Winifred Chapman

Grand Jury Testimonyby Mrs. Winifred Chapman December 5, 1969.

Winifred Chapman, Sharon Tate’s housekeeper who discovered the bodies when she showed up for work at the Tate residence the next morning.

Winifred Chapman, called as a witness before the Grand Jury, was sworn and testified as follows:

THE FOREMAN: Will you state your name, please?

ANSWER: Winifred Chapman.

THE FOREMAN: Will you raise your right hand and take the following oath: You do solemnly swear, that the evidence you shall give in this matter now pending, before the Grand Jury of the County of Los Angeles, shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

ANSWER: I do.

THE FOREMAN: Will you please be seated.

Examination by Mr. Stovitz:

QUESTION: Would you kindly state your name again, for the record, please?

ANSWER: Winifred Chapman.

QUESTION: Mrs. Chapman, were you working at the residence of 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles, back in August of 1969?

ANSWER: Yes, I was.

QUESTION: And who, if anyone, employed you?

ANSWER: The Polanski family.

QUESTION: And how long had you been working there as of August the 8th, 1969?

ANSWER: Do you mean in the household or for the Polanski family?

QUESTION: For the Polanski family.

ANSWER: About a year and four months.

QUESTION: And how long had you been working at that particular household?

ANSWER: Since February.

QUESTION: Of 1969?

ANSWER: Yes.

QUESTION: Were you the – in other words, you moved there when the Polanskis’ moved there, is that right?

ANSWER: Yes.

QUESTION: Was your work just day work or did you sleep over?

ANSWER: Sometimes I stayed over.

QUESTION: And I show you a photograph, Exhibit #6.

QUESTION: Do you recognize this photograph of the Polanski residence, bearing in mind that this is taken from the sky?

ANSWER: Yes.

QUESTION: I show you Exhibit #12. Do you recognize this young lady, depicted in this photograph?

ANSWER: Yes, that is Mrs. Polanski.

QUESTION: Did she have a stage name of Sharon Tate?

ANSWER: Sharon Tate.

QUESTION: What name, if any, did you call Mrs. Polanski?

ANSWER: Mrs. Polanski.

QUESTION: Did you refer to her as Sharon Tate?

ANSWER: Only when I took a call and she was addressed as Miss Tate.

QUESTION: So, then, you had known Mrs. Tate/Sharon Polanski probably a year and a half, is that right?

ANSWER: Yes.

QUESTION: Do you know any of her friends such as this gentleman, depicted in this photograph, Exhibit #13?

ANSWER: Yes.

QUESTION: And who is the person depicted in that photograph?

ANSWER: That is Jay Sebring.

QUESTION: How long had you known Jay Sebring?

ANSWER: Oh, practically the full length of time that I had been with them.

QUESTION: I show you Exhibit #11, showing a man and a woman.

QUESTION: Do you know the people depicted in that photograph?

ANSWER: Yes.

QUESTION: And who was the woman in that photograph?

ANSWER: Abigail Folger.

QUESTION: How long had you known Miss Folger?

ANSWER: I would say since, I think, since September in ’68.

QUESTION: And who is the gentleman depicted in that photograph?

ANSWER: Wojiciech Frykowski.

QUESTION: How long have you known Mr. Frykowski?

ANSWER: I think September of ’68.

QUESTION: Do you recall the day before you came to the house on August the 8th, and found – or, rather, the day before, August the 8th, when you found this distressing scene there, do you recall what time it was that you left on August the 8th?

ANSWER: Yes.

QUESTION: What time was it?

ANSWER: Between 4:00 and 4:30 p.m.

QUESTION: And how did you leave the residence there, by car or did somebody pick you up?

ANSWER: I left with two of the gardeners who drove me down to the bus stop.

QUESTION: About what time did you say that was?

ANSWER: Between 4:00 and 4:30 p.m.

QUESTION: So it was daylight at that time, bearing in mind that this was in August; is that right?

ANSWER: Yes.

QUESTION: When you left on August the 8th, did you notice anything written on the front door as shown you here in Exhibit #14?

ANSWER: No.

QUESTION: What time was it that you returned on August the 9th, 1969? That was the day that all the police came there, and all.

ANSWER: Between 8:00 and 8:30 ANSWER:m., closer to 8:30 ANSWER:m.

QUESTION: How did you get to the residence that day?

ANSWER: Oh, I had a ride from the bus stop.

QUESTION: From whom?

ANSWER: From a man that I knew. Ordinarily I would have to have taken a cab, but I saw him and I got off the bus and asked him to take me up there.

QUESTION: Where did you get off the bus?

ANSWER: At Canon Drive and –

QUESTION: Sunset?

ANSWER: No. No, Santa MonicANSWER:

QUESTION: Santa Monica?

ANSWER: Yes.

QUESTION: And when you got off at the gate there, did you notice anything unusual?

ANSWER: Yes, I noticed the wires.

QUESTION: All right, after you noticed the wires, what did you do next?

ANSWER: I opened the gate and went in.

QUESTION: And then what did you see or do next?

ANSWER: I picked up the paper and snapped out the outside lights, unlocked the back door and I went in and I went to the kitchen phone and picked it up. Since our electric was on, I surmised it was the telephone wires, and started up front to waken someone.

QUESTION: And then what did you notice?

ANSWER: Well, that is when I saw the bodies and the bloody clothes and what-have-you.

QUESTION: Now, Mrs. Chapman, what did you do? Did you go to some other residence to make a phone call?

ANSWER: Yes, I ran out. I didn’t make any phone calls.

QUESTION: Did you go to another residence?

ANSWER: Yes, I went to a neighbor’s house.

QUESTION: Do you remember who that neighbor was?

ANSWER: I don’t – I think the last name is Aisen. It was the second house from ours. I went to the first house and I didn’t get in, and so I ran to the second house and knocked.

QUESTION: Did the Polanskis’ have any type of animal or dog or cat at the house?

ANSWER: Yes, we had a dog. There were two dogs there.

QUESTION: What kind of dogs?

ANSWER: One was a little toy poodle or something and another was a Dalmation. They were both pups.

QUESTION: Now, then, you said that your neighbor made a phone call and then did the police officers come to the scene?

ANSWER: Yes, eventually.

QUESTION: Did you wait at the neighbor’s house until the police arrived?

ANSWER: Yes.

QUESTION: Did you go back to the scene with the police?

ANSWER: No.

QUESTION: Did you ever go back to the scene?

ANSWER: Yes.

QUESTION: When was that?

ANSWER: The day after Mrs. Polanski’s funeral, which her funeral was on a Wednesday, I think, and I went up the following Thursday morning with an officer.

QUESTION: All right, now, at that time did he show you the front door to the Polanski residence?

ANSWER: No, he didn’t want me to see it.

QUESTION: Now, that front door, when was the last time before August the 9th, 1969, that you had paid any particular attention to that front door?

ANSWER: Well, I had washed it that Friday, the day before, because of the finger marks and the paw marks from the dogs and I also washed the window. I had cleaned the door.

QUESTION: Now, was this the front –

ANSWER: The front door.

QUESTION: Was it the outside of the door or the inside?

ANSWER: The outside.

QUESTION: And what color was that door, if you recall?

ANSWER: The outside of the door was white.

QUESTION: And what solution, if any, did you use to wash it with, just plain water?

ANSWER: Soap and water.

QUESTION: And did you just wash it where the paw marks were or did you do a pretty good job of taking off the mud?

ANSWER: No, I cleaned it.

QUESTION: Now I show you, now, disregarding the word “pig” on the door, I show you Exhibit #14.

QUESTION: Is this the door that you referred to as the front door that you washed?

ANSWER: Yes.

QUESTION: I show you this, Exhibit #8.

QUESTION: Is this a fair representation of the Polanski residence?

ANSWER: Yes.

QUESTION: Did you notice anything unusual such as the screen that appears away from the window, in this photograph, Exhibit #8, on the right-hand side of the photograph? Was that screen away from the window when you left on August 8th, 1969?

ANSWER: Let’s see. This is as you are coming from the back. Yes, the screen was out because a carpenter had been working in there. They were doing that room, making a nursery of it. There had been a lot of work in there. The painter – I don’t know if the painter was there that day. There was somebody working in there that morning.

QUESTION: You say this is the back of the house, this photograph, Exhibit #8, is that right?

ANSWER: Well, this is the back room. This is the front walk but you go down.

QUESTION: The walk is the front walk, but where the screen is away from the window, is the back room?

ANSWER: Yes.

QUESTION: And you say there was a carpenter working there sometime that week?

ANSWER: On Friday morning – there had been men in and out all week. The room was being done over. I don’t remember. I think it was a painter, if I’m not mistaken.

QUESTION: When you came in on August the 9th, you don’t know what the condition of that window was with relation to that screen, do you?

ANSWER: No.

QUESTION: And you stated that when you left on August the 8th, you left from the back door, is that right?

ANSWER: Oh, no.

QUESTION: You left from the front door?

ANSWER: I left from the front door when I left.

QUESTION: When you came on August 9th, you came in from the back door?

ANSWER: From the back door.

QUESTION: You had keys to the residence?

ANSWER: I had a key.

MR. BUGLIOSI: Mrs. Chapman, when you left on August the 8th, 1969, are you assuming that this window was open because the painter was working there?

ANSWER: Yes.

QUESTION: Did you actually look at the window and see it was open when you left on August the 8th?

ANSWER: Not as I went out of the house, but I think it had been opened. No, not as I went out of the house.

QUESTION: So you are assuming that the painter must have opened it?

ANSWER: Yes.

QUESTION: But you did not know of your own knowledge, whether it was open when you left on August the 8th, is that correct?

ANSWER: No.

MR. BUGLIOSI: We have no further questions of this witness.

THE FOREMAN: Any member of the jury have a question that they would like to ask the witness?

THE FOREMAN: You are admonished not to discuss or impart at any time outside of this Jury room, the questions that have been asked of you in regard to this matter, or your answers, until authorized by this Grand Jury or the Court to discuss or impart such matters. You may be excused.

ANSWER: Thank you.


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