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Old June 15th, 2013, 08:20 PM   #1
Jonathan Hainsworth
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Default Conan Doyle article mentions Mac

A source I have not seen before, in which again we see that Melville Macnaghten is described as a hands-on sleuth -- the 'man of action' (Griffiths, 1898) -- rather than a cloistered desk jockey, despite having achieved the top desk position in his department.

Is it really likely that when Chief Constable in 1891, when the Druitt story broke out of Dorset, he would not have ascertained -- at the very least -- that this deceased suspect was a young barrister and not a middle-aged surgeon (which he could locate from newspapers alone or from just chatting with fellow Old Etonian MP Farquharson)?

‘The Evening News’ (Sydney)

Feb 8th, 1908

Detection of Crime.


Some advice recently given by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, as to the solution of great crime mysteries as meeting with general approval from criminologists. The novelist's advice was that cases should be at once placed in the hands of the trained experts of Scotland Yard.

The author, of so many detective stories, speaking at a dinner, stated that it was a national scandal that Scotland Yard's aid was not invoked until the local police had failed. The ordinary scope of Scotland Yard's activity extends to crime committed within the metropolitan area. Crime committed in the province is dealt with by the local police. The indispensable aid of London detectives in what may be called the more scientific branches of detection is demonstrated in the latest report of the Chief Commissioner of Police, who states that of the 6776 finger-print identifications effected in the year, 3794 were for provincial police forces. 'The successful investigation of crime mysteries,' said one of England's famous detectives, 'often depends on the quickness with which detectives can seize the broken threads of the story.

In London when a sensational mystery occurs Sir Melville Macnaghten, the Chief of the Criminal Investigation Department, often rushes to the spot in a motorcar, with a little band of assistants, comprising the keenest men at the 'Yard.' Even then there are sometimes insuperable difficulties. 'But conceive how those difficulties are magnified when the crime is weeks old, when the local police — strenuous but entirely inexperienced in this class of case — have been making inquiries — possibly indiscreet inquiries— in a score of directions. The criminal, meanwhile, has every chance of getting clear away.' Country police may spend 20 years without having to deal with, an intricate crime mystery; we have them nearly every day. At every police station in London we have a branch of the Criminal Investigation Department; but 'when an important case occurs we at once rush specialists from headquarters to deal with it.' Another well-known crime expert stated that it would be advisable to organise a system under which. Scotland Yard would, in the event of a sensational mystery in the country, at once rush a little band of trained investigators to the spot.
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Old June 16th, 2013, 08:05 AM   #2
Paul Kearney A.K.A. NEMO
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Nice quote Jonathon, thanks for posting it

I always imagined McNaghten as being keen to attend the scene of a crime and personally inspect any clues etc

I have no doubt he personally followed up his suspicion of Druitt, and the other Ripper candidates for that matter, such as Kosminski

I would expect him to have had an interest in the Grainger case also
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Old June 17th, 2013, 07:52 PM   #3
Jonathan Hainsworth
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Thanks Nemo

I have no serious doubt about all that.

In 1959 Dan Farson assumed Macnaghten must have misremembered basic details about Druitt. But he had not done a thorough study of this source -- despite having Mac's sharped-witted daughter right in front of him -- and the TV reporter was hostage to a painfully tight deadline.

That assumption, that Macnaghten had a weak memory and was working only from files as he was too late to investigate Jack -- completely missing that Druitt only appeared on the radar 'some years after' he killed himself -- was to distort and deform understanding of this subject for decades.

Tom Cullen, Farson's bitter rival, consolidated this mistake in 1965 because he exploited the McCormick hoax about Backert, thus locking him into Druitt being a police suspect before he died (which is indeed how Mac wanted his Report(s) to be read) which further spun the subject away from orimary sources which show that this is all highly unlikely (Mac's memoirs, the Coles murder, the then unknown MP articles).

Even now this misconception is mostly entrenched. That Mac could not be taken literally was barely considered (though Evans and Gainey did in 1995, and so did Begg in 2006).

As for Grainger-Grant I think that this sailor's arrest in early 1895 trying to knife a poor harlot in Whitechapel, and his subsequent identification by [probably] Lawende, is a major turning point of the story.

In my opinion Macnaghten, in a calculated gamble, shared with his loathed superior, Anderson, for the first time 'Kosminski' in order to avoid the Met maing a mistake about Grant. The Polish Jew had been dressed up by Mac with features from Druitt: eg. long deceased, off the scene soon after the Kelly murder when he was not able to function normally, and known to be the fiend by his family who protected him -- and themselves -- by having him hastily sectioned.

The chronic masturbation was the icing on the cake for a religious prude like Anderson. By 1910, Anderson's memory was failing him (see his 1908 interview-shambles) and so he mixed up details about Grant, Lawende and 'Kosminski'.
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