Samuel Harris

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Witness at Frances Coles' inquest.

Resident of Spitalfields Chambers, the lodging house at 8 White's Row. A fish-curer in the employ of Mr. Abrahams of 50 Virginia Road, Bethnal Green, he stated that he had known Coles for eighteen months as an occasional boarder at No.8. He gave evidence on the second day of the inquest.

On Thursday 12th February 1891, Harris arrived at the lodging house at 8.00pm. On going into the kitchen he saw a woman whom he knew by the name of Frances sitting on a bench with her head on the table as if asleep. A short time afterwards a man (James Sadler) entered the kitchen. He looked around and then sat next to Coles. He asked her if she had any money for lodgings, and she said, "No."

He heard Sadler explain that he'd been robbed, stating "If I only knew who had done it I would do for them." He then approached Harris to ask him to let him have a bed until the morning, obviously thinking Harris was the deputy. Sadler produced a certificate for money (about £4 in his estimation). After being told it was not Harris' job, Sadler sat back down with Coles until 12.30am at which point he went out. Coles put her hat under her dress and followed him out. Harris went to bed at 1.45am. The next time he saw Frances Coles was in the mortuary on the Friday morning.

It was Samuel Harris who directed Sergeant John Don and PC Gill to the Phoenix public house, Upper East Smithfield, on 16th February, whereupon they found James Sadler drinking inside. He was taken from here to Leman Street Police Station.[1]


  1. Inquest report, The Times, 18th February 1891