Walter Andrews (PC)

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Police Constable Walter Andrews, 272H

Witness at Alice McKenzie's inquest.

Born c.1858, Heveningham, Suffolk. Joined Metropolitan Police in 1880 (warrant No.64735). Married to Ellen (b.1859) with one son, Norman (b.1885), living at 33 Huntingdon Buildings, Bethnal Green[1].

PC Walter Andrews (not to be confused with Inspector Walter Andrews) discovered Alice McKenzie's body in Castle Alley in the early morning of 17 July 1889. His official police statement still survives:

Commercial Street Station

Metropolitan Police.

H Division

July 17th 1889

I beg to report that at 10 minutes to 1 o'clock the 17th inst. I was passing through Castle Alley Whitechapel trying the doors when I saw a woman lying on the pavement with her throat cut but I saw no one in the street at the time. I touched the body with my hand and found that she was quite warm. I at once blew my whistle when I saw Isaac Lewis Jacob of No. 12 New Castle place Whitechapel going towards Wentworth Street with a plate in his hand he said that he was going to get something for his supper. I said you had better stop here with me as there have been a woman murdered. Just at that minute Sergeant Badham heard the whistle blow and came running up to my assistance. I told the Sergeant that there was a woman laying on the foot way in Castle Alley with her throat cut. I ran back and took charge of the body until the Doctor arrived and examined the woman and stated the woman was dead. The body was afterwards conveyed to the mortuary on the ambulance.

Walter Andrews

PC 272H

Thos. Hawkes, Inspr.[2]

That same night, PC Andrews gave his testimony at the official inquest into the death of Alice McKenzie.

About ten minutes to 1 this morning I saw Sergeant Badlam at the corner of Old Castle-street, leading into Castle-alley. That was on the opposite corner of the publichouse. The sergeant said, "All right," and I said the same. I then proceeded up Castle-alley, and tried the doors on the west side of the alley. While doing so I noticed a woman lying on the pavement. Her head was lying eastward, and was on the edge of the kerbstone, with her feet towards the building, which was a wheelwright's shop and warehouse.

[Coroner] Was the body touched before the doctor arrived? - Only by my touching the face to see if it was cold. It had not been disturbed.

[Coroner] How far was it from the lamp? - Almost underneath. About 2 ft. from the lamp-post.

[Coroner] Was any wagon there? - Two; one was a scavenger's wagon, and the other a brewer's dray. They were on the same side of the way. The wagons hid the body from persons in the cottages opposite. The head was almost underneath the scavenger's wagon.

[Coroner] Where [sic] her clothes up? - Yes, almost level to the chin. Her legs and body were exposed. I noticed that blood was running from the left side of the neck.

[Coroner] You said you felt her? - I touched the abdomen. It was quite warm. I then blew my whistle, and between two and three minutes Sergeant Badlam came up. The sergeant gave me orders to stay by the body and not touch it until the doctor arrived. The body was not touched until Dr. Phillips arrived about five or ten minutes past 1.

[Coroner] Had you seen any one? - I had not. There was not a soul in the alley that I saw. After I saw the body lying on the pavement I heard a footstep coming from Old Castle-place, and I saw a young man, named Isaac Lewis Jacobs. I said, "Where are you going?" He said, "I am going to Wentworth-street to fetch something for my supper." At the time he was carrying a plate in his hand. Jacobs came back with me and stayed there until the sergeant arrived.

[Coroner] Had you been in the alley before? - Yes. Between 20 and 25 minutes past 12. I went into the alley after Allen. After he came out I went in some two or three minutes later. No one was in the alley then. After I left Allen I went into Goldston-street, then into Whitechapel High-street, down Middlesex-street into Wentworth-street again. It was there I saw the sergeant, as I have already stated.

[Coroner] Did any one attract your attention? - No, I saw no one in Goldston or Middlesex streets.

The Foreman. - Do you think deceased had been drawn to where you found her or murdered there? - I think she was killed there. I should think she had been standing up against the lamp-post, and then pulled or dragged down. There was no trail of blood away from the body, and no splashes of blood.

[Coroner?] How long have you been on the beat? - A fortnight.

[Coroner] Do people come there? - People often come to sleep in the vans, but when we find them we turn them out. I have not seen the alley used for immoral purposes, and have not seen any women there at all.

[Coroner] How many vans are there at night in the alley? - Six or eight, besides several costermonger's barrows.

[Coroner] Did you see any one the worse for drink about there last night? - I did not.[3]

Andrews retired from the force in 1906.[4]


  1. Census reports 1891
  2. MEPO 3/140 f. 274
  3. Inquest report, The Times, 18th July 1889
  4. The Jack the Ripper A-Z, Paul Begg, Martin Fido, Keith Skinner (Headline 1996)