A definition of witness.


Lived At Number 64 Berner Street

At around 11.45pm on Saturday, 29th September, 1888, William Marshall was standing outside his house at 64, Berner Street, when he saw a man and a woman standing on the pavement opposite.

On being shown 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.

Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, published an account of her testimony in its edition of Sunday, 7th October, 1888:-

William Marshall, 64, Berner-street, deposed:-

I am a labourer in an indigo warehouse. I have seen the body of the deceased at the mortuary. I saw deceased on Saturday evening in Berner-street, about three doors off from where I am living. She was on the pavement opposite about No. 58. She was between Boyd-street and Fairclough-street. It was then about a quarter to 12 o'clock at night. She was standing on the pavement talking with a man.

The Coroner:- "How did you know this was the same woman?"

I recognised the deceased was the same woman by her face and her dress. She was not wearing a flower in her breast. She and the man were talking quietly. There was no lamp near. The nearest lamp was some yards off. I did not see the face of the man distinctly.

The Coroner:- "Did you notice how he was dressed?"

Yes; he had a black small coat and dark trowsers.

The Coroner:- "How old was he, do you think - young, or old, or middle-aged?"

He seemed to me to be a middle-aged man. He was not wearing a hat; he was wearing a round hat with a small peak to it - somewhat like what a sailor would wear.

The Coroner:- "What height was he?"

He was about 5ft. 6in.

The Coroner:- "Was he thin or stout?"

Rather stoutish. He looked decently dressed.

The Coroner:- "What class of man did he look?"

He looked as if he worked at some respectable business.

The Coroner:- "Everybody works at a respectable business." (laughter).

He did not look like a dock labourer nor like a sailor. He had more the appearance of a clerk than anything I can suggest. I do not think he had any whiskers. He was not wearing gloves. He had no stick or umbrella in his hand. He had a cutaway coat.

The Coroner:- "What attracted your attention to them?"

I was first attracted by their standing there for some time, and he was kissing and cuddling her.

The Coroner:- "Did you overhear anything they said?"

I heard the man say to the deceased, "You would say anything but your prayers."

The Coroner:- "Did his voice give you the idea of a clerk?"

Yes; he was mild speaking. From the way he spoke I thought that he was an educated man. I did not hear them say anything more. They went away after that I did not hear the woman say anything, but after the man made the observation she laughed. When they went away they went towards Helen Street. They walked in the middle of the road. They would not pass No. 40 (the International club) on their way. The woman was dressed in a black jacket and a black skirt. Neither of them appeared to me to be the worse for drink.

I went indoors about midnight. I did not hear anything till I heard "Murder" being called in the street just after one o'clock on the Sunday morning."

Source: Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, Sunday, 7th October, 1888.