Although it is generally believed that there were no murders in the Jack the Ripper cycle throughout the whole of October 1888, the fear that the murderer might, at any moment, strike again was never far from peoples minds.
And, it is safe to say, that attacks did continue to happen throughout the month and, because the area was in such a state of high alert, journalists were quickly on the scene to report on them and were always keen, if at all possible, to link them to the generic Whitechapel Murders.
On the 7th of October 1888 Reynold’s Newspaper reported on two fresh attacks that had occurred in the area.
ANOTHER SUSPICIOUS AFFAIR IN WHITECHAPEL
An incident which caused a great deal of excitement at the time occurred on Friday night in Brick Lane, one of the thoroughfares forming the outside limit of the district known locally as the “drum.”
Shortly before midnight a woman was found lying insensibly in the street.
An excited crowd quickly collected.
A WOMAN DEPOSITED ON THE GROUND
It seems that, about half-past eleven o’clock, three men noticed a hansom cab containing two men and a woman turn down Air-street.
Having reached a dark railway arch, the men in the cab got out and deposited upon the ground the woman, who was apparently insensible.
The three men who were watching, having their suspicions aroused, raised an alarm.
The other two men jumped into the cab, and the cabman drove hurriedly off.
A MAN TAKEN TO THE POLICE STATION
One of the men, however, returned to the spot where the woman had been deposited, and was pointed out to a constable, who took him to Commercial-road [I am presuming they actually meant Commercial Street] Police Station.
He gave the name of Johnson, but, as he was unable to dispel the suspicions of the police, he was detained.
The police at once instituted enquiries as a result of which Johnson was discharged shortly afterwards.
NO CONNECTION WITH THE MURDERS
It was established that he had no connection with the murders.
The woman who was with him was his wife, and as they were both intoxicated when they alighted from the hansom under the archway, which is a very dark spot, and failed to give any explanation, they were taken to Commercial-street station.
A relative, named Mills, residing in the vicinity, to whom, it seems, they were going, called at the police station and, on his statement, they were released.
The incident, happening as it did in a very dark and suspicious neighbourhood, naturally attracted the attention of the passers-by, and no end of excitement prevailed, as the affair was speedily connected with the murders.”
ANOTHER OUTRAGE ON A WOMAN
The same issue of Reynold’s Newspaper, also contained the following report under the above headline:-
“The terror which has paralysed the east of London seems now to be spreading to the south.
In all the densely-populated courts [to give you an idea of the geographic location this is the area around what is now Tate Modern] and alleys connecting Holland Street and Sumner Street, Southwark, with Bankside, the conviction is held that an attempted woman murder has been made by an individual answering in many respects the description given of the Whitechapel murderer.
The inhabitants are loudly crying out for greater police protection, and pointing out that, in the nooks and turns of their narrow alleys, opportunities only too safe are offered for the commission of crimes.
MISS WOODROW ATTACKED
The facts we have elicited are these:-
On Tuesday evening, about nine o’clock, Miss Woodrow, the sister of the landlord of the Three Compasses, in Love Lane Bankside, went into Holland Street to buy some fish.
On returning, she was seized by the hand, and then by the throat; but she was able to cry out, “Murder!”, and, on the arrival of succour, the miscreant took flight.
A DESCRIPTION OF THE ATTACKER
He is described as been 5 feet 8 inches, dressed in a dark suit, with a low, round, black, felt hat.
His hand was as soft as a woman’s, and he is said to have the appearance of a clerk rather than of a workman.
SHE HAS CONVULSIVE FITS
Miss Woodrow’s alarm produced a succession of ten convulsive fits, and the opinion expressed by Dr. Thorpe, a medical man called in, was, at one moment, very unfavourable indeed.
Yesterday the lady was, for the first time since the outrage, able to leave her chamber, and to give an intelligible account of the attack, and a description of her assailant.
NO TRACE OF HIM
The police have been communicated with, but, up to the present, no traces of him have been found.
The terrified woman declares that her assailant attacked with his left hand, the right hand being held behind his back, and that, during the whole occurrence, not a word was spoken by the ruffian.”