge at the common lodging house, 8, White’s-row. On Thursday I arrived home at 8 o’clock. On going into the kitchen I saw a woman who went by the name of Frances sitting on a form with her head on the table as if asleep.
Mr. Mathews. - Some little time after you entered the kitchen did a man dressed as a sailor come in?
Witness. - Yes, Sir. He looked round the kitchen and then went and sat down on the form beside Frances. He asked her if she had any money for the lodging, and she said, "No."
Mr. Mathews. - Did you hear the man say anything else?
Witness. - Yes, I heard him say, "I have been robbed. If I only knew who had done it I would do for them." He then came across to me and asked me if I would let him go to bed till to-morrow morning.
Mr. Mathews. - He mistook you for the deputy?
Witness. - Yes. He showed me a certificate for money, it was for £4 odd. I said I had nothing to do with the letting of the beds. He remained in the kitchen with Frances and myself till 12:30. There were other people in the kitchen all the time. Soon after he went out, I saw Frances put her hat under her dress and follow him. I went to bed at a quarter to 2, and did not see any more of them. On Friday I went to the mortuary and identified the dead body.
Mr. Mathews. - When did you next see the man?
Witness. - On Saturday, when I caught him in a publichouse called the Phoenix, in Upper East Smithfield. He was alone, drinking in the bar. I was looking for him, and as soon as I went in I knew he was the man I wanted. I went in alone, but there were two detectives waiting outside for me, When I saw the man I came out and spoke to the detectives, who went in and called him out and took him to Leman-street Police-station. I followed behind.
Mr. Mathews. - Do you say positively that he was the man you had seen at 8, White’s-row from 11:30 till 12:30 on the night of the 12th and the morning of the 13th?
Witness. - Yes, I am positive.
Mr. Mathews. - When the man first came into the lodging-house and said he had been robbed, did you notice any marks on his face?
Witness. - Yes; I noticed he had a scar over the left eye. It was a fresh mark, and was bleeding. I did not notice any other mark at that time.
Mr. Mathews. - Now, when you saw him in the Phoenix publichouse on Saturday morning, had he any other marks?
Witness. - Yes, he had that bruise; and he looked as if he had two black eyes and a cut on his head.
A juror. - Did you notice whether he had any stains of blood on his clothing?
Witness. - I did not notice any. I was close to him, and I know the clothes he wore.
Did he show any signs of recognition in the Phoenix? - No.
Had you seen him before? - Never before, only that night at the lodging-house.
The CORONER. - What condition was he in when he entered the kitchen?
Witness. - He was intoxicated.
What condition was he in when you saw him on Saturday?
He looked half and half.
Continuing, the witness said, - I have known Frances for 18 months as a casual lodger there. I read the account of the murder in the paper, and left my work and went home. I asked if they had seen Frances, and they said "No," and I said, "That’s her that’s been murdered." I had read that a black crape hat had been found under her dress.
The witness Gyver, having returned from the mortuary, said, - I recognize the body as that of a woman I knew as Frances. I remember her coming in on Wednesday night about 10 or 10:30. She was with Sadler. I first saw her standing by the office door. Sadler was standing at the bottom of the staircase. I showed them upstairs to their room. They remained in bed until after 9 o’clock on Thursday morning. I did not see them go out. About 10 o’clock at night I saw Frances come into the kitchen drunk. She went and sat on a form near the fireplace, and rested her head on the table. Sadler came in and said he had been robbed of 3s. 6d. in Thrawl-street. His face was bleeding, and I advised him to go out into the yard and wash the blood off. He went, and when he came back he looked as if he had been thrown down and got the gravel rash. I did not notice any blood on his clothes. He began wrangling with the lodgers in the kitchen and creating a disturbance. He said he had given Frances a shilling previously to pay for the bed.
Mr. Mathews. - What time did you turn him out?
Witness. - A little before 12 o’clock at night.
Mr. Mathews. - How long did Frances remain there?
Witness. - Till 1:30 or 1:45. She was in the kitchen all the time.
A juryman. - How do you know the time? Did you look at the clock, or is it only guess-work on your part?
Witness. - Guess-work; but I am sure it was after 1, for I had cleaned one kitchen up, and that is about the time I usually get that work done. Frances was in the other kitchen.
The CORONER. - Are you sure of the interval of an hour or so between Sadler going out and Frances going out?
Witness. - Quite sure. I saw her go through the passage towards the street door. She had a hat on when she went out. She had two hats when she came in. She threw one on to the fire, and one of the woman took it off again.
Mr. Mathews. - Did you see Sadler come back that morning?
Witness. - Yes, just after 3 o’clock. I know the time, as I was going to call a man up to go to his work and had just looked at the clock.
Mr. Mathews. - Did Sadler knock at the door?
Witness. - The door was open. I was sweeping up, and he asked me to let him come into the kitchen. I said, "I have no power, you must ask the deputy," Blood was running down his face, and he said he felt faint.
Mr. Mathews. - What did he say?
Witness. - He said, "I have been knocked about and robbed in the Highway." I said, "What, have you been at it again? I thought you were robbed of 3s. 6d. in Thrawl-street, and that was all you had." He said, "Well, they thought I had some money about me, but I had none." The deputy then opened the office window and asked what he wanted, and he said, "Let me go into the kitchen; I feel so faint." The deputy refused to allow him to go, and he then asked me again. I told him I could not, and advised him to go to the London Hospital and get his head seen to. I did not notice any blood on his clothes. His clothes were dirty, as though he had been on the ground again. I went down into the kitchen, and Mrs. Fleming called me shortly afterwards and told me to put Sadler out. I went towards him, but he walked out of his own accord. That would be about half-past 3. I did not see Sadler again till Sunday, when I went to the Leman-street Police-station and then recognized him as the man I had seen on the night of the 11th, the night of the 12th, and the morning of the 13th inst.
A juryman. - When Sadler returned at 3 a.m. did he ask after Frances?
Witness. - No.
A juryman. - And was he knocked around worse?
Witness. - Yes.
At this point the CORONER said that Mr. Mathews thought it advisable to adjourn the inquiry, so that the evidence might be corrected and placed before them in order.
The inquiry was then adjourned until 10 o’clock on Friday morning.