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How well did Jack know the East End?

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  • Damaso Marte
    replied
    Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post
    But if the woman suddenly started screaming 'murder' it would be an altogether different matter.
    Jack, however, was an expert at this not happening...not outdoors, at least.

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  • Bridewell
    replied
    It did indeed have a reputation for unauthorised use. John Richardson described how he used to inspect the place to make sure it wasn't bring used by prostitutes and their customers. But let's not confuse dossing or illicit sex with bloody murder and evisceration. If someone was dozing on the stairs and a couple walked through to the yard for a quickie, the dosser probably wouldn't raise an eyebrow. But if the woman suddenly started screaming 'murder' it would be an altogether different matter.
    But as the killer was able to ensure that the woman didn't suddenly start screaming 'Murder' there is no problem with the raising of dossers' eyebrows. I agree with Damaso - the back yard at 29 Hanbury Street was a trap only on paper. The door opened outwards. There would be no danger of disturbance by anyone entering the yard if the killer was somehow able to keep it shut. I do wonder if there was someone who used to take a small fee for ensuring that prostitutes and their clients were left undisturbed.

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  • MrBarnett
    replied
    Originally posted by RockySullivan View Post
    Perhaps there was a specific reason he chose hanbury street? Such as he once lived there....he knew someone lived there...worked next door...he lived close so could quickly make his escape and be inside....I don't think it was random. I think he put thought into using that specific yard
    Hi Rocky,

    And Dutfield Yard?

    MrB

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  • RockySullivan
    replied
    Perhaps there was a specific reason he chose hanbury street? Such as he once lived there....he knew someone lived there...worked next door...he lived close so could quickly make his escape and be inside....I don't think it was random. I think he put thought into using that specific yard

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  • MrBarnett
    replied
    Originally posted by Varqm View Post
    So Jack has knowledge of the residents' sleeping and toilet habits?
    I couldn't tell you how long I will spend talking to MrsB tomorrow night
    or how many times I may need to have a leak. Is it really conceivable
    that by lurking outside my window night after night someone else could?

    MrBarnett

    You're kinda naive. He does not need all that. If he had tried bringing a prostitute in the back of 29 Hanbury before or 2x,with the noises from walking, maybe small talk,maybe a thud do people come out and ask whats going on,did they care,did he hear conversations or see people going in and out which would have told him if people are awake and up and about at that time.It's still risky.Judging from newspaper reports of witnesses they don't and this reflects what he could have been through or the norm at that building.all those would have gave him the idea if murder was doable.
    He also got to have sense of what he was capable of,the ability to do it relatively quietly.Minding the situation he then had to decide there and then if it was ok.If the conditions above were the opposite then not.

    Outside a few people walking would have been fine. How would they know what went on inside.
    He was seen by Lawende and company,Long,and in my opinion Sarah Lewis,but he did not mind this (this may reflect he was non-local but the area was densely populated).
    Again newspaper reports of witnesses seeing a man coming outside that building was nil and reflective of the situation.
    My comments were meant to be ironic.

    The privy was in the yard, for god sake, he had no idea when one of the residents might feel the call of nature. His strengths were speed of disablement and execution of his urges, and a certain disregard for risk. The risk he took would have been the same if he had used the yard a dozen times before or never. So I see no need to attribute significant local knowledge to him.

    MrB

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  • Varqm
    replied
    So Jack has knowledge of the residents' sleeping and toilet habits?
    I couldn't tell you how long I will spend talking to MrsB tomorrow night
    or how many times I may need to have a leak. Is it really conceivable
    that by lurking outside my window night after night someone else could?

    MrBarnett

    You're kinda naive. He does not need all that. If he had tried bringing a prostitute in the back of 29 Hanbury before or 2x,with the noises from walking, maybe small talk,maybe a thud do people come out and ask whats going on,did they care,did he hear conversations or see people going in and out which would have told him if people are awake and up and about at that time.It's still risky.Judging from newspaper reports of witnesses they don't and this reflects what he could have been through or the norm at that building.all those would have gave him the idea if murder was doable.
    He also got to have sense of what he was capable of,the ability to do it relatively quietly.Minding the situation he then had to decide there and then if it was ok.If the conditions above were the opposite then not.

    Outside a few people walking would have been fine. How would they know what went on inside.
    He was seen by Lawende and company,Long,and in my opinion Sarah Lewis,but he did not mind this (this may reflect he was non-local but the area was densely populated).
    Again newspaper reports of witnesses seeing a man coming outside that building was nil and reflective of the situation.

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  • The Good Michael
    replied
    Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post
    Hi Mike,

    So if Jack was familiar with 29 Hanbury Street, he would presumably have known that it was well-used and well-known ?

    If so, he might reasonably expect to be disturbed. And if he was, and had to make a quick exit through a narrow passageway, he would be forced to enter Hanbury Street without knowing if anyone was there.

    I don't see how that argues for local knowledge. It was sheer luck that he wasn't disturbed and sheer luck that either there was no one in Hanbury Street when he entered it or if there were, he passed unnoticed.
    I don't think well-known and well-used means it was a Taco Bell drive-thru window at closing time. (apologies to those who don't understand the reference). There isn't a place in London where a girl was killed that couldn't be considered well-used, except maybe Kelly's apartment, though I think she used it often enough for work when Barnett (no offense to you) was around.

    Mike

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  • Fisherman
    replied
    MrBarnett:

    Re the exit from Hanbury Street, I'm arguing that if he wasn't able to subdue the victim or he was stumbled upon by someone going to the loo, he would have to rush out into the street without knowing whether there were a couple of burly market porters a few inches away.

    On the whole, Mr Barnett, what you are asking here is: Did he or did he not minimize the risks?

    I think I have already answered that question - he did not.

    Minimizing the risks would involve spriting the victims away to a place where he was guaranteed that nobody would come upon him. Clearly, he did not go about things like that.
    We may therefore conclude that he either:

    A/ made errors that he should not have made when choosing his murder spots, or

    B/ felt confident that he would be able to pull things off, or

    C/ just couldnīt help himself.

    I donīt know to what category you subscribe, but personally, Iīm thinking B here. It would be in line with how many self-secure serial killers reason, and I think that the lack of clues taken together with the obvious fact that he tilted the victims away to avoid any blood spurting on himself speaks of a man who pays attention to detail, who is not rushed, sloppy or nervous. Eddowesīclothes are spotless after he dug her uterus and kidney out - not a speck of blood on the front of her clothes and jacket. Is that a sign of a rushed person or a meticulous one?

    Bucks Row on the other hand gave him the the option to run in three directions and to have dome advance warning of danger. Once he has cleared the street the immediate danger is lessened.

    Yes, but he was not after just killing, Mr Barnett - what he set out to do was something that would require a couple of minutes, at least. And in that context, a secluded back yard offered a better bid than the open street. Have a look at the other venues he chose (if it was him):

    The stairwell of George Yard - people VERY close by, only one way out - but a secluded spot where he stood a good chance to get a number of minutes undisturbed. There was a street directly outside, but that was not chosen.

    Dutfields Yard - a dark yard where people would not pass through, so it would offer him a number of minutes to do his job. There was only one exit. There was a street directly outside, but that was not chosen.

    Mitre Square - a small square where people had little cause to pass through at the time when he killed Eddowes. There was a street directly adjacent, but he did not choose to kill there.

    Dorset Street. Inside a room, with just the one exit, and with the risk of other people being in the court outside. There was only one exit. There was a street directly outside, but that was not chosen.

    If the open streets were so favourable, allowing better escape options, then why use the Hanbury Street backyard, the cul-de-sac of Dutfields yard, Mitre Square and the closed room in Millers Court?

    The streets were full of prostitutes - why not make them his only hunting ground, always allowing for two or more fleeing options?

    Because, Iīd say, the character of the killings, demanding substantial amounts of time, made him choose relative seclusion over better fleeing choices. Of course, the immediate choice could have been the prostitutes. But the secondary decision - is this a place where I can kill and eviscerat? - was the killers.

    What I'm trying to draw out is that as far I can tell there is no evidence that Jack knew the area like the back of his hand. He may have done, but I don't see anything about the crimes that would eliminate a relative stranger to the area, provided he was a risk taker.

    Risk taker? Are there such animals? I thought you argued that a person well aquainted with the surroundings would never use the Hanbury Street back yard since it would be a risk?

    Why would - all of a sudden - a newcomer to the area, unaquainted with the area, be MORE prone to take a risk in that context?

    Why would he not realize that the open streets offered better fleeing options?

    On the whole, I donīt think there is enough in it to make the call that the killer must have had extensive geographical knowledge of the area. However, the fact that killers prefer to work in comfort zones speak for this take on things. The very fact that the killermanaged to escape also speak a language of intimate knowledge of the area, allowing him to make the right choices of routes in pressured situations. I also think that a man that was in a place where he evoked no suspicion because he was actually supposed to be there, is the best bet we can make.

    That does not mean that he could not have been a stranger to the area. But the better guess mnust be that he was not. It has more going for it, simple as that.

    If someone could give me one reason why someone living in one of the respectable streets in Stepney Green, or even further afield, who had a yearning to murder and mutilate women, but didn't have a ready supply close at hand, couldn't have been JTR , I'd maybe change my mind.

    But there is no reason for you to change your mind. I concur - it COULD have been a stranger to the area, who commuted. I am open to the possibility.

    There are also "hybrids" that can be suggested - people who had lived in the Whitechapel area, but moved away.

    People who lived elsewhere, but who visited the area frequently, for example in their work.

    Itīs only when (and if) you suggest that a stranger to the area is a better choice than somebody who knew it that I would protest. And I donīt think you are suggesting that.

    All the best,
    Fisherman
    Last edited by Fisherman; 09-26-2014, 03:30 AM.

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  • MrBarnett
    replied
    Fish,

    'Because he lived in Doveton a Street' is not the sort of answer I'm looking for.

    MrB

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  • MrBarnett
    replied
    Re the exit from Hanbury Street, I'm arguing that if he wasn't able to subdue the victim or he was stumbled upon by someone going to the loo, he would have to rush out into the street without knowing whether there were a couple of burly market porters a few inches away.

    Bucks Row on the other hand gave him the the option to run in three directions and to have dome advance warning of danger. Once he has cleared the street the immediate danger is lessened.

    What I'm trying to draw out is that as far I can tell there is no evidence that Jack knew the area like the back of his hand. He may have done, but I don't see anything about the crimes that would eliminate a relative stranger to the area, provided he was a risk taker.

    If someone could give me one reason why someone living in one of the respectable streets in Stepney Green, or even further afield, who had a yearning to murder and mutilate women, but didn't have a ready supply close at hand, couldn't have been JTR , I'd maybe change my mind.

    MrB
    Last edited by MrBarnett; 09-26-2014, 02:45 AM.

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  • Fisherman
    replied
    MrBarnett:

    If so, he might reasonably expect to be disturbed. And if he was, and had to make a quick exit through a narrow passageway, he would be forced to enter Hanbury Street without knowing if anyone was there.


    The exact same applies to Bucks Row - the moment he left the street, he would have to turn whatever corner he chose without knowing if there was somebody there.

    When he killed in Bucks Row, people could have entered it from both ends at the same time.

    When you kill out in the open streets, you always run a risk of getting trapped.

    If he heard somebody arriving through Dukes passage as he was in Mitre Square, and decided to flee through, say, St Jamesī passage - whoīs to say that nobody could be approaching the square from it?

    I think it can be reasoned that Hanbury Street was a thoroughfare of sorts, for people coming from the area east of Buckīs Row, walking towards the western parts of town. Given that context, I would say that killing out in Hanbury Street would be much more risky than going into the back yard. He would be making a better guess if he thought that the yard would provide him with more secluded conditions. It involved a risk, but once again, people who come up with the idea of killing women in the open streets and squares of a crowded metropolis will not be careful people. If we know something about the Ripper, then it is that he was willing to risk a lot.

    I don't see how that argues for local knowledge. It was sheer luck that he wasn't disturbed and sheer luck that either there was no one in Hanbury Street when he entered it or if there were, he passed unnoticed.

    Personally, I donīt think it was sheer luck at all. I think he killed in the dark hours, Hanbury Street included, and that in itself would diminish the risks considerably. The light conditions hid him, and there were much fewer people around.

    I furthermore think that we should not make the assumption that he threw the door of 29 Hanbury Street open with much gusto - he may well have opened it carefully and peered out through a very narrow gap, listening for footfalls, before he swung it open and left.

    The risks were there nevertheless, admittedly - but they always would be.

    The killing area as such is of a size that superimposed upon my home town map tells me that it could quite easily be managed - I have lived at my current address for eighteen years, and I know all the streets involved in the kind of area we speak of, cycling routes and walking paths included.

    If we speak specifically of Lechmere, he would have the added advantage of having a work that actually learnt him all there was to know of the geography of the area. I donīt have that advantage, and I have a lousy sense of orientation generally speaking - but I still know the immediate area around my house like the inside of my pocket.

    Finally, I would like to add that the knowledge we have of serial killers, mainly psychopathic serial killers, tells us that these men will start out with a measure of self-confidence that tells them apart from most of us. They feel superior to other people, and that feeling grows with every successful kill. So the man who chose to kill in the back yard of Hanbury Street may not have been very anxious about any risks at all - he may have felt that he was too superior to be caught at any rate.

    Take a look at the Torso Killer, who placed a torso in the new building for Scotland Yard - in the basement of a place where the police were to work. Thereīs arrogance for you!

    Did he choose that dumping site because it was the safest one, or because he thought that he was a lot more clever than the cops?

    Confident serial killers are not always risk minimizers - itīs just us who try to wring that suit on them, and it often fits very badly.

    All the best,
    Fisherman
    Last edited by Fisherman; 09-26-2014, 02:13 AM.

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  • MrBarnett
    replied
    Being able to hear and not see makes detection harder (unless the victim cries out) and escape easier.

    A dark corner, the ability to disable the victim quickly and a choice of escape routes should anyone approach is all Jack needed. He could make an assessment of the site with a quick scan up and down the road, even if it was the first time he'd ever been there.

    He had escape routes in Bucks Row. Maybe he chose to blag it out rather than run, but running was an option.

    MrB

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  • Fisherman
    replied
    Originally posted by SirJohnFalstaff View Post
    hmm. Reading the inquest of Nichols, both men who found her body heard each others when they were at 120 feet. If you can't see at that distance, it makes the escape more challenging, unless you know the area very well.
    Slight correction: Lechmere heard Paul. Paul did not hear Lechmere. We do not know at what stage and from what distance Paul noticed Lechmere, but as he did, Lechmere was standing still, making no sound at all.

    The best,
    Fisherman

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  • MrBarnett
    replied
    Originally posted by The Good Michael View Post
    Damaso,

    I would say that this is undoubtedly the case. Accounts suggest a pair of nearly saloon-style swinging doors that allowed uncontrolled access all hours of the night. Even the stairwell and landing seem to have been fair game to those in the need for a quick coupling. And to add to that, the privy in the back was well-used and well-known. A few years back I posted an idea of privies being connected to the murders, but perhaps well-used privies are more connected to impoverished prostitutes and their needs, and having one nearby may have been an essential part of the job for those who lived hand to mouth.

    Mike
    Hi Mike,

    So if Jack was familiar with 29 Hanbury Street, he would presumably have known that it was well-used and well-known ?

    If so, he might reasonably expect to be disturbed. And if he was, and had to make a quick exit through a narrow passageway, he would be forced to enter Hanbury Street without knowing if anyone was there.

    I don't see how that argues for local knowledge. It was sheer luck that he wasn't disturbed and sheer luck that either there was no one in Hanbury Street when he entered it or if there were, he passed unnoticed.

    MrB
    Last edited by MrBarnett; 09-26-2014, 12:55 AM.

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  • MrBarnett
    replied
    Originally posted by Damaso Marte View Post
    Hanbury Street is only a death trap on paper. For all we know, in 1888 it had a reputation as an easy place to have sex or doss, because the residents had a reputation for staying in bed late, being inattentive, or perhaps being tolerant or even welcoming of johns, dossers, unfortunates, and other such folks.

    I agree that Jack the Ripper likely didn't have an encyclopedic knowledge of police beats - his victims on the other hand had a financial incentive and the Ripper wisely outsourced site security to the professionals.

    I find that when I move to a new place, it generally takes me a year or so to learn all of the nearby streets and at least a few shortcuts. If the Ripper was a Whitechapel native or moved there before 1887, I think it's entirely reasonable that he had a decent map of the neighborhoods in his mind. Combine this with his targeting of victims who avoided the police for a living, and you have the general lack of witnesses and catching the killer red-handed.
    Hi Damaso ,

    It did indeed have a reputation for unauthorised use. John Richardson described how he used to inspect the place to make sure it wasn't bring used by prostitutes and their customers. But let's not confuse dossing or illicit sex with bloody murder and evisceration. If someone was dozing on the stairs and a couple walked through to the yard for a quickie, the dosser probably wouldn't raise an eyebrow. But if the woman suddenly started screaming 'murder' it would be an altogether different matter.

    The very fact that it was used by non-residents at all hours of the night makes it less desirable as a place to kill.

    MrB

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