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Macnaghten's Reminiscences - Sixth Installment

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Macnaghten's Reminiscences - Sixth Installment

Post by Karen on Thu 17 Feb 2011 - 10:55

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[All Rights Reserved.]

Battersea Mystery.

Who slew the would-be slayer? or, in police parlance, who "did in" the man who went to "do in" somebody else? This is a question which agitated the minds of hundreds of criminal investigators, professional and amateur, in the month of July, 1910, and has hitherto remained answered. Police were completely baffled. The bottom was knocked out of every workable theory suggested, but no elucidation of the mystery discovered.
The dramatic personae who appeared on the stage were Thomas Anderson, who may be described as a strolling player, his two sons, aged respectively nineteen and sixteen, and a lady who, at the time of the tragedy, was occupying a flat on the first floor of a block of buildings in a street off the Battersea Park-road. This lady had some stage experience, and at the time when the murder took place was a teacher of elocution somewhere in the vicinity of Gower-street.
Between the man Anderson and herself a very close intimacy had existed for eight or ten years. They both earned their own living, and contented themselves with one helping the other when any financial trouble loomed up on either side. Both of the lads knew the lady well, although they seem to have been kept in the dark as to the real relations between herself and their father.
It appeared, so far as police could judge, that the lady's influence with the boys was for good. She was well educated, interested herself in their studies, and was a help and assistance to them in many ways. About eighteen months or two years before the date above mentioned Anderson met with a motor accident; some injury to his head resulted therefrom.
Always a man of morbid and moody disposition, he never seems to have regained his mental balance. He lost all sense of proportion. The diary which he regularly kept from some months before his death found its way into the hands of police, and some of the entries therein were of a very wild and weird description. Green-eyed jealousy seemed to have possessed his soul, but as to whether there were any real grounds for his suspicions was never clearly shown.
The setting of the sun on Saturday, July 16, put an end to a long day's work in the Criminal Investigation Department. The late Dr. Crippen's whereabouts were still undiscovered; and, further, an old woman at Slough had been brutally done to death, and the case, being evidently one presenting difficulties, had been handed over to the Yard. Eventually it "panned out" all right, but at the time it was adding to our anxieties.

The Plot Thickened.

On this evening Anderson's elder son had arranged to have supper with his father's friend at her flat. She was lending him some books, and had marked certain passages which she wished to explain to him - at least, I think this was so; at any rate, there was nothing to lay this supper party open to any suspicion of impropriety. The lady was some twenty years older than the lad, had known him for many years, and was interested in his educational progress. The flat on the ground floor, which was immediately below, had been unoccupied for several weeks; certain repairs were being carried on, and it was in the hands of painters and other workmen. The doors of the flat had been left unlocked, so that anyone could gain admittance. On the outside of the building at the back, overlooking a little strip of garden, was an emergency staircase, by which exit could be made by the dwellers in any of the four sets of flats. The house was about the fourth in the street, counting from the Battersea Park-road, which was at right angles to it. At the back of each house there was a similar garden, with dividing walls of about five feet high. Shrubs were thickly planted and gave great facilities for anything in the shape of climbing operations.
At about 9:30, shortly after supper was finished, young Anderson heard what sounded to him like two reports of a pistol, one following very closely upon the other. On opening the window and looking out at the back, he distinctly saw, in the gathering darkness, a man climb over the dividing wall and disappear into the next garden. He informed his hostess, but strangely enough, they paid no further attention to the incident. But the shots had been heard by passers-by, who summoned police, and the empty flat on the ground floor was entered. On the mantlepiece in the dining-room a pair of heavy boots and a small handbag had been placed. No signs of disorder were anywhere visible in the flat, but, on opening the door at the back, which led into the garden, a man's body was found lying across the steps; on his feet were carpet slippers and in his coat-tail pocket was a murderous life-preserver.
The officers then visited the first-floor flat, where the lady and young Anderson were still sitting. Having informed them of what had been found below, and having heard young Anderson's story, they asked him to accompany them to the police station, so that his statement might be properly taken down. Before leaving the premises, however, he was requested to look at the body. He altogether failed to identify. This, however, might be accounted for by the fact that it was now quite dark, and that a police lantern is not a very convincing illuminator. The face, too, had been terribly disfigured by two bullet wounds. An hour later, at the station, the lad was shown a pocket-book which he recognised. Then the identity was assured and the plot thickened with a vengeance.

The Man Running.

The word murder looks ugly in print; it sounds ugly in speech, and no word is so rapidly caught up and passed along in the streets of a large city. In a very short space of time the dwellers in Battersea knew that a tragedy had occurred in their midst, and then information of sorts began to reach the police.
A baker reported that, as he was passing along Battersea Park-road, about 9:30, he saw a man scrambling over the wall on his right hand, who, as he alighted in the road, nearly fell upon him.
The climber was quite as much upset as the baker at the rencontre, but he pulled himself together and ran off in the direction of the bridge. A chauffeur, too, had seen a man running down the road, but had not paid much attention to him. The descriptions, such as were given, doubtless referred to the same individual, but they were not of a nature to be of any real assistance to police. An examination of the garden proved young Anderson's story to be perfectly correct, inasmuch as footprints were visible under the wall, over which he had seen a man escaping directly after the two shots had been fired.
The next day was Sunday, and, after the customary hour at the Yard the rest of the morning was spent at the scene of the murder. Heavy rain had fallen the day before, and the garden soil was soft and moist. The footsteps to and from the flat, extending over the four gardens, as far as the Battersea Park-road, were plainly discernible. The task of taking plaster casts was easy. The imprints obtained were small and pointed.
The elder son had returned to the flat. The lady was in a highly hysterical state; she said she knew nothing, and no information of any kind, at this time or afterwards, could be extracted from her. The younger son's movements on the Saturday had been inquired into. He had been at a cricket match in the north-west of London - somewhere near Willesden - and had returned to his lodgings and gone to bed at the usual hour. About a month before this the police had received information that a gang of German burglars were at work on the south side of the river, that they carried firearms, and, if attacked would not hesitate to shoot. It was suggested, in some quarters, that Anderson might have met his death at their hands. This theory was preposterous. Burglars don't start business at 9:30 on a summer's night, nor do they crack cribs which contain nothing.
A visit to the mortuary showed that the dead man had received injuries in the face other than bullet wounds. There was one ghastly laceration which had evidently been caused by the nails of his antagonist. This seemed to indicate that a fierce struggle had taken place before the revolver was brought into play, and that the shots were only fired after the man who escaped had thought he was getting the worst of the death-grapple. The suddenness of the onslaught, too, was apparent from the fact that the dead man had not had time to draw the life preserver from his coat-tail pocket.
It has already been said that Anderson's diary contained some queer entries. Much of what he wrote was unintelligible, some of it undecipherable; within its pages the names of four men were inscribed, and there was also a suggestion that he had, on a previous occasion, determined to watch the flat. It was obviously necessary that police should find out who these individuals were, and what they had been doing on the Saturday night. After patient inquiries, which lasted over many weeks, all four men were cleared up; one, I think, was in America, a second in Canada, and the remaining two had not been in London for some time, so that, if any hostile feeling had ever been entertained against them, it was of no recent date.
Anderson enters an empty flat, carrying slippers and a lethal weapon. Who did he expect to meet that night? Was it the mysterious individual who killed him? And why in the world did that individual take the trouble to climb over four garden walls, when he could just as well have walked in at the front door in the same way that Anderson did?

Sidney Street Battle.

The Sidney-street fracas on Jan. 3, 1911, was no laughing matter, and it looked, at one time, as if it might end in the sacrifice of a good many valuable lives. Yet this was the doggerel which ran in my head throughout that morning: "I say, what a day we are having, my boys!" which was the chorus of a song that Jolly John Nash used to sing at "Evans' cave of harmony" in Covent Garden (where now stands the National Sporting Club) in the early months of 1873.
The prelude to Sidney-street was the murderous shooting which took place at Houndsditch, in the middle of the previous December, when several gallant constables of the City Police were killed and wounded - to be strictly accurate, I think three were killed and two wounded. The facts incidental to that prelude were only brought to my notice some three weeks after the Sidney-street affair. The story told to me is, I believe, quite correct, and, in any case, I do not think it is likely to be contradicted, seeing that all prominent actors in it, bar one, have passed away.
"Four knaves went to rob a house" was an old formula used to introduce a card-trick, and certain it is that never did four worse knaves determine to break into a jeweller's shop than that infamous quartette who had, some days before, taken the adjoining house, and who seriously set to work at their job on that stormy night in mid-December. There was the chief, Gardstein, a handsome specimen of a handsome race (who was to learn, before many hours had passed, that those who live by the pistol shall perish by the pistol), Fritz and Jacobs, whose acquaintance Metropolitan Police were to make three weeks later in Sidney-street, and the fourth (whose real name need not here be mentioned) may be denominated as Mr. Nemo.
To the last named was entrusted the use of the crowbar for the purpose of making a hole through the wall, in a room on the first floor. Being a lusty fellow, he was plying his weapon with effect, when some of the neighbours heard sounds which seemed to them to be suspicious. They at once acquainted some City Police officers, who knocked at the door and demanded admittance. Fritz (or possibly Jacobs) opened it, and was challenged as to what kind of work was being carried on in the house. He endeavoured to slam the door in the face of his questioners, but found that a substantial constabulary boot had crossed the threshold and effectually prevented him from carrying out his purpose. He called to his chief; Gardstein at once rushed out from a room on the ground floor and emptied his revolver into the ranks of the police.
It is believed that he was responsible for the whole of the casualties which occurred. But Nemesis was on his track. Nemo, before commencing his wall-breaking operations, had placed his pistol on an occasional table behind him. On hearing the revolver shots he seemingly lost his head. To drop the crowbar and pick up the shooter was the work of a moment. He rushed out on to the landing and blazed away into the brown of humanity gathered round the door. Although all of his bullets did not take effect, one found a billet in his leader's back, and Gardstein sank down on the threshold among the dead and dying constables.
What happened next it is impossible to say; but we know that Fritz and Jacobs propped up their dying chief, and, between them, bore him away to the former's lodgings. Having deposited him there, they left him in charge of a female friend, and then made active search for Nemo, with the intention of "putting him through it." They believed, quite erroneously, that his shooting at Gardstein was "an accident done on purpose."

Peter the Painter.

Meanwhile, Nemo fled for his life, and, crossing the Channel, lived for many months in the suburbs of Paris, and for all I know he may be there still; no evidence could ever have been adduced against him. Gardstein died the next day. But why have I, in all this account, made no mention of the picturesque personality of Peter the Painter, whose portrait appeared in so many papers about this time? Simply because I do not believe that he had anything to do with the case, nor do I think he was in England at the time of the tragedy. He had, however, lived with Fritz some weeks before, and was undoubtedly a pal of the party. But, in my opinion, he chiefly owed his notoriety to the aid of "apt and artful alliteration." In other words, his name was attractive and looked well in print.
Well, more than a fortnight passed, and no information of any real value was received. The City Police did all that was possible to avenge their murdered comrades. The Metropolitan Force, in general, and the H (or Whitechapel) Division in particular, tapped all available sources, and at once communicated any intelligence obtained to their brethren of the red and white armlets. It is needless to say that, for many years past, the most cordial relations have existed between the great London forces. At the Yard, at all times, delighted to see any City officer, and to give him free access to any documents in our possession. It is only by such coordination that the police work of London town can properly be carried on.
It is a long lane that has no turning, and, in police work, one never knows what a few hours may bring forth. On the afternoon of Monday, Jan. 2, City Police received information, which they deemed to be reliable, that two of the men "wanted" were living in a back room on the second floor of No. 100, Sidney-street (a long thoroughfare running between the Mile End-road and the Commercial-road), and that they had not been seen to leave the premises for some days. This address being within the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Police, the superintendent at Leman-street was at once consulted by his City confreres.
Arrangements were made, and, late that night, a mixed detachment of City and Metropolitan officers set out for Sidney-street. Looking to the desperate character of the men whose arrest was sought, it was deemed right to attempt first to induce the other inhabitants to move out of the house, which was one of a recently built set of four-storeyed tenements, situated on the east side of the street. At about two a.m. the work was started, and, after considerable difficulty had been experienced with some of the lodgers, the house was cleared of its indwellers, save, of course, those who were occupying the dreaded back room on the second floor.

The Stone Signal.

The house was now surrounded by an augmented force, and the officers in charge fully satisfied themselves that no loophole of escape was possible. It was thought best not to "rush" the room, but to arouse the inmates by throwing a stone up at one of the windows, the idea presumably being that, when the men looked out, they should be informed that they were caught, even as rats in traps, and that anything in the shape of resistance would be wholly futile.
About 7:30, then, soon after daylight, the stone was thrown; a speedy answer was returned - but it was not of the nature anticipated. As the pebble rattled against the pane of glass a storm of bullets swept out into the street from the second-floor window. The officers gave leg-bail and sought cover. On scrambling over the roof of a large shed just opposite, Detective-Sergeant Leeson, who had been prominently engaged in the night's proceedings, was shot through the chest. His divisional-detective-inspector was at his side, and dragged him across the roof and out of the bullet-swept zone of danger. All this, and more had happened while policemen of all grades in the west of London were peacefully sleeping; nor did the slumberers dream of what an awakening was in store for them on the morning of that extraordinary 3rd of January.
The day dawned damp and raw, and a drizzling rain was falling as I came downstairs to answer a call on the telephone. It was from the superintendent of the Whitechapel Division, an officer who had been in charge there for many years. He gave me the sad news that an old and valued sergeant of the Criminal Investigation Department had been very dangerously wounded, and, after outlining the march of events, informed me that he had just obtained the sanction of the Home Office to requisition the services of a detachment of the first battalion of the Scots Guards, quartered in the Tower, and that the Assistant Commissioner of Police, who looked after the administrative work of the force, was already on his way to the scene of action.
The inclement conditions of the weather were such as to invite a hearty breakfast. But I do not think that many police officers had time to indulge in that luxury. A taxi-cab took me down post-haste.
As I approached Hawkins-street I realised what a really nasty job we were up against. Strong cordons of police encircling, at a distance of some three hundred yards, the besieged house, kept back thousands of would-be spectators. Long before Sidney-street was reached reports of the firing were audible. The crack, crack of the guardsmen's rifles was answered by the vicious zip, zip of the automatic pistols, while the old-fashioned revolvers in the hands of the police barked away continuously.
I pass on into Sidney-street and encounter two or three officers of the C.I.D. Down there I glean an excited account of what has taken place, and very urgent appeals are made to be allowed to "rush" the house and avenge their comrade, of whose death in the London Hospital a rumour (happily without foundation) has reached them.

A Desperate Siege.

The situation had to be considered all round, and the first thing to be done was to find the superintendent in charge and my other colleagues. But the crowds were so great, and, as we were running round more or less in a circle, it was difficult to see how a meeting was to be brought about. At the north and south ends of Sidney-street, and within some seventy yards of the beleaguered house, four or five guardsmen were lying prone on advertisement boards with rifles which spoke in answer to the puffs of smoke from the Mauser pistols issuing from the window on the second floor of No. 100 in the street. On the roof of a brewery, higher up on the other side of the thoroughfare, more Guardsmen were posted. It appeared to a layman like myself that the danger up and down and in and around the street must be very considerable by reason of the extreme probability of ricochetting bullets.
Eventually my colleague and the Superintendent are met, and we have a few minutes for exchange of views.
Firstly, the geography of the house, which later on it may be necessary to carry by assault, is explained. The street door opens on to a narrow passage, some twelve feet in length, leading direct to a straight and steep flight of about thirteen stairs, which then turn at a right angle. It is obvious, therefore, that if one of the desperadoes takes up his position at the top of the first flight, by extending his hand round and in a downward direction he can sweep the doors and the passage with his pistol, and cause a maximum of damage to the attackers, with a minimum of danger to himself. One or two bodies falling between the door and the staircase would so effectually block the narrow passage as to make it probable that many valuable lives would be lost if a frontal attack were made.
The prospects of success of a rear attack are said to be worse. The amount of ammunition in the hands of the defenders of the house appears inexhaustible, or else they are firing with a reckless prodigality which is quite unintelligible.
Volunteers are not lacking for the forlorn hope, not a man on the spot - be he uniform constable or detective-sergeant - but is burning "to have a go at the villains"; but, as was afterwards most wisely said, there must be other ways of dealing with these men than by choking them to death with British blood. It is therefore decided that, so far as an immediate attack goes, no steps shall be taken. Meanwhile, the firing into the house from all sides is to be continued, in the hope that some bullet may eventually find a billet.
City Police are posted all round the back of the house; Metropolitan officers occupy the low range of houses immediately opposite, and the Scots Guards are up and down the street and in the brewery. It is useless, at all times, to anticipate evils, but I cannot help realising that something desperate will have to be done before darkness sets in, as the surrounding crowds will assuredly thicken, and if the cordon of police is not found sufficiently strong; and the eager spectators force their way into Sidney-street, there must be unspeakable disaster. However, sufficient unto the hour, and we will hope to muddle through somehow.

A Derby Dog.

A little later I find myself in the brewery yard, and talking to my Whitechapel detective-inspector. Two days have now elapsed since Leon Beron was found murdered on Clapham Common, and up to last night no clue had reached the Yard. I now learn that my companion is satisfied as to the identity of the murderer, and has no doubt that he will be able to lay his hand on him within a few days. This is really good news, and so interested am I in it that I forget our locus standi is uncomfortably near the danger-zone, and that, although we are some hundred and fifty yards from the bullet-belching window, some shots have struck the wall in very close proximity. The inspector thinks that we had better be shifting our ground, and so do I!
We work our way back again to the south end of Sidney-street, there to find a "derby dog," in the shape of a fox terrier, running up and down in front of the doomed house, and imparting, in the opinion of the bystanders, a comic element to an otherwise grim situation.
About this time a strong contingent from the Home Office arrives on the scene, and a further discussion takes place. There is not the least confusion, or losing of heads, and the whole situation is calmly accepted by everybody in a most reasonable spirit. Our strength is, for the present, to stand still. I am doing this, a few feet down a by-street, in company with one of my oldest friends among the Yard superintendents, when he exclaims, "I'm shot!" and shows me a hole in his overcoat just above his knee. We enter the nearest house, and a bullet (which has been spent, of course, and on the ricochet) falls down out of his pocket. A very nasty bruise is the result, and causes considerable pain and discomfort for several weeks.
However, we all are shortly to be cheered by a most unexpected development. About one o'clock thick smoke is observed rising from the roof, such as one is accustomed to see when a chimney is on fire. We think also that there are signs of an outbreak of fire in the front second-floor rooms, out of which and into which the greater part of the firing has been going on. The smoke is eagerly watched. In about ten minutes it seems to die down, and our spirits sink with it. But in another quarter of an hour there is a blessed recrudescence of smoke. Not only is it now rising fast and furious from the chimneys, but it can be plainly seen belching out from the first and second floors. There is little doubt but that the whole building will soon be in a blaze, and what the Fire Brigade folk call "well alight."
What has caused the fire? Some are of opinion that the desperadoes themselves have done it. Personally, i incline to the belief that one of the many hundreds of bullets pumped into the house pierced a gaspipe.
But, after all, it matters little how it came about. It is sufficient that the house is burning - let it burn! A fire-engine comes up, but the police do not permit it to approach within one hundred and fifty yards of the buring premises. Shots are still being exchanged, and the lives of our gallant firemen are far to valuable to be sacrificed on the funeral pyre of alien miscreants.

The Bodies Found.

The question now is, whether these men will elect to perish in the flames, or to bolt from the house (which has literally been made too hot to hold them) like ferreted rabbits. Plenty of shot-guns have been brought up from shops in Whitechapel-road, and are in the hands of police. Gradually we all advance towards the building, and every preparation is made to frustrate any attempt to escape which may be made under cover of the growing conflagration. For some time past the besieged men have been firing entirely from the ground floor, showing that the upper rooms have become untenable by reason of the great heat.
Soon after two o'clock the whole house appears to be one mass of flames. No human being could exist in such conditions.
It is now decided that no further danger need be apprehended either for firemen or police. The word is given, a well-known and burly chief inspector from the Yard rushes forward and kicks down the charred door. The firemen, like hounds hitherto held in leash, dash up and commence their operations with characteristic courage; for them, however, danger still lurks within the smoking walls, for the roof and floors are giving way.
After a few minutes the firemen report that they can find no bodies, and a rumour is started that the murderers must have made their escape at the back of the house, but as to this I never had any apprehensions. The rear had been guarded by some City police officers, under command of a certain sergeant. Him had I interviewed and conferred with earlier in the day, and from the man's appearance and manner I felt quite certain that no fugitive would have escaped his vigilance. One of the local firemen (whom I visited in the London Hospital the following Sunday) received injuries which proved fatal, and three or four others were badly hurt by falling debris. At three o'clock it is definitely stated that the charred remains of two bodies have been discovered. It is time for us all to be getting back to work, which in these "days" falls much into arrears. On our way back we stop at the hospital and get a fairly reassuring account of poor Leeson, the detective-sergeant who was shot through the chest in the early morning. And so on to the Yard, where a poached egg and a whiskey and soda are very grateful; a species of grace before meet the refrain of the old comic song keeps running in my head: "I say, what a day we were having, my boy! I say, what a day we are having!"

Tottenham Outrage.

A word as to the nationality of these murderous thieves may be of interest. I believe that they were all Lithuanians, or, to be more strictly accurate, Letts. The Lithuanians are scattered over several western provinces of Russia, and the north-eastern parts of Poland and Prussia on the Baltic. The Letts, a branch of the same stem as the Lithuanians, occupy a portion of the Courland Peninsula. Some ten years ago, it is said that robber hands of these latter roamed about the countryside, pillaging and burning castles and houses. Punitive expeditions were sent out against them, and any prisoners made were at once executed.
As they stood a fair chance of being exterminated, they migrated from their own country, and England - always hospitable - unfortunately received a fair share of them. Seeing then, that such reckless freebooters are nurtured in the bosoms of our chief cities, it is a matter of congratulation that Sidney-street incidents are not of more frequent occurrence.
But the Sidney-street affray was not the first occasion on which Metropolitan police had crossed swords with these desperadoes from Lithuania. The had had a taste of their quality at Tottenham, a suburb in North London, just two years before. That affair was, in many ways, quite as sensational as Sidney-street, but it all happened so hurriedly that by the time the first telegrams from the local police stations had reached the Yard the end had come. No superior officer were at any time present, and what we knew was only from hearsay. But, curiously enough, only two days before, in company of the superintendent of the division, I had gone over almost exactly the same ground as that traversed by the murderers in their wild attempt to escape from justice.
But to begin my story. These two ruffians had been employed at a factory in Ches-hunt-road, Tottenham, some few weeks previously. They were well acquainted, therefore, with the rules and regulations of the establishment, and knew that the men's wages were brought down every Saturday morning, in a motor-car, by the cashier. He was always unaccompanied, save by the chauffeur. The would-be thieves laid their plans well. They turned up at the factory gates about 9:30 and waited. In a few minutes the motor-car arrived, and as the cashier, carrying the bag of money, stepped from it, shots were fired. The chauffeur was slightly wounded, and in the confusion the wallet containing the money (about one hundred pounds in all) was snatched away.
The robbers then made off, but the assault had been witnessed by a carman and some of the employees at the factory. A chase began. Very soon the ill-starred police-constable Tyler and another officer joined in the pursuit. At this stage the Tottenham marshes were clearly the objective of the criminals. Long before these were reached, however, it became evident that the hounds were gaining on the hares. Both these were armed with pistols, but one, presumably, was the better shot of the two, because, when they stopped and turned round to shoot, one only fired, the other contenting himself with loading the empty revolver and handing it back to his fellow.
Constable Tyler was in the van of the pursuers, and, as he gallantly rushed forward, he received a bullet in the brain and was killed on the spot. A small boy who was following met a similar fate, and about the same time another policeman was shot in the leg. The chase continued; police officers from neighbouring stations joined in; some of them had brought revolvers, and a running fire was kept up right down to, and along the bank of, the River Lea. Here some sportsmen, in quest of duck, had the novel experience of being asked to turn their shot-guns on to human beings, but they were some way off, and, not unnaturally, were slow in understanding what was required of them.

Tramcar Escape.

Somewhere in, or near the Chingford-road stood a tramcar. This was, without ceremony, commandeered by the desperadoes, who so threatened the driver and conductor with their revolvers that they compelled them to drive on. A small cart was now requisitioned by the police, but, as it approached the car, a shot from one of the fugitives killed the pony. Later on, however, as good luck would have it, another tramcar was met, coming the opposite way, but on different lines. This was stopped; the situation having been hurriedly explained, the car was reversed, police climbed into it, and then, in the suburbs of London, was witnessed the astounding sight of a tramcar, full of armed men, chasing another, from which shots were being rapidly fired.
Eventually a motor-car dashed to the front and got in the way of the first tram. The murderers jumped down and into an empty milk cart which was standing by the side of the road. They dashed off in the direction of Woodford, discharging their revolvers indiscriminately at everyone they passed. A few hundred yards further on, however, they realised that the game was up so far as anything in the shape of a vehicular escape was possible, and, dismounting from the cart, they took to the fields and made their way across country. Some solid palings around newly built cottages arrested their progress, and one of the fugitives, desperate to the end, turned his weapon against himself. The bullet entered his head, and he died in hospital some ten days later.
The second man succeeded in scaling the fence. He made for some neighbouring cottages, shooting, as he ran, a working man who was standing by. Epping Forest was now not far off, and, if reached, might afford cover for some time. But the pursuers are too near, and the pursued is too weary. He dashes into a cottage and up a narrow flight of stairs leading to a tiny bedroom. Police enter the house, and a sergeant of the Criminal Investigation Department and a uniform constable attempt to rush the door. It withstands their efforts; they discharge their revolvers through it, and, when eventually forced, the dead body of the second murderer is found. Such a morning of sensational surprises might have been expected in Russia, but hardly within the generally pacific area of Metropolitan Police. There were something like twenty-two casualties during this "day!"

[The End.]

Source: Lloyd's Weekly News, January 10, 1915, Page 6

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