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Help me find the source of this story

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  • Help me find the source of this story

    I specifically remember reading a story on the Casebook (don't know if it was from a newspaper, snippet from a book, or what) where a policeman was relating the story of investigating a Ripper crime. At the scene of the investigation the officer suddenly spotted one George Squibb out of the corner of his eye, who was wanted for some previous crime. The officer gave chase to Squibb and cornered him in a house. Thinking that the policeman was actually chasing the Ripper a mob of people surrounded the house and were trying to get to George Squibb (presumably to lynch him). Many officers had to protect Squibb from the mob and eventually got him out of the area and to the police station.

    When I search the Casebook for "Squibb" it only brings up a single newspaper article the relates a previous arrest of George Squibb, and not the story I've just related. Does anyone know where this story came from? Was it from the biography of a former police official? I can't seem to locate the source. Thanks.

  • #2

    I think the incident is related by B. Leeson in his Lost London: The Memoirs of an East End Detective, but I'll have to check when I get home this evening.


    • #3
      Lloyd's News
      9 September 1888

      ASSAULTING AND THREATENING A CONSTABLE. - George Cullen, alias Squibby, 25, was charged with assaulting Betsy Goldstein. - Police-constable Bates, 166 H, said that on the 1st inst. the prisoner accosted him in Commercial-street, and threatened that the next time he was interfered with he would "do for him" (the constable). The constable explained that the prisoner was a notorious street gambler, and had been chased the previous Sunday. After this threat he took up a stone and flung it at the constable. It missed him and struck the young girl he was now charged with assaulting. On Saturday morning the prisoner was seen in Commercial-street, and chased by Detective Dew, H division. He dodged under market carts and horses' legs, and presently other constables took up the chase, the prisoner giving them a smart run through Spitalfields, where the cry was raised that it was "the murderer," and some thousands of persons gathered in a state of the greatest excitement. - Previous convictions for assault on the police were proved, and Mr. Bushby sentenced the prisoner to three months' hard labour.


      • #4
        Yep, Dew it is. See part IV of this.


        • #5
          The Squibby incident was recounted in Walter Dew's autobiography, I Caught Crippen in the section related to the Ripper murders. Stephen Ryder later found a news report that confirmed some of the details and identified Squibby's real name. An archive of the old message board thread where Stephen announced this (which includes a link to the appropriate section of Dew's memoir) and it was discussed, can be found here.

          Dan Norder
          Ripper Notes: The International Journal for Ripper Studies
          Web site: - Email:


          • #6
            Looks like three of us were responding around the same time...

            Dan Norder
            Ripper Notes: The International Journal for Ripper Studies
            Web site: - Email:


            • #7
              Thanks guys. Is this not the same person?


              If so you can chalk up yet ANOTHER alias--George Collins, which sounds like "Cullen". Note that his girlfriend lived on Duke Street near Mitre Square. Perhaps "Squibby" had a GENUINE reason to fear the mob after all...

              Or perhaps just wishful thinking on my part...The guy definitely operates in the East End and has a record a mile long. Not to mention that if this IS the same guy in this court case he got locked up for 5 years in 1893.


              • #8
                And here....This SURELY is him as well.



                • #9
                  Note the date of this last case. And note him being seen on "Flower and Dean" and "Fashion" street. The place he may have robbed was on Brick Lane. Unfortunately he was found "Not Guilty" in this case.


                  • #10
                    Stephen Ryder Nabs Squibby


                    An article entitled "Stephen Ryder Nabs Squibby" appeared in Ripperologist No. 57, January 2005. The article was also included in Ripperology: The Best of Ripperologist Magazine, edited by Paul Begg.

                    Asante Mungu leo ni Ijumaa.
                    Old Swahili Proverb


                    • #11
                      I Caught Crippen

                      Hi all,

                      This is from Walter Dew's "I Caught Crippen":

                      I was standing in Commercial Street with a fellow detective named Stacey, when my attention was attracted by a young man standing close to the entrance to Dorset Street. I recognized him 'at once as a young scoundrel nicknamed "Squibby ", who had given the police a lot of trouble at one time and another, and was now " wanted " for assault on a child.

                      "Squibby " was an associate of notorious young thieves, and although short of stature he was stockily built, and so powerful that we used to call him the Pocket Hercules.

                      Whenever this " charming " young fellow was arrested it took six or eight policemen to get him to the station, and by the time he was brought in he was usually devoid of every stitch of clothing, and the policemen pretty well hors de combat.

                      This " mighty atom " of the East End was covered from head to foot with tattoo designs.

                      Some time previously "Squibby " had engaged in one of his periodical battles with the police. It was as a result of this that the child was injured. The assault on the girl was not deliberate. "Squibby" was amusing himself by throwing bricks at a policeman. One of the missiles was badly aimed and hit the child.

                      Knowing he would be "wanted" for that, the miniature giant went into hiding, and the morning following the Hanbury Street murder was the first occasion following the offence that he had come under the eyes of a police officer. I have a shrewd suspicion that it was not mere curiosity that caused " Squibby " to mix among that throng of morbid sightseers. He was not the type of fellow to let an opportunity like that pass.

                      Unfortunately for me, " Squibby's " eyes were as sharp as my own. Recognition was mutual. He knew I would be after him, and was determined to give me a hard chase. He made a sudden dash, dived between the legs of a horse,', crossed the road, and ran as fast as his short legs could carry him along Commercial Street, in the direction of Aldgate.

                      Stacey and I gave chase, drawing our truncheons - plain-clothes men carried truncheons during the Ripper murders - as we went.

                      The sight of a man running away from the scene of a Ripper crime with the police officers in hot pursuit sent the crowd wild with excitement. They jumped to the conclusion that the man on the run was a murder suspect.

                      "Jack the Ripper ! Jack the Ripper ! Lynch him!" The cry was started by a few and taken up by hundreds.

                      Behind us as I ran I could hear the tramp of hundreds of feet.

                      As I was passing Fashion Street a great, burly brute did his best to trip me by thrusting his legs in front of mine. He possibly thought I was the man the crowd was chasing, but more probably knew me as a police officer. I dealt him a heavy blow with my truncheon and he fell back into a baker's window.

                      Meantime our quarry had reached Flower-and-Dean Street, and realizing that he was bound to be caught if he continued running, he entered the front door of a house, jumped over a low wall, and entered the adjoining house.

                      Stacey and I dashed in after him. He led us up the stairs and into a bedroom where we grabbed him just as he was making his way through a back window.

                      I was done in. So was Stacey. Now for a rough time, I thought. "Squibby " had never been known to be arrested without the most violent resistance.

                      But this was a different "Squibby ". Instead of finding, as we expected, an animal of a man, foaming at the mouth and ready to fight to the last breath, his face was of a ghastly hue and he trembled violently.

                      In a flash I saw the reason. It was not of Stacey or myself that the wanted man was afraid but of the howling mob outside.

                      They were crying for his blood. Their cries reached us.

                      " Lynch him. Fetch him out. It's Jack the Ripper," came from a thousand throats. The crowd now stretched to Commercial Street.

                      "Squibby " saw the danger, and so now did I. His life wouldn't have been worth twopence once that mob got their hands on him.

                      I told him we would do what we could, but I have often wondered what would have happened had not a number of uniformed police officers followed and, as I discovered afterwards, with great difficulty held the door of the house in which we were marooned.

                      Precautions had also been taken against a demonstration of mob law. Urgent messages had been sent to the surrounding police stations-Leman Street and Commercial Street -and soon reinforcements of uniformed police arrived on the scene.

                      The baffled crowd became more bloodthirsty than ever. The very precautions the police were taking confirmed them in their conviction that the man whose life they were demanding could be none other than the East End Terror.

                      The cries of "Get him ! Lynch him!" " Murder him !" became more insistent than ever, and I am sure little "Squibby " was convinced that his last hour had come. No policeman who had previously had the unpleasant task of arresting him would have believed that such a change could come over a man. Abject terror showed in his eyes as again and again he appealed to me for protection.

                      I myself wouldn't have given much for " Squibby's " life at that moment, and I was not at all happy as to what might happen to Stacey and myself if the mob reached us.

                      Presently, however, the yells of the crowd became more subdued, and I ventured down to the front door of the hovel into which our prisoner had led us. The sight I saw filled me with relief. Scores of lusty policemen were clearing a space in front of the house.

                      Never in all my life have I more warmly welcomed the sight of the blue uniform.

                      Several officers came into the house, and it was only with their assistance that our scared prisoner could be induced to descend the stairs and face the street.

                      On emerging into Flower-and-Dean Street I realized that our dangers were far from over. At the sight of the little man being shepherded by a posse of police officers the mob seemed to go mad.

                      They made one mad, concerted rush which threatened for a time to break down the police barrier. Their cries became louder than ever, filthy epithets being intermixed with the demands for " Squibby's " summary execution.

                      We gained Commercial Street, but beyond that, despite the strong force of police, we found it impossible to go.

                      One thoughtful young constable solved our immediate problem by getting a four-wheeled cab from Aldgate into which we bundled our prisoner and proceeded with the police forming a " guard of honour ".

                      At last it seemed that our troubles were over. But, oh dear, no! Several ugly rushes were made at the cab, and more than once it came within an ace of being over-turned.

                      A big, burly inspector named Babbington came to our rescue. He suggested that we should be much safer on foot than in our precarious vehicle, and with this I agreed. So out we scrambled, just along Spitalfields Market.

                      The whole of Commercial Street was now packed by a yelling, hooting mob of frenzied people. Some, I have no doubt, regarded the opportunity as a heaven-sent one to have a go at the police.

                      A lane was formed all the way to Commercial Street police station, and after what seemed to me an interminable time, and likewise I am sure to "Squibby ", we fought our way into the grimy-looking building which for once looked really beautiful to me.

                      This station is, or was, an island. It was immediately surrounded by the mob, now more infuriated than ever because the man they believed to be the " Ripper " had been delivered safely at the police station.

                      Even now they did not abandon hope of taking the law into their own hands. The police station was attacked again and again, and it was only the indomitable pluck of the men in blue which prevented an innocent man being crucified. There were many sore heads in Commercial Street that day.

                      I was told afterwards that from the very first police officers shouted to the crowd to say that the man who had been taken in custody had nothing whatever to do with the Ripper murders. They would have none of it. Their blood was up.

                      For a long time the shouting crowd surrounded the police station. A few seconds after a space had been cleared it was filled again.

                      Inspectors went to the upper windows of the police station and tried to explain who the prisoner was, and why he had been arrested. Several other ruses were adopted in order to induce the people to go to their homes. But nothing would convince them they had made a mistake, and it was not until many hours after " Squibby " had been placed under lock and key that the streets in the vicinity of the police station reverted to their normal peacefulness.

                      The moment he was put in a cell "Squibby " began to regain his composure. Much as he hated policemen he had confidence in their ability to protect him in their own police station. Eventually he was sentenced to three months' imprisonment and was quite happy about it.

                      " I shall be much safer in Pentonville for a bit," he said with a smile.

                      After this experience "Squibby " was a changed man. Whenever he met me he never failed to thank me for " saving his life ", and as far as I know he never again gave trouble to police officers whose duty it was to arrest him.

                      I have seen many riotous crowds in my career, but none quite like the one I have described. Every man and woman in that mob was ready to tear a fellow-creature to pieces because some fool, seeing a man pursued by police officers, had shouted "Jack the Ripper "

                      .................................................. .................................................. .....

                      Asante Mungu leo ni Ijumaa.
                      Old Swahili Proverb


                      • #12

                        Walter Dew testified in a case brought against George "Squibby" Cullen for theft and housebreaking on 2 July 1888. His testimony is below.

                        WALTER DEW (Policeman). On 11th June I was in Brick Lane with another detective, watching the prisoner and several other men from 7.30 to a quarter to 8, which seemed to annoy the prisoner, and he came across to me and began blackguarding usówe told him to go away; we were in plain clothesóI have no doubt he is the manóI told them what we should do if they did not go, and the prisoner said "Góblind me, if ever you attempt to take me I will chevy you"óthat means stab you.

                        Asante Mungu leo ni Ijumaa.
                        Old Swahili Proverb


                        • #13
                          Killing my own thread

                          Okay, obviously I didn't read the responses too well or this nugget clearly would have caught my eye:

                          "Previous convictions for assault on the police were proved, and Mr. Bushby sentenced the prisoner to three months' hard labour"

                          This was reported on September 9th (the day after Annie Chapman's murder). So unless "Squbby" somehow was able to not serve the sentence until October (after the double event) he obviously had little to no chance of involvement in the murders.


                          • #14
                            On 7th February, 1905 George Henry Cullen was sentenced to 21 months hard labour in Wormwood Scrubs for stealing and receiving a bicycle. The court calendar provides details of his prior convictions:

                            Click image for larger version

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                            He was known to the authorities by a number of names, including:

                            George Squib
                            George Squibb
                            George Cullen
                            Edward Cullen
                            George Culling
                            George Cluff
                            George Chaff
                            Stephen Saunders
                            William Spooner

                            He was just under 5ft 4in tall, and sported numerous tattoos.

                            He must surely have been Walter Dew's Squibby, the 'mighty atom of the East End' who was 'covered from head to foot in tattoo designs'. But the September, 1888 conviction for the assault on Betsy Goldstein doesn't appear on the list. Apart from one press report and Dew's account I can find no record of the incident.
                            Last edited by MrBarnett; 12-17-2017, 06:43 AM.


                            • #15
                              Squibby's Tattoos