Although the Whitechapel murders occurred over a period lasting from April 1888 to February 1891 – and the Jack the Ripper murders (which were officially classed as part of the Whitechapel murders) lasted from August to November, 1888, references to the unknown miscreant who perpetrated the infamous crimes continued to appear in the newspapers for many years afterwards.
TWO FEBRUARY REPORTS
In this article I thought that I would feature two newspaper reports that appeared in February but in different years, the first from 1897 and the second from 1900.
Despite the fact that neither of the cases reported on had anything to do with the actual Whitechapel murderer, they demonstrate how the name of Jack the Ripper had, by the end of the 19th century, become a sort of benchmark by which other crimes were measured.
They also illustrate how there continued to be no shortage of men who were willing to risk their liberty by claiming to be, or to be connected with, Jack the Ripper himself!
A CILFYNYDD COLLIER’S STRANGE CONDUCT
HE WANTED TO ACT LIKE “JACK THE RIPPER”
The first report appeared in The South Wales Echo on Wednesday 10 February 1897:-
At the Pontypridd Police Court today – before the Stipendiary, Dr. Hunter, and Mr James, Roberts Morris Trow, collier, Cilfynydd, was charged with being drunk and disorderly, and also with three cases of assault.
HE WAS RAVING DRUNK
Police Constable Lewis, Pontshonnorton, said that last Monday night he saw a crowd in Coedpenmaen Road gathered round the defendant, who was raving in drink. The people were detaining him, and when the constable endeavoured to take him into custody he got very violent, and kicked him on the leg.
He also kicked a man named Lot, who assisted the constable. He was eventually taken to the police station, and on the way there he was very abusive.
The witness added that earlier in the evening the defendant assaulted a young lady in a house.
MISS LLOYD’S TESTIMONY
Miss Lloyd, a smartly attired and prepossessing young lady, said that when she was going up Coedpenmaen Road the defendant shouted after her. She turned round, and, seeing that he was drunk, she ran on and rushed into the house of a Mrs Thompson, where she was going on business.
The defendant followed her into the house, and three women who were in the kitchen got so frightened because of his appearance and strange conduct that they rushed out of the house.
As Miss Lloyd followed them, the defendant caught hold of her. A struggle ensued between them in the kitchen and also in the passage, and when she got to the door her assailant again caught her and threw her violently on the road and fell upon her.
He, however, had no chance to further assault her, for the women pulled him off, tearing his coat whilst doing so.
Mrs Thompson corroborated, and said that a violent struggle took place in the kitchen between the defendant and the young lady, who was severely treated by him.
HE OFFERRED NO EXPLANATION
The defendant offered no explanation for his conduct but said that, whilst assaulting Miss Lloyd, that he was going to act like “Jack the Ripper.”
The defendant, a strong, muscular man, who appeared in the box minus a coat and with his shirt sleeves turned up, told the Bench that he did not remember anything of the assault.
The last thing he did remember was being, earlier in the day, in company with two men and two women in a public-house, where he felt convinced he was drugged, for he had no recollection of what transpired afterwards.
JAILED FOR TWO MONTHS
Previous convictions were recorded against him, and the Stipendiary, in reprimanding him for his foolish conduct, sent the defendant to gaol for two months with hard labour.
This punishment was totally unexpected by the defendant, who gave one long whistle before leaving the box. As he descended the steps he thanked Lee for his kindness.”
AN ALLEGED FOOTPAD
The second report is taken from The Lincolnshire Chronicle of Tuesday 13 February 1900
“A young man named Sturman, who resides at Billingborough, has made a remarkable statement to the local police, in reference to an adventure he says he has had with an alleged footpad.
He says that, while he was walking from Bridgend to Threekingham, he was accosted by a man, who came out of a barn on the roadside.
A DEMAND FOR MONEY
At first, the man asked Sturman for some tobacco, but this request was not complied with. He then inquired the time, and eventually demanded money.
Ultimately, he said that he was a brother of “Jack the Ripper,” and that he would take pome of Sturman’s belongings by force.
A violent struggle then ensued, in which Sturman was greatly assisted by his dog.
Eventually Sturman got his opponent into a ditch, and was then able to escape.
At present the police have not been able to obtain any clue as to the identity of the offender.”