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Dr. Andrew James Duncan

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Dr. Andrew James Duncan

Post by Karen on Sun 15 Aug 2010 - 15:54

The following article mentions a strange incident, related by a cabman in a shelter at Pickering Place.

The Whitechapel Murder.

LONDON, November 21.

Great excitement was caused today by a report that another woman had been found murdered and mutilated in Whitechapel. The rumour, however, upon investigation proved to be exaggerated. An attempt was made to murder a woman, but she is still alive.
She has made a statement to the effect that she was drinking in the evening with a man whom she met, and who subsequently accompanied her to her lodgings. The fellow suddenly turned on her and attacked her, but she struggled violently and screamed; and the murderer, becoming alarmed, desisted. He succeeded in making his escape good, though pursued for 300 yards. The woman has furnished an accurate description of her assailant, and his arrest is expected hourly. He is not believed to have any connection with previous murders.

LONDON, November 22.

A man was arrested in Whitechapel early today after a furious resistance, who is suspected to be identical with the assassin who attempted the life of the woman on Tuesday.

The most important clue which has yet been discovered with regard to the perpetrators of the inhuman murders in Whitechapel came to light through information given by Thomas Ryan, who has charge of the Cabmen's Reading-room at 43, Pickering Place, Westbourne Grove W. Mr Ryan is a teetotaler and is the secretary of the Cabmen's Branch of the Church of England Temperance Society. He has been stationed at Pickering Place for about six years, and is widely known throughout the metropolis and in the country as an earnest temperance advocate. Ryan, who tells the story without affectation, says: -
On Sunday afternoon while he was in his little shelter the street attendant brought a gentlemanly-looking man to him and said, "This 'ere gentleman wants a chop, guv'nor. Can you cook one for him? He says he's 'most perished with cold." The gentleman in question, Ryan says, was about 5ft 6in in height, and wore an Oxford cap on his head, and a light check ulster, with a tippet buttoned to his throat, which he did not loosen all the time he was in the shelter. He had a thick moustache but no beard, was round-headed, his eyes very restless, and clean white hands. Ryan said, "Come in; I'll cook one for you with pleasure." This was about four o'clock in the afternoon. Several cabmen were in the shelter at the time, and they were talking of the new murders discovered that morning at Whitechapel. Ryan exclaimed, "I'd gladly do seven days and nights if I could only find the fellow who did them." This was said directly at the stranger, who, looking into Ryan's face, quietly said, "Do you know who committed the murders?" and then calmly went on to say, "I did them. I've had a lot of trouble lately. I came back from India and got into trouble at once. I lost my watch and chain and 10 pounds." Ryan was greatly taken aback at the man's statement, and fancied he was just recovering from a drinking bout, so he replied "If that's correct you must consider yourself engaged." But he then went on to speak to him about temperance work, and the evils wrought by drink. Warming to his subject, Ryan spoke of his own work amongst men to try to induce them to become teetotalers. Then the stranger said, "Have a drink" to Ryan, and produced a bottle from an inner pocket, which was nearly full of a brown liquid - either whisky or brandy. Ryan told him he had better put the bottle away, as they were all teetotalers there; thereupon the stranger asked for a glass to take a drink himself, which was refused him, because Ryan said, "All our glasses are teetotal glasses." Meanwhile the chop was cooking, the vegetables were already waiting, and the stranger began eating. During the meal the conversation was kept up with Ryan and the others in the shelter, all of whom thought the man was recovering from a heavy drinking bout, and that his remarks as to his being the murderer were all nonsense. Ryan reasoned with him as to the folly of drinking, and at last he expressed his willingness to sign the pledge, a book containing pledges being shown him. This the stranger examined, and at length filled up one page, writing on the counterfoil as well as on the body of the pledge. In the hand of a gentleman he wrote the following words: -
"J. Duncan, doctor; residence, Cabmen's Shelter, 30th September, 1888." After doing this, he said, "I could tell a tale if I wanted." Then he relapsed into silence. After a pause he went on to speak of his experiences in India, and said he knew the Rev. Mr. Gregson, who was engaged in temperance work amongst the English soldiers in India, and had been for some time in Simla. He also stated that he was at Newcastle-on-Tyne before he went to India. Ryan called his attention to the fact that he had not filled in his proper residence, and the man replied, "I have no fixed place of abode at present. I'm living anywhere." While Duncan was eating his chop he again asked for something to drink, and water was brought to him, but then he said he would have ginger beer, and when that was brought him he filled up the glass with the liquid from the bottle he had in his pocket. "This he drank," said Ryan, "differently to what people usually drink; he literally gulped it down." In answer to further conversation about teetotalism, Duncan accepted an invitation to go to Church with Ryan that evening, and afterwards accompany him to a temperance meeting which he was going to hold. For that purpose, he said, he would return to the shelter in an hour, but he never came back. Duncan carried a stick, and looked a sinewy fellow, just such a one as was capable of putting forth considerable energy when necessary.


The following are the dates of the crimes and names of the victims so far as known: -

1. Last Christmas week. - An unknown woman found murdered near Osborne and Wentworth-street, Whitechapel.
2. August 7th. - Martha Turner, found stabbed in thirty-nine places on a landing in model dwellings known as George-yard Buildings, Commercial-street, Spitalfields.
3. August 31st. - Mrs. Nicholls, murdered and mutilated in Buck's-row, Whitechapel.
4. September 7th. - Mrs. Chapman, murdered and mutilated in Hanbury-street, Whitechapel.
5. September 30th. - Elizabeth Watts or Stride, found with her throat cut in Berner-street, Whitechapel.
6. September 30th. - Woman unknown, murdered and mutilated in Mitre Square, Aldgate.

Since the receipt of the above information there have been several additional murders. Five women were killed within a period of eight weeks.

Source: Te Aroha News, Volume VI, Issue 320, 28 November 1888, Page 4

Note: The only Dr. Duncan I can find who had any connection whatsoever to India is this one:


Source: The British Medical Journal, August 14, 1909, Page 427

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

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