|Thames Police: The Ratcliffe Highway Murders|
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Panic started to spread and the sound of shouting and watchmen's rattles brought police officer Charles Horton of the Thames Police Office at Wapping to the scene. Taking charge of the scene he commenced a thorough search of the scene. Nothing that he had previously experienced could possibly have prepared Horton for this awful chore. Perhaps he took a few moments to take in the scene and compose himself before beginning his unenviable task. He began his systematic search on the ground floor using the dim light of his lantern to assist him. He found some loose change in the till and five pounds in Marr's pockets. Apart from the bodies and the chisel (Which was clean) he found nothing else unusual on the ground. Downstairs he must have examined the blood soaked cradle containing the remains of the baby, also named Timothy. Horton found no other evidence there. Whatever had been used to cut the baby's throat had been removed from the scene. Horton must have been relieved to leave the grisly scene behind him and commence the rest of the search. As he moved upstairs, he was joined by Olney. They entered the Marr's bedroom and found the bed undisturbed. Against a chair they found a heavy shipwright's hammer, known as a 'maul'. The head of the maul was covered in blood and matted hair. Horton seized the hammer as evidence and continued his search during which, he discovered the sum of £152 in a bedroom drawer. If the motives for the murders were burglary then it would appear that the suspects had fled the scene empty handed, possibly scared away when Margaret Jewell had started to ring the doorbell.
Horton took his evidence downstairs and the gathering crowd would have witnessed him removing it from the premises. By now some more evidence had been found at the rear of the premises. Two sets of blood stained footprints let away from the scene and a possible witness in Pennington Street reported that he had seen a group of some ten men running away from an empty house in the direction of New Gravel Lane (now Glamis Road) shortly after the first alarm had been raised.
When Horton eventually returned to Wapping Police Station with his evidence he must have been shocked and totally exhausted. His good work did not however go unnoticed or unrewarded. The Home Secretary eventually awarded him the sum of ten pounds from the reward fund for his diligent efforts.
Continue to the next page (3) to learn more about the Ratcliffe Highway Murders.
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