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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Suspects > Druitt, Montague John

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  #71  
Old 04-10-2012, 02:24 PM
Bridewell Bridewell is offline
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Default Why Keep Going?

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Originally Posted by jason_c View Post
I agree. While its possible he was heading home its just as possible he was taking the quickest escape route away from the murder site.
Okay, That would make sense in terms of leaving via St James Passage, but he continued for a quarter of a mile in the same direction. If he was going to double back, it would mean he travelled half a mile, just to end up close to his starting point. He's heading for Spitalfields - we just don't know where!

Sorry, Jonathan. Just wanted to address that one point. I'm probably going to have to re-read your article before I contribute much more.

Regards, Bridewell.
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  #72  
Old 05-09-2012, 12:13 PM
Jonathan H Jonathan H is offline
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Default Is the digit, rather than than the month wrong?

Acton, Chiswick & Turnham Green Gazette
United Kingdom
Saturday, 5 January 1889
FOUND DROWNED.
Shortly after mid-day on Monday, a waterman named Winslade, of Chiswick, found the body of a man, well-dressed, floating in the Thames off Thorneycroft's. He at once informed a constable, and without delay the body was conveyed on the ambulance to the mortuary. On Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Diplock, coroner, held the inquest at the Lamb Tap, when the following evidence was adduced:- William H. Druitt said he lived at Bournemouth, and that he was a solicitor. The deceased was his brother, who was 31 last birthday. He was a barrister-at-law, and an assistant master in a school at Blackheath. He had stayed with witness at Bournemouth for a night towards the end of October. Witness heard from a friend on the 11th of December that deceased had not been heard of at his chambers for more than a week. Witness then went to London to make inquiries, and at Blackheath he found that deceased had got into serious trouble at the school, and had been dismissed. That was on the 30th of December. Witness had deceased's things searched where he resided, and found a paper addressed to him (produced). The Coroner read the letter, which was to this effect:-"Since Friday I felt I was going to be like mother, and the best thing was for me to die."

Witness, continuing, said deceased had never made any attempt on his life before. His mother became insane in July last. He had no other relative. Henry Winslade was the next witness. ... A verdict of suicide whilst in an unsound state of mind was returned.



Many secondary sources have fairly argued that the date of 'Dec 30th' makes no sense to sack Druitt, as it had just been learned that he had left a suicide note.

That the month must be wrong; that he was dismissed on November 30th a few days before he took his own life, and that perhaps the two events are linked (though no source makes such a link, not even the only one to mention it).

But this flawed, ambiguous source could also be interpreted as referring to the day that William arrived and learned that his brother was sacked and that he had left a suicide note.

But Dec 30th would still make no sense; that it would take him that long to move on from investigating Montie's legal city office to the Blackheath school, at which his brother resided.

Therefore I theorise that the month is correct but that the date is wrong, and by only one digit: 13 not 30.

That William Druitt learned from some 'friend' who went all the way out to Bournemouth to tell him that his brother was missing. He came to London the next day and began searching, and on the following day -- the 13th of December -- he arrived at the school.

William discovered that the 'serious trouble' was the same as why the cricket club had dismissed Montie: he was AWOL. Perhaps even the same story was doing the rounds, eg. fled abroad. Yet,paradoxically, his belongings remained at the school?

Druitt was sacked whilst missing, in fact because he as missing, and that is why it was not the usual face-saving resignation.

All other 1889 accounts of the inquest into Druitt's untimely death were more circumspect: eliminating this excruciating detail about the Valentine School sacking a corpse, and replacing it with the more positive claim about the headmaster also receiving a final note -- albeit one that only 'alluded' to suicide.
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  #73  
Old 05-09-2012, 12:49 PM
ChrisGeorge ChrisGeorge is offline
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Hi Jonathan

I think that is a reasonable conjecture that William Druitt actually said "13th December" not "30th December." We know that at the inquests it was common for the newspapers to mishear what a witness said and so make a mistake in reporting the testimony.

Best regards

Chris
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  #74  
Old 05-09-2012, 04:05 PM
Robert Robert is offline
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Hi Jonathan

That seems possible, but I would guess that if he was sacked for going AWOL, he must either have had a row with Valentine just before, or maybe gone AWOL on at least one occasion previously. If a regular, respectable employee suddenly goes missing, surely one's first thought isn't to sack him, but to be anxious about his safety, maybe contact next of kin. Yet Valentine did not contact William - a friend did. That makes me suspect that Valentine wasn't worried about Druitt's safety, either because he'd done this kind of thing before, or because Druitt had stormed off in a non-suicidal frame of mind.
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  #75  
Old 05-09-2012, 11:40 PM
Jonathan H Jonathan H is offline
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To Chris George

Thanks.

To Robert

Yes, I think that is a fair point.

I would, nevetheless, counter with the following:

1. All the other sources, and subsequent ones give the dismissal no weight either because it was considered irrelevant, or because oit happned whilst he was deceased and therefore irrelevant -- and embarrassing.

2. He was not allowed a face-saving resignation. He may have refused. Or, he was not there to resign?

3. The cricket club doing exactly the same thing to a respebtable gent and competent bowler, and member of their admin.

From Matthew Fletcher's excellent dissertation on Druitt:

' ... However, on 21 December, after MJD had vanished, but before he had surfaced at Chiswick, the meeting's minutes record: 'The Honorary Secretary and Treasurer, Mr M J Druitt, having gone abroad, it was resolved that he be and he is hereby removed from the post of Honorary Secretary and Treasurer' ...'

What made them think Druitt had gone abroad?

If I am right about the date being Dec 13th, then William Druitt and George Valentine knew they were dealing with a young man in extremis, quite likely deceased.

Therefore, who told the cricketers that Druitt was irresponsibly AWOL, and unable to fulfill his duties when he was prbably dead somewhere and by his own hand?

Was it Montie himself? Did he leave such a misleading note, and then weight down his body so that it would never be found?

Or, was it a frantic William Druitt, hoping that his brother was only contemplating suicide but had not carried it out; that he was instead resting in some bolt-hole and would surface alive.

Therefore William stalled with the cricketers until he knew the worst (or did he already know somthing even more appalling? Did the unidentified friend who alerted the brotherm on the 11th, also inform him that Montie believed himself to be the Ripper?)

The overall point is that being AWOL got him sacked from both the club and the school, and until the note, or notes, were found among his belongings -- argubaly on the Dec 13th -- Valentine was under the same misapprehension, and perhaps for the same reason.

eg. That Druitt had inexplicably taken off abroad, while the headmaster needed to assign teaching duties for the coming semester and had to fire him to make up the schedule.

Once he realised Valentine made the shcoking discovery that he was dealing with a potential suicide -- and then a real one -- all other 1889 sources discreetly dismissed the dismissal of a dead man as a pointless and redundant detail.

Montague John Druitt being unemployed from the lesser of his two vocations for a few days (or no days if he was already dead) becomes melodramatically exaggerated -- and thus veiled by Mac -- in Sims.

From 1906:

'Some of us must have passed [Jack] in the street, sat with him perhaps at a cafe or a restaurant. He was a man of birth and education, and had sufficient means to keep himself without work. For a whole year at least he was a free man, exercising all the privileges of freedom. And yet he was a homicidal maniac of the most diabolical kind.'
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  #76  
Old 05-10-2012, 10:50 AM
Bridewell Bridewell is offline
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Hi Jonathan,

The suggestion that MJD was sacked for going AWOL is not one I have considered before, and is certainly not without merit. One concern I would have is the presence of the two cheques on the London & Provincial Bank (for 50 & 16). That's the equivalent of something like 7,000 at today's values. The reports, frustratingly, don't say who the cheques were made out to or against whose account(s) they were drawn. It's been speculated that these represented severance pay from the school, bu perhaps they weren't. If they were severance pay, are you arguing that they were sent to MJD by post?
Just as an aside, I'm puzzled that cheques in the pocket of a drowned man, who had been in the river for some time, hadn't dissolved & were still legible. Why did he have them with him if he was intent on suicide - it's not as though there would have been any point in paying them in, is it? I guess, though, if he was suicidal, he wouldn't have been thinking rationally anyway.

Regards, Bridewell.
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  #77  
Old 05-10-2012, 11:08 AM
Bridewell Bridewell is offline
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Quote:
' ... However, on 21 December, after MJD had vanished, but before he had surfaced at Chiswick, the meeting's minutes record: 'The Honorary Secretary and Treasurer, Mr M J Druitt, having gone abroad, it was resolved that he be and he is hereby removed from the post of Honorary Secretary and Treasurer' ...'
The word 'abroad' is currently used to mean 'overseas' or in another country. I'm not sure exactly when its use changed, but it was once used to mean 'at large' or 'astray' in the sense of being absent from those places where one might usually be found; in MJD's case this would presumably mean the school, his chambers his home address. It's therefore perfectly feasible, if MJD was the Ripper, that he could have been 'abroad' in Whitechapel, i.e. missing from his usual haunts.

Regards, Bridewell.
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  #78  
Old 05-10-2012, 01:06 PM
Jonathan H Jonathan H is offline
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I don't think they would put an ambiguous euphemism in the official minutes.

Rather, the cricketers honestly thought that Druitt was abroad.

Putting all the [incomplete] bits and pieces together, I think that Druitt confessed to a priest on a Friday and from that moment -- 'Since Friday ...'-- he knew he was headed, like mother, into the asylum system.

To avoid that fate, he had these big cheques, put it about that he was fleeing abroad, 'alluded' to suicide in a note for his brother, bought a season rail pass he would not need, and went to a location with which he was not associated, Chiswick, and drowned himself using rocks in his pockets.

Either the un-named 'friend' was the priest, eg. possibly Lonsdale, or just a concerned pal, and thus it was another figure who told William that his brother had confessed to being 'Jack' -- possibly his own cousin, the Rev. Charles.

A shocked William hightails it to London and, on the 13th, at the school, finds the note. He also learns that for supposedly being abroad, for being AWOL, his brother has been sacked. Yet the two gents kept the terrible possibility that they were looking for a tormented figure, possibly a deceased figure, to themselves. Consequently the cricket club sacked him too.

Then his body floated to the surface on the 31st ...

This is how Sims veils it in his Edwardian writings, definitive for his wide audience because he had such such clubby contacts with police administrators from the same ruling elite (though Sims was a Liberal-Radical and Macnaghten an affable Tory):

Feb 16th, 1902

'The homicidal maniac who

Shocked the World as Jack the Ripper

had been once - I am not sure that it was not twice - in a lunatic asylum. At the time his dead body was found in the Thames, his friends, who were terrified at his disappearance from their midst, were endeavouring to have him found and placed under restraint again.'


April 5th, 1903

'A little more than a month later the body of the man suspected by the chiefs at the Yard, and by his own friends, who were in communication with the Yard, was found in the Thames. The body had been in the water about a month.'

Sept 22nd, 1907

'The doctor had been an inmate of a lunatic asylum for some time, and had been liberated and regained his complete freedom.

After the maniacal murder in Miller's-court the doctor disappeared from the place in which he had been living, and his disappearance caused inquiries to be made concerning him by his friends who had, there is reason to believe, their own suspicions about him, and these inquiries were made through the proper authorities.

A month after the last murder the body of the doctor was found in the Thames. There was everything about it to suggest that it had been in the river for nearly a month.'
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  #79  
Old 05-10-2012, 03:23 PM
Robert Robert is offline
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Hi Jonathan

Unless I'm misunderstanding you, you make Monty's suicide seem like a very cold, planned affair. The trouble is, Monty didn't make a will. A barrister might have been expected to make a will if he was as clinical in his last days as Monty is supposed to have been.

I think the friend who alerted William was probably a fellow lawyer. He said that Monty hadn't been seen at his chambers. This seems to indicate a legal contact.
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  #80  
Old 05-10-2012, 09:16 PM
Jonathan H Jonathan H is offline
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To Robert

So cold was Montie that his later fictional counterpart, the drowned doctor, had to be more acceptably tormented and out-of-control, committing suicide immediately!

John Henry Lonsdale was a fellow lawyer and a clergyman.

In the fictional version, the friends suspect because the doctor had said he wanted to kill harlots, and was diagnosed as insane -- but high functioning.

Behind that I believe is Montie telling somebody that he was Jack, and that person told the brother after he vanished.

Imagine the stress William must have been under from the 11th to the 31st of Dec?
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