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Tragedy in Hoxton

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Tragedy in Hoxton

Post by Karen on Mon 1 Aug 2011 - 5:08


The neighbourhood of Hoxton was much excited last Saturday night, on its becoming known that a woman named Lydia Green, aged 31, had been murdered at 8, Baches-street about 7 o'clock in the morning. It appears that when Dr. Davis was called in he failed to understand that it was a case of violence, and consequently the police were not advised of the terrible event till the evening. Meanwhile, the suspected murderer, who had been seen in the locality during the day, had disappeared before he could be apprehended. The body of the poor woman was conveyed to the Shoreditch mortuary where a post-mortem examination was made by Dr. Burchell, assisted by Dr. Oliver. The police were in possession of a photograph of the man Currell, the suspected murderer, and made diligent search after his whereabouts, but their efforts so far have been unsuccessful.


On Monday afternoon, in the Shoreditch Town Hall, Mr. Wynne Baxter, coroner for East Middlesex, held an inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of the young woman Lydia Green. Detective Inspectors Peel and Lansdowne watched the case on behalf of the Criminal Investigation Department. Mr. Inspector Pearm, G. Division, watched the case on behalf of the Police.
The first witness called was Anna Green, of 8, Baches-street, the widow of George Green, painter. She said the deceased, Lydia Green, aged 31, who was her daughter, had worked daily at Mr. Andrew's a surgical instrument maker at Walthamstow. When witness last saw her daughter on Friday night she was in good health. Witness was the landlady of the house, which was let to several lodgers all of whom had latchkeys. She occupied the kitchens and the first floor back room. Lydia, with her widowed sister, Mrs. Gauntlet, slept in the back room of the ground floor. As landlady witness had charge of the street door, which, owing to its being so constantly used by lodgers, was seldom locked. She had a lodger named Atwell. At about 7:15 on Saturday morning, while in bed, she heard a very heavy noise, three times repeated, as though of a person falling. She made no inquiries at the time, but when at 7:30 she found that her daughter Lydia did not knock at the ceiling, as it was her custom to do, she grew anxious and went downstairs. On entering the room beneath, the door of which was not locked, witness found her daughter almost completely dressed, lying on her back upon the floor. She was dead and blood was smeared upon her face and arms and upon the floor. The room was not in confusion. It was the invariable rule of Mrs. Gauntlet to leave the house for her work at 10 minutes to 7. The deceased had been for ten or twelve years past keeping company with a young man named Thomas William Currell, a sponge trimmer, whom she believed had scarcely done any work since last August Bank Holiday. Witness last saw Currell a fortnight before, when he was in deceased's parlour; but he had been in the house since then, and indeed witness heard him at the street door on Friday last. On that occasion Currell and deceased were talking together, but she did not hear what was said. When deceased came in she said nothing about anything unusual having taken place. She merely said that she had been with Currell to see his parents, and apologised to witness for being late. Deceased mentioned to witness a fortnight ago that she had told Currell not to come any more. Witness had heard of no quarrelling, though deceased was always more communicative about such matters to her sister than to her. Currell had lodged lately at 22, Fanshawe-street, Hoxton, but he had previously lived with his parents at Eden-grove, Green-lanes, Stoke Newington. He left home because his parents did not approve of his goings on.
Dr. John Davies, of 91, New North-road, described the circumstances of his visit to the house on Saturday morning. He said he looked about the room to try and discover the instrument that had caused the wounds on the deceased's head, and came to the conclusion that they were received by her falling against a chest of drawers. He noticed no smell of gun-powder in the room.
The mother, recalled, said that after she heard the noise of which she had spoken there was the sound of someone walking sharply along the passage, and afterwards of the door slamming. At the time she attributed the movements to those of a lodger.
Dr. P.L. Burchell, divisional surgeon of police, said that on the previous day he made a post-mortem examination of the body of the deceased. He found no marks of violence about the trunk, legs, or arms - only about the head, neck, and right hand. There were two wounds running through the joint of the thumb of the right hand, and these two wounds, which communicated, looked as though they had been caused by a bullet. There were also two wounds at the angle of the right side of the lower jaw about an inch apart, a portion of the bone being shattered. The next wound was one over the left orbital ridge, half an inch above the eye. There were marks of gunpowder on the surrounding skin surfaces. The examination brought to light no bullet in the thumb, and apparently it had passed out, but in tracing the two wounds at the angle of the right jaw, which indicated two shots, he found some pieces of metal (produced) which were lying at the back of the mouth. About an inch and a half in the brain he found a portion of the broken bone of the skull driven inwards by other pieces of lead (produced). (The Detective-Inspectors here produced the bullets found in Currell's house, and the pieces of lead in the hands of the doctor were found to tally with them.) In his opinion the cause of death was the shock resulting from the bullet wound through the forehead. He examined the body and found all the organs healthy. The deceased was not pregnant. He thought the wounds could not be self-inflicted. The deceased could certainly have shot herself in the hand; but, had she done so, she could not afterwards have shot herself in the right jaw.
The inquest was here adjourned until this day (Friday).


Mr. Wynne E. Baxter, Coroner for the Eastern Division of Middlesex, resumed the inquiry this (Friday) morning in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall, Shoreditch. Mr. Inspector Pearm, G Division, Hoxton station, and Detective Inspectors Peel and Lansdowne were present on behalf of the Police. The first witness was Annie Brown, 10, New-street, Drysdale-street, Hoxton, who deposed to being met in Dalston-lane by Currell, who asked for deceased's wages, which she gave him, and walked on to Dalston Junction with him. A fellow worker named Beatrice Stevens was with her and after being twice invited she consented to have a drink near Dalston Junction. He was joking the whole of the time in the public house. He excused the absence of the deceased through the illness of her mother. Witness continued that Currell was joking all the while he was in the public house at the corner of Dalston-lane and he went with them to Dalston Junction and took their tickets. He told them to look out for "Lyd" on Monday morning, telling witness she would come from Bishopsgate just the same. Witness thought he was coming with them to Hoxton to take deceased her money, but he said "good bye" at Dalston. On Sunday morning she heard from Beatty Stevens that Miss Green was dead. The only foundation for any jealousy that she knew of was a statement by the deceased that someone had kissed her, which he did not like. At the same time deceased said, if he sees me talking to anyone in the street he wants to know who it is and all about it."

Source: The Hackney Express and Shoreditch Observer, February 12, 1887, Page 3

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

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