An illustration of Martha Tabram with Pearly Poll and two soldiers.


Mary Ann Connelly, also known as "Pearly Poll" was the last person, other than the murderer, to have seen Martha Tabram alive - albeit Connelly said that she knew the victim as "Emma" rather than as Martha.

Martha Tabram had, in fact, spent her last night drinking at various Whitechapel hostelries in Mary Ann Connelly's company.

During the course of the evening the two women had met two soldiers and the four of them had continued the pub crawl together.

The Daily News reported Connelly's witness testimony at the subsequent inquest into Martha Tabram's murder in its edition of Friday, 24th August, 1888:-

Mary Ann Connelly (known as "Pearly Poll") said she had known the deceased for four or five months under the name of Emma.

She last saw her alive on Bank holiday at the corner of George-yard, Whitechapel.

They went to a public-house together, and parted about a quarter to twelve.

They were accompanied by two soldiers, one a private and the other a corporal. She did not know to what regiment they belonged, but they had a white band round their cap.

The witness did not know if the corporal had any side arm.

They picked up with the soldiers together, and entered several public-houses where they drank.

When they separated the deceased went away with the private.

Before they parted the Witness and the corporal had a quarrel, and he struck her with a stick. She did not hear the deceased have any quarrel.

The witness never saw the deceased alive again.

The witness had tried to identify the two men, and at one of the barracks where the men were paraded before her she picked out two men whom she thought were the men who were with her and the deceased on the night of the murder. That was at Wellington Barracks. She had never seen the men before.

Neither the witness nor the deceased was sober when they parted on Bank holiday night, but they were not drunk..."

A photograph showing the entrance into George Yard as it appears today.

The Entrance To George Yard As It Is Today


Connolly's name would reappear in the press in the wake of the murder of Annie Chapman - which took place on the 8th of September, 1888 - when rumours began to circulate that she had known Annie Chapman, and that the two of them had, at one stage, even lodged together at the same common lodging house in Dorset Street.

Reynolds's Newspaper reported the story on Sunday, 16th September, 1888:-

Inspector Abberline, Inspector Helson, Inspector Chandler, Detective-sergeant New, and other officials are availing themselves of the incidents which transpired respecting the murder at George-yard-buildings, for certain facts now in possession of the police convince them that the three crimes were the outcome of one plot - either on the part of one man or a gang.

Strangely enough, "Pearly Poll," who was with Martha Turner on the night of that poor creature's barbarous murder in George Yard buildings, knew Annie Chapman, and had actually lodged with her at 35 Dorset street, Spitalfields. "Pearly Poll" has been questioned as to her knowledge of "Dark Annie," but her answers on the subject have served little to elucidate the mystery."


Another intriguing mention of Mary Ann Connelly was featured in several newspapers in mid-September, 1888 and concerned a "slight clue" which she had given to the police around the time of Martha Tabram's murder that wasn't thought much of at the time, but which, for some reason, had taken on special significance in the wake of the murder of Annie Chapman.

Several newspapers featured the story, the following version appearing in The Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette on Friday 21st September 1888:-

The Whitechapel murders are as inexplicable as ever, at present the utmost energy on the part of the police has failed to secure sufficient evidence to justify an arrest in a quarter where suspicion lurked shortly after the commission of the fatal outrage at George Yard Buildings.

Inspector Reid, Detective-Sergeant Enright, Sergeant Goadby [sic], 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 Allen 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."


Unfortunately, there was not a great deal of coverage about Pearly Poll's "slight clue".

Any mention of it in official documentation either never existed or has been lost - and there is, of course, the distinct possibility that it was a bit of local gossip that was picked up by a journalist, but which had no actual basis in truth.