By Saturday the 15th December, the initial horror and revulsion at murder of Mary Kelly, which had taken place the previous month had given way to a sort of morbid curiosity about the case.
However, individual, many of them drunk, were still being brought before the courts for having made the claim that they were the infamous perpetrator of the Whitechapel murders.
The Star, on Saturday, 15th December, 1888, reported on one such case:-
ANOTHER SELF-STYLED JACK THE RIPPER
At the Dalston Police Court on Wednesday, William Moses, fifty, of military appearance, giving his address as 229 Mare Street, Hackney, was charged before Mr. Horace Smith with being drunk and disorderly in Dalston Lane.
A constable said that he was on duty in Dalston Lane at a quarter to ten on Tuesday night, when he saw the prisoner go up to a number of women and speak to them.
When they declined to have anything to do with him he became very disorderly, and shouted out that he was Jack the Ripper.
He was evidently drunk, and the witness took him into custody.
HE WAS EXTREMELY SORRY
At the police station he denied being drunk; but a doctor who was called certified that he was.
The prisoner said that he was extremely sorry. It was the first time he had appeared in such a position, and he hoped that it would be the last.
The clerk of the court showed the magistrate the charge-sheet, on which the prisoner was described as a retired officer of the army; and Mr. Smith remarked that for a man of the prisoner’s education and position to be guilty of such conduct in a public place was positively disgraceful.
He should impose a fine of forty shillings with seven shillings and sixpence for the doctor’s fee, or one month in prison; but he was not quite sure that he ought not to send the accused to prison without the option of a fine.”
JACK THE RIPPER IN CUSTODY
The Batley News, on Saturday, 15th December, 1888 carried the story of another such imitator:-
“A man by the name of John Lockwood was brought up on a charge of being drunk and riotous in Healey Lane.
Sergeant Green, who proved the case, said that the defendant, when arrested on the above charge and asked his name replied, “Jack the Ripper.”
The defendant on being asked if he had any questions to ask the officer, or statement to make, said “Noa ; its noa use askin’ him nowt; let me knaw what it is that I have to pay.”
The defendant was leaving the dock before the case finished, repeating as he did so. “I want to pay. I shall have to pay I expect.”
A fine of five shillings and costs was imposed by the magistrate upon the defendant, or, in default, he was to serve seven days in Wakefield Prison.”
A FORTUNE TELLER IN TROUBLE
The York Herald of the same day carried the following story of a fortune teller whose skills had not extended to forecasting the fate that was about to befall him as a consequence of his actions:-
“On Wednesday, at the Borough Police Court, an old man, who gave the name of William Hoben, was charged with begging.
The defendant, it was proved, went to certain houses in the South Road, and when the door was answered he pretended to be deaf and dumb. Then he would point to his mouth and show he was hungry.
After being relieved, he would write on papers telling the girls that they would soon leave their place, there was a good husband waiting for them, they would be happy, and have plenty of nice children.
At one place, however, he so frightened the girls that they raised an alarm.
One of the girls said that when she saw the defendant she thought of the Whitechapel murders, and began to think that the defendant might be a “Jack the Ripper.”
A lot of bread and meat was found on the man, and also £1 0s. 4d in money.
He was sent to prison for fourteen days.”
WITHAM PETTY SESSION
Finally, The Essex Standard, on Saturday, 15th December, 1888, carried the following story about an itinerant pedlar who, so it appeared, was somewhat in sympathy with the plight of the Whitechapel murderer :-
“John Andersen was charged under the Vagrancy Act with acting as a pedlar without having a license to do so.
Police Sergeant Amos stated that the prisoner went into certain shops in Witham and endeavoured to sell cards relating to an entertainment to be held on a certain date for the benefit of “Jack the Ripper,” who, the card stated, was unable to continue his employment in consequence of the persecution of Sir Charles Warren.
The prisoner was sentenced to 14 days’ imprisonment with hard labour, and the cards were to be forfeited.”