Walter Beck

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Inspector Walter Beck.

Witness at Mary Jane Kelly's inquest.

Born 1852, Abbots Langley, Hertfordshire. Joined Metropolitan Police in 1871 (warrant no.53559). Married to Georgina (b.1856) with children Georgina (b.1876), Walter Frederick (b.1877), Lilian May (b.1879), Frank (b.1885), Sidney (b.1888) and Grace (b.1893).[1]

Inspector Beck was on duty at Commercial Street Police Station on the morning of 9th November 1888. He stated at the inquest:

"I was the first police officer called to 13 Miller's Court by McCarthy. I sent for the Doctor and closed the Court to all persons. I do not know by whose order the door was forced, I was there, the doctor was the first to enter the room, it was shortly after 11 oclock when I was called."

Contemporary police reports fail to mention Walter Dew, Sergeant George Godley nor Sergeant Edward Badham, all of whom had been suggested as first on the scene, either by themselves or others[2]. Also note that Beck said he was called by John McCarthy, which confirms both McCarthy's claim and Thomas Bowyer's inquest statement that both men went to the station after seeing Kelly's body (originally, Bowyer had said that McCarthy sent him alone)[3].

Beck resigned from service in 1896[4]. His wife Charlotte died some time between 1893 and 1901 as Walter was later recorded as a widower, living in Stoke Newington and employed as a newsagent.[5]


  1. Census reports 1881 & 1901
  2. The Jack the Ripper A-Z, Paul Begg, Martin Fido, Keith Skinner (Headline 1996)
  3. Kelly inquest papers - MJ/SPC, NE1888, Box 3, Case paper 19 (London Metropolitan Archives)
  4. The Ultimate Jack the Ripper Sourcebook, Stewart P Evans, Kieth Skinner (Robinson 2000)
  5. Census reports 1901