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Lechmere's Consciousness of Guilt

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  • Lechmere's Consciousness of Guilt

    John Henry Wigmore was twenty-five years old in 1888. One wonders what he would have made of an accusation made against Charles Lechmere as "Jack the Ripper".

    Wigmore, as many of you likely know, was an American legal scholar, widely considered a pioneer in the field of evidentiary law. In 1904 he published his 'Treatise on the Anglo-American System of Evidence in Trials at Common Law'. In it he writes:

    "Flight from justice, and its analogous conduct, have always been deemed indication of a consciousness of guilt. The wicked flee, even when no man pursueth; and the righteous are as bold as a lion."

    We should note, with respect to Lechmere, that he did not attempt flight. He waited for and spoke to a man (Robert Paul) whose approach he heard, in the dark, from forty yards off.

    Flight is as important today as it was in Old Testament times.

    After asking Mr. Paul to "come and see" the woman (Polly Nichols) lying on the pavement in Buck's Row he did not attemt to go in any direction other than direction in which Paul himself was going. Again, he does not attempt to flee. Instead he and Paul resolve to continue on together, on an errand: To find a police officer.

    A criminal act leaves usually on the mind a deep trace, in the shape of a consciousness of guilt, and from this consciousness of guilt we may argue to the doing of the deed by the bearer of the trace."

    Lechmere remained in Paul's company until they'd found a policeman (Jonas Mizen). They informed him that a woman was lying in Buck's Row. They parted company and continued on to work.


    Again....

    "Flight from justice, and its analogous conduct, have always been deemed indication of a consciousness of guilt. The wicked flee, even when no man pursueth; and the righteous are as bold as a lion."

    Seventy-two hours after he found Nichols' body, the heretofore unknown, unnamed, unidentified Mr. Lechmere appeared, uncompelled and voluntarily at the inquest into her death.

    Mr. Lechmere's "flight from justice" has him waiting for a man approaching in the distance, asking him to come and see a woman lying on the pavement, going with that man in search of police officer to inform, and appearing voluntarily to testify at her inquest. His "flight" from justice has him submitting himself to its prosects no less than three times.
    Last edited by Patrick S; 10-16-2015, 01:02 PM.

  • #2
    Yes, but Lechmere-Cross stood at the crime scene firm as a rock. He wasnīt afraid to approach the murder scene. His stepfather had been a policeman and Lechmere-Cross knew what to do. He made contact with the police in the street and he went to the inquest to testify. He even gave a critical opinion to Mizen when he stated that the woman could be drunk or dead. He acted rationally. Perhaps he even thought that his own statement was of some importance. The "Whitechapel murderer" was thought to have taken the life of his third victim in those days and Lechmere-Cross might have thought he could be of some help.

    Regards Pierre

    Comment


    • #3
      I want to make another point here with repsect to Lechmere's consciousness of guilt.

      As I've said elsewhere, this "Cross" business must be considered in context. We have no case files; we don't know if he gave both names and the papers only printed "Cross" (they couldn't spell "Paul" or "Thain" or even get Lechmere's first name right, so it is possible they chose the path of least reisistence as the chances of the getting "Lechmere" right were likely remote), we don't know if there was some other reason he gave that name.

      However, I'd be as dishonest as Christer if I were to pretend that providing a "false name" is not potential evidence of consciousness of guilt. So, let's consider it.

      He gave the name "Cross". It was a name he had a connection to. He was identified as such by his stepfather (Thomas Cross) in a census years before, when he was 11. But, let's say it was "false". He also gave his actual first name. His actual middle name. His correct, current address. His genuine place of employment. Thus, this is an odd attempt at deception.

      It would seem that by voluntarily submitting himself to questioning, albeit under the name "Cross" as opposed to "Lechmere" he was - if he were the killer - simply ensuring that he would be executed as Charles Allen Cross of Doveton Street, Bethnal Green, Carman for Pickfords as opposed to Charles Allen Lechmere of Doveton Street, Bethnal Green, Carman for Pickfords.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Pierre View Post
        Yes, but Lechmere-Cross stood at the crime scene firm as a rock. He wasnīt afraid to approach the murder scene. His stepfather had been a policeman and Lechmere-Cross knew what to do. He made contact with the police in the street and he went to the inquest to testify. He even gave a critical opinion to Mizen when he said the woman could be drunk or dead. He acted rationally. Perhaps he even thought that his own statement was of some importance. The "Whitechapel murderer" was thought to have taken the life of his third victim in those days and Lechmere-Cross might have thought he could be of some help.

        Regards Pierre
        I'm sorry...you said "but", yet you seem to agree? Am I missing something?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Patrick S View Post
          I'm sorry...you said "but", yet you seem to agree? Am I missing something?
          Well, I mean anyone who didnīt like to get into trouble could actually have wanted to flee from being close to a crime scene. But not L-C obviously.

          Regards Pierre

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Patrick S View Post
            John Henry Wigmore was twenty-five years old in 1888. One wonders what he would have made of an accusation made against Charles Lechmere as "Jack the Ripper".

            Wigmore, as many of you likely know, was an American legal scholar, widely considered a pioneer in the field of evidentiary law. In 1904 he published his 'Treatise on the Anglo-American System of Evidence in Trials at Common Law'. In it he writes:

            "Flight from justice, and its analogous conduct, have always been deemed indication of a consciousness of guilt. The wicked flee, even when no man pursueth; and the righteous are as bold as a lion."

            We should note, with respect to Lechmere, that he did not attempt flight. He waited for and spoke to a man (Robert Paul) whose approach he heard, in the dark, from forty yards off.

            Flight is as important today as it was in Old Testament times.

            After asking Mr. Paul to "come and see" the woman (Polly Nichols) lying on the pavement in Buck's Row he did not attemt to go in any direction other than direction in which Paul himself was going. Again, he does not attempt to flee. Instead he and Paul resolve to continue on together, on an errand: To find a police officer.

            A criminal act leaves usually on the mind a deep trace, in the shape of a consciousness of guilt, and from this consciousness of guilt we may argue to the doing of the deed by the bearer of the trace."

            Lechmere remained in Paul's company until they'd found a policeman (Jonas Mizen). They informed him that a woman was lying in Buck's Row. They parted company and continued on to work.


            Again....

            "Flight from justice, and its analogous conduct, have always been deemed indication of a consciousness of guilt. The wicked flee, even when no man pursueth; and the righteous are as bold as a lion."

            Seventy-two hours after he found Nichols' body, the heretofore unknown, unnamed, unidentified Mr. Lechmere appeared, uncompelled and voluntarily at the inquest into her death.

            Mr. Lechmere's "flight from justice" has him waiting for a man approaching in the distance, asking him to come and see a woman lying on the pavement, going with that man in search of police officer to inform, and appearing voluntarily to testify at her inquest. His "flight" from justice has him submitting himself to its prosects no less than three times.
            I have no actual feeling regarding the Lechmere theory being proposed of him being the Ripper, but I feel that I should say this. While "flight" is still a valid reason to suspect a person involved in a criminal investigation, it is not true totally that innocence is proven by somebody who stays at or near or returns to the scene shortly afterwards.

            In 1845 a man named James De La Rue was murdered near the "Swiss Cottage" in Hempstead Heath in London, and after some people (who heard his screams when attacked) came to the site of the murder a policeman showed up. The crowd grew, and one young man approached and talked to the policeman - somewhat too matter of factly - about the murder, even feeling the dead man's wrist for a pulse. The young man was later identified as one Thomas Hocker, and he was the killer.

            Wigmore is still a highly regarded sourcebook in legal circles on evidence.

            Jeff

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm bumping this post. I made it nearly two years ago, but we seem to have come full circle, again. So, it may be useful. In re-reading what I wrote here, I recalled that Fisherman has used Lechmere's actions in Buck's Row, Bakers Row, what he said at the inquest, as indications that Lechmere was a psychopath (currently discussed on a recent thread). Of course, Lechmere's behavior can only be viewed as strange or "psychopathic" if we have reason to believe he killed Nichols. If one DOES NOT believe he killed Nichols - and there is no indication that he killed ANYONE in his lifetime - then he acted, quite simply, as a man who discovered the body of a woman while walking to work.

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