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Reginald Saunderson Arrested For Dawes' Murder

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Reginald Saunderson Arrested For Dawes' Murder

Post by Karen on Wed 4 May 2011 - 1:55




Reginald Saunderson, accused of murdering Augusta Dawes, at Holland-park-road, Kensington, arrived in London early this morning from Ireland. At Holyhead the arrival of the prisoner was watched with interest by the crowd, but he was closely guarded by the dectectives, and no one was allowed to speak with him. It was a dull and damp morning when the North Wall boat train steamed into Willesden Junction shortly before seven o'clock this morning, conveying, amongst other passengers, the accused youth, Reginald Saunderson, and Detective-sergeants Dyson and Thompson, of the Criminal Investigation Department, attached to the F Division of police. There were present on the platform, in addition to the railway officials, only two persons, one of whom was a plain-clothes police-officer, who had been sent to Willesden with a four-wheeled cab from Paddington for the conveyance of the party to Kensington, the authorities having realised, apparently, that there would be a difficulty in that direction if the detectives were left to their own resources at Willesden. This would have proved to be the case, and the thoughtfulness of the Paddington Police prevented very serious inconvenience in the removal of the youth from Willesden to Kensington.


When the express came to a standstill at No. 3 platform, the door of a first-class compartment, which had been reserved for the officers and their charge, was thrown open by Saunderson, who, simultaneously with Sergeant Thompson, stepped on the platform. The young fellow, quite composed, but looking pallid, haggard, and fatigued, turned and watched a collection of the wraps and a large travelling bag taken from the carriage, ignoring everything else in the surroundings. He is tall - about 6ft. - and very slim and his face is almost boyish, with no indication of hair growth. His hair is dark. He wore a hard black felt hat and a long brown ulster, with cape which hung open and loosely about his slender form from a pair of broad shoulders. Altogether his attire seemed to have been carelessly donned, and this, with his dejected and sickly appearance, his dishevelled hair and indifferent manner, gave him the appearance of an individual absolutely regardless of his painful and terrible surroundings. Before the train had left Willesden Station for Euston the detectives on either side had taken the arms of the accused, and thus linked together the trio proceeded to the cab in waiting. The accused was not handcuffed. As they proceeded along the platform it was noticed that the prisoner was somewhat taller than either of his custodians, who treated the accused with kindly consideration in every respect.


There was no particular incident throughout the journey from Holyhead. The prisoner and his escort travelled first-class on board the London and North-Western Company's steamer Benshee, by which the trio crossed the Channel, the accused had his liberty restricted to the saloon below deck, where he was freed from the handcuffs, which were used only in Ireland. He made himself very affable with the officers, and smoked cigarettes. The comfort of the accused was considered throughout the journey. He is declared to have caused no trouble, and it is stated that since his arrest he has made a statement as to the crime, nor is it true that he endeavoured to injure himself. It was thought probable that Colonel and Mrs. Saunderson would travel by the same train as their unfortunate nephew, but they did not do so.


Daylight has just dawned when the four-wheeler conveying the prisoner and the detectives arrived at Kensington Police-station. As it would be necessary for the chief detective and police officers engaged in the case to be present when the charge was formally laid against the accused, it was anticipated that the prisoner would have been taken to the chief office of the F Division, on Paddington-green, but this was not the case. He was driven direct to Kensington High-street, and lodged in the station there - the murder having taken place in the district covered by that sub-division - pending the arrival of Superintendent Ferret, Detective-inspector Smith, and other officials. Here, as at Willesden, the public had not assembled, and the arrival was watched by a solitary constable and a woman, whose curiosity was evidently aroused by a presence of a cab outside the station. So secretly had the arrangements for the prisoner's removal been kept, and so quietly were they carried out, that the passengers travelling in the compartments on either side of that occupied by Saunderson and the detectives were unaware of the presence of the suspect in the train.


Reginald Saunderson, 21, Eastcote, Hampton Wick, no occupation, was charged at the West London Police-court with the wilful murder of Augusta Dawes, aged about 29, by cutting her throat in Holland-park-road on the 25th of November. The accused was brought to the Court in a cab from Kensington Police-station in the custody of Mr. Superintendent Ferrett, of the F Division, and Detective-sergeants Thompson and Dyson, the latter two officers having brought him over from Ireland, before it was opened, and he was placed at once in the room assigned to the police. Mr. Sims, from the offices of the Treasury, was early in attendance to prosecute. The prisoner was enveloped in a large ulster. While Mr. Sims gave a description of the case, the prisoner remained perfectly motionless. He made no remark, and after the case was over, he walked quietly away in the company of the officers, and was soon afterwards conveyed to Holloway Jail in a cab. The hour fixed for the re-hearing was half-past eleven, and the magistrate stated that he would give the whole day to hearing the evidence for the prosecution.


Mr. Sims said he appeared on behalf of the Treasury to prosecute in this case. The prisoner was a boarder, or pupil, at an establishment at Hampton-wick, and disappeared from there between six and seven o'clock on the evening of the murder. About ten o'clock the same evening he was seen in the Haymarket, and at half-past eleven o'clock a man answering his description was seen struggling with the deceased woman, and ran away. On the following morning a peculiar-looking knife was found sticking in a scaffold pole belonging to a builder, close by, and near where the woman was found was a cherry-wood walking-stick. On the morning of the 28th ult. a letter was received, bearing a Dublin post-mark, and it would be proved that it was in the prisoner's handwriting.


The letter was as follows: - "Dear Sir, -

The murder that was committed, I did it just to the right of the door of a gentleman. I got her by the throat and tried to "chuck" her. I cut her knife" (this, said Mr. Sims, should be "throat," obviously), "with a Sloyd knife. It was a very good cut. When I cut her there was someone coming up, and I flew for my life. My knife was thrown away in a back lane in a back street."


Then the magistrate was shown a plan of the place where the knife was found, and Mr. Sims observed that the place was, in fact, a cul-de-sac, and the prisoner having run down there and found he could not escape that way, threw away the knife. The letter continued: - I thought the knife was on the door, but I believe it remained on the roof." "You see," said Mr. Sims, the prisoner threw the knife over the door, and not hearing it fall, thought it was on the roof; as it is, we know that it was found sticking in a scaffold-pole." The letter concluded: "I did the murder, so good-bye. On the job. - JACK THE RIPPER."

Inquiries were made, and it was found that the prisoner was missing, and that information of his disappearance had been given to the police. The letter having been identified as in the prisoner's handwriting, communications were made to the Irish police which resulted in his arrest.


Inspector Smith, of the F Division, said on Monday the 26th of November the murder was reported to him. Later on the same day a Swedish knife came into the possession of the police, and also a cherrywood walking stick with a crooked handle. On the 28th the letter produced was received at the police-station. He and Inspector Swanson went to Hampton-wick, and saw the head master of the school, who made a statement respecting the letter. He (the witness) had the stick and knife with him. Other persons made communications, in consequence of which a communication was made to the Irish police, and officers were sent to arrest the accused.
Replying to Mr. Sims, the inspector said if a remand were granted he should be able to prove that the letter was in prisoner's handwriting.
Mr. Curtis Bennett - Do you ask any questions?
The Prisoner (quietly) - No.


Sergeant Thompson proved the arrest of the prisoner yesterday morning in Ireland. He told him that he would be charged with the murder of Augusta Dawes, in Holland-park-road on the night of the 25th of November. He also said that he would have to caution him as to any statement he might make. He made no answer. A bag was handed to him by the Irish police. It contained articles of wearing apparel. Among these articles was a pocket handkerchief stained with blood.
The prisoner was then remanded for a week.

Source: The Echo, Saturday December 8, 1894

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

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