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Mrs Rees 1888

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  • Mrs Rees 1888

    The 'Star' in November of 1888 claimed that 'Kelly, who was then only 17 years of age, entered the service of a Mrs Rees, who stands committed to the next assizes on a charge of procuring abortion.'
    The following report is from The Times of December 20th 1888, South Wales Circuit:




  • #2
    Sorry... here follows the second half of the story concerning Mrs Rees, and her husband:

    Comment


    • #3
      Considering the connection between Mary Kelly and the abortionist's 'Rees', I was quite struck by this case of abortion in which the unwanted baby was burnt to the bone in the fireplace of the house... quite a fierce fire required to do the job.

      MARTHA BARRETT, killing : infanticide, 9th April, 1829.

      The Proceedings of the Old Bailey Ref: t18290409-83

      http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/thumb...2904090040.gif
      See original
      Trial Summary:
      Original Text:

      Before Mr. Justice Park.
      793. MARTHA BARRETT was charged on the Coroner's Inquisition only, with the wilful murder of a new-born infant .
      MR. PHILLIPS conducted the prosecution.
      ANN SAUNDERS . I am the wife of William Saunders , of Three Colt-lane, Bethnal-green, I have known the prisoner two or three years; my daughter lived in the same house with her: I went to the house a fortnight ago, and saw the prisoner - I asked her how she did; she appeared very ill indeed: she said she was very ill, and had taken a great deal of physic; I called next day to see her, and asked how she did - she said she was very poorly indeed - I said, "Mrs. Barrett, I am an old woman, if you will tell me the truth, I will certainly keep it secret."
      COURT. Then we cannot hear what she said after that.
      JAMES STONE . I am beadle of Mile-end Old-town. -In consequence of information, on the 26th of March, I went to the prisoner's house; (before that the after-birth of a child had been produced to me) - she was lying on the bed- I asked her if she had not had a child; she denied having been in the family way at all; I questioned her for nearly half an hour - she still denied it; I said I was sure a child had been born - she then admitted having been in the family way, and said she had taken a quantity of savin for the purpose of causing abortion: I told her I was confident it was a full grown child - she still denied having had a child. I made a search, but found nothing; I went on the next morning, Friday, and found Mr. Carruthers there, and made a further search - I searched some garden-pots on the ledge of the window, and in the mould I found a portion of a child's skull in one, and another portion of a skull in another; I searched the fire-place, and found ahttp://www.oldbaileyonline.org/thumb...2904090041.gif
      See original number of bones, which were materially burnt - Mr. Carruthers was present: I saw the prisoner again next day - I neither threatened nor promised her any thing; I sat down by the side of the bed, and asked her how she could be guilty of so enormous a crime - she said in order that no one should have a knowledge of it; I asked her if she had cut the child into pieces - she seemed to shudder at the idea of that, and said No, she had cut the child's head off and the body was burnt - I could not tell whether it was born alive, nor did I ask her; she mentioned who was the father of the child; I then asked if he had influenced her in any way to make away with the child - she said No, no one had any knowledge of her being in the family-way, exclusive of herself. On Monday evening she was removed to the poor-house.
      GEORGE EDWARD CARRUTHERS . I am a surgeon of Mile-end-road. On the 26th or 27th of March I was in the prisoner's presence with Stone; she was in a very weak state - I asked her if she had not been recently delivered; her reply was she had not; I gave her to understand that I was a medical man, and pressed her not to conceal it from me: she continued to deny it - I saw the after-birth, and her still denying it led me to apply my hand on the abdomen, and the uterus had not contracted, which satisfied me there had been a recent delivery; she persisted in not having had a child, and I left her - I went again; I had not entered the room two minutes before Stone, the beadle, came: I saw him find in the flower-pots something, which I washed - it was the greater portion of the head of a child - it had the appearance of having been burnt; Stone afterwards searched the fire-place; I took the bones from him - there was one human infant rib: a portion of the bones of an infant thigh, and some small bones which I could not distinguish - I am positive those were the bones of an infant; she no longer denied having a child, and I asked her if the child cried - she said that it did not,and that it fell from her; she then said she had laid the child in a box, and it remained there till the Wednesday night(she was delivered on the Tuesday morning), when she took it out of the box, and burnt it; she said no person knew of her being in the family-way but herself; it is impossible, from what I saw, to state whether it was born alive or not.
      GUILTY (of concealing the birth.) Aged 36.
      Confined Eighteen Months .
      Before Mr. Baron Garrow.

      Could Mary Kelly have been an abortionist?
      And the gutted body a failure laid down to the score of old Capt' Jack?

      Comment


      • #4
        Thats a scary thought A.P. and an even scarier tale. Thanks !

        They mentioned the use of "savin" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Savin ),an abortifacient.

        Thanks also for the Old Bailey link...in case some folks needed it.

        Any comments,folks?
        To Join JTR Forums :
        Contact [email protected]

        Comment


        • #5
          AP,

          I had no idea Mary Kelly was linked to an abortionist. Very intriguing, AP.

          Yours truly,

          Tom Wescott

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by A.P. Wolf
            I asked her if she had cut the child into pieces - she seemed to shudder at the idea of that, and said No, she had cut the child's head off and the body was burnt
            Good to see she drew the line at decapitation.

            Yegads, what an awful story.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks folks, a terrible tale, but a useful one, in that it shows that body parts could be consumed in a raging fireplace overnight, leaving very little trace... unless it was carefully looked for.
              In this case the 'beadle' had examined other objects of the household before finding the skull of the baby in a garden pot, and then made a further examination which turned up the other bones of the new born baby.
              I can just imagine 007 Bond pulling out the bones in the fireplace at Millers Court and declaring:
              'How can these poor people afford to eat chicken?'

              I must admit that I'm intrigued by this connection between Mary Jane Kelly and the Rees family of Swansea, who were obviously full time, and big time abortionists in Swansea during the LVP. The sentence that was handed down to Mrs Rees, after being cleared of the original charges, was formidable for such an offence.
              If such a connection can be more reliably proved it would give vital background to the person we know as Mary Jane Kelly.
              My thinking at the moment is that if Mary Jane Kelly entered the Rees household in 1880, when she was 17, then it was probably for the reason of having an abortion.
              I do see a certain persuasive pattern of colours here; and a very good reason for the mysterious fire that burnt who knows what at Miller's Court that night... and perhaps why Mary was allowed to fall so far behind with her rent.
              And so many other bright and shining things.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by A.P. Wolf
                body parts could be consumed in a raging fireplace overnight, leaving very little trace... unless it was carefully looked for.
                In this case the 'beadle' had examined other objects of the household before finding the skull of the baby in a garden pot, .
                Probably not an important point, and certainly not answerable, but I wonder if the coppers bothered to look inside Kelly's tea kettle.

                Jack may have brewed up something truly 'from hell' and I'm not talking Lapsang Souchong .

                Comment


                • #9
                  A few doctors spent a good amount of time sifting through the fire. Had there been bone (or heart) remnants, they would have found them. Same with the tea pot and anything else in the room.

                  Yours truly,

                  Tom Wescott

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    A potentially important finding, AP, for which many thanks.

                    I have scanned the census returns, but trying to find a specific "Rees" in Wales will be something of a challenge. A pity the newspaper didn't report her age, or her husband's for that matter, but I'll keep trying.

                    BTW, I find the idea that the Miller's Court fire was to provide hot water for an abortion slightly beyond the pale - or should that be "pail"? Fires can be used for a plethora of other purposes, of course. On the other hand, I'm surprised you haven't picked up on the presence of the zinc bath under Kelly's bed

                    Thanks once again.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      But maybe Tom they should have had a go at the flower pots?
                      Just leave it to Bond, 007.
                      The 'New York Herald', London Edition, 11 September 1889:

                      A reperusal of the circumstances of former atrocities of this nature only serves to confuse the reader's mind as to the possible origin of this last crime. It differs from the Whitechapel series in the facts that the head and lower limbs were amputated, and in the other fact that the hands were left undisturbed; but it resembles them in the infliction of the deep longitudinal cut along the lower half of the trunk. It will be remembered that last year, while the Whitechapel miscreant was in the full living of unchecked crime, a horribly mutilated human body was discovered in the basement storey of the building on the Embankment once intended for a national opera house. Here, too, the head and legs were missing, as in the case of the unfortunate woman found yesterday morning, but in this case the incomplete mutilation of the trunk had been completed in a fashion absolutely similar to that which marked the bodies of the Whitechapel victims. Nearly a month previously the right arm of a woman had been found floating in the Thames near Bridge, and several indications justified the belief that it formed part of the body found later on in the basement of the opera house. The case of the girl whose mutilated remains were enveloped in a fragment of under garment marked in black ink in a clear and clerkly hand with the name "L.E. Fisher," equally fails to offer any analogy to the other cases, as Dr. Bond, chief surgeon of the Metropolitan Police, declared death to have resulted from an operation intended to procure abortion; a motive which could not have determined any of the Whitechapel series, and certainly did not exist in the present instance, as the medical testimony declares this last victim never to have been pregnant. '

                      Now if I had a fast Aston Martin, and a much faster Martini, and an ejector seat that shot me fifty foot in the air I think, just, that I could get on the same level as 007 Bond.
                      Someone, somewhere, in 1888 and 1889 were botching abortions and slinging their victims in the streets or Thames.
                      That much is obvious.
                      And no I don't believe the police or doctors even bothered to investigate the room at Miller's Court in the way we would expect, because they already had their victim and looked no further.
                      Anyways this is moving away from the heart of this thread, the connection between a 17 year old Mary Jane Kelly in Swansea in 1880 and the abortionist family by the name of Rees in Swansea in 1880.
                      Stick with that.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        A few doctors spent a good amount of time sifting through the fire. Had there been bone (or heart) remnants, they would have found them. Same with the tea pot and anything else in the room.
                        t
                        The fireplace was undoubtedly searched thoroughly.

                        The tea kettle, however, is an assumption, especially for residue.

                        And we do have the Cutbush connection to tea.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Sam
                          I've been wary of that zinc bath almost since before I was born.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Sir Robert,

                            It's absurd to suggest they noted the condition of the teapot, but didn't take a second to look inside of it when the victim's heart was missing. Of course they looked inside it. They tore the room apart.

                            AP,

                            You know how critical I am of Simon Wood's whole thing about there being a million items in the Kelly pic. Nevertheless, there's one thing that irks me, and MIGHT lend support to a PORTION of his idea, and that's Anderson's quote about a doctor finding a pipe and throwing it in the fireplace. It's always been assumed that Anderson had Coles (with the broken pipe) and Kelly confused. But if so, where did the 'throw it in the fireplace' come from? So, if Anderson was correct, ask yourself why a doctor would have need to pick up a pipe and why he'd feel moved to discard it. Only explanation I can think of is that it was somewhere on the bed with Kelly and was covered in grue.

                            Yours truly,

                            Tom Wescott

                            P.S. I'm also intrigued by Anderson's always-overlooked comment that the Goulston Street Graffiti resembled a suspect's handwriting, but that's a whole 'nother topic.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Sir Robert,

                              It's absurd to suggest they noted the condition of the teapot, but didn't take a second to look inside of it when the victim's heart was missing. Of course they looked inside it. They tore the room apart.
                              Believe what you wish. I think it is likely they looked, but in the absence of a positive statement to that effect, I don't assume it.

                              Not to mention that the killer may have used the kettle in ways that didn't leave a noticeable residue. We're not talking CSI Whitechapel here.

                              It's important for one reason and one reason only: there was a raging fire in that room that night, and no one has yet come up with an explanation for why the killer wanted that.

                              Cooking and/or brewing are possible explanations for the inexplicable, especially if you believe that Jack may have indulged in cannibalism.

                              Comment

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