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Tabram Inquest

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Tabram Inquest

Post by Karen on Tue 2 Nov 2010 - 3:25



About ten minutes to five o'clock on Tuesday morning a man, who lives at 47, George-yard-buildings, Whitechapel, was coming downstairs to go to work, when he discovered the body of a woman lying in a pool of blood on the first-floor landing. Reeves at once called in Constable Barrett, 26 H, who was on his beat in the vicinity of George-yard, and Dr. Keleene, of Brick-lane, was communicated with and promptly arrived. He made an examination of the woman, and pronounced life extinct, giving it as his opinion that she had been brutally murdered, there being knife wounds on her breasts, stomach, and abdomen. There were 39 wounds in various parts of the body, which was that of a woman apparently between 35 and 40 years of age, about 5ft. 3in. in height, complexion and hair dark; with a dark green skirt, a brown petticoat, a long black jacket, and a black bonnet. The woman was not known to any of the occupants of the tenements on the landing on which the deceased was found, and no disturbance of any kind was heard during the night. The body was removed to Whitechapel mortuary.
Mr. George Collier opened an inquest on the body on Thursday at the Working Lads' institute, Whitechapel. She was stated to be Martha Turner, aged 38, a single woman, lately living at 4, Star-place, Commercial-road, but previous to calling the first witness the coroner said that the body had been identified that morning, but he had just been informed that two other persons also identified it as quite a different person, and under these circumstances he thought the question of identity had better be left till the last.
Elizabeth Mahony, of 47, George-yard-buildings, Whitechapel, the wife of a carman, stated that on the night of Bank Holiday she was out with some friends. She returned shortly before two in the morning with her husband, and afterwards left the house to try and get some supper at the chandler's shop. The stairs were then perfectly clear of any obstacle, and were the same on her return. She and her husband heard no noise during the night, but at 10 o'clock she was told that a murder had been committed in the building. There was no light on the staircase. The spot where the body was found had been pointed out to her. She was sure it was not there at two o'clock as she went in, as it was in the wide part of the stairs, and quite in the dark.
Alfred George Crow, a cabdriver, of 35, George-yard-buildings, deposed that on Tuesday morning he returned home from work at half-past three. On his way up the stairs he saw somebody lying on the first landing. It was not an unusual thing to see, so he passed on and went to bed. He did not know whether the person was dead or alive when he passed.
John Saunders Reeves, 37, George-yard-buildings, a waterside labourer, deposed that on Tuesday morning he left home at five o'clock to go in search of work. On the first floor landing he saw a female lying in a pool of blood. She lay on her back, and seemed dead. He at once gave notice to the police. The woman was a perfect stranger to the witness. Her clothes were all disarranged, as if she had had a struggle with some one. The witness did not notice any instrument lying about.
Police-constable Barrett, 226 H, deposed to being called by the last witness to view the body of the deceased. She was lying on her back, and before she was moved a doctor was sent for, and on arrival pronounced life extinct. The woman's hands were clenched, but did not contain anything. Her clothes were disarranged.
Dr. Timothy Robert Keleene, 28, Brick-lane, stated that he was called to the deceased and found her dead. He examined the body and found 39 punctured wounds. There were no less than nine in the throat and 17 in the breast. She appeared to have been dead three hours. The body was well nourished. He had since made a post-mortem examination, and found the left lung penetrated in five places, and the right lung in two places. The heart had been penetrated, but only in one place, otherwise it was quite healthy. The liver was healthy, but penetrated in five places, and the spleen was penetrated in two places. The stomach was penetrated in six places. In the witness's opinion the wounds were not inflicted with the same instrument, there being a deep wound in the breast from some long, strong instrument, while most of the others were done apparently with a penknife. The large wound could have been caused by a sword bayonet or dagger. It was impossible for the whole of the wounds to be self-inflicted. Death was due to the loss of blood consequent on the injuries.
At the conclusion of this witness's evidence the inquiry was adjourned.


The case is in certain respects one of a very puzzling character, owing to the fact that so many stab wounds were inflicted, and that no cries were heard, although the poor woman was on some stone steps, close to the doors of small rooms wherein several separate families resided. It now appears that on the night of Bank holiday there were several soldiers in the neighbourhood, some of whom were seen drinking in the Princess Alice - two minutes' walk from George-yard-buildings - and other taverns near. With these soldiers were the deceased and another woman, the latter being known in the district as "Mogg" and "Pearly Poll." One of these men was a private, the other a corporal. It has been ascertained that only corporals and sergeants are allowed to wear side arms when on leave. This fact, of course, narrows the issue as to the possible identity of the assailant - presuming he was a soldier. Inquiries were at once set on foot by the police and military authorities, with the result that it is stated two soldiers have been placed under military arrest at the Tower. The authorities decline to give their names unless some definite charge is formulated. The two soldiers are said to belong to the Guards.
A perplexing feature in connection with the outrage is the number of injuries on the young woman's body. That the stabs were from a weapon shaped like a bayonet is almost established beyond doubt. The wound over the heart was alone sufficient to kill, and death must have occurred as soon as that was inflicted. Unless the perpetrator was a madman, or suffering to an unusual extent from drink delirium, no tangible explanation can be given of the reason for inflicting the other 38 injuries, some of which almost seem as if they were due to thrusts and cuts from a penknife. On the other hand, if the lesser wounds were given before the one fatal injury the cries of the deceased must have been heard by those who, at the time of the outrage, were sleeping within a few yards of the spot where the deed was committed.
The difficulty of identification arose out of the brutal treatment to which the deceased was manifestly subjected, she being throttled while held down, and the face and head so swollen and distorted in consequence that her real features are not discernible. There is little doubt, although she has been variously identified as a Mrs. Withers, and a Mary Bryan, that she is a woman known as Martha Turner. - Mrs. Bousfield, in whose house she lived till three weeks back, states that she had resided in her house for two months with Turner. The deceased had told her that her real name was either Staples or Stapleton, and that she had left her husband 13 years, and had taken up with Turner. Both she and this man got their living by selling trinkets in the streets, such as studs, links, chains, and menthal cones. She used to stand in Cheapside and various places, whilst Turner occupied other ground. Turner left her some few weeks ago, and then the deceased, who paid 2s. per week for her room, got two weeks in arrear, and as she could not pay she suddenly left. - In addition to being identified by Mrs. Bousfield, the deceased has already been identified by one or two other women, who saw her in the company of some soldiers at neighbouring public-houses. There was a dispute, and one of the soldiers struck the companion of the deceased a blow. This was just by George-yard, a long, dark thoroughfare, and it is believed that the deceased was forcibly dragged up to the place where she was found so brutally ill-treated and so fearfully wounded. The police have a description of the two soldiers who, as before stated, are believed to be in the Guards.

Source: Lloyd's Weekly London Newspaper, August 12, 1888, Page 7

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

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Post by Karen on Tue 2 Nov 2010 - 3:58


The murder of the young woman supposed to be Martha Turner, which occurred at George-yard-buildings, Whitechapel-road, still continues to be shrouded in mystery, and up to the present there is no decided clue as to the perpetrator of the foul crime.
Inspector Reid and the other officers engaged in the case have in no way relaxed their efforts to trace the criminal, and on Monday morning the inspector, accompanied by "Pearly Poll," who was in the company of the murdered woman, proceeded to the Tower, where she was confronted with every non-commissioned officer and private who had leave of absence at the time of the outrage. They were paraded at the back of the Tower, unseen by the public - of whom, on Monday, a large number frequented the historic structure - and "Pearly Poll" was asked, "Can you see either of the men you saw with the woman now dead?" "Pearly Poll," in no way embarrassed, placed her arms akimbo, glanced at the men with the air of an inspecting officer, and shook her head. This indication of a negative was not sufficient. "Can you identify anyone?" she was asked. She exclaimed, with a good deal of feminine emphasis, "He ain't here." The woman was very decided on this point, and the men were then dismissed, while the two men upon whom a faint shadow of suspicion had rested were considerably relieved at their innocence being declared. As soon as the murder was known the suspected corporal was interviewed by the police and questioned. He had his bayonet with him when on leave at the time of the outrage, but this he at once produced, and no trace of blood was discovered upon it. His clothing, too, was also examined, and upon it there was no incriminating blood-stain. After the parade, Adjutant A.W. Cotton, the officer in command, stated that all the men were now entirely exonerated; indeed the men were themselves most anxious to afford every facility to the police, and gave all the information in their power to assist the officers of justice in their investigation.
There have been many visitors to George-yard-buildings with the rather morbid purpose of seeing the place where the deceased was discovered. Here there is still a large surface of the stone flags crimson-stained. It is at the spot where the blood oozed from the poor creature's heart. The police authorities regard as little short of marvellous the fact that no dweller in this model block heard any disturbance. Mr. Francis Hewitt, the superintendent of the dwellings, who with his wife occupied a sleeping apartment at nearly right angles with the place where the dead body lay, procured a foot-rule and measured the distance of his sleeping apartment from the stone step in question; it was exactly 12ft. "And we never heard a cry," remarked Mr. Hewitt. Mrs. Hewitt observed that early in the evening she did hear a single cry of "Murder." It echoed through the building, but did not emanate from there. "But," explained Mr. and Mrs. Hewitt in a breath, "the district round here is rather rough, and cries of "Murder" are of frequent, if not nightly, occurrence in the district."

Source: The Mercury, Saturday August 18, 1888, Page 7

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

Posts : 4907

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