Charles Preston

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Witness at Elizabeth Stride's inquest.

A barber who had been living in the lodging house at 32 Flower and Dean Street for eighteen months prior to the inquest. Accompanied by John Arundell[1], he identified Stride's body in the mortuary and knew her as 'Long Liz' as well as by her real name.

He last saw her between 6.00 and 7.00pm on Saturday 29th September 1888 in the kitchen of the lodging house where he claimed she was "dressed ready to go out" and she asked him for the loan of a clothes brush. He said she was wearing a black jacket trimmed with fur (which he saw in the mortuary) and a coloured silk handkerchief round her neck. Stride did not tell Preston where she was going that evening, nor what time she was returning.

Preston was able to furnish the inquest with some details about Stride's history, not all of it turning out to be reliable information. He knew that she had been born in Sweden and had come to England in the service of a foreign gentleman. He believed she was about 35 years of age and that she had been married, but her husband had drowned in the Princess Alice disaster in 1878. He had also heard her say that she once owned a coffeehouse in Chrisp Street, Poplar.

He was also aware of an incident where she was put into custody for being drunk and disorderly at the Queen's Head in Commercial Road (more likely Commercial Street) four or five months previously.

He also claimed to have heard her speaking fluently in another language whilst at the lodging house.[2]

References

  1. East London Advertiser, 6th October 1888
  2. Inquest report, The Times 4th October 1888 Transcription on Casebook