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Confessed to murder in Millers Court, 1927

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  • Confessed to murder in Millers Court, 1927

    Has anyone ever researched Joseph Carson?

    In 1927, a Joseph Carson, aged 65, confessed when supposedly sober to the strangulation of a woman in the then condemned Millers Court

    A womans body was found there

    Carson later retracted his confession saying he must have been drunk

    When a post mortem found death was by natural causes he was discharged

    Do you think he was the type of character who spontaneously confessed to crimes - apparently fabricating a crime in this case - or is he a possible Ripper suspect? I'd suspect he was drunk but the policeman said otherwise

    The case was mentioned recently on Casebook reminding me of poster Dr Hopper's comments a while back relating to Carson which went unanswered

    Dr Hopper commented...

    This actually made me shudder when I read it for the first time. Here we have a 66 year old man drunkenly confessing to a murder in Miller's Court - that turned out to be 'death by natural causes'

    Perhaps the discovery of the body in a deserted and marked for demolition Miller's Court gave our Mr Carson a flashback causing him to confess! Perhaps he meant to confess "I strangled her and then I ripped her"...
    OK perhaps not, but I think it is very strange, to say the least. There is lots more to this than meets the eye, I think

    And actually, Carson would have been 26 in 1888... Makes you think!

    The relevant press articles...

    The Times (London). 1 January 1927

    Joseph Carson, 65, an inmate of the West ham Union Institution, Whipps Cross road, Walthamstow, was charged on his own confession at Old street Police Court yesterday with murdering Jane Williams at Duval street, on December 29.

    Police Sergeant Lane stated that the defendant came into the Bow road police station on Wednesday afternoon and said, "I have murdered a woman at Spitalfields today." He was cautioned, and said. "I have come to give myself up. I cannot stand it any longer." The witness asked him the name of the woman and where it had occurred, and he said, "Jennie Williams, in a court off Gossett street, Spitalfields, opposite a church. It was just before 12 o'clock today. I strangled her."

    In reply to the Magistrate the witness said that the defendant appeared perfectly sober and rational.

    Mr. Clarke Hall (to the defendant) - Have you any questions to ask the sergeant?

    Carson - I did not do anything. The woman was dead, I found out.

    Mr. Clarke Hall - That may be. We will inquire into that later on, but if you agree that what the sergeant has said is right you need not ask any questions.

    Carson - I do not deny I was upset and may have said anything like that, but I do not agree with it now. I know I did not murder that woman.

    Detective Inspector Boreham said a post mortem examination of the body would be made, and he applied for a remand.

    Carson was remanded till Monday.


    The Times (London). 4 January 1927
    Joseph Carson, 65, an inmate of the West ham Guardians' institution, Forest House, Walthamstow, was brought before Mr. Snell at Old street Police Court yesterday charged on remand and on his own confession with the murder of Jane Williams at Miller court, Spitalfields, on December 29. Detective Inspector Boreham informed the magistrate that the case was one in which the defendant gave himself up for the wilful murder of a woman. There had been a post mortem examination made, and a verdict of "Death from natural causes" had been returned by the jury at the inquest and he would like to withdraw the charge. He thought Carson was under the influence of drink at the time he made his statement to the police.

    Mr. Snell (to Carson):- You are discharged.


    The West Ham Union Institution appears to have been a workhouse that had been converted to a type of convalescent home or hospital

  • #2

    This is news to me, buddy....thanks for posting this.
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    • #3
      Here's the original thread

      I remember thinking Dr Hopper had a good point - worth a look at Carson I genealogically I think

      I would imagine he died in the West Ham Union Institute as it changed to a home for the elderly in 1930

      It's a bit strange to hear about a body being found and then confess to murder

      Carson went out of his way to go to the police station and his other comment is of interest and makes him sound guilt-ridden

      He might have been drunk but there's an old adage that there's a lot of truth spoken in drink


      • #4
        Hi Nemo,

        Have you come across any reports of the original discovery of the body?
        "From Hull, Hell and Halifax, Good Lord deliver us."


        • #5
          I haven't really looked too hard to tell the truth Dave, a basic Google search didn't reveal anything other than the press reports at CB

          I'll have a good search today

          I've got a bit of a mental block when it comes to genealogy and interpretation of records