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c.d.
05-18-2014, 08:51 AM
I have always felt that Kosminski's incarceration and the apparent ability of the police to keep it secret flies in the face of human nature. It is hard to believe that the police simply put him in an asylum, shook hands all around and then went off for a few pints. You would expect a steady stream of Scotland Yard detectives in and out of Colney Hatch to question him as well as simply wanting to see "Jack the Ripper." Would they have informed the asylum administrators of who they had in their possession? Would the asylum guards eventually have caught on and started spreading rumors? Would someone in the know ever have had a few pints too many and spilled the beans?

It just seems to be that the bigger the secret the harder it is to keep.

What do you think?

c.d.

lynn cates
05-18-2014, 09:19 AM
Hello CD. Good idea for a thread.

In broad outline, I agree; however, HM government did a fair job of keeping the truth about Frank Millen and the Jubilee dynamite plot under wraps--until about the 21 st C.

Cheers.
LC

Barnaby
05-18-2014, 10:29 PM
I agree, CD. I know little about the politics of the day but on the surface this would seem very odd. When the police and government have been taking a beating for failing to catch the killer, why cover up the fact that they actually caught him? Maybe if the killer was Prince Eddy, maybe if it exposed a grave police/state error (e.g., James Kelly and his escape from Broadmoor), but not for a local Polish Jew, and not to "spare the family" for Druitt.

Regarding Kosminski, the only scenario for keeping it secret that I can envision is if the police had reasonable suspicion but were not quite certain that he was the killer. They wouldn't want to come out with a "We caught Jack the Ripper!" and then have another Ripper victim turn up shortly thereafter. But after a number of years with no classic Ripper style murders occurring, one would think that they would make this announcement and take the credit for their work.

The Good Michael
05-18-2014, 10:58 PM
Regarding Kosminski, the only scenario for keeping it secret that I can envision is if the police had reasonable suspicion but were not quite certain that he was the killer. They wouldn't want to come out with a "We caught Jack the Ripper!" and then have another Ripper victim turn up shortly thereafter. But after a number of years with no classic Ripper style murders occurring, one would think that they would make this announcement and take the credit for their work.

What if they weren't 100% sure... even after several years, but some felt they got the right guy? Remember that there were other, similar murders after the canonicals. If they had been watching him, but then others died, they still may have been pretty sure, but without absolute proof. Still, he was a loony and he fit what they were looking for and perhaps even the family was frightened of him and associating with him. So, keep him caged, but without absolute proof, they couldn't really talk about it.

Mike

Barnaby
05-18-2014, 11:14 PM
We debate the murders after Kelly because they lacked certain features common to most of the canonicals. After a few years without a prototypical JTR murder, why not make the announcement? Worst case scenario (which did not occur), the police could claim a copy cat.

The Good Michael
05-19-2014, 04:30 AM
When you make an announcement like that, someone gets credit and not just the department. If there was disagreement on who the killer was (and we know there was), there wouldn't be an announcement that would be satisfactory.

Cheers,

Mike

Wickerman
05-19-2014, 07:28 AM
The irony appears to be that the police were not sure who the killer was, and interest appeared to fade, and likewise, this killer had made fools of and had outwitted the (arguably) best police force in the world, then also lost interest in his infamy.
Both the police & the killer returned to their normal roles in life.

Is that what we are supposed to believe?

Abby Normal
05-19-2014, 07:43 AM
I agree, CD. I know little about the politics of the day but on the surface this would seem very odd. When the police and government have been taking a beating for failing to catch the killer, why cover up the fact that they actually caught him? Maybe if the killer was Prince Eddy, maybe if it exposed a grave police/state error (e.g., James Kelly and his escape from Broadmoor), but not for a local Polish Jew, and not to "spare the family" for Druitt.

Regarding Kosminski, the only scenario for keeping it secret that I can envision is if the police had reasonable suspicion but were not quite certain that he was the killer. They wouldn't want to come out with a "We caught Jack the Ripper!" and then have another Ripper victim turn up shortly thereafter. But after a number of years with no classic Ripper style murders occurring, one would think that they would make this announcement and take the credit for their work.

totally agree. especially after Andersons proclamations. you would think the flood gates would have opened. instead we have other police officials with diferent suspects and theories.

Scott Nelson
05-19-2014, 07:57 AM
The identification of the Kosminski suspect, if it did take place as described, was such a mundane affair, it attracted little attention from either police force. Someone from either Scotland Yard or the City Police may have decided to have it done on a whim. The Yard then sent the suspect along with a few City Police to a secure place for the proceeding. It fails and the suspect is returned without mention in any City Police report that survived (sans the recollections of Robert Sagar). It made such a inconsequential impact on Major Henry Smith, he never bothers to mention it. In 1892 or 1893, a few officials at the Yard sit down and draw up their shortlist of preferred suspects.

Errata
05-19-2014, 08:36 AM
I imagine the secret would be easy to keep if the police only made the determination that he was Jack the Ripper after a period of time. There is no causal relationship between the end of the murders and Kosminski's commitment. Ten years down the road, no other murders have happened, looking back on all the suspects and all the possibilities, one man fits everything some officials assumed about the murderer. Kosminski. But there is no evidence, there isn't even concord. While some men may be privately certain that they know who Jack was, they can't prove it, and there are some problems. Like what happens when the press asks why didn't they arrest him, or what happens when some enterprising reporter points out that the murders stopped almost three years before his commitment. Or what happens when family members come forward with possible proof that he couldn't be the killer. So they can drop smug hints in their biographies, but they can never announce what they cannot prove.

In other words, they didn't throw him in an asylum and shake hands. They look back on it years later and decided that they had got their man.

Which I imagine would be easy enough to determine. When cops get their man, they stop looking for him. Did the cops stop looking for Jack in June-ish of 1891?

pinkmoon
05-19-2014, 11:42 AM
Next to Druitt kosminski is my favourite suspect however if the police had anything at all on him we would know I personnel think because he lived in the area at the time of the murders and picked up a knife to a family member two years later he fell into the category of ANY suspect is a good suspect when you've got NO suspect. sir Melville picked Druitt over kos I'm sure he would have known if their was anything at all against our poor Jewish suspect.

The Good Michael
05-20-2014, 12:29 AM
back to the question: Yes.

If some of the police knew for a fact Kosminski was the murderer but hadn't enough definitive proof to satisfy all officials, why not just leave him in a place he'll never get out of? You can't shout to the world you have your man if others are going to disagree and fight over your statement. Who knows, enough support against your case, regardless of its veracity, and a killer gets let out.

Mike

Sally
05-20-2014, 12:42 AM
If some of the police knew for a fact Kosminski was the murderer but hadn't enough definitive proof to satisfy all officials, why not just leave him in a place he'll never get out of?

I think you're spot on there Mike.

Also - I'm not sure how this would've worked back then - but would it even have been viable to take an officially insane man to trial for murder?

The Good Michael
05-20-2014, 01:00 AM
I think you're spot on there Mike.

Also - I'm not sure how this would've worked back then - but would it even have been viable to take an officially insane man to trial for murder?

The insanity thing let James Kelly off the hook who was another viable Ripper suspect (after the fact). I believe the Trial of Lunatics law was from 1883 and allowed a person to be guilty, but if found insane, incarcerated the rest of his/her life. James Kelly seems to have just made it into the safety of that law with the help of a letter from his mother-in-law. Still, he did go to trial. So, yes, I think Kosminski would have gone to trial had he been arrested as the murderer with full support of the police officials. But, as there was disagreement by so many people, maybe the best that could be hoped for was an agreement with family to keep the guy in the nuthouse forever. Indeed, it does seem the family fully supported keeping him locked up, so nothing could have been easier.

Of course this is all a 'what if' scenario as posed by the OP's question?

Cheers,

Mike

Sally
05-20-2014, 01:20 AM
The insanity thing let James Kelly off the hook who was another viable Ripper suspect (after the fact). I believe the Trial of Lunatics law was from 1883 and allowed a person to be guilty, but if found insane, incarcerated the rest of his/her life. James Kelly seems to have just made it into the safety of that law with the help of a letter from his mother-in-law. Still, he did go to trial. So, yes, I think Kosminski would have gone to trial had he been arrested as the murderer with full support of the police officials. But, as there was disagreement by so many people, maybe the best that could be hoped for was an agreement with family to keep the guy in the nuthouse forever. Indeed, it does seem the family fully supported keeping him locked up, so nothing could have been easier.

Of course this is all a 'what if' scenario as posed by the OP's question?

Cheers,

Mike

Thanks Mike - interesting to learn about Trial of Lunatics law. So

So even if Kosminksi gone to trial he wouldn't have been executed. I can see how that would've gone down with the public - the press would've had a field day.

I suppose also, Kosminksi was in poor physical health and didn't really eat, so the expectation by family and police officials may have been that he wouldn't live for long anyway - which proved to be the case.

GUT
05-20-2014, 01:28 AM
G'day Michael and Sally

But Kelly was not originally found insane, he was convicted and sentenced to death, it was only later that his sentence was commuted. I believe that his Mother in Law was one of the petitioners for clemency.

Clearly Koz was in a different class and would never face a Court if he was Jack.

The Good Michael
05-20-2014, 02:55 AM
G'day Michael and Sally

But Kelly was not originally found insane, he was convicted and sentenced to death, it was only later that his sentence was commuted. I believe that his Mother in Law was one of the petitioners for clemency.

Clearly Koz was in a different class and would never face a Court if he was Jack.

Gut, yet it appears part of the reason his sentence was commuted, as I said, was because of 1883 act combined with the petition for clemency. The fact is, Kosminski could have been tried, and if found insane, sentenced to life.

Mike

lynn cates
05-20-2014, 03:07 AM
Hello Sally.

"the expectation by family and police officials may have been that he wouldn't live for long anyway - which proved to be the case."

Did he not live on for many years?

Cheers.
LC

Lechmere
05-20-2014, 03:17 AM
I think Erratas suggestion of events is most likely to be near to the truth

Incidentally lunatics did get better and were often released back into the community. That could have happened to Kosminski. So he wasn’t put in a place he couldn’t get out of.
And of course Kosminski did live on for quite a long time in the asylum (for you Sally).

GUT
05-20-2014, 03:20 AM
G'day Mike

Gut, yet it appears part of the reason his sentence was commuted, as I said, was because of 1883 act combined with the petition for clemency. The fact is, Kosminski could have been tried, and if found insane, sentenced to life.

Mike

I thought that the only sentence if found insane was to be held at Her [or His] Majesty's pleasure.

Which in most cases amounted to life anyway and the Monarch seems not to have thought about them again.

Sally
05-20-2014, 03:30 AM
I think Erratas suggestion of events is most likely to be near to the truth

Incidentally lunatics did get better and were often released back into the community. That could have happened to Kosminski. So he wasn’t put in a place he couldn’t get out of.
And of course Kosminski did live on for quite a long time in the asylum (for you Sally).

Ay Ay Ed! How's the book coming along? ;)

Time is relative - is 20 years a long time? I'd forgotten that he lived for so long, actually - think I was mixing his longevity up with somebody else's there.

I'm interested in your contention that lunatics were often released back into the community - have you examples of this happening?

I only ask because I've been looking at somebody committed to Colney Hatch who was there for the remainder of his life - over 20 years [which come to think of it probably seemed like a long old time to him]. It's difficult to say from his case notes why he was retained for so long - he doesn't seem to have been that crazy as far as I can see and was no danger to the public.

Examples gratefully received.

GUT
05-20-2014, 03:34 AM
G'day Sally

I'm interested in your contention that lunatics were often released back into the community - have you examples of this happening?

I only ask because I've been looking at somebody committed to Colney Hatch who was there for the remainder of his life - over 20 years [which come to think of it probably seemed like a long old time to him]. It's difficult to say from his case notes why he was retained for so long - he doesn't seem to have been that crazy as far as I can see and was no danger to the public.

I'm pretty sure it depends how they got there. IE James Kelly would have been sent to Broadmoar [wasn't it] to await Her Majesty's pleasure as he was a convicted criminal. Someone merely sent to an asylum because of being mentally unstable would have the chance of release.

In fact I seem to recall that Aaron himself had been in and out before his final commitment.

Abby Normal
05-20-2014, 04:33 AM
It's not up to the police to decide whether someone is insane. It's up to the courts. If the police thought they had a viable ripper suspect they would have arrested, charged and gone to trial and let the courts decide. Just like today.

I've never bought the notion that the police would not have followed through because they thought ah what the heck, he's crazy, can't do a thing about it, screw it. Nonsense.

People get out of asylums, released, escape etc. they would have done everything in there power to put him away. And take credit. And least of all lose track of him.

Koz was just another suspect that went nowhere, that a naturally boastful man, tried to take claim for many years later.

GUT
05-20-2014, 04:38 AM
G'day Abby


It's not up to the police to decide whether someone is insane. It's up to the courts. If the police thought they had a viable ripper suspect they would have arrested, charged and gone to trial and let the courts decide. Just like today.

I've never bought the notion that the police would not have followed through because they thought ah what the heck, he's crazy, can't do a thing about it, screw it. Nonsense.


One word

Exactly!

Sally
05-20-2014, 04:43 AM
It's not up to the police to decide whether someone is insane. It's up to the courts.

Presumably once he was committed, it would've been up to medical staff to decide on whether he was sane or not.

Presumably a person found insane who was also a convicted criminal at the time would have been released into police custody if they were later deemed sane?

Abby Normal
05-20-2014, 04:47 AM
Presumably once he was committed, it would've been up to medical staff to decide on whether he was sane or not.

Presumably a person found insane who was also a convicted criminal at the time would have been released into police custody if they were later deemed sane?

Hi Sally
Thanks! I Beleive at the time of the ID he had not been sent to the asylum yet, he was still at the workhouse or had been released from the workhouse.

GUT
05-20-2014, 05:00 AM
G'day Sally

Presumably once he was committed, it would've been up to medical staff to decide on whether he was sane or not.

Presumably a person found insane who was also a convicted criminal at the time would have been released into police custody if they were later deemed sane?

If a person is found not guilty by reason of insanity, and later found to be sane, they were still held at Her Majesty's pleasure, which in effect meant they were only released when the Home Office [I think it is the Home Office but may be wrong] says so, usually that was never. If they were found to be recovered and released they could not be tried again.

On the other hand if they were in an asylum and thus not tried it may be possible to try them later, however if they were insane [insanity being a legal term not a medical one] at the time of the offense they could not be convicted no matter what their later condition.

The legal test for insanity being that they not be able to tell the illegal nature of their actions.

Abby Normal
05-20-2014, 05:18 AM
G'day Sally



If a person is found not guilty by reason of insanity, and later found to be sane, they were still held at Her Majesty's pleasure, which in effect meant they were only released when the Home Office [I think it is the Home Office but may be wrong] says so, usually that was never. If they were found to be recovered and released they could not be tried again.

On the other hand if they were in an asylum and thus not tried it may be possible to try them later, however if they were insane [insanity being a legal term not a medical one] at the time of the offense they could not be convicted no matter what their later condition.

The legal test for insanity being that they not be able to tell the illegal nature of their actions.

Hi gut
Thanks.
As I mentioned before, he had not been committed to the asylum yet at the time of the ID so they could have charged him if they really thought they had their man.

And besides, he was being investigated for the murder of eddowes which was in 1888, several years before he was even sent to the workhouse so the police prosector could argue he was not yet insane at the time of the murder, let alone at the time of the ID.

The police did not move forward because they had nothing on him, but a failed ID attempt , not because he was crazy.

Mr Lucky
05-20-2014, 09:06 AM
Hi GUT

The legal test for insanity being that they not be able to tell the illegal nature of their actions.

I know what you're getting at, but ignorance of the law is no defence! It's really more to do with 'moral understanding' rather than any overt legal understanding. Strangely, before some one tried to assassinate George III and parliament changed the law and introduce the notion of detained at his Majesty's pleasure, an insanity verdict was equivalent to an acquittal, as it amounted to a failure to establish 'mens rea' or guilty intent.

Later on in the 1840's the M'naghten rules were formed;-

"at the time of the committing of the act, the party accused was labouring under such a defect of reason, from a disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing; or, if he did know it, that he did not know he was doing what was wrong." R v. M'Naghten, 1843

GUT
05-20-2014, 02:51 PM
G'day Mr Lucky

It's really more to do with 'moral understanding' rather than any overt legal understanding.

Sorry if my original post was unclear but yes it is the inability to morally understand the illegality of your actions.

I was involved in a case where the killer dd some horrendous things and a plea of insanity was looking good till we found that she had taken steps to hide certain things and that was enough to show that she knew what she had done was illegal.

Lechmere
05-20-2014, 04:38 PM
Sally
When I checked Flemmings asylum records I was struck by how many other patients were released back into the community. I didn't keep notes however.

Abby
I don't think its really very clear when the supposed ID of Kosminski took place - i.e. before or after his admittance to the asylum. And there is absolutely no evidence to suggest he was under any sort of investigation at the time of the Double Event or at all during the period the actual murders were committed.

Sally
05-21-2014, 03:37 AM
Sally
When I checked Flemmings asylum records I was struck by how many other patients were released back into the community. I didn't keep notes however.

Ta Ed - that's interesting to know. I shall bear that in mind. In the case of this person, I wonder if it might have been in his interests to stay where he was. :scratchchin:

But I digress.

Thanks for getting back to me.

Mr Lucky
05-21-2014, 05:49 AM
Hi GUT

I was involved in a case where the killer dd some horrendous things and a plea of insanity was looking good till we found that she had taken steps to hide certain things and that was enough to show that she knew what she had done was illegal.

Oops, I didn't know you were a lawyer!, I wasn't trying to 'teach you to suck eggs'.

Just out of interest, what's your opinion of the likelihood of success in presenting a defence case, partially based around insanity, for any of the C5 murders ?

robhouse
05-21-2014, 11:57 AM
The police did not move forward because they had nothing on him, but a failed ID attempt , not because he was crazy.

There is no way to know what evidence the police had against Kozminski, but I think it is fair to say that the reason the police chose to not pursue a case against him had nothing to do with his insanity. According to what Anderson said, it was a case of "moral proof versus legal proof." In other words, Anderson was personally convinced, for some reason, that Kozminski was guilty, but knew that he did not have sufficient legal proof to bring him to trial. This is often glossed over or completely ignored by people who claim that the police were simply boasting about a suspect that they had no proof against whatsoever. As I have pointed out numerous times (apparently to deaf ears)... the same exact thing happened in the case of Gary Ridgeway. It was a situation of moral proof... the police strongly suspected Ridgeway was the killer, but lacked the evidence to prove it in court. Hence, Ridgeway remained free until the DNA evidence proved he was the Green River killer. If the police had started blabbing to the press that Ridgeway was the killer, they would have had a lawsuit on their hands, among other problems, like security issues for instance.

RH

Lechmere
05-21-2014, 02:03 PM
Rob
I wasn't 'the police' that were boasting, it was Anderson. A policeman.
It can be fairly said that Ridgway was the lead suspect in the eyes of 'the police'.
Anderson could have blabbed about Kosminski as he thought he was dead and so couldn't sue.

GUT
05-21-2014, 05:19 PM
G'day Mr Lucky

Teach away old son.

I doubt you would get away with an insanity defence, TODAY, for the same reason it failed in the case I mentioned, he did too much to escape detection to not have known that what he did was wrong, and that is the very guts of the M'Naughton rules.

In 1888 I think that there would be a good chance of a jury accepting that anyone who did what he did was N.U.T.S.

Abby Normal
05-22-2014, 07:48 AM
There is no way to know what evidence the police had against Kozminski, but I think it is fair to say that the reason the police chose to not pursue a case against him had nothing to do with his insanity. According to what Anderson said, it was a case of "moral proof versus legal proof." In other words, Anderson was personally convinced, for some reason, that Kozminski was guilty, but knew that he did not have sufficient legal proof to bring him to trial. This is often glossed over or completely ignored by people who claim that the police were simply boasting about a suspect that they had no proof against whatsoever. As I have pointed out numerous times (apparently to deaf ears)... the same exact thing happened in the case of Gary Ridgeway. It was a situation of moral proof... the police strongly suspected Ridgeway was the killer, but lacked the evidence to prove it in court. Hence, Ridgeway remained free until the DNA evidence proved he was the Green River killer. If the police had started blabbing to the press that Ridgeway was the killer, they would have had a lawsuit on their hands, among other problems, like security issues for instance.

RH

Hi Rob
Thanks for the response! Im glad that you agree with me that it wasn't because of the insanity issue that was the reason the police did not move forward. Its good to see an expert finally come out and admit that!

However, when you say "There is no way to know what evidence the police had against Kozminski, " I disagree. Anderson himself(and swanson) tells us what they had-an initial positive ID (that changed) that led to his "moral proof".

And by the way-what the heck is moral proof anyway? sounds like something out of the middle ages. either that or I would equate Andersons moral proof to, as one of his contemporary police officials put it-"Anderson only thinks he knows". there is a good reason courts don't take "moral proof"-its nonsense.

Errata
05-22-2014, 10:12 AM
Hi Rob
Thanks for the response! Im glad that you agree with me that it wasn't because of the insanity issue that was the reason the police did not move forward. Its good to see an expert finally come out and admit that!

However, when you say "There is no way to know what evidence the police had against Kozminski, " I disagree. Anderson himself(and swanson) tells us what they had-an initial positive ID (that changed) that led to his "moral proof".

And by the way-what the heck is moral proof anyway? sounds like something out of the middle ages. either that or I would equate Andersons moral proof to, as one of his contemporary police officials put it-"Anderson only thinks he knows". there is a good reason courts don't take "moral proof"-its nonsense.

Proof is walking in on your kids taking swings at each other. Moral proof is when your two kids sit there silently each with a black eye.

I think the problem with the ID is that we don't what he was ID'ed for. Was he identified as being in the area? As being the killer? As being a guy covered in blood running from the scene? As a guy who really scared the crap out of the identifier? We know the identifier's answer was yes. We don't know what the question was.

Abby Normal
05-22-2014, 11:06 AM
Proof is walking in on your kids taking swings at each other. Moral proof is when your two kids sit there silently each with a black eye.

I think the problem with the ID is that we don't what he was ID'ed for. Was he identified as being in the area? As being the killer? As being a guy covered in blood running from the scene? As a guy who really scared the crap out of the identifier? We know the identifier's answer was yes. We don't know what the question was.

Moral proof is when your two kids sit there silently each with a black eye.

in which case it could be anything other than the fact that your assuming they did it to each other. like the neighborhood bully did it. they got in an accident etc.

Moral proof. give me a break. its the same as saying Its what I think, or better yet Moral proof =no proof. if you have proof you have proof.

GUT
05-22-2014, 03:21 PM
Personally I have no doubt that the police would have charged him, if they had evidence, being mentally ill is a long way from being legally insane,.

Mr Lucky
05-22-2014, 04:46 PM
I doubt you would get away with an insanity defence, TODAY, for the same reason it failed in the case I mentioned, he did too much to escape detection to not have known that what he did was wrong, and that is the very guts of the M'Naughton rules.

In 1888 I think that there would be a good chance of a jury accepting that anyone who did what he did was N.U.T.S.

Hi GUT,

The killers behaviour is something that may be difficult to rationalise, but I would suggest that there is evidence of him avoiding culpability.

are you familiar with the Isaac Marks case? another Whitechapel murder, from 1876, clearly of unsound mind but found guilty and sentenced to death.

GUT
05-22-2014, 04:50 PM
G'day MrLucky

No I am not familiar with Isaac Marks, so I'll have a look.

However as said before a difference between "unsound mind" and legally insane. It is very hard to accept that anyone who tries to avoid detection meets McNaughten.

I personally have no doubt that many people who were legally insane have been executed because the Jury decided that the world was a better place without them.

Mr Lucky
05-22-2014, 04:51 PM
And by the way-what the heck is moral proof anyway? sounds like something out of the middle ages.

Hi Abby

Actually, I think it's an idea from the enlightenment, moral proof is some sort of philosophical argument about the existence of God, perhaps ask Prof. Cates

Abby Normal
05-22-2014, 04:53 PM
Hi Abby

Actually, I think it's an idea from the enlightenment, moral proof is some sort of philosophical argument about the existence of God, perhaps ask Prof. Cates

Or Robert anderson

Mr Lucky
05-22-2014, 05:01 PM
Or Robert anderson

Hi Abby

Perhaps it's all just part of a philosophical argument about the existence of Kozminski

robhouse
05-22-2014, 06:12 PM
I should have used the term Moral certainty: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_certainty

RH

Abby Normal
05-23-2014, 04:12 AM
Hi Abby

Perhaps it's all just part of a philosophical argument about the existence of Kozminski

Haha.
Good one.