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  • An Alibi For Tumblety?

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    Casebook: Jack the Ripper - Forums > Ripper Discussions > Suspects > Tumblety, Francis > An Alibi for Tumblety?

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    PDAView Full Version : An Alibi for Tumblety?


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    cd6th March 2007, 05:03 PM
    I was thinking of what we know about the good doctor and he hardly comes across as the shy and retiring type. It is hard to believe that he spent his time in London quietly reading in his hotel room. More likely, he was surrounding himself with people...dinner parties, holding court in pubs, etc., always making himself the center of attention. Of course, we also know how he spent some of his time, i.e., his little indiscretions with young men. My point is this...When he was brought in for questioning regarding his indiscretions, if the police had any suspicions that he could be the Ripper, wouldn't they have asked him about his whereabouts on the nights of the murders? If so, I would expect that he could produce a solid and verifiable alibi for at least one of those nights. By the same token, given what I would expect was a whirlwind of social activities and contacts, I would think that an absence of an alibi for those nights would have raised a major red flag. I also think that his whereabouts for those nights could have been fairly easy to trace and veryify even after he fled the country. Could that be why Scotland Yard gave up the chase?

    I also seem to recall that at least one of his indiscretions occurred the same night as one of the murders. Can anybody verify that?

    c.d.

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    dannorder6th March 2007, 11:05 PM
    Hi c.d.,

    There doesn't seem to have ever been much of a chase to give up, popular notions to the contrary. He fled the country on relatively minor charges... the same kind of charges for which other people were basically encouraged to just flee the country for.

    If he had been questioned about the nights of the murders the alibis should have shown up pretty early, and the only indications -- weak ones at that and with more plausible explanations that fit the evidence better -- that he was suspected in the Ripper murders come later on.

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    Jez6th March 2007, 11:43 PM
    Hi CD,
    You are possibly thinking about the fact that Tumblety was arrested on November 7, but not brought before the magistrates until November 16. If he was in custody for that period of time, he could not have been responsible for the death of Mary Kelly. It has been argued, however, that he may have been released on police bail, so was free to commit that murder. Regards, Jez

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    Celee7th March 2007, 06:51 AM
    Hi,

    If I remember right, one of Tumblety's alleged indiscretions took place on August 31st. I think that it is interesting that Tumblety seemed to be active sexually around the time of the ripper murders. If you check the dates that Tumblety's indiscretions took place. They all seem to have taken place right around the murders.

    Your friend, Brad

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    chris7th March 2007, 02:07 PM
    Hi CD
    have a look at the thread at
    http://www.casebook.org/forum/messages/4922/6656.html
    where this issue is discussed - you may find it useful
    All the best
    Chris

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    cd7th March 2007, 03:09 PM
    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the link. I did take a look at it. I think that I might have mislead people. I really wasn't trying to reopen the debate as to whether Tumblety would have been let out on bail in time to kill Mary Kelly. The point I was trying to make was that if Tumblety was innocent of all the murders, his social life was such (yes, an assumption on my part) that it should have been relatively easy to produce witnesses who could vouch for his whereabouts on the nights of the murders. In other words, he always seemed to draw a crowd and thus an alibi which could have been checked. I wanted to see if other people agreed.

    Thanks again for the link.

    c.d.

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    Jamie D6th October 2007, 10:03 PM
    Here's what Wikipedia says about Tumblety: "
    "Dr" Francis Tumblety (c. 1833–1903). Seemingly uneducated or self-educated American, he earned a small fortune posing as an expert doctor throughout the United States (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States) and Canada (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada) and occasionally travelling across Europe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europe) as well.[1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_th...s#_note-MPS001) Perceived as a misogynist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misogyny), he was connected to the deaths of some of his patients, though it is uncertain if this was deliberate or not. Francis was in England in 1888. He was arrested on 7 November (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/November_7), 1888, on charges of "gross indecency", apparently for engaging in homosexual practices. He was released on bail on 16 November (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/November_16), 1888. Awaiting trial, he instead fled the country for France (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/France) on 24 November (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/November_24), 1888. It has been suggested that he could have been released in time for the murder of Mary Jane Kelly (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Jane_Kelly) (on 9 November), though there is no evidence of it having happened. Notorious in the United States for his scams, news of his arrest led some to suggest he was the Ripper. Whether he was a killer or an eccentric regarded with unjust suspicion is a matter of debate.
    Tumblety was mentioned as having been a Ripper suspect by former Detective Chief Inspector John George Littlechild of the Metropolitan Police (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metropolitan_Police) in a letter to journalist and author, George R Sims, dated 23 September 1913.[1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_th...s#_note-MPS001) Claims that Scotland Yard sent an officer to the United States in 1888 to try to bring Tumblety back in connection with the crimes have been disputed by recent research. One common objection to Tumblety's viability as a suspect lies with his alleged homosexuality, since in general male homosexual serial killers kill other men and not women."
    There is no proof that he was in Jersey City to kill Carrie Brown. The above quote should tell us - given the fact that the Ripper prostitutes had a hard time affording room, drink, and food - that a man like Tumblety that pretended to be a doctor to make money wouldn't have seen these prostitutes that couldn't pay him. Lastly, the creator of this thread pointed out Tumblety's general bearing not coming off as a killer which, is a valid observation. I'm hard pressed to accept Tumblety as a valid Ripper suspect.

  • #2
    6th October 2007, 10:19 PM
    Jamie D -

    I'm hard pressed to accept Tumblety as a valid Ripper suspect.

    Chief Inspector Littlechild, Special Branch, at Scotland Yard, 1883-1893 -

    8920

    It's amazing how these modern day theorists know better than someone who was there at the time.

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    Jamie D6th October 2007, 10:22 PM
    Jamie D -



    Chief Inspector Littlechild, Special Branch, at Scotland Yard, 1883-1893 -

    8920

    It's amazing how these modern day theorists know better than someone who was there at the time.
    Those who were there at the time differed as well.

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    Grey Hunter6th October 2007, 10:26 PM
    Those who were there at the time differed as well.

    With all due respect I think Littlechild knew a little more than you do. However, the fact is that Tumblety was a police suspect at the time of the murders, as witness Littlechild's statement.

    Comment


    • #3
      6th October 2007, 10:58 PM
      However, the fact is that Tumblety was a police suspect at the time of the murders, as witness Littlechild's statement.
      I'll concede that he was a suspect, albeit a weak and invalid one.

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      PerryMason6th October 2007, 11:02 PM
      Hi all,

      Im sure Grey Hunter already knows everything about this suspect that there is to know Jamie, but heres an excerpt from our site here that illuminates this issue a bit;

      On Tumblety; "He was arrested on November 7th, 1888 on charges of gross indecency and indecent assault with force and arms against four men between July 27th and November 2. These eight charges were euphemisms for homosexual activities. Tumblety was then charged on suspicion of the Whitechapel murders on the 12th (suggested he was free to kill Kelly between the 7th and 12th). Tumblety was bailed on November 16th. A hearing was held on November 20th at the Old Bailey, and the trial postponed until December 10th. Tumblety then fled to France under the alias ‘Frank Townsend’ on the 24th, and from there took the steamer La Bretagne to New York City."

      Tumblety was a controversy long before his time in London, as Grey could attest to, and they had every right to keep tabs on him for his alledged Fenian ties alone, but it does seem that he was a serious consideration at that time regardless.

      My best regards all.

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      Graham6th October 2007, 11:07 PM
      GH,

      I was never able to come to terms with Littlechild's fingering of Tumblety, and the apparent fact that he, Dr T, was arrested on 7 November for various naughtinesses to do with gross indecency, and bailed on 16 November. This seems to suggest that he was remanded in custody when Kelly was murdered on 9 November. However, it does seem that he was pursued to the USA (by Inspector Andrews) so there must have been some good reason for the Met to suspect him of the Whitechapel crimes before going to such expense.

      And yet...a very tall man with a handlebar moustache going un-noticed in the East End???

      I'd say that the Met were after him for other misdemeanours, including Fenian activities.

      Cheers,

      Graham

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      PerryMason6th October 2007, 11:40 PM
      GH,

      I'd say that the Met were after him for other misdemeanours, including Fenian activities.

      Cheers,

      Graham

      Hi Graham,

      Thats been my take on the interest as well. Its unreasonable to think that investigations of all sorts werent going on at the same time as the Whitechapel Murders investigation, and Tumblety was a highly visible, more than a little crazy fellow with alledged Irish Self Rule sympathies. Since we know an investigation by Police foiled an assassination plot on Lord Balofour that Fall, based in Europe, its reasonable to think any high profile sympathizer in London would have been looked at.

      But as Grey said, its clear they decided he was also perhaps the killer at large.

      Scotland Yard going to New York that Fall was Im sure a rare thing, whether to follow "Mr Townsend", or investigate Irish links, sieze Fenian caches, who knows....but the case for suspicion of Tumblety I think is there based on the solitary fact that the officers doing the investigating considered him as "likely". And thats the only reason to study Druitt, isnt it?

      My best regards Graham.

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      JMenges7th October 2007, 12:39 AM
      Tumblety is also the only contemporary suspect who has admitted to being in Whitechapel at the time of the murders, admitted to being detained for the Whitechapel murders, and the only contemporary suspect to publicly deny he was the Ripper. Just another thing amongst many that makes him a very unique and highly interesting suspect IMO.

      JM

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      Grey Hunter7th October 2007, 08:54 AM
      And yet...a very tall man with a handlebar moustache going un-noticed in the East End???


      We now know from the new interview with Tumblety in early 1889, discovered by R. J. Palmer, that he was dressing down in Whitechapel at the time of the murders and did not have a 'handlebar' moustache (that illustration dates back to the 1870s despite being published later). His moustache when he was arrested was a droopy one, going down either side of a clean shaven chin. His height from a look a the best sources would appear to have been 5' 10", at the most 6' 00" in his boots.

      This nonsense about being 'noticed' in the East End seems to go on forever. The East End was so cosmopolitan with all races, types and descriptions, including a huge transient population of strangers from the nearby docks that very little would have seemed unusual. I recommend a reading of the interview with Tumblety, which is quite an eye-opener. He even says that he was detained for only "Two or three days...", his initial detention being on suspicion of the murders. My guess is that he was re-arrested on the 7 November on the gross indecency charges but had to be released within 24 hours as it was only a misdemeanour. Obviously they had no hard evidence against him for the murders, otherwise they would have held him on that. There was no hard evdience against any suspect.

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      Limehouse7th October 2007, 10:06 AM
      If Tumblety was arrested for gross indecency with men, could it be that the police were interested in him concerning the Ripper murders because they were looking for someone who may have been 'sexually insane?'

      What I mean is, to the minds of the experts in those days, anyone whose sexual inclinations were less than straight would have been suspect and if a man preferred sex with men it would have been easy for the 'experts' to conclude he must have hated women.

      Look at the terminology used in McNaughen's memoirs - they are peppered with phrases such as 'sexually insane', 'solitary vices', 'woman hater', 'religious mania' etc and it is clear that the authorities were looking for someone who stood out and whose behaviour was obviously unnatural.

      I was serously convinced by Tumblety as a suspect when I read The Lodger in the mid 90s. Despite his homosexual tendencies, I felt he presented other characteristics that pointed to him being a likely contender such as his habit of collecting female organs (and I had to ask myself WHY? I don't think it was just because he fancied himself as a doctor) and his behaviour towards women in general. The only thing that made me doubt him was his age and the fact that deep down, I have always thought the murderer was a local man that knew the area.

      I also totally agree with those who feel the police may have been more interested in his political activities and his possible role as a Fenian activist.

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      Grey Hunter7th October 2007, 10:34 AM
      I have always thought the murderer was a local man that knew the area.



      Yes, many of us probably have long-standing ideas as to the nature of the murderer that are, maybe, never dislodged from the subconscious and tend to influence our thinking always.

      As for knowing the area, well take Tumblety for instance, he had been coming to London for years and "...I used to go about the city a great deal until every part of it became familiar to me...I happened to be there when these Whitechapel murders attracted the attention of the whole world, and, in company with thousands of other people, I went down to the Whitechapel district. I was not dressed in a way to attract attention..."

      A local knowledge of the area in order to commit the murders is a bit of a fallacy actually. After just two visits back in the '60s I could find my way around the whole area, and the murder sites, with no difficulty.

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      Ben7th October 2007, 01:52 PM
      The problem many of us have with the idea of Tumblety being "noticed" is not that he'd necessarily "stand out" in the East End in general (anybody can dress down, however conspicuous their appearence might otherwise have been), but that he's completely incompatible with all witness descriptions. Of course, it could be argued that nobody saw the killer, but given the density of the population and the fact that the killer was not the invisible phanton of popular lore, this suggestion doesn't really bear scrutiny.

      Knowledge of the area is a prerequesite for many serial killers, especially those whose crimes are committed within easy reach of eachother. It isn't merely a question of finding suitable murder locations, but knowing the ideal escape routes, and actual crime scene evidence would suggest very strongly that he stuck to the more remote alleys during his retreat from Mitre Square. An "outsider" would have had to contend with possible dead ends etc. There are also indications, especially from Bucks Row and Mitre Square, that the killer may have monitered the police beats.

      The trouble with Tumblety's claim that "every part of (the city) became familiar to me" is that it derives from Tumblety himself and lacks verification. It could easily have been another Tumbletonian boast.

      Best regards,
      Ben

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      cd7th October 2007, 02:41 PM
      Good posts here but still no one seems to be addressing the question I asked in my initial post -- wouldn't you expect Tumblety to be able to come up with an alibi?c.d.

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      PerryMason7th October 2007, 03:00 PM
      Good posts here but still no one seems to be addressing the question I asked in my initial post -- wouldn't you expect Tumblety to be able to come up with an alibi?c.d.

      Hi cd,

      First off, could you account right now for where you were on August 8th at midnight...do you know what day of the week it was. Having a verifable alibi really is not always easy, and not everything either, for example with Pizer, his family accounted for him for a few nights, can we be so sure that wasnt just to cover for him?

      You would think though, that since all the relevant crimes took place after midnight, he might be able to dodge most dates with "I was likely in my room asleep at that time".

      Other than the suggestion Dr T may have been the Batty Street Lodger, Im not certain any fixed address of his in London at the time has been found or published, but I think the solidity of his alibi would depend on what his arangements were, coming and going. Did he pass through a lobby to go out at night, if he did, or did he slip down a staircase in a lodging house and have free rein as far as leaving/entering late.

      I think one thing Grey said last post though is very germaine, no evidence existed to directly link any suspect to the crimes. So even if he couldnt account for the dates, what could they do? Hold him a while, book him on suspicion also to keep him in town and buy time to see if there is some dirt on him probably regarding the murders, but he thought better than to wait until they had something, or he even needed an alibi.

      My best regards.

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      cd7th October 2007, 04:17 PM
      Hi Michael,Tumblety wouldn't have to recall his every evening in London. All Tumblety would have to do would be to come up for an air-tight alibi for one of the murders. That would go a long way in dispelling suspicion. Remember that the murders occurred on weekends. That would certainly help him to recall where he was. I am just trying to link this to his personality. I see him as a social whirlwind. Dinner parties, late night card games, holding court in pubs and clubs, etc. Someplace where he is the center of attention and there are a lot of people who could vouch for his presence there. I would think that he could come up with at least one, but maybe for some reason he kept a low profile while there. However, low profile and Tumblety just don't seem to go together.c.d.

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      Jamie D8th October 2007, 08:58 PM
      Tumblety was 55 at the time of the Ripper murders in Whitechapel. One would think that his age would constitute an alibi.

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