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  • Cutbush press source?

    What turned a perfectly competent & rational officer into one of those "wretched specimens of humanity"- a ripperologist!
    But seriously, I hadn't come across the following report before:
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    Given the date - Feb. 18, 1894, the day after the last installment of Sun's Cutbush exposť - it is safe to say that the "sensational reports" referred to are the Sun reports.

    Of particular interest is the fact that an unnamed inspector says that he's going to the press in order to get the Met to look into the matter.

    The mention of the knife which the inspector has in his possession makes Insp. Race a good deep throat candidate, since it is Race whom Macnaghten chides in his memo for not having placed/returned the item to the prisoners' property store - and the intreviewee mentions as being in possession of a knife.

    Of course it was Race who handled the original Cutbush investigation. If the article is anything to go by, he had been kept abreast of what was happening with the subject.

    Further questions come to mind, first and foremost:

    Were the Sun reports prompted by Race himself or the other way around? (the Sun refers to an "accidentally obtained chance clue" as igniting its interest in the case of TC).

    Attached is a report on Race's retirement. From other reports I also noticed that he seems to have had his share of favourable press during his active years, so mere publicity does not seem a valid motive.

    It would seem that Race simply thought he had nailed JtR....
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    If the Morning Leader article could be found, perhaps some more light could be shed on how "circumstanciallly" Race presented his case....

    Last edited by Jake L; 04-15-2008, 04:41 PM.

  • #2

    Nice spot, as usual.

    This knife, Dons knife?


    Author of Capturing Jack the Ripper.


    • #3
      Hi jake
      Great find!
      I have certainly seen mention of the "Chinese knife" before but not this particular interview
      Here is an example of the syndicated report which obviously refers to the same story:

      New Era
      Iowa, U.S.A.
      14 March 1894
      Said to be Now an Inmate of an Insane Asylum
      London, March 9.
      The fact has developed that Scotland Yard detectives have discovered that the famous Jack the Ripper is an inmate of Dartmoor insane asylum, having been sent there shortly after the last of the Whitechapel atrocities. The fact has been kept a profound secret, but is now guardedly admitted.

      The Scotland Yard authorities have possession of the knife, which is of Chinese make, with which the Whitechapel murders were committed. They are also familiar with his movements during the intervals between the murders, and have been able to trace him to the asylum after the last crime. Although pronounced incurably insane by the asylum physicians, the man has a clear recollection of the past and all his conversations and remarks have reference to his crimes in the east end. Correspondence has passed between the government criminal department and the asylum authorities relative to the murderer's condition, and as to whether now or at any time in the near future he is or will be likely to be sufficiently rational to be placed on trial.

      The result of these inquiries has not yet been disclosed.

      You gave the date of the first article in your post but can you let me know in which paper it appeared
      All the best
      Last edited by Chris Scott; 04-15-2008, 04:59 PM.


      • #4
        Thanks guys,

        Working from memory here, so...mind....

        Cutbush Cutlery is a very muddy issue....there are mentions of different places and dates of purchase:

        There's the "Houndsditch knife", purchased in February '91 as well as the "Minories knife", seemingly purchased in early March '91.
        One of these was reported as being a dagger-type piece of cutlery (if they aren't the same weapon with Macnaghten getting confused).

        I believe the D.R. knives were Lister/amputation knives, so that bit doesn't seem to match. (Anyone ever seen a Rimmer knife? )


        Thanks for the follow-up.

        Sorry I forgot the source... the "Dartmoor" report is from Reynolds Newspaper and the retirement piece is from Lloyds Newspaper.

        Last edited by Jake L; 04-15-2008, 05:19 PM.


        • #5
          Hi jake
          many thanks for the source
          Below is a version which quotes an unnamed inspector as the source and ties him particularly to Mitre Square

          Manitoba Daily Free Press
          Winnipeg, Canada
          8 March 1894

          Is He The Ripper?
          A remarkable statement concerning the perpetrator of the Whitechapel murders has been made by an inspector of the criminal investigation department. He was, it appears, on duty near Mitre Court (sic) and the scene of the other murders throughout the time in which they were effected. The officer set himself to find out the criminal, and during the prosecution of his inquiries became possessed of an Oriental knife of a curious pattern of blade. Some time later a man who manifested homicidal mania was arrested on a minor charge, and in him the officer considered that he had found the perpetrator of the Whitechapel crimes. At first the man was placed in confinement near London; later on the criminal was removed to Dartmore (sic), where he went completely mad. All his conversation is about Whitechapel and about the women who were so mysteriously done to death within its precincts. Prior to this, however, the officer from whom this statement now emanates had made his report to his superiors. He had placed the whole of his information before them, and received a bonus for his pains.


          • #6
            Hi Jake

            A prime example as to why the press should be closely scrutinised in order to obtain clues. Our sunburned, blotchy, rash bedecked miscreant might well be identified yet.



            • #7
              Originally posted by Monty View Post
              This knife, Dons knife?
              Who can say?...

              From the A-Z: "Today it is known that Rumbelow's knife is a surgeon's amputating knife of continental manufacture..." (p.201)

              From Robin Odell's Ripperology: "The blade, which is hollow-ground and nine inches long with a four-inch-long handle, was made by Weiss of London." (p.121)

              But "of Chinese manufacture"?...




              • #8
                I am wondering why so much evidentiary importance is place on possession of a knife. So what if the police actually did have the murder weapon in their possession (and I do not believe they did)? Fingerprint evidence was not yet admissible, so what good would it do? Even if ownership of the knife could be traced to a certain suspect that really wouldn't prove anything. I'm sure such property was routinely lost, stolen, and sold.


                • #9
                  Hi Jake

                  I think this did come up on the boards pre-crash, but thanks for reminding us of it.

                  We also have reference to Cutbush carrying a toy dagger!



                  • #10
                    It seems that Western Mail ran with the same story, but on the 14th, also citing the Sun. And again it is stated that Morning Leader has the original/fuller interview.

                    The "Mitre Square" story would, on the surface, seem to be in keeping with the "vicinity of the murder scenes". However, would they draft Met extras into City territory? I fear embellishment......

                    Nevertheless it would seem that Race (if indeed it was him, given the confusion regarding TC's cutlery) *was* willing to hedge some bets on TC as the Ripper.

                    Sadly, it seems that after three years in Bedlam, so was Thomas himself.

                    Yep, a "toy dagger" according to his defense attorney, "formidable weapon", bearing the name of a well-known maker" according to Lloyd's News.

                    Regardless, I was most pleased at pinning down TCs latest place of cutlery purchase at Dickenson's, 2 Union Row, Minories.

                    Of course, that is just one knife....

                    I'll repost the Lloyds stories should anyone wants to figure out the cutlery business....

                    Edit: Due to strict file size limits (too strict, IMHO), it seems I won't post them after all



                    • #11
                      Well done Jake on reviving this highly interesting aspect of Cutbush cutlery.
                      Although we have discussed the possibility of Thomas being confined in Dartmoor before, your slant here is indeed food for thought, and I'll tell you why.
                      Some reports mention Thomas's 'toy dagger' as having 'seven stars'.
                      By my reckoning the Metropolitan Force of London would have regarded a 'Chinese dagger' or sword as a toy, simply because of its strange and foreign nature, but believe it or not the 'Chinese Sword 7 Star Blade Weapon' did, and still does exist, and here are the 7 stars:
                      Attached Files


                      • #12
                        Jake, here's a link.


                        • #13
                          Thanks AP & Robert,

                          I can't see the attachments over there, but the dates tell me they're the ones I had in mind.

                          To those who haven't yet read them, these are reports of the "Cutbush case proper", i.e. the "prodding" incident from three years earlier (i.e. 1891).

                          I did a bit of slicing in order to fool the attachment size limit so that these can be viewed here as well.
                          This means that you have to read parts a & b of the 1st article separately, unlike the long columns of the original.

                          The knife issue is even more complicated it seems.......

                          The Apr 19th article
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                          A follow up on April 26th:
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                          As to Andy's earlier question about the "significance" (or lack of) of having knives as evidence, I suppose that that would have been the closest to hard evidence they would hope to have got (apart from "caught in the act" - type scenarios).

                          The ability match a Wound with the Shape of the Blade did exist in those days, I believe.

                          Anyway, as far as I'm concerned, TC just may have been the madman who was JtR - or what is even more likely, a madman who thought he was JtR.

                          We'll never know - but maybe we'll know a *little* more eventually.
                          Last edited by Jake L; 04-15-2008, 09:16 PM.


                          • #14
                            Hi Jake,
                            Thanks to you and Chris for posting this on Cutbush.

                            I disagree with the view that Thomas Cutbush doesnt fit JtR.I believe he is a perfect fit-----except for the jobbings!

                            My own reasons are to do with the illness that affected him and his recorded agility and quick thinking.

                            The very first record we have has to do with an attack on an elderly man who was taking the p**s . Cutbush was apparently vain to the point of narcisism and spent a lot of time tending the rashes on his face with creams and ointments as well as staring at himself in the mirror.His elderly colleague was ribbing him over this vanity.Cutbush apparently hid and waited for him at the top of some stairs.When the man reached the top he sprung out and pushed him down stairs nearly killing him----and then calmy told colleagues, the poor man had fallen.Total indifference to the consequences of his behaviour accompanied by ice cool detachment.

                            Then we have the letters to high places-viz one to Lord Grimthorpe, complaining his doctor was trying to poison him.
                            Classic stuff-------he is showing paranoia and delusions of grandeur.

                            All this time we are told he studies medical books and spends time cutting and pasting from magazines showing women in stages of undress,which he "rearranges" .He also spends timemaking very careful clinical type drawings of the mutilated bodies of women.

                            Above all it is his escape from the lunatic asylum,where he completely outwits and frees himself from four male nurses,scans an eight foot wall
                            drops in amongst a crowd of people wearing only his night shirt and "with tails flying, followed by a crowd in hot pursuit he calmly dives into a house,steals and changes into ,a hat ,a jacket, a pair of trousers ,shoes and grabs an umbrella.He then exits by the back door and proceeds to join the baying crowd waving his stolen umbrella while the crowd completely unaware its him, gallops on like a riderless horse!
                            He may have been a very sick cookie but he was certainly a smart one.
                            Last edited by Natalie Severn; 04-15-2008, 10:45 PM.


                            • #15
                              The seven stars on Thomas' Chinese knife - and the seven stars certainly indicate that it was a blade made in Zhejiang province in China, probably in Longquan - of course represent the Pleidas, the Seven Sisters.
                              In Chinese mythology these seven sisters commited suicide to be with their god. One of them shone dim.
                              This is a typical example of a Longquan made 7 star dagger.
                              A toy.
                              Attached Files