By December 5th, 1888, authorities all over the world were on the look out for any signs that the Whitechapel murderer – who, by that time – had become universally known as Jack the Ripper, might have re-emerged in their country.
On Wednesday, 5th December, 1888, The Lancaster Gazette carried the following report about one such man who had been arrested in New York:-
A LEEDS MAN ARRESTED IN AMERICA
ON SUSPICION OF MURDER
A Queenstown correspondent says that the latest American papers state that a mysterious man, who admits that he is travelling incognito, has been arrested at Castle Garden, New York, after alighting from the Guion steamer Wyoming, from Liverpool.
The police were armed with a cablegram from the Chief of Police of Northallerton, England, asking them to take into custody a passenger who was registered as James Shaw.
The cable directions described the fugitive as a man of forty-seven years of age, who was five feet seven inches in height, and with ginger whiskers and hair.
HE HAD MURDERED HIS WIFE
The prisoner, who gives his name as Mr. Pennock, of Pickering, North Riding, Yorkshire, was charged with the murder of his wife on the 7th ult.
The accused looked rather surprised when the charge was explained to him, but he had little to say.
HIS WIFE WAS ALIVE
He declared that his name was James Shaw, and he came from Leeds.
He says that he parted with his wife and three children at the Leeds railway station on the 9th ult., and has no reason to believe that his wife is not alive.
He said that he was a farm labourer in England, and that he was employed before emigrating by a small farmer named Otting, and that he came to America to better his prospects, and left his wife and family with a widow named Chapman, in Dyer-street, St. Peter’s Square, Leeds.
He further states that his wife’s name is Alice, whereas the name of the murdered woman was Hannah.
He declined to say why he was travelling incognito.
ANSWERS THE DESCRIPTION OF JACK THE RIPPER
The American papers further say that Shaw fully answers the description of “Jack the Ripper,” and that there was in his pockets a paper containing a full account of the Whitechapel horror, and the rumour quickly spread that the Whitechapel murderer was a prisoner in New York.
The lawyer for the British Consul was ready to proceed with the examination of the prisoner at once, who expressed his willingness to meet the charge, either there or in England; but Commissioner Shields decided to assign him counsel, and adjourned the hearing of the case.”