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Apron And Chalk

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Apron And Chalk

Post by Karen on Tue 2 Mar 2010 - 0:54


London papers to hand by the Rimoutake contain several columns daily of notes respecting the Whitechapel murders. One shocking feature of these notes is the proof of brutality or callousness shown to be in existence, by the number of men who have been arrested by the police, given in charge by citizens, for declaring when drunk that they were "Jack the Ripper." One remarkable fact is disclosed regarding the double murder. The murderer, whoever he is, left two traces at a little distance from the second murder and neither of them were made use of! He took the woman's apron with him and dropped it, bloodstained, in another street and there on a black wall he wrote with chalk, something to this effect. "The Jews are the men that will not be blamed for nothing." Will it be believed that this writing was rubbed out before it had been photographed or correctly copied, though it was admitted to be the work of the murderer? And will it be believed that though it was allowed to remain an hour or two there before being rubbed out, the police took varying copies of it? One officers says Jews was spelt "Juwes," and another version gives "Juews."
Two private detectives named Grande and Bachelor, of the British and Foreign Private Enquiry Agency, appear to have obtained one mark of the murderer, a "quick, rough, voice." These gentlemen claim that they were the first to discover the important fact that the Berner-street victim was in company of a man just before the murder, and that the man bought grapes at the greengrocer's shop in Berner-street, kept by Matthew Packer, and gave them to the woman. It will be remembered in this connection that grapes were found in the dead woman's hand. They took Packer to Scotland Yard, and he recognized without difficulty the body of the woman Stride as the female who received the grapes bought at his shop. In regard to the identity of the man he is not so positive, but he informed the Scotland Yard authorities that he thought he could recognise the fellow if not by his face, at any rate by his voice, which was "quick and rough."
The Press Association says: "The lapse of time diminishes the prospect of the discovery of the Whitechapel murderer, and from statements made to our reporter by a detective officer yesterday afternoon the police are absolutely hopeless of any practical result attending their inquiries. No attempt is made to disguise the fact that arrest following upon arrest, and all equally fruitless, have produced in the official minds a feeling almost of despair."
"The difficulty of our work," said a detective officer," is much greater than the general public are aware of. In the first place, there are hundreds of men about the street answering the vague description of the man who is "wanted," and we cannot arrest everybody.
The reward offered for the apprehension of the murderer has had one effect - it has inundated us with descriptions of persons into whose movements we are expected to inquire, for the soul reason that they have of late been noticed to keep rather irregular hours, and to take their meals alone. Some of these cases we have sent men to investigate, and the persons who, it has proved, have been unjustly suspected have been very indignant, and naturally so too. The public would be exceedingly surprised if they were made aware of some of the extraordinary suggestions received by the police from outsiders.
Why, in one case (the officer laughingly remarked) it was seriously put to us that we should carefully watch the policeman who happened to be on the particular beat within the radius of which either of the bodies was found. You might as well suspect the Press as suspect the police." He added "The amount of work done by the detectives throughout this series of crime has been enormous. We do not expect that the batch of inquiries to be undertaken today will lead to any more satisfactory results than those of previous days."
It came out at the inquest on the victim of the Mitre square murder that the woman was locked up for drunkenness about 9 p.m., she being then in a perfectly helpless condition, but coming to herself again she was liberated about 1 a.m. by the officer in charge. It was stated that it was quite customary to release persons arrested for simple drunkenness if they recovered sufficiently to take care of themselves before morning. It is probable that the tragic fate of this woman will result in a new regulation for such cases. Members of the detective force consider that one o'clock a.m. is a very improper hour to turn a half-sober woman from a police cell into the street and that she ought to be kept in custody until six or seven o'clock in the morning, at which time there would be a better chance of her getting home unmolested.
One Sunday evening an absurd sensation was caused in Commercial-street by a very ordinary incident, which well illustrates the existence of universal suspicion. Amateur East-end athletes, whom circumstances prevent from practising in the country, are in the habit of organizing running matches through the less-frequented thoroughfares on Sunday evenings. They dress in some kind of athletic costume, sometimes divesting themselves of all clothing except such is absolutely necessary for decency. In one of these competitions a young man, who was far in advance of his competitors was nearing the Shoreditch end of Commercial-street, running at high speed. Almost instantly the rumour spread that a man half-clad was running for his life from the police. People hurried to their doors and ran in the direction indicated, only to find that an ordinary footrace was in progress.

Source: Timaru Herald, Volume XLVII, Issue 4407, 5 December 1888, Page 4

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

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