A definition of witness.


Resident Of 5 Miller's Court

Mary Ann Cox, lived in room number 5 at Miller's Court and described herself as a "widow and an unfortunate."

She actually met Mary kelly, who was in the company of a man, at 11.45pm on the night prior to her death. She stated that Mary had been very drunk and had told her that she was "going to sing."

She gave evidence as to what she had seen at the inquest into Mary's death on Monday, 12th November, 1888.

Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, published a synopsis of her inquest testimony on Sunday, 18th November, 1888:-

Mary Ann Cox said she resided at the last house at the top of Miller's-court. She was a widow and got her living on the streets.

She last saw deceased alive about a quarter to 12 on Thursday night. Deceased was very much intoxicated at that time and was with a short, stout man, shabbily dressed, with a round billycock hat on. He had a can of beer in his hand. He had a blotchy face and a heavy carroty moustache. Witness followed them into the court and said, "good night", to the deceased, who replied, "Good night; I am going to sing."

The door was shut and witness heard the deceased singing, "Only a violet I plucked from mother's grave."

Witness went to her room and remained there about a quarter of an hour, and then went out. Deceased was still singing at that time.

It was raining, and witness returned home at 3:10 a.m., and the light in the deceased's room was then out and there was no noise.

Witness could not sleep, and heard a man go out of the court about a quarter past six. It might have been a policeman for all witness knew.

The man she saw with the deceased was short and stout. All his clothes were dark and he appeared to be between 35 and 36 years of age. She would not know the man again if she saw him."

Source: Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, Sunday, 18th November, 1888.


On Tuesday, 13th November, 1888, The Morning Post published a detailed article that compared the description that Mary Ann Cox had given of the man she had seen with Mary Kelly with descriptions given by other witnesses following the previous Whitechapel murders:-

With the exception of one point, all the evidence given at the inquest yesterday had been anticipated by the very full information published in the newspapers since the discovery of the murder.

The new fact referred to was stated in evidence by Mary Ann Cox, a dweller in Miller-court.

She saw he murdered woman shortly before midnight of Thursday in a drunken condition, in company with a man, who was carrying a pot of beer.

Cox followed behind the pair, and saw them enter Kelly's room. The man turned round as he entered and closed the door, and Cox must have had a good view of him then, if not previously.

The man was in all likelihood the murderer, for there is no suggestion that the murdered woman took more than one man to her room that night, and, as Cox was quite sober at the time, the description she has given of him is naturally considered of the greatest possible importance.

Cox stated in the most positive manner that the man was short and stout, shabbily dressed, wore a round black billycock hat, had a blotchy face, and a full carrotty moustache with clean shaven chin.

The first care of the police on receiving this statement on Friday was to compare it with the descriptions given by various people and at various times of men supposed to have been seen in the company of the murderer's previous victims.

Unfortunately, the accounts do not harmonise in a number of important particulars.

The Berner-street suspect was described as a very dark man. The Hanbury-street victim was seen in company with a dark, foreign-looking man, and a similar description was given of a suspected individual at the time of the Buck's-row murder.

It is noteworthy, however, that there were two descriptions given of the suspected Mitre-square and Hanbury-street murderers which agree in some respects with that furnished by the witness Cox of the man seen in Kelly's company on Thursday night.

About 10 minutes before the body of Catherine Eddowes was found in Mitre-square, a man about 30 years of age, of fair complexion, and with a fair moustache, was said to have been seen talking to her in the covered passage leading to the square.

On the morning of the Hanbury-street murder a suspicious looking man entered a public-house in the neighbourhood. He was of shabby genteel appearance, and had a sandy moustache.

The first of these descriptions was given by two persons who were in the Orange Market and closely observed the man.

The City Police have been making inquiries for this man for weeks past, but without success, and they do not believe that he is the individual described by Cox.

The Metropolitan Police, however, are satisfied that Cox's description is fairly accurate, and they will circulate it, and act upon it in the usual way.

The statement that the man who accompanied Kelly home was carrying a pot of beer is considered somewhat extraordinary. The can or pot which contained the liquor was not found in the room, and a careful examination of the fireplace and ashes showed that it had not been melted down, as was at first considered probable.

If, therefore, the beer was actually taken into the house as described, the murderer must have taken the can away.

This would seem to show that the murderer feared the can might form a link in a possible chain of evidence against him.

As far as inquiries have gone, no man answering the description given by Cox entered any tavern in the immediate neighbourhood and took away beer.

There is a beer-shop at the corner of Dorset-street, but, according to information furnished within a few hours of the discovery of the murder, the woman Kelly did not have any drink in the house on the previous night."

Source: The Morning Post, Tuesday, 13th November, 1888.


The Morning Post article also featured the evidence that Mary Ann Cox had given at the inquest into Mary Kelly's death:-

Mary Ann Cox said she lived at No. 5 room in the court.

She had known Mary Kelly about nine months.

On Thursday night, about a quarter to twelve, the witness met her in the court very intoxicated. A short, stout man, shabbily dressed, was with her. He had a "longish" dark coat on, and carried a pot of ale in his hand. He wore a round hat, had a blotchy face, and full, carroty moustache, with a shaven chin.

She followed them into the court, and when Kelly was going into her house, the witness said, "Goodnight, Mary," but the man slammed the door in her face. However, she heard Mary Kelly say "Good night; I'm going to have a song," and then sing, "A violet I plucked from mother's grave."

At 1 a.m. the witness came home to warm her hands, and Kelly was still singing.

At three o'clock the witness came home again, and then all was still, the light being out in Kelly's room.

The witness was worried about her rent, and did not go to sleep.

She heard some one go down the court at a quarter-past six, but that would be too late for the men in the court who worked in the market. She did not know who it was, but she heard a man's footsteps.

The man the witness saw with Kelly was about 35 years of age. The man's boots must have been old, for although the place was very silent at that time he made no noise when walking up the court with the woman.

By the jury — The witness would not know the man again if she saw him."

Source: The Morning Post, Tuesday, 13th November, 1888.