In Buck's Row, naturally, the greatest excitement prevails, and several persons in the neighbourhood state than an affray occurred shortly after midnight, but no screams were heard, nor anything beyond what might have been considered evidence of an ordinary brawl.
This was first reported in The Star of August 31st and also appeared in the Eastern Post of Sept. 1st.
Regarding the idea that the incident witnessed by Sarah and Charlotte Colwell happened shortly after midnight, I believe the following is the source for that. However, this doesn't seem to be describing the same incident.
In Buck's Row, naturally, the greatest excitement prevails, and several persons in the neighbourhood state than an affray occurred shortly after midnight, but no screams were heard, nor anything beyond what might have been considered evidence of an ordinary brawl. In any case, the police unfortunately will have great difficulty in bringing to justice the murderer or murderers. - East London Observer, Sept. 1st, 1888
Tom, I have found the original source of this midnight affray story. It comes from the last sentence of a Central News report which first appeared in the second edition of the Globe of 31 August 1888, helpfully timed as 12:30pm of that day. It is worth reproducing in full as below:
GLOBE OFFICE, 367, Strand, 12.30 p.m.
ANOTHER WHITECHAPEL MYSTERY
BRUTAL MURDER OF A WOMAN
The Central News says: - Scarcely have the horror and sensation caused by the discovery of the murdered woman in Whitechapel some short time ago had time to abate, when another discovery is made, which for the brutality exercised on the victim, is even more glaringly outrageous and horrible. The affair up to the present is enveloped in mystery, and the police have as yet no evidence to trace the perpetrators of the outrage. The facts are that as constable John Neil was walking down Bucks-row, Thomas-street, Whitechapel, about a quarter to four o’clock this morning he discovered a woman between 35 and 40 years of age lying at the side of the street with her throat cut from ear to ear. The wound was about two inches wide, and the woman was lying in a pool of blood. She was conveyed to the Whitechapel Mortuary, when it was found that besides the wound in the throat, the lower part of her body was shockingly mutilated, the injuries, which were of a sickening nature, having apparently been effected with a large knife. As the body lies in the mortuary it presents a ghastly sight. The victim is a woman 5ft. 2in. in height. The hands are bruised and bear evidence of having engaged in a severe struggle. There is the impression of a ring having been worn on one of the deceased’s fingers, but there is nothing to show that it had been wrenched from her in a struggle. Some of the front teeth have been knocked out, and the face is bruised on both cheeks, and very much discoloured. The deceased wore a rough brown ulster, with large buttons in front. Her clothes are torn and cut up in several places, bearing evidence of the ferocity with which the murder was committed. The only way by which the police can prosecute an inquiry at present is by finding some one who can identify the deceased and then, if possible, trace those in whose company she was last seen. In Buck’s-row the greatest excitement prevails, and several persons in the neighbourhood state that an affray occurred shortly after midnight, but no screams were heard, nor was anything noticed beyond what might have been considered evidence of an ordinary brawl."
In passing, we may also note that this shows that the Central News was circulating a report that Neil found the body at 3:45am prior to 12:30pm on the Friday, something relevant to another thread.