|Posted on Monday, March 15, 2004 - 3:28 am: ||
Initially I was very optimistic about Joe Barnett being JTR. I read Paley's book a few years back and it was at the top of my list. He had a lot of things to say that made a lot of sense. But, the more I read into it, the less likely Barnett seems to be a good suspect. Here are some reasons why, in my opinion, Barnett does not make a good suspect:
1) First of all, it seems unlikely that Barnett would have been a sniveling weakling around Kelly, where he was SOOO infatuated with her all the time that he was obsessed, but then he somehow changed into a ruthless killer. I get the impression from the Barnetters that you want to emphasize how smitten he was with her. If he was a sniveling weakling with his head up MK's butt, his personality does not fit that of a controlling, dominant psychotic murderer. If Joe had been a controlling, mean, no nonsense SOB who took charge of Kelly, he would more closely fit the profile of the killer. However, I always get the impression that Joe was this nice moral guy who just wanted to right the wrongs of MK and try to give her a better life by constantly giving her gifts. You are stretching your case to fit the suspect. JTR would have been a merciless, selfish, heartless, brutal, ruthless SOB. He probably hated prostitutes, but not because he was a moralist.
2) The worst evidence against Barnett is the double event. The Barnett case is an EITHER/OR situation. EITHER Barnett was killing to scare MK or Barnett was killing because he was a psycho killer. This is most notable in the case of the double event. It is highly unlikely that after being "interrupted" during his first kill that Barnett would have thought "I have been interrupted while killing my victim, the victim that I wanted to use to scare Mary Kelly off the streets, but since I hate prostitutes so much anyway, I think I will forget about my master plan of scaring MK and go kill a second prostitute tonight and mutilate her for pleasure even though this has nothing to do with my plan" Of course not, killing the first victim, even without mutilating her would suffice to scare MK, there was no need to go and find another. The fact that he went to find another suggests that the "killing" was the motive, not some master plan to scare his girlfriend. Clearly, the second victim was killed because Jack could not "get off" that night after being so close to "doing his thing". He needed to find another victim, and he obviously did. There is absolutely no reason why Barnett would have needed to find another victim, the first was dead, and it would be blamed on the ripper. As stated above, it is an EITHER/OR case in my opinion.
3) The speech impediment thing. There is really no solid proof that Joe Barnett was doing anything other than repeating questions asked of him for the sake of being precise (and/or nervous) in front of a crowd. It seems more likely that he was repeating questions do give himself time to think of the answers, like many people do. And to suggest that he is autistic is WAAAAY OUT IN LEFT FIELD.
4) Being a fish porter, even if being a fish porter means he cut up fish on a daily basis, is not a very strong indicator of skill with a knife. Anybody ever been fishing? You cut fish up with a fillet knife, and fish organs are not anywhere close to human organs. You could use this argument to establish that Joe probably owned a knife, carried a knife, knew how to hold a knife, and used one frequently, but so does the average housewife!! Now, if Joe were a butcher, it would be much better evidence. Basically Joe having been a fish porter amounts to absolutely nothing, except that at some point he made a good living.
5) Lost his job? From all accounts that I read, unemployment was rampant in the East End. This evidence could indicate that Joe was disturbed by this, so this is a moderately good point.
6) Read the newspaper to Kelly. I can't back this up, but I'm sure some of you will agree. If Mary Kelly could not read, then she was asking Barnett to read to her a hell of a lot more than just about the JTR murders. Joe Barnett must have been MK's personal reader on almost a daily basis. How can you possibly argue that the only thing that Mary Kelly ever wanted read to her were details about the JTR case. I think if you want to get real hear you would say "Joe Barnett often read to Mary Kelly, anything important in the news always interested Mary Kelly and she often asked Joe to read it, and the Jack the Ripper murders were important, so therefore she asked Joe to read about them to her." I have no proof of that, but I do have some common sense. To suggest that the only thing that Joe ever read to his girlfriend on a regular basis, after being together a year, were JTR details is not realistic.
7) If we are to believe Hutchinson, and he had known Mary Kelly for three years, it is almost inconceivable that he would not have known Joe Barnett upon sight. Therefore, the man he saw on the night of the murder could not have been Joe Barnett.
8) The locked door mystery. There is no mystery. Either the ripper was MK's last customer and he watched as she opened the door through the window to let both he and herself in (or it was already opened) OR he got in while she was sleeping and either had seen how she opened or it was not locked. The door locked itself after he left or he locked it after seeing how the lock trick was done through the window.
9) Spitting on the grave account. Nothing really to support this ever happening that I know of. Even if it is true, how the heck does spitting on a grave compare to COMPLETELY DESTROYING SOMEBODY'S FACE??? There was no need to spit on the grave, he had already completely destroyed her, spitting was MILD compared to what was done, so why bother? That would be like firing a single shot from a small caliber revolver at a destroyed building after you had exploded it with 800 pounds of plastic explosive. What's the point?
In my opinion, Barnett would make a much stronger suspect if you DOWNPLAYED the infatuation with Mary Kelly. The MK scenario makes him look like a weakling. If you instead just treated MK as one of many prostitutes that he had had a relationship with, and that he was a psychotic killer with no motive toward scaring Kelly, but had the motive to kill for pleasure, he would be a much stronger suspect. The fact that he did know one of the victims personally is good evidence. Imagine if MK was just a convenient kill for him because he knew she would be alone and he knew the area. She never had meant much to him, but made a convenient victim. If you took this approach, with the fact that he knew the area and lived in the middle of everything, it would be a good case.
The MK thing serves to link Barnett to the case, but in my opinion that very thing makes him look like a weak, incapable person. If he had a normal relationship (whatever a normal relationship is with a prostitute) with MK would it not have been easier to just beat the hell out of her everyday until she became obedient, than it would do go through some crazy elaborate plan of mutilating women????
No, the only way that Barnett could be the ripper is if the killing were for his own personal pleasure and had no connection to MK.
Please let me know what you think,
|Posted on Saturday, March 20, 2004 - 4:22 am: ||
All very good points. I don't think that's proof he wasn't JtR, but I think it's pretty good reasoning that the idea is quite unlikely.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't it just last week that you were sure it had to be Barnett and getting upset with people who pointed out the same kinds of things you just said? If so, that was one heck of a speedy change of heart...
|Posted on Sunday, March 21, 2004 - 6:10 pm: ||
Well I was playing Devil's advocate to see who stood where. But, I do think that Barnett knowing one of the victims is circumstantial evidence, which is what I was saying in th epost that you are referring to, but most of the other evidence regarding him is not very good.
|Posted on Thursday, April 01, 2004 - 3:23 pm: ||
I believe that if he was JTR he'd have more since as to kill Mary Kelly right after he had a fight with her. That and all this other stress they had before she was killed. Why not just wait in the room for the police to come get him if he was that stupid? I believe that JTR knew about the fight between the couple because he had been stalking Mary. Barnett was likely watched some by JTR too. I believe he stalked all his victims before killing them. Why? For 3 good reasons.
(1) JTR was not a stupid man! He managed to keep from ever being caught. Thus is why stuff like this web site are around today. We still do not know who he was but have ideas about it of course.
(2) The time between killings is a great clue to JTR stalking his victims before killing them. He could pick up on daily things these women did. It would make it easier to strike and get away fast.
(3) JTR would know much about what was going on in W.C. if he stalked the streets and acted like any other nomal person down there. All to learn about his next target. JTR was very deady but very smart as well.
|Posted on Friday, April 09, 2004 - 7:23 am: ||
I'm also going to agree that Joesph Barnett was not JTR. As someone else said on the message boards- if George Hutchison knew Mary Kelly- he would also have known Barnett as well, and if GH was so hung up on Mary, he would have jumped at the chance to name Barnett as the man he saw with Mary on the night/morning of Novemebr 9th 1888.
Post Number: 663
|Posted on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 5:19 pm: ||
Hi ....here we go again!!!!
Of course GH knew Joe ,Mary,Mc Carthy,Maxwell,Eddowes,and probably most of the 'regulars' at the 'Ten Bells' and
certainly 'Ringers'........think chaps....this has been said and chewed over so often on the boards..George has to hold the key (maybe even to No 13!!!)
Post Number: 664
|Posted on Monday, April 12, 2004 - 5:24 pm: ||
Hi all.....again!!!Praps GH was with Mary just before the Mrs Maxwell sicky thing.....he could have just faded away into Dorset St and no one would have 'seen him'....the invisibility thing again!......he could have been the man seen with Mary...tartan seems a bit strong for GH tho!
Just a thought....as ever
Post Number: 71
|Posted on Saturday, June 26, 2004 - 8:09 am: ||
Excellent points by everyone. Our unregistered Ripper Historian, Tim, has obviously put some thought into his observations; they didn't spring extemporaneously from his keyboard. These comments show a keen insight to the dynamics of the Barnett-Kelly relationship, and the implausibility of Barnett as JTR.
I agree: Joe Barnett is simply not credible as a suspect in all the murders. That doesn't mean he didn't kill MJK, just that he can hardly be suspected in the Canonical Five given the motive generally attributed to him (trying to scare MJK off the streets and back into the sheets -- with him).
Is that really a motive for slicing and dicing five women in the most hideous, sickening ways possible? I doubt it. No, the cold, cunning, savage monster who ripped these women open and reveled in their innards was a deeply sick and twisted lust killer; these murders were sex crimes, not attempts at intimidating one's sleazy girlfriend. The person or persons who committed these insanely bloody murders and mutilations LIKED what he was doing. He got off on it, sexually.
However, I do feel (after 28 years research) that Our Boy was someone very like Joseph Barnett -- a local Irish Cockney of similar age, build and coloring. Whether he acted alone or not is another question. But most eyewitness accounts describe someone very similar in appearance. Only problem is, there are several other eyewitness accounts that seem to describe a shorter, stockier, older individual of "foreign" (i.e., Jewish) appearance.
A Dynamic Duo? Perhaps. There are good arguments for same. However, Tim and the rest of you on this board have laid out some very persuasive arguments against Barnett as JTR, and I say "bloody good show."
Ciao for now,
Post Number: 1275
|Posted on Saturday, June 26, 2004 - 8:44 am: ||
Hi Ripper Historian
Many thanks for your well argued post of 15 March.
In my opinion the most likely candidate for the Ripper's dubious mantle was an unnamed local, possibly like Barnett in same aspects but that is not only unknown but unknowable and sadly likely to remain so. Becaase of the very ordinariness and obscurity of individuals such as Barnett, it is exceedingly unlikely we will ever known crucial details that would back up or disprove his guilt. If we have problems agreeing which Barnett mentioned in the scant available documentation (census returns etc) is the one who lived with MJK, what hope is there of ever finding any more detail such as his whereabouts on the night sof the other murders? To be realistic, none.
Another problem is that so much of the account of Kelly's life and the nature of her relationship comes from one source only, namely Barnett himself. I am not necessarily suggesting that Barnett invented the supposed details of Kelly's early life, but of course we have no way of knowing how reliable, if at all, Kelly's own account was. We have only to remember Stride's vivid account of her "loss" in the Princess Alice disaster, which we know to be invented, to see how these sort of tales could be invented to elicit sympathy and/or hard cash. The story of Kelly's young marriage and tragic widowhood could be in this category, but again we simply have no way of knowing.
I agree that the implied speech impediment may have been overplayed from very scant evidence. It is more than likely that someone from a humble background such as Barnett may have been overawed finding himself in such a formal and official setting as being questioned at the inquest. Also, on a human level, we must remember that if Joe did not kill Kelly, and if he felt as strongly about her as is implied, he would be dealing with the shock and grief of having seen the remins of his de facto wife butchered beyond recognition and having been grilled for hours by the police.
The question of his job is interesting in that he is specifically described as a fish porter. The very name porter suggests to me that his job entailed carrying the fish, not dressing or gutting it, which was a different trade. The porters carried the fish in circular wicker baskets on their heads, a hard and demanding job but not implying any use of a knife.
Apart from the evidence of Joe reading to Kelly from the paper, the evidence for the literacy or otherwise of Kelly must also bear in mind that various sources mention letters Kelly received from her mother in Ireland which presumably she was able to read.
The relationship between kelly and Hutchinson (and again we only have his version of events) is an intriguing one. This does suggest that Hutchinson was a long term casual client of Kelly's but cannot prove one way or the other whether, as Barnett claimed, that Kelly had been "off the game" since the start of his relationship with her. From the reported conversation she had with Hutchinson, it is more than probable that she was still working the streets, at least on a casual basis.
To my mind Barnett is no stronger or weaker a suspect than any of the other long term partners of previous victims - Michael Kidney, Ted Stanley etc.
All the best
Richard Brian Nunweek
Post Number: 920
|Posted on Sunday, June 27, 2004 - 4:11 am: ||
I as you would expect disagree that Barnett comes into the Kidney/ stanley mode.
I have been active on this case since 1965, and have considered every suspect to date, and i fundamently state, that no one comes close to Barnett that is why i was bold enough to start a thread over a year ago.'Number one suspect'
Reasons are well known on these boards.
The Grave spitting[ cannot be dismissed]
Connections with the number 39 [ most serial killers work to a pattern]
The real possibility that he married a jewish woman some years prior to kelly.
The fact that he hid his real name when moving in to Millers court [ known to MCcarthy as Kelly]
His careful answering of questions at the inquest, by repeating the last line of the question first.
His obsessive behaviour towards kelly reading the accounts of the murders, and literally frightening the woman alarmingly.
I Obviously could go on and on , but that is my belief.
Glenn L Andersson
Post Number: 1859
|Posted on Sunday, June 27, 2004 - 7:14 am: ||
John and Chris,
Very good points and excellent posts from both of you, and I believe Tim also has managed to pick up a great deal of relevant points.
I for my part can't totally exclude the possibility that he murdered Mary Jane Kelly, but I find it hard to buy the idea of Barnett as Jack the Ripper, although Jacky very well could be someone like him.
All the best
Glenn Gustaf Lauritz Andersson
Crime historian, Sweden
|Posted on Tuesday, June 29, 2004 - 12:47 am: ||
I hope you don't mind me disagreeing with your first point. Having been through (and come out of!) a 3 year bout of depression brought on by a failed relationship which wasn't helped by some obsessive-compulsive traits, i think the description given of Barnett makes him sound all the more like a potential ripper suspect.
I don't want to go into detail about my own problems but extremes of being a snivelling weakling around the person you are infatuated with (utterly idolising them - irrationally - and buying them presents all the time whether they wanted it or not) and completely losing it at other times is entirely possible. I developed a complete hatred of all her friends which evolved into a hatred of all women and i could either break down in front of her or call her every name under the sun. I can imagine that without the medication and counselling available today then something bad could have happened but thank god it did not.
It is also possible for these feelings to almost switch off when the 'problem' ie. Mary Kelly is removed. When my ex moved away i was almost immediately a better person for it and it felt to me as if she had died. The intense feelings of love and hatred that can develop in your mind is very difficult to explain and when in that state it can take something very small to snap, ie. just seeing someone you weren't expecting to see whilst out on a walk can push you over the edge. The one thing i didn't have was control, although it was that which i craved so much. I'd want to know where she was, who she was with and what she was doing. For Barnett knowing his infatuation was with clients i can't imagine how utterly insane that could have driven him.
I'm not sure how common these mental problems are but 100 years ago without antidepressants and todays support i can truly imagine someone like Barnett doing these murders. I'm not saying i believe he was the ripper but i think your first point makes it more likely rather than less as the traits described fit perfectly with my experiences. I even 'saw' myself strangling people in mini visions whilst out and about and i had to snap out of it and check my hands were really where they should be! Although i don't know whether Barnett had any mental problems apart from his supposed speech problem (and i see no reason why anyone WOULD know about any potential problems apart from Mary Kelly herself), i think the details in your first point are entirely consistent with the possibility of him being the ripper.
PS: I'd like to add i've been fully recovered for 5 years now and am now in friendly contact with the girl in question. I can't believe how i felt back then!!
|Posted on Monday, November 29, 2004 - 9:51 am: ||
It seems to me that Barnett must have been as obvious a suspect in 1888 as he is now, and as such the police must have investigated him thoroughly.
Abberline was no fool and if he was convinced that Barnett was innocent, that's very telling for me.
I find some of the psychological motivations proposed very forced and based on insufficient evidence to be convincing. I think an experienced detective like Abberline, who was able to look Barnett in the eyes within a very short time of the murder of Kelly, would have known the difference between feigned and real grief.
I also find it bizarre that anyone should believe that the murders (about which there is an increasing feeling that there were attempts and victims before Nicolls)could have been some contrived attempt to dissuade a prostitute from plying her trade. That, after the glut in Millers court, Barnett could have gone back to his former pacific ways, is incredible (at least to me). this smacks of the reasoning of the detective novel, NOT of real crime and criminals
Why he should have committed the last murder in the room that he had himself so recently occupied, and which was sure to point a finger at him, runs counter to the cunning and wariness Barnett is supposed to have shown beforehand, and which the actual murderer undoubtedly possessed.
Barnett, needless to say, does not appear on my personal list of suspects.
Post Number: 1601
|Posted on Monday, November 29, 2004 - 3:41 pm: ||
"It seems to me that Barnett must have been as obvious a suspect in 1888 as he is now, and as such the police must have investigated him thoroughly."
As you're an unregistered guest you probably haven't read what I've read so I'll minimise the shock: Police took Barnett to the police station an interviewed him for "about" four hours. "They examined my clothes for bloodstains, (a semingly regular occurance), and finally finding the account of myself to be correct, let me go free." According to the Daily Telegraph he told police that he was at Buller's Lodging House playing whist until half past twelve when he went to bed.
Mary Kelly's most likely time of death, (not based on mere doctor's oppinions but based on testimonies of people who saw her), wasn't established until three days later, so his alibi of being in bed becomes worthless. Even if they managed to locate someone within that four hours ish to prove that he was asleep.
Post Number: 1602
|Posted on Monday, November 29, 2004 - 3:53 pm: ||
"Abberline was no fool and if he was convinced that Barnett was innocent, that's very telling for me."
No one said that Abberline was a fool. No one is trying to ridicule him! Do you believe that everyone that passed under Abberlines eyes must have been 100% innocent?
Look at the history of the police force! Apparent motiveless murder was fairly rare and new to police. They wouldn't have known exactly which questions to ask and which answers needed further investigation. They wouldn't have known what little 'tricks' a guilty party used to cover their guilt.
|Posted on Monday, November 29, 2004 - 5:49 pm: ||
On the other hand they were men of experience, doing a job which relied far more on "human" skills then and less on scientific.
My point about saying that Abberline was no fool was simply that to set out what we NOW know (as you do) can give the impression that the job was not thorough.
I contend we just do not have enough remaining evidence to tell, but that they may have done. Barnett was an obvious candidate for the killing of his lover. Abberline was able to look into his eyes and there may have been alibis which are now lost.
To quote Barnett's brief (and perhaps paraphrased) account of his questioning gives only a partial picture. I suggest that a witness may have little idea as to what he gives away or how he comes across in an interview and under observation.
If he was genuinely suffering from shock/grief then the police may well have handled him quite gently. What we don't know is what background checks they made. So much of the evidence is missing.
But the fact that the police dismissed Barnett so easily AT THE TIME is a telling point to me.
Thanks for coming back at me
|Posted on Saturday, September 03, 2005 - 7:48 pm: ||
Comprehensive Reply to "Ripperhistorian"'s points.
1)"Barnett a sniveling weakling"
Two words: Passive Agressive. Simply the fact that Barnett was so obsessed over Mary Kelly explains why he diverted his murderous frustrations away from his darling. This fits with many criminal case studies; quite often a serial killer will detour to marking out victums who fit a description of the source of their anger long before actually attacking that source. Also, every serial killer I have studied has been calm on the outside - rage on the inside. If Barnett acted the spinless weakling, surely he was boiling under the surface.
2)"The Double Event"
Never happened. Stride's death does not even compare to a Ripper scene. Also, the Ripper worked alone. There being two men present at Stride's murder suggests, more than anything, gang relation or exctortionism.
If -if- Barnett did, indeed, have a speech impediment then this is even MORE evidence weighing on him as the Ripper. Many serial killers who use what's known as a Blitz Attack, striking a lethal blow suddenly and unexpectedly, suffer from some sort of deformity that would make the killer severely self-concsious around people, and the victum. All the Ripper murders suggest just this sort of attack, save for Mary Kelly who had defensive wounds on her arms, but I'll get to that later.
Actually, fish anatomy does have much in common with a human being... in accordance with the positioning of internal organs. Heart between the lungs, lungs above the intestines, kidneys below and behind the intestines. See? Simply by his trade he gets a) experience with handling a knife and not cutting himself, b) knowing where internal organs can be found, and c) experience in working swiftly (from gutting fish over and over).
Nearly every serial killer begins his spree by first experiencing a "stressor" which includes marital trouble and a recent loss of employment BOTH OF WHICH occured with Barnett!
More to come... Stay tuned!
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