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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Police Officials and Procedures > Littlechild, Chief Inspector John George

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Old 06-21-2013, 10:50 PM
Jonathan H Jonathan H is offline
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I would argue that the 'West of England' MP sources have nothing to do with Macnaghten and thus provide independent confirmation that Druitt's 'own people' believed, rightly or wrongly, that their deceased member was the fiend -- and that subsequent murders and arrested suspects did not shake them, or Farquharson, from this horrendous belief.

I would also argue that the 'North Country Vicar' source of 1899 also has nothing to do Mac (though its mixing of fact and fiction closely parallels his m.o.) and is likely about Druitt too -- and explains the source of the belief in his culpability.

I would also argue that Mac's 1914 memoirs are far more important and accurate than his politically-driven Report(s), only one of which impacted on public opinion, eg. 'Aberconway'. In the memoir, the de-facto 'third' version of his Report, he concedes that Druitt was not a suspect whilst alive -- for years -- that he was not sectioned, and did not kill himself instantly in a state of non-compos.

On the other hand, as you say, the Ripper was more likely to be Dr. Tumblety and Mac knew this, and went to great lengths to obscure it.
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Old 06-22-2013, 09:12 AM
Cogidubnus Cogidubnus is offline
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But Mac's suicidal medic is the kingpin, wihout which it all begins to fall apart...interesting...

All the best

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Old 06-22-2013, 09:19 AM
Jonathan H Jonathan H is offline
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That's one point of view, but it is arguably not the strongest.

In a much more class-stratified era what counted was that the fiend was being propagated to the public -- accurately -- as a Gentile, English, Gentleman and professional.

Jack-the-Surgeon (as opposed to a surgeon's son) was not the cliche either confirmed or conceded by Mac under his own prestigious name in 1913 and 1914.

For example, in Sims' 1907 piece -- which we know Mac contributed to, in writing -- that the English doctor had surgical knowledge is one of the reasons for his culpability. This whole element is dropped in 'Laying the Ghost ...' Therefore it did not fall apart for the family. or the MP or the police chief.
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Old 07-15-2013, 04:09 PM
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caz caz is offline
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Originally Posted by mklhawley View Post
Hi Caz,

Our discussion has nothing to do with this thread...
Hi Mike,

Apologies for the late response.

On the contrary, I was exploring the basic question of Littlechild's criteria for judging a suspect (in this case Tumblety) to have been 'very likely' the ripper. The either/or question in the thread's title is all very well, but it's a bit narrow isn't it? Is anyone seriously suggesting that Littlechild's suspicions were solely based on Tumblety's hatred of women, or solely based on him being gay?

To your point…

It seems presumptuous of you to claim that Littlchild would reject Tumblety as a likely suspect if he knew Tumblety actually lived for another 15 years without murdering anyone or committing suicide.
Well it might have been presumptuous of me if I had claimed any such thing, but I don't believe I did. I was merely asking you to consider the possibility and you have given your reasons for rejecting it. This is what I actually wrote:

In 1913 Littlechild still thought Tumblety was 'very likely' to have been the ripper. But if this was even partly because he believed he had disappeared after Kelly's murder, never to be seen again because he took his own life, it could make all the difference in the world. If you could go back and inform Littlechild that Tumblety had gone on to live a long, non-murderous, non-suicidal life across the pond until his death in 1903, how do you know he wouldn't say "Well in that case I now consider him to be a completely shite suspect! The real murderer's brain would have given way after the horror of Miller's Court!"
You wrote:

The suicide addition is a nonstarter. The only reason why he mentioned suicide was because someone else proposed it, and he didn’t really put too much stake into this, anyway. Littlechild stated, It was believed he committed suicide but certain it is that from this time the 'Ripper' murders came to an end”.
Well I'm sorry, but unless you can communicate with the dead, I am at a loss to see how you can possibly know Littlechild's motives for telling Sims about the suicide belief, let alone that the 'only' reason he mentioned it was because 'someone else had proposed it'. That's not even a reason. He didn't go into who had proposed it, nor how much 'stake' he personally put into it. It was simply the only explanation he volunteered for the ripper murders ending when they did. If he had any doubts about the suicide belief and preferred another explanation, that certainly isn't reflected in the letter, and he could have left it at the fact that Tumblety disappeared from Whitechapel after November 1888 and been done with it.

I don't know about you, but if I had doubts about something I was told, I wouldn't put it in writing to anyone without making it clear that I could well be passing on a load of old piffle.


"Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov

Last edited by caz : 07-15-2013 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 07-16-2013, 01:30 AM
Jonathan H Jonathan H is offline
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To Mike

One of the reasons that Littlechild could mention the 'belief' about Tumblety killing himself is that he had been told by somebody whom he respected and trusted, eg. Macnaghten (who apparently also told Tom Divall that the Ripper had fled to the States and died in a madhouse) and so accepcted that this might be true.

Yet Littlechild did not know this first-hand and said as much. It echoes Griffiths scepticism over there suddenly being three suspects in 1888 he had never heard of before, but this is what Mac was peddling to him (with an allegedly definitive 'Home Office Report')

Littlechild knew the other data, first-hand: that Tumblety was a major Ripper suspect, yet he was not known to be sadist, and had been arrested, but charged with a morals offence, and jumped his bail and left England.

It strengthens Jack Littlechild as a primary source that the bits he knew first-hand are verifiable by other sources, and the one thing he is unsure of -- and which is not true -- he pulls back from. Yet he feels he has to mention it the famous writer, who can easily check, possibly because his source was official and a colleague--but who had not actually been on the Force in 1888, which inevitably brings us back to Mac.

In 1915, Sims is still wedded to the 'mad doctor' solution who is English. Littlechild's 1913 bombshell has had no lasting impact.

If Sims conferred with Macnaghten the latter could have told him, truthfully, that Tumblety did not kill himself -- he lived on in America -- but that the English mad medico most certainly did drown himself, which of course is half-true of 'Dr. D'.

What is missed here by so many is that Littlechild does not question the status of Sims' Drowned Doctor; that this is the likeliest person to have been the Ripper--if it is just a confusion of initials. The retired chief only questions the specific details of the suicided doctor who may be some body separate to 'Dr D'., and warns that Anderson has made the mistake due to professional conceit.
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