A definition of witness.


Resident At Crossingham's Lodging House

William Stevens was a resident at Crossingham's lodging house, the same establishment at which Annie Chapman had resided prior to her murder on the 8th September, 1888.

He was able to clear up the matter of a a torn piece of envelope, which bore the mark of crest of the Sussex Regiment and which had on it a handwritten "M" together with the postmark "London, 28 Aug, 1888."

Sensing that the envelope might provide a clue to the killer's identity and occupation, Inspector Chandler instigated enquiries to try to find the sender and the recipient of the letter.

However, Stevens disabused them of this notion when he informed the police that the envelope had been lying on the mantelshelf for several days, and that he had seen Annie pick it up on the morning of her murder.

The Kentish Independent, on Saturday, 22nd September, 1888, published the brief testimony he gave at the inquest into Annie Chapman's death:-

William Stevens, 35, Dorset-street, called and examined: I am a painter. I knew Chapman. I last saw her alive at twenty minutes past twelve on the morning of Saturday, September 8th, she was in the kitchen. She was not the worse for drink.

The Coroner: "Had she got any rings on her fingers?"

Witness: "Yes, sir."

Shown a piece of an envelope, the witness said he believed it was the same as she picked up near the fireplace. She pulled a pill-box out of her pocket, and put two pills into the piece of paper. She put the pills and the piece of envelope in her pocket.

She left the kitchen about that time. I thought she was going to bed, and, indeed, she said she would not be long out of bed.

I did not know anyone that she was on bad terms with."

Source: The Kentish Independent, Saturday, 22nd September, 1888.