فصل 03

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فصل 03

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  • زمان مطالعه 7 دقیقه
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CHAPTER THREE

A RED ROSE

Sunday September 30th, 12.30 a.m. Berner Street, off Commercial Road, was quiet. Although the weather was wet and breezy, it was a mild night.

In Berner Street, almost opposite a school, were two big wooden gates which opened into Dutfield’s Yard, a dark, narrow court between numbers 42 and 40. Number 40 was the premises of the International Workingmen’s Educational Club.

Just over half an hour before, Russian and Polish Jews were having a discussion in the club. Most of them went home at midnight. Twenty or more stayed behind in the clubroom upstairs. Some of them began singing Russian songs and dancing.

There was a front door to the club in Berner Street, and a side door in Dutfield’s Yard that opened into the club kitchen. The passage into the yard was about five metres long and extremely dark. But inside the yard light came from the club windows, the club office, and from some cottages on the other side of the yard.

Constable William Smith’s beat took him along Berner Street every 25-30 minutes. At 12.35 a.m. he noticed a man and a woman by the school wall opposite Dutfield’s Yard. The woman wore a red flower on her jacket. The man had a parcel wrapped in newspaper. He was 1.70m tall, about 28 years old, and wore a deerstalker hat and dark clothes.

At 12.45 Israel Schwartz was walking towards Dutfield’s Yard when he saw a man stop and speak to a woman in the entrance. Schwartz later described the man as 1.65m tall, about 30, with a small brown moustache. He was wearing a dark jacket and trousers, and a black cap with a peak. Suddenly the man pulled the woman into the street and threw her down on to the pavement. She screamed but not loudly. Schwartz did not want any trouble so he crossed to the other side of the street. There he saw another man, who was lighting a pipe. Then the first man shouted ‘Lipski’, perhaps at Schwartz, perhaps at the other man. Frightened, Schwartz ran away. The man with the pipe ran after him. Schwartz thought the man was following him, but a few moments later when he looked back, there was nobody behind him.

What was going on? Later, Inspector Abbeline had a good theory. He knew that Lipski was the name of a Jewish murderer, and in 1888 it was an insulting word used against Jews. Israel Schwartz was Jewish, so perhaps when the first man saw him, he shouted ‘Lipski’ to warn him aggressively to go away. Or perhaps he was warning the man with the pipe that Schwartz was coming. Was this man the murderer’s accomplice? Or was he an innocent witness who ran away like Schwartz?

At 1 a.m. Louis Diemschutz was coming along Berner Street with his pony and cart. He lived with his wife at the club, which they managed together. When he drove his cart into the entrance to Dutfield’s Yard, the pony turned to the left and refused to go on. It was scared of something. Mr Diemschutz looked down to his right and in the pitch darkness he could just see a shape on the ground. He got off his cart and struck a match. Before the breeze blew out the match he made out a figure in a dress: it was a woman.

Mr Diemschutz, anxious about the safety of his wife, went into the club to look for her. He found her safe with some club members and told them about the woman. Then he returned to the yard with a candle and a friend. When they saw a lot of blood flowing from the woman’s neck, they ran to find a policeman. At the same time Morris Eagle, another member of the club, ran for help in the opposite direction. He found two policemen in Commercial Road, who rushed to Dutfield’s Yard. Then one of them went off to bring a doctor. Edward Johnston, a doctor s assistant, arrived at 1.13. He examined the dead woman and saw that she had a deep cut in her throat. Her body was still warm. Dr Blackwell arrived at 1.16. He thought the woman had died between twenty to thirty minutes before. He noticed a scarf round her neck. It was tied on the left side and was pulled very tight. Had the killer seized the scarf from behind and pulled her to the ground, where he cut her throat?

Detective Inspector Reid arrived at Dutfield’s Yard at 1.45. He noted the dead woman’s height - 1.57m - and guessed her age, about 42. She had curly dark-brown hair, a pale complexion, and light grey eyes. Two front teeth were missing at the top. She wore a long black jacket, and an old black skirt. Her stockings were white, her bonnet black, and she was wearing boots. There was one red rose on her jacket.

The witnesses identified the victim as the woman with the man near Dutfield’s Yard. A man named Michael Kidney also identified her. He said she lived with him and her name was Elizabeth Stride. He had seen her for the last time on September 25th. Elizabeth sometimes stayed at a lodging house in Flower and Dean Street, where people called her Long Liz. Mrs Tanner, the deputy, said she last saw Elizabeth alive about 7 p.m. on Saturday 29th, in the kitchen of the lodging house.

Long Liz was born Elizabeth Gustafsdotter in 1843 near Gothenburg in Sweden. She probably came to England for domestic work. In 1869 she married John Stride, a carpenter. Nobody knows when the marriage broke down, but in 1877 Elizabeth was living in a workhouse. Her husband died in 1884, when Long Liz was lodging in Flower and Dean Street.

According to the medical evidence Elizabeth Stride died about 12.56 a.m., or even perhaps at 12.58. If this is true, Louis Diemschutz’s arrival at 1 a.m. very probably disturbed the killer, so he only had time to cut his victim’s throat. Then he hid in the darkness of Dutfield’s Yard, and when Mr Diemschutz ran into the club, he quickly escaped. But the murder of Elizabeth Stride was not enough. Jack the Ripper wanted more blood, and he went to look for another victim.

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