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Why Did The Police Discount Hutchinson's Statement So Quickly?

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  • #16
    Hi Stephen,

    Apart from a few embellishments in the description perhaps, no.
    Even disregarding the actual contents of the account, which I believe to be largely bogus, we've also the plentiful and compelling indications that Hutchinson's accont was discredited. That alone should be uppermost in our minds when contemplating the veracity of his statement.

    I just can't imagine that if Hutch were the murderer he would do anything other than just lie low and hope for the best.
    But we know that serial killers have come forward under false guises out of self-preservation, curiosity bravado etc, despite the fact that they could have decided to lie low if they preferred. If we examine those, our "imagination" will be be all the richer for it, and certainly less restrictive when deciding what a serial killer would or wouldn't do. Not that you even need to be a serial killer to embrace the mentality that some pre-emptive action may be beneficial before any awkward questions are asked.

    Even if he was fingered as as the guy standing outside Crossingham's he could just have said 'Yeah that was me, so what?'
    But that could very well have led to further identity attempts from earlier witnesses. If a sufficent number of those were able to provide a link with Lewis' loiterer, the validity of "Yeah, that was me on each and every occasion, so what?" would be somewhat weakened.

    Just out of curiosity, why did you ask me if there was a little part of me that believed he was telling the whole truth if there's no part of you that believes he may have been lying?

    Best regards,


    • #17
      Originally posted by Ben View Post
      Just out of curiosity, why did you ask me if there was a little part of me that believed he was telling the whole truth if there's no part of you that believes he may have been lying?
      I was just being a bit mischievous there, Ben. Thanks for the pleasant discussion and good luck on the podcast tonight.

      Best wishes


      • #18
        Thanks for your kind wishes, Stephen!

        I've experienced a slight technical hiccup which may prevent or delay my participation tonight, but I'll just off to (hopefully) rectify the problem!

        All the best,


        • #19
          Originally posted by Ben View Post
          ...we've also the plentiful and compelling indications that Hutchinson's accont was discredited.
          Refresh my memory please. What were the indications?

          Sink the Bismark


          • #20
            Originally posted by Ben View Post
            For the cover-up theory to be at all viable, we'd need to accept that the police not only circulated false evidence to press and public, but that they were penning false reports amongst themselves.
            Hi Ben,

            I hope by next week to have proof positive that this was indeed the case.

            Watch this space, as they say.


            Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.


            • #21
              Oddly enough, the interest for the Whitechapel murders seems to have quickly lessened after the Miller's Court affair. We can observe this surprising phenomenon about one week/ten days after MK's murder. Even Mary's funeral was tersely reported in the papers (with the exception of one or two), especially if we have to compare with some other victims' funeral, and considering it was the most horrible murder in the series.
              And this lessening of interest applies to Hutch as well.
              Indeed, only the Star bothers to state that he has been discredited.
              It certainly doesn't help us to understand why - though Ben, imo, has given the most likely reasons (erratic statements in the press).

              Last edited by DVV; 04-11-2009, 11:09 AM.


              • #22
                Hi David,
                The word 'discredited' crops up a lot on Casebook, we are all looking at newspaper reports, and witnesses statements, and doing precisely that, and a lot of that, is down to to the natural Ripperologist suspicions in us all.
                The true fact is, when it comes down to the days, following on from the 12th November 88, we have absolutely no idea what happened to the witness Hutchinson.
                Was he sent packing for wasting police time?
                Just because they never caught the Astracan man within a couple of days, would they say 'well thats that then'?
                Mayby the police decided to make it known that they no longer took Gh seriously, as it might flush out the culprit...
                Mayby he did come under some police protection scheme, after all was there not a letter sent after the double event stating' I know that you saw me'.
                Once the sighting had publicly been release, the killer would have known , that a man called GH, could identify him.
                That being the case , it would hardly be surprising if the police had some protection plan in operation.
                We simply should not just say comments like, 'The report from the Wheeling should be descredited, as its that kind of paper'.
                We should not say the police obviously 'Did not take him seriously' simply because one national newspaper'The Star' made a comment.
                Regards Richard.


                • #23
                  Hi Richard,
                  as far as I know, Hutch wasn't called in to identify Kosminski, Sadler, Grainger, though, if he is to be believed, nobody could identify the guy as he could.

                  Last edited by DVV; 04-11-2009, 12:12 PM.


                  • #24
                    Hi Roy,

                    Refresh my memory please. What were the indications?
                    On 15th November, it was stated in The Star that Hutchinson's account was "now discredited", and subsequent police observations bear this out in many respects. Robert Anderson was on record as stating that the only man to have acquired a good look at the Whitechapel murder was Jewish, and since none of the Jewish witness alleged anywhere near as good a look as Hutchinson, the implications are obvious. Donald Swanson offered no dissenting view to this. As David points out, there is evidence that Lawende was used in subsequent police identity efforts. Hutchinson's absence in this regard is very conspicuous. It would have been essential to use Hutchinson in subsequent identity respects if they believed him, even if they suspected that the real ripper might have arrived on the scene post-Astrakhan.

                    Melville Macnaghten stated that nobody saw the Whitechapel murderer unless it was the "City PC near Mitre Square". Obviously, he was subsonsciously amalgamating more than one sighting here, but none of them could have referred to Hutchinson since he wasn't a City witnes, wasn't known to have been anywhere near Mitre Square, and wasn't a PC.

                    Then there's Abberline. In 1903, he stated that the witnesses who had described a man of foreign appearance had only seen a rear view of the suspect. When presented with the opportunity to make a superficial comparison between surly-looking, dark-moustachioed Klosowski and surly-looking, dark-moustachioed, he didn't make one, instead drawing attention to the headgear mentioned by other witnesses; presumably Lawende (again) and Schwartz.

                    Best regards,


                    • #25
                      My mind wanders and it beats watching TV. I'm intrigued by Gh so am hypothesising based on circumstantial evidence and what i would like to be true. A bad start admittedly.

                      Why did the police stop speaking to hutchinson?

                      Could it be that they found a reason to prove he was lying about being there?

                      Perhaps they found obvious reasons having tested his initial statement to show that he was clearly exagerating his importance. If another person came forward after Hutchinson and said that they were the person that Lewis saw, with corroborating evidence or another witness - would that be sufficient to discount him? Perhaps Hutchinson himself admitted to lying or perhaps started to doubt his own statement under further pressure/questioning.

                      Maybe Gh's character is so dodgy that the police know his testimony would never stand up in court. Would they risk ridicule in court with one easily destroyable witness? It would be terrible for a man to be charged and tried and let off on a technicality - did double jeapody exist then?

                      What is odd is that if the police disprove his statements why did they not go to lengths to publicise his discovery as a liar and fraud?

                      Could it be it was in their interests to have him disappear from the case to avoid embarassment?

                      Abberline is a fairly senior detective on the case. I doubt he'd want to look stupid to a new set of superiors. If Hutchinson becomes discredited over the week, he might not wish to press charges to draw attention to the fact that his initial judgement was flawed. Maybe he warned Hutchinson to go away and never come back in exchange for him not being charged with whatever lying in this case would have attracted. Is the police force sufficiently politicised and self interested for this to occur?

                      Could it be that they preferred a course of investigation that made his comments unsatisfactory or in their minds clearly wrong?

                      Already a graffito evidence is destroyed, probably to avoid anti-semitic sentiment. The forces show that they are capable of being political and pragmatic to avoid potential riots. To be fair, Warren had already overseen a public massacre at that stage in his career and mobs had chased at least one potential suspect and had threatened to lynch him. Would the police shy away from leads where there was not enough evidence to convict at that time to secure public order or to incease the possibility of capture at another time in the future?

                      Were the police anti-semitic and preferred that the suspect be considered that way? Was there a reason why a wealthy person should not be considered capable of such a crime, was anarchy and class subversion a real threat to the hirarchy?

                      Did they find astrokan man and eliminate him from enquiries?
                      If so does GH becomes a fairly defunct witness.

                      Did that enquiry lead somewhere they did not want to go or follow up?
                      Possible but you wander into the realms of conspiracy theory which i don't believe the police would play an active part in. But, what would happen if the perpetrator of these crimes was considered to be more dangerous in another field and more valuable to watch to get leads in that area? Could the police and or government prefer, for example, a fenian to kill poor east end prostitutes because of the value of following him to ascertain leads to the fenian groups? Was the safeguarding of political figures considered more important that the lives of prostitutes in the east end? Were they expendable?
                      I hope not and it's abit far fetched, but there is evidence where the recent Uk government is prepared to sacrifice it's laws and principles to safeguard against terrorism. The Parnell letters would indicate that some people were prepared to lie for political means at the time.

                      Perhaps that enquiry led them to the actual murderer.
                      If the police truly thought that the murderer was dead, in another country or institutionalised, which certain high officers say is the case in later years, was it necessary to keep Gh in the picture anymore?
                      Well in the long term maybe, particularly if they know there is no chance of the suspect hanging, a mob descending on an assylum would not have been useful, Tumbelty or anyone else being overseas would have led to an exciting capture (like Crippen), if the client was dead then they might protect the family ( i believe this happened with the Jack the Stripper case in the 60's). But, in the short term, unless they were pretty sure immediately, GH is still a viable witness, so i believe this options to be less suitable.

                      Did this person get seen somewhere where it was in the police's interest for him not to draw attention to himself?

                      The police had plain clothes men in the area. It is possible, given the methods used, that special branch had agents involved in counter terrorism. And, probably, slurring of people too. There is a reasonable sized irish immigrant population in the part of whitechapel that Kelly lives in I believe I read somewhere on the site here.

                      Maybe, the police felt MJK's murder was actually a Fenian reprisal. Maybe JtR was a reasonable cover and the extent and personal nature might represent a killing based on betrayal.

                      To me GH's desription is way too detailed, Abberlines initial interest,a nd the subsequent disappearance of GH from the story is a bit too odd to allow a witness to fade away. Why would the newspapers allow this person to disappear, given they too had been taken in to a degree.

                      Another option is that Gh is not actually Gh and was being used to protect someone. An accomplice might explain the pardon offer, an undercover policeman engaged on other business, (be interested to know whether an MI5 or SIS agent is obliged to report crimes witnessed on active service if they indeed are the only witness).

                      Frankly, i have no evidence to support any of this and it is the incorrect way trying to ascertain the truth. I would find it interesting to read how the serious researchers go about their business in terms of methodology so that the rank amateurs like myself have a more educated way of approaching things without having enthusiasm reduced.


                      • #26
                        Hello All.

                        Way back in the Eighties and Nineties when I was conducting research into Hutchinson for my book, I always found it puzzling that, despite Abberline’s stated belief in Hutchinson’s veracity as an important eyewitness, the police nevertheless continued with their local sweeps on common lodging houses. It just didn’t make sense given the affluent appearance of the Jewish-looking suspect.

                        Recently, having been away from the Casebook for some five years or so, it became apparent that someone had succeeded where I’d failed and had managed to uncover a repudiation of Hutchinson’s account carried by The Star on 15 November. On checking the newspaper sources here on site, however, I discovered the following reference contained in the London Echo dated 13 November:-
                        From latest inquiries it appears that a very reduced importance seems to be now - in the light of later investigation - attached to a statement made by a person last night that he saw a man with the deceased on the night of the murder. Of course, such a statement should have been made at the inquest, where the evidence, taken on oath, could have been compared with the supposed description of the murderer given by the witnesses. Why, ask the authorities, did not the informant come forward before? As many as fifty-three persons have, in all, made statements as to "suspicious men," each of whom was thought to be Mary Janet Kelly's assassin. The most remarkable thing in regard to the latest statement is, that no one else can be found to say that a man of that description given was seen with the deceased, while, of course, there is the direct testimony of the witnesses at the inquest, that the person seen with the deceased at midnight was of quite a different appearance.

                        This revelation, of course, was published the day after Hutchinson’s police interview and pre-empted The Star by fully two days. And if factual, one can only surmise that it came about as a consequence of a police tip-off, and that Hutchinson had given himself away whilst searching the Whitechapel district with his police escort on the Monday evening. Then, as had been the case with Violenia before him, he was quietly dropped – viewed by the police as persona non grata.


                        Garry Wroe.
                        Last edited by Garry Wroe; 06-21-2009, 09:05 AM.


                        • #27
                          Hi Gary,
                          May i ask a question,
                          When researching in the eighties/nineties, were you aware of 'Topping', had you heard of Reg?
                          I ask this, because George William Topping Hutchinson, is the only name that has come forth, in identifying the witness Hutchinson, since 1888.
                          Not only have we now got many signature comparisons, which are remarkably similar, but we have the family of the said man confirming that he was the actual witness.
                          I Personally heard Toppings son Reg, speak on radio in the early seventies, [ which nobody else on casebook heard], he also possibly 'overkilled' it in the Ripper and the Royals in 1992, and just recently the wife of Toppings grandson contacted Casebook to confirm such a identification.
                          Incidently JD [ the poster] lives in Romford....
                          Most importantly when attempting to identify the real George, is to find a link , or something that only the real person would have knowledge off.
                          The Wheeling directory supplies us with that link.
                          The Above contains a very rare article which states, that the witness that saw Mary Kelly, with a well dressed man, was paid the equivient of five weeks wages, to accompamy police.
                          This article was so rare that it only came to light a couple of years ago, tet it clearly mentions that a sum of money was paid to the witness.
                          That witness was Hutchinson, and Topping Hutchinson, who most certainly never saw that article in his lifetime, mentioned to his family amd friends that he was paid one hundred shillings .
                          No payment was mentioned in any British press reports, and as the sum of one hundred shillings, divided by five = a average mans weekly wage then, i would suggest we have a good match.
                          I would suggest that is the missing link, and if one takes that along with all the other evidence, there is no doubt that 22 years old GWTH, was the witness, that everybody [ except me ] on casebook mistrusts.
                          Regards Richard.


                          • #28
                            Hi Garry,

                            Fascinating stuff. Thanks for sharing.

                            I thought The Star's 15th November claim was quite revelatory at the time, but the Echo's statements are even more interesting, especially since they predate the former article by two days. They make clear that they're not simply voicing their own concerns, either: "Why, ask the authorities, did not the informant come forward before?"

                            Hi Richard,

                            You've made an almost identical post to the one above in the last week. Why dredge it all up again? This thread has nothing to to with the vexed "Toppy" question.

                            Hutchinson was not in regular employment at the time, as far as the police were concerned. He didn't have a "usual" salary according to them, and as such, he would not have been entitled to one hundred shillings.

                            Here are our dubious sources for the payment issue:

                            1) The Wheeling Register was an American newspaper which carried a report headlined "Gossip", the nature of which was contradicted by pretty much every other press source. It claimed that "some clever individual" had "invented" a description of someone seen with Kelly and was paid five times his usual salary to accompany police round the district. It also made claims about Barnett were in stark contrast to all other press claims.

                            2) Reg Hutchinson speculated that his father was paid 100 shillings to keep quiet about seeing Lord Randolph Churchill the Ripper with Mary Kelly. This was included in a discredited Royal conspiracy book.

                            Two zero provenance sources to not create good provenance, but if they're dodgy in isolation, they certainly don't mesh up with eachother.

                            Five times the normal salary of someone without regular employment does not equal five pounds, so the two sources don't tally with eachother even remotely.

                            Not only have we now got many signature comparisons, which are remarkably similar
                            I don't think they are.

                            Best regards,
                            Last edited by Ben; 06-21-2009, 01:29 PM.


                            • #29
                              Hi Ben,
                              I am sorry that my post was almost identical, and when you relate that the article mentioned gossip is correct.
                              However the very fact that for instance Barnett was accused of being drunk, was proberly a opinion of his speech impediment, also it would not surprise me in the slightest if he had not sunk a couple before the inquest.
                              I have made reference in the past[ many times] that Hutchinson must have had regular income , either by regular/casual employment, as he was a resident of the Victoria home, and vagrants were not accomodated.
                              His comments 'I have spent all my money going down to Romford' would suggest he earned money recently.
                              The wheeling report was the only report in Any Newspaper that had reverence to any payment [ regardless of gossip or not] and the only person by the name of Hutchinson that has mentioned a sum of money was Reg, the proven son of Topping, who according to other members of that family confirm that it originated from Topping.
                              Unless i have completely lost my common sense, i would say that its a pretty good bet that Topping was the man.
                              Otherwise i give up....
                              Regards Richard.


                              • #30

                                So Hutchinson's suspect description didn't match that of anyone anyone else. Would it though-since he claimed to have been around later than most, including those who saw Mary Kelly with man clearly not Mr A? Sarah Lewis' sighting of GH need not have included Astrakhan if he was already in Mary's room. Thing is, the police had all that prior testimony before Hutchinson came forward with his, and they still believed him-initially. Given the speed at which they changed their minds, I wonder if the explanation isn't a little more dramatic. Jane x