A definition of witness.


Her Evidence At The Inquest

Amelia Palmer - also referred to as Amelia Farmer by several newspapers - was described as, "a pale, dark-haired woman who was poorly clad." She had known Annie Chapman well for five years, and was, therefore, able to provide some biographical information at the subsequent inquest into Annie's death.

Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, published a detailed account of her testimony in its edition of Sunday, 16th September, 1888:-

Amelia Palmer, examined, stated:-

I live at 35, Dorset-street, Spitalfields, a common lodging-house. Off and on, I have stayed there three years.

I am married to Henry Palmer, a dock labourer. He was a foreman, but met with an accident at the beginning of the year. I go out charing. My husband gets a pension, having been in the army reserve.

I knew the deceased very well, for quite five years. I saw the body on Saturday at the mortuary, and am quite sure that it is that of Annie Chapman.

She was a widow, and her husband, Frederick Chapman, was a veterinary surgeon in Windsor. He died about 18 months ago. Deceased had lived apart from him for about four years or more. She lived in various places, principally in common lodging houses in Spitalfields. I never knew her to have a settled home.

The Coroner:- "Has she lived at 30, Dorset Street?"

Witness:- "Yes, about two years ago, with a man who made wire sieves, and at that time she was, receiving ten shillings a week from her husband by post-office order, payable to her at the Commercial Road. This payment stopped about 18 mouths ago, and she then found, on inquiry of some relative, that her husband was dead. I am under the impression that she ascertained this fact either from a brother or sister of her husband in Oxford-street, Whitechapel. She was nicknamed "Mrs. Sievey," because she lived with the sieve-maker. I know the man perfectly well, but I don't know his name. I saw him last about 18 months ago, in the City, and he told me that he was living at Notting-hill.

I saw deceased two or three times the week of the murder.

On Monday she was standing in the road opposite 35, Dorset-street. She had been staying there, and had no bonnet on. She had a bruise on one of her temples - I think the right. I said, "How did you get that?" She said, "Yes, look at my chest." Opening her dress, she showed me a bruise. She said, "Do you know the woman?" and she gave some name which I do not remember. She made me to understand that it was a woman who goes about selling books.

Both this woman and the deceased were acquainted with a man called "Harry the Hawker.".

Chapman told me that she was with some other man, Ted Stanley, on Saturday, Sept, 1st. Stanley is a very respectable man. Deceased said that she was with him at a beershop at 87, Commercial Street, at the corner of Dorset-street, where "Harry the Hawker" was with the woman. This man put down a two-shilling piece and the woman picked it up and put down a penny. There was some ill-feeling in consequence, and the same evening the book-selling woman met the deceased and injured her in the face and chest.

When deceased told me this, she said that she was living at 35, Dorset Street.

On the Tuesday afternoon I saw Chapman again near to Spitalfields church. She said that she felt no better, and she should go into, the casual ward for a day or two. I remarked that she looked very pale, and asked her if she had had anything to eat. She replied. "No; I have not had a cup of tea today." I gave her twopence to get some, and told her not to get any rum, of which she was fond. I have seen her the worse for drink."

The Coroner:- " What did she do for a living?"

The Witness:- "She used to do crochet work, make antimacassars [a small cloth placed over the backs or arms of chairs, or the head or cushions of a sofa, to prevent soiling of the permanent fabric underneath], and sell flowers. She was out late at night at times. On Fridays she used to go to Stratford to sell anything she had.

I had not see her from Tuesday to the Friday afternoon - the 7th of September - when I met her at about five o'clock in Dorset Street. She appeared to be perfectly sober. I said, "Are you going to Stratford today?" She answered, "I feel too ill to do anything."

I left her immediately afterwards, and returned about ten minutes later, and found her in the same a spot. She said, "It is of no use my going away. I shall have to go somewhere to get some money to pay my lodgings."

She said no more and that was the last time I saw her,

I understood that she had a sister and mother living at Brompton, but I do not think they were on friendly terms."

The Coroner:- "Do you know of any one that would be like1y to have injured her?"

The Witness:- "No."

Source: Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, Sunday, 16th September, 1888.


The East London Observer, in its edition of Saturday, 15th September, added a little more information on the exchanges between Amelia and Annie:-

Deceased stated that she had been in the casual ward, but did not say which one. She did not say she had been refused admission.

Deceased was a very industrious woman when she was sober. I have seen her often the worse for drink. She could not take much without making her drunk.

She had been living a very irregular life during the whole time that I have known her.

Since the death of her husband, she has seemed to give way altogether. I understood that she had a sister and mother living at Brompton, but I do not think they were on friendly terms. I have never known her to stay with her relatives even for a night.

On the Monday she observed:- "If my sister will send me the boots, I shall go hopping."

She had two children - a boy and a girl. They were at Windsor until her husband's death, and since then they have been in a school.

Deceased was a very respectable woman, and never used bad language. She has stayed out in the streets all night."

Source: The East London Observer, Saturday, 15th September, 1888.