Charles Cross at Buck’s Row | The First Suspect in the Whitechapel Murders’ Case

Charles Cross of 22 Doveton Street, Bethnal Green, was walking to work at Pickford’s Carriers on Broad Street on the morning of Friday 31 August 1888 when, on Buck’s Row, he came across the body of a woman. According to two separate sources he left his home at either twenty or half past three in the morning to take the five minute walk from his home to Buck’s Row. The body of the murdered woman was discovered, according to Cross and Paul (who joined Cross on Buck’s Row ten minutes later), at a quarter to four in the morning. Fifteen minutes after leaving his home on a five minute walk Cross discovers the body of the woman. Such a delay puts Charles Cross within the frame of suspects.

Somewhere between ten and fifteen unaccounted for minutes gives Cross more than enough to have assaulted the woman he may have met on Buck’s Row. It is also possible that after having fatally injured his victim that he was interrupted by Robert Paul as he made his own way to work through Buck’s Row. An interruption like this would have given Cross two options, to either flee the scene or to pretend that he had happened upon the body and was now using the arrival of Paul to establish a convenient alibi for himself. That Paul suspected that the woman was still breathing, and later Dr. Rees Ralph Llewellyn (ten minutes to four in the morning) surmised that she had been dead “but a few minutes,” places Cross at the scene of the crime almost exactly at the time of the attack.

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