15 February 1894
SOLUTION OF THE GREAT MURDER MYSTERY.
HIS PERSONALITY, CAREER, AND FATE.
We return for moment to a scene which we have already described. It will be recollected that Jack the Ripper made one of his most marvellous escapes when, rushing from a lunatic asylum, evading four warders, climbing a wall eight feet high, he rushed naked through one of the most crowded districts of London, and then disappeared from the gaze of men. It will be remembered that we also described the method - simple, but marvellous - by which he effected his escape. Going into a house, he calmly walked upstairs, found a suit of clothes, put them on rapidly, and thus clothed was able to walk calmly out of the front door while the occupants of the house were in the street, joining in the hue and cry against him; and mingling with the noisy and big crowd that were waiting for him, quietly got away.
For some hours he is lost from sight in the maelstrom of London life; but we meet him again on that very night. It will be remembered that it was on this same night he met the man we have described as W K, who was then taking a walk with his sweetheart in Camden Town. We have already given W K's account of this interview, told to one of our representatives within the last two months. But we have another account from the same man written within a few hours of the interview with Jack the Ripper. It will be seen that it corresponds exactly with the account given to our interviewer; but it has the additional importance of having been written just at the time when the interview with Jack the Ripper had taken place. We believe this startling document will strike others, as it has me, with being a most important link in the chain of evidence that shows the man met by W K in Camden Town to be none other than Jack the Ripper:-
Dear _____, I hope you will kindly pardon the liberty I take in writing these few lines, but I write to ask you if there is any truth in the statements of a young man I accidentally met last evening in Camden Town, about 10.30. He was so very excited and begged of me to let you know by post that I consider it my duty to thus address you and give you every information relating to his movements relying, as I do, on his own words. He told me he was wanted for some grave and serious charge - I understood him it was some hospital inquiry - and begged of me to hide him for a few days, as he was quite innocent, and that the whole of London was after him, and that the runners were tracking him down, and that £500 was offered for his apprehension, but he had managed to escape them but did not know where to go for safety. He also informed me he had been placed in a hospital against his wish, and put with patients that were suffering from fever, but escaped. But if taken again the doctors would certify him mad and he would be placed in an asylum and there be murdered, and that _____ would never know his end. He then gave me an envelope with an address, and begged me to write _____, which I readily promised. I could not refuse his request, for he pleaded so earnestly for me to do so, and his excited manner and mental nervousness I consider justifies me making some inquiries, for I have reason now to believe that he suffers from delusions. Sincerely do I hope he is safe. For he was going to Hampstead, and wanted to get to the fields. He thought it would be safer for him. Poor fellow! I assure you, he has quite unnerved me, for he was quite the gentleman in manner and address, and if you will kindly grant me an interview this evening at 7.30 I will call and see you, and my young lady also, who can bear witness to my statements, she being with me at the time, and heard every word of this strange and startling incident.
It is one of the most curious features of this strange story that many persons at that time were of opinion that this man was Jack the Ripper, and many who knew him well had certainly heard the suggestion. I shall give several statements drawn up on this point from a number of witnesses; and the accumulation of their testimony will, I believe, be found very striking.
I begin with a very remarkable letter written at the time by F K. F K is the father of one of the girls stabbed. It will be remembered that after these stabbing cases _____ was brought for trial, and that it was on these charges he was, though unable to plead, assigned to a lunatic asylum.
This is the letter which F K wrote at the time. I ask especial attention for this remarkable document - the letter was addressed to the police:-
Pardon me for suggesting an idea which has probably occurred to you in connection with the recent stabbing cases in this neighbourhood. The dagger which was found on the man now under detention is just such a one as was probably used with such dreadful success at Whitechapel, and there are several points of resemblance in the cases although those now before us are now trivial compared with the magnitude of the Whitechapel tragedies. This fellow approaches his victims from the back, and with such a weapon could very easily commit a Whitechapel murder and escape without showing any blood marks. He is catlike in his approach, very fleet of foot, and he can approach his victim unheard, and if true that he has a second dagger and revolver at home, it is probable they are intended for use in the event of an attempted capture. I think you will find on inquiry that one of the Whitechapel victims was seen in company of a man with a light coat shortly before the murder. His return - after a long absence with bleeding feet is very suggestive, and shows that his operations are performed some distance from _____.
First, mark this phrase in F K's letter - "He is catlike in his approach, very fleet of foot, and he can approach his victim unheard." Is not this an exact description of what the man must have been who could have committed the Whitechapel murders?
The allusion to the light overcoat must be taken in connection with the murder in an archway off Backchurch lane. It was there that the body of a woman unknown was discovered in September, 1889; and it was reported that she had been seen a short time before her murder talking to a man in a light overcoat. A light overcoat was among the things found at the house of the man who stabbed this girl. Finally, as F K suggests, the knife used in the two sets of cases was of the same pattern.
OTHER HOMICIDAL SCHEMES.
We now come to another branch of the evidence. Before he had been discovered in the stabbing of girls, _____ had made himself very well known as a person of homicidal tendencies.
The first case is that of a medical man. I suppress the name - but this and every other fact in our possession we shall gladly place at the disposal of the authorities:-
I remember _____ very well. He complained that he was suffering from some constitutional disease of an aggravated type. I examined him carefully, made every kind of necessary test, and came to the conclusion that he was suffering from nothing but a delusion and mental aberration. I accordingly gave him a tonic combined with a nervine sedative and humoured his whims. He came off and on for some weeks or months, but being only an outpatient, and knowing little of him and nothing of his people, I could not communicate with him. About four or five years ago a letter was given to me. It was from _____ and addressed to me. The letter, said the writer, informed me that he had been to Scotland Yard and had laid an information against me, or some nonsense of that kind.
On November 15, 1890, I received a letter from a Mr. S Y, saying that _____ had called on S Y and wanted him to lend him a pistol or money to buy one, and that the contents of it were intended for me. I took the letter to _____ police station that evening and laid the matter before the inspector. He referred me to some parish official living in _____. I saw him and he directed me to go next morning to the workhouse in _____.
When I got there I was informed that a medical officer and a Justice of the Peace had been to _____'s residence to ascertain the state of his mind, and that he had eluded them by jumping over the wall and had escaped. They advised me to lay the matter before the magistrate at _____ police court and ask him to grant a warrant for _____'s arrest. I did so, but the magistrate said the workhouse authorities must deal with the matter themselves.
It will be observed that the man alluded to in this statement is just the type of man who would commit the Whitechapel murders, having the delusions and the tendencies which are known to produce such murderers.
I pass on to the statement of S Y, which is alluded to in the letter just quoted.
S Y first states that he knew _____ at an office in which they had both been employed. _____ was dismissed on account of his eccentric conduct. S Y goes on:-
_____ called on me in 1891 and asked me to lend him a pistol to shoot Dr. _____. I have learned from Mr. D G that _____ was well known at the office, and the police have reasons to believe that he is Jack the Ripper. This appears to be founded on a statement made by one in a position to know that _____ on several occasions late at night was seen with his left sleeve covered with blood; and the theory of the authorities was that the Whitechapel murders were done by a left-handed man.
And now for the story of D G. D G, who is in a legal office, first describes how the nature of his duties brings him in contact with criminals and lunatics; and then he continues with the story as to _____'s idea of shooting Dr. _____.
Among others I remember _____. He used to come here frequently and try to persuade me with a c*ck and bull story to prosecute a doctor for poisoning him. He was very strong on what he called the infamy of doctors being allowed to dispense their own prescriptions. He came and went as others do, and I took very little heed of him, just going through the old formula of listening to the same old story.
I interrupt the statement of D G at this point to call attention to the extraordinary statement which follows up that just made. It is nothing less than a description of a suspicion on the part of D G that his visitor contemplated murdering him, and, what is more remarkable, to murder him after the feline fashion in which this man stabbed the girls and the Whitechapel murderer must have killed his victims:-
One day, however, I was very busy over some papers, and only suddenly became acquainted with the fact that somebody had silently and stealthily slid into the office and had taken up his stand behind me. I felt at once that he was going to assault and possibly murder me, so I sprang up and faced him. It was _____, and so I closed with him and ran him out of the office.
And now I call the attention of the reader to the startling series of crimes either committed or contemplated by this man:-
1. Stabbing of six girls
2. Murderous assault on fellow worker in Whitechapel
3. Murderous assault on a relative
4. Murderous assault on a servant girl
5. Threat to murder Dr. _____.
6. Suspected intention to make murderous assault on D G.
Total of homicidal crimes committed or contemplated - 11.
And thus I have brought him to the point that - outside of the Whitechapel murders - this man employed in the East end at the time of the murders, and resident in a locality close to Whitechapel, was guilty of nine homicidal offences, and is strongly suspected of contemplating two more. It scarcely seems possible to imagine that there should be two men so closely associated with Whitechapel and at the same time capable of such a succession of crimes all more or less alike.