A definition of witness.


Police Constable 226 H.

Witness At Martha Tabram's Inquest

Police Constable Thomas Barratt was the officer whose beat included Wentworth Street and George Yard.

At 2.20am on the morning of the 7th of August, 1888, he encountered a soldier, who he said was a Grenadier Guardsman loitering in Wentworth Street. The soldier was aged 22 - 26, height 5 foot nine inches, fair complexion, dark hair and a small brown moustache turned up at the ends.

Questioned by Barrett, the soldier told the officer that he was "waiting for a chum who had gone with a girl."

Although he said that he would be able to recognise the soldier if he saw him again, when he was asked to pick him out at an identify parade held at the Tower of London on the 15th August, 1888, he picked out two men, both of whom were able to prove that they had not been anywhere near Wentworth Street on the 7th of August, 1888.

Constable Barratt was the first officer called to the scene of the murder of Martha Tabram by John Saunders Reeves.

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

Police-constable T. Barrett, 226 H - a young constable who gave his evidence very intelligently - said:-

"On Tuesday morning I was on duty at about a quarter to five, when my attention was called to George Yard Buildings by Reeves, the last witness.

I followed him up the stairs, and found the deceased lying on her back. She was dead, but I at once sent for a doctor. The body was not moved by me or Reeves before the doctor came.

I noticed that the hands were clenched, but that there was nothing in them.

The clothes were turned up as far as the centre of the body, leaving the lower part of the body exposed; the legs were open, and altogether her position was such as to at once suggest in my mind that recent intimacy had taken place.

The deceased was not known on the streets."

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