Anyone who has read Mike's October 1995 Radio Merseyside interview might be wondering if it could possibly be true that Mike only ever admitted once (to a reporter) that the Diary was a forgery, at a time when he was blind drunk and didn't know what he was doing or saying and that he signed his 5th January 1995 affidavit without reading it or knowing what was in it.
Well, it probably won't shock anyone to know that he was lying and I'm going to show you some notes written by Mike Barrett in which he clearly and unambiguously demonstrates a knowledge of a forgery in which he and Anne participated.
Before doing this, a quick chronology of events.
Mike spoke to journalist Harold Brough on 24 June 1994 and the story of his having forged the Diary was published in the Daily Post over the next few days. We may note in passing that, even though she was not mentioned as having participated in the forgery, Anne was quoted at the time as saying "He is now trying to get back at me because I left him...I will fight like a tiger to protect myself and my family against anything he says." It has been suggested on her behalf in this forum that Anne said this because she believed that everyone would think that because Mike forged the diary she must have been involved too. But this is not what she has said herself. She is quoted in Inside Story as saying:
“I said the first thing that came into my head which was something like “I will fight like a tiger to protect my family” I can remember walking up the stairs thinking “What the hell did I say that for?”
Well if she couldn't come up with a sensible explanation I doubt anyone can!
Anyway, Mike's solicitor issued a statement before the end of the month saying that Mike was not in full control of his faculties when he said that the Diary was a forgery. After this, the following things happen:
5 July 1994 - Mike tells Feldman: “I’m one of the world’s greatest writers and no-one happens to believe it” but then denies being the forger.
24 October 1994 - Mike says on tape to Alan Gray that he has perpetrated a fraud.
5 November 1994 - Mike signs a statement taken by Alan Gray and lodged with Detective Constable Abram at Walton Lane Police Station (complaining about threats supposedly made by Feldman on 3 and 4 November) in which he says: "My wife Anne Barrett wrote the ‘Jack the Ripper Diary’ the actual manuscript. I have stated this for some considerable time’ and he says the Diary is 'a fraud'.
6/7 November 1994 - Mike tells Alan Gray in a recorded conversation that he created the Diary on his word processor from Tony Devereux’s original research but that the handwriting was Anne’s.
There may be more events in that period, and others may be able to add some, but I think this already shows that Mike was lying to Bob Azurdia when he said he had only once ever claimed that the Diary was a forgery in which he had played a part.
I have copies of some original notes written by Mike Barrett in his own handwriting which, on the face of them, appear to be written to his wife. Now, the fact that I have seen these notes suggests that they never reached Anne and she probably never read them. It may (perhaps) be said that they are fake notes written by Mike for the purpose of deceiving others or giving them what they wanted to read and, while I have no reason to think that is the case, this would demonstrate a hitherto unknown ability by Mike to create fake manuscript documents!
But the purpose of me exhibiting them is to prove that Mike did not only claim to have forged the Diary on one single drunken occasion.
I am going to provide a transcript of each note but in each case I will be correcting Mike's spelling, capitalisation and just about everything else. But you will be able to see what he actually writes.
Let's start with a fairly cryptic one page note for which here is my transcript:
"Anne, please, please, speak to me today. You're destroying yourself and Caroline and myself by not doing so. This hate between us has to stop. I know a great deal more than you think I do. A watch!!!
If you will not speak to me, how can I help? Because I just go on and on until the end. As I have said it's not over until the fat lady sings.
There's more paperwork in this house than even you could not imagine. I've made my choice, it stops today one way or the other. If it's the other so be it. Only you can stop it by talking. Call the police if you so wish, then it really is over. I work with you or against you. It's your choice. But don't be so clever."
Next up is Mike's annotations on a typed letter written to him by Anne dated 1 February 1995 which were presumably intended to be his reply to that letter.
It's a three page letter and Mike has written on the first and third pages and then, at length, on the reverse of the third page.
Mike's writing on the first page isn't worth reproducing but I'll include a transcript of the whole thing. His writing on page 3 and the reverse of it can be seen below.
Ha, ha, I wrote it once, I written it again. p.s. You got one chance. Speak to me. p.s. It's all photographed [or possibly "photocopied"] fvck the spelling.
You still don't understand do you? I never give in, you and me wrote the Diary. That's a fact.
I don't care because you don't love me. That's where you lose. Wake up to the real world, we both wrote it. Don't tell me [illegible]. This year 1994, I don't care for you. You know the truth. And so help me god I will prove it. Back off now!!! Or I fvcking well will come out with the truth. I have your voice on tape. You never win. Will you speak to me?
Finally, for now at least, here is something curious written by Mike on a payment note from 1991, in respect of some Look-In puzzles, which I think he has just used as the first piece of paper to hand at a much later date.
Aficionados of Diary quirks will, of course, note the expression "and I you".
Anne, I need your help. Please stop this hate towards me, and I you. I'll give you everything you want, including the tape and the receipt for the watch. Last night I gave a press interview.