Part 2 - 20 September 1995
BA: Hello again, Bob Azurdia here. And Mike Barrett, the man who two years ago produced what he claims is the diary of Jack the Ripper, alias James Maybrick, a Victorian murder victim, has been attempting to maintain that his claims are still valid and that the diary really is genuine. Heís been moved to protest following a programme in this slot with Stewart Evans and Paul Grainey (sic) who in turn have produced a new book called The Lodger in which they claim that new evidence proves the Ripper was actually an American crack doctor named Frank Tumblety who had relatives living in Widnes and who escaped the police when he jumped bail having been charged with a lesser offence than murder. They say that Mike Barrett is discredited and that he signed a sworn affidavit to the effect that the Ripper diary is a hoax. Mike Barrett in turn says the Ripper diaries have ruined his life causing his divorce and alcoholism and affecting adversely everyone who has been involved with the diaries professionally. Mike, you still, however, state categorically that the diary you possess is genuine?
MB: As far as I know, yes, the point is, you see, going back to the original, when I cracked, I had two years people asking me provenance and when you havenít got the answer and when you are getting the same question asked virtually seven days a week, uh oh, what do you do? You just, in the end you just give up. I felt like carrying a tape round and just putting the tape on when anybody asked me and saying there you are thereís me answer.
BA: But you havenít helped yourself at all by denying and signing denials.
MB: Oh no, I admit, yeah, I admit I havenít helped myself at all because I absolutely got fed up and totally fed up with the diary. I am sick to the diary. Even today. I mean Iím in this studio now. Itís the diary, itís the diary, the diary. Itís seven days a week.
BA: Well it didnít have to be, you could very well have walked completely away from it. Because with all respect you volunteered to come to this studio today.
MB: I volunteered for one reason and one reason alone after listening to your interview last Wednesday. And when I read that I had made a statement, an affidavit stating in the book, The Lodger, that I had claimed that I had written a diary, I knew that statement was totally and utterly false and that was the reason I contacted you.
BA: Yes, but you had signed a statement to the effect that it was a hoax, not necessarily by you yourself.
MB: It was a Daily Post statement.
MB: And that was the only statement Iíve ever signed. Only to the Daily Post. No others whatsoever.
BA: Well the other one you signed apparently in a solicitorís office which you referred to a little earlier but you told me that that was a denial of a denial.
MB: That was the denial of you know of -
BA: Of the Daily Post statement.
MB: Of the Daily Post statement. Yes that was a denial. I was totally drunk at the time.
BA: You see, Iím not, I repeat, questioning your integrity but Ė and you seem an honest, sincere, worthy and at the moment, certainly, sober person Ė but who knows what will happen tomorrow?
MB: Now having said that, at the moment I tend to be a great deal permanently sober. I emphasise that.
BA: Indeed, indeed, indeed, and this is not meant critically but you know you have proved in the past, in the last couple of years, that suddenly you can go back -
MB: I ask anybody, anybody, weíre dealing with the biggest serial killer in history, to step into my shoes. And they all think the moneyís fantastic, itís hardly little, everythingís gone on legal fees, right, Iíve seen the documents. Now having said that Ė
BA: Youíve not made anything?
MB: No, very little, Iíve just paid £11,000 out for legal fees alone. Literally the week before last. Right and that -
BA: Legal fees for what?
MB: Fending off bad publicity, the press and everything else. Thereís tremendous amount of animosity been directed towards me, you know, from Ripperologists I hasten to add who itís never been in their bests interests to say the diary is genuine. Never been. Not all of them. Quite a lot of Ripperologists attack me very viciously.
BA: Do you feel that it is going to take any more turns at all or will your book be republished yet again?
MB: Oh I should imagine it will be republished because there is talk now of a movie.
MB: Oh yes, still talk of a movie, yes.
BA: Because surely the feeling was that it was discredited by that story of yours in the Daily Post?
MB: Well if it was discredited then how come just less than a few weeks ago New Line Cinemaís stepped in and are offering quite a considerable sum of money to be involved?
BA: In the last couple of months?
MB: Itís been negotiated for the last 18 months and that was well before, that was well after the Daily Post, well after the Daily Post, they said theyíre very, very, interested in making a movie. Theyíre talking about Sir Anthony Hopkins playing the part of James Maybrick.
BA: And you believe that thereís -
MB: You have to remember there that as well as making a video which was shot by Paul Feldman, he had his own Ripperologist team, right, thereís a Ripperologist who have never can turn round and say Paul, not one Ripperologist has put a fault in the diary, not the actual diary, not the content of the diary whatsoever. It all comes down to the ink. Not one Ripperologist to this day has turned round and quite categorically said ďThat statement in the diary is false, it couldnít have happenedĒ. Now that is factual. Now that really is factual. Having said that, going back, New Line Cinema, you canít tell me they havenít had their researchers on it. Shirley Harrison. The research teams have been in so many different camps that by now somebody somewhere would have discredited the actual content of the diary.
BA: Yes, except that, of course, as we are well aware, itís perfectly possible to make a feature film based on fiction.
BA: And come up with a purely entertaining piece.
MA: Oh yes, yes. True.
BA: So to this extent itís still a good story whichever.
MB: Yes, Iím not denying that. But what I am saying is, though, that I think it will be in the interests of the general public if somebody could come along and say, well the contents, you know, this is where it falls down. But not the contents of the diary. It doesnít fall down at all.
BA: So where do you think the thing was kept all the years until -
MB: Iíve always tended to believe it was in Knowsley Buildings.
BA: Knowsley Buildings which donít exist anymore?
MB: No, itís on the present site [inaudible] Silkhouse Court. And I think if I get my dates correct I think it was demolished in 1969 approximately. And then Silkhouse Court was built on that premises.
BA: Thatís where Maybrick had his office?
MB: Now the reason - yes thatís where Maybrick Ė Knowsley Buildings. Now the reason I always say, maintain itís Knowsley Buildings. Very simple. ďI leave this in now a place where it shall be foundĒ. He doesnít say he leaves it Battlecrease House, firght. He doesnít leave it in Battlecrease with servants or anything else and thatís going into the Maybrick case in general which is well documented. Also Lowry comes into it which was his clerk. And at the beginning of the diary he says ďI curse Lowry for making me rip.Ē Now I donít believe he means making me rip as in Ripper. I mean rip as in the pages of the diary, the part where itís destroyed, because several items he mentions that were also taken and he does say Ė I donít know if Iím allowed to say this on air Ė but he does say it because it is documented in the book Ė ďBastard Lowry, bastard, bastard, bastardĒ. And he does state, Lowry, in the book. So why does an insignificant person come into the diary? The clerk. Lowry is his clerk. Therefore, I am of the opinion, Iíve always had the opinion, if you read the diary very, very, carefully it does give the person the impression that he was writing the diary at Knowsley Buildings. Now on the third of May, that was the day he took to his bed, that was the day he took to his bed, and he died on the eleventh of May. The third of May he gets out of his sick bed in the morning and he travels all the way back to Knowsley Buildings. Once again, this is exceedingly well documented. He goes to Knowsley Buildings in the morning, then he goes to a Turkish bath the same late morning, right. Now he goes to a Turkish bath, now you donít carry a diary as big as the diary, the ledger that we have, to a Turkish bath. Then he gets back to the train and goes back to Ė
BA: He might have done, might have done, particularly in a portmanteau or a briefcase.
MB: Then he goes back to Battlecrease House.
BA: He might have done.
MB: Why does he go back to Knowsley Buildings? Now first of all you have to consider he goes back to Knowsley Buildings because thatís exactly where the diary is. Thatís what I firmly believe, thatís exactly where the diary is. Thatís why he gets out of his sick bed and itís well documented he was very, very, sick at the time through arsenic poisoning. Now why does he get out of his sick bed and actually go there? Now he goes back to Knowsley Buildings. Now having said that on the same night he returns to Battlecrease House and then there he stays until the eleventh of May and he died, he never gets out of his bed again, he never gets out of his bed again. Now he says in the diary ďI leave this now in place where it will be foundĒ. I am fairly convinced that he knew he was dying and he has put that diary in Knowsley Buildings in a certain place within Knowsley Buildings and itís remained there until it was demolished in 1969 and somewhere along that line thatís where that diary has somewhere come into Tony Devereuxís hands.
MB: Now that is my theory, of course I canít prove that.
BA: No, and nobody ever managed to find any of the demolition workers who had demolished the building?
MB: No, no, we tried.
BA: Itís perfectly plausible Mike, perfectly plausible.
MB: This is the way we feel.
BA: Youíve obviously studied both the Maybrick case and the Ripper case yourself.
MB: Oh yes.
BA: And all this subsequent to the discovery of the diary?
MB: Subsequently after the diary - once I knew Maybrick was involved I wanted to go down to me publisher with enough ammunition as possible in order to convince the publisher Ė well actually, I didnít actually approach a publisher, I had to approach an agent, the agent approached a publisher, this is the way it works within the business. I had to go with enough ammunition to, you know, to convince an agent. And I went down with a great deal of ammunition. But, of course, my ammunition I had, this was my own personal research, was not sufficient hence Shirley Harrison and her team was brought in hence Paul Feldman eventually his team was brought in and team after team after team and hence the result was the book. So from that day onwards the diary was totally taken out of my hands.
MB: And teams of experts were taking on and the diary was in their hands from that day onwards.
BA: Indeed. But I mean you yourself by what youíve been saying to me are extremely well versed in the Maybrick case and the movements of James Maybrick right up to his last moments?
MB: Of course because you were involved in the research once we began all the research.
BA: All this information really youíve gained subsequently?
BA: Yes, subsequently, subsequent to having been given the diary.
MB: Oh yes.
BA: In other words you werenít an expert or particularly interested in the case before hand?
MB: Oh no, no, no, sorry, I thought you meant previously, no, sorry, subsequently, oh yes, all this information, I mean I think Iíve become one of the worldís greatest experts on either the Ripper and Maybrick. I mean, Iíve had to. Shirley Harrison has had to because weíve had to defend our corner.
BA: Perhaps, perhaps, not necessarily because again the accusation could be well youíre obviously very well versed, you could well have fitted these things in on the way.
MB: Well as I say once again thank you for the compliment. Thatís all I can say. Thank you very much for the compliment. But I assure you I havenít.
BA: What are you going to do now, Mike, are you going to walk away, ultimately or not? I mean to say, you have, this time - you have deliberately climbed over the parapet as it were to be shot at now because -
MB: Yes, deliberately, yes, because Iím full of confidence.
MB: Iím going back to the day when I first started that journey to London full of confidence that I had the original diary of Jack the Ripper. And I did go full of confidence. I didnít know what was going to happen afterwards. And I had two years literally of sheer hell and thatís when I went to the bottle, right. Now, having said that, Iím absolutely confident Iíve beat the bottle, I really do, confident, Iím quite proud of that fact because itís been a tremendous struggle. Now Iím back to my former confident self. So let them come at me again.
BA: Let them come at you again?
MB: Yes, this time.
MB: The Ripperologists, the newspaper people.
BA: Youíre ready for all the pressure once more?
MB: Definitely, this time, oh yes, definitely.
BA: And youíre going to continue thenÖ
BA: Battling -
BA: For -
MB: The diary.
BA: The diary.
BA: And for it to be claimedÖ
MB: When you really do believe something.
BA: Or to be accepted -
MB: You see I do admit that I went through one part where I couldnít, I didnít want nothing to do with the diary anymore I wanted it off my hands and away, you know. I felt that the diary destroyed everything. Now, Iíve thought to myself, whatís the point, the diaryís there, I canít sweep it under the table and really and truly I canít sweep it under the table no matter how much I could have tried to sweep it under the table I couldnít, it was out of control, it was Frankensteinís monster. So Iíd best come to terms that Frankensteinís monster exists. So I had to come to terms with this Frankensteinís monster. So Iíve got to go back and go back into the ringside so to speak and fight me corner again.
BA: Now turning to a different tack altogether, Mike, in the paperback edition of your Ripper diary there are allegations that, in fact, it is your wife who physically wrote the diary. Your wife, Anne, from whom you are now divorced. Now, what about all this?
MB: Right, well first of all, right, if youíre listening or if eventually she does listen to this, right, yeah, Iím not trying to be offensive, Anne, but you havenít got the capability. That sounds an insult I donít mean that to be offensive to it, I donít want her to take it personally and what have you. I think itís total nonsense. A lot of things have been said that the diary was handed - Anne handed the diary to Tony Devereux via - and then Tony Devereux give me the diary. One thing where thereís been once again, I keep saying, a lot of misconceptions and I think thatís a very appropriate word: misconceptions. That - I have made several mistakes with this diary because Iíve been very, er, well shall we say, I canít say ill-advised but Iíve been literally stranded by myself and had to make me own decisions by myself at all the time and people coming at me left right and centre so Iíve been forced to make decisions there and then on the spot.
BA: And sometimes these decisions have not been as wise as they might have been?
MB: Not been as wise as they might have been, right, I fully admit that. You can call me a fool but then again the pressure that Iíve been under, Iím not trying to justify that Iím just trying to explain it I havenít had, you know, the advice there given immediately at hand when questions have been asked. What I have been asked is did I believe Anneís story and my honest answer is Iíve not been able to speak to my wife since she left me in January right.
BA: January 95?
BA: So youíve been apart now for eighteen months?
MB: Eighteen months. Iíve never sat down and discussed this issue with my wife. How can I possibly, you know, collaborate with my wife or my ex-wife to be precise when she hasnít explained the story. This information has been relayed on to me via various other people i.e. Shirley Harrison, i.e. Robert Smith, my publisher.
BA: Yes but the claim is that, in fact, the diaries are genuine but had been, or at least this is one of the claims, that the diaries are genuine but had been in her family for years and years and years.
MB: Yes, that is the claim.
BA: And her name, her surname, her married - her maiden name Graham?
BA: And, in fact, Mrs Maybrick had Grahams related to her?
MB: No, Florence Maybrick had an illegitimate child and she was named Graham, this is where, so she didnít have relatives as such, she was illegitimate, but once again research is developing, we donít know that Florence Maybrick did have an illegitimate child, research is still in progress so therefore we canít confirm Anneís story because thereís a tremendous amount more research to go into it, right. We have asked for Mr Paul Feldman, who produced the video, to produce the appropriate documents that he has fit and he has not seen fit to produce them to Shirley Harrison or I or Doreen Montgomery or Robert Smith.
BA: So somebody -
MB: He is holding back.
BA: So somebody does claim to have documented proof -
MB: Paul Feldman of MIA Productions is claiming to have documented proof. We have yet to see that documented proof.
BA: And this would therefore put a real link in place?
MB: Yes, a link in place, but if we can have that documented proof we could all be working as a team instead of against one another which doesnít make sense. Paul Feldman is in one camp making a video and not releasing the information, Anne is working with Paul Feldman and not releasing the information.
BA: Well are there any other Grahams about?
MB: No, no, no, not at all. You mean directly related to Anne?
BA: Sure, sure, directly related to your wife or going back to -
MB: No, no. Once Billy Graham died that was the end of Ė
BA: Billy Graham?
MB: Billy Graham, William Graham.
BA: Being your father in law?
MB: Yep my father in law. After he died that was it, there was only Anne, er, Anne Barrett.
BA: And he never made any reference to this diary?
MB: Never whatsoever.
BA: So if any of this is true there are one or two other possibilities. One being, one suggestion being that your wife actually had been keeping these diaries and then gave them to Tony Devereux to give to you for some reason?
MB: Which I find highly improbable for the very simple reason is, that she says in a statement which is there in the paperback for all to see that relationships between Billy Graham and I had broken down irretrievably for several years previous. However, up until Christmas 1994 Billy Graham was having Christmas dinner at our house. On top of that I was also taking him to the British Legion every Sunday, there are plenty of people who will verify that fact. Also on top of that particular fact I was also going down every Thursday and collecting his pension for him which my signature was on, the signature book, and I was also cleaning his flat on a Thursday, if I didnít clean it on a Thursday somebody else, a friend of his, Jake, did but the point is there is too many people can verify that relationship did not break down so, therefore, within Anneís statement within the paperback there is one fact that is absolutely untrue and I felt I had the right to justificate (sic) that particular fact. Now because Anne hasnít explained or hasnít had the opportunity for Anne to explain these facts to me and why she come out with this statement I am left in a limbo. And I think that is a very appropriate word ďlimboĒ because nobody has been able to contact my wife Anne. Weíve tried it through solicitors letters, weíve tried everything possible and she will not communicate with either of us.
BA: Sheís still in Liverpool?
MB: We believe sheís still in Liverpool. Now Shirley Harrison has tried to contact her. Sheís having, sheís not having no more discussions with Shirley Harrison. Doreen Montgomery, no more discussions. Robert Smith, no more discussions. So the people, the most appropriate people that are all actually involved with the diary, meaning the diary of Jack the Ripper, have made numerous approaches including my solicitor, Mr Richard Bark Jones, have made numerous approaches to contact Anne to no avail. So how can we turn round and produce something which we do not have, i.e. the evidence that Paul Feldman says he has. We are left in a limbo.
BA: Well now, you did say earlier on that you had not signed any other affidavits at all or any other -
MB: The only affidavit I did sign which I think this is where the misconception is, arose, is that I had, I made an affidavit saying that I do not and will not believe Anneís statement until it is explained and I had the evidence in front of me that she did give the evidence - the diary to Tony Devereux. You see, when you are in a position where Iíve never been able to prove provenance of the diary, everything is vital important to give to my credibility, it is vital and when you are not armed with this particular evidence and you are not armed with the appropriate documents. how - it doesnít put me in much standing.
BA: But is it not the case that on the 5th of January this year you signed a statement, you actually signed a statement in the solicitorís office in Dale Street in Liverpool to the effect that your wife, Anne, had physically written the diaries, you provided the information for her to write and the two of you together with Tony Devereux had conspired the whole thing?
MB: No, that is totally incorrect whatsoever.
BA: But you surely signed that?
MB: I signed a statement but somewhere along the line the statement has gone totally out of the Ė where it has gone out of line, I signed a statement stating quite categorically that I did not believe Anneís story and that is the only statement I have signed and I donít even remember that was on the 5th January to be honest with you because I was so adamant that I will not accept Anneís story until they have sat down and Iíve seen the documented evidence in front of me and I think itís very vital that I see the documented evidence that, er, that, er, sorry, Graham, Florence Maybrick, had an illegitimate child called Graham. I have yet to see that document evidence.
BA: But is it not possible that perhaps you didnít read what you were signing?
MB: Well I didnít.
BA: You didnít read what you were signing?
MB: No, I didnít read what I was signing.
BA: So it is possible that you signed this document saying that you had provided the information and Anne had done the writing and the three of you, you two together, together with Tony Devereux -
MB: I suppose itís possible but I wouldnít like to think that, you know, thatís been used against me in any way or someoneís [inaudible] the information and used my signature.
BA: Surely, but there are copies of this affidavit apparently.
MB: Apparently there is so Iíve just been informed, you know. But the point is the affidavit that I made was saying quite categorically that I did not believe Anneís statement.
BA: Yes, so you thought you were signing something quite different?
MB: Oh I thought I was signing a document stating that I did not believe Anneís statement until - and I emphasise until, I see the documented evidence that Florence Mayrick had an illegitimate child. I have yet to see that documented evidence and that is vital. Iíve also got to see how Graham is related to Florence Maybrick, how that connection can be done. Now Paul Feldman just for the record has been very enthusiastic over this diary. So much so that on the 17th of March, Motherís Day Sunday, right, in 1991, no 1992, after the publishing agreement was signed, and I am bound by a publishing agreement, took my wife, my daughter and myself to the Moat House Hotel in front of a gentleman, a Ripperologist, numerous people, Keith Skinner, no I donít think Keith Skinner was there, and offered me £5,000 cash on the table in order to buy in for the diary. I actually totally refused that offer. The following Monday the letter is in my solicitorís office, which is there for all to see, I was offered £15,000 to buy in for the diary from a client, we later found out it was by Ė it was Paul Feldman. Now having stated that I still refused. Then Mr Paul Feldman went on a relentless campaign against me because I literally Ė I canít say against me, letís say he wanted provenance of the diary so he didnít actually come against me but what he did do, he intruded and had researchers going into my own private life and my own family and he actually had researchers finding my family, finding birth certificates and going into my private life and my family.
BA: But this is reasonable, surely, if you yourself had said that you are trying to find out the background to Mr Graham.
MB: Yes, but where, where does my family come into it?
BA: Well they are related to the Grahams.
MB: No, Iím a Barrett. Iím not related to-
BA: Sure, sure, but your father-in-law was Mr Graham and your wife was a Graham.
MB: Yes, yes, alright, yes, indirectly - I never considered it in that point of view, you know, I mean I was a Barrett and Anne was a Graham, yes I can see your point, yeah I can see your point but there was never any contacts with the Grahams or the Barretts in that respect.
BA: The difficulty is that you have now actually signed two things which do your credibility great damage. Great damage.
MB: Yeah, I suppose - people can say that but then again you can say that, you know, people - documents can easily be changed and altered.
BA: Youíre not really suggesting that this happened are you?
MB: Thereís a possibility if this is the case.
BA: Well thereís a possibility of an atom bomb dropping on us tomorrow but itís highly unlikely isnít it?
MB: No, thereís also a possibility that the diary of Jack the Ripper, somebody give me it, the possibility of it being dropped on my lap.
BA: Of course. Yes.
MB: Itís the same mathematical equation.
BA: But youíre not really suggesting that that document you signed in a solicitorís office has been tampered with now?
MB: I canít suggest that until I see legal advice. I do not know. Itís as simple as that. All as I do know is that the statements I signed, the statements I actually did sign was quite categorically stating that I do not believe Anneís story until I see the documented evidence.
BA: Yes, but you didnít read it you said also?
MB: I did not read it.
BA: You didnít read what you were actually signing?
BA: So, it transpires you have signed two very damning documents against your own credibility. This being one, and the other one when you were drunk for the Daily Post.
MB: Call me naÔve.
BA: Yes I call you naÔve, with all respect -
MB: Iíll take it.
BA: In sorrow of course, of course.
MB: Iím naÔve and what have you.
BA: But it doesnít do your case or your credibility any good?
MB: Yes but then again youíve got to remember that thereís been that much animosity been directed towards me over the past three years itís been incredible, it really has been incredible and the people that you believed that you can trust all of a sudden turn out to be your enemies.
BA: Then why not completely walk away? Completely walk away?
MB: Because I believe in the diary. I canít walk away, itís impossible.
BA: And the next major line of story or information will no doubt come when your wife Anne -
MB: Ex wife.
BA: Your former wife Anne speaks and says her point of view.
MB: Once, once, we have got that - I will not believe it until I see that documented evidence in my hand. I donít think Shirley Harrison will believe it until she sees that documented evidence in her hand. I donít think Doreen Montgomery, my agent, will believe it until she sees that documented evidence and I donít think Robert Smith, my publisher, will believe it until he sees that documented evidence and all of us have yet to see that documented evidence.