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  • Jack's Escape from Mitre Square

    Hi all,

    I'll apologize for the length of this now.


    Catharine Eddowes was found murdered in Mitre Square at 1:44 am by PC Watkins. He reports having previously patrolled this location at 1:30 am, at which time nothing suspicious was noted. At 1:30 am, Joseph Lawende and two friends (Joseph Levy and Harry Harris) were getting up to leave the Imperial Club on Duke Street.

    When Lawende and his friends exited the pub they saw a man and women at the corner of Duke Street and Church Passage (leading into Mitre Square). Lawende estimated this sighting as being at 1:35 am, Levy suggested they left the pub at 1:33 or 1:34 (He testifies as leaving 3 or 4 minutes after 1:30; so the sighting can be thought to have occurred between 1:33 and 1:35). Their testimony, is consistent with that of PC Watkins because it suggests that Eddowes and Jack are not in Mitre Square at 1:30, when PC Watkins patrols Mitre Square (their sighting occurs after this point). Dr. Brown suggests 5 minutes is required for Jack to murder and mutilate Eddowes. Allowing 1 minute for Jack and Eddowes to traverse Church Passage and get to Mitre Square, then that means the times for Jack to leave the scene begin at about 1:39 (earliest time of the Lawende et al sighting is 1:33, 1 minute to get to the murder scene, 5 minutes with the body).

    So, years ago I put together a simulation based upon the beats of PC Harvey and PC Watkins (their beats are reported in full, so we know their patrols). Also, we have their testimony as to how long it took them to complete their beats. So, knowing that PC Watkins reports finding the body at 1:44, and that he had patrolled the square at 1:30, and PC Harvey reports he checked his time at the Post Office clock at 1:28. While he doesn’t state his patrol time, he does say he had checked Church Passage 3-4 minutes prior to hearing the whistle blow, so from all the information I’ve estimated his patrol to be 17 minutes for a complete circuit.

    From that, there was enough information to roughly estimate where each of the PCs were during the critical time period. I’ve marked them in 1 minute increments up until the earliest time for JtR to leave Mitre Square. Again, this is set to be at 1:39 (6 minutes after the earliest time for the Lawende et al sighting, giving them 1 minute to head into Mitre Square, and 5 minutes for the murder and mutilation). Their entrance into the square is on the heels of PC Watkin’s 1:30 patrol time, which they could very well have been aware of from their vantage point when spotted by Lawende et al, as there was a gas lamp at the Mitre Square end of Church Passage).

    The last bit of information we have is from Morris, who indicates that a couple minutes before PC Watkins arrived, he opened the door into Mitre Square while he was sweeping up. So the door is opened not long before 1:44, something like 2-3 minutes prior, and that’s starting to bump up with 1:39, the earliest that JtR could leave the square.

    With all of that in mind, the relative positions of the PCs as indicated in the map below (PC Harvey is the red dots; PC Watkins the blue dots; JtR in Green), and having JtR leave out through St. James Place (which most suggest he might have), JtRs escape route from Mitre Square ends up going through areas devoid of the two PCs that have beats in that area. While I’ve not marked it, he could also flee out to Mitre Street, turn right and head that way and not be spotted. The exit out through Church Passage is not viable, as he would pass PC Harvey, unless (and this is really unlikely), he doesn’t flee for another 2 minutes, but that would mean PC Harvey patrols up to the end of Church Passage, doesn’t see JtR in the square, exits Church Passage, and JtR then follows him out and turns left (away from PC Harvey). If the trigger for JtR to leave is not the door opening, but PC Harvey coming into view at the gas light (which impedes his vision into the dark of Mitre Square), PC Watkins is still far enough away for JtR to escape through St. James Place, Mitre Street, or the far less likely “following the PC down Church Passage” route.

    I know it's a bit messy, and a bit hard to follow, but hopefully the information is readable.

    Click image for larger version

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    Note, my estimation for JtR’s position at 1:40 in St. James Place is based on him leaving at the average speed of PC Watkins and PC Harvey (so at a speed of a patrolling PC, with the notion that he’s trying not to draw attention to himself, and also that he’s on the look out for safe routes – but if he’s running, he would be further along. Again, I’m going with minimums here).

    So, basically, there’s wiggle room with regards to the time window, but not much although we know there can’t be just based on PC Watkins patrol times, and given that 5 minutes of that has to be used for the murder and mutilations. Also, time estimates are very error prone, however, Lawende et al indicate they checked the clock when they got up to leave, and PC Harvey indicates he checked his time at 1:28 by the Post Office clock. PC Watkins noted the time when he found the body. Of course, clocks aren’t all tied to the same source, so different clocks could read different times, and patrol speeds will have faster and slower sections, etc. While I’m just showing things based upon holding the times as exact, I’ve played around with variations with JtR leaving as early as 1:37 (which would mean Lawende et al spots them around 1:30-1:31, and JtR and Eddowes enter Mitre Square as soon as PC Watkins leaves), and having him leave as late as 1:43 (which still gets him to St. James Place before Watkins finds the body, but means he stuck around after the door opens and PC Harvey patrolled Church Passage – making that very improbable). And basically, all of those times results in the escape route through St. James Place being clear for him. The route out through Mitre Street becomes unavailable around 1:42 as PC Watkins would have seen him exit the square, and Church Passage isn’t really viable until after 1:40, but then requires him to follow PC Harvey (if he goes that way earlier, unless he heads south, he’s going to pass PC Harvey).

    Anyway, it looks like Lawende end company’s sighting would fit with other known events. It places Eddowes and JtR at a vantage point where PC Watkin’s 1:30 patrol of Mitre Square would be noted, informing them that the area will be vacant for sufficient time to complete a transaction. The opening of the door by Morris occurs around the time when JtR would have had sufficient time to complete the mutilations, and would act as a trigger for JtR to leave, with St. James Place being the probable, but not only, exit route (Mitre Street would require him to exit passed the opened door). A later possible trigger would be PC Harvey coming down Church Passage (but not entering Mitre Square), and while possible, requires JtR to sit tight until PC Harvey turns around and heads away. The gas lamp makes PC Harvey not seeing JtR or the body, which are in the dark, explainable – we know he didn’t spot Eddowes’ body, which must have been there at the time after all, so it is possible that JtR was as well. I hold that to be the less likely than JtR exiting when the door was opened.

    Also, the above works for a range of times, allowing for some error in the testified times of events. Alternatives, like Eddowes bumping into JtR in Mitre Square, and Lawende and company seeing other people at the end of Church Passage, seem less tenable as neither Eddowes nor JtR can enter Mitre Square from Church Passage, and if either entered from Mitre Street, then PC Watkins would have spotted them as he was patrolling that street at the times they have to enter Mitre Square for there to be sufficient time for the murder to occur. That only leaves them both entering through St. James place, replicating the scenario we have for Church Passage but for which we have no evidence but create a fairly substatial coincidence that two other people are seen at the only other entrance to Mitre Square, with the woman wearing clothes later identified as at least similar to Eddowes’.

    - Jeff

  • #2
    Originally posted by JeffHamm View Post
    ........ That only leaves them both entering through St. James place, replicating the scenario we have for Church Passage but for which we have no evidence but create a fairly substatial coincidence that two other people are seen at the only other entrance to Mitre Square,.......
    Hello Jeff.

    Witness James Blenkinsop, a night watchman at the all night Fire Station in St. James Place saw a man & woman pass by him into the Square around the time of the murder.
    Regards, Jon S.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Wickerman View Post

      Hello Jeff.

      Witness James Blenkinsop, a night watchman at the all night Fire Station in St. James Place saw a man & woman pass by him into the Square around the time of the murder.
      Ooo, that is interesting. Do we know at what time this was?

      - Jeff

      Comment


      • #4
        Sorry, not at the Fire Station, he was the watchman at some roadworks. (I checked the A-Z).
        Regards, Jon S.

        Comment


        • #5
          Isn't he the fellow that was asked if he saw a man and woman enter Mitre Square? (While some have suggested he was asked by Jack, I suspect it was probably by one of the plain clothes detectives after the discovery of Eddowes). He wasn't called to the inquest, which seems odd, but regardless I don't recall what time he is reported as having seen the couple. In fact, I only the bit about him being asked and either never knew, or have forgotten, that he replied in the affirmative. If he places the sighting around 1:30-1:33ish, then that couple fits the time line as well. Any earlier, and Watkins hasn't entered Mitre Square yet, when he reports all clear, and much later and we have PC Harvey patrolling Church Passage with JtR in the shadows (again, not impossible). But, it does allow things to start earlier by a few minutes, as we no longer would have to keep Eddowes and JtR at the end of Church Passage until after Lawende and company go past, between 1:33 and 1:35ish. We would have to accept as coincidence of Lawende identifying her clothes as similar to what he recalled, but it's not like her clothes were unusual, and apart from perhaps the white apron, nothing much to notice in the dark of the night.

          - Jeff

          Comment


          • #6
            Yes Jeff, the time given was "about 1:30", a well-dressed man stopped and asked if he had seen anyone pass through.
            It's interesting that this sighting was not followed up. One reason might be that (as we have been led to believe) couples walking through the city at night were supposed to be followed - how likely that is I don't know.
            So, if, as Blenkingsop suspected, this well-dressed man was a detective, then Eddowes died because this detective lost sight of them.

            Maybe that is why no effort was taken to locate Blenkingsop?
            Regards, Jon S.

            Comment


            • #7
              "James Blenkingsop, who was on duty as a watchman in St. James's-place (leading to the square), where some street improvements are taking place, states that about half-past one a respectably-dressed man came up to him and said, "Have you seen a man and a woman go through here?" "I didn't take any notice," returned Blenkingsop. "I have seen some people pass." "
              Star, 1 Oct. 1888.
              Regards, Jon S.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Wickerman View Post
                "James Blenkingsop, who was on duty as a watchman in St. James's-place (leading to the square), where some street improvements are taking place, states that about half-past one a respectably-dressed man came up to him and said, "Have you seen a man and a woman go through here?" "I didn't take any notice," returned Blenkingsop. "I have seen some people pass." "
                Star, 1 Oct. 1888.
                Hi Wickerman,

                Ah, ok, so he doesn't say he saw a man and woman go into Mitre Square specifically, only that some people passed at some point prior to 1:30 (presuming his recollection of the time is correct). Still, I suppose it leaves the option open, though we don't have anything to indicate that Eddowes was actually being followed at that time (other than the generic standing instruction to watch couples making it possible). If he was questioned after the murder, and had his estimate of the time wrong (a speculation on my part here), then it raises the possibility that one of the people he saw pass was JtR leaving Mitre Square (but I would think that possibility would have raised more interest in his statement).

                Also, while I've indicated a flight path out through St. James Place (as that seems to be the one that most people have favoured), JtR could just as easily have left through Mitre Street and headed north, and that gets him free and clear as well. Basically either of the two northern escapes routes work, only Church Passage is almost (but not quite) out of the question.

                Given the above vagueness of his statement, I think I would suggest only a minor modification to my initial post, and that is that his statement doesn't preclude what we've been talking about now, but it is too minimal to assert that Lawende and company's sighting is not to be preferred in terms of priority.

                - Jeff

                Also, since he says he wasn't taking much notice, PC Watkins does pass through at various times, and PCs are people too.
                Last edited by JeffHamm; 05-06-2019, 01:54 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi Jeff,

                  A couple of things and thanks for starting the thread, btw.

                  The club Lawende and Co. were at was not a pub. The Imperial Club was a Jewish socialist club. Sound familiar? They left at about 1:35 due to the heavy rain. So hard was the rain, Lawende claims in a Lloyds report, they "could not" leave the premises. This leaves me with a bunch of questions and a reason I started a thread on JTRforums to discuss this very scenario. Where were all the people involved in this case when the heavy rain was pouring down near Mitre Square at 1:30ish and possibly a time before that? Did Kate take shelter along the way from the Police Station? Why did none of the witnesses, except Lawende, mention the heavy rain? Why was there no mention of Kate's clothes being wet with rain? No puddles in the square? etc etc.

                  Lloyds
                  Sept. 30, 1888


                  In London has the most uncertainty prevailed and late last evening the heaviest downpour of the week occurred.


                  PC Harvey said in his testimony he heard George Morris blow the whistle when he was returning toward Duke Street. That puts him somewhere between Mitre Street and Duke Street when the whistle was blown.

                  A statement was made by a Mrs. Lindsay and her husband and corroborated by a Miss Solomon. Mrs. Lindsay lived at 11, Duke Street, almost directly across from Church Passage, and heard someone say to another, I am not the murderer, and she saw a man hurry down Duke Street toward Aldgate. The man was carrying an umbrella and a parcel. The time was unknown.

                  Last, this is kind of a side issue I have had with the scene of the crime. Off topic a bit to this discussion. Kate was found on her back with her arms by her side and her hands facing palms up. How does that happen?
                  Last edited by jerryd; 05-06-2019, 03:48 AM. Reason: corrected spelling on the word "Station"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi jerryd,

                    Originally posted by jerryd View Post
                    Hi Jeff,

                    A couple of things and thanks for starting the thread, btw.

                    The club Lawende and Co. were at was not a pub.
                    Of course, I even knew that. Clearly my own thoughts of where I would like to be are projecting here!

                    The Imperial Club was a Jewish socialist club. Sound familiar? They left at about 1:35 due to the heavy rain. So hard was the rain, Lawende claims in a Lloyds report, they "could not" leave the premises.
                    Yes, Lawende testifies 5 minutes, but Levy testifies 3-4 minutes after 1. I went for the minimum to give the most-play in terms of times available, but pretty much 3-5 minutes works, getting tighter towards 5 minutes though.

                    This leaves me with a bunch of questions and a reason I started a thread on JTRforums to discuss this very scenario. Where were all the people involved in this case when the heavy rain was pouring down near Mitre Square at 1:30ish and possibly a time before that? Did Kate take shelter along the way from the Police Staion? Why did none of the witnesses, except Lawende, mention the heavy rain? Why was there no mention of Kate's clothes being wet with rain? No puddles in the square? etc etc.
                    I guess rain was common enough that people took shelter under awnings, etc, until it passed, but it wasn't worth detailing as testimony. Perhaps that is what the couple, be it Eddowes and JtR or two other people, at the end of Church Passage were doing, finding a corner to provide shelter from the rain? The woman is reported as having her hand on the man's chest, which would fit something like that as she huddles close to him for warmth and shelter.


                    Lloyds
                    Sept. 30, 1888


                    In London has the most uncertainty prevailed and late last evening the heaviest downpour of the week occurred.


                    PC Harvey said in his testimony he heard George Morris blow the whistle when he was returning toward Duke Street. That puts him somewhere between Mitre Street and Duke Street when the whistle was blown.
                    Yes, and if we continue plotting his position until 1:44-1:45 type thing, 1:44 puts him beetween Mitre Street and Duke Street, heading towards Duke and 1:45 puts him back at the start (where he's located at 1:28). That fits his description. I could slow him down on his route if one felt that the whistle blows much later than 1:44-1:45, but given the margin of error for reported times, I think it works well enough for current purposes.


                    A statement was made by a Mrs. Lindsay and her husband and corroborated by a Miss Solomon. Mrs. Lindsay lived at 11, Duke Street, almost directly across from Church Passage, and heard someone say to another, I am not the murderer, and she saw a man hurry down Duke Street toward Aldgate. The man was carrying an umbrella and a parcel. The time was unknown.
                    Oh, that's new to me. I've not heard of this statement before. I've often forgotten things, but usually recognize them when reminded. This doesn't ring any bells.


                    Last, this is kind of a side issue I have had with the scene of the crime. Off topic a bit to this discussion. Kate was found on her back with her arms by her side and her hands facing palms up. How does that happen?
                    Perhaps JtR places them that way, either posing her or just moving her arms out of the way?

                    - Jeff

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If we add a minute to Jack's leaving (Lawende's sighting at 1:34), that's about the time PC Harvey is estimated to be coming up Church Passage, again, a reasonable trigger for JtR to get out of there (though risking being heard of course). Add another minute, and JtR has waited for PC Harvey to return back out of Church Passage and then flees. These both seem a bit spectacular though. But, if we slow down PC Harvey after checking the time at the post-office (1:28) to wait out the downpour at 1:30, then he would be some number of minutes behind schedule, let's say 2 or 3, and that would also explain why perhaps PC Watkin's reports a 14 minute circuit but reports that it takes between 12-14 (so on the long end; again, wait out the rain for a minute or 2, and he's at the long end of his patrol time). There's certainly play in these numbers, but most of them just give JtR more time, making the whole situation less "threading the needle". In the end, we know he didn't have much time, and he left without being spotted. We also know there are a couple of events that occur that might have prompted his exit (Morris opening the door; PC Harvey coming up the alley), and if either of them were the trigger, and the murder required at least 5 minutes, we can work backwards to estimate roughly when they both were there to start. And that time meshes with the Lawende sighting well enough. Yes, it's all pretty down to the wire, but it had to be given PC Watkins patrol was only 12-14 minutes long.

                      - Jeff

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Just checking A-Z, and after reading up on Blenkingsop went to the "unidentified witnesses at Mitre Square" entry, where it indicates that both the passage from St. James Place and Church Passage, were covered - making either a suitable spot to take cover from the rain. It would also make JtRs approaching her in either of those places at that time less suspicious, etc, and being caught in a downpour might make any agitation one might (unnecessarily of course) impart upon him less off putting. The downpour could offer an explanation of how Eddowes and JtR ended up together (seeking shelter), and if JtR had just killed Stride, how he might have decided he couldn't pass up this opportunity even if after fleeing from Stride's murder he was not actually seeking a second victim. An entirely normal set of events may have been in play, with one very decidedly not normal character involved.

                        Anyway, the USAMR entry in A-Z also indicate that fireman in the square were interviewed, and reported that they saw nobody leave Mitre Square through St. James Place. That might suggest JtR went out into Mitre Street, and headed North and say up Bury Street rather than through St James Place. All the same times work as for out through St. James Place, so either route is equally plausible.

                        - Jeff

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by JeffHamm View Post
                          Oh, that's new to me. I've not heard of this statement before. I've often forgotten things, but usually recognize them when reminded. This doesn't ring any bells.
                          I'd always assumed that the Duke St incident was someone being questioned by Halse or one of the other detectives searching the streets and questioning anyone they came across. Perhaps a passerby, or another club member leaving. I wonder if declaring "I am not the murderer" counts as giving a satisfactory account of themselves?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Wickerman View Post
                            "James Blenkingsop, who was on duty as a watchman in St. James's-place (leading to the square), where some street improvements are taking place, states that about half-past one a respectably-dressed man came up to him and said, "Have you seen a man and a woman go through here?" "I didn't take any notice," returned Blenkingsop. "I have seen some people pass." "
                            Star, 1 Oct. 1888.
                            It may help establish the fact that more than just the woman and Sailor man were near that square that night, which is enough to suspend belief that Lawende must have seen Kate. Thanks Wick.
                            Michael Richards

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Wickerman View Post
                              Yes Jeff, the time given was "about 1:30", a well-dressed man stopped and asked if he had seen anyone pass through.
                              It's interesting that this sighting was not followed up. One reason might be that (as we have been led to believe) couples walking through the city at night were supposed to be followed - how likely that is I don't know.
                              So, if, as Blenkingsop suspected, this well-dressed man was a detective, then Eddowes died because this detective lost sight of them.

                              Maybe that is why no effort was taken to locate Blenkingsop?
                              Or the time was wrong, and the well dressed man was a detective making enqs following the discovery of the body !

                              www.trevormarriott.co.uk

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