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Martha Turner's Murder in the Echo

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Martha Turner's Murder in the Echo

Post by Karen on Fri 27 May 2011 - 19:45




"No crime more brutal has ever been committed in the East-end," said a Criminal Investigation officer, this morning, "than the one at George-yard-buildings." The murder to which allusion was made was that of the young woman found in a block of model dwellings in Whitechapel-road, with thirty-nine stabs on her body - one over her heart, and others of a nature too revolting to admit of more than a passing allusion. Her name is now supposed to be Martha Turner, but of this nothing positive is yet known, for, strange to say, no less than four persons, of different families, have come forward and positively identified the deceased, and are apparently ready to swear as to the accuracy of their assertions. The woman's features are rapidly changing from post-mortem appearances. As soon as she was discovered the police had a photograph taken of her body, but the features were so distorted - possibly by an agonising death - that some difficulty was at first experienced by her supposed friends in accurately recognising her. A man, who declares the deceased is his sister, not only recognises her face, but also asserts the boots belonging to her were those he had seen the murdered woman wearing.


"But what about the three missing persons?" asked our reporter of the officer, remarking that, as four people had claimed one body, there were evidently mysterious disappearances upon which some light might be thrown. "That I cannot say," was the answer. "Whitechapel is not like any other part of London, no portion of the Metropolis so crowded;" and the officer, in his own words, thus spoke: - "We have to be very particular about persons coming to identify bodies. I'll tell you why. Not long ago a man complained to the Thames Magistrate that he had lost his wife. What could his Worship do? Well, it so happened that a young female dropped down dead near Great Alie-street. The husband and a woman, said to be her sister, declared that they recognised the body. "That's my missus," said the man, "That's her, right enough," added the sister. Very poor people. The body was buried by the parish, and the man, armed with a burial certificate, showing that his wife was dead, married again." The "sister" who came with him to the station?" interposed the reporter. "That I don't know; but he did marry, and his "dead" wife turned up. Well, the bigamist pleaded that he'd actually buried his first wife, and produced a copy of the certificate of burial and other evidence. What could be done? The man was acquitted, though there seemed to me something queer about the whole business."


The case in question is in certain respects one of a very puzzling character, owing to the fact that so many stab wounds were inflicted, and that no cries were heard, although the poor woman was on some stone steps, close to the doors of small rooms wherein several separate families resided. It now appears that on the night of Bank Holiday there were several soldiers in the neighbourhood, some of whom were seen drinking in the Princess Alice - two minutes' walk from George-yard-buildings - and other taverns near. With these soldiers were the deceased and another woman, the latter being known in the district, so it is said, as "Mogg" and "Pearly Poll." One of these men was a private, the other a corporal. It has been ascertained that only corporals and sergeants are allowed to wear side arms when on leave. This fact, of course, narrows the issue as to the possible identity of the assailant - presuming he was a soldier.


Inquiries were at once set on foot by the police and military authorities, with the result that it is stated two soldiers have been placed under military arrest at the Tower. The authorities decline to give their names unless some definite charge is formulated. "Pearly Poll" has been invited by the detectives engaged in the case to give what assistance she can in the matter, and it is now thought that the officers engaged in the case - amongst whom are Detective-inspector Reid, Detective Leech, and Detective-Sergeant Viner - have gained a substantial clue as to the perpetrator of the diabolical outrage.


A perplexing feature in connection with the outrage is the number of injuries on the young woman's body. That the stabs were from a weapon shaped like a bayonet, is almost established beyond doubt. The wound over the heart was alone sufficient to kill, and death must have occurred as soon as that was inflicted. Unless the perpetrator were a madman, or suffering to an unusual extent from drink-delirium, no tangible explanation can be given of the reason for inflicting the other thirty-eight injuries, some of which almost seem as if they were due to thrusts and cuts from a pen-knife. On the other hand, if the lesser wounds were given before the one fatal injury, the cries of the deceased must have been heard by those who, at the time of the outrage, were sleeping within a few yards of the spot where the deed was committed.


are at present as mysterious as those connected with the brutal and yet undiscovered murder perpetrated a few months ago, also in Whitechapel, where some miscreant, in the dead of night, murdered a woman in the street by thrusting a walking-stick or other blunt weapon into her body with great violence. For ferocity the two cases are somewhat analogous, and some of the Scotland-yard experts in tracing criminals and fathoming crime incline to the opinion that one man is responsible for the two crimes.

Source: The Echo, Friday August 10, 1888, Page 4

Note: If the police took a photograph of Martha Turner's body, then where is it now? I have only ever seen the mortuary photograph of her face.

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

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Re: Martha Turner's Murder in the Echo

Post by Karen on Fri 27 May 2011 - 20:12



At noon today there was a parade of Coldstream and Grenadier Guards at the Wellington Barracks, Pimlico. An officer in the Guards furnished our reporter with full particulars respecting so unusual an occurrence as a muster of the men for the purpose of the possible identification of one or more on a charge of murder. It seems that soon after eleven o'clock two police-officers - Inspector Reid and Detective-sergeant Caunter - arrived with Mary Ann Conolly (otherwise "Pearly Poll") and requested permission to make certain inquiries in regard to the murder of Martha Turner at Whitechapel on the night of Bank Holiday. The


and the men were drawn up in quarter-column, after which they filed through a passage, where Inspector Reid, Sergeant Caunter, and another police officer were stationed with "Pearly Poll." The woman was asked to scrutinise the faces of the soldiers as they passed, for the purpose, of course, of seeing if she could pick out either of the men who were with her and the deceased on the night on which the murder was committed. After a small number had filed past "Pearly Poll" picked out a man, wearing stripes, and taken by her to be a corporal, as the one who went away with the deceased woman.


The suspect was temporarily detained, and the filing by of the others continued. When a few more had passed, the woman, scanning the features of every one intently, pointed to a private as being the second man. She positively declared that he accompanied her to a house in the district where the murder took place. "Are you positive?" was asked, and "Pearly Poll" nodded, and replied, "Certain." The military authorities immediately placed all the books, showing the time at which the suspected men left and returned to the barracks on the night mentioned, at the disposal of Inspector Reid and Sergeant Caunter. It was pointed out that the "corporal" was but a private with good conduct stripes, a man of exemplary character, who was in the barracks by ten o'clock on Bank Holiday night. Other


and also respecting the private's movements on the night of the crime, was also forthcoming. The former man was at once exonerated, while the second, also a man of exceptionally good character, was formally told that further inquiries must be instituted. These inquiries were duly conducted, and he, too, was told that no stain rested upon him, as it was


It is asserted that, as "Pearly Poll" has "identified" two innocent men, who could not have been in Whitechapel at the time she says, the police will not further seek her aid in elucidating the mystery. Neither of the men wore side-arms when they left the barracks on Bank Holiday, and could not possibly have been in each other's company. The authorities say that they must now look elsewhere for a clue. This clue cannot, they assert, be given by one whom they at first considered the most reliable witness.

Source: The Echo, Wednesday August 15, 1888, Page 4

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

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