Throughout the 1880’s, the belief was widespread that, when it came to tracing the perpetrators of murders in London, the detectives at Scotland Yard were, to put it mildly, lacking in success.
SOLVING MURDER CASES
In an article that was published on Monday, 17th July, 1882, The Derry Journal focussed on the recently released crime figures for London and found cause to be somewhat critical of the clear up rate of the London police force when it came to solving murder cases.
The article also pointed out that, whereas the London and English newspapers were extremely willing to criticise the rates of murder in Ireland, they should look at cleaning up their own crime figures before being critical of the murder rate in Ireland.
The article read:-
CRIME IN LONDON
“Certain statistics issued last week indicate an extraordinary destruction of human life in London by ways and means that are rarely made public.
It will not be forgotten that some time ago returns were published of the number of dead bodies annually discovered in the Thames.
DEAD BODIES IN LONDON’S RIVERS
That dark record is now supplemented by similar information regarding the Regent’s Canal and the River Lea, both running through portions of the modern Babylon.
The present papers show that from the close of 1876 to the end of last year, no fewer than 236 corpses were taken out the Lea, and out of the Canal.
THE PERPETRATORS NOT TRACED
The astounding feature in this painfully expressive state of things is that in not one single instance, with the exception of eighty cases of supposed or proved suicide, has the crime been traced home to the perpetrators.
Coroners held their inquests, witnesses gave their evidence, the detectives made their inquiries, and the newspapers reported the proceedings, but the criminals remain undetected, their misdeeds go unavenged, and they escape unpunished.
THE AUTHORITIES WERE POWERLESS
And this happens under, it may be said, the very shadow of Scotland Yard with its strong force of trained police.
The authorities seem powerless to stop this awful system of secret murder which evidently exists through much of London.
NOBODY IS IMMUNE
But it is the character of this undetected crime which imparts to it its most appalling aspect.
No age nor sex is spared. The helpless babe, the youthful maiden, the stalwart man, and the old and infirm, alike become the victims of the secret assassin, and are alike plunged mercilessly into the muddy waters of the Thames, the Lea, or the Canal.
NOT NEW OR UNCOMMON
Nor is this brutality anything new or uncommon.
On the contrary, the fatal violence continues apparently as a matter of ordinary everyday occurrence, as if it were a regular and necessary accompaniment of social life in the British capital.
The extent and enormity of the evil appear on a par with the magnitude and vast population of the city.
No doubt it is impossible that there would not be an incalculable quantity of vice committed in a place like London where more than three millions of individuals, of different nations and characteristics, are crowded together into comparatively small space.
WHY IS UNDETECTED CRIME PREVALENT?
But, on the other hand, civilisation has reputedly reached so advanced a stage in England, and it is so boasted that her mode of internal government is such a complete and far-reaching one, that the wonder is not ill-founded why undetected crime is so prevalent in her chief city.
It is a disgrace that it is so, but that such is the fact is clearly undeniable.
MURDERS IN IRELAND
The regret is widespread that murders have occurred in Ireland, and that their perpetrators have not been brought to justice.
Nowhere has this circumstance been more unreasonably commented on than the London anti-Irish press, whose writers gloated with jubilation over the opportunity presented them of vilifying the Irish people, who have been abused through all the moods and tenses of calumny and vindictiveness for their alleged sympathy with the assassins – a sympathy which has no existence.
THEY SHOULDN’T THROW STONES
Plainly, the Cockney slanderers have at their own doors abundance of materials, in the returns we have been speaking of and the lessons they convey, to engage their attention.
It is even yet not too late for them to learn that those who dwell in glass houses cannot with impunity fling missiles at their neighbours.”