Post Number: 179
|Posted on Saturday, February 07, 2004 - 7:20 pm: || |
On a recent thread "A New Sickert Clue", now
closed, A.P. Wolf, on February 03, 2004, posted a very interesting post about police enthusiasm
tempered by the perceived "respectability" of the murder victim.
Mr Wolf noted even in Yorkshire in the more recent "Yorkshire Ripper" murders,
apparent police thoroughness and resources, noticeably increased with the discovery one of the victims was not a "common prostitute" but a "respectable citizen". No doubt presss comment changed too.
Just how many of the suspicious well-dressed gentlemen, loitering in Whitechapel back allies and courts in autumnal 1888, with black bags and consorting with prostitutes, were allowed their freedom after only the most cursory identification at nearby police stations?
Time and again, we read of suspects allowed their freedom when their "respectability" was established.
Was it possible to carry fake identification?
And if Jack The Ripper DID premeditate his crimes,
was fake, or real "respectability" one of his
I apologise if this theme has been canvassed elsewhere. I tried searching for it.
If so, I congratulate A.P.Wolf on his posting, and suggest he turn it into a dissertation on Casebook.
Post Number: 821
|Posted on Sunday, February 08, 2004 - 4:24 am: || |
Thank you for the kind words and interest.
Of course you are quite right in this case about the many incidents involving potential suspects who are subsequently released by the police when they prove themselves to be either a ‘gentleman or scholar’.
I think the most blatant was the incident involving a young man who was acting strangely in the street and as a consequence was set upon by a mob claiming that the young man was none other than the Whitechapel Murderer, the police intervened and after establishing that the young man was a clerk by trade escorted him safely away from the mob so that he was able to continue acting strangely in the street.
So it does seem that the police were actually fixated on a certain class or even race, and when the suspect did not fit that narrow remit then he was released without further questioning. As in the case of this clerk, so it seems to be cleared of suspicion it was simply good enough to claim a trade or occupation that was in itself ‘above’ suspicion.
I have played this up in comedy often enough on the poetry thread, having young Jack apprehended by the police, clutching a knife and suspicious parcel and covered in blood, but being escorted home by the constables in case he is mugged by the roughs of the area. As a clerk he couldn’t possibly have been involved in common murder, especially when he was so and so’s nephew.
But in reality I do also think this played a vital role in the failure to apprehend the Whitechapel Murderer, and then if we take this in general combination with the victim’s sordid occupation, ‘scum’ as I called them in a previous post, we do see where the problem might have been with this obviously flawed investigation right from the start.
Dissertation! I’m too busy having fun.
Post Number: 258
|Posted on Sunday, February 08, 2004 - 3:09 pm: || |
Actually respectability has always been a safety
valve for murderers, far beyond Whitechapel too.
Only five years later, in Falls River, Massachusetts, the "respectable" Ms Lizzie Borden escaped conviction because it was impossible to believe such a well-brought up young woman could have hacked her father and step-mother to death
(despite the fact that evidence showed serious problems between the couple and the defendant).
Respectability has a lot to answer for.
But it is interesting how many of the prominent Victorian murder cases deal with people who are connected to the upper middle class. Here are some examples:
1837 - James Greenacre (murder of Hannah Brown, his fiance/wife). - Greenacre was a grocer with political ambitions. He was platform chairman in a political campaign for Daniel Whittel Harvey, the first Commissioner of the City Police.
1845 - John Tawell (murder of Sarah Hart, mistress). - a member of the Quakers, Tawell committed an act of forgery in 1814, and was sent to Sydney as a convict. The Quakers disowned him.
Tawell proved to be an astute businessman, and became a wealthy merchant (his chemist shop eventually expanded into a small dry goods store), and real property owner. But he wanted to return to England. His ticket-of-leave occurred in 1830, and he returned. He proceeded to get involved in charity and educational work.
He was the member of several learned societies.
He was married, but had Ms Hart as a mistress. This he strove to keep quiet, as he wanted to keep his name clean so to get reinstated into the
Quakers (who never readmitted him, despite his keeping their customs including dress). After his wife died, instead of marrying Ms Hart (and legalizing their two children), Tawell married a more socially acceptable bride from Buckinghamshire. The poisoning of Ms Hart was to end their relationship, after Tawell found he could no longer afford two families on a diminished income (there was a depression in New South Wales, affecting his land holdings). Tawell hoped to use his social respectability as a defense at his trial, even calling seven friends of his to show how respectable he was - one was Captain Peter Dillon, the whaleboat captain and South Sea explorer who found the remains of the lost explorer La Perouse at Vanikoro Island, and became a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor as a result. None of this helped.
Tawell was hanged.
1856 - Dr. William Palmer, well-liked physician and racing enthusiast is hanged for poisoning John Parsons Cook (and probably half a dozen others as well).
1857 - Madeleine Smith, daughter of a prominent
Glasgow architect, tried for poisoning her lover
Pierre L'Angelier. She is found not proven. Later she will marry a business associate of the
Socialist William Morris.
1860 - Constance Kent, daughter of Samuel Saville
Kent (a factory inspector) is suspected of being the murderer of her brother Francis. She does confess, and spends 20 years in prison (1865-85) before heading for Australia, where she lives to be 100 years old. She lives with another brother there, who is a prominent college professor. And in the background of the case is this persistant rumour that the Kent family are an illegitimate offshoot of the family of Edward, Duke of Kent, and father of Queen Victoria (photos of Constance
look a little - a very little - like the young Princess Victoria).
1865 - Dr. Edward Pritchard of Glasgow is hanged for the poison murders of his wife and mother-in-law. Pritchard had a bad reputation with his fellow physicians as a diagnostician or as trustworthy. However, he was a popular lecturer, and he came from a naval family (supposedly one relative was an admiral).
1875 - Henry Wainwright - son of a clergyman, and a well-to-do Whitechapel businessman, shoots and
buries his mistress Harriet Lane. She was becoming too expensive (and noisy, Harriet was a drinker). Henry (like Tawell - see above) had been suffering too many business reverses, and could not afford supporting two families. Wainwright would eventually be hanged. He was an
enthusiastic theatre goer, and (like Pritchard)
appeared before audiences, although giving readings. He apparently attended the funeral of the playwrite Tom Robertson in 1871, and was seen
their by Robertson's friend William Schwenk Gilbert. Four years later, to avoid jury duty, Gilbert briefly appeared as a junior barrister for Wainwright.
1879 - "Mr. Thompson of Peckham" - A.K.A. Charlie
Peace. The great burglar was convicted of killing Arthur Dyson at Bannercross, after having
an affair with Mrs. Dyson. He also shot and killed a police officer who tried to arrest him
(whose name gets blipped when it is typed out).
Peace's great burglary spree of 1876 - 1878 was conducted while he was living as a respectable retiree in Peckham. Example of his dual lifestyle: On one occasion he goes into a shop smoking an expensive cigar. The clerk, chatting to Mr. Thompson complements him - "Where did you
get that great cigar, Mr. Thompson?" Peace smiles. "I stole it", he says. The clerk laughs, and says, "Well, if you can "steal" any others, I'd appreciate one." Peace says he will remember. Later on, he returns with some other cigars for the clerk, who thanks him. Peace, as
Mr. Thompson, actually patented some ship raising
1881 - Percy Lefroy Mapleton kills Mr. Frederick
Gold on the Brighton Railway to rob the unfortunate Gold of his money and jewelry. After evading a remarkably stupid railway policeman
(named Holmes, believe it or not), Mapleton is caught after hiding for several days in a London
Bording House. He is tried and convicted in November 1881, and hanged. Lefroy hoped to become a major writer, and wrote some published newspaper reviews and articles. Surviving fiction of his does not suggest we lost a budding
Dickens or Hardy or Trollope. Lefroy (who preferred his middle name) was the godson of General Sir Henry Lefroy, former Governor of Bermuda in the early 1870s, and currently acting
administrator of Tasmania in 1880-81. Sir Henry, who was to stay in his post until December 1881
(when the Governor of Tasmania would finally arrive), left at the end of August to get back to England due to his godson's trial. He did not arrive until after the execution.
1881 - Dr. George Henry Lamson poisons his brother-in-law Herbert Johns for an inheritance that would go to his wife. Lamson would be hanged eventually. He seems to have been a very
sick man, having become a drug addict. However, in the late 1870s he had won many medals for his
work as a battlefield surgeon from the Russian and Serbian governments.
1882 - James Carey (the Phoenix Park Assassinations) - Carey was a town councilman, and was actually a member of the Irish revolutionary group, "the Invincibles". He actually signalled them to attack (and kill) Lord Frederick Cavendish, the new First Secretary to Ireland, and Thomas Burke (assistant to Cavendish, and the actual target of the killers).
It was Carey who informed against the Invicibles, to save his skin. It was Carey who testified at their trials, and helped send them to the gallows.
It was Carey who would be shot and killed by Patrick ("the Avenger") O'Donnell on the "Melrose
Castle" off South Africa in 1883 (O'Donnell would be returned to England, where he was tried, defended by Sir Charles Russell, convicted and executed in December 1883).
This almost brings us up to the time of the Whitechapel Murders.
Post Number: 176
|Posted on Sunday, February 08, 2004 - 4:14 pm: || |
I recently re-read Yseult Bridges's book on Adelaide Bartlett, acquitted of poisoning her husband in 1886, but urged after her acquittal by the Queen's sergeant-surgeon to "tell us in the interests of science how she did it".
Her husband was only a suburban grocer, but her marriage certificate apparently described her as the daughter of "Adolphe Collot de la Tremouille, Comte de Thouars d'Escury".
Bridges suggests that she was really the illegitimate daughter of a member of Queen Victoria's entourage, conceived during a state visit to France in 1855. If I'm reading correctly between the lines, she seems to be hinting that her father may even have been Prince Albert himself (?). Whether any more light has been shed on this since this book was published in 1962, I don't know.
Post Number: 261
|Posted on Sunday, February 08, 2004 - 8:48 pm: || |
Re: The Bartlett or Pimlico Poisoning Case/or a Passport from Pimlico to the afterlife....
It is very fortunate that nobody has yet come forward to prove that Edwin Bartlett did not die on New Years Day, 1886, but was secretly taken away to an asylum, only to escape two years later to track down his wife Adelaide (a French lady, hiding under a Franco-Irish pseudonym - "Marie Jeannette" Kelly - in the East
End of London), and then cut her to ribbons, making sure her face was destroyed so no police officer would recognize her from her trial of two years before. As the actual fate of Adelaide Bartlett is unknown (as opposed to Florence Ricardo Bravo or Florence Maybrick or Lizzie Borden) one can really go to town with suggestions about what happened.
Even so, there is a novel entitled SWEET ADELAIDE, that was written in the early 1990s (I think by Julian Symons)that tells the story of the Bartlett trial, but assumes (correctly, I believe) that Adelaide did poison Edwin with chloroform. Symons, or whoever was the author, did say that a rumor put Adelaide in the United States, dying in the early 1930s in Connecticut.
It so, it is a pity she did not know that Florence
Maybrick was also living in that state, and (up to her death in 1926) Lena Sheehy (i.e. Madeleine
Smith) was in next door Bronx County, New York State. They might have had quite an interesting luncheon together.
The book by Bridges, POISON AND ADELAIDE BARTLETT, is useful but there is a problem. Bridges has been caught on one or two occasions as having lied regarding points of her research.
In particular (I believe) her book on Constance Kent was criticized. The best part of the Bartlett book was the discussion about birth control books and devices in the 1880s - the "French Letters" that Mr. Justice Wills was not fooled about. I don't think that any other
book on Adelaide has been written since Bridges,
except for that novel I mentioned.
Judge Martin Friedland, who wrote the book on the case of Israel Lipski, also wrote a book regarding a major Canadian murder trial of the 1890s, THE CASE OF VALENTINE SHORTIS (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986). Shortis shot and killed two men, and critically wounded a third in a robbery in 1895. He lucked out that his murder trial and conviction occurred during the two years that the Tory Party in Canada collapsed due to the ineptitude of the Prime Minister, Sir Mackenzie Bowell. The Governor General and his wife, Lord and Lady Aberdeen, had very high British government connections, and were able to keep interfering in the judicial process, so that Shortis (sentenced to death) was first commuted to a prison sentence, and then to a relative brief stay in an asylum. Judge Friedland points out that rumor had it that Valentine was the illegitimate son of Prince Albert, and that there may have been something to the rumor. So if Adelaide was actually the daughter of the Prince Consort, it would not be too hard to believe.
One final thing about Bartlett: Given the notoriety of Sir William Gull's involvement in the Bravo Case (not to confuse him with Dr. James
Manby Gully, Florence Bravo's elderly lover), and the reputed involvement of Gull in the Whitechapel Murders (in some connection with Masons or the Royal Family or as the insane Harley Street Doctor seen by the psychic Robert Lees), few have commented on the interest in crime of Dr. Sir James Paget, the gentleman who made the famous quote about Adelaide explaining how she did it - in the interest of science. Paget died in 1887, so he apparently could not be Jack the Ripper, but then if so many suspects can get in and out of asylums and prisons with ease, why couldn't Sir James prove to have not been dead either? His son John Paget (who died in 1886) wrote an interesting book of essays called PUZZLES AND PARADOXES, which I recommend to your attention, as the essays tackles historical mysteries such as the case of Eliza Fenning in 1815, the disappearance and reappearance of Elizabeth Canning in 1753, and other stories. It is very well written and researched. Apparently the Pagets enjoyed talking about true crime and
mystery. Perhaps they invited Adelaide over for dinner and she explained how she did it?
Post Number: 177
|Posted on Monday, February 09, 2004 - 3:32 am: || |
Thanks for those further details.
Actually, what I have is the 1970 reissue of the book, which includes a "postcript" with some details of Adelaide's later history, thanks to information received from Lady Uvedale shortly after the initial publication.
This mainly covers her activities in London during World War I, then in 1916 via Paris to Boston. She is said to have corresponded with Dudley Wright, a theosophist, until 1932, when she ended the correspondence because she was almost blind.
That's a bit of a shame, but I don't think you should abandon your interesting hypothesis for that reason alone. After all, was it really Marie Kelly who died in Miller's Court ...?
Post Number: 180
|Posted on Monday, February 09, 2004 - 5:27 am: || |
All very interesting.Thanks for the additional ammo A.P., Jeffrey and Chris.
Now, I know lots of people now believe Sergeant Steve White's amazing revelations about how he nearly caught the Ripper after the Mitre Square job, were pure journalistic porridge; but one
passage in his Dundee article stayed in my mind.
As the silent shabby-genteel gentleman materialises, and tries to glide past Sergeant White (before the body is found) in Mitre Square,
the policeman hesitates, because it would never do to interfere with a gentleman without just cause.
As the result, White alleges, he let the man go.
Was it programmed into the police force?
Be careful, there will be trouble if you interfere with the doings of a gentleman?
Robert Charles Linford
Post Number: 2071
|Posted on Monday, February 09, 2004 - 7:33 am: || |
There is also the story, at the end of chapter 21 of the Sourcebook, of young baronet Sir George Arthur. This twerp went slumming in Whitechapel and was arrested by the police. Apparently he answered the popular description of Jack the Ripper. "Finally, a chance was given to him to send to a fashionable Western Club to prove his identity, and he was released with profuse apologies for the mistake."
No alibi required - just proof of identity!
|Posted on Sunday, February 08, 2004 - 2:41 pm: || |
We can all respect each others points of view can't we? Please? I hate when people argue.
I enjoy reading all the post here in any case. I disagree with some of it but I'm sure there are people who disagree with me. That's cool with me, I'm rather used to it to tell you the whole truth. I have no one person I point to as Jack the Ripper, while others do. I have removed suspects like "Jill the Ripper" because I don't think it was a woman. However if someone does then more power to them. I do what to hear why they feel that way. I feel the same about Sickert as a suspect. I myself think he's a weak suspect at this point, I may change my mind either way on him. In any event I do find the study on his life and paintings to be interesting nonetheless. I like to keep an open mind and hear both the pro-Sickert-Ripper side and the non-Sickert-Ripper side. Whoever JTR was, he left an impact on the world. Many like him have walked in his shoes and had his fits of rage that gave way to killing others.
Post Number: 828
|Posted on Monday, February 09, 2004 - 1:57 pm: || |
And not only quite right, chaps and gentlemen, that a person could be absolved from guilt by the police simply because of who they were, one only has to compound that precarious situation a step further by suggesting that the chief investigating officer of the case - even in its earliest stages - would be ‘bombproof’ in this remarkable circumstance, and his later involvement in the area would be seen as ‘professional’ interest and nothing else, even when he was escorting a blood-stained nephew home… ’poor chap has had a nose bleed’ etc.
I know this is comedy, but if one steps back a couple of feet then it aint quite so funny. The force today is regimented but does not compare to the extreme regimentation of the force in the LVP, and I just know that an executive superintendent, actually from SCOTLAND YARD!!!!! (sorry Leanne) would be a massive god in the East End of London at that time period, and his nephew would be son of god.
Post Number: 904
|Posted on Monday, February 16, 2004 - 1:21 pm: || |
Interested to see your mention of the Wainwright case as I recently saw mention of an early work which combined an account of his crime and Jack's work which was privately printed in Canada at an early date. The info as given is:
Chronicles of Crime and Criminals. No. 1 Full and Authentic Account of the Murder by Henry Wainwright, of his Mistress Harriet Lane: and an Extended Account of the Whitechapel Murders by the Infamous Jack the Ripper. Privately printed, n.d. Facsimile reproduction of a work originally printed in 189? by the Beaver Publishing Company in Toronto, Ontario.
Post Number: 279
|Posted on Monday, February 16, 2004 - 1:51 pm: || |
Well, that Canadian pamphlet sounds of interest to me, especially as I suggested (in the article I wrote last year for The Ripperologist on Wainwright) that there was a chance the Ripper selected Whitechapel as the site for his operations (no pun intended) because Wainwright had cut up the body of Harriet Lane there.
Interestingly enough, I posted on another thread elsewhere on this board a curious 1892/93 case in Northamptonshire. A miscreant named Andrew McRae
(or M'Rae) killed a young woman and her baby (by him) named Anne Prichard, using a warehouse belonging to his brother, and then cutting up her body. He basically followed the Wainwright scheme, trying to create a straw-man (based on an
actual suitor of the victim) and had Anne write a letter that she was going off to American with this person to get married. After the murder, unlike Wainwright (who buried Harriet's remains in his own warehouse - but was subsequently captured whilst transporting the body parts), McRae dumped the torso in an isolated spot. It was supposed to be unrecognizable (and in those
pre-fingerprint days it might have been). But McRae did something stupid - he wrapped the torso in a bag which had the name of his brother's firm on it. The police were able to trace it back to him. He was hanged, just like Wainwright. An account of the McRae Case can be found in Guy B.H.
Logan's DRAMAS IN THE DOCKS. If you look at the current issue # 51 of THE RIPPEROLOGIST, there is a brief review of a book called NORTHAMPTONSHIRE MURDERS by Kevin Turton on page 36, which shows Mr. Turton wrote an account about McRae too.
Interstingly, when the body of the unfortunate Ms Pritchard was located, the public thought it was the work of Jack the Ripper.
Post Number: 906
|Posted on Monday, February 16, 2004 - 6:41 pm: || |
You will find the pamphlet mentioned as item No 2 on the list on this site of Ripper related material for sale
All the best
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