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  • Robert Sagar

    I see there's been some discussion on jtrforums.com about Sagar's obituary in the Brighton and Hove Herald, referred to (but misdated to 1926) in the "A to Z".

    The text of this article is as follows:

    A "SHERLOCK HOLMES."
    Death of Mr. Robert Sagar.
    A romantic career has ended by the death at Homeleigh, South-road, Preston, of Mr Robert Sagar, a former inspector of the City of London Police Force. Mr Sagar was described as a "born detective." He had, indeed, the almost uncanny gifts of deduction associated with "Sherlock Holmes," and had remarkable success in the solution of criminal mysteries.
    Among the famous crimes in the investigation of which Mr Sagar shared were the "Jack the Ripper" murders. It was Mr Sagar's view that the murders were committed by an insane man employed at Butcher's Row, Aldgate, who was subsequently placed by his friends in a private asylum.
    On one occasion Mr Sagar was sent with two other officers by the British Government to Spain to deal with a supposed plot to take the life of the present King of Spain, who was then a child. The conspirators were arrested, and Mr Sagar and his colleagues were honoured by having a group portrait of themselves hung in the Royal Palace at Madrid.
    Years ago when the great city house of Rothschild lent the French Government a huge sum, Mr Sagar was in charge of the transport of the gold.
    After being in Brighton some fifteen years, Mr Sagar had a breakdown in health following a fall in the street. During his last illness, which terminated fatally on Sunday, he was devotedly nursed by his daughter-in-law, Mrs C. W. Sagar, to whom he was much attached. He was seventy-two years of age.
    The deceased gentleman leaves two sons, Mr R. H. Sagar, of Fishguard, and Mr C. W. Sagar, of Preston, and one daughter, Mrs Bishop, of Highgate, with whom sincere sympathy is expressed.
    The funeral took place on Wednesday at the Brighton and Preston Cemetery.

    [Brighton and Hove Herald, Saturday 6 December 1924, p. 9.]

  • #2
    Just to add - I'm in the process of tracing descendants, and I hope to contact them soon. Incidentally, I don't think there were any male descendants named Sagar who lived in the Brighton area other than his sons, Robert and Cecil.

    Robert Sagar was born in Simonstone, Lancashire, where Sagars had lived since at least the 16th century. On that basis I think it's safe to conclude that Robert Sagar was neither German nor Jewish.

    Comment


    • #3
      Here is another obituary from a local newspaper:

      A NOTABLE CAREER.
      Ex-Inspector R. Sagar.
      The funeral took place at Brighton on Wednesday, of ex-Inspector Robert Sagar, a one-time famous detective of the City of London Police Force. Mr. Sagar, who was 72 years of age, had lived at "Homeleigh", South road, Preston Park, since his retirement in 1905. Among the mourners were Mr. R. H. Sagar (Fishguard), Mr. [C.] W. Sagar, sons; and Mrs. Bishop (Highgate) daughter. A few intimate friends also attended at the cemetery.
      The early career of Mr. Sagar was remarkable. While serving as a medical student at St. Bartholomew's Hospital he took up amateur detective work and solved a number of [?]London crime mysteries, which so impressed the City Police Commissioner, that he was invited to join the Force. He did so, and it is stated that he was the only member of the City Force who went through 25 years' police service without having to wear a uniform. He had a large hand in tracing the perpetrators of many notorious crimes, and spent much time in trying to trace "Jack the Ripper."

      [Brighton Gazette [etc], Saturday 6 December 1924, p. 4]

      Comment


      • #4
        And here is another from the City Press:

        A SHERLOCK HOLMES IN REAL LIFE
        ROMANCE OF DETECTIVE.
        ONCE A MEDICAL STUDENT.
        There passed away at Brighton the other day a City detective who had had what may truly be described as a romantic career.
        Ex.-Det.-Inspector Robert Sagar will long be remembered as a man of outstanding ability in the detection of crime. Commencing life as a student at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, he became fascinated with the work of the plain clothes police. His duties as a student brought him into close contact with them, and he astonished his family and connections by throwing up all thought of a medical career, and joining the police. Exactly how it was done, no one knows, but it is certain that young Sagar went direct to the detective force of the City. He never did duty in the streets as an ordinary constable, and also never wore a uniform.
        THE STUDY OF CRIMINOLOGY.
        His forte was the discovery of the criminal, and a problem charmed and interested him beyond measure. To unravel the tangled skein of a complicated human problem gave him as much pleasure as even "Sherlock Holmes" derived from his voluntary activities. That such a man should have been wonderfully successful goes almost without saying; but he was not invariably a persona grata with the powers that then were, for his originality and independence scarcely fitted in with the methods of the ordinary police. Still, his value was undoubted, and, despite many difficulties, he rose to the very top of his profession.
        A NOTABLE CASE.
        To recount his many successes would be impossible in the columns of a newspaper. Perhaps, however, it may be well to mention one case, now 25 years old, in which he made history. For obvious reasons, we withhold names, but it was the first case in this country in which a man was charged with receiving property stolen abroad. A large number of bonds was stolen following a murder in Paris. The older officials of the police were quite out of sympathy with Sagar in touching the case, but he had his way, and many distinguished French policemen came over, conviction resulting. It may be that that case will be referred to in the near future.
        Det.-Inspector Robert Sagar retired very many years ago, and his death took place at the ripe age of 72. He was often referred to as the "doctor," and his popularity with colleagues and successors alike was undoubted.

        [City Press, 6 December 1924, p. 10]

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for posting these, Chris. The bit from the Brighton & Hove Herald, 6 Dec 1924, "It was Mr. Sagar's view that the murders were committed by an insane man employed at Butcher's Row, Aldgate".... essentially agrees with Justin Atholl's story in Reynolds News 22 years later.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Scott Nelson View Post
            The bit from the Brighton & Hove Herald, 6 Dec 1924, "It was Mr. Sagar's view that the murders were committed by an insane man employed at Butcher's Row, Aldgate".... essentially agrees with Justin Atholl's story in Reynolds News 22 years later.
            Yes, I think that's the most important point. The local reporter presumably got it either from the family or from another newspaper report of Sagar's death. My feeling is that Atholl was probably quoting something that Sagar had written for a newspaper at some point.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Chris View Post
              Just to add - I'm in the process of tracing descendants, and I hope to contact them soon. Incidentally, I don't think there were any male descendants named Sagar who lived in the Brighton area other than his sons, Robert and Cecil.

              Robert Sagar was born in Simonstone, Lancashire, where Sagars had lived since at least the 16th century. On that basis I think it's safe to conclude that Robert Sagar was neither German nor Jewish.

              He also wasn't buried in a Jewish cemetery which is another good indication. Information on a Sagar genealogical forum traces the name back to Lancashire in the 1500's.

              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
                Originally posted by ChrisGeorge View Post
                Information on a Sagar genealogical forum traces the name back to Lancashire in the 1500's.
                Yes - as I said above, not only were there Sagars in Lancashire in the 1500s, but there were Sagars in Simonstone, the same township where Robert was born. The earliest reference I have seen is to a Robert Sagar who was active there in 1560-2:
                http://www.british-history.ac.uk/rep...x?compid=53160

                Comment


                • #9
                  Here is an interesting article on Robert Sagar from the Seattle Daily Times of 4 February 1905 (available through www.genealogybank.com), which gives some additional details of his theory of the Ripper's identity:

                  Click image for larger version

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                  • #10
                    The plot thickens... that would be PC Watkins.

                    I wonder if it would be useful to get together all the various accounts of a PC viewing a suspect and see if it is possible that there is any truth to this.

                    Of course there is no official file mentioning it (except that Macnaghten believed a City PC had seen a suspect.) Interesting that the man coming out of the alley had a Jewish appearance.

                    Even if this statement by Sagar was true, I dont think it would invalidate the idea that Kozminski was identified by a Jewish witness. Seems possible that the police might have attempted an identification by a City PC also, which failed... although Kozminski may have resembled the man seen coming out of Mitre Square.

                    Of course... this may just be wrong. But it does seem to add to the idea of a City PC seeing a suspect coming out of Mitre Sq.

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                    • #11
                      On second thought, it could have been Harvey too... either way, I dont see how the Police could have followed the sound of the suspect's retreating footsteps toward Stoney Lane.

                      If there is any truth to this, I think it could only mean that the suspect passed by the PC, then continued onward in the direction of Stoney Lane. Then after the body was discovered, the Police rushed up Stoney Lane to see if they could find the guy, but couldnt.

                      The suspect could have left Mitre Square via church passage or via St James's place... so either PC might have seen him. Although if the City PC indeed went on to discover the body, it would be Watkins (and an exit via St James's place probably).

                      Might also explain (to an extent) the Blenkinsop thing.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Rob,

                        Either the report Chris kindly provided is erronous or the story is false.

                        The City Police were not issued with whistles in 1888. Watkins was clear in this during his inquest apppearence.

                        Cheers
                        Monty




                        Author of Capturing Jack the Ripper.

                        http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/1445621622

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Monty View Post
                          Rob,

                          Either the report Chris kindly provided is erronous or the story is false.

                          The City Police were not issued with whistles in 1888. Watkins was clear in this during his inquest apppearence.

                          Cheers
                          Monty
                          As I pointed out in another thread, some City of London PCs were provided with whistles as early as 1887 - thus your comment that they were not issued whistles in 1888 is erronous. One need only check the City of London Police web site to settle the issue.

                          John
                          "We reach. We grasp. And what is left at the end? A shadow."
                          Sherlock Holmes, The Retired Colourman

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hi Monty,

                            I tend to "think out loud" so to speak. I am wondering:

                            a) Why are there so many references to a police witness?
                            b) Is it not possible that there was a City PC witness, and this was kept from the press?

                            I realize this is an old subject (and probably a canard), but I also think it is a good idea for us to keep an open mind, explore possibilities, and not always assume that we know everything. (Not that that is what I am implying you meant). It is likely that there are many aspects of the case that we know nothing about.

                            RH

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hello Rob,

                              "Explore possibilties" I like...

                              2 weeks ago I stood in Mitre Square, for the best part of an hour. Something that I hadn't done since I was a young lad. A couple of things struck me whilst I was there.....

                              Mitre Square is actually quite small..smaller than you would imagine (at least I imagined).. it is fairly compact really. Distances from one corner to the other corner ..relatively small.

                              There is an echo in that square. Because of the buildings around it, and how enclosed it is. Any sound, even in the middle of the afternoon with London traffic dull in the background, echos. I clapped my hands a few times at different points of the square..just to see, hear and judge things.

                              Morris, sweeping the floor... didn't hear a thing, yet he normally heard the beat pc every 15 mins. If Jack the Ripper had rubber soles on his feet... Kate Eddowes certainly didn't. Those footsteps in the dead of night would echo..clearly. And when you watch two "lovers" walking to a destination..are they always silent? If either "Jack" or Kate said a word, laughed, giggled, scraped a foot on the stones as they walked.. it would have been heard...
                              So we are to presume that a sobering woman and her "catch" are silent as they walked are we? As far as echo is concerned, I'd love to see if on Jakes models the buildings would have created that echo then...I suspect it did.

                              Finally... the Square was pretty dark in 1888 we are told. Lamp at one end, lamp at another...
                              BUT...Morris said his door was ajar... and Morris certainly didn't work in the dark. So the light coming from the open doorway would shine out into the darkness... and "Jack" would very likely have seen it as he walked into the yard. Now if Jack saw it.. he KNEW that someone was likely awake and in there....

                              That tells me either Morris was lying and was asleep, or Morris was lying and awake, or Morris heard Jack the Ripper and ignored him and his "woman" walking in trying to find a lonely dark corner..

                              Likewise, If the pc Watkins DID see Jack, as been suggested, he didn't think about it at the time, for he must only have seen a dark figure of a man in the distance disappearing out of the Square..his back walking away from him, not his face. And all this BEFORE he found the body. He would have been pretty shocked, I'd imagine!

                              Re. Sagar...it couldn't have been Watkins Sager meant, on the basis of the above. You can't get a good look at a man from the rear walking away from you in semi-darkness...can you?

                              Hope you are well Rob!

                              best wishes

                              Phil

                              Edit: I have transferred this posting over on to a new thread, with additions..
                              Last edited by Phil Carter; 08-07-2010, 05:05 AM. Reason: Additional editing at the end
                              Chelsea FC. TRUE BLUE. 💙


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