Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Jack the Ripper

The Double Event

Dutfield Yard, off  Berner Street
Dutfield Yard, off Berner Street

Louis Diemschutz, a Russian Jew, was driving his pony cart to Dutfield Yard, off Berner Street in Whitechapel, at 1 a.m. on Sunday, September 30, 1888. Diemschutz and his wife lived at the International Working Men's Educational Club (IWMC) and took care of the club's premises. The IWMC was a club composed primarily of Eastern European Jewish Socialists.

Louis Diemschutz
Louis Diemschutz

In his spare time, Diemschutz sold costume jewelry at various outdoor markets and was returning from this commercial enterprise when he pulled into the club yard. As he did so, he saw an object on the ground near the wall of the club building. He struck a match and saw that it was a woman.

Diemschutz rushed into the club and got a young member to help him. When they saw that the object was a woman with a stream of blood running from her body, the two men ran screaming for a policeman.

Deimschutz discovers the body
Deimschutz discovers the body

A few minutes later, Police Constable Henry Lamb and his associate were on the scene. Lamb felt warmth in the woman's face, but could detect no pulse. His associate went immediately to look for a doctor. PC Lamb did not see any signs of a struggle, nor were the woman's clothes unduly disturbed, like the earlier victims whose skirts had been raised up past their knees.

Dr. Frederick Blackwell
Dr. Frederick Blackwell

Dr. Frederick Blackwell was on the scene at 1:16 a.m. with his assistant, who had arrived a few minutes earlier. He detailed his findings at the inquest:

The deceased was lying on her left side obliquely across the passage, her face looking towards the right wall. Her legs were drawn up, her feet close against the wall of the right side of the passage. Her head was resting beyond the carriage-wheel rug, the neck lying over the rut...

The neck and chest were quite warm, as were also the legs, and the face was slightly warm. The hands were cold. The right hand was open and on the chest, and was smeared with blood. The left hand, lying on the ground, was partially closed, and contained a small packet of cachous (breath sweeteners) wrapped in tissue paper.

The appearance of the face was quite placid. The mouth was slightly opened... In the neck there was a long incision ...(which) commenced on the left side, 2 inches below the angle of the jaw, and almost in a direct line with it, nearly severing the vessels on that side, cutting the windpipe completely in two, and terminating on the opposite side...

Dr. Phillips, the police surgeon, had joined Blackwell at the scene of the crime. Between the two of them, the estimate of her time of death was between 12:36 and 12:56 a.m.

The police continued to investigate the death scene, but nothing in the way of clues or weapon was found. They did determine, however, that the chairman of the IWMC had walked through the yard around 12:40 a.m., some 20 minutes before the body was found, and had seen nothing suspicious, nor was anyone standing around. Likewise, Diemschutz had not seen anyone when he pulled into the yard at 1 a.m.

While the police were coping with yet another Whitechapel murder, a most extraordinary thing happened just a quarter of a mile away in Mitre Square. Some 24 yards square, it was generally a respectable area surrounded by commercial buildings and warehouses, with very few residences. At night, when the businesses were closed, Mitre Square became a dark and somewhat secluded area.

Constable Edward Watkins
Constable Edward

Mitre Square was on the beat of Police Constable Edward Watkins of the City Police. He had been through the square at 1:30 a.m. and all was quiet. He came around again at 1:44 a.m., some 45 minutes after the discovery of the woman in Dutfield's Yard. Again, it was quiet and deserted. When he shined his lantern in one corner of the square, he made a horrible discovery.

He described it to the coroner a few days later: "I saw the body of a woman lying on her back with her feet facing the square, her clothes up above her waist. I saw her throat was cut and her bowels protruding. The stomach was ripped up. She was lying in a pool of blood."

He ran over to one of the businesses on the square to get George Morris, a retired constable who worked as a night watchman. With his whistle, he got help from a couple more policemen. The City Police then began to search the area to see if the killer could still be found.

Dr. Frederick Gordon Brown
Dr. Frederick Gordon

At 2:18, Dr. Frederick Gordon Brown got to the scene of the crime and made his examination. The victim's abdomen had been ripped open and she had fearful mutilations to her face. The "body was quite warm; no death stiffening had taken place; she must have been dead most likely within the half hour," he later said at the inquest.

There was no money found on the corpse and there was no evidence that she had struggled with her killer.

Mitre Square, c. 1925, showing murder site, rear of Mr. Taylor's shop and carriageway into Mitre St.
Mitre Square, c. 1925, showing murder
site, rear of Mr. Taylor's shop
and carriageway into Mitre St.

All in all, the Mitre Square event was pretty amazing, if for nothing more than the aggregation of police in that particular area at the time of the crime. In addition to Watkins and Morris, another policeman, whose beat included a perimeter of Mitre Square, reached the square at about 1:42 a.m. Like the other policemen, he heard nothing and saw nobody. Also, there was a police constable who lived on the square who slept through the entire thing.

As it turned out, the murderer got his victim into the square, killed her, carved her up silently, and completely escaped, in the space of fifteen minutes. But the night was not over yet.

At 2:55 a.m., Constable Alfred Long found a piece of a bloody apron lying in the entrance to a building in Whitechapel's Goulston Street. Just above the apron, written in white chalk on the black bricks of the archway was the wording:

The Juwes are

The men That

Will not

be Blamed

For nothing.

Commissioner Sir Charles Warren
Commissioner Sir
Charles Warren

The piece of bloody apron came from the woman who had been murdered in Mitre Square and the police believed that the writing was the killer's. A constable was left to guard the writing and some preparations were made to have the writing photographed. But before the writing could be photographed, it was ordered destroyed in a highly controversial move by Sir Charles Warren, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. Warren explained his rationale for an action which would be criticized for over a hundred years:

The writing was on the jamb of the open archway...visible to anybody in the street and could not be covered up...I do not hesitate to say that if the writing had been left there would have been an onslaught upon the Jews, property would have been wrecked, and lives would probably have been lost.

How this murderer was able to accomplish two such murders in such a short time, particularly with the mutilations of the second victim, without being seen by the police or anybody and then, when the area was in a heightened state of alarm, create the chalk writing on the archway, is nothing short of amazing.

We're Following
Slender Man stabbing, Waukesha, Wisconsin
Gilberto Valle 'Cannibal Cop'