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Let´s talk about that identification again

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  • Jonathan
    It is somewhat easier to check on the where about of a suspect that they were told is dead when he isn’t. Asking for verification from the institution the suspect was an inmate in for example. Asking to see the death certificate for example. Questioning the information who supposedly gave the wrong information.
    What are we to believe?
    That a memo crossed Swanson’s death from someone or another (I can’t think who) saying (incorrectly) ‘Kosminsky is dead’ and he just breathed a sigh of relief and told Anderson?
    Or Macnaghten popped into his office one day band said, by the way, ‘Kosminsky is dead so no need to bother about the Ripper case anymore.’
    And Swanson just said:
    ‘OK, case closed.’

    Comment


    • Garry Wroe:

      "What I mean, Fish, when saying that investigators believed Schwartz had seen something of significance is that Schwartz witnessed an assault perpetrated on a woman who within fifteen minutes would be found murdered just feet away. Whether the assault and murder were perpetrated by the same person is open to question. Even if not, though, the assault remained a significant event in the last minutes of Stride’s life."

      I find it very hard to quibble with that, Garry. Think I´m going to have to agree!

      "Ultimately, Fish, despite the talk of the mysterious Mitre Square PC, the issue of Anderson’s witness boils down to one of two men – Lawende or Schwartz."

      As long as you remember that we are fishing in a barrel in which we can´t tell how the original quantity of fish looked, I agree. Just like I´ve said, I am anything but satisfied that the witness must be one of these two men. We don´t know which murder the witness attached to, and we don´t have the full information pertaining to ANY of the murders.

      "Of the two only Schwartz saw violent or menacing behaviour inflicted upon what was thought to have been a Ripper victim. Hence only Schwartz’s testimony would have stood a chance of securing a conviction in its own right."

      ... and ONLY if there was more involved and witnessed about than the parts we know of. Causing somebody to fall to the ground, somebody who apparently survived that fall by a healthy margin, is not and will never be a hanging offense. No court in any enlightened country would have anything worse to say to the perpetrator than "Shame on you!".
      Which is - of course - why I say that NEITHER Schwartz nor Lawende fits the bill. It all becomes shoehorning when we try to hang either of their sighted suspects, and that should not necessarily have us accepting that it MUST have been Lawende or Schwartz who was the witness. To me, we should instead either accept that the description of the ID process and the details pertaining to it are false, or we have the wrong witness.


      "Some have expressed scepticism over Swanson’s comments regarding this latter issue, maintaining that the Schwartz sighting could never have brought about a guilty verdict. I fear, however, that late-Victorian jurisprudence has been confused with its modern and far more forensic counterpart. In Swanson’s day a man could be convicted on a combination of bad character and highly circumstantial evidence."

      On another thread a new book is being discussed, describing all the London murders of 1888. Edward described that book as a good source to show how totally flimsy cases were brought to court, with no evidence at all, more or less.
      That tells me that you have a point here.
      On the other hand, I think these cases were thrown out of court, as I understand it.
      And that tells me that maybe your point is not THAT good.

      There will always be miscarriages of justice, of course!


      "The Schwartz sighting coupled with Stride’s likely time of death might have proved sufficient to convince a jury that these two events were part of a single sequence, one that commenced with a physical assault and ended in murder."

      But if the defence said "This is not true, mr Knickerbocker DID speak to the murdered woman, but he left Berner Street immediately after and may well have been at home in Ellen Street when the woman died - how would the prosecution go about disproving this?
      There would have to be more - a lot more - to secure a conviction, even in Victorian England.

      Let´s assume that BS man had confessed to the murder to a relative. Then maybe a checkout, establishing that he WAS in Berner Street at the relevant time could, in combination, do the trick. I don´t know. But we are way out in Conjectureland here. And we both know that many people confessed to the murders without being the murderer back then. BS man could be of that ilk too. And if so, even if he WAS coupled to Berner Street at the correct remove in time, it would not be legally correct to convict him.

      Plus, of course, at the end of the day, Anderson and Swanson make it very clear that their man (or men) would not hold up legally to stand trial! Taken together, these things point a finger of warning towards making any rash decisions at all in combination with the infamous Seaside Home ID process.


      "By this time, of course, the jury would have been predisposed to believe the worst of Kosminski, having heard evidence relating to his masturbatory habits, hatred of women and his alleged propensity toward violence."

      The prosecution always does what it can, yes. But these details have nothing to do with building a watertight case for a man being the Ripper. Nothing at all.

      "Irrespective of what you or I may think about the matter, Swanson certainly believed that the evidence was there to convict Kosminski, and this must weigh heavily in the balance given what I assume was Swanson’s vast experience in preparing cases for trial."

      Swanson also believed that Kosminski died early on. So Swanson could be right or wrong on factual matters. Admittedly, if it WAS Swansons take on things (I think he may well have only reiterated Andersons sentiments), then he would have made a weighing of the evidence.
      But if it was there, factually, then why not breathe a word of it in the marginalia? I know that if I wanted to baffle those who come after me, I would have made pretty damn sure that I did not miss out on the most crucial point. But Swanson did - which is why I think that he was simply telling us why Anderson reasoned the way he did - and the "evidence" was masturbation, a dislike of women ( homosexuality, a form of "sexual insanity"?) and a knife having been wielded at some stage when his sister was around.


      "Again, Fish, my suspicion that the Seaside Home identification was a covert operation is not evidentially based, so I’m in no position to argue with your logic. My feeling, however, is that the Pizer affair and the negative publicity that ensued from it may have influenced police thinking where Kosminski was concerned. I also think that Anderson’s remarks make it pretty clear that Kosminski’s immediate family were becoming protective where Aaron was concerned, perhaps fearing that Aaron would be fitted up or that his identification as a Ripper suspect could have serious ramifications for Aaron personally and the local Jewish community generally. Thus the Seaside Home venue might have been a compromise aimed to facilitate the identification at a safe location and reassure the Kosminski family that Aaron wouldn’t become the object of a witch-hunt at the hands of the London newspapers. This would explain Anderson’s claim that the murderer was being shielded by his family as well as Swanson’s assertion that Kosminski was sent to the Seaside Home with difficulty. Once more, though, this is no more than speculation on my part, and I'd be happy to evolve my thinking if anyone could come up with a better argument."

      The argument you make is not a bad one by any means - the Jew issue would be a hot potato, to quote Monro (who may well have spoken of the Jewish issue with that wording ...). But I maintain that with every kilometre we could put the ID closer to London, your argument would become even better. With the risk of somebody misunderstanding my pun, I will say your suggestion is in this context far out ...

      In another post of mine, I hinted at the possibility that the ID never took place, but was just something Anderson claimed to justify his assertions that a man to whom nothing but moral proof à la Anderson pertained was the Ripper.
      In such a case, I would say the longer from London a fake ID was said to have taken place, the more reason to hope that none of the competing police officials of the capital would be able to factually question it.

      But that´s ME conjecturing, of course, and I will readily admit that too.


      "Good thread, by the way. The best I've seen on Casebook for some time."

      Thanks, Garry - yes it has been a productive, multifacetted and interesting thread to follow, courtesy of all the different and knowledgeable people who have visited it and left contributions of their own.
      Like you, for instance!

      The best,
      Fisherman
      Last edited by Fisherman; 02-27-2013, 11:45 AM.

      Comment


      • You are right Fisherman, flimsy cases were brought but usually thrown out quickly. Without going into it in detail I don't think it can be claimed the Lipski case was flimsy.

        I don't think the ID happened in the way described but there is no reason why the supposed witness should be Schwartz or Lawende.
        A witness who did not appear at an Inquest or in the papers and whose police file is missing could easily have come forward.
        A lot of nonsense is spoken of about the supposed unreliability of witnesses who were not called at the inquests.
        Most inquests were held very quickly after the murder so limiting the opportunity of witnesses in coming forward. Nothing very much can be read into the reliability of a slow or reluctant witness.
        But again, my view of the whole Seaside Home ID is that it is several events, suspects and witnesses muddled together, the muddle caused by information overload.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Wickerman View Post
          No Abby I don't.
          Once in the system why does it matter which cell he spends eternity in?

          I'm not so sure this is a 'they' so much as a 'he'.
          It is my contention that this was Anderson's suspect, Swanson was largely non-committal on the subject.
          We already see Anderson was guided by a vein of 'moral certainty', I think this ran counter to Swanson's more 'by-the-book' approach.

          Swanson's closing remark, if you notice was:
          "Kosminski was the suspect"
          This is Swanson's conscience speaking, in other words, he was not convinced.

          Regards, Jon S.
          Hi Wick
          Once in the system why does it matter which cell he spends eternity in?
          Oh I think it would matter. I would want him safely locked in hell as a result of a conviction in court and a hanging. barring that, if the next best option was in an asylum, where one can be released or escape, I would sure as heck make sure I kept track of him and that he stayed there.

          I'm not so sure this is a 'they' so much as a 'he'.
          It is my contention that this was Anderson's suspect, Swanson was largely non-committal on the subject.
          I disagree-I think it was a "they". Swanson twice says that the suspect "knew he was identified". How can someone say that if they themselves dont think it? Also, he says "murderer" at one point and also says that afterwards no other murder took place. To me at least, while obviously not as bold as Andersons claim, Swanson is tacitly agreeing with his boss.
          "Is all that we see or seem
          but a dream within a dream?"

          -Edgar Allan Poe


          "...the man and the peaked cap he is said to have worn
          quite tallies with the descriptions I got of him."

          -Frederick G. Abberline

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Lechmere View Post
            Wickerman
            "Once in the system why does it matter which cell he spends eternity in?"

            This is unrealistic. Inmates got released if they got better, they got transferred to more relaxed institutions, they escaped.

            Taking your view that it was really Anderson who believed this stuff about 'Kosminski' then he would have been very negligent to not keep reliable track of the worst criminal in the Empire.
            What of Swanson? I guess that by your theory he was aware of Anderson's theory but less enthusiastic or sure about it. Nevertheless it would have been his duty to ensure he knew the fate of this inmate, particularly if he was 'in charge' of the investigation.
            Absolutely.
            "Is all that we see or seem
            but a dream within a dream?"

            -Edgar Allan Poe


            "...the man and the peaked cap he is said to have worn
            quite tallies with the descriptions I got of him."

            -Frederick G. Abberline

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Jonathan H View Post
              How are Anderson (and Swanson) supposed to keep track of a deceased suspect if they believe he's deceased?
              Um. I dont know... maybe make sure he actually is deceased?
              "Is all that we see or seem
              but a dream within a dream?"

              -Edgar Allan Poe


              "...the man and the peaked cap he is said to have worn
              quite tallies with the descriptions I got of him."

              -Frederick G. Abberline

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Garry Wroe View Post
                What I mean, Fish, when saying that investigators believed Schwartz had seen something of significance is that Schwartz witnessed an assault perpetrated on a woman who within fifteen minutes would be found murdered just feet away. Whether the assault and murder were perpetrated by the same person is open to question. Even if not, though, the assault remained a significant event in the last minutes of Stride’s life.

                Ultimately, Fish, despite the talk of the mysterious Mitre Square PC, the issue of Anderson’s witness boils down to one of two men – Lawende or Schwartz. Of the two only Schwartz saw violent or menacing behaviour inflicted upon what was thought to have been a Ripper victim. Hence only Schwartz’s testimony would have stood a chance of securing a conviction in its own right.

                Some have expressed scepticism over Swanson’s comments regarding this latter issue, maintaining that the Schwartz sighting could never have brought about a guilty verdict. I fear, however, that late-Victorian jurisprudence has been confused with its modern and far more forensic counterpart. In Swanson’s day a man could be convicted on a combination of bad character and highly circumstantial evidence. The Lipski case is illuminating in this context, as are the relatively recent convictions of Tim Evans and Derek Bentley. Thus the police didn’t need to catch the killer in the act to secure a conviction. The Schwartz sighting coupled with Stride’s likely time of death might have proved sufficient to convince a jury that these two events were part of a single sequence, one that commenced with a physical assault and ended in murder. By this time, of course, the jury would have been predisposed to believe the worst of Kosminski, having heard evidence relating to his masturbatory habits, hatred of women and his alleged propensity toward violence. Irrespective of what you or I may think about the matter, Swanson certainly believed that the evidence was there to convict Kosminski, and this must weigh heavily in the balance given what I assume was Swanson’s vast experience in preparing cases for trial.

                Again, Fish, my suspicion that the Seaside Home identification was a covert operation is not evidentially based, so I’m in no position to argue with your logic. My feeling, however, is that the Pizer affair and the negative publicity that ensued from it may have influenced police thinking where Kosminski was concerned. I also think that Anderson’s remarks make it pretty clear that Kosminski’s immediate family were becoming protective where Aaron was concerned, perhaps fearing that Aaron would be fitted up or that his identification as a Ripper suspect could have serious ramifications for Aaron personally and the local Jewish community generally. Thus the Seaside Home venue might have been a compromise aimed to facilitate the identification at a safe location and reassure the Kosminski family that Aaron wouldn’t become the object of a witch-hunt at the hands of the London newspapers. This would explain Anderson’s claim that the murderer was being shielded by his family as well as Swanson’s assertion that Kosminski was sent to the Seaside Home with difficulty. Once more, though, this is no more than speculation on my part, and I'd be happy to evolve my thinking if anyone could come up with a better argument.

                Good thread, by the way. The best I've seen on Casebook for some time.
                Great post Garry

                Lawende or Schwartz?
                I lean towrds Lawende as apparently they used him again as a witness, he was respectable, was English and spoke the language.
                But you make a good valid argument for Scwartz as the witness, and it could very well have been him.

                In terms the ID. I think the seaside home "difficulty" has, as you say, more to do with the police being wary because of the whole Pizer/leather apron fiasco(remember Pizer was suing for libel at the time also) than it does with AK's family being protective of him. By this point he had probably not only become such a burden to his family but perhaps a threat as well (threatening the life of his sister) that they probably wouldn't mind if the ID took place in Ireland. I cant help but think that it was actually his family that were the catalyst for bringing AK to the attention of police and/or Drs initially as a way to get rid of him. And if it was in any way the family wanting to protect Kosminsky-I would say it was more the family name than Aaron!

                The difficult Seaside home ID probably had more to do with finagling him past the doctors and the press and the logistics involved.
                "Is all that we see or seem
                but a dream within a dream?"

                -Edgar Allan Poe


                "...the man and the peaked cap he is said to have worn
                quite tallies with the descriptions I got of him."

                -Frederick G. Abberline

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Abby Normal View Post

                  The difficult Seaside home ID probably had more to do with finagling him past the doctors and the press and the logistics involved.
                  Hello Abby

                  These were decorous times. It's very doubtful if the police would have smuggled the suspect past the doctors and the staff. Such an attempted ID would, I believe, have been carried out with the full knowledge and cooperation of those in charge of the home.

                  Best regards

                  Chris
                  Christopher T. George
                  Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conference
                  just held in Baltimore, April 7-8, 2018.
                  For information about RipperCon, go to http://rippercon.com/
                  RipperCon 2018 talks can now be heard at http://www.casebook.org/podcast/

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by ChrisGeorge View Post
                    Hello Abby

                    These were decorous times. It's very doubtful if the police would have smuggled the suspect past the doctors and the staff. Such an attempted ID would, I believe, have been carried out with the full knowledge and cooperation of those in charge of the home.

                    Best regards

                    Chris
                    I imagine the doctors and maybe even non-professional staff knew what was going on, but I doubt the press was informed. The doctors certainly didn't want it getting out that they had Jack the Ripper there. All they needed was for people to try to break in and lynch him, which may or may not have happened, but I think the people who ran the place had genuine cause for concern.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Abby Normal View Post
                      Great post Garry

                      Lawende or Schwartz?
                      I lean towrds Lawende as apparently they used him again as a witness ...
                      ... and he had already unhestitatingly pointed out the Seaside Home suspect as his man the moment he saw him?
                      Abby, if Lawende did just that, the why would they use him to ID Sadler? Why would Lawende agree to try and identify MORE people as the man he saw, when he had already fingered one man?

                      All the best,
                      Fisherman

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
                        These are interesting thoughts, Jon. On really must accept that the primary goal for the police must have been to get the Ripper off the streets, so by and large, you are making a great point, I think.

                        Theorizing that you are correct about the non-existant evidence, would you say that it would be fair to reason that the moral Anderson would want to justify the steps taken in any manner ...? To provide, as it were, the whole story with some sort of morally functioning backup story?
                        Hi Christer.
                        You read me right my friend, the prime concern was, in my opinion, to get him off the streets.

                        We might look at this as not so much a police operation, but a top level police initiative, by a select few. Not too many would have been involved, or even known about it.
                        What we don't know is, what did they tell the family, and were the family even aware of the reason their Aaron was committed?

                        And yes, Anderson does lean on his moral justifications, I think this is another example.
                        Regards, Jon S.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Lechmere View Post
                          Wickerman
                          "Once in the system why does it matter which cell he spends eternity in?"

                          This is unrealistic. Inmates got released if they got better, they got transferred to more relaxed institutions, they escaped.
                          I'm sure you are only thinking of the normal patient, not the most vicious serial killer the world had ever known.

                          If Kosminski had been committed to Colney Hatch because he was suspected as being the Whitechapel murderer, there would have been some special notification on his paperwork for authorization purposes.

                          If this hypothetical scenario is anything close, we might view Kosminski's detention in Colney Hatch as akin to the Man in the Iron Mask. Perhaps little to no interaction with other inmates and absolutely no visitors beyond immediate family.

                          Taking your view that it was really Anderson who believed this stuff about 'Kosminski' then he would have been very negligent to not keep reliable track of the worst criminal in the Empire.
                          People like Anderson move on, they have other important issues to deal with.
                          This is the police, remember, an official who is charged with overlooking asylums, and therefore any 'special inmates' would be a member of the Home Office, not the police.
                          If this occurred today, we might be looking at the Minister of State attached to the Home Office - he would assign someone.

                          IE, once the suspect is committed, it is no longer Anderson's responsibility, in fact no longer the responsibility of the police, or Scotland Yard.
                          Last edited by Wickerman; 02-27-2013, 08:45 PM.
                          Regards, Jon S.

                          Comment


                          • But is that why Kosminski was committed? I mean, his family may have had suspicions, but may not necessarily mentioned them when committing him, and since he apparently had some pretty obvious symptoms, it doesn't sound like there would have been a problem getting him civilly committed without mentioning that he may have been responsible for some notorious murders.

                            ETA: I realize that "civil commitment" is a modern term, but I think people know what I mean-- I'm not sure what the term was then for committing someone absent of criminal charges, just for being in need of supervision, and beyond what the family could handle.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Wickerman View Post
                              Hi Christer.
                              You read me right my friend, the prime concern was, in my opinion, to get him off the streets.

                              We might look at this as not so much a police operation, but a top level police initiative, by a select few. Not too many would have been involved, or even known about it.
                              What we don't know is, what did they tell the family, and were the family even aware of the reason their Aaron was committed?

                              And yes, Anderson does lean on his moral justifications, I think this is another example.
                              As pills go, Jon, this one is a lot nimbler and easier to swallow than the ordinary horse-pill.

                              Your question about whether the family would have been informed or not is an interesting one. If Anderson applied his set of morals here too, it could have been either way, I think; We tell "the truth" since we are morally obliged to do so - or we spare the families´ feelings for the exact same reason.

                              Very interesting reasoning, Jon - thanks for that!

                              The best,
                              Fisherman

                              Comment


                              • I’m not quite sure what the commendations for individual cases that were quite unlike the scope and reach of the Whitechapel Murder investigations prove.
                                Really? Fifteen commendations for outstanding police-work is exceptional in any era. They prove that Swanson was an outstanding police officer. You questioned the competence of Swanson based on conjecture. Stewart took the time and trouble to reply with documentary evidence showing that you were wrong. Swanson was a highly capable police officer. Live with it.
                                "It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins twisting facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts." Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (as Sherlock Holmes).

                                Comment

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