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The Nichols Murder in the Evening Post

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  • The Nichols Murder in the Evening Post

    As the Evening Post is not one of the newspapers featured in the press reports section and as its reports on the Nichols murder contain some small bits of information that I don't think appear elsewhere I thought it would be a useful exercise to transcribe them from its special editions of 31 Aug, 1 Sept and 3 Sept 1888 as below:

    31 August 1888


    A Woman Found Barbarously Hacked to Death in the Street

    A murder excelling in atrocity any that has disgraced even the East-end was committed during last night in a street of Whitechapel. Between three and four in the morning Police-constable Neil, in going round his beat, found the body of a murdered woman lying in the gutter in Buck’s-row. It presented a terrible spectacle. The throat had been so severely cut that the head was nearly severed, the great gaping wound, extending behind each ear. The woman’s clothes, which were cut and saturated with blood, revealed further injuries, the diabolical nature of which was only fully seen when the garments came to be removed. As the woman had been dead for some considerable time, the constable got assistance and took the remains to the Whitechapel mortuary, which was only a hundred of so yards away, behind the Pavilion Music Hall. Buck’s-row is a street running parallel with Whitechapel-road, and the place where the body was found was near the top of Thomas-street, which is opposite the London Hospital.

    At the mortuary the clothes were taken from the body, and revealed gaping wounds, which had been inflicted in a perfectly fiendish manner, and apparently with a large knife such as butchers use. It must have had a keen edge. Apparently in the first instance the knife had been thrust into her neck behind the left ear, and a horrible wound inflicted. Then, thrust in, in a similar position behind the right ear, it was wrenched round with such force as to approach as nearly to decapitation as was possible. In the lower part of the body the wounds were of a still more frightful character. The knife had been thrust into the lower point of the body, and the woman deliberately ripped open to the breast, casing almost complete disembowelment. Again the knife had been thrust into the body under each breast, and drawn down to the thighs in a zig-zag fashion. A more terrible scene that that disclosed by the mutilated remains, as they lay upon the mortuary slab, could never have been witnessed. Whether the wounds in the body were caused before the throat was cut or not it is impossible at present to say; but any one of the wounds was of such a desperate character that it must of itself have proved fatal.

    The body of the victim has not yet been identified. She was not known to the police, and was a stranger in the neighbourhood. Apparently she was a respectable woman, though her clothing showed that she was poor. Some of her undergarments have a workhouse mark. There was no sign at all that she was of abandoned habits. A clean, tidy respectable woman – so one of the policemen described her – between 35 and 40 years of age, and standing about 5ft 2in in height. There was a mark upon the third finger of her left hand, leading to the conclusion that she had worn a wedding ring, and that it had been forcibly taken away. The eyes were blackened and swollen, and there were marks upon her face as though she had had a desperate struggle with her assailant, and had been brutally beaten about the face before the assassin commenced to use the terrible weapon with which she was murdered. Some of her teeth were also knocked out. That the first injury must have left her helpless and nearly dead appears to be shown by the fact that though Buck’s-row is a thickly-populated district no screams for help reached the neighbours. Several people in the street affirm that they heard an affray, but it was not of such an unusual nature as to cause them to leave their dwellings to go out and see what it was.

    The neighbourhood of the murder is in a state of great excitement to-day, and a strong force of police has been put on around the mortuary, and, with the exception of the police-surgeon and the police who stripped the body, no-one is allowed inside. The clothes, however, were spread upon the ground with the gaze of some two score children who thronged the outer gate of the yard and taxed the energies of the constable to keep them in order. The deceased had worn a rough brown ulster, with large buttons. Her stiff dress was her newest and best garment, some of the other clothes being very old, especially the boots, which were split in many places. The manner in which the clothes were torn and cut bore evidence of the brutal ferocity with which the deadly attack had been made.

    Inspector Helson, of the Criminal Investigation Department, and Sergeants Enright and Godley are engaged in investigating the details of the tragedy.


    All the afternoon there has been a constant succession of visitors to the Whitechapel mortuary with a view to the identification of the murdered woman. In a large number of instances the preliminary questioning by the inspector of police enabled him to say their errand was in vain. The clothes remained in the yard, and a glance at these convinced others that they need not pursue the matter further. About three o’clock this afternoon, however, a middle-aged woman attended, who at once identified the clothing in a positive manner. On seeing the body of the victim she said at once she knew her. The deceased had lived for a period of about six weeks at a lodging-house in Charles-street but was very reticent as to her position. No one even knew her name, except that she had said it was “Polly”. She had also said that she was married and that her husband was alive, as well as a son of 18. But as she did not like to be questioned on the subject, the others in the house forbore to ask her further questions. With this to guide them together with the fact that that the woman was wearing workhouse clothing – though the exact name of the workhouse was torn off – the police are confident of being able to trace her. The deceased had not been seen at the lodging house for the last seven or eight days. Other women from the same house were sent for by the police, and they also identified the body, but knew no additional particulars concerning her. At intervals also the policeman of the district likely to have met the deceased viewed the corpse. One of them recognised her as the women he had seen about and he made a confidential communication to the inspector. The purport of it did not transpire but the inspector appeared to attach great importance to it, and shortly afterwards left the mortuary.

    1 September 1888


    Later Investigations Throw a New Light on the Tragedy


    Several points were elucidated in the course of last night’s inquiry into the circumstances attending the fiendish murder of a woman in Buck’s Row, Whitechapel, which throw a very different light upon the tragedy. In the first instance the statement of the police-constable who found the body was to the effect that it was lying in a pool of blood. The obvious conclusion was that she had been murdered on the spot where she was found, and the balance of opinion was in favour of its having been done by one man. All this has been changed, however, by the observation of Dr Llewellyn, who was called to see the body before its removal to the mortuary. Instead of the pool of blood in the street there was lost a small quantity – something less than half a pint, all of which had run from the wound in the throat. The woman, had, therefore, beyond a doubt been murdered in some dwelling near at hand, and not removed to the street until the blood had drained from the body. Another point seems to show that she was undressed at the time the wounds were inflicted; because the cuts in her clothes do not correspond with the barbarous wounds on the body; and the zigzag gashes on each side could not possibly have been inflicted with her clothes on. Again, the garments are not saturated with blood, as they must have even had she been dressed at the time. The condition of the clothes rather appears to point to the fact that they had been put upon her just before the body was removed to the street. That the murder must have been committed in the immediate neighbourhood also appears certain from the fact that when found the body was still warm.

    During the evening other people visited the mortuary and further information was obtained as to the deceased. During the afternoon, as stated in THE EVENING POST of last night, three women from Thrawl-street, Spitalfields, identified the body as that of a woman who was only known as “Polly,” and who had been a lodger at a lodging-house in that street, sharing a room with three other women in the usual terms of 4d a night. From this she had been turned away on Thursday night in consequence of having no money. She was seen by a woman of the neighbourhood as late as 2.30 in the morning – which must have been shortly before she was murdered – in Whitechapel-road, opposite the church. At about half-past seven yesterday evening a woman named Mary Ann Monk, who is at present an inmate of the Lambeth Workhouse, attended at the mortuary and identified the body as that of Mary Ann Nicholls, who was in the workhouse in April and May last, leaving on May 12 to take a situation as a servant at Wandsworth Common. She appears to have stayed there only a short time. It is also stated that she had been an inmate of the Lambeth Workhouse off and on for a period of seven years.

    Detective-Inspector Abberline, of Scotland-yard, who has joined Inspector Helson in the investigation of the tragedy, says the police have no theory with respect to the matter, except that a sort of ‘High Rip’ gang infests the neighbourhood, and blackmails woman frequenting the streets, taking vengeance on those who do not give them money. They base that surmise on the fact that within 12 months two other women have been murdered in the district by almost similar means – one as recently as August 6 last – and left in the gutter of the street in the early hours of the morning.

    Dr. Llewellyn has made the following statement:- “I was called to Buck's row about five minutes to four this morning by Police-constable Thane, who said a woman had been murdered. I went to the place at once, and found deceased lying on the ground in front of the stableyard door. She was lying on her back with her legs out straight, as though she had been laid down. Police-constable Neil told me that the body had not been touched. The throat was cut from ear to ear, and the woman was quite dead. On feeling the extremities of the body, I found that they were still warm, showing that death had not long ensued. A crowd was now gathering, and as it was undesirable to make a further examination in the street, I ordered the removal of the body to the mortuary, telling the police to send for me again if anything of importance transpired. There was a very small pool of blood in the pathway, which had trickled from the wound in the throat, not more than would fill two wine glasses, or half a pint at the outside. This fact and the way which the deceased was lying made me think at the time that it was probable that the murder was committed elsewhere, and the body conveyed to Buck's-row. At the time I had no idea of the fearful abdominal wounds which had been inflicted upon the body. At half past five I was summoned to the mortuary by the police, and was astonished at finding the other wounds. I have seen many horrible cases, but never such a brutal affair as this. From the nature of the cuts on the throat it is probable that they were inflicted with the left hand. There is mark at the point of the jaw on the right side of the deceased's face as though made by a person's thumb, and a similar bruise on the left side, as if the woman's head had been pushed back and her throat then cut. There is a gash under the left ear reaching nearly to the centre of the throat, and another cut apparently starting from the right ear. The neck is severed back to the vertebrae, which is also slightly injured. The abdominal wounds are extraordinary for their length and the severity with which they have been inflicted. Deceased's clothes were loose, and the wounds could have been inflicted while she was dressed."


    During the greater part of this morning, Dr. Llewellyn and his assistant was engaged in making a minute examination of the body and the wounds. For this purpose it was taken from the shell in which it had lain all night in the mortuary, and placed upon a slab in the adjoining building, erected specially for post-mortem examinations. It is a lean-to-shed in the vestry yard, glazed along the entire front with large windows that open outwards from the bottom in order to let a current of air through the room. Closely-drawn blinds of yellow material kept out the inquisitive rays of the sun, and prevented the atmosphere from becoming close and obnoxious. When THE EVENING POST reporter arrived, about 11 o’clock, he found some half-dozen detectives in the yard, and a couple of men waiting to identify the body. Advancing to the open door, he saw a gaseous spectacle. The stripped body of the murdered woman lay upon the slab, with the flesh of that peculiarly yellow and ghastly tint usual in deaths from violence. As the doctor was engaged in examining the fearful wound in the abdomen – which looked like nothing so much as that which would be inflicted by an Eastern fanatic perishing from self-disembowelment – the head fell back over the slab, revealing the deadly gash in the throat. The windpipe, completely severed, stood but prominently in the centre of a maze of blood-clotted flesh. It looked as though a touch would make the head fall back upon the floor. The body, which was fairly clean, was exceedingly well-proportioned, and showed that that deceased was a woman of unusually good figure for her class in life. The surgeon was in his shirt sleeve, drawing out the intestines and their covering, and minutely examining them for traces of injury. Now and again he would pause in the examination, and, still holding a portion of the internal anatomy of the woman in his hand, would dictate something in a low tone to his assistant, who stood on the other side of the slab with a book supported on a piece of wood, and wrote it down. The calm scientific demeanour of the doctor counteracted somewhat the awful nature of the spectacle. He looked as though he was delivering a lecture on anatomy, or posing for one of those gruesome “old masters” who appal spectators by the awful nature of their realism and anatomical accuracy. The terrible nature of the abdominal injuries had not been in the least exaggerated in the early accounts of the murder. They enabled the surgeon to make a post-mortem examination of the whole of the internal organs of the woman below the breasts, and he found that not only was she well nourished, but a fairly healthy subject. Beyond the gashes already described, there were no marks upon the body except the bruises on the face. It was upon the face, after surveying the wounds, that the gaze lingered for some moments. Distorted in death as it was, the sight was unpleasant; but after a moment’s look, one could readily imagine that the deceased had been a pleasant sort of woman. The hair, of the darkest brown, though wet with the perspiration of the mortal agony, stood out from the head, instead of lying limp and dank as in a case of natural death. The eyes were closed, and the skin around them loose and wrinkled. The nose approached the aquiline. The mouth looked capable of a pleasant smile, did it not display the teeth broken in the deadly struggle and carry a look of pain. Deceased was a sharp featured woman, of a by no means degraded type.

    By the time THE EVENING POST reporter had gathered in these details, a detective advanced to the doctor, who, in response to his request, drew a sheet over the body of the woman, leaving the head exposed. A coffee-stall keeper was brought in. He had stood all night with his stall in the Whitechapel-road near the scene of the murder, and remembered a man and a woman calling at the stall about three o’clock in the morning of the murder. The detective lifted up the head of the woman, and the coffee-stall keeper looked upon it, but soon turned loathingly away, saying that it was not the woman.

    Then came forward a butcher’s salesman named Scorer, who is employed at Smithfield, and who thought it might be his wife, whom he separated from 11 years ago, and whom he saw about five weeks ago. He, however, failed to recognise her, and the marks he had previously mentioned as existing upon her thigh and arm were not to be found.

    The police are leaving no stone unturned to find out where the murder was committed. Every house in the neighbourhood has been visited where it was likely any trace could be found of such a tragedy, but without result.


    The inquest on the body of the murdered woman was held at one o’clock at the Working Lad’s Institute, Whitechapel-road, which adjoins the Whitechapel Station of the Metropolitan Railway, by Mr Wynne E Baxter, coroner for East Middlesex. Inspector Habbertine (sic)of Scotland Yard, and Inspector Helson, of the J Division, appeared for the police. Seventeen Persons were sworn upon the jury and in the administration of the oath the name of Mary Ann Nicholls was taken as that of the deceased. The first proceeding was to view the corpse, and, after being sworn, the jury, with the coroner and police, walked to the mortuary, some 300 yards distance, for that purpose. The body had been replaced in the shell and was hidden in a winding-sheet. Some of the jury were satisfied with a glance through the window at the contents of the coffin, which was reared up in side. Others went inside and drew down the covering and inspected the wound in the throat. The wounds on the body were not visible. Seen in this way the corpse looked far more ghastly than when seen out of the coffin.

    Edward Walker, of Maiden-street, Albany-road, Camberwell, was the first witness. He said he had seen the body at the mortuary and identified it as his daughter. He had not seen her for three years. He recognised her by a mark upon the forehead which had been caused when she was child. It was slightly visible. Her married name was Mary Ann Nicholls. She had been married about 22 years – quite 22 years. He had one of her sons living with him now. Her husband’s name was William Nicholls, and he was alive. He was a printer’s machinist. They had been separated for some length of time – seven or eight years. Witness last heard of her just before Easter. She was 42 year of age. At that time she wrote him a letter. This letter was handed to the coroner and was read, as follows:-

    “Eagleside, Rose-road, Wandsworth
    “Dear Father, - I daresay you will be glad to know that I am settled in my new place and going on all right up to now. My people went out yesterday and have not returned, so I was left in charge. It is a grand place inside, and gardens back and front, and all been newly done up. They are teetotallers and religious, so I hope to get on. They are very nice people and I have not too much to do. I hope you are all right and the boy at work. So now, good-bye for the present. – Yours truly, POLLY. Let me know how you are.

    Did you answer? – Yes.

    And did you ever hear again? – No.

    Did you write a long letter back? – Yes.

    And did you not know what became of her? – No.

    Examination continued. He last saw her about two years ago, but did not speak to her. She attended the funeral of her brother, who had died from an accident with a paraffin lamp. He did not speak to her because they had disagreed. She left him to better herself, as she said, and he did not like it. She was not a particularly sober woman. That was why they disagreed. She was not “fast” with men. She used to speak to women about the neighbourhood but he knew nothing else against her. He had no idea of such a thing.

    Why did she leave her husband? Well, she lived in a home with another woman. This woman nursed her in her confinement, and then the husband used to live with the nurse and had another family by her. The deceased had five children altogether. The eldest was 21 years of age, and the youngest eight or nine. She left her husband when the youngest was about a year old. Four children were at home with the father, and the other lived with witness. He could not say whether she had lived with anyone since. He had heard that three or four years ago she was living with a man named Drew – Thomas Drew – but he did not know. Drew lived in York-street, Walworth, and was a smith. He lived there now for all witness new. He had not heard of her living with anyone else. There was a summoning job once, when her husband was summoned by the Lambeth parish for not supporting her, and the husband said she had been living with someone else. She denied it, and no evidence was given. The summons was dismissed. The name of the person was not stated. That was the only time he ever heard of anything of the kind. He thought she was in service now at Wandsworth Common, and did not know she had gone away. She was in Lambeth Workhouse before he went into service at Wandsworth Common. The husband of the deceased lived in Coburg-road, Old Kent-road. Witness did not think the husband knew of her death. He knew nothing that would help to elucidate the mystery of her death.

    Police constable Neil said that on Friday evening at a quarter to four he was proceeding down Buck’s-row Whitechapel, from Thomas-street, when he found the body of the deceased. There was no-one about at the time. He went round there half an hour previously, and met no one then. It was on the right hand side of Buck’s-row he found the body lying upon the footway. It was dark at the time. The nearest lamp was on the opposite side, some distance away. On the opposite side of the road was Essex Wharf, belonging to Mr Brown who owned some stables on the side where deceased was lying. There was also a row of houses, all of which were occupied. Deceased was lying lengthways to the street and not across the pavement, her left hand touching the gate of the stables. When he saw the body he turned on his light and saw that blood was oozing from her throat. Her legs were apart and her clothes turned up to her knees. The palms of her hands were open and turned up to the sky. Feeling her arm, he found it was quite warm. Her eyes were quite open, and her bonnet was lying beside her left hand. Hearing a constable passing near he turned on his light and called to him. He came, and witness said “Here’s a woman cut her throat*, thinking it a case of suicide. The other constable went for Dr Llewellyn. Another constable passed along Baker’s-row, the next street and witness called to him to fetch the ambulance. He remained by the body until Dr Llewellyn came. He came within 10 minutes. Witness had in the meantime rung the bell at the Essex Wharf. A man appeared at the window and in answer to a question said he had not heard any unusual noise.

    The inquiry was adjourned.

    [* - The quotation marks are not closed in the original article] 

    3 September 1888


    Detectives Baffled as to the Locale of the Terrible Crime


    Nothing has transpired since Saturday morning to throw any new light upon the Buck’s –row tragedy. The only bit of fresh evidence is the additional testimony of the husband that the deceased was Mary Ann Nicholls. His name is William Nicholls, and he is a journeyman printer living in Coburg-street, Old Kent-road. He was very much affected on viewing the corpse, but promptly identified it as his wife, from whom he had been separated eight years. He gave her age as 44, which is nearly ten years more than that surmised by the police. She was undoubtedly a young-looking woman for her age. As he gazed upon the remains of his wife he murmered, “I forgive you – as you are – for what you have been to me” Asked as to her teeth, he said the front teeth, which were supposed to have been knocked out by the murderer, had been out for some years – thus upsetting one of the conclusions of the police.

    After much cogitation upon the matter, the police have discarded the idea of a “high rip” gang being responsible for this and the previous murders of a similar character, and have returned to the first idea, that they are the work of one man. This necessitates also a return to the theory that the woman was murdered upon the spot where she was found. The difficulty with regard to the inadequacy of the blood-stains still remains to combat this idea; but, on the other hand, a very careful search by Detective-sergeant Enright has failed to reveal the slightest traces of the body having been conveyed to the spot. Apart from the fact that no trap was seen by any of the constables in the neighbourhood, there were no wheel marks to be discovered near the place where she was lying. The doctor, too, has been closely questioned upon this point, and has stated that though he should have expected to find more blood upon the clothes and ground, it was possible that the greater part had run into the loose tissues of the body, the fact that she was lying upon her back contributing to this. Having arrived at this conclusion, the police have been comparing the circumstances of this crime with the two previous murders of women of the same class, and they have come to the conclusion that all three are traceable to the same hand. At present, however, they have no tangible clue, though certain information has reached them which, they hope may lead to some result in the desired direction. The statement that an arrest has been made is without foundation.

    An EVENING POST reporter, on making special inquiries this morning, was assured that no arrest was in contemplation as the matter at present stands. About twenty detectives have been specially told off to make inquiries.


    The inquest was resumed at the Working Lads’ Institute, Whitechapel-road, by Mr Wynne Baxter, this morning. There was no attendance of the general public, and no crowd around the door, as on Saturday.

    Inspector Spratling, of the J division, said that about half-past four on Friday morning he heard of the murder whilst in the Hackney-road. He went to the police-station to ascertain further particulars, but not hearing any he proceeded to the spot. He there saw Police-constable Thain, who pointed out the spot where the deceased had been found. There was a slight stain of blood between the stones. The body had then been removed to the mortuary in Old Montague-street. They went together to the mortuary, and found the deceased upon the ambulance in the yard, the mortuary –keeper having been sent for to unlock the dead-house. Whilst waiting for this officer to arrive he took a description of the deceased. In doing so he partly turned up the clothing, but not did discover anything at that time.

    Subsequently, when the body was placed on the floor of the mortuary, he was taking a more accurate description of the under garments when he discovered this injury to the abdomen. The flesh was turned over from right to left, and the intestines exposed. He immediately covered up the wound and sent for Dr Llewellyn. There were no blood marks between the groin and the knees –unless it might be a spot or so. There was no quantity of blood. He did not take very much notice. Not feeling very well at the time, it “turned him up”. The skin of the woman was clean, but he should say there was no evidence of its having been washed. The doctor came and made a second examination. The body was stripped by two persons from the workhouse.

    The Coroner complained of this, saying that some official ought to have been present, in order that evidence could be given. It was important to know the state of the clothing.

    Inspector Spratling, continuing his evidence, said that when he next visited the mortuary the body had been stripped, and the clothing was in the yard. There was a pair of stays of ordinary size. He could not say if they were injured.

    The Coroner: It is important to know about these stays because they might be supposed to have protected a portion of the body that was cut.

    A police-constable was sent to fetch them.

    The Coroner: In these matters it is the little things that tell the tales.

    Witness said the stays were fastened when he first saws the woman. He did not see any blood upon the petticoats. There was some about the chest part of the dress. There was a little on the chemise in front, as though from lying on the wound. When he drew up the clothes in the first instance he could not see to the top of the abdominal injury, which extend to the breast bone. That part would be covered by the stays.

    The Coroner: I should think that must be so from the evidence of the doctor.
    Witness: By raising the stays, without any force, the top of the injury could be seen. They were not tight-fitting.

    The Coroner: We know that in these days women are tightly bound in stays, and it would not be possible to raise them so as to see the breast bone.
    Witness: They would be tight fitting in a standing position; but when lying down I take it there would be a considerable looseness.

    The Coroner; Not if they are tightly “stayed”.

    The Foreman: Can we see them? This is very important.

    The Coroner: We must do so.

    Continuing his evidence, witness said he had examined Buck’s-row, and could find no stains or marks of a suspicious character. Afterwards he went to the Great Eastern Railway yard and embankment, and other open spaces in the neighbourhood and found nothing, neither blood nor weapon. A man named Green, carman for Mr Brown, swilled away the blood from the pavement in Buck’s-row after the body had been removed. There was a gateman at the Great Eastern yard all night, and his box was 50 or 60 yards away. He had also made in inquiries in the neighbourhood, but no one had heard any screams. Mrs Green, whose room overlooked the spot, was walking about her bedroom between three and a quarter past, but heard nothing.

    By the Foreman: The policeman working that beat would be round Buck’s-row about every 20 minutes. It was his opinion that the woman had been murdered with her clothes on.

    Henry Tomkins, of 12, Coventry-street, said he was employed at the slaughter-house in Winthrop-street, which was near the scene of the murder. He commenced work between eight and nine o’clock, and left off at 20 minutes past four on Friday morning. He generally went home when leaving off work, but did not do so that morning. He and his fellow workers went for a walk. A policeman having told them of the murder, they went down Buck’s-row to see the woman lying in the road. There were with him James Mountford and Charles Britten. They had not been out of the yard previously since 20 minutes past 12 when they went out to be in time for a drink and returned to work at one o’clock. No-one left the yard between one and four o’clock, and their work was quiet work, but he heard no noise. All the gates were open during the whole time. He saw no one pass until he saw the policeman.

    Were there many women about during the night?
    -Oh, I know nothing about them.

    But did you see any when you went out at one o’clock? – Oh, I don’t like them.

    I did not ask you if you liked them. I asked you if you saw any. I want to ascertain what sort of locality it is at night? - It is rather rough, I can tell you, from the look of it.

    Would there be many people about in Whitechapel-road? – Oh yes, all sorts and sizes.

    Inspector Helson, of all the J division, said he received information of the murder at 6.45 at his house, and proceeded to the Bethnal Green police-station to make himself acquainted with the facts of the discovery. He next went to the mortuary and saw the body. Deceased had on an ulster with seven buttons, five of which were buttoned. The dress was buttoned, with the exception of two of three buttons at the neck. The stays were fastened up, and were fairly tight. They were short. There was blood on the chemise at the back of the neck. There were also blood-stains in front but apparently much blood had not escaped from the abdominal wounds, there being none upon her thighs or body. There were no bloodstains on either of the petticoats nor on the dress or ulster. The only part of her garments saturated with blood was the back of the neck of the dress and ulster, which had absorbed a great deal of blood. Between the drum and the ulster there was clotted blood, and the hair at the back of the head was clotted with blood. The body generally was that of a fairly clean person. There was no evidence of the recent washing of the lower parts of the body to remove blood. There were not cuts on the clothing. He satisfied himself that it was possible for the wounds to be inflicted whilst the clothes were upon deceased.

    By a juror: He was of opinion the murder was committed where the body was found.

    Police-constable Mizen said that on Friday morning, about a quarter to four, he was in Baker’s-row, at the corner of Hanbury-street. A man passed, who looked like a carman, and said “You are wanted round in Buck’s-row”. A carman was brought in court, and witness said he was the man. He went round and found Police-constable Neil with the deceased. At Neil’s suggestion he went for the ambulance, and afterwards assisted to remove the body. Blood was running from her neck.

    Charles Cross, the carman referred to, said he was in the employ of Messrs Pickford and Co. On Friday morning he left home about half-past three. Passing through Buck’s-row he saw something dark lying on the pavement, and, going to the centre of the road, saw that it was the figure of a woman. At the same time he heard a man coming up behind him, and stopped to let him come up. When the man got near witness went to him and he started back as though alarmed. Witness said, “Here’s a woman,” and they went across to her. Witness touched her hands, and feeling them cold, said, “I believe she is dead.” Touching her cheek, he felt it was warm. The other man put his hand over her heard, and said he fancied she was breathing a little. He then suggested they should sit her up, but witness said he should not touch her. They had better go on until they saw a policeman. The woman’s clothes were above her knees, and before they went away the other man tried to pull her clothes down, but could not. He did not notice any blood. They went away and met a constable coming out of Montague-street, and told him what they had seen, remarking that either the woman was dead or insensibly drunk. The policeman said, “All right.” He believed the policeman he met to be the last witness. Witness and the other man soon afterwards separated. He did not know who he was but he appeared to be a carman. Before he saw the body he did not remember meeting anyone after leaving his house. As the woman was lying, she looked as though she had just been outraged and had gone off in a swoon. But he had no idea she had been injured, her legs were wide open, and the toes were turned outwards.

    William Nicholls, printers’ machinist, of Coberg-road, Old Kent-road, said the deceased was his wife. He had been separated from her for eight years. He last heard of her about three years ago, but did not know what she had been doing.

    By a juror: Seven years ago he was summonsed for not supporting his wife, and pleaded that she was living with another man. He had had her watched. It was not true the separation was due to his living with her nurse. They had separated several times before the final separation, and he had forgiven her several times.

    Ellen Holland, of Thrawl-street, said she kept a lodging-house. The deceased lodged with her about six weeks. On Friday morning she saw the deceased at half-past two. She had been kept out late by a fire, and was coming home when she met the deceased at the corner of Osborne-street and Whitechapel-road. Deceased was coming down Osborne-street by herself, and was the worse for drink. She could not walk straight, but was staggering against the wall. She said she had asked for trust as the place she had been living, and they had refused her. Witness tried to persuade her to go home with her but, being in drink, deceased could not be persuaded. She said she had had her lodging money three times that day and had spent it. She did not know what deceased did for a living; she was a woman who talked very little about herself. She was a very clean woman in her habits, and was not a quarrelsome woman. She always seemed melancholy, as though some trouble was weighing upon her. When witness invited her to come home with her, deceased said she must get some money to pay her lodging, and she should come back to the house where witness lived.

    Mary Ann Monk, an inmate of Lambeth Workhouse, gave further evidence of identification, and said she saw deceased in a public-house seven weeks ago.

    This being all the evidence available to-day, the inquest was adjourned until this day fortnight, September 17, at two-o’clock.

  • #2
    Thanks, David. I look forward to reading through this. Anything in particular you want to draw our attention to? Also, I hope you reply on the Brady Street thread when you get the chance.

    Yours truly,

    Tom Wescott


    • #3
      No, I haven't posted that to make any specific points, it's simply there to add to our knowledge of events. One thing I thought was interesting when I read it was that PC Neil thought it was suicide, and said so to PC Thain. I personally haven't seen this reported elsewhere but it's quite possible that it was.

      As for the Brady Street thread, I thought I'd responded to everything. What particular post do you think I should be replying to?


      • #4
        I just wanted to also thank David for posting this. After the prolonged discussions about blood flow and minutes (in the Lechmere off the hook thread), I needed something to remind me of the real life people who had to investigate and witness this murder, to say nothing of the woman who was the victim.
        (We can play armchair theorist all we like, but Polly was a real person who died in a horrible way.)
        Anyway, thank you, and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all!
        Pat D.
        Von Konigswald: Jack the Ripper plays shuffleboard. -- Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Kurt Vonnegut, c.1970.


        • #5
          A high rip gang?

          Like James and Timothy Donovan,(not that Timothy Donovan) down for 10 and 5 years respectively for robbing Thomas Mewes aboard the Camelia in August 1885?
          Blood curdling threats were issued to ' rip his guts out' and ' rip you right up' apparently, which makes me wonder if such threats were common parlance amongst the criminal class.
          All the best.


          • #6
            See below an extract from your post re the inquest testimony of Dr LLewelyn and below an extract from my experts opinion.


            "The doctor, too, has been closely questioned upon this point, and has stated that though he should have expected to find more blood upon the clothes and ground, it was possible that the greater part had run into the loose tissues of the body, the fact that she was lying upon her back contributing to this"


            “In terms of time, there would be an initial rush of blood, but the victim’s blood pressure would rapidly subside (in a matter of seconds if the blood loss is particularly profuse) so that the rate of flow would become considerably less relatively soon after injury. After the circulation has stopped, it will be down to gravity to continue the blood loss, and clearly this will depend on position / angle and so on. Sometimes a wound will be ‘propped open’ by the position of the body, whereas in other cases the wound may be ‘squeezed shut’ by the weight of the body. Things like vessel spasm and rapid clotting can be surprisingly good at staunching the flow of blood from even very catastrophic injuries. Even if a person is lying such that their injury is gaping open and is ‘down’ in terms of gravitational direction, this does not necessarily mean that blood will continue to flow out until the body is ‘empty’. Things like collapsing vessels and valve effects can prevent this passive flow, and there are lots of ‘corners’ for the blood to go around (it is spread around lots of long thin tubes, not sitting in a large container) before it finds its way out of the injury… so it might end up ‘trapped’ within the body. I have certainly seen cases with multiple large knife wounds and copious blood at the scene, where a significant proportion of the victim’s blood has remained within the vessels to allow me to obtain good samples for toxicological analysis later in the mortuary”

            Last edited by Trevor Marriott; 12-24-2014, 03:15 AM.


            • #7
              Trevor - I realise that I started this thread but I don't know why you have addressed that post to me or what point you are trying to make from it.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post
                See below an extract from your post re the inquest testimony of Dr LLewelyn and below an extract from my experts opinion.


                "The doctor, too, has been closely questioned upon this point, and has stated that though he should have expected to find more blood upon the clothes and ground, it was possible that the greater part had run into the loose tissues of the body, the fact that she was lying upon her back contributing to this"
                This is not part of the inquest Trevor, it is a reporters summary.
                Who knows how accurate it is?
                Regards, Jon S.