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Did Hutchinson get the night wrong?

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  • Did Hutchinson get the night wrong?

    In the recent Casebook Examiner #5, Ben Holme and Christer Holmgren (Fisherman) submitted excellent and provocative essays on George Hutchinson. It was a pleasure to see Ben get a chance to amalgamate his theory on Hutchinson's candidacy as a viable suspect and for Christer to offer a totally new thesis on Hutchinson as a witness.

    Christer offers a scenerio which concludes with the idea that George Hutchinson may have gotten the dates wrong in regards to his stated encounter with Mary Kelly and 'Astrakan Man'.

    After reading both essays, what are your views?
    Best Wishes,
    Hunter
    ____________________________________________

    When evidence is not to be had, theories abound. Even the most plausible of them do not carry conviction- London Times Nov. 10.1888

  • #2
    Because Hutchinson states a continuity of activity,beginning the 8th of November 1888,and ending sometime on the morning of 9th november 1888,is the claim of misplaced memory meant to include all that period?Presuming an early start on the 8th,Romford being quite a distance from Commercial street,that would entail a period near to a full day of 24 hours,and the times are not an exageration,as his statement ends with the claim of leaving Crossingham's at 3am on the 9th,and thereafter walking the streets for an unspcified time.
    So we are not discussing one incident of a short duration concerning an uneventual happening,given some weeks or months later,but a very detailed recollection of several happenings,given a mere three days later.Happenings which included in it's time frame,the vicious murder of a reputed aquaintance,and a complete abscence from a normal place of abode for one full or near full day.
    In addition, we can not excuse on the question of Hutchinson being suddenly confronted for an explanation,and being pushed for details,as it was himself who voluntary came forward of his own free will,and judging from the detailed information he supplied,after carefully considering the times and incidents he passed on.
    Lastly,he gave his evidence to a seasoned and experienced policeman,who,if nothing else,can be expected to have given all help in e stablishing the times given were correct and referred to the night/morning of 8/9 November,and to no other date.
    So if I oppose the presumtion of Hutchinson being confused or deficent in memory,then study what I have written,and tell me why I could be wrong.

    Comment


    • #3
      I will copy a part of my answer on this issue to Harry from another thread:

      My text: "Sometimes, Harry, if you have had, say, fish for dinner in the week, and somebody asks you on Saturday "When did we have that fish for dinner?" - can you always readily answer that question? Would you find the question itself totally impossible for anybody to come up with, since nobody would ever forget about such things?

      My feeling is that you are getting hooked up on something that apparently means no obstacle to other posters. Perhaps, Harry, you have an excellent sequential memory (a memory for time, that is) and thus you find it strange that not all people have it. I see that Ben argues that the two types of memories would not be too much separated, but they ARE. The easiest way to understand that, is to take a look at senile people, who sometimes remember each and every small detail of a tv show they saw fifty years ago - but they think that is still on, missing out on the time perspective by half a century.
      Detail memory and sequential memory are two totally different things, and one of them may give way totally while the other is impeccable. Until we have this knowledge, we cannot fully understand the possible implications of the Hutchinson case."

      And an addition:

      "... we can not excuse on the question of Hutchinson being suddenly confronted for an explanation,and being pushed for details,as it was himself who voluntary came forward of his own free will".

      You will notice from my other posts, Harry, that I think that this was exactly what happened: Abberline MUST have hauled Hutch in and asked him about the weather, once it became clear to him that the original police report speaks of a dry night. And if Hutch had stated that it rained - as it did -then the hunt for Astrakhan man would not have been blown off, and Hutch would not have been dropped, as witnessed about by the papers. Therefore, reasonably, the answer he gave Abberline was that it was a dry night - and that, Harry, was that.

      The best,
      Fisherman

      Comment


      • #4
        Morning Fisherman. If I may?

        My text: "Sometimes, Harry, if you have had, say, fish for dinner in the week, and somebody asks you on Saturday "When did we have that fish for dinner?" - can you always readily answer that question? Would you find the question itself totally impossible for anybody to come up with, since nobody would ever forget about such things?
        I don't find the comparison in recollection of, say, fish for dinner, with, say, the murder of a woman known for the last three years, comparable, particularly. The former is a meal - something that happens very regularly (yes, we might argue about how often, if you were Hutchinson, but I vote we skip that bit of pedantry); and the latter is a rare and extreme event. Damnit, I forget what I had for dinner all the time - I can't imagine what I'll be like in old age! It's trivial. We are, as human beings, literally bombarded with countless experiences every day of our lives. The human brain makes sense of these many events by prioritising them. If we remembered all experiences with equal precision and clarity, we couldn't make sense of them at all, because they would become meaningless.

        Dinner can generally be forgotten, more or less; as can a thousand similar small events. Being the very last person to see a friend alive, very shortly before she was brutally murdered, as Hutchinson claimed occurred, will not be forgotten under normal circumstances.

        If Hutchinson was an habitual drunk, I could accept that he may have become confused; and I think that would make it more likely that he didn't realise what had happened until days later - in spite of the whole country talking about it.

        But for this there appears to be not a shred of evidence - and in fact he himself stated that he was 'quite sober' when his alleged encounter with Kelly occurred.

        And if Hutch had stated that it rained - as it did -then the hunt for Astrakhan man would not have been blown off, and Hutch would not have been dropped, as witnessed about by the papers. Therefore, reasonably, the answer he gave Abberline was that it was a dry night
        It is reasonable, its a good answer. I think perhaps there might be another more mundane one on consideration though, and I'll try to find the time to post it later.

        Best regards

        Sally

        Comment


        • #5
          A new possibility: Hutchinson created the Astrakhan story to earn some money, but when the police became frustrated with trying to find this man, Hutchinson himself said he'd been mistaken on the date to stop them badgering him. He'd already gotten some money for showing them around and really wanted to just be done with it.


          A new conspiracy possibility: The police found Astrakhan man, didn't believe it possible that such a gentleman could have done it, pressed Hutch on the date: "You are SURE it wasn't the evening of the 7th? Mr....VIP says it was, and he doesn't like it when people disagree with him." "The 7th, you said? Aye, that was the night. Sorry for the confusion. In the excitement, I..." "Go on! Mum's the word, eh?"

          That last was for Simon.

          Mike
          huh?

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi,
            I agree with Sally with the fish comparison hardly the same importance.
            I still maintain that Hutchinson [ who was described as a man of military appearance] was the man that Lewis saw, which surely is not in dispute[ the day that is].
            The hankerchief has some relevance to the date at least to me.
            Hutchinson claims Kelly said in a loud voice.' Oh I have lost my hankerchief.
            This was around 2am.
            Maxwell says kelly informed her she was ill, and the missing document 'Her eyes looked queer as if suffering from a heavy cold' does infer that it is entirely plausible that a six hour gap was likely ie Hutchinsons account and Maxwells, and she may well have had a nasty cold.
            Maxwells account was checked and verified, so there can be no doubt that she had the right day.
            So was Hutchinson really one day out, would he really forget the day he trecked back from Romford, the morning he stayed out all night.
            The police would have checked his account a quick visit to the Victoria home would have seen records of the full nights he stayed,
            He clearly was on the streets that night as stated.
            Regards Richard.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by The Good Michael View Post
              A new possibility: Hutchinson created the Astrakhan story to earn some money, but when the police became frustrated with trying to find this man, Hutchinson himself said he'd been mistaken on the date to stop them badgering him. He'd already gotten some money for showing them around and really wanted to just be done with it.


              A new conspiracy possibility: The police found Astrakhan man, didn't believe it possible that such a gentleman could have done it, pressed Hutch on the date: "You are SURE it wasn't the evening of the 7th? Mr....VIP says it was, and he doesn't like it when people disagree with him." "The 7th, you said? Aye, that was the night. Sorry for the confusion. In the excitement, I..." "Go on! Mum's the word, eh?"

              That last was for Simon.

              Mike
              Mike - Sure, why not? Who knows why Hutchinson's story of a dry night encounter doesn't tally with the probable wet weather conditions on the 8th? The possibilities are several, at least.

              I suppose if it really WAS Randolph Churchill that night you may be correct

              For myself, however, I'm just not completely comfortable with him mixing up the days, given the circumestances, unless he wasn't in full posession of his mental faculties, for some reason or another. Maybe he was in it for the money, assuming there was ever any to start with - or the hope of some at least. After all, he was down on his luck. Dishonesty doesn't equal murder, does it?

              I don't think he has to have been a saint in order to be exonerated from suspicion - if that's the way this is going.

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi Richard


                So was Hutchinson really one day out, would he really forget the day he trecked back from Romford, the morning he stayed out all night.
                The police would have checked his account a quick visit to the Victoria home would have seen records of the full nights he stayed,
                He clearly was on the streets that night as stated.
                Exactly. They would have checked. How long would it have taken to nip over to the Victoria Home? A few minutes? Of course they would have checked.

                Its a good point, Richard.

                Best regards

                Sally

                Comment


                • #9
                  Sally,

                  You are exactly right. The simplest explanation has always been that Hutchinson was looking to make a buck. That has always been the simplest explanation for city-dwelling ne'er-do-wells, to have some scheme to get them enough money for the day. The older one gets, the more elaborate the scheme and the more money wanted. this was a small potatoes, young guy, just looking for something to tide him over between gigs is how I look at it.

                  Mike
                  huh?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Could it be that Hutchinson knew astrakahn man? maybe he suspected a friend and wanted to put a stop to his activities. it would explain why he could describe him in such detail and why he got the night wrong.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      What I feel Fisherman should be commended most strongly upon is identifying yet another problem with Hutchinson’s account. I had never paid sufficient attention to the weather conditions until now, and as it now stands, the alleged Astrakhan description assumes a new hitherto unacknowledged dimension of sheer improbability. However, while Fisherman is inclined to attribute this anomaly to some vast, inexplicable confusion as to the entire day of the encounter, I see it as merely another example of Hutchinson failing to take into account certain practical considerations when putting together a fabrication. This really isn’t that complicated. If you want to invent an elaborate account of something that didn’t actually happen – a lie, basically – you’re not always going to take sufficient account of the physical conditions at the time.

                      How else would lies ever be exposed, if not for slip-ups such as this one?

                      One Titanic survivor claimed to have seen Captain Smith knocked over by a wave on the bridge of the ship as it made its final plunge, but it was later firmly established that this same survivor had entered one of the earlier lifeboats, and was at least a mile away as the ship sank. He couldn’t possibly have seen what he claimed to have seen, and the simplest explanation for this is that he lied about it. There has never been any great determination to resist this commonsense conclusion, and certainly nobody has ever dreamt of arguing that “nobody would be so stupid as to come up with THAT ludicrous a lie, so it must be true!”, but for some reason, all sorts of unlikely explanations are resorted to as substitutes in Hutchinson’s case; first they are proposed as tentative possibilities, but then they quickly mutate into confidently phrased certainties.

                      Besides the deeply unlikely suggestion that the high level of compatibility between the Lewis and Hutchinson accounts with respect to the loitering man and his preoccupation with the entrance to Miller’s Court was mere "coincidence", it also beggars belief that he could have misremembered the day he allegedly visited Romford. Given the distance from Whitechapel, it could only have been a journey planned in advance (i.e. Thursday, I’m off to Romford), drastically reducing the chances of him subsequently misremembering the date.

                      What also troubles me is the extent of inconsistency of approach to Maxwell and Hutchinson as witnesses with regard to the "wrong day" proposal. It has been argued for many years that Maxwell may have confused the date, but nobody has ever gone so far as to suggest that the police had procured proof to that effect. With Hutchinson, the goalposts change; it is no longer a case of the police merely suspecting a date mix up, but of suddenly acquiring a magic wand and determining for certain that this is what happened.

                      They posit the existence of some cast-iron alibi for Hutchinson without a scrap of evidence, relying instead on one of those “must haves”. If date-confusion is ever to be proposed in connection with Hutchinson, the better argument is that the police may have considered it a possibility at some stage, without having the goods to prove it, as was the case with Maxwell. I fear the power of that better argument is overlooked in the determination to “exonerate” Hutchinson.

                      Best regards,
                      Ben
                      Last edited by Ben; 12-18-2010, 02:11 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Sally:

                        "I don't find the comparison in recollection of, say, fish for dinner, with, say, the murder of a woman known for the last three years, comparable, particularly.The former is a meal - something that happens very regularly (yes, we might argue about how often, if you were Hutchinson, but I vote we skip that bit of pedantry); and the latter is a rare and extreme event."

                        Hi Sally! Iīm afraid, I canīt agree with you here. You see, I think the two things are quite comparable - and totally trivial.

                        Of course, I would never call a murder a trivial thing, but then again, when George Hutchinson saw his man with Kelly, it was nothing but a trivial encounter of a prostitute and a punter he witnessed. Itīs notoriety as a possible sighting of a killer with his prey only came about when Hutchinson found out what had happened afterwards!

                        Twistin things around, if you have a fish dinner, and at the same time see a Rools-Royce passing outside your window, and three, four days later hear that a killer driving a Rolls-Royce has struck in your neighbourhood, you will instantly remember that you have seen such a car some days back, and you MAy remember that you were having fish for dinner as you saw it - but on what day did you have that fish ...? The fact that you now realize that a murder has been committed will not help you to remember that, Iīm afraid. It is only when you have the relevance at hand from the outset that your memory may serve you better in such a case.

                        In the end, it all boils down to the quality of your sequential memory, Sally.

                        "I think perhaps there might be another more mundane one on consideration though, and I'll try to find the time to post it later."

                        Sounds intriguing, Sally!

                        the best,
                        Fisherman

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Richard:

                          "The police would have checked his account a quick visit to the Victoria home would have seen records of the full nights he stayed"

                          A very credible suggestion, Richard. And then they discredited him, right?

                          The best,
                          Fisherman

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Mike:

                            "The simplest explanation has always been that Hutchinson was looking to make a buck."

                            It is a good explanation, Mike. But it still remains that anybody who is going to tell porkies to the police makes at least a decent effort to get the surrounding circumstances right. Clearly, Hutchinson didnīt. I also think it is a compelling thing that we may pin him down as a very responsible member of society if we accept that he started his mission of telling what he knew from the moment he started believing that he could have seen the killer. And that would have been Sunday, by the looks of things.
                            There is a clear-cut path to walk if we want to agree with Abberlineīs assessment of Hutchinson as an honest fellow, AND find a completely logical timeline for his behaviour. And until I see evidence for any culpability on his behalf in any sinister game, that is the path I am going to choose.

                            The best,
                            Fisherman

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi Sally! Iīm afraid, I canīt agree with you here. You see, I think the two things are quite comparable - and totally trivial.
                              Hmm? What?

                              Of course, I would never call a murder a trivial thing, but then again, when George Hutchinson saw his man with Kelly, it was nothing but a trivial encounter of a prostitute and a punter he witnessed. Itīs notoriety as a possible sighting of a killer with his prey only came about when Hutchinson found out what had happened afterwards!
                              OH, I see...

                              Yes, alright, you're arguing that he didn't realise the significance until long after the event - and only came to appreciate the significance in the light of later events? Possible, certainly.

                              Twistin things around, if you have a fish dinner, and at the same time see a Rools-Royce passing outside your window, and three, four days later hear that a killer driving a Rolls-Royce has struck in your neighbourhood, you will instantly remember that you have seen such a car some days back, and you MAy remember that you were having fish for dinner as you saw it - but on what day did you have that fish ...? The fact that you now realize that a murder has been committed will not help you to remember that, Iīm afraid. It is only when you have the relevance at hand from the outset that your memory may serve you better in such a case.
                              I don't know about this. It would depend on how unusual or mundane the two events were - seeing a Rolls or eating a fish dinner. I agree that we are more likely as humans to link together pieces of information which seem to us to have special significance - its how we make sense of exceptional events and circumstances - I think!

                              In the end, it all boils down to the quality of your sequential memory, Sally.
                              I hope not mine, Fisherman, otherwise we'll all be in trouble!

                              "I think perhaps there might be another more mundane one on consideration though, and I'll try to find the time to post it later."
                              Sounds intriguing, Sally!

                              I doubt I'm the first to consider it, Fisherman, but I'll give it a go.

                              Best regards

                              Sally

                              Comment

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