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An Earlier Littlechild Opinion (Recovered)

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    Casebook: Jack the Ripper - Forums > Ripper Discussions > Police and Officials > Individual Police Officials > Littlechild, Chief Inspector John George > An Earlier Littlechild Opinion?

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    timothy23rd January 2008, 05:15 PM
    On another thread, there was a discussion of the article published in the Daily Inter Ocean in Chicago on November 20, 1888. This article reports William Pinkerton’s recollections about Dr. Tumblety. The article adjacent to that, under the title, “One who knows the ground,” is an interview with James Maitland, a long time police reporter for several Chicago papers, who had just returned from a five year stay in England. There is nothing new or interesting in Maitland’s description of the Whitechapel area. What caught my attention was the last paragraph, where he talks about the murderer:

    “There is only one man concerned in the job. He is an erotic-maniac. When the second killing occurred I had a talk with the chief of the secret service of the London police. He said to me what I knew before. ‘This man,’ said he, ‘is a fellow, probably a foreigner, who has gotten in trouble better imagined than described, and a desire to get even has over-mastered him and the taste of blood has made him mad.”

    Directly below this paragraph, the Inter Ocean printed a list of the nine victims. The first one they list was Emma Elizabeth Smith on April 3, 1888 and the second was Martha Tabram on August 7, 1888. Maitland’s conversation with the “chief” took place in August.

    Is Chief Inspector Littlechild the “chief of the secret service” referred to? Would the “secret service” referred to be the Special Branch?



    apwolf1st February 2008, 12:41 AM
    Right, I'll try that again.
    For Joe, just because.
    'Daily Inter Ocean', November 20th 1888:


    apwolf1st February 2008, 12:54 AM
    para ti para mi, Joe, uno poco de gracia.


    aspallek1st February 2008, 03:33 AM
    "Erto-maniac" sounds an awfully lot like Macnaghten's "sexually insane" and "sexual maniac."


    supe1st February 2008, 04:39 AM
    And let the victims' list be yet another jab in the ribs for all those who wish to take contemporary press reports at face value.



    aspallek1st February 2008, 08:26 AM
    "Erto-maniac" sounds an awfully lot like Macnaghten's "sexually insane" and "sexual maniac."

    I meant, of course, "eroto-maniac."


    dannorder1st February 2008, 08:12 PM
    For those confused by number 5 on that list, see Alan Sharp's "A Ripper Victim That Wasn't: The Capture of Jane Beadmore's Killer" ( from Ripper Notes #25.


    mcebe1st February 2008, 10:27 PM
    Hi Dan,

    At the begining of my Newspapers From Hull thread there are several articles regarding this murder.
    Inspector Roots was sent to Gateshead as it appears the aouthorities thought she was a ripper victim.

    The articles cover the murder, investigation, capture and trial of the killer.

    Here is the thread

    There are other articles regarding Sadler, Deeming, and many more.

    Regards Mike


    apwolf2nd February 2008, 12:00 AM
    There you go, Dan, another beautiful example of when you publish an article for five readers the rest of the world sort of misses it.


    Graham2nd February 2008, 12:33 AM
    Couple of things here.

    1] Your 'chief of the secret service' would almost certainly refer to Littlechild, who was head of the Secret Department (later Special Branch) in 1888 and for some years afterwards. His main interest at the time was with the Fenians, and I would suggest that this is why he pointed up Tumblety as a possible Ripper suspect years afterwards, because Tumblety was suspected of Fenian activity. I don't know enough about how the various branches of the police operated and interacted in 1888, but it seems to me that, supposing it's Littlechild who is referred to as the 'chief of the secret service', then he, Littlechild, must have had some reason to connect the Ripper crimes with Fenian activities.

    2] This is the first time I've seen Liz Stride referred to as 'Hippy Lip Annie'. If this is kosher, how the hell did she get lumbered with such a terrific nickname? Anybody know?

    3] Legend over the body of Annie Chapman? What legend?



    PS: forgive me if I'm being dumb and have missed something obvious, but I've had one of those days....


    sreid2nd February 2008, 01:14 AM
    Since they got Stride's age wrong by half a decade many weeks after her murder, I wonder how accurate the rest of their report is about her or, for that matter, the others.



    Simon Wood2nd February 2008, 01:17 AM
    Hi Graham,

    I've posted this before, but I'm jiggered if I can find it. So here it is again.

    This is from The Origins of the Vigilant State, by Bernard Porter.

    "At the beginning of February 1887 James Monro was given a staff of 'special' high-ranking police officers: one chief inspector and three second-class inspectors. For the purposes of administration these men had to be members of the CID 'and not be ostensibly distinguished from other "Constables" [sic] of that Force'; but they were financed (secretly) out of Imperial and not Metropolitan Police funds.

    This group was consequently now formally part of the Metropolitan Police, but it was still kept separate - at least for some purposes - from the Irish Branch. On most of the returns that were made of 'special duty' CID strength thereafter, right through to 1911, it appears as a distinct category, known as 'Section D', as against the Irish Branch, which was known as 'Section B'. (Section C was the port police). It was also referred to as the 'Special Confidential Section', the 'Special (Secret) Branch', and, on some printed notepaper in November 1887, as 'Home Office. Crime Department. Special Branch'.

    The first Special Branch that bore this name was this little cadre of four police inspectors under Monro, who took over Jenkinson's duties in February 1887, and not the Special Irish Branch of the CID which - on paper and for accounting purposes - was quite different. Section D's brief was to take care of the observation of anarchists and Fenians.

    To head up this group Chief Inspector John Littlechild was taken from Scotland Yard's 'Irish Branch' and not replaced there."

    So, "Chief of the Secret Service" could refer to either Littlechild or his immediate boss, James Monro.

    BTW. I'm chasing a lead which suggests that Abberline was a founding member of Section D [D for Devious?]. If true, it puts a whole new spin on his activities in Whitechapel.




    dannorder3rd February 2008, 03:25 AM
    There you go, Dan, another beautiful example of when you publish an article for five readers the rest of the world sort of misses it.

    So... you don't know something, thus nobody else does either and it's all my fault?

    You can click the link I provided earlier to read the article for free, or you can choose not to. You can also go read a book (or journal or newsletter or web site) or decide not to bother with it. It's a reflection upon how you set your own priorities, nothing more. There's not much anyone can do for you unless you make the effort for yourself.


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  • #2
    And, of coure, as a general point, nothing written in November 1888 could have referred to Macnaghten as any sort of police officer, letalone head of any department (which latter he didn't become until Anderson's retirement).
    Allthe best,
    Martin F