WHAT SCHWARTZ SAW
The most important witness to have seen Elizabeth Stride, in the 30 minutes before her body was discovered in Dutfield's Yard, was a Hungarian Jew by the name of Israel Schwartz.
He turned into Berner Street at around 12.45am and noticed a man walking ahead of him.
The man stopped to talk to a woman who was standing in the gateway of Dutfield’s Yard. Schwartz was later emphatic that the woman had seen was Elizabeth Stride.
Since it is likely that Israel Schwartz witnessed the early stages of Elizabeth Stride’s murder, and is therefore possibly the only person ever to have seen one of Jack the Ripper's victims in the act of being murdered, his statement is worth close scrutiny, albeit he spoke no English, and therefore gave his evidence through an interpreter.
It is also worth noting that his statement to the police, and interviews he subsequently gave to journalists, do differ in certain details.
However, the police do seem to have taken him very seriously as a witness.
According to Schwarz, the man was about 5 feet, 5 inches tall, aged around 30 with dark hair, a fair complexion, a small brown moustache. He had a full face, broad shoulders and appeared to be slightly intoxicated.
As Schwartz watched, the man tried to pull the woman into the street, but then spun her around, and threw her onto the footway, whereupon the woman screamed three times, but not very loudly. Israel Schwartz appears to have believed that he was witnessing a domestic attack, and so he crossed the road to avoid getting involved.
As he did so, he saw a second man standing, lighting his pipe.
As Schwartz passed him, the man who was attacking the woman called out, apparently to this second man, the word "Lipski," at which point the second man began to follow him.
Schwartz panicked and began to run, and had managed to lose his apparent pursuer by the time he reached the nearby railway arch.
This second man, Schwartz said, was aged about 35, around 5feet, 11 inches tall, had a fresh complexion, light brown hair, a brown moustache, and wore a dark overcoat with an old, black, hard felt hat.
The presence of the second man is something of a mystery. It has suggested to some that the killer had an accomplice.
WHO WAS THE SECOND MAN?
However, the evidence seems to suggest that the police traced the second man, and eliminated him as a suspect.
Indeed in a report, dated the 19th of October 1888, Chief Inspector Swanson wrote that "the police apparently do not suspect the second man," although we do not know why this should have been.
Since her body was discovered at 1am Schwarz's sighting of her would mean that Elizabeth Stride was murdered between 12.245am and 1am.
For two violent attacks to have taken place on the same woman in the same gateway in the space of those 15 minutes is too much of a coincidence, so there is a high probability that the man that Israel Schwartz saw was the man who murdered Elizabeth Stride.