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Could the Whitechapel Murderer have been a Police Officer?

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  • Could the Whitechapel Murderer have been a Police Officer?

    In the last few years there have been quite a few breakthroughs of cold cases where the perpetrator has been revealed to be a Police Officer. Joseph DeAngelo was identified as a serial killer thanks to DNA. The French have also recently identified Francois Vrove as the Paris serial killer of the 1980's. It has raised an interesting train of thought for me- was the Ripper a Police Officer. The night of the Double Event was almost miraculous. To a man almost every Policeman even years later were dumbfounded that he had evaded capture. Is there a possibility the killer was a cop- aware of the patrols in particular. Could he have used a badge or some other type of Police ID to avoid detection as he made his escape? Or was he just incredibly lucky? What is also interesting is that some of the recently identified Police serial killers also stopped killing quite suddenly. They then for years lived quite normal lives. I suppose in a way that might even be a feather in Charles Cross cap(I don't believe he was the killer mind you). Just a thought.

  • #2
    Hi Sunny Delight, all,

    a policeman in uniform walked his beat at day or night and was overseen by a patrolling inspector or sergeant. During the day, he was supposed to walk near the kerb in order to watch the streets and pavement and during the night, he walked on the inside and had to check doors and locks for safety. No breaks were allowed during a shift, even though quite a few members of the force knew a way around this, for example by having a pint on the backdoor of a pub which usually lasted no more than a couple of minutes.

    Officers in plain clothes sometimes followed the uniformed men on their beats or were positioned at certain hot spots. During the Ripper scare, the number of plainclothes was greatly increased by the Met and later on City police after the murder of Eddowes. They were usually sent out in groups of three and stood in close contact during their shift.

    This tells me that it would have been rather difficult for a policeman on the beat to step aside and do his own thing. The murder spots also lie in various police station boundaries so the presence of a constable from, say, Aldgate in Mitre Square probably would have risen some eyebrows, same with the other murder locations.

    Gre,

    Boris
    ~ All perils, specially malignant, are recurrent - Thomas De Quincey ~

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Sunny and Boris,

      Very little is impossible in this case so I’d certainly say that the possibility exists. Maybe it was a Constable who’d been dismissed from the force? He’d have possessed the knowledge of police beats and known the streets and as the Mitre Square murder was a closest run thing, as far as avoiding running into a PC, maybe a former City Of London PC? I don’t know if anyone’s ever researched sacked COL police officers?

      Ive offer wondered what I’d have done, if I was the killer, to improve my chances of getting away? I think that I’d have taken a few good swigs of whiskey then I’d have rubbed some of it on my face. Any sight of a police officer dashing toward the scene of a crime I’d have leaned against a wall drunkenly singing to myself. How many Constables in the position would have stopped to deal with yet another Whitechapel drunk reeking of whiskey? And would they even have bothered mentioning seeing him at any point? Probably not I’d say.
      Regards

      Herlock Sholmes

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Sunny Delight View Post
        In the last few years there have been quite a few breakthroughs of cold cases where the perpetrator has been revealed to be a Police Officer. Joseph DeAngelo was identified as a serial killer thanks to DNA. The French have also recently identified Francois Vrove as the Paris serial killer of the 1980's. It has raised an interesting train of thought for me- was the Ripper a Police Officer. The night of the Double Event was almost miraculous. To a man almost every Policeman even years later were dumbfounded that he had evaded capture. Is there a possibility the killer was a cop- aware of the patrols in particular. Could he have used a badge or some other type of Police ID to avoid detection as he made his escape? Or was he just incredibly lucky? What is also interesting is that some of the recently identified Police serial killers also stopped killing quite suddenly. They then for years lived quite normal lives. I suppose in a way that might even be a feather in Charles Cross cap(I don't believe he was the killer mind you). Just a thought.
        Yes. It has not been ruled out by any stretch. Since we have the overlap of certain officers in multiple Ripper cases it remains possible.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hey Herlock,

          Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post
          Hi Sunny and Boris,

          Very little is impossible in this case so I’d certainly say that the possibility exists. Maybe it was a Constable who’d been dismissed from the force? He’d have possessed the knowledge of police beats and known the streets and as the Mitre Square murder was a closest run thing, as far as avoiding running into a PC, maybe a former City Of London PC? I don’t know if anyone’s ever researched sacked COL police officers?
          you don't have to be an ex-policeman to know about beats in a certain area, I guess it wasn't too hard to observe constables on their beats and note the timings down over the course of a few weeks in order to learn about beat changes, etc.

          Then again, being friends with a member of the police is another matter that might be worth discussing. Even though it might be theoretically feasible, I do not believe in a Jack the Copper, it brings in more problems than it solves.

          Gre,

          Boris
          ~ All perils, specially malignant, are recurrent - Thomas De Quincey ~

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by bolo View Post
            Hey Herlock,



            you don't have to be an ex-policeman to know about beats in a certain area, I guess it wasn't too hard to observe constables on their beats and note the timings down over the course of a few weeks in order to learn about beat changes, etc.

            Then again, being friends with a member of the police is another matter that might be worth discussing. Even though it might be theoretically feasible, I do not believe in a Jack the Copper, it brings in more problems than it solves.

            Gre,

            Boris
            Hi Boris,

            True enough and I’m certainly not proposing that he was a police officer or ex-police officer but, like many things, it’s a possibility.
            Regards

            Herlock Sholmes

            Comment


            • #7
              I think the nature of what it was to be a policeman back then compared to now makes this unlikely. Of course possible but I somehow suspect the women who worked the streets would have recognised a copper from a mile off. Would have made no difference if he was plain clothed, they would have steered well clear.
              Best Regards,

              Tristan

              Comment


              • #8
                I think the women knew the police beats, rather than the Ripper. It's pretty certain that they chose the location where they met their end. I did toy with the idea of a PC Ripper also, but a couple of points kind of turned me off it. 1) A uniformed police officer would not be approached by a prostitute just as one who approaches a working girl would raise suspicion and distrust. The Ripper needed to appear as a regular Joe to acquire his targets. 2) a plain clothes officer would be admittedly harder to discount, but as far as I'm aware, plain clothes PCs only turned up in response to the killings. I think the idea of a PC Ripper evaporates quickly under these proposals.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Nothing can ever be ruled out I suppose. I have been wondering though if the reason the Ripper got though the whole period was due to an ability to show his badge, to anyone who sought to stop him and question him as he made his escape? Knowledge of patrols would be important but I am sure his victims would have known them as well- part of the job. The only other possibility is that the Ripper was just miraculously lucky. Or maybe by the time the alarm was raised he was already back home in the centre of Whitechapel. On the night of the double event how did he escape has always been my main question and the only option rather than miraculously lucky is he was a Police Officer who could produce his badge to get home scot free.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sunny Delight View Post
                    Nothing can ever be ruled out I suppose. I have been wondering though if the reason the Ripper got though the whole period was due to an ability to show his badge, to anyone who sought to stop him and question him as he made his escape? Knowledge of patrols would be important but I am sure his victims would have known them as well- part of the job. The only other possibility is that the Ripper was just miraculously lucky. Or maybe by the time the alarm was raised he was already back home in the centre of Whitechapel. On the night of the double event how did he escape has always been my main question and the only option rather than miraculously lucky is he was a Police Officer who could produce his badge to get home scot free.
                    I think he had a couple of advantages - the poorly lit streets combined with the 'warren' like geography would mean that he could quickly disappear at a seconds warning. And people (especially police officers) wore shoes that would be audible on the cobbled streets from a distance. If the killer wasn't making much noise and listening for footsteps I think it would be quite hard to catch him in the act.

                    I suspect he lived very close by and was very quickly off the streets.
                    Last edited by Greenway; 10-20-2021, 05:06 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Meet Ze Monster View Post
                      I think the women knew the police beats, rather than the Ripper. It's pretty certain that they chose the location where they met their end. I did toy with the idea of a PC Ripper also, but a couple of points kind of turned me off it. 1) A uniformed police officer would not be approached by a prostitute just as one who approaches a working girl would raise suspicion and distrust. The Ripper needed to appear as a regular Joe to acquire his targets. 2) a plain clothes officer would be admittedly harder to discount, but as far as I'm aware, plain clothes PCs only turned up in response to the killings. I think the idea of a PC Ripper evaporates quickly under these proposals.
                      What about any one of the plain clothed officers working during that period? For example, the three detectives searching alleys near Mitre Square the Double Event night, the detectives working under Abberline, detectives working for HMG on Parnell business? Lots of policemen who didnt have to be visually a give away, but some of who the street walkers might have known. Someone who doesnt on the surface present a threat. Someone they thought was just a potential client.

                      It reminds me of DeSalvos method of gaining access to some women....uniforms, pretending to be someone who was supposed to be there doing their job.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hi Michael,

                        Originally posted by Michael W Richards View Post

                        What about any one of the plain clothed officers working during that period? For example, the three detectives searching alleys near Mitre Square the Double Event night, the detectives working under Abberline, detectives working for HMG on Parnell business? Lots of policemen who didnt have to be visually a give away, but some of who the street walkers might have known. Someone who doesnt on the surface present a threat. Someone they thought was just a potential client.

                        It reminds me of DeSalvos method of gaining access to some women....uniforms, pretending to be someone who was supposed to be there doing their job.
                        after I had read Henry Mayhew's London Labour and the London Poor, my views on a Jack the Copper had changed quite a bit. No matter if it was costermongers, water cress girls, chimney sweeps, streetwalkers, eel and pea soup vendors or coffee stall keepers, they all had one thing in common: A not very high opinion on the police force, to put it mildly. There also were areas in Whitechapel, mostly of the black variety according to the Booth map, where even policemen did not dare to go alone, so I think a policeman in uniform or plain clothes would not have had any advantages over normal people there in terms of getting in/around/away.

                        Gre,

                        Boris
                        ~ All perils, specially malignant, are recurrent - Thomas De Quincey ~

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Michael W Richards View Post

                          What about any one of the plain clothed officers working during that period? For example, the three detectives searching alleys near Mitre Square the Double Event night, the detectives working under Abberline, detectives working for HMG on Parnell business? Lots of policemen who didnt have to be visually a give away, but some of who the street walkers might have known. Someone who doesnt on the surface present a threat. Someone they thought was just a potential client.

                          It reminds me of DeSalvos method of gaining access to some women....uniforms, pretending to be someone who was supposed to be there doing their job.
                          It's not impossible. But truthfully, the only real suspicion over a policeman Ripper lies in the apparent ease of escape. I still maintain that the killer was led by the women who were very knowledgable of the beats, and really, his attacks where not entirely uninterrupted if we consider of Nichols' and Stride's in particular.


                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Meet Ze Monster View Post

                            It's not impossible. But truthfully, the only real suspicion over a policeman Ripper lies in the apparent ease of escape. I still maintain that the killer was led by the women who were very knowledgable of the beats, and really, his attacks where not entirely uninterrupted if we consider of Nichols' and Stride's in particular.

                            I agree the women would most likely suggest the spot to do business. I would think the women would know the local police very well, but non to my knowledge have extensive arrest records for prostitution, despite being quite busy by most accounts.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Greenway View Post

                              I agree the women would most likely suggest the spot to do business. I would think the women would know the local police very well, but non to my knowledge have extensive arrest records for prostitution, despite being quite busy by most accounts.
                              A conspiracy theorist might say; these killings were an attempt by the authorities to clean up the streets or scare the prostitutes off the streets anyway. It's a bit too deep throat for me though! If a policeman was suspected and it was even discovered and covered up by the top fuzz, then wow, you've got another terrible Ripper movie waiting to happen! I can't really subscribe to the copper theory, though because this wasn't a Miss Marple mystery and I doubt anyone in charge of that investigation had any clue. Warren even resigned over it, which makes me think surely he would have sooner exposed the cover up and cleared his own name than surrender his post?

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