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Old April 16th, 2013, 06:27 AM   #1
Jonathan Hainsworth
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I apologize if this source has been published before and I have missed it:

SECRETS OF SCOTLAND YARD.
"JACK THE RIPPER CASE."

The fact
that "Jack the Ripper," the man who terrorised the East End of London by the murder of seven women during 1888, committed suicide is now revealed by Sir Melville Macnaghten, head of the Criminal Investigation Department, who has retired after 24 years' service. Although he shrinks from publicity, Sir Melville, during the 10 years he had been head of the "C.I.D.," has broken down the barrier of secrecy between the police and the Press. "I realise that five times out of six the Press can be of the greatest assistance to a detective in his investigations," he says.

There was no case of murder or an important burglary during this time which he did not personally investigate.

Sir Melville confessed that the greatest regret of his life was that "Jack the Ripper" committed suicide before he joined the Force. "That remarkable man," he said to a "Daily Mail" man, "was one of the most fascinating of criminals. Of course, he was a maniac, but I have a very clear idea who he was and how he committed suicide, but that, with other secrets, will never be revealed by me. I have destroyed all my documents, and there is now no record of the secret information which came into my possession at one time or another.

Today, for the first time since I joined the Force on May 24, 1889, I know what it is to be free from official cares, and I shall certainly not write any reminiscences." Sir Melville regards the development of the system of identification by finger-prints as the most notable achievement in crime detection during his experience.

Crime in London.

"We have, after all, in our London records wonderfully little crime, considering the circumstances, and it is remarkable what a small proportion of the perpetrators are undiscovered. There are, of course, cases unsolved, and I think particularly of two in which I was not able to touch a single feather of the criminal. One was the murder of the watchman at the Cafe Royal in 1894, as to which I was unable to get the slightest clue; and the other was the case of Mary Bails, the little girl who in 1909 was murdered, and whose body was found in a brown paper parcel in a lavatory. How she had got there, and even in what district she was murdered, has remained an absolute mystery. Another case that caused me the greatest anxiety was the Muswell Hill murder. I had made my own inquiries, as usual, but could see no clue, and Henry Marshall, who had the case in hand, was at his wits' end. Night after night he used to come down to my place and talk over the day's results, which were generally nil. It was quite five weeks before he came to me one evening with the news that he had got what looked like two clues, one really big and the other a small one. He told me he was going on the big one, and next day I had a message from him to say that it had failed, and that he would now take up the lesser. That was the discovery of the association of the bull's-eye lantern found near the murdered man with Millson's nephew owing to the wick being made out of a piece of tartan cloth which Mrs. Millson was making into a dress for her little girl. That tiny clue hanged both Fowler and Millson. That was a very interesting case, and even more so was the murder of Beron on Clapham Common, for which Stinie Morrison was convicted."

A reference was made by the interviewer to the curious way in which a number of the police seem always willing to think a jury has gone wrong in returning a verdict of guilty. Apparently Sir Melville Macnaghten is under no doubt as to the Beron case. "The public, who only read the newspapers," he pointed out, "forget, or perhaps are not aware, that there is hardly a case in which full reports may be given in the daily Press. Much has to be left out. Beyond that, there is this great fact to bear in mind: that the jury, just as with the Judge and the counsel engaged, must go a great deal by the demeanour of the witnesses. Very often the demeanour of a witness is of more importance than what he says, and has more influence with all concerned in the case."

Source: Otautau Standard and Wallace County Chronicle, Volume IX, Issue 433, 26 August 1913, Page 7

Again, we see in a primary source the usual characterization of Macnaghten as the hands-on 'action man'; is it really likely that he would not have thoroughly investigated Druitt, albeit posthumously? In many secondary sources is portrayed as little more than cypher, a fumbling bureaucrat.

He says in 1913 that he knows whom the murderer is, and calls him remarkable. Why? Because he was a cricketer and an Oxonian?

Interestingly it is claimed that Macnaghten said that he joined the Force on May 24th 1889, rather than June 1st as he says in his memoirs. That subsequent change of date brings him exactly into alignment -- virtually to the day -- with the correct date of Druitt's suicide.

Once again he implies that the secret of the Ripper came into his possession, and therefore the relevant papers are Mac's to do as he wishes. It is his secret. Yet he claims to shrink from publicity when he is the unknown author of the 'Drowned Doctor' whose details are so specific that he would have to be recognized by his own family. Except ... he had none of his own. Well, what about his friends, they would reconise the profile and be shocked!? Except ... they already knew and were trying to find him, and even alerted the police. Is that how the cops got onto this real life Dr. Jekyll? No! Scotland Yard werealso already on his trial and about to arrest him.

So nobody was hurt and everybody knew -- and everybody comes out of it so spiffingly. The friends of the doctor were in contact with the authorities (not family members, for years, hiding their awful secret while innocents were arrested) and the police nearly, so nearly had a triumph in 1888 (not excruciatingly some years later, and via the Old Boy Net -- got that!)

But at the 1913 retirement press conference Mac is careful not to repeat Sims' mad doctor profile, which he had created behind the scenes. Hence his promise not to write any memoirs where he might have expected to collide with this contradiction between what he knew, as opposed to what he had told his pal.

Instead in 'Laying the Ghost ...' Mac threaded that needle very cleverly, but ambiguity caused the solution to die with him until Druitt's name was found -- but by then, measured against the profile in other documents, the late police chief looked ignorant and callous.
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Old April 16th, 2013, 09:48 AM   #2
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Hello Jonathan,

Quote:
He says in 1913 that he knows whom the murderer is, and calls him remarkable. Why? Because he was a cricketer and an Oxonian?
I am glad you put a question mark to the answer..meaning that it is a suggested answer.

Let's face it Jonathan. IF, and I will side with you a little here...IF the killer of these women was a single person.. then he is quite remarkable anyway... he gets away with murder (literally), right under the noses of the police, public, Uncle Tom Cobbly and all...He has the daring of the devil, and gets away with being able to gather his brains together enough to calmly slip away every time, and then again, gather them enough to commit suicide, including remembering to fill his pockets with stones, write a bye bye note and do it miles away from the scene of the murders! Yup..THAT IS remarkable!

Whether he is an expert at cricket, fives or marbles doesn't make the man remarkable. Neither if he was from Oxford University and an MCC member. The elite in society break the law. Admittedly, mostly involving money, I'll admit. But many have played with little boys from that edge of society.. and you can include highly educated vicars and priests.

Quote:
Once again he implies that the secret of the Ripper came into his possession, and therefore the relevant papers are Mac's to do as he wishes. It is his secret.
And you honestly believe he kept this secret do you?

No, he didnt. He wrote it down in a memorandum, and at least two others, Griffiths and Anderson, probably saw it. It wasn't a secret that Druitt was suspected. Aberline knew of it too.

The other point, him destroying all his papers is really one step beyond the pale. I suppose that included official police papers on the case. It must have, logically speaking..it wouldn't have just been all papers to do with Druitt!

If it wasn't a secret, which it wasn't, destroying the papers serves no purpose because the other policemen knew the namne via the memorandum..so the family secrecy bit is really a red herring. Macnaghten must have known the other Scotland Yard personell knew about Druitt. He must have read Griffiths' comments..then Anderson's and Aberline's.

No secret died with Melville Macnaghten at all. There was no secret. The drowned doctor theory and the memorandum were already known to others within the police force. And in that document, the "drowned doctor" was named. Druitt.
No secret possible.


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Old April 16th, 2013, 10:57 AM   #3
Chris G.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Hainsworth View Post

["]Today, for the first time since I joined the Force on May 24, 1889, I know what it is to be free from official cares, and I shall certainly not write any reminiscences."

Source: Otautau Standard and Wallace County Chronicle, Volume IX, Issue 433, 26 August 1913, Page 7
Emphasis mine.

Hi Jonathan

So what do we have here? A man who is so hands-on and honest that he lies when he says he wouldn't write his memoirs. For surely when Macnaghten made this statement he was either working on his memoirs or they were already at the publishers. The Otautau article of 26 August 1913 is in some respects similar to an interview Macnaghten gave that appeared almost three months earlier in the Daily Mail on 2 June 1913 immediately after his retirement from Scotland Yard. That earlier article is available here kindly supplied here by SPE in 2010. As in the article in the New Zealnd paper, in the Daily Mail article, Macnaghten is quoted as saying, "I have a very clear idea who he [the Ripper] was and how he committed suicide, but that, with other secrets, will never be revealed by me" and that "I shall certainly not write any reminiscences."

Although Days of My Years is sometimes said to have been published in 1913 apparently 1914 was the year the book appeared in London under the imprint of publishers Longmans, Green & Co. A New York Times review of the book published 15 November 1914 says the book "has just made its appearance in London."

Now, to write a book is a tremendous undertaking and it seems inconceivable that the autobiography was not already "in the works" when he made these statements rather than he had a sudden change of mind and whipped out the memoirs within a matter of weeks or months.

On the first page of Preface of Days of My Years Macnaghten begins by saying "The days of my years are not yet threescore and ten. . . ." meaning that he had not reached the age of 70 years. See below.

Sir Melville Leslie Macnaghten CB KPM was born 16 June 1853 in Woodford, London. So on 16 June 1913 he would have turned 60 years of age which implies that when he stated "I shall certainly not write any reminiscences" he had possibly already written the Preface.

What does this do to Macnaghten's credibility, Jonathan? But then I see you and I had this same conversation after SPE posted the Daily Mail article (see that 2010 thread).

Best regards

Chris

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Old April 16th, 2013, 08:01 PM   #4
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To Phil Carter

Oh it was a secret all right.

I think that 'remarkable' by Mac expresses his understanding and knowledge of Druitt as a cricketer.

There is no evidence in the extant record that all the pople you mention had ever heard of Montague Druitt.

There is no evidence that Mac's Report(s) were known by anybody at Scotland Yard, until 1966 -- and even only because one version had been partially published the year before.

Griffiths and Sims were influrenced by the 'Aberconway' version which was a draft or rewrite, and which had no official status. Yet they were told it was the definitive Home Office Report, residing in the files of that dept.

In that document, Druitt is disguised as a middle-aged doctor who seems to have vanished right after the Kelly murder and then killed himself three weeks after that. His family, whom it is implied lived with him, suspected he was the killer.

Griffiths changed 'family' into 'friends', whether he knew this or not (whether he actually saw the document or Mac just conveyed the information verbally in unclear). This further fictionalized the Ripper.

Sims believed that he knew the name of the murder (Dr. Druitt) and the name was passed onto a minor comic writer Frank Richardson (Dr. Bluitt) but the hidden identity of the young barrister still held; he would still have been unrecognizable to the graduates of the Valentine school and the respectable circles in which the surviving Druitts moved.

Having the name did not matter because those sources were not going to publish it -- and din't.

Abberline in 1903 makes comments about the drowned suspect which suggests he does not know about Druitt at all.

For Druitt was not the subject of a Home Office Report -- ever -- as a Ripper suspect, was not a medical student and was not suspected at the time his body was pulled from the river.

Secondary sources have theorized, correctly I think, that Abberline is confusing the drowned suspect with the third missing medical student (who was a medical student and was mentioned in a Home Office Report and was suspected in 1888).

Plus in 1903, Abberline is anxious to tell Melville Macnaghten, by then Assistant Commissioner (CID) about his Chapman theory -- blissfully unaware that the drowned doctor originates with Mac (so who is this 'we' in the 'we never believed in those stories').

Anderson has nothing, whatsoever, to say about Druitt or the Dronwed doctor (yet believed in a suspect who was dead, like Druitt, and was shielded by his own people, like Druitt was at least posthumously).

Jack Littlechild thinks Sims' Dr D might be a garbled reference to Dr T, a genuine suspect from 1888 otherwise he has never heard of him, and mistakenly thinks it must be a product of Anderson's considerable ego. Somebody has told Littlechild that it was 'believed' that Tumblety vanished and then probably killed himself. It was Druitt who arguably pretended to vanish overseas and had actually committed suicide.

Tom Divall claims that Mac told him that the Ripper fled to the States and died in an asylum, a fusion of Tumblety, Druitt and 'Kosminski'.

I think that Macnaghten apepared to be candid about Druitt but only with sources whom he knew would not publish the name, and even if they told people the name they would not find the true fiend.

Since he destroyed perhaps nothing at all, his comments were a signal to the surviving Druitts that nothing would be left behind to expose them. Their secret would expire with his career.

To Chris G

I am not sure what you are getting at?

That Mac is unreliable because he is clearly and consistently deceitful?

Well, fair enough.

You do realize that I am the one who first proposed the revisionist Mac-as-Brer Fox theory, who at least rescued him from being written off as Constable Magoo.

On the other hand, Mac may have been unsure what he as going to do with his memoirs. He may have been unsure how he could write about the Ripper without tipping off Sims that he had misled him for fifteen years.

With such a deceitful source you have to measure what he writes against other more trustworthy primary sources.

By that criteria Mac in his memoirs is quite candid and arguably reliable, remarkable so.

But then 'Laying the Ghost of Jack the Ripper' is the de-facto third version of his Report and the only one with his name on it in the public domain (at the time).

- He concedes that this suspect was unknown until 'some years after' which matches the dating and content of the 'West of England' MP articles of early 1891 (and which shows that belief in Druitt as the Ripper predated Mac; it originated from his home region)

- He concedes that the suspect had never been 'detained' in an asylum, which he had not.

- He does not claim that the suspect was a middle-paged doctor or had 'anatomical knowledge', and he wasn't and didn't.

- He concedes that the murderer did not incriminatingly kill himself within hours of the final murder. It was the next next day, or the next night, or might even have been been longer -- but he left Miller's Ct able to function and was noticeably 'absented' by 'his own people' whom, it is implied, supplied the 'certain facts' which led to a 'conclusion'.

- He implies that he was the hands-on sleuth who 'laid' to rest this 'ghost' which had haunted the Yard years after the real murderer had fatally imploded (by himself Mac claims he mixed with harlots in the East End, but could not reassure them that Jack was dead because he did not know this yet).

Chris, I wish you had quoted from the preface where Mac disagrees that he ever said he was too late for the Ripper (or said that he missed out on playing in the elite Eton cricket team against Harrow) and where he suggestively juxtaposes Jack with cricket, and his own 'inaccuracies'.
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Old April 16th, 2013, 08:06 PM   #5
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Hi Jonathan,

Both Mac and Anderson claimed the secret of the Ripper's identity came into their possession. Both men knew little of their own suspect. So what specifically made you decide to hitch your wagon to Mac instead of Anderson, or neither, for that matter?

Yours truly,

Tom Wescott
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Old April 16th, 2013, 09:29 PM   #6
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Hi Jonathan

I am sorry but you cannot have it both ways. That, as you also said back in 2010, Sir Melville Macnaghten was deceitful while you still maintain that he should be trusted about knowing the truth of the Whitechapel murders. Why on earth should we trust what he had to say?

No, Jonathan -- Macnaghten and Anderson were both playing exactly the same game -- spicing up their memoirs with the revelation that they knew who the Ripper was, although of course the revelations of who the Ripper had been -- a part-time English barrister and schoolmaster who committed suicide, and an insane poor Polish Jew shut away in an asylum -- were diametrically opposed and could not both be true. In addition to which there appears to be no evidence from 1888 to link either man to the crimes. So we are really in the realm of fantasy with both men. Sounds good on paper but where's the proof. There is none.

Macnaghten and Anderson. These two upright gentlemen who would never betray the traditions of their old department. Mmmm. Yes, sure. Two types of Scotland Yard hogwash denied by their former colleagues at the Yard.

All the best

Chris
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Old April 17th, 2013, 03:18 AM   #7
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To Chris G

You have missed the point of my previous post.

Macnaghten is deceitful so many times I lose count.

I am sure he also saw this deceit as justified in the service of the greater good, and because he felt somewhat trapped because had discovered the Ripper's identity but the man was deceased. The only people Montie could hurt now was his fearful family and the already dented rep of the Yard.

So Macnaghten took discreet, propagandist steps to have his cake and eat it too: he fictionalized Druitt to protect the family and the Yard's rep.

It worked a treat. Incredibly, it still does in 2013 ...?

The reason we can trust an unreliable source -- and by the way unreliable, self-serving sources are the bread and butter of historians and historical works except when it comes to fans of this subject where it is scandalous and denied or denounced when both positions are wrong -- is if we can measure it against other sources which we know to be reliable.

Macnaghten in 1914, for the first time, admits what we can see from the other sources: Druitt had to be an entirely posthumous suspect. It had nothing to do with the timing of his death (if it had been before Kelly she would not have been a Jack victim either).

He also conceded that the 'double bang' of murder/self-murder is not true either, eg. Sims' 'shrieking, raving fiend' who could not function for 'a single day'. Mac admits he killed himself later -- a day later, maybe a day and a night later, maybe longer.

The 'West of England' MP source was the greatest breakthrough in the case, perhaps ever. Because it was the missing bridge between the sympathetic articles about his death and his extraordinary and unlikely reappearance in Mac's sources.

It shows that belief in Druitt as the Ripper began with 'his own people' in Dorset.

You make Anderson loom large, but that is a secondary source theory. It does not match his impact in the primary sources on this subject which is minor.

And why should it?

Macnaghten arguably knew more about 'Kosminski' than Anderson (or Swanson) eg. that Aaron was not deceased, and that he was sectioned years after Mary Kelly's murder.

On one aspect. you are unfair to both Mac and Sir Bob.

The moment Dr Anderson believed -- sincerely and honestly I think -- he had identified the fiend (from what his No. 2 had misled him about Aaron Kosminski) he began sharing it with the public, from 1895, starting with Griffiths.

It was only in 1910 that the slam dunk witness was introduced.

We know now that Macnaghten did wait until 1913 and 1914 to share his opinion that the Ripper was not a Jew but a tormented Gentile. He had been doing this anonymously for nearly fifteen years.

In 1891, Druitt first surfaces as a suspect from Dorset. It is smothered after Feb 18th, 1891. When Mac relaunched this tale in 1898, also via Griffiths and then Sims, it was reshaped with an impenetrable fictional cocoon -- and with the Polish Jew as practically exonerated.
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Old April 17th, 2013, 03:48 AM   #8
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To Tom

At a distance a few years ago I just assumed that the Ripper was an unknown killer, eg. a David Cohen figure -- if not Cohen himself

I vaguely knew about Druitt, and also that the police had got his job wrong, and when he killed himself, so that was some kind of dog's breakfast.

Then I saw 'Secret History' UK about Tumblety and was amazed not only that this suspect had been missed in American newspapers sources but that he was so infamous, and flamboyant and a fascinating eccentric even if was completely innocent (not that you would know this from a recent, deadly dull biography, in my opinion).

Upon reading 'The Lodger', a terrific book, I discovered George Sims and his writings and realised that this must be the original, or rather the consolidation of the fiend as a real life Jekyll and Hyde'.

In fact, very liked ... Jekyll and Hyde.

Then I read a primary source and a secondary source which upended my understanding of the subject: Macnaghten's neglected memoirs and 'Autumn of Terror', now largely forgotten, by Cullen.

The first time I read 'Laying the Ghost of Jack the Ripper' was a jaw-dropper because it was so different from what secondary sources claimed about it and from the cliche of Macnaghten as a fumbler who inadvertently created the drowned doctor (neither doctor or drowned are mentioned).

From the sources by Mac, about him, and by his proxies, I discovered that the notion that the case was never solved began after these people had passed away. That it was a mystery which had baffled the police was a notion of the 1920's.

It was solved to Mac's satisfaction.

Whether he was right can never be known.

But to quote Rob House from a different context: what if he was right?

That's as close as we can get. Historical methodology argues that this upper class gent went against the biases of his class, his race and his religion -- and his bias towards not embarrassing the Yard -- to commit himself to this solution and all the subsequent machinations about Druitt.

According to most people here that is an impossibility.

Well, it is a helluva thing for a family to think that their late member is serial killer. Most families are still unbelievers even when their member has confessed -- and is even being strapped down for the needle.

As a primary source Mac arguably trumps Sir Bob because the former can be shown to know more accurate information about both Druitt and 'Kosminski', than the latter.

But, Tom, what do I know ...?
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Old April 17th, 2013, 05:54 PM   #9
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Hi Jonathan, thanks for that. My question was asked in sincerity and I appreciate the sincere response. You really truly should take all your essays and all your posts and boil it down into a monograph or a longer essay. I would prefer a print monograph, myself. Unless, that is, you feel you're not done researching. But then are we ever done?

Yours truly,

Tom Wescott
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Old May 22nd, 2013, 05:54 AM   #10
Jonathan Hainsworth
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Let me try one last time, but from a somewhat different angle.

Certain of the Old Guard are rusted onto the notion that Mac was an incompetent police administrator who did know much that was accurate about his trio of suspects.

He must have been incompetent -- by this line of reasoning -- to make so many 'errors' for file, especially the Cutbush and Cutbush howler, but let's leave that to one side.

People argue that Mac did not know Montie and had no direct connection to the drowned barrister. Hence mistaking him for a middle-aged physician.

But he did know Michael Ostrog.

We have his letter enquiring about him whilst he was in an asylum, and requesting to be kept informed about the Russian.

We know that on a day Mac was at Eton, on one of his frequent visits as on Old Boy, Ostrog stole valuables from the place -- the place Mac regarded as the locale of the happiest says of his entire life. He did it more than once.

So, he knew Ostrog's particulars -- right?

That he was a low-life thief and a con man. Ostrog pretended to be a doctor, but was not really a medical man. He was a confidence man.

But when Mac wrote about him in his Report(s) Macnaghten turned him into a doctor.

A real doctor.

Surely he must have known this was nonsense, nonsense which sexed-up the suspect as a madman with 'anatomical knowledge'.

If he is clearly being deceitful about Ostrog then why not, in those Report(s) (but not his memoirs) the same ruse about Druitt?

If the answer is no, as I expect it to be from the usual suspects, then that is quite a coincidence to conjure with.

It means that Macnaghten mistook two men, two [alleged] Ripper suspects, who were not doctors and yet filed them as doctors (in a Report, the official version of which was unknown and unread and unsent).

Actually in the official version for file he wrote of Druitt that he was 'said to be a doctor' which means he might not have been -- and he wasn't.

But Druitt was undoubtedly, he wrote, a sexual maniac.

.

.
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