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Various Witness Statements Discussed

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Various Witness Statements Discussed

Post by Karen on Sat 7 May 2011 - 20:35



"Possessing no information likely to lead to the arrest of the murderer." This briefly describes the position of the authorities - at least, up to midnight - in regard to the Whitechapel atrocities. The police had then apparently no clue - at least, of a tangible character - and were as much at fault as in either of the preceding outrages. The "extraordinary statements," the singular events," the "mysterious visitors" have produced, on investigation, no actual result or satisfaction. The visitors to the fruiterer's shop for a time created excitement in the neighbourhood; but now it is declared that Packer's statement, so far as it bears on the identity of the murderer, is worthless. So, too, with the great majority of others.


The police have been investigating a statement made by a Mr. Galloway, a clerk employed in the City, and living at Stepney. This statement has a singular bearing upon that made by the woman Cox. It is as follows: -

"As I was going down the Whitechapel-road in the early hours of Wednesday morning, on my way home, I saw a man coming in the opposite direction, about fifty yards away. We both crossed the road simultaneously, and came face to face. The man had a very frightening appearance, and glared at me as he passed. I was very much struck with the man's appearance, especially as he corresponded in almost every particular with the man described by Mary Anne Cox. He was, in fact, short, stout, about 35 to 40 years of age. His moustache, not a particularly heavy one, was of a "carrotty" colour, and his face was blotchy, not, so far as I could see, from disease, but through drink and dissipation. He wore a long, dirty brown overcoat, and altogether presented a most villainous appearance. I stood still and watched him. He darted back almost immediately to the other side of the road, and then, apparently to avoid a group of women a little further on, crossed the road again. I determined to follow him, and just before reaching the coffee-stall, past the church, he again crossed the road. On reaching George-yard he crossed over, and entered a small court. He reappeared in a couple of minutes, crossed Whitechapel-road for the sixth time, and proceeded up Commercial-street. Up to this point he had walked along briskly, but directly he got into Commercial-street he slackened speed, and accosted the first woman whom he met alone, but was repulsed. On approaching Thrawl-street, a policeman on point duty suddenly appeared. The man was evidently startled, and for a moment it looked as though he would turn back or cross the road. He recovered himself, however, and went on. I then informed the constable of what I had seen, and pointed out the man's extraordinary resemblance to the individual described by Cox. The contable positively declined to arrest the man, saying that he was looking for a man of a very different appearance."


The police are, of course, briskly pursuing inquiries. For a time they have been addressing them to Dr. Forbes Winslow's theory that the murderer is a homicidal lunatic. The result of their inquiries is that they will soon be in possession of a fairly complete list of homicidal patients recently discharged from Metropolitan Lunatic Asylums as cured. It should certainly be stated that they investigate every statement made to them, however insignificant. One thing seems certain. That notwithstanding their eagerness and activity they will not renew the house-to-house search, as it was found when last adopted to be a failure. The officers discovered nothing but poverty and vice, while at a great number of the houses they were resolutely refused admission.


With all the police vigilance they had at midnight no person in custody. The Battersea men, however, are in search of a man who is stated to answer identically with the description of the man wanted for the murder of Mary Janet Kelly. He was seen under very extraordinary circumstances yesterday afternoon. It appears that he entered a coffee-house in that neighbourhood, and displayed some hair, which is stated to have been human, with congealed blood attached. Singularly enough, no one thought fit to detain him, but information was subsequently given to the police. It is understood that he left the hair behind him.


On inquiry at the East-end police-stations, this morning, a reporter was informed that no arrest which could be considered important had been made during the night. Several men whose conduct had been considered suspicious were denounced to the police by amateur detectives, and conveyed to the stations; but were released after a short detention, they being able to clear themselves. At Commercial-street a man was taken into custody who had aroused suspicion by visiting the various lodging-houses in the neighbourhood. After being detained some hours he was liberated.


A Correspondent telegraphs from the Borough: - About ten o'clock this morning a man, answering in every description the particulars furnished to the police by Hutchinson, attracted attention in Queen Victoria-street, Blackfriars. Finding that he was being watched, he immediately increased his pace, and, before any action could be taken, he entered the Underground Railway Station near at hand, and escaped. This story certainly needs confirmation.

Source: The Echo, Friday November 16, 1888, Page 3

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

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"I want a lock of Mary Kelly's hair"

Post by Karen on Mon 9 May 2011 - 0:54




At present the position of affairs may be thus stated: - The police have not relaxed their endeavours to hunt down the murderer in the slightest degree; but so far they remain without any direct clue. Some of the authorities are inclined to place most reliance upon the statement made by Hutchinson as to his having seen the latest victim with a gentlemanly man of dark complexion and with a dark moustache. Others are disposed to think that the shabby man with a blotchy face and a carrotty moustache, described by the witness Mary Ann Cox, is more likely to be the murderer. The doctors are emphatic in their assertion that the revolting mutilation of Kelly was not the work of anyone possessed of medical knowledge. The statement made by a man to Packer, the fruit-seller of Berner-street, that he was of opinion that his cousin had committed the foul deeds, is still being investigated by the detectives, who are inclined to doubt the veracity of a greater portion of the details. They, however, believe they have found the cousin referred to, and attach little importance to what was at first supposed to be a substantial clue.


What has been described as the Birmingham arrest has proved - like so many other arrests - to be unjustified. This is the story of that arrest. On Saturday afternoon the Birmingham detectives informed the police at Scotland-yard that a man suspected of being concerned in the Whitechapel murders had left that town by train for London. Detectives Leach and White, of the Criminal Investigation Department, proceeded to Willesden Junction and Euston respectively, and at the latter station Inspector White detained the person in question, and conveyed him to Scotland-yard. It was stated that he had been staying at a common lodging-house in Birmingham since Monday last, and the theory was that if, as was supposed by the police, he was connected with the East-end crimes, he left the metropolis by an early train on the morning of the tragedies. The suspected man was a medical man who was some years ago practising in London. He was of gentlemanly appearance and manners, and somewhat resembled the description given by witnesses at the late inquest. After being closely questioned as to his whereabouts at the time of the murders, and supplying a satisfactory account of himself, he was liberated.


The theory which resulted in this arrest has by no means yet been abandoned. The police have received other information bearing out the suggestion that the murderer travels up from Manchester, Birmingham, or some other town in the Midlands for the purpose of committing the crimes. Detectives have thus been engaged at Willesden and Euston, watching the arrival of the trains from the Midlands and the North, and looking for any suspicious passenger, but their efforts up to the present have not met with success.


The police made an arrest last night, but no importance is attached to their prisoner. He was given into their custody at about midnight. The individual, who gave the name of Chas. Akehurst, and his address as 27, Canterbury-road, Ball's-pond-road, N., entered a house in Flower and Dean-street, Spitalfields, with a woman, and there made use of certain remarks, and acted in a manner which was considered sufficient to justify the woman in handing him to the police. He was taken to the Commercial-street Police Station, where he was questioned, and was still under detention at one o'clock this morning.


The fact (says the Daily Chronicle) that the Scotland-yard authorities took no pains to verify the statements and the identity of the tramp who was recently detained at the Elham Union Workhouse has caused some surprise to the authorities there. It will be remembered that the front of this man's trousers had been soaked in blood, that there were blood spatters on his shirt front, and that his shirt wristbands had been recently torn off. By his own showing, he was familiar with the low lodging-houses at the East-end of London, and had been staying in one in the Borough for some period until he started, as he said, on the night when the murders in Berner-street and Mitre-square were committed, for the country. The authorities at the union detained him as long as they could, on one pretext or another, and at length allowed him to depart, about ten days before the woman Kelly was killed. Prior to the man's departure, Dr. Bishop, the medical officer of the union, examined the man's clothing somewhat minutely, and found traces of bloody finger marks in both his pockets. The man's shirt sleeves, beyond where the wristbands had been, were also spattered with blood. He was seen afterwards on the road, carrying a paper parcel. His dress and appearance answer pretty accurately to one of the descriptions in the daily papers of a man said to have been seen in Kelly's company on the night of the murder.


Much excitement has been caused in West Bromwich by the visit of a man resembling in appearance the published description of the Whitechapel murderer. About dusk yesterday evening he went to a house in Tentany-lane, and asked the woman who answered him whether there were any houses of ill-fame in the neighbourhood, saying he had come down from London specially to destroy the frequenters of such dwellings. He added that he was determined that they should no longer cumber the earth. On being told that there were no such houses anywhere near, the man walked quickly away. The woman, unfortunately, had not sufficient presence of mind to raise an alarm, and the man got away without molestation. The police have been communicated with, but no arrest has yet been made. The man is described as of medium height, about 35 years of age, with dark moustache, and of very gentlemanly address.



The remains of Mary Janet Kelly were this afternoon interred at Leytonstone Cemetery, with the rites of the Roman Catholic Church. The police authorities had dissembled - but not effectually - as to the time of burial, for it was feared that, owing to the prevalent excitement in the district, the crowd of sightseers would be so dense as to imperil the traffic of the streets. Thus it had been officially announced that the murdered woman would be buried tomorrow. But the dismal tolling of Shoreditch parish church bell commenced soon after noon. This was the signal for the assemblage of a concourse almost unprecedented in its extent even for the East-end; and within a few minutes the roads, from Dorset-street to the mortuary, where the body lay, were lined with persons anxious to witness the mournful proceedings. Had Mary Kelly been a person of eminence in some distinguished walk of life the pageant could scarcely have been more imposing. The funeral was conducted by Mr. H. Wilton, of Shoreditch, whose premises adjoin the church. An open car, drawn by a pair of horses, with plumes and trappings, drew up there and received the coffin, which was covered with wreaths, while two mourning coaches, in which were the man Bowyer, who discovered the body at Miller's-court, and some of the deceased's associates, followed the cortege as it proceeded down Hackney-road towards the cemetery. Three hundred policemen lined the thoroughfares. Many of the murdered woman's friends followed the procession to Leytonstone, which was timed to arrive there at two o'clock.
One of the wreaths on the coffin was in the form of a cross. It had been subscribed for by the murdered woman's associates in Dorset-street. Attached to it was a large card, bearing the words: - "A last tribute of respect to Mary Kelly. May she rest in peace, and may her murderer be brought to justice." The inscription on the coffin was: - "Mary Janet Kelly. Died November 9, 1888. Aged 25 years."


Last evening a venerable lady called upon Mr. Wilton, and made a remarkable request. "Well?" said Mr. Wilton, as the stranger silently introduced herself. "I want a lock of Mary Kelly's hair," responded the lady, and am willing to pay anything for it." "Impossible Madam," and the undertaker was obdurate in spite of his visitor's entreaties. The lady explained her mission at some length. She was acquainted, she remarked, with a female Spiritualist who had been blind since she was three years of age. The sightless Spiritualist was a "strong medium," and, could she but have a lock of the deceased's hair, the lady felt sure the murderer's accurate description would be revealed. The singular request, it need scarcely be added, was not complied with, and the aged lady expressed her sorrow at the result of her visit.

Source: The Echo, Monday November 19, 1888, Page 3

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

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