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Full Particulars Of Tabram's Death

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Full Particulars Of Tabram's Death

Post by Karen on Fri 13 Aug 2010 - 13:44

The London Murders.


LLOYD'S WEEKLY NEWS of August 19th contains the following particulars of the first of the series of awful tragedies which has caused so much excitement in England: -

The murderer or murderers of the woman found stabbed in 39 places, at 47 George-yard buildings, on Tuesday, the 7th instant, are still undiscovered, but suspicion points to soldiers, and guardsmen in particular. All doubts of the woman's identity are now at rest. The difficulty of identification arose out of the brutal treatment to which the deceased was manifestly subjected, she being throttled while held down, and the face and head so swollen and distorted in consequence that her real features are not discernable. Although she was variously identified as a Mrs. Withers and a Mary Bryan, she proves to be a woman known as Martha Turner. Mrs. Bousfield, in whose house she lived till three weeks back, states that she had resided in her house for two months with Turner. The deceased had told her that her real name was either Staples or Stapleton, and that she had left her husband thirteen years, and had taken up with Turner. Both she and this man got their living by selling trinkets in the streets, such as studs, links, chains, and menthol cones. She used to stand in Cheapside and various places, while Turner occupied other ground. Turner left her some weeks ago, and then the deceased, who paid 2s per week for her room, got two weeks in arrear, and as she could not pay she suddenly left. In addition to being identified by Mrs. Bousfield, the deceased has already been identified by one or two other women, who saw her in the company of some soldiers at neighboring publichouses. There was a dispute, and one of the soldiers struck the companion of the deceased a blow.

This was just by George yard, a long, dark thoroughfare, and it is believed that the deceased was forcibly dragged up to the place where she was found, so brutally ill-treated and so fearfully wounded.
At noon on Wednesday there was a parade of Coldstream and Grenadier Guards at the Wellington barracks. Soon after eleven o'clock two police officers - Inspector Reid and Detective-sergeant Caunter - arrived with Mary Ann Conolly (otherwise "Pearly Poll") and the "assembly" call was at once sounded 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 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.
"That's him," exclaimed she; "I'm positive." 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 at 10 o'clock on Bank holiday night. Other evidence as to his innocence, 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 enquiries must be made. These inquiries were duly conducted, and he, too, was told that no stain rested upon him, as it was clearly a case of mistaken identity. 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 sidearms when they left the barracks on Bank holiday, and could not possibly have been in each other's company.

Screams, it is now said, were heard in the vicinity of George street, where the unfortunate woman met her death on Bank holiday, the 6th inst., the night of the crime. From this fact a theory has been advanced that the woman may have met her death in the vicinity and not actually in George yard buildings and that her body may have been dragged to where it was discovered. Two significant incidents discredit this. First, a woman having thirty-nine wounds would no doubt bleed severely, and there were no signs of a blood trail; next, it is, at all events, unlikely that the body should have been dragged up the numerous steps. However it is now asserted that there were several rows in the neighbourhood at about the time at which it is presumed the crime was committed. There was another row at about the same place on Wednesday night. It is said that during its progress some allusions to the crime were made. These were noted, and may prove of service to the police. There were extra police put on on Wednesday night, and some of them, up till nearly midnight, were engaged in enquiring as to who were engaged in the quarrel.
Mr. John Saunders Reeves and Mrs. Reeves, who occupy the top room at the end of the George-yard building, from the balcony outside their rooms, pointed out to the police the exact place, whence on the night of the murder the terrible shrieks are said to have proceeded. Their balcony overlooks a part of Wentworth street and George street where habitations and common lodging-houses of an older time still stand. Mrs. Reeves says that it was between eleven and twelve when the first row occurred. Calls for help began. She and her husband could see when they went out to the balcony the crowd by the closed gates, and the dead walls of Lutterworth buildings in George streets. When that row had subsided she and her husband went indoors again. About twenty minutes past twelve they were disturbed again and as there was some terrible screaming they went on to the balcony a second time. The row was then proceeding in Wentworth street, which runs at right angles with George street. The crowd moved off out of sight. Shortly before one there were again dreadful shrieks and cries of "Murder!" and she and her husband went out on to the balcony a third time. This time they saw that there were two rows going on, one in Wentworth street and the other in George street. The row in George street this time was not many doors from the house where the murdered woman and her companion, "Pearly Poll," sometimes lodged, whilst the row in Wentworth street was not far from a house in Angel alley, which the woman "Pearly Poll" is said to have admitted that she visited that evening. These two rows, Mr. and Mrs. Reeves say, were of a very noisy and quarrelsome character. The crowds round surged backwards and forwards a great deal. At last the police came and dispersed the crowd. This did not conclude the riotous proceedings of the night. About two o'clock Mr. and Mrs. Reeves heard more screams. The screams this time were very piercing. Only a few roughs seemed to constitute the crowd, which seemed to be moving in the direction of George yard. However, the noise soon lessened in volume and Mr. and Mrs. Reeves then retired for the night. To these series of rows, the police are directing attention.

A week passed, and we then find in "Lloyd's" of the 26th August the following tragically interesting account of the inquest: -


Mr. Collier resumed the inquiry at the Working Lads' Institute, Whitechapel, on Thursday, into the circumstances attending the death of a woman who passed by the name of Martha Turner, aged thirty-five, a hawker, lately living at 4, Star-place, Star-street, Commercial-road East, who was discovered, early on the morning of Tuesday, the 7th instant, lying dead on the first floor landing of the model dwelling known as George Yard Buildings, Commercial-street, Spitalfields. The woman when found presented a shocking appearance, her body being covered with thirty-nine stab wounds, some of which had been done with a bayonet. How the woman came to be in these dwellings is a mystery which the police as yet have not solved. The affair caused great excitement, and much interest was manifested in the proceedings. It is worthy of mention that the murder was committed on Bank holiday night, and is also identical with another murder which was perpetrated near the same spot on the night of the previous Bank holiday. The victim in each case was a poor unfortunate, and their cowardly assailants have up till now evaded capture.

Mr. Henry Samuel Tabran, of 6, River Terrace, East Greenwich, stated that he was a foreman packer in a furniture warehouse. He identified the body of the woman now dead as his wife. Her name was Martha Tabran and she was thirty-nine years of age. He last saw her alive eighteen months ago in the Whitechapel road. Witness had been separated from her thirteen years. He went before Mr. Benson, the Magistrate, and said he should not live with her on account of intemperate habits. She took out a warrant for his arrest, but he agreed to allow her 12s a week. This was carried on for three years, but afterwards finding how she was living, he only gave her 2s 6d a week. She was at that time living with another man.
Henry Turner, who stated that he lived at the Working Men's Home, Commercial street, deposed that he was a carpenter by trade, but latterly he got his living as a hawker. Up till three weeks previous to this affair he was living with the deceased. They had lived together on and off for nine years. He last saw her alive on the Saturday before her death, when they met accidentally in Leadenhall street. Witness first heard of her death on the day of the inquest. On the Saturday when he saw her she said she had got no money, so witness gave her some to buy stock with. Deceased was a woman who, when she had the money, would get drunk with it. She was in the habit of staying out late at night, but witness did not know what for. He was not aware that she was acquainted with "Pearly Poll." They lived comfortably till she took to drink, where he left her for a time. He never quarreled with her, but simply left her.
By Mr. Reid - Deceased had stayed out all night, and told him on her return that she had been seized wth a fit and taken to the police station. Witness could not say that that was true, but when she had been drinking she was subject to hysterical fits.
Mary Bousfield, 4 Star place, Commercial road, deposed that Turner and deceased lived at her house till three weeks before her death. She was a woman who would rather have a glass of ale than a cup of tea; but she did not get drunk. Witness said that Turner was very good to her, and helped to support two children she had by husband. Deceased was greatly in witness's debt, and left without giving notice. Since then she had returned and forced the window, and occupied the room one night without witness knowing she was there.
Ann Morris, 23 Lisbourne street, B., a widow, deposed that she was the sister-in-law of the deceased. Witness last saw her alive on Bank holiday, as she was entering the White Swan public-house in Whitechapel road. Deceased then appeared to be sober. She was alone when she entered the bar. Witness did not know if any soldiers were in the public-house. Deceased had been charged several times with annoying witness and breaking the windows of her house. She fancied that witness was encouraging her brother (the deceased's husband) to live there.
Mary Ann Connelly ("Pearly Poll") was next called, but Inspector Reid asked that she might be cautioned previous to being sworn. This the coroner did, and she said that she had been lodging at a lodging-house in Dorset street. She was a single woman, and gained her living on the streets. She had known the deceased for four or five months under the name of "Emma." The last time she saw her alive was on a Bank holiday, at the corner of George road, Whitechapel. They went into a public-house together, and parted about 11:45. They were accompanied by two soldiers, one a private and the other a corporal. She did not know to what regiment they belonged, but they had white bands round their caps. Witness did not know if the corporal had any sidearms. They picked up the soldiers together, and entered several public houses, where they drank. When they separated the deceased went away with the private. They went up George yard while witness and the corporal had a quarrel, and he hit her with a stick. She did not hear deceased have any quarrel. Witness never saw the deceased again alive.
The Coroner, in summing up, said he was bound to acknowledge that the military authorities had rendered every possible assistance. He was sorry for several reasons that the perpetrator of this crime, which was one of the most horrible crimes that had been committed for some time past - the details being so horrible that there was a refinement of brutality about some parts of it which was nothing less than fiendish - had not been traced.
After a few minutes' consultation the jury returned a verdict that the murder was committed by some person or persons unknown; and added a rider, in which they stated their opinion that the staircases of these model dwellings, which existed all over London, should be lighted up at night.

Source: Colonist, Volume XXXI, Issue 5348, 19 October 1888, Page 3

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

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