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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Suspects > Sickert, Walter

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  #1  
Old 05-26-2010, 07:15 PM
Holmes Holmes is offline
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Default Was Sickert's father also a killer?

I was researching the Coram Street murder of 1872 - the similarities to the Ripper case have been discussed on this site, and include the fact that the victim was a young prostitute who was found with her throat cut - and came across the following report in 'Famous Crimes: Past & Present'. I'm not convinced it means anything, but I thought the possible link to the art world (and perhaps to Oswald Sickert?) was intriguing nonetheless. Though the age given is wrong, the killer was described as 'a German'; Sickert, of course, was Danish-German. The writer was a man who knew murdered woman, Clara Burton, and was rushing to the house of some mutual friends to find out if she had indeed been killed:

"On leaving my residence in Camden Town I had hailed the first cab I saw, and instructed the man to drive me to Argyle Square, King's Cross, for I knew by calling at a certain house there I could ascertain positively whether the murdered woman was, as I suspected, the same Clara known to our set. I was proceeding down College Street when I recognised the burly figure of a man whose identity there was no mistaking. It was an old friend of mine, an artist, who since those days has made a name for himself. Should I here describe his appearance, many of my readers would have no doubt as to whom I refer, so let it suffice to say that in the '70s he was a very conspicuous figure in Bohemian circles, and a right jolly good and most entertaining fellow… My friend, I could see with half an eye, had been dining out and making a night of it, so I pulled up my cab, jumped out, and after the usual salutation offered him a lift. I shall never forget the expression on his face. He was as pale as death, and there was strange look about his eyes. Clutching me by the arm with his powerful grip, he bent down, and in a low, sepulchral tone said, 'Yes, give me a lift – give me a lift. Drive me to the nearest police station. I am going to give myself up for the Great Coram Street Murder!'

My feelings here may be better imagined than described. Here was one of my dearest old friends confessing such a crime. I hardly knew how to act. Could he be joking? It was hardly a matter for that, and his face was so white and his manner so earnest that I scarcely knew what to think. However, I soon made up my mind. Getting my friend into the cab, I told the man to drive to his address, which was only a mile or two away… All the way along he was muttering, "Blood!" "Murder!" "Coram Street!" "Poor girl!" "Police station!" and I soon discovered that he had been keeping up Christmas in a merrier manner than at first noticed. At length we arrived at his door, and I managed to induce him to enter and saw him to his room, giving instructions that he was by no reason to be disturbed until my return. He seemed dazed, and I left him sleeping on the couch. I shall never forget the state of mind I was in, for this had been a terrible shock, so I more than ever determined to clear up, as far as possible, the whole mysterious matter, and drove to Argyle Street."

[To find out more, he visited some mutual friends – who, it transpired, had been with Clara and the man thought to be her murderer on that fatal Christmas Eve.]

"It appeared that the poor girl went straight to the Alhambra, where she must have met her murderer. At Regent Circus two barmaids [one of them his friend] got into the same omnibus in which the deceased travelled with the man to Hunter Street, where they alighted. The girls were in conversation during the journey, and the barmaids were able to describe the murderer minutely. This was very thing I desired, and, with suppressed excitement, I listened. 'Our friends tell us,' said my Scotch hostess, between her sobs, 'that the wretch appeared to be about twenty-five years of age, was about 5ft 9in in height, and had a swarthy complexion, with blotches or pimples on his face. He wore a dark brown overcoat and a billy-**** hat, and although he only spoke once or twice in the omnibus, they both agreed that he was a foreigner.'

"Thank heaven! I muttered to myself, for this description of the girl's companion was as unlike my artist friend as it would be possible to imagine, and I left relieved."

"...When I arrived at [my friend's] residence I found that he had slept himself back to his senses, and when I upbraided him for his folly in his unpardonable self-accusation, he roared with laughter, considering it an immense joke. I learned afterwards, though, that he really had accused himself to the police, and the marvel is to this day that he was allowed to go at large."
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  #2  
Old 05-27-2010, 10:47 AM
Bob Hinton Bob Hinton is offline
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Default Faulty title to thread

By calling your thread "Was Sickerts father also a killer?" you are implying that Sickert was a killer.

What is your evidence for this?
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  #3  
Old 05-27-2010, 11:10 AM
DanaeChantel DanaeChantel is offline
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Wink

Maybe they read Patricia Cornwell's book. It can be very convincing if you are a new to the case. It had me convinced. Until I continued my own investigation and read other information.
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  #4  
Old 05-27-2010, 11:47 AM
Stephen Thomas Stephen Thomas is offline
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Archive footage

http://www.casebook.org/forum/messages/4920/16844.html
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  #5  
Old 05-28-2010, 12:29 PM
Holmes Holmes is offline
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Default apologies for the calumny, Mr O. Sickert

i decided to go for a spicy, devil's advocate type header... I thought Cornwell's book was well written and easy to read, but I don't necessarily subscribe to her view - and I must confess to being quite new to the field too (as you correctly guessed) so everyone on here will know more about the case than me. So no arguments as yet, but thank you for writing on my thread - i feel pretty proud to have added something to this excellent site.

[ - Postmortem again...]

Last edited by Holmes : 05-28-2010 at 12:47 PM.
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  #6  
Old 08-01-2012, 05:30 PM
BTCG BTCG is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanaeChantel View Post
Maybe they read Patricia Cornwell's book. It can be very convincing if you are a new to the case. It had me convinced. Until I continued my own investigation and read other information.
Sickert wrote letters claiming to be the killer. So the writer does have a basis for making the statement.

You may not like it, but Cornwell has uncovered the only objective evidence in the case: the stationary for some of these letters came from the same batch that Sickert owned.

Some might claim that this does not make one a serial killer. But it's rather odd for someone to write and take credit if credit is undeserved.

And I have yet to see where in his lifetime, Sickert attempted to claim credit for another's work.
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  #7  
Old 08-01-2012, 05:39 PM
Bridewell Bridewell is offline
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Quote:
Some might claim that this does not make one a serial killer. But it's rather odd for someone to write and take credit if credit is undeserved.
Hi BTCG,

A number of people claimed to have been the Ripper, literally hundreds if all the hoax letters are included. It's not at all unusual for people to claim responsibility for crimes they haven't committed - including murder.

Regards, Bridewell.
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Regards, Bridewell.
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Old 08-01-2012, 05:56 PM
BTCG BTCG is offline
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Originally Posted by Bridewell View Post
Hi BTCG,

A number of people claimed to have been the Ripper, literally hundreds if all the hoax letters are included. It's not at all unusual for people to claim responsibility for crimes they haven't committed - including murder.

Regards, Bridewell.
Can you identify other writers, or is this just a theory?

I believe I read of one woman who was prosectuted for this, but the details were sketchy, and if I recall, it was more that she made claims to the police that were untrue so as to incriminate her husband.

Last edited by BTCG : 08-01-2012 at 05:59 PM.
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Old 08-01-2012, 06:05 PM
BTCG BTCG is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Holmes View Post
i decided to go for a spicy, devil's advocate type header... I thought Cornwell's book was well written and easy to read, but I don't necessarily subscribe to her view - and I must confess to being quite new to the field too (as you correctly guessed) so everyone on here will know more about the case than me. So no arguments as yet, but thank you for writing on my thread - i feel pretty proud to have added something to this excellent site.

[ - Postmortem again...]
No apology needed. Sickert's stationary was used to pen Ripper letters taking credit for the murders.

When someone takes credit, the burden shifts to those involved to disprove it.

The only defense would seem to be to make the claim that someone else gained access to his stationary. This person must have been an able forger, as the drawing in many Ripper letters appear to have been made by someone with quite an artist's hand, simiar to Sickerts.
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Old 08-01-2012, 08:07 PM
Bridewell Bridewell is offline
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Default Other Writers

Quote:
Can you identify other writers, or is this just a theory?
Other writers? Other than who? No, I can't identify who wrote the numerous hoax letters.

Quote:
Sickert's stationary was used to pen Ripper letters taking credit for the murders.
I thought it was supposed to be stationery from the same batch as that used by Sickert (interesting if true). What is the evidence which takes us one step further and identifies it as being Sickert's own stationery?

Regards, Bridewell.
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