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Where Crime Stalks (Interesting Details On Victims)

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Where Crime Stalks (Interesting Details On Victims)

Post by Karen on Wed 27 Oct 2010 - 20:07


Whitechapel and Its Chapter of Horrors.

NEW YORK, Nov. 9. - The World tomorrow will publish the following:

LONDON, Oct. 30. - The word "Whitechapel" has passed as a verb into the vocabulary of the criminal classes. No less than a dozen women of the streets have complained of an assailant in the police courts this week that he had threatened to "Whitechapel" them. Within a few days the word has assumed a horrible significance.
The Whitechapel murders have startled the whole world. An obscure locality in a great metropolis, the border line between Povertyville and the affluent splendor of the West End, is forced into a lurid glare of publicity. Mysterious murders are the topic of the day. Politics and everything else that newspapers usually print, and the public reads about, are wiped out in a smudge of blood.
Next to "Who is the murderer?" people are asking, "What and where is Whitechapel?" What is usually called the Whitechapel district is about equivalent in territory to the east side of New York City from Houston street to Frankfort street, bounded on the west by the Bowery and Chatham street. There are worse slums in London than Whitechapel, just as there are worse slums in New York than are to be found in the territory I have indicated. Through this populous region the Whitechapel road runs obliquely much as Broadway runs through New York City. This thoroughfare is the Bowery of London, but twice as big, thrice as wicked and four times the number of people pushing and crowding through it after nightfall.
The dissolute and vicious of all climes congregate there; black "Lascar" sailors from India crazed with rum; gay girls from Paris, who had to leave that city or go to prison for purification; men and women who have "done their term" in the prisons; others who have escaped and never stir out in the daylight; thieves and thugs, housebreakers and harlots - there they all are.
The sky is aglow with the glare of splendid gin palaces, cheap theatres and the smoking naphtha lamps of thousands of street vendors. You may see the reflection of it for miles, but they are not all wicked people that you see in Whitechapel at night. It is the shopping street of the respectable laborer and his wife.
It is one of the great trade arteries of the metropolis, one of the unique thoroughfares in the world. Whitechapel is cleaner than the territory I have referred to on the east side of New York. It is not nearly so dilapidated as the Communists' quarter of Paris, but you will find more squalid, ragged children there, more half-dressed wretched looking men and women than you can scrape up in New York and Paris put together.
It is the loose women of Whitechapel that make it one of the strangest and saddest spectacles in Christendom. Hundreds upon hundreds of these forlorn creatures tramp the streets

From Dark Till Dawn.

They have no home. It is seldom that they even sleep two nights under the same roof. These unfortunates ply their vocation in the open streets, in the hallways of lodging-houses and in the sheltered "squares," where they can gain privacy. In bitterest weather they roam houseless, creeping in stairways to sleep, huddling in untenanted cellars, packed close to one another for warmth.
Until these murders began no policeman disturbed them. So long as they did not quarrel they were allowed to forget their misery in slumber. All that is changed now. The policemen are ordered to rout the unfortunate creatures out and they tramp about all night and all next day till they can get fourpence to hire a bed. While looking up the murders for the World I was asked for a penny by one girl not 17 years old, who declared she had not been able to find a place to sleep undisturbed, for 48 hours, and she looked it. They live and breathe in a putrid atmosphere of pitiable misery and unspeakable vice.
Here is what a young woman who is doing missionary work among the people says:
"The terrible difficulty we have to encounter is that of trying to find them work. We had last year a very touching case of a woman who seemed sincerely desirous of mending her ways, but who was over the age at which they are usually admitted to homes. After a great deal of difficulty we found an opening for her, and she went to the home, but some of these places, I am afraid, are managed too rigorously, and the matrons are sometimes wanting in sympathy with the inmates, who find it extremely difficult to submit to the discipline. It was the case with this woman; she found the discipline of this place more than she could endure, and she left; but she came to us again and still seemed sick, and weary of the wretched life she led. If she could find something to do she really would try, but of the - home - she seemed to have a positive horror. We could find her no work, and she tried charing and washing, and I believe did her earnest best to maintain herself that way. But it was gradual starvation. Often we found she was whole days without food, and those she lived with say that only at the last extremity did she allow herself to be drawn again to her old course. I'm afraid, however, she drifted back but still she would come to our meetings, and would borrow from our library books that you would never imagine she would care to read. She came to a meeting one Tuesday night ill and scarcely able to stand, and on Thursday she died.
"The woman who looks after these mission rooms," continued the speaker, "was another from the same class, and she used to be an associate of the poor creature murdered in Berner street. She saw her only last Thursday and she - that is, the murdered woman - said then that she felt she was coming to some bad end."
The excitement and fear of Whitechapel people since the two last murders I will not attempt to describe. They know well the opportunities that the criminal has for keeping from the clutches of the police, and that if he is captured at all it will probably be in the act of

Butchering Another Victim.

Which of them will it be? Until the bodies were identified the city mortuary was surrounded all day by people, attracted there by some horrible fascination, hoping to get a look at the mutilated bodies within. It was wise of the police to make this number as small as possible. No one who saw these victims will ever forget them.
The first of the six Whitechapel murders dates back to April 3, when Emma Elizabeth Smith was found dead in a yard near Osborne street with a large hole in her abdomen, made by a sharp iron stake or some similar instrument. There was nothing of the horrifying mutilation of the body which have made the five subsequent murders world-famous in the annals of crime. Evil deeds are common enough in the slums of London, and this was a woman of the street, killed, it was presumed, by a jealous lover or an angry husband. The public read that the "affair was in the hands of the police," and promptly forgot it.
It is not believed that this murder had any connection with the subsequent horrors committed by the unknown spoken of as the "maniac murderer." Polly Nichols, another vagrant of the streets, was the first victim to the shocking brutality of this fiend. At 2:45 on the morning of Aug. 31 Police John O'Neil was walking through Buck's row, Whitechapel, when he saw what he thought was a woman asleep on the pavement. He prodded her with his foot and said, "Come, old girl, you can't sleep here."
The woman never moved, and he stooped down to turn her over to get a look at her face; his hands were bathed in warm blood. He had passed the same spot not 15 minutes before, and a most atrocious murder had been committed while he had been gone. If there had been a cry for help or a scuffle for life he could scarcely have helped hearing the whole length of his beat. Three men working in a slaughter-house near by never heard a sound.
The woman's head was nearly severed back to the vertebra, which was also slightly injured. One gash under the left ear reached nearly to the centre of her throat; another cut starting from the right ear, was almost as long. The woman's skirts were torn from her body and her abdomen ripped open so that the bowels protruded. One cut, extending from the womb to the breast bone, was such as only a strong man skilled in the use of a knife could have made. The victim's front teeth were knocked out and her face much bruised, while her hands gave evidence that she had

Struggled Desperately for Life.

When Policeman O'Neil was questioned closely he recollected that the body was lying on its back, with outstretched hands, as though it had been placed where it was found. There are three or four low houses close by, and the theory was suggested that the woman was murdered in one of them and then carried into the street.
Such a crime could scarcely be carried out without leaving traces of blood, and though the houses were carefully searched nothing of the kind was found.
The keeper of a lodging-house near by remembered Polly coming to him a few hours before she was murdered to get a bed. She had been drinking, but was not drunk. She had not the fourpence to pay for a bed, and he would not let her have it. The poor woman went into the street to earn her "doss" as she had done scores of times before. No one has been found who saw her alive after that.
A gateman was on duty, all night at the crossing of the Great Eastern railway, scarcely 60 yards from where her body was found, but he heard no screams.
Very early on the morning of Aug. 7, John Reeves, living at 37 George Hayward building, Whitechapel, was coming downstairs to go to work. The George Hayward buildings are divided into tenements of three and four rooms each, all occupied by working people. On the first floor landing Reeves found the body of a woman in a pool of blood. She had been stabbed in 32 places with a sharp pointed instrument, probably a bayonet. The walls of the houses are thin, and ordinary conversation on the lower landing can easily be heard in the rooms upstairs. Yet no one in the house, not even four people sleeping 12 feet away from where the body was soaking in blood, heard any unusual noise that night. Elizabeth Mahoney, who lived in the house, did not get home until 2 o'clock in the morning and the body was not there then. The murdered woman was identified as Martha Tabram. Another outcast was buried and forgotten.
In less than a week there was another murder, evidently by the same hand, only the fiendish brutality to the victim was worse. This time, too, it was a prostitute. Annie Chapman was once the wife of a well-to-do veterinary surgeon living at Windsor. Drink and immorality separated her from her husband, who allowed her 10 shillings a week to live on. He died, the allowance ceased and the poor woman joined the innumerable

Army of Street Walkers.

No. 29 Hanbury street, Spitalfields, is a tenement house, let out to many families, most of whom keep lodgers. In this house, as in most houses of its class, there is no lock to the front door. Anybody can pass into the hall from the street. For protection the tenants lock the doors opening into the landings. There is a large yard in the rear of these tenement houses, and it is a common custom from women of the street to take men there for privacy. Beyond doubt this was the case with Annie Chapman. Like the woman Nicols, she had not money to pay for her bed. She said to the lodging-house keeper:
"Save a bed for me; I shan't be long."
John Davies, a carman, lives at 29 Hanbury street. He was not well the night of the murder, and woke at 3 a.m. At 5 or shortly after he went downstairs to the back yard. There was nobody there then. About 5:40 he went to the yard again. When he reached the lower hall he noticed that the back door was closed and the front door was wide open. When he opened the back door he saw Annie Chapman's bleeding body at the foot of the steps. Davies had been lying awake in bed, and had heard no scream or cry for help. He did hear footsteps in the hallway, but that was nothing unusual, for some people in the house had to go to work at 6 o'clock.
The murder had been committed inside of 40 minutes, and not one of the 500 people within sound of a woman's voice had heard even a groan. Made bold by the failure of the police to catch him, or even get on his track, the murderer

Carved This Victim

to his heart's content. The physician who examined the body asked to be spared relating the circumstances to the coroner's jury.
Mrs. Burriage, a shopkeeper in Blackfriar road, died in a fit while reading an account of the horror in a newspaper. Though circumstances show that the murderer had less than 40 minutes at his disposal there was no sign of haste about his work. He cut up his victim as deliberately and skilfully as a surgeon operates on a cadaver at the dissecting table. He killed her as he did the other women by almost cutting her head from her shoulders, and then proceeded to disembowel her, attaching a portion of the intestines to her neck. The uterus he cut out and carried away.
The panic created by this piece of butchery and the increased vigilance of the police seemed to have frightened the murderer off, but the morning of Sept. 30 he sallied forth again. At 1 o'clock he met Elizabeth Stride on Berner street and cut her throat. The fact that the body was not otherwise mutilated made it possible that it was not the work of the same assassin. But the doctors who have examined the wounds in the throat believe that it is.
Here is a physician's description of the wound: There was a clean-cut incision on the neck. It was six inches in length and commenced 2-1/2 inches in a straight line below the angle of the jaw, three-quarters of an inch over an undivided muscle, and then, becoming deeper, dividing the sheath. The cut was very clean and deviated a little downward. The artery and other vessels contained in the sheath were all cut through. The cut through the tissues on the right side was more superficial and sailed off to about two inches below the right angle of the jaw. The deep vessels on that side were uninjured.
From this it was evident that the hemorrhage was caused through the partial severance of the left carotid artery.
Berner street is a badly-lighted thoroughfare, inhabited by tolerably respectable people. The Workmen's International Educational Club has a building there. There is a stable in the rear of it, shut off from the street by two stout wooden gates. There is a small door in one gate fastened with a latch.
The probability is that the murderer got the woman just inside the door, cut her throat, and was frightened by noise made by people moving about in the club-room. There were any number of people astir in the neighbourhood when Elizabeth Stride's life was taken, but no one heard a sound. The steward of the club-rooms found the body just inside the wooden gate when he went there after 1 o'clock Sunday morning. The body was still warm and the blood was trickling under the gate, down the pavement to the gutter. The steward called some of the members in the club who were simply

Staggered By the Sight.

One man said that he had closed the gate himself when he passed through the yard 20 minutes previous. The woman was identified. Her life story is a sad one, but there are thousands in London and in New York, too, for that manner.
Meanwhile, to follow the murderer.
While the police were carrying the body of Elizabeth Stride to the dead house, he was killing another woman 10 minutes' walk from the spot. Officer Watkins, who covered that beat that Sunday night, is considered one of the most reliable men on the force. He talks like a shrewd, careful fellow. At 1:30 Sunday morning he walked through Mitre square. Two street lamps were burning there and three windows in a large warehouse were ablaze with light. The policeman could see the watchman of the warehouse reading within. All was quiet. Exactly 15 minutes later the policeman passed that way again. His feet slipped in the blood of another murdered woman.
The policeman could have heard a woman's shriek from one end of his beat to the other, but he did not hear one that night. Not a sound disturbed the watchman in the warehouse. Just inside the railings, not 20 feet from the dead body, an ex-policeman lived with his family, and the windows of their bedrooms faced the square. No cry for help disturbed their slumber. In this case again the murderer had time to mutilate his victim unmolested. Her throat was cut first, of course, then the assassin's knife was thrust into the upper part of the abdomen and drawn completely down, ripping open the stomach and exposing the intestines. In addition there was another deep cut across the abdomen, and the left kidney had been carefully taken out. It was the work, so a competent physician thinks, of a man skilled in anatomy, sure in his stroke with the knife, and steady of nerve. This kidney was taken away by the murderer, a part of the uterus with ligament attached was taken away also, the face was horribly disfigured. A part of the right ear had been taken off, and a deep gash extended across the right cheek, almost to the nose or rather the place where the nose ought to have been, for that was cut off too. This woman was identified as Catherine Eddowes, a street hawker, living with a man named Kelly. If the day's business was bad, as was often the case, she tried to make a little money

In the Slums at Night.

On Oct. 2 another mutilated body of a woman was discovered, and this crime is attributed by some to the Whitechapel murderer. It was found in an open vault, on the site of the projected Grand Opera House, within a stone's throw of the Grand and Metropole hotels, and within sight of police headquarters at Scotland Yard. The body was in an advanced state of decomposition, and had been subjected to mutilation similar in fiendish ingenuity to those inflicted on the Whitechapel victims. The head and arms had been separated from the body, the abdomen cut vertically and the viscera exposed. The monster evidently had more time and was able to perform his terrible task with greater leisure. He had wrapped up the remains and corded them. One arm was missing. A month before a woman's arm had been found floating in the Thames at Pimlico, and this is believed to be the missing member.
The locality is one of the busiest and wealthiest parts of London, and is thronged with thousands of people, but at night is somewhat deserted, and the Thames embankment, with its brilliant electric lights and heavy shadows, is considered one of the most dangerous spots of all London after 10 p.m.
Sir Charles Warren, forced to say something in response to the frantic appeals for prompt and effective action made to him, said:
"Statistics show that London, in comparison to its population is the safest city in the world to live in."
It is due to the police to say that their failure to catch the criminal has not been wholly due to inactivity. This is especially true of the "city" force. Each organization is working independently of the other, according to its own methods. The investigation of the numerous slaughter houses in the district has been most thorough. Every one in the East End and some others have practically been turned inside out. The proprietors and managers have in most cases heartily co-operated with the police. Every policeman has been personally "pumped." Each man has been called upon to give an account of himself, and his whereabouts, not only on Saturday night, Sept. 29, but during the entire period over which the series of crimes extends. Every suspicious circumstance is made a note of, and no one to whom the slightest suspicion attaches is lost sight of until the suspicion is completely allayed. Nor has the man's own word been accepted as conclusive. Each man has been asked if he knows of any one who has not been regular at his work or has played tricks on the timekeeper, for the time book in each establishment plays an important part in the investigation. More than all this, in some cases all men who can write have been called upon to make a statement in writing and sign their names so that any possible question of handwriting may be more easily compared.
The same thoroughness has characterized what has been done in the lodging-houses. Deputies were required to make a showing of their regular lodgers, to point out their habits, their peculiarities and their associates, and to furnish descriptions of all casual visitors who had

Attracted Special Attention.

Frequenters of lodging-houses have been interviewed by hundreds, and detectives have been scattered all over the district disguised as men "down on their luck," in the hope of their picking up some information; but the police have pretty well made up their minds that the man they want is not to be found through the lodging-house channel.
The fact that so many of the victims were themselves frequenters of the caravansaries has quickened their instincts and aroused the spirit of the class, and it would be almost impossible for a murderer to be among them without some one giving him away.
The attention that has been paid to the hospitals has been quite as close, but the police have not always found the hospital authorities too eager to assist them. The ethics of medical etiquette appear to stand in the way of full and free investigation among medical students at least, for they are slow to tell what they know or suspect when it may affect one of their number. One police inspector said that he supposed there was over a hundred men who were being individually shadowed in his district alone, and if the same system is in vogue all over the East End, the number of detectives on the job must be something enormous. There is not a vacant building in the East End that has not been thoroughly searched, lest it might afford a hiding place for the murderer, and in at least two instances the drain pipes have been taken up for a long distance where suspicious matter was thought to have been deposited.
Every vessel that has left the harbor since the commission of the last crime has been thoroughly overhauled, the workhouses have been visited for the examination of all new inmates, and even the prison authorities have been enlisted in the cause for the sake of keeping a close eye on prisoners who may have been glad to get put away for a time for trivial offences. It is estimated, roughly speaking, that there are at least 500 men engaged in these investigations who are not police officers, but who are directly instructed by the police officials. The arrests so far are legion.
Well, at this writing no one is under arrest; all the men locked up on suspicion and on delirium tremens confessions have been discharged. A man from New York was among the number. He came into the World office afterward and wanted it explained that he was "on a lark." Well, he had his fun, and from the police court evidence he deserved all the unsavory publicity he got. But so far it has all amounted to nothing. Whether it will do so before this letter reaches the World looks very doubtful now.


Chief of Police Warren Must Be Superseded.

LONDON, Nov. 9. - In the House of Commons today Mr. Coneybeare asked whether, if it was true that another woman had been murdered in London, General Warren, the chief of the metropolitan police, should not be superseded by an officer accustomed to investigate crime. The question was greeted by cries of "Oh, Oh." The speaker called order, and said that notice must be given the question in the usual way.
Mr. Coneybeare replied: "I have given private notice."
The speaker: The notice must be made in writing.
Mr. Cunninghame-Graham then asked whether General Warren had already resigned, to which Mr. Smith, the government leader, replied no.

Source: The Boston Daily Globe, Saturday November 10, 1888, Page 2

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

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