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Illustrated Police News Report

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Illustrated Police News Report

Post by Karen on Wed 8 Apr 2015 - 14:18

This article is from The Illustrated Police News of November 24, 1888. The article contains a full report from George Hutchinson, a full report from Matthew Packer and a full report of Mary Jane Kelly's funeral. This can not be found on the Casebook: Jack the Ripper website, which is just another travesty of justice.


During Monday several arrests were made, but after a short examination in all cases the persons were set at liberty, as it was felt certain they had no connection with the crime. In the Holborn casual ward, on Tuesday, the police arrested a man who gave the name of Thomas Murphy. He was taken by the police
to the station at Frederick-street, King's-cross-road, where, on being searched, he was found to have in his possession a somewhat formidable knife with a blade about ten inches long. He was therefore detained in custody on suspicion, and the police proceeded to make inquiries into the truth of his statements. The task was rendered
very difficult by the confused and contradictory accounts which Murphy gave of himself. He was detained some time.
Two or three men were arrested during Tuesday night and on Wednesday under circumstances considered suspicious, but in no case did the detention last more than a few hours. Each arrest caused great local excitement, and in connection with one case the whole neighbourhood was in the wildest uproar for a considerable time. The tumult
had the customary origin. A man stared into the face of a woman in the Whitechapel-road, and she at once screamed out that he was "Jack the Ripper." The unfortunate man was immediately surrounded by an excited and threatening crowd, from which he was rescued with some difficulty by the police. He was taken under a strong escort to the Commercial-street
Police-station, followed by an enormous mob of men and women shouting and screaming at him in the most extraordinary manner. At the police-station the man proved to be a German, unable to speak a word of English. He explained through an interpreter that he arrived in London from Germany only on Tuesday and was to leave for America immediately, and confirmation
of this statement having been obtained he was set at liberty.
About half-past one on Thursday morning some young men watching some premises in Spital-square noticed a man talking to a young woman and overheard him ask her to accompany him. She consented. As they were walking away a constable stopped them and took the man to the Commercial-street Police-station. At a quarter-past three a man was arrested in the Mile-end-road and taken
to the Leman-street Police-station. Both prisoners were later on set at liberty.
An arrest has been made at Dover in connection with the Whitechapel murders. A suspicious looking character was seen near the railway station, and as he answered the description given of the murderer he was taken into custody, but afterwards released.
The work of the police has been considerably hampered at times by the agents of private inquiry officers, who, to obtain the offered reward, take upon themselves to follow up what they consider "clues," many of which are in the highest degree absurd. Some of these people have even gone so far as deliberately to represent themselves as police-officers - an offence rendering them liable to prosecution
under the criminal law.
Several tradesmen in the Whitechapel district, especially those who, like M'Carthy, have been mentioned in the newspapers in connection with the last murder, have received anonymous threatening letters of the vilest character.


The following statement has been made by George Hutchinson, a labourer: -

"At two o'clock on Friday morning I came down Whitechapel-road into Commercial-street. As I passed Thrawl-street I passed a man standing at the corner of the street, and as I went towards Flower and Dean-street I met the woman Kelly, whom I know very well, having been in her company a number of times. She said, "Mr. Hutchinson, can you lend me sixpence?" I said I could not. She then walked on towards Thrawl-street, saying
she must go and look for some money. The man who was standing at the corner of Thrawl-street then came towards her and put his hand on her shoulder and said something to her, the purport of which I did not hear, and they both burst out laughing. He put his hand again on her shoulder and they both walked slowly towards me. I walked on to the corner of Fashion-street, near the public-house. As they came by me his arm was still on her shoulder.
He had a soft felt hat on and this was drawn down somewhat over his eyes. I put down my head to look him in the face and he turned and looked at me very sternly, and they walked across the road to Dorset-street. I followed them across and stood at the corner of Dorset-street. They stood at the corner of Miller's-court for about three minutes. Kelly spoke to the man in a loud voice, saying "I have lost my handkerchief." He pulled a red handkerchief out of his
pocket and gave it to Kelly, and they both went up the court together. I went to look up the court to see if I could see them, but could not. I stood there for three-quarters of an hour to see if they came down again, but they did not, and so I went away. My suspicions were aroused by seeing the man so well dressed, but I had no suspicion that he was the murderer. The man was about 5ft. 6in. in height and thirty-four or thirty-five years of age, with dark complexion and
dark moustache turned up at the ends. He was wearing a long dark coat trimmed with astrachan, a white collar with black necktie, in which was affixed a horseshoe pin. He wore a pair of dark spats with light buttons over buttoned boots, and displayed from his waistcoat a massive gold chain. His watch-chain had a big seal with a red stone hanging from it. He had a heavy moustache curled up and dark eyes and bushy eyebrows. He had no side whiskers and his chin was clean
shaven. He looked like a foreigner. I went up the court and stayed there a couple of minutes, but did not see any light in the house or hear any noise. I was out on Monday night until three o'clock looking for him. I could swear to the man anywhere. The man I saw carried a small parcel in his hand about eight inches long, and it had a strap round it. He had it tightly grasped in his left hand. It looked as though it was covered with dark American cloth. He carried in his right hand, which he
laid upon the woman's shoulder, a pair of brown kid gloves. He walked very softly. I believe that he lives in the neighbourhood, and I fancied that I saw him in Petticoat-lane on Sunday morning, but I was not certain. I went down to the Shoreditch mortuary today (Tuesday) and recognised the body as being that of the woman Kelly whom I saw at two o'clock on Friday morning. Kelly did not seem to me to be drunk, but was a little bit spreeish. After I left the court I walked about all night,
as the place where I usually sleep was closed. I am able to fix the time, as it was between ten and five minutes to two o'clock as I came by Whitechapel Church. When I left the corner of Miller's-court the clock struck three. One policeman went by the Commercial-street end of Dorset-street while I was standing there, but not one came down Dorset-street. I saw one man go into a lodging-house in Dorset-street and no one else. I have been looking for the man all day."
In some quarters Hutchinson's statement has been thought to throw discredit upon the evidence given at the inquest by the woman Cox, but it is now believed that the murderer was the second man whom the victim took home upon the eve of her murder. It is probably that the man with the "carroty" moustache seen in Kelly's company shortly before midnight will soon be found, and it is possible that he may come forward voluntarily now that he has been to a great extent relieved of the suspicion
which rested upon him.


Mr. Matthew Packer, the fruiterer who sold some grapes to a man in company with the murdered woman just before the Berner-street murder, has made the following extraordinary statement: -

"On Tuesday evening two men came to my house and bought 12s. worth of rabbits of me. They then asked me if I could give an exact description of the man to whom I sold the grapes and who was supposed to have committed the Berner-street and Mitre-square murders, as they were convinced they knew him and where to find him. In reply to some questions one of the men then said, "Well, I am sorry to say that I firmly believe it is my own cousin. He is an Englishman by birth, but some time ago he went to America,
stayed there a few years, and then came back to London about seven or eight months ago. On his return he came to see me, and his first words were, "Well, boss, how are you?" He asked me to have some walks out with him, and I did round Commercial street and Whitechapel. I found that he was very much altered on his return, for he was thorough harem-scarem. We met a lot of Whitechapel women, and when we passed them he used to say to me, "Do you see those ______? How do you think we used to serve them
where I came from? Why, we used to cut their throats and rip them up. I could rip one of them up and get her inside out in no time." He said, "We Jack Rippers killed lots of women over there. You will hear of some of it being done over here soon, for I am going to turn a London Jack Ripper." The man added, "I did not take much notice then of what he said, as he had had a drop of drink, and I thought it was only his swagger and bounce of what he had been doing in America at some place which he mentioned, but I forget the name; but,"
continued the man, when I heard of the first woman being murdered and stabbed all over I then began to be very uneasy, and to wonder whether he really was carrying out his threats. I did not, however, like to say anything about him, as he is my own cousin. Then, as one murder followed another, I felt that I could scarcely rest. He is a perfect monster towards women, especially when he has had a drop of drink. But, in addition to what he said to me about these murders in America and what was going to be done here, I feel certain it is him,
because of the way these Jack the Ripper letters which have appeared in the papers begin. They all begin "Dear Boss," and that is just the way he begins his letters. He calls everybody "Boss" when he speaks to them. I did not want to say anything about him if I could help it, so I wrote to him, but he did not answer my letter. Since this last murder I have felt that I could not remain silent any longer, for at least something ought to be done to put him under restraint." Packer states he feels sure the men are speaking the truth, as they seemed very much concerned
and hardly knew what to do in the matter. He knows where to find the men. One is employed at some ironworks and the other at the West India Docks, and the man they allude to lives somewhere in the neighbourhood of Whitechapel.
The statement was investigated by the police. A reporter was courteously received on Thursday by Detective-inspector M'Williams, who said there was no foundation in fact for it, and he believed that nothing would come of it.


The remains of Mary Janet Kelly were carried on Monday morning from Shoreditch mortuary to the Roman Catholic Cemetery at Leytonstone for interment amidst a scene of turbulent excitement scarcely ever paralleled even in the annals of that densely-populated district where she met her death. On the afternoon of the murder the body of the unfortunate woman was conveyed to the mortuary attached to St. Leonard's Church, Shoreditch, and there it remained until Monday. Since the inquest a great amount of sympathy for the fate of the deceased has been created, but it remained
for Mr. H. Wilton, the sexton attached to Shoreditch Church, to put sympathy into a practical form, and as no relatives have appeared he incurred the total cost of the funeral himself. Mr. Wilton has been sexton for over fifty years, and he provided the funeral as a mark of sympathy with the poor people of the neighbourhood. The body was enclosed in a polished elm and oak coffin with metal mounts. On the coffin plate was engraved the words: - "Marie Jeanette Kelly, died 9th November, 1888, aged twenty-five years." Upon the coffin were two crowns of artificial flowers and a cross made up
of heartsease. The coffin was carried in an open car drawn by two horses, and two coaches followed. An enormous crowd of people assembled at an early hour, completely blocking the thoroughfare, and a large number of police were engaged in keeping order. The bell of St. Leonard's began tolling at noon, and the signal appeared to draw all the residents in the neighbourhood together. There was an enormous preponderance of women in the crowd. Scarcely any had any covering to their heads, and their tattered dresses indicated too surely that they belonged to the very class to which the murdered
woman belonged. The wreaths upon the coffin bore cards inscribed with remembrances from friends using certain public-houses in common with the deceased. As the coffin appeared, borne on the shoulders of four men, at the principal gate of the church, the crowd appeared to be moved greatly. Round the open car in which it was to be placed men and women struggled desperately to touch the coffin. Women with faces streaming with tears cried out "God forgive her!" and every man's head was bared in token of sympathy. The sight was quite remarkable and the emotion natural and unconstrained. Two mourning
coaches followed, one containing three and the other five persons. Joe Barnett was amongst them, with someone from M'Carthy's, the landlord, and the others were women who had given evidence at the inquest. After a tremendous struggle the car, with the coffin fully exposed to view, set out at a very slow pace, all the crowd, appearing to move off simultaneously in attendance. The traffic was blocked, of course, and the constables had great difficulty in obtaining free passage for the small procession through the mass of carts and vans and tramcars which blocked the road. The distance from Shoreditch Church to
the cemetery at Leytonstone by road is about six miles, and the route traversed was Hackney-road, Cambridge-heath, Whitechapel-road, and Stratford. In the Whitechapel-road the crowd on each side of the roadway were very great, and there was a considerable amount of emotion manifested. The appearance of the roadway throughout the whole journey was remarkable owing to the hundreds of men and women who escorted the coffin on each side, and who had to keep up a sharp trot in many places. But the crowd rapidly thinned away when, getting into the suburbs, the car and coaches broke into a trot. Still the number
of those who kept up was sufficient to spread the news in advance, and everywhere people stood in groups or crowded windows to see the cortege pass. The cemetery was reached at two o'clock. The Rev. Father Columban, O.S.F., with two acolytes and a cross-bearer, met the body at the door of the little chapel of St. Patrick, and the coffin was carried at once to a grave in the north-eastern corner. Barnett and the poor women who had accompanied the funeral, knelt on the cold clay by the side of the grave while the service was read by Father Columban. The coffin was incensed, lowered, and then sprinkled with holy water, and
the simple ceremony ended. The floral ornaments were afterwards raised to be placed upon the grave, and the filling up was completed in a few moments and was watched by a small crowd of people.

Source: The Illustrated Police News, Saturday, November 24, 1888

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

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