The Case Against Charles Allen Lechmere Diminishes | Lechmere Did In Fact Give His Address to the Baxter Inquest

Quite inexplicably neither the official record of the Baxter Inquest into the death of Mary Ann Nichols, the Times nor the Morning Advertiser newspapers mention the address of the man Charles A. Cross (a name which we later discover to be an alias of Charles Allen Lechmere). This omission has led many to believe that he was reluctant, for reasons heretofore unknown, to give his home address, including this writer. Lechmere in fact did provide his address to Coroner Wynne Edwin Baxter and the inquest jury, and this was recorded as “22 Doveton Street, Cambridge Road” in the Star newspaper, Monday 3 September 1888. It must be concluded then that the Inquest record and the other newspapers simply neglected to mention that the man known there as ‘Cross’ did give an account of his home address. This may suggest that both the Times and the Morning Advertiser were dependent for their information on the inquest record. It is unlikely in the extreme to have been the other way around. Had the court recorder not taken down the address it is not likely then to have made it to the papers depending on it. The Star, on the other hand, appears to be taking its own notes.

Another piece of important information that the Star of that date gives us is the record that Charles Allen Lechmere left for work at twenty minutes past three o’clock in the morning, and not the half past as recorded at the inquest and in the other papers. If the other papers are reliant on the court record then we can treat them as a single source as regards details of time and place. We may be looking at a simple case of either the coroner’s reporter or the pressman from the Star making a mistake. It is entirely possible then, at this stage, to suggest that the time Lechmere left his home was in fact twenty minutes past three, thus giving him a full forty minutes to make the walk to his place of work at Broad Street Station.

Of its 650 horses three hundred and more are under Broad Street Station, where they form not the least of the nightly attractions of that busy goods depot. The mention of the North Western agents – who are Messrs. Pickford & Co. – naturally leads us on to the carriers…

– W. J. Gordon, The Horse World of London, 1893