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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Suspects > Barnett, Joseph

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Old 08-29-2013, 01:36 AM
Dickens Dickens is offline
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Default Barnett's candidacy - a few issues

Bear with me, this is just my 2d worth. Correct as required...

Having again recently finished Bruce Paley's book fingering Joseph Barnett as Jack the Ripper, there seems to be a number of issues that stick in the throat, (aside from the occasions where Barnett's alleged actions are troublingly novelised.)
Throughout the series, canonical or not, the escalation is evident; the scene at Miller's Court is often contemporarily described as frenzied, ferocious, savage or such like. I don't suppose many would argue that this wasn't the work of a disturbed individual, but the implication of dramatic adjectives is to give it a rapidity, an impulsivity and a lack of control that seems quite out of keeping with the actual events, (something the Telegraph at the time hinted at.)

The Kelly murder appears to have many elementally psychopathic hallmarks – the murderer seems to have enjoyed his time both literally and figuratively; yet the process does not appear punitive in that the victim's death, (and therefore her suffering), was rapid and effective - a preliminary step and not, apparently, one to be necessarily savoured. Whoever spent that night at 13 Millers Court was careful, considered and deliberate to the extent of being almost playful. A generous fire was tended to secure suitable light; organs were not strewn around in abandon, they were placed; Kelly was less ripped than degloved, and then in an almost inquisitive manner.

The few surviving images undoubtedly provoke horror and distaste, but there appears to be a lack of these in the perpetrator as he rummages around inside her - his hands slick with blood and bile, urine and faeces. The almost total lack of empathy and clinical detachment involved exonerates Joseph Barnett in my estimation if, as Paley suggests, he killed Kelly in a fit of spurned pique. This was committed by a person with a cold and considered interest in exploring and destroying the female body, although it's worth noting that he takes care to place her left arm back in a restful manner across her abdomen rather than leave it hanging down as it must have ended up, (but then why leave legs akimbo?) Surely this is no impulsive act, rather the culmination of atypical desires; you can almost hear the Ripper's delusional grace, “Thank you for allowing me to do this to you...”

One thing of note that I can't help but notice is the apparent concentration upon the internal pelvic, abdominal and thoracic spaces, and the attending lack of amputation attempts on any of the victims. The lacerations to the throat were described on more than one occasion as being down to the cervical vertebrae, but this was evidently not a decapitation attempt and simply the result of wanting to extinguish life as swiftly and silently as possible. The 'denuded' thighs again were no attempt at dismemberment and look likely to have been stripped due to their being contiguous with the external genitalia. Kelly's arms were lacerated but again with no real fervour as seen on the thorax. And in regard to removing the organs, this would be no difficult feat given the amount of time available and doesn't per se infer anatomical ability; not that Barnett's filleting skills would give him a head start on anatomising a human aside from being adept with a sharp blade. Ultimately I'm not yet sure what to make of the lack of amputation efforts, (which is surely the most complete and theatrical method of destroying a person), or equally what the interest in the internal spaces signifies, if indeed anything specific.

Repeated suggestions that the facial mutilation was an attempt by her ex-lover to dehumanise Kelly is perhaps something to be considered, but one can assume that if Barnett did indeed go to Miller's Ct without murderous intent, then his actions were subsequently impulsive, in which case a swift and ferocious attack would have been entirely the order of the day, followed you might expect by a degree of remorse and culpability. And yet again if dehumanising is the goal, then why not desecrate entirely and dismember or decapitate or in other ways destroy the cranium?

If we accept that Barnett was indeed Jack the Ripper and that he harboured the delusional thinking and fractured personality necessary to commit the crimes, then it is difficult to accept that his escalation and progression as a serial murderer would involve someone he knew and, (however superficially), cared for. The risks are inordinately increased and I can't help but think there would be a conflict of interest which would affect his evident enjoyment of the situation. Alternatively if we consider Paley's assumption that Barnett was merely acting under an altruistic desire to protect Kelly, then his actions in committing the previous four or so murders were misguided affectations and not the expressions of a genuinely disintegrating personality. If that were the case, then why commit such atrocities upon Kelly, (if we assume that this was Kelly - another matter entirely.)

Aside from considerations of motive and intent, another troubling aspect is the reports allegedly of Kelly crying, “Murder” in the early hours. If we are to give credence to this as being the actual time that Kelly, settling into the far side of her bed awaiting her companion, realises his intent; then there are a few hurdles to the imagination to be overcome.
Many have mentioned that in the heat of the moment, a victim is unlikely to recant, “Oh, murder”, in favour of some strangled noise or at best, “Help”. It's difficult not to agree in essence, but given that such a cry was a relatively common occurrence, as noted by numerous witnesses, is it possible that it may have become ingrained enough to the contemporary denizens of 1880's Whitechapel to actually be used? Hard to say, but seemingly unlikely.
If we do accept that this was Kelly's reaction to Barnett coming at her with his knife of choice, (it does seem possible she had time to cry out given the assumed superficial defensive lacerations to her hand mentioned in the PM), then might we expect her choice of words to have been different? We assume she would have been comfortable with him in the room, so at the onset of attack her appeals should be aimed at Barnett himself rather than the hopeless and directionless, “Murder”. “Joe! No..” perhaps or something along those lines seems more befitting if you put yourself in that position, but again this is pure conjecture from a century and a quarter away. The 'cry' element is obviously tenuous at best; heavy rain may have precluded any audible evidence and recollections were fogged by booze if not by calendrical mishaps, such as Kelly's apparent resurrection some hours after her murder to chat in the street. It is equally possible, if not entirely likely, she was already asleep, another reason for her not to have the coherence and presence of mind to make a specific cry of murder.

There are other details within the book and regarding the whole Kelly scene that rankle, and that have led many to discount Barnett from their own lists. It seems we move depressingly ever closer, (or maybe we are already there), to the conclusion that whoever he was, he won't be found on the suspects page of Casebook. Paraphrasing many a Ripperologist's final published thoughts - it's perhaps enough that we have our own firm ideas on what he was like, how he thought and why he did what he did, rather than the more prosaic and essentially unhelpful who he was... (yes, and who am I codding?)
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  #2  
Old 08-29-2013, 02:06 AM
Damaso Marte Damaso Marte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dickens View Post
(yes, and who am I codding?)
Given recent trends in overfishing, you are more likely than not HADDOCKING instead of codding.

In any event, I wish there was more pushback here at Casebook when people say things like "facial mutilations mean the killer knew the victim" or "facial mutilations mean that the killer wanted to obliterate the victim's identity". People state these assertions as facts and largely go unchallenged.

It could just be that the killer wanted to mutilate.
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  #3  
Old 08-29-2013, 02:41 AM
Wickerman Wickerman is offline
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Joe Barnett, as the significant other, is the prime suspect in the eyes of the police.
Scotland Yard & particularly Abberline were very familiar with crimes within the family, Uxoricide, Mariticide, etc.
Barnett had an alibi, and the police had plenty of choice of who to question from the lodgers and staff at the New-street lodging-house where he spent the night.

Barnett - "...I went to the court, and there saw the police inspector, and told him who I was, and where I had been the previous night. They kept me about four hours, examined my clothes for bloodstains, and finally, finding the account of myself to be correct, let me go free."

If the police had cause to doubt him, that they really could not establish his whereabouts that night, they would not have let him go.
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Last edited by Wickerman : 08-29-2013 at 02:47 AM.
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  #4  
Old 08-29-2013, 04:07 AM
Digalittledeeperwatson Digalittledeeperwatson is offline
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Default Hullo Dickens!!! Welcome.

Yeah, I don't for a second by the Barnett was the ripper or the he went crazy then made it look like a ripper killing thing at all. I do however respect them as possibilities. They are just really really really small possibities. Not everyone just possesses the capability to do what was done to 'MJK'. It can be cultivated but whoever did it was just as sick and twisted as the murderer, if they were different, of the other victims. How many sickos were there with said capacity in such a small area actively perpetrating something in a similar vain? Let's just say it is highly unlikely especially with a lack of data such as we have. Okay, done. Getting a little awnry on it. Apologies. Facial mutilations, bah!
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  #5  
Old 08-29-2013, 02:26 PM
Abby Normal Abby Normal is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dickens View Post
Bear with me, this is just my 2d worth. Correct as required...

Having again recently finished Bruce Paley's book fingering Joseph Barnett as Jack the Ripper, there seems to be a number of issues that stick in the throat, (aside from the occasions where Barnett's alleged actions are troublingly novelised.)
Throughout the series, canonical or not, the escalation is evident; the scene at Miller's Court is often contemporarily described as frenzied, ferocious, savage or such like. I don't suppose many would argue that this wasn't the work of a disturbed individual, but the implication of dramatic adjectives is to give it a rapidity, an impulsivity and a lack of control that seems quite out of keeping with the actual events, (something the Telegraph at the time hinted at.)

The Kelly murder appears to have many elementally psychopathic hallmarks – the murderer seems to have enjoyed his time both literally and figuratively; yet the process does not appear punitive in that the victim's death, (and therefore her suffering), was rapid and effective - a preliminary step and not, apparently, one to be necessarily savoured. Whoever spent that night at 13 Millers Court was careful, considered and deliberate to the extent of being almost playful. A generous fire was tended to secure suitable light; organs were not strewn around in abandon, they were placed; Kelly was less ripped than degloved, and then in an almost inquisitive manner.

The few surviving images undoubtedly provoke horror and distaste, but there appears to be a lack of these in the perpetrator as he rummages around inside her - his hands slick with blood and bile, urine and faeces. The almost total lack of empathy and clinical detachment involved exonerates Joseph Barnett in my estimation if, as Paley suggests, he killed Kelly in a fit of spurned pique. This was committed by a person with a cold and considered interest in exploring and destroying the female body, although it's worth noting that he takes care to place her left arm back in a restful manner across her abdomen rather than leave it hanging down as it must have ended up, (but then why leave legs akimbo?) Surely this is no impulsive act, rather the culmination of atypical desires; you can almost hear the Ripper's delusional grace, “Thank you for allowing me to do this to you...”

One thing of note that I can't help but notice is the apparent concentration upon the internal pelvic, abdominal and thoracic spaces, and the attending lack of amputation attempts on any of the victims. The lacerations to the throat were described on more than one occasion as being down to the cervical vertebrae, but this was evidently not a decapitation attempt and simply the result of wanting to extinguish life as swiftly and silently as possible. The 'denuded' thighs again were no attempt at dismemberment and look likely to have been stripped due to their being contiguous with the external genitalia. Kelly's arms were lacerated but again with no real fervour as seen on the thorax. And in regard to removing the organs, this would be no difficult feat given the amount of time available and doesn't per se infer anatomical ability; not that Barnett's filleting skills would give him a head start on anatomising a human aside from being adept with a sharp blade. Ultimately I'm not yet sure what to make of the lack of amputation efforts, (which is surely the most complete and theatrical method of destroying a person), or equally what the interest in the internal spaces signifies, if indeed anything specific.

Repeated suggestions that the facial mutilation was an attempt by her ex-lover to dehumanise Kelly is perhaps something to be considered, but one can assume that if Barnett did indeed go to Miller's Ct without murderous intent, then his actions were subsequently impulsive, in which case a swift and ferocious attack would have been entirely the order of the day, followed you might expect by a degree of remorse and culpability. And yet again if dehumanising is the goal, then why not desecrate entirely and dismember or decapitate or in other ways destroy the cranium?

If we accept that Barnett was indeed Jack the Ripper and that he harboured the delusional thinking and fractured personality necessary to commit the crimes, then it is difficult to accept that his escalation and progression as a serial murderer would involve someone he knew and, (however superficially), cared for. The risks are inordinately increased and I can't help but think there would be a conflict of interest which would affect his evident enjoyment of the situation. Alternatively if we consider Paley's assumption that Barnett was merely acting under an altruistic desire to protect Kelly, then his actions in committing the previous four or so murders were misguided affectations and not the expressions of a genuinely disintegrating personality. If that were the case, then why commit such atrocities upon Kelly, (if we assume that this was Kelly - another matter entirely.)

Aside from considerations of motive and intent, another troubling aspect is the reports allegedly of Kelly crying, “Murder” in the early hours. If we are to give credence to this as being the actual time that Kelly, settling into the far side of her bed awaiting her companion, realises his intent; then there are a few hurdles to the imagination to be overcome.
Many have mentioned that in the heat of the moment, a victim is unlikely to recant, “Oh, murder”, in favour of some strangled noise or at best, “Help”. It's difficult not to agree in essence, but given that such a cry was a relatively common occurrence, as noted by numerous witnesses, is it possible that it may have become ingrained enough to the contemporary denizens of 1880's Whitechapel to actually be used? Hard to say, but seemingly unlikely.
If we do accept that this was Kelly's reaction to Barnett coming at her with his knife of choice, (it does seem possible she had time to cry out given the assumed superficial defensive lacerations to her hand mentioned in the PM), then might we expect her choice of words to have been different? We assume she would have been comfortable with him in the room, so at the onset of attack her appeals should be aimed at Barnett himself rather than the hopeless and directionless, “Murder”. “Joe! No..” perhaps or something along those lines seems more befitting if you put yourself in that position, but again this is pure conjecture from a century and a quarter away. The 'cry' element is obviously tenuous at best; heavy rain may have precluded any audible evidence and recollections were fogged by booze if not by calendrical mishaps, such as Kelly's apparent resurrection some hours after her murder to chat in the street. It is equally possible, if not entirely likely, she was already asleep, another reason for her not to have the coherence and presence of mind to make a specific cry of murder.

There are other details within the book and regarding the whole Kelly scene that rankle, and that have led many to discount Barnett from their own lists. It seems we move depressingly ever closer, (or maybe we are already there), to the conclusion that whoever he was, he won't be found on the suspects page of Casebook. Paraphrasing many a Ripperologist's final published thoughts - it's perhaps enough that we have our own firm ideas on what he was like, how he thought and why he did what he did, rather than the more prosaic and essentially unhelpful who he was... (yes, and who am I codding?)
Coddling?
Did you write this post on porpoise or just for the halibut? LOL.

But seriously, good post.
IMHO pros and cons for Barnett being MKs killer and JtR. And yes whoever killed MK was undoubtedly the ripper.

Pros:
All signs point to whoever killed her probably knew her, and she him.
As the victims recent ex, de facto he is a suspect until cleared.
He just had a meeting with her that night and may realized that it was really over.
If she was killed in the daytime morning (which I doubt but it is a possibility) then Barnett as far as we know, does not have an alibi.
He seemed to be agitated and nervous at the inquest.
Her heart was missing. As a very recent ex lover I am sure all can see the significance of this.

Cons:
He was questioned and cleared by police.
He has an alibi for most probable TOD.
He apparently was a nice guy and caring boyfriend.
His subsequent behavior after her murder, ie. going to the court and presenting himself to the police, are not usually typical of a guilty person.



Now to some of your points. Re the mutilations. I agree this is not typical reaction and wounds and crime scene of a spurned lover. As you say it seems more careful,curious, experimenting, playful-he was enjoying it. I don't see anger, jeoulosy or rage.

That being said, Barnett as the ripper, knowing it was over, may now have viewed MK as just another women like the others that could be an easy victim because of the familiarity. And Then again there is the missing heart.


On the other hand, as history has shown us, I do not Beleive any postmortem mutilator serial killer (or any other type of serial killer for that matter ) has ever made a victim out of and indulged their sick fantasies on wife or girlfriend. To me this is very significant.

Weighing all the pros and cons, I view Barnett as a possible suspect, but very weak. A weak suspect out of weak lot.
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Old 08-29-2013, 03:22 PM
Phil H Phil H is offline
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Ah - a love-in by those who never question.
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Old 08-29-2013, 08:34 PM
Digalittledeeperwatson Digalittledeeperwatson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil H View Post
Ah - a love-in by those who never question.
Why is it that Barnett should be so heavily suspected? Why is he more likely than you know, a 'JTR'? Facial mutilations? Or rather, which assumptions do you take to get to Barnett? This isn't a snied remark by the by. Want to know why you are so adamant about this.
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:23 PM
Phil H Phil H is offline
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I think there is a question here about the ways in which different people think - the way our minds work. I'm not trying to say one way is better than another - just different.

For me, questioning whether Barnett was the killer of Mary, does not MAKE him so, it does not rule out other killers, it simply (for me) opens up options and a different way of looking at the evidence we have.

The same with Stride - "Jack" may have killed her, but I find it more illuminating these days to surmise that he did not.

Maybe that way of thinking doesn't work for others.

But for me, I don't need to have just a single track, a single suspect or a single theory - I hold several in thought - and try them without coming to a firm conclusion - which I don't think it possible anyway at present.

Nor do I, personally, suggest that Barnett was "Jack" - only that he 9or someone like him - what i refer to as "an intimate" might have done so.

Years ago I was told that it can reveal subtle new ideas about a country or an area or a war (say Syria at the monent) to turn the map upside down
and look at things from a different angle. Things leap out at you, new relationships - topographic, or geographic - emerge.

Artists sometimes hold a sketch up to a mirror - seeing in reverse can show up mistakes or things that need to be revised.

Perceiving things from a different angle can be refreshing - in that we can become too used to seeing things from a single angle.

So that is why I question.

Forgive my intrusion.

Phil
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Old 08-30-2013, 05:20 AM
Digalittledeeperwatson Digalittledeeperwatson is offline
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Default Hullo Phil H.

Different thinking. Different angles. Etc. You must be aware that others do this also. However, Barnett doesn't do much. How many times must one look at him and receive the same conclusion, that he is very unremarkable and unlikely as a suspect, before it is okay to state it as such? Now the notion of an intimate in general is very interesting indeed. But until something else is thrown into the mix regarding Barnett the data will still suggest the same thing. Regardless of how progressive the thinking is. There is merit to the exercise for sure, but for the exercise's sake until something new comes along. And I should say it is not what you propose that is rejected but your approach. No need for apologies regarding interuption. I am not closed minded to possibilites. But give a little more than a love-in comment. Never question, that's a good one too.
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Last edited by Digalittledeeperwatson : 08-30-2013 at 05:34 AM. Reason: Reasons for editing are silly. Because it needed editing!!!
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Old 08-30-2013, 06:38 AM
Phil H Phil H is offline
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You read but you don't get it, do you, Digalittledeeperwatson?

Different thinking. Different angles. Etc. You must be aware that others do this also.

In the first line of my post I wrote: "I think there is a question here about the ways in which different people think - the way our minds work. I'm not trying to say one way is better than another - just different." That is surely a tacit (maybe not explicit enough for you) acceptance of that very point.

However, Barnett doesn't do much. How many times must one look at him and receive the same conclusion,

Maybe that has to do with the depth of your perceptions, not mine? The way you question, not the way I do?

that he is very unremarkable and unlikely as a suspect, before it is okay to state it as such?

That is the point you miss most widely - it is not about putting Barnett back on the shaelf as unexceptional - it is about using him as a lens to examine the rest of the evidence. Perhaps too philosophical for you.

Now the notion of an intimate in general is very interesting indeed. But until something else is thrown into the mix regarding Barnett the data will still suggest the same thing.

Did I not write: "questioning whether Barnett was the killer of Mary, does not MAKE him so, it does not rule out other killers,"

I am playing an intellectual game - get that?

And I should say it is not what you propose that is rejected but your approach.

Given much of the standard of analysis on Casebook these days that's a compliment, not a criticism!! Why should anyone - you or others "reject" my approach - that 's just arrogance. It is absolutely clear from what you wrote that you don't understand my "approach" - not remotely.

Neither do I require your affirmation of my methodology (if I can call it that).

No need for apologies regarding interuption.

It's called good manners.

I am not closed minded to possibilites.

That is not what comes across from you posts and this in particular - you appear wedded to orthodoxy and a narrow perception of possibilities. What is you view of the books by AP Wolf or Peter Turnbull - not their conclusions but the thread running through them?

But give a little more than a love-in comment. Never question, that's a good one too.

As the smilies indicate, I was having some fun. Do you not have a sense of humour?

Phil
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