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The Ashburaton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 1888. PARALLELISM IN CRIME.

being a well-known fact that some insane persons who behave as towards people generally m the most inoffensive and kindly manner have the most violent antipathies amounting to murderous hato as towards particular individuals. In the case of Ken wick Williams that antipathy was directed as against young women as a class, and m the case of the Whitechapel murderer it appears to be levelled exclusively at the demimonde\ and m the latter, as m the former case, therefore, the conclusion which this remarkable parallel forces upon us is that the dreadful series of crimes is the work of a man who is mad m this direction, while, perhaps, ap parently perfectly Bane m all other respects.

That "history repeats itself" has passed into a proverb which is as old as the hills, or at least as old as Solomon, whose assertion that " there is nothing new under the sun," is merely the same thing expressed m different form. And the truth of the saying is exemplified as fully m the history of crime as m that of nations and individuals, there being no conceivable wickedness which can be perpetrated today or m the future which has not been perpetrated many times before. It might thus by a priori reasoning have been safely concluded that the recent Whitechapel outrages were not without a parallel, and accordingly it is not surprising to "find that the horrified interest which has been aroused by their shocking details has led, among other things, to the looking up of old criminal records and to the discovery of a number of cases all more or less similar m their characteristics. Several of these have been detailed at length m the columns of the London papers, not the least remarkable for its likeness to the Whitechapel outrages m being a vendetta against the weaker sex being that of one Benwick V* illiams, commonly called " the Monster," whose unaccountable propensities m maliciously cutting and wounding females wherever he found them unprotected made him the terror of the metropolis almost exactly a century ago (1789) and who carried on his diabolical work for nearly 3j a year despite every exertion made for his detection. The following particulars of his case are given by one of our exchanges. On May 5, 1789, he stabbed Elizabeth Davis m the hip ; tliuu be aoßuultod Miss Fuater hi the same manner, as she was coming from fhe play. On January 17, 1790, he btabbed Miss Ann Porter, as she was coming from the Queen's palace j upon which he was publicly advertised. Through the perseverance of Mr Coleman (an acquaintance of Miss Porter's), he was apprehended on Sunday, June 13, 1790 ; and the next day was brought gp for examination; when many females appeared to identify bjm, Some of those who had been wounded could not swear to his person ; but the two Miss Porters, two Miss Baughams, Miss Anne Frost, Mies Anne West, and Elisabeth Davis spoke positively as to his being the perpetrator ; whereupon ho was committed to Newgate to take his trial. So great was the detestation m which he was held, that it was with the greatest difficulty the police officers could prevent him from falling a prey to the indignation of the people. His trial commenced on July 8 1790, at the Sessions House, Old Bailey. He was arrainged upon seven indictments for cutting and maiming several females. He was tried first on the indictment for wounding Miss Porter, who deponed that on her coming through fct James' Park on January 18, 17P0, she met Williams, who followed her till she r arrived at her father's house m St James street, when, ac she wag ascending the steps, she received a violent out on the right hip ; the blow was bo great that she was stunned. This was coorroborated by her sisters ; and a Mr Tomkins, surgeon, deposed that the cut Misg Porter received was nine or ten inches long aj»d about three inches deep. The prisoner being palle.d upon for his ! defence, begged the indulgence of the court m supplying the deficiency of his memory upon what he wished to state from a written paper. He accordingly read as follows : — " He stood an object equally demanding the attention and compassion of the court. That, conscious*of his innocence, he was ready to admit the justice of whatever sufferings he had hitherto undergone arising from suspicion. He had the greatest confidence m the justice and liberality of an English jury, and hoped they would not suffer his fate to be decided by the popular prejudice raised against him. The hope of proving his innocence had hitherto sustained him. "He professed himself the warm friend and admirer of that sex whose cause was now asserted ; and concluded with solemnly declaring that the whole prosecution wbb founded on a dreadful mistake, which ho had no doubt but that the evidence he was about to call would clear up to the satisfaction of the court. Notwithstanding thiß curious protestation he was found guilty upon this indictment and atao subsequently on two further indictments for assaulting ftlizabeth Davies and Elizabeth Baugham, and was sentenced to two years' imprisonment m Newgate for the assault on Mies Porter, two years for that on Elizabeth Daviee, and two years for that on Miss Baugham ; and to find sureties, himself m £200 and two m £100 each. Judging from the fact that witnesses called for the defence at the trial gave the prisoner the character of a quiet harmless creature, it seems probable that he was the yiotim of pome form of dementia, it

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http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18881120.2.4

Bibliographic details

The Ashburaton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 1888. PARALLELISM IN CRIME., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 1992, 20 November 1888

Word Count
952

The Ashburaton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 1888. PARALLELISM IN CRIME. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 1992, 20 November 1888

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