Jean Forzalez Charged With Murder

The East London Observer, on Saturday the 14th of December, 1872, carried the story of the murder of an unknown woman that had taken place in Whitechapel:-


“At the Thames Police-court on Wednesday Jean Forzalez, a, sallow-complexioned little German, was charged with the wilful murder a woman, at present unknown, a number 17 Glasshouse-street, Rosemary-lane, Whitechapel.

Ann Marney, a married woman, living on the second floor of the house, said the prisoner occupied a room on the same floor.

At half-past three o’clock on the previous morning she procured a light to show her husband downstairs to go his work on board a ship, where he was stoker.

The exterior of the Thames Police Court.
The Thames Police Court. Courtesy of Adam Wood (Author).


On going out, her husband drew her attention to a woman who was lying face downwards on some stone steps. Her mouth was on the third step from the top.

Blood was issuing from her nose and mouth. Her hands were underneath her in front of her, and her legs stiff down the stairs. She was dressed in a half mourning skirt and a black jacket. Her hair was full of straw at the back, but it was not disordered.

There were several lodgers in the house, and one stone staircase was common to all.

A doctor was sent for, who pronounced the woman to be dead.


Police Constable Hallman, 102 H, who was called to the house, said that the body of the woman was placed on the stretcher and taken to the Whitechapel dead-house.

He noticed a mark round the woman’s throat as if she had been strangled.

He went upstairs and knocked at the door of a room where the prisoner was stated to be.

A voice said, “Who is there?”

He answered, “The police.”

The voice said, “What do you want?”

He called out, “Open the door.”

The voice. repeated several times, “I shall not.”

He said that if the door was not opened at once would break it open.


The voice again said, “I shall not,” and at the same moment he heard some person opening a window and a noise as if some person was getting on the window sill.

He heard some person say in the street, “For God’s sake get into the room.” He heard a noise in the room, and the prisoner came to the door and unlocked it.

He said to the prisoner, “Where is your wife?”

He replied in broken English, “Me got wife.”


Patrick Donnelly, labourer, living at Glasshouse-street, said that he saw the prisoner, while the police were in the house, standing on the sill outside the window, and said, “for God’s sake get in,” and he believed he did so.

Mr. Paget remanded the prisoner.”


The London Evening Standard, on Saturday, 21st December 1872, published an update on the case, which featured the verdict of the Jury at the inquest into the woman’s death:-

“Yesterday Mr. Humphreys resumed and concluded, at the Duke’s Head Tavern, High-street, Whitechapel, the inquiry respecting the death of a woman unknown, whose body was found on the morning of Wednesday, the 11th of December, in a house in Janes-buildings, Whitechapel, under circumstances which led to the arrest of a Russian named Falsovz, who was charged on suspicion with causing the death of the deceased.

The case has already been fully reported, and it will be recollected that the medical evidence conclusively proved that death had been caused by strangulation.


Yesterday Dr. Loane was re-examined, as it was suggested that the injury might have accidentally been caused; but that gentleman considered that great violence had been resorted to, and that a cord had been placed around the neck of the deceased.


The Coroner, in summing up, was in no doubt of the woman having been murdered and placed there under most mysterious circumstances.

The question was whether there had been any thing further elicited to incriminate the man in custody or any one else with the murder.

He did not wish to suggest any theory to them, but his belief was that there was nothing whatever to connect the prisoner with the crime.

His opinion was, looking at all the circumstances, that the unfortunate woman had first been murdered and then carried there.


The verdict of the Jury was, That the deceased unknown woman was found upon some steps at Glasshouse Buildings, and that she was murdered by some person or persons unknown.”

And so, just like the Jack the Ripper murders, that would occur in the district in 1888, yet another murderer went unpunished in Whitechapel, the only difference being that, in this case, we do not even know the actual name of the victim.