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Did Littlechild consider Dr. T a suspect for being a woman hater or for being gay?

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  • Jonathan H
    replied
    To Mike

    One of the reasons that Littlechild could mention the 'belief' about Tumblety killing himself is that he had been told by somebody whom he respected and trusted, eg. Macnaghten (who apparently also told Tom Divall that the Ripper had fled to the States and died in a madhouse) and so accepcted that this might be true.

    Yet Littlechild did not know this first-hand and said as much. It echoes Griffiths scepticism over there suddenly being three suspects in 1888 he had never heard of before, but this is what Mac was peddling to him (with an allegedly definitive 'Home Office Report')

    Littlechild knew the other data, first-hand: that Tumblety was a major Ripper suspect, yet he was not known to be sadist, and had been arrested, but charged with a morals offence, and jumped his bail and left England.

    It strengthens Jack Littlechild as a primary source that the bits he knew first-hand are verifiable by other sources, and the one thing he is unsure of -- and which is not true -- he pulls back from. Yet he feels he has to mention it the famous writer, who can easily check, possibly because his source was official and a colleague--but who had not actually been on the Force in 1888, which inevitably brings us back to Mac.

    In 1915, Sims is still wedded to the 'mad doctor' solution who is English. Littlechild's 1913 bombshell has had no lasting impact.

    If Sims conferred with Macnaghten the latter could have told him, truthfully, that Tumblety did not kill himself -- he lived on in America -- but that the English mad medico most certainly did drown himself, which of course is half-true of 'Dr. D'.

    What is missed here by so many is that Littlechild does not question the status of Sims' Drowned Doctor; that this is the likeliest person to have been the Ripper--if it is just a confusion of initials. The retired chief only questions the specific details of the suicided doctor who may be some body separate to 'Dr D'., and warns that Anderson has made the mistake due to professional conceit.

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  • caz
    replied
    Originally posted by mklhawley View Post
    Hi Caz,

    Our discussion has nothing to do with this thread...
    Hi Mike,

    Apologies for the late response.

    On the contrary, I was exploring the basic question of Littlechild's criteria for judging a suspect (in this case Tumblety) to have been 'very likely' the ripper. The either/or question in the thread's title is all very well, but it's a bit narrow isn't it? Is anyone seriously suggesting that Littlechild's suspicions were solely based on Tumblety's hatred of women, or solely based on him being gay?

    To your point…

    It seems presumptuous of you to claim that Littlchild would reject Tumblety as a likely suspect if he knew Tumblety actually lived for another 15 years without murdering anyone or committing suicide.
    Well it might have been presumptuous of me if I had claimed any such thing, but I don't believe I did. I was merely asking you to consider the possibility and you have given your reasons for rejecting it. This is what I actually wrote:

    In 1913 Littlechild still thought Tumblety was 'very likely' to have been the ripper. But if this was even partly because he believed he had disappeared after Kelly's murder, never to be seen again because he took his own life, it could make all the difference in the world. If you could go back and inform Littlechild that Tumblety had gone on to live a long, non-murderous, non-suicidal life across the pond until his death in 1903, how do you know he wouldn't say "Well in that case I now consider him to be a completely shite suspect! The real murderer's brain would have given way after the horror of Miller's Court!"
    You wrote:

    The suicide addition is a nonstarter. The only reason why he mentioned suicide was because someone else proposed it, and he didn’t really put too much stake into this, anyway. Littlechild stated, It was believed he committed suicide but certain it is that from this time the 'Ripper' murders came to an end”.
    Well I'm sorry, but unless you can communicate with the dead, I am at a loss to see how you can possibly know Littlechild's motives for telling Sims about the suicide belief, let alone that the 'only' reason he mentioned it was because 'someone else had proposed it'. That's not even a reason. He didn't go into who had proposed it, nor how much 'stake' he personally put into it. It was simply the only explanation he volunteered for the ripper murders ending when they did. If he had any doubts about the suicide belief and preferred another explanation, that certainly isn't reflected in the letter, and he could have left it at the fact that Tumblety disappeared from Whitechapel after November 1888 and been done with it.

    I don't know about you, but if I had doubts about something I was told, I wouldn't put it in writing to anyone without making it clear that I could well be passing on a load of old piffle.

    Love,

    Caz
    X
    Last edited by caz; 07-15-2013, 04:11 PM.

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  • Jonathan H
    replied
    That's one point of view, but it is arguably not the strongest.

    In a much more class-stratified era what counted was that the fiend was being propagated to the public -- accurately -- as a Gentile, English, Gentleman and professional.

    Jack-the-Surgeon (as opposed to a surgeon's son) was not the cliche either confirmed or conceded by Mac under his own prestigious name in 1913 and 1914.

    For example, in Sims' 1907 piece -- which we know Mac contributed to, in writing -- that the English doctor had surgical knowledge is one of the reasons for his culpability. This whole element is dropped in 'Laying the Ghost ...' Therefore it did not fall apart for the family. or the MP or the police chief.

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  • Cogidubnus
    replied
    But Mac's suicidal medic is the kingpin, wihout which it all begins to fall apart...interesting...

    All the best

    Dave

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  • Jonathan H
    replied
    I would argue that the 'West of England' MP sources have nothing to do with Macnaghten and thus provide independent confirmation that Druitt's 'own people' believed, rightly or wrongly, that their deceased member was the fiend -- and that subsequent murders and arrested suspects did not shake them, or Farquharson, from this horrendous belief.

    I would also argue that the 'North Country Vicar' source of 1899 also has nothing to do Mac (though its mixing of fact and fiction closely parallels his m.o.) and is likely about Druitt too -- and explains the source of the belief in his culpability.

    I would also argue that Mac's 1914 memoirs are far more important and accurate than his politically-driven Report(s), only one of which impacted on public opinion, eg. 'Aberconway'. In the memoir, the de-facto 'third' version of his Report, he concedes that Druitt was not a suspect whilst alive -- for years -- that he was not sectioned, and did not kill himself instantly in a state of non-compos.

    On the other hand, as you say, the Ripper was more likely to be Dr. Tumblety and Mac knew this, and went to great lengths to obscure it.

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  • Cogidubnus
    replied
    Just wondering aloud Jonathan...but if you won't speculate on the possibilities it unlocks...

    Once you start pulling out the odd threads, you never know quite what might become untangled. For example, just how much did Mac really know about Tumblety and what were his sources?

    Did Andrew find out more than we've previously suspected? Just how much did LIttlechild know of his own account, and how much had he been fed?

    Going further, has the entire MM (prepared for one purpose, but put aside unused for another), become purely a facesaving contingency designed to protect his much loved department?

    There's no evidence for any of it, of course, so it remains purely wild speculation...and that's probably for a thread other than a Tumblety one anyway!

    All the best

    Dave

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  • Jonathan H
    replied
    Yes ...?

    What are the 'some interesting conclusions'?

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  • Cogidubnus
    replied
    Hi Jonathon

    Which leads in turn to some interesting conclusions?

    Dave

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  • Jonathan H
    replied
    To Dave

    That maybe what he did.

    Took two weak suspects and combined them to create a Super-suspect who never literally existed but which served a propagandist purpose, and was a handy stick with which to beat [the hated] Anderson.

    This can be argued from the way Mac seems to have done something similar in his memoirs with the 1897 Camp murder; combined a young, deranged barrister with a dodgy working class fellow both of whom were arguably cleared -- a case whch Macnaghten even more directly claims credit for solving in his memoirs.

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  • Cogidubnus
    replied
    Has Mac not simply (perhaps conveniently) conflated Druitt and Tumblety - The young man conveniently drowned in the Thames, and the "Sexually Insane" Doctor? Just a passing thought...

    All the best

    Dave

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  • Jonathan H
    replied
    To Moonbegger

    It is always a big call to second guess a primary source.

    Unless you have a collision of primary sources -- which happens all the time -- and you have to make your best choice.

    In 1903 Abberline, from retirement and under his own name, denounced the 'drowned man' solution as almost nothing.

    A medical student had taken his own life just after the final murder --Kelly -- and in a Home Office Report it was made quite clear that there was nothing to incriminate that 'suspect' apart from the timing of his self-murder.

    Somewhat paradoxically Abberline also argues that since patrols were still going in 1889, the police had not even ascertained that the fiend might have stopped (then when exactly, for Abberline, did Kelly become the final victim and not Coles -- and why?)

    The problem is that nearly everything Abberline says about the drowned young doctor does not match Druitt, except the drowned part after Kelly (and perhaps being young, but not that young). Druitt was not a medical man, not a police suspect in 1888, or 1889 (not until early 1891) and was not the subject of a Home Office Report ever sent to that dept. of state.

    Not did the timing of his suicide fit the cessation of the murders which happened after Coles in 1891. By then druitt had been deceased for over two years (to make that fit, Kelly had to retrospectively be the final victim -- and that this was known to the police at the time).

    Abberline was arguably out of the loop by the time Macnaghten belatedly discovered Druitt, and the giveaway is his use of 'we' ; meaning the entire police rejectedthe drowned man hype.

    He is so ignorant that the drowned man is Macnaghten's chief suspect -- Abberline was not alone about this -- that in the same interview he says he was writing a note to Mac, by then the Assistant Commissioner (CID), to tell him that Chapman is the likely Jack (he is also ignorant that Sir Robert Anderson favours the locked-up lunatic solution, suggesting that these suspects were known to the upper echelon but not below).

    I subscribe to the theory (I first saw it in the A to Z) that Abberline is talking about the insane medical student Sanders, who was a suspect in 1888, and who from the police point of view went missing (with his mother), and who was the subject of a Home Office Report.

    The objection to that theory is that the police did not think Sanders had killed himself, let alone in the Thames.

    One obvious possibility is that Abberline is simply bragging, because he has to or else these loose ends will ruin his Chpamn solution with the reporter.

    Another is that there are tantilizing textual similarities between what Abberline says in 1903 and what Jack Littlelchild writes to Sims in 1913.

    In the sense that both retired cops are claiming that the real medical man was different from what the press are asserting (actually just Sims) but that he [probably] did kill himself.

    In Littlechild's case he was an Irish-American suspect who was arrested on a morals charge and then jumped his bail, and was 'believed' to have killed himself maybe in France.

    But Tumblety lived and died of old age in 1903.

    The suicide element is exclusively from Druitt.

    The only police figure who seems to know anything about Druitt is Macnaghten.

    In Abberline's case it is a young medical student, by implication mentally deranged, who was the subject of an 1888 Home Office Report and who drowned himself, suggestively, right after the Kelly murder.

    But John Sanders simply moved homes, was sectioned and died a few years later of natural causes.

    The suicide-drowned element is exclusively from Druitt.

    Only Mac knew about Druitt.

    My theory is that Macnaghten told Littlechild that Tumblety had probably taken his own life after fleeing, while telling Abberline that Sanders had drowned himself in the Thames.

    It's no good saying that was all a bit risky -- eg. what if Littlechild and Abberline conferred at a police reunion about their medico suicides? Because it worked. Talking out of three sides of his mouth worked for Mac to both reveal and yet to obfuscate.

    Incredibly it works to this day ...

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  • moonbegger
    replied
    Thanks Mike & Jonathan ,

    That's a lot of food for thought ! Although I still don't quite understand , why they would have been grasping at very feeble straws of handwriting similarity , and how it would have strengthened their hold on him .. Even with the Lusk ketter & organ , I fail to see how they could have pinned anything on him from that alone .

    I would have thought an ID by the sub-curator of the pathological museum would have been a more bountiful avenue to pursue .

    There was overwhelming evidence to show that the criminal had so mutilated the body that he could possess himself of one of the organs. The coroner, in commenting on this, said that he had been told by the sub-curator of the pathological museum connected with one of the great medical schools that some few months before an American had called upon him and asked him to procure a number of specimens. He stated his willingness to give 20 for each. Although the strange visitor was told that his wish was impossible of fulfillment, he still urged his request. It was known that the request was repeated at another institution of a similar character in London.
    Also Abberline's opinion on the suicide malarkey ..

    you must understand that we have never believed all those stories about Jack the Ripper being dead, or that he was a lunatic, or anything of that kind.'It is a remarkable thing," Mr. Abberline pointed out, "that after the Whitechapel horrors America should have been the place where a similar kind of murder began, as though the miscreant had not fully supplied the demand of the American agent.
    cheers

    moonbegger

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  • Jonathan H
    replied
    Chers Mike.

    To Moonbegger

    As R J Plamer argued in 'Inspector Andrews Revisited' sending a top cop to do a background check, even abroad, on a major suspect for high profile crimes was not unusual (eg. Neill Cream)

    That's possible: the French suicide as cover-up for a ****-up.

    I just think the suicide element only appeared when Druitt was found [posthumously] by Mac in early 1891.

    By then, after the McKenzie murder of mid-1889, Dr Tumblety had been 'exonerated' and discarded.

    Only the dissemination to the public by Griffiths-Sims (Mac again) of a deranged, middle-aged doctor who did not realy work but was fabulously wealthy -- and with Kelly, not Coles as the revised final victim -- did Tumblety make a comeback, at least for Littlechild.

    Which leaves unresolved whether Littlechild was trying to sugar-the-pill for the police's rep by claiming that it was 'believed' Dr T had taken his own life in France (I don't think so) or that he had been misled by somebody (eg. Mac of course) that Tumblety probably killed himself and thus airbrushing out Andrews' trip which became embarrassingly embroiled with the Parnell business and turned up nothing useful about Tumblety.

    Druitt was rumoured to have gone abroad, while he had really taken his own life. Tumblety had gone aboad -- but was rumoured to have taken his own life.

    Druitt was a young Englishman while Tumblety was a middle-aged American, yet these features have been swapped around in Sims' 1907 piece for 'Lloyds Weekly'.

    Macnaghten's capacity to mix-and-match details about different suspects can arguably be seen in the Camp case too (in his 1914 memoirs a young, English barrister suspect for Camp causes him
    to mention 'Thames', 'Blackheath' and 'wandering' -- and some unidentified cop told a reporter, in 1897, that the best suspect for the railway murder had instantly drowned himself in the Thames.)

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  • mklhawley
    replied
    Originally posted by moonbegger View Post
    Hello Mike ,



    As a matter of interest Mike , and baring in mind the issues regarding evidence , and how much it would take to gain a conviction against the murderer . What possible assistance regarding Tumblety"s crime history in the US , was Anderson hoping to unearth ? Even if he had been roaming around Boston Slashing out at various unfortunates in his past , What good would it do Scotland yard at that present moment ?

    If the Police at the time did not have enough circumstantial evidence to Charge him with at least one of the murders, at the very heart of the crime , what could they have possibly been hoping for from Campbell & Co ?

    And furthermore , is it not a possibility that the whole French suicide episode, was just a cover story created by those in charge , who may well have been feeling a little responsible, for dropping that " Hot potato" in the first place !

    cheers

    moonbegger
    Hi Moonbegger,

    Reported was that Anderson, among other things, was attempting to get documents with Tumblety's handwriting clearly to compare them with Ripper letters. Roger Palmer does a great job explaining further details in his three-part article.

    With regards to the French suicide episode, no one else in charge admitted to the Tumblety affair. As Jonathan has pointed out, by commenting upon the whole issue, Littlechild was acknowledging Scoltand Yard's failure.

    Sincerely,

    Mike

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  • moonbegger
    replied
    Hello Mike ,

    Superintendent Campbell received a cable dispatch yesterday from Mr. Anderson, the deputy chief of the London Police, asking him to make some inquiries about Francis Tumblety, who is under arrest in England on the charge of indecent assault.
    As a matter of interest Mike , and baring in mind the issues regarding evidence , and how much it would take to gain a conviction against the murderer . What possible assistance regarding Tumblety"s crime history in the US , was Anderson hoping to unearth ? Even if he had been roaming around Boston Slashing out at various unfortunates in his past , What good would it do Scotland yard at that present moment ?

    If the Police at the time did not have enough circumstantial evidence to Charge him with at least one of the murders, at the very heart of the crime , what could they have possibly been hoping for from Campbell & Co ?

    And furthermore , is it not a possibility that the whole French suicide episode, was just a cover story created by those in charge , who may well have been feeling a little responsible, for dropping that " Hot potato" in the first place !

    cheers

    moonbegger

    Leave a comment:

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