On Monday the 17th of September, 1888, an intriguing case was heard at the Central Criminal Court, or Old Bailey, in which Christopher Power appeared as the defendant, charged with feloniously wounding Peter Black.
Although, at first glance, this appears to have been a straightforward attempted murder by stabbing, there is, in fact, a Jack the Ripper connection, which would not become apparent until many years after the crime had been forgotten.
The Kilburn Times, reported on the court case in its edition of Friday the 21st of September, 1888:-
SERIOUS STABBING CASE
Christopher Power, 32, a clerk, of 12, Halliday Street, Hackney, was charged at the Central Criminal Court on Wednesday, with feloniously wounding Peter Black, a draughtsman, living at 1, Canterbury Terrace, Canterbury Road, Kilburn, by stabbing him with a table knife.
The prosecutor said that the prisoner had been formerly in the same employment as he was.
THE PRISONER THREATENED HIM
On Friday evening, the prisoner came into his room, and accused him of following him about, and circulating reports about him. He used bad language, and the witness noticed that he had his right hand behind his back.
The prisoner then said “I will cut your throat,” and struck at him with a knife.
The witness seized his wrist, and a desperate struggle ensued.
The witness called for help, and several people came, followed by the police, and the prisoner was given into custody.
THE LANDLADY’S EVIDENCE
Elizabeth Stephenson, the landlady of the house, said that she heard a violent knock at the door, and, on opening it, she saw the prisoner, who asked her if Black was home, and then rushed past her into his room.
She afterwards heard a great noise there, and the prosecutor called out, “Murder.”
She ran up and saw the two men struggling, and tried to separate them. She heard the prisoner threaten to kill the prosecutor.
For the defence the prisoner’s landlady gave evidence to the effect that the prisoner had been strange in his manner.
THE SURGEON’S TESTIMONY
Mr. Gilbert, the surgeon at Holloway Gaol, stated that the prisoner suffered from delusions as to being followed about by people who heard and repeated everything he said, and t
DETAINED AS A LUNATIC
The witness was of the opinion that the prisoner was insane and did not know the nature and quality of the act.
Mr. Justice Charles having summed up, the jury found that the prisoner committed the act, but that he was insane at the time.
Mr. Justice Charles directed the prisoner to be detained as a lunatic during her Majesty’s pleasure.
THE JACK THE RIPPER CONNECTION
So what has this got to do with Jack the Ripper?
Well, putting aide the fact it happened as the Whitechapel murders scare was getting underway, and was a case of a violent and deranged individual, if you consult the Old Bailey transcript of the trial, you will spot something very intriguing about the case from a ripperology perspective.
The defending barrister is given as Mr. Drewitt. However, the transcript spelt his name wrong, for it should have been spelt Mr. Druitt.
This is, of course, none other than Montague John Druitt, which means that, if some people are to be believed, Christopher Power may well have been defended by none other than Jack the Ripper.