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Old September 12th, 2015, 09:19 AM   #1
Emanuele Cianto
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Default Another Look at Lawende's Description?

Joseph Lawende, as we all know, was the man who saw Catherine Eddowes and her killer in Church Passage, at 01:35 a.m. on the morning of 30 September, 1888. This night is known as that of the Double Event.

The first true description of the man seen by Lawende is quoted here:

[The description of the man seen by "two men coming out of a club" is given in a report by Donald Swanson, dated 19 October 1888, as "age 30 ht. 5 ft. 7 or 8 in. comp. fair fair moustache, medium built, dress pepper & salt colour loose jacket, grey cloth cap with peak of same colour, reddish handkerchief tied in a knot, round neck, appearance of a sailor." Essentially the same description was eventually published in the Police Gazette on 19 October 1888.] - Casebook: Jack the Ripper - Joseph Lawende

But there is another version of this description:

[Another version of the man's description is given in an undated Home Office document written in or after July 1889: "Age 30 to 35. Height 5ft. 7in., with brown hair and big moustache, dressed respectably. Wore a pea jacket, muffler and a cloth cap with a peak of the same material."
[...]
[Yet another version of the description was published in 1892: "A man of thirty-five, standing 5ft 7in to 5ft 8in, rather square shoulders, clean shaven with the exception of a heavy moustache, inclining to be sandy." The description of the moustache, which disagrees with other versions, may have been added in an attempt to strengthen the case against Frederick Deeming, who was the subject of intense speculation at the time. Unaccountably, it was claimed in the press that this description had hitherto been kept secret.] - Casebook: Jack the Ripper - Joseph Lawende

We all see the last description of the moustache disagrees with the other in Swanson's report dated 19 October 1888. If it was really added in an attempt to strengthen the case against Frederick Deeming, how is it possible the same description of a man with big moustche was given in or around July 1889, when Deeming was not yet a Ripper suspect?

It is possible the description had previously been kept secret.
This is a comment regarding the first description, that of 19 October 1888:

[But otherwise the description does not seem to have been circulated widely immediately after the murder. The article in the Evening News on 9 October criticised what it called the "idiotic secrecy" of the police, which had caused a delay in making public the partial descriptions provided by the witnesses. (The following month, an article in the Daily Telegraph criticised the fact that the description had been circulated among the police but withheld from the public.] - Casebook: Jack the Ripper - Joseph Lawende

Even at the inquest, into the Catherine Eddowes' murder, things seem to suggest the description of the man seen by Lawende was kept secret from the press:

[He said in court that he had "a cloth cap on with a cloth peak" (and according to one report that he "looked rather rough and shabby"), but Henry Crawford, the City Solicitor, requested that no further description of the man should be given.] - Casebook: jack the Ripper - Joseph Lawende

So we know the police was probably searching to keep the description a secret.
And it is possible (although I am not saying this was the case) the July 1889 description had been kept secret by Scotland Yard, and then released in 1892 when the Ripper Murders had stopped.

But if so, (again I am not stating this was the very case) the description of the man seen by Lawende would fit with the description of one particular Ripper suspect: Francis James Tumblety.

We have a man:
of about 35 years of age, (Tumblety was around 55 but we know he looked younger than his years - and remember age is the most difficult quality to determine, especially when during the night) 5 feet 7/8 inches tall, (Tumblety was around 5 feet 11 inches tall, which for Europeans is 10 cm of difference - like age, height is not so simple to determine) well dressed, square shouldered, (a sign of a well built man, like Tumblety doubtless was) clean shaven with the exeption of a big moustache (the following is the description of Tumblety's moustache given by Isaac White, the reporter who interviewed him in 1889, in America - from Casebook: Jack the Ripper - Tumblety Talks by R.J. Palmer: "His long black mustache has been trimmed close and reaches down in the shape of a thick growth of beard around his chin, which he keeps smooth shaven").

So, the description given by Lawende of the man he sew with Catherine Eddowes at 01:35 a.m. on the night of 30 September 1888, about nine minutes before her mutilated body was found in Mitre Square by PC Edward Watkins seems to fit (although not incredibly) with Francis Tumblety.
Remember it was very dark at the time of the sight, and Lawende and his friends left their Club because of the rain.
Dark and rain (and possibly fog) are not optimal conditions for anyone to look at some fellow in the street and then remember him hours later when questioned by police officers.

And this is supported by Lawende's statement that he would surely fail in recognize the man he saw had he seen him again.

Again, I am not saying this was the case, guys, but to my eyes it is not very impossible. If so, all the main reasons cited to exclude Francis Tumblety from our suspect list are definitely broken off.

What do you think?

Yours respectfully,
Emanuele Cianṭ
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Old September 12th, 2015, 09:32 AM   #2
Howard Brown
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Welcome Em !
Emanuele is an Italian teen whose English language skills are remarkable. Lets keep that in mind when responding. He had been asking me questions on Facebook Forums and I asked him to register here.
Thanks.
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Old September 12th, 2015, 09:37 AM   #3
Emanuele Cianto
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Thank you How!

I was so much minded in my question I forgot to present myself!
Hi everyone! I am happy to be here!
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Old September 12th, 2015, 10:07 AM   #4
Robert Linford
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Hi Emaunele, and welcome.

I have Tumblety on my list of possibles, and I certainly don't think he's been ruled out. However, one problem with the Lawende sighting is Levy. He estimated the woman's height at 5 ft. I don't know if we have any other evidence of Eddowes's height, but the thing is, even if Levy was wrong about her height he nevertheless said that the man was about three inches taller than the woman. It's probably easier to estimate height differences than absolute heights. If the man was indeed about three inches taller than the woman, then if the man was Tumblety, it would make Eddowes a bit on the tall side.
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Old September 12th, 2015, 11:42 AM   #5
Emanuele Cianto
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Hi Robert,

Yes I know what Levy stated I forgot to put it in my post.

Yes indeed it is the most significant discrepancy in the theory.
However, this is from Casebook: Jack the Ripper - Joseph Hyam Levy:

[Levy gave evidence at Eddowes's inquest on 11 October. According to his testimony, he said to Harris, referring to the man and woman, "Look there, I don't like going home by myself when I see those characters about," but HE TOOK NO NOTICE OF THEM and was UNABLE TO GIVE A DESCRIPTION. However, he did estimate that the man was about three inches taller than the woman. According to Lawende's evidence, "Mr. Levy said the court ought to be watched".] - my emphasys.

I wonder how sure he was.
He did not take any notice of their clothes, or their hats, their ages... he only remembered their heights.
However, as I previously said, I am not saying this was the case (I personally tend to see Tumblety working in couple) but that it COULD.

Now my question is: if police was searching to keep the man's appearence secret, is it possible what Levy stated was not true? Is it possible the reason why the Evening News of 9 October 1888 reported this:
"Mr. Joseph Levy is absolutely obstinate and refuses to give us the slightest information. He leaves one to infer that he knows something, but that he is afraid to be called on the inquest. Hence he assumes a knowing air." [Casebook]
is because police officers wanted Levy to give not the man's right height?
If so, we would have the man's height and moustache very interesting... and aren't they the most significant qualities Francis Tumblety had?

However it's just a question - I know it is not probable. What about you Robert?
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Old September 12th, 2015, 12:03 PM   #6
Robert Linford
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Hi Emanuele

Yes it's possible that Levy was holding back information, at the request of the police. But I don't think that the police would have wanted him to actually perjure himself, so why didn't they just intervene, as they did with Lawende, and say that they didn't want Levy to give a description? So I feel the 3 inches height difference was indeed Levy's genuine view. Likewise his estimate of the woman's height.

Re how much Levy observed, in his actual inquest evidence (at least in the version on Casebook) Levy says that he did not take any notice of them - which may be true - and that he could not give any further description - which would have been true if the police had already asked him not to. But he does say that the woman was about 5 ft tall and the man about 3 inches taller. I don't think the police would have wanted him to lie when they could simply have intervened.
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Old September 12th, 2015, 12:12 PM   #7
Emanuele Cianto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Linford View Post
Hi Emanuele

Yes it's possible that Levy was holding back information, at the request of the police. But I don't think that the police would have wanted him to actually perjure himself, so why didn't they just intervene, as they did with Lawende, and say that they didn't want Levy to give a description? So I feel the 3 inches height difference was indeed Levy's genuine view. Likewise his estimate of the woman's height.

Re how much Levy observed, in his actual inquest evidence (at least in the version on Casebook) Levy says that he did not take any notice of them - which may be true - and that he could not give any further description - which would have been true if the police had already asked him not to. But he does say that the woman was about 5 ft tall and the man about 3 inches taller. I don't think the police would have wanted him to lie when they could simply have intervened.

Hi Rob
Again I agree with you.
But is it possible in your view they wanted the man's height and moustache to be wrongly stated (even if Lawende didn't state this at the inquest, my first post points to the theory the description of the moustache was wrong - maybe voluntarly), in an attempt to not alert the killer, who's height and moustache were remarkable?
Thanks!

Yours respectfully,
Emanuele
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Old September 12th, 2015, 12:15 PM   #8
Emanuele Cianto
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However I would like to believe Levy's description was wrong... he not only reported the man's height, but also he reported the woman's! Couldn't Eddowes have been 5 feet 4 and her killer 5 feet 11? This would be significant... However, it's still a problem for Tumblety being Lawende's man...
My article is being written right now.
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Old September 12th, 2015, 12:39 PM   #9
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Hi Emanuele

But I can't see why the police would lie to one another in their internal communications.
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Old September 12th, 2015, 12:46 PM   #10
Emanuele Cianto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Linford View Post
Hi Emanuele

But I can't see why the police would lie to one another in their internal communications.
Hi Rob,

I don't know.
I think pro-Tumbletys would believe Levy's statement was wrong and he did not take enough notice of the couple to remember their heights hours later, and against-Tumbletys would believe he was right.

We just don't know.

Sincererly yours,
Emanuele
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