Thomas Barrett

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Police Constable Thomas Barrett, 226H

Witness at Martha Tabram's inquest.

Born c.1857 in Sherborne, Dorset. Joined Metropolitan Police (H-division, Whitechapel) in 1883, warrant no.67481[1]. Married to Ellen (b.1854) with three children, Albert (b.1885), Helena (b.1889) and Tom (b.1892)[2]

At approx. 2.00am on the morning of 7th August 1888, Barrett was patrolling Wentworth Street when he came across a soldier loitering near the entrance to George Yard. Barrett described him as being a Private in the Grenadier Guards, aged between 22-26, 5ft 9ins tall, with a fair complexion, dark hair, a small brown moustache turned up at the ends and sporting a good conduct badge (but no medals). The soldier told Barrett that he was 'waiting for a chum who had gone with a girl'.[3]

PC Barrett was later summoned to George Yard Buildings by John Reeves who had just found the body of Martha Tabram, from where he sent for Dr Timothy Killeen. Barrett stated at the inquest that the deceased's clothes "were turned up as far as the center of the body, leaving the lower part of the body exposed; the legs were open, and altogether her position was such as to suggest in my mind that recent intimacy had taken place."[4]

Barrett also claimed that he would be able to recognise the soldier again and attended an identity parade at the Tower of London where he first picked out a private wearing medals. He then picked out a second man, stating that it was he and not the first man. Both soldiers were questioned and gave a good account of their movements on the night of the 6th-7th August.[5]

Barrett retired from service in 1908.


  1. The Jack the Ripper A-Z, Begg, Fido, Skinner (Headline 1991)
  2. Census reports 1901
  3. MEPO 3/140, ff. 36-42
  4. Inquest report, East London Observer, 11th August 1888
  5. MEPO 3/140, ff.52-9