On the 8th September 1888, the body of Annie Chapman was found in the backyard of number 29 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields; and the killer we now know as Jack the Ripper had claimed his second victim.
It is noticeable that, whereas the previous murder, that of Mary Nichols, which had taken place on the 31st August 1888, had led to a great deal of unease and unrest in the district, the murder of Annie Chapman marked the point where that unrest gave way to outright panic.
As a consequence, the people of the district were on high alert, fearful of another outrage by the unknown murderer in their midst.
So, when, around lunchtime on the 8th September 1888, a few hours after the discovery of Annie Chapman’s body, word spread that another stabbing had occurred in Spitalfields Market, the mob mentality was quick to take hold and people flocked to the site of what they believed was another outrage.
ANOTHER WOMAN STABBED
The Sheffield Independent was one of several newspapers that reported the stabbing in its edition of Monday 10th September 1888:-
“At five minutes after eleven o’clock on Saturday forenoon a man suddenly attacked a woman in the Spitalfields market while she was passing through.
After felling her to the ground with a blow, he began kicking her and pulled out a knife.
THE CROWDS SURGE FROM HANBURY STREET
Some women who had collected, having the terrible tragedy that brought them there still fresh in their minds, on seeing the knife, raised such piercing shrieks of “Murder!” that those cries reached the enormous crowds in Hanbury Street.
There was at once a rush for Commercial Street, where the markets are situate, as it was declared by some that there was another murder, and by others that the murderer had been arrested.
A FURIOUS ATTEMPT TO REACH HER
Seeing the immense crowds swarming around him, the man who was the cause of the alarm, made more furious efforts to reach the woman, from whom he had been separated by some persons who had interfered on her behalf.
He, however, threw these on one side, fell upon the woman, knife in hand, and inflicted various stabs on her head, cut her forehead, neck and fingers, before he was again pulled off.
CRIES OF “LYNCH HIM”
When he had again been pulled off, the woman lay motionless – and the immense crowds took up a cry of “Murder,” and the people who were on the streets raised cries of, “Lynch him!”
At this juncture the police arrived, arrested the man, and, after a while, had the woman conveyed on a stretcher to the police station in Commercial Street, where she was examined by the divisional surgeon.
WOMAN TAKEN TO THE LONDON HOSPITAL
She was found to be suffering from several wounds, but none of them was considered dangerous.
She was subsequently removed to the London Hospital, where she was detained as an in-patient.
HE WAS A BLIND MAN
Her assailant is described as a blind man, who sells lace in the streets, and whom she led about from place to place.
The blind man is described as having a most ungovernable temper, and was seen, whilst the woman was leading him along, to stab her several times in the neck. Blood flowed quickly, and it was at first thought that another terrible murder had been committed.
The affair occurred midway between Buck’s Row and Hanbury Street, where the last to horrible murders had been committed.”