Unsolved Murders

J Koehler

Age: 45

Sex: female

Date: 15 Nov 1900

Place: River Thames, Whitehall Stairs, London

Mrs J Koehler was found dead in the River Thames near Whitehall Stairs.

She had recently come over from Hamburg on 27 October 1900, travelling on the steamship Ophelia to London. Her papers shown to German officials showed that she had been the widow of a police inspector and had been in receipt of a pension and that her purpose in coming to England was to find her sister.

On the day she arrived, she went to the Three Nuns Hotel in Aldgate on the recommendation of the captain of the Ophelia, and a day later she encountered a mysterious Hungarian near Tower Bridge who called her by name and declared she had made an appointment to meet him there in answer to a matrimonial advertisement.

It was reported that the next morning she received a letter from the unknown man and had been so alarmed at its contents that she at once paid her hotel bill and left.

She had stated that she was returning to Breslau, but she never went further than Dover, and instead returned almost immediately to London where she then booked into the Klein's Hotel in Finsbury Square, registering simply as Koehler. After registering she had lunch and then went out and some hours later she was found dead in the River Thames.

The captain of the Ophelia said that Mrs Koehler had appeared to have plenty of money and had told him that she was coming to England to find her sister, adding that she had seemed too lively to think of suicide.

It was noted that her satchel, papers, watch, rings and money were all missing and the police said they were of the opinion that she had been robbed.

There was no form of identity in her luggage, only a seal that bore the name J Koehler.

Her inquest returned an open verdict.

*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Map of Early Modern London

see Echo (London) - Thursday 15 November 1900