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  • Revisiting Jacob Levy

    I have no favoured suspect but I've been relooking at Levy and after reading many sources came up with a list. Comments, refutations most welcome.


    Reasons for Jacob Levy’s candidacy:
    • Levy contracted syphilis from local prostitutes so therefore he may have killed them out of revenge.

    • He lived in the heart of Ripper territory and knew the area well having lived their since birth

    • He had a criminal record which was petty theft. It’s common for serial killers to have engaged in criminal activities at a young age.

    • Levy was 32 at time of the murders so matches witness descriptions.

    • Levy was a night owl according to his wife Sarah and she said “he does not sleep at nights and wanders around aimlessly for hours”
    • His mother Caroline died in 1888 so could this have affected him?

    • He was 5ft 3” tall which was 3 inches taller than Eddowes so is a good match to the man seen by Joseph Hyam Levy who said the suspect was 3” taller than Eddowes. Although it should be noted that his friend Joseph Lawende contradicted this by claiming it was 5ft 7”. Elizabeth Long described the man who was with Annie Chapman as being a “little taller than the deceased”. Chapman was 5ft tall. Levy was 5ft 3” so that could be seen as further evidence although slim.

    • He was a butcher and therefore would have been used to cutting up animals with a knife and had a basic knowledge of anatomy

    • Levy lived in Middlesex Street which is close to Goulston Street. Perhaps having been recognized by Eddowes witness Joseph Hyam Levy he decided to plant a false trail leading the police into Metropolitan Police territory

    • If you recall at 1:35am 30th September 1888, butcher Joseph Hyam Levy and his two friends Joseph Lawende and Harry Harris saw a couple standing at the corner of Church Passage just a few yards from Mitre Square. Joseph Hyam Levy commented to his friend Harris the following “I don't like going home by myself when I see these sort of characters about... I'm off!" and he further added that the Court (meaning Mitre Square) ought to be watched. His remark could indicate he was not used to seeing this type of thing as he was usually at home by 11pm (I am sure I read this somewhere but cannot locate source. sorry) tucked up with a nice cup of horlicks so wasn’t one to be out late.

    The Evening News for 9 October 1888 reported that witness "Mr Levy is absolutely obstinate and refuses to give the slightest information and he leaves one to infer that he knows something but that he is afraid to be called on the inquest. At the inquest Levy admitted observing a man and a woman at the entrance to Church Passage though he did not take any particular notice of them although he described the man as having been three inches taller than the woman (Eddowes and Jacob Levy stood 5'0" and 5'3" tall respectively) and when pressed under cross examination he denied thinking her appearance as `terrible' and went on to add that he was not exactly afraid for himself".

    So therefore could the butcher Joseph Hyam Levy have in fact recognized his neighbour the butcher Jacob Levy as the man he had seen in the company of a woman who he may have presumed to be a prostitute that was to be influential in causing him so much alarm? Is it possible that Joseph Hyam Levy knew the suspect and was the seaside home witness? If we assume that the man he saw was Jacob Levy and was afraid to give more information as mentioned in the Evening News 9th oct 1888, this opens up a few issues: if he knew it was Jacob levy and he was jewish, what made him go with the police to identify a man he already knew was jewish? On reading Robert Anderson’s memoirs and Swanson’s marginalia it does indicate that the witness was able to “unhesitatingly” identify the suspect which indicates he knew him or had a close look at him. So my belief is either the witness is Joseph Hyam Levy or Israel Schartz

    • 1891 was the year the official police files on the case were closed which coincidentally was the year of Levy’s death. Interestingly it is also the same year that Joseph Hyam Levy disappeared from record. It is possible he immigrated or changed his name.

    • Highly respected Detective Inspector Robert Sagar (former medical student. Born 1852 died 1924) of the City Of London Police said he believed the ripper to be a butcher who lived in the Aldgate area. "Reynolds News" (15 September 1946) printed an extract from Sagar's unpublished, and now untraced, memoirs. Sagar wrote that "We had good reason to suspect a man who worked in Butcher's Row, Aldgate. We watched him carefully. There was no doubt that this man was insane, and after a time his friends thought it advisable to have him removed to a private asylum. After he was removed there were no more Ripper atrocities."

    • George Hutchinson claimed he had seen the Jewish man who was in the company of MJK on the night of the Millers court murder in Middlesex street shortly after the murder. Police were unable to locate the man in question.

    • Detective Inspector Harry Cox of the City Of London Police He wrote in 1906 that he was involved in a 3 month surveillance of a Jewish suspect after MJK murder and this suspect lived in the East End and he ran a business. Cox said the motive was revenge as he had been wronged by a woman of the lower classes. He said the suspect spent time in an asylum in Surrey and was known to take nightly walks. Cox states that there were no further murders because suspect knew he was being watched by them. He also states that no evidence was found to connect their suspect with the murders. In 1906 Harry Cox does not know what became of their suspect. It is possible the suspect he is speaking of is Levy but he was not in an asylum in Surrey.

    • Jacob’s brother Isaac Levy lived at the recently built Wentworth Buildings (built 1886) on Goulston Street where the apron and graffiti were found. According to the 1891 census he lived at 130 Wentworth Buildings/dwellings. The graffiti was at 108-119. Wentworth dwellings/building was 5 storeys high. It had 4 street level entrances each giving access to communal stone staircases which led to numbers 90-107, 108-119, 120-131 and 132-143. It is possible that Levy may have gone here to hide out. Source https://wiki.casebook.org/wentworth_dwellings.html and https://saucyjacky.wordpress.com/sus.../1-jacob-levy/

    • In Paul Begg and Martin Fido’s (R.I.P) 1996 edition of The Complete Jack The Ripper A-Z The Ultimate Guide To The Ripper Mystery it is stated that “Steward Hicks alleged that Lady Anderson (wife of Sir Robert Anderson) once remarked that the Ripper was interned in an asylum near Stone” but the source could not be remembered.

    • The butcher Hyam Sampson who Jacob Levy stole from in 1886 lived at 58 Goulston Street which curiously was the same street where the graffiti and bloody apron were discovered. In 1886 or 1887 58 Goulston Street was demolished to make way for the new Wentworth dwellings.

    Could Jacob Levy have been George Hutchinson (I believe he said he saw Jewish suspect in Middlesex street) and Detective Inspector Robert Sagar’s suspect and the man seen with Eddowes on the night of her murder? Could he have been the man the star witness who was taken to the seaside home to identify a suspect according to Sir Robert Anderson?

    Other points to ponder
    Inspector Sagar’s memoirs were never found. Some question if they ever existed. Justin Atholl who wrote the 15th September 1946 Reynolds News article on Sagar and JTR was prone to errors. He also quoted no source. However that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.
    There are no official mentions of Levy in the police files
    Additional source: https://www.jtrforums.com/forum/pers...cob-levy/page8

  • #2
    Nice commentary. My feeling is Levy is one of those suspects that looks interesting but there is simply no evidence he was capable of murder, let alone be a serial killer. For that reason I would place him with the like of Lechmere and Druitt, Hutchinson - in fact pretty much everyone else!

    Comment


    • #3
      Good post MrTwibbs.

      I’d place him alongside Bury but behind Kosminski and Druitt. There could also be some crossover with Kosminski and Levy as MrTwibbs has mentioned. The fact that there was no evidence that he was capable of murder is something that could be credited to so many murderers before they were actually caught. Before Crippen was caught who would have pegged him as a murderer? Chapman would have to be classed as a serial killer and yet not many favour him these days.
      Regards

      Sir Herlock Sholmes



      "Tis but a part we see, and not a whole."

      ”Baroni licitum est dicere troglodytam”

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by MrTwibbs View Post
        • 1891 was the year the official police files on the case were closed which coincidentally was the year of Levy’s death. Interestingly it is also the same year that Joseph Hyam Levy disappeared from record. It is possible he immigrated or changed his name.
        Joseph Hyam Levy didn't disappear from the records. He retired with his wife to Brighton and died in 1912.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Scott Nelson View Post

          Joseph Hyam Levy didn't disappear from the records. He retired with his wife to Brighton and died in 1912.
          Hi Scott.

          I believe it was his wife, Amelia, that died in Brighton in 1912 wasn't it? Joseph Hyam Levy died a couple years later in 1914 at the address of 124 Mildmay Road, Newington. The records show him at the same address in 1899. A neighbor of his in the 1899 record, a few doors down at 140 Mildmay Road, was Joseph Lavender (Lawende).
          Last edited by jerryd; 09-21-2021, 07:45 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thank you Jerry. But I thought Joseph died in 1911, followed by Amelia in 1912, both in Brighton.

            Comment


            • #7
              There’s also the detail that Jacob Levy witnessed his brother’s suicide at a young age. Who knows what psychological effect this had on him growing up?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Harry D View Post
                There’s also the detail that Jacob Levy witnessed his brother’s suicide at a young age. Who knows what psychological effect this had on him growing up?
                Good point Harry. Who knows what effect such a traumatic event might have had (especially on someone who might have been a bit ‘fragile’ in the first place?) There’s certainly enough about Levy to make him an interesting ‘possible.’ If we did a weeding out of suspects eliminating those where there’s no evidence even for suspicion (Mann, Hardyman etc) then we would be left with a very short list. Levy has to be on that list imo.
                Regards

                Sir Herlock Sholmes



                "Tis but a part we see, and not a whole."

                ”Baroni licitum est dicere troglodytam”

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post

                  Good point Harry. Who knows what effect such a traumatic event might have had (especially on someone who might have been a bit ‘fragile’ in the first place?) There’s certainly enough about Levy to make him an interesting ‘possible.’ If we did a weeding out of suspects eliminating those where there’s no evidence even for suspicion (Mann, Hardyman etc) then we would be left with a very short list. Levy has to be on that list imo.
                  There are definitely some potential triggers here. The key one being the death of his mother a couple months before the Whitechapel murders. Of course, there is nothing concrete to link Levy to these murders, and many sleuthers like to dump him into the bag with other "crazy Jew" suspects (Kosminski, Hyams, Cohen etc.), but I think that's all too dismissive. I'd say apart from "Kosminski" there has never been any concrete suspects. He's the only one said to be positively identified as the killer. There are many captured serial killers who were never on the police radar and never tied to the scene of the crime. Serial killers tend to keep a low profile. Most of them are caught by their own carelessness or through other crimes. And frustratingly that is why the case will forever go unsolved. The killer was either stopped in his tracks before he could slip up, or he was able to retire and lead a 'normal' life. It's not like there were forensics that could come back to haunt him later on. As for Levy, I don't think he should be blithely described as just another crazy Jewish suspect. We know enough about him to construct an interesting psychological profile. He experienced childhood trauma and was arrested for a minor crime before the killings. Possible kleptomania. I've seen the same bio in many serial killer profiles. He was the same height described by several witnesses, had familial ties to Eddowes' murder, was an experienced butcher, and his deteriorating health due to syphilis might explain why he struggled with Alice McKenzie. Total conjecture I know, but we're all pissing in the wind aren't we?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MrTwibbs View Post
                    I have no favoured suspect but I've been relooking at Levy and after reading many sources came up with a list. Comments, refutations most welcome.


                    Reasons for Jacob Levy’s candidacy:
                    • Levy contracted syphilis from local prostitutes so therefore he may have killed them out of revenge.

                    • He lived in the heart of Ripper territory and knew the area well having lived their since birth

                    • He had a criminal record which was petty theft. It’s common for serial killers to have engaged in criminal activities at a young age.

                    • Levy was 32 at time of the murders so matches witness descriptions.

                    • Levy was a night owl according to his wife Sarah and she said “he does not sleep at nights and wanders around aimlessly for hours”
                    • His mother Caroline died in 1888 so could this have affected him?

                    • He was 5ft 3” tall which was 3 inches taller than Eddowes so is a good match to the man seen by Joseph Hyam Levy who said the suspect was 3” taller than Eddowes. Although it should be noted that his friend Joseph Lawende contradicted this by claiming it was 5ft 7”. Elizabeth Long described the man who was with Annie Chapman as being a “little taller than the deceased”. Chapman was 5ft tall. Levy was 5ft 3” so that could be seen as further evidence although slim.

                    • He was a butcher and therefore would have been used to cutting up animals with a knife and had a basic knowledge of anatomy

                    • Levy lived in Middlesex Street which is close to Goulston Street. Perhaps having been recognized by Eddowes witness Joseph Hyam Levy he decided to plant a false trail leading the police into Metropolitan Police territory

                    • If you recall at 1:35am 30th September 1888, butcher Joseph Hyam Levy and his two friends Joseph Lawende and Harry Harris saw a couple standing at the corner of Church Passage just a few yards from Mitre Square. Joseph Hyam Levy commented to his friend Harris the following “I don't like going home by myself when I see these sort of characters about... I'm off!" and he further added that the Court (meaning Mitre Square) ought to be watched. His remark could indicate he was not used to seeing this type of thing as he was usually at home by 11pm (I am sure I read this somewhere but cannot locate source. sorry) tucked up with a nice cup of horlicks so wasn’t one to be out late.

                    The Evening News for 9 October 1888 reported that witness "Mr Levy is absolutely obstinate and refuses to give the slightest information and he leaves one to infer that he knows something but that he is afraid to be called on the inquest. At the inquest Levy admitted observing a man and a woman at the entrance to Church Passage though he did not take any particular notice of them although he described the man as having been three inches taller than the woman (Eddowes and Jacob Levy stood 5'0" and 5'3" tall respectively) and when pressed under cross examination he denied thinking her appearance as `terrible' and went on to add that he was not exactly afraid for himself".

                    So therefore could the butcher Joseph Hyam Levy have in fact recognized his neighbour the butcher Jacob Levy as the man he had seen in the company of a woman who he may have presumed to be a prostitute that was to be influential in causing him so much alarm? Is it possible that Joseph Hyam Levy knew the suspect and was the seaside home witness? If we assume that the man he saw was Jacob Levy and was afraid to give more information as mentioned in the Evening News 9th oct 1888, this opens up a few issues: if he knew it was Jacob levy and he was jewish, what made him go with the police to identify a man he already knew was jewish? On reading Robert Anderson’s memoirs and Swanson’s marginalia it does indicate that the witness was able to “unhesitatingly” identify the suspect which indicates he knew him or had a close look at him. So my belief is either the witness is Joseph Hyam Levy or Israel Schartz

                    • 1891 was the year the official police files on the case were closed which coincidentally was the year of Levy’s death. Interestingly it is also the same year that Joseph Hyam Levy disappeared from record. It is possible he immigrated or changed his name.

                    • Highly respected Detective Inspector Robert Sagar (former medical student. Born 1852 died 1924) of the City Of London Police said he believed the ripper to be a butcher who lived in the Aldgate area. "Reynolds News" (15 September 1946) printed an extract from Sagar's unpublished, and now untraced, memoirs. Sagar wrote that "We had good reason to suspect a man who worked in Butcher's Row, Aldgate. We watched him carefully. There was no doubt that this man was insane, and after a time his friends thought it advisable to have him removed to a private asylum. After he was removed there were no more Ripper atrocities."

                    • George Hutchinson claimed he had seen the Jewish man who was in the company of MJK on the night of the Millers court murder in Middlesex street shortly after the murder. Police were unable to locate the man in question.

                    • Detective Inspector Harry Cox of the City Of London Police He wrote in 1906 that he was involved in a 3 month surveillance of a Jewish suspect after MJK murder and this suspect lived in the East End and he ran a business. Cox said the motive was revenge as he had been wronged by a woman of the lower classes. He said the suspect spent time in an asylum in Surrey and was known to take nightly walks. Cox states that there were no further murders because suspect knew he was being watched by them. He also states that no evidence was found to connect their suspect with the murders. In 1906 Harry Cox does not know what became of their suspect. It is possible the suspect he is speaking of is Levy but he was not in an asylum in Surrey.

                    • Jacob’s brother Isaac Levy lived at the recently built Wentworth Buildings (built 1886) on Goulston Street where the apron and graffiti were found. According to the 1891 census he lived at 130 Wentworth Buildings/dwellings. The graffiti was at 108-119. Wentworth dwellings/building was 5 storeys high. It had 4 street level entrances each giving access to communal stone staircases which led to numbers 90-107, 108-119, 120-131 and 132-143. It is possible that Levy may have gone here to hide out. Source https://wiki.casebook.org/wentworth_dwellings.html and https://saucyjacky.wordpress.com/sus.../1-jacob-levy/

                    • In Paul Begg and Martin Fido’s (R.I.P) 1996 edition of The Complete Jack The Ripper A-Z The Ultimate Guide To The Ripper Mystery it is stated that “Steward Hicks alleged that Lady Anderson (wife of Sir Robert Anderson) once remarked that the Ripper was interned in an asylum near Stone” but the source could not be remembered.

                    • The butcher Hyam Sampson who Jacob Levy stole from in 1886 lived at 58 Goulston Street which curiously was the same street where the graffiti and bloody apron were discovered. In 1886 or 1887 58 Goulston Street was demolished to make way for the new Wentworth dwellings.

                    Could Jacob Levy have been George Hutchinson (I believe he said he saw Jewish suspect in Middlesex street) and Detective Inspector Robert Sagar’s suspect and the man seen with Eddowes on the night of her murder? Could he have been the man the star witness who was taken to the seaside home to identify a suspect according to Sir Robert Anderson?

                    Other points to ponder
                    Inspector Sagar’s memoirs were never found. Some question if they ever existed. Justin Atholl who wrote the 15th September 1946 Reynolds News article on Sagar and JTR was prone to errors. He also quoted no source. However that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.
                    There are no official mentions of Levy in the police files
                    Additional source: https://www.jtrforums.com/forum/pers...cob-levy/page8
                    i thought it was established that joseph hyam levy was his cousin, not just a neighbor. maybe it hasnt been definitively established then??

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Harry D View Post

                      There are definitely some potential triggers here. The key one being the death of his mother a couple months before the Whitechapel murders. Of course, there is nothing concrete to link Levy to these murders, and many sleuthers like to dump him into the bag with other "crazy Jew" suspects (Kosminski, Hyams, Cohen etc.), but I think that's all too dismissive. I'd say apart from "Kosminski" there has never been any concrete suspects. He's the only one said to be positively identified as the killer. There are many captured serial killers who were never on the police radar and never tied to the scene of the crime. Serial killers tend to keep a low profile. Most of them are caught by their own carelessness or through other crimes. And frustratingly that is why the case will forever go unsolved. The killer was either stopped in his tracks before he could slip up, or he was able to retire and lead a 'normal' life. It's not like there were forensics that could come back to haunt him later on. As for Levy, I don't think he should be blithely described as just another crazy Jewish suspect. We know enough about him to construct an interesting psychological profile. He experienced childhood trauma and was arrested for a minor crime before the killings. Possible kleptomania. I've seen the same bio in many serial killer profiles. He was the same height described by several witnesses, had familial ties to Eddowes' murder, was an experienced butcher, and his deteriorating health due to syphilis might explain why he struggled with Alice McKenzie. Total conjecture I know, but we're all pissing in the wind aren't we?
                      Couldn’t agree more really Harry. The passage of time can also affect memories plus we can get stories passed from person to person with bits being added or forgotten so it’s not impossible that Levy and Kosminski might have got mixed up in some peoples memories. I’d guess that if the police were looking into the case today Levy would set off more alarm bells than most. Apart from the lack of violence (that we know of) he ticks a fair few boxes. Maybe continued research might dig up more? As you know, I tend to favour Druitt of the named suspects but I’d only bet on his guilt with your money Kosminski, Levy, Bury…all worthy of more research but like you I think that by far the likeliest is that we’ll just never know unless someone finds a diary written by the ripper of course but what are the chances of that?
                      Regards

                      Sir Herlock Sholmes



                      "Tis but a part we see, and not a whole."

                      ”Baroni licitum est dicere troglodytam”

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MrTwibbs View Post
                        I have no favoured suspect but I've been relooking at Levy and after reading many sources came up with a list. Comments, refutations most welcome.


                        Reasons for Jacob Levy’s candidacy:
                        • Levy contracted syphilis from local prostitutes so therefore he may have killed them out of revenge.

                        • He lived in the heart of Ripper territory and knew the area well having lived their since birth

                        • He had a criminal record which was petty theft. It’s common for serial killers to have engaged in criminal activities at a young age.

                        • Levy was 32 at time of the murders so matches witness descriptions.

                        • Levy was a night owl according to his wife Sarah and she said “he does not sleep at nights and wanders around aimlessly for hours”
                        • His mother Caroline died in 1888 so could this have affected him?

                        • He was 5ft 3” tall which was 3 inches taller than Eddowes so is a good match to the man seen by Joseph Hyam Levy who said the suspect was 3” taller than Eddowes. Although it should be noted that his friend Joseph Lawende contradicted this by claiming it was 5ft 7”. Elizabeth Long described the man who was with Annie Chapman as being a “little taller than the deceased”. Chapman was 5ft tall. Levy was 5ft 3” so that could be seen as further evidence although slim.

                        • He was a butcher and therefore would have been used to cutting up animals with a knife and had a basic knowledge of anatomy

                        • Levy lived in Middlesex Street which is close to Goulston Street. Perhaps having been recognized by Eddowes witness Joseph Hyam Levy he decided to plant a false trail leading the police into Metropolitan Police territory

                        • If you recall at 1:35am 30th September 1888, butcher Joseph Hyam Levy and his two friends Joseph Lawende and Harry Harris saw a couple standing at the corner of Church Passage just a few yards from Mitre Square. Joseph Hyam Levy commented to his friend Harris the following “I don't like going home by myself when I see these sort of characters about... I'm off!" and he further added that the Court (meaning Mitre Square) ought to be watched. His remark could indicate he was not used to seeing this type of thing as he was usually at home by 11pm (I am sure I read this somewhere but cannot locate source. sorry) tucked up with a nice cup of horlicks so wasn’t one to be out late...

                        Very interesting. I thought the witness and suspect at the seaside home were Lawende and Kosminski. Levy looks a much better suspect to me than Kosminski.

                        Pretty bold to have murdered someone immediately after being seen in the street with the victim by your neighbour (assuming he recognised Joseph).

                        It would be good to know more about him!

                        All the best

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Abby Normal View Post
                          i thought it was established that joseph hyam levy was his cousin, not just a neighbor. maybe it hasnt been definitively established then??
                          It was and he was a cousin.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Scott Nelson View Post

                            It was and he was a cousin.
                            thanks scott
                            How was it established though? Is this the consensus? would love to hear others thoughts on this-especially from our researchers extrordinares!
                            if they definitely were cousins, this is a bit of a game changer for me.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              There is a lot of genealogical information (including family trees) in "Jacob The Ripper" by Neil and Tracy I'Anson.

                              Comment

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