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An hypothesis about Hutchinson that could discard him as a suspect

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  • An hypothesis about Hutchinson that could discard him as a suspect

    Something hit me recently, and I'm probably not the first to come with the idea.

    I've been reading The Darkest Streets and The Worst Street in London, just to get some context about pauperism in late Victorian London.

    A few things jumped in front of my eyes (unfortunately, I can't remember to which of the two books they relate)
    - Garotting: There were several cases where prostitutes would lure men only for them to be welcomed by muggers who would take their money, jewelry and clothes.
    - Spitalfields: There was even more resentment in Spitalfields against the Jewish community, mostly because many buildings were bought in the Southern part to be torned down, and housing for Jewish families built instead.
    - Dorset Street: people were very suspicious of rich/higher class people on Dorset Street.

    Now, let's imagine that Hutchinson did say the truth. Would it be far fetched to think that the reason he described the man so well, and waited in front of Miller's Court was because he had the intention of robbing him?

    Which also makes him reluctant to talk to police until he hears that someone spotted him and gave description at the inquest.

    Not saying he was a recurring criminal.

  • Wickerman
    replied
    Originally posted by Ben View Post
    ..... according to a report in the Star, attempted to pass of a witness account "as their own experience". While Lewis is not specifically cited as the originator of the account being parroted, it included a cry of "murder", according to the report, and the only other witness to mention such a cry - Elizabeth Prater - did not have suspiciously similar version of her story appear in the press under a different name, such as we see with Lewis-Kennedy.
    Lewis is not cited in the press before the inquest, but Mrs Kennedy is.

    The women who are passing the cry of "murder" off as "their own experience" are not named in the article, but the originator of the story is indirectly referred to as Mrs Prater.

    One woman (as reported below) who lives in the court stated that at about two o'clock she heard a cry of "Murder." This story soon became popular, until at last half a dozen women were retailing it as their own personal experience. Each story contradicted the others with respect to the time at which the cry was heard. A Star reporter who inquired into the matter extracted from one of the women the confession that the story was, as far as she was concerned, a fabrication; and he came to the conclusion that it was to be disregarded.
    http://www.casebook.org/press_reports/star/s881110.html

    With respect to my emphasis above, the next source named in the following sentence is Mrs Harvey who did not hear a cry of "murder", but after Harvey the next witness is Mrs Prater, who both lived there and heard the cry.

    Therefore the, One woman (as reported below) who lives in the court, is, Mrs Prater.


    Mrs Kennedy first appears several paragraphs further down the page, likely the result of being interviewed by a different journalist at a different time, and does not "live in the court", as the story by the previous journalist asserted, she was only a visitor - "Kennedy was on the night of the murder staying with her parents at a house situate in the court".

    Therefore, Mrs Kennedy was not the originator of the cry of "murder" story, and neither was she one of the dozen women accused of parroting the cry of "murder" story.

    So, wrong on both counts.
    Last edited by Wickerman; 09-06-2016, 06:53 PM.

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  • Ben
    replied
    Hi Jon,

    Good to see you back here. Hope all's well.

    I'd be very interested in this new information, namely all these accounts that suggest Sarah Lewis was a reluctant witness, any more than the average witness.
    "By all accounts" is a figure of speech meaning apparently or ostensibly, and shouldn't be taken literally. If I wrote that a man who fell out of plane should, by all accounts, be dead, that doesn't mean I've collated lots of published "accounts" to that effect; I'm simply inferring a likelihood.

    All the best,
    Ben

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  • Ben
    replied
    Is that right though? If she was, as I think she must have been, the woman referred to as "Mrs Kennedy" then she did speak to at least one journalist, and possibly more, on 10 November.
    Hi David,

    It's quite possible that Lewis and Kennedy were one and the same, although I personally favour the alternative explanation offered by Philip Sugden that Mrs. Kennedy was one of a handful of women who, according to a report in the Star, attempted to pass of a witness account "as their own experience". While Lewis is not specifically cited as the originator of the account being parroted, it included a cry of "murder", according to the report, and the only other witness to mention such a cry - Elizabeth Prater - did not have suspiciously similar version of her story appear in the press under a different name, such as we see with Lewis-Kennedy.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ben
    replied
    If hutch was the killer and waiting man, I think he was waiting obviously for a reason--for someone to leave marys room-Blotchy. he waited 45 minutes and left like he said. But came back around an hour later, realized marys previous guest had left, gained entrance to her room and killed her. Hence the heard screams around 4:00am.
    Agreed, Abby - if Hutchinson/wideawake was the killer, the above is an equally plausible explanation for the "delay" between Lewis's sighting and the cry of "murder" an hour of so later.

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  • Wickerman
    replied
    I'd be very interested in this new information, namely all these accounts that suggest Sarah Lewis was a reluctant witness, any more than the average witness.

    Leave a comment:


  • David Orsam
    replied
    Originally posted by Ben View Post
    Sarah Lewis was, by all accounts, a very reluctant witness who might well have kept her trap firmly shut had she not been detained in the court by the police before she had an opportunity to leave it on the morning of the murder. She was also one of the few Millers Court witnesses not to go blabbing to the press.
    Is that right though? If she was, as I think she must have been, the woman referred to as "Mrs Kennedy" then she did speak to at least one journalist, and possibly more, on 10 November.

    Leave a comment:


  • Abby Normal
    replied
    Originally posted by Ben View Post
    Hi Caz,



    Only if he failed to get his "innocent" story in first.

    I quite agree that he had every reason to expect the press to both register and allude very publicly to the Lewis connection (in the event neither happened, which was a stroke of good fortune if he really was there and up to no good), but having offered his story voluntarily, he was in a position to respond to anyone who inferred a connection with "Yep, you see? Right where I said I was, and doing exactly what I said I was doing". He certainly wouldn't have expected the actual outcome - that his account was ultimately discredited as the offerings of a probable time-waster. This would have been quite the fortuitous result if he was the murderer, and only made possible by the failure of police and press to explore the possibility that he was Lewis's wideawake man.

    My views are not particularly at variance with Garry's with regard to Hutchinson and Lewis. I've suggested on several occasions that he may have seen Lewis enter the Shoreditch town hall as a witness and "assumed the worst", as Garry put it. He raised another interesting point, though, and one I hadn't previously considered. If Hutchinson had no means of accessing Lewis's evidence (because he didn't attend the inquest, and because her statement hadn't appeared in the papers by the time he came forward), he may well have assumed that wideawake man would be the central focus of her evidence, as opposed to the brief footnote it ended up being. He would not have bargained on the bulk of her evidence being more concerned with the spooky black bag man who had accosted her the previous Wednesday.

    It should come as no surprise that scant attention was paid at the time to Wideawake. It was not uncommon to see men loitering near lodging house entrances, and this particular loiterer wasn't even observed in the company of a woman, less still the actual victim. This marginalisation of the wideawake man - and understandable preoccupation instead with men observed with women - may go some way to explaining the failure of the contemporary police and press to register (what we now consider to be) very strong similarities between the reported location and behaviour of wideawake man, and those of Hutchinson.

    Again though, Hutchinson could not have anticipated such an outcome, and had no way of knowing that Mr. Widewake would not be the central bogeyman of Lewis's account.



    Why would Lewis inform the police that she suspected that Hutchinson of being the loitering man (and there's no evidence that she did)? If she read the account in the papers, she would probably have registered the very positive response it received, accepted Hutchinson as the genuine witness everyone took him for at that early stage, and assumed that the police had already registered the connection without her "help". She would have come away with the impression that one eyewitness (herself) just happened to cross paths with another on the night of the murder. Approaching the police as an amateur sleuth and pointing out something already in the public domain would have been unnecessary and supererogatory, irrespective of whether or not she "knew him or had seen him about locally".

    I'm not sure what you mean, incidentally, about Lewis and Cox "keeping their traps well shut for a change". Sarah Lewis was, by all accounts, a very reluctant witness who might well have kept her trap firmly shut had she not been detained in the court by the police before she had an opportunity to leave it on the morning of the murder. She was also one of the few Millers Court witnesses not to go blabbing to the press.



    No, I disagree.

    Returning to the police station with such obvious bum-covering "tidy-up" efforts as "Hello, me again - I might have omitted to mention that I stood directly outside the victim's window" would only have invited suspicion. At least by communicating with the press, he could always protest that he had been misquoted or misunderstood if the police ever confronted him with the apparent contradictions; or failing that, claim he included that "extra" information because the journalist just happened to quiz him along those particular lines (I know one of my regular debating opponents considers the latter a perfectly reasonable explanation for the various press/statement discrepancies).

    I'm not suggesting the press interview was necessarily the most prudent move on Hutchinson's part if he was the killer, but he might have considered it a necessary evil if he still harboured concerns that he had been clocked by a witness entering the court.

    The suggested "financial" motive is all very well, but its fatal flaw lies in its dismissal of Hutchinson as Lewis's man, which, short of astonishing "coincidence", he clearly was.



    Well, at this remove it is difficult to speculate at what stage this particular serial killer's "overwhelming compulsion" overrode more prudent considerations, and I'm no psychologist, but it is quite possible that Hutchinson - if the killer - was emotionally beyond the point of no return by that stage. I've suggested before that if the "murder" cry heard at approximately 4.00am by Lewis and Prater signalled the time of Kelly's death, it is possible that the killer, having previously monitored the various comings and goings to the court in the small hours, elected to "stall" his activities until he could be reasonably safe in the assumption that those pesky female witnesses had settled to sleep. Mary Cox, remember, made her final return trip at 3.00am.

    Talking of sleep, just a minor point to conclude with; you suggested to Abby that if Hutchinson was lying about his presence there that night and was instead tucked up in bed, there would have been fellow lodgers to "confirm" as much. This is unlikely for two reasons. Firstly, if proof had been secured that he was snoozing in the Victoria Home when he claimed to have been out Astrakhan-spotting, his account would have been rejected outright, as opposed to being merely "reduced" in importance, as the Echo gleaned from the police. Secondly, unless Hutchinson was an especially gregarious soul who everyone took notice of, his presence or otherwise in the building was unlikely to have been registered. The Victoria Home saw some 500 lodgers doss down at varying hours of the night, and even boasted single "cubicles" for a few pence extra. Unless people were actively keeping tabs on Hutchinson, his dossing down (or not) would have passed unnoticed.

    All the best,
    Ben
    a very sensible post Ben.

    Just one note on this-

    I've suggested before that if the "murder" cry heard at approximately 4.00am by Lewis and Prater signalled the time of Kelly's death, it is possible that the killer, having previously monitored the various comings and goings to the court in the small hours, elected to "stall" his activities until he could be reasonably safe in the assumption that those pesky female witnesses had settled to sleep. Mary Cox, remember, made her final return trip at 3.00am.
    If hutch was the killer and waiting man, I think he was waiting obviously for a reason--for someone to leave marys room-Blotchy. he waited 45 minutes and left like he said. But came back around an hour later, realized marys previous guest had left, gained entrance to her room and killed her. Hence the heard screams around 4:00am.

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  • Garry Wroe
    replied
    Precisely, CD. Even today there are those who argue that Kelly was not a Ripper victim courtesy of the dissimilarities between the injuries she sustained and those which were meted out to the previous victims.

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  • c.d.
    replied
    [QUOTE=Garry Wroe;376486]The kind of injuries inflicted upon the body of Mary Kelly, Columbo, evidence a manifestly disturbed mind. Whoever perpetrated this murder was not an everyday Joe who sought to cover up his handiwork by emulating the Ripper's crime scene characteristics.

    Exactly. And if it had been a copy-cat killing why take the time to cut off her breasts and cut the flesh from her thigh? Much better to cut her throat, rip out an organ and get the hell out of there. That would have been sufficient.

    c.d.

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  • Garry Wroe
    replied
    Originally posted by Ben View Post
    If Hutchinson had no means of accessing Lewis's evidence (because he didn't attend the inquest, and because her statement hadn't appeared in the papers by the time he came forward), he may well have assumed that wideawake man would be the central focus of her evidence, as opposed to the brief footnote it ended up being. He would not have bargained on the bulk of her evidence being more concerned with the spooky black bag man who had accosted her the previous Wednesday.
    Precisely, Ben. Now re-read Hutchinson's police statement and it should be obvious that everything therein is designed to explain away the Lewis sighting.

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  • Garry Wroe
    replied
    Originally posted by Columbo View Post
    Let's say he waited until her last customer left, went into her room for a freebie. She fights, he kills her and tries to make it a copy-cat killing?
    The kind of injuries inflicted upon the body of Mary Kelly, Columbo, evidence a manifestly disturbed mind. Whoever perpetrated this murder was not an everyday Joe who sought to cover up his handiwork by emulating the Ripper's crime scene characteristics.

    Aside from this, press coverage of the inquest hearings mean that it was widely known that the Ripper had departed crime scenes with the ureri of several of the previous victims. One would assume, therefore, that had Mary Jane's killer been a Ripper copycat, he too would have taken away a portion of genitalia. It didn't happen.

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  • Ben
    replied
    Hi Fleets,

    The problem with that is he would have had two bites at the cherry if he had kept his head down - had he been the killer.

    First off, keep his head down and hope he wasn't recognised.

    Second chance, in the event he was recognised then he could come up with a **** and bull story.

    Putting himself at the scene gives him only one way out.
    But surely you can see that a "****-and-bull story" stands a far greater chance of being accepted if offered voluntarily by a witness, as opposed to being the "excuse" used by a suspect to explain away his loitering presence outside a crime scene? That is why serial killers come forward as "witnesses" - to pre-empt possible suspicion and deflect it, not wait for it to arrive and only then resort to subterfuge.

    Although some people argue that killers inject themselves into a crime investigation, many more don't.
    According to what statistics?

    "Injecting" oneself into an investigation can take a variety of different forms, including the writing of taunting letters to the police, as some argue the ripper did. In this case, however, we're talking about killers coming forward with bogus eyewitness accounts after learning of a potentially incriminating link to a crime, which is obviously very situation-specific. If you wish to argue that such behaviour is too rare amongst serial killers to be considered a likely manoeuvre in the case, you would need to demonstrate that the supposedly "many more" killers who didn't adopt the strategy ever found themselves in the sort of predicament - i.e. being observed loitering near a crime scene - where the option even presented itself.

    Otherwise, it's a bit like arguing that an Inuit is statistically unlikely to hunt for seal because most people in the world don't.

    I have no idea what percentage of serialists adopt false guises as witnesses and informants, but it must be a rather significant one, otherwise an expert in criminal psychology such as John Douglas would not have accurately predicted that an unidentified offender would do precisely that, as occurred a few decades ago.

    Regards,
    Ben
    Last edited by Ben; 04-09-2016, 05:38 PM.

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  • Columbo
    replied
    Hutchinson has always fascinated me since he wasn't(as far as we know)considered a suspect.

    Here's another idea that can throw fuel on the fire. Suppose Hutch made up Astrakhan man (which I believe he did) to cover up murdering MJK?

    Let's say he waited until her last customer left, went into her room for a freebie. She fights, he kills her and tries to make it a copy-cat killing?

    Leave a comment:


  • Ben
    replied
    Hi Caz,

    "And here's the rub, because if he volunteered his story to the police and every eagle-eyed journalist on the planet, as a direct result of what Sarah Lewis saw, he was inviting everyone to register the connection, without saying a word about it himself, and was surely anticipating that someone would register it, upon which he would 'naturally have been treated with suspicion' - the same suspicion he supposedly came forward to avoid".
    Only if he failed to get his "innocent" story in first.

    I quite agree that he had every reason to expect the press to both register and allude very publicly to the Lewis connection (in the event neither happened, which was a stroke of good fortune if he really was there and up to no good), but having offered his story voluntarily, he was in a position to respond to anyone who inferred a connection with "Yep, you see? Right where I said I was, and doing exactly what I said I was doing". He certainly wouldn't have expected the actual outcome - that his account was ultimately discredited as the offerings of a probable time-waster. This would have been quite the fortuitous result if he was the murderer, and only made possible by the failure of police and press to explore the possibility that he was Lewis's wideawake man.

    My views are not particularly at variance with Garry's with regard to Hutchinson and Lewis. I've suggested on several occasions that he may have seen Lewis enter the Shoreditch town hall as a witness and "assumed the worst", as Garry put it. He raised another interesting point, though, and one I hadn't previously considered. If Hutchinson had no means of accessing Lewis's evidence (because he didn't attend the inquest, and because her statement hadn't appeared in the papers by the time he came forward), he may well have assumed that wideawake man would be the central focus of her evidence, as opposed to the brief footnote it ended up being. He would not have bargained on the bulk of her evidence being more concerned with the spooky black bag man who had accosted her the previous Wednesday.

    It should come as no surprise that scant attention was paid at the time to Wideawake. It was not uncommon to see men loitering near lodging house entrances, and this particular loiterer wasn't even observed in the company of a woman, less still the actual victim. This marginalisation of the wideawake man - and understandable preoccupation instead with men observed with women - may go some way to explaining the failure of the contemporary police and press to register (what we now consider to be) very strong similarities between the reported location and behaviour of wideawake man, and those of Hutchinson.

    Again though, Hutchinson could not have anticipated such an outcome, and had no way of knowing that Mr. Widewake would not be the central bogeyman of Lewis's account.

    Oh and the fact that neither Lewis nor Cox appear to have realised that Hutch must have been the man they saw, from the various newspaper accounts (or if they did they kept their traps well shut for a change), makes it doubtful that Hutch thought they knew him or had seen him about locally, and could have got him identified had he failed to come forward of his own accord.
    Why would Lewis inform the police that she suspected that Hutchinson of being the loitering man (and there's no evidence that she did)? If she read the account in the papers, she would probably have registered the very positive response it received, accepted Hutchinson as the genuine witness everyone took him for at that early stage, and assumed that the police had already registered the connection without her "help". She would have come away with the impression that one eyewitness (herself) just happened to cross paths with another on the night of the murder. Approaching the police as an amateur sleuth and pointing out something already in the public domain would have been unnecessary and supererogatory, irrespective of whether or not she "knew him or had seen him about locally".

    I'm not sure what you mean, incidentally, about Lewis and Cox "keeping their traps well shut for a change". Sarah Lewis was, by all accounts, a very reluctant witness who might well have kept her trap firmly shut had she not been detained in the court by the police before she had an opportunity to leave it on the morning of the murder. She was also one of the few Millers Court witnesses not to go blabbing to the press.

    The argument typically is that he began worrying that a witness - Cox or Lewis, for example - may have seen him much closer to Kelly's room. But if that were the case it would be something the police would look into, not the reading public, so Hutch's best bet would have been to go back to the police with this additional info with an apology for not making his movements clearer - and avoid giving the press what would look like a conflicting and (to certain modern eyes at least) a potentially incriminating account.
    No, I disagree.

    Returning to the police station with such obvious bum-covering "tidy-up" efforts as "Hello, me again - I might have omitted to mention that I stood directly outside the victim's window" would only have invited suspicion. At least by communicating with the press, he could always protest that he had been misquoted or misunderstood if the police ever confronted him with the apparent contradictions; or failing that, claim he included that "extra" information because the journalist just happened to quiz him along those particular lines (I know one of my regular debating opponents considers the latter a perfectly reasonable explanation for the various press/statement discrepancies).

    I'm not suggesting the press interview was necessarily the most prudent move on Hutchinson's part if he was the killer, but he might have considered it a necessary evil if he still harboured concerns that he had been clocked by a witness entering the court.

    The suggested "financial" motive is all very well, but its fatal flaw lies in its dismissal of Hutchinson as Lewis's man, which, short of astonishing "coincidence", he clearly was.

    On the other hand, if he had an overwhelming compulsion to do the deed regardless, or had no fear at the time of any witnesses such as Lewis or Cox seeing him, or didn't know he had been caught watching, he must have had considerable misgivings afterwards to put himself under the spotlight and try to put a plaster over it all, with the sensational statements he made to the police and the press.
    Well, at this remove it is difficult to speculate at what stage this particular serial killer's "overwhelming compulsion" overrode more prudent considerations, and I'm no psychologist, but it is quite possible that Hutchinson - if the killer - was emotionally beyond the point of no return by that stage. I've suggested before that if the "murder" cry heard at approximately 4.00am by Lewis and Prater signalled the time of Kelly's death, it is possible that the killer, having previously monitored the various comings and goings to the court in the small hours, elected to "stall" his activities until he could be reasonably safe in the assumption that those pesky female witnesses had settled to sleep. Mary Cox, remember, made her final return trip at 3.00am.

    Talking of sleep, just a minor point to conclude with; you suggested to Abby that if Hutchinson was lying about his presence there that night and was instead tucked up in bed, there would have been fellow lodgers to "confirm" as much. This is unlikely for two reasons. Firstly, if proof had been secured that he was snoozing in the Victoria Home when he claimed to have been out Astrakhan-spotting, his account would have been rejected outright, as opposed to being merely "reduced" in importance, as the Echo gleaned from the police. Secondly, unless Hutchinson was an especially gregarious soul who everyone took notice of, his presence or otherwise in the building was unlikely to have been registered. The Victoria Home saw some 500 lodgers doss down at varying hours of the night, and even boasted single "cubicles" for a few pence extra. Unless people were actively keeping tabs on Hutchinson, his dossing down (or not) would have passed unnoticed.

    All the best,
    Ben
    Last edited by Ben; 04-09-2016, 05:13 PM.

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