Thomas Haynes Cutbush
Thomas Cutbush was named as the Ripper by the Sun newspaper, first on 13 February 1894 and then subsequently in later editions. Author A.P Wolf, in the book Jack The Myth, also favoured Cutbush as the Ripper. The possibility of Thomas Cutbush being Jack the Ripper was thoroughly investigated by the police at the time, and shown to be without foundation.
To disprove the newspaper claims Melville Macnaghten penned his memoranda, in which he not only disputed the likelihood of Cutbush being Jack the Ripper, but named three alternative candidates, Druitt, Ostrog and Kosminski. Macnaghten claimed Cutbush was unlikely to have been the Ripper, due to the fact that the knife used by Cutbush was different to that used by the Ripper, and was not purchased by Cutbush until February of 1891, some two years and three months after the Ripper murders. Macnaghten also claimed that the frenzied killer of 1888 was unlikely to lie dormant for two years, then re-emerge and be content with stabbing women in the bottom.
Cutbush was born in 1866 in Kennington, his father died when he was young. Thomas was said to have been a rather spoilt child, he lived with his mother and aunt at 14 Albert Street, Kennington. These ladies, it has been said, were of a nervous and rather excitable disposition. Cutbush was at one time employed as a clerk and traveller in the tea trade at the Minories, and subsequently as a canvasser for a directory. He abandoned his job, and now led an idle and useless life. He studied medical books by day and wandered the streets at night, often returning home with muddy clothes. In some reports it is claimed, blood stained clothes. Cutbush was detained as a lunatic on 5 March 1891, in Lambeth infirmary, suffering from syphilis and paranoid delusions. He wrote to Lord Grimthorpe, and others, believing that people were trying to poison him with bad medicines. He soon escaped, and was at liberty for four days, taking with him a knife which he used to stab Florence Grace Johnson in the buttocks, and also attempted to do the same to Isabella Frazer Anderson, in Kennington. These crimes appeared to be imitations of a criminal called Colicott, who a couple of months previous had stabbed six young women in the behind with a pointed awl, and may have been responsible for up to sixty assaults. Colicot was arrested, but subsequently discharged, owing to faulty identification.
The Sun newspaper appears to have confused accounts of Cutbush with Colicott. Where Cutbush's crimes appeared to be imitations of Colicot, Colicot's crimes resemble a criminal from a century before Jack the Ripper called the London Monster. The Monster would follow young ladies around the West End of London, make obscene proposals, use filthy language, then cut or slash at their breasts and buttocks, it is claimed he attacked 50 women. Fashionable ladies, when out walking, resorted to strategically placing frying pans under their dresses. In 1790, a 23 year old artificial flower maker, and former dancer, named Ryanwick Williams, a native of Powys, Wales, was arrested and convicted of the crimes, and sentenced to six years at Newgate prison. Despite Williams being 121 years of age at the time of the Ripper murders, and long since dead, I am surprised he has not come under speculation as a possible Ripper suspect.
Thomas Cutbush was arrested on 9 March 1891, and charged with malicious wounding, he was committed to Broadmoor, where he died in 1903. At the time of the Whitechapel murders Cutbush was 23 years of age, a little young according to the eyewitness descriptions of the Ripper, and lived in Kennington, some distance from Whitechapel. Macnaghten is probably correct, it would be most unlikely for a serial killer to lie dormant for two years, then re-emerge and just be content to stab women in the behind. His Uncle, superintendent Charles Henry Cutbush, in 1896, shot himself in front of his daughter, because it is claimed, he knew his nephew was the murderer. He had for sometime being suffering from depression and mild paranoid delusions.