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Double Murder In Hanbury Street 1911

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Double Murder In Hanbury Street 1911

Post by Karen on Sat 11 Dec 2010 - 0:55



A policeman patrolling a narrow street in Spitalfields before dawn yesterday found a door open and, passing through it, came upon a crime as terrible and obscure as any in the history of the alien quarter of East London.
It was about 4:15 a.m. when the policeman noticed that the door of No. 62, Hanbury-street, a Kosher restaurant, was ajar. Entering he came to another door, locked, but with the key in its place. No answer came to his knock.
The constable opened the door and clouds of smoke came out. On the floor he found the bodies of Samuel Millstein, a Pole, thirty-five years old, and of his wife, a young and good-looking woman. Millstein had been stabbed through the lungs. The woman was wounded in the breast, the face, and head, and a pillow had been pressed down upon her. The bodies were not yet cold.
A long knife, blood-stained, lay on the floor. A second knife, similarly stained, had broken off at the haft, and blade and handle being some distance apart. The fireirons were bent and broken.
The murderers had attempted to set fire to the room after the crime. An empty bottle, which had contained paraffin, and a blood-stained box of matches were picked up. The victims' bedclothes were smouldering.
The room had not been searched by the murderers. Several pieces of jewellery were untouched. There is practically no clue to the criminals and no known motive for the crime. A man's scarf found on the floor by the bed is not recognised as having belonged to the Millsteins. The victims' bedroom was above a basement used as a secret gambling den. For the convenience of the gamblers the area door, which attracted the policeman's notice, was frequently left unlocked. Millstein and his wife were last seen alive about three hours before the finding of their bodies. No one heard the sounds of the struggle which they made for their lives.
About twelve men have been questioned by the police. The inquest will take place tomorrow at the Stepney Coroner's Court.


At a quarter-past four a policeman, passing along Hanbury-street, noticed that the door of the restaurant at No. 62 was open. He entered to find out if anything was wrong, and walked through to the door of the bedroom. He tried the handle of the door and found it was locked. Flashing the light of the lantern downwards he discovered the key was in the lock, and he turned it.
The door opened and a cloud of smoke emerged. He entered and discovered the tragedy. He saw the body of a man lying on the floor just inside. The man, Millstein, was wearing pants and a vest. The room was full of smoke and some of the bedclothes were smouldering, but there was no flame. Mrs. Millstein, in her nightdress, was also lying on the floor near the bed. She was lying partly on a thick quilt, and a pillow was over her face. There was blood all over the floor and on the garments worn by the two victims.
A whistle was blown, the fire brigade was sent for and additional police summoned. Dr. Goodman, who lives near by, was called and a message conveyed to Dr. Clarke, the police divisional surgeon.
Mr. Millstein, it was discovered, had a stab wound just below the left collar-bone, which had penetrated the lung.
The wife had a stab under the left eye and a severe cut across the breast 4in. long and about 2in. deep. There were also several severe wounds on the head caused by some blunt instrument.
On the floor there was a blood-stained table knife, which was subsequently identified as belonging to the restaurant, and another weapon, described as a sheath knife and used for carving. This second knife, which was also blood-stained, was found broken. The blade, broken off at the haft, was at one end of the room and the handle at the other. Near by there was a bent poker and a broken pair of fire tongs, both with blood on them.
It was clear that no systematic search of the room had been made by the murderers, although two drawers were found open and the contents tumbled. Mrs. Millstein's jewellery - a gold watch and chain, a gold bracelet, and a diamond ring - were left in one of the drawers wrapped up in some underclothing, and her wedding ring was still on her finger.


The husband was known to have some jewellery and was believed to be in the possession of some ready money. A watch, chain, and ring belonging to him cannot be find, and the total sum of money discovered in the room by the police was two-pence halfpenny. The cash-box, which was sometimes left on the premises, and which belonged to the man who rented the room downstairs, was found in his possession yesterday on inquiries being made.
In the bedroom and near the bodies the police picked up a blood-stained coloured neckerchief. None of Mr. and Mrs. Millstein's friends to whom the kerchief has been shown ever remember seeing either of them wearing such an article. This kerchief may therefore form one of the few clues in the case.
A young man who occupies the room immediately above that of the Millsteins stated that he had heard a woman groaning in the early hours of the morning, but believed it to be an invalid on the floor above. Between four o'clock and half-past he was awakened by smoke coming up through the floor, and, leaning out, broke the window beneath him with a brush. Smoke at once came from the window, and it was apparent from this that the fire was in the Millsteins' room.
"I went into the room with the policeman who came up," he said. "A paraffin bottle and the box of matches lay on the floor near the bed. There was blood on the match-box."
The fire brigade on their arrival at about twenty-five minutes past four had little to do, a few buckets of water sufficing to extinguish the smouldering fire.
It is probable that there were several persons engaged in the crime, for Millstein and his wife were an active couple, in the prime of life, and would certainly make a desperate struggle against attack. Millstein is described as a strong man, and used to wrestling. Such a man must have been


taken by surprise or borne down by numbers.
If the assassins were concealed in the room beforehand they crept out as soon as they thought that the couple were asleep and then fell on their victims. But the bent fireirons go to show that Millstein reached the floor and seized the tongs or poker to defend himself and was stabbed before he could make effective use of either. Possibly Mrs. Millstein, already struggling with her husband's assailants, was afterwards beaten down. The terrific force of the blows is shown by the wounds.
Another theory - and this is favoured by some of the police engaged in the case - is that there may have been but one murderer, and that he, armed with the big knife from the shop, went to the bedroom door and knocked, and that Millstein got out of bed and opened the door, to be struck down by the blow that killed him.
The one thing certain is that the murder was deliberate, determined, and well planned. A little girl, the adopted daughter of the Millsteins, usually sleeps in the same room with them, but has been away since Saturday. Her absence made attack on the Millsteins easier.


The story of the murder has for its setting a dingy, thickly populated part of the East End largely inhabited by Jews. Five minutes' walk away from Liverpool-street roars with the traffic of the City. There is a different world at Hanbury-street, where the Millsteins lived, a world teeming with a different kind of people.
Hanbury-street was the scene of one of the "Jack-the-Ripper" murders, and is close to Houndsditch and the haunts of the murderer Stinie Morrison. It was at No. 62 that the murdered pair had their restaurant, a shop with a single door towards one side, and with the Hebrew characters for "Kosher" on the plate-glass window. At night yellow blinds were drawn, and with the light behind them they gave the place a clean, warm look. Millstein, a Pole, began as a baker, and has been known in the locality for some twelve years. Six years ago he started his present business, and he and his wife prospered. They were energetic and well liked, Mrs. Millstein in particular being known for her generosity.
Their premises consisted of three main apartments, the shop, the bedroom at the back of it, and the basement below, used at times as a sitting-room, but now for a period let to a "society," which gathered there at night for the purpose of gambling. Entrance to the basement was obtainable by a flight of steps in the restaurant and by an area in the rear of the building. The Millsteins used to shut up their shop at


midnight, but the gamesters downstairs would often not separate till much later.
How the Millsteins were paid and the system under which the gambling was controlled is not clear, but it is certain that many men gathered regularly for their midnight pastime. Recently there had been a move in the direction of suppressing the gambling, a move due largely to Mrs. Millstein, and it is believed there was a good deal of resentment among some of the players. Whether this has anything to do with the tragedy is a matter of conjecture.
The door of the bedroom was not only accessible to persons in the restaurant but also to those coming up from the basement, and it is conceivable that during the evening one or more men might quite easily find the opportunity to slip into the bedroom and hide beneath the bed. That is a supposition which derives some weight from the subsequent facts. It was about midnight on Tuesday that the restaurant was closed.


Practically only two games, it appears, were played in the gambling den - faro and "bluff," a kind of poker. The stakes were generally low, but comparatively large sums were sometimes lost. For the last two or three months a group of players have assembled regularly. The room held about forty people.
On Monday night, shortly after eleven, Mrs. Millstein ran across to chat with Mrs. Egelnich, a neighbour, and then referred to the gambling. "She was very nervous about it," said Mrs. Egelnich, "and told me that she wished her husband could put a stop to it altogether. As it was, her husband had told the men that he would not allow faro to be played any more. The specially marked table used for the game was taken away by a man early in the evening."
Mrs. Millstein's objection to the gambling was due to the fear that the police might raid the premises and so damage the restaurant business. Apart from that the gamblers were a great trouble, for there were constant quarrels in progress. Late hours are so usual in the street that little notice would be taken of a man going in or out of a house between 1 and 3 a.m.


Twenty-three years ago the nation learned with shuddering horror of the existence of Hanbury-street and the life of the underworld surrounding it. Hanbury-street and Old Montague-street, Flower and Dean-street, and Dorset-street became suddenly the much-discussed place-names in a strange country, to which the deeds of "Jack the Ripper" had attracted the attention of explorers.
The conditions of life in the slums of Spitalfields and Whitechapel made an appropriate foreign atmosphere and setting for the story of the terrible series of crimes which were so strangely un-English in their mystery and their fiendish ferocity. Now comes another hideous crime to revive the time-worn associations of Hanbury-street.
Within a short stone's-throw of the Yiddish restaurant at No. 62, Hanbury-street two of the series of Ripper murders were committed. On the staircase landing of one house "Dark Annie" Chapman was done to death, and eighteen people sleeping in the house heard no moan. A few yards away, in her room in Miller's-court, Dorset-street, Marie Jeanette Kelly was murdered.
It was in a Dorset-street lodging-house that "Dark Annie" had lived. She was there late on the night of her death and would have slept there that night, for she was ill, and suffering, too, from the effects of drink, and would have been glad to rest where she was. But she had not eightpence for her bed, and so at one o'clock in the morning went out into Whitechapel to get it. Then, prowling herself, she met the prowling "Ripper" who left her dead and mutilated upon the dark staircase in Hanbury-street. The story revealed an atmosphere of unrelieved degradation and brutality - of sordid streets and dismal courts and alleys of the underworld, in which slinking creatures of nameless trades herded in lodging-houses and squalid furnished rooms.
The twenty-three years that have passed since "Dark Annie's" tragedy have brought changes. Dorset-street, though it has changed its name to Duval-street, has still many lodging-houses, but the whole district has been affected by the clearing of the Petticoat-lane slum area, and the greater part of Hanbury-street has been rebuilt. Tenement houses have replaced many of the old houses in which, before they were hostelries for tramps and prowlers, City merchants used to live. Moreover, the quarter is becoming commercialised. City warehouses are gradually displacing the tenements, and the foreign Jews occupy most of the remaining living room.


Source: The Daily Mail, Thursday December 28, 1911, pp. 5-6

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

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The Millsteins

Post by Karen on Mon 28 Mar 2011 - 2:26



A brutal double murder was discovered in Hanbury-street, Spitalfields, yesterday. Firemen were called to an outbreak at a restaurant in the street and found in a bedroom the bodies of a man named Milstein, the proprietor, and his wife. There seems no doubt that both were murdered, as on each body were wounds which could not have been self-inflicted. The room in which the crime was committed was afterwards set alight with paraffin.

Source: The Daily Mirror, December 28, 1911, Page 11

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

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Myer Abramvitz Confesses

Post by Karen on Mon 28 Mar 2011 - 2:37



"I done it." These words, said Detective-Inspector Wensley, were used by Myer Abramvitz, a Russian costermonger, who was charged at Old-street Police Court yesterday in connection with the double murder in Spitalfields. The victims of the crime were Samuel Millstein, the proprietor of a restaurant in Hanbury-street, and his wife, Annie. The photograph shows the prisoner, who was remanded for a week, standing in the dock. He is a short man, not more than 5ft. 3in.

Source: The Daily Mirror, December 29, 1911, Page 11

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

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House With Yellow Blinds

Post by Karen on Sat 2 Apr 2011 - 8:37


Mystery of Couple Found Murdered in Burning Room.


A grimly mysterious double murder was committed early yesterday morning at a restaurant - a house with yellow blinds used as a meeting-place for gamblers - in Hanbury-street, Spitalfields, E., a street which at one time had the unenviable description of "the worst street in London."
It was the scene of one of the notorious "Jack-the-Ripper" murders twenty years ago.
The victims of yesterday's tragedy were Samuel Millstein and his wife Annie, the occupiers of the ground floor and basement of No. 62, Hanbury-street, a Jewish restaurant, which they had conducted for over five years.
At 4:22 a.m. the fire brigade was summoned to the house, and found the shop door open and smoke issuing from the back room, which was locked with the key in the door, on the outside. The firemen entered and found some bedding alight. The outbreak was quickly extinguished with buckets of water.


The firemen then discovered the body of Mrs. Millstein, covered with blood, lying under some of the bedding on the floor.
She had been stabbed, and was dead. Further search revealed her husband's body on the bed. He also had been stabbed in the throat and body, and life was extinct. Both bodies were still warm - the man nude and the woman in her night clothes.
A bloodstained neck scarf was gripped in the hand of the woman, who had obviously fought hard for life. She bore also traces of a recent black eye.
In the shop was found a blood-stained knife with a blade eighteen inches long - Millstein's carving-knife. After the man and woman had been murdered an attempt had obviously been made by the perpetrator to set the premises on fire.
For several weeks past, according to the neighbours, men have remained in Millstein's cellar playing cards as late as four o'clock in the morning. They caused Millstein to complain that his wife could not sleep because they stayed so late and were so noisy. On Tuesday, in fact, he arranged to have the faro tables removed.
"A certain man," he is stated to have said, "gets in such a way when he loses and has been threatening me."
Millstein's cash-box had been rifled, but Mrs. Millstein's jewellery had not been taken, and robbery alone does not appear to have been the motive.
Photographs of both the interior and exterior of the premises were taken by police officials yesterday, and footprints measured and finger-marks photographed.


About a dozen men were interrogated at Leman-street Police Station by Inspector Wensley respecting the alleged gambling that went on at 62, Hanbury-street. The police have lately been watching the premises for this reason.
So many weeping women gathered before the shop yesterday morning that the police formed cordons at each end of that portion of Hanbury-street to keep away curious idlers.
One neighbour, it is stated, saw lights in the window at 2 a.m. yesterday, and heard quarrelling, and shortly after 4 a.m. a visitor to London from Leicester, who had been attending a wedding, saw a man coming, he thought, from the house of the tragedy.
A moment later he saw smoke issuing from the door, and, getting no answer, informed the police. Meantime the man had vanished.
A young fellow who lives in the room above the shop, heard groans at about 4 a.m. But, as he knew there was an invalid girl in a neighbouring room, he took no notice.
A little later he smelt smoke, and the alarm of fire was given by his father, who went to the front windows and blew a police whistle. The son threw a flower-pot from the back window at the window below to arouse the Millstein's. It broke the glass and smoke and flame came out. Both state that they heard a taxicab drive up Hanbury-street shortly before.


The landlord of a public-house opposite told The Daily Mirror last night that taxicabs would not attract his attention, as just now there are many wedding-parties among the Jewish residents, and taxicabs frequently pass at night.
The police do not think any criminal would be likely to use a taxicab after Stinie Morrison's conviction - he was traced by the cab he used.
A bottle of paraffin and a blood-stained box of wax vestas were found beside a feather-bed, which had been torn open and saturated.
Millstein was seen chopping wood in his yard at 12:15 a.m., after the shop was shut.
There are yellow blinds both on the window and door, which were always pulled down after dark.
Some broken fireirons were found on the bed, and there are other indications that Millstein, a short, stout man about thirty-five years old, made a vigorous fight for his life.
His wife was slightly younger, about thirty-one, and a good-looking woman. The bodies were removed at midday to the Whitechapel Mortuary.
Late last evening no arrest had been made by the police, who are working on a number of clues.
The inquest will probably be held tomorrow at Stepney Coroner's Court, and the funeral may take place the same day.

Source: The Daily Mirror, December 28, 1911, Page 5

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

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Millstein Murder

Post by Karen on Sun 3 Apr 2011 - 21:54




The closely drawn yellow blinds of a restaurant in Hanbury-street, Spitalfields, hid in the early hours of yesterday morning a double murder as grim and mysterious as any crime Scotland-yard has been called on to solve.
Cries in the night that passed unnoticed in this crowded East End district were followed half an hour later by clouds of smoke suddenly rising from the back of Millstein's Restaurant, close to the corner of Brick-lane.
When the firemen and neighbours, drawn by the alarm of fire, burst in, they found Samuel Millstein, the proprietor, and his wife, Annie - a couple of Polish Jews - stabbed to death in the bedroom on the ground floor with the mattress and bedding blazing round them.
A feather bed had been turned over and saturated with paraffin, and had then been set alight. The murderer, before he escaped, had clearly intended to start a fire which would effectually hide the traces of his crime.
Revenge first and robbery afterwards is believed by the police to be the motive of this desperate double murder. It is known that the basement of Millstein's Restaurant was used at times as a gambling club where faro was played for high stakes. A cash-box, which is said to have contained the faro bank takings is missing.
A number of young men who frequented the restaurant were last night called to Leman-street Police Station, and were asked to give detailed descriptions of the customers who were in the habit of staying late in the basement room. Up to late last night, however, no arrest had been made.
Mr. and Mrs. Millstein were probably asleep when the murderer first attacked them. When the bodies were found, the man's nightshirt had been torn from him, and his wife, who had been stabbed in the chest and then apparently suffocated with the mattress, had her night attire disarranged.


A long thin knife such as is used to cut sandwiches was found in the bedroom, as well as a smaller knife with a well-worn blade. The fireirons, with which the couple before being stabbed had been struck over the head, were found underneath the piled bed-clothes. By the side of the smouldering mattress was a bottle which had contained paraffin, and some blood-stained wax matches.
The rest of the bedroom was in great disorder, showing the grim struggle that had taken place before the man and his wife had been overcome.
Mr. and Mrs. Millstein were the sole occupants at night of the restaurant premises, which consisted only of the ground-floor and a basement, used as a club-room at night. There was nothing there to show that the murderer had been in hiding before he sprang on his victims as they lay asleep.
Immediately above the shop are three storeys of tenement dwellings, which are shut off from the ground-floor and approached by an open stairway higher up Hanbury-street.
A family on the first floor of these flats, sleeping immediately over the bedroom in which the double crime was committed, were not awakened until shortly after four o'clock yesterday morning, when suffocating smoke from the ground-floor and the alarm of fire aroused them.


A few seconds later when, dressing as they ran, they rushed down the stairs into Hanbury-street, they found the front door of Millstein's Restaurant standing wide open.
The glass-door leading from the shop to the bedroom behind was closed, but not locked, but the back door, leading from the basement to the yard behind, was closely barred and bolted, giving proof that the murderer could not have escaped that way. He had, it seemed, walked boldly into the street, and so escaped all notice.
Hanbury-street, which was the scene of one of the "Jack-the-Ripper" murders runs off Commercial-street to Vallance-road, Whitechapel, through a neighbourhood almost exclusively alien.
Russian and Polish names denote the ownership of nearly every shop, and the large blocks of flats at the Brick-lane end of Hanbury-street have many foreign Jewish tenants.
The scene of the crime is one of a row of shops under these red-brick gabled tenement dwellings on the right hand side of Hanbury-street going towards Vallance-road. It is a brightly painted shop, with a plate-glass window, which has been kept as a restaurant and club by Mr. Millstein and his wife for seven or eight years.
Mr. Millstein, who came from Poland, was a man of thirty-five - a short, broad-shouldered man, with a dark moustache, and a brisk, cheerful business manner. His wife, who was five years younger, was a handsome Jewess, who had many friends among her compatriots of the Ghetto.
They had no child of their own, but Mrs. Millstein had an eight-year old niece.

Source: The Daily Express, London, Thursday December 28, 1911, Page 1

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

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