Joseph Chandler

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Inspector Joseph Chandler.

Witness at Annie Chapman's inquest.

Born Joseph Lewis Chandler in 1850, Northill, Bedfordshire. Original trade listed as carman[1]. Joined Metropolitan Police in 1873 (warrant no.56638).[2]

Married Martha Harris in 1874 [3]and had five children; William (b.1876), Edward (b.1878), Joseph (b.1878), Robert (b.1883) and Florence (b.1892).[4]

Inspector Chandler was on duty in Commercial Street at 6.02am, 8th September 1888 when he saw several men running up Hanbury Street, so he called them over. On being told of the discovery of the murder he went straight to 29 Hanbury Street and passed through the passage into the backyard. Chandler remained with the body and sent for Dr George Bagster Phillips, as well as other police assistance and an ambulance. He obtained some sacking (probably from James Kent)and covered the body. On the arrival of police reinforcements, he cleared the passage of onlookers and ensured that nobody touched the body until Dr Phillips had arrived.

He had seen John Richardson in the passage of No.29 a little before 7am that morning and Richardson explained his movements about the house earlier on - he mentioned checking the cellar at 4.45am, being sure that the body was not there at the time, but said nothing about the trimming of his boot.

Inspector Chandler examined the yard of No.27 next door and also helped draw a plan of the crime scene. He went to the mortuary a little after 7am and saw Chapman's body on the ambulance, seemingly undisturbed. He examined Chapman's clothing but did not stay long, leaving PC Barnes 376H in charge.[5]

He was later asked by the press to comment on a report that blood marks had been found on a wall in the yard of 25 Hanbury Street, which also culminated in a trail of blood leading to the back door. A bloodstained piece of crumpled paper was also alleged to have been found. Chandler had not heard of this report and nearly laughed when he heard it - apparently, no such evidence had been found and the stains on the wall were merely discolouration caused by urine.[6]

Joseph Chandler was demoted to Sergeant in 1892 as a consequence of being drunk on duty. He retired from service in 1898[7]. In 1901 he was living at Jenner Road, Hackney and was employed as a Watcher for HM Customs.[8]

He died in 1923 in Hammersmith.


  1. Census reports 1871
  2. The Jack the Ripper A-Z, Paul Begg, Martin Fido, Keith Skinner (Headline 1996)
  3. Posted on Casebook discussion thread, October 2008
  4. Census reports 1901
  5. Inquest report, The Times, 14th September 1888
  6. The Star, 12th September 1888
  7. The Ultimate Jack the Ripper Sourcebook, Stewart P Evans, Kieth Skinner (Robinson 2000)
  8. Census report 1901