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The door, the key and the pickaxe

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  • The door, the key and the pickaxe

    Why did John McCarthy resort to prying open the door using a pickaxe? did he not have a spare key as any decent landlord would have?
    If he didn't then why couldn't he or Indian harry have just pushed back the curtain, put his hand in and opened it from the inside?
    My thinking is the police may have not wanted him to disturb the contents of the room and felt it more prudent to force the door open?
    Given they didn't use fingerprints back then i'm not sure why this would matter?

  • #2
    The extra key may have been taken by his son, John Jr. ("Steve") during one of his mischief-making crusades.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Scott Nelson View Post
      The extra key may have been taken by his son, John Jr. ("Steve") during one of his mischief-making crusades.
      Irony, or a road to Damascus conversion?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by MrTwibbs View Post
        Why did John McCarthy resort to prying open the door using a pickaxe? did he not have a spare key as any decent landlord would have?
        There was nothing decent about McCarthy, or Millers court, or Dorset street for that matter, and I don't think you know whether 19th century Slumlords kept a second key.
        These tenements contained nothing worth stealing, so locking doors was not necessary. In fact I have read that it was customary to leave the door unlocked when they were out, and only lock it - for personal protection - when they were in. Which would suggest that most door locks only required to be a sliding-lock type, so it could be locked from the inside.

        Likely, the police were talking about breaking in the door, which would be a more expensive repair for McCarthy than forcing the lock. McCarthy took the more gentle approach?

        If he didn't then why couldn't he or Indian harry have just pushed back the curtain, put his hand in and opened it from the inside?
        Because they weren't aware the lock could be reached by that method?
        We don't know what time Barnett arrived but this might indicate he was not present when McCarthy forced the door.

        Regards, Jon S.

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        • #5
          A very well thought out and reasonable explanation there, Wick.

          c.d.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by c.d. View Post
            A very well thought out and reasonable explanation there, Wick.

            c.d.
            Very reasonable.
            Last edited by MrBarnett; 09-25-2021, 02:19 AM.

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            • #7
              that's a possible explanation

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Wickerman View Post

                There was nothing decent about McCarthy, or Millers court, or Dorset street for that matter, and I don't think you know whether 19th century Slumlords kept a second key.
                These tenements contained nothing worth stealing, so locking doors was not necessary. In fact I have read that it was customary to leave the door unlocked when they were out, and only lock it - for personal protection - when they were in. Which would suggest that most door locks only required to be a sliding-lock type, so it could be locked from the inside.

                Likely, the police were talking about breaking in the door, which would be a more expensive repair for McCarthy than forcing the lock. McCarthy took the more gentle approach?



                Because they weren't aware the lock could be reached by that method?
                We don't know what time Barnett arrived but this might indicate he was not present when McCarthy forced the door.
                A bit it does not make sense. Bowyer noticed the body from the window, I think after putting the curtain aside through the broken window pane .So they knew about the broken window pane, and the room was small from the outside they could not have failed to notice it.
                So they could have put two and two together and reached for the sliding lock. They were probably just too hyper at that point, wanting to get inside the room, cordon off Miller's court, order the residents not to leave the court so they could interview them, interview the residents of Dorset St, etc., so in short, fck it.
                Or they tried reaching for the lock and it did not open? But how did the killer locked it?
                Last edited by Varqm; 09-26-2021, 05:15 AM.
                Clearly the first human laws (way older and already established) spawned organized religion's morality - from which it's writers only copied/stole,ex. you cannot kill,rob,steal (forced,it started civil society).
                M. Pacana

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                • #9
                  Considering the state of poor Mary when viewed through the broken window I wouldn’t be in too much of a rush to enter the room either.
                  Wasn’t there also some talk about letting bloodhounds in the room first before anybody else entered?
                  Perhaps they let themselves in once that plan was abandoned and made no attempt before that.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Yabs View Post
                    Considering the state of poor Mary when viewed through the broken window I wouldn’t be in too much of a rush to enter the room either.
                    Wasn’t there also some talk about letting bloodhounds in the room first before anybody else entered?
                    Perhaps they let themselves in once that plan was abandoned and made no attempt before that.
                    Yes there was but Barnaby and Burgho didn't arrive was my recollection.

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                    • #11
                      They were no longer in London.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by DJA View Post
                        They were no longer in London.
                        Yeah, my recollection is that the officers who were present at the scene were under the impression that the bloodhounds were on their way and so delayed entering Millers Court in anticipation of their arrival.

                        In actual fact the dogs had returned to Scarborough with their owner some time previously, but those at the scene were unaware of this.

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                        • #13
                          "Here's Johnny"...

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                          • #14
                            Were the police genuinely waiting for the bloodhounds or was it a delaying tactic for some reason?

                            How realistic did the police consider the use of bloodhounds in the context of Miller's Court?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mpriestnall View Post
                              Were the police genuinely waiting for the bloodhounds or was it a delaying tactic for some reason?

                              How realistic did the police consider the use of bloodhounds in the context of Miller's Court?
                              Good questions, to which I am afraid I don't know the answers!!!

                              I'm pretty confident that the police would have been aware of the limitations of using blood hounds in such an overcrowded and scent-laden area, but perhaps with little else to go on, it was a straw worth clutching at?!

                              Or perhaps it fulfilled a need to be seen by the public as doing SOMETHING / trying out new things, even if the actual chance of success was negligible?

                              I'm sure that I recall suspicions being raised somewhere regarding the delay in entering Millers Court / wait for bloodhounds who were likely already frolicking happily on Scarborough beach, although I can't for the life of me remember whether that was in a Casebook thread or in a book which I read.

                              It does seem somewhat remiss that word of the departure of the dogs had not filtered down to the officers on the frontline.

                              What are you thinking, Martyn?

                              The delay was manufactured to allow time for more senior officers to be present at the scene to "direct proceedings in a prescribed direction"?

                              Obfuscation re TOD?

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