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  • Home office report

    Has anyone unearthed the report sent to the Home Office regarding Druitts suicide,mentioned by Abberline? And was it standard procedure to send a report to the Home Office on each and every suicide?

  • #2
    So far as I can ascertain there was no such thing about Druitt.

    Abberline is either completely mistaken or he is perhaps confusing a Home Office Report about Sanders, the third mad -- and 'missing' -- medical student, as he keeps referring to the drowned man as a 'young doctor' or 'a medical student'.

    He also thinks that this suicide was only a 'suspect' because of the timing of his final act. In fact, Macnaghten's report, the official 1894 version, claims that suspicion began with Druitt's family. In his memoirs he revealed that this information only came to police 'some year after' the man took his own life, not at the time.

    Further complicating the issue is that Abberlin's war of words in 1903 is with George Sims. The latter refers to a defintive 'Home Office Report' by the Commissioner, eg. Macnaghten. That this report utterly trumps whatever the retired detective claims.

    In fact, this was the other version of the Macnaghten report, nikcnamed 'Aberconway', which was not sent to the Home Office and in which the status of Druitt as alleged chief suspect is quite different from the official one, where he is nothing much.

    Abberline talks in 1903 of going to see Commissioner Macnaghten, to let him know about Chapman being the Ripper. He is thus oblivious that the 'Drowned Doctor' is not some press invention or fancy, but originates -- behind the scenes -- from the same high-ranking police chief.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by glyn View Post
      Has anyone unearthed the report sent to the Home Office regarding Druitts suicide,mentioned by Abberline? And was it standard procedure to send a report to the Home Office on each and every suicide?
      I think it was actually Sims who referred to the report first, in response to Abberline's earlier statements about Klosowski:
      "Jack the Ripper" committed suicide after his last murder - a murder so maniacal that it was accepted at once as the deed of a furious madman. It is perfectly well know at Scotland Yard who "Jack" was, and the reasons for the police conclusions were given in the report to the Home Office, which was considered by the authorities to be final and conclusive.
      How the ex-Inspector can say "We never believed 'Jack' was dead or a lunatic" in face of the report made by the Commissioner of Police is a mystery to me. ...

      http://www.casebook.org/press_reports/dagonet.html

      I don't think there can be any doubt that he was referring to some version of the Macnaghten memorandum (which doesn't in fact seem to have been sent to the Home Office), particularly as he then goes on in the same article to say that "a Russian Pole resident in Whitechapel" was also suspected.

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      • #4
        Of course the 'Home Office Report' raises a much ****** question which is what on earth is going on?

        The mega-famous, widely-read, George Sims is a Macnaghten source-by-proxy, and thus the wily police chief imposed his opinion upon the late Victorian,/Edwardian public though without attribution -- although in 1903 Sims almost gave the game away, momentarily, by saying that Griffiths had seen the 'Home Office Report' by the 'Commissioner' but it was not picked up by anybody then or hardly any secondary sources in the modern era either -- and that hegemonic opinion of Mac's was very definite:

        The Ripper was not George Chapman, nor was he the Polish Jew, nor was he the Russian doctor, nor was he the young American medical student (who?) but he was almost certainly the middle-aged, affluent, unemployed, orphaned English physician who staggered to the Thames in the early morning hours little more than a 'shrieking, raving fiend' after his abominable desecration of poor Mary Kelly's remains.

        And yet this alleged 'police' suspect, and the melodramatic timeline he allegedly occupied, did not literally exist.

        So what is the solution to the mystery inside the mystery?

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        • #5
          Hey ... I must have written a word different from 'bigger' in that first line?

          Comment


          • #6
            Druitt

            Hello all,

            I have asked this before but here goes anyway. Doesnīt anyone else think it strange that Druittīs valuables were still on his body after being fished out by a waterman? Dickens refers to the pockets of drowned men nearly always being inside out, and to the waterman replying that "it was often so, whether by the action of the tide.....". After the Princess Alice disaster watermen were caught snatching bodies from the beach, where they were laid out, so that they could claim the reward for them again. Altogether, they donīt seem to have been very particular and saw any valuables on the bodies they fished out as perks of the job.

            So why was Druitt the exception?

            Cheers,
            C4

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by curious4 View Post
              Hello all,

              I have asked this before but here goes anyway. Doesnīt anyone else think it strange that Druittīs valuables were still on his body after being fished out by a waterman? Dickens refers to the pockets of drowned men nearly always being inside out, and to the waterman replying that "it was often so, whether by the action of the tide.....". After the Princess Alice disaster watermen were caught snatching bodies from the beach, where they were laid out, so that they could claim the reward for them again. Altogether, they donīt seem to have been very particular and saw any valuables on the bodies they fished out as perks of the job.

              So why was Druitt the exception?

              Cheers,
              C4
              Hi there curious

              The explanation might just be that Henry Winslade, the waterman who fished Druitt's body out of the Thames off Thorneycroft's Wharf in Chiswick, was more honest than others who found such drowned bodies and he didn't seek to rob the dead man.

              Best regards

              Chris
              Christopher T. George
              Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conference
              just held in Baltimore, April 7-8, 2018.
              For information about RipperCon, go to http://rippercon.com/
              RipperCon 2018 talks can now be heard at http://www.casebook.org/podcast/

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              • #8
                So if a report WAS sent to the Home office about the "drowned doctor affair," as Abberline was said to have stated,would it have been normal practice to do so?And does anyone know how many people (doctors or otherwise) threw themselves into the Thames during the relevant period?Can it be shown that the drowned doctor referred to must have,in fact,been Druitt, or did he have rivals for the title?
                Is there a "mystery within a mystery" as Jonathan asks ? Im begginning to ask myself the same question.
                Last edited by glyn; 06-15-2011, 07:53 PM.

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                • #9
                  It's just my opinion, but the short answer to your question is no, a suicide 'whilst of unsound mind' did not not go to the Home Office and, no, there were no doctors who drowned themselves in the Thames at that time.

                  On the other hand, the 'shilling shocker' tale told by Macnaghten via Sims in the 1900's it contains elements -- middle-aged, affluent, under-employed, a doctor, pursued by police as a Ripper suspect whilst alive -- which match the Irish-American confidence man, Dr Frances Tumblety. This is arguably the essential point that the retired Jack Littlechild was getting at when he wrote to Sims in 1913 -- 'Dr T' not 'Dr D'.

                  Obviously, other elements of the 'Drowned Doctor' do match Druitt: English, drowned himself in the Thames, being searched for by frantic friends after the final murder (actually a brother as 'friends' stands in for 'family'; a switch begun by Macnaghten-Griffiths in 1898).

                  Therefore the question is: did Mac fuse these suspects, one contemporaneous and one posthumous, deliberately, or, did he do it unconsciously due to a fading and over-rated memory?

                  I believe that Mac told Sims (in 1907) that there were 'two theories' at the Yard about the Ripper. One was the mad, middle-aged Englishman, who took his own life, and the other was about a young, American medical student.

                  This sounds like a scrambled egg of Druitt and Tumblety?

                  I believe the the tale is a conscious, self-serving confection, not for Mac personally, but to improve the Yard's rep, and it protects the Druitts' privacy -- and it renders both suspects, or at least the English one, unrecoverable to tabloid vultures. Plus, in his 1914 memoirs Macnaghten dropped the Tumbletyesque elements from [the un-named] Druitt's profile.

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                  • #10
                    What should we make of Macnaughton supposedly destroying evidence implicating Druitt? Bearing in mind he conjectures that the evidence damning Druitt, at one time lay at the bottom of the Thames.What evidence could he be talking about? Why was he so convinced of Druitts guilt? They are all rhetorical questions of course.
                    Apparently from what Ive read ,the modern day Druitt family know nothing about it all.Ifind that hard to believe,even if Druitt was innocent it seems plain to me that there was some kind of police investigationIm equally sure that memories regarding this would have filtered down through the generations of Druitts. Exactly how much clout the Druitt family woyuld have had with the Police I have no way of knowing,but suspect they might have had considerable influence.
                    Sims and co ,to me anyway,have muddied the waters considerabley.I believe Druitt is /was a suspect for a very good reason,not just simply because he committed suicide or because of family gossip. He stands out in the suspect list,mainly because there appears,on the face of it,no reason for him to be on it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      To glyn

                      Now be warned, for what I am about to tell you is essentially, if not wholly, rejected not only by everybody on these boards, but by some of the most significant, knowledgeable, and distinguished secondary sources published on this topic, eg. Stewart Evans, Paul Begg, R. J. Palmer, et. al. who would counter that it is making 'castles in the air' out of very, very ambiguous scraps.

                      OK, that should take care of being 'fair and balanced'.

                      Of course Montague Druitt was Jack the Ripper! Of course! Why else would he be suspected by anybody if the evidence of his guilt, even after he was long deceased, wasn't overwhelming?

                      In a nutshell, I argue that Druitt committed the murders but after Kelly he suffered some kind of collapse, and he confessed to an Anglican priest -- which may have been his first cousin the Reverend Charles -- and that meant the clock was ticking as to when he would be sectioned like his mother, with his family name disgraced. Instead he took his own life, shortly after being sacked from a school at which he had been found absent at night (to kill of course) but he was mainly a promising and successful barrister. Blood-stained clothes were also found by family or a family member amongst his effects.

                      Druitt's anguished family kept the whole ghastly business to themselves, understandably, and so from Dec 31st 1888 the police were unknowingly hunting for a murderer who had killed himself; who was a 'ghost' (Mac, 1914).

                      That is until in Feb 1891 the tale leaked in Dorset, perhaps along the Tory/consituency grapevine as it was a Conservative MP, Henry Farquharson, an upper class, backbench member of the incumbent government, who began to indiscreetly blab to people what he had learned about a respectable Tory family. This story was so devastating, about a 'son of a surgeon', that you only had to hear the MP's 'doctrine' to be impressed. This then, inevitably, leaked to the press who treated the tale warily. It then vanished in the wake of the Frances Coles murder a few days later, with the police haplessly chasing a sailor suspect.

                      Under the radar, Chief Constable Melville Macnaghten met with his fellow Old Etonian and Tory, Farquharson, and learned the story about Druitt. He then met with the family, or a family member, quite unofficially, was completely convinced, and assured them that, as much as he could, he would protect their name as their Montie could never be arrested. Knowing that the story could leak at any time, Macnaghten covered himself with an official report to show that the police did know something about this suspect, but only hearsay information eg. nothing conclusive -- not even if he was a doctor or not? A repory so obscure it was never metnioned, not even by its author.

                      Therefore Druitt was never the subject of an official police investigation, alive or dead, a completely false and self-servingly false impression Macnaghten gave to the Edwardian public via Griffiths and Sims being shown an alternate version of this report, and why detectives from 1888, such as Littlechild, Abberline, and Reid, were left scratching their heads?

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                      • #12
                        Jonathan,
                        Broadly speaking,I have to say I agree with your argument.Though I do feel,that somewhere along the line there was some kind of Police investigation of Druitt,over and above Macnaughtons private chats.I feel there may have been some manipulation at the inquest from the Druitt family,particularly concerning the suicide note......or partial disclosure of it.I have no evidence to support that line of thought,just a feeling that it occurred.
                        take care

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The one detailed account we have of the 1889 inquest is very flawed; for example it does not mention the deceased's name?! It is unclear if Druitt was sacked whilst alive -- no other primary source mentions it -- and the brother, William, seems to be lying about being the only living relative of the dead man. Or, he means in the room at that moment (if Montie confessed to a family member before he topped himself, then it would be understandable if William Druitt wanted that member kept well away from such proceedings.)

                          I am puzzled, Glyn, as to why you think that 'the police' had to have investigated Druitt as a Ripper suspect?

                          Nothing in the primary sources between 1888 and 1891 supports such an idea, in my opinion. Quite the opposite. Druitt was long dead when he came to the attention of two Tory, establishment worthies, M.P. Farquharson and then I think Chief Constable Macnaghten, both officers of the state.

                          The key to understanding Mac as a source is that he knew the fiend's identity. That was no longer the mystery -- at least for him. What he wanted to conceal, up until his own memoirs, was the timing of when the fiend's identity became known to 'police', or should I say to this senior police administrator. He thus redacted Druitt into the 1888 investigation and, quite inadvertently, sowed the seeds for what would grow, decades later, into 'Ripperology' -- with his own suspect debunked.

                          I think that Mac simply lied in 1913 about destroying documents naming the fiend. His own daughter thought so in 1959, though she provided a different motive. After all, her father did not even destroy the draft or rewrite of his own internal report. I think he said this, as a practiced dissembler, because he wanted to reassure the Druitts that nothing would be left behind to identify their tragic member.

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                          • #14
                            I was a Druittist for many years - I thought him the best candidate in a poor field. I don't rule old Montague out entirely, but the case is entirely subjective and circumstantial.

                            There is no evidence that the authorities were interested in MJD at the time.

                            Macnaghten's (MM's) references in his memorandum are riddled with inaccuracies (wrong profession, age etc - which hardly breed confidence)

                            We do not know MM's sources - the MP is only a supposition - nor what the family based their conjectures on.

                            There could be many reasons for how/why and when MJD left the school, and that may or may not have been linked to his suicide.

                            Suicide can be linked to family traits - various other relations of MJD (including mother) were depressive and did not a cousin(?) also commit suicide? So no reason necessarily - and without supporting evidence - to deduce guilt, remorse or anything else. The alleged suicide not - "I have felt I becoming like mother" (inaccurate quote) is perfectly compatible with what we know and fits the circumstances.

                            I am sure that the sorry state of the records we have of the inquest are entirely down to the fact that the death was seen an uncontroversial at the time, the passage of years etc. Frankly, and perhaps depressingly, no one thought MJD's suicide of any importance or significance - it was simply a private tragedy.

                            While there has been much research seeking to link MJD to the circle of HRH The Duke of Clarence - and there are interesting associations (for instance, university, the Inner Temple, social contacts in Dorset) - but no demonstrable connection has ever been found, I think. Indeed, what would a connection imply when I think most students of this case are now convinced that there is absolutely NO BASIS for a "royal" (or other) conspiracy?

                            Finally, MJD is mentioned by MM as one of thre possible candidates for JtR: and MJD is MM's preferred choice. But we now know that Ostrog was either a mistake or a non-runner, or alternativelym, a make-weight. H e COULD NOT HAVE BEEN Jtr as he was in prison in France. Further, Anderson and Swanson (on the case when MM was not yet in the Yard) mention Kosminski as their suspect - and that is challenged despite their endorsement. So why should we weigh MM's preference over Anderson's and DSS's? Littlechild mention's Tumblety (?) but says he had never heard of Dr D (which one assumes is MM's mistaken MJD).

                            So I would ask:

                            what remains to keep MJD in the frame at all now?

                            Phil

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Jonathan H View Post
                              I am puzzled, Glyn, as to why you think that 'the police' had to have investigated Druitt as a Ripper suspect?

                              .
                              Jonathan,
                              Ill try to explain as best I can,first by returning to the original question on this thread.
                              Abberline words "Soon after the last murder the body of a young doctor was found in the Thames,but there is nothing beyond the fact that he was found at that time to incriminate him.A report was made to the Home office about the mater etc".
                              So it seems plain that it was Druitt he was referring to,in the abscence of any other body found in the thames at that particular time.Its why I asked earlier how many suicides were found in the Thames in that time period. To say "there is nothing beyond that fact to incriminate him" would surely indicate that enquiries /investigations WERE made,otherwise how else could it be said "nothing else found to incriminate him" The report to the Home office again indicates inquiries,maybe fruitless,but thats not the point.
                              Sims "After the murder in millers court,the Doctor dissapeared .....caused inquiries to be made.....friends had their own suspicions about him....these inquiries were made through the proper aurthorities"
                              Griffith s or Sims "in search of the murderer alive ,when they found him dead"

                              Theres nothing in Macnaughtons memo that states Druitt wasnt a contemporary suspect,only that the private information which "pointed to the conclusion" came into his or Police hands some years after.
                              If Kosminski and Ostrog and Druitt were bracketed together in MMs report,whos to say they werent all suspected to various degrees in 1888
                              Maybe Abberline, MM ,Sims And Griffiths werent totally reliable,maybe my thinking is awry but anyway those are the reasons .
                              take care

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