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William Bury: Jack the Ripper

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  • Mark J D
    replied
    Originally posted by Aethelwulf View Post

    Like you say it could just be a coincidence but the timing looks weird. The bloody knife was found 'around 12.30' just lying on a doorstep, and we know about the various sources of time error, the lesser neck wound and this possibly awkward knife. Perhaps they do all go together.
    What night was this, again...?

    M.

    Leave a comment:


  • Aethelwulf
    replied
    Originally posted by The Rookie Detective View Post

    That sounds very plausible to me.

    The Coram knife is particularly interesting because unless the knife was used on the horse itself i.e. someone stabbed the horse to make it drop, then I can see no explanation as to why the knife should be there, especially considering the timing/date.

    The handkerchief wrapped around the knife is also interesting as I think the idea that he offered his victims some sort of neckerchief/handkerchief, was his ruse to initiate his attack.

    A blood-soaked knife is random but explainable to a degree, but a knife that is wrapped in a handkerchief is somewhat suspicious because there's a hint of concealment and that by proxy would suggest that the knife had been used for ill intent.

    I think your views on Bury are highly likely and I can see why Bury would be considered high on the potential suspect list. He ticks most; if not all the boxes.
    Like you say it could just be a coincidence but the timing looks weird. The bloody knife was found 'around 12.30' just lying on a doorstep, and we know about the various sources of time error, the lesser neck wound and this possibly awkward knife. Perhaps they do all go together.

    Leave a comment:


  • The Rookie Detective
    replied
    Originally posted by Aethelwulf View Post

    Ha ha well spotted Rookie. You're right and i had pondered this myself as well. It's the Wouster letter:

    Post this on me way, hope I shall have luck there The Atmosphere was to hot at Whitechapel had to clear off smelt a rat saw last victim buried [sic] I felt rather down hearted over my knife which I lost coming [sic] here must get one to night.

    The last victim was buried on the 8th, day the Brum letter was sent (which makes that odd connection to the Wouster letter by referring to 'spotting three girls' and 'must kill 15'. Brum and Wouster are two places Bury might go and very know if the atmosphere was indeed too hot. I think it's entirely possible this is an indirect ref to the coram knife. Could also be some other knife he lost on the actual journey away from Whitechapel. Suspect he had multiple knives
    That sounds very plausible to me.

    The Coram knife is particularly interesting because unless the knife was used on the horse itself i.e. someone stabbed the horse to make it drop, then I can see no explanation as to why the knife should be there, especially considering the timing/date.

    The handkerchief wrapped around the knife is also interesting as I think the idea that he offered his victims some sort of neckerchief/handkerchief, was his ruse to initiate his attack.

    A blood-soaked knife is random but explainable to a degree, but a knife that is wrapped in a handkerchief is somewhat suspicious because there's a hint of concealment and that by proxy would suggest that the knife had been used for ill intent.

    I think your views on Bury are highly likely and I can see why Bury would be considered high on the potential suspect list. He ticks most; if not all the boxes.

    Leave a comment:


  • Aethelwulf
    replied
    Originally posted by The Rookie Detective View Post


    Fascinating indeed!


    Just to confirm that one of the alleged ripper letters, the author specifically mentions losing his knife. I'm fairly sure it suggests he lost his knife on the night of the double event.


    Does this fit into the story above?


    RD
    Ha ha well spotted Rookie. You're right and i had pondered this myself as well. It's the Wouster letter:

    Post this on me way, hope I shall have luck there The Atmosphere was to hot at Whitechapel had to clear off smelt a rat saw last victim buried [sic] I felt rather down hearted over my knife which I lost coming [sic] here must get one to night.

    The last victim was buried on the 8th, day the Brum letter was sent (which makes that odd connection to the Wouster letter by referring to 'spotting three girls' and 'must kill 15'. Brum and Wouster are two places Bury might go and very know if the atmosphere was indeed too hot. I think it's entirely possible this is an indirect ref to the coram knife. Could also be some other knife he lost on the actual journey away from Whitechapel. Suspect he had multiple knives
    Last edited by Aethelwulf; 08-11-2023, 10:04 AM.

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  • The Rookie Detective
    replied
    Originally posted by Aethelwulf View Post
    Thinking about the murder of Liz Stride brings the Coram knife into question:

    Thomas Coram - Resident of 67 'Plummer's Road' (probably Plumber's Row) who was employed at a coconut warehouse. He was returning home from seeing friends at 16 Bath Gardens, Brady Street in the early hours of 1st October 1888, when at about 12.30am he passed No. 253 Whitechapel Road (a laundry business belonging to Mr Christmas) and noticed a knife lying on the bottom of two steps that led to the front door. A bloodstained handkerchief was folded and twisted round the handle and the blade was 9 to 10ins long

    Both Phillips and Blackwell thought the knife could have caused the injuries, but both also point out it would have been an awkward and improbable weapon to use. Phillips also said the blood on it looked like human blood.

    What is perhaps interesting from a Bury point of view is what happened around the time it was found:

    "Some little time before a horse fell down opposite the place where the knife was found. I assisted in getting the horse up and during that time a person might have laid the knife down on the step. I would not be positive that the knife was not there a quarter of an hour previously, but I think not".

    I know enough about horses to know they are unlikely to just fall down. Whose was this horse and did it fall down because it had it been badly neglected? Was it parked up or being driven? Serial killers often have animal cruelty in their background. We know Bury treated his wife in a deadful manner and I'd wouldn't mind betting he didn't treat his horse very well. Unfortuneately there are no more details about this horse or its owner.

    Was this Bury returning, sees his horse down and the policeman, deposits the knife, helps sort his horse drives off east. Perhaps he then moves on and parks up to east, walks back into whitechapel, kills Eddowes and then heading east to where he parked, deposits the apron? Sounds like a hugely risky strategy. It also seems like this was the night Bury 'absented himself for the night in the most suspicious manner'. I wonder if he said 'hey I'm going to try out this new knife of mine, looks a bit unsuitable but i'll give it a go'.

    There is an interesting essay by Beadle on the knife here, doesn't mention Bury but still an interesting read: https://www.casebook.org/dissertatio...ng-murder.html

    Fascinating indeed!


    Just to confirm that one of the alleged ripper letters, the author specifically mentions losing his knife. I'm fairly sure it suggests he lost his knife on the night of the double event.


    Does this fit into the story above?


    RD

    Leave a comment:


  • Aethelwulf
    replied
    Thinking about the murder of Liz Stride brings the Coram knife into question:

    Thomas Coram - Resident of 67 'Plummer's Road' (probably Plumber's Row) who was employed at a coconut warehouse. He was returning home from seeing friends at 16 Bath Gardens, Brady Street in the early hours of 1st October 1888, when at about 12.30am he passed No. 253 Whitechapel Road (a laundry business belonging to Mr Christmas) and noticed a knife lying on the bottom of two steps that led to the front door. A bloodstained handkerchief was folded and twisted round the handle and the blade was 9 to 10ins long

    Both Phillips and Blackwell thought the knife could have caused the injuries, but both also point out it would have been an awkward and improbable weapon to use. Phillips also said the blood on it looked like human blood.

    What is perhaps interesting from a Bury point of view is what happened around the time it was found:

    "Some little time before a horse fell down opposite the place where the knife was found. I assisted in getting the horse up and during that time a person might have laid the knife down on the step. I would not be positive that the knife was not there a quarter of an hour previously, but I think not".

    I know enough about horses to know they are unlikely to just fall down. Whose was this horse and did it fall down because it had it been badly neglected? Was it parked up or being driven? Serial killers often have animal cruelty in their background. We know Bury treated his wife in a deadful manner and I'd wouldn't mind betting he didn't treat his horse very well. Unfortuneately there are no more details about this horse or its owner.

    Was this Bury returning, sees his horse down and the policeman, deposits the knife, helps sort his horse drives off east. Perhaps he then moves on and parks up to east, walks back into whitechapel, kills Eddowes and then heading east to where he parked, deposits the apron? Sounds like a hugely risky strategy. It also seems like this was the night Bury 'absented himself for the night in the most suspicious manner'. I wonder if he said 'hey I'm going to try out this new knife of mine, looks a bit unsuitable but i'll give it a go'.

    There is an interesting essay by Beadle on the knife here, doesn't mention Bury but still an interesting read: https://www.casebook.org/dissertatio...ng-murder.html

    Leave a comment:


  • The Rookie Detective
    replied
    Originally posted by Aethelwulf View Post

    Hi Rook, something else to consider is the witness descriptions and how they fit Bury. If you don't think any of the witnesses saw the ripper then this won't be much use. However, Steve Earp has made what I think is fairly even handed comparionson of Bury vrs the witnesses. I have copied this below, from his website - the numbers in brackets are the source refs which you can find on his website. As you can see, there are some good matches. When you consider the police seem to have had the opinion he had the opportunity to commit the crimes and appears to have been out and about those nights, his mutilations, well it all adds to the picture. I would also add Bury's 'powerful chest' as reported in scotland and the very Bury-like behaviour of BS man with Stride. If you want another angle to consider, I would draw your attention to man that attacked Annie Farmer - short thick fellow, fair mustache, scar on the side of his neck (Bury's 1884 prison record notes a cut on the side of his neck as a notable feature); carrying a whip (Bury hadn't yet sold his horse and cart), handy with his fists (puched one of his pursuers), and abusive relationship with an older woman (this would have been before he metellen, Nov 1887):

    “The Bury ID” 2017-20 by Steve Earp. All rights reserved.

    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.

    Note there are references to Maxwell here. Whilst I certainly don't think it's out of the question the murder took place a lot later, perhaps similar to the Farmer attempt, I think most likely the murder was around 4ish as per the screams that were heard.
    That is absolutely fascinating, thank you for that amazingly detailed post. It has drawn my attention to Bury and I think there's a lot of compelling circumstantial evidence against him.

    Leave a comment:


  • The Rookie Detective
    replied
    Originally posted by Aethelwulf View Post

    Hi Rook, perhaps I wasn't clear - those two letters letters don't got together. The envelope is Bury's everyday sort of handwriting from a letter sent from Dundee, written by Bury but either dictated by ellen or totally made up by Bury. Ellen's sister testified that it is Bury's handwriting (Ellen could only write badly) and it is basically the same but a bit scruffier than his confession letter handwriting. The neat copperplate letter is part of Bury's forged job offer for Bury and Ellen at a jute factory in Dundee. It looks so neat because he wanted to make sure his trick worked. Worth rembering that at one time bury worked as a factor's clerk, and from what I can make out that was a desk type job and I suspect that letter was his office hand. Notice that Bury has rather strangely misspelled the employer's name Ogilvie/Ogilvy at the beginning of the letter then uses Egilvy at the end of the letter. In his confession letter he also misspells strangulation as stranglation. I've seen steve earp wonder if this was some affectation of Bury's but I wonder if he was slightly dyslexic. There was also the sellar/cellar message in Dundee. It might explain some of the odd spellings in some of the letters, but i also think a lot of that was a ruse.
    Thank you for clarifying that regarding the letter and the envelope, I should have read through it thoroughly before posting my reply.

    I think the more information that comes to light about Bury, the more his chances of being JTR increases.

    Leave a comment:


  • Aethelwulf
    replied
    Originally posted by The Rookie Detective View Post
    When you look at Bury, there's not really much that goes AGAINST him being the killer. However, my concern is that when something seems to good to be true, then it probably is.
    Hi Rook, something else to consider is the witness descriptions and how they fit Bury. If you don't think any of the witnesses saw the ripper then this won't be much use. However, Steve Earp has made what I think is fairly even handed comparionson of Bury vrs the witnesses. I have copied this below, from his website - the numbers in brackets are the source refs which you can find on his website. As you can see, there are some good matches. When you consider the police seem to have had the opinion he had the opportunity to commit the crimes and appears to have been out and about those nights, his mutilations, well it all adds to the picture. I would also add Bury's 'powerful chest' as reported in scotland and the very Bury-like behaviour of BS man with Stride. If you want another angle to consider, I would draw your attention to man that attacked Annie Farmer - short thick fellow, fair mustache, scar on the side of his neck (Bury's 1884 prison record notes a cut on the side of his neck as a notable feature); carrying a whip (Bury hadn't yet sold his horse and cart), handy with his fists (puched one of his pursuers), and abusive relationship with an older woman (this would have been before he metellen, Nov 1887):

    “The Bury ID” 2017-20 by Steve Earp. All rights reserved.

    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.

    Note there are references to Maxwell here. Whilst I certainly don't think it's out of the question the murder took place a lot later, perhaps similar to the Farmer attempt, I think most likely the murder was around 4ish as per the screams that were heard.
    Last edited by Aethelwulf; 08-09-2023, 01:20 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Aethelwulf
    replied
    Originally posted by The Rookie Detective View Post
    The one thing to consider here is that when you combine the letter with the envelope, it is clear that the author has the capacity for change in his mental state in relation to his written text.

    We know that in this instance the author of the letter is Bury and the envelope is also Bury...and yet...

    the written text looks completely different between the letter and the envelope.


    The letter is obviously an attempt to contain his true intent and by proxy his emotions, because we know the context of the letter and the fact it's forged deliberately in an attempt for personal gain and to deceive the reader/recipient.

    However, the envelope text is far more broad and expressive, because it doesn't need to be forged seeing as it is an actual address to which the author intends to send it.

    I know that he same can be said for people writing letters in general; the written letter itself is written more precisely, whereas the envelope doesn't need to be so precise and regimented.

    But with this particular example it feels very obvious that there's a clear distinction between the letter and envelope text...and that makes Bury look even more suspicious as a potential suspect.

    When you look at Bury, there's not really much that goes AGAINST him being the killer. However, my concern is that when something seems to good to be true, then it probably is.

    I agree with a previous post in that if there was ever a piece of evidence that definitively lnked Bury to any of the victims, then I think it would be difficult to find an excuse to not consider him the killer.

    The fact the injuries he inflicted on his wife are so similar to that of the work of JTR would imply that he was either a copycat, a fantasist...or he WAS JTR.

    Ironically, the one time the killer probably told the truth, was when he was cutting into his victims because he was able to express his inner feelings and desires. Therefore, I'd suggest that if he inflicted strikingly similar wounds onto his wife, then that would give a high probability that he was either the killer or he wanted people to think he was.

    In other words, the real killer may have been able to deceive through his writings, or even his appearance through various theatrical disguises...but it would be very hard to conceal his inherent personal signature as a killer through his cutting and killing.

    His cutting wouldn't lie and so I feel that Bury is absolutely in the top 3 suspects without question, because quite simply, everything fits circumstantially, literally everything fits.

    Although I must say he's my number 2 at present; which is remarkable considering I hadn't even looked at him this time last month.

    this is why I love this forum; because such great minds think alike...or rather; "Great minds don't think alike!"

    And that's why we all love this mystery.





    Hi Rook, perhaps I wasn't clear - those two letters letters don't got together. The envelope is Bury's everyday sort of handwriting from a letter sent from Dundee, written by Bury but either dictated by ellen or totally made up by Bury. Ellen's sister testified that it is Bury's handwriting (Ellen could only write badly) and it is basically the same but a bit scruffier than his confession letter handwriting. The neat copperplate letter is part of Bury's forged job offer for Bury and Ellen at a jute factory in Dundee. It looks so neat because he wanted to make sure his trick worked. Worth rembering that at one time bury worked as a factor's clerk, and from what I can make out that was a desk type job and I suspect that letter was his office hand. Notice that Bury has rather strangely misspelled the employer's name Ogilvie/Ogilvy at the beginning of the letter then uses Egilvy at the end of the letter. In his confession letter he also misspells strangulation as stranglation. I've seen steve earp wonder if this was some affectation of Bury's but I wonder if he was slightly dyslexic. There was also the sellar/cellar message in Dundee. It might explain some of the odd spellings in some of the letters, but i also think a lot of that was a ruse.

    I've posted a couple more pages of the from ellen letter below.

    Click image for larger version

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    Click image for larger version

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  • The Rookie Detective
    replied
    The one thing to consider here is that when you combine the letter with the envelope, it is clear that the author has the capacity for change in his mental state in relation to his written text.

    We know that in this instance the author of the letter is Bury and the envelope is also Bury...and yet...

    the written text looks completely different between the letter and the envelope.


    The letter is obviously an attempt to contain his true intent and by proxy his emotions, because we know the context of the letter and the fact it's forged deliberately in an attempt for personal gain and to deceive the reader/recipient.

    However, the envelope text is far more broad and expressive, because it doesn't need to be forged seeing as it is an actual address to which the author intends to send it.

    I know that he same can be said for people writing letters in general; the written letter itself is written more precisely, whereas the envelope doesn't need to be so precise and regimented.

    But with this particular example it feels very obvious that there's a clear distinction between the letter and envelope text...and that makes Bury look even more suspicious as a potential suspect.

    When you look at Bury, there's not really much that goes AGAINST him being the killer. However, my concern is that when something seems to good to be true, then it probably is.

    I agree with a previous post in that if there was ever a piece of evidence that definitively lnked Bury to any of the victims, then I think it would be difficult to find an excuse to not consider him the killer.

    The fact the injuries he inflicted on his wife are so similar to that of the work of JTR would imply that he was either a copycat, a fantasist...or he WAS JTR.

    Ironically, the one time the killer probably told the truth, was when he was cutting into his victims because he was able to express his inner feelings and desires. Therefore, I'd suggest that if he inflicted strikingly similar wounds onto his wife, then that would give a high probability that he was either the killer or he wanted people to think he was.

    In other words, the real killer may have been able to deceive through his writings, or even his appearance through various theatrical disguises...but it would be very hard to conceal his inherent personal signature as a killer through his cutting and killing.

    His cutting wouldn't lie and so I feel that Bury is absolutely in the top 3 suspects without question, because quite simply, everything fits circumstantially, literally everything fits.

    Although I must say he's my number 2 at present; which is remarkable considering I hadn't even looked at him this time last month.

    this is why I love this forum; because such great minds think alike...or rather; "Great minds don't think alike!"

    And that's why we all love this mystery.






    Leave a comment:


  • Herlock Sholmes
    replied
    Originally posted by Aethelwulf View Post

    Handwriting on ellen letter, which i think looks slightly sinister, and his forged job offer letter

    Click image for larger version

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    If you turn the big ‘E’ on the envelope around Wulf it becomes an ‘M.’ Bury was clearly telling the world that Monty was the ripper.

    Leave a comment:


  • Lewis C
    replied
    Originally posted by Aethelwulf View Post

    Hi LC, see above.
    Good responses, thank you, Wulf. And thanks Abby too.

    Leave a comment:


  • Aethelwulf
    replied
    Originally posted by Abby Normal View Post

    hi lewis
    one only has to see his beautifully written confession letter to realize, that even with his thugish behavior, he was smart and very literate. plus he was a cunning con man, so theres that lol. Bury was a very complicated and interesting individual, as well a violent misogynist a hole.
    Handwriting on ellen letter, which i think looks slightly sinister, and his forged job offer letter

    Click image for larger version

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    Click image for larger version

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  • Abby Normal
    replied
    Originally posted by Lewis C View Post

    Hi Wulf,

    I agree that Bury is one of the least weak suspects, to use Abby's phrase, and maybe THE least weak. Some questions about the part of your post that I quoted here:

    How well is it documented that Bury was away from his lodgings on the nights of the murder and that he behaved suspiciously on those nights/mornings?

    What was the nature of this suspicious behavior?

    Is the man talking to Kelly that you're referring to Mr. Blotchy?

    Can you tell me more about him being described as cunning and intelligent? Who described him that way, and did they explain what made them think that about him?
    hi lewis
    one only has to see his beautifully written confession letter to realize, that even with his thugish behavior, he was smart and very literate. plus he was a cunning con man, so theres that lol. Bury was a very complicated and interesting individual, as well a violent misogynist a hole.

    Leave a comment:

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