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Emmanuel Delbast Violina - the facts so far

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  • Emmanuel Delbast Violina - the facts so far

    Emmanuel Delbast Violina

    I have recently been posting some information I found about Violina in another thread (starting at and now that I have obtained the only official document so far found that has information on him, it seemed worthwhile gathering this information together into a thread of its own.

    As background, for those not too conversant with Violina's role in the post Chapman inquiry and specifically the arrest of John Pizer, here is the A-Z entry on him, under the version of his surname that was current in the press.

    Violenia, Emmanuel Delbast.
    Discredited witness. Vagrant, possible boot finisher. Described as half Spaniard, half Bulgarian, of mulatto appearance. In 1888 he had walked from Manchester to London with his wife and two children, hoping to emigrate to Australia. He lodged in Hanbury Street and claimed that in the early morning of Saturday 8 September 1888 he saw a woman quarrelling with two men, one of whom had threatened to knife her. He attended an identity parade at Leman Street Police Station, and unhesitatingly picked out John Pizer as one of the men he had seen, adding that he knew Pizer as "Leather Apron." Pizer expressed immediate astonishment at Violenia's claim to know him.
    Under further questioning, however, police same to mistrust Violenia, who refused to identify Annie Chapman's body. They came to the conclusion that he had pushed himself forward with false or irrelevant information in the morbid hope of seeing the body, and they dismissed him with a severe reprimand. Pizer subsequently told the press that he knew Violenia by sight, and believed him to be a boot finisher, but there was no acquaintance between them which would cause Violenia to know any nickname by which Pizer might be known.
    It has been suggested that Violenia might be Anderson's witness. In the light of police attitudes to him, and the demonstrable fact that Pi9zer was not Anderson's suspect, this seems highly unlikely.

    Here is one contemporary version of his involvement:
    The Times
    12 September 1888
    A half-Spaniard and half-Bulgarian, who gave the name of Emanuel Delbast Violenia, waited on the police with respect to this inquiry. He stated that he, his wife, and two children tramped from Manchester to London with the view of being able to emigrate to Australia, and took up their abode in one of the lodging-houses in Hanbury-street. Early last Saturday morning, walking alone along Hanbury-street, he noticed a man and woman quarrelling in a very excited manner. Violenia distinctly heard the man threaten to kill the woman by sticking a knife into her. They passed on, and Violenia went to his lodging. After the murder he communicated what he had seen to the police. At 1 o'clock yesterday afternoon Sergeant Thicke, assisted by Inspector Canaby, placed about a dozen men, the greater portion of whom were Jews, in the yard of the Leman-street Police-station. Pizer was then brought out and allowed to place himself where he thought proper among the assembled men. He is a man of short stature, with black whiskers and shaven chin. Violenia, who had been accommodated in one of the lower rooms of the station-house, was then brought up into the yard. Having keenly scrutinized all the faces before him, he at once, without any hesitation or doubt whatever, went up to Pizer and identified him as the man whom he heard threaten a woman on the night of the murder. Pizer, who has not been allowed to have communication with any of his friends, was then taken back to the station-house. It was then decided, with the approval of Detective-Inspector Abberline, that Violenia should be taken to the Whitechapel mortuary to see whether he could identify the deceased woman as the one he had seen in Pizer's company early on Saturday morning. The result is not announced, but it is believed that he was unable to identify her. Subsequently, cross-examination so discredited Violenia's evidence that it was wholly distrusted by the police, and Pizer was set at liberty.

    At the time of the Chapman murder, the 8 September, Violina (the correct version of his surname) had only been married seven weeks, having been wed on 22 July 1888 in Lymm, a parish in Warrington, Cheshire, about 15 miles due east of Liverpool. I will be giving details of this event later.

    It is apparent that Violina's plans for emigration to Australia did not materialise, as less than a year after the Chapman murder (on a date prior to 22 June 1889) Violina, who was by this time living in Oxford, was arrested and charged with indecent assault on three young girls. We learn of this in two stages from press reports. Whilst on remand, but prior to his trial, Violina was attacked and assaulted by another prisoner, one Charles Atkinson. This event was reported as follows:
    Jackson's Oxford Journal
    22 June 1889


    At the close of the Bullingden Petty Sessions, at the County Hall, on Saturday last, an application of a very unusual character came before the Magistrates. It was made by Mr John Pullan, the Chief Warder in charge of the Prison (who has succeeded Colonel Isaacson as Governor, he having been transferred to Reading Gaol), and was for the issue of a warrant against a prisoner named Charles Atkinson, who was on committal for trial at the Assizes on a charge of burglary in the North of Oxford. for assaulting another prisoner, Emanuel Dalbast Violina, also on committal to the Assizes on charges of assaults on children. Mr Pullan stated that on the morning of the 12th inst., while they were at exercise, Atkinson threw the lid of a cistern at Violina, and he followed that up by wrenching an iron bar out of the wall, with which he struck at Violina. The latter put up his arm, but the bar struck him on the side of the forehead. Fortunately the man was not seriously injured, but the instrument was of such a character that but for his arm the blow might have killed him.
    Sir G K Rickards observed that the bar must have been imperfectly fixed in the wall.
    Mr Pullan said the stonework had fallen away, and Atkinson wrenched the bar out, and after the assault he was secured and taken to his cell. The prison doctor had seen Violina, and had stated that the assault was not serious, but that it might have been. He asked for a warrant to issue, which would not be executed unless Atkinson was acquitted at the Assizes.
    The warrant was issued.

    Details of the trial itself give us a great deal of alleged information about Violina, including the fact that claimed to have been in the UK for 18 years and to have 18 children:
    Jackson's Oxford Journal
    29 June 1889


    Emanuel Dalbast Violina, hair dresser, 53 Cowley Road, was indicted for having carnal knowledge of Annie Elizabeth Robinson, 11 Caroline Street, a girl above 13 and under 16 years of age, on the 4th April he was further indicted for indecently assaulting on the 15th of April, the 17th of April, and the 1st of May, three young girls, named Agnes Ellen Strange, of 55 Henley Street, Fanny Robinson, of Caroline Street, and Mary Roberts, of 34 Princes Street, Cowley Road.
    Mr Sim, who prosecuted, said the prisoner was charged under the Criminal Law Amendment Act with the offence against Annie Robinson. She went into the prisoner's employ on the 4th of April, and on the night of that day she went to bed with the baby, acting under the prisoner's orders. He was married, but at that time his wife was from home. Later on the prisoner came to bed, and the assault complained of was committed. The prisoner's conduct towards the other girls having been talked about, Robinson told her parents of what had occurred, and the prisoner was apprehended. The prisoner's mode of proceeding with the other children was to induce them to enter his shop, and he there behaved improperly to them, either promising or giving them small presents, and telling them not to tell their parents. It would be proved that a boy named Kemp, whom the prisoner employed on his premises, was sent out on some trifling pretence or another at the times when the girls were in the shop.
    The girl Annie Robinson having given her evidence, His Lordship told the prisoner that it was at his option to go into the witness box himself hereafter, and make his statement, and he would have to be cross examined upon it.
    The evidence of Dr Jenkins was to the effect that the girl's statement was consistent with truth.
    The girls, Strange, Roberts, and Fanny Robinson deposed to the occurrences as regarded themselves, and were subjected to a sharp cross examination by the prisoner.
    In defence, the prisoner said he wished Sarah Hamilton (his sister in law) and his son Arthur, aged 11, to be called; the officer shouted their names in the Hall, but no answer was given in either case. The prisoner then elected to go into the witness box, and on being sworn, he said, with reference to the girl Annie Robinson, that "after family prayer," she went to bed, and he gave a total denial to her statement, and called God as a solemn witness to the truth of what he said, and asserted that he could say it if he stood then on the scaffold to die. He admitted having played with Fanny Robinson and Strange by tying towels round their legs, but he denied before God that he had ever acted improperly with them or the other girl, and that he swore before the Almighty in the Court of Her Majesty the Queen.
    In cross examination, he said his wife would not bring his son Arthur to the Court because of his stuttering. He had gone about preaching the Word of God, and he could not give any reason for the girls having made the charges against him that they had. He was the father of eighteen children, twelve of whom were girls, and the attraction for both boys and girls was that he was a "dark man,"
    Asked if he had any further observation to make, the prisoner began by saying that he had had a very rovish and wild life, but he was promptly stopped by His Lordship, whom he informed that he had been for about eighteen years in England, and had travelled to and from South Africa.
    His Lordship, in summing up, said if any of the cases stood alone, the jury might well feel themselves in a greater difficulty than they did with the number of cases alleged against the prisoner, but they must feel perfectly satisfied before they could find him guilty of all or any one of the charges.
    The jury found the prisoner not guilty of having carnal knowledge of Annie Robinson, but convicted him of indecently assaulting her and the other three girls.
    His Lordship deferred passing sentence until Wednesday.

    I have not yet found a press report of the sentencing, but we learn this from the Criminal Register for Oxford:
    County of Oxford
    Return of all Persons committed, or bailed to appear fro Trial, or Indicted at the Assizes held at Oxford on the 24th day of June, 1889, showing the nature of their Offences and the result of the Proceedings.
    Names: Emanuel Dalbast Violina
    Offences: Indecent Assault
    Sentenced (Imprisonment) 14 calendar months

    The only official document on which Violina is featured which I have so far traced is his marriage certificate from July 1888. He married Margaret Jane Hamilton and I have now received the certificate. Personally, the two main surprises for me were Violina's age and the difference in age between him and his new wife. Violina is listed as a widower - whether he had the alleged 18 children by his former wife is not clear. The details are as follows:

    Marriage Solemnized at the Parish Church in the Parish of Lymm in the County of Chester.
    When Married: July 22 1888
    Name and surname: EMMANUEL DELBAST VIOLINA
    Age: 63
    Condition: Widower
    Rank or profession: Labourer
    Residence at time of Marriage: Lymm
    Father's name: Jacob Emmanuel Delbast Violina
    Profession of Father: Jeweller
    Name and surname: Margaret Jane Hamilton
    Age : 21
    Condition: Spinster
    Residence at time of Marriage: Lymm
    Father's name: John Hamilton
    Profession of Father: Labourer

    Edward Roderick and Alice Simpson

    There are still many loose ends:
    What happened to Violina after his release circa September 1890? Did he pursue his avowed aim of going to Australia and if so did his young wife go with him?
    Were any of his children born in the UK and if so under what name? If his statement is correct that he had, at the time of his trial, been in the UK for 18 years, he would have been about 46 when he came here so a number of his alleged 18 children could well have been fathered in his native land, wherever that was.
    The only child for whom we have any details is the son mentioned at his trial, Arthur, aged 11, who stuttered. I am looking for any birth but there is nothing under the name Violina.
    So, we know a good deal more than we did, but there is till more out there to be found!
    Chris Scott

  • #2
    Here is the certificate~:
    Attached Files


    • #3
      Thanks for posting the details of Violina's marriage certificate. It's useful to have some more concrete information about ages, and the details of his father's name and occupation are interesting.


      • #4
        Excellent work, Chris. Little episodes like Violina should not be forgotten about. And, like Chris P says, to learn that his age was 63 in 1888 is helpful. A degenerate he might have been, but it's very doubtful he was the Ripper. However, does anyone have more detailed press reports about his alleged witness account in Hanbury Street? That would be most helpful.

        Yours truly,

        Tom Wescott


        • #5
          The only other bits I have in my notes are this from the Evening Standard of 12 September:
          The manner of this man, who is, apparently, of Spanish blood, and displays a blue ribbon on his coat, did not inspire much confidence in his veracity, and he was severely cross examined by a sort of informal tribunal, consisting of experienced detective officers. The witness added to his first statement that he not only saw the prisoner in Hanbury street on the day of the murder, but that he actually took him by the collar when he was about to strike the woman. The man first volunteered his statement on Monday, and he subsequently displayed anxiety to view the remains of Mrs. Chapman, which, however, was not permitted.

          And this from the Star of 11 September:
          A middle-aged man, with a face of negro cast, but not black ...

          Incidentally, it looks rather as though he signed his name "Emanuele" on the certificate.


          • #6
            A short account I found today of Violina being charged:

            Jackson's Oxford Journal
            18 May 1889

            OXFORD CITY POLICE COURT, Friday.
            Present: The Mayor (Mr. W. Gray), Ald. Underhill and Sheard and Justices Brain, Cross, Hawkins and F Ryman-Hall.
            Emanuel Dalbast Violina, a man of colour, hairdresser, 53 Cowley Road, was charged on warrant with indecently assaulting two children, named Nellie Strange and Mary Roberts, and was remanded till Tuesday, bail being allowed, himself in 100 and two sureties of 50 each.


            • #7
              Hello Chris,

              There is a possibility here, re Margaret Hamilton. 18812 census, the only Margaret Hamilton that doesn't live in Scotland or Ireland that "fits" the near location and age.

              James HAMILTON Head M Male 47 Liverpool, Lancashire, England Grocer
              Elizabeth HAMILTON Wife M Female 42 Liverpool, Lancashire, England
              John N.B. HAMILTON Son U Male 15 Liverpool, Lancashire, England Shop Boy
              Margaret H. HAMILTON Daur U Female 13 Liverpool, Lancashire, England Scholar
              James W. HAMILTON Son Male 11 Liverpool, Lancashire, England Scholar
              Sarah M. HAMILTON Daur Female 8 Liverpool, Lancashire, England Scholar

              Source Information:
              Dwelling 1 Reynolds St
              Census Place Everton, Lancashire, England

              Also this:-
              Births Jun 1868
              HAMILTON Margaret Jane Ashton 8d 418

              best wishes


              *edit* I have been looking at all Manuel Del Baste and Baste last names, there are quite a few in Spain. But nothing concrete, Im afraid
              Last edited by Phil Carter; 02-17-2010, 11:05 PM.
              Chelsea FC. TRUE BLUE. 💙

              Justice for the 96 = achieved
              Accountability? ....


              • #8
                Hi Phil
                Thanks for the message
                Two quick points: The Margaret we are looking for is Margaret J Hamilton and her father's name was John


                • #9
                  Hello Chris,

                  Thanks for the message...I think the EDIT note I sat in could be the one though as Margaret Jane, birth. Ashton is near Manchester, is it not?

                  Looking at that certificate, it looks like Irene, not Jane?

                  If one looks at the way the "a"'s are written in Hamilton, Margaret and elsewhere, the "Jane" looks like an Irene to me.

                  I could be wrong though.

                  best wishes

                  Chelsea FC. TRUE BLUE. 💙

                  Justice for the 96 = achieved
                  Accountability? ....


                  • #10
                    Hi Phil
                    Below are the two names at the full size as scanned - I think it is Jane but would value your thoughts
                    Attached Files


                    • #11
                      Hello Chris,
                      You are correct.
                      Indeed, having blown up your last posting 400%, Iam in total agreement

                      Thanks for your posting and guidance. Much valued.

                      best wishes

                      Chelsea FC. TRUE BLUE. 💙

                      Justice for the 96 = achieved
                      Accountability? ....


                      • #12
                        Excellent work, Chris. And it's definitely 'Jane'. Compare the jays in Jacob and John on the marriage certificate.


                        Garry Wroe.


                        • #13
                          With regard to Violina's wife:

                          Margaret Jane Hamilton
                          Listed as aged 21 in July 1888

                          1868 Quarter 2
                          Ashton 8d 418

                          1868 Quarter 4
                          West Derby 8b 326

                          Christening records:
                          Margaret Hamilton
                          21 March 1867

                          Margaret Jane Hamilton
                          28 June 1868
                          Ashton under Lyme

                          The marriage certificate gives us two pieces of alleged information about Margaret Hamilton, apart from her name - her age and her father's name. If her age is correct then she would have been born in 1867 (if she had already had her 21st birthday in 1888 by the time she married) or 1866 (if her 21st fell after her marriage). So we would expect her to appear under her maiden name in the census of 1871 and 1881, possibly listed as living with her father John and her mother, name currently unknown.
                          In 1871 she would have been about 4 or 5 years of age and 14 or 15 in 1881.
                          However, the only entries anywhere near this are:
                          Margaret Hamilton aged 7 living in Chester le Street, Durham. Parents John and Elizabeth
                          Margaret Hamilton aged 14 born Fladbury, Worcestershire. Parents John and Margaret S. This girl was born in Scotland.


                          • #14

                            I also had a look for Margaret in the census yesterday, without much success.

                            There is also in 1871 a Margret Hamilton, born Manchester, aged 4, with father John Hamilton, Foreman Tailor, and his wife Ann, at 61 Park Street, Hulme. In 1881 Margaret Hamilton, born Manchester, aged 14, is at 1 Ogden Street, Hulme, with her widowed mother Ann.

                            She would fit reasonably well, but there is no sister Sarah and I can't see a matching birth entry for Margaret _J_ Hamilton. (Also I don't know why she would have described her father as a labourer if he had been a "Foreman Tailor".)

                            There are also quite a few possibilities in the Scottish censuses.

                            The Margaret Jane Hamilton born in 1868 at Ashton under Lyne looks like a good possibility, but doesn't appear to show up in later census returns. I see you have found a baptism for her; I assume your source didn't name her parents.


                            • #15
                              Very good point Chris - I had completely forgotten the "Sarah Hamilton" mentioned in the trial report as the wife's sister
                              many thanks for the reminder
                              Chris S