At the dawn of the 20th century there was no more notorious doss house region in London than that at Dorset Street, Spitalfields, haunt of Jack the Ripper and a hive of prostitutes. Here lived Annie Austin, 28 and riddled with syphilis, and here in the early morning of May 26th, 1901, Annie was heard screaming in her room.

The doctor who examined her ascertained that she had been stabbed in the vagina and the anus. She said she had spent the night with a man who picked her up. She died in hospital on Thursday, May 30th.

There was some suggestion that the man concerned was in fact the doss house deputy manager, Daniel Sullivan. But the police could get nowhere, and their final report reads: “We have had to deal with a class of witnesses that are as low as they can possibly be. It is difficult to know when they are speaking the truth and in some instances they lie without any apparent motive.”