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Charles Letchford

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  • #16
    Originally posted by NotBlamedForNothing View Post

    Hi Jeff.

    There are two problems here. Your interpretation is as though the report says...

    ...she heard the measured, heavy tramp of a policeman passing the house on his beat, and immediately she went to the street-door...

    It actually says...

    ...she heard the measured, heavy tramp of a policeman passing the house on his beat. Immediately afterwards she went to the street-door...

    That is not the same thing. The other issue is your claim that people use the word 'immediately', not in the dictionary sense, but as in 'not long afterwards'. ...
    Great, we agree then. There was time that passed between Smith's patrolling by her house and her going out to the step, which means there was time for the couple Smith saw to move. She didn't see Smith, as you say, because she didn't go out when Smith was immediately beyond her front door, but "immediately after he was long gone", allowing for the time I was describing for the couple to move as well.

    Let's take a real world example:

    Mother to children playing outside: Come inside immediately!

    Does she want the kids in now, or quite soon?
    Language is very versatile, but yes, people can also use a word literally. However, in colloquial usage, immediately does not automatically mean, well, immediately. ha ha. It can be used to indicate "the next thing I did...", for example. I sat in my chair. Immediately afterwards I went outside. But, between getting up and going out, I might also put my shoes on, grab my coat, pay a quick visit to the loo, etc, all things in preparation for going out, because that was the next thing on my list of things to do. It doesn't mean there was no time between my getting up and exiting the door. Because immediate can also mean "closest, or next, directly, etc", as in the house immediately opposite, or "my immediate neighbours" (meaning the ones next to me), so if it is being used in that context it just means the next thing she did, particularly if that sort of phrasing was more common in 1888 than it is now (as it may sound a bit "old fashioned" the way I'm using it here in this example).

    What I'm getting at, is that we cannot automatically ascribe a dictionary definition to spoken words. Dictionary's are formal definitions, and word usage changes over time because people don't use language like a dictionary. Victorian's used terms and words a bit differently than we do now, and if we go back further, we can see how language has changed. It's language use that we have to consider, now how it's been frozen in time by a dictionary (though they are very useful things all the same).

    Also, we don't even know that it was Fanny who used the word immediately. If it was the reporter, it's meaningless really.

    That is, if Fanny is to be believed. Is Fanny to be believed?

    I only noticed one person passing, just before I turned in. That was a young man walking up Berner-street, carrying a black bag in his hand.
    He was respectably dressed, but was a stranger to me. He might ha' been coming from the Socialist Club.

    We're getting off track now. This is all stuff that happens after she's gone out, we're concentrating on when she went out, not what happened after that. She does suggest the only person she saw moving about was Goldstein, and there's no mention of seeing either Smith or the couple.

    Apparently, it depends.

    Which of these is true...?

    ...she said that in about four minutes' time she heard Diemschitz's pony cart pass the house...

    ...I've calculated that in about four minutes' time she heard Diemschitz's pony cart pass the house...

    It seems to me that almost everyone supposes the first. In that case, let's be consistent...

    I heard the measured, heavy tramp of a policeman passing the house on his beat. Immediately afterwards I went to the street-door...
    And, as you've pointed out above, there's time between the PC footsteps and when she went out. We don't know how long that time interval was. We can infer it's enough time for PC Smith to get out of view from her vantage point, though, as she does not indicate she saw him. Without establishing the time between his passing her door, and her going out for her estimated 10 minutes, it could be entirely possible the Schwartz incident happened before she went out. And given there's an estimated 4 minutes between her going in and Deimshutz's pony passing, it's theoretically possible to squeeze the Schwartz incident into that time window too. The whole thing probably only requires 2 minutes or so to have the encounter, Schwartz to flee, and B.S. to kill Stride and flee as well, but it would be tight, unless of course, her 4 minute estimate is wrong.

    You're possibly forgetting something of key importance, which possibly undermines the idea that the word immediately is not being used in the dictionary sense. That is, we all know who Smith witnessed as he passed, but the reporter had no clue. Consider what the report supposes about the policeman...
    We have a 5 minute window with regards to when PC Smith passed. And if the word immediately was the reporter's choice, and not Fanny's, then as you say, the reporter has no clue (a bit harsh, but the reporter's job is to string the events he's been told about into a story that conveys the gist as they understand it, not to present forensically accurate facts).

    Presuming that the body did not lie in the yard when the policeman passed-and it could hardly, it is thought, have escaped his notice-and presuming also that the assassin and his victim did not enter the yard while the woman stood at the door, it follows that they must have entered it within a minute or two before the arrival of the pony trap.
    If we take the 4 minutes as if it's a properly measured time, then sure, the Schwartz incident might take about 2 minutes, and if we place in that 4 minute window, that would leave "a minute or two before the arrival of the pony trap". This is the "interruption" theory from 1888. Personally, I think Stride was murdered before that, but what I believe is neither here nor there as my belief is not a fact.

    He clearly has no idea who the policeman had walked past, and therefore could not have any notion that his use of the word 'immediately', was likely to suggest something very interesting. This is a pre-inquest report, so he is not to blame. Regardless, why wouldn't Fanny have phrased things in a way such that he wrote something like 'shortly afterwards', or 'not long afterwards'?

    Perhaps the issue is the origins of the report. Who did Fanny speak to - the reporter, or someone else?
    How do you know Fanny didn't phrase it as "the next thing I did ...", and the reporter, or editor, rephrased that to immediately? The article is not claiming to quote Fanny, so we do not know that Fanny even used the word herself. A reporter is not recording forensic type details, they are telling a story to the public. Those stories are their product, and a good sounding story is worth more than a dry, factual, list of details, including cautionary statements about "estimates", and "time interval not precisely known, but recalled as being relatively short/long, etc".

    We have to always keep in mind that all of the statements we have with regards to what people were doing, where they were doing it, and when they were doing it, all had to be recalled from their memory. Had Stride not been murdered, those events and times would have otherwise been of no importance, which means up until that evening became important to recall, the events they had engaged in were not specifically noted, other than by chance. People had to reconstruct their evenings, and that right there means nothing can be taken literally when it comes to times, durations, or even precise locations, or who was there. Most of it will probably line up, and the events of the evening, if we can work them out, should more or less be as described. Where things conflict with testimony or statements, then we would expect it to conflict with regards to the type of things people's reconstructed events tend to be error prone on. Times, durations, and exact order of events even. (I.e. someone who says "A came before B before C", could easily have transposed any two of the actual events if they all occurred relatively close in time, especially if there were a lot of things happening at the time.

    This isn't advocating for a wholesale slaughter of the statements we have to work with though. Rather, quite the contrary. It's about trying to extract as much in common as possible, and then fine tune things, which will require deviation from statements, but finding what adjustments require the least amount of introduced deviations (and hopefully that only introduce errors of the type we would expect to find).

    Trying to find the events of the evening by taking a reporter's presentation of his interviews as if that is something that needs to be considered as carved in stone is going to result in you trying to fit stories around a will-o-the-wisp.

    - Jeff


    • #17
      Hi Jeff,

      Good points throughout your post. I'm in agreement. I have posted a timeline at post #2455 over here:

      I would welcome your comments.

      Cheers, George
      “Contrariwise,” continued Tweedledee, “if it was so, it might be, and if it were so, it would be but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.”


      • #18
        East London Observer, Sep 15:

        Mrs. Richardson, who has been alluded to as the landlady of the house, but who explained that she herself rented only a part of it, and sublet some of the rooms, gave evidence turning chiefly on the tenants of the place. She herself had the first floor front and the downstairs back, in which she was accustomed to hold a weekly prayer meeting. On the first floor back lived an elderly man with an imbecile son 37 years of age. She heard no noise during the night of the murder, though if there had been any, she would certainly have heard it. She affirmed, and when afterwards recalled repeated, that she had no knowledge of the yard or the staircase being resorted to for improper purposes; but her son, a rough-looking young man, unaware, it may be presumed, of the line his mother's examination had taken, stoutly affirmed that both yard and staircase had been so used; and when subsequently recalled he not only repeated his statement, but added that his mother had been made aware of it.

        East London Advertiser, Sep 15:

        The next witness was Amelia Richardson, who occupies the lower half of No. 29, Hanbury-street. She is of short stature and was quietly dressed in black. Contrary to expectation this witness was clear and precise in her testimony, generally answering directly the questions of the coroner without volunteering any extraneous information, a drawback which is very often met with in voluble persons. The chief point of interest her evidence was the statement that she was very wakeful at night-time, and that on the 7th inst. the previous day to the murder, she must have been awake quite half the night. But she heard no noise whatever during that time. This is one of the most mysterious points in the whole series of the murders. Though they were all committed in close proximity - indeed within a few yards - of sleeping people no strange noise was heard and not any of the sleepers were disturbed. Mrs. Richardson was under examination some considerable time, during which she was kept standing, evidently much to her distress. It would only have been common kindness to have offered her a chair, considering that she is now at an advanced age; but this little attention did not seem to strike the officials or the jurymen as being at all necessary.

        John Richardson, the son of Mrs. Amelia Richardson, having been sworn, deposed to the facts which are already well known. He spoke in a rather husky voice, and once or twice he was closely cross-questioned by the coroner in order to get a perfectly accurate statement of what took place upon the discovery of the crime. The statements of this witness as to his having found people in the passage and on the landing, evidently for an immoral purpose, occasioned the recall at the instance of the jury, of Mrs. Richardson, when she was further examined on the way her house was conducted. She again emphatically said that she had no suspicion that any part of the premises was at any time used for wrong purposes.

        She was further examined on the way her house was conducted? Was does that allude to?

        Originally posted by NotBlamedForNothing View Post

        So Letchford was likely working as a barman, a few doors away from 29 Hanbury street.
        Did Amelia Richardson avoid dobbing in a regular customer?
        Andrew's the man, that is not blamed for nothing


        • #19
          Originally posted by NotBlamedForNothing View Post

          Letchford and Smith's timings, match to within 5 minutes. What are the chances it were Charles Letchford who was holding the newspaper parcel, and in the company of Liz Stride?
          Another theory is that the newspaper parcel was related to the literature referred to by Wess, at the inquest...

          Before leaving I went into the yard, and thence to the printing-office, in order to leave some literature there, and on returning to the yard I observed that the double door at the entrance was open.

          Perhaps it were actually a stack of Arbeter Fraint's, which supposedly had similar dimensions to the parcel described by PC Smith.

          It occurred to me that a way of testing these theories, would be to compare the attire described by Smith, with the men hypothesized to be Parcelman. In the case of Charles Letchford, it would probably be a barman on his way home from work, and in the case of the man picking up the literature from the printing office, presumably a clubman.

          The official description of the man seen by Smith, was published in the Police Gazette. It reads:

          At 12.35 a.m., 30th September, with Elizabeth Stride, found murdered at 1 a.m., same date, in Berner-street - A MAN, age 28, height 5 ft. 8 in., complexion dark, small dark moustache; dress, black diagonal coat, hard felt hat, collar and tie; respectable appearance. Carried a parcel wrapped up in newspaper.

          An important detail is that the man was said to be wearing a collar and tie. I cannot imagine ordinary members of the club wearing ties, although perhaps someone like the meeting chairman Morris Eagle, would have put one on that night. So what about Letchford? Would late 19th century barman have gone to work wearing ties? I really have no idea, so it's over to you...

          By the way, this is the 1881 census listing for Letchford: Charles Letchford 15, steam sawyer’s assistant, born Shoreditch, Middlesex. So he was 22 in 1888.
          Andrew's the man, that is not blamed for nothing


          • #20
            “I passed through the street at half-past 12, and everything seemed to me to be going on as usual, and my sister was standing at the door at ten minutes to one, but did not see any one pass by. I heard the commotion when the body was found, and heard the policemen's whistles, but did not take any notice of the matter, as disturbances are very frequent at the club, and I thought it was only another row”

            This is fairly clear. His sister was on the door at 12.50 and saw nothing out of the ordinary, and although not stated, it’s reasonable to assume that she’d also heard nothing either or he’d have said “my sister heard a commotion before or at 12.50.” Therefore at 12.50 at least nothing out of the ordinary had occurred as far as his sister was concerned.

            All that he then says is that he heard the commotion when it occurred. He’s already mentioned 12.50 (when he said that his sister was on her doorstep) which would have been an effective way of putting a time to the commotion but he doesn’t do this. So it’s entirely reasonable, and in keeping with what he actually said, to assume a gap between 12.50 and the time of the sound of the commotion. We surely can’t believe that what he meant was “she was on her door at 12.50 and nothing occurred, then at 12.51 we heard a commotion?’ Was he running a stopwatch? Clearly there is a gap.

            How long had she been on her doorstep by 12.50? Clearly she didn’t see the Schwartz incident or any alleged earlier return by Diemschutz so it’s perhaps more likely that she actually stepped onto her doorstep at 12.50 ish (however she arrived at her time) How long was she there? We can’t know but it’s very noticable that Letchford himself hears the commotion. He doesn’t say ‘we’ heard it. So it appears that his sister had gone back inside. Again pointing to a gap between the 12.50 and the commotion.

            So she goes onto her doorstep after the Schwartz incident and then nothing is heard by the Letchford’s until they heard the commotion from the yard sometime after 12.50.

            A clear pointer to a 1.00 discovery time.

            And equally clearly neither he nor his sister saw Eagle and Lamb come barrelling along Berner Street close to 12.50.

            Cue the twisting…….
            Last edited by Herlock Sholmes; Yesterday, 11:52 PM.

            Sir Herlock Sholmes

            “Conspiracy theorists, she knew, were paranoid by definition, and usually with good reason – they were indeed being watched, largely because they were standing on an upturned bucket, haranguing the sheeple about their wingnut delusions.”

            “If you argue with a madman, it is extremely probable that you will get the worst of it; for in many ways his mind moves all the quicker for not being delayed by the things that go with good judgment.”


            • #21
              I have to say that I’m surprised that there’s been no comment on this.

              Sir Herlock Sholmes

              “Conspiracy theorists, she knew, were paranoid by definition, and usually with good reason – they were indeed being watched, largely because they were standing on an upturned bucket, haranguing the sheeple about their wingnut delusions.”

              “If you argue with a madman, it is extremely probable that you will get the worst of it; for in many ways his mind moves all the quicker for not being delayed by the things that go with good judgment.”