JACK THE RIPPER'S FOURTH VICTIM.
As news of the discovery of the body of Elizabeth Stride was filtering through the neighbourhood, another prostitute by the name of Catherine "Kate" Eddowes was walking free from Bishopsgate Police Station.
She had been arrested at around 8.30pm the on the 29th September for being drunk and disorderly on Aldgate High Street.
Police Constable Robinson of the City Police had found her entertaining a crowd of delighted onlookers with a drunken imitation of a fire engine.
Having given her inebriated performance Catherine, having taken a bow, lay down on the pavement and went to sleep. Robinson tried to lift her to her feet and propped her against a wall. But no sooner had he done so than she slithered back down to the ground. Robinson therefore called for the assistance of fellow officer PC George Simmons and together they got her round to Bishopsgate Police Station where, when asked for her name, she replied "nothing."
Since she was evidently unable to look after herself the officers placed her in a cell to sober up and she was soon sleeping soundly.
The City Gaolor, PC George Hutt checked on her several times over the next few hours but each time she was sleeping soundly.
However, by 12.30am on the 30th September she had awoken and called out to to ask when she could be released. "When you can look after yourself," Hutt shouted back. "I can do that now" came her reply.
At 12.55am Hutt opened her cell door to release her. Asking her name, she told him that it was ‘Mary Ann Kelly" and that she lived at 6 Fashion Street.
Discharging her from custody Hutt pushed open the swing door to the passage. As she left the station, Hutt asked her to shut the door behind her. “All right” she chirped “Good Night Old Cock.”
So saying she turned left and headed off towards Houndsditch. Hutt later calculated that, walking at an "ordinary" pace, she would have taken about 8 minutes to reach Mitre Square. At the same time As the murderer of Elizabeth Stride was also heading towards Mitre Square from the opposite direction.
Mitre Square, situated about half a mile to the west of Berner Street, lay just inside the City of London boundary. In those days it was an enclosed square over which towered three imposing warehouse buildings. Three uninhabited houses and a shop backed onto its south west corner, whilst two further houses, one of which was occupied by a City Police man, Richard Pearse, nestled between the warehouses.
The square had three entrances - a fairly wide one that led from Mitre Street; the narrower St James Place (known locally as the Orange Market) in the square’s north east corner; and the long, narrow Church Passage in the south east corner that stretched into the square from Duke’s Place.
Police Constable Watkins of the City Police had passed this south-east corner at 1.30pm on a beat that took him through Mitre Square every twelve to fourteen minutes. He had his lantern on and fixed to his belt. He was later emphatic that the square had been quite deserted and that no-one could have been hiding in the square without him seeing them. He left the square and turned right towards Aldgate.
At around 1.35am three Jewish gentlemen - Harry Harris, Joseph Hyam Levy and Joseph Lawende - left the Imperial Club on Duke Street.
Walking past its junction with Church Passage they saw a woman talking quietly with a man. The woman's back was to them, but they noticed that her hand was resting on the man’s chest.
Levy immediately surmised that the couple were up to no good and told his friends that he didn't like to go home on his own when he saw these types of characters about. His sensibilities offended, he hurried by and paid them little attention. Consequently he was later unable to give the police a description of either of them, although he did say that the man might have been about 3 inches taller than the woman.
Joseph Lawende, however, was a little less disgusted and a little more observant. Although he hadn’t seen the woman’s face, he was almost certain that her clothing was that worn by Catharine Eddowes, when he was later shown it at the police station.
Although the street lighting wasn’t particularly good, he caught a brief glimpse of the man’s face and was able to provide police with a description. He had the appearance of a sailor and was aged about 30. He was around 5 feet 9 inches tall, of medium build. He had a fair complexion, and a small fair moustache. He sported a reddish neckerchief, tied in a knot; wore a pepper-and-salt coloured, loose fitting jacket, and had on a grey, peaked, cloth cap.
However, it should be noted that Lawende obtained only a quick glimpse of the man as he passed by, and since the couple were doing nothing particularly suspicious, he later maintained that he would not be able to recognize or identify the man were he to see him again.
At 1.45am Police Constable Watkins arrived back in the Square and, shining his lantern into its south-west corner saw a site that sent him reeling back in horror. Within seconds he had burst in through the doors of Kearley and Tongs warehouse, which dominated the north side of the square where he knew a retired Metropolitan Police Officer named George Morris was working as a night watchman.
“For God’s sake mate”, cried an agitated Watkins “come to my assistance…here is another woman cut to pieces”. Picking up his lamp, Morris followed the police man across the square, took one look at the horrifically mutilated body of Catherine Eddowes and then raised from the Square along Mitre Street to raise the alarm. Arriving on Aldgate he met PC James Harvey and PC Holland and led t them back to the square. Holland went immediately to fetch Dr George Sequira, from his house on nearby Jewry Street.
Sequira reached Mitre Square at around 1.55am and later told the inquest that the murder had occurred in what was probably the darkest corner of the Square. He said that death would have been instantaneous once the murderer had cut the windpipe and the blood vessels. Significantly, he was of the opinion that the murderer possessed no great anatomical skill - in other words he had only a basic knowledge of anatomy - and when asked by the Coroner if he would have expected the murderer to be bespattered with blood, replied “Not necessarily.”
Police Officers were now converging on the square from all directions. Inspector Edward Collard arrived from Bishopsgate Police Station and ordered an immediate search of the neighbourhood instructing that door to door to door inquiries were to be made of the area around Mitre Square.
Next on the scene was Superintendent James McWilliam, head of the City Police Detective Department, who arrived with a number of detectives, all of whom he sent off to make a thorough search of the Sptialfields streets and lodging houses.
As the officers began to fan out through the streets several men were stopped and questioned, but to no avail. The killer, it appeared, had simply melted away into the night. It is probable that he made his escape via the adjacent St James’s Place where there was a Metropolitan Fire Escape Station. Yet none of the firemen on duty had seen or heard a thing. Neither had City Police Constable Richard Pearse who lived at number 3 Mitre Square, where his bedroom window looked across at the murder site.
The attack on Catherine Eddowes had been brutal in the extreme. Her throat had been cut, she had been ripped open and her intestines had been pulled out and laid over her shoulder. The killer had cut deep V shapes into her cheeks and eyes. The tip of her nose had been sliced off and her ear lobes had been nicked through with the blade. In addition the killer had made off with her left kidney and her uterus whilst a portion of her apron was also missing.
But on this night the police were one step behind Jack the Ripper and just over an hour after Watkins had found Catherine's body a clue had been discovered just a few streets away.