Attempted Murder In Borough

With London reeling from the horrors of the murders of Mary Nichols and Annie Chapman, on Wednesday the 22nd of September, 1888, a murderous attack occurred on Borough High Street to the south of London Bridge, which, although it was eclipsed by the Whitechapel murders, was, nonetheless, disturbing, as well as an horrific experience for the poor victim.

Borough High Street, where the crime occurred, would later become notorious as the place where Jack the Ripper suspect George Chapman kept the Crown Tavern.

The Bristol Mercury carried a report on the crime in its edition of Friday the 24th of September, 1888:


On Wednesday night a shocking affair occurred in the High street, London, Borough.

It is stated that for some time past Thomas Joyce, the caretaker of  the premises occupied by Messrs Walton, hop merchants, High Street, has been drinking heavily, owing to domestic disagreements.

His wife, Jane Joyce, aged 43, was closing the house at a quarter to eight o’clock when her husband approached.

Some words had passed between them in the course of the evening, and Joyce had been drinking at a neighbouring public house.


Being desirous of making friends with her husband, Mrs Joyce turned round and tried to kiss him, when he shouted out, “A Judas’s kiss!” and, with a large knife, which he had been carrying up his sleeve, he stabbed her in the arm,

An alarm was raised, and a police-constable arriving on the scene promptly tied up the arm with a rope which he carried for lassoing stray dogs, otherwise, it is said, the poor woman must have bled to death before she reached Guy’s Hospital, whither she was immediately conveyed.


At the Southwark police-court, yesterday, Thomas Joyce, 34, warehouseman, was charged before Mr Slade with unlawfully wounding Jane Joyce, his wife, by stabbing her with a knife in the arm.

Constable Hamlin stated that at twenty minutes to eight on the previous night he was on duty in High street, and from a communication made to him, he went to No. 39, where he saw the prisoner’s wife standing at the door, bleeding from the left arm.


She told him that her husband had stabbed her, and then she fell to the ground in a fainting fit.

The witness took a piece of cord out of his pocket, and tied it round the woman’s arm to stop the bleeding, and, with the assistance of two young men, he carried her to Guy’s Hospital, where she received surgical treatment.


He then went back to No, 39, where he found the prisoner in custody.

The witness told him he would be charged with stabbing his wife, and he said, “Very well.”

The prisoner was drunk when taken into custody.


Mr Herbert. Lund, house surgeon at Guy’s Hospital, stated that the woman was suffering from a very dangerous incised wound. Had not the constable tied the cord round her arm she would most probably have bled to death. ‘

Mr. Slade remanded the prisoner for a week, and said that the constable deserved credit for his presence of mind.