A LONDON HOTEL TRAGEDY.
"The story is like an extravagant romance; I doubt whether anything like it-has been read in ■a . shilling shocker." the "Westminster coroner exclaimed on March 3rd, at the inquest on a man known as Dr Geo. D. Pullman, of Chicago." The sensational circumstances winch gave rise to the coroner's 'remark occurred at the Savoy Hotel on March Ist After usinpT ventriloquism and a quick change of clothing in order to deceive a jeweller, Pullman attempted to escape from the hotel with £2000 worth of jewels which had been brought for his inspection. He was caught red-handed, and a thrilling struggle followed. At length, finding himself overpowered he took a razor from his pocket and cut his throat. Even after that lie made a last effort to escape. When the jeweller left the room to summon help he climbed through a window and descended a" spiral staircase. At the bottom his strength failed him, and ho was found lying by his pursuers. The first, act in the d*ama took place on March Ist, when Pullman called at the shop in Charing Cross Road and bought a portmanteau for £1 5s 6d. He asked.the salesman to fill it with papers, but_ when some brown paper was placed in it he said that would not be sufficient." "I want to make it feel heavy, he explained. , . 1 He left the shop, and returned with two large bundles of old newspapers. These were placed in the portmanteau, and he departed, taking it with Just before two o'clock, he entered the Savoy Hotel, carrying the portmanteau filled with newspapers. He first asked, speaking with a pronounced American accent, if a telegram had arrived for "Dr George D. Pullman, of Chicago," and was handed one that had been received. "I want a suiter of rooms —a sittingroom, bedroom, and bathroom,'? he told the reception clerk. # - "My wife and maid are following in a motor-, car." * He selected a t suite of rooms on the second floor, for'which the charge was four guineas a day, and was allowed to occupy them ; without any payment. "He was very well dressed, the reception clerk stated at the inquest, "and although he only had. a portmanteau he said his wife was coming. CALL AT A JEWELLER'S SHOP.
In order to inspire confidence Pullman asked the inquiry clerk for the address of a firm from whom he could obtain motor-car tyres. He left the hotel at three o'clock, and walked to the Burlington-arcade, where he entered the shop of Messrs S. J. Rood and Co., diamond merchants and jewellers, and asked to see some of the best three-stone diamond rings. A selection of rings from the window was shown to him,, and he chose^ four worth more than £100 each, and a fifth worth £40. He also examined a diamond collar necklet worth £2400. "Send the rings to the Savoy Hotel," he stated. "I want, to make a present to my wife, and I do not wish her to know the price." As he was leaving the shop he seemed to change his mind. "By the way," he said, "you might send the necklet also, but I do not want the three diamond drops attached to it." He was told that the drops could be detached, and that this would reduce the price to £1300. It was about four o'clock when he left, and the assistant manager of the shop, Mr Harry Penton, of Melford Roadj Norbui-y, immediately followed him to the Savoy Hotel with the diamond rings and the necklet. As soon as Mr Penton reached the hotel he asked if Pullman was known there. He was informed that Pullni'an was not known, but that he had engaged a suite of rooms, and that there was nothing suspicious in his conduct. Mr Penton was ushered into Pullman's sitting-room, and noticed that there were two doors. He also observed that Pullman's hat and gloves were on a table by the window. . "In a case of this kind we have to be: very cautious," he explained to the coroner. . , The jewels were produced; and Pullman remarked that they looked better than they did in the shop. ' "My wife is dressing, he said to Mr Penton. "I shall just take them to her in the next room." "A WOMAN'S VOICE." Pullman was handed the five rings, and took them into the adjoining room. He left the door of the room slightly open, and Mr Penton heard him speaking and a -woman's voice replying. Then Pullman returned to the sit-ting-room, saying his wife liked the rings and would like td see the necklet 'He enterc-d the adjoining room asrain with the n?c!det, but on this
occasion he closed the door. Mr Pentou heard the voices once more, but they suddenly ceased. A graohic description of what followed w*as given by Mr Penton in court.
"1 became suspicious when the man' closed the door," he said, "and I became still more on my guard when the conversation in the next room ceased. I slipped out into the corridor, and I had not been there more than half a minute when I saw him opening, very carefully, the door of one of the rooms -''belonging to the suite. "He was dressed in a soft cap and a big, heavy overcoat. 'Call for a maid,' he said when he saw me. 'My wife is very ill.' "I did not wait a minute. I don't know what I said—l think. I swore at him. I closed with him, and we fell back, struggling into the sitting-room. "We had a tussle. Then he seemed to collapse altogether, and lost his nerve. I threatened that I would smash his face in if he did not give the jewels lip. . "He handed me all the jewels except one ring, and said in a beseeching voice, 'Let me go; oh, do let me go!' 'No,' I replied, 'you are a scoundrel,' and I rushed to the door, calling for help. "I stood at the door of the- room, so that he could not escape, and' looked down the corridor. When I turned my head I saw him cutting his throat with a razo.r as he -stood b^ the fireplace." / "Where did he get the/ razor ?" the coroner asked, as the razor, one of foreign make was produced. "He must have had it in his pocket," Mr Penton replied. "I went for him at once, because I thought he might have firearms," Mr Penton continued. "He fell down in front of the fireplace and I rushed down the corridor. ROOM FOUND EMPTY. "When I had found a porter I returned with him to the sitting-room, to find it empty. The bedroom door was closed, and it took half a minute to open it. We found that room empty also. "We saw at once that he had climbed through the window to a balcony, and had descended a spiral staircase. At the* bottom we found him, much exhausted. "He tried to speak to me, but could not. A doctor' was sent for, but the man died before he arrived."
"Did you go armed for this adventure?" the coroner inquired.
"No," Mr Penton answered; "I have never carried arms. I have never experienced anything like this."
"It is remarkable," the coroner observed. "This man gets possession of a valuable suite of rooms at four guineas, a day, and armed with a portmanteau filled only with newspapers, succeeds in inducing a reSDectable firm of jewellers to bring him £2000 worth of goods.",
"It is not an unusual thing to have
to do this," said Mr Penton. "It is a difficult position to be in." A police inspector said Pullman possessed £4 3s. The jury returned a" verdict of "Felbdese."-
See our copyright guide for information on how you may use this title.
Papers Past now contains more than just newspapers. Use these links to navigate to other kinds of materials.
These links will always show you how deep you are in the collection. Click them to get a broader view of the items you're currently viewing.
Enter names, places, or other keywords that you're curious about here. We'll look for them in the fulltext of millions of articles.
Browsed to an interesting page? Click here to search within the item you're currently viewing, or start a new search.
Use these buttons to limit your searches to particular dates, titles, and more.
Switch between images of the original document and text transcriptions and outlines you can cut and paste.
Print, save, zoom in and more.
If you'd rather just browse through documents, click here to find titles and issues from particular dates and geographic regions.
The "Help" link will show you different tips for each page on the site, so click here often as you explore the site.