1 July 1906
London, June 30.
The "studio murder", as London's latest mystery is called, is still unsolved, so far as the public is concerned. The police claim to know the murderer, but are unable to arrest him, as the principal witness has placed then in a remarkably puzzling position. Archie Wakely, the murdered man, was a wealthy artist of considerable fame. He was the owner of a saloon and several houses. He was about forty, and unmarried. In fact, he was known as a woman hater, and preferred the society of young men. He lived in a luxuriously equipped studio on Westbourne Grove, one of the principal West End shopping streets. He was the only person who slept in the building.
He was murdered between midnight and 2 a.m. one night some weeks ago. The body was discovered next morning lying in a pool of blood, with the skull mashed in with a hammer. The body was mutilated in the old Whitechapel "Jack the Ripper" style.
There were marks of the rowels of a spur on the thighs and abdomen. There were no finger marks, clews, or traces whatsoever excepting the spur marks. Nothing had been stolen from the studio. The police worked on the theory that the murderer was a soldier of a cavalry or artillery regiment. With the help of the war department, they ferreted out every soldier who had a pass for that night from the London barracks, or who was on furlough in London.
A witness came forward, a very reliable man, who lived opposite the studio, and who, on pulling the blind of his window down at 11 o'clock on the night of the murder, saw Wakely and a soldier enter the studio building.
An electric light was close by, and he described the uniform of the soldier in every detail, including the spurs. Another witness was found who had visited Wakely one night at the studio. He was a soldier in the Royal Horse Guards. He told of casually meeting the artist in the street, of an invitation to go to the studio for a smoke and a drink, of a peculiar proposition made to him there by the artist, and of his leaving the place disgusted.
He is a fine, manly young soldier. and although he was out on a pass on the night of the murder, it was satisfactorily proved that he was in barracks and asleep by 10 o'clock.
The police now claim to have their hands on the murderer. They describe him as a soldier of a vicious and neurotic temperament, one thoroughly capable of working himself into an ungovernable passion and bettering Wakely into a shapeless mass, and also committing the "Jack the Ripper" atrocity. But they claim if this man was arrested no jury would convict, as their principal witness has sworn to the exact uniform the soldier who entered the building wore, and it is not anything like the uniform worn by the regiment to which the suspect belongs.
So, although the police are satisfied that they have solved the mystery, it is still unresolved so far as the public is concerned or the arrest and punishment of the murderer.