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Sergeant Stephen White

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  • #46
    Steve White May Be Nonesense But Something Happened At Mitre Square

    Yes Stewart,

    I agree with you, there exists in writing ( on the Press Reports? Well definitely in the Dissertations and on countless threads), an assertion that Steve White did NOT sight a possible Jack close to a murder site on the night of an actual murder.

    BUT: and as D.H.Lawrence said, there is always an anticlimax of buts.
    Some people have alleged senior SY officers and bureaucrats have jumbled up eye-witness reports to mistakenly give the impression there was a police sighting of JTR on a vital night.

    This mistake has been perpetuated and keeps bobbing up.

    The other clincher for the No-Sightings-At-Mitre-Square school is that the
    official police files contain no mention of such. And whilst other things might be expected to be omitted, such an important piece of information would not.

    I will retire to my corner and wait patiently for more information to emerge from digitised documents.

    And great podcast by the way, Stewart. I love the way you are able to laugh at things.

    Am I the only one who thinks the Fido/Evans exchanges on that Anderson thread should be preserved in aspic? For all time?
    They represent to me, a marvellous example of two classic approaches to Ripper studies. One, almost Wildean at times; the other dogged, patient, accurate, and suitably unemotional. Mostly.

    My only solace Stewart, is that Druitt appears to be making a bit of a come-back.And just think, on the podcast you rate him as a viabl;e prospect/suspect and he is not even mentioned officially in the MEPOL files. Weren't the files on JTR closed in 1892?


    • #47
      Having read all of this stuff, it does seem to be that White (or someone either writing on his behalf or pretending to be him) was fabricating things. Though I guessed as such by the fantastical over-exaggerating of the supposed suspect's appearance (glow in the dark eyeballs! tapering fingers made of snow!).

      Though it does seem to be a fabrication concocted with themes of the Eddowes murder and that of, more specifically, Francis Cole's[?]. The inspiration for the character seems to have been a mixture of Thomas Cutbush, Aaron Kosminski and the man seen by Lawende.
      Last edited by Mascara & Paranoia; 10-10-2009, 04:41 PM.


      • #48
        Just a thought here, and likely [I]way[I] off-piste - but playing devil's advocate, is it possible that the man White described seeing (minus glowing eyeballs and associated rubbish) was seen by a police officer, perhaps on an earlier night, but for some reason the sighting was not passed on immediately?

        I am in no way a conspiracy theorist but I think a lot of people would accept that one tactic likely used by the police at the time (and accounting for some of the glaring gaps in info passed down, ie through press reports) was the 'holding back' of certain information in an attempt to stay 'one step ahead' of the murderer (witness descriptions being one such, as has already been established on at least one occasion); could it be that a police officer (possibly White, more likely not) had seen such a man but the description had been kept quiet, partly so as not to alert the murderer to a potentially close description, partly perhaps because to publicise it might reveal that they had been staking out a particular address, as White's story suggests (?) Perhaps after the Stride and Eddowes killings there was a change of tact, and the police realised they needed to release the description, and so White - as the man on the ground in Mitre Square, and an officer who could feasibly have seen the 'ripper that night, was chosen to be the 'witness' and the sighting was distributed amongst the officers as if it had come from him, on that night, as opposed to say 2 or 3 nights previous?

        Stewart - I must admit I have not read your refutations anywhere, but I am willing to defer to your experience; obviously I am not going to ask you to rehash stuff you seem to have already written about several times, but am I right in assuming that your opinion is based mainly on the same foundations as John's - ie that it was not mentioned anywhere at the time?

        Would you accept this as a possible explanation of what must surely be a very odd apocryphal story if that is what it is - I expect a lot of officers exaggerated or invented their involvement in the Whitechapel investigation in subsequent years, but to the extent of getting into an obituary? Your opinion as an ex police officer of whether such 'bending' of information is a viable explanation would be very instructive.


        • #49
          The fact that no detail in this report matches any official report surely is an indicator as the reliability of this story.

          The whole thing just doesnt add up.


          Author of Capturing Jack the Ripper.


          • #50
            Doesn't Add Up

            Yes, Monty,

            You are strictly correct in your first observation, and - more ironically - most certainly in your second.

            Whilst I can be justifiably accused of emotional illogic in my belief there is substance in the Steve White Obit.; I am not so sanguine as you Monty, or Stewart , that the absence of a coinciding description of a possible Druitt sighting in the Official Police records can be so categorically a reason to dismiss room for the opposite logic.

            I can think of (a) purloined records from Kew. Some of which were not
            fortuitously photocopied;
            (b) Bombed out repositories. Like the City of London Police
            (c) Misunderstanding and misremembering by other police
            Officers. (See the several references to the “P.C. in Mitre Square”).

            In short, I believe the whole picture is not so cut and dried. JOHN RUFFELS.


            • #51

              The detail is in the report....or rather it isnt.

              The evidence given in the Obituary does not match any of the known facts.

              The location description does not match the murder scene.

              The course of events described matches nothing in any news or police report.

              Plus no one else mentions this event.

              Surely alarm bells should be ringing, no?



              Author of Capturing Jack the Ripper.



              • #52
                The article suggests that Stephen White found a JTR victim bleeding away and had just passed her killer. Apart from the fact that the geography doesn't ring true, White never gave evidence at any inquest. Those who discovered the Whitechapel Murders victims were:

                Tabram - John Saunders Reeves.
                Nichols - Cross/Paul/PC Neil
                Chapman - John Davis
                Stride - Louis Deimschutz
                Eddowes - PC Watkins
                Kelly - Thomas Bowyer
                McKenzie - PC Andrews
                Pinchin St Torso - PC Pennett
                Coles - PC Thompson

                And they all appeared at the individual inquests. Interestingly, they're all male!

                Just to give my two penneth's worth, it all smacks of the usual dubious journalistic 'scoop' or attempts to pompously impart some bogus esoteric knowledge upon the public. Ripperology was full of that sort of thing in the early 20th century; witness Matters, McCormick, Cremers, anything to do with Dr Dutton and other 'well-connected' folk who mentioned stuff that cannot be henceforth corroborated or traced.

                It's possible White was party to the discovery of some stabbing or whatever, but I think as far as a Whitechapel/Ripper murder is concerned, this is a no-no.


                • #53
                  Believing Only Black and (not) White


                  My luridly illogical supposition that there is some substance in the Steve White story has drawn the Big Guns.

                  Now I know the Steve White "The People's Journal" article was in a weekly newspaper specialising in highly-coloured, exaggerated, and possibly invented crime stories ( "The People's Journal", Dundee).

                  But, having said that, every time I read that account of how White almost....
                  I have the feeling this was written by a capable writer.To my mind, it contains more, and more unexpected, detail than the usual newspaper reports.The author must have done his homework.

                  I know: lots of people are suspicious of the described location.The position of the street lamp.
                  The fact no murder reports in official files claim detectives were engaged in any stake-out near a JTR murder scene. Nor saw the Ripper.

                  Steve White was definitely involved in one JTR case: the Stride murder case.
                  So, he was in the general locale on the night of the Mitre Square murder. He was working for "H' Division around the time of the Eddowes murder.

                  Reading the several accounts of White's police career, it is obvious he was experienced in "stake-out" type work. Witness his alleged involvement in visiting Anarchist clubs in plain clothes/disguise. So, this experience and his rank, could have involved him in receiving progress reports from police teams watching a specific site.

                  True, it is a telling point that Steve White was not called to give testimony to any JTR Inquest.

                  But my main problem is that despite my admiration for the solid work of the three posters who have doubted my belief, and despite the fact there are no clearly identifiable police or press reports saying that a policeman actually saw the possible JTR...

                  I say, police reports are incomplete, confused and even, in some cases..missing.

                  Newspaper accounts are selectively used by all Ripper researchers.

                  And like Donald McCormick's very exciting writings/books, it would be foolish to write-off all his claims completely- because he has employed invention on a number of occasions.

                  After all, his main sources of information for his JTR book, were the clipping files at Harmsworth House. A tool used extensively by many journalist/authors.

                  Those who believe "The People's Journal" article to be fake, might care to look at the back copies of that papers articles in 1888. If the Steve White article was based upon their clipping files, it will show under a harsh spotlight. JOHN RUFFELS.


                  • #54
                    The Stephen White suspect sighting never happened, John.

                    If it did, we'd see White's name and description appended to a report on the witnesses collated by Donald Swanson, or else certain members of the police seniority were withholding details from eachother.

                    All the best,


                    • #55
                      We have other historical precedents for Macnaghtens co-mingling of story details, perhaps this tale isnt as straightforward, or as baseless, as its sometimes made out to be. But maybe its not White who is the real character in the story.

                      Best regards


                      • #56
                        Possible early "glow-worm eyes inspiration.

                        Putting my money where my mouth is, I have begun searching for early press or police reports which could have influenced the writer of the Steve White article in the Dundee "People's Journal".

                        One involves Stuart Cumberland, a " Thought Reader ".This man, at the relevant time, toured the country giving shows where he stood before a subject and supposedly, read their minds.

                        So impressive were his "powers" people wrote to him suggesting he direct his powers to solving the then current "Jack the Ripper" murders.
                        In an article repeated in " The Mercury" Hobart ", Tasmania, of Wed. 30 October, 1889 (page 25), Cumberland earnestly disclaimed any possibility he could solve the case. He could only read the man's mind if he was brought face to face with him.

                        However, he felt his responsibility to use his powers so keenly, he concentrated his mind mightily, particularly on one instance, in Dundee, around the time of the October murder, 1888.

                        A reporter attended him in Dundee and he described the man he had seen in a dream, whom he claimed was JTR.This Dundee reporter took notes.

                        Presumeably, these would have been published.

                        Cumberland subsequently moved on, and lo, had another dream, in which he saw the Ripper more clearly,and not only that, the Ripper made the form of the figure eight in his vision.

                        This he took to mean the Ripper was going to commit an 8th murder!

                        He wrote to his good friend Dr Rubie, editor of the London " Evening News " describing the Ripper's appearance and predicting an eighth murder.

                        Extraordinarily, Dr Rubie arranged to lunch with Cumberland 'at C's club on "Lord Mayor's Day".

                        As we all know another murder occurred on Lord Mayor's day in 1888.

                        Cumberland published a book "A Fatal Affinity". It was read by William Gladstone, who was impressed.

                        Cumberland seemed to think there were eight or nine murders up to 1889.

                        But most interesting within his description of the man he saw in his two dreams: his eyes:

                        " The eyes were dark and prominent, showing plenty of white".
                        And:" there was a dark intensity about the dark, full, eyes, the eyes of a mesmerist ".

                        JOHN RUFFELS.


                        • #57
                          Oops! Like most things on Casebook, there is always ' deja vu'.

                          Apparently if you go to "General Discussion" and click on the thread:

                          "Description in the Pall Mall Gazette", you will see some discussion of Cumberland's dream. Debra A. and Chris Scott seem to have covered some of this, and even posted an illustration of Cumberland's dream image of JTR.

                          I'll try to add the link here:


                          Apparently, also added there, the story appeared in a Glasgow publication,and Cumberland started a London(?) publication " The Mirror" which included his JTR image.

                          I reckon his "dream" image looks like the Duke of Clarence and M.J.Druitt.
                          They reckon "Snidely Whiplash"!! JOHN RUFFELS.


                          • #58
                            Originally posted by perrymason View Post
                            We have other historical precedents for Macnaghtens co-mingling of story details, perhaps this tale isnt as straightforward, or as baseless, as its sometimes made out to be. But maybe its not White who is the real character in the story.
                            My point exactly 'perry'; which may also explain the discrepancies with the location...


                            • #59

                              It would seem that the boards, maybe Ripperworld in general, gets so boring at times that it is seen fit to regurgitate old fantasies and legends. The Stephen White story is always good for a debate so, as we see here, it is often exhumed and placed in all its smelly glory on the boards. Here is The People's Journal, Saturday, September 27, 1919 tale -

                              Click image for larger version

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                              Last edited by Stewart P Evans; 10-15-2009, 09:55 AM.

                              Treat me gently I'm a newbie.


                              • #60
                                No Evidence

                                A perusal of the above article in The People's Journal, published as a sort of obituary, offers no evidence of actually coming from White himself. The pseudonymous author calls himself 'A Scotland Yard Man' and probably was not a policeman at all, but was one of the popular 'true crime' writers of the day. There is nothing to prove that the quoted 'report' by White actually existed.

                                Treat me gently I'm a newbie.