James Byfield

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Police Sergeant James George Byfield.

Witness at Catherine Eddowes' inquest.

Born c.1848, Plumstead, Essex[1]. Joined City of London Police in 1868 (warrant no.4171).[2]

Married to Mary (b.1852), they had three children, Alice (b.1876), George (b.1880) and Charles (b.1881). In 1881 they were living at 123 Gladstone Buildings, Shoreditch.[3]

Byfield was desk Sergeant at Bishopsgate Police Station on the night of 29th September 1888 when an inebriated Catherine Eddowes was brought in at 8.45pm by PC's Louis Robinson and George Simmons. She was placed in a cell and eventually released at 1.00am the following morning, after giving her name as Mary Ann Kelly and her address as 6 Fashion Street. She also claimed that she had been hopping.[4]

By 1891, James Byfield had become an Inspector in the City Police, but had also been widowed. He was listed that year as living with his two youngest sons at 56 Godwin Road, Forest Gate[5]. He retired from the force in 1895 and remarried (Frances b.1861, Canterbury), later moving to 34 Jasper Road, Dulwich[6].


  1. Census reports 1881
  2. The Jack the Ripper A-Z; Paul Begg, Martin Fido, Keith Skinner (Headline 1996)
  3. Census report 1881
  4. Coroner's inquest (L), 1888, No.135, Catherine Eddowes Inquest, 1888 (Corporation of London Record Office)
  5. Census reports 1891
  6. Census reports 1901