A CAST OF THOUSANDS
BY CHRISTOPHER SCOTT
The two women murdered after the "canonical" victims, Alice McKenzie and Frances Coles, were identified in press accounts at the time as possible victims of the Whitechapel murderer and have been since. Coles, who was found dead in the early hours of 14th February, 1891, certainly knew Sadler and had spent time with him before her death. He was a ship's fireman discharged on 11th February, and from that time until less than two hours before she was found dead, Sadler spent much of his time with her, drinking in various public houses. The timetable of the time they spent together shows this: 11th Feb.
7 p.m.: Sadler discharged from his ship, the Fez.
8.30 - 9.00 p.m. - Sadler goes to the Princess Alice where he meets Frances whom he had known for 18 months.
After 9.00 p.m.: Sadler and Coles drink at various other public houses, including the Britannia. The couple then go to in White's Row and stayed the night in a lodging house.
11 a.m. - 12 noon - Sadler and Coles leave the White's Row lodging house and drink at various public houses, including the Bell.
2 p.m. - The couple go to a hat shop in White's or Baker's Row.
After 2 p.m.: The couple drink in the Marlborough Head. Sadler leaves to meet a man named Nicols, after which he meets again with Coles in an unnamed pub. They leave there and on the way down Thrawl Street is attacked and robbed. He and Frances have words about her not helping him when he was mugged. Frances left and Sadler sent back to the docks to try and get back on board his ship.
Not only did he fail, he was again attacked by some dock labourers. After wandering around drunk, Sadler makes his way back to the lodging house where they had spent the previous night. He found Frances there but both were penniless and Sadler was turned out by the deputy, leaving Frances there. Sadler, after being stopped and searched by a policeman, made his way to the London Hospital and had a wound on his head treated. A porter at the hospital let him get some sleep on a couch in the admissions room
6 a.m. - 8 a.m.: Sadler leaves the London Hospital and went to the shipping office to collect some money owed to him. He went to the Victoria Homes, Upper East Smithfield and stayed there all day. Hs spent the night there. 14th Feb:
After spending the night at the Victoria Home, Sadler went out for a drink to the Phoenix from where he was summoned to attend Leman Street police station where he made a statement.
The timetable above is from Sadler's own statement and does not agree with the police version of events and eventually Sadler was arrested and charged with murder. However, Sadler's union arranged for legal representation and Sadler never came to formal trial. The evidence as presented at the inquest supported the two violent episodes in which Sadler had been involved and also that a couple seen in Swallows Gardens, where Coles' body was found, shortly before the murder were not Sadler and Coles. Sadler was discharged but certain sections of the police remained convinced that Sadler had in fact murdered Frances Coles.
James Sadler was born in 1841 in Ipswich, Suffolk and was therefore 50 years of age at the time of Coles' death. In March 1870, when Sadler would have been 29 years of age, his marriage was registered in Ipswich to Charlotte Cadman (Volume 4a Page 789). Because of the nature of his job as a mariner, involving frequent absences, Sadler only appears in one census listing, that for 1881:
Born 1841 in Ipswich, Suffolk
Fireman on the "Adelaide" at Harwich St. Nicholas, Essex
However, in the same census, we are able to find his home address by means of the listing of his wife and young son:
17 Daniel Street, Harwich St. Nicholas, Essex
Charlotte Sadler aged 39
Born 1842 in Wickham Market, Suffolk
Aged 8 born at Ipswich
I have been unable to find trace of any of the Sadler family in 1891. In the case of James Sadler this is understandable, as he may well have been at sea. However, why there is no mention of his wife or son is puzzling.
In 1901 Charlotte Sadler is listed as a private nurse living as a boarder. How this state of affairs came about can only be guessed at. She was back living in Ipswich where their son was born but the state of her marital dealings with James, and, indeed, whether he was still alive at present remain unknown.
71 Stoke Street, Ipswich
Charlotte Sadler aged 59
Born in Wickham market, Suffolk
Monthly Nurse (Private)
I have not been able to trace the significance of the term a "monthly nurse."
Albert William Sadler, the son of James and Charlotte, was, in 1901, still living in Essex but by this time had married and had two sons of his own:
21 Hamilton Street, Ramsey, Essex
Albert W Sadler
Aged 28 born in Ipswich
Staionary Boiler Stoker
Aged 28 born in Bildeston, Suffolk
William J aged 3
Arthur A aged 1
Both children born in Dovercourt, Essex.
His marriage was registered in Suffolk in December 1896 and the names of the spouses are given as Albert William Sadler and Anna Bigg.