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Sergeant Stephen White

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  • Originally posted by Chris View Post
    I wonder why Boustred was White's "old enemy".
    Hi Chris

    It seems that Boustred forced White to resign by reporting him for being drunk on duty. The interesting thing in this report that Rob found is that Boustred seems to be still pursuing White even after he resigned. The only non-police witness who saw what happened claims that Boustred pushed White to the ground and jumped on him without any prior provocation which is what White himself said happened. There's certainly some funny business going on here with 'wrongful arrests' and 'unusual telegrams'.


    • There does seem to be history with Inspector Montgomery as well that happenned in 1898. I'll see if I can find out anything about them.



      • Originally posted by Stephen Thomas View Post
        It seems that Boustred forced White to resign by reporting him for being drunk on duty.
        But wasn't White suggesting there was some personal animosity on Bousted's part as well? "Old enemy" in the summing-up seems a bit strong unless the report of drunkenness was made maliciously.


        • It does sound like, reading between the lines, there was some history between Boustred and White that went on before Boustred reported White for drunkenness.
          Boustred himself retired seven months after this incident.

          The Times, 25 December 1901

          Click image for larger version

Name:	Inspector Boustred The Times, Wednesday, Dec 25, 1901.jpg
Views:	1
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          • Hi Rob

            Would you happen to know how old Boustred was when he retired? In the article White seems to imply that he is being beaten up by a much younger man.


            • Hi Stephen,

              He gave his age as 43 on 1901 census. So he was only about seven years younger than white.



              • Thanks Rob

                Was 43 a bit early to retire from the Met back then or something near the norm?


                • It does seem a bit early Stephen. Don't know if it was normal or not. Stephen White was 46 when he retired. I think Abberline was 49 so it may have been normal. I think it depends on length of service but I'm not to sure.



                  • The White business is a non-starter.

                    It was set in motion, somewhat inadvertently, by Macnaghten's 1898 version of his Report -- the one he showed Griffiths apparently and deceitfully claiming it was a copy of a definitive Home Office Report -- in which he redacted Kosminski, unknown until 1891, back into the 1888 hunt for the fiend.

                    In that document, Macnaghten pulled the Lawende sighting of a youngish, Gentile, 'sailor' inside-out.

                    Now it was a beat cop, by implication a Gentile, who saw a Jewish man with Eddowes.

                    Sims in 1907 further claimed, presumably from Macnaghten, that later on this un-named cop -- who never literally existed -- saw the suspect again [the un-named Kosminski] and thought he did resemble, somewhat, the man he saw with the victim.

                    Of course this is in an article in which Sims stresses that the Polish Jew could not be the killer, instead it was a middle-aged, English, Gentile physician -- who also did not literally exist [as a perplexed Littlechild was trying to alert the famous writer in 1913]?

                    The conventional wisdom is that Macnaghten's over-rated 'marvellous memory' had let him down -- yet again.

                    It is just that Lawende's sighting fits not Chapman but Druitt, Mac's preferred suspect, and yet the police chief created a diversion away from this connection.


                    Why weaken the case against your own suspect?

                    Unless you were moving stealthily to an agenda which meant that your peferred suspect had to be concealed.

                    The success of Macnaghten's slyness lasts to this day, as these Message Boards show.

                    Another inadvertent consequence of this bait-and-switch, of the witness and suspect, is that Anderson read Sims in 1907 and correctly remembered that the witness was some local Jew, but he then thought the writer was right about the idea of a Jewish suspect being 'confronted' with a witness -- who somehow let them down.

                    This was really Lawende saying 'no' to Gentile sailor Tom Sadler, in 1891, but by the 1900's Anderson had completely forgotten that embarrassing debacle. He had also fallen for the idea [it's Macnaghten's again] of the brief 'Autumn of Terror', and that the Polish Jew was a contemporaneous suspect being brought before a Jewish witness in 1888, or no later than 1889.

                    This was due to Sims' 1907 piece, based on the misleading agenda of Macnaghten. This is because there is no mention of a Judas witness before 1907, from Anderson.

                    A police witness was transformed in a faltering but self-serving memory, via Sadler and the Seamen's Home, into a police location: the Seaside Home of the Marginalia [assuming that Swanson's annotation comes from Anderson] which in fact was not built until 1890.

                    In his own 1914 memoirs Macnaghten perpetuted the lie of the beat cop witness, but now dismissed the sighting as unsatisfying.


                    Because it was of a weak suspect, Kosminski, the one adopted by his despised former superior or to deflect attention away from his own suspect, Druitt?


                    • Good Work Rob Clack!

                      I should like to join in with others in commending Rob Clack for his marvellous discovery of the extraordinary drinking case concerning Stephen White.
                      He certainly appears to have gotten on the wrong side of Inspector Boustred.

                      And I wonder just how Hiram Levy and David --- the two witnesses acrossthe road fit into White's life? They might well pop up elsewhere.
                      Given White's colourful career, (no doubt as a Special Branch policeman) I wonder if there was friction between Special Branch police and local Inspectors? Either from jealousy at the seeming accellerated rate of promotion of SB officers? Or other reasons.

                      I am sure we have not heard the last of this Sergeant Stephen White.

                      I have elsewhere, voiced the opinion his name might turn up in the Metropolitan Police Special Branch files known as the " Chief Constables' Ledgers", which have recently been discussed on the Police threads.

                      JOHN RUFFELS.


                      • Another way of looking at is that the posthumous Sargent White story confronting the spooky-eyed Ripper, is a story cribbed from George Sims' 1907 "Lloyds Weekly" opus -- but from a different section:

                        'One man only, a policeman, saw him leaving the place in which he had just accomplished a fiendish deed, but failed, owing to the darkness, to get a good view of him. A little later the policeman stumbled over the lifeless body of the victim.'

                        Perhaps I have missed this excerpt already mentioned by an earlier poster, if so I am sorry.

                        A significant difference in the Sims is that this alleged and un-named beat cop did not see the figure very well, if at all.

                        In 1919, the fiend sounds like bits of Druitt, an opinion Rumbelow put forward in 1975 though White supposedly described him as 'foreign' [in 1919 the public and press knew neither Druitt's name, nor his correct age, nor that he didn't look like Sims] and bits of 'The Lodger' fused together.


                        • Probably not Special Branch

                          Hmmm. Jonathan H's explications probably tumble down logically to the more knowledgeable amongst us, but I find myself being reminded of Lewis Carroll when it comes to Macnaghten's actual motive.

                          Adverting to Sergeant Stephen White specifically, since the Special Branch Ledgers have emerged and Butterworth's thesis on the Special Branch, and various ex policemen's memoirs, I have noticed a couple of the lower ranked members followed the career line of, upsetting a superior officer, then suddenly being arraigned for some seemingly trivial offence, and then resigning in high dudgeon.

                          Whist a re-think has made me realise Sergeant White was not involved with the Special Branch (after all, he was stated to be involved in the Pinchin Street and Matthew Packer episodes whilst in "H" Division), I do wonder if the extraordinary intervention of Boustred in Whites 'jangling spree',
                          might not have been at the behest of some Higher-Up, who White has upset in connection with some unknown case?

                          JOHN RUFFELS.


                          • Originally posted by Rob Clack View Post
                            The Peoples Journal Article from 27 September 1919

                            THE PEOPLE'S JOURNAL

                            Saturday 27 September 1919

                            FACED “JACK THE RIPPER”

                            Famous Detective Tried by Court of Anarchists
                            BY A SCOTLAND YARD MAN.

                            “STEVE” White as we knew our deceased colleague, Mr Stephen White, believed to be the only man engaged in the hunt who met “Jack the Ripper,” was a detective of the old school who worked without the finger-print system and other devices favoured at the “Yard” to-day. For all that he had many years of good work to his credit, and when he retired he had the reputation of having run more dangerous criminals to earth than any other man employed as a police officer in London. The East End is easily the most dangerous place in the London area for the police officer, and White had more than his share of the danger. Anarchists were unusually active in London in the “eighties” and it was the duty of White to visit their dens and to be able to lay hands on some of the most desperate men in Europe. The Fenians and their successors, the Dynamitards, also flourished in his time, and they also found refuge in the East End, where their plots were hatched by night and day. In addition, there were the ordinary criminal classes to be watched, and on top of that the activities of the miscreant known as “Jack the Ripper” engaged the attention of the East End police during the decade under review.
                            White was one of the officers who had to spend weary nights in different disguises loitering about the narrow courts and evil smelling alleys of the Whitechapel area on the offchance of detecting the murderer at his practice of decoying women to death and horrible mutilation.
                            The Alley’s Grim Secret.
                            One of White's reports on his nightly vigils contains the following passages: 
                            “For five nights we had been watching a certain alley just behind the Whitechapel Road. It could only be entered from where we had two men posted in hiding, and persons entering the alley were under observation by the two men. It was a bitter cold night when I arrived at the scene to take the report of the two men in hiding. I was turning away when I saw a man coming out of the alley. He was walking quickly but noiselessly, apparently wearing rubber shoes, which were rather rare in those days. I stood aside to let the man pass, and as he came under the wall lamp I got a good look at him.
                            “He was about five feet ten inches in height, and was dressed rather shabbily, though it was obvious that the material of his clothes was good. Evidently a man who had seen better days. I thought, but men who had seen better days are common enough down East, and that of itself was not sufficient to justify me in stopping him. His face was long and thin, nostrils rather delicate, and his hair was jet black. His complexion was inclined to be sallow, and altogether the man was foreign. The most striking thing about him, however, was the extraordinary brilliance of his eyes. They looked like two luminous glow worms coming through the darkness. The man was slightly bent at the shoulders, though he was obviously quite young - about 33, at the most - and gave one the idea of having been a student or professional man. His hands were snow white, and fingers long and tapering.
                            Man With Musical Voice.
                            “As the man passed me at the lamp I had an uneasy feeling that there was something more than usually sinister about him, and I was strongly moved to find some pretext for detaining him; but the more I thought it over, the more was I forced to the conclusion that it was not in keeping with British police methods that I should do so. My only excuse for interfering with the passage of this man would have been his association with the man we were looking for, and I had no real grounds for connecting him with the murder. It is true I had a sort of intuition that the man was not quite right. Still, if one acted on intuition in the police force, there would be more frequent outcries about interference with the liberty of subject, and at that time the police were criticised enough to make it undesirable to take risks.
                            “The man stumbled a few feet away from me, and I made that an excuse for engaging him in conversation. He turned sharply at the sound of my voice, and scowled at me in a surly fashion, but he said ‘Good-night’ and agreed with me that it was cold.
                            “His voice was a surprise to me. It was soft and musical, with just a tinge of melancholy in it, and it was a voice of a man of culture - a voice altogether out of keeping with the squalid surroundings of the East End.
                            “As he turned away, one of the police officers came out of the house he had been in, and walked a few paces into the darkness of the alley. ‘Hello! what is this?’ he cried, and then he called in startled tones to me to come along.
                            “In the East End we are used to shocking sights, but the sight I saw made the blood in my veins turn to ice. At the end of the cul-de-sac, huddled against the wall, there was the body of a woman, and a pool of blood was streaming along the gutter from her body. It was clearly another of those terrible murders I remembered the man I had seen, and I started after him as fast as I could run, but he was lost to sight in the dark labyrinth of East End mean streets.”
                            White's description of the suspected murderer was widely circulated and used by the police at the time, but the man was never seen. It was White’s description that gave the late Sir Robert Anderson his conviction that the murderer was a Jewish medical student, who had taken this method of avenging himself on women of the class to which his victims belonged.
                            The mystery, however, that baffled the police more than anything was how the murderer and the victim managed to get into the alley under the eyes of the watching police. It was clear that the couple had not been in any of the houses, and they were not known to any of the residents. Therefore they must have passed into the alley from the Whitechapel Road, and the two police officers were positive that in the four hours of their vigil not a soul had entered the alley. White had his own suspicions regarding the truth of this declaration, and his suspicions were shared by Sir Robert Anderson, who afterwards in comparing notes with White, expressed the opinion that the murderer and his victim had entered the close during the temporary absence of the two watching policeman. The men afterwards admitted that they had gone away for not more than a minute. It was a very short absence undoubtedly, but it was long enough to give the murderer time to walk into the alley with his victim.
                            Among the Anarchists.
                            White knew all the anarchists haunts of the East End, and when the police of the world were on the look-out for criminals of the worst type who had fled to London after committing murders and bomb outrages he was debuted to visit the dens to find traces of some of the most desperate men. On one of these occasions he found his way into the Commercial Road haunt of a particularly dangerous Anarchist group, and while they were talking of their plans for assassination of the Tsar of Russia and the President of France a woman rose and denounced the police officer, saying that she had recognised him in spite of his disguise.
                            At first White tried to bluff his way out, but the Anarchists were not to be bluffed. He saw that the only course open to him was to confess, and he owned up. For nearly two hours that night the Anarchists discussed the fate of the spy, as they called him. He was put on trial in the manner made familiar by melodrama, and interrogated very closely concerning his object in “Spying” on the comrades. Some of the Anarchists insisted that he should die, and White thought for a time that death was to be his fate.
                            He left on record this impression of his sensations while he was being “tried”:-
                            “I was among wild beasts. I could see that there was little pity in the breasts of these men, and less in the breasts of the women. Indeed had it been left to the women. I should not have come out alive. One amiable ruffian stood a few feet away from me, with a revolver in one hand and a knife in the other, gesticulating wildly, and demanding from the President of this strange Council the right to put me to death as a traitor. I was more than a little anxious about my fate. And I watched anxiously for the first favourable opportunity of escape. None came to me, and, indeed the anarchists seemed to have taken the precaution to close all avenues of escape.
                            Just when I thought that it was a choice between being turned over to the ruffian of the black beard and the knife and pistol, and being dealt with by the man who wanted to put me in a room with a bomb, to which a time fuse was attached, the weird-looking President spoke. “He told the ‘comrades’ that they owed much to British hospitality, and that if they punished ‘the traitor’ they would probably incur the wrath of the British Government, and might find it difficult to get fresh asylum anywhere. Therefore, he advised that I be liberated. This was a disappointment to the murderously inclined, and they murmured loudly, but, to my relief, I could see that the words were not without effect on the strange assembly. “One of the kind-hearted ladies there wanted to have me branded with the initial letter of the “spy,” so that if ever I fell into the hands of the ‘comrades’ on another occasion they could deal with me for all my offences. This was dismissed by the President as inexpedient, and it was finally decided to let me go. “Needless to say, I was pleased when I felt the cool, but not clean, air of the Commercial Road fanning my brows once more. In spite of that experience, I made many visits to the Anarchists Clubs and meeting-plates of the East End, but never afterwards was my disguise penetrated, though I once danced with the lady who had denounced me at that meeting.”
                            When could Smith`s alleged sighting have been set?
                            Because in the article it is not dated.
                            Thanks for your answers
                            " The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed. "

                            Albert Einstein


                            • Originally posted by Luke111 View Post
                              When could Smith`s alleged sighting have been set?
                              Because in the article it is not dated.
                              Thanks for your answers
                              Hi Luke,

                              I presume you mean White's alleged sighting and not Smith's.

                              Whether the alleged sighting took place is a debatable point. The whole article should be treated with caution. My opinion is something happened on one of the nights of the murders but was exaggerated quite a bit in the Peoples Journal article. That's just a gut feeling by me and not based on any solid evidence.
                              The most common setting for the alleged sighting is Mitre Square (I favour one of the entrances into the Square myself). Some authors have suggested Castle Alley where others think it relates to Berner Street, unfortunately it's all guesswork.



                              • Originally posted by Stephen Thomas View Post
                                Thanks Rob

                                Was 43 a bit early to retire from the Met back then or something near the norm?
                                Just to confirm. Policemen of the time retired upon completion of 25 years servive.

                                So Whites retirement complied with regulation.


                                Author of Capturing Jack the Ripper.