Joseph Drage

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Police Constable Joseph William Drage, 282H.

Witness at Elizabeth Stride's inquest.

Born c.1836. Joined Metropolitan Police in 1879 (warrant no.63548). Served in H-division (Whitechapel) from 1879-89.[1]

At 12.30am on 1st October 1888, PC Drage was on fixed point duty on Whitechapel Road opposite Great Garden Street (today's Greatorex Street). He saw Thomas Coram stooping down in a doorway opposite 253 Whitechapel Road and as he approached, Coram stood up and beckoned him over; he said "Policeman, there is a knife down here."

Drage picked up the knife and saw that it was smothered with dried blood and that a blood-stained handkerchief had been tied round the handle with string. On being asked how he came upon the knife, Coram replied that he was looking down when he caught sight of something white. Drage took down his details and the two went, with the knife, to Leman Street Police Station.

PC Drage had not seen the knife previously, despite having passed the spot continually. A little earlier, a horse had fallen nearby and he had helped to lift it to its feet. He said it was possible that the knife had been deposited at this time. He could not be sure if the knife had been there fifteen minutes previously, but was sure it had not been there an hour before as he had seen the landlady of the premises let a woman out and it would most certainly have been seen then.[2]


He passed the knife to Dr George Bagster Phillips later that afternoon, who declared that it was unlikely to be the instrument used on Elizabeth Stride. Sixteen days after this incident, Drage was officially cautioned for a minor disciplinary infringement.[3]

References

  1. The Jack the Ripper A-Z, Begg, Fido, Skinner (Headline 1996)
  2. Inquest report, The Times, 4th October 1888
  3. The Jack the Ripper A-Z, Begg, Fido, Skinner (Headline 1996)