George Hutchinson

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Informant following Mary Jane Kelly's inquest and recent suspect.

An unemployed labourer and former groom, described as being of military appearance[1] and living at the Victoria Working Men's Home, Commercial Street. At 6.00pm on 12th November 1888, he went to Commercial Street Police Station and gave the following statement to Sgt Edward Badham, 31H:


About 2 am 9th I was coming by Thrawl Street, Commercial Street, and saw just before I got to Flower and Dean Street I saw the murdered woman Kelly. And she said to me Hutchinson will you lend me sixpence. I said I cant I have spent all my money going down to Romford. She said Good morning I must go and find some money. She went away toward Thrawl Street. A man coming in the opposite direction to Kelly tapped her on the shoulder and said something to her. They both burst out laughing. I heard her say alright to him. And the man said you will be alright for what I have told you. He then placed his right hand around her shoulders. He also had a kind of a small parcel in his left hand with a kind of strap round it. I stood against the lamp of the Queen’s Head Public House and watched him. They both then came past me and the man hid down his head with his hat over his eyes. I stooped down and looked him in the face. He looked at me stern. They both went into Dorset Street I followed them. They both stood at the corner of the Court for about 3 minutes. He said something to her. She said alright my dear come along you will be comfortable He then placed his arm on her shoulder and gave her a kiss. She said she had lost her handkercheif he then pulled his handkercheif a red one out and gave it to her. They both then went up the court together. I then went to the Court to see if I could see them, but could not. I stood there for about three quarters of an hour to see if they came out they did not so I went away.

Description age about 34 or 35. height 5ft6 complexion pale, dark eyes and eye lashes slight moustache, curled up each end, and hair dark, very surley looking dress long dark coat, collar and cuffs trimmed astracan. And a dark jacket under. Light waistcoat dark trousers dark felt hat turned down in the middle. Button boots and gaiters with white buttons. Wore a very thick gold chain white linen collar. Black tie with horse shoe pin. Respectable appearance walked very sharp. Jewish appearance. Can be identified. [2]


Inspector Frederick Abberline later questioned Hutchinson regarding the above statement:

I have interrogated him this evening and I am of opinion his statement is true. He informed me that he had occasionally given the deceased a few shillings, and that he had known her about 3 years. Also that he was surprised to see a man so well dressed in her company which caused him to watch them.[3]

It is highly likely that he was the man Sarah Lewis saw standing outside the lodging house opposite Miller's Court (Commercial Street Chambers, 15-20 Dorset Street) between 2.00 and 3.00am on the morning of the murder.[4]


Hutchinson also said that he thought he saw Kelly's companion again in Middlesex Street (Petticoat Lane) on 11th November, but could not be certain. Also, he had apparently stayed out until 3.00am on 13th November looking for the man[5].


George Hutchinson has since become a controversial witness and issues have been raised about several aspects of his statement:

  • Why he waited 3 days before volunteering his information.
  • Why he waited for so long outside Miller's Court that morning.
  • His extremely detailed description of the man seen with Kelly.


He has also been suggested by several authors as a suspect for the Whitechapel Murders.[6][7][8][9]


In truth, little is known about George Hutchinson, other than the brief personal details given in 1888. Author Melvyn Fairclough interviewed a Reginald Hutchinson who claimed that his father, George William Topping Hutchinson, was the man who knew Mary Kelly. He claimed he was born on 1st October 1866, employed as a plumber (and apparently rarely, if ever, out of work) and that he knew one of the victims and was interviewed by police at the time. When pressed by his son as to the identity of Jack the Ripper, this George Hutchinson replied that "it was more to do with the Royal Family than ordinary people"[10]. Although a photograph of him also surfaced, this particular identification of Hutchinson has been greeted with a great deal of scepticism.

References

  1. The Times, 13th November 1888
  2. Statement of George Hutchinson, 12th November 1888, MEPO 3/140, ff. 227-9
  3. Report by Inspector Abberline, 12th November 1888, MEPO 3/140, ff.230-2
  4. Kelly inquest papers - MJ/SPC, NE1888, Box 3, Case paper 19 (London Metropolitan Archives)
  5. Jack the Ripper: The Facts, Paul Begg (Robson 2006)
  6. From Hell...The Jack the Ripper Mystery, Bob Hinton (Old Bakehouse Publications 1998)
  7. Jack the Ripper: An American View, Stephen Wright (Mystery Notebook Editions 1999)
  8. Jack the Ripper... Person or Persons Unknown, Garry Wroe (E-book 2002)
  9. On the Trail of a Dead Man: The Identity of Jack the Ripper, Chris Miles (Milestone Press 2004)
  10. The Ripper and the Royals, Melvyn Fairclough (Duckworth 1991)

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