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  • Dr Septimus Swyer + proviso

    Naming potential suspects is all well and good, but the difficulty with the Whitechapel homicides is the inability of being able to interview witnesses and suspects, prove or disprove aliibi’s, nor to be able to build up a synopsis, a profile of this person (not as in Offender profiling). Movements on given days cannot be confirmed, nor can alibi’s be proved or disproved. It is a process of conjecture and whether circumstantial evidence can be satisfactorily established, but it should be borne in mind that short of any clear evidence, no accurate confirmation of the offender’s identity can be made. It is one debate that will continue between academics and Ripperologists for some time.

    On an ethical note, significant consideration should also be given to any living descendants of any named suspects as maybe the last thing they would want is for the family to be associated with Jack the Ripper. A number of historic records used to consider the identity would also be used by family history groups and individuals researching their family tree. The proviso should always be clear and present that any highlighted names are as part of academic and historic investigations and without clear, direct evidence, they are innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.


    In considering the crimes around Whitechapel, I have submitted a conclusion that eight victims were killed by the same offender over a two and a half year period (Aug 1888 – Feb 1891), and that the geo-forensic components (geographic profiling) indicated an area in buildings behind Green Dragon Yard (off Whitechapel Road, opposite St Mary’s Church).

    Whilst the geo-forensic location gave an indication of the geographic area to focus enquiries and not a poinpoint location of the offender, on a coincidental level, the resident of this pinpointed premises in 1891 was a Dr Septimus Swyer. The address was 23 Whitechapel Road.

    He was 56 years old (born c.1835 in Dorset) and according to the census, he was a Registered GP, living with his wife and children (natural and step-children). Living at the address were medical students and servants. Of note, he had been admitted to the Royal College of Surgeons in 1862.

    Swyer has been raised as a point of debate in considering the question, ’Who was Jack the Ripper?’ based on facts established about him. He was a doctor, admitted to the Royal College of Surgeons and therefore would have the correct skills and anatomical knowledge as highlighted in a number of the attacks (and previous threads). This has been labelled an attribute that could fit other professions but the nature of the removal of organs and incisions could place a medically trained person higher up the list of suspects.

    Swyer was living and working in the Whitechapel area before, during and for a few months after the last attack on Frances Coles, so his locality fits the timeline of events. Swyer and his family left the UK in 1891/1892 and moved to the United States. There were no further attacks after February 1891 so his departure from the country could explain the cessation of these attacks. The reason for this move is unknown, but once there, his movements around the eastern side of the country were quite transient.

    In seven years, Swyer moved between five states and 6 cities altogether.
    • In May 1892, he was living in Baltimore, Maryland, renting an apartment
    • His exact travel date is unknown yet four of his children (Blanche, Rachel, Annie and ‘Sydney’ SWYER) travelled on 8th September 1892 to Boston with their intended destination being Detroit, Michigan.
    • In 1892/3 (more likely Autumn 1892 linking to the travel plans of the children), Swyer was living in Detroit, a move of approximately 397 miles.
    • In 1893, Swyer was no longer living in Detroit, but listed as re-moved to New York, a move of approximately 479 miles.
    • In 1894 – 95, Swyer was listed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a move of approximately 81 miles.
    • In 1895, Swyer was listed residing in New York and in 1899 - 1901, Swyer was residing in Newark, New Jersey, a move of approximately 10 miles.


    These movements do not prove anything in terms of the Whitechapel homicides but raise the question of why so many moves across different states in a relatively short period of time? – Why could Swyer not settle until at least 1899 it seems? After 1899, nothing is known of his movements. Swyer is stated to have passed away in 1906 whilst living in New York, at the age of 71 years.

    In considering SWYER's life, it is fair to say it was not unremarkable; after his first wife died in December 1874, he remarried Hannah MARKIN in 1880 but this marriage resulted in his wife tried for bigamy at the Old Bailey in 1881. She was found not guilty.
    Septimus and Hannah stayed together as a family as shown on the 1891 census. It is not known whether the marriage was annulled due to the bigamy charge, yet in 1891, his wife is listed by her previously married surname, MARKIN, and not her maiden name, AARONS.
    However, in 1892, the children travelling to Boston by ship are under the name of SWYER even though Rachel and Annie were his step-children and in 1881, went by the name MARKIN. It can only be deduced that as the family stayed together, Septimus took on responsibility for MARKIN’s children with them taking his surname.
    Of interest, in 1877, Swyer was living at 33 Brick Lane and attended the address of a female who had her throat cut in domestic argument. The injuries described in court were as a gash on left hand side of her throat, extending from about 2½ inches below the left ear across the front of the throat, to the centre of the windpipe; it was a clean incised wound, very deep – there was a second cut extending upwards towards the chin, about 1¾ inch, the bed, bedding and clothing were saturated in blood. Swyer gave evidence in the Old Bailey on 14th January 1878. The similarities between this incident where he provided medical attention and the homicides where the victims had their throats cut, was this a seed planted, that lay dormant until 1888?

    In 1886, Swyer was robbed by a gang in Osborn Street. In the newspaper extracts of the time, Swyer was walking along Osborn Street at 10 pm on a Sunday night. Septimus Swyer’s determination and character is momentarily shown in that even though the gang consisted of 25 – 30 members, Swyer chased after one of the males after he managed to get himself free. Do these two events have an effect on SWYER, are they the catalyst that starts the Whitechapel homicides? It would be pure conjecture to state otherwise, but the sequence of events are worthy of consideration and discussion.

    Individually, these points do not prove or link Swyer to the Whitechapel homicides, Considered collectively, they indicate a potential suspect who had links to the locality and whose residence and occupation fit the timeline of events, he had the necessary skills and knowledge to carry out the acts described against a number of the victims and in his time, encountered the throat slashing of a female in the Whitechapel area and was himself attacked. His home life was not without incident, losing his first wife and his second accused of bigamy, yet they remained as a family unit. Swyer’s emigration to the United States fits in with the cessation of homicides yet he appeared ‘unsettled’ in America, transient to a degree.

    I submit that Septimus SWYER is a person who should be highlighted as a person to be investigated for consideration as the serial murderer, ‘Jack the Ripper’.

    Part of the research process - to explore, share and discuss.

  • #2
    A comment on "mic-ads" posting

    This is well researched and well written.

    Some London addresses for Septimus Swyer include 19 Brick Lane (1865), 32 Brick Lane (1871), 18 Marquis Road, Islington (1881), 68 Brick Lane (1890) and 23 Whitechapel Road (1891).

    In 1889 Septimus Swyer somehow got himself into a partnership with a medical fraudster Edward Morass who went under a number of aliases. This partnership appears to have been was dissolved by the court of chancery sometime in 1889 or 1890. This affair could explain why Septimus Swyer went to the USA.

    He may have travelled as a ship’s doctor which may make the voyage harder to identify.

    Comment


    • #3
      Welcome Mic-ads and John L

      1886 was a bad year for Septimus :
      Attached Files

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      • #4
        [QUOTE=mic_ads;214514][SIZE="1"]
        Of interest, in 1877, Swyer was living at 33 Brick Lane and attended the address of a female who had her throat cut in domestic argument. The injuries described in court were as a gash on left hand side of her throat, extending from about 2½ inches below the left ear across the front of the throat, to the centre of the windpipe; it was a clean incised wound, very deep – there was a second cut extending upwards towards the chin, about 1¾ inch, the bed, bedding and clothing were saturated in blood.\ Ripper’.

        What became of the person who inflicted the wounds?

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        • #5
          date

          Hello Velma. Have an exact date on that?

          Cheers.
          LC

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by lynn cates View Post
            Hello Velma. Have an exact date on that?

            Cheers.
            LC
            Hi, Lynn,
            I was quoting from the first post by mic ads and asking a question myself.

            Sorry to take awhile answering, but I had totally forgotten about this thread and just re-discovered it. I found myself more interested in the person who had inflicted such wounds (perhaps he was hanged) than the subject of the thread.

            So, no, I don't have any information, just questions.

            Comment


            • #7
              Hello All

              James Mills, who was 26 years old at the time, was found Guilty - Penal Servitude for Life.

              http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/brows...-189#highlight

              Coincidentally, Mills lived at 3 John St. John Richardson was living at 2 John St in 1888.

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              • #8


                It should be pointed out that although Swyer was recorded at 23, Whitechapel Road on the 1891 census, the evidence of electoral registers and medical directories suggest he was living/working at 68, Brick Lane between 1884 and 1890.

                This of course was the address from which Dr Timothy Killeen was called to the Tabram murder site. I think it’s unlikely that Killeen had his own independent practice at that address at the same as Swyer. It’s more likely that he briefly joined Swyer’s practice.

                In 1885 Swyer had attended a young Jewish girl who had been assaulted by a gang of 28 men in a coffee house in Church Lane, Whitechapel. The attack seems to have been almost identical to that on Emma Smith.



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                • #9
                  Swyer was also the medical witness at the February 1889 inquest of a counterfeiter/coiner living in Thrawl Street. Swyer attributed the man's death to 'internal hemorrhaging,' and the case was written up by the Illustrated Police News. It's unclear what exactly happened, but there is a sense that maybe the coiner had somehow damaged his system by messing about with lead and other molten metals. Swyer's address is given as 68 Brick Lane. The case interested me because Albert Bachert had some shadowy association with coiners, or at least one coiner.

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                  • #10
                    And, from memory, he was one of the doctors who supplied a notorious morphine addict with her gear.

                    There are photos of him on Ancestry: a rather dapper-looking chap, fond of felt collars and gold watch chains, and in one photo carrying a top hat.

                    Other addresses he occupied in Spitalfields were White’s Row and Church (Fournier) Street.
                    Last edited by MrBarnett; 06-09-2020, 11:03 AM.

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                    • #11
                      If Killeen was his assistant, you do have to wonder why the more experienced medical man couldn't be bothered to crawl out of bed and take a look at Martha. Perhaps a case of, 'Bloody hell. It's 5 a.m. and I need my beauty sleep...hold on a minute and I'll send over the young Irishman...'

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                      • #12
                        I’ve just re-read the press reports about Swyer and the morphine addict. The woman was known as ‘Morphia’ and was said to have obtained her fixes from almost every doctor in the East End. One night in October, 1883 she rocked up at Swyer’s surgery and he reluctantly gave her a shot of morphine in the arm. She died the next day and Swyer conducted the PM. At the inquest he gave her COD as cancer of the gullet.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post
                          If Killeen was his assistant, you do have to wonder why the more experienced medical man couldn't be bothered to crawl out of bed and take a look at Martha. Perhaps a case of, 'Bloody hell. It's 5 a.m. and I need my beauty sleep...hold on a minute and I'll send over the young Irishman...'
                          And he’d been mugged a year or so before, so perhaps he was a little cautious about going out in the early hours.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            [QUOTE=MrBarnett;n736237

                            There are photos of him on Ancestry: a rather dapper-looking chap, fond of felt collars and gold watch chains, and in one photo carrying a top hat.

                            Other addresses he occupied in Spitalfields were White’s Row and Church (Fournier) Street.[/QUOTE]


                            Didn't have an Astrakhan coat as well did he?
                            Last edited by Al Bundy's Eyes; 06-09-2020, 01:07 PM. Reason: Quote function not working.
                            Thems the Vagaries.....

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Al Bundy's Eyes View Post


                              Didn't have an Astrakhan coat as well did he?
                              It’s quite possible...

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