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Chava
01-29-2009, 06:49 PM
What triggered them? Apart from the suspiciously over-detailed 'eye-witness description' I don't see anything in his statement that could cause them to completely discount him. And they did seem to drop Mr A as a suspect extremely quickly.

Nothing that Hutchinson says is unlikely. Kelly apparently did work as a prostitute. She could well have been around Thrawl St late at night. She was definitely drunk earlier, and so could still be 'spree-ish' at 2.00 am. Sarah Lewis did see someone standing at the entrance to the court at the time Hutchinson claims to be there.

I don't believe him. But that's more because I think it's unlikely that Kelly went out again after spending an good hour and twenty minutes serenading the neighbours in the small hours. I also think it is very likely that she undressed and went to bed after she stopped her concert. However that's just supposition on my part. Hutchinson could well have seen her with the Ripper. So what is it that causes the cops to walk away?

Ben
01-29-2009, 07:02 PM
Hi Chava,

It's difficult to say, but my guess is that the various press contradictions were at least a contributory factor. Besides significant embellishments on an already ludircously detailed description, press versions of his account included claims that could easily be checked into by police and revealed to be false.

Most notable among these was Hutchinson's attempt to explain away his faliure to alert the police earlier, i.e. on the grounds that he had "told a policeman" about the night's events on Sunday, but did not go to the police station. This is absurd. No policeman would have ignored Hutchinson, as the account insinuated, and if he did, he'd be tracked down immediately according to his meticulously delineated beat and booted off the force for mind-boggling negligence.

There are many other possibilities, however; the recipients of Abberline's report (i.e. his superiors) may not have believed him, or perhaps Hutchinson slipped up to a telling extent when accompanying police round the district.

Best regards,
Ben

Stephen Thomas
01-29-2009, 08:14 PM
Nothing that Hutchinson says is unlikely. Kelly apparently did work as a prostitute. She could well have been around Thrawl St late at night. She was definitely drunk earlier, and so could still be 'spree-ish' at 2.00 am. Sarah Lewis did see someone standing at the entrance to the court at the time Hutchinson claims to be there.



Exactly, Chava

And Mr Astrakhan could well have been JTR and could well have been arrested shortly after Mary's murder because of Hutchinson's revelations. And the authorities could well have decided on a cover-up for political reasons starting with the discrediting of Hutchinson's story that had found its way into the newspapers.

protohistorian
01-29-2009, 08:26 PM
What triggered them? Apart from the suspiciously over-detailed 'eye-witness description' I don't see anything in his statement that could cause them to completely discount him. And they did seem to drop Mr A as a suspect extremely quickly.

Nothing that Hutchinson says is unlikely. Kelly apparently did work as a prostitute. She could well have been around Thrawl St late at night. She was definitely drunk earlier, and so could still be 'spree-ish' at 2.00 am. Sarah Lewis did see someone standing at the entrance to the court at the time Hutchinson claims to be there.

I don't believe him. But that's more because I think it's unlikely that Kelly went out again after spending an good hour and twenty minutes serenading the neighbours in the small hours. I also think it is very likely that she undressed and went to bed after she stopped her concert. However that's just supposition on my part. Hutchinson could well have seen her with the Ripper. So what is it that causes the cops to walk away?

Maybe he was interviewed on multiple occasions and his stories did not sync up. That is still a grounds for witness diqualification, and it is such a minute detail as to escape recording.

Ben
01-29-2009, 08:43 PM
And the authorities could well have decided on a cover-up for political reasons starting with the discrediting of Hutchinson's story that had found its way into the newspapers.

Bit too reminiscent of the Royal Conspiracy theory for me, Stephen.

For the cover-up theory to be at all viable, we'd need to accept that the police not only circulated false evidence to press and public, but that they were penning false reports amongst themselves. While the former is a realistic option, the latter isn't remotely so. Police reports were internal and intended for police circulation only, and as such, they were fully at liberty - and professionally obliged - to inform their superiors of any developments. As Stewart Evans astutely observed in a previous thread, "the official files were totally confidential (until the 1970s) and they clearly show that the senior police officers and the Home Office had no idea who Jack the Ripper was then, nor at any time since".

Best regards,
Ben

perrymason
01-29-2009, 08:44 PM
Hi Chava,

I think its possible that the police during the week following Marys murder were learning of a man that was arrested and held on suspicion of being the Whitechapel Murderer in early October in Belfast, an Irishman who was suspected based on the earlier Canonical deaths. They had his description, some history on him, and after his release based on lack of evidence, they lost him and he disappeared. He was known to travel about the UK frequently....he was the son of a brewing baron that lived off family stipends.

On Monday morning I believe, or possibly Tuesday, some rather toffish delegates from Parliment, some officers from The Royal Irish Constabulary, and a Senior Post office official visited that room. I now believe that may be related to a known pending/foiled assassination attempt on Lord Balfour, the Irish Secretary, by Fenians, that was planned for that Fall, and perhaps the Post Office Robbery the weekend of the Double Event, or postal matters concerning some correspondence perhaps found, (maybe by Abberline and Reid on Saturday morning sieving ashes again)... and the soon to begin Parnell public hearings concerning Fenian matters in the winter of 89. And the fact they they already had an Irish Whitechapel Murderer suspect on file in the form of the Belfast man.

I think it possible Astrakans ethnicity was Hutchinsons downfall, and that the police were investigating possible Irish connections to this killer before a woman who is supposedly Irish and has an Irish boyfriend is found dead.

Best regards Chava

perrymason
01-29-2009, 09:06 PM
One additional Irish related point is that Inspector Abberline had his meteoric rise in rank as a result of Fenian related arrests, and his intimate knowledge of the local networks and gangs. Since we know for a fact that Fenians were known to be planning this assassination by the London authorities during these murders, they worked with the Swiss I believe to make an arrest, should we assume that Abberline wasnt involved... due to his handling the Ripper cases? Or did he have multiple mandates, that at times, seemed related.

Its just for jolly....but fits some questions....one being, why was Hutchinson's story great Monday night and lousy Thursday morning?

Cheers all.

perrymason
01-29-2009, 11:06 PM
Maybe I didnt relate how my comments directly address Chavas question very well....Im wondering aloud whether the profile of the man that they were seeking by November 8th had suspected ties to Irish causes, ...based in part on the arrest of an Irishman in Belfast in early October who was arrested as the suspected Whitechapel murderer,....were they still likely seeking a local Polish Jew like they were in September, a profile that Pizer fits...or were they were perhaps looking for some Irish involvement now, based on the news they learned of a Fenian assassination plot being carried out during that same period, and place, in time....the perceived viable suspect who is Irish arrested in Belfast, or some Weekend Robbery that coincides with a Double-Event night.

Im suggesting that Hutch was perhaps disbelieved because they felt based on the investigations and some revelations that week that the man they sought was not a Jewish man.

I feel there are some strong Irish vibes with this murder, the victim, the boyfriend, Abberlines involvement, and the visitors that week. Is it at all possible that Abberline jumped at this story of Hutchinsons because Abberline sensed that they should be looking for a local jew... rather than an Irish anarchist. And his later dropping of support reflective of some data that he became privy to that week that suggested an Irishman and perhaps even some motives?

Its a bit woven, I know....but if you get the gist of what Im suggesting...for the sake of discussion only...this isnt a pet theory or anything, ....Id be interested to hear yays or nays.

Best regards

Stephen Thomas
01-29-2009, 11:54 PM
For the cover-up theory to be at all viable, we'd need to accept that the police not only circulated false evidence to press and public, but that they were penning false reports amongst themselves. While the former is a realistic option, the latter isn't remotely so. Police reports were internal and intended for police circulation only, and as such, they were fully at liberty - and professionally obliged - to inform their superiors of any developments. As Stewart Evans astutely observed in a previous thread, "the official files were totally confidential (until the 1970s) and they clearly show that the senior police officers and the Home Office had no idea who Jack the Ripper was then, nor at any time since".


Hi Ben

Yes, I know all that and I also know that Macnaghton said JTR had five victims and five victims only. Maybe he knew something you and I don't.

Best wishes

Ben
01-30-2009, 03:25 AM
Hi Stephen,

Macnaghten's report was not intended for public circulation, though, which is very siginficant as far as witness evidence goes since he went on record in that same report as stating that nobody saw the Whitechapel murderer unless it was the City PC from Mitre Square. Not "nobody except that brilliant star witness who helped bring the murderer to justice".

Best regards,
Ben

Stephen Thomas
01-30-2009, 11:45 PM
For the cover-up theory to be at all viable, we'd need to accept that the police not only circulated false evidence to press and public, but that they were penning false reports amongst themselves.


Hi Ben

Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying.

A lie is a lie is a lie.

But for the public good, maybe it's necessary sometimes.

Ben
01-30-2009, 11:59 PM
Hey Stephen,

But for the public good, maybe it's necessary sometimes.

Perhaps, but I doubt very much that ol' Hutch had the "public good" in mind when he churned out his tall tale. ;)

Stephen Thomas
01-31-2009, 11:40 PM
I doubt very much that ol' Hutch had the "public good" in mind when he churned out his tall tale. ;)

Hi Ben

I was talking there of a government cover-up for the public good. You are obviously an educated, intelligent man, and from what I've heard on the podcasts a very well spoken one too. I believe that I understand your theory quite well but I happen not to agree with it at all, and I would imagine that many other people here don't either. You're coming across as one of those Final Solution/Case Closed merchants and I reckon you're better than that. Surely a little part of you believes that "ol' Hutch" may just have been telling it like it was?

Best wishes

Ben
02-01-2009, 02:04 AM
I was talking there of a government cover-up for the public good.

I understand, Stephen, but that there couldn't possibily have been a "cover up" of the order you've described for the crucial reasons I've outlined. I don't know how many other people agree with my theory, but every suspect theory will be in the minority of the opinion, and mine is certainly no different. I don't believe that the case is closed and I've never presented my views as the final solution. However, if you're referring to my "theory" that Hutchinsin was lying, I'd dispute very strongly that "many other people here" would disagree.

Surely a little part of you believes that "ol' Hutch" may just have been telling it like it was?

There is no part of me that could ever believe that he told the total unmblemished truth. Is there a part of you that believes he may have been lying?

Best regards,
Ben

Stephen Thomas
02-01-2009, 01:43 PM
There is no part of me that could ever believe that he told the total unmblemished truth. Is there a part of you that believes he may have been lying?



Hi Ben

Apart from a few embellishments in the description perhaps, no. This discussion has been done to death elsewhere but I just can't imagine that if Hutch were the murderer he would do anything other than just lie low and hope for the best. Even if he was fingered as as the guy standing outside Crossingham's he could just have said 'Yeah that was me, so what?'

That's what I think anyway.

Best wishes

Stephen

Ben
02-01-2009, 02:08 PM
Hi Stephen,

Apart from a few embellishments in the description perhaps, no.

Even disregarding the actual contents of the account, which I believe to be largely bogus, we've also the plentiful and compelling indications that Hutchinson's accont was discredited. That alone should be uppermost in our minds when contemplating the veracity of his statement.

I just can't imagine that if Hutch were the murderer he would do anything other than just lie low and hope for the best.

But we know that serial killers have come forward under false guises out of self-preservation, curiosity bravado etc, despite the fact that they could have decided to lie low if they preferred. If we examine those, our "imagination" will be be all the richer for it, and certainly less restrictive when deciding what a serial killer would or wouldn't do. Not that you even need to be a serial killer to embrace the mentality that some pre-emptive action may be beneficial before any awkward questions are asked.

Even if he was fingered as as the guy standing outside Crossingham's he could just have said 'Yeah that was me, so what?'

But that could very well have led to further identity attempts from earlier witnesses. If a sufficent number of those were able to provide a link with Lewis' loiterer, the validity of "Yeah, that was me on each and every occasion, so what?" would be somewhat weakened.

Just out of curiosity, why did you ask me if there was a little part of me that believed he was telling the whole truth if there's no part of you that believes he may have been lying?

Best regards,
Ben

Stephen Thomas
02-01-2009, 08:43 PM
Just out of curiosity, why did you ask me if there was a little part of me that believed he was telling the whole truth if there's no part of you that believes he may have been lying?



I was just being a bit mischievous there, Ben. Thanks for the pleasant discussion and good luck on the podcast tonight.

Best wishes
Stephen

Ben
02-01-2009, 08:56 PM
Thanks for your kind wishes, Stephen!

I've experienced a slight technical hiccup which may prevent or delay my participation tonight, but I'll just off to (hopefully) rectify the problem!

All the best,
Ben

Roy Corduroy
04-11-2009, 05:07 AM
...we've also the plentiful and compelling indications that Hutchinson's accont was discredited.

Refresh my memory please. What were the indications?

Roy

Simon Wood
04-11-2009, 05:18 AM
For the cover-up theory to be at all viable, we'd need to accept that the police not only circulated false evidence to press and public, but that they were penning false reports amongst themselves.

Hi Ben,

I hope by next week to have proof positive that this was indeed the case.

Watch this space, as they say.

Regards,

Simon

DVV
04-11-2009, 10:49 AM
Oddly enough, the interest for the Whitechapel murders seems to have quickly lessened after the Miller's Court affair. We can observe this surprising phenomenon about one week/ten days after MK's murder. Even Mary's funeral was tersely reported in the papers (with the exception of one or two), especially if we have to compare with some other victims' funeral, and considering it was the most horrible murder in the series.
And this lessening of interest applies to Hutch as well.
Indeed, only the Star bothers to state that he has been discredited.
It certainly doesn't help us to understand why - though Ben, imo, has given the most likely reasons (erratic statements in the press).

Amitiés,
David

richardnunweek
04-11-2009, 11:51 AM
Hi David,
The word 'discredited' crops up a lot on Casebook, we are all looking at newspaper reports, and witnesses statements, and doing precisely that, and a lot of that, is down to to the natural Ripperologist suspicions in us all.
The true fact is, when it comes down to the days, following on from the 12th November 88, we have absolutely no idea what happened to the witness Hutchinson.
Was he sent packing for wasting police time?
Just because they never caught the Astracan man within a couple of days, would they say 'well thats that then'?
Mayby the police decided to make it known that they no longer took Gh seriously, as it might flush out the culprit...
Mayby he did come under some police protection scheme, after all was there not a letter sent after the double event stating' I know that you saw me'.
Once the sighting had publicly been release, the killer would have known , that a man called GH, could identify him.
That being the case , it would hardly be surprising if the police had some protection plan in operation.
We simply should not just say comments like, 'The report from the Wheeling should be descredited, as its that kind of paper'.
We should not say the police obviously 'Did not take him seriously' simply because one national newspaper'The Star' made a comment.
Regards Richard.

DVV
04-11-2009, 11:58 AM
Hi Richard,
as far as I know, Hutch wasn't called in to identify Kosminski, Sadler, Grainger, though, if he is to be believed, nobody could identify the guy as he could.

Amitiés,
David

Ben
04-11-2009, 02:37 PM
Hi Roy,

Refresh my memory please. What were the indications?

On 15th November, it was stated in The Star that Hutchinson's account was "now discredited", and subsequent police observations bear this out in many respects. Robert Anderson was on record as stating that the only man to have acquired a good look at the Whitechapel murder was Jewish, and since none of the Jewish witness alleged anywhere near as good a look as Hutchinson, the implications are obvious. Donald Swanson offered no dissenting view to this. As David points out, there is evidence that Lawende was used in subsequent police identity efforts. Hutchinson's absence in this regard is very conspicuous. It would have been essential to use Hutchinson in subsequent identity respects if they believed him, even if they suspected that the real ripper might have arrived on the scene post-Astrakhan.

Melville Macnaghten stated that nobody saw the Whitechapel murderer unless it was the "City PC near Mitre Square". Obviously, he was subsonsciously amalgamating more than one sighting here, but none of them could have referred to Hutchinson since he wasn't a City witnes, wasn't known to have been anywhere near Mitre Square, and wasn't a PC.

Then there's Abberline. In 1903, he stated that the witnesses who had described a man of foreign appearance had only seen a rear view of the suspect. When presented with the opportunity to make a superficial comparison between surly-looking, dark-moustachioed Klosowski and surly-looking, dark-moustachioed, he didn't make one, instead drawing attention to the headgear mentioned by other witnesses; presumably Lawende (again) and Schwartz.

Best regards,
Ben

Vingle
04-12-2009, 03:30 AM
My mind wanders and it beats watching TV. I'm intrigued by Gh so am hypothesising based on circumstantial evidence and what i would like to be true. A bad start admittedly.

Why did the police stop speaking to hutchinson?

Could it be that they found a reason to prove he was lying about being there?

Perhaps they found obvious reasons having tested his initial statement to show that he was clearly exagerating his importance. If another person came forward after Hutchinson and said that they were the person that Lewis saw, with corroborating evidence or another witness - would that be sufficient to discount him? Perhaps Hutchinson himself admitted to lying or perhaps started to doubt his own statement under further pressure/questioning.

Maybe Gh's character is so dodgy that the police know his testimony would never stand up in court. Would they risk ridicule in court with one easily destroyable witness? It would be terrible for a man to be charged and tried and let off on a technicality - did double jeapody exist then?

What is odd is that if the police disprove his statements why did they not go to lengths to publicise his discovery as a liar and fraud?

Could it be it was in their interests to have him disappear from the case to avoid embarassment?

Abberline is a fairly senior detective on the case. I doubt he'd want to look stupid to a new set of superiors. If Hutchinson becomes discredited over the week, he might not wish to press charges to draw attention to the fact that his initial judgement was flawed. Maybe he warned Hutchinson to go away and never come back in exchange for him not being charged with whatever lying in this case would have attracted. Is the police force sufficiently politicised and self interested for this to occur?

Could it be that they preferred a course of investigation that made his comments unsatisfactory or in their minds clearly wrong?

Already a graffito evidence is destroyed, probably to avoid anti-semitic sentiment. The forces show that they are capable of being political and pragmatic to avoid potential riots. To be fair, Warren had already overseen a public massacre at that stage in his career and mobs had chased at least one potential suspect and had threatened to lynch him. Would the police shy away from leads where there was not enough evidence to convict at that time to secure public order or to incease the possibility of capture at another time in the future?

Were the police anti-semitic and preferred that the suspect be considered that way? Was there a reason why a wealthy person should not be considered capable of such a crime, was anarchy and class subversion a real threat to the hirarchy?

Did they find astrokan man and eliminate him from enquiries?
If so does GH becomes a fairly defunct witness.

Did that enquiry lead somewhere they did not want to go or follow up?
Possible but you wander into the realms of conspiracy theory which i don't believe the police would play an active part in. But, what would happen if the perpetrator of these crimes was considered to be more dangerous in another field and more valuable to watch to get leads in that area? Could the police and or government prefer, for example, a fenian to kill poor east end prostitutes because of the value of following him to ascertain leads to the fenian groups? Was the safeguarding of political figures considered more important that the lives of prostitutes in the east end? Were they expendable?
I hope not and it's abit far fetched, but there is evidence where the recent Uk government is prepared to sacrifice it's laws and principles to safeguard against terrorism. The Parnell letters would indicate that some people were prepared to lie for political means at the time.

Perhaps that enquiry led them to the actual murderer.
If the police truly thought that the murderer was dead, in another country or institutionalised, which certain high officers say is the case in later years, was it necessary to keep Gh in the picture anymore?
Well in the long term maybe, particularly if they know there is no chance of the suspect hanging, a mob descending on an assylum would not have been useful, Tumbelty or anyone else being overseas would have led to an exciting capture (like Crippen), if the client was dead then they might protect the family ( i believe this happened with the Jack the Stripper case in the 60's). But, in the short term, unless they were pretty sure immediately, GH is still a viable witness, so i believe this options to be less suitable.

Did this person get seen somewhere where it was in the police's interest for him not to draw attention to himself?

The police had plain clothes men in the area. It is possible, given the methods used, that special branch had agents involved in counter terrorism. And, probably, slurring of people too. There is a reasonable sized irish immigrant population in the part of whitechapel that Kelly lives in I believe I read somewhere on the site here.

Maybe, the police felt MJK's murder was actually a Fenian reprisal. Maybe JtR was a reasonable cover and the extent and personal nature might represent a killing based on betrayal.

To me GH's desription is way too detailed, Abberlines initial interest,a nd the subsequent disappearance of GH from the story is a bit too odd to allow a witness to fade away. Why would the newspapers allow this person to disappear, given they too had been taken in to a degree.

Another option is that Gh is not actually Gh and was being used to protect someone. An accomplice might explain the pardon offer, an undercover policeman engaged on other business, (be interested to know whether an MI5 or SIS agent is obliged to report crimes witnessed on active service if they indeed are the only witness).

Frankly, i have no evidence to support any of this and it is the incorrect way trying to ascertain the truth. I would find it interesting to read how the serious researchers go about their business in terms of methodology so that the rank amateurs like myself have a more educated way of approaching things without having enthusiasm reduced.

Garry Wroe
06-21-2009, 09:02 AM
Hello All.

Way back in the Eighties and Nineties when I was conducting research into Hutchinson for my book, I always found it puzzling that, despite Abberline’s stated belief in Hutchinson’s veracity as an important eyewitness, the police nevertheless continued with their local sweeps on common lodging houses. It just didn’t make sense given the affluent appearance of the Jewish-looking suspect.

Recently, having been away from the Casebook for some five years or so, it became apparent that someone had succeeded where I’d failed and had managed to uncover a repudiation of Hutchinson’s account carried by The Star on 15 November. On checking the newspaper sources here on site, however, I discovered the following reference contained in the London Echo dated 13 November:-

From latest inquiries it appears that a very reduced importance seems to be now - in the light of later investigation - attached to a statement made by a person last night that he saw a man with the deceased on the night of the murder. Of course, such a statement should have been made at the inquest, where the evidence, taken on oath, could have been compared with the supposed description of the murderer given by the witnesses. Why, ask the authorities, did not the informant come forward before? As many as fifty-three persons have, in all, made statements as to "suspicious men," each of whom was thought to be Mary Janet Kelly's assassin. The most remarkable thing in regard to the latest statement is, that no one else can be found to say that a man of that description given was seen with the deceased, while, of course, there is the direct testimony of the witnesses at the inquest, that the person seen with the deceased at midnight was of quite a different appearance.

This revelation, of course, was published the day after Hutchinson’s police interview and pre-empted The Star by fully two days. And if factual, one can only surmise that it came about as a consequence of a police tip-off, and that Hutchinson had given himself away whilst searching the Whitechapel district with his police escort on the Monday evening. Then, as had been the case with Violenia before him, he was quietly dropped – viewed by the police as persona non grata.

Regards,

Garry Wroe.

richardnunweek
06-21-2009, 12:25 PM
Hi Gary,
May i ask a question,
When researching in the eighties/nineties, were you aware of 'Topping', had you heard of Reg?
I ask this, because George William Topping Hutchinson, is the only name that has come forth, in identifying the witness Hutchinson, since 1888.
Not only have we now got many signature comparisons, which are remarkably similar, but we have the family of the said man confirming that he was the actual witness.
I Personally heard Toppings son Reg, speak on radio in the early seventies, [ which nobody else on casebook heard], he also possibly 'overkilled' it in the Ripper and the Royals in 1992, and just recently the wife of Toppings grandson contacted Casebook to confirm such a identification.
Incidently JD [ the poster] lives in Romford....
Most importantly when attempting to identify the real George, is to find a link , or something that only the real person would have knowledge off.
The Wheeling directory supplies us with that link.
The Above contains a very rare article which states, that the witness that saw Mary Kelly, with a well dressed man, was paid the equivient of five weeks wages, to accompamy police.
This article was so rare that it only came to light a couple of years ago, tet it clearly mentions that a sum of money was paid to the witness.
That witness was Hutchinson, and Topping Hutchinson, who most certainly never saw that article in his lifetime, mentioned to his family amd friends that he was paid one hundred shillings .
No payment was mentioned in any British press reports, and as the sum of one hundred shillings, divided by five = a average mans weekly wage then, i would suggest we have a good match.
I would suggest that is the missing link, and if one takes that along with all the other evidence, there is no doubt that 22 years old GWTH, was the witness, that everybody [ except me ] on casebook mistrusts.
Regards Richard.

Ben
06-21-2009, 01:17 PM
Hi Garry,

Fascinating stuff. Thanks for sharing.

I thought The Star's 15th November claim was quite revelatory at the time, but the Echo's statements are even more interesting, especially since they predate the former article by two days. They make clear that they're not simply voicing their own concerns, either: "Why, ask the authorities, did not the informant come forward before?"

Hi Richard,

You've made an almost identical post to the one above in the last week. Why dredge it all up again? This thread has nothing to to with the vexed "Toppy" question.

Hutchinson was not in regular employment at the time, as far as the police were concerned. He didn't have a "usual" salary according to them, and as such, he would not have been entitled to one hundred shillings.

Here are our dubious sources for the payment issue:

1) The Wheeling Register was an American newspaper which carried a report headlined "Gossip", the nature of which was contradicted by pretty much every other press source. It claimed that "some clever individual" had "invented" a description of someone seen with Kelly and was paid five times his usual salary to accompany police round the district. It also made claims about Barnett were in stark contrast to all other press claims.

2) Reg Hutchinson speculated that his father was paid 100 shillings to keep quiet about seeing Lord Randolph Churchill the Ripper with Mary Kelly. This was included in a discredited Royal conspiracy book.

Two zero provenance sources to not create good provenance, but if they're dodgy in isolation, they certainly don't mesh up with eachother.

Five times the normal salary of someone without regular employment does not equal five pounds, so the two sources don't tally with eachother even remotely.

Not only have we now got many signature comparisons, which are remarkably similar

I don't think they are.

Best regards,
Ben

richardnunweek
06-21-2009, 02:14 PM
Hi Ben,
I am sorry that my post was almost identical, and when you relate that the article mentioned gossip is correct.
However the very fact that for instance Barnett was accused of being drunk, was proberly a opinion of his speech impediment, also it would not surprise me in the slightest if he had not sunk a couple before the inquest.
I have made reference in the past[ many times] that Hutchinson must have had regular income , either by regular/casual employment, as he was a resident of the Victoria home, and vagrants were not accomodated.
His comments 'I have spent all my money going down to Romford' would suggest he earned money recently.
The wheeling report was the only report in Any Newspaper that had reverence to any payment [ regardless of gossip or not] and the only person by the name of Hutchinson that has mentioned a sum of money was Reg, the proven son of Topping, who according to other members of that family confirm that it originated from Topping.
Unless i have completely lost my common sense, i would say that its a pretty good bet that Topping was the man.
Otherwise i give up....
Regards Richard.

Jane Welland
06-21-2009, 02:42 PM
So Hutchinson's suspect description didn't match that of anyone anyone else. Would it though-since he claimed to have been around later than most, including those who saw Mary Kelly with man clearly not Mr A? Sarah Lewis' sighting of GH need not have included Astrakhan if he was already in Mary's room. Thing is, the police had all that prior testimony before Hutchinson came forward with his, and they still believed him-initially. Given the speed at which they changed their minds, I wonder if the explanation isn't a little more dramatic. Jane x

Ben
06-21-2009, 02:47 PM
Hi Richard,

The fact that we harbour doubts that Hutchinson was out of work doesn't invalidate the fact the police haboured no such doubts. As far as the police were concerned, he was not taking home a weekly salary, which means they wouldn't have reimbursed him for five times that non-existent salary. So I'm afraid the Toppy-Wheeling "coincidence" is nothing of the sort. Two dubious sources that don't agree with eachother in any case don't somehow equate to good provenance and thus the likely explanation.

However the very fact that for instance Barnett was accused of being drunk, was proberly a opinion of his speech impediment

Barnett was described as being "furiously drunk at the inquest". Rather easily distinguishable from a mere speach impediment, I would have thought, not that there's much evidence that he had one of those either.

I'd respectfully submit that we return now to the premise of the thread, which concerns the apparent "discredting" of Hutchinson's evidence.

Best regards,
Ben

celee
06-21-2009, 04:47 PM
Hi Ben,

Is it possible that Hutchinson's description was what led to Tumblety being questioned concerning the Kelly murder?

Your friend, Brad

Ben
06-21-2009, 05:16 PM
Hi Brad,

I'd say that's unlikely. Aside from the flashy nature of Tumblety's attire on occasions, he would have been a total misfit for the Astrakhan man at 56 years of age and nearly 6ft in height, even if the statement wasn't discredited.

All the best,
Ben

perrymason
06-21-2009, 05:21 PM
Hello All.

Way back in the Eighties and Nineties when I was conducting research into Hutchinson for my book, I always found it puzzling that, despite Abberline’s stated belief in Hutchinson’s veracity as an important eyewitness, the police nevertheless continued with their local sweeps on common lodging houses. It just didn’t make sense given the affluent appearance of the Jewish-looking suspect.

Recently, having been away from the Casebook for some five years or so, it became apparent that someone had succeeded where I’d failed and had managed to uncover a repudiation of Hutchinson’s account carried by The Star on 15 November. On checking the newspaper sources here on site, however, I discovered the following reference contained in the London Echo dated 13 November:-

From latest inquiries it appears that a very reduced importance seems to be now - in the light of later investigation - attached to a statement made by a person last night that he saw a man with the deceased on the night of the murder. Of course, such a statement should have been made at the inquest, where the evidence, taken on oath, could have been compared with the supposed description of the murderer given by the witnesses. Why, ask the authorities, did not the informant come forward before? As many as fifty-three persons have, in all, made statements as to "suspicious men," each of whom was thought to be Mary Janet Kelly's assassin. The most remarkable thing in regard to the latest statement is, that no one else can be found to say that a man of that description given was seen with the deceased, while, of course, there is the direct testimony of the witnesses at the inquest, that the person seen with the deceased at midnight was of quite a different appearance.

This revelation, of course, was published the day after Hutchinson’s police interview and pre-empted The Star by fully two days. And if factual, one can only surmise that it came about as a consequence of a police tip-off, and that Hutchinson had given himself away whilst searching the Whitechapel district with his police escort on the Monday evening. Then, as had been the case with Violenia before him, he was quietly dropped – viewed by the police as persona non grata.

Regards,

Garry Wroe.

Hi Gary,

I think that last line needed a punch-up....because its clear that once his story was not believed, nothing he had said remained as potentially viable information. He was discarded just like his entire story.

It seems that perhaps he was viewed as a huge waste of time and the subject of misplaced trust.

My suspicion is that they discovered a reason to discard him, as his evidence if true was critical, and my guess would be that they were able to place him elsewhere at the time he said he was loitering there. Its the only part of his story that has any kind of potential corroboration by Sarah's Wideawake man, and In my opinion, if they still believed only that much, then he would have had to turn their attention on him from witness to suspect.

But they didnt. He faded away from lack of interest in him or his story.

Best regards Gary

Ben
06-21-2009, 05:32 PM
Hi Mike,

I think Garry touches on an important point when he observes that Hutchinson was "viewed by the police as persona non grata". I'd share that observation, and would point out that it's a lot different to actually proving he was. Violenia and Packer were also discredited, but not because they were proven to have have lied about who they saw or where they were, or any other conclusive "reason" along those lines. Instead, the police appeared to have arrived at the collective opinion that they were mere time-wasters and publicity-seekers.

They may well have lumped Hutchinson into the same catergory, but not through any proof.

Best regards,
Ben

perrymason
06-21-2009, 05:48 PM
Hi Mike,

I think Garry touches on an important point when he observes that Hutchinson was "viewed by the police as persona non grata". I'd share that observation, and would point out that it's a lot different to actually proving he was. Violenia and Packer were also discredited, but not because they were proven to have have lied about who they saw or where they were, or any other conclusive "reason" along those lines. Instead, the police appeared to have arrived at the collective opinion that they were mere time-wasters and publicity-seekers.

They may well have lumped Hutchinson into the same catergory, but not through any proof.

Best regards,
Ben

Hi Ben, nice to see you....I knew youd want a piece of that post.:pleased:

My point is that there is nothing in the recorded data that suggests GH was anything but discarded. Maybe you believe they missed seeing him as suspicious based on Sarah story... if they believed that single part of his story,...but it appears to me that they didnt. At least there are no records to show that interest.

Im inclined to abandon witnesses that were summarily abandoned by the investigators checking their stories.

Ive always agreed with you that the Wideawake Man is suspicious...I just dont agree that Hutchinson placing himself in those shoes via his story was thought to be credible evidence.

Best regards amigo...and Happy Fathers Day to you and all the Pops here.

Ben
06-21-2009, 05:59 PM
Hi Mike,

Maybe you believe they missed seeing him as suspicious based on Sarah story

That's a strong possibility, yes.

Since the police were deluged with false statements and bogus witnesses, it's entirely possible that they lumped him into that already burgeoning category while overlooking the actual implications of his false claims in the process. Yes, it's quite possible that they came to believe he wasn't there at all, but that doesn't mean they ever secured proof for that assumption.

Nor can it be ruled out that the Lewis angle was seized upon by the police and Hutchinson was suspected as a consequence. In which case, there's no reason to assume they were ever in a position to convert those suspicions into proof either way. In that case, discreet surveillance was the only option, although considering that Hutchinson didn't belong to the any of the "mad", foreign, butchery, medical, outsider models, he may never have been seriously considered.

Best regards amigo...and Happy Fathers Day to you and all the Pops here

And to you, Mike. :)

Best regards,
Ben

Garry Wroe
06-22-2009, 03:18 AM
Hi Richard

Indeed, I am aware of the Reg/Toppy/Hutchinson debate and, of course, the Wheeling reference. With respect, however, I don’t share your view on the Hutchinson signatures. The handwriting is similar – though, as Ben has pointed out on a number of occasions, it exhibits sufficient differences to warrant a cautionary approach. As for the signatures themselves, I have indicated on other threads my bewilderment that anyone can discern a match between ‘George Hutchinson’ and ‘George William Hutchinson’. This is not to say that I would completely discount the Hutchinson/Toppy link, merely that, on the basis of the signatures, the evidence is far from compelling. And neither would I place undue weight on stories handed down through the generations. I lived in East London for some ten years and spent a good deal of time there over a period of twenty years. During that time, I lost count of the number of East Enders who recounted tales of a grandfather who interrupted the Ripper in the process of mutilating a victim, only to give chase and lose the killer in the fog. All complete nonsense, of course. But such stories, along with similar tales relating to the Krays, have enmeshed themselves in the very fabric of East London history and have become every bit as real as the horrors of the Blitz. The problem, however, is that they are nothing more than folklore. And whilst I wouldn’t for a moment question the integrity of Toppy’s descendants, they are doing no more than reiterating a story that has been passed down through the generations and for which there is not an atom of supporting evidence. But if you believe the Wheeling reference constitutes such proof, I would again advise a cautionary approach on the grounds that the majority of Ripper stories carried by American newspapers were grossly inaccurate – often to the extent that one wonders whether they were simply made up in order to fill column space. Yet if you or anyone else could adduce the evidence that provides a definitive Hutchinson/Toppy link, I would be the first to offer my congratulations. Unfortunately, as things stand, that evidence is conspicuous by its absence.

Hi Michael.

Your points regarding Hutchinson and his evidence take me back to 1986 when I read my first book on the Whitechapel Murders – Don Rumbelow’s The Complete Jack the Ripper, as it happens. I remember reading the Miller’s Court chapter and being drawn again and again to the section involving Hutchinson. At that time, probably as a consequence of Abberline’s elucidations, Hutchinson and his stated version of events had gone unchallenged. But to my mind there was something about this man and his story that simply didn’t add up. It was at this point that I began writing to such Ripper luminaries as Robin Odell, Colin Wilson and Joe Gaute in the expectation of discerning evidence to corroborate either Hutchinson’s integrity or the concatenation he described to Abberline. To my amazement, I discovered that no such evidence existed. He and his story had simply been taken at face value. And now, here we are some twenty-odd years later facing something of a role-reversal. Whereas Hutchinson’s integrity once went unchallenged because his story regarding the Jewish-looking suspect was accepted unreservedly, that very same integrity is now under fire because his story is no longer accepted as it once was. I doubt very much whether we will ever determine if the police first began to doubt Hutchinson or his story. In essence, this amounts to the same thing. If Hutchinson’s story was untrue, it raises questions as to his integrity, and vice versa. The shocking element in all of this, as far as I’m concerned, is that Hutchinson’s blatant mendacity went largely unrecognized for the best part of a century.

Regards,

Garry Wroe.

Rosey O'Ryan
06-22-2009, 10:52 AM
Hi all,
Hutchinson was a poor working man! How could he wield this sword of "blatant mendacity" against the brainy men of Scotland Yard? The consequences of such mendacity leave little to the imagination...a good beating in a dark alleyway for one.
Rosey :-)

richardnunweek
06-22-2009, 12:54 PM
Hi Garry,
So what it boils down to at this stage is opinion, mine being that any mention of a payment in Wheeling, is a possible link to identity, yours being we cant always believe what we read.
We have known that Garry, ever since we have been old enough to read any press article, however how can one split the fact from the fiction?
The two points that refered to as 'Gossip', were the condition of Barnett at the inquest, and some clever individual receiving the sum equivilent of five weeks wages, for 'inventing a story'.
Both of these do not have the look of 'Made up', in my opinion.
Barnett had a speech impediment, and had a habit , of repeating the last word of a sentence , when beginning another, so if one takes that into consideration, and the almost certain fact that he was still in deep shock, then he may have come across as 'having had one or two' , infact he may well have done.
Refering to the 'Invented story' , it is obviously fact that this was a reference to the man Hutchinson, who obviously did exist...and the fact that a sum of money was paid [ equivilent of five weeks wages] was mentioned.
What i am trying to get across, is the article refered to is a rare American publication , that was not avaliable on the streets of London , infact Casebook only became aware of it a short time ago, so the question must be asked 'How did a man of the same man, know of any payment being paid, unless he was the actual witness?, to suggest that he read that article way back in 1888, and used it as a party piece is not on..
So Did Reg [ Toppings son] know of that article prior to the 1970s, from a private source?
I say prior to the 1970s as it was mentioned on his broadcast.
I would say almost impossible, according to private information given to me, Reg knew absolutely nothing about the Whitechapel murders, he was actually given a book , by a younger member of the family to read about it.
[ Incidently i am hot on the trail of that elusive broadcast, and hopefully within two weeks from now , i shall disclose it on site]
I would say with conviction that if any hoax did occur , it had to lay with Topping.
But lets look at that suggestion with common sense.
So we have a man , that all of a sudden realized he had the same name as a witness during the Ripper murders, so for many years after, he cashed in a pint or two by relating to a man that incidently was similar to the REAL, Hutchinsons statement, when he was a complete fraud.
That will not wash with me,if one takes Toppings account , relayed by his eldest son Reg, incidenty confirmed by Toppings youngest son Arthur, and his
grandson [JDS husband] there are two many points that only the real witness would have known, especially the money . one hundred shillings was the figure given , rather a good guess to the 'Five weeks wages figure, especially as this 'Alleged Hoaxer' never saw that wheeling report, neither did any of his family.
Regards Richard.

Ben
06-22-2009, 01:44 PM
Hi Richard,

The Wheeling Register claimed that Barnett was "furiously drunk" at the inquest. All other press versions of Barnett's behaviour at the inquest described him as respectable, and to really put the nail in the Wheeling coffin, the coroner actually congratulated him on giving his evidence so well. I don't think he'd offer such praise if he thought for a moment that the witness was "furiously drunk". Deduction? The Wheeling Register was totally wrong in its description of Barnett's behaviour. Hardly surprising considering they weren't there themselves (unlike the journalists who described his behaviour and appearance as respectable), but were simply picking up "Gossip".

There is no compelling evidence that Barnett had a speech impediment.

Already we know that some of the Wheeling's gossip is not only baseless but demonstrably wrong, so would it be unreasonable to surmise that the other baseless gossip was just as wrong? For the record, the idea that a newspaper in West Virginia should pick up on a crucial piece of evidence missed by all their British contemporaries at the scene is wholly implausible.

How did a man of the same man, know of any payment being paid, unless he was the actual witness?

He didn't need to "know". He just needed to invent it. Poor crime novels are awash with stories of people being paid off for important information, and if you throw a bogus Royal Conspiracy theory into a mix, then the temptation to introduce the element of "hush money" is bound to be there. It's as unavoidable as a dragon would be in a tale about knights, damsels and white horses. These paint-by-numbers elements are almost guaranteed to crop up eventually in some context, and Reg wouldn't have needed any obscure American newspaper to come up with the necessary inspiration for his "my dad was paid to keep quiet about seeing Lord Churchill the Ripper" nonsense.

So Did Reg [ Toppings son] know of that article prior to the 1970s, from a private source? I say prior to the 1970s as it was mentioned on his broadcast.

Wholly inapplicable as evidence, alas, because nobody else knows of its existence.

one hundred shillings was the figure given , rather a good guess to the 'Five weeks wages figure

Why is it a good guess, when I've explained in some detail why the two figures don't match each other at all?

Best regards,
Ben

richardnunweek
06-22-2009, 02:20 PM
Hi Ben,
Off to work again soon, so a quick response.
Its a question of Was Topping spinning a yarn?, or was he telling the truth?, you believe the former, i the latter.
I can just see Topping sitting in some pub in the 1920s, spinning his party piece, to all present, and one day a middle aged man sitting near by remarks.
You aint that man mate, he died in the boar war, shot clean through the head , he was'
Oh dear' a refund on pints i quess.
Can't except that Topping was full of bull.
Regards Richard.

Jane Welland
06-22-2009, 02:43 PM
Definitions of the word 'Gossip' from an American online dictionary:

.
1. Rumor or talk of a personal, sensational, or intimate nature.
2. A person who habitually spreads intimate or private rumors or facts.
3. Trivial, chatty talk or writing.

Numbers 1 and 3 seem particularly pertinent in this case.

The point about gossip is surely that it is by definition sensational, sensationalist, and just possibly a little liable to exaggeration, colourful interpretation and at times, painful though it may be to accept, downright fabrication.

Gossip - by it's very nature in a periodical is there to titillate its readers - and under the heading 'Gossip', it could be argued, is disclaiming itself in the category of 'certain fact'.

It may be prudent, thus, not to take as total fact anything one reads in a gosisp column. That doesn't take a rocket scientist to establish - it's just common sense.

Having said that, I think that the Toppy story might have withstood the gossip if it wasn't for the Churchill baloney - as surely it is. That element makes the whole affair highly suspect -not to say that because of that we should be certain that there is not a shred of truth in the matter - clearly that remains unproven one way or the other as the moment - but it doesn't help the Toppy case, imo.

Jane x

celee
06-22-2009, 10:47 PM
Hi Brad,

I'd say that's unlikely. Aside from the flashy nature of Tumblety's attire on occasions, he would have been a total misfit for the Astrakhan man at 56 years of age and nearly 6ft in height, even if the statement wasn't discredited.

All the best,
Ben

Hi Ben,

Was not Tumblety Known for his fancy dress? Isn't the Knock on Hutchinson's description the fact that the man was to fancy dressed to be in the east end? I think that it is possible, even, that Tumblety had on the same cloths he wore the 7th when he was arrested that he wore when he picked up Kelly.

Did Huctchinson drink and had he been drinking the night he said he saw Kelly?

Your friend, Brad

DVV
06-22-2009, 10:56 PM
Hi Brad,

I'm with Ben, for Astrakhan man has little to do with Tumblety.
Did Hutch drink that night ?
Imo he did - but never said so, unless I missed something.

Amitiés moun colègo,
David

Sam Flynn
06-22-2009, 11:11 PM
Hello Garry,It was at this point that I began writing to such Ripper luminaries as Robin Odell, Colin Wilson and Joe Gaute in the expectation of discerning evidence to corroborate either Hutchinson’s integrity or the concatenation he described to Abberline. To my amazement, I discovered that no such evidence existed.None existed, or none survived? Given the depleted state of the Ripper Files, I think we can only assume the latter, unless good reason (or evidence!) suggests otherwise.

BTW, I have little doubt that Hutchinson's story is a load of baloney.

celee
06-23-2009, 12:15 AM
Hi Brad,

I'm with Ben, for Astrakhan man has little to do with Tumblety.
Did Hutch drink that night ?
Imo he did - but never said so, unless I missed something.

Amitiés moun colègo,
David


Thanks for your responce. I been told to share my thoughts so, I am thinking, since Tumblety claimed that he was questioned concerning the Kelly murder because of the style of hat he wore. maybe a witness describtion was used. Two Witnesses Sarah Lewis and George Hutchinson come to mind.

If Hutchinson was drinking it is possible he got some details wrong.

Your friend, Brad

Ben
06-23-2009, 02:16 AM
Hi Brad,

Tumblety was known for his fancy dress in the past, but when interviewed by the press in connection with the Whitechapel murders in 1888, he wasn't conspicuously attired in the slightest, and his other physical particulars (age, height, ethnicity etc) don't correspond to Mr. Astrakhan in the slightest. Tumblety complained that he was arrested on the flimsy basis that he wore a "slouch hat", despite the fact that no eyewitness, barring Packer (I think), mentioned any such headgear.

Hi David,

The St. James Gazzette attributed the following quote to Hutchinson on 14th November:

"I was quite sober, not having had anything to drink all day."

He could have invented it, of course.

All the best,
Ben

Roy Corduroy
06-23-2009, 03:10 AM
I am thinking, since Tumblety claimed that he was questioned concerning the Kelly murder because of the style of hat he wore. maybe a witness describtion was used. Two Witnesses Sarah Lewis and George Hutchinson come to mind.

Hi Brad,

Your post got me thinking, too, and I have made a poll just for this purpose. It's under Witnesses, called Hutch's Man.

Because you are barking up the wrong tree here. This is a Suspect Thread. About Hutch the mass murderer, not he the witness.

Roy

Garry Wroe
06-23-2009, 03:13 AM
Hi Richard.

Please don’t misunderstand me. In expressing scepticism regarding the prospective Hutchinson/Toppy link, I am in no way attempting to infer that Toppy was in the habit of accosting strangers in the street, regaling them with tales of how he brought about the downfall of Jack the Ripper. His recollections, or so it would seem, were reserved purely for family consumption – a way of entertaining the youngsters on cold, dark, winter evenings, perhaps. And, as I stated in an earlier post, such stories are legion in the East End and invariably lead nowhere from the standpoint of serious research.

As for the supposedly corroborative Wheeling piece, I will merely say that Joe Barnett, as a potentially important witness, would never have been permitted to testify at the Kelly inquest whilst under the influence. Indeed, given such circumstances, he would, in all probability, have been held in contempt and promptly arrested. Equally, despite having examined thousands of newspapers during my researches into the Whitechapel Murders, I cannot recall a single negative reference to Barnett in context of his inquest evidence. On the contrary. As I stated in my book, Barnett emerged from the proceedings having earned the respect of all concerned. This, I would suggest, severely militates against the Wheeling article, rendering it all but worthless from an evidential perspective.

Hi Sam.

Point taken. What I was trying to convey in such a clumsy, maladroit fashion was simply that, by his own admission, Hutchinson was present at a crime scene at a time critical to a Ripper murder and yet had simply been taken at his word by not only the police, but generation after generation of Ripperologists. Prior to contacting those in the know, my assumption was that some exonerating factor had surfaced during the police investigation – a piece of information so compelling that it left no question as to Hutchinson’s veracity. It emerged, however, that no such information was known to exist. Of course, recent findings demonstrate that the police did not accept Hutchinson’s version of events uncritically. But since no policeman has publicly expressed misgivings about Hutchinson, it seems highly unlikely that he ever fell under suspicion at a senior police level. As such, the primary issue is to determine why official doubt was cast on Hutchinson’s story, and whether, given his apparent fall from grace, he was ever properly investigated.

Regards,

Garry Wroe.

celee
06-23-2009, 04:08 AM
Hi Brad,

Tumblety was known for his fancy dress in the past, but when interviewed by the press in connection with the Whitechapel murders in 1888, he wasn't conspicuously attired in the slightest, and his other physical particulars (age, height, ethnicity etc) don't correspond to Mr. Astrakhan in the slightest. Tumblety complained that he was arrested on the flimsy basis that he wore a "slouch hat", despite the fact that no eyewitness, barring Packer (I think), mentioned any such headgear.

Hi David,

The St. James Gazzette attributed the following quote to Hutchinson on 14th November:

"I was quite sober, not having had anything to drink all day."

He could have invented it, of course.

All the best,
Ben

Hi Ben,

Thanks for your reply. People for the longest time have down played Tumblety because they claim he was to flamboyant and would stand out in a crowd. Now you are suggesting he would not have been dressed fancy.

I am just thinking to much again. You know if you get a chance check out some of my new threads I have started. I respect your opinion and would be interested to know what you think. I think the casebook is still a good learning source and we can all learn things from eachother.

Your friend, Brad

Archaic
06-23-2009, 04:29 AM
I have a question regarding the manner and processes by which the police judged the relative worth of witness statements and the credibility of the witnesses.

If Hutchinson had lied or "fibbed" about some other, perhaps 'noncritical' aspect of his story, and the police had subsequently uncovered the discrepancy, would they then throw ALL of his testimony out the window?

Completely Hypothetical Example: Hutch testified that he had just gone down to Romford and come back, and that's why he was tired, broke & had no lodgings.
>What if the police discovered this part wasn't true?
What if the police went down to Romford & Hutch's sister and everyone said he had not been down lately?

>And what if the police had a tip that Hutch had actually spent the day elsewhere, doing something he couldn't be proud of: gambling, visiting a brothel, or having an affair with another man's wife... in other words, doing something entirely unrelated to the murder but which he was too embarrassed to admit- would the police then dismiss his entire story?

If so, the critical part of Hutch's story could still be perfectly true, but the damage to his credibility as a witness for any police purposes would have been significant.

Best regards, Archaic

richardnunweek
06-23-2009, 11:21 AM
Hi Garry,
I accept the word 'Gossip' in relation to the Wheeling Register, however although it seems likely that the inquest report concerning Barnett was 'overdone', there is still the fact that he appeared to have great difficulty in getting through his statement at the inquest, it was noted that he always repeated the last word of a sentence, in starting another, and was clearly nevous, and clearly stressed.
Therefore it is no wonder the coroner praised him for what must have been a very disturbing experience , it was stated in one report that he was even confused what he had to do when holding the bible , i believe he kissed it , and handed it back initially.
All of this could well have given the impression that he had sunk a few.
But the gossip that mentioned a payment to a 'clever individual' has been confirmed, has it not by a relation to a man named Hutchinson?, who has exactly the same surname as the witness that the Wheeling Register was talking about.
So this was not invented, it appears to have been truth, how they got hold of that information , i have not a clue, from Hutch himself , or one of his associates perhaps.
But we have Toppings eldest son , stating[ not just in Faircloughs book , but approx 18 years earlier] that his father used to mention that payment in the 1920s/30s, and as that sum one hundred shillings, roughly is equivilent to the Wheelings description of 'five times a weeks wage', surely that is as near as damm proof that he was the witness.
Ben keeps saying 'Yes but no police force would pay a witness for their help' and follow on with especially as he was 'unemployed'.
I can only say that by Hutchinsons own statement , he suggests that he had at least some money when going TO Romford, also as a regular at The Victoria home, he had to have been vetted as a man of regular income, as he would not have been allowed to be a resident, infact correct me if i am wrong , but i believe the police had connection in vetting dwellers there?
Summing up I find the argument that George Hutchinson, was not a regular worker , somewhat strange, as it all points to the contary.
A character referance for Topping , albeit by his own flesh and blood, has him as a hard working man , hardly if ever out ofwork.
A perfect resident for the Victoria Home, i would suggest.
Regards Richard.

Ben
06-23-2009, 01:36 PM
All of this could well have given the impression that he had sunk a few.

Absolutely no way, Richard.

If Barnett had given the impression of being "furiously drunk" at the inquest, there is no way the coroner would have congratulated him on giving his evidence well. The overwhelmingly logical deduction is that Barnett was not furiously drunk at the inquest and the journalists at the Wheeling Register were simply talking nonsense.

And speaking of nonsense, there is nothing remotely noteworthy or interesting about two disreputable sources independently coming up with a similar bogus story in association with a piece of witness evidence. As I've already explained, trashy crime novels are awash with stories of informants being paid off vast sums to keep quiet about something of major significance. It's the oldest trick in the book, and it becomes even more attractive when allied to an aleady bogus theory being bandied about; the Royal Conspiracy. Reg needed no inspiration whatsoever beyond this to conjur up a payment issue.

We know the Wheeling Register's claims are wrong, since the police clearly did not pay Hutchinson five times a salary they didn't believe he was earning. It doesn't "appear to have truth". We know otherwise, but again, it seems likely that the motivation for the invention was the same. There is absolutely no interesting "coincidence" here.

sum one hundred shillings, roughly is equivilent to the Wheelings description of 'five times a weeks wage'

NO IT ISN'T!!!

Hutchinson wasn't taking home a weekly wage, which means he would not have been entitled to five times that non-existent wage. That's not remotely compatible with a 100 shillings figure. I've explained this an absurd amount of times now. Yes, I share your doubts that Hutchinson was unemployed at the time, but the only thing we need to be aware of his that the police really believed he was unemployed, albeit initially, and it would have been the police who dished out any cash on offer.

Summing up I find the argument that George Hutchinson, was not a regular worker,somewhat strange

It's not an "argument". It's what Hutchinson himself told Abberline. Of course, if you think Hutchinson lied about that...

All the best,
Ben

Ben
06-23-2009, 01:39 PM
Hi Archaic,

I'd say it's perfectly possible that the police dismissed Hutchinson as a publicity seeker who wasn't even there at all after discovering that he lied about certain aspects of his actions and movements, and yes, they may have done so in error, since many of the core components - such as his superficially "corroborated" presence opposite Miller's Court as seen by Lewis - may well have been true.

All the best,
Ben

perrymason
06-24-2009, 02:37 AM
Hi Archaic,

I'd say it's perfectly possible that the police dismissed Hutchinson as a publicity seeker who wasn't even there at all after discovering that he lied about certain aspects of his actions and movements, and yes, they may have done so in error, since many of the core components - such as his superficially "corroborated" presence opposite Miller's Court as seen by Lewis - may well have been true.

All the best,
Ben

My favorite post of your view on this Ben, you have captured neutrality and hit key points.

As you know, Im inclined to throw it all in the bin...but good post.:pleased:

All the best mate.

Sam Flynn
06-25-2009, 12:37 AM
I'd say it's perfectly possible that the police dismissed Hutchinson as a publicity seeker who wasn't even there at all after discovering that he lied about certain aspects of his actions and movements, and yes, they may have done so in error, since many of the core components... may well have been true.
Unfortunately, Ben, many of his core components bear an uncanny resemblance to stories concerning Kelly's movements, and descriptions of sinister men, which were splashed all over the popular press in the days leading up to Hutch's going to the police.

Ben
06-25-2009, 01:09 AM
That's true, Gareth.

Although, as you may have guessed, I was thinking of one "core component" in particular when I made the above observation; his presence outside a crime scene (and apparant interest in same) as seemingly corroborated by Sarah Lewis. I just can't dismiss that as random, unrelated coincidence, however hard I try.

All the best,
Ben

Sam Flynn
06-25-2009, 01:44 AM
That's true, Gareth.

Although, as you may have guessed, I was thinking of one "core component" in particular when I made the above observation; his presence outside a crime scene (and apparant interest in same) as seemingly corroborated by Sarah Lewis. I just can't dismiss that as random, unrelated coincidence, however hard I try.

All the best,
BenIndeed, Ben - but then Hutchinson doesn't mention seeing Lewis's arrival, either, so we're quits :) Consider the following:

1. Lewis seems to see bogey-men everywhere, and - if she's one and the same as "Mrs Kennedy", which I'm sure she was - this seems to have been something of an obsession with her;

2. In her original police statement, Lewis initially says that Mr Wideawake was talking to a woman, but that last bit is struck out, which doesn't augur well for her reliability;

3. Intriguingly, the East London Advertiser, reporting Lewis's inquest testimony, has her stating that she saw two men around Miller's Court that night: "When she went into the court she saw a man standing outside the lodging-house door. He was not very tall, but was stout looking. He wore a black suit and had a black hat. The man was looking very eagerly up the court as if he was waiting for somebody to come out. She also saw another rather young looking man". Hadn't spotted that before - and it seems an unlikely invention on the part of the journalist if you ask me;

4. Even more intriguingly, Mrs Cox describes blotchy as "short, stout... wearing a billycock hat", and Lewis describes her man as "stout, but not very tall, wearing a wideawake". Did Lewis latch onto part of Cox's story?;

5. Dorset Street was renowned for its doss-houses, so the odds of someone standing at Crossingham's door (which faced the entrance to Miller's Court by default) at the time Lewis passed wouldn't have been particularly low. The narrowness of the street could easily give the impression that someone standing outside Crossingham's doorway was looking up the Court, even if they weren't.

Ben
06-25-2009, 02:33 AM
Hi Gareth,

Indeed, Ben - but then Hutchinson doesn't mention seeing Lewis's arrival, either, so we're quits

Most probably through fear of making it appear too obvious that his hand was forced as a result of her evidence, not that I'm remotely convinced that he really did neglect to mention Lewis.

Lewis seems to see bogey-men everywhere, and - if she's one and the same as "Mrs Kennedy", which I'm sure she was - this seems to have been something of an obsession with her

Personally, I think Mrs. Kennedy was a separate entity - someone who learned of Lewis' evidence and attempted to pass it off as her own. A reporter from The Star observed that one of the "oh murder" accounts was being parroted, and since there are no press accounts that even vaguely resemble Prater's, it could only have been Lewis' account that was being Chinese Whispered in the manner described by The Star. There's only Mrs. Kennedy who could fit the bill in that regard.

In her original police statement, Lewis initially says that Mr Wideawake was talking to a woman, but that last bit is struck out, which doesn't augur well for her reliability

Bear in mind that she had just described a man talking to a female outside Ringers'. It's quite possible that the statement-taker confounded the two sightings (Ringers and Crossingham's) when committing Lewis' recollections to paper.

She also saw another rather young looking man

But that's consistent everywhere.

In every Sarah Lewis account, she speaks of a "young man" who "passed along" with a woman. That's not a journalistic invention.

Mrs Cox describes blotchy as "short, stout... wearing a billycock hat", and Lewis describes her man as "stout, but not very tall, wearing a wideawake". Did Lewis latch onto part of Cox's story?

I'd say it's more likely that the descriptions are similar on account of their having seen the same man.

Dorset Street was renowned for its doss-houses, so the odds of someone standing at Crossingham's door (which faced the entrance to Miller's Court by default) at the time Lewis passed wouldn't have been particularly low.

It's not just the man's presence that establishes a disturbing congruity between Lewis' man and Hutchinson's account of his own movements; it's their ostensibly "shared" preoccupation with Miller's Court. The chances of two separate individuals having that same preoccupation at the same time and more or less the same location must be regarded as very slim indeed. I'm not sure why a proliferation of doss houses would increase the likelihood of anyone standing outside them, especially as there was nothing preventing free entry into the lodging house kitchen.

Best regards,
Ben

perrymason
06-25-2009, 02:41 AM
4. Even more intriguingly, Mrs Cox describes blotchy as "short, stout... wearing a billycock hat", and Lewis describes her man as "stout, but not very tall, wearing a wideawake". Did Lewis latch onto part of Cox's story?;




A good question indeed Sam if I may interject here, however it may also be seen as somewhat timely based on the reported status of Marys room after 1:30am.....meaning, Lewis's sighting could well have been Blotchy Face outside Marys room. Maybe not content with being shown the door near to the time Elizabeth climbs the stairs....and perhaps considering popping back in uninvited later...since if he hadnt known Mary lived alone when arriving at room 13, he likely did soon thereafter.

I see his "escorting" a hammered Mary through her own doorway, him closing the door behind them....appearing to want to get away from the company of Ms Cox....as having a potentially lascivious undertone.

But if its Mary that cries out at 3:45am, he definitively still hasnt killed her.. yet.:pleased:

"oh-murder....I thought I told you to go home,.. Im sleeping".

You know me Sam:laugh4: ....all the best

Jon Guy
06-25-2009, 12:18 PM
there was nothing preventing free entry into the lodging house kitchen.


Hi Ben

Could someone stay after 2.00 am in the kitchen without doss money?

Just before 1.45am, John Evans went to the kitchen to ask Annie Chapman if she had any money, she then left saying keep my bed I will be back with money. Not number 35 Dorset St but still a Crossingham`s L.H.

Sadler too, was turfed out of the Lodging House when he had no money.

I do see it as perfectly reasonable that someone should be propping themselves up in the doorway at that time of the morning with nowhere else to go.

Ben
06-25-2009, 01:57 PM
Hi Jon,

There's no evidence that Chapman was "turfed out" of the lodging house. She left of her own volition because she knew, or was alerted to the fact, that if she didn't procure money for her doss soon, they would let the bed she usually occupied. She wasn't told to leave, at least not according to three press reports I've just dredged up from The Times, The Daily Telegraph, and the Morning Advertiser.

Sadler was turned away on account of his bloodstained, beaten appearance; the deputy fearing, with some justification, that the other lodgers would conclude that "his injuries had been done in the house".

It simply wasn't the case that Hutchinson had "nowhere else to go". At the very least, he could secure a roof over his head. His very own lodging house, the Victoria Home, allowed access to the downstairs kitchen. The doorkeeper was only stationed at the foot of the stairs leading up to the rooms to prevent access to non ticket-holders.

All the best,
Ben

Garry Wroe
06-25-2009, 06:30 PM
Hi Ben.

In actuality, regular patrons of given lodging houses were generally allowed free use of the kitchen area, but only until a certain time, at which point they were either expected to pay for a bed or leave the premises. Had it not been so, most kitchens would have been piled to the rafters with non-paying customers seeking free shelter for the night.

As for Hutchinson, he claimed that the Victoria Home was “closed” when he left Miller’s Court, as a consequence of which he walked about all night and only returned “when it opened in the morning”.

Regards.

Garry Wroe.

perrymason
06-26-2009, 02:04 AM
Hi all,

I just posted this point on a related thread but felt that it is an important consideration in this one too.

George Hutchinson was on Monday night, the 12th of November 1888, a godsend. He was taken for a man that spoke the truth, and his story immediately was acted upon by the authorities as it was, if true, a fabulous clue to the potential killers identity....the acute description of Astrakan almost ensured that this suspect could be found.

But when they investigated it, within 72 hours, he was discredited.

The key here being that we can be certain they did investigate this witness and his story as fully as they were able to. That investigation resulted in his dismissal.

I think the only reason it seems fast is because his story was of such perceived value that they immediately followed this important lead to the hilt. Some other witnesses and their stories did not get that kind of immediacy from the police,.....even though in retrospect, they may have been far better leads to pursue.

Best regards all.

DVV
06-27-2009, 12:11 AM
Hi Mike,

that's a very nice post (excellents points).
But are we sure he has been "dismissed" properly ? Certainly the police started to "doubt" (and perhaps "seriously")...
But why?
We can't know for sure, but the discrepancies between the police statements and the press reports might have been the main reason, or one of the reasons.
And perhaps more importantly, the very fact Hutch talked to the press could well have disgusted the police.

Hutch was supposed to be the hunter, and anonymous one, ignored by his prey.
Talking to the press, he gave his prey the oportunity to flee, hide, etc., and ran the risk to become the prey.

Amitiés,
David

perrymason
06-27-2009, 01:37 AM
Thanks for the support David, and I think yes, we can be sure he was at least discarded as a witness, and therefore their comments, re:discredited, make sense.

Im starting to apply the "what is" rule with these murders, what is is that George was said to be dicreditted, and Israel wasnt called at the Stride Inquest,, and Packer was not believed........barring anmy evidence that might suggest otherwise.

Should GH have been tossed aside, or is he really of value, or are parts of his story still credible if others are not?

My guess is yes, no, and no. Based almost solely on their treatment of his by November the 15th-16th.

All the best mon ami, cheers.

Garry Wroe
06-27-2009, 03:41 AM
Hi Richard.

Given our previous discussion relating to the unreliability of anecdotal evidence, particularly that which has been passed down through the intrafamilial route, I thought that the following account, provided to Dan Farson by the niece of Mary Ann Cox, might be of interest:-

"The night of the murder of Mary Kelly my aunt was very young, just married with one child. She was standing at her door and waiting for her husband who was a bit of a boozer. She saw Mary coming through the iron gate with this gentleman, a real toff. Mary was always bringing home men, mostly seamen from a pub called the Frying Pan, singing and holding their arms with a bottle of gin under her arm. This night as they got under the lamp in the court they stopped. Mary's words were "all right love don't pull me along". My aunt said they were only a few yards away from her, at the door she said she saw him as plain as looking at her hand. He was a fine looking man, wore an overcoat with a cape, high hat, not a silk one, and a Gladstone bag. As they went into the house, Mary called out "goodnight" to my aunt."

She also added that her aunt heard 'terrible screams from Mary, but no one took any notice because it happened often'. Finally, she is quoted as saying this about the discovery of Kelly's body:

"Now next morning a Mrs Storey who was always in and out of Mary's room to have a pinch of snuff and a chat, was the first person to find the terrible body. Mary had a string on the door so anybody visiting had no need to knock. She dashed next door to my aunt and they both went in. My aunt never forgot the sight she saw.”

As I’m sure will be immediately apparent, virtually every detail has either been grossly exaggerated or distorted to the point of untruth – a perfect illustration, I would suggest, of the inherent unreliability of second-, third- and fourth-generation anecdotal evidence.

Regards.

Garry Wroe.

perrymason
06-27-2009, 04:18 AM
Just saw my last post....and my apologies for the spelling errors....discredited, and any for anmy.

All the best

Sam Flynn
06-27-2009, 07:42 PM
As I’m sure will be immediately apparent, virtually every detail has either been grossly exaggerated or distorted to the point of untruth.[/SIZE][/FONT]
More damningly, most of it seems to be pure invention.

perrymason
06-27-2009, 08:56 PM
In an effort to punch my prior point that David picked up on, as it relates directly to the thread question,.....the potential for the information that Hutchinson gives to be "case breaking" is clear,...Ive never read a more detailed suspect description in any cases Ive read about.

So he was dismissed quickly because his story was investigated quickly. That being said they did not officially step back from his suspect until late on the 15th or 16th....which would suggest that they dismissed his story after they had spent nearly 72 hours investigating it.

These facts lead one to conclude that the dismissal was warranted, not rushed,... at least in the opinions of the men he talked to, and that investigated his story.

Best regards all.

Garry Wroe
06-27-2009, 09:00 PM
Precisely, Sam. And we have no way of knowing whether these inaccuracies originated with Mrs Cox, her niece, or a combination of the two – which is why I have repeatedly advocated a circumspect approach with regard to the Toppy claims.

Regards.

Garry Wroe.

richardnunweek
06-27-2009, 11:05 PM
Hello Garry,
Ninety per cent of what you wrote I was well aware of , but who was Mrs Storey?, and whats this about a piece of string, I am totally bewildered.
I am beginning to believe we are totally ignorant. of anything that happened that night in millers court....totally on the wrong wavelength..all of us
Regards Richard.

Sam Flynn
06-28-2009, 12:26 AM
who was Mrs Storey?Interestingly, Rich, there was a Bridget Storey, aged 34, who lived at nearby Paternoster Row in November 1888. There's a possibility that this was the woman to whom Cox referred, albeit perhaps she wasn't a contemporary resident of Miller's Court at the time of Kelly's death. That said, she could have moved from Miller's Court to Paternoster Row shortly afterwards, I suppose.

Bridget Storey was admitted to the Whitechapel Infirmary on 21st Nov 1888, giving her address as 4, Paternoster Row. She was suffering from "tussis" (a cough), so perhaps some of her snuff had gone down the wrong way! :)and whats this about a piece of stringNo mention was made of it at the time, but the "window trick" was described to some extent - and no piece of string was involved. Sounds made up to me, as does the jolly tableau of the drunken sailors staggering home from the Frying Pan on Mary's arm (...how stereotyped is that? They were probably singing "Yo Ho!" as well ;)). The mention of an iron gate at the entrance to Miller's Court is clearly fictitious, as is the dialogue between Kelly and Mr Astrakhan... oops! but Cox didn't see her with Mr Astrakhan, did she? Also, the stor(e)y of Mary dishing out snuff to impromptu visitors seems to have crept in from nowhere, but there's no mention of "Only a Violet", which you'd think Cox would have remembered. To make up for that, Cox somehow "remembers" hearing Mary scream.. it's just a pity she'd forgotten about the screams at the time of the murder!

perrymason
06-28-2009, 02:31 AM
...... it's just a pity she'd forgotten about the screams at the time of the murder!

I dont think any single witness that we study here is beyond being effected by the details of others stories to some degree, or to some embelishments....Astrakan may have only come to him after he had first boarded the vehicle that he thought verifies his story, Wideawake Hat man.

Mary Ann isnt the "ear-witness" to anything that night Sam, only the singing going on as she passed, when it was,... and to the light seen inside, when it was lit.

Elizabeth Prater is in the same house, and Sarah Lewis is almost across from Marys door, the same 2 witnesses that are in close proximity to room 13 oddly enough. Yet Neither say the sound was from Marys room. Sarah,... "as if at her door", and Liz,... "as from the court".

I support both their sound accounts, and yet point out that it needn't have been Mary crying out. Since no noise followed that call, it would seem no attack did.

But a woman may have uttered that in shock from the courtyard that wasnt Mary Kelly.

Best regards Sam.

Garry Wroe
06-28-2009, 06:32 AM
Hi Richard, Sam, All.

Contrary to what has been assumed, I’m inclined to think that it is Blotchy rather than the Jewish-looking suspect who underwent the somewhat spectacular metamorphosis at the hands of Mrs Cox’s niece. I have nothing to substantiate this surmise beyond a gut feeling, however.

The piece of string is an interesting one. There has been a good deal of conjecture about the method by which Mary Kelly secured her room after her key went missing. Whilst some sources mentioned a spring lock, others (Barnett included) referred to a bolt. Recently, though, I discovered that both terms were interchangeable descriptors for a locking mechanism that looks very much as though it was the precursor to the modern-day night-latch (see below). The bolt was spring-mounted, ensuring that it self-actuated whenever the door was closed. To disengage it, one simply pulled the chain and the bolt slid back into a neutral position. As I understand it, a piece of string was often attached to the chain for ease of use. In Kelly’s case, this would have made even more sense since one end of the string could have been left close to the broken window pane, thereby rendering this mode of access simpler and possibly less dangerous.

Whether Kelly did indeed attach a piece of string to the lock is, of course, open to debate. But at least the apparent contradiction between the bolt and spring lock appears to have been resolved.

Regards.

Garry Wroe.

Garry Wroe
06-28-2009, 06:38 AM
Apologies for the above. Another gold medal for incompetence. Now I'm off for a pinch of snuff ...

richardnunweek
06-28-2009, 11:16 AM
Hi Garry ,
If a peice of string was attached to the chain , and was near the broken window, it would indeed make sense, however surely that could not have been evident when the police arrived, for surely entrance to the room would have been quite easy to see.
I am intriqued about the report of a Mrs storey, and Cox, actually entering the room, surely that was not likely, although one report did say, that residents of the court were concerned about Marys well being,, and reported no one could make her hear, and upon this reported to her landlord., and because of this Bowyer was sent to check.
This however appears to be incorrect, but as i said earlier, i believe we are proberly miles away from the actual events of that night/morning.
Regards Richard.

Rosey O'Ryan
06-28-2009, 08:14 PM
In an effort to punch my prior point that David picked up on, as it relates directly to the thread question,.....the potential for the information that Hutchinson gives to be "case breaking" is clear,...Ive never read a more detailed suspect description in any cases Ive read about.

So he was dismissed quickly because his story was investigated quickly. That being said they did not officially step back from his suspect until late on the 15th or 16th....which would suggest that they dismissed his story after they had spent nearly 72 hours investigating it.

These facts lead one to conclude that the dismissal was warranted, not rushed,... at least in the opinions of the men he talked to, and that investigated his story.

Best regards all.

Perry Mason,
Your post raises a number of questions, firstly, how long did it take the police investigation to interview other witnesses about the area of Miller's Court, considering the in-depth detail supplied by Hutch? You surmise approx. 72hrs at the least. I think you are right in your surmise...but Jack was lonnnnggg gone, before Hutch appeared on the scene, so to speak.
Rosey :-)

perrymason
06-28-2009, 08:42 PM
Perry Mason,
Your post raises a number of questions, firstly, how long did it take the police investigation to interview other witnesses about the area of Miller's Court, considering the in-depth detail supplied by Hutch? You surmise approx. 72hrs at the least. I think you are right in your surmise...but Jack was lonnnnggg gone, before Hutch appeared on the scene, so to speak.
Rosey :-)

Hi Rosey,

That figure of 72 hours is the approximate time that George Hutchinsons story was apparently believed by the investigators, as we dont see anything from them until I believe late on the 15th or early the 16th that he was "discredited" as a witness.

We can see that they felt the witness was still very useful on Monday night, more than 72 hours after finding her...perhaps if only for the short term assuming they could bring some men in for him to identify. He said he was sure he would recognize the man again. I dont think any other witness who saw a suspect last with a victim said that, if memory serves.

We know that the people who appeared at the Inquest Monday were felt to be credible evidence......(other than Mrs Maxwell, judging by the comments introducing her testimony...perhaps she was just deemed honest but somehow mistaken), so we can assume they were checked out over the weekend for opinions about their character.

They jumped on the witness sighting portion with George....maybe at the expense of first reviewing whether he was worth their extension of belief...as it seems the Inquest witnesses received.

Best regards

Sam Flynn
06-28-2009, 08:47 PM
We know that the people who appeared at the Inquest Monday were felt to be credible evidence... so we can assume they were checked out over the weekend for opinions about their character.
I'm not so sure the police would have had the time, resources or inclination to perform character-checks on every witness, Mike. On any witness, come to that - especially considering the pressure they must have been under at that time.

perrymason
06-28-2009, 09:05 PM
I'm not so sure the police would have had the time, resources or inclination to perform character-checks on every witness, Mike. On any witness, come to that - especially considering the pressure they must have been under at that time.

Hi Sam,

My thinking is that on the weekend, those witnesses were believed all they were going to get, so I think if focussed on their potential viability to put on the stand, the police could interview a few people known by most witnesses on Saturday and Sunday. They had interviewed the witnesses themselves Friday, and they did have that weekend to organize themselves enough to think they could mount an Inquest on the very first business day after the murder.

They were dealing with fixed address witnesses for the most part too....enabling some neighbors to perhaps know them better than a roommate at the lodging house might.

But Georges value wasnt necessarily long term....I think thats the way they saw his tale at first....he could and would identify who he saw if they could find him....maybe that search for possibles was their way of feeling his story out....but they had to act on it right away, having lost 3 days already. If the man he said hed seen hadnt fled by Monday,....its not a stretch to think hed leave his coat, his spats and his horse head pin in the closet from Tuesday or Wednes on anyway.:pleased:

Cheers Sam.

Garry Wroe
06-29-2009, 02:13 AM
Hi Richard.

The point of the ‘niece’ post was not to introduce a possible alternative to the scenario already associated with the Kelly murder, but rather to emphasize the extent to which established facts can be distorted via the process of oral transmission. We know, for example, that Mrs Cox heard no scream or happened upon Mary Jane’s body, and yet such claims were being passed on as ‘fact’ a few decades later. My post, therefore, was simply an illustration as to the unreliability of the type of oral history that is presently being accorded so much gravitas by proponents of the ‘Toppy was Hutchinson’ argument.

As for the piece of string, I take on board your observation that, had it existed, it would have been spotted by Abberline and colleagues as they waited outside Kelly’s room prior to entering the crime scene. But perhaps it was. As I argued in my book, even though the window frame was removed prior to anyone entering the room, ingress was only possible after John McCarthy broke down the door with a pickaxe. Then, once inside, Abberline conducted an extensive search for a key, the implication being that the door had not only been bolted, but locked via the mortise mechanism also attached to the door. If so, then maybe Abberline did try to disengage the bolt, as you suggest, and only ordered a forced entry once he realized that a key had been used on the door.

Hi Mike.

In point of fact, if you’d care to check one of my earlier posts, you’ll see that, if The Echo is to be believed, the authorities were viewing Hutchinson’s claims with some scepticism by 13 November – within twenty-four hours of the memo in which Abberline stated his belief that Hutchinson was a credible witness.

Regards.

Garry Wroe.

Sam Flynn
06-29-2009, 02:28 AM
For info, Garry, I'm a proponent of the "Toppy was Hutchinson" argument who doesn't in the least believe the bulk of the Reg Hutchinson story - at least, not as it comes across in The Ripper & The Royals.

Garry Wroe
06-29-2009, 10:30 AM
I’m aware of that, Sam, thanks. By the way, are you still of the opinion that Mrs Cox’s niece was referring to the Jewish-looking suspect, or might there be something in my admittedly intuitive belief that she was describing Blotchy?

Regards.

Garry Wroe.

richardnunweek
06-29-2009, 11:20 AM
Hi Garry,
I am somewhat confused, are we absolutely certain that the window frame was removed? I believe that the entire window was boarded up before the scene was departed, leaving just a couple of burly policeman to watch over the scene.
The key mystery is still just that.
Could that lock be opened if one had access to the inside without a key?
If so why was the door not opened by hand?
If the door was locked by a key from the outside, would that prevent opening from the inside, without having that key?
If the former...Why force the door?
If the latter... if the killer had the key to room 13, he either took it off the victim, and locked the door on his way out, or he had the key that was lost according to Barnett all along, which if so would hint at premeditation.
We have to fully understand the key mystery, for it is obvious, that the police must have tried to enter the room via the window, before asking McCarthy to gain forceable entry,
Confusing....
Regards Richard.

Sam Flynn
06-29-2009, 11:35 AM
By the way, are you still of the opinion that Mrs Cox’s niece was referring to the Jewish-looking suspect, or might there be something in my admittedly intuitive belief that she was describing Blotchy?Possibly, Garry - although there's more of Hutchinson's man in this description than Blotchy, I feel:

"She saw Mary... with this gentleman, a real toff. This night as they got under the lamp in the court they stopped. Mary's words were "all right love don't pull me along"...He was a fine looking man, wore an overcoat with a cape, high hat, not a silk one, and a Gladstone bag."

If you swap "respectable" for "fine looking", "high hat (not silk)" with "felt hat turned down in the middle", and "Gladstone bag" with "parcel with a kind of strap on it", it's practically the bogey-man himself! Even the tenor of the conversation under the lamp* is similar to the one Hutchinson claims to have heard. Either way, this "real toff" has more of Astrakhan about him than the ragged-trousered piss-artist carrying the 'top of reeb' reported by Mrs Cox at the time of the murder.


* albeit the lamp in Hutchinson's story was in Commercial Street, not Miller's Court.

Garry Wroe
06-29-2009, 02:14 PM
Hi Sam.

Firstly, what I intended to write earlier was ‘some proponents’. So, apologies for that. I think it was the shock of seeing Johnny Rotten on TV a little earlier fronting a butter advertisement …

Anyway, thanks for your response to my earlier question regarding the narrative of Mrs Cox’s niece. As I stated, mine was no more than an automatic assumption. But you certainly make a good case in favour of the Jewish-looking suspect. I’m in two minds at present. It just reinforces my belief that everything Ripper ought to be checked, double-checked, then cross-checked. Much like one’s choice of candidate for butter adverts …

By the way, nice coster slang.

Regards.

Garry Wroe.

Garry Wroe
06-29-2009, 02:21 PM
Hi Richard.

You make some extremely pertinent points regarding Kelly’s door and the issues surrounding the missing key. For a more detailed analysis, might I suggest that you consult the relevant chapters here …

http://www.casebook.org/ripper_media/book_reviews/non-fiction/garrywroe_full2.html

… and there are doubtless archived threads here on site dealing with the same.

To briefly address your questions, however, it is certainly true that Abberline and a retinue of onlookers stood outside Kelly’s room for quite some time whilst awaiting the arrival of the bloodhounds. At some point, the frame was removed from the window aperture and a number of photographs were taken of the crime scene. When finally the order was given to enter the room, it was discovered that the door was either locked or, as some would have it, bolted. It was at this juncture that John McCarthy fetched a pickaxe from his shop and broke open the door. Once inside the room, Abberline, according to a number of newspaper accounts, made a fruitless search for the missing key.

As an experienced detective, Abberline would have been perfectly familiar with the kind of spring lock clearly visible through the empty window aperture. Indeed, given that Kelly herself had during the preceding two weeks experienced little difficulty in reaching in through the broken window pane to disengage the bolting mechanism, it would have represented an example of rank incompetence had it not occurred to Abberline to do the same. And yet the door had to be forced, and, once it had, Abberline conducted a search for a key. The only possible conclusion to be drawn from such, I would suggest, is that the door was not only bolted, but locked, too. And since the only key to the room was that which had been ‘mislaid’ by Kelly some two weeks prior to her death, one can only assume that this was the key that was used on the mortise lock.

So, unless the reports of Abberline’s search for the key were in error, one is bound to conclude that the killer somehow came into possession of Kelly’s key and, after murdering her, used it to lock the door on departing the crime scene. And this, as you correctly observed, is indicative of premeditation.

Regards.

Garry Wroe.

Fisherman
06-29-2009, 02:32 PM
Garry Wroe writes:

"virtually every detail has either been grossly exaggerated or distorted to the point of untruth – a perfect illustration, I would suggest, of the inherent unreliability of second-, third- and fourth-generation anecdotal evidence"

...and thus, it serves well to remind us that we ought to regard Reg Hutchinsons tale as a healthy helping from the same pile of garbage?

Possibly so. The trouble involved in such a stance, though, lies in the fact that once we allow ourselves to move with statistics - and statistics tell us that every time somebody succeeds to let the truth seep through the filter of time and mouth-to-mouth conveying of a story, there will be heaps of examples showing us that the original truth will end up somewhere between seriously flawed and quite inrecognizable - we give up every possibility to take any story at face value. It kind of resembles what happens when you sift for gold in a river - the few nuggets of gold will be totally outnumbered by all them pebbles.
And still, the gold is around!

When it comes to Reg´s story, I think we have TWO possible strains of alteration attached to it, and not just the normally suggested one; the one telling us how ridiculous Churchill is in the context, and how very apparent it is that it could not have been a coincidence that the Royal conspiracy was fed by Reg´s words.

The second strain of alterations is of course the long tradition of researchers agreeing on the oddity of the elements involved in the Reg Hutchinson story - this agreement has resulted in a reinforcement of the argument that it all MUST have been a load of crap from beginning to end, and it has provided Reg with a character that we have very little actual proof for: the greedy liar, prepared to go along with any suggestions from the equally sinister Fairclough, once it puts a little flesh on his wallet.

To my mind, all of this has it´s origin in the naming of Randolph Churchill, and if Randolph Churchill was named by Toppy for the simple reason that his name was the first that sprung to mind when he needed to put a name to being high up society´s ladder, then there has never been any real and relevant reason to point either Toppy or Reg out as anything but bad illustrators. That, though, has not stopped this particular tale from being the victim of precisely the thing you advice to take care of - years and years of building up a picture that may or may not be a true one.

Just like Sam, I am quite convinced that Toppy was the witness; I think the signatures put it beyond reasonable doubt. And that, of course, is why I also think we need to realize that there was at least a nugget of gold hidden among the pebbles in Reg´s washing pan. There may of course have been more gold in it than so, but it remains hard to prove.

The same applies to the suggestion that Toppy would have been asked to write his full name in the police protocol. To me it is quite obvious that he simply chose not to. Maybe the fact that he signed his wedding papers without adding his middle names has a bearing on the matter too.

The best,
Fisherman

Jane Welland
06-29-2009, 02:33 PM
Hi All

First, with regard to Mrs Cox's niece - points of similarity between this oral history and Hutchinson's witness statement are not necessarily surprising - since that very description was published in the contemporary press, which one presumes could be, and was, read by many - and in addition, circulated further by oral means. Thus points of similarity in this case may not be significant in terms of identifying the murderer.

Second, with regard to the key - I think to say 'it is' indicative of premeditation on the part of the killer of Mary Kelly if we assume he had the key (and this does seem likely) is a little too strong. It may be. That is one explanation - with very important implications. Another is, as Richard has pointed out, that the murderer took the key off the victim - she having found the key herself. We cannot know which it was - and I expect this has already been well covered by other threads elsewhere on this forum.

Jane x

richardnunweek
06-29-2009, 10:11 PM
Hello Jane, Garry.
Obviously I am well aware of all the threads on the key, that have been discussed over the years, however when one looks at it, it would appear that the police simply could not figure out how to open the door, like Kelly and Barnett used to, although that seems madness to me.
If the door was locked with a key , it would have been mentioned as a significant point at the inquest, especially as her common -law told the police the key had been missing for some time.
I could understand if fingerprinting was a issue, and the police did not wish to touch the lock, but that obviously was not the case here.
Its almost if the police were wasting time away, two and a quarter hours at a crime scene without entry is absurd, awaiting bloodhounds as an excuse is sheer incompetance.
There has to be more to events that morning then we are aware of.
Regards Richard.

Ben
06-30-2009, 02:52 AM
Hi Fisherman,

To my mind, all of this has it´s origin in the naming of Randolph Churchill, and if Randolph Churchill was named by Toppy for the simple reason that his name was the first that sprung to mind when he needed to put a name to being high up society´s ladder, then there has never been any real and relevant reason to point either Toppy or Reg out as anything but bad illustrators.

They would have to be pretty atrocious illustrators to dredge up a figure from the English aristrocracy as an Astrakhan-man comparison when nobody even vaguely similar was described by George Hutchinson. By identifiying the Jewish-looking Astrakhan man as someone who ostensibly "lived in the neighbourhood", Hutchinson effectively invalidated any potential comparison between the suspect described and an English toff from the upper classes.

Just like Sam, I am quite convinced that Toppy was the witness; I think the signatures put it beyond reasonable doubt.

I think most of us have resigned themselves to your stance on this by now, so no need to keep reinforcing it! :)

The same applies to the suggestion that Toppy would have been asked to write his full name in the police protocol. To me it is quite obvious that he simply chose not to.

Although, as Bob Hinton observed, it was "police protocol" to include full names, or at the very least full initials, when recording statement signatures. There wouldn't have been much choice in the matter, unless a strictly hypothetical Toppy-as-Hutch deliberately wished to conceal them for some reason.

Best regards,
Ben

jason_c
06-30-2009, 08:51 AM
Hello Jane, Garry.
Obviously I am well aware of all the threads on the key, that have been discussed over the years, however when one looks at it, it would appear that the police simply could not figure out how to open the door, like Kelly and Barnett used to, although that seems madness to me.
If the door was locked with a key , it would have been mentioned as a significant point at the inquest, especially as her common -law told the police the key had been missing for some time.
I could understand if fingerprinting was a issue, and the police did not wish to touch the lock, but that obviously was not the case here.
Its almost if the police were wasting time away, two and a quarter hours at a crime scene without entry is absurd, awaiting bloodhounds as an excuse is sheer incompetance.
There has to be more to events that morning then we are aware of.
Regards Richard.

Agreed Richard.

I think Abberline admitted it would have been fairly easy to open the door after it had been explained to him. No hint from Abberline that the murderer used a missing key.

If he had, the investigation would have taken a very different turn.

Fisherman
06-30-2009, 10:15 AM
Ben writes:

"They would have to be pretty atrocious illustrators to dredge up a figure from the English aristrocracy as an Astrakhan-man comparison when nobody even vaguely similar was described by George Hutchinson. By identifiying the Jewish-looking Astrakhan man as someone who ostensibly "lived in the neighbourhood", Hutchinson effectively invalidated any potential comparison between the suspect described and an English toff from the upper classes."

Been over this once or twice, have we not, Ben?
Irrespective of that, it still stands that we must allow for people to be lousy illustrators - such things are extremely common.
And, of course, it also belongs to the discussion that when we compare Hutchinsons original description of Astrakhan man with his later decision to use Churchill as a means to point out that he spoke of someone higher up the social ranks, it may well apply that Hutchinson perhaps never had seen Churchill - OR Astrakhan man. The latter may well have been an invention from beginning to end.
Craving logic from Toppy/Hutch (yes, yes, I know...) with such a background does not work to any significant extent, and dismissing Toppys mentioning of Churchill is something we just can´t do.
To my mind, the surrounding circumstances when it comes to the dismissal of Hutchinson in the Star speaks of embarrasment or annoyance on behalf of the press - I have said before that this is the reaction of a paper that has been the subject of a prank, and that does not wish to be the laugh of the press world. Reasonably, playing a prank on the police would be a risky thing to do, and therefore we may be dealing with something else, but the typical reaction is there. It is as if it had been found out that Hutchinson was an imbecile with a previous record of very flawed storytelling or something like that.
A development where the police were able to crack Hutch´s story or where Astrakhan man was found and cleared or something like that, is not a credible one, I feel - that would have made a good story in the papers, and they had invested heavily in Hutchinson and his story. Moreover, the papers were very eager to write about the Whitechapel murders. That is why I say that in some respect the papers - and quite possibly the police - were caught with their pants down in the Hutchinson affair, and they were none to eager to tell the story afterwards.
Consequentially, we may be dealing with a man (Hutch/Toppy) who said that he was there and who claimed that he had seen a very unexpected character with Kelly - but who may well have telling a load of crap.

And if this was what happened, we have a man who has claimed fame in the Ripper saga without any real reason at all. Therefore, his fictitious character - if that he was - may have gone through any sort of metamorphosis as he told the story. And maybe the Royal conspiracy (or any other surfacing thoughts along the line that the Ripper belonged to the top of society) may have had an impact on Toppys story as it was passed down to his children, many years down the road.

The more I look at this, the more trivial it seems to have spoken of Randolph Churchill on Toppys behalf, and the less damning it becomes that Reg recalled it as he dealt with Fairclough. Once we realize that Toppy may have been the man who signed the police protocol without being the Dorset Street witness other than in a bogus story, we can also easily see the outlines of how Churchill entered the Ripper saga.
It all remains very fluffy and utterly unproven - no need to point that out to me! - but with a picture like this, the pieces fall in place nicely.

"as Bob Hinton observed, it was "police protocol" to include full names, or at the very least full initials, when recording statement signatures. There wouldn't have been much choice in the matter, unless a strictly hypothetical Toppy-as-Hutch deliberately wished to conceal them for some reason."

Returning, as I often do, to the Palme assasination in 1986, it was police procedure at that time to take down a written protocol of the events. And never is it of greater importance that this is done, than when the prime minister is killed!
And still, for some reason nobody wrote that protocol! It was forgotten, for some unfathomable reason.

In the case with the signatures in the police protocol connected to the Kelly murder, we have a signature that has been matched to that of Toppy by a very renowned authority. That means that the signatures are very much alike, at least in the two-dimensional version. Therefore, if we accept that the writer WAS Toppy - and I do accept that - the simple and obvious truth is that no middle names or initials were written.
My guess, in spite of Bob Hintons assertion, is that a search of this kind of material would turn up many more signatures where middle names or initials were left out. And the reasons for it would be many and differing.
And how about that marriage certificate? Was it not common procedure to write all names on that too, seeing as it was a paper of legal bearing?

The best,
Fisherman

Ben
06-30-2009, 01:19 PM
Irrespective of that, it still stands that we must allow for people to be lousy illustrators - such things are extremely common.

We must allow for it as a possibility, Fish - just a very remote one, in my view.

The latter may well have been an invention from beginning to end

Quite possibly, but it is rather too coincidental for me that the particular comparison alluded to just happened to coincide with the Royal conspiratorial musings of Melvyn Fairclough. Even if you argue that Toppy was the witness, lied about everything, and became heavily confused about which lies he told in later years, that awkward coincidence remains. Since I don't consider that coincidence to be a random one, I'm inclined to the view that Reg was responsible for the Churchillian nonsense, especially if there was the promise of public exposure and payment if he played along.

But this is all rather severely off-topic.

I have said before that this is the reaction of a paper that has been the subject of a prank

But none of the individual papers were the subject of a prank. They were simply printing information fed to them by the press association, as opposed to claiming a personal scoop as the Star did in the case of Packer. If it turned out to be a complete prank, the individual papers were perfectly at liberty to divulge as much without so much as a trace of egg on their journalistic faces. It wasn't their story, so they needn't have got upset it if it turned out to be nonsense.

Of course, none of that happened.

Instead, it would appear from the article provided by Garry that the "discrediting" process appears to have arisen from generalized mistrust, on the part of the police, of Hutchinson's story, as opposed to something that proved conclusively that he lied and wasn't there. Had the latter ocured, there was nothing preventing them from saying so. The Astrakhan-alibi scenario doesn't work for the same reason, as you pointed out.

It is very unlikely that Hutchinson lied about his actual presence there, since it would fail to account for the coincidence of detail with Sarah Lewis' account.

Returning, as I often do, to the Palme assasination in 1986, it was police procedure at that time to take down a written protocol of the events. And never is it of greater importance that this is done, than when the prime minister is killed!

Granted, but citing one well-known example of an occasion in which protocol wasn't followed doesn't invalidate the fact that it is followed the vast majority of the time. On balance, therefore, I'm inclined to believe that the correct procedure - as outlined by Bob - was followed in the case of Hutchinson's statement.

In the case with the signatures in the police protocol connected to the Kelly murder, we have a signature that has been matched to that of Toppy by a very renowned authority.

He didn't say any such thing in his initial commentary on the signatures, so if he changed his tune to eventually declaring them a "match" (he didn't), I'm not really inclined to trust him. Of course, another renowned authority examined the signatures and came to the conclusion that they didn't match. So no, I have no reason to believe they are "very much alike" at all.

But we're not doing this again, not here at least.

Therefore, if we accept that the writer WAS Toppy - and I do accept that - the simple and obvious truth is that no middle names or initials were written.

But you see, once again, we're getting back to that earlier concern I expressed that you may be allowing your "signatures conquer all" mentality to explain away all other objections to his second-hand hearsay claim to witness notoriety. The trouble with this is that as soon as you address an objection with "Yes, but the signatures match", I'll simply respond with "No, they don't" and observe that the original objection still stands on that basis. In that event, we'll end up having another repetetive signature discussion on the wrong thread, and I don't relish that prospect.

And how about that marriage certificate? Was it not common procedure to write all names on that too, seeing as it was a paper of legal bearing

Absolutely, which is why Toppy wrote his full name on his marriage certificate. "William Topping" has been chopped off for the purpose of the various comparison montages posted on the 1911 thread.

My own suggestion is that we return to the premise is this thread, which isn't concerned with Toppy signatures.

All the best,
Ben

Fisherman
06-30-2009, 02:18 PM
Bewn writes:

"We must allow for it as a possibility, Fish - just a very remote one, in my view."

You judge it, if you can, Ben - I can´t.

" Even if you argue that Toppy was the witness, lied about everything, and became heavily confused about which lies he told in later years, that awkward coincidence remains"

Who said anything about Toppy getting confused? My suggestion is that Toppy could have, quite easily, changed Astrakhan man into something more Churchillesque TO MEET THE DESIRES OF THE PREVAILING FASHION. That would have been a very unconfused thing to do.
To go along with my suggestion, though, I also propose that Churchills entering the stage in Toppys story may well have had quite an early origin.

"citing one well-known example of an occasion in which protocol wasn't followed doesn't invalidate the fact that it is followed the vast majority of the time. On balance, therefore, I'm inclined to believe that the correct procedure - as outlined by Bob - was followed in the case of Hutchinson's statement."

And a very wise thing to do it would be, Ben - up til the moment when you take a look at the signatures and realize that procedures were not followed on this particular occasion.

"He didn't say any such thing in his initial commentary on the signatures"

He worded it differently by saying that a match could not be ruled out, later on revealing that this wording was the standard wording of his department when a positive hit on the lower end of the scale was at hand. This you have treated as if Leander was reeling from side to side in his judgement, which of course is not the case at all. What it reflects is up to every discerning poster to decide for himself.
That said - and not before - I will happily drop that particular subject too.

"you see, once again, we're getting back to that earlier concern I expressed that you may be allowing your "signatures conquer all" mentality to explain away all other objections to his second-hand hearsay claim to witness notoriety"

I see, Ben. I do, however, see other things than the ones YOU see. Among the things I see is the fact that one can be sure that da Vinci painted Mona Lisa without being impossible to convince that it was in fact Rafael who did it - if the proof is there to say so.
I also see that you are very inclined to speak of me as someone who will "explain away" things given the chance, and "fit" the evidence to suit me. Moreover I see perfectly well why you choose to do so, and I´d be very surprised if I did not share that vision with a good deal of other posters who think themselves entirely entitled to a conviction without being painted out as less trustworthy.

I do not NEED to "fit" the evidence, Ben. It fit itself when Toppy signed that protocol in a manner that leaves me with no grounds to question that he was the witness. And I don´t need to "explain away" anything; the ones who are faced with two signatures that tally are the ones who are left with that specific trouble.
Whether you or I relish the prospect of discussing the matter or not has very little to do with the factualities - they don´t change because we dislike each others wiews. But I will say that I am fully aware that it is useless to argue about it with you, and I will agree that there will come nothing good from such a thing, least of all for the other posters around.

"My own suggestion is that we return to the premise is this thread"

Gladly. My contribution abut the signatures was - as you will know - made in a reply to Garry Wroe, who brought the subject up. And the significance of the question will mean that it is going to surface again, whenever Hutchinson is discussed. Some topics will - at least to me - be of a mere academic interest, given this.
As for the core issue of this thread, I stand by my suggestion that the reason for the Hutchinson scenario being so apparently "hushed" may well lie in a mutual humiliated feeling on behalf of the police and the press that they had been led astray.

The best,
Fisherman

Fisherman
06-30-2009, 02:44 PM
Just to elaborate on what I mean when I say that the police and press seemed to have felt humiliated, I think a way of exemplifying this would be to theorize that the police could have subjected Hutchinson to some sort of test that established that he did not know who Kelly was or what she looked like. If, for instance (and purely theoretically) he was shown a photo of somebody else than Kelly, and if he was fed the wrongful information that the pic WAS one of Kelly, he may have given away that he had no idea of how Kelly really looked.
In such an instance, both police and press would quickly agree that he was probably an attention-seeker, since he had actually stated that he knew Kelly well. It would, however, be hard to prove that he had intentionally led them astray, and they would have had better things to do than to waste any further time on Hutchinson, once they realized that he was a bluff. Also, it would be embarrasing for Abberline and the press to admit that they had been taken for a ride, and so they would probably act in exactly the way they did - drop it and leave it uncommented.

That is the sort of thing I think we are looking at here. And Garry Wroe´s suggestion that the police escorting Hutchinson around the East End in search of Astrakhan man may well have been the ones who realized that Hutchinson was a fraud, more or less, is a very sound one, I believe.

The best,
Fisherman

Ben
06-30-2009, 02:59 PM
Who said anything about Toppy getting confused? My suggestion is that Toppy could have, quite easily, changed Astrakhan man into something more Churchillesque TO MEET THE DESIRES OF THE PREVAILING FASHION.

Yes, but the "prevailing fashion" for upperclass Englishmen being favoured candidates for Jack the Ripper only became popular well after Toppy's death. He couldn't possibly have pandered to any prevailing fashions he wouldn't have been alive to experience, unlike Reg, who just happened to deliver the perfect upperclass gentleman candidate to a theorist who had made it perfectly clear, pre-interview, that his forthcoming non-fiction book intended to implicate precisely this group.

Coincidence? I'm strongly disinclined to think so.

And a very wise thing to do it would be, Ben - up til the moment when you take a look at the signatures and realize that procedures were not followed on this particular occasion.

I've looked at the signatures, and they have cemented my view that procedures were more than likely to have been followed correctly on this occasions.

He worded it differently by saying that a match could not be ruled out, later on revealing that this wording was the standard wording of his department when a positive hit on the lower end of the scale was at hand.

If you say something "cannot be ruled out", you're declaring it "not impossible", a stance which accurately reflects my own on the subject of the signatures. If he then upgraded to "probable", I'm afraid he radically altered the stance from his initial commentary, and the defence that "his department" are continually in the habit of altering clear-cut unambiguous definitions to mean something completely different is thoroughly unimpressive.

That said - and not before - I will happily drop that particular subject too

Thanks. I'll do the same.

the ones who are faced with two signatures that tally are the ones who are left with that specific trouble

Well, I haven't been faced with any such thing, so I'm left in no such trouble.

I've simply noticed a trend, that's all. Whenever an objection is raised to the Toppy-as-Hutch theory, you'll debate it for a while before ultimately resorting to the signatures. That's nothing remotely to do with you being "untrustworthy". It's just a recognition of the futility of the exercise, and of the inevitability that all Toppy-related discussions will eventually result in a repetetive argument about signatures and document examiners.

Best regards,
Ben

Ben
06-30-2009, 03:06 PM
Meanwhile, back on topic (;))....

I agree, it is entirely possible that the police chose to draw a discreet veil over the Hutchinson issue when the initial enthusiam for his evidence diluted to doubt and, shortly thereafter, to the ultimate rejection of his account. Certain aspects of his account were easy to contradict, such as his patently bogus claim to have approached a policeman on sunday to whom he recounted the Dorset Street sighting, but failed to go to the police station. Since policemen patrolled a delineated beat on those days, it would have been a simple case of tracking down the policeman in question and checking with him.

If false, they would have caught Hutchinson out in an obvious lie.

All the best,
Ben

Jane Welland
06-30-2009, 03:08 PM
:hiya: I don't think there's a problem with your theory per se, but I think Hutchinson must have been an extraordinarily bold bluffer if he was caught out over knowing Mary Kelly, since he volunteered to go the day following his statement to the mortuary and identify her in the company of police. Whether murderer or bystander, he surely can't have been that stupid?

Even if he was a timewaster who just wanted a look at the dead body, I can't quite see how he would have been caught out there - couldn't he have just said 'Oh yes, that's Mary alright' ? Would the police have been any the wiser?

Many things are possible - maybe Hutchinson's evidence was counteracted by another witness who came forward in response to his account who was also there and told a different tale? (just speculating here). Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Sarah Lewis say there were other people around (of which Hutchinson made no mention). Perhaps this happened and he was forced to admit that he was never there in the first place but just (say) wanted a look at the dead body?

Maybe, on the other hand, the 'discrediting' of Hutchinson has nothing much to do with him at all - maybe it was just that on balance his story had too many mismatches with other witness testimony - and was discounted on that basis.

Although the sudden turnaround with regard to Hutchinson's testimony does seem to warrant something a little more dramatic.

That's my contribution for the day, such as it is - Jane x

Fisherman
06-30-2009, 03:34 PM
Ben:

"the "prevailing fashion" for upperclass Englishmen being favoured candidates for Jack the Ripper only became popular well after Toppy's death"

Though I have seen efforts to trace the Royal conspiracy to the sixties, I think we must be well aware that we did have the well-to-do doctor suggested even before Jack was through with his killings. I don´t find it in any way impossible that the general suggestion that Jack may have been someone from the upper class may have surfaced very early on - without specifically pinning the Royals.

"If you say something "cannot be ruled out", you're declaring it "not impossible", a stance which accurately reflects my own on the subject of the signatures. If he then upgraded to "probable", I'm afraid he radically altered the stance from his initial commentary"

Ben, what you are doing here is trusting your own semantics. And Leander made it pretty clear that his department had another interpretation of "cannot be ruled out" - it was a way of saying that a hit was at hand.
He was very adamant in telling us this.

Of course, you have two options here. You either believe that the phrase never meant to point to a hit, in which case you choose to call Leander a liar. Or you say thank you very much for elaborating and making things clear to a layman. There exists, of course, a third possibility, and that would be that I am a liar, and that I "fit" the evidence in this case. Since the SKL and Leander are publically advertised on the net, I think that anybody can find out for themselves if this third possibility applies or not.

As for the other two, the best way to establish which option would be the true one is to take a look at Leanders position, reputation and career and ask yourself for what reason he would lie in this case.

I can´t come up with any such reason at all, but perhaps you can?

I can understand if a poster uses a method of discrediting people when he needs to play down the value of evidence given. And there is no rule telling us that we may not engage in such things. It´s just that when it amounts to trying to paint a very serious and thoroughly respected researcher like Leander out as either a totally unbelieveable nitwit or a liar, and when such a methodology involves telling the other posters around that anybody who has reached a conclusion of his own on a matter where others are still undecided, is a character that is likely to fit evidence and explain away things, I think the time has come to protest and point out that it is not a very civil behaviour.
Keeping in mind that Leander nailed the exact meaning of the phrase "cannot be ruled out" as a hit on the lower end of the positive scale, he was VERY consistent throughout. You raised doubts about it, and when I asked him whether he meant X or Y, you presented it as evidence of Leander not coming clean whenever his bid went against your own thesis. If he had gone your way,I suppose it would have made him so much more trustworthy, but we cannot judge trustworthyness as something that has to relate in a positive manner to our own convictions.

Without much hope of you agreeing, I suggest that we drop the signature subject now and turn to the real issue at hand, where it seems you agree in essence with what I think: that the police and the press felt a mutual desire to treat their finding out that Hutchinson was not coming clean as discreetly as possible.
Of course, the policeman business could have been used to establish Hutchinson as a liar. But it would not have been enough to establish that the rest was bogus too - we could have a situation on hand where Hutchinson simply tried to make up for his not going to the police immediately, and thus tried to convince the force that he had been doing his best to help out.

To me, the more probable thing would be that the police cracked his story at the heart of it - and one such thing would be to establish that the suggested relationship between Hutch and Kelly was an obvious lie.

The best, Ben!
Fisherman

Fisherman
06-30-2009, 03:46 PM
Jane Welland writes:

"I think Hutchinson must have been an extraordinarily bold bluffer if he was caught out over knowing Mary Kelly, since he volunteered to go the day following his statement to the mortuary and identify her in the company of police. Whether murderer or bystander, he surely can't have been that stupid?"

I think we need to ask ourselves how many corpses they had lying around with cut necks, annihilated faces and disembowelled stomach. There would not have been many reasons to make the wrong choice, I believe.
It is another thing to try and measure boldness and stupidity. But we DO know that Emmanuel Violenia was prepared to take the risk.

"couldn't he have just said 'Oh yes, that's Mary alright' ? Would the police have been any the wiser?"

Exactly so.

"maybe Hutchinson's evidence was counteracted by another witness who came forward in response to his account who was also there and told a different tale?"

Not very likely - to begin with, why have we not heard of this witness? Plus we know that peoples timing was quite often very much off - take a look at Spooner in the Stride case, for example.
I have also suggested that a witness may have appeared - but my suggestion is not that such a witness may have spoken not of where Hutchinson was NOT on the night, but instead of where he WAS - somewhere else altogether, perhaps. Such a thing, though, would probably have emerged in the press reports.

"Maybe, on the other hand, the 'discrediting' of Hutchinson has nothing much to do with him at all - maybe it was just that on balance his story had too many mismatches with other witness testimony - and was discounted on that basis.
Although the sudden turnaround with regard to Hutchinson's testimony does seem to warrant something a little more dramatic."

I think the latter suggestion is the more credible one, and I agree very much with that suggestion of yours. Something very tangible and obvious would have turned up, and that something would have caused a good deal of sighing on behalf of press and police methinks.

The best, Jane!
Fisherman

Ben
06-30-2009, 04:28 PM
How interesting...

So when Fisherman tells me he is glad to let a particular issue drop, what he really means is that he's only prepared to let it drop if he gets the last word. Unfortunately, that's a rather forlorn hope.

Though I have seen efforts to trace the Royal conspiracy to the sixties, I think we must be well aware that we did have the well-to-do doctor suggested even before Jack was through with his killings

But there was no "prevailing trend" of English aristocrats and royalty being accused of the Whitechapel murders during Toppy's lifetime. He died in 1938, and the royal conspiracy nonsense didn't reach its zenith until decades later. It would be an odd coincidence indeed if the publication of Toppy's heavily revised image of Mr. Astrakhan just happened to coincide with the ludicrous theory about to be published. I'd say it's far more likely that Reg himself threw in the Churchill detail because he knew it was what Fairclough wanted to hear.

And Leander made it pretty clear that his department had another interpretation of "cannot be ruled out" - it was a way of saying that a hit was at hand. He was very adamant in telling us this

In which case, he was very wrong in saying so.

Being "adamant" about something so patently false doesn't detract in the slightest from its wrongness.

There are no other interpretations for "cannot be ruled out" other than "not impossible", unless of course, Leander was deliberately intending his comments to be deeply sarcastic. The justfication for hideously misappropriating such an unambiguous phrase to the extent that it takes on a completely different meaning to the one provided by the dictionary; "That's what we say in our department" just won't avail.

You cannot alter basic definitions on the unacceptable basis that some institutions bizarrely misinterpret and misuse them on a regular basis, and that Leader must belong to one such institution. Unfortunately for this argument, you cannot change written communication and dictionary definitions. If anyone uses "cannot be ruled out" to mean "probable", they are misappropriating a phrase to a drastic extent, ill-becoming of any expert. He or she is simply not saying what s/he means. “Cannot be ruled out” means the same thing to the man on the street as it does to the expert analyst or any other functioning human being with a basic understanding of written communication.

You either believe that the phrase never meant to point to a hit, in which case you choose to call Leander a liar

Not a liar, but one who succumbed to pressure, as well as misleading and erroneous information. Any value in Leader's first letter, which everyone will agree was the very picture of circumspection when it first appeared, was effectively eradicated courtesy of those subsequent drastic revisions. If he was truly responsible for all the posts you claim he was responsible for, we are obliged to take a dim view of an "expert" who succumbs to pressure and bias; of an "expert" who becomes progressively more Toppy-endorsing with each bombardment.

You seem oddly hell-bent on dredging this up again on an unrelated topic, long after it was thrashed out in excriciating detail, but since we're on the infernal topic again, I remain bemused by the manner in which Leander appeared to appropriate almost identical phrases to the ones you used. As soon as I pointed out that he said no such thing, you'd contact Leander again, and the disputed phrase would mysteriously appear.

Without much hope of you agreeing, I suggest that we drop the signature subject now and turn to the real issue at hand

I made precisely this suggestion in the post preceeding yours, so why didn't you agree to it then? I agree, let's drop the issue now. There. You've said it. I've said it. You also said: I am fully aware that it is useless to argue about it with you, and I will agree that there will come nothing good from such a thing, least of all for the other posters around. Wise words, and it's high time we both embraced that advice.

Of course, the policeman business could have been used to establish Hutchinson as a liar. But it would not have been enough to establish that the rest was bogus too

No, but it may have led them to believe that it was. False witnesses are rarely dismissed because absolute proof had been procured to establish that they were lying. More often, the police simply arrive at a consensus that the witness in question wasn't telling the truth. Packer and Violenia were both dismissed as bogus witnesses, but most assuredly not on the basis that they were proven to have lied or been elsewhere. It was simply a question of using police discernment to separate the what from the chaff, and they clearly felt that Hutchinson belonged in the latter category.

Something very tangible and obvious would have turned up, and that something would have caused a good deal of sighing on behalf of press and police methinks.

It really wouldn't have been required.

The Echo simply reported that the police were entertaining grave doubts as to his veracity, not that the police had established proof to rule him out. There's really no reason to envisage some bombshell having emerged to establish conclusively that a witness lied.

Best regards,
Ben

Garry Wroe
06-30-2009, 05:23 PM
Hi Fisherman.

You are, of course, perfectly entitled to your opinion with respect to the Toppy as Hutchinson debate. Unfortunately, based purely on evidential grounds, it is an opinion with which I cannot concur. As for the prospecting analogy mentioned in one of your recent posts, I’d caution you to ensure that the Toppy nugget isn’t, in fact, just another handful of fools gold.

Hi Richard.

As a point of clarification, I should point out that the delay in entering Kelly’s room was a tactical decision based on the advice of Dr Phillips, who, believing the arrival of the bloodhounds to be imminent, suggested that ingress might corrupt the killer’s scent and therefore render the dogs useless as an investigative option.

Remember, too, that Abberline did not attend the crime scene alone. Also present were Phillips and Arnold, as well as an assemblage of less senior police officers and, of course, the photographer. The notion, then, that not a single member of this retinue recognized that access to the room could have been expedited by simply sliding back a bolt that lay within easy reach of the window is, quite frankly, preposterous. Equally, both Abberline and Phillips consistently referred to the room as having been not bolted, but locked.

In point of fact, Abberline was questioned at the inquest about the missing key, but became somewhat evasive. My personal belief is that the key, in the event of an arrest, could have represented a potential evidential link between the suspect and Mary Jane. Although purely speculative, such a surmise does accord with the methodology of a police force that had no recourse to fingerprinting as well as other forensic procedures that are commonplace today. Hence it is more than possible that the issue of the key was deliberately underplayed so as not to alert the offender to its investigative significance.

There are, of course, those who refuse to countenance any possibility that the killer somehow came into possession of Mary Jane’s key and used it to lock the room upon his crime scene departure. But the evidence, albeit circumstantial, is fairly compelling. And why would Abberline have referred in newspaper interviews to his search for a missing key if the door had been merely bolted?

Regards.

Garry Wroe.

Sam Flynn
06-30-2009, 08:37 PM
There are no other interpretations for "cannot be ruled out" other than "not impossible", unless of course, Leander was deliberately intending his comments to be deeply sarcastic. The justfication for hideously misappropriating such an unambiguous phrase to the extent that it takes on a completely different meaning to the one provided by the dictionary; "That's what we say in our department" just won't avail.
Hang on a mo', Ben. Speaking as someone with some training in statistics and the scientific method myself, the phrase "cannot be ruled out" simply does what it says on the tin. There's no hint of sarcasm or misappropriation implied - such statements are a fairly standard means by which a scientist observes a degree of objectivity and decorum.

A scientist who publicly stated that something "cannot be ruled out" might well believe it to be "100% likely" in private, but would be loth to say as much. I mean, even Darwin's Rottweiler, Richard Dawkins, only publicly admits to a score of 6 (out of a maximum 7) on his "Atheism Scale". Christopher Hitchens, a non-scientist, plumps for a full-on 7. That's the difference between a how a scientist views matters of judgment compared to a lay-person. They use words differently, too.

Ben
07-01-2009, 02:01 AM
Speaking as someone with some training in statistics and the scientific method myself, the phrase "cannot be ruled out" simply does what it says on the tin.

Absolutely, Gareth; it's a clear-cut, unambiguous phrase that doesn't mean "probable", unless the term is being hideously misappropriated or used sarcastically. It's a fundamentally unenthusiastic form of positive commentary, or as the Swedes would have it, "the lowest hit on the positive scale". It means not beyond the realms of possibility - no more positive than that, and certainly not a declaration of a match. I absolutely disagree that scientists are accustomed to using such phrases to convey probability. If they wanted to convey likelihood, there's nothing preventing them from saying "I believe X or Y to be likely" without any fear of loss of objectivity or decorum.

But I'm afraid we're deviating quite considerably from "Why Did The Police Discount Hutchinson's Statement So Quickly?", and I know you're a stickler for topic-adherence (for good reason, I might add)!

All the best,
Ben

Sam Flynn
07-01-2009, 02:21 AM
If they wanted to convey likelihood, there's nothing preventing them from saying "I believe X or Y to be likely" without any fear of loss of objectivity or decorum.Please don't nit-pick Fisherman about what Leander said, Ben - it's nowhere near as controversial as you seem to think. Trust me - I'm a lapsed scientist myself, but still have the knack.
I know you're a stickler for topic-adherence
Indeed. I never leave the house without a choc-and-hazelnut bar glued to my face.

Ben
07-01-2009, 02:28 AM
Please don't nit-pick Fisherman about what Leander said - it's nowhere near as controversial as you seem to make out.

I never had any intention of discussing Leander and the feckin' signatures if others weren't so insistent on bringing up the topic on what was so obviously an unrelated thread, Gareth. "Cannot be ruled out" does not mean "probable", and no more "nitpicking" than that is required to point out this obvious reality.

Garry Wroe
07-01-2009, 02:44 AM
Like Sam, I too am trained in statistics and scientific research methodology. Whereas most analyses conducted in, say, psychology, are quantitative – tests involving the numerical scores of subjects attained under strictly controlled conditions – the handwriting analysis undertaken by (Mr?) Leander was qualitative in nature. Given the inherent subjectivity of the qualitative approach, responsible researchers tend to be circumspect when interpreting results.

Since I have no idea which specimens have been compared, I can offer no objective insight into the likely reliability of the results. But the reality of the qualitative test when undertaken by the conscientious researcher is that the results are often inconclusive – or, to put it another way, “cannot be ruled in; cannot be ruled out”. Ergo, in the opinion of the researcher, there is insufficient evidence to make a determination one way or the other.

As such, I’d like to think that Ben is big enough to perhaps reconsider his comments regarding Leander, and that Fisherman might be a little more judicious when next citing the said results.

Regards.

Garry Wroe.

Ben
07-01-2009, 03:05 AM
Hi Garry,

Ergo, in the opinion of the researcher, there is insufficient evidence to make a determination one way or the other.

Absolutely, and the above reflected my stance on Leander's observations when they were first divulged. His initial opinion was one of obvious neutrality, in the absence of the original documents.

All the best,
Ben

Garry Wroe
07-01-2009, 03:41 AM
Exactly, Ben. But at least one of your earlier posts conveyed the impression to me that, as a consequence of Fisherman's argument regarding the signature comparison, you were questioning Leander's competence and/or integrity. I'll re-read the relevent posts tomorrow and you may rest assured that, should I be in error in this context, I will apologize unreservedly.

Regards.

Garry Wroe.

Fisherman
07-01-2009, 01:30 PM
Ben:

"when Fisherman tells me he is glad to let a particular issue drop, what he really means is that he's only prepared to let it drop if he gets the last word."

Well, not really, Ben - unless Fisherman is subjected to accusations of "fitting evidence" and "explain away" things. If you had refrained from such accusations, you would stand a very good chance of not being reminded that they are uncivil. Long as you can´t keep your fingers away from that bowl, though - no.

"there was no "prevailing trend" of English aristocrats and royalty being accused of the Whitechapel murders during Toppy's lifetime."

And this we know...how? My suggestion would be that we simply don´t know. What we DO know, however, is that such theories always tickles the fantasy of the man in the street, and therefore it is everything but implausible that such rumours WERE in swing way back.

"In which case, he was very wrong in saying so.
Being "adamant" about something so patently false doesn't detract in the slightest from its wrongness.
There are no other interpretations for "cannot be ruled out" other than "not impossible", unless of course, Leander was deliberately intending his comments to be deeply sarcastic."

I am well aware that this is how you would like things to be - but it is not the way things are, and that is what matters. You have a very obvious interest in casting doubt over Leanders judgement, and that has led you to some pretty tasteless and ungrounded remarks, Ben.

The fact of the matter is that when a renowned specialist researcher into forensic signatures tell us A/ That a match cannot be excluded and B/ that "cannot be excluded" is a term used at his department when they point to a positive hit on the lower end of the scale, then he has showed you very clearly that there CAN be another meaning of the phrase than the one you have invested in. And when he tells you this, I really find it both childish and uncivil to put your fingers in your ears, shut your eyes, wiggle your head and shout "NO! NO! NO!" Not to mention what I think about your calling Leander "patently false" when he uses the ackowledged terminology of his profession.

And what hope on earth could you possibly have that anybody would put any trust in YOUR assertions? Do YOU have the expert knowledge? No, you don´t. Are YOU familiar with the terminologies used at the SKL? I should say not - you have proven as much! Moreover, since the SKL uses that terminology, you could be pretty certain that very resembling terminologies are used at every other forensic signature research centre - they will at the very least be quite familiar with it. Leander has travelled throughout the world, giving lectures on his job, and I seriously doubt that the audiences of highly qualified researchers he has met have been left with the impression that he does not know what he is talking about.

Once and for all, Ben: the fact that you are of the meaning that "cannot be excluded" only points to an outward chance of a match is fine and dandy - but only up to the point where the expertise tells you that it has a different meaning to the professionals in the game.

I was of the exact same meaning as you were from the outset - that "cannot be excluded" was a vague phrasing. And I thought it tallied badly with the rest Leander told us, up til the point where he pinned the exact meaning of that phrase.
He is the authority here, Ben. Not you or me. And your dubbing him a liar, more or less, is a very sad thing.

"Cannot be ruled out" does not mean "probable".

Not to you in your everyday life. But that does not apply here.
Not to me in my everyday life either. But that does not apply here either.
Not to most people in their everyday lives either. But that is equally totally uninteresting, since it is NOT your, mine or the publics privilege to do the interpretation for Leander. How could it be?
That privilege is his, and his only. And he tells us, quite clearly and leaving no room for any deviating interpretations that "cannot be excluded" is a term that at his department describes a positive hit at the lower end of the scale! Furthermore, he bolsters this by saying that he expects further forthcoming evidence to confirm his belief that the writer was one and the same, and he tells us that he would be surprised if this was not the case. It is not in any way as if he has left us in the dark.
But that has not stopped you at all, has it? You - strangely - keep telling us that he is not at liberty to use the terminology he has always used in his job, and that what he REALLY meant from the outset was that he was unenthusiastic about the match. In consequence with this, you also tell us that when he reinforces his point that the match is a positive one, he is actually deviating from his original statement.
That he is not, Ben - he is deviating from YOUR PERCEPTION of the statement, but in no way at all from his own professional terminology. He does not NEED you to (mis)interpret him, Ben - he knows EXACTLY what he is doing, and that is where his reputation as one of the best in the game comes from.

Just like Garry tells us, any conscientious researcher will be careful in wording things, and that is exactly what we see in Leanders case. He chooses the lower end of the positive scale. But he does not do so because he finds the match a bad or lacking one. In fact, he finds it a very good one, but the material he has had at hand is not sufficient to reach a higher level on the scale. Still, he tells us that the diffences that are involved in the signatures could all have explanations to them, and he asserts us that he suspects that when/if more evidence surfaces, it will probably confirm his verdict.

Whenever a scientific judgment offers room for deviating interpretations, there is always a need for somebody to point to that fact. And of course we are all welcome to make our own minds up on whether the signatures per se are very much alike or not (hopefully we may do so without entering a status where we are pointed out as less trustworthy "evidence fitters"). It is everybodys prerogative to do so.

But when a researcher words his judgement with a terminology that is professionally shaped and very exact when it comes to how it should be read, thereafter supplying us with a complete user´s manual of exactly how to read it, and furthermore bolstering it with a prediction of what forthcoming evidence will add, then I think we may need to step aside and say "Ah, sorry - I simply did not know that this was how you guys used the differing phraseologies professionally connected to these issues".

There is every chance that Leander knows his work better than you do, Ben.

The best,
Fisherman

Fisherman
07-01-2009, 01:33 PM
Garry Wroe writes:

"I'll re-read the relevent posts tomorrow and you may rest assured that, should I be in error in this context, I will apologize unreservedly."

Then you have some catching up to do, and you are going to need a healthy bar of soap to wash your ears with - but I welcome it very, very much. I will lay my sword (well, pencil then...) down until then in this issue. Sharpened, though.

The best,
Fisherman

Ben
07-01-2009, 02:40 PM
Well, who could have predicted this?

Fisherman assured me it was "useless" arguing with me, which, as it turns out, was complete nonsense. If he really considered it useless, he would have embraced his own advice to "gladly let the issue drop". Turns out he was only prepared to drop the issue if he was allowed to get the last word, which - let's be circumspect here - was never going to happen. Just don't bother saying those things anymore if you have absolutely no intention of taking your own advice.

If you had refrained from such accusations, you would stand a very good chance of not being reminded that they are uncivil

That's just a bad excuse for engaging be in prolific long-winded posting battles, I'm afraid. You brought up Leander and the signatures on a hideously unrelated thread, and I responded. You then counter-argued in depth and naively expected your comments to be the end of the matter.

What we DO know, however, is that such theories always tickles the fantasy of the man in the street

Firstly, we DO know that there was no "prevailing trend", in the early decades of the 20th Century, of English aristocrats being accused of committing the Whitechapel murders, or else we'd have heard about it, as the term "prevalent" denotes. It's a ridiculous coincidence that Reg just happened to provide a character from history that meshed perfectly with Fairclough's theory. Deduction? Toppy probably had nothing to do with any Churchillian references, and Reg made it up to appease Fairclough.

You have a very obvious interest in casting doubt over Leanders judgement, and that has led you to some pretty tasteless and ungrounded remarks, Ben

As I have observed from the outset, Leander's spontaneous commentary on the signatures was the very picture of circumspection and neutrality. He remained firmly on the fence, and was quite adamant in his assertion that a full expert opinion was not even "possible" in the absence of the original documents. I admired him for that and agreed wholeheartedly with his opinions. What occurred later was rather more problematic.

It was illustrated, by quoting your translation verbatim, that Leander conveyed no impression that a match was "probable". He mentioned that the similarities weighed "against" the similarities, but that the latter were insufficient to "rule out" or "exclude" Toppy as the witness. If he secretly thought the match was probable, he certainly didn't convey any such thinking in his initial post.

I don't know if you were dissatisfied with this neutrality, but your started to put words in Leander's mouth that didn't appear in his first letter. For example, you referred to there being "numerous" or "many" explanations for the differences between the statement signatures and those of Toppy. After reminding anyone who needed reminding that the explanations for the differences were only “possible” ones (and not necessarily explanations that he felt actually DID come into play in this case), I was quick to draw attention to the fact that Leander used no such adjective. Nothing about "many", and nothing about "numerous". Back you went to Leander, who "clarified" with the following:

"It was just one of many possible explanations to the differences".

How odd that the very word that you wrongly claimed appeared in Leander's first post suddenly appeared in Leander's "second" post? But that wasn't the only example. Shortly after publishing Leander's first letter, you argued that the letter spoke of an "overall likeness". I quickly pointed out that, as with the words "numerous and "many", Leander had said no such thing in his initial letter, so you re-established contact with Leander for a THIRD time, with the following result:

”The overall and general impression is one of an obvious likeness, and it offers far too much of a handstyle resemblance to offer any reason to discard it".

Leander had now elaborated on his initial comments using the very expression, "overall likeness", that you had erroneously attributed to him in his first letter.

Now, by post #4, one forms the very distinct impression that Leander is starting to tire of being asked to "clarify" over and over again, hence the observation: "I do not wish to embark on any further elaboration on the issue since I have only commented on a few pictures via mail". If people are incapable of detecting a certain "Please leave me alone, I've already told you what I think a billion times already" subtext into Leander's words, I'm incredibly surprised. True to form, you were not deterred, and so you asked Leander to "clarify" again. Unfortunately, the gist of his purported observations in post #5 (yes, that's how many times Fisherman asked Leander to clarify a message that was abundantly clear the first time) were radically different to anything he said in his initial post, effectively cancelling out any worth in any of his posts.

I'm not accusing you or Leander of any underhanded tactics, but I reserve the right to find the above incredibly odd at the very least. If you dislike the implications, I'm afraid you only have yourself to blame for initiating yet another Leander debate on an entirely unrelated thread.

I agree with Garry, you need to be more judicious with the results. All credit to you for establishing contact with Leander, but you really should have allowed his initial commentary to stand unfiddled with, rather than continually bothering him because his comments weren't Toppy-endorsing enough for you.

The fact of the matter is that when a renowned specialist researcher into forensic signatures tell us A/ That a match cannot be excluded and B/ that "cannot be excluded" is a term used at his department when they point to a positive hit on the lower end of the scale

Yes, he's correct to say so. That's precisely what it is. It's the lowest form of positive commentary, but you are aware, surely, that you can speak of something positively without declaring it "probable"?

But that is equally totally uninteresting, since it is NOT your, mine or the publics privilege to do the interpretation for Leander. How could it be?

I don't need to do any "interpreting". "Cannot be ruled out" literally means "not impossible", and "not impossible" does not mean "probable" unless the expression is being used sarcastically. Personally, I don't think he misappropriated the expression at all. Like Garry, I believe his intention was to convey neutrality. However, if he intended the expression to mean "probable" (which I don't believe for a moment), then he'd have been using the expression in an erroneous context, and I utterly reject the defense that "I'm a scientist and my department gets to change clear definitions of words - ha!" as complete nonsense. Sorry, but they don't get to do that.

In fact, he finds it a very good one, but the material he has had at hand is not sufficient to reach a higher level on the scale

So, in other words, he believed the match was "very good", albeit not good enough to describe it as any more likely than "not completely impossible"? I know other people can see the problem with this.

I was blissfully content to have all this nonsense consigned to the 237 page Hutch in the 1911 Census, but it appears, once again, that those with a fondness for combative terminology and "sharpened swords" are desperate to engage me in "battle" again. Ah well, gotta oblige I guess.

I will lay my sword (well, pencil then...) down until then in this issue

Bet you all my worldly goods you won't.

Sam Flynn
07-01-2009, 10:45 PM
Like Sam, I too am trained in statistics and scientific research methodology. Whereas most analyses conducted in, say, psychology, are quantitative – tests involving the numerical scores of subjects attained under strictly controlled conditions – the handwriting analysis undertaken by (Mr?) Leander was qualitative in nature. Given the inherent subjectivity of the qualitative approach, responsible researchers tend to be circumspect when interpreting results.Indeed, Garry. However, interpreting circumspection as a statement of "improbability", or even prevarication and inconsistency, is entirely another, which was the gist of what happened here apropos Leander. On the contrary, Leander was being entirely responsible.

Garry Wroe
07-02-2009, 05:29 AM
Absolutely, Sam. But, in Ben’s defence, he wasn’t the one citing false-positives. Right, I’ve got some reading to do, so need to wash out my ears with a healthy bar of soap … ?

Regards.

Garry Wroe.

Garry Wroe
07-02-2009, 05:31 AM
Hi Ben.

Having re-read the earlier posts, I have to say that, in my opinion, you were sailing a little close to the wind regarding Leander. I do, however, understand your frustration over the present issue. But, as Sam has already stated, the lexicon of science can often be more than a little abstruse to the average person in the street. That’s the nature of the beast, I’m afraid.

My advice is that, until such time as Leander’s report is published, you resist the temptation to engage in battle, as it were. Only then will we know for sure which samples have been compared, the levels of concordance, probability values, and so forth. These are the nuts and bolts of empirical evaluation, and in their absence any ‘scientific’ claims in either direction are entirely pointless.

Hope this helps.

Garry Wroe.

Fisherman
07-02-2009, 09:20 AM
Garry Wroe writes, regarding Ben:

"you were sailing a little close to the wind regarding Leander"

That´s an elegant way of putting it, I have to say.

Returning to Bens earlier post, I have three comments to make:

1. "if he intended the expression to mean "probable" (which I don't believe for a moment), then he'd have been using the expression in an erroneous context, and I utterly reject the defense that "I'm a scientist and my department gets to change clear definitions of words - ha!" as complete nonsense. Sorry, but they don't get to do that."

I´m afraid they DO get to do precisely what they WANT to do, Ben, regardless of your personal feelings. And since Leander in fact told us that "cannot be excluded" was NOT an undecided parametre on the scale used by the SKL, we need not loose any sleep over the matter. Clearly and concisely, we have been informed that Leander used the wording "cannot be excluded" because that was the manner in which the SKL described a match at the lower end of the POSITIVE scale.

And that very explanation, provided by Leander in one of his later posts, is also extremely useful when we turn to the next point, as you will realize:

2."you really should have allowed his initial commentary to stand unfiddled with"

That would have been completely disastrous, as we found out when Leander elaborated on what relevance the expression "cannot be excluded" carries at the SKL. If no elaborations had come forth from Leander, we would have been left with a very incomplete picture. As I have told you, I am also of the meaning that "cannot be excluded" is a vague term, GENERALLY SPEAKING. And if we had not received the information on it´s professional meaning for Leander, his verdict of a probable match would have gone lost to us - well, maybe not, since it seems both Sam and Garry have the sort of scientific background and schooling that could have cleared the matter up. But you and me would have been left with a problem, would we not?
When Leander elaborated on the meaning of the wording in the professional context, we gained invaluable insights and knowledge, just as we did so when Leander stated that he would be surprised if it was not a match. And added knowledge and informative elaborations is exactly what we need to be able to move forward! Since the case is such an old one, it is something that is so frustratingly often denied us.
How many times have we not wished that we could have asked Killeen about the entrance holes in Tabrams body?
How many times have we not wished that Phillips could have elaborated on his thoughts on Eddowes´damages?
What would we not give to be able to ask Blackwell whether he really believed Stride was cut standing up, or Johnston whether he had his own hands smeared with blood examining her?

We search the contemporary sources and sift and finecomb and interpret what little we can find, and that is what we must do. Never have I heard such work called "fiddling" with the case, and never have I heard researchers call for a halt to the ongoing work out of fear of having matters further clarified!

With Leander, it´s all a different story; he provided the possibility to ask further questions, and he was happy to elaborate and clarify. Moreover, I was - from the outset - of the meaning that what he said was pointing us very clearly in the direction of a very possible match - that did not lie in the wording "cannot be excluded", but in the fact the way he listed the pros and cons, telling us that the differences involved all could have explanations. I would happily have settled for just the one answer, if everybody had agreed that he was more positive than negative to a match.
But you did not agree, Ben. Not at all. And that was your prerogative, of course. But when you started telling us that Leander had been very unenthusiastic about the match, we were faced with a situation where I believed A and you believed B - BUT WHERE WE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO ASK FOR A CLARIFICATION! That is one almighty bonus! And that, I´m afraid, holds true regardless of the fact that it will tell either the holder of opinion A or the holder of opinion B that he was wrong. Our own stances on the matter never enter the equation, since a discerning researchers´ obligations do not involve keeping laymen happy, not when choosing their way to decide, and not when choosing their vocabulary. And that goes for all of us. Therefore, you may need to change your own vocabulary ever so slightly and refrain from calling Leanders elaborations - led on and necessitated by nothing but your own doubts and misconceptions! - "fiddling", Ben.

Finally:

3. "Bet you all my worldly goods you won't."

I´ll PM you my bank account number, and you can deposit the money there. As for house and furniture and such, we will have to work something out. I´m a reasonable man, and I think we should be able to get it all overwith smoothly.

The best,
Fisherman

babybird67
07-02-2009, 11:38 AM
My advice is that, until such time as Leander’s report is published, you resist the temptation to engage in battle, as it were. Only then will we know for sure which samples have been compared, the levels of concordance, probability values, and so forth. These are the nuts and bolts of empirical evaluation, and in their absence any ‘scientific’ claims in either direction are entirely pointless.

Hope this helps.

Garry Wroe.

Garry..

Not sure if you are aware of what was going on regarding Leander's involvement in the signature issue.

Basically, Fisherman sent to Leander via email electronic copies of the Hutchinson signatures...the Toppy marriage certificate one, the census ones, the witness statement ones, and asked him for his opinion.

Leander replied that his opinion was not to be taken as a professional evaluation because he was comparing copies, not the original documents, and that in not examining the original documents, no such professional opinion could be tendered.

His opinion was an off-the-record favour done for Fisherman. In fact, he specifically told Fisherman he was unable to give a professional opinion on the matter. In these circumstances, it is inaccurate to refer to Leander's position on the signatures, whatever qualifications it came with, as a professional opinion.

So, there is no report forthcoming. The matter for Leander was closed months ago with his off the record favour for Fisherman. There will be no details forthcoming, as there was no professional investigation into the signatures to report on, in the case of Leander.

I agree with you that debating this matter further in light of the above is completely pointless, which is why i stay out of these combatative threads (apart from sneaking back to post this one). For me, there are similarities and differences, and it has not been proven to my satisfaction either way at this present time...ie that Toppy was or was not the same person as Hutchinson the witness.

Hope this helps

Jen

Fisherman
07-02-2009, 11:57 AM
This, Babybird, was how he worded himself:

"I wish to strongly underline your wiew that comparing research into signatures must be done using the original material and I/we would not have the possibility to write a full expert´s opinion on the material supplied. Under the circumstances, however, I would like to express myself thusly:

It cannot be ruled out that we are dealing with the same person - there is a number of matches of a common character (character of style, degree of writing skill, the spreading of the text, certain proportions), and, as far as can be judged from the copy there are also a number of matches when it comes to the shapes of single letters.
Against these matches one must pose differences in certain liftings of the pen (?), the proportions of the tch-group and the perhaps most eyecatching differences in the shaping of some of the letters; G (the ground-shape), r and n at the end of the signature.
The differences could be explained by H. being relatively young at the first writing occasion, the surrounding circumstances as available writing space, function of the pen and similar things. The signature at the top is unquestionably the one that differs most at any rate.
In conclusion, you must see this as a spontaneous, personal comment from me and not as a full expert opinion, since such things cannot be done from a material like this!"

So, what he says is NOT that he was unable to give a professional opinion - he only stated that he could not give a FULL EXPERT OPINION. Of course, any opinion coming from a man like Leander has all the professionalism you could ask for attached to it.
I would also like to stress, since it was suggested on the 1911 thread, that there was never any question of Frank Leander meaning his statement only for my ears - he was fuylly aware from the outset that the material would be posted on Casebook, and he was quite happy to contribute.

If we have to go over all of this again, then please let´s stick with the facts as they emerged, Babybird.

The best,
Fisherman

babybird67
07-02-2009, 12:24 PM
This, Babybird, was how he worded himself:

"I wish to strongly underline your wiew that comparing research into signatures must be done using the original material and I/we would not have the possibility to write a full expert´s opinion on the material supplied. Under the circumstances, however, I would like to express myself thusly:



and In conclusion, you must see this as a spontaneous, personal comment from me and not as a full expert opinion, since such things cannot be done from a material like this!"

Which is what i said, Fisherman. That he was unable to tender a professional opinion in relation to signatures he had only seen by electronic copy.

so you can see Garry, why i no longer post to these threads...I've been called a liar before by Fisherman and i don't appreciate being called such names, especially since the time i was accused of it i was quoting Fish verbatim.

Rosey O'Ryan
07-02-2009, 12:43 PM
Hi all,

This thread is deviating to that in sufferable nether region of "off topic", lets get back to the chase!
Rosey :-)

Jane Welland
07-02-2009, 01:04 PM
That this topic has a thread of its own - maybe that's the place for it.

Jane x:hiya:

Fisherman
07-02-2009, 01:46 PM
Maybe, Babybird, we should not get too entangled in who has called whom what, and instead try and focus on the issue itself. And on that issue, it is of relevance to realize that what Leander said was that he could not provide a full expert opinion, this owing to the fact that he only saw the material twodimensionally and that he would have liked to have more samples to compare with.
That does not mean, however, that his resulting opinion in any fashion lacked in professionalism. He used his training and experience to establish that what could be perceived from his material visually, was that he would be surprised if we did not have a match at hand.

A full examination of the originals may or may not provide insights that may or may not have changed his wiew. The same goes for added signatures.

I propose that Leanders examination is by far the best one we have on the issue. I fully concur with Garrys suggestion that we need to know for sure which samples have been compared, the levels of concordance, probability values, and so forth when it comes to an examination. In Leanders case, we have that knowledge to a significant extent, whereas when it comes to Iremonger, we have nothing like it. And, to go on quoting Garry: "These are the nuts and bolts of empirical evaluation, and in their absence any ‘scientific’ claims in either direction are entirely pointless."

That is what I have been saying all along, and that is what a number of posters have had all sorts of trouble swallowing down. Alongside that, all sorts of strange accusations have been thrown forward, one of them being that I misused a personal trust when I published Leanders contribution, something that was quite wrong from beginning to end.
I feel pretty sure, Babybird, that Garry is able to pick up on what has been going on on the 1911 thread, just as I think he will be able to come up with a verdict of his own about who has been calling whom what, and why. I feel no personal need to point out what I was subjected to myself, since it is totally unrelated to the core issue.
So let´s leave him to it, shall we?

The best,
Fisherman

PS. Jane is of course correct - I am moving the discussion to the 1911 thread, copying this last post of mine.

Ben
07-02-2009, 02:17 PM
I´m afraid they DO get to do precisely what they WANT to do, Ben, regardless of your personal feelings.

They don't get to alter basic dictionary definitions to mean something completely different on the basis that they're professionals, and their department gets to do that. As it happens, I don't believe Leander did misappropriate the phrase, since the "lowest hit on the positive scale" is precisely what it is - the lowest form of positive commentary. It is positive, but only just, and it certainly isn't used to convey "probability".

That would have been completely disastrous, as we found out when Leander elaborated on what relevance the expression "cannot be excluded" carries at the SKL.

Ah, but doesn't this introduce another disturbing question?

If, as you acknowledge, the phrase "cannot be ruled out" means "not impossible" to the man on the street in everyday life, why on earth did Leander - who knew full well that his commentary was intended for Joe Public, and not fellow SKL colleagues - use that expression (with its different intended meaning) when he also knew full well that Joe Public have no idea about the secret, special definitions used only at SKL?

Either:

Leander deliberately used an expression that he knew full well would be misintrepreted by the recipients of his commentary. In which case, he's an idiot (Don't panic! I most emphatically do not favour this explanation!)

Or:

Leander, the reputable expert in his field, used the phrase precisely as other human beings use it - to convey the lowest from of positive commentary, and certainly not probability. In which case, he's far from an idiot.

Now, I don't know about anyone else, but I'd be the first to advocate the second option here.

You tell me that "cannot be ruled out" is a vague term. No, it isn't. It's a clear-cut, unambiguous phrase that means "not impossible, which, although representing a positive observation, certainly does not mean "probable". Then you remind me that Sam and Garry's scientific background "could have cleared the matter up", but as you should have noticed, Garry shares my view that Leander's post conveyed neutrality, in the absence of the original documents. I don't know whether Sam agrees or not, but he has also disputed that document examination even qualifies as a science!

never have I heard researchers call for a halt to the ongoing work out of fear of having matters further clarified!

No clarification was necessary in Leander's case.

His comments were circumspectly phrased and left no room for doubt. He only "clarified" in the sense that, yes, "cannot be ruled" out was used in its correct context.

of the meaning that what he said was pointing us very clearly in the direction of a very possible match

You can't have extents of possibility. Something is either possible or not, and I'd dismiss a hypothetical Toppy-as-Hutch as impossible, just not very probable.

But when you started telling us that Leander had been very unenthusiastic about the match, we were faced with a situation where I believed A and you believed B - BUT WHERE WE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO ASK FOR A CLARIFICATION!

And where he started using the very phrases that you wrongly claimed were present in his first letter, most likely as a result of your failure to leave the man alone after he'd made his observation perfectly clear first time around. The obvious subtext "Go away, I've given you my opinion" was present in his later posts.

I´ll PM you my bank account number, and you can deposit the money there.

I think you'll find I've won the bet. Whevener you announce your intention to depart, or stop derailing a thread with repetetive nonsense, or lay down your sword, or whatever, I know you're never going to follow through with that intention.

Best regards,
Ben

Ben
07-02-2009, 02:30 PM
He used his training and experience to establish that what could be perceived from his material visually, was that he would be surprised if we did not have a match at hand.

Which was in incredibly stark contrast to anything he claimed in his first post, as you've just quoted above. He most emphatically never said anything that could be even vaguely construed as synonymous with "I'd be surprised if we did not have a match at hand". There is no convergence of the twain here at all. If he said one, but meant the other, I'm afraid he has a serious problem with conveying his true meaning.

I propose that Leanders examination is by far the best one we have on the issue.

And I reject that as utter nonsense, since we know from several highly reputable sources that Sue Iremonger examined the original documents and came to the conclusion that Toppy was not the witness. This was attested to by, amongst others, Paul Begg and Martin Fido, and it wouldn't have been a case of comparing on-screen images which convey no accurate impression of relative size, pen pressure or anything of that nature. To argue that Leander's comparison is "by far the best" when Leander himself observed that a full expert opinion was not "possible" given the material is completely unaccaptable.

I feel pretty sure, Babybird, that Garry is able to pick up on what has been going on on the 1911 thread, just as I think he will be able to come up with a verdict of his own about who has been calling whom what, and why.

If you're looking for adherents to your cause, that one won't work either, since we know Garry does not share your view that Toppy was the witness. He is also of the opinion that Leander's initial observations conveyed neutrality.

babybird67
07-02-2009, 03:10 PM
i've replied there.

Fisherman
07-02-2009, 03:22 PM
Ben:

"I think you'll find I've won the bet."

No, Ben - I stated that I would not reenter the discussioin on this particular issue until Garry had had his say, and I did not. The bank account is still open.

Incidentally, you are wrong on the other points too. Although it is interesting that you deny the SKL to use whatever vocabulary they want to, it is of course totally nonsensical and utterly useless. It´slike calling out to the moon that it has chosen a colour you dislike; you are entitled to your opinion, but it won´t change a thing.

The best,
Fisherman

Fisherman
07-02-2009, 03:28 PM
Ben:

"If you're looking for adherents to your cause, that one won't work either, since we know Garry does not share your view that Toppy was the witness. He is also of the opinion that Leander's initial observations conveyed neutrality."

You know, Ben, I think I would prefer Garrys words on what Garry thinks. He may well be every bit as well informed about that as you are.

"I reject that as utter nonsense"

...and you will be as wrong as you always are on the topic. Like Garry points out, we need to see IN DETAIL exactly WHAT she examined, and exactly WHAT ELEMENTS led her to her conclusions before we award her any real interest. Until we know that, she belongs to histories heap of unproven curiosities - and that, strangely, applies in spite of your assertions.

The best,
Fisherman

Ben
07-02-2009, 03:38 PM
I stated that I would not reenter the discussioin on this particular issue until Garry had had his say, and I did not.

Oh, I see.

So you were "sharpening" your "sword" until Garry contributed, and took that as your cue to respond to my post and get thrusty with that mean old sword? What strange behaviour...

Although it is interesting that you deny the SKL to use whatever vocabulary they want to, it is of course totally nonsensical and utterly useless

I think so too. The idea that "We, the members of this department, have decided to radically alter dictionary definitions, but we will ensure that the public remain oblivious to these secret definitions unless one bright spark amongst them asks for clarification. Otherwise, they can persist in their ignorance that a spade really means a spade, and not a hippo."...doesn't bear scrutinty at all.

Didn't happen in the case of SKL, though.

...and you will be as wrong as you always are on the topic. Like Garry points out, we need to see IN DETAIL exactly WHAT she examined, and exactly WHAT ELEMENTS led her to her conclusions before we award her any real interest.

We know what she examined - she compared the three statement signatures with Toppy's marriage certificate signature, and came to the conclusion that they didn't match. Since you're not qualified to assess her assessment (for that you'd need to be a document examiner with even more experience than her) it is only reasonable to deduce that she applied her extensive expertise to the analysis of the original documents and came to an informed opinion accordingly; the type of conclusion that isn't "possible" with computerized emailed images that convey the erroneous impression, for example, that the signatures were the same size (they're not).

Ben
07-02-2009, 04:51 PM
Hi Garry,

I certainly take your comments on board. While I may have levelled various criticisms in Leander's direction during the course of the discussion, my initial reaction to his "spontaneous comment" was one of both gratitude and agreement. It was only later than I felt almost forced into taking a somewhat dimmer view, courtesy of later attempts to have him "clarify" what was so obviously a neutral stance. As it stands now, I remain in complete agreement with his brief analysis, and entertain no grave doubts as to the extent of his abilities and discernment.

Best regards,
Ben

Garry Wroe
07-02-2009, 09:03 PM
Many thanks, Ben. I'll try to respond to other issues on the 1911 thread a little later if I can make the time. If not, sometime over the weekend.

Regards.

Garry Wroe.

Fisherman
07-02-2009, 09:07 PM
Ben writes:

"What strange behaviour..."

Hmmm - well, Ben, I am not all that sure that you have something I need anyway. Could do with the money, though.

"Didn't happen in the case of SKL, though."

Did not have too - just like Sam has pointed out, a verdict of "cannot be excluded" is often a discerning researchers manner of telling us that he/she is positive. And for the umpteenth time, Ben, we actually and thankfully KNOW that this was the case with the SKL, since Leander TOLD us so in a very clear manner. The only options left open to you are that he misremembered, lied - or that he told us exactly what he meant.
Myself, I think it would be much more productive to pop into a department of forensic signature research or two and ask them what lies behind the phrase "cannot be excluded" in their daily work, than to try and sway us out here that Leander did not mean what he said - or, rather, that you accept that he meant what he said the first time over but not the next times, as long as you are allowed to do the interpretation.
What good is it telling us that A cannot mean A, when we have first hand evidence telling us that it does???

"it is only reasonable to deduce..."

Oh, no, Ben. That it is not. We do not have the prerogative to "deduce" anything, just as we do not have any definitive documentation about what she compared. We do not know how adamant she was, we do not know WHY she was that adamant or unadamant, we have not a single word on file telling us anything about any single element involved in her investigation. What we have is what is commonly referred to as hearsay, more or less - what people tell us. "Deducing" things from such a large empty void of information is something we cannot do.
We have heard from Martin Fido, but he did not mention one single detail that had stuck in his mind, putting flesh on the Iremonger bones - not one.
On the other hand, we have heaps of information connected to Leander, where he breaks down the signatures element by element, general style, writing skills, leaning, letter-by-letter comparisons - all neatly presented together with his verdict of a probable match on the lower end of the scale - not because he is in any way unenthusiastic, but because the material involved allowed for no more. His enthusiasm was presented in the fact that he stated that he expected forthcoming evidence to confirm that we have a hit, so there is no room for doubt on that matter. Least of all by trying to kidnap his right to express things in a manner true to his education and everyday working tools.
Now, couple this to the empirically underbuilt investigation we have on record, telling us that forensic document experts will be perfectly able to do their work using photocopies, and then ask yourself which investigation carries weight, and which is lighter than helium.

Now, why am I - once again - telling you all of this?
Is it perhaps because I cannot refrain from fighting over the matter with you, and because I am secretely in love with you, stalking you whenever I can?
Or could it be because I feel that every poster on this site has the right to see the truth, which incidentally is a perfect counterimage to the farce you are trying to feed people?
Tough call, hmmm? Go figure out!

The very best,
Fisherman

Fisherman
07-02-2009, 09:17 PM
Ben, again:

"As it stands now, I remain in complete agreement with his brief analysis, and entertain no grave doubts as to the extent of his abilities and discernment."

Well, well! And to think all it took for you to go from a verdict of completely unreliable on Leanders behalf, to one of complete agreement and no grave doubts, all it took was one post from Garry Wroe...? That was one almighty turnaround, Ben. Tell me, does your respect involve Leanders telling us that he would be surprised if it was not a match, and that he expects forthcoming evidence to prove him right on the matter? Or is that part excluded? Dropped, sort of?

Because if you really think the man is a complete pushover in the latter posts, I don´t see why you should invest any belief in the first one. Did he go from top authority to drooling idiot in a few posts time, or am I to take it that you now concur with me that Frank Leander is a completely trustworthy, discerning, seasoned and competent forensic document examiner, and that we should trust his words on the WHOLE matter and not only on carefully selected bits and pieces that just so happens allow at least somewhat for your own theories on the Hutchinson affair?
You need to be very careful formulating your answer here, as you will realize, Ben.

The best,
Fisherman
in anticipation

Ben
07-02-2009, 09:58 PM
Oh, for crying out loud.

Why, when you directed your posts to the other thread out of concern for derailing this one, are you still blitzing merrily here as though your life depended on it? To hell with the "public good" that you claimed to be so concerned about earlier. To blazes with "dropping the issue".

Did not have too - just like Sam has pointed out, a verdict of "cannot be excluded" is often a discerning researchers manner of telling us that he/she is positive

It's the lowest form of positive commentary, Fisherman, but positive commentary is not always intended to convey probability, and in this case, it wasn't, since there's no way that "cannot be ruled out" can ever mean probable. Do you really enjoy these repetitive discussions, or what? I mean, I just know you're going to repeat that "lowest hit on the positive" scale about a 100 more times, and I'm just as likely to challenge it that many times.

Doesn't it rather make a mockery of your claim that it's "useless" arguing with me? Most people aren't pathologically obsessed with dedicating as much time as possible to "useless" things.

The only options left open to you are that he misremembered, lied - or that he told us exactly what he meant.

Oh, the last option, of course.

And what he told us in his initial commentary did not, and cannot, mean "probable".

Oh, no, Ben. That it is not. We do not have the prerogative to "deduce" anything, just as we do not have any definitive documentation about what she compared.

But we have the overwhelming probability that she did precisely what several reputable authorities on the Whitechapel murders claimed she did, which was to compare the three statement signatures with Toppy's marriage certificate signature, and arrive at the opinion that they were not written by the same person. Since the chances of her having done anything other than what we're told she did by reputable sources are so hysterically slim to non-existent, the need for "definitive documentation" is effectively eradicated.

We have heard from Martin Fido, but he did not mention one single detail that had stuck in his mind, putting flesh on the Iremonger bones - not one.

So?

What flesh would you require?

What are the chances of Fido lying or forgetting about the nature of Iremonger's findings? Non-existent. Your doubts have no foundation, unless you're hell-bent on making truly irrational inferences, such as "Martin Fido didn't elaborate so therefore Iremonger must have analyzed the wrong documents"? Is that the sort of speculation that you feel is permissible in the absence of "definitive documentation"? Honestly, what are you trying to convince yourself of here?

On the other hand, we have heaps of information connected to Leander, where he breaks down the signatures element for element, general style, writing skills, leaning, letter-by-letter comparisons - all neatly presented

Okay, now you're being totally ridiculous.

Have you forgotten the nature of Leander's letter? It was a "spontaneous comment" that should not be misconstrued as a full expert opinion because the material didn't facilitate any such thing. You can describe that as "heaps of information" if you wish, but I feel certain that Leander himself would be the very first to disabuse you of such an obvious fallacy.

His enthusiasm was presented in the fact that he stated that he expected forthcoming evidence to confirm that we have a hit, so there is no room for doubt on that matter.

Oh, but I have doubt on that matter - "heaps" of it in fact, the bulk of which stems from the fact that Leander's first letter conveyed not the slightest whiff of a suggestion that he would be surprised if the signatures didn't match. So please, please keep posting that extract and give me the excuse I crave to post my obvious objection to it.

Now, couple this to the empirically underbuilt investigation we have on record, telling us that forensic document experts will be perfectly able to do their work using photocopies

But Leander said the precise opposite.

Doesn't that bother you slightly, since you've been claiming that your views mirror his in every particular? Not only does Leander flat out contradict the statement that "forensic document experts will be perfectly able to do their work using photocopies", he actually described it as "impossible".

Now, why am I - once again - telling you all of this? Or could it be because I feel that every poster on this site has the right to see the truth, which incidentally is a perfect counterimage to the farce you are trying to feed people?

No, this reason doesn't work at all.

If you believed that every poster has the right to see "the truth" (which, in an outrageous display of arrogance, you consider to be synonymous with your posts), all you'd need to do is direct them to the 237 pages where this was thrashed out in detail before, wouldn't you? That way, you can illuminate the matter for those poor unenlightened souls that so desperately need your help to see them through the darkness before Ben gets to them. So that reason is patently bogus and clearly doesn't apply here. Let's look at another one:

Is it perhaps because I cannot refrain from fighting over the matter with you

This explanation would seem rather more compatible with the evidence, yes.

It would certainly explain why you try and pick fights with me concerning topics that were discussed in great depth before, and why you brazenly lie about wanting to drop the issue. Yep, I'd go with that explanation.

Tell me, does your respect involve Leanders telling us that he would be surprised if it was not a match, and that he expects forthcoming evidence to prove him right on the matter? Or is that part excluded? Dropped, sort of?

I am working from the basis of the letter first shared with is on t'other thread. I judge Leander's contributions on that basis, and not on his reactions to successive bombardments that only reflected frustration on the part of the bombarder that the first letter wasn't sufficiently Toppy-endorsing for his tastes.

Did he go from top authority to drooling idiot in a few posts time, or am I to take it that you now concur with me that Frank Leander is a completely trustworthy, discerning, seasoned and competent forensic document examiner

No.

He went from a reputable authority who was happy to help, to a reputable authority who got sick of being bothered and acted in a manner that was likely appease the obvious biases of the botherer.

Sam Flynn
07-02-2009, 10:23 PM
Can we please not discuss this further on this thread - nor on the "1911" thread for that matter. Given that all we seem to see is personal toing and froing between Ben and Fish going to extraordinary lengths, it might be better if it continued in PM-land, because it sure as hell distorts out of all proportion any thread on which the topic crops up.

I'm also getting depressed by the increasingly ad hominem nature of the debate, not to mention the aspersions being cast on the professional integrity of those who aren't even members of Casebook, and who cannot speak for themselves. This is extremely regrettable, indeed reprehensible, in my view.

richardnunweek
07-02-2009, 10:45 PM
Hi,
I must second that Sam, one day the truth will emerge, hopefully in favour of Topping, but until we accept Reg hutchinsons account, we cannot move on, as I have stated on another thread , I am now all out in attempting to prove that Reg was on a radio programme in the early 70s, i spent along with my dear wife, and fab eldest daughter, looking through hundreds of Radio Times editions on wednesday, but because of a time limit, we were limited, and were unable to conquer first time, however Brighton University holds the answer in their archives, thanks to a late gentleman that donated every edition of that magazine from 1955-1990.
By all means, any of you that wish to get in first and find this Radio Broadcast, be my guest, just make a arranged appointment, [ Brighton Uni] and start searching from the relevant dates explained on my thread, and the pages to search.[that have not been vetted] I just want the truth not the glory
Regards Richard.

Fisherman
07-02-2009, 11:07 PM
Thats an almighty post, there, ben!

Ill just work from the cue lines:

"Honestly, what are you trying to convince yourself of here?"

It´s simple:
Since we have no documentation of what Iremonger did, said, thought or argued, we cannot take your assertions of "overwhelming probabilities" for anything but desperation - find the goods, and let´s have a mutual look on it. Then we can conduct a serious discussion.
It has nothing to do with how credible I find men like Martin Fido - who I found thoroughly charming and knowledgeable when we met way back - but it has everything to do with justified demands for exact and thorough documentation of whatever materal you wish to use in the discussion - and I think not even you will call Iremongers alledged examination exactly and thoroughly documented.

"Have you forgotten the nature of Leander's letter? It was a "spontaneous comment" that should not be misconstrued as a full expert opinion because the material didn't facilitate any such thing. You can describe that as "heaps of information" if you wish"

When it comes to what Leander said, it seems I have forgotten more than you learnt, Ben. Are you seriously telling me that he did NOT describe general style, writing skills, leaning and letter-by-letter comparisons ? If that has gone amiss in your computer, I can always send it over. And it did not come from his letter, it came from his letterS - plural.
And if you truly think that material meagre, then what shall we say for Iremonger...? Unexisting? Gone with the wind?

My wording:
"couple this to the empirically underbuilt investigation we have on record, telling us that forensic document experts will be perfectly able to do their work using photocopies"

Your wording:
"But Leander said the precise opposite"

Did he now? Whenever I read him, he says that he cannot present a full expert report with only electronic material. Nowhere can I see that he tells us that forensic document experts will be UNABLE to do their work using photocopies. In fact, if this was the case, why would he even take on the task the way he did, if it was useless from the outset. Think again, and think right this time. By offering his wiew, he shows us that he was perfectly able to make an estimation relying on the twodimensional copies, but added that he would need the originals to reach a full understanding. That full understanding, though, he expected to be a confirmation of his wiew that we have a match.
So when you say that Leander said the "exact opposite", you are misleading once again, are you not?

"the truth" (which, in an outrageous display of arrogance, you consider to be synonymous with your posts..."

Just how outrageous can it be, Ben. Either Toppy wrote the signatures or he did not. I think he did, you think he did not. That makes us both "outrageous" and awards us both (statistically) the same chance of slipping away from the gallows. Myself, I am much more outraged by posters calling renowned researchers totally unreliable without a scrap of proof.

"It would certainly explain why you try and pick fights with me"

It´s not about you, Ben, much as you´d love to have it that way. If any other poster had come up with the same arrogance and misleadings as you do, I would have reacted in the exact same fashion.
Then again, the fact remains that you have thrown forward numerous untenable suggestions and tried to force them down a number of unwilling throats, mine included, so I can see why you have a tendency to confuse matters here.

"I am working from the basis of the letter first shared with is on t'other thread. I judge Leander's contributions on that basis, and not on his reactions to successive bombardments that only reflected frustration on the part of the bombarder that the first letter wasn't sufficiently Toppy-endorsing for his tastes."

Oh, but it WAS Ben - Leander was "Toppy-endorsing" from the outset, and the frustration was to be found in your camp, not mine. And that frustration took very strange shapes, since you repeatedly refused to realize that Leanders verdict could go against you. When it did, it was the old put-your-fingers-in-the-ears trick again, to the extent that you suggested that we should listen to your interpretation of Leanders words only, disallowing his later posts that very clearly confirmed my stance and disagrred completely with yours. It was rotten luck on your behalf, Ben, and I don´t deny that. But there is only so much you can do - unless you choose to question the judgement of someone who is far superior to yourself and start spreading rumours that I secretely swayed Leander to the extent where I became a ventriloquist and he the puppet. Such things, of course, you can always do! It of course does not alter the fact that Leander clearly opted for a match, and it does not alter the fact that a man of his stature and reputation would not change anything to please anybody. And if you think that he did, you are really not at liberty to tell us that he was a discerning man as long as he provided you with a slim chance of survival, whereas he became a gullible idiot when I asked him to. You choose either or, and you don´t tell people that you "entertain no grave doubts as to the extent of his abilities and discernment" if that is not your true opinion. For if you think him gullible and easily swayed to abandon his own wiews for the benefit of those who discuss with him, you are very seriously questioning that ability and discernment. You can´t have it both ways, Ben. You can´t tell Garry that you agree that Leander is top notch, and then tell me that you consider him unreliable crap. Make up your mind - and try to stand by it REGARDLESS of who you are exchanging with. It will feel refreshing, once you try it.

"He went from a reputable authority who was happy to help, to a reputable authority who got sick of being bothered and acted in a manner that was likely appease the obvious biases of the botherer"

Was it you or I that spoke to him, Ben? He was quite happy to offer his wiew, he was never bothered, he took plentyful time to offer his wiew and he was quite amiable throughout. Plus, you must remember that a guy like Sam tells us that HIS wiew is that Leander was entirely responsible throughout the exchange. He seems not to see any dabbling on my behalf, but simply recognizes that Leander gave his wiew in a professional manner. But perhaps I was able to con Sam too, hiding my filthy work from him? Clever guy, I must be!
Like I said before, with a little effort you can find Leander and the SKL on the net. From that position, you can contact him and ask him if he feels that he was swindled into giving up his own convictions by me! It will cost you a minute or two, and perhaps the odd electronical penny, but really, Ben - don´t you find it worth the effort to finally be able to hang me out for the liar and con artist I am...? Actually, whenever you do take such actions, and whenever you produce Leanders admittance that he was lying through his teeth when he said that he would be surprised if it was not a match, I will merrily leave Casebook for ever.
That should be quite a carrott for you - should it not?

All the best from your stealthy con artist,
Fisherman

Fisherman
07-02-2009, 11:18 PM
Saw your posts only when I had launched my own, Sam and Richard. I agree with you both that it would be much better if a civil tone could be used (and if it could be used on the right thread - I made efforts in that direction earlier, but there you are...)
I have, however, very serious difficulties not to reply when I am being called an evidence-fitter and a man who uses my own bias to distort the wiews of responsible researchers like Leander - indeed that I whispered in his ears until he decided to please me only to get rid of me. These are grave, grave accusations, and thus I underprioritize dignity for the need to clear my name from such filth.
...but I will try, once again, of course. For sanitys sake. And I believe that I have made it abundantly clear that the accusations are totally ungrounded, to everybody but you-know-who.

So, here goes - it will last til the next time I´m told that we have a very reliable report on the signatures by Iremonger, and one other report that was promising from the outset, but later tainted by the sinister hand of a biased evidence-fitter. That´s all I can promise.

Richard, as for your "one day the truth will emerge" - I really think that wait is over.

The best,
Fisherman

Sam Flynn
07-02-2009, 11:26 PM
I have, however, very serious difficulties not to reply when I am being called an evidence-fitter and a man who uses my own bias to distort the views.
Indeed, Fish, and it's never nice when that happens. We've all been victims of it from time to time, myself and Ben included. I know we have it within us to be civil, so please let's keep it that way.

Ben
07-03-2009, 12:03 AM
I'll just address the latest round, and then I'll be more than content to follow Gareth's sound and timely advice.

Since we have no documentation of what Iremonger did, said, thought or argued, we cannot take your assertions of "overwhelming probabilities" for anything but desperation - find the goods, and let´s have a mutual look on it. Then we can conduct a serious discussion.

Well, with respect...no.

When I speak of overwhelming probabilities, what I'm really highlighting is A) The likelihood that Sue Iremoner did precisely what several reputable sources informed us that she did, and B) the total absence of any vaguely compelling or noteworthy reason to doubt that she examined the signatures mentioned by said reputable sources. You can demand for "definitive documentation" as often as you you like, but in the absence of same, I'm afraid you'd still be struggling for any decent or vaguely compelling reason to doubt Iremonger's findings.

Did he now? Whenever I read him, he says that he cannot present a full expert report with only electronic material. Nowhere can I see that he tells us that forensic document experts will be UNABLE to do their work using photocopies.

What's the difference?

Leander was supplied with "electronic material". If he printed that material, it would be photocopied electronic material, and you're not seriously arguing that electronic material is improved in terms of quality when it is printed? Or by "photocopies", do you mean direct copies of the original material? In which case, I find no evidence that Leander was supplied with these.

Think again, and think right this time. By offering his wiew, he shows us that he was perfectly able to make an estimation relying on the twodimensional copies, but added that he would need the originals to reach a full understanding

But he was anxious to point out that his comments could only be taken as a "spontaneous comment", and not a "full expert opinion" in the absence of the original documents.

Oh, but it WAS Ben - Leander was "Toppy-endorsing" from the outset, and the frustration was to be found in your camp, not mine.

No, he wasn't.

N-o-o-o-o-o-o wasn't.

His initial letter was neutral.

He didn't come down in favour of either side of the debate.

And that frustration took very strange shapes, since you repeatedly refused to realize that Leanders verdict could go against you

It didn't.

I know it didn't because I quoted him verbatim, so as to eradicate any semblance of doubt that I was putting my own spin on his words. Your frustration stemmed from the fact that his initial observations weren't Toppy-endorsing enough, so you attempted to bombard the poor man into submission.

Thanks Leander, but it's not quite Toppyish enough!

Bit more?

Ok, that's a little better.

Bit more?

Getting there.

One more try?

Thar she blows!

Whew! Finally! I'll leave you alone now!

Let me go on record that I have no doubt whatsoever concerning the honesty and professionalism of Leander, but all human beings have a limit, and I'm afraid your relentless zealotry - of the order than you display here - may have prompted him to fob you off. That's my take on matters. If you don't like that interpretation - fight me, and I'm see you in perdition's flames. There's no other explanation for Leander's radically contrasting stance on this issue. His initial post was circumspect. It was neutral. I agreed with it, and in agreeing with his observations, I sought to eradicate any possible doubt on my interpretitive abilities by quoting the man verbatim. This you refused to do, which is why you bombarded him five times thereafter.

It of course does not alter the fact that Leander clearly opted for a match

No, he didn't.

I swear to you on everything I hold dear that he DID NOT "clearly opt for a match" in his initial post. If he upgraded to declaring the signatures a match later, it means that he either changed his mind, didn't convey his true meaning, or, most likely, he became sick of being perpetually bombarded and elected, quite understandably, to fob the irritant off. I would!

I go for the third option.

That wouldn't make him a gullible idiot in the slightest. Remember that there really isn't much at stake here, considering that Leander was only offering his "spontaneous comment" and not a full expert opinion. Under these conditions, what does he have to lose by appeasing a nuisance? It certainly wouldn't detract from his expertise, but it might reveal his all too human distaste for bombardment and beleaguerment.