A definition of witness.


Resident Of Fairclough Street

James brown, a resident of Fairclough Street, went out to get some supper a little before a quarter-to-one, on the morning of Sunday, 30th September, 1888.

As he made his way along Fairclough Street, he passed a man and woman standing by a wall.

When taken to see the body of Elizabeth Stride at the mortuary, he identified her as the woman he had seen, and, in consequence, he appeared as a witness on the fourth day of the inquest into her death.

The Scotsman, published an account of her testimony in its edition of Saturday, 6th October, 1888:-

James Brown, called and examined, said:-

I live at Fairclough Street. I am a dock labourer. I have seen the body at the mortuary. I do not know the woman. I saw her on Sunday morning about a quarter before one o'clock.

I was going from my own house to get some supper at a chandler's shop at the corner of Berner Street and Fairclough Street. I was in the shop three or four minutes, and then went back home.

On my way I saw a man and woman standing against the wall by the Board School in Fairclough Street. I heard the woman say, "No, not tonight, some other night."; That made me turn round, and I looked at them. I saw enough then to enable me to say that I am almost certain the deceased was that woman. I did not notice any flower in her dress. The man was standing with his arm leaning against the wall. The woman was standing with her back against the wall facing me.

The Coroner:- "Did you notice the man?"

Well, I noticed that he had a long coat on, which reached very nearly down to his heels. It appeared to be an overcoat. I could not say what kind of hat or cap he had on. They were in rather a dark place. He was wearing a dark coat. I saw nothing light in colour about either of them. He was leaning over her. It was not raining at the time.

I went on and indoors.

When I had nearly finished my supper, I heard screams of "police" and "murder." There had been an interval of about a quarter of an hour between my getting home and these screams. When I came in at twelve o'clock I do not think it Was raining.

The Coroner:- "Did you notice the height of the man?"

I should think he was about the same height as myself - 5 feet 7 inches. He was of average build.

Neither of them seemed the worse for drink. The speech of the woman was as if she were sober. I did not notice any foreign accent about the woman's remark.

When I heard the screams of "murder" and "police" I went up to the window and looked out, but I did not see whence they proceeded. They ceased when I got to the window.

The cries were those of moving persons going in the direction of Grove Street. Shortly afterwards, I saw a policeman standing at the corner of Christian Street."

Source: The Scotsman, Saturday, 6th October, 1888.