The case, referred to in the sensational story told in "the Sun" in its issue of 13th. inst, & following dates, is that of Thomas Cutbush who was arraigned at the London County Sessions in April 1891, on a charge of maliciously wounding Florence Grace Johnson, & attempting to wound Isabelle Fraser Anderson in Kennington. He was found to be insane, and sentenced to be detained during Her Majesty's pleasure.
This Cutbush, who lived with his mother and
aunt at 14 Albert St. Kennington, escaped
from the Lambeth Infirmary, (after he had
been detained there only a few hours, as a
lunatic) at noon on 5th. March 1891. He was
rearrested on 9th. idem. A few weeks before
this, several cases of stabbing,
or "jobbing", girls
behind had recurred in the
vicinity, and a
man named Colicott was arrested, but subsequently discharged owing to
The cuts in the girls dresses made by Colicott
were quite different to the cut made by Cutbush
(when he wounded Miss Johnson) who was
no doubt influenced by a wild desire of
morbid imitation. Cutbush's antecedent[s]
were enquired into by Ch: Inspr. (now Supt) Chis[holm,]
by Inspr. Race, and by P.S. McCarthy CID -(the
last named officer had been specially
employed in Whitechapel at the time of
the murders there,-) and it was ascertained
that he was born, & had lived, in Kennington
all his life. His father died when he was
quite young, and he was always a "spoilt"
child. He had been employed as a clerk,
and traveller in the Tea trade at the Minories, & subsequently canvassed for a Directory in the East End, during which time he bore a good character. He apparently contracted syphilis about 1888, and, - since that time, - led an idle and useless life. His brain seems to have become affected, and he believed that people were trying to poison him. He wrote to Lord Grimthorpe, and others, - & also to the Treasury, - complaining of a Dr. Brooks, of Westminster Bridge Rd., whom he threatened to shoot for having supplied him with bad medicines. He is said to have studied medical books by day, & to have rambled about at night, returning frequently with his clothes covered with mud; but little reliance could be placed on the statements made by his mother or his aunt, who both appear to have been of a very excitable disposition. It was found impossible to ascertain his movements on the nights of the Whitechapel murders. The knife found on him was bought in Houndsditch about a week before he was detained in the Infirmary. Cutbush was a nephew of the late Supt Executive.
Now the Whitechapel murderer had 5 victims - & 5 victims only, - his murders were
|(i)||31st. Aug '88. Mary Ann Nichols, at Buck's Row, who was found with her throat cut, & with (slight) stomach mutilation|
|(ii)||8th. Sepr. '88. Annie Chapman, Hanbury St:, throat cut, stomach & private parts badly mutilated & some of the entrails placed round the neck.|
|(iii)||30th Sepr '88. Elizabeth Stride,
|throat cut, but nothing in shape of mutilation
attempted, & on same date
Catherine Eddowes, Mitre Square, throat cut, & very bad mutilation, both of face & stomach.
|(iv)||9th.. November. Mary Jane Kelly, Miller's Court throat cut, and the whole of the body mutilated in the most ghastly manner.|
The last murder is the only one that took place in a room, and the murderer must have been at least 2 hours engaged. A photo was taken of the woman, as she was found lying on the bed, without seeing which it is impossible to imagine the awful mutilation.
With regard to the double murder which took place on 30th. Sept., there is no doubt but that the man was disturbed by some Jews who drove up to a Club, (close to which the body of Elizabeth Stride was found) and that he then, 'nondum satiatus,' went in search of a further victim whom he found at Mitre Square.
It will be noticed that the fury of the
in each case, and,
seemingly, the appetite
only became sharpened
by indulgence. It seems, then, highly improbable
that the murderer would have suddenly
stopped in November '88, and been content
to recommence operations by merely prodding
a girl behind some 2 years & 4 months
afterwards. A much more rational
theory is that the murderer's brain gave
way altogether after his awful glut in
Miller's Court, and that he immediately
committed suicide, or, as a possible alternative,
was found to be so hopelessly mad by his
he was by them confined in
No one ever saw the Whitechapel murderer; many homicidal maniacs were suspected, but no shadow of proof could be thrown on any one. I may mention the cases of 3 men, any one of whom would have been more likely than Cutbush to have committed this series of murders:-
(1) A Mr. M. J. Druitt, said to be a doctor & of good family, who disappeared at the time of the Miller's Court murder, & whose body (which was said to have been upwards of a month in the water) was found in the Thames on 31st. Decr. - or about 7 weeks after that murder. He was sexually insane and from private info.. I have little doubt but that his own family believed him to have been the murderer.
(2) Kosminski, a Polish Jew, & resident in Whitechapel. This man became insane owing to many years indulgence in solitary vices. He had a great hatred of women, specially of the prostitute class, & had strong homicidal tendencies; he was removed to a lunatic asylum about March 1889. There were many circs connected with this man which made him a strong 'suspect'.
(3) Michael Ostrog, a Russian doctor, and a convict, who was subsequently detained in a lunatic asylum as a homicidal maniac. This man's antecedents were of the worst possible type, and his whereabouts at the time of the murders could never be ascertained.
And now with regard to a few of the
inaccuracies and misleading statements made by the "Sun". In its issue of 14th. Feb, it is stated that the writer has in his possession a facsimile of the knife with which the murders were committed. This knife (which for some unexplained reason has, for the last 3 years, been kept by Inspr. Race, instead of being sent to Prisoners' Property Store) was traced, & it was found to have been purchased in Houndsditch in Feb. '91, or 2 years & 3 months after the Whitechapel murders ceased!
The statement, too, that Cutbush "spent a portion of the day in making rough drawings of the bodies of women, & of their mutilations" is based solely on the fact that 2 scribble drawings of women in indecent postures were found torn up in Cutbush's room. The head & body of one of these had been cut from some fashion plate, & legs were added to shew a woman's naked thighs & pink stockings.
In the issue of 15th. inst it is said that a
light overcoat was among the things found in
Cutbush's house, and that a man in a light
overcoat was seen talking to
a woman in
Backchurch Lane whose body with arms
attached was found in Pinchin St. This is
hopelessly incorrect! On 10th. Sept. '89 the naked
body, with arms, of a woman was found wrapped
in some sacking under a Railway arch in
Pinchin St: The head & legs were never found
nor was the woman ever identified. She had
been killed at least 24 hours before the remains
-(which had seemingly
been brought from a distance,)
were discovered. The stomach was split up by a cut, and the head and legs had been severed in a manner identical with that of the woman whose remains were discovered in the Thames, in Battersea Park, & on the Chelsea Embankment on 4th June of the same year; and these murders had no connection whatever with the Whitechapel horrors. The Rainham mystery in 1887, & the Whitehall mystery (when portions of a woman's body were found under what is now New Scotland Yard) in 1888 were of a similar type to the Thames & Pinchin St crimes.
It is perfectly untrue to say that Cutbush stabbed 6 girls behind. This is confounding his case with that of Colicott.
The theory that the Whitechapel murderer was left handed, or, at any rate, "ambi-dexter," had its origin in the remark made by a doctor who examined the corpse of one of the earliest victims; other doctors did not agree with him.
With regard to the 4 additional murders ascribed by the writer in the Sun to the Whitechapel fiend:-
(1) The body of Martha Tabram, a prostitute,
was found on a common stair case in George
Yard buildings on 7th. August 1888; the
body had been repeatedly pierced, probably with
a bayonet. This woman had, with a fellow
prostitute, been in company of 2 soldiers
in the early part of the evening: these men
were arrested, but the second prostitute failed,
or refused, to identify, and the soldiers were
(2) Alice McKenzie was found with her throat cut (or rather stabbed) in Castle Alley on 17th. July 1889; no evidence was forthcoming, and no arrests were made in connection with this case. The stab in the throat was of the same nature as in the case of the murder of
(3) Frances Coles, in Swallow Gardens, on 13th. February 1891, for which Thomas Sadler, a fireman, was arrested, &, after several remands, discharged. It was ascertained at this time that Sadler had sailed for the Baltic on 19th. July '89, & was in Whitechapel on the night of 17th. idem. He was a man of ungovernable temper & entirely addicted to drink, & the company of the lowest prostitutes.
(4) The case of the unidentified woman whose trunk was found in Pinchin St: on 10th. Sepr 1889, which has already been dealt with.
23rd. Feb. 1894