Hertfordshire Police Historical Society
This Week In History
Saturday 08 June 1889
THE THAMES MYSTERY.
Further human remains belonging to those already at Battersea Mortuary were found yesterday. The first discovery took place near Wandsworth-bridge, where a gipsy named Solomon Hearne discovered a woman’s right leg lying on the foreshore of the Thames on the Fulham side. The limb was covered with a portion of an ulster of dark check pattern, matching the material found in the bundle which was picked up near the Albert Bridge, Battersea, on Tuesday morning. Dr. Felix Kempster pronounced the limb to belong to the same body. Subsequently, a lighterman named Stanton found a bundle floating off Limehouse, wrapped in some dark material. It was found to consist of the sleeve of the same ulster containing the left leg and foot of a woman. Just over the cuff of the sleeve is a ticket pocket, and the whole bundle was tied round with a piece of common string. The limb was pronounced by Dr. Kempster to belong to the other portions in the hands of the police.
The police authorities are constantly in receipt of communications from persons who have lost sight of friends and relatives, and they look to these to furnish them with useful clues. One received yesterday was from a constable in the Hertfordshire Constabulary, who believes that the murdered woman is his sister, whose maiden name was “L. E. Fisher,” the name found written on the piece of underclothing in which the thigh found at Battersea was wrapped. It appears that this woman immediately previous to her marriage, some four or five years ago, marked a quantity of her new clothing with her then name of “L. E. Fisher.” She married a man named Wren. being at the time about 20 years of age. She had one child, and on the 18th of May of last year, when she was enceinte, she left her home at Hornsey with a man named George Robinson. Neither of the pair have been seen since. Robinson, whom the police are endeavouring to find, is about 30 years of age, of fair complexion, and has lost some of his front teeth.
The police authorities also attach considerable importance to what is known as the “Highbury Clue,” as it is now established beyond doubt that a young woman named L. E. Fisher, was employed as barmaid at the Old Cock Tavern at Highbury, although 18 months have elapsed since she left that place. The police announce that the portions of clothing that have been found have been preserved at the Battersea Police Station, Bridge Road, where they will be opened between the hours of ten and four for the inspection of any persons who have missing female friends.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
On 4 June 1889 a female torso was found in the Thames, and more body parts were soon found in the Thames the next week.
The London Times reported on 11 June that the remains found so far “are as follows: Tuesday, left leg and thigh off Battersea, lower part of the abdomen at Horsleydown; Thursday, the liver near Nine Elms, upper part of the body in Battersea Park, neck and shoulders off Battersea; Friday, right foot and part of leg at Wandsworth, left leg and foot at Limehouse; Saturday, left arm and hand at Bankside, buttocks and pelvis off Battersea, right thigh at Chelsea Embankment, yesterday, right arm and hand at Bankside.” The investigation concluded that medical knowledge had been necessary to perform the dismemberment.
At the inquest held by Mr Braxton Hicks on 17 June it was stated that: “the division of the parts showed skill and design: not, however, the anatomical skill of a surgeon, but the practical knowledge of a butcher or a knacker. There was a great similarity between the condition, as regarded cutting up, of the remains and that of those found at Rainham, and at the new police building on the Thames Embankment.
The London Times of 5 June reported that “in the opinion of the doctors the women had been dead only 48 hours, and the body had been dissected somewhat roughly by a person who must have had some knowledge of the joints of the human body.”
She was about eight months pregnant. The doctors were also this time unable to establish a cause of death. The jury, however, reached the decision of “Wilful murder against some person or persons unknown”. Though the head was never found, the victim was identified as Elizabeth Jackson, a homeless prostitute from Chelsea.
Friday 05 June 1903
WORD TO THE WISE.
Alfred Roberts, young lad, residing at 14, Edward Road, Bedford, was charged with larceny of a bicycle, value £4.15s., while bailee of the same, on June 2, it being the property of Francis Pearce, Queen’s Park. Francis Pearce, 53, Iddesleigh Road, Queen’s Park, said he was a cycle maker, and on June 2 the prisoner went to him at 10.40 and asked if he could have cycle just before one, as he wanted to ride into Chandos Street: at 12.30 he returned, gave his address as 34, Coventry, road, and his name as Roberts. As result he was allowed to take the cycle produced, for which he paid nothing. The next time the witness saw the machine was that morning (Thursday) at the police station.
PC Smith, the Hertfordshire Constabulary, stationed at Hitchin, said he was in Bunyan Road, Hitchin, on June 2, about 9.45 p.m., and saw prisoner pushing the bicycle produced, and go into Wiggs cycle shop. He followed, and asked prisoner where he came from. Prisoner said, “from Bedford; he had started at nine in the morning, and had been thrown off three times. He wanted to sell the bicycle, which was his own, for £2.” Wiggs was present at this time, and said he did not buy second-hand things like that off strangers. Witness then took prisoner into custody on suspicion, and on the way to the station was told again by him that it his own, and that he had given his stepfather 15s. for it.
This was the case for the prosecution. Prisoner, on being charged, elected to be dealt with at once by pleading guilty, having nothing to say in his defence. He also acknowledged a previous conviction for embezzling 3s., in July, 1902, for which had a month’s hard labour. As this was second appearance, the Chairman said should give him two months’ hard labour.
The Chairman, addressing Mr. Pearce, said they thought it was rather pity there were such easy facilities for strangers to get bicycles, and wondered if they could not ask for a deposit? Mr. Pearce said they did do so if the applicant was a stranger to the town, but when in a working garb, as it were, and apparently familiar with the town, they looked upon such as bona fide residents, and let them have machines. His assistant and himself were most particular, but this being a holiday time, and being very busy, they were, perhaps, a little bit off their guard. The Chairman said they considered that not only he but the trade generally were rather lax in the matter. Pearce said he quite appreciated the remarks made, and he had tried to avoid such thing, but it was easily done. The Chairman advised him to take greater caution.