John Gill was only 7 years old when he was brutally murdered, He was described as a "bright young fellow and a general favorite".
Early morning on Thursday, December 27th, 1888, John had left his home at 41 Thorncliffe Road, Bradford, in the north of England, to accompany the local milkman William Barrett on his rounds, as he had done many times in the past. (And the milkman later stated that John had left him before his last stop, as he was close to John's house.) But John never came home.
The last time he was seen had been around 8:30 am, when he was seen sliding on an ice slide with a group of other boys.
During Thursday 27th, and Friday 28th, his parents, neighbors, and the police looked for him, but they could find no clue to what had happened.
On the morning of 29th of December 1888, Joseph Burke, (a kid that was employed by the butcher) went to the stable that was owned by his boss, Mr. Newbouldt, located behind Mellor Street, to prepare the horses for that day of trading. After he had cleaned up the stables, he went to dispose of the horse droppings in the manure tank, when he noticed a bundle in a corner near the shed doors.
The press Association provided more details where that boy's body had been found, "The boy was found at a spot than which it would be difficult to find a more convenient one for the purpose of placing anything in the view of escaping detection. It is situated in an obscure thoroughfare at the back of Mellor Street."
The body of John was found between the manure tank and the wall.
The body itself was found with horrendous injuries, as both of his legs had been cut off close to the body, along with his ears, and his abdominal had been cut open, and his intestines partly taken out. And when the body was found the limbs were tied to the body. And the braces the boy had worn, were used to tie the limbs to the trunk. And the boy's clothes were then wrapped around the body, the jacket wrapped around it all. There also was a sack found with the body, with the name W. Mason, Derby Road, Liverpool, printed on it. And the police had hoped that it would give some clue to what happened. But sadly, this is not what happened.
Later one it was noted that the body was even more mutilated than it was first reported. In addition to the body legs being chopped off it, arms were as well. The boy had also been stabbed in the chest twice. Also, the boy's heart had been torn out completely and was stuck against the throat of the body. And the boots had been taken off the victim's feet, and they were pressed into the cavity of the victim's abdominal, in the region where the kidneys are, and other parts of the body had been cut away as well.
There was no blood where the body was found, and this caused the police to believe that the victim had been killed elsewhere, at some time during Thursday night, and then the killer moved the body where it was eventually found. The legs and arms were tied to the body when it was found, and the whole remains were wrapped in a coarse cover.
By noon of the 29th of December 1888, the milkman William Barrette was arrested on suspicion of murder. William Barrette was a young man of age 28, with a fresh complexion. He had been married for only one year and had one child. Also, his character was good, which led the people of the district to feel inclined to believe his innocence.
However, during the case against William, Chief Constable pointed out his reasons for keeping William prisoner. They included the fact that the victim was never seen after he left the prisoner. Also that the victim was seen with the prisoner after the prisoner said the victim left him. Another was that for nearly an hour on Thursday night, the prisoner had no alibi as to where he was. So there is a chance that he could have been at the stable, of which he was in charge of, at that time.
At the stable, it had been found that the stable floor had been rinsed with water. There was also a sheet that was found with stains that were believed to be blood.
At the prisoner's house, there was a knife found that fit the two stab wounds on the victim. And when the prisoner first saw the knife he denied knowing anything about it, but he later corrected himself. And even further evidence says that the prisoner denied knowing anything about the sheet, but he later revealed that his boss had given it to him for the horse.
However despite all the evidence his wife, and many of their neighbors were convinced that he had committed the crime. And those who knew him best said that he had an excellent character for steadiness and sobriety. And they also declared that he would be the last man to commit a murder.
His wife was also reported to have said, "I have no doubt of my husband's innocence." And when she was questioned about the knife she simply stated about how the police had shown up at her house and asked to examine her cutlery, and so she had led them where all of her knives had been kept. Then they had chosen the largest one and had taken it with them. She had also said that it had been cleaned with the other knives at the end of the week.
Eventually, similarities of this murder to the murder of Whitechapel had been found. However, in some ways, the murder of John Gill surpasses the murders of Whitechapel.
At Whitechapel, the killer would after killing the victim, proceed to mutilate the bodies there at the spot.
While the killer in Bradford had killed an innocent lad, drained every drop of blood out of the body, cut it up, and finished his horrifying performance by tying the parts together and leaving the body in a dark corner only a hundred yards from the place the boy had lived.
There are many theories as to who killed John Gill. One of course is the milkman, however the charges were dropped against him on January 9th, 1889.
Another is John the ripper as his other victims had been brutally mutilated as well. And a remarkable story that at first was overlooked just added to the Jake ripper theory. The story was a report of a break-in that happened around the time John Gill was murdered, and the location where it happened was a house in the same suburb where the body was found. And according to the owner of the house (the house was located at 324, Heaton Road) Mr. Cahill, who was a tailor, this is what happened. He had arrived home at 10 o'clock, (an hour and a half after John Gill had been last seen with the milkman) and he had found someone had entered his house. The furniture had been pulled around and turned upside down, and a heap of all sorts of different things had been piled upon the table in the living room. But what he saw on another table filled him with horror. A couple of carving knives were placed crosswise on the table, and on top of them was a card, and one side of it someone had written, "Half-past 9 - lookout - Jake the Ripper has been," but one the other side of the card it said, "I have removed down to the canal side. Please drop in. Yours truly, SUICIDE." There was also a large tin of water on the same table, and the entire surface of the table had been rinsed with water. The clock in the living room had been stopped and the clock showed the time mentioned on the card, half-past nine. Nothing had been stolen from the house beside a bottle of rum. Another bottle of rum had been moved from the cupboard, and some of it had been poured into two glasses, that were mostly empty.
However, the killer of John Gill has never been caught.
Author Notes: Please rate and tell me what you think and who you think did it. I will be writing another true cold case soon