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Albert Backert at the Frances Coles inquest and a sighting

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  • Albert Backert at the Frances Coles inquest and a sighting

    It is well known that Backert tried to get onto the Coles jury and had an altercation with the Coroner. This is from the Cast of Thousands book:
    16 February 1891

    Backert was involved in an altercation with the Coroner at the inquest on Frances Coles. Backert volunteered to sit on the jury but Wynne Baxter refused this offer.

    Times (London)
    On the names of the jurymen summoned being called out by the Coroner's officer, it was found that only eight answered, the remainder of those present being substitutes. Some of the latter were accepted, but when Mr. Backert, the chairman of the so called Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, offered himself as a substitute in place of a Mr. Fielder, the Coroner declined to allow him to serve.
    Mr. Backert: Why?
    The Coroner: Because I decline.
    Mr. Backert: You decline simply because I happen to be chairman of the Vigilance Committee and you think I shall fully investigate this matter. I have a right to be on the jury.
    The Coroner: I have decided you are not to serve on this jury.
    Mr. Backert: Yes - because you know I shall inquire into this case.
    The Coroner: You have already been told I shall decline to accept you.
    Mr. Backert (walking to the back of the court): You will hear more of this.
    The jury, having been sworn, proceeded to view the body. On their return, Mr. Backert, addressing the Coroner, said, "It was only after you heard who I was that you would not allow me to serve on the jury."
    The Coroner: If you do not keep quiet I will have you ejected from the room.

    An article I found today would explain why Backert had been so insistent on being on the Coles jury. Backert claimed to have had not one but two sightings of Coles with a man shortly before she was killed, and one of them was right outside his own house in Newnham Street!
    The article reads as follows:

    Birmingham Daily Post
    16 February 1891

    Mr Albert Backert, writing on Saturday from 13 Newnham Street, Whitechapel, says:-
    The woman who has been murdered was seen by a friend and myself last night at a quarter past twelve, outside Leman Street Railway Station, speaking to a man, and when I arrived home (only a few yards from the scene of the murder), it being then five minutes past one, the same woman was talking to a man opposite my house. I went inside, and later I heard some loud talking. I looked out of the window, and heard the man say, "Well, you won't come home with me?" She made some reply which I did not understand. He then said, "If you don't you will never go home with another man." They then walked off in the direction of the arches in Chambers Street. I have been called upon to serve on the jury tomorrow afternoon, and it is my intention to enquire into this case. If evidence is brought forward which can prove that it has been committed by the late Whitechapel fiend, I shall at once reform the Vigilance Committee, and appeal to the public for aid.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Chris Scott; 09-04-2008, 01:04 AM.

  • #2
    If there were any truth in Backert's claims as outlined in the article above surely he would have mentioned this to the Coroner - but then he would have been a witness, not a juror.


    • #3
      Backert sounds like he was more of an hinderance than any help!
      Regards Mike


      • #4
        Hi Mike
        Agreed but this sighting of Coles not once but twice, one of them outside his own house, is stretching credibility, even for Albert!
        Does any one know how far it was from Newnham Street to Swallow Gardens, as Backert claims it was very close ("only a few yards from the scene of the murder")?


        • #5
          About 40 yards directly to the north according to my map. Newnham St. is between Mansell and Leman Streets. It must be remembered that Bachert also injected himself into the Eddowes murder with this story of meeting a mysterious man inside the pub of the Three Nuns Hotel on the night of the murder. These two stories of seeing suspicious men with Coles and Eddowes should make Backert's accounts untrustworthy.
          Last edited by Scott Nelson; 09-04-2008, 05:40 PM.


          • #6
            Hi Chris,

            Im aware of this article and agree with Scott. His statement contracts those who knew Coles by sight and state she was somewhere else.

            Given Bacherts track record I feel its another attempt to get involved with the case. His testimony is similar to Jumbo Fridays.



            Author of Capturing Jack the Ripper.



            • #7
              Hi guys
              many thanks for the comments
              I have just typed up yet another account of Backert's involvement, this time at the time of the McKenzie. This from the Scotsman:
              20 July 1889

              EXCITING SCENE
              The neighbourhood of Castle Alley, the scene of Wednesday's murder, was last night again thrown into wildest excitement by an attempt to take the life of another of the "unfortunates" who have been the victims of the recent tragedies in the East End of London. It was about a quarter to ten when a woman dressed in a red bodice and wearing a white apron but no hat nor shawl was heard to say, "No, I won't," to a man, apparently a sailor, who was standing with her near Aldgate East Station. The pair were evidently strangers, and had not stood long at the corner when the woman raised the cry "Murder!" and "Jack the Ripper!" Excited inhabitants rushed to the spot, and saw a man with a long knife in one hand, while he held the woman's hair with the other, and was attacking her with the weapon. Albert Brackert (sic), a member of the Vigilance committee, with comrades and others, immediately closed with the woman's assailant; but it was not until after a deadly struggle that the weapon was wrenched from his grasp. The woman, although wounded, took the opportunity of escaping while the struggle with her assailant was in progress. The man struggled determinedly for his liberty, but by this time a large number of police, together with a crowd of about 800 people had assembled, and with the wildest yells they endeavoured to lynch the prisoner, who, cut and bleeding profusely, was conveyed to Commercial Street Police Station. A large body of police had to escort him, so determined and dangerous were the mob. In reply to the charge, the prisoner said he was a sailor, and arrived from South Shields about a week ago. He did not know where he was on the morning of Wednesday last, and did not know where he had stayed. The alleged woman tried to rob him. Another knife, together with the sailor's dicharge, was found on the prisoner.


              • #8
                Sailor - South Shields - Knife - Jack the Ripper - It's gotta be Sickert
                Regards Mike


                • #9
                  I've marked on this map Albert Bachert's address at 13 Newnman Street and Swallow Gardens.

                  Click image for larger version

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                  • #10
                    Hi Rob
                    Many thanks indeed for that - very useful
                    I'd hardly describe that distance as "only a few yards"!

                    here is yet another example of Albert's involvement:

                    20 September 1889

                    THE WHITECHAPEL MURDERS
                    The chairman of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, Mr Albert Backert, stated yesterday that the police at Leman Street Station have received a letter stating that it has been ascertained that a tall, strong woman has for some time been working at different slaughter houses attired as a man. Searching inquiries were yesterday morning made at the slaughter houses in Aldgate and Whitechapel by the police. It is presumed (says a press agency) that this has something to do with the recent Whitechapel murders, and it has given rise to a theory that the victims may have been murdered by the hands of a woman. It is remarked that in each case there is no evidence of a man being seen in the vicinity at the time of the murder.


                    • #11
                      Regarding the July 1889 sailor incident, In other versions of the story Bachert said he was stood at the corner of Goulston and Wentworth Street when he saw the woman with the sailor, he says they were later opposite a butcher's shop (Woods) near Aldgate East station when the attack happened.

                      Bachert appears in about 35 different press stories between 88 and 93, most of them connected to the various Ripper murders and incidents, some to his political career and others to his drunkeness, amongst them one incident in East India Dock Road and one in Aldgate High Street in a butcher's shop.

                      A very odd man.


                      • #12
                        A very odd man indeed!
                        He seems to have intruded himself into the case at every available opportunity. And, apart from the Ripper case, he stayed in the headlines for some time after with his varied activities in the mettings of the unemployed.
                        Still, it would be interesting to know what finally happened to him.


                        • #13
                          like I said on another thread, he went to Bristol to stir up trouble amongst the unemployed there and then falls off the planet newswise! I think he emigrated as threatened.
                          Last edited by Debra A; 09-04-2008, 11:40 PM.


                          • #14
                            Ooh - the Bristol connection is a new one on me - could you mail me some brief details pls?
                            The articles Ive found related to his activities in Tower Hill and other parts of London
                            All the best


                            • #15

                              Any idea where?

                              My money is on Canada.



                              Author of Capturing Jack the Ripper.