A definition of witness.


Resident Of 47 George Yard Buildings

Elizabeth Mahoney, lived in George Yard Buildings, on the first-floor landing of which, the body of Martha Tabram was found on the morning of Tuesday, 7th August, 1888.

Although her testimony didn't really shed any light on the mystery - indeed it is mostly notable for what she didn't see, rather than for what she did see - it does demonstrate just how silently the killer carried out his dreadful crime.

The East London Observer, published the following synopsis of her inquest testimony on Saturday, 11th November, 1888:-

The first witness called was a Mrs. Elizabeth Mahoney - a young woman of some 25 or 28 years, plainly clad in a rusty-black dress, with a black woolen shawl pinned round her shoulders.

Her evidence was neither very much to the point or distinctly uttered - indeed, so low was her voice as to elicit a complaint from the jurymen which was remedied by the witness being made to stand immediately next to the jury.

She deposed thus:-

I live at 37, George-yard. buildings, Whitechapel - a block of model dwellings - and am a married woman, my husband, Joseph, being a carman, while I work at a match factory at Stratford, where I work from nine in the morning, usually, till about seven o'clock at night.

So far as I can remember, I have occupied rooms in the present house for about eight months.

Monday was Bank Holiday, and my husband and I were out all day, and did not return until twenty minutes to two on Tuesday morning.

We went straight up to our room, and after taking off my hat and cloak, I came down again and went to a chandler's shop in Thrawl-street to buy some provisions for supper.

I came back, having been gone about five minutes; and, after having had supper, we went to bed.

On no occasion, either in coming up or going down the stairs, did I see the body of a woman lying there. It is quite possible that a body might have been there, and that I did not notice it, because the stairs are very wide, and were completely dark, all the lights having, as usual, been turned out at eleven o'clock.

I did not get up till half-past eight in the morning, and during the night my attention was not attracted by a noise or disturbance of any kind.

I did not know of the body of the deceased having been found on the stairs till about ten o'clock en Tuesday morning.

Questioned, at the instigation of Inspector Reid, she reiterated that at the place where the body was subsequently found, it was quite possible - so wide was the staircase - for her, to have passed it without noticing it.";

Source: The East London Observer, Saturday, 11th August, 1888.