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Did Hutchinson Really Behave Like A Serial Killer?

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  • Ben
    replied
    Welcome, Vingle, and a sound and well-balanced post there.

    Hi Crystal,

    Unfortunately, that is one of many aspects if his account that has yet to be verified. He could really have footslogged the 10-16 miles back from Romford in the small hours, in miserable conditions, and in the certainty that his lodgings would not be open by the time he arrived back in Whitechapel, or it could have been an excuse he invented to explain why he was out on the streets in the small hours rather than tucked up in the Victoria Home.

    All the best,
    Ben

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  • Vingle
    replied
    The problem as i see it is that serial killers probably do not do the same thing in similar circumstances. Profilers can only work on probabilities and therefore you can't be sure that any given behaviour is the behaviour of a serial killer or not, only that it fits a pattern (mostly derived from 20th Century killings). Only after the person is caught can the profilers show that they were right or wrong, which for me makes comparative analysis flawed when we do not know for sure who the perpetrator is in this case.

    I think it is beyond doubt that Hutchinsons behaviour is unusual to a 21st C person from the night of the killing through to him going to the police, but it could be because he is JtR, Kelly's killer only, covering up for the real killer giving him a couple of days to go to ground, being scared because he knows who the real killer is and publically gives a totally contradictory statement to what he actually saw to stay alive, to being a publicity seeker.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    I'm sure everyone else knows the answer to this, but why was Hutchinson going to Romford? (is that right?) Did he have family there or something?

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  • Ben
    replied
    Which might imply - just as it says - that Hutchinson's account was discredited because it could not be substantiated.
    A fascinating article, Nemo, and my grateful thanks for sharing it, but a lack of substantiation to any particular account can only be accorded significance if the police already had occasion to believe that the witness in question lied. If the police continued to subscribe to the view that Hutchinson really had seen a viable candidate for Jack the Ripper, or at the very least Kelly's killer, it was most essential to keep his evidence in the pipeline and use him for identity attempts etc, irrespective of the fact that nobody else mentioned seeing an Astrakhanian gent that night.

    Nobody other than Mary Ann Cox saw a blotchy-faced, carroty-moustachioed man near Miller's Court that night, and her evidence wasn't discredited.

    Up until that point, most reports describe Hutchinson as an extremely reliable witness whose truthfulness was not called into question.
    Absolutely, which only serves to highlight the contrast in the treatment of Hutchinson's account from about 15th November onwards.

    All the best!

    Ben

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  • Nemo
    replied
    Hi again Ben - lol

    I have been reading some interesting press reports regarding Hutchinson

    Apart from some extra details such as he entered the court and heard sounds of "merriment" before the light went out at around 3am, I came across this statement...

    Echo
    London, U.K.
    13 November 1888


    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.



    Which might imply - just as it says - that Hutchinson's account was discredited because it could not be substantiated. It does not mean that his description would have been discounted entirely - especially by the police.

    Up until that point, most reports describe Hutchinson as an extremely reliable witness whose truthfulness was not called into question.

    Out of the 53 other potential witnesses (or fame-seekers) there were probably some who verified the Blotchy description as being someone seen with Mary. Because no-one else described Astrakhan, Hutchinson's statement came into question.

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  • Ben
    replied
    Absolutely, Claire.

    I've little doubt that the Astrakhan description was merely the icing on the mealy old cake; a spanner in the works that reassued an already suspicious populace and hungry press that the ripper was a spooky Jewish meance, just as we all thought he was.

    Best regards,
    Ben

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  • claire
    replied
    Add to this that he wouldn't have had any other sources of brand new information, and wouldn't have been able to have speculative conversations with others about the case that might have set his mind to rest (or otherwise). It strikes me that a person in this situation may well try to go to the source of any possible information about the progress of the case--in which instance, he would certainly need a story (a reason) to go to them. If it helped to deflect any possible attention away from him (particularly given he had no way of knowing whether there *was* any attention coming his way), then that would be a bonus.

    Personally (and forgive me for pinning my colours to the Hutch post so blatantly), I believe his main reason for going there was *not* to give a false description, but simply to discover where the police were going with the investigation. As noted, his simple presence would not have been enough to see the trapdoor open beneath him...but he would have been absolutely desperate to know what the police had found out.

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  • Ben
    replied
    The coppers would have been all over him and his alibi and there's never been any real evidence against him.
    What do you mean "would" have been all over him, NTS? We know they weren't. Alibi? If his particular alibi was beyond both verification and contradiction, what good would it do to be "all over" it?

    Hi Nemo,

    Your third option is a compelling one, I believe.

    what was there to link him to the crime if he denied being there? He would not hang due to one vague witness statement.
    No, but he'd be in a spot of bother if he were dragged in as a suspect as opposed to getting his story in first as a witness, especially if a positive identifcation from Lewis led to equally positive identifications from whichever other previous witnessed were reintroduced to look him over.

    He does not know if the police have a description or evidence against him so he approaches the police to find out?
    It wouldn't have been anything that incriminated him specifically by name, or else they'd have tracked him down by that stage. That being so, he was arguably in a position to assess the state of investigative progress by coming forward, especially if it allowed him an opportunity to stall the investigation by hurling an Astrakhan-coated spanner into the works.

    Best regards,
    Ben

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  • Ben
    replied
    Hi Caz,

    I wanted to point out that this is not true of Colin Ireland. He only took himself off to a solicitor to establish his own false version of events because of modern technology in the form of cctv footage
    He injected himself into the ongoing investigation because he realized he'd been seen by an indepedent witness, and came forward with a bogus story designed to legitimize his presence and deflect suspicion elsewhere, just as I contend Hutchinson may have done. You can go on for eternity about the actual specifics, the broad salient details are intact. Attempting to distinguish betweewn the police and a a solicitor as though it somehoe invalidates the comparison is just desperate, irritating and misleading. Of course impoverished, unemployed Hutchinson didn't have a solicitor in 1888. If he did, he might well have availed himself of one. The crucial point is that Ireland insinuated himself into the investigation for the purposes of deception and self-preservation.

    We know with hindsight that the police in 1888 were not sitting on any material evidence implicating Hutch when he came forward, and never obtained any, unlike the cctv image and fingerprint connecting Ireland to two of his murders. If Hutch had kept his head down or done a runner, it’s a safe bet that he would not have been tracked down or identified as Lewis’s lurker, seeing as there is no suggestion that the police made the connection, even when he admitted being there.
    Who cares what "we know with hindsight"?

    What we know with hindsight bears no relevant comparison with what the killer in 1888, whoever he was, knew to be true, or rather had no way of knowing. For all the killer knew, Lewis' statement had been suppressed, just as Joseph Lawende's was, which entailed the perilous possibility of Lewis' being able to identify him very quickly and easily. Even if it wasn't total fear of that outcome that precipitated his proactive behaviour, he may have perceived an advantage in "spiking their guns in advance", especially if it meant creating a false lead, keeping appraised of police progress and sowing the seeds of a false "I'm really co-operative, honest!" preconception about him.

    The missing link is what makes it likely to have happened in this case.
    Simply the fact that a man was observed outside the crime scene at an hour crucial to the murder of Mary Jane Kelly, which an apparent fixation on the court in which she lived, and that as soon as this witness statement became public knowledge, Hutchinson came forward with a claim to have loitered outside the crime scene in precisely that spot and precisely the same time (as Lewis' man). Short of silly coincidence, Hutchinson came forward after learning of Lewis' evidence, and yes, sorry, that dovetails pretty nicely with what we know to have been true of other serial killers (both the loitering near a crime scene and coming forward under a false guise), despite your rather glaringly unsuccessful efforts to refute the comparison.

    Whether it's the "most likely" solution is one thing, but there's nothing remotely "unlikely" about it. I have never, incidentally, claimed that it was most likely that he tried to avoid the cops like the plague. That, as with everything else, is situation specific.

    Firstly, he didn’t contact the police or offer himself into their hands ‘just like’ Hutch
    He injected himself into the investigation after learning he'd been seen, with a false account designed to vindicate an incriminating connection to the crime or crime scene, and deflect suspicion in a false direction.

    Thanks.

    Next:

    Secondly - and you’ll love this bit - he actually did ‘dream up a deliberate campaign’
    And?

    Some of them do. Most do not, however, and unlike the propensity of some serial killers to insert themselves into investigations, it doesn't even have the "advantage" of being entirely situation-specific. What are you saying here? That Hutchinson didn't "behave like a serial" killer because he killed within his own residential orbit, rather than picking out a particular target miles away? Because you and I both know that to be utter nonsense. The majority of serial killers operate within their own comfort zone, making Ireland a minority example in this case. If Hutchinson was the killer, he'd be much more in allignment, geographically speaking, with the majority of serial offenders. Ireland was a hideous example for you to use, anyway. Transport was available to him, which it wouldn't have been to the average 1888ian, in addition to which Ireland's crimes were NOT all committed within a very small concentrated locality as the Whitechapel murderer's were.

    So we're back to "more likely" terriroty when it comes to suggestion that the killer might have lived in the locality in which his crimes were committed.

    This joker was fifty when he began translating into physical action the plans he recorded in his diary to pick up victims on Hampstead Heath.
    (Sigh)...Just like Maybrick eh, Caz?

    First, let us be clear that Papazian was not a serial killer. He murdered his gay lover with a claw hammer. He then wrote a diary expressing his "intention" to became a serial killer. I don't know where you could possibly be drifting with that comparison. If you're trying to pin the mantle of commuter killer on him, you'd obviously be wrong. Papazian lived in Hampstead, and he expressed his intention to kill gay men on Hampstead Heath.

    then both these killers had their reasons for choosing a specific location which had bugger all to do with having no other option
    Umm, one expressed an (ultimately unfulfilled) intention to kill on his own doorstep and the other one killed at various different locations, which is something we know to be true of commuter serial killers. JTR on the other hand, confined his killing ground to a small, easily-walkable pocket of the East End, probably because he wasn't a commuter.

    I’d be surprised if anyone needed it to see that men who indulge in dangerous behaviour that becomes repetitive (geddit?) are not going to be as prepared as the rest of humanity to give up repetition in favour of less risky options, where such options are available.
    They do when it comes to practicalities such as geography, and continuing to kill and dispose of victims in one particular location when they had readily available transport opportunities to kill and dispose of them elsewhere has not proved a particularly popular trait with serial killers for obvious reasons. And of course, all this is irrelevent to whether Hutchinson behaved like a serial killer. If he was the Spitalfields purger, his geographical focus would be in allignment with that of most serial killers, which is why experts in this particular field place him centrally based to his crimes, not miles and miles away.

    So the ‘no other options’ argument is bogus and a red herring.
    Indeed. It is my contention that he made the best of what limited options he believed he had.

    Best regards,
    Ben
    Last edited by Ben; 03-10-2009, 04:15 PM.

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  • Nemo
    replied
    I don't believe Hutchinson approached the police because he thought he had been seen and wanted to explain his presence in Dorset St.

    If he did not approach the police, and was somehow picked out from a crowd at a later date, say, strolling down Dorset St., what was there to link him to the crime if he denied being there? He would not hang due to one vague witness statement.

    It is possible that he was trying to gain information about the investigation, but do you think his actions wise in that case? He does not know if the police have a description or evidence against him so he approaches the police to find out?

    One possibility I prefer is that the fellow lodger story is not quite right. Let's say the other lodger noted that Hutchinson returned late on the night of the murder - possibly with bloodstains. The lodger regards this as suspicious so Hutchinson makes up an elaborate story - the lodger says that if Hutchinson's story is true, then he should go to the police to report it. Hutchinson dwells on this and decides that he better approach the police with the story before the lodger does...

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  • Nothing to see
    replied
    Hutchinson as Jack? No way. The coppers would have been all over him and his alibi and there's never been any real evidence against him.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    What you say is very interesting, Caz. I don't think you can discount Hutchinson presenting himself to the police just for the thrill of it. It all depends on what sort of mindset you think the Ripper had. If he was confident enough at this stage, he might have fancied sitting in the police station, giving his statement, just to see if the police would catch him out, whilst being fairly sure that by this time, they wouldn't. If the Ripper were Hutch, he may have waited before coming forward so that he could see what the public reaction to his latest crime was. I know there are many theories regarding what motivates the serial killer, but I guess maybe its a little different in every case - albeit that there are some similarities sometimes. We can speculate and discuss regarding Jack's motivation, but we'll never know, as we'll never know if he was the kind of boy who thought it might be fun to give a witness statement. It's a mystery, isn't it? We can be fairly certain, I think, that he was operating outside the normal rules of the society in which he lived, and that he knew he was. Perhaps he felt liberated by that, maybe it gave him the confidence he required to sit with the police for hours. Maybe, as in 'The Usual Suspects' the man who gave his convincing statement to the police was really the killer. Well, perhaps, anyway.

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  • caz
    started a topic Did Hutchinson Really Behave Like A Serial Killer?

    Did Hutchinson Really Behave Like A Serial Killer?

    Hi All,

    I have been trying to catch up with some of the older threads and wanted to respond to certain posts, but couldn’t do so without going even further off topic than the posts in question. So here I am, finally picking up on them.

    Elsewhere (sorry, I can’t remember which thread) Nats (Natalie) was asking Ben to name any other serial killer who ‘presented himself at a police station like Hutchinson did at the height of the ripper scare---and for several hours of interrogation at least’, to which Ben replied:

    Originally posted by Ben View Post

    John Eric Armstrong, Gary Ridgeway, Nathaniel Code, Roger Fain, Colin Ireland, Joseph Koedatich... Plenty of them. Get Googling.
    Originally posted by Ben View Post

    ...all the examples I provided contacted the police…

    ...Hutchinson contacted the police, just like the others. Hutchinson "offered himself into their hands", just like the others
    Hi Ben,

    I wanted to point out that this is not true of Colin Ireland. He only took himself off to a solicitor to establish his own false version of events because of modern technology in the form of cctv footage, which showed him unmistakably travelling with his final victim back to the latter’s home, where the man was later murdered. He knew he would need a cover story sooner rather than later, so he got it in early. But he certainly didn’t present himself to the police. In fact, he was confronted by them when he made a return visit to his solicitor, but he remained silent at the time and for weeks afterwards, confident that he had left no trace of himself at any of his crime scenes. When he learned that he had not been as thorough as he thought, and had left a fingerprint at an earlier victim’s home, he knew the game was up and made a full confession to five murders.

    Ireland knew that he could do nothing to avoid being positively identified with his latest victim and sought out as a strong suspect. He had very little option but to have his own version of events ready and then sit tight, praying that nobody could prove he was lying, even if they suspected it.

    We know with hindsight that the police in 1888 were not sitting on any material evidence implicating Hutch when he came forward, and never obtained any, unlike the cctv image and fingerprint connecting Ireland to two of his murders. If Hutch had kept his head down or done a runner, it’s a safe bet that he would not have been tracked down or identified as Lewis’s lurker, seeing as there is no suggestion that the police made the connection, even when he admitted being there.

    What you need is more than ‘it happens anyway’ therefore it’s possible that the ripper did it. Anyone can say that. The missing link is what makes it likely to have happened in this case. What do you think was likely to have motivated an active serial killer in 1888 to volunteer the various statements Hutch made to the police and the press, effectively obliging him to become an inactive one?

    In all other aspects of the case you urge us all to stick with what is most likely: presumably your lodging house/street dwelling killer with zero location options and living from hand to mouth, but happily snowed under with victim options, with a willing unfortunate on every corner, dying (quite literally on several occasions) to find out what he has to offer them. If you want all slender possibilities and complex theories to be rejected in favour of what’s most likely, the ripper was familiar with his hunting ground and therefore knew the ‘game’ birds there were plentiful and highly vulnerable. Oh and he most likely avoided the cops like the plague.

    From some thread about toffees in spit (or was it Toffs in Spitalfields? ):

    Originally posted by Ben View Post

    ...the nonsensical view that serial killers dream up a deliberate campaign, picking their location and specific victim type way in advance…

    …They'd have their fantasies, but often only the haziest of ideas as to how to translate that into physical action.

    When we're dealing with crimes committed within a very small locality, the perpetrator is almost invariably operating from a base within that locality, and in this case, the logical deduction is that his criminal range was heavily restricted by limited transport options. The vast majority of the population of that locality were made up of the working class poor. Makes far better sense, I'd say, than the hypothetical commuter singling out a tiny pocket of the East End and to-ing and fro-ing from that tiny pocket despite the increased risk of police and vigilante activity being stepped-up after every murder.
    Ben, I really don’t know how you had the sauce to use Colin Ireland as an example of a typical serial killer whose behaviour can be compared with Hutch’s.

    Firstly, he didn’t contact the police or offer himself into their hands ‘just like’ Hutch. Secondly - and you’ll love this bit - he actually did ‘dream up a deliberate campaign’, picking a very specific location in advance, far away from where he lived, to pick up a very specific victim type.

    Ireland was working class and barely making ends meet, but he was so set on going through with his fantasies and translating his crystal clear ideas into physical action that he somehow managed to scrape together his rail fares from Southend-On-Sea to a certain pub in Fulham, south-west London, where he picked up each and every one of the five victims he eventually confessed to killing. The only contact he initiated with the police were the taunting anonymous telephone calls he made out of frustration because they had not begun to link the murders or suspect a serial killer was at work.

    Oh and if you now think Ireland was a bad example for you to include, and so different from any other killer who picks up victims from a specific corner of the globe that it’s still a ‘nonsensical view’ to hold that the ripper could very easily have been of a similar mindset, then look up Mark Papazian just for jolly.

    This joker was fifty when he began translating into physical action the plans he recorded in his diary to pick up victims on Hampstead Heath. He also recorded his progress, fondly imagining he was “a genius” who had murder down to “a fine art”. You could picture him twirling an 1888 moustache if it wasn’t for the pesky modern technology that once again let the killer down - in this case his mobile phone number, which popped up in his victim’s phone records.

    Unless you think men who are up for gay sex can only be picked up on the Heath or in one pub in Fulham (as opposed to prostitutes, who could be picked up virtually anywhere in 1888 by any punter or killer with the means), then both these killers had their reasons for choosing a specific location which had bugger all to do with having no other option. If you think that nobody would dream of looking for seedy sexual services or murder opportunities in the same place twice if they didn’t absolutely have to, think again.

    While I’m relieved that you couldn’t possibly have any personal experience to back up such a curious assertion I’d be surprised if anyone needed it to see that men who indulge in dangerous behaviour that becomes repetitive (geddit?) are not going to be as prepared as the rest of humanity to give up repetition in favour of less risky options, where such options are available. If it sounds like I’m stating the bleedin’ obvious here it’s because I am.

    There is one option that you can’t take away from the ripper: the least risky ‘giving up’ option. Your own theory relies on Hutch taking this one after being seen once too often in the same area, in the process of trying to repeat his bad behaviour with another unfortunate. So the ‘no other options’ argument is bogus and a red herring. All the while the ripper was not taking the option to quit (ie from his debut, whenever that was, up until November 1888) all bets are off concerning which features of his crimes he would have changed in return for an easier life, given the ‘option’.

    Love,

    Caz
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