Fear in the Hearts of the East End

The third in the series of Jack the Ripper murders occurred in the early hours of the 30th of September 1888, less than three weeks after the brutal murder of Annie Chapman. This night struck fear into the very heart of the entire east End as two prostitutes were murdered on the same evening by the Ripper within an hour of each other and in two different locations. This was hailed in Ripper folklore as the, “Double Event”.

The first victim on that night was called Elizabeth Stride, commonly known as Long Liz. Born in 1843 in Stora Tumlehead on the Western Coast of Sweden, she immigrated to London in 1866 after tragically losing a child in Gothenburg the previous year and being registered by the police for being a professional prostitute. With money she inherited from her mother’s death, she managed to settle in the Whitechapel District.

She endeavoured to start her life in England as a respectable citizen by taking work as a maid for a family who lived in Hyde Park. She then met and married John Thomas Stride on 7th March 1869. Elizabeth and John Stride remained married for 12 years. Sadly, in 1881, they separated mainly due to Elizabeth’s deplorable drinking habits, and her ever so common brushes with the law for being drunk and disorderly. In 1884, within three years of their separation, Elizabeth’s husband died at the sick asylum in Bromley.

Losing the support of her husband left Elizabeth destitute and with no sufficient source of income, she returned to her illicit ways in order to support her raging alcoholic desire. Having resorted to prostitution, Elizabeth found it extremely difficult to escape the clutches of the life of an unfortunate. She took to the temporary and affordable accommodation that the common lodging houses in the area offered. She lived in Brick Lane in December 1881, but spent the Christmas and New Year in the Whitechapel Infirmary as she was suffering with Bronchitis.

Elizabeth moved from Brick Lane to a dilapidated common lodging house at number 32 Flower and Dean Street and remained there until 1885, when she met Michael Kidney, a waterside Labourer. They soon took up residence together at 33 Dorset Street. Their relationship was far from a happy one, they were constantly separating and fighting until on the 25th September, she left Kidney and returned back to her old lodgings at 32 Flower and Dean Street.

At 1.a.m on Sunday 30th September 1888, a Jewish man by the name of Louis Diemshutz returned with his horse and cart to his residence at the International Working Men’s Educational Club, No. 40 Berner Street, Whitechapel. He had been working that day at Westow Hill market, in Crystal Palace, where he sold costume jewellery from his barrow. He was also the steward of the club which he ran with his wife.

As he turned into the gateway of the yard of the club, which was known as Dutfields Yard, his horse shied to the left which caused Diemshutz to glance down at the ground next to the club wall.

As there was no lighting in the yard, he struggled to see what was on the ground beneath him. He saw that there was something there, so he struck a match and bent over to get a closer look. The wind instantly snuffed out the match, so he ran upstairs in to the club to fetch a candle as he saw what he thought was a drunken woman laying on the ground.

Diemshutz acquired a candle and the help of a young tailor machinist called Isaac Kozebrodski to lift the drunken woman off the premises. As they approached the body they could see blood. They estimated that about two quarts of blood had coagulated upon the cobbles directly by the body from the neck. Diemshutz let out a cry which brought members from the club upstairs to investigate the commotion.

They immediately went in search of a policeman, running and shouting police as they went. They were unable to locate one, so they double backed on themselves. As Diemshutz was frantically searching the streets for help, a man known as Morris Eagle was alerted in the Working Mans Club to the gruesome murder in the yard below. He rushed to the scene and took it upon himself to try and find help. Eagle hurried into Commercial Road where he found PC Henry Lamb 252H and PC Collins.

Without hesitation, they rushed to the scene of the crime led by Eagle where they saw a crowd of people who were gathering at the gateway to the yard to see if they could catch a glimpse of the victim. PC Lamb managed to keep them back telling them that if they got blood on their clothes, then they would bring trouble for themselves.

As he knelt down besides the woman’s body, PC Lamb touched her face, it was still slightly warm. He witnessed that the blood by the body was still in a liquid state; however, the blood near to the wound in her neck had started to congeal. He felt for a pulse but found nothing. He clearly saw that the woman’s body was not in a state of disarray, her clothes were not disturbed and noted that she had red and white flowers pinned to her fur trimmed jacket. He stated later, “that it was as if she had been laid quietly down”. He shouted for PC Collins to fetch the nearest doctor and for Eagle to Leman Street Police Station. More police appeared. They immediately began searching the area and enquiring if anybody had been seen in the area near the time, who may have looked suspicious. They questioned and searched inside the club that backed onto Dutfields Yard, but their inquiries yielded no tangible results.

Dr Frederick William Blackwell of 100 Commercial Road was summoned to the scene. His assistant Edward Johnston was immediately dispatched as Dr Blackwell was not dressed. Edward Johnston stated that he felt that the body was all warm except for the hands which were quite cold. He noted that the blood had stopped flowing from the body and it was evident the blood that which had was by now clotted.