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Yarmouth Tragedy

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Yarmouth Tragedy

Post by Karen on Fri 8 Apr 2011 - 9:26

Jack the Ripper is mentioned briefly in the following case:



Miss Alice Meadows, who was to have married Bennett about Christmas, gave evidence in the resumed magisterial inquiry into the Yarmouth murder mystery on Saturday.
Yarmouth was more excited than on the Friday. The court was crowded, fully two-thirds of the audience being ladies.
At ten o'clock the door from the cells swung open, and Bennett, guarded by his escort, walked into the dock.
To outward seeming, the prisoner was calm. Only his flush and the hand restlessly at his chin told of emotion.
There was a short wait, and then Miss Meadows entered the court - a tall, fair-haired girl in black, with a white feather boa and a purple toque. Her cheeks were colourless and her eyes looked full of sadness.
The man in the dock glanced at her, and his flush deepened, and he tortured his moustache. She looked straight before her.
"I live with my mother at 22, York-road, Stepney," she began. "I was introduced to Bennett when I was a cook at a house in Hyde Park-terrace.
"Do you see Bennett in court?" asked Mr. Wiltshire, the Treasury solicitor.
"Yes; he is the man in the box."
Her eyes met Bennett's for a moment, and then she looked straight in front of her again.
The Mayor, in kindly tones evidently characteristic asked her to lift her veil so that they could hear her, but her voice was so feeble that Mr. Wiltshire had to repeat many of her replies.


"Bennett did not tell me that he was a single man," she said, "but I believed him to be such.
"He said that his family lived at Gravesend, and that he had a cousin Fred, who was married, at Bexley Heath.
"At the end of July I went to Yarmouth with Bennett. We travelled first-class, and stayed at the Crown and Anchor Hotel two days."
A letter, dated July 30, from Bennett to the Yarmouth landlady, saying he wished to engage the rooms, was read.
"That letter is signed "W.H. Bennett," said Mr. Wiltshire. "How did he write to you?"
"As Herbert."
On August 28 she went with him to Ireland for three weeks. They always occupied separate bedrooms.
"Did Bennett seem to have plenty of money?"
"Yes. He told me that his mother had given him 500 pounds."
She visited Bennett at his lodgings in Union-street, Woolwich, where he introduced her to the landlady as his intended wife.
Quickly her story approached the fatal September 22.
On Friday, September 14, Bennett told her he could not see her on the following Sunday (September 16) as he was going to Gravesend to see his grandfather, who was ill.
"What clothes was he wearing?"
"A blue coat and waistcoat. I think - I cannot swear to it. On the Sunday before (September 3) he told me his dark-grey suit had been spoilt, his cousin having spilt some iodine on it."


Mr. Wiltshire read a letter from Bennett, dated Union-street, September 21: -

Mr. dear darling Alice, - I shall go and see my grandfather tomorrow........I shall be glad when this writing business ends, so that I can have you to welcome me in my own home..........I am pleased to hear that you are going to have somebody to cheer you up on Sunday, dear. I am very sorry that I shall not be able to see you, my dear. - Your own loving, most affectionate HERBERT

On the Sunday after the murder, said Miss Meadows, she unexpectedly saw Bennett at Hyde Park about 2:30 in the afternoon. He was wearing a blue-grey suit and a black bowler hat. On Sundays, as a rule, he wore a black morning coat and striped trousers.
The same evening he wrote to her from Woolwich as follows: -

I have been to Bexley tonight, dear, and I am sorry to tell you that grandfather passed away at 3:30 a.m., and is to be buried on Monday next.

She next saw Bennett on Thursday, September 27. He asked her to marry him. She said: Wait till Sunday. On Sunday it was arranged that they should be married at Christmas.
On October 18 she left service, and Bennett took a house at Charlton.
One Sunday afternoon (November 4), when Bennett was at her mother's house, they talked of the Yarmouth murder, and her sister said it was funny the murderer had not been caught. Jack the Ripper was also mentioned, and Bennett said he believed he had been caught in America.


Miss Meadows now came to the story of her awakening, and the silence in the Court deepened.
On Thursday, November 8, Bennet was arrested. He was to have seen Miss Meadows that evening.
"He never disappointed me before," she said. "I thought he must be ill." I went to Woolwich, and I found he was in the police-station charged with the murder of his wife. That was the first time I heard he had been married."
Miss Meadows had been in the box over two hours.
"I will not cross-examine this witness today," said Mr. Robb.
He merely questioned her as to the date when Bennett telephoned to her from Charing Cross. Miss Meadows had previously said that this was on September 22. Now she said she could not swear to the date.
Then she left the box, and her sister, who had been sitting by her, escorted her out of the court. Bennett's eyes followed her to the door. Outside the court she fainted.
Two of the Bennetts' landladies identified a brooch which Bennett had given Miss Meadows as having been Mrs. Bennett's.
John Rudrum, shoemaker, of Row 104, Yarmouth, said that on Saturday, a week before the murder, he saw Mrs. Hood standing at the end of the Row with a man. He took no particular notice of the man. On the night of September 22 Mrs. "Hood" did not come home to Row 104, and in the morning he identified her body at the mortuary.
The case was then adjourned till Friday next.
Addressing the mayor, Mr. Robb asked that Bennett's father might have the charge of the prisoner's two-year-old child Ruby, now with the Rudrums. It was Bennett's wish.
The mayor, however, said that this matter was outside his province.
Bennett nodded goodbye to his father, as he left the dock. A crowd hooted him and he was driven away from the town hall. He is lodged in Norwich gaol.

Source: The Daily Express, London, Monday November 19, 1900, Page 5

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

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