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Fiddler on the Loose

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  • Fiddler on the Loose

    Good Evening,

    The late James Tully told of viewing the Home Office file on James Kelly. As I understand it, he was not allowed to look inside the file, but only at the cover sheet, which noted that in 1952 seventeen documents were destroyed and the file marked closed until the year 2030.

    Bob Hinton wrote on a saved 2004 Casebook discussion and I copy it here verbatim:

    “I wouldn't read too much into documents being destroyed. Many papers are removed from files in a process known as weeding, it happens all the time. When you remove papers for destruction you make a note on the file cover ie, 'papers 13, 29, 46 and 34 weeded 25th May 2004' These would be papers deemed not to be relevant, for example if a letter which was in the file was sent to someone and they replied with a thank you note that would be included in the file, but very quickly weeded.”

    I found some information on the web concerning Broadmoor, which could be a coincidence or might shed some light on things. Following the Criminal Justice Act 1948 Broadmoor changed from an institution to a hospital and in 1950 responsibility for Broadmoor was transferred from the Home Office to the Ministry of Health. 1952 security was stepped up after a patient, J.T Straffe, escaped and killed a young girl while he was at large. Now there is a siren at the hospital - if it sounds, local schools and institutions have to lock their doors. (1) Bracknell Forest Heritage website, Berkshire Family Historian Website, BBC News Online

    So it was in that very year, 1952, that the file was culled and marked closed till 2030. But, then as I understand it, any Broadmoor patient file in the possession of the Home Office is an officially closed file. Of the greatest interest is, of course, the question of where did James Kelly go and what did he do after escaping on Jan 23, 1888. I read the book to mean that yes, police officials were informed of the escape. But not the public and the press. Just how I interpret it, someone else may feel otherwise.

    On page 61 the author quoted from an undated newspaper article.

    The News of the World now takes up the story:

    ‘At Broadmoor he [Kelly] was allowed to play in the band and commenced to learn the violin. Men in the band were allowed to wear ordinary closthes, and Kelly having put such a suit …” etc.

    There are several News of the World articles on Casebook but not this one. Does anyone know the date of the article, and/or when it became public knowledge that James Kelly had escaped?

    Roy

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    (picture of my violin, not a historical reference)
    Sink the Bismark

  • #2
    From Prisoner 1167 I gather the general public and press were not aware of the escape in 1888, or for a long time after. Eighteen years later, in 1906, Liverpool newspapers reported on a court case there involving the Kelly assets, and news of the escape came out. So the police were handicapped in capturing him because there was no alert to the populace.

    Roy
    Sink the Bismark

    Comment


    • #3
      The authorites had several chances to capture him, and I often wonder what it was that caused them fail to appear at the docks to apprehend him at his own will? Then in 1907 he was wiped right off the board on account of authorities not being able to catch him... a year after the news came out of his escape.

      Regarding the News of the World Article, I have searched for dates and have found nothing.
      Cheers,

      Ryan Miller

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Ryan,

        On another forum, Debra Arif, one of the top researchers in Britain, was kind enough to search the newspaper archives for 1888 and could find no mention of the escape. The public was not told. Evidently that's how they did things back then. Only when an escapee was caught might it make the papers.

        The nearby Wellington College station in Crowthorne.
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        The courier didn't board here, but at Wokingham station (can't find an old photo of that one) to carry the alert to Scotland Yard.

        Roy
        Sink the Bismark

        Comment


        • #5
          That deserves a good laugh. That theory sounds so backwards. When a murderer escapes, don't warn the public of the potential danger. When they catch the murderer warn inform the public that they are now safe from a danger they neglected to mention.
          Cheers,

          Ryan Miller

          Comment


          • #6
            Roy,

            As I remember, Tully did look at the file and read everything of interest save the things that were culled and/or destroyed.

            Mike
            huh?

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi Mike,

              The book requires some interpetation. I'm happy to hear other people's.

              There are two files. As I read it, Tully was given full access to the Kelly file physically located at Broadmoor and quoted liberally from it. But at the archive in Kew, he only allowed to look at, not in the Home Office file, because it was marked closed. He saw it existed, but didn't open it. I could be wrong.

              Roy
              Sink the Bismark

              Comment


              • #8
                Roy, did you see the link I posted on the other Kelly Topic "More Pictures of James Kelly", regarding the Broadmoor files? It leaves me a little confused about the files and their ability to be opened. Let me know what you think about their availability.
                Cheers,

                Ryan Miller

                Comment


                • #9
                  Yes I read the article in the link, Ryan. I see. Under the rules (click here and choose Protocols) one can apply for access to a <100 year file under certain guidelines.

                  Again, this is the file Jim Tully went over with a fine tooth comb and quoted extensively in his book. Not the Home Office file.

                  Roy
                  Sink the Bismark

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Awesome... thanks for the clarification.
                    Cheers,

                    Ryan Miller

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Birthplace

                      April 20th 1860 - James Kelly born in Preston, Lancashire, the illegitimate son of 15 year old Sarah Kelly. After the birth Sarah returns to Liverpool leaving James in the care of her mother Teresa.

                      The address was No 43 St Mary's Street, Preston "in the shadow of the prison. An omen?" (Tully)

                      Almost no structures on that street in this 1849 map.
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                      By 1890 St Mary's Street is filled in with structures.
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                      St Mary's Church, Preston. It's right there.
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                      Sink the Bismark

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Is there any documentation if it was even investgiated, of any similar murders in Liverpool post JK's escape? If JK might be the ripper then it's pretty apparent his whole MO evolved from multiple stabbings to the rest. Some victims discounted on grounds they may have been strangled or stabbed in the throat/neck may well have been his after all if they fell into the transition period when his MO was shifting.

                        The ones who had stab wounds to the lower extremities minus anything on the neck/throat area I would discount, as well as the full decapitations. The others, I'd probably have to reconsider.

                        Is there any information available on the victims in the US spree Kelly confessed to in the end, to compare them to the ripper's presumed victims in 88? I'd love to see it if it's available.

                        Also, this diary/confession/papers of James Kelly that Norris had, is that available online anywhere? It's been over 100 years, surely this stuff is available somewhere!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The address was No 43 St Mary's Street, Preston "in the shadow of the prison. An omen?" (Tully)
                          HM Prison on left, #23 to the right. Nearby his birthplace

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                          Sink the Bismark

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                          • #14
                            Preston - Further exploration

                            In 1854 Charles Dickens visited Preston, the site of a bitter millworkers strike, when researching his novel Hard Times. (Ackroyd)

                            The 1890 map (here)
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                            From the bottom of the map upward. St Mary's National School to the right. Just past the blue truck to the right is where I believe No 43 was, a row of "terraced housing" no longer there.
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                            St Mary's Church
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                            Site of another school up the street directly behind prison
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                            At top of street, the Wesleyan Methodist
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                            Steve Houldsworth images from the Genuki site.

                            All the schools and churches pictured are closed. And no one lives on St Mary's Street anymore. It is in a zone of industrial estates and everyone in Preston knows that St Mary's is the prostitute street. Police instituted Operation Kerb, but forcing prostitutes into residential areas only brought more complaints. So St Mary's Street remains a dangerous place.There was an attack here in 2008. (here)

                            The good news is the street pastors are out at night to help people the best they can. (here)

                            Roy
                            Last edited by Roy Corduroy; 06-15-2010, 05:29 AM.
                            Sink the Bismark

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi Roy,

                              Really interesting posts and thanks for the great photos.

                              I'm no expert on Jack the Ripper, so every time I visit this forum I find that I learn so much and pick up much food for thought. I am, however, all too well aquainted with the "Yorkshire Ripper" case. So while reading through the posts on this forum, my half-awake mind set on the events of 1888, maybe you can imagine the start/shiver down my spine that the words "St. Mary's, Preston, prostitute, attack, murder, ripper" brought to mind!!!??? Suddenly I was transported back to my childhood, a mocking Wearside accent, cold sweats and the words "Remember Preston 75"

                              Joan Harrison spent most of her last day on this earth at the St. Mary's hostel, her body would be found in a derelict lock-up garage on Berwick Road, at the rear of No. 3 Frenchwood Street, about half a mile away.

                              It sure is a small world isn't it?!

                              All the best,

                              Zodiac.
                              And thus I clothe my naked villainy
                              With old odd ends, stol'n forth of holy writ;
                              And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.

                              Comment

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