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  • Circumstances of his arrest?

    I recall hearing Martin Fido on one of the Rippercasts saying that Cohen was arrested during a raid on a brothel. Does anyone have a more detailed account of this event?

  • #2
    I'm no expert, but I'm interested in the David Cohen theory.

    It seems the brothel was targeted in a police raid, and Cohen was there and he was arrested because he behaved like a lunatic.
    Is it progress when a cannibal uses a fork?
    - Stanislaw Jerzy Lee

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    • #3
      ďKEEPING A BROTHEL IN WHITECHAPEL
      Gertrude Smith, a well-dressed middle-aged woman of 254 High-street (sic-Whitechapel Road), Whitechapel, surrendered to answer a charge preferred against her by Mr. Metcalf, vestry clerk of St. Mary, Whitechapel, on behalf of the overseers of the parish, for unlawfully keeping her house as a brothel. Uriah Harvey, who was specially engaged by the vestry of Whitechapel, owing to gross immorality taking place in certain houses, to keep a watch, gave evidence of the number of both sexes which entered and left the defendantís house. On Saturday night, the 24th November, ten men and as many well-known prostitutes infesting the neighbourhood entered and left defendantís house; Sunday, the 25th, twelve couples; Monday, the 26th, three couples; Saturday, December 1st, eighteen couples. It was ostensibly a cigar shop, and when the parties entered, the defendant was at the door letting them in. When Inspector Ferris (sic - Metropolitan Police Inspector Arthur Ferrett) entered, he found two well-known prostitutes in bed. In answer to Mr Lushington, Inspector Ferris said there had been no complaints of disturbances or robberies at defendantís house. Mr Lushington convicted the defendant in taking part in keeping a brothel and fined her £10 and £5 costs, or one month. The money was paid.Ē

      Reynolds Newspaper 9 December 1888

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      • #4
        In the 1880s, No. 254 Whitechapel Road was a cigar shop, headed by John Levy, who had earlier lived at 29 Mitre Street. Johnís cigar shop, was not only the address of the brothel raid involving the modern Ripper suspect, David Cohen, in November-December 1888, but was also located next door to No. 253, the address of a Mrs. Norah Christmasí laundry. It was on the doorstep of this address where one Thomas Coram found a knife wrapped in blood-stained cloth at 12:30 am on 1 October, 1888, the day following the murders of Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes.

        John Levy was an elderly man by the late 1880s and it would seem that he was letting his cigar shop be used as a brothel by Gertrude Smith. John had connections back to Mitre Street, where he once lived, and where his sister, Fanny, still lived. It would appear that John Levy's cigar shop was also the premise of the brothel where the insane Jew, David Cohen was found.

        Author Martin Fidoís candidate for Robert Andersonís Polish Jew suspect was David Cohen, a 23 year old immigrant Jewish tailor, who was taken to Thames Magistrate Court on 7 December 1888 for being present when the brothel was raided. Cohen may have been in police custody prior to the court appearance, since the newspaper story suggests the raid may have occurred on December 1st.

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        • #5
          This is very interesting. Thank you Scott.
          Is it progress when a cannibal uses a fork?
          - Stanislaw Jerzy Lee

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Scott Nelson View Post
            KEEPING A BROTHEL IN WHITECHAPEL
            Gertrude Smith, a well-dressed middle-aged woman of 254 High-street (sic-Whitechapel Road), Whitechapel, surrendered to answer a charge preferred against her by Mr. Metcalf, vestry clerk of St. Mary, Whitechapel, on behalf of the overseers of the parish, for unlawfully keeping her house as a brothel. Uriah Harvey, who was specially engaged by the vestry of Whitechapel, owing to gross immorality taking place in certain houses, to keep a watch, gave evidence of the number of both sexes which entered and left the defendants house. On Saturday night, the 24th November, ten men and as many well-known prostitutes infesting the neighbourhood entered and left defendants house; Sunday, the 25th, twelve couples; Monday, the 26th, three couples; Saturday, December 1st, eighteen couples. It was ostensibly a cigar shop, and when the parties entered, the defendant was at the door letting them in. When Inspector Ferris (sic - Metropolitan Police Inspector Arthur Ferrett) entered, he found two well-known prostitutes in bed. In answer to Mr Lushington, Inspector Ferris said there had been no complaints of disturbances or robberies at defendants house. Mr Lushington convicted the defendant in taking part in keeping a brothel and fined her £10 and £5 costs, or one month. The money was paid.

            Reynolds Newspaper 9 December 1888
            For you, Scott:

            I was digging around in the workhouse records and recognized this address:

            Kate (?) Whittaker, 24, checking into Stepney Workhouse, 9 Oct 1887 from 254 Whitechapel Road, listed as prostitute, reason for entry "labour," which I take to mean childbirth.

            Apparently confirming that No. 254 Whitechapel Road was a brothel, 1887-1888. It looks like it went up for lease in Feb 1889.

            Click image for larger version

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            • #7
              Thanks for this Roger. It looks like John Levy, an elderly man, lost control of his tobacco premise after the raid closed the brothel part.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Harry D View Post
                I recall hearing Martin Fido on one of the Rippercasts saying that Cohen was arrested during a raid on a brothel. Does anyone have a more detailed account of this event?
                According to my information David Cohen was admitted to Stepney Workhouse on December 21st 1888 having been found wandering the streets unable to care for himself. He was later transferred to Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum where he remained until his death in October 1889. Whilst in the asylum he showed signs of violence towards his fellow inmates and as a result, was segregated. Fido suggests that the authorities could not establish his true identity on arrest and therefore gave him a “John Doe” name of Cohen, which Fido suggests was common practice. However, there are no official records to show this was common practice.
                This name was used from time to time by immigration authorities both here and in New York.

                However, Fido’s suggestion doesn’t stand up to scrutiny because Cohen apparently had a known address of 86, Leman Street, Whitechapel, and was known to be a tailor, so formally identifying him, in my opinion, should not have been a major problem. Furthermore, there was a due process of law in 1888 with regards to dealing with insane persons and lunatics.

                www.trevormarriott.co.uk

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post

                  According to my information David Cohen was admitted to Stepney Workhouse on December 21st 1888 having been found wandering the streets unable to care for himself. He was later transferred to Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum where he remained until his death in October 1889. Whilst in the asylum he showed signs of violence towards his fellow inmates and as a result, was segregated. Fido suggests that the authorities could not establish his true identity on arrest and therefore gave him a “John Doe” name of Cohen, which Fido suggests was common practice. However, there are no official records to show this was common practice.
                  This name was used from time to time by immigration authorities both here and in New York.

                  However, Fido’s suggestion doesn’t stand up to scrutiny because Cohen apparently had a known address of 86, Leman Street, Whitechapel, and was known to be a tailor, so formally identifying him, in my opinion, should not have been a major problem. Furthermore, there was a due process of law in 1888 with regards to dealing with insane persons and lunatics.

                  www.trevormarriott.co.uk
                  Trevor,

                  Looks like he was admitted to the Whitechapel Infirmary on 9th Dec, 1888, having been brought there by PC91H from the Thames Police Court. The diagnosis was ‘insane’, but it wasn’t until 21st December that he was transferred to Colney Hatch. His occupation was given as tailor and his religion as Hebrew, but his period of settlement was left blank.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post

                    Trevor,

                    Looks like he was admitted to the Whitechapel Infirmary on 9th Dec, 1888, having been brought there by PC91H from the Thames Police Court. The diagnosis was ‘insane’, but it wasn’t until 21st December that he was transferred to Colney Hatch. His occupation was given as tailor and his religion as Hebrew, but his period of settlement was left blank.
                    There is confusion because Fido suggests that another person Nathan kaminsky could be one and the same

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