On Friday, 20th January, 1889, Police Constable Graham, of the Gateshead police force, in the north of England, was murdered, and Edward Wilkinson was charged with the crime.
That very night, the Mayor of Newcastle received a letter in which the writer claimed that he was a friend of Jack the Ripper, and giving some information as to how the Whitechapel murderer might be apprehended.
The letter had virtually no punctuation and the grammar was appalling, which led to the conclusion that it was the work of an ill-educated person.
The Edinburgh Evening News published a full transcript of the missive on Monday, 28th January, 1889:-
A JACK THE RIPPER LETTER FOR THE MAYOR OF NEWCASTLE
The Mayor Newcastle received by post on Friday night the letter below.
The epistle was posted sometime on Friday, and apparently before the fact that a murder had been committed at Gateshead had become known.
The Mayor did not attach much to the communication, and had determined to place it in the hands of the police with a view to the detection of the person who wrote it.
The writing is that of an uneducated person.
The address and the letter are in pencil, and very common paper is employed.
The address was:-
“Mr Richardson, Mayor of Newcastle, Windsor Terrace.”
THE LETTER IN FULL
The following is the text of the missive:-
“Sir – i told you Jack the ripper had Been here only stayed days off he went he said was too cold for him in north he would Be of the continant until the spring return to london or liverpool after he had left here he sent me a note that was from cardiff south wales that he was going to cross into france tonight Jan 14.
i see the papers that he must be at his work again and the police are no use whatever i can give many a tale about them Mr hutchinson this is his right name when he went into passage with Mrs chapman into a passage there was two policemen and a woman there drinking spirit out of a bottle and he came from there and took her farther on where he killed her where was there duty there we can give. Both there names and numbers and find the woman if required i was up in London and Jack the ripper as they call him and me going long a street early one Morning we spoke to a police we have his number not his name taken down we said had they not catch Jack the ripper yet oh no says he for my part says there is too few Jack the rippers aboit we will have less to do at nights then the woman will not stop out late at night then we Bid him good morning.
He is a escaped lunatic from america he and party came over nearly 12 months ago with me he has plenty money at his command and he has a great hatred towards woman and my friends in america has come to the to the [sic] conclusion that he should Be given up at once the rewards is to little i will take 2000 punds they shall have alive and the Bradford murderer included and this must Be published at onse and if not i shall leave this country very soon be sure to Be over in the spring we are Both wanted in america for serious crimes there and I must say this he will not Be taken single handed carrys six chamber loaded and a Brace of pistols when he is caught he will Be very calm and quiet this must conclude all at present from yours
J t R Mate.”