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  #1  
Old 09-07-2017, 06:08 AM
Callmebill Callmebill is offline
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I've searched on casebook, I haven't found this, so I don't think I'm repeating anything. Written a week after Clay Pipe's killing. Particularly interesting is, ... 'took a fancy to Ginger Alice ...'
Wasn't Ginger one of Mary Kelly's many nicknames?
Anyway, it could be just an invention to keep the JTR consumers paying for newspapers.


20th July 1889

A CHAT WITH A FEMALE DECOY
“Good evening, George,” said a Star man to a coster who was selling cherries and gooseberries in Nile Street, Hoxton, “Have you seen Poll?”
“I see her not mor’n half an hour ago, and told her you was comin’ round, but I s'pose she forgot.”
The Star man wished he had stayed at the National Liberal. However, when be reached the City Road, after peering into two or three pubs, he found still open the shop of a tradesman whom he knew, so he entered and asked his friend whether he had seen Polly Murphy about.
“POLLY MURPHY?” shouted John, the tradesman's boy. “I saw her not a quarter of an hour ago. I can find her for you, sir.”
“All right,” said the tradesman, Let me get my shop shut up first. But what do you want with Polly Murphy? he inquired.
“I just want to have a chat with her.”
“Jack the Ripper is it ? She saw him once,” he continued, as the Star man nodded affirmatively. “She came to me one night in an awful state as I was walking down the road here last winter, and told me she had just left him.”
“Well, why didn’t she hold him she's strong enough to hold any man?”
“Yes, but a man with such a record is enough to paralyse the strongest woman with fear.”
By this time the shop was closed, and John went to a pub opposite, and soon Poll was striding across the road just like a man.
“Well, my boy, how are you?”
“Well, Poll how are you?”
And Poll and the Star man heartily shook hands. Thereafter she kissed John affectionately and bade him good night.
“You seem to be very fond of John,” said the Star man.”
“Lor’ bless you, that's only goodwill;” and Poll beamed as though she would like to kiss the whole world. Poll is
A GOOD-HEARTED WOMAN,
though decidedly what would be termed a rough character. She is a mixture of Welsh and Irish and better educated than the people with whom is associated. She is as strong as a horse, about 5 ft 6 in high, and though not prepossessing in appearance, her bright frank grey eyes, and somewhat broad, determined face, pronounced her to be a woman of character. “You know what I want to see you for,” said our man. You were employed as a decoy during the murder scares last year, were you not?”
“Yes, I was a decoy for three nights, but it was no good. I went into every court and alley in Whitechapel. I tried hard to catch him, but it was no good. When I would be looking for him in one place he was committing a murder in another.”
“Who employed you as a decoy?”
“Ah, that I'm not going to tell. He was a gentle man in an official position, and gave me half a guinea a night, and I had as much food as I could eat. We had ‘'Jack the Ripper’ over the road there once,” she said suddenly. “I’m sure it was him. He had a hand with fingers as long as that” measuring halfway up her wrist from the tip of her fingers. He was
A FINE MAN,
too, six feet high, with a silken beard and moustache. Nobody knew his name, but he said he was the son of a fruiterer in Spitalfields Market. He used to show up here, and took a fancy to Ginger Alice, and wanted her to go with him for a walk, but she got frightened and wouldn’t go, though I told her I’d follow them. At last the woman that keeps the greengrocer’s shop in Provost Street here called this man ‘Jack the Ripper’ and I’ve never set eyes on him since then.”
“While you were walking about Whitechapel were you accosted by strange men?”
“Accosted! Bless you, yes,” and Poll began to laugh as though it were good fun. “I got a farmer to treat me one night and give me a sixpence for my doss. I told him I’d have to walk the streets all night if he didn’t, and that perhaps I’d be murdered like the others.”
“Were you not afraid?”
“Afraid!” she shouted. “You don’t know me.
I NEVER KNEW WHAT FEAR WAS.
Lots of girls came forward to act as decoys, but they wouldn't have ‘em. You see, I can take a drop of beer and it doesn’t knock me over. Besides, I can handle the knife as well as ‘Jack the Ripper.’ Look at these cuts on my hand; that’s with killing sheep. I’ve killed hundreds of sheep,” and as Poll showed her hands the Star man noticed that her arms were tattooed. “They all know me at the Meat Market, and call me ‘Dick,’ the meat carrier.” You lay I know something about sheep sticking, and from what I read in the papers this woman’s been killed by a man that knows how to stick sheep.”
“Can You tell, me anything that happened while you were wandering about Whitechapel?”
“No; nothing happened to me, I used to have a bit of chaff with the men, and used to see the men and women about, you know. But nothing happened to me. All the victim. you see, are right down, down as low as they can be. They haven’t got a copper, and no chance of getting one except by what leads them to their death,” she added, pointing significantly to the gutter. God knows my life is rough enough, but it’s not so rough as that by a long way,” she added earnestly. “But it's a licker, ain’t it?” she added.
“It is so,” said the Star man. “What’s your opinion?”
“Well, sometimes I think one thing, and sometimes another. There’s one thing I have noticed about them all: they’re
ALL MARRIED WOMEN,
been cast off by their husbands, or left their husbands and gone wrong.” but Poll’s theory was a very shadowy one, and as our man bade her good night she declared that she was ready to go as a decoy tomorrow if they wanted her.
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  #2  
Old 09-07-2017, 12:59 PM
Pcdunn Pcdunn is offline
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Huh! Interesting article, Bill. I thought the decoys were policemen in dresses, but hiring local women makes a deal more sense, doesn't it?
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Old 09-07-2017, 01:15 PM
Kattrup Kattrup is offline
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Very interesting article, thank you
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Old 09-07-2017, 01:26 PM
Debra A Debra A is offline
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There was a Polly Murphy living at Flower and Dean St in 1891. interesting article. I haven't seen it before.
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Old 09-07-2017, 01:54 PM
Callmebill Callmebill is offline
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Thanks. What interested me was her height. She's tall. Her parentage is Welsh/Irish. Reminds me of Mary Kelly. I don't know how much the reporter has cobbled this together. Ginger. Tall. Welsh Irish.
The name Barry rather than Kelly for Mary Jane? I've seen a link somewhere in my files. But a Barry (surname) also lived with Johanna's family.
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