Killed At A Spitalfields Orgie

In its edition of Friday, 5th January 1906, The Western Chronicle reported on the inquest into the death of a guardsman at a party in Spitalfields.

The Coroner who presided over the inquest was Wynne Edwin Baxter, the same Coroner who had officiated at the inquests into the deaths of several of Jack the Ripper victims.

A photograph of Coroner Baxter.
Coroner Wynne Edwin Baxter


A shocking story of drunkenness and violence was related in the East London coroner’s court in the course of an inquiry into the death a young man named Williams, a private in the 2nd Battalion of the Grenadier Guards.

According to Private Thompson, of the same battalion, he and Williams, after leaving the Tower on Christmas night, entered a public-house, where they met a friend, with whom they went to house in Little Pearl-street.


There party was in progress in the ground-floor front room, and they remained singing and dancing till midnight, when they lay down to sleep.

Altogether there were thirteen or fourteen people in the room.

To get to the back of the house from the street it was necessary to pass through the room in which they were, and at about 12.30 there was knock at the street door.


A woman entered. She was drunk, but went to the door of a back room, and opened it.

A man in the back room ordered her out, and she stayed in the front room with the witness and his friends.

Then the occupier of the room told her to go out into the street, and, as she did not do so, he turned her out.


Soon afterwards there was a knock at the street door, and a disturbance was heard outside. The woman had returned with about twenty men, armed with belts, pokers, and sticks, who tried to force their way in.

The occupier threw open the door, and was hit on the head with a belt, and he (the witness) was struck on the head with a poker. A free fight ensued.

The deceased man made his way into the street, and he (the witness) saw a man named Long, who is now in custody, and of whose identity he bad no doubt, strike him on the head with a belt.


Finding the attacking party too strong, they retired to the house, leaving Williams on the pavement.

Finding the door of the back room open, they went through, and across the yard to a house in Great Pearl-street, and, the back door of that house being ajar, they walked through into Great Pearl Street, and went round to where Williams was lying.


The police were there, and they carried Williams to the police-station. He was unconscious.

Other witnesses identified the dead man’s assailant as Long, who was committed on the coroner’s warrant for trial on a charge of manslaughter.