Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 25 January 2022), February 1904, trial of JOHN COLMAN (33) (t19040208-217).

JOHN COLMAN, Killing > murder, 8th February 1904.

217. JOHN COLMAN (33) Was indicted for, and charged on the Coroner's Inquisition with, the wilful murder of Hulda Poppie.

MR. MUIR and MR. B. B. MURPHY Prosecuted; MR. WATT and MR. ARNOLD Defended.

CHARLES LEITH . I am a porter and shop assistant to Charles Vaughan, gunsmith, of 39, Strand—about 4 p.m. on Saturday, January 2nd, the prisoner came to our shop and bought this revolver and a box of fifty cartridges (Produced)—he paid 10s. for the revolver and 3s. for the cartridges—he said he was going to Argentina, and asked if the revolver was strong enough—I asked him if he had a licence, and he produced this one—it is an ordinary 10s. gun licence to John Colman, Rowton House, Fieldgate Street, granted on January 2nd.

Cross-examined. He did not say he was going to Tasmania, he said Argentina—he did not say when he was going—there was nothing in the conversation to make me remember it.

AGNES DAVEY . I have known the prisoner for three or four months—I have seen him frequently during that time, and slept with him twice before we went to 5, Artichoke Hill—I had made him no promise with regard to living with him, and he had not asked me to do so—I went with other men while I knew him—I do not know if he knew that—he never said anything to me about it—on Saturday, January 2nd, I did not see him, but he left a letter at the George for me on the Monday afternoon—I got it that night—I saw him at 1.30 p.m. on Sunday—I was just coming out of where I live—we had a drink, and then I left him—this is the letter I received from him (Read) "Dear Agg,—It is all right. When I went down stairs that woman was not in, so I went out, and did not like coming back again, as you did not wish me to do so. I will be up at the George at 6.30 to-night, and again at eight. I hope you will get this, so as to be able to meet me for your money. P.S.—I suppose you will be vexed. Did you think I had sloped off on purpose?"—I had slept with him on the Sunday night at 5, Artichoke Hill and he had left me without giving me any money—after getting that letter I met him in the George, and we went to 5, Artichoke Hill to sleep there—we got there between twelve and one at night—I knocked at the door twice—the deceased came out—I said, "Have you got a bed for two nights?'—she said, "Yes"—we went into the front parlour—the deceased was there by herself——she said to the prisoner. "Are you going to treat us before you go to bed?"—he said, "Yes; what have you got in the house?"—she said, "I have got a nice drop of whisky"—he said, "Go and fetch it"—she went and got a big bottle and poured some whisky into a small bottle, and we drank it—she said again, "Are you going to treat us again before you go to bed?"—he said, "Yes," so she poured some more whisky into the small bottle—before we went to bed we had two quarterns of whisky between the three of us—before we went to bed at 3 a.m. the prisoner had his senses, and did not seem to be so very drunk—he paid the deceased 2s. 6d. for the bed and 2s. for the whisky—when we were going to bed he took a revolver out of his pocket and placed it on the corner of the table—we did not say anything about it—about 10 a.m., when the prisoner and me was in bed, the deceased fetched up a cup of tea—she said, "Ain't you going to treat us?"—the prisoner said, "Yes, go and get me a quartern of whisky," and he gave her 6d., and 2d.

—she went and fetched it—he took it from her and drank the whole of it; then she went down stairs and came back again and knocked at the door, and said, "Aggie, do you want soap and towel and comb?."—I said "Yes," so she went down stairs and fetched it—she came back and said, "The man is mad"—nothing had happened to make her say that—he said, "Get away;" then he sent for another quartern of whisky—I thought he gave her 1s.—when she came back he said, "How much does a quartern of whisky cost?"—I said, "Sixpence or eightpence"—he said, "She has fetched me back fourpence"—I said, "What did you give her?"—he said, Sixpence and half a sovereign"—I said to her. "Go and fetch the change back"—she was just against the door, and said, "Wait a minute; 'Gusta' has gone for the change"—that was Augustus Gunther—she went down stairs, and came back with two half crowns and two two shilling pieces, and gave them into his hand—he poured some of the whisky into a glass and said, "Drink a glass, Aggie"—I said, "I don't care for it the first thing in the morning," so he poured it all into the glass and drank it—I reckon altogether he had five or six quarterns of whisky in the house—he had three or four quarterns after we woke up in the morning—he got me round the neck and said, "Drink and wish Jack luck"—I said. "Don't be so silly; dress yourself and come out with me"—he said, "Come and lie on the bed a little while"—I said I did not wish to—I got up and dressed, and went out into the yard to the w.c.—I went back into the front parlour—there were three women there, no men—I was sitting on the sofa—the prisoner called out, "Where is Aggie?"—I said, "Here I am"—he came into the parlour—he had his shirt and trousers on, but no boots—he said, "Come up stairs"—I said, "Go on; you go up"—he went up stairs; I went as far as the top of the stairs—he kept getting me round the neck, so I left him—he had the revolver in his shirt pocket then—before that I had last seen it on the Monday night on the table—it was there when I went down stairs to speak to the three wome—before I went to the w.c. I said. "Ain't you going to give me no money? You gave me none last night"—he went over to his pocket and gave me £1 9s.—he gave me two shillings, two half crowns, one two shilling piece, and a sovereign—I saw that he had four other sovereigns in his hand then—I said, "Be careful of your money; look after it"—I did not see him put the revolver into his pocket.

Cross-examined. About two years ago I lived at 5, Artichoke Hill for about four months—I am an unfortunate, and I was so then—when I was at Artichoke Hill two years ago it was kept by Martha Powell and Mr. Gunther—he lives at No. 6 now—I believe Martha Powell lives at No. 3 now—I do not know if she sleeps there now; she did before this occurred—the prisoner knew what I was, and that. I made my living by getting money from men—he paid me when he went with me, barring on the Monday morning, but he made it up next day—on the Monday night we left the George at twelve midnight—it closed at 12.30—we went straight to Artichoke Hill—we went to the George about 8 p.m.—the prisoner only drank whisky there; I do not know how much, but I

know it was rather a lot—he kept on drinking and calling for more—when we lift the public house he had a quartern of whisky in his pocket—he pot that from another public house—he was drinking small glasses of whisky—I do not know what he paid for them—we were in the public bar in Commercial Road—it was the ordinary kind of whisky—he was a bit drunk when we got to Artichoke Hill, but he spoke sensibly enough—he was able to walk—when I used to live at Artichoke Hill Martha Powell and Mr. Gunther slept in the front parlour there—there is no other room on the ground floor that I know of, except the kitchen—there is no bed in the kitchen that I am aware of—Martha Powell was not in the parlour when we were asked to go in; there was no one there before we went to bed except the deceased—she brought two quarterns of whisky before we went to bed and three or four next morning—the prisoner drank the stuff he brought from the public house in the morning, in bed before the deceased came up with the tea—I did not have any of it—the deceased knocked at the door and said, "Open the door"—I said, "What do you want?"—she said, "I have a cup of tea"—I came on retching after the drink overnight, so I said to the prisoner, "You drink the tea"—I did not drink it; I did not care for it—there was only one cup—the prisoner had half of it, and the rest was left—I suppose it was brought up for me—it was then that the deceased asked the prisoner if he was going to treat her—I did not have any of the three or four quarterns of whisky in the morning—the prisoner poured a little drop into the glass, and the deceased drank it—the prisoner did not seem stupid or insensible that morning—he answered when I spoke to him—he did not seem as if he had lost his senses—in addition to what the deceased brought him, he drank what he had brought from the public house—that was before I got out of bed—when I went down stairs I saw the deceased, Martha Powell, and a young Jewish lady who is a lodger—when I came back from the yard Powell was hitting the deceased—I stopped her and said, "What are you hitting her for?"—she said, "She is doing me blind out of my money"—I understood the deceased was being accused of taking Powell's money—I do not know if it was about the prisoner's money—I do not know if any other women were sleeping in the house that night.

By the COURT. There is another room at the back on that floor, and another floor above—there was nobody in the room at the back that I am aware of—there is only one room up stairs, where Elsie Mattes was sleeping—I saw her in the morning when I went into the yard—I had no arrangement to meet the prisoner again that morning when I left him—I only go to the George about 6 p.m., and never in the daytime—he would know where to find me—he did not know where I lived—I have no fixed place to live in, and no home.

MARTHA POWELL . I am the wife of Mr. Powell, a coxswain—I have not seen him for eight years—I have been the tenant of 5 Artichoke Hill for eight years—the deceased lived with me for just upon four years, then she left and then lived with me again for three years—she slept on a sofa in my bedroom down stairs—I know Davey; at one time she lived with me—

I did not see her on Sunday January 3rd, or on Monday, January 1th—she slept, in mv house—on the Sunday night, but I did not know it. and I did no! know until Tuesday morning that she had slept there on. Monday night—no money was paid to me on Monday night in respect to her sleeping there on Tuesday. January 5th. about 10 a.m., I was in the front room down stairs with the deceased—Davey came in by herself and spoke to me—between 10.30 and 11 the prisoner came in—Davey and the deceased were there then—the prisoner had on his trousers and shirt, but no coat or shoes—he said, "Agnes, come up stairs"—she said, "All right, wait a minute; I am only speaking to the Missus"—he said again, "Come up stairs; I want you"—she said, "All right"—I said, Go up stairs if the man wants you"—she went up stairs, and the prisoner followed her—I heard someone go out of the house, and I then saw Davey pass the window—two or three minutes afterwards the prisoner came down stairs again and into the room—he seemed to be dressed as he was before—he had no coat on—only me and the deceased were in the room then—the prisoner said, "Where is Agnes?"—I said, "I do not know"—he kept repeating, "Fetch Agnes, go and fetch Agnes"—I said, "Agnes told you she wanted to go to the infirmary"—when she was in the room she had said she wanted to go to the infirmary to see some sick person; I think it was a child—when I told the prisoner what Davey had said he said several times, "Oh, no, fetch her'"—I said, Hulda, go and see if you can see her"—she was out for about five minutes—when she came back the prisoner was still there—the deceased said, "I cannot see her nowhere"—in this side of the prisoner's shirt I see a revolver sticking out—it was like this one (Produced)—I said, "You have got a revolver"—he took it out of his pocket and said, "That won't do you no harm, but if you don't fetch Aggie I will blow my b——brains out"—I did not think he was drunk—he looked excited—he spoke clearly—I did not answer him—he put the revolver back in his pocket—he did not say anything then—he remained in the room for a couple of seconds, then he went up stairs—he was up there two or three minutes—he came down—he had no coat on—only me and the deceased were in the room—the prisoner said, "Go and fetch Aggie, go and see if you can find Aggie"—the deceased said, "Go up stairs and dress yourself"—he stood for a couple of minutes and then went up stairs—shortly afterwards he came into the room—he had his long overcoat on, with the collar turned up, and a cap on—I was sitting on a chair on one side of the fireplace, and the deceased was on the other side—the prisoner came directly towards us—he stood alongside the deceased and said, "Go and fetch Aggie"—he put his hand into his side pocket and went like that (Pointing), and said, "Go and fetch Aggie"—at the same time he shot at the deceased twice—I heard two shots—I jumped up. And at the second shot the deceased fell into the fireplace—I caught hold of the prisoner—I was between the sofa and the table—I struggled with him and held him by his coat—he said, "Fetch Aggie, fetch Aggie"—I said, "I will fetch Aggie;" then I heard something and felt something hot on me; then he shot again, but I do not know if that caught me; I felt the something hot down the back of my neck, and I felt blood down my

neck—I do not know if I had a wound there—I was crying out, "Help, help, murder!"—the door opened, and I see young Gunther come in—I said, in English. "He has shot me and killed Hulda"—I see Gunther rush towards the prisoner and hold him—I fell down—I do not know what happened to me—I was afterwards taken to the London Hospital, where I believe I stayed a fortnight.

By the COURT. He did not point the revolver at me before I went to him.

Cross-examined. I have been in this country for twenty years—I come from Russia—when Davey lived at 5, Artichoke Hill, some time ago, Gunther did not live there with me—he never lived with me—he lived in the same street—the house was kept as a brothel, as it is now—it has been a brothel for about four years—before that I let it out to tenants—I pay the rent—I do not pay no rates—the deceased was my servant—the money which she took from people who came there she put in a drawer, and if she wanted to buy something she took it—I gave her no wage—I do not know that she has been convicted twenty or thirty times for drunkenness and as a disorderly prostitute—I know she was locked up for drunkenness once or twice—when the prisoner and Davey came from the George at 1 a.m. on the 5th, I was in bed in my bedroom down stairs—there is only one room there—I did not see them in that room—if they were in bed they must have gone up stairs—they did not stay in my room for two hours drinking whisky with the deceased—the only other room down stairs is a small kitchen, and to get there you must go through my bed sitting-room—if they had been in my room I should have been sure to wake up, and they must have seen me—I was not in No. 6—I do not sleep there with Gunther—I was not charged with him for keeping No. 5 as a brothel—the first time that I knew the prisoner and Davey were in the house on Tuesday, was between 10.30 and 11 a.m., when Davey came down stairs—I do not keep whisky in the house for sale or to drink—I did not know that the deceased kept it—if she had I should have known it—there was a bottle in the house which had been given to me as a Christmas box by the landlord—I do not know where the deceased had put it—we had nearly drunk it up—I do not know if any was left—that was the only whisky in the house—on Tuesday morning the deceased and I had a few words because she said I had no business to get out of bed, because I have always been in bed very near—we have never quarrelled about money—I did not strike her—I have never done so—I may have pushed her—I never saw any of the prisone's money—I do not know if it was in the drawer—I did not know that the deceased had got any from the prisoner—I heard no conversation about it—the only thing the prisoner complained of was that he could not find Aggie—the deceased did not say anything to make him angry: the only thing she said was, "Go up stairs and dress yourself"—he seemed quite sober—he looked excited—he did not seern dazed or stupid—he seemed to know what he was doing—when he said to the deceased, "Go and find Aggie," he pointed the revolver straight at her head—he was close to her—while I was holding him he tried to point the revolver at my head, but I was always able to

keep it down—when I called, young Ganther came in—that was the first time I had seen him that morning—I had not called him to do something to the dog—Mattes was not in the room while Davey was there—when the prisoner came down stairs I did not see any money in his hand—he never spoke about money—I did not see any other man in the room that morning until young Gunther came in.

ALBERT HANDLEY (Detective Sergeant H.) About 2 p.m. on January 5th I went to Rowton House, Whitechapel, and searched locker No. 541—I found this box of cartridges (Produced), some of which I compared with some found on the prisoner—they correspond—I found two letters one registered—neither of them were open—I returned to the police station and showed the things to the prisoner telling him where I had found them—he said, "I bought the cartridges in the Strand, near the Law Courts, last Saturday, also the revolver; I gave 10s. for the revolver and 3s. for the cartridges. I was on Tower Bridge yesterday; I meant to throw them over into the river, also the licence"—I showed him the registered letter—he opened it in my presence—it contained four £3 notes and two postal orders for £1 each—there was no letter in it—the other letter he opened; it was from his mother (Read:) "New Delaval, January 4th. My dear Son,—Received your letter all right. I was more than surprised when I read your letter I had no idea you were keeping company with any young woman where you are living well Jack what you tell me about her she is not worth a single thought be thankful that you have seen through her in time it would have been a good deal worse if you had been married to her console yourself that you have escaped such a low creature take no notice of her whatever for heaven's sake don't get into any trouble over such a creature there are plenty of decent girls don't let such a one as she is try to spoil your life live it down like a man treat her with contempt do nothing that will ever cause you to regret such as her will only rejoice to know that they can make you suffer that's what I would not let her do it is a pity that any man should for so forget himself do anything wrong to let a woman be the means of him getting two years I hope you will show her you can forget her better than that put her out of your thoughts at once there are plenty of better women to be got she has proved herself to be a low bad girl living with a man not married be glad she showed her true colours in time don't think that I don't feel for you in this I do for I have passed through I was only a young woman you are a man that makes a. great difference there are lads around here have been that just the same they have never bothered themselves about it so Jack, just do the same if it had been an upright good girl you might have felt it keenly not as it is I must ask you again to forget all about her do nothing wrong bad treatment generally in time falls on their own heads follow the old saying let her lay as she grows as I am writing I have just received the telegram it send your money at once it will be sent as soon as Dick gets in be careful Jack for your own sake and mine from your loving mother Ann Colman the first post leaves to-night at 8.30 to-night may God bless you, my son from Mother."

Cross-examined. He did not say anything about his intention of going abroad—he did not mention Tasmania or the Argentine to me.

ELSIE MATTES . I used to live at 5, Artichoke Hill—I am a cigarette maker—I occupied the top floor—I knew the deceased for a fortnight, and also Mrs. Powell—on January 5th I heard voices of a man and woman in the front room underneath me, which is the first floor—there are only two floors to the house—I did not know the voices—I had been asleep before I heard them, and I went to sleep afterwards—I next heard a noise like a revolver being fired—there were three or four shots—I did not take any notice of them—I had not been down stairs before on that morning—I do not know Davey—when I heard the shots I also heard screaming—I went down stairs—the room was full of people, and the policemen were in there—when I heard the shots I was dressing—I had been up perhaps an hour—I was doing my house work—no man had been in my room that night.

By the COURT. I have had men in my room before.

Cross-examined. I had not been down stairs before I heard the shots—I did not see anything of a quarrel between the deceased and Mrs. Powell—I have been in this country for nearly six years—I come from Germany.

AUGUSTUS GUNTHER . I am a French polisher, of 6, Artichoke Hill—on January 5th, about 11 a.m., I was outside my door—I heard screams coming from No. 5—I went into the front room on the ground floor—I saw Martha Powell lying on the floor, and the deceased lying in the fireplace—the prisoner was standing against the fireplace: he had a revolver in his hand, pointing to the ground—Powell did not say anything to me—I struck the prisoner—he fell on a chair—I held him and called for assistance—my father came in—I heard Powell say, "He has killed her and shot me"—the prisoner did not say anything to that—I sent for a constable—two came finally—before the prisoner went away we shook hands and said good bye—the constable had him, and he said, "Shake hands and say good bye"—he did not shake hands with anybody else.

Cross-examined. I work at my own shop at 25, St. George's Street—I was home for breakfast at this time—I had not been at work that morning; I was the night before—I generally go to work at 8 a.m.—I had been in No. 5 that morning to chain the dog up—the deceased had asked me to do so—she had not asked me to go for any change—I have lived in No. 6 for about eighteen months—my father never lived in No. 5 with Mrs. Powell—I have never lived there—Mrs. Powell does not sleep in No. 6—she had not been in there on Monday night—I did not see her on Tuesday before she was shot—the prisoner did not struggle while I was holding him—he tried to point the revolver at me—I had not much difficulty in preventing him from doing so—he looked more excited than drunk—he seemed* a bit stupid—I cannot suggest why he asked to shake hands with me.

Re-examined. There is only a foot between my door and the front door of No. 5—I did not hear any shots or anything before I heard the screams—as soon as I heard the screams I went in—I did not see any man coming out of No. 5 before I went in—I could not have failed to have seen them if any

had come out, but I was only outside for about two minutes—the only man in the house when I went in was the prisoner.

HERMANN GUNTHER . I live at 6, Artichoke Hill—I was at home on the morning of January 5th—my son went outside, and in about two minutes I heard a cry of "Murder, father, murder!"—I went into No. 5—the door was open—I saw my son struggling with the prisoner in the corner on a chair, and two women lying on the ground, one in the fireplace and one on the right of the door—I got, hold of the prisoner by his wrist and told my son to get the revolver away—he took it away and we sent for a constable—I had not been in the house before that morning—before the police came the prisoner said, Let me get up"—I said. "No, I shant"—when the police had him he would not go without shaking hands, so I shook hands with him.

Cross-examined. I have known the deceased for fifteen years—she insured her life, and the policy was assigned to me—I know Davey by sight—I do not remember her living at 5. Artichoke Hill—I live at No. 6—I have never lived at No. 5—I know Martha Powell—I was charged for keeping No. 5 as a brothel—she was not charged; she was not in the case at all—No. 6 is not a brothel—women have gone into No. 5, but I cannot exactly say what it is—I am not often in there: the last time was a couple of months ago—I do not let any rooms in No. 6—my children live with me—I have no wife.

Re-examined. There were no men in there when I got in No. 5 except the prisoner, my son and myself.

LILY ROHLEN . I am a polisher, of 7, Artichoke Hill—on Tuesday, January 5th, I was cleaning my doorstep—I heard a noise like an explosion of a gas engine—I heard cries of Murder! and Police!—then I heard another report—I went towards No. 5, where the noise came from—when I got to the door I saw a young chap standing by the room door—I went inside the house, and saw Mrs. Powell kneeling in front of the table—blood was running down her side—the deceased was lying her left side in front of the fender—Mr. Gunther was holding the prisoner by the collar and tie—I went for the police.

By the COURT. I found in the house old Mr. Gunther, young Mr. Gunther, the two women, and the prisoner, nobody else.

Cross-examined. I knew the people in No. 5 as neighbours—I had not been in there before that morning—I do not know the last time I was in there—I had not been in the place for months that I know of—the prisoner was rather red in the face and a bit excited—he did not say anything—I did not stay long enough to know if he was dazed or stupid—I cannot say if he was drunk.

Re-examined. My doorstep is on the same line as No. 3—I had been cleaning it for three or four minutes before the explosion—I had seen no men, except the Gunthers, enter or leave No. 5.

HARRY THURLOW (231 H.) On Tuesday. January 3th, about 10.15 a.m., I went with Dunn to.5, Artichoke Hill—we went into the front room on the ground floor—I saw Powell lying on the floor bleeding from wound on the left of her neck and the deceased bleeding from her face—

Powell said, He shot me," meaning the prisoner, who was being held by two men—we arrested him, and took the women to the London Hospital.

Cross-examined. I did not hear the prisoner say anything—he had been drinking heavily I should say, but he was not drunk—he seemed greatly excited.

JOHN DUNN (332 H.) On the morning of January 5th I went with Thurlow to 5, Artichoke Hill—I was handed this revolver by Augustus Gunther—we arrested the prisoner in the house—he did not say anything then, but on the way to the station he said, "I have been a d————d fool, I know; I done it: I cannot think what made me do it. She has done me down for £5 10s."—he was sober, but he had evidently been drinking heavily—he was charged at the station.

Cross-examined. He did not say anything in the house—I was in the house three or four minutes before we went to the station.

FREDERICK WEXSLEY (Detective Sergeant H.) I was at Leman Street Police Station when the prisoner was brought there on January 5th, about 11 a.m.—he had evidently been drinking, but I should not say he was drunk—I said to him, "What is your name, occupation, age, and address?"—this note was taken at the time—he replied, "John Colman, 42; I have been to sea, and I have been in the Durham Light Infantry nine and a half years; but I have been doing nothing for the last six months, only acting the b——fool. I only fired two shots. Aggie ran away and left me there. I found she was living with another man. I took her to 5, Artichoke Hill. We slept there. We had been there for the last two nights. When we got up this morning we had some whisky. She went down stairs, and when I went down I found she had gone"—this revolver was brought to the station—I examined it—I found there were four spent cartridges and one loaded one in it—it has five chambers—on searching the prisoner I found five other cartridges similar to those in the revolver, also a bed ticket at Rowton House, a gun licence taken out on January 2nd, and this postcard (Read) addressed, "Mr. R. Rutherford, 45, South Road, New Delaval. North. In the event of anything occurring to me, send that money there is in my pocket, probably about £4 or £5, to the address on the post card, John Colman"—I found on him ninepence in bronze—on seeing that he said, "I had a £5 note; someone has been through me"—he paused, and then said, "No; they have done me for £4 or £5 in gold. I did not know that"—I went to 5, Artichoke Hill, and examined the room on the ground floor—there did not appear to have been a struggle—there was a quantity of blood in the fireplace and some on the bed—I found threepence in bronze on the floor, close to the fireplace—I searched the whole house for money, but failed to find any—all the rooms were empty, with the exception of where Mattes lived—I did not search that room—I found the prisoner's cap: it had a few spots of blood on it—I took it back to the station—the prisoner said, "That is mine; there are some spots of blood on it. I thought I had been knocked about"—I saw him again about midday—I was passing through the charge room—the prisoner saw me and said,

"I want to speak to you, Aggie has played with me; she promised to live with me, but I found she has lived with other men. When I went down stairs Aggie had gone. I spoke to the two women. They gave me some cheek, and told me to go out. and began acting the fool. I had a good drop of drink, and shot the both of them"—he gave me a description of Davey, which enabled me to find her—on January 6th the prisoner sent for me—he said, "I want to send a letter to my mother"—I said I did not think there was any objection but he must understand we should read the contents—he said. "That does not matter in the least"—I supplied him with pen, ink. and paper, and he wrote to his mother—this is the letter—I kept the original and sent a copy (Read:) "London. My dear Mother,—How shall I begin, and what shall I say? You will, of course, have heard of this awful affair. I got away with bad company, mother, and went with a woman on Monday night. I remember having a little whisky yesterday morning with water. I came down stairs feeling very queer and dizzy in my head. The girl had left the house, so two other women told me. They got me into a room down stairs and set about me at once. Mother, I had a revolver on me, which I bought for the purpose of taking to Tasmania. Heavens help me, you can guess the remainder. I have a dim remembrance of some men being there, also; the strangest part of it, mother, my money was taken from me. I had it in my possession when I came down stairs. The woman I was with got nothing; but she knew I had a few pounds on me. Could she have told the others to put something in the drink to stupefy me, and then take this money? I must say it has the appearance of it. So see, mother, I don't even know those two poor women. If only they had let me go away quietly. Mother, think as little of it as possible. Don't take it too much to heart. It isn't as if I had intended doing it. I shall, of course, write again. God bless you, dear, and again don't let it affect you too much. Give my love to them all.—Your loving son, Jack"—he had not said anything about any men being there—he had not the appearance of a man who had been drugged—I was not present when Powell was searched at the hospital—I heard of some property being found on her—it was not given up—that which was found on the deceased was given to the Coroner's officer—I saw the prisoner write this letter—the writing on this postcard is the same.

Cross-examined. I have made some inquiries about the prisoner; Divall has made others—I have heard a good report of him—as far as I know, there is nothing against him—I have been in this locality for some years—some of the houses are brothels—when the prisoner was brought in I noticed that he had a slight mark over his left eye, but I thought it was of old standing a day or two's standing, at all events—he had the appearance of a man who had been drinking heavily—he gave a very reasonable account of all that had transpired.

THOMAS DIVALL (Detective Inspector II.) I saw the prisoner at Leman Street Police Station about 7.30 p.m. on January 5th—I said. I am a police officer, and I will charge you with the wilful murder of Hulda Poppie and the attempted murder of Martha Powell at 5, Artichoke Hill,

St. George's—In-the-East. this morning—he said, "I thought there was something wrong, but no one would tell me about it. Is there anything known about the men? There was some men. Somebody must have taken the money from me, as when I got here I had only a few coppers, and I ought to have had £4 or £5"—I read the charge to him—he made no reply.

Cross-examined. I have made inquiries about him—I have been furnished with information as to where he has been, and I have had inquiries made by the police in Northumberland—there is nothing known against him—he and his people are respectable—I know Artichoke Hill very well—it is a very low locality—I cannot say that there are a number of foreign brothels there—we prosecute when we get the chance—I think the deceased has been convicted ten or twenty times for being drunk and disorderly—I saw the prisoner about 1 p.m. on January 5th—he had been drinking, but he was perfectly rational and very clear in his speech and movements.

Re-examined. The deceased was only charged with dishonesty once, and immediately discharged.

THOMAS JONES , M.R.C.S. I am divisional surgeon of police—on January 5th I went to Leman Street Police Station at 2 p.m.—I examined the prisoner—he appeared to be in an ill and excited states—he was perfectly rational, and his movements were steady—he had two longitudinal scratches above his right eye—he had a mark on his right cheek—it was not quite a bruise, but a little more than a flushing, and he had a cut on the inner side of his upper lip, about the centre—those injuries were recent—the teeth corresponding to the cut on the lip were not loosened and the gums were not inflamed or injured—he had no appearance of having been drugged, or having had any heavy blow.

Cross-examined. I only judge of the prisoner's condition at the time I examined him—he was then perfectly sober and rational, but he had been drinking—a man in a fit of drunkenness, or disorder of mind occasioned by drunkenness, who had killed a human being, would not realise it so quickly as a man who was not drunk—if a man drank a bottle of bad whisky in the course of a few hours the chances are that he would be drunk, and probably insensibly drunk—I could not form any opinion of how much the prisoner had drunk—I had no evidence of his having been drugged—he might have been drugged within six or eight hours from the time I saw him, but it all depends on what kind of drug it was, and how much was administered—you can get good whisky in the East End—if a man drank a pint of the cheap whisky which is sold in a low class of public house the chances are that he would be helplessly drunk very soon—it depends on the individual as to whether his mind would go before his bodily powers; it is supposed that persons who have been abroad and have been attacked by malaria are more easily affected by alcoholism; drink has the effect of bringing on an attack of epilepsy in epileptic subjects, but the prisoner had no epileptic seizure; it is a very different question as to when a fit passes away; in this case there was no evidence of

epilepsy; I cannot say what state the prisoner was in live or six hours before I saw him.

MOSES THOMAS WILLIAMS . I am a Bachelor of Medicine and house surgeon at the London Hospital—the deceased was brought there by the police about 11.23 a.m. on January 5th—when I saw her she was syncoped: her head and face were more or less covered with blood; her breathing was stertorous, her pulse was 48, and she was unconscious—she never recovered—I made a post-mortem examination next day, and found the cause of death to be two gun shot wounds in the brain; I found two bullets in her head; the two wounds were within an inch of each other on the left side of the face near the ear—I thought the shot was fired close to the head, because the edges of the wounds were inverted, and all round them the flesh was blackened—death was due to hemorrhage and shock due to the bullet wounds—one of the bullets was battered about so that you cannot recognise it, but the other seems to fit this empty case—this live cartridge may be the same size, but I would not like to swear to it—I also attended Powell—she was quite conscious, and answered all questions rationally—she was suffering from shock, and had two wounds—one was a small wound behind the right ear; the edges were slightly inverted; the other was larger, about 1 inch or 1 1/2 inches behind the anterior one, the edges being everted, showing that the bullet had gone in at one wound and come out of the other: it had not struck the bone it had just gone through the muscles—I should think the wound was inflicted at close quarters—there was no other wound—I do not know anything about the women being searched.

F. WENSLEY (Re-examined.) I made inquiries respecting the money found; I think 1s. 3 1/2 d. was found on the deceased; I believe 2d. or 3d. any was found on Powell.

The prisoner's statement before the Magistrate: "I do not wish to make any statement in this Court. I call no witnesses."

The prisoner in his defence on oath, said that when he was a boy he had a sunstroke and when serving in the Army in India he was in hospital three times with malaria; that he was invalided in May, 1902; that he was making arrangements to go to Tasmania, as he suffered from ague; that he had had two epileptic fits; that he met Davey while waiting to go to Tasmania; that he bought the revolver because he was going abroad; that he and Davey went to 3, Artichoke Hill on January 4th; that the deceased let them in and took them to a room down stairs: that he did not see anybody else there; that he was drunk; that he had some whisky, but he did not know how much: that he went to bed with Davey, and in the morning had more whisky, after which he seemed to become greatly dazed and stupefied; that when he was dressed he went down stairs; that he did not remember putting the revolver into his pocket, or having it with him then; that some women said that Davey had gone out. and asked him to go into the room; that there was a scuffle; that he had a hazy idea of men and women being there, and of being struck; that he remembered having the revolver in his hand and of shouting out and firing it, but he did not remember firing at the deceased; that when he went to the house he had £3 10s.; that he did not remember giving Davey 29s.; that he had his

money in his pocket just before going down stairs; that he did not remember struggling with the Gunthers; that he remembered being in the street with the constable, but not of making a statement to him or to anyone at the station, that he did not intend to fire at anyone; that when he wrote the postcard he did not intend doing anything to himself, but was not feeling very well, and though he might have another epileptic fit; and that his explanation of the women being shot was that he had been knocked down by some men in the room, and when he jumped up he fired at anyone.

GUILTY. He received a good character from the police. The Jury recommended him to mercy on account of his good character and the circumstances under which the crime was committed. Fifteen years' penal servitude.