A definition of witness.


Resident of 35, Dorset Street, Spitalfields.

Eliza Copper was a fellow resident of Annie Chapman at the lodging house at 35, Dorset Dorset Street. She later stated that she had known Annie Chapman for fifteen months, although their relationship shortly before Annie's death had, evidently, not been a cordial one.

Interestingly, there are mentions in the newspapers of September 1888 that - along with another resident of 35 Dorset Street, Elizabeth Allen - Eliza Cooper had given crucial information to the police regarding a potential suspect.

Inspector Reid, Detective-Sergeant Enright, Sergeant Goadby, and other officers then worked upon a slight clue given them by "Pearly Poll." It was not thought much of at the time, but from what was gleaned from her, coupled with statements given by Elizabeth Alien and Eliza Cooper, of 35, Dorset-street, Spitalfields, certain of-the authorities have had cause to suspect a man actually living not far from Buck's-row. At present, however, there is only suspicion against him."


She appeared as a witness at the resumed inquest into the death of Annie Chapman, which took place on the afternoon of Wednesday, 19th September, 1888, and several newspapers reported on the testimony she gave, which, although casting little light on the crime itself, certainly provided an insight into life inside the common lodging houses of the district.

Eliza Cooper deposed:-

I lodge at 35, Dorset-street, Spitalfields. I have done so for the last five months. I knew Chapman.

I had a quarrel with her the Tuesday before she was murdered. On the previous Saturday she brought Mr. Stanley into 35, Dorset Street. She came into the kitchen, and asked the people there to give her some soap. They told her to ask "Liza." She came to me, and I opened the locker and gave her some.

I afterwards asked for the soap, but she did not return it. We got quarrelling, and we went out to the Ringers public-house, and continued the quarrel. She slapped my face, and said, "Think yourself lucky I did not do more."

I struck her in the left eye, I believe, and then in the chest.

I afterwards saw that the blow had marked her face.

I last saw her alive on the Wednesday night. She was wearing three rings on the third finger of her left hand. They were all brass.

The Coroner:- "Had she ever a gold wedding ring to your knowledge?"

Witness "No, not since I have known her. I have known her about 15 months. She associated with Stanley, "Harry the Hawker," and several others."

Source: The Herts & Cambs Reporter & Royston Crow Friday, 21st September, 1888.


Eliza Cooper, a hawker, stated that she knew the deceased and last saw her alive on the Wednesday preceding the tragedy. Deceased was then wearing three rings on her left hand. They were brass rings.

The deceased used to associate with two men known Stanley and "Harry the Hawker," but she also brought men casually to the house where she lodged. Witness could not say if any of these men were now missing.";

Source: The Western Times Friday, 21st September. 1888.


Eliza Cooper, a hawker, lodging at 35, Dorset Street, Spitalfields, said that she knew the deceased and had a quarrel with her on the Tuesday before her death - Sept. 4 - in consequence of her bringing Mr. Stanley on the previous Saturday to 35, Dorset Street. The quarrel was about a piece of soap which she lent the deceased for Stanley to wash himself with.

The witness and the deceased went to a public-house on the Tuesday, and while quarrelling there the deceased slapped her on the face, and the witness in return struck her on the left eye and on the chest.

The witness last saw her alive on Wednesday, the 5th Sept.; the deceased then wore three rings, but they were all brass rings, not gold.

The deceased associated with Stanley and several others, whom she used to bring casually into the lodging-house."

Source: Tenbury Wells Advertiser Tuesday, 25th September, 1888.


It would appear that Eliza Cooper was possessed of a somewhat fiery temperament, as, the next month, she found herself in court in Clerkenwell, charged with assaulting a man by the name of Thomas Wilne, whom she had also struck in a similar fashion to that in which she had struck Annie Chapman.


Eliza Cooper, aged 39, vendor of stationery, of 35, Dorset-street, Spitalfields, was charged, on Monday, at the Clerkenwell Police-court, with assaulting Thomas Wilne, at Clerkenwell-road.

The prosecutor said that, on Saturday afternoon, the prisoner followed him from Clerkenwell-green to Holborn Town-hall. On the way, she struck him on the mouth and on the eye.

Mr. Bros bound the prisoner over, in the sum of £5, keep the peace for six months.";

Source: The Islington Gazette Wednesday, 17th October 1888.