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Whitehall Mystery Discovery

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Whitehall Mystery Discovery

Post by Karen on Tue 5 Oct 2010 - 20:14

THIS DAY'S NEWS.
THE WESTMINSTER CRIME.

ANOTHER WOMAN MURDERED.
BODY DISCOVERED IN POLICE BUILDINGS.

REVOLTING MUTILATION.
MURDERER'S DETERMINATION.
PIMLICO DISCOVERY - SEQUEL.

Horror succeeds horror. Ere the East-end of London has recovered from the terror into which the terrible crimes of Sunday threw it, and 'ere England has ceased to shudder at the discoveries, revolting details of another crime have come to light. This time the locale is the very centre of our civilized community. It is beneath the very shadow of the House of Commons itself, and within the pale of the Abbey. In this case, the irony of fate has so willed it that this mangled fragment of what was once a woman should be hidden away in a cavity that will some day, in all probability, be a police-cell, and that it is situated just a stone's throw from the Home Office itself. They are the buildings - not yet half complete - which are intended as the new Metropolitan Police headquarters, the future of our whole protective system! These buildings are situated between Parliament-street and the Embankment. Shortly after one o'clock several workmen, on opening a bundle which they found hidden in one of the darkest archways of the vaulted foundations of the structure referred to, laid bare the remains of a woman. The corpse was a mere trunk, both head and limbs having been severed in an apparently brutal and unskilfull manner. Indeed, the lower portion of the trunk, from the ribs, has been removed. Evidently the remains were those of a young and well-nourished woman, and there is every reason to fear that they form part of some person who has been murdered and made away with by an atrocious miscreant. In fact, there are strong grounds for believing that the arm found on Sept. 11 in the Thames, near Grosvenor railway bridge, was cut from the mutilated trunk which has been unearthed. The police were at once communicated with at King-street Station, and in a very few minutes Chief Superintendent Dunlap and Chief Inspector Wren went and viewed the remains, and took immediate steps to collect all the available evidence bearing on the case. These are the brief facts of the terrible mystery, which is such a painful comment on our civilisation.

THE WHITECHAPEL MUTILATION REPEATED.

This mangled relic of humanity, besides having been shorn of head and limbs, had suffered the peculiar mutilation inflicted upon the victims of the Whitechapel murders, and was in a state of decomposition justifying the belief that the crime which acutely attests was committed at about the time when the first of the two amputated arms was seen floating on the surface of the river. The workmen employed in constructing the basement of the new police offices, however, are positive that the remains in question were not on Saturday afternoon in the place where they were found yesterday. Thither, therefore, they must have been conveyed and deposited between the hour at which the men knocked off work on Saturday and that at which they resumed labour on Monday morning. Throughout some three weeks the trunk of a murdered female must have been kept concealed by her assassin in some secret place until an opportunity arrived for its transfer without fear of detection to some temporarily deserted spot, such as that on which it was found.

MURDERER'S DIFFICULTY AND DANGER.

It seems tolerably certain that the remains - the discovery of which was first announced in The Echo last night - were deposited in the place in which they were found between Saturday night and Monday morning. The difficulty and danger which the wretch must have encountered in bearing the body to the portion of the buildings where it was hidden increases the horror and mystery surrounding the whole proceeding. It is on the site of what was intended for the National Opera House lest the new central police building are being erected by Messrs. J. Grover and Sons, at New North-road, N. Their exact location is immediately eastward of the Clock Tower and St. Stephen's Club. When finished they will cover a considerable area of ground, and have an imposing appearance. At present only the foundations and a portion of the first storey have been built, and the place is surrounded by a high boarding. The ground structure consists of a vast labyrinth of brick passages, archways, and vaulted chambers. As was pointed out by the foreman of the works, there are really but two possible modes of ingress to the archway where the body was found - namely, either over the high hoarding from the Embankment side, or from the little alley-way called Cannon-row, almost opposite the Home Office in Parliament-street. The difficulties of access to the ground are so great from the side facing the embankment that the officials connected with the works regard them as well-nigh inseparable to a person loaded with so heavy a bundle as the remains must necessarily have been. Besides, it would have been far easier, from the Embankment side, to have thrown such a parcel into the river.

THE MISCREANT'S AWFUL BURDEN.

But one avenue of approach, therefore, practically existed, and that was from the obscure corner at the north end of Cannon-row, over the seven-foot hoarding of which the miscreant must have clambered with his awful load so as to get within the area enclosed by the builders. When there, instead of throwing the body into the large open well dug to supply water, or secreting it beneath some of the countless heaps of soil and rubbish being about, he conveyed it, almost fifty yards, through a network of partly underground passages to a remote corner of the building. Although there are a large number of men employed on the works, very few of them, it is said, would have readily found their way through the intricate vaults to the spot where the mutilated trunk was concealed. To a stranger venturing alone among these dark corridors there would seem to be a danger of failing to find his way out again. Unfortunately no night watchman is kept at the place, and any one once within the hoarding after dark or working hours could safely move about at leisure free from all observation.

AN UNPLEASANT ODOUR DETECTED.

Between Saturday night and Monday morning the remains must have been secretly deposited in the vaulted chamber of the basement arches of the new police buildings, at a spot not eighty yards removed from the Home Office. On Monday morning, at six o'clock, a carpenter named Fred Wildbore, who made the place the storeroom for his kit, went to fetch his tools from where he had laid them on Saturday afternoon. In doing so he also lighted a match, and noticed in a sort of alcove or recess at the opposite corner of the blind archway, what looked like some cast-away garment of a workman. Shallow trenches for drains have been dug, along the archways in question, and the rough soil and builders' debris are heaped about in all directions. It was in the corner, and partly concealed by a bank of dirt, that the garment lay, and it might have been, he thought, part of one of the labourers' attire. Yesterday morning Wildbore casually looked at it again, saw it was a bundle, noticed an unpleasant odour, and spoke to some of the workmen about it.

A DISCOVERY.

Three of the labourers fancied it might be some theives' plunder, and at the dinner hour determined to drag it out. George Budgen picked the bundle up, carried it about a dozen yards into a partially-lighted corridor, daylight streaming down through the rough scaffolding boards overhead. The bundle was done up in some black stuff, and was firmly tied and bound with strong twine. Several persons gathered around to see what the contents were as Budgen proceeded to cut the string. To their horror they uncovered the trunk of a well-formed woman. The corpse was deprived of head and limbs, the legs with the lower portion of the body above the pelvis having been cut away. A reporter who saw the remains within half-an-hour of their discovery, states that the body, placed on its back, was wrapped in a skirt of some stuff like black mohair, and the steel dress improver was included in the parcel. The flesh had a dark reddish hue, as if it had been plentifully sprinkled with antiseptic. Decomposition, however, had made rapid strides within, for the remains were in an advanced state of putrefaction. The criss-cross marks of the cords had sunk deeply into the skin, but otherwise there were no appearances of wounds, except where the rough edges indicated the brutal, bungling manner in which the head, limbs, and lower part of the body had been dissevered.

LATEST DETAILS.

POLICE INVESTIGATION TODAY.

During the night, the police have been making very careful inquiries in the neighbourhood of Westminster and Pimlico. Of course, no information as to what has transpired is afforded by any of the officers, who - as evidenced by their attitude towards the Press in the East-end during the past few days - very zealously obey the stringent orders they have to "give nothing to reporters." Upon inquiring of the workmen employed on the buildings an Echo reporter was this morning informed that in the course of the morning the police would make a thorough search of the enclosed ground. Their object is to ascertain whether any other portions of the mutilated body have been hidden away, either beneath the heaps of debris lying about on all sides, or in the long corridor-like vaults beneath the buildings. This must occupy some considerable time, but it is hinted that there is a possibility that some other portion of the body will be discovered.

WHERE THE BUILDING WAS ENTERED.

There are many theories as to how the body was conveyed to the place of its discovery. In Cannon-row a wooden wall has been erected round the site, but it is not by any means a formidable barrier. Indeed, it seems probable that this was scaled, that the gate was opened from the inside, and that the bearer of the ghastly burden then completed his task, closing and securing the gate when he left the ground. This supposition is strengthened by the fact that Cannon-row is a badly-lighted thoroughfare, and that, at night, there is scarcely any traffic through it. It is consequently much more probable that the Cannon-row entrance was chosen for the purposes of the murderer rather than that on the Embankment. The hoarding facing the latter thoroughfare is of wood, but there are three lamps which throw such a flood of light along the pavement, that any attempt to climb the wall would at once attract the attention of the passers by.

THE SEARCH IN THE DEBRIS.

The police investigation in the debris has produced no result. At least, it had not up to one o'clock. At that hour their labours ceased for awhile. They were, however, resumed in a short time.

THE DIFFICULTIES OF THE DOCTORS.

The trunk was conveyed at about seven o'clock last night to the Westminster Mortuary in Millbank-street. This place, however, is only a mortuary by name; it is really an untenanted shop and house, and is situated within about three hundred yards of the House of Lords. Dr. Bond viewed the remains, and they were then placed in spirits to preserve them from further putrefaction. They were afterwards locked up and left in charge of the police, a constable patrolling outside the mortuary during the night. Dr. Bond, the divisional surgeon of police, and Dr. Hebbert, the assistant divisional surgeon, arrived at the mortuary shortly after seven o'clock this morning, and commenced their unenviable business. They were engaged until a quarter to nine when the examination was completed, having lasted about an hour and a half. The examination was of a very minute character, although it is doubtful whether any satisfactory results were obtained, in consequence of the advanced state of decomposition of the trunk. Dr. Bond, who conducted the autopsy, declined to give any particulars as to the result of their investigations, before they had made their official report to the authorities, which would be immediately done.

THE ARM FOUND IN PIMLICO.

It is now considered doubtful whether the medical gentlemen will be able to determine whether the arm which was found in the Thames on the 11th of September last is one of the limbs of the body. The bone of the arm is still in the possession of the police, and the only means they have of arriving at the conclusion at all likely to lead to a satisfactory result is by fitting the joint of the bone in the socket of the trunk. The arm which was discovered at Lambeth last week is not considered to have any connection with the present case, but, notwithstanding, it will, it is stated be taken to the Westminster Mortuary, together with the limb from Pimlico, and for the same purpose. This test has not yet been made, but will take place, it is expected, this afternoon.

A RING FOUND.

A wedding-ring, but not a gold one, has been found in the enclosed ground where the buildings are in progress in Cannon-row, Westminster. A workman entered the ground this morning on the look out for "a job." While standing near the entrance to the vaults where the trunk was found, he noticed what appeared to be a ring embedded in the dirt. He picked it up, and, having cleaned it, he found that it was a wedding ring, slightly bent. Whether the ring is in any way connected with the murder, or whether it may lead to the identification of the woman, is not, of course, yet known.

INQUEST TO BE HELD.

The Press Association learns that Mr. Troutbeck has decided to call an inquest on the remains found in Whitehall yesterday, but the date has not yet been fixed. The inquiry is not, however, expected to be held until three days' time at the least. The police state they have no further information.

Source: The Echo, Wednesday October 3, 1888, Page 3

***************************************
Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"
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