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Brodie's Signed Confession

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Brodie's Signed Confession

Post by Karen on Wed 13 Oct 2010 - 2:12

THIS DAY'S NEWS.

WHITECHAPEL MURDER.
EXCITEMENT IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD.

A WOMAN'S CRY FOR HELP.
AN ATTEMPT TO LYNCH A SAILOR.

FURIOUSLY ATTACKED BY A MOB.
DRAWING A DAGGER IN DEFENCE.

Yesterday was a day of excitement in the East-end. First, there was a rumour that the murderer had been caught; there was then a definite assertion that he had confessed all the eight murders; and, finally, there was a declaration - which, made as late at ten o'clock, excited the wildest apprehension - that there had been another attempt on a woman, and that the assailant had this time been arrested.

THE CONFESSION - A LUNATIC'S INCOHERENCES.

First, as to the reported arrest. It was ascertained, on inquiring of the police, that they had made no arrest, as generally reported, but that they were detaining a man who had presented himself at Leman-street Police-station yesterday morning, and had "confessed" to having murdered Alice Mackenzie in Castle-alley. He was questioned by the detectives, and his statement taken down. It was of a very rambling character, consisting of allegations which might be facts, mixed with palpable incoherences. It was ascertained that the individual, who is described as a tall, fair man, of respectable appearance, is an ex-convict, and latterly has been a sailor. No knife or weapon was in his possession, and there was an absence of other corroboration of his story. Further inquiry showed that the name of the self-styled murderer is Brodie. He states that he returned from Kimberley, South Africa, on Monday last, and landed at Southhampton from a Union steamship, in which he had been employed as a fireman. He left London in December last, and had since been at the Kimberley diamond mines. On reaching London on Monday night he searched for a woman to whom he owed a grudge for an injury inflicted upon him two years ago. He could not find her, but met with the woman Mackenzie. He says that she gave him "more trouble" than any of the other women that he murdered. Careful inquiries made concerning the prisoner, and medical examinations into his condition, lead to the conclusion that he is undoubtedly insane, and that he is not accountable for his actions. Little importance, therefore, is attached to his "confessions." He will, it is understood, be charged at the Thames Police-court today as being a lunatic at large. His statement that he has just come from Africa has been verified. He has lost all his money since being paid off from his ship, and has evidently been drinking heavily. The official belief is that Brodie has been reading the newspaper accounts of the murder during intervals of more or less lucidity, and that upon them he has based the narrative which he detailed to the police authorities at a time when he was not responsible for his actions.

THE ALLEGED ATTACK ON THE WOMAN.

Of course the excitement in the locality consequent on the rumour that the murderer had confessed had reached a high point at night. It was then, perhaps, when it was at fever height, that the cries of a woman were heard in East Aldgate beseeching succour. In the frame of mind that the populace were then, it needed but little alarm to bring a thousand persons together in a short time, especially in the main thoroughfare, at ten o'clock in the evening. It was about a quarter to ten when a woman was seen to approach a dark portion of the thoroughfare near the Aldgate East Station, Whitechapel, in company with a man. The pair, who were apparently strangers, did not remain long at the corner before the woman was heard to say aloud, "No, I won't." This remark was addressed by a woman in a red cotton bodice and white apron, and without bonnet or shawl, to a dark seafaring man of medium height, whose slouch hat, which shaded his dark features, gave him a foreign and not altogether prepossessing appearance. It is then alleged that after a few seconds the man seized her - but this allegation was considerably discounted afterwards - that he dragged her a short distance along the ground, threw her upon the kerb, and then taking her hair with one hand, he with the other produced a knife or dagger, with which - so the police were afterwards foolishly assured - he commenced to cut the woman.
This at least was the uncorroborated and wild story of some of the first arrivals on the scene. As a fact, the woman was not in any way cut or wounded.

THE MOB'S CRY, "LYNCH HIM!"

Her screams of "Jack the Ripper!" and "Murder!" soon attracted attention, and crowds of men and women ran from all directions to the spot whence the screams proceeded. The woman was struggling with the man. Amongst those who first arrived on the scene were several members of the local Vigilance Association, who have just recommenced their work, and so before the man had time to get far he was seized, and a dreadful struggle ensued. It was soon seen that the man had a long knife, or rather dagger, in his hand, and it was some time before he could be deprived of it. He had, as a fact, drawn this in self-defence. Police whistles were heard in all directions, and soon a great number of officers, both of the City and Metropolitan force, were on the scene, where a crowd of about 600 persons were already assembled, and attacking the man, who was yet struggling to get free. When the police came up he was cut and bleeding profusely from wounds inflicted by the mob, who had raised the cry of "Lynch him!" and were throwing all kinds of missiles at the exhausted prisoner.

"DREW THE DAGGER IN SELF-DEFENCE."

Under a strong escort of City and Metropolitan police he was got to the Commercial-street police station, where he was charged. When asked if he had anything to say in reply to the charge, he replied, "The woman robbed me." When asked why he drew the dagger, he replied, "In self-defence." He said he was a sailor, and gave a Scotch name. He had arrived from South Shields about a week ago. When asked where he was on the morning of the 17th inst. he said he could not say. He did not know where he had stayed whilst in London. On being searched a smaller knife was found in his possession, together with a seaman's discharge. The over-coloured story of the struggle was the romantic production of some of these who were first on the scene. So little faith did the police place on the whole allegation that two hours later, the woman having failed to come forward to prefer a charge, the man was discharged.

WHY THE MAN ATTACKED THE WOMAN.

So far as the police have been able to ascertain the man had been drinking in the company of a woman, and was somewhat the worse for liquor. They were afterwards standing talking together at the corner of the East Aldgate Railway Station, when according to the man's statement, his companion attempted to pick his pocket. Being excited at the time he caught her by the hair and threw her down. The occurrence was witnessed by a number of persons, who immediately crowded round and raised a cry of "Jack the Ripper," with the result that he was seized and roughly handled. He received a nasty cut upon his face, and was soon besmeared with blood. The only foundation for the suggestion that the man drew a knife, said the officer at the police-station, was that he pulled one out of his pocket and flourished it about in his own defence when he found himself mobbed. The woman herself preferred no charge against her alleged assailant.

SCARE IN THE BOROUGH.

ANOTHER MAN ARMED WITH A KNIFE.

At an early hour this morning, the people living in St. George's-buildings, Borough, were alarmed by loud cries of "murder!" and "police!" proceeding from a narrow court adjacent to the buildings. The constable on the beat at once proceeded to the spot, and found a man and a woman struggling, the woman shrieking, the man being armed with a knife. Assisted by several persons who had run up on hearing the cries, the constable disarmed the man; and as the woman charged him with attempting to murder her, he was taken to the police-station in the Borough-road.

THE WOMAN'S STORY - THE MAN'S DENIAL.

The woman charged him with attempting to murder her, and with inflicting several slight wounds on her hands. She stated that he had accosted her some time previously and induced her to accompany him into one of the courts in the neighbourhood, when he made an attempt on her life. The accused denied this statement, and said the woman persuaded him to accompany her after accosting him at a coffee-stall. After some money had passed between them, the prisoner observed that they were being followed by a male companion of the woman's, and he thereupon demanded the return of his money. This the woman refused, and a scuffle took place between them. The woman seized him by the necktie, and as she refused to let go he took out his knife to cut the tie. He said he had no intention of hurting the woman until she assaulted him. He gave his name as John Hoar, a labourer, living in Crosby-road, Borough.

MAN TO APPEAR AT THE COURT.

The charged was entered as one of common assault, and the prisoner will be brought up at the police-court this morning. In the meantime, the police will take steps to verify the address he has given. In consequence of the excited state of public feeling the rumour that another woman had been stabbed spread quickly in the Borough, and until the facts of the case were known, an excited crowd surrounded the Police-station. The woman gave her name as Alice Brown, residing at a common lodging-house in the vicinity.

THE EAST ALDGATE STORY DENIED.

The Exchange Telegraph Company says: -
On inquiring in the East-end, an Exchange reporter can ascertain nothing to justify the sensational story of alleged lynching at Whitechapel. The Commercial-street police authorities say they have no one in custody in connection with the affair. At Worship-street Police-station no one has been brought up or is in charge for the alleged stabbing. The City Police, too, state that they know nothing of any of their men having witnessed the outrage reported in East Aldgate last night.

THE WANDERING LUNATIC.

HIS STATEMENT IN COURT.
TO BE CHARGED WITH MURDER.

This morning, before Mr. Lushington, at the Thames Police-court, William Wallace Brodie, 53, having no occupation and no fixed abode, was charged with being a wandering lunatic. Considerable interest was excited by the appearance of the defendant, on account of the rumours that had circulated in the district that he was the author of the last of the Whitechapel murders.
The defendant is a tall, powerfully-built man, and during the giving of the evidence kept his eyes fixed upon the Magistrate.

GIVES HIMSELF UP.

Inspector Pinhorn, H Division, deposed - At 3:30 on Thursday night I was on duty in charge of the Leman-street Police-station. The defendant came up to the window of the office, and said, "I wish to give myself up." I said, "What for?" Brodie replied, "For the murder of that woman on Tuesday night." I said, "Do you wish to make a statement respecting it?" He replied, "Yes." I rejoined, "Very well, I am ready to hear what you have to say." Brodie said, "Well, I tell you I murdered her on Tuesday night. I don't tell you anything about the other eight or nine." I then said, "Let me hear what you have to say about the one on Tuesday night." He then said, "I shan't tell you any more. You can find out." I questioned him further, but could get nothing more from him. I noticed some papers in his pocket, and took them. I found one of them was a notice to

A LICENCE HOLDER, IN THE NAME OF WILLIAM BRODIE.

In answer to the chief clerk, the witness said - I have the form here. It showed that prisoner reported himself at Scotland-yard on Monday, the 16th instant. I also found some note-headings in the name of Thomas and James Brodie, wholesale stationers, of Clerkenwell-road, on him. He said the note-headings belonged to his brothers, and the form to himself. I detained the accused for inquiries. While detained he made no further statements to me.
Mr. Lushington - Was he under the influence of drink when he made the statement to you?
Witness - Yes, Sir. I was not only of opinion that he was drunk, but that he was suffering from delirium tremens. He was rambling very much.
Mr. Lushington (to the accused) - Have you any questions to ask the witness?
Prisoner - No, Sir; what he says is perfectly correct.

TELLING ALL ABOUT IT.

Detective-Inspector Henry Moore said about ten o'clock yesterday morning I found defendant detained at Leman-street Police-station. He was found in a very depressed condition. I said, "Do you remember coming here last night, and the serious charge you preferred against yourself?" He said, "Yes. I committed the murder on Tuesday night, and if you like will tell you all about it." I told him I would take it down in writing. He said, "I, William Brodie, wish to give myself up for committing a murder up a court in High-street, Whitechapel, about two o'clock on Tuesday morning. Last December I came here." He then went on to describe what he had been doing since he came from Africa. He further said that the knife with which he committed the murders he had specially made for him at Sheffield.

"A WORM IN HIS HEAD."

I afterwards examined his clothing, when he said, "This is the ninth murder that I have committed in Whitechapel, but none of them have caused any trouble to my mind except the last one. What with that and a worm in my head, that wriggles about, I can't stand it any longer." In May, 1887, Brodie was sentenced to fourteen years' penal servitude, and was discharged in August, 1888, as a licence holder. He reported himself in September last, stating he was embarking for the Cape of Good Hope. On Monday last he reported himself at Scotland-yard, stating he had arrived from South Africa that day, and intended to reside at 2, Harvey's-buildings, Strand. I found Brodie was lodging there on the night of the murder, and went to bed about eleven on Tuesday night, and stayed there until eleven next morning.

ADHERES TO HIS STATEMENT.

Defendant - The statement I made to Mr. Moore, yesterday, is correct. The statement that I lodged at Harvey's-buildings is not correct.
Detective-Inspector Reid said when defendant came in he was suffering from the effects of drink. In his bundle was a razor, but no knife. The bundle was left at some baths on Monday by the defendant.
Brodie - I left the bag on Wednesday. It was red when I left it. It is now washed.
Sergeant Eugene Bradshaw, K Division, said - Yesterday morning I went to 2, Harvey's-buildings and asked the landlady if she knew Brodie. She replied, he slept here on Tuesday, and went to bed about eleven o'clock, and did not leave until eleven o'clock Wednesday morning. He came back at eight o'clock on Wednesday night drunk.
Brodie - I did not sleep there on Tuesday.

REMANDED.

Inspector Moore - I must ask for a remand.
Mr. Lushington - He is only charged with being a wandering lunatic.
Brodie - Do I look like one? I am as sane as any man in this Court, I can assure you.
Inspector Moore - He has not yet been seen by a doctor.
Mr. Lushington remanded the defendant.

CHARGED WITH THE MURDER.

It was afterwards decided to charge Brodie, on his own confession, with being the murderer of Mackenzie.

BRODIE'S FULL STATEMENT.

The following is the full and singular statement made by Brodie. It, of course, reveals the unfortunate man's mental condition: - "I, William Brodie, wished to give myself up for committing a murder up a court-way in High-street, Whitechapel, at about two a.m. on Wednesday morning last. Last December I went to South Africa on board the s.s. Athenian, as a third-class passenger, which the books will show in the Union Company's office. I obtained employment in the diamond mines, and returned to England per the s.s. Trojan. I arrived, via Southampton, at Waterloo Station at six p.m. on Monday last. My object in returning was to find a woman living in Whitechapel. On arriving at Waterloo I roamed about, and eventually lodged at 2 Harvey's-buildings, Strand, paying 6d. for the same. On Tuesday morning I reported myself at the Convict Office, Great Scotland-yard; and in the afternoon I visited my brother Thomas, who carries on business, with my brother James, at Foresters'-hall-place, Clerkenwell-road. I then went to Land's End, in Cornwall. I only stayed there about ten minutes. I walked there and back in half an hour, or three-quarters of an hour. It was before dark. I returned about eight p.m., and then went into Whitechapel through an avenue of trees in the forest. I strolled about for three or four hours, and after the public-houses closed and the place got dark I went into a square, where there were some costermongers' barrows, and some hundreds of people, who were all smoking - both men and women. The entrance to the square is a wide opening in the Whitechapel-road. I remained in the square until the people left, which was a very long time. It was then 1691 or 1721 o'clock, at which time a woman came into the square from Whitechapel-road. I stopped her and asked her how she was going on. She was a fine woman, dressed in a bright red dress, boots, and hat. I gave her one shilling. I then whipped out the knife from my outside coat pocket and cut her throat, when I heard someone coming and went away, after wiping my knife on a whisp of straw, which was lying near. It is a white handled knife, specially made for the purpose at Sheffield. It is as sharp as a razor, and it is now in the charge of the man at the baths in Lambeth-road. It is in a bag containing a brush and comb, a pair of trousers, and an old pair of boots. I had my bag, which is a red one, with me when I committed the murder. After walking about till morning, I went to Harvey's-buildings and had some breakfast. That is the last meal I have had. I think it was the York-road Baths where I left the bag, and not the Lambeth Baths. Brodie signed this statement.

Source: The Echo, Saturday July 20, 1889, Page 3

Note: In the 19th century, it was very common for individuals of no fixed address, money or food to commit major crimes in order to be put into prison to secure for themselves three square meals and a cot. If they also acted crazy or insane enough they wouldn't be put to death. These individuals knew how to "work the system."
Also, notice that nowhere in Brodie's statement does he mention the abdominal mutilations that were performed on Mackenzie's body; he just states that he cut her throat and ran off.


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