Day 1, Thursday, October 4, 1888
deposed: I live at 6, Thrawl-street, Spitalfields. I have been
married, but my husband is dead. I recognise the deceased as my
poor sister (witness here commenced to weep very much, and for a
few moments she was unable to proceed with her story). Her name
was Catherine Eddowes. I cannot exactly tell where she was
living. She was staying with a gentleman, but she was not married
to him. Her age last birthday was about 43 years, as far as I can
remember. She has been living for some years with Mr. Kelly. He
is in court. I last saw her alive about four or five months ago.
She used to go out hawking for a living, and was a woman of sober
habits. Before she went to live with Kelly, she had lived with a
man named Conway for several years, and had two children by him.
I cannot tell how many years she lived with Conway. I do not know
whether Conway is still living. He was a pensioner from the army,
and used to go out hawking also. I do not know on what terms he
parted from my sister. I do not know whether she had ever seen
him from the time they parted. I am quite certain that the body I
have seen is my sister.
(The Daily Telegraph, Friday, October 5, 1888, Page 3)
At the Coroner's Court, Golden-lane,
yesterday [4 Oct], Mr. S. F. Langham, coroner for the City of
London, opened the inquest into the death of Catherine
Eddowes, or Conway, or Kelly, who was murdered in
Mitre-court, Aldgate, about half-past one o'clock on Sunday
morning last. The court was crowded, and much interest was
taken in the proceedings, many people standing outside the
building during the whole of the day.
After the jury had viewed the body, which was lying in the
Mr. Crawford, City solicitor,
appeared on behalf of the Corporation, as responsible for the
police; Major Smith and Superintendent Forster represented
the officers engaged in the inquiry.
Mr. Crawford, addressing the
coroner, said: I appear here as representing the City police in
this matter, for the purpose of rendering you every possible
assistance, and if I should consider it desirable, in the course
of the inquiry, to put any questions to witnesses, probably I
shall have your permission when you have finished with them.
The Coroner: Oh, certainly.
The following evidence was then called -
By Mr. Crawford: I have not seen
Conway for seven or eight years. I believe my sister was living
with him then on friendly terms.
[Coroner] Was she living on friendly
terms with Kelly? - I cannot say. Three or four weeks ago I saw
them together, and they were then on happy terms. I cannot fix
the time when I last saw them. They were living at 55, Flower and
Dean-street - a lodging-house. My sister when staying there came
to see me when I was very ill. From that time, until I saw her in
the mortuary, I have not seen her.
A Juryman pointed out that witness
previously said she had not seen her sister for three or four
months, whilst later on she spoke of three or four weeks.
The Coroner: You said your sister
came to see you when you were ill, and that you had not seen her
since. Was that three or four weeks ago?
Mrs. Gold: Yes.
[Coroner] So that your saying three
or four months was a mistake? - Yes. I am so upset and confused.
Witness commenced to cry again. As she could not write she had to
affix her mark to the deposition.
John Kelly, a
strong-looking labourer, was then called and said: I live at a
lodging-house, 55, Flower and Dean-street. Have seen the deceased
and recognise her as Catherine Conway. I have been living with
her for seven years. She hawked a few things about the streets
and lived with me at a common lodging-house in Flower and
Dean-street. The lodging-house is known as Cooney's. I last saw
her alive about two o'clock in the afternoon of Saturday in
Houndsditch. We parted on very good terms. She told me she was
going over to Bermondsey to try and find her daughter Annie.
Those were the last words she spoke to me. Annie was a daughter
whom I believe she had had by Conway. She promised me before we
parted that she would be back by four o'clock, and no later. She
did not return.
[Coroner] Did you make any inquiry
after her? - I heard she had been locked up at Bishopsgate-street
on Saturday afternoon. An old woman who works in then lane told
me she saw her in the hands of the police.
[Coroner] Did you make any inquiry
into the truth of this? - I made no further inquiries. I knew
that she would be out on Sunday morning, being in the City.
[Coroner] Did you know why she was
locked up? - Yes, for drink; she had had a drop of drink, so I
was told. I never knew she went out for any immoral purpose. She
occasionally drank, but not to excess. When I left her she had no
money about her. She went to see and find her daughter to get a
trifle, so that I shouldn't see her walk about the streets at
[Coroner] What do you mean by
"walking the streets?" - I mean that if we had no money
to pay for our lodgings we would have to walk about all night. I
was without money to pay for our lodgings at the time. I do not
know that she was at variance with any one - not in the least.
She had not seen Conway recently - not that I know of. I never
saw him in my existence. I cannot say whether Conway is living. I
know of no one who would be likely to injure her.
The Foreman of the Jury: You say you
heard the deceased was taken into custody. Did you ascertain, as
a matter of fact, when she was discharged? - No. I do not know
when she was discharged.
[Coroner] What time was she in the
habit of returning to her lodgings? - Early.
[Coroner] What do you call early? -
About eight or nine o'clock.
[Coroner] When she did not return on
this particular evening, did it not occur to you that it would be
right to inquire whether she had been discharged or not? - No, I
did not inquire. I expected she would turn up on the Sunday
Mr. Crawford: You say she had no
money. Do you know with whom she had been drinking that
afternoon? - I cannot say.
[Coroner] Do you know any one who
paid for drink for her? - No.
[Coroner] Had she on a recent
occasion absented herself from you at night? - No.
[Coroner] This was the only time? -
[Coroner] But had not she left you
previously? - Yes, a long time ago - some months ago.
[Coroner] For what purpose? - We had
a few words, and she went away, but came back in a few hours.
[Coroner] Had you had any angry
conversation with her on Saturday afternoon? - No, not in the
[Coroner] No words about money? -
[Coroner] Have you any idea where
her daughter lives? - She told me in King-street, Bermondsey, and
that her name was Annie.
[Coroner] Had she been previously
there for money? - Yes, once last year.
[Coroner] How long have you been
living in this lodging-house together? - Seven years, in the
[Coroner] Previous to this Saturday
had you been sleeping there each evening during the week? - No; I
slept there on Friday night, but she didn't.
[Coroner] Did she not sleep with
you? - No.
[Coroner] Was she walking the
streets that night? - She had the misfortune to go to Mile-end.
[Coroner] What happened there? - She
went into the casual ward.
[Coroner] What was the evening you
two slept at the lodging-house during that week? - Not one.
[Coroner] Where did you sleep? - On
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday we were down at the hop-picking,
and came back to London on Thursday. We had been unfortunate at
the hop-picking, and had no money. On Thursday night we both
slept in the casual ward. On the Friday I earned 6d at a job, and
I said, "Here, Kate, you take 4d and go to the lodging-house
and I will go to Mile-end," but she said, "No, you go
and have a bed and I will go to the casual ward," and she
went. I saw her again on Saturday morning early.
[Coroner] At what time did you quit
one another on Friday? - I cannot tell, but I think it would be
about three or four in the afternoon.
[Coroner] What did she leave you
for? - To go to Mile-end.
[Coroner] What for? - To get a
night's shelter in the casual ward.
[Coroner] When did you see her next
morning? - About eight o'clock. I was surprised to see her so
early. I know there was some tea and sugar found on her body. She
bought that out of some boots we pawned at Jones's for 2s 6d. I
think it was on Saturday morning that we pawned the boots. She
was sober when she left me. We had been drinking together out of
the 2s 6d. All of it was spent in drink and food. She left me
quite sober to go to her daughter's. We parted without an angry
word. I do not know why she left Conway. In the past seven years
she only lived with me. I did not know of her going out for
immoral purposes at night. She never brought me money in the
morning after being out at night.
A Juryman: Is not eight o'clock a
very early hour to be discharged from a casual ward? - I do not
[Juryman ?] There is some tasks -
picking oakum - before you can be discharged. I know it was very
Mr. Crawford: Is it not the fact
that the pawning took place on the Friday night? - I do not know.
It was either Friday night or Saturday morning. I am all muddled
up. (The tickets were produced, and were dated the 28th, Friday.)
[Crawford ?] She pawned the boots,
did she not? - Yes; and I stood at the door in my bare feet.
[Crawford ?] Seeing the date on the
tickets, cannot you recollect when the pawning took place? - I
cannot say, I am so muddled up. It was either Friday or Saturday.
The Coroner: Had you been drinking
when the pawning took place? - Yes.
Frederick William Wilkinson
deposed: I am deputy of the lodging-house at Flower and
Dean-street. I have known the deceased and Kelly during the last
seven years. They passed as man and wife, and lived on very good
terms. They had a quarrel now and then, but not violent. They
sometimes had a few words when Kate was in drink, but they were
not serious. I believe she got her living by hawking about the
streets and cleaning amongst the Jews in Whitechapel. Kelly paid
me pretty regularly. Kate was not often in drink. She was a very
jolly woman, always singing. Kelly was not in the habit of
drinking, and I never saw him the worse for drink. During the
week the first time I saw the deceased at the lodging-house was
on Friday afternoon. Kelly was not with her then. She went out
and did not return until Saturday morning, when I saw her and
Kelly in the kitchen together having breakfast. I did not see her
go out, and I do not know whether Kelly went with her. I never
saw her again.
[Coroner] Did you know she was in
the habit of walking the streets at night? - No; she generally
used to return between nine and ten o'clock. I never knew her to
be intimate with any particular individual except Kelly; and
never heard of such a thing. She use to say she was married to
Conway; that her name was bought and paid for - meaning that she
was married. She was not at variance with any one that I know of.
When I saw her last, on Saturday morning, between ten and eleven,
she was quite sober. I first heard from Kelly on Saturday night
that Kate was locked up, and he said he wanted a single bed. That
was about 7.30 in the evening. A single bed is 4d, and a double
By a Juryman: I don't take the names
of the lodgers, but I know my "regulars." If a man
comes and takes a bed I put the number of the bed down in my
book, but not his name. Of course I know the names of my regular
Mr. Crawford: When was the last time
Kelly and the deceased had slept together in your house previous
to last week? - The last time the two slept at the lodging-house
was five or six weeks ago, before they went to the hop-picking.
Kelly slept there on Friday and Saturday, but not Kate. I did not
make any inquiry about her not being there on Friday. I could not
say whether Kate went out with Kelly on Saturday, but I saw them
having their breakfast together. I saw Kelly in the house about
ten o'clock on Saturday night. I am positive he did not go out
again. I cannot tell when he got up on Sunday. I saw him about
dinner time. I believe on Saturday morning Kate was wearing an
apron. Nothing unusual struck me about her dress. The distance
between our place and the scene of the murder is about 500 yards.
Several Jurymen: Oh, more than that.
Mr. Crawford: Did any one come into
your lodging-house and take a bed between one and two o'clock on
the Sunday morning? - No stranger came in then.
[Crawford] Did any one come into
your lodging-house about that hour? - No; two detectives came
about three, and asked if I had any women out.
[Crawford] Did anyone come into your
lodging-house about two o'clock on Sunday morning whom you did
not recognise? - I cannot say; I could tell by my book, which can
soon be produced.
By a Juryman: Kelly and the deceased
were at breakfast together between ten and eleven on Saturday
morning. If they had told me the previous day that they had no
money I would have trusted them. I trust all lodgers I know. The
body was found half a mile from my lodging-house.
The deputy was dispatched for his
book, with which after an interval he returned. It merely showed,
however, that there were fifty-two beds occupied in the house on
Saturday night. There were only six strangers. He could not say
whether any one took a bed about two o'clock on Sunday morning.
He had sometimes over 100 persons sleeping in the house at once.
They paid for their beds, and were asked no questions.
Edward Watkin [Watkins],
No. 881 of the City Police, said: I was on duty at Mitre-square
on Saturday night. I have been in the force seventeen years. I
went on duty at 9.45 upon my regular beat. That extends from
Duke-street, Aldgate, through Heneage-lane, a portion of
Bury-street, through Cree-lane, into Leadenhall-street, along
eastward into Mitre-street, then into Mitre-square, round the
square again into Mitre-street, then into King-street to St.
James's-place, round the place, then into Duke-street, where I
started from. That beat takes twelve or fourteen minutes. I had
been patrolling the beat continually from ten o'clock at night
until one o'clock on Sunday morning.
[Coroner] Had anything excited your
attention during those hours? - No.
[Coroner] Or any person? - No. I
passed through Mitre-square at 1.30 on the Sunday morning. I had
my lantern alight and on - fixed to my belt. According to my
usual practice, I looked at the different passages and corners.
[Coroner] At half-past one did
anything excite your attention? - No.
[Coroner] Did you see anyone about?
[Coroner] Could any people have been
about that portion of the square without your seeing them? - No.
I next came into Mitre-square at 1.44, when I discovered the body
lying on the right as I entered the square. The woman was on her
back, with her feet towards the square. Her clothes were thrown
up. I saw her throat was cut and the stomach ripped open. She was
lying in a pool of blood. I did not touch the body. I ran across
to Kearley and Long's warehouse. The door was ajar, and I pushed
it open, and called on the watchman Morris, who was inside. He
came out. I remained with the body until the arrival of
Police-constable Holland. No one else was there before that but
myself. Holland was followed by Dr. Sequeira. Inspector Collard
arrived about two o'clock, and also Dr. Brown, surgeon to the
[Coroner] When you first saw the
body did you hear any footsteps as if anybody were running away?
- No. The door of the warehouse to which I went was ajar, because
the watchman was working about. It was no unusual thing for the
door to be ajar at that hour of the morning.
By Mr. Crawford: I was continually
patrolling my beat from ten o'clock up to half-past one. I
noticed nothing unusual up till 1.44, when I saw the body.
By the Coroner: I did not sound an
alarm. We do not carry whistles.
By a Juror: My beat is not a double
but a single beat. No other policeman comes into Mitre-street.
Frederick William Foster,
of 26, Old Jewry, architect and surveyor, produced a plan which
he had made of the place where the body was found, and the
district. From Berner-street to Mitre-street is three-quarters of
a mile, and a man could walk the distance in twelve minutes.
of the City Police, said: At five minutes before two o'clock on
Sunday morning last I received information at Bishopsgate-street
Police-station that a woman had been murdered in Mitre-square.
Information was at once telegraphed to headquarters. I dispatched
a constable to Dr. Gordon Brown, informing him, and proceeded
myself to Mitre-square, arriving there about two or three minutes
past two. I there found Dr. Sequeira, two or three police
officers, and the deceased person lying in the south-west corner
of the square, in the position described by Constable Watkins.
The body was not touched until the arrival shortly afterwards of
Dr. Brown. The medical gentlemen examined the body, and in my
presence Sergeant Jones picked up from the foot way by the left
side of the deceased three small black buttons, such as are
generally used for boots, a small metal button, a common metal
thimble, and a small penny mustard tin containing two
pawn-tickets. They were handed to me. The doctors remained until
the arrival of the ambulance, and saw the body placed in the
conveyance. It was then taken to the mortuary, and stripped by
Mr. Davis, the mortuary keeper, in presence of the two doctors
and myself. I have a list of articles of clothing more or less
stained with blood and cut.
[Coroner] Was there any money about
her? - No; no money whatever was found. A piece of cloth was
found in Goulston-street, corresponding with the apron worn by
the deceased. When I got to the square I took immediate steps to
have the neighbourhood searched for the person who committed the
murder. Mr. M'Williams, chief of the Detective Department, on
arriving shortly afterwards sent men to search in all directions
in Spitalfields, both in streets and lodging-houses. Several men
were stopped and searched in the streets, without any good
result. I have had a house-to-house inquiry made in the vicinity
of Mitre-square as to any noises or whether persons were seen in
the place; but I have not been able to find any beyond the
witnesses who saw a man and woman talking together.
Mr. Crawford: When you arrived was
the deceased in a pool of blood? - The head, neck, and, I
imagine, the shoulders were lying in a pool of blood when she was
first found, but there was no blood in front. I did not touch the
body myself, but the doctor said it was warm.
[Crawford ?] Was there any sign of a
struggle having taken place? - None whatever. I made a careful
inspection of the ground all round. There was no trace whatever
of any struggle. There was nothing in the appearance of the
woman, or of the clothes, to lead to the idea that there had been
any struggle. From the fact that the blood was in a liquid state
I conjectured that the murder had not been long previously
committed. In my opinion the body had not been there more than a
quarter of an hour. I endeavoured to trace footsteps, but could
find no trace whatever. The backs of the empty houses adjoining
were searched, but nothing was found.
Dr. Frederick Gordon Brown
was then called, and deposed: I am surgeon to the City of London
Police. I was called shortly after two o'clock on Sunday morning,
and reached the place of the murder about twenty minutes past
two. My attention was directed to the body of the deceased. It
was lying in the position described by Watkins, on its back, the
head turned to the left shoulder, the arms by the side of the
body, as if they had fallen there. Both palms were upwards, the
fingers slightly bent. A thimble was lying near. The clothes were
thrown up. The bonnet was at the back of the head. There was
great disfigurement of the face. The throat was cut across. Below
the cut was a neckerchief. The upper part of the dress had been
torn open. The body had been mutilated, and was quite warm - no
rigor mortis. The crime must have been committed within half an
hour, or certainly within forty minutes from the time when I saw
the body. There were no stains of blood on the bricks or pavement
By Mr. Crawford: There was no blood
on the front of the clothes. There was not a speck of blood on
the front of the jacket.
By the Coroner: Before we removed
the body Dr. Phillips was sent for, as I wished him to see the
wounds, he having been engaged in a case of a similar kind
previously. He saw the body at the mortuary. The clothes were
removed from the deceased carefully. I made a post-mortem
examination on Sunday afternoon. There was a bruise on the back
of the left hand, and one on the right shin, but this had nothing
to do with the crime. There were no bruises on the elbows or the
back of the head. The face was very much mutilated, the eyelids,
the nose, the jaw, the cheeks, the lips, and the mouth all bore
cuts. There were abrasions under the left ear. The throat was cut
across to the extent of six or seven inches.
[Coroner] Can you tell us what was
the cause of death? - The cause of death was haemorrhage from the
throat. Death must have been immediate.
[Coroner] There were other wounds on
the lower part of the body? - Yes; deep wounds, which were
inflicted after death.
(Witness here described in detail
the terrible mutilation of the deceased's body.)
Mr. Crawford: I understand that you
found certain portions of the body removed? - Yes. The uterus was
cut away with the exception of a small portion, and the left
kidney was also cut out. Both these organs were absent, and have
not been found.
[Coroner] Have you any opinion as to
what position the woman was in when the wounds were inflicted? -
In my opinion the woman must have been lying down. The way in
which the kidney was cut out showed that it was done by somebody
who knew what he was about.
[Coroner] Does the nature of the
wounds lead you to any conclusion as to the instrument that was
used? - It must have been a sharp-pointed knife, and I should say
at least 6 in. long.
[Coroner] Would you consider that
the person who inflicted the wounds possessed anatomical skill? -
He must have had a good deal of knowledge as to the position of
the abdominal organs, and the way to remove them.
[Coroner] Would the parts removed be
of any use for professional purposes? - None whatever.
[Coroner] Would the removal of the
kidney, for example, require special knowledge? - It would
require a good deal of knowledge as to its position, because it
is apt to be overlooked, being covered by a membrane.
[Coroner] Would such a knowledge be
likely to be possessed by some one accustomed to cutting up
animals? - Yes.
[Coroner] Have you been able to form
any opinion as to whether the perpetrator of this act was
disturbed? - I think he had sufficient time, but it was in all
probability done in a hurry.
[Coroner] How long would it take to
make the wounds? - It might be done in five minutes. It might
take him longer; but that is the least time it could be done in.
[Coroner] Can you, as a professional
man, ascribe any reason for the taking away of the parts you have
mentioned? - I cannot give any reason whatever.
[Coroner] Have you any doubt in your
own mind whether there was a struggle? - I feel sure there was no
struggle. I see no reason to doubt that it was the work of one
[Coroner] Would any noise be heard,
do you think? - I presume the throat was instantly severed, in
which case there would not be time to emit any sound.
[Coroner] Does it surprise you that
no sound was heard? - No.
[Coroner] Would you expect to find
much blood on the person inflicting these wounds? - No, I should
not. I should say that the abdominal wounds were inflicted by a
person kneeling at the right side of the body. The wounds could
not possibly have been self-inflicted.
[Coroner] Was your attention called
to the portion of the apron that was found in Goulston-street? -
Yes. I fitted that portion which was spotted with blood to the
remaining portion, which was still attached by the strings to the
[Coroner] Have you formed any
opinion as to the motive for the mutilation of the face? - It was
to disfigure the corpse, I should imagine.
A Juror: Was there any evidence of a
drug having been used? - I have not examined the stomach as to
that. The contents of the stomach have been preserved for
Mr. Crawford said he was glad to
announce that the Corporation had unanimously approved the offer
by the Lord Mayor of a reward of £500 for the discovery of the
Several jurymen expressed their
satisfaction at the promptness with which the offer was made.
The inquest was then adjourned until next Thursday.
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