By mid-October, 1888, the police were desperately hunting the killer who was, by that time, becoming known the world over as “Jack the Ripper.”
However, despite their best endeavours, the perpetrator of the Whitechapel murders was still at large, and several detectives were openly confessing that, when it came to the killer’s identity, the detectives of the Metropolitan Police were, quite, literally, clueless.
Sir Charles Warren, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, was coming under intense criticism for his controversial decision to erase the Goulston Street graffito, which had been found on a wall in the aftermath of the murder of Catherine Eddowes, which had taken place on 30th September, 1888.
REPORTS AND SIGHTINGS
Meanwhile, people all over the United Kingdom were coming forward to tell the police of likely suspects whom they had encountered.
On Saturday, 13th October, 1888, The Blackburn Standard, published the following synopsis of some of the events that had taken place over the previous seven days with regards to the police attempts to bring the murderer to justice:-
THE WHITECHAPEL MURDERS
“A prominent member of the Criminal Investigation Department at Scotland Yard stated on Thursday that the police are at present without any information of a sufficiently direct character to charge any particular person with the Whitechapel murders, but their efforts, so far from being relaxed, are, in fact, being continued with the utmost vigour and vigilance.
WATCHING AMERICAN STEAMERS
The passengers leaving for America, by the steamers sailing from Liverpool, are carefully watched by the police, who are on the look-out for the man who has perpetrated the horrible murders in London.
It is stated that the police have reason to believe that the man will try to make his escape from Liverpool.
THE WRITING ON THE WALL
The Pall Mall Gazette states that Sir Charles Warren himself gave orders for the erasure of the words, “The Jews shall not be blamed for nothing,” which the Whitechapel murderer wrote on the wall after slaughtering the Mitre-square victim.
The City Police were thus prevented from photographing the handwriting.
The Press Association says that it will be noticed that, at the inquest on Thursday, Detective Hales, of the City Police, stated, in reference to the writing on the wall in Goulston-street, that instructions were originally given for the inscription to photographed, but that, at the insistence of a member of the Metropolitan police, who feared a riot, the words were rubbed out, notwithstanding the witnesses protest.
The Pall Mall Gazette, having announced that the order for the removal of the writing was given personally by Sir Charles Warren, who visited the spot shortly after the discovery was made, our representative saw Sir Charles Warren’s private secretary, who, on returning from the Chief Commissioner’s room, stated that:- “Sir Charles Warren was in Goulston-street shortly after the murders, and if he had wished to make any communication to the press on the subject he would have done so then.”
In reply to a further question, as to whether he was to understand from this that Sir Charles Warren preferred to say nothing about the allegations, our representative was informed that such was the case.
THE PENSIONER FOUND
Yesterday morning, a constable was called to the Duke of York public-house, Clerkenwell-road, London, by the barman, who said that a pensioner from the Hussars named Conway had entered the bar and asked the barman to sign some document to the effect that he had lost his pension.
The barman noticed, having learnt from newspaper reports of the inquest on the victim the Mitre-square murder that the police were looking for a pensioner of that name, who was believed to be the husband of the murdered woman, thought that this might be the man.
The constable took the man to King’s Cross-road Police Station, and, after being questioned, he was removed to Bishopsgate-street Police Station, where he will be confronted with relatives of the murdered woman.
He is not, strictly speaking, under arrest, but it is thought that, if he is the woman’s former husband or paramour, he may be able to throw light on her recent movements.
The police, on an examination, found that the murdered woman’s husband was a much older man than the individual now detained, and without sending for Catherine Eddowes sister, they let the man go.
THE BELFAST PRISONER
At Belfast Police Court, yesterday, John Foster, who was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the Whitechapel murder, was brought up.
Constable Coriand deposed that from information received went to Memel-street and there found the prisoner. who gave the name of William John Foster, and said he had no place of residence.
In reply to questions, he said that he had arrived in Belfast on Sunday evening, having previously been for two days at Greenock, and for four days previous to that at Glasgow, and still earlier at Edinburgh.
A cheap knife was found on him, and in his bag were three razors, two knives, and a number of watchmaker’s appliances.
He said that he was a watchmaker.
He had £19 in money, a watch with a monogram, an “M R.” locket, and a piece of nicklet.
He wore boots similar to those worn by soldiers.
The magistrates remanded him for a week for enquiries.”