Oh yes, of course I’m complicating things. Mike’s reaction to the Dodd/Feldman proposal of “Tell him to F*ck off. The diary never came from the house” was far too complicated and should have been simplified by Mike working out a cross-examination question for Eddie Lyons as if he was a professional barrister. The message that Mike was asking Feldman to pass on was, in any case, to Paul Dodd, in response to his offer, not to Eddie Lyons and that message alone made any further cross-examination questions for Eddie redundant.
We are told (again) that Mike threatened Eddie with solicitors although no evidence has ever been produced of this. Perhaps the world’s leading expert on the subject was in Eddie’s house at the time. What Feldman said about the meeting was this: “Within twenty-four hours Mike Barrett had knocked on the door of the said electrician; he accused him of lying and told him he would never do a deal.” That’s it. Where do the solicitors come from?
“the whole thing collapses if Feldy couldn't have told Mike where he could find Eddie”. Is this some kind of joke? It was beyond the wit of Mike, was it, to ask someone in the Saddle where “Fat Eddie” lived? And did they not have telephone directories in Liverpool in the 1990s?
Here’s where the whole thing really does collapse with one simple question. How is it that anyone knows that Mike went round to speak to Eddie?
Think about it. If the Battlecrease provenance story is true, Mike and Eddie are supposed to have been involved in a conspiracy. They must have met in secret at least once for the Diary to have changed hands and, the way we are told the story, it is must have been a good two or three times more than that. So they were perfectly capable of holding secret meetings. Why on earth would one or both of them have felt the need to tell Feldman or Smith or anyone else that Mike went round to Eddie’s for a confrontation? For that information could only have come from one or both of those two individuals. If they had had a secret deal surely the confrontation would have been in secret. If Mike got the Diary from Eddie it simply makes no sense for us to know about the existence of this meeting.
I’m starting to think that Friday was a late April Fools day. Surely the posts from that day can’t be serious. We are told that the person who sold the watch “to a member of the Murphy/Stewart family” was “a little man”. Excuse me? What does the size of this man have to do with anything?
It's not even a fair representation of the story which is that this man sold the watch to Mr Stewart. There's no question of us not knowing who it was and having to describe him as “a member of the Murphy/Stewart family”. A man came into a jewellery shop and, after haggling over price, sold a watch to a jeweller (Mr Stewart). What’s odd about that?
This is the story as told by Stewart’s daughter (according to Feldman):
She said he [Stewart] recalled a little man coming to the shop he once owned in Lancaster. He had requested a sum of money which her father refused and the man left instantly. Mrs Murphy’s father had an instant change of heart and ran outside to recall the man. The transaction was concluded.
There's no mention there of “no questions asked or answered” but if no questions were asked then what is the purpose of saying that none were answered? Surely it’s impossible to answer questions which haven’t been asked.
This transaction was said to have taken place somewhere around 1980. So I don’t understand what relevance it has to do with my question.
We are being told in this thread that far from the watch being purchased by Mr Stewart from the little man in 1980, it was actually purchased by Mr Murphy after 9th March 1992 and the entire story told by the elderly Mr Stewart to both Albert Johnson and his daughter about the little man from 1980 was a complete lie.
That being so, I need to repeat my earlier post and question:
Oh what a tangle the world's leading expert on the watch has got herself into.
The watch's previous owner, we are told, could have stepped forward at any time and that would have spelt disaster for the hoaxer.
But what about Ron Murphy the jeweller? Doesn’t exactly the same apply to him if he's been lying about it being purchased by his father 10 or 15 years earlier? He would have had a bit of explaining to do when the previous owner stepped forward and said "Hey, I only sold that watch to Murphy last year!!!!"
So why doesn't the same thinking apply to Murphy who, we are told, despite having had no reason to believe it was stolen, lied through his teeth about when he acquired the watch?
In telling his lie about the provenance of the watch, why wasn’t Murphy worried that the person who sold him the watch in 1992 (not the little man from the 1980 story) would step forward and thus contradict his entire story about it having been acquired in 1980 thus demonstrating him to be a liar and dishonest jeweller?
That’s the tangle that the world’s leading expert has got herself into and from her failed attempt at extricating herself it doesn’t look she’s actually going to be able to untangle the tangle.
Another April Fool’s joke is that because the Harrison book was a “bestseller” the watch with "JO" on it would surely have been recognised by someone.
Well let’s have a little think about that. What percentage of the population of the UK would have read Harrison’s book? I doubt it’s even going to make 0.1% of the population is it? So if what actually happened can be taken as what a forger would reasonably have expected to happen, the odds were very much in his or her favour that the person who owned the watch would not know about it's re-appearance as Maybrick's watch, let alone being in a position to identify it.
And to increase the quality of the joke, not only did Harrison’s 1993 bestseller not contain a photograph of the face or reverse of the watch, it didn’t even mention the initials "JO" being on the watch!!!! So I have no idea how a previous owner of that watch, even one who read the bestseller, was supposed to identify it from initials which weren’t even published in the book.
The same is true of the guardbook as it would be true of the red diary, had that been used to create the forgery. You can bring it up to 1% of the population if you like actually having seen the item in question so that it would be possible to identify it, although as anyone could claim to have had in their family, they would actually need to be able to prove it was theirs and I’m not entirely sure how they would do it, but it would still mean 99% of the population being in no position to identify the guardbook and/or watch.
Those are pretty good odds for a forger. Like I have said time and again. It’s all about risk but if the guardbook or the watch had been positively identified that would have been the end of it. There’s nothing remotely surprising that they haven’t been identified - I haven’t seen a national appeal being broadcast for anyone who recognises them – so it’s just ridiculous to use the absence of identification as a point in favour of authenticity.
One day we are told that Murphy bought the watch in good faith thinking it was from an honest seller, only telling a lie when questions were asked about it because he didn’t want to take a risk, the next day we are told that he was desperate to sell it because it was “Too hot to handle” and thus he knew it to be stolen property. Is the right hand talking to the left hand?
And of course the watch was so hot for Murphy to handle that he put it right there in the window of his shop, leaving it there for weeks, so that any passing police officer could see it.
At the end of the April Fools day of postings about the provenance of the watch we are told that it’s perfectly possible for Mr Stewart to have acquired the watch in the early 80s, thus meaning that it did not come from under the floorboards of Battlecrease on 9th March 1992. Well that at least is progress.
I suppose I have to repeat that there could have been incidental surface scratches on the watch when Murphy owned it in 1992. Turgoose’s report does not rule this out (as I have demonstrated) although this seems to have been completely ignored. So I still don’t know why a hoaxer in 1993 had to remove all the surface scratches and why he couldn’t just leave them there.
I don’t know why we even need to get into an interpretation of Melvin Harris’s words, especially when his exact words have not been quoted in this thread, but I doubt he believed that it was possible to date ink on paper to an actual day, week or month.
Rather than concern ourselves over what Melvin Harris believed it would surely be more productive to find out what expert document examiners say about establishing the date when ink was put on paper and, from I have read, the only established scientific way of doing it is through a solubility test which can only tell you whether ink was recently applied or not.
Baxendale was evidently the leading expert on document examination, which is why he was chosen to test the diary in the summer of 1992, and he was reported by the Sunday Times as saying that when he carried out his solubility test he would have expected the ink to take several minutes to dissolve, had it been a nineteenth century document, but it began to dissolve “in just a few seconds” (or, as he said in his report, it was “freely soluble”) so “Baxendale concluded it had probably been written recently, in the past two or three years”. For the avoidance of doubt, I would say that as a matter of English, that includes March or April 1992.
While it’s an amusing April Fool, the notion that the spelling and grammatical errors in the Diary were deliberate, and don’t reflect the education of the forger, is so utterly nonsensical that it’s not even worth me spending a further second discussing it.
All I will say is that I am not aware that “the hoaxer” (whoever it was) has ever actually blamed any errors in the Diary on Maybrick. I thought that was just some nonsense spouted by some people in this forum.