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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Suspects > Maybrick, James

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  #291  
Old 03-13-2018, 03:35 AM
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caz caz is offline
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Originally Posted by Graham View Post
Hi Caz,

the Maybrick Case was the subject of a 1970 BBC TV series called 'Wicked Women', which I remember quite well. As a result, I read a book about the Case, but can't remember which one! I'm surprised your Scouse friends had never heard of the case, but assume they must be of a generation of, er, more tender years compared with me.....
Hi Graham,

The pub landlord was probably only in his forties, but my old man's cousin and her husband are nearly 70.

Quote:
Re: the Watch. I haven't read the books for a long time, so if I'm wrong here then by all means correct me. As I understand it, the Watch was bought by Albert Johnson from the Murphys in mid-1992, but it wasn't until nearly a year later he saw the scratches.
Yep, that's exactly right. Albert had admired it for the few weeks he had seen it in the shop window, finally having a win on the horses and buying it on 14th July 1992, to put away as an investment for his young grandchild. It was the following summer that he took it out again and the discovery was made.

Quote:
Murphy said that he had bought the watch from his father-in-law Mr Stuart (?) about 2 years prior to selling it to Mr Johnson. Mr Stuart (?) as I recall said that he had had the Watch for maybe 15 years before selling it to his son-in-law. Could Mr Stuart (?) recall from whom he had obtained the Watch?
I don't think Murphy's father-in-law could be questioned because he was suffering from dementia at the time. IIRC the story of how a stranger had come in and sold the watch to him all those years previously was told by the Murphys.

Quote:
Also, am I correct in believing that Barrett never mentioned the Watch at all until its existence was made public, and so can I assume that he didn't know about it?
Not a word from either Barrett about any watch. I can only imagine what their reaction was when they learned of its existence! When I saw Anne and the Johnsons in the green room, for the televised Trial of JtR, hosted by Michael Grade and featuring Angela Rippon and Stewart Evans among others, I asked Anne, in all innocence, what she thought of the watch and what she had asked Albert and Val about it [who were standing nearby but not quite in earshot]. I was fully expecting her to be as interested as I was in its origins, but she just looked rather uncomfortable and made some excuse to hurry off, as if she was worried I was going to engage the three of them in conversation about it. I was left thinking that something wasn't right, but didn't have a clue what it was.

Quote:
I just wonder if the Watch had actually 'inspired' some previous owner to concoct the Diary, given that no-one thus far has been able to prove either the Battlecrease or Mike Barrett claimed provenances.
I have little doubt the two are - or were - linked, and my hunch is that you are not far off. I wonder if the diary was written by someone who knew about the markings inside the watch, and wanted to draw attention to them without coming forward himself to admit they were there. Was the plan for someone to find both items, so the faint markings inside the watch would stand the best chance of being discovered as a result?

I can't easily get past the coincidence of the diary emerging and being snapped up by a publisher, in pretty much the same time frame as the watch appearing in the shop window and being snapped up by Albert.

Love,

Caz
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  #292  
Old 03-13-2018, 03:46 AM
Sam Flynn Sam Flynn is offline
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Was it Albert or one of his colleagues who first noticed the inscriptions? I can't remember offhand.
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  #293  
Old 03-13-2018, 03:56 AM
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caz caz is offline
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Originally Posted by AmericanSherlock View Post
Thank you Caz.

If I have things straight, you are saying that the book was supposed to be an impartial, entertaining history of the diary and not an attempt to pass judgement on its authenticity or lack thereof. And that opinion on the subject even varied among you and your co-authors.

However, if forced to give an opinion, your personal opinion is actually more towards a forgery.
Morning AS,

I'm not sure anyone would think I was ever 'forced' into giving my opinions , but yes, I have always said I can't get past the handwriting not resembling Maybrick's. But then if no attempt was made in that direction, I have to question whether it would count as a 'forgery' in the usual sense. It seems to me to have been written more with the object of poking fun at "Sir Jim" and his immediate family members, than of seriously putting him in the frame for the ripper murders.

Quote:
But you don't think the drunk Mike Barrett who claimed to have forged it in the early 90s was the actual forger, while others here are certain of it.
Some are certain; I am not. But I tend to get the 'crackpot' label for not accepting the unreliable claims of a compulsive liar and fantasist, which Mike clearly was.

Quote:
How does the debate about colloquialisms fit in? Do you think there is a strong possibility it was forged by a contemporary in Victorian times?
I think there is a very strong possibility that the text wasn't created as recently as the early 1990s, and almost no chance at all that Mike or Anne were engaged in handwriting it between April 1st and April 12th 1992, unlike others here, who see it as the only possible explanation for Mike acquiring the little red 1891 diary at the end of March 1992.

Love,

Caz
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  #294  
Old 03-13-2018, 04:25 AM
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caz caz is offline
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Originally Posted by Sam Flynn View Post
Was it Albert or one of his colleagues who first noticed the inscriptions? I can't remember offhand.
Hi Gareth,

Albert was showing his colleagues how to open the back and front of the watch, when the light from the window highlighted some scratches inside the back. He said he hadn't noticed them before. They took it to the college lab, where a technician looked at it under a microscope, at which point some inscriptions were found, which meant nothing to them at the time.

Later that day, a colleague, John White, said he had read about Maybrick and a diary in the Liverpool Echo, but mistakenly told Albert that Maybrick had buried his wife and two kids under the floorboards. He did, however, mention the ripper connection, so Albert went straight back to the lab, where a more powerful microscope was found and the remaining initials became apparent. Albert failed to find a book on Maybrick in the library, but found one on JtR and was able to match the initials to his victims. He then did some digging and was told it was the Liverpool Post where John White would have seen the article. Albert finally found it in the archives section of the newspaper office, and got Robert Smith's name from the Posts's Harold Brough, who had worked on the breaking diary story.

Love,

Caz
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  #295  
Old 03-13-2018, 04:38 AM
Sam Flynn Sam Flynn is offline
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Thanks, Caz.
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  #296  
Old 03-13-2018, 04:39 AM
AmericanSherlock AmericanSherlock is offline
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Originally Posted by caz View Post
Morning AS,

I'm not sure anyone would think I was ever 'forced' into giving my opinions , but yes, I have always said I can't get past the handwriting not resembling Maybrick's. But then if no attempt was made in that direction, I have to question whether it would count as a 'forgery' in the usual sense. It seems to me to have been written more with the object of poking fun at "Sir Jim" and his immediate family members, than of seriously putting him in the frame for the ripper murders.



Some are certain; I am not. But I tend to get the 'crackpot' label for not accepting the unreliable claims of a compulsive liar and fantasist, which Mike clearly was.



I think there is a very strong possibility that the text wasn't created as recently as the early 1990s, and almost no chance at all that Mike or Anne were engaged in handwriting it between April 1st and April 12th 1992, unlike others here, who see it as the only possible explanation for Mike acquiring the little red 1891 diary at the end of March 1992.

Love,

Caz
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Thanks for the detailed and informative reply.

In the case he did not write the diary, then must be that Mike acquired the diary as part of his plot to erroneously come forward as the forger (whatever his motivation may be)? I agree with you that he could have had a few, including being an insane fantasist, despite how admitting to being a forger would seem to be self compromising to many (especially if you weren't actually 1!)

This is very interesting stuff, perhaps more so than the actual JTR Murders , which I suspect were done by an unremarkable and perhaps unheard of garden variety madman/sexual deviant/sadistic murderer who happened to get quite lucky.
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  #297  
Old 03-13-2018, 05:06 AM
Graham Graham is offline
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Hi Caz,

thanks for your detailed and highly interesting reply. I'm now inspired to dig out the 'diary books' I have knocking about somewhere in this book-ridden dump, and have a good old re-read of them with my cocoa.

It always struck me as a massive coincidence - if indeed it really was a coincidence - that the Diary and the Watch should come to light so close to one another, time-wise. This is not to say that I believe Albert Johnson was in on it, as I always accepted your contention that he was as honest as the day's long, and also that he turned down an offer for the Watch of (IIRC) about $40000 from an American collector. (Although I have to confess that it crossed my suspicious mind that Albert could have turned down the offer in case at some future time he was accused of fraud).

However, just like yourself I think it would take a very long stretch of the imagination to accept that the Diary and the Watch are not linked in some way; by which I mean in relatively modern times. And it's always struck me as slightly odd that for a long time the Watch seemed to have slipped from under the gaze of those interested in the whole Diary thing. Who owns the Watch now, Caz?

Graham
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  #298  
Old 03-13-2018, 05:08 AM
Graham Graham is offline
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Hi again Caz,

Quote:
I was fully expecting her to be as interested as I was in its origins, but she just looked rather uncomfortable and made some excuse to hurry off, as if she was worried I was going to engage the three of them in conversation about it. I was left thinking that something wasn't right, but didn't have a clue what it was.
This has got my over-fertile imagination working overtime.......

Graham
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  #299  
Old 03-13-2018, 02:09 PM
DirectorDave DirectorDave is offline
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Originally Posted by AmericanSherlock View Post
Thanks Dave, it does seem the diary is most likely fake. But I guess the question is if Mike Barrett was the forger?
What we have discovered, or rediscovered in the last month or so with the transcript Mike Barrett is the prime suspect as the author of the words and one of his family or friends the hand-writer.

Barrett was Merseyside Jack...and should be regarded no better than John Humble.
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  #300  
Old 03-13-2018, 05:21 PM
rjpalmer rjpalmer is offline
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I always accepted your contention that he was as honest as the day's long, and also that he turned down an offer for the Watch of (IIRC) about $40000 from an American collector.
Graham, you might bear in mind that Johnson was encouraged not to sell the watch to the Texas collector, Robert E. Davis.

Robert Smith to Doreen Montgomery, January 20, 1994 (quoted in Ripper Diary pg. 79) "Pecuniary benefit doesn't come into it. Far from it. It may cost a lot to keep the watch accessible. I believe the watch is very important to "our mutual property", and we should think of ways to encourage the Johnsons not to sell it at too early a stage."

The date of this letter is very close to the date that the Johnson's (let's not forget Robbie!) were trying to sell the watch to Davis. Smith was worried that the 'Diary team' would lose access, and, perhaps, that it would look pretty bad if the Johnson's grabbed £30,000 and split. In the end, the Johnson's agreed to accept £3,000 for the rights of Smith to use it in the Harrison book.

Which is fine. Nothing illegal. Good business on Smith's part, perhaps.

But if you encourage, plead, beg, and implore someone not to sell something, and they finally agree, it sure seems a little cheesy to come back later and use it as evidence of the man's honesty. At least to me, it does.

In point of fact, Robbie Johnson was shown to have told two undeniable lies about the watch. When first showing it to Feldman he tried to peddle a story that it had been in the Johnson family for years. Which rather makes him the Anne Graham of the watch. (See Richard Whittington-Egan's book). The second lie was caught-out by Feldman himself. Robbie was playing dumb about the nature of the scratches, apparently momentarily forgetting that he had already given Feldy a complete diagram of them! (See the Final Chapter). If Johnson is on the up and up, why is he lying?
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