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Old 04-03-2016, 11:24 AM
David Orsam David Orsam is offline
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Default Morris Lewis Revisited

I re-discovered some interesting new information yesterday while looking again at the report of the Kelly murder in the London Evening Post of 9 November 1888. It was in their "Special Edition" which was probably printed or sold at about 7pm. (I transcribed and posted the entire report in a thread "Kelly murder in the Evening Post" in the Victims/MJK section on 15.02.15 - http://forum.casebook.org/showthread.php?t=8685).

At the end of its report about the Kelly murder, which included the Press Association story about Morris Lewis having seen "the woman leave the house and return with some milk", the following paragraph appears:

"The most extraordinary rumours are about as to the hour when the woman was last seen alive. One man has informed our representative that he was in the court at eight o’clock this morning when he saw Kelly go out for the purpose of fetching some milk. Two women aver that they saw her in a public-house, drinking with a man. This was between ten and half-past, but the persons residing in the public house state that they have no recollection of her, and the point is rendered the more difficult through Kelly not being generally known."

So here we have independent confirmation from an Evening Post reporter (not the Press Association rep) that he has personally spoken to a man - presumably Lewis - who said that he saw Kelly go out for some milk at 8am. Then he has also spoken to, or been told about, "Two women" who saw Kelly drinking in a public house with a man between 10 and 10.30 am.

We can then see that the reporter has spoken to people living in (presumably) the Britannia who told him they had no recollection of Kelly but he makes the point that identification was difficult because Kelly was not generally known. This might, perhaps, be the source of the information in Paul Begg's 2004 book cited by John G in the other thread in which the denial was said to have been in rather stronger terms.

Going back then to my previous post on the subject, why did the third press association report of 9 November, which included the Lewis sighting, not refer to the name of the victim? If Lewis had seen Kelly and told the reporter this, why was that information not included in the report?

Funnily enough, before seeing the Evening Post report yesterday, it had already occurred to me that there was no way that the Press Association would name the victim as Mary Jane Kelly on the basis of what its reporter had been told by a passing tailor. If they had got it wrong, and MJK was still very much alive, it would have been hugely embarrassing for that agency. So, even if Lewis had said, "Yes, I've been told it's Mary Jane Kelly who was murdered and I saw her going for milk at 8am", the P.A. reporter would probably not have included the name in his report out of an abundance of caution until he received official confirmation of the victim's name.

This would explain a couple of things. Firstly it would explain how the P.A. report was able to include the information in his third report that the victim was a 21 year old woman of genteel appearance who had recently separated from a man she was living.

It would also explain how Lewis was able to tell the LWN reporter that, at about 11am on Friday morning, he "heard that Kelly had been found in her room murdered." Initially I thought this might be him doing some historical revisionism and that he had initially only heard about the murder, finding out later that it was Kelly. But, in the period before the police arrived, no doubt the word did spread among local residents - from either McCarthy or Bowyer - that it was Kelly who had been found dead.

What are the consequences of all this?

Firstly, it makes it very odd that Lewis did not, apparently, mention his 8am sighting, for which he must have been reasonably famous, when he spoke to the LWN reporter. Even odder - and certainly suspicious - is that he did not mention the 10am sighting when he spoke to the Evening Post representative. For that reason, it does appear that he had adopted someone else's story when he spoke to the LWN reporter.

However, I'm not sure it changes very much. We now have confirmation that "two women" claimed to have seen Kelly drinking in a public house with a man at around 10am. Surely these women were the source for the story in the P.A. report and in the Globe about that. Neither of them can be Mrs Maxwell who never claimed to have seen Kelly drinking with anyone.

It should be noted, however, that Lewis is our only source that Kelly had been seen drinking in the Britannia as opposed to any other local public house.

With the women being unidentified it might explain why the police never found them. If they were prostitutes they might not have wanted to come forward or reveal their names to the press. Perhaps this is why Lewis told their story for them (???).
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Old 04-03-2016, 01:38 PM
John G John G is offline
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Originally Posted by David Orsam View Post
I re-discovered some interesting new information yesterday while looking again at the report of the Kelly murder in the London Evening Post of 9 November 1888. It was in their "Special Edition" which was probably printed or sold at about 7pm. (I transcribed and posted the entire report in a thread "Kelly murder in the Evening Post" in the Victims/MJK section on 15.02.15 - http://forum.casebook.org/showthread.php?t=8685).

At the end of its report about the Kelly murder, which included the Press Association story about Morris Lewis having seen "the woman leave the house and return with some milk", the following paragraph appears:

"The most extraordinary rumours are about as to the hour when the woman was last seen alive. One man has informed our representative that he was in the court at eight o’clock this morning when he saw Kelly go out for the purpose of fetching some milk. Two women aver that they saw her in a public-house, drinking with a man. This was between ten and half-past, but the persons residing in the public house state that they have no recollection of her, and the point is rendered the more difficult through Kelly not being generally known."

So here we have independent confirmation from an Evening Post reporter (not the Press Association rep) that he has personally spoken to a man - presumably Lewis - who said that he saw Kelly go out for some milk at 8am. Then he has also spoken to, or been told about, "Two women" who saw Kelly drinking in a public house with a man between 10 and 10.30 am.

We can then see that the reporter has spoken to people living in (presumably) the Britannia who told him they had no recollection of Kelly but he makes the point that identification was difficult because Kelly was not generally known. This might, perhaps, be the source of the information in Paul Begg's 2004 book cited by John G in the other thread in which the denial was said to have been in rather stronger terms.

Going back then to my previous post on the subject, why did the third press association report of 9 November, which included the Lewis sighting, not refer to the name of the victim? If Lewis had seen Kelly and told the reporter this, why was that information not included in the report?

Funnily enough, before seeing the Evening Post report yesterday, it had already occurred to me that there was no way that the Press Association would name the victim as Mary Jane Kelly on the basis of what its reporter had been told by a passing tailor. If they had got it wrong, and MJK was still very much alive, it would have been hugely embarrassing for that agency. So, even if Lewis had said, "Yes, I've been told it's Mary Jane Kelly who was murdered and I saw her going for milk at 8am", the P.A. reporter would probably not have included the name in his report out of an abundance of caution until he received official confirmation of the victim's name.

This would explain a couple of things. Firstly it would explain how the P.A. report was able to include the information in his third report that the victim was a 21 year old woman of genteel appearance who had recently separated from a man she was living.

It would also explain how Lewis was able to tell the LWN reporter that, at about 11am on Friday morning, he "heard that Kelly had been found in her room murdered." Initially I thought this might be him doing some historical revisionism and that he had initially only heard about the murder, finding out later that it was Kelly. But, in the period before the police arrived, no doubt the word did spread among local residents - from either McCarthy or Bowyer - that it was Kelly who had been found dead.

What are the consequences of all this?

Firstly, it makes it very odd that Lewis did not, apparently, mention his 8am sighting, for which he must have been reasonably famous, when he spoke to the LWN reporter. Even odder - and certainly suspicious - is that he did not mention the 10am sighting when he spoke to the Evening Post representative. For that reason, it does appear that he had adopted someone else's story when he spoke to the LWN reporter.

However, I'm not sure it changes very much. We now have confirmation that "two women" claimed to have seen Kelly drinking in a public house with a man at around 10am. Surely these women were the source for the story in the P.A. report and in the Globe about that. Neither of them can be Mrs Maxwell who never claimed to have seen Kelly drinking with anyone.

It should be noted, however, that Lewis is our only source that Kelly had been seen drinking in the Britannia as opposed to any other local public house.

With the women being unidentified it might explain why the police never found them. If they were prostitutes they might not have wanted to come forward or reveal their names to the press. Perhaps this is why Lewis told their story for them (???).
Hi David,

In respect of the two new witnesses, I find this evidence to be of questionable value. Firstly, the report only appears in one paper. Secondly, the women are not mentioned by name so we have no means of assessing their reliability. Thirdly, it's possible they may have been drunk when giving their statement to the journalist, particularly as they "saw her in a public house". Fourthly, there is no indication as to how well they new Kelly, so the question of misidentification arises. Finally, as they appear to have some important information, why is there no indication they were spoken to by the police? Why weren't they called to the inquest?
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Old 04-03-2016, 01:54 PM
David Orsam David Orsam is offline
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Firstly, the report only appears in one paper.
Sorry John I don't understand this comment. What difference does it make how many papers it appears in? Clearly the Evening Post didn't syndicate its reports around the country but so what? If that same story had appeared in 100 papers what difference would it have made?

But, in any event, both the Press Association and the Globe reported that Kelly was seen drinking in a public house that morning.
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Old 04-03-2016, 01:55 PM
David Orsam David Orsam is offline
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Secondly, the women are not mentioned by name so we have no means of assessing their reliability.
What difference does that make though? Morris Lewis was named but how did that help us to assess his reliability? If they had been named as "Mary Smith" and "Jane Jones" where would that get us? And, as I mentioned, it's the fact that they were not named which might explain why the police never managed to find them.
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Old 04-03-2016, 01:56 PM
David Orsam David Orsam is offline
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Thirdly, it's possible they may have been drunk when giving their statement to the journalist, particularly as they "saw her in a public house".
So might anyone who spoke to a journalist in the history of the world. That's very speculative.
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Old 04-03-2016, 01:58 PM
David Orsam David Orsam is offline
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Fourthly, there is no indication as to how well they new Kelly, so the question of misidentification arises.
Yes, true, but even though Mrs Maxwell testified on oath that she knew Kelly and was on speaking terms with her, you still think the question of misidentification arises!!!
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Old 04-03-2016, 01:59 PM
David Orsam David Orsam is offline
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Finally, as they appear to have some important information, why is there no indication they were spoken to by the police? Why weren't they called to the inquest?
Because the police didn't know who they were?
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Old 04-04-2016, 02:10 AM
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What seems likely to me is that Lewis would have mentioned being in the Britannia and pointed out two other women who were also there for the reporter to go and question for corroboration. With the reporter just not noting this
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Old 04-04-2016, 10:50 AM
John G John G is offline
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Yes, true, but even though Mrs Maxwell testified on oath that she knew Kelly and was on speaking terms with her, you still think the question of misidentification arises!!!
Hello David,

But what does this new independent corroboration amount to? Two witnesses who are not even named and whose evidence was nevertested, i.e. via an interrogation by the police or coroner.

We have no way of knowing how reliable the journalist was-did he ply the "witnesses" with alcohol, for example? -or how reliable liable the witnesses were. Thus, were they inebriated whilst speaking to the journalist? Were they inebriated at the time they allegedly saw Kelly drinking with a man? How well did they know Kelly, if at all?

Regarding Maxwell. I certainly don't consider her a hopeless witness, especially considering Walter Dew's comments, and on my list of reliable witnesses s he certainly rates higher than either Matthew Packer or Israel Schwartz!
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Old 04-04-2016, 11:05 AM
David Orsam David Orsam is offline
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But what does this new independent corroboration amount to? Two witnesses who are not even named and whose evidence was nevertested, i.e. via an interrogation by the police or coroner.
Yes but that just brings me back to the key point that Mrs Maxwell's evidence WAS tested by an interrogation by the police and coroner, and survived that interrogation, yet that still doesn't satisfy you.

This is despite Mrs Maxwell's sightings not being contradicted by any medical or witness evidence.

Further Mrs Maxwell's inquest evidence was, I think, consistent not only with her witness statement but with two interviews she gave to newspaper reporters.

The problem I have is seeing any good reason to disbelieve her.
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