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William Bury: Jack the Ripper

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  • Originally posted by Abby Normal View Post
    most witnesses describe the ripper as short and stout. on the night of the double event most witnesses describe the ripper as wearing a peaked cap, including schwarz and lawende and company so imho both sightings were the ripper.
    the ripper was a short stout man who wore a peaked cap the night of the double event.
    lawende was tjerefore more than likely a tad off on his estimate.
    schwartz witnessed an incident that sounds very bury like to me.
    bury is a good suspect, or one of the least weak.
    Yes Abby, I think that when we look at the witness statements, the odds are that we're looking for a short stout man.

    Mrs Cox's interaction with the coroner at Mary Janes inquest was:

    [Coroner] Was anybody with her ? - A short, stout man, shabbily dressed. He had on a longish coat, very shabby, and carried a pot of ale in his hand.

    (My emphasis)

    Comment


    • Steve Earp has written another interesting article (http://williambury.org/blog6/2022/09...s-on-hastings/) about Bury based on the investigations of the journalist Norman Hastings, published in 1929 in Thomson’s Weekly News and reproduced in a 2005 edition of Ripper Notes. What is interesting about Hastings’s work is that he talked directly to Scotland Yard detectives who worked on Bury. Also, he was not pushing Bury as the ripper as he seemed to believe the ripper was some sort of cattleman that came and went by boat. Some of the interesting points are:
      • Scotland Yard felt that “his description was very like that of the man who had been speaking to the young woman Kelly on the night of the crime”
      • Scotland Yard “had established the fact that he was missing from his lodgings on the night that Marie Kelly was done to death in her home in Dorset Street”
      • “In height and build he answered the description of the suspect seen after two of the murders” (Earp raises the question of whether this should be ‘before’ not after, unless there are witnesses that we longer know about)
      • Scotland Yard learned that “on one occasion when he was definitely known to be staying in the East End at the time of a Ripper crime, he had absented himself from the house for that night in the most suspicious manner”
      • “The home of Bury in the East End at the time of the Hanbury Street murder was traced, and again it was ascertained that on that night Bury had kept away from his home, and his manner on his return home the next afternoon suggested a madman”
      • Scotland Yard also “established where he had been staying on the nights of three other of the Whitechapel murders, and from the recollection of those who lived nearby, it was quite possible that he had the opportunity to commit them”
      • Hastings wrote, “On the day before his execution two detectives were sent from London to be present should he make a last statement. This I myself only learned years afterwards, so carefully guarded was the secret, but it shows the importance Scotland Yard attached to their discoveries”
      • In describing the investigation conducted by the Scotland Yard detectives, Hastings reported, “the facts they gathered pointed more and more clearly to Bury being Jack the Ripper, but it was a slow task, entailing months of work, and they had been ordered to make nothing public”
      And possibly of interest to the murder of Stride and how she could have left the assault from BS man and still be murdered by him:
      • Scotland Yard discovered that “he was in the habit of walking about very quietly and had often frightened people by his silent approach” (also bear in mind Bury was a strangler, fitted the physical description of BS man and was known to be violent towards women)
      It also seems that Bury was using bases other than his permanent address in Bow:
      • Scotland Yard learned that after returning to London following his August 1888 trip to Wolverhampton, Bury “had apparently constantly changed his address and although the police were able to trace several of these, there were important gaps in his history which they were never able to fill”
      On where he had been when missing:
      • Scotland Yard learned that Ellen Bury “never used to dare ask” her husband “where he had been when he absented himself at night”
      I think the idea that Bury was cleared by the police is a non-starter. It seems that men who worked the case believed he was the ripper. The high ups who wrote their memoirs, it seemed, did not. If fact, the only reason that the senior officer interviewed by the Dundee Courier five days after Bury’s arrest had for doubting Bury is that he did not produce a confession for the crimes. As pointed out by Earp, there seems to have been some miscommunication over Bury saying he was the Ripper, when he actually said he was frightened of being apprehended as the ripper. Further, when asked outright by Berry the hangman: ‘Well, Jack the Ripper, have you anything to say, if so, say it now, as you will have no chance later', 'No', was the reply, 'If anyone stole anything from me, I'd kill the lot to find the right one. I'm not going to give you any big lines, go on with your work, Berry, I'll not say anything'. And of course, his final words: ‘'I suppose you think you are clever because you are going to hang me, but because you are going to hang me you are not going to get anything out of me’. So there was no confession.

      In terms of this split narrative on Bury, reference to Sutcliffe is useful. The detective who conducted the eighth out on nine interviews was convinced Sutcliffe was the ripper. He noticed the match to the photofit and realised he was in the frame for the 5 note and had been seen in the area of the murders. His report to his seniors was not even looked at because he didn’t have a Wearside accent. Now just say Sutcliffe was never caught and say died in a fatal accident. There could have been a situation where those lower down were sure of his guilt, but their seniors did not agree. Obviously, this never happened, but with Bury dead perhaps something like that did happen.

      I think the take home message is that the whereabouts on the murder nights of a man like Bury, who used prostitutes, carried knives, was brutally violent towards women with little or no provocation and used the same methods as described for some/all of the victims (blow to head, strangulation, abdominal and genital mutilation), could not be accounted for. Wherever he was, it seems he would have had the opportunity to commit the murders. Short of being caught in the act I don't really see how the police back then could have charged anyone.
      Last edited by Aethelwulf; 09-09-2022, 09:23 PM.

      Comment


      • Goulston Street is on en route from Mitre Square back to Bow. Based on the police testimony, the killer must have ducked inside or loitered around somewhere for up to an hour before he deposited the apron and wrote the graffito. It's possible Bury had somewhere he dossed while out on the lash, or the killer might have been hiding in a nearby warehouse or disused building. Although I don't know why the killer, Bury or no, wouldn't have made a beeline for home after killing Eddowes, rather than returning to the streets when the police were on high alert.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Harry D View Post
          Goulston Street is on en route from Mitre Square back to Bow. Based on the police testimony, the killer must have ducked inside or loitered around somewhere for up to an hour before he deposited the apron and wrote the graffito. It's possible Bury had somewhere he dossed while out on the lash, or the killer might have been hiding in a nearby warehouse or disused building. Although I don't know why the killer, Bury or no, wouldn't have made a beeline for home after killing Eddowes, rather than returning to the streets when the police were on high alert.
          as the police found out he'd been constantly moving address he could have used some of ellen's money (~40K today) to have several bolt holes.

          Comment


          • It would be highly unusual for a serial killer to voluntarily hand himself to the police (not impossible, however, as a small selection of serial killers have done just that).

            Mind you, Bury didn't confess to being the WM.

            I would say that given the timings involved, there's a decent chance that one of PC Smith's clerk or Lawende's fair man was the WM, which I think would rule out Bury.
            Last edited by Fleetwood Mac; 09-10-2022, 12:32 PM.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Fleetwood Mac View Post
              It would be highly unusual for a serial killer to voluntarily hand himself to the police (not impossible, however, as a small selection of serial killers have done just that).

              Mind you, Bury didn't confess to being the WM.

              I would say that given the timings involved, there's a decent chance that one of PC Smith's clerk or Lawende's fair man was the WM, which I think would rule out Bury.
              Here (below) is a good comparison between Bury and the various descriptions by Steve Earp (link: http://williambury.org/blog6/the-bury-id/). Sandy/fair facial hair.

              Bury didn't hand himself in, he went to the police to report the death/suicide of his wife. You would think having a team of 12 detectives on Bury over months of work would easily rule him out, but, when talking to detectives who actually worked the case:
              • Hastings reported, “the facts they gathered pointed more and more clearly to Bury being Jack the Ripper, but it was a slow task, entailing months of work, and they had been ordered to make nothing public”
              Eyewitness descriptions must be treated with caution, as they often contain inaccuracies, however there are important connection points between William Bury and many of the ones that exist. According to William Bury’s Dewsbury prison record (Bury had been convicted of vagrancy in 1884), he was 5’2” (37), and according to one newspaper report, he was 5’3” “in his boots” (38). Wearing a hat, then, he would have stood a little over 5’4″. This would have put him just a few inches taller than Annie Chapman and Catherine Eddowes, who were both wearing boots and headgear when they were murdered, and would therefore align him with the height estimates provided by Elizabeth Long and Joseph Levy, who both claimed that the man they saw was only slightly taller than the woman standing next to him. At a little over 5’4”, Bury would also align well with the 5’5” height estimates provided by Israel Schwartz and Caroline Maxwell. William Bury had a dark complexion (39) and dark brown hair (40), but he had a “fair moustache” (41), his facial hair being described as “light sandy-coloured” (42). Long and Maxwell both described a man who was “dark” (43) and Joseph Lawende a man whose moustache was “fair” (44) and “inclining to be sandy” (45). Long described a man “who appeared to be a foreigner” (46) and William Bury was described by a contemporary observer as having “features somewhat of the Jewish or Semitic type” when viewed from the side (47). William Bury was 29 at the time of the Jack the Ripper murders, which makes him a good fit with the age estimates provided by Schwartz, Lawende and Maxwell. Because of the discrepancies among the various eyewitness descriptions, no single person could perfectly fit all of them, but William Bury aligns with them in a number of different ways.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Aethelwulf View Post

                Bury didn't hand himself in, he went to the police to report the death/suicide of his wife.
                Aye but same inference.

                A serial killer placed himself into the hands of the police after he had committed a murder. As I said, that is highly unusual.

                Originally posted by Aethelwulf View Post

                Eyewitness descriptions............important connection points between William Bury
                Lawende was taken to be the leading witness of the three at Mitre Square, not Joseph Levy.

                Lawende and PC Smith gave the height as 5'7 to 5'8 which would seem a bit of a leap from Bury.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Fleetwood Mac View Post

                  Aye but same inference.

                  A serial killer placed himself into the hands of the police after he had committed a murder. As I said, that is highly unusual.



                  Lawende was taken to be the leading witness of the three at Mitre Square, not Joseph Levy.

                  Lawende and PC Smith gave the height as 5'7 to 5'8 which would seem a bit of a leap from Bury.
                  Eye witnesses are notoriously unreliable and we don't know which witnesses actually saw the Ripper.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by John Wheat View Post

                    Eye witnesses are notoriously unreliable and we don't know which witnesses actually saw the Ripper.
                    I agree that we don't know which witnesses saw the WM. My view is that the most likely are Lawende, PC Smith and Mary Ann Cox (who I believe described a shorter man).

                    I wouldn't necessarily write off witness descriptions as unreliable. One of Peter Sutcliffe's victims who survived the attack gave a remarkably accurate description/photofit.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by John Wheat View Post

                      Eye witnesses are notoriously unreliable and we don't know which witnesses actually saw the Ripper.
                      True John. In the grand scheme of things, few inches difference, given Bury would have appeared around in boots and hat 5/4, is neither here nor there. As noted in#182, the police thought he was very like the man seen talking to kelly - this can only really be Aman, and they thought he answered the description given by two other witnesses. Weigh a few inches difference (but remember Levy, Long and Schwartz and Farmer's attacker are all short men) against Bury, the only suspect who is a sexually motivated post mortem mutilator and who police doing the leg work on him believed he was the ripper...

                      Comment


                      • A Bow reference in the 'Spring Heeled Jack' letter (National Archives: reference MEPO 3/142 ‘Jack’ letter, 4 Oct 1888. ‘Spring Heel Jack The Whitechapel Murderer’). Transcript below (letter is here page 21: https://cdn.nationalarchives.gov.uk/...ktheripper.pdf).

                        I'd be interested to know if the date corresponds with any stories about an American. I suspect the ripper kept abreast of all the news and may have reflected this in any letters he may have written (if any are genuine).

                        I am an American I have been in London the last ten months and have murdered no less than six women I mean to make a dozen of it now while I am about it I think I may as well have six men in blue to make the number as I see there is a few too many knocking about the east End looking for me but I am close upon their heel every day and will be for some time yet and I was in the crowd at Berners Street watching the blue boys wash the blood marks away sorry to give you so much trouble but what I have sworne to do I will at the cost of my own life at nights I have been sleeping in Bow cemetery one thing I have to tell you know is the policemen who has found the women it is those I mean settleing[sic] as they will not g[et] the chance of giving evidence against me I shall shortly have to shift or [illegible] my quarters from Bow cemetery as I have enlightened you a bit about I have written this on the Embankment near Waterloo. Jack the Ripper I will rip a few more So help my God I Will

                        [Image of two knives with blood dripping from them]

                        Comment


                        • Map of Bow below:
                          • Maidman Street - residence of Ada Wilson - 0.75 mile from Arnold Road
                          • Quickett Street - Where Ellen Bury was living when she met Bury
                          • Arnold Road - Where James Martin lived. This is where Bury was staying before his marriage, sleeping in the stable or on the kitchen floor. This would have been his location at the time of the Wilson attack (three quarters of a mile away)
                          • Spanby Road - The Bury's final address in Bow before leaving for Dundee. They also lived at Swaton Road and Blackthorn Street - both 100 to 200 m from Spanby Road
                          • Bow Cemetery - Somewhat dubious dossing site of 'Spring Heel Jack the Whitechapel Murderer'
                          • Other - Lee Pond incident - not certain where exactly this is located. Man fitting Bury's age and build washing a bloody knife in Lee's Wharf. Potentially one of the wharfes near Bow Bridge, about a mile east of Bury (newspaer cutting here: https://forum.casebook.org/forum/rip...-pond-incident)
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                          • Thanks for the Map and info Aethelwulf.

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                            • Originally posted by John Wheat View Post
                              Thanks for the Map and info Aethelwulf.
                              Cheers John, there is an updated version below. I realised I misunderstood the reference to where Martin and Ellen lived. Ellen was living in Martin's establishment at 80 Quickett Street, which is off Arnold Road. The ref I found made it sound like two different places.

                              I've added the other addresses in Blackthorn St and Swaton Rd. Swaton Rd is where they lodged with Elizabeth Haynes - where she found him kneeling on Ellen with a knife to her throat in an argument about money. That latter is intersting given his proximity to Wilson and his similarity to the description of her attacker, and of course that he actually murdered a woman. Haven't looked in detail yet for any confirmation of the story that Bury stabbed Edward Gough aged 10 to get money. Could well believe that is true though.


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                              • Thanks for the updated Map Aethelwulf.

                                Cheers John

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