|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.|
Frederick Bailey Deeming or Mad Fred, as he was known, used many alias during his infamous life, including Druin, Dawson, Duncan, Lawson and Williams. He was born in Merseyside on 30 July 1853 and was the youngest of seven children. His father died in a Birkenhead workhouse, having tried to commit suicide four times by cutting his throat. He adored his mother, and when she died in 1873 became emotionally disturbed and mourned for a considerable time after the event. He led a rather sheltered childhood, and was considered as a young man, to have been rather lazy. He eventually found employment as a ships steward and travelled the world. During a trip to Calcutta, India, he suffered a severe attack of brain fever from which it is claimed he never recovered. Every so often he would commit some ludicrous act and infer that this was on the instruction of his dead mother.
When he gave up his adventures at sea, he became a plumber and gas-fitter, and married a girl from Birkenhead, Marie James, who bore him four children.
In July 1891 he took the lease on a cottage called Dinham Villa, in Rainhill, Liverpool, passing his wife off as his sister, he began dating Emily Mather. Deeming then killed his wife and their four children by cutting their throats and crushing their skulls with a blunt instrument, he then proceeded to bury their bodies under a new floor he had just laid. On 22 September 1891 he married Emily Mather, at St Anne's Church, Rainhill, and they travelled to Australia under the name, Williams. They rented a house at 57 Andrew Street, Windsor. It was here that Deeming killed Emily and buried her body under the hearthstone in the bedroom. Her body was however discovered when a tenant, shown around the property by the landlord, noticed a powerful smell emanating from the bedroom. When Emily's body was found it was discovered that her skull had been fractured and her throat had been cut.
A year later, while awaiting execution in Melbourne, Australia, it was rumoured Deeming confessed to two of the Ripper murders, Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes, a confession strenuously denied by his solicitor. The press had a field day and described Deeming as, 'A monster in human form'. On 8 April 1892 the Melbourne Evening Standard carried the headline, Jack The Ripper: Deeming At Aldgate On The Night Of The Whitechapel Murders.
On the final day of his trail Deeming addressed the jury himself, making an attempt to gain public support and sympathy, he claimed the pre-trial publicity was against him, which it clearly was, and that he had not been given a fair trial and had been declared guilty before he was even tried. He spoke for over an hour, and support appeared to be turning in his favour, when he unexpectedly suffered a fit, which left him kicking and thrashing about for over an hour, before finally returning to his senses. His speech, initially reasonable, soon gave way to anger, he made accusations against his own family and declared that the people present in the courtroom were, among the ugliest race of people he had ever seen, this outburst did little to help his cause. Probably syphilitic, almost certainly insane, he denounced women as the spreaders of disease. He was found guilty and hanged on 23 May 1892. His death mask, in the Black Museum, was exhibited as that of Jack the Ripper. This contemporary verse pointed the finger of suspicion at Deeming.
Deeming was 35 years of age at the time of the Whitechapel murders, fair haired with a large distinctive moustache, slight build and of medium height, his head was described as, exceedingly small for a man of his size. In 1923 Sir William Colin MacKenzie, presented a paper to the Anthropological Society of New South Wales, his subject was Frederick Bailey Deeming, whose skull he said bore a resemblance to the male gorilla.
It is possible that Deeming actually killed more than his credited number of victims, though it remains highly unlikely the Whitechapel murders were among them. At the time of the murders in London he is believed to have been in South Africa, where an accusation of murder was brought against him..
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