|Jack the Ripper: A Suspect Guide|
|This text is from the E-book Jack the Ripper: A Suspect Guide by Christopher J. Morley (2005). Click here to return to the table of contents. The text is unedited, and any errors or omissions rest with the author. Our thanks go out to Christopher J. Morley for his permission to publish his E-book.|
Maybrick, a 50 year old Liverpool cotton broker, was named as Jack the Ripper after a diary, purporting to have been written by him, came into the possession of Michael Barrett, an unemployed former merchant seaman and scrap metal dealer from Liverpool. Barrett had been given the diary in a pub by a casual friend Tony Devereux, who told Barrett to do something with it. Despite questioning from Barrett as to the diary's provenance, Devereux died shortly after from heart failure without ever revealing its true origins. After researching the 63 page journal, Barrett discovered that the writer, who signed the diary Jack the Ripper, was James Maybrick. Publication rights to the diary were secured by Smith Gryphon, who published the diary in 1994 amid worldwide interest and intense debate among Ripperologists as to the diary's authenticity, a debate that continues to this day. On 27 June 1994 Michael Barrett told the Liverpool Daily Post that he had in fact forged the diary, only to retract his confession, then confess to forging the diary once more, a claim he maintains to this day.
In July 1994 Barrett's estranged wife Ann, in a statement said she had had the diary in her possession since 1968, and that it was given to her by her father, now dead, who in turn had received it in 1950 along with a pile of other books from his stepmother. She had passed it to Tony Devereux to give to Barrett in the hope that he would write a story around it, as he seemed to have lost his purpose in life. She had not thought that he would attempt to publish it.
Another story relating to the diary's provenance is that workmen found it under floorboards that had been lifted for the first time in over a century at Battlecrease House, Maybrick's old home. Whatever the true origins of the diary may be makes little difference, for it is littered with errors. The writer of the diary claims to have placed Mary Kelly's body parts around the room, left farthings at Annie Chapman's feet and attempted to remove Mary Ann Nichols head, all these claims are false, and the inaccuracies within the diary are almost endless. If the fake diary was not enough to contend with, a ladies 18 caret gold watch, supposedly owned by James Maybrick, conveniently appeared. the watch had the words, I am Jack - J. Maybrick, and the initials of his five victims scratched upon it, I am still waiting with anticipation for the appearance of Maybrick's Gladstone bag. The fact is without the diary Maybrick would not be a Ripper suspect, he did not fit any of the eyewitness descriptions, his known hand writing does not match the writing in the diary, his health did not begin to fail until 1889, so there is no explanation as to why the murders suddenly ceased. The diary of Jack the Ripper has unfortunately become like the Royal Masonic Conspiracy Theory, a red herring for researchers attempting to uncover the true identity of Jack the Ripper.
James Maybrick died in dubious circumstances in May 1889, his wife Florence stood trial for murder and was convicted of poisoning him with arsenic. She was released in 1904 and died in 1941.
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