19 April 1892
Is Deeming "Jack the Ripper"?
Is Deeming "Jack the Ripper"?
The arrest of the man Deeming in Australia, and the disclosures of the various murders which are attributed to him have created the most profound sensation throughout the world. Greater interest is attached to the case as it is uncertain yet whether Deeming is not the veritable Jack the Ripper whose atrocities roused the public excitement to the highest pitch in 1888 - 91.
It is believed that the trial of Deeming at Melbourne will prove one of the most interesting that has ever taken place in the world. The defence will be insanity and many experts will be called upon to testify as to the species of madness with which his counsel claims that he is afflicted. No denial has yet been made that Deeming did not commit all the murders attributed to him.
In fact his counsel by his tacit admissions at the Coroner's inquest shows that he believes that his client is at least guilty of the killing with which he is charged here but claims that owing to congenital influences he is not responsible for his homicidal mania.
Notwithstanding the fact that the jury has returned a verdict of wilful murder against Deeming he shows the same characteristics that marked him since his arrest. The verdict does not seem to affect him in the least and he is in turn jocular or insolent. The more the man is studied the deeper becomes the belief of many persons that he is utterly without conscience and equally devoid of fear. Those who have studied him closely, however, think that his conduct is mere bravado and that when he finds the noose tightening about his neck he will become an abject coward. All his known murders have been of women and children, and though it is said that he has killed men, every one believes that, if he has, he has done it through treachery, striking them from behind in the dark.
The following chronological table represents in a concise form the main incidents in the career of Deeming, under his different names, since his marriage with Miss James, whom he subsequently murdered, and buried with her four children, in Dinham Villa, Rainhill, near Liverpool. For convenience of comparison the dates of all the Whitechapel murders are embodied.
1881 - February - Married Miss Maria James at Higher Tranmer. Subsequently proceeds alone to Australia.
1882 - Sends home pass for his wife, who joins him in Sydney. Suffers six weeks' imprisonment for theft. In business as a plumber.
1886 - In Sydney.
1887 - Towards the end of the year absconds from Sydney, after fraudulent bankruptcy. Goes to Melbourne.
1888 - January to June - Arrives from Melbourne in Adelaide under name of Ward. Sails from Port Adelaide after a month's stay there.
Two brothers with whom he sails on ship Barossa are robbed of £60. Deeming suspected but nothing proved. Boy Sidney (third child) born on voyage. On arrival at St. Helena tranships to Dunrobin Castle, and arrives with wife and family at Cape Town about middle of year, say June.
April 3 - Emma Smith died in her lodgings of injuries received at the hands of Whitechapel roughs.
Aug. 7 - Martha Tabram. Murdered and mutilated, George yard buildings, Commercial street, E.
Aug. 31 - Mary Ann Nicholls. Murdered and mutilated Buck's row.
Sept. 8 - Annie Chapman. Hanbury street, Whitechapel.
Sept. 30 - Elizabeth Stride, Berner street, Whitechapel, and Catherine Eddowes, Mitre square.
Nov. 9 - Mary Jane Kelly. Murdered and mutilated in a room of Dorset street.
Deeming at work for a form of engineers in Cape Town from the middle of the year. Subsequently at Port Elizabeth, Natal, and Kimberley, where he passes as a gold mine manager.
1889 - April - In Kierksdorp, Transvaal, having previously obtained £600 in Durban by fraud.
July 18 - Gets £2,800 at Johannesburg on worthless securities, obtains £420 of jewellery, and decamps, sailing from Durban in SS Dunkeld.
July 17 - Alice MacKenzie murdered in Castle alley. Some attempt at mutilation.
Sept. 11 - Mutilated remains found under a railway arch in East end.
Sept. 14 - Having reached Suez in August or September, Deeming embarks on Sept. 14th on British India steamer Jumna.
Sept. 27 - Arrive at Plymouth.
Oct. - Joins his wife and family at Birkenhead.
Oct. 16 - Disappears from Birkenhead, a detective being in pursuit of him. Flees to Camberwell, then to Stockton on Tees, and back again to London.
Nov. - Sails on the Jumna for Australia. Leaving the vessel at Port Said, he doubles on his pursuers and returns to Birkenhead.
1890 - Jan. - Leaves Birkenhead.
Feb. 18 - Arrives at Beverley, and marries Miss Matheson, a fortnight afterwards.
March 8 to 13 - At Star Hotel, Gosport, with his bride.
March 15 - Obtains jewellery by false pretences at Hull.
March 16 - Sails from Southampton for South America.
April 7 - Arrested at Monte Video.
Oct. 16 - Tries at Hull Assizes and sentenced to nine months' hard labour.
1891 - July 16 - Liberated from Hull Gaol.
Feb. 13 - Frances Cole murdered, no mutilation.
July 21 - Makes his first appearance in Rainhill, to enquire about Dinham Villa, and takes up residence at the Commercial Hotel.
July 22 - Has tea at the hotel with a dark lady, who turns out to be his wife, Mrs. Deeming, of Birkenhead.
July 23 - Lunches at the hotel with his wife. Is afterwards accompanied to Huyton by Miss Mather, and signs the agreement of tenancy.
July 23 - The first barrel of cement supplied from St. Helen's to Dinham Villa to the order of Miss Mather.
July 24 - He orders furniture from Messrs. Bay and Miles.
July 24 - Furniture removed from Birkenhead to Rainhill.
July 26 - Mrs. Deeming and four children arrive at Dinham Villa.
July 26 - 27 - The fivefold murder is committed.
July 27 - Returns to the hotel.
July 30 - Obtains two more barrels of cement.
Aug. 1 - Third barrel delivered.
Aug. 2 - Drives to Runcorn Bridge.
Aug. 4 - Fourth barrel cement delivered.
Aug. 4 - The cementing is finished by the man Benson.
Aug. 15 - Box &c., sent to St. Helen's.
Aug. 17 - Box &c., arrived at Plymouth.
Aug. 26 - "Williams" gives the Rainhill banquet.
Aug. 27 - Leaves Rainhill.
Sept. 4 - Writes Rainhill from South Place Hotel, Finsbury.
Sept. 14 - Writes to Mr. James, his father in law, saying he will come shortly and bring his wife, but not the children.
Sept. 22 - Marries Miss Emily Mather at Rainhill.
Oct. 6 - The picture "Two Dogs" is received at St. Helen's. labelled "Williams, to be called for."
Oct. 17 - Sails with his wife from London to Australia.
Nov. 27 - Miss Mather's last letter posted on the way out, at Colombo.
Dec. 15 - "Williams" and his wife arrive at Melbourne.
Dec. 24 - Miss Mather murdered.
Dec. 18 - "Williams's" last letter to Mrs. Mather at Rainhill.
1892 - January - Applied for another life (sic) in a Melbourne Matrimonial Agency. Recognised in Sydney by a publican. Proposes to and is accepted by Miss Rouncesvell, at Perth, Western Australia.
Feb. - Wrote to Miss Matheson, at Beverley, repeating a previously made request that she will rejoin him.
March 3 - Murder discovered at Melbourne.
March 8 - Arrested on the eve of his marriage to Miss Rouncesvell.
March 10 - News of the murder in Windsor, Melbourne, and the finding of Williams' wife buried in cement, cabled to England and inquiries instituted.
March 13 - Superintendent Keighley, of Widnes, obtains permission to dig up the cement in Dinham Villa.
March 16 - The five bodies unearthed.
March 17 - A further search. The coroner, Mr. S. Brighouse, views the bodies.
March 18 - Post mortem examination, funeral of the remains, and opening of the inquest.
March 19 - Frederick Bayley Deeming, alias Lawson, Williams, Swanston etc., charged at Perth with the murder of his wife Emily Mather and remanded.
March 13 - Committed to Melbourne for trial.
March 16 - Removed from Perth to Albany, en route for Melbourne.
London, April 7.
The Globe today says that a dressmaker living in the East End of London has recognised a portrait of Deeming as that of a man who courted her under the name of Lawson in the autumn of 1888. She states that they were walking together on the night of September 29th and parted from each other at eleven o'clock. The following morning the shockingly mutilated bodies of the women Stride and Eddowes were found in the Whitechapel district.
Considerable speculation has been indulged in as to the possibility of Deeming being the notorious Whitechapel Jack the Ripper. The last letter sent by Deeming's Melbourne victim to her mother showed that Deeming was skilled in the use of medicine, and it is believed by many that if occasion arose he would have shown that he was equally skilful in the use of surgical instruments. One of the physicians who conducted the post mortem examination on the bodies of the Rainhill victims said that those murders showed that the person who committed them had a good knowledge of anatomy, and that the blow that caused death was just sufficient, and no more, to sever the carotid artery. Denials have been made that Deeming was in England at the time of these murders, but as a matter of fact, his whereabouts at exact periods would be a hard question to decide. The ten Whitechapel murders were committed on April 3rd, August 7th, August 31st, September 6th, two on September 30th and November 9, 1888; July 17th and September 10th, 1889, and February 13, 1890.
During the year 1888 Deeming's whereabouts until November were quite unknown. The dressmaker's statements shows that for part of the time at least he was in London, and this again arouses the suspicion that he was there at the times the other murders of that year were committed. There was nothing to prevent him from being there from April to November, 1888, during which time seven of the murders were committed. It is known positively that he arrived in Beverly on February 18, 1890, five days after the last Whitechapel murder.
In the statement published in The Globe the dressmaker says that she met Deeming, or Lawson as he was known to her, on the afternoon of September 30. They had a long conversation on the subject of the Whitechapel murders, and Deeming showed that he was conversant with every one of the horrible details. A remark was made concerning a suggestion in a newspaper that the murders of the night before were committed shortly after midnight.
Deeming seemed to forget to whom he was talking and said to the girl:-
"Look at the time. I couldn't have committed the murders."
The girl was very much struck by this uncalled for remark, and she has often since thought of it. Throughout the afternoon Deeming was very much agitated and eagerly read the newspaper comments on the crimes. A few days later he vanished and the girl never saw him again. Though the remark inadvertently dropped by Deeming and his subsequent actions aroused a suspicion in the girl's mind that Deeming perhaps was the murderer, she did not until now communicate her suspicions to the police.
The Globe concludes its article with the statement that the police have been unable to trace Deeming's exact whereabouts at the time these murders were committed in Whitechapel.
It is thought that with the clew furnished them by the girl some startling developments may be looked for, and that the Whitechapel mysteries may at last be solved.