18 August 1910
(New York Times)
London, Aug. 16.
For the last few months the identity of "Jack the Ripper", whose crimes in Whitechapel, London during 1888-89 filled the world with horror, has concerned certain London papers. This revival of the gruesome subject has been stimulated by the publication of a book by a former chief of police, in which it is stated that "Jack the Ripper" had been actually apprehended and incarcerated in an insane asylum. This has been denied by Dr. Forbes Winslow, who reproduced the correspondence that he had with the police at the time, in which he offered to point the criminal any Sunday morning at the door of St. Pauls' church - an offer which the police, for reasons never explained, declined to accept.
Dr. Winslow has now received a letter from a married woman in Melbourne, giving a history of the man past and present, which coincides he says entirely with his views. Portions of this letter omitting the names mentioned have been given for publication. It begins.
"You challenge is more than justified in "Jack the Ripper." You indeed frightened him away for he sailed away in a ship called the Murrumbidgee, working his passage to Melbourne, arriving here in the latter part of 1889."
This is after the last of the "Jack the Ripper" crimes, Dr. Winslow points out. Then follows the man's history:
"He is a native of Melbourne, Victoria. He was educated at the Scotch college here. The late Dr. ______ was a great friend of the family, and it was from him he gained his surgical knowledge, the doctor taking him to post mortems. When he arrived in Melbourne he married Miss _____, who lived only a little over a year.
His wife, the letter continues, died from natural causes. It was shortly after her death that Dr. Forbes Winslow's correspondent met "Jack". He told her he had had a hard time in London and he was then buying the papers that contained the fullest reports of crimes. She asked him why he bought these papers and the letter proceeds:
"He said "I want to see how things are in London." Then he began reading the trial of a man named James Canham Reade. This man married and deserted several women and finally killed one, for which crime he was hanged. When he had finished reading, I said, "What a fearful fellow!" He said, "Yes." I then said, "What about Jack the Ripper?" He said, "Strange, those crimes ceased once I left England.""
This remark astounded her, especially as she knew he had been living in that part of London where the crimes had been committed. She tried, however, to banish the thought from her mind, but several times afterward she referred to it, and at last he told her he did commit the murders. She asked him for an explanation and he first said revenge and afterward that research had made him guilty. The letter continued:
"I wrote to Scotland Yard telling them all. Sir Robert Anderson answered my letter, but as I had told them all I had to say, I did not write again till last year, but I have heard nothing from them. It is my opinion they all bungled this matter up and do not like owning up to it.
"I even gave him up in Melbourne in 1894. The police examined him. He told them he was in Melbourne in 1890, so they found this was true, and without asking him where he was in 1880 they let him go. He laughed and said, "See what fools they are. I am the real man they are searching the earth for, but they take me in one door and let me out of the other." I even gave one detective a letter of his, but he only laughed. I asked him to have the writing compared with that at home signed "Jack the Ripper", but he did nothing. Now I have burned his letter long since."
The writer goes on to give Dr. Winslow the man's name, to say that he is still called "Jack" by his relatives and friends and that at the present time he is in South Africa. She suggests a means of getting into communication with him in order to obtain a specimen of his handwriting again.
The writer then mentions that he often used to attend St. Paul's in London - and that he always carried an ugly sheath knife in his belt.
"What I regret most," she adds, "is that any one should think that that poor, demented Irish student should have been guilty of this man's crimes. I did not know till this week that any one was charged with those crimes, or I should have made a great deal more noise than I have done, knowing as I do the real culprit. I am certain as I am writing that he is your man."
Dr. Winslow, commenting on the letter said that he knew "Jack the Ripper" had left England and that he had neither been captured nor committed suicide. He intends to follow up the present clue, and if Scotland Yard desires any information he will at once place every fact and name of which he is possession at their disposal.