Thomas Fowles

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Witness at Frances Coles inquest.

Lived at 13 St. Georges Street. Apparently the man seen with Kate McCarthy by William Friday and the Knapton brothers near Swallow Gardens on the morning of Frances Coles' murder. On 25th February 1891, Fowles gave a statement to Sergeant James Nearn:

I am a labourer and am employed as Hall Porter at the "United Brothers" Club Commercial Street E. I am engaged there from 6pm until midnight, but it is generally after 12 o'clock before I leave.

I know Kate McCarthy she is my young woman, she works opposite to me, "Stowers" the wine merchants. On the evening previous to the murder she came to me at the club, it was between half past seven and 8 o'clock. She stayed till it closed. I think it was about quarter to one the next morning 13th. walked with her as far as her home in Mint Street next to the 'Seven Stars', public house, we stood talking together at the front door for about an hour as near as I can judge, after which I bid her good night , and went home.

During the time I stood talking to Kate McCarthy, several men belonging to the Great Northern Railway Depot Mint Street, passed on the opposite side of the way, going towards the Minories. I know some of the men by sight, but not their names, one I knew by the name of Jumbo, and I passed a remark to my young woman that Jumbo looked as if he was drunk. I do not recollect either of these men passing any remark as they went by. The time would be as near as I can remember about 2 o'clock because I did not get with my young woman to her house until about one or a little after.

Beyond the men mentioned who passed while I was in Mint Street was a Constable, and he was on the opposite side of the way to me going towards Leman Street.

My mother resides at No. 10, Split Street, Back Church Lane. I only have letters addressed there.

At the time I stated that I was wearing a black pilot monkey jacket, and a black felt hat, brown cord trousers.[1]

Fowles appeared at the Coles inquest, where he repeated that he saw 'Jumbo' Friday. He also restated his time of arrival at home as being about 2.15am, having mentioned for the first time that he had a watch.[2]

Alongside the statement of Kate McCarthy, Knowles' evidence confirms that it was indeed they (and not Frances Coles and James Sadler) who were seen by William Friday that morning.


  1. MEPO 3/140, ff.83-5
  2. Inquest report, The Times, 28th February 1891