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Yorkshire Ripper hoaxer Wearside Jack drinks himself to death at 63

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  • Yorkshire Ripper hoaxer Wearside Jack drinks himself to death at 63

    The man who hoaxed police into thinking he was the Yorkshire Ripper has died aged 63...


    https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknew...cid=spartandhp
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  • #2
    Originally posted by richardh View Post
    The man who hoaxed police into thinking he was the Yorkshire Ripper has died aged 63...


    https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknew...cid=spartandhp
    A sad story whichever way you look at it.
    Regards

    Herlock



    Chairman of the National Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To The Old Established Theories.

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    • #3
      I'm listening to the latest Rippercast Audio Archive recording posted today by Jon Menges, featuring Paul Feldman at the Cloak & Dagger Club in 1998. At some point, mention is made of a theory that the Maybrick diary might have been hoaxed by the person responsible for the fake Yorkshire Ripper audio tape and letters. I don't for a moment believe that John Humble did write the Maybrick diary (why would he?), but it's a neat coincidence that the recording was posted within 24 hours of Humble's death being announced.
      Kind regards, Sam Flynn

      "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

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      • #4
        Thank you, Richard, for posting this story. It is indeed a sad tale, but also very instructive. It's truly worth reflecting on.

        I was on vacation in England with my wife in June of 1979, and I remember very well all the publicity over "Wearside Jack's" letters and tape.

        The article posted mentioned several matters of interest. For instance, that John Humble "moved to South Shields because it was safer for him here after he got beaten up so badly he ended up in hospital." But it doesn't say if he was beaten up because of who he was, or because he lived in a place where residents get beaten up as a matter of routine!

        Apart from being sad for Sutcliffe's victims and their families (obviously), I hadn't realized it was also sad for ACC George Oldfield, who, as the article pointed out, was driven to early retirement and an early death by his sense of failure. Mind you, I'm a little surprised that Oldfield held on so tightly to the belief that "Wearside Jack" must be the killer. Surely police must receive dozens of hoax letters like that from nutjobs who have nothing to do with the crime in question. We all know there are false confessions too, from cranks with bizarre motives such as gaining notoriety.

        The eminent Home Office pathologist Professor Keith Simpson recalled that when he was summoned to the scene of one murder that had only just occurred, no fewer than three of these cranks had "confessed" to the crime before he had time to reach the police station, a matter of a very few hours at most. That's astounding from one viewpoint alone: how on earth did the public find out about the murder so soon? No Twitter in those days, or even CB radio! Either it was on the BBC, or there was one heck of a grapevine in operation!

        Incidentally that was a case where one public commentator quite unfairly made a snide, ideologically based remark about the failure of police to find the killer. This criticism was completely undeserved because police had in fact pulled all the stops out to find him, and used innovative techniques to do so. It's just sheer bad luck that some murders never have been solved, and probably never will be, despite the enormous effort poured into doing so. What's Casebook about, after all? ;-)

        Regrettably the same cannot be said of the "Yorkshire Ripper" investigation. which left much to be desired. Donald Rumbelow reported a press conference held by police officers searching for the Yorkshire Ripper in which they were asked whether they planned to call in Scotland Yard to help them. One officer brilliantly replied: "Why should we? They haven't caught theirs yet!"

        Rumbelow clearly approved, not only of this officer's wit (as anybody would), but of this decision in itself, on the grounds that bringing in the Yard at this stage might seem tantamount to admitting defeat, with concomitant effects on morale and public confidence in the competence of West Yorkshire police. That's all very well, and I appreciated Rumbelow's viewpoint; but there is a time when it's right to give up personal pride and call for help.

        More manpower alone might have caught Sutcliffe sooner. Apart from the value of "more hands" on the job, the power of fresh minds is invaluable. More and better use should have been made of computers earlier in the investigation. This article on John Humble mentioned that Sutcliffe had been interviewed five times already in June of 1979 (the very month my wife and I were in England) and released. No doubt he was interviewed for different reasons. His car number kept turning up as a regular visitor to the redlight districts of Bradford, Leeds, and Halifax, even as far afield as Sheffield and Manchester. He knew that; that's why he put fake number plates on his car, to avoid being traced, although in the end it was the reason why he was caught, when a police officer checked his plates out and found they didn't belong to his car at all. He was also interviewed because the £5 note in Jean Jordan's handbag was issued to him in his wage packet, and he went back to the site where he'd left her body, probably because he knew it could provide a clue leading back to him. He didn't find it because it was hidden in a "secret compartment" of her purse. No doubt he was interviewed for other reasons, similarly unrelated. Five times????

        That's exactly the kind of thing that hundreds of police officers, all working separately, had very little chance of noticing. Yet it's exactly the kind of thing that computers, working with unparalleled processing power on large databases, were uniquely qualified to flag, certainly as far back as the 1970s. "Why does this guy Sutcliffe keep showing up time and again in all these apparently unrelated investigations? Why did they all seem to 'intersect' on him?" And maybe a few other guys too. I can't pretend to know the details. But those cops could have zeroed in on Sutcliffe far earlier than they did, had they resorted to more innovative techniques using the up-to-date technology of the time.

        It wasn't even just a matter of "more innovative techniques." It was also a matter of "getting stuck in a rut." That's obviously what happened to poor George Oldfield. For whatever reason, he became so "invested" in the idea of Wearside Jack being the perpetrator that he "couldn't let go" of it.

        "Fresh minds"--from Scotland Yard, or wherever--might have disabused him of that fixation. I gather that a team of experts was set up near the end of the Yorkshire Ripper investigation to take just such a "fresh look" at the case, and they came up with some productive ideas that almost certainly would have led them to Sutcliffe quite quickly. The first of these "productive ideas," needless to say, was that based on the evidence available to them at the time, "Wearside Jack" was probably not their Ripper.

        Much the same could apply to the murder of Martha Tabram. It seems that police remained convinced she was killed by the soldier she'd been with earlier that night, drinking along with "Pearly Poll," though they could find no proof of it. It seems unlikely that this soldier, whoever he was, was her killer, since she must have been killed more than two hours after their drinking party broke up. But it was the best lead the police thought they had at the time, so they clung doggedly to it and got stuck in a rut (stuck in a rut, stuck in a rut...) I'm one of those who thinks Martha probably was a victim of the original Ripper. Anyway much the same was true of poor George Oldfield, stuck in his "Wearside Jack" rut for similar reasons. The "fresh look" team got him out of it, but by then it was too late, and Sutcliffe was caught by pure chance before they could put their fresh ideas to work. Had they been deployed earlier, some of Sutcliffe's murders might have been prevented.

        Hopefully authorities do learn from history, and the same mistakes are less likely to be repeated in the future.
        Last edited by Gordon; 08-29-2019, 04:43 AM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Gordon View Post

          Rumbelow clearly approved, not only of this officer's wit (as anybody would), but of this decision in itself, on the grounds that bringing in the Yard at this stage might seem tantamount to admitting defeat, with concomitant effects on morale and public confidence in the competence of West Yorkshire police. That's all very well, and I appreciated Rumbelow's viewpoint; but there is a time when it's right to give up personal pride and call for help.
          .
          It was then and still is an "Old Boys Club" style mentality, us and them. Pride gets in the way. Same in the US where the FBI are called in and they end up working at odds

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