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Isaac Lewis - The Witness

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Isaac Lewis - The Witness

Post by Karen on Tue 13 Apr 2010 - 14:14


(Received Sept. 12, 1:30 a.m.)
LONDON, Sept. 11

The murder in Back Church Lane resembles the Whitehall and Battersea tragedies, and is not the work of Jack the Ripper. The head and legs are missing.

The following taken from the Dunedin Star, is a letter from that paper's London correspondent:

LONDON, July 19.

When Commissioner Munro was called out of his bed on Tuesday morning at two o'clock and informed that despite all precautions on the part of Scotland Yard and the city police, Jack the Ripper had successfully murdered and mutilated another unfortunate victim, he swore a great oath neither to rest himself nor to give his subordinates any rest until the guilty wretch was in custody. That was three days ago, and yet the man or maniac is still at large. The best account I have seen of Tuesday's murder is the "Herald's," which I attach herewith, It says: -

Jack the Ripper is back. He has returned from his supposed wanderings and resumed his hideous work. All the details of yesterday morning's crime as they came to light throughout the day leave no doubt in anybody's mind that the work was done by the same hand which has desecrated Whitechapel with a string of atrocities unparalleled in history.
All the murders have been audacious. The murderer has in each case taken chances which would have frightened any ordinary assassin from his purpose. But yesterday's murder beats them all in this respect. The police were in front of him, behind him, and all around him. There were three constables at least on watch within hearing of his victim's shriek, had his first blow failed. There was a lighted bedroom just above him, in which two people were going to bed. They were not 15 ft from him when he struck. The woman was found lying diagonally across the narrow 4 ft side walk on the left-hand side of Castle-alley as you go in from Whitechapel road, this great thoroughfare being only 30 yards away. She was dead, and the work of mutilation, interfered with by a singular circumstance, had begun when the murderer was warned by the approaching steps of Constable 272H , and slipped up the alley and out into Whitechapel road through the dark narrow court. He must have gone this way, because there was no other outlet without passing 272H. And yet to go through this court and out into the street, he must have passed only a few yards - ten at most - from a constable stationed in front of the very buildings between which the court runs. At a quarter past twelve Constable 423H stopped under the very lamp-post by which the woman was found and ate his luncheon. He was there perhaps ten minutes. Between twenty and twenty-five minutes past Constable 272H came up from Wentworth street on his regular patrol, going up the right side of the alley and coming back on the left. He passed out, and the alley was tenantless at half-past twelve. And yet at ten minutes to one, when he returned, the body lay there covered with blood, the victim dead, and partially mutilated, with no trace whatever of the assassin. He had kept the same close watch on the patrol as he did in Mitre square. He took the same incredible chances, and succeeded in the same incredible way. The death was just as silent as have been all the rest. There was no sound even of conversation, because the words unless voiced in a low tone, would have been heard by the people overhead. In all the annals of the assassination as a fine art, there has been nothing to surpass this case. Upon discovering the body Constable 272H called out Mr. and Mrs. Smith, of the Castle Alley Baths, whose room was just overhead. They had not gone to sleep, and were thunderstruck at the news that a murder had been done alongside of them. Then the officer ran down Castle alley, and at its entrance into Old Castle street, a few yards distant, found Isaac Lewis Jacobs, a young man of twenty who lives at 12 Castle place, close by. Jacobs had a plate in his hand and said he had been sent by his brother for some cheese and pickles. The constable took charge of him, the only person in the vicinity who appeared. He had been sounding his whistle vigorously, and constables came running in from all quarters. Their number rapidly increased, sergeants beginning to arrive, and inspectors from the Commercial street station, until there was a group of 20. Orders were immediately given to search the alley above and below the scene. Both exits were guarded. They examined the whole of the place microscopically. They peered under carts and into carts, in barrels and behind them, they searched the whole alley thoroughly, yet found not the slightest clue. It was evident that the murderer had gone into Whitechapel road and been lost in the crowd that fills the thoroughfare when the public houses close. Nevertheless, they searched. Every scrap of paper was picked up, but nothing having any relation with the assassin appeared. When the woman was lifted into an ambulance at two o'clock, there were found underneath her a short broken-off clay pipe, discolored by smoking and a farthing. They are of the least possible value as clues, but they are as good as any clues that ever have been obtained to the identity of the Whitechapel fiend in his eight bloody crimes up to now.
As the woman lay there it became evident that Jack the Ripper had departed slightly from his previous methods. She had been struck from behind, like all the previous ones. But his method hitherto has been to stop the victim's mouth with his right hand, and with one heavy sweep draw the razor-like knife across the throat, severing the neck half through. It was clearly evident yesterday, however, both from the appearance of the skin and the character of the cut that the knife had been plunged into the left side of the neck and then drawn backwards towards the back of the neck and the operator. The blow was a heavy one, and the blade severed both the jugular vein and the carotid artery, but the knife did not break the skin on the other side. It had been pressed toward the hand as it was drawn out, the gash running toward the left ear. This shows clearly two things - the first being that the man stood behind her. The second is a bit of evidence that may turn out to be very important. It is that the murderer is left-handed; no right-handed man could by any possibility have caused the wound that appeared.
The woman lay on her back with her clothes drawn up about her head, and partially tucked away under her left arm. Her left leg was straight and her right bent. When she was taken to the mortuary and closely examined the discovery was made that only the bluntness of the knife had prevented her from being as horribly dismembered as all the other victims. There was one cut about four inches long running from a spot two inches to the right of the navel diagonally towards the left groin. It was not deep, and had not severed the abdominal wall. The strange fact appeared, however, that this cut was but one of at least twenty attempts. On both sides of it and all along the lateral line below the breast bone were scratches made with the point of a knife. Each one had been an attempt to make the one ripping cut which is familiar to the mortuary surgeon through all the other cases. The yielding skin or the bluntness of the knife had prevented the murderer from "getting a grip with the knife" this being the phrase which Whitechapel uses to describe the fact. A blunt knife in "Jack the Ripper's" hands is a strange discovery. All the other deaths and the subsequent mutilation have been done with a blade with the edge of a razor, and this clearly established dullness of his weapon in this case may account for his having stabbed instead of gashing the neck of his victim as before.
After the woman was taken to the mortuary in Old Montague street, to lie on the same slab and be subjected to the same examination as seven others before her, the question of her identity was the first one raised. She was identified as Alice Mackenzie.
The police are absolutely without a clue. Inspector Reid so stated to a "Herald" reporter. The young man Jacobs, the only living person in the vicinity of Old Castle street, was simply on an errand, and was released directly. Three other men were arrested on suspicion during the early morning and the forenoon, but were almost immediately released on establishing their identity and their whereabouts at the hour of the murder. The search of the lodging-houses which followed close upon the discovery revealed nothing. Nobody had come in or gone out within an hour who could in any way be connected with the tragedy. There is nothing more for the police to work on at present than was at the last murder on Aug. 9. The murderer is clearly a maniac, but so cool a one that he makes no mistakes and leaves no traces; and furthermore, he is evidently without that sense of fear which leads to the detection of nine out of ten. "Jack the Ripper" has sent several letters to the police lately, after a long cessation of those epistles. They were in the usual braggadocio form and bore the old signature. A letter was also received by Albert Backert, the leader of the Vigilance Committee movement three weeks ago. All the letters stated that the author would begin work again in July. Now for his eighth victim, the murderer returns to almost exactly the same point. Four of his victims he has struck down within a few yards of each other - all of them within a radius of a quarter of a mile.

Source: The Poverty Bay Herald, Thursday September 12, 1889, Pages 3-4

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

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