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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Suspects > Hutchinson, George

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  #1  
Old 06-08-2011, 12:18 AM
Versa Versa is offline
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Default Witness statement Dismissed-suspect No. 1?

Hi,

Sorry to all you longtimers, Ive been looking for a few days now for a simple answer to this question and haven't been able to find it....

If George Hutchinson's witness description/statement was subsequently dismissed by the police why didn't they then go after him? He'd put himself at the scene, at the time of the murder, which appears to have been confirmed by Sarah Lewis's statement... He would by his own account of been the last person to see the victim alive and he might of supplied false information.

I'm not questioning at this moment whether you think GH (alias or not) was the ripper but WHY the police didn't turn their suspicions on him?

I'm baffled as to why they didn't peruse George further once he had placed himself at the scene....
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Old 06-08-2011, 01:09 AM
Fisherman Fisherman is online now
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Versa:

"If George Hutchinson's witness description/statement was subsequently dismissed by the police why didn't they then go after him? He'd put himself at the scene, at the time of the murder, which appears to have been confirmed by Sarah Lewis's statement... He would by his own account of been the last person to see the victim alive and he might of supplied false information."

An EXTREMELY good question, Versa. The only thing I can think of, is that George Hutchinson was in the clear after the police had scrutinized him. They were of the meaning that he was not a suspect in spite of his admitting to having been in place at the crucial hours.

Now, keep in mind that Hutchinson was commented upon by Walter Dew in his memoirs, and he wrote that Hutchinson, to the best of Dew´s knowledge, had mistaken the day he was in Dorset Street.
Therefore, the description as such was not dismissed - unless the police knew that astrakhan man would never turn up in Dorset Street on a Friday, Dew could not have made his call grounded on the descrition of astrakhan.
Therefore, something ELSE got him dropped. And that something else would have been something that pointed to Hutch not having been in place on Friday morning. And we know - for starters - that he never mentioned Lewis, who he WOULD have seen if he had been there. After that, there are other factors pointing away from him having been there on Friday morning.

...and that would have been all the police needed to discredit and drop his story - it was NOT related to the murder night - AND set Hutchinson loose with no reprimand at all and no interest in any further investigation into him as a potential suspect.

Simple enough, is it not?

The best,
Fisherman
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Old 06-08-2011, 01:20 AM
babybird67 babybird67 is offline
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Default hi Versa

Quote:
Originally Posted by Versa View Post
Hi,

Sorry to all you longtimers, Ive been looking for a few days now for a simple answer to this question and haven't been able to find it....

If George Hutchinson's witness description/statement was subsequently dismissed by the police why didn't they then go after him?
In what way would they 'go after' him? I am not sure what you mean. The Police force was in its infancy at this time. Other discredited witnesses exist, such as Packer for example. The Police had no experience of this type of killer, and would not necessarily equate the lies of a witness with the conclusion that there might be murderous guilt to disguise. It's more likely they just thought him a time waster or attention seeker as others were come to be seen.

Quote:
He'd put himself at the scene, at the time of the murder, which appears to have been confirmed by Sarah Lewis's statement... He would by his own account of been the last person to see the victim alive and he might of supplied false information.

I'm not questioning at this moment whether you think GH (alias or not) was the ripper but WHY the police didn't turn their suspicions on him?
Ben has demonstrated in his recent article the examples of modern serial killers who have behaved similarly to Hutchinson. Unfortunately, a very inexperienced police force would not have access to such information, and were trying to make sense of the most senseless crimes ever experienced. They did not have the resources to investigate all the Ripper witnesses, or any reason to suspect that a lying witness might be lying to cover up their guilt.

Quote:
I'm baffled as to why they didn't peruse George further once he had placed himself at the scene....
Because they didnt have experience of this being a notable trait in serial killers. This was the first serial killer they had come across. It's therefore not surprising.

best wishes

Jen
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Last edited by babybird67 : 06-08-2011 at 01:25 AM.
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Old 06-08-2011, 01:21 AM
lynn cates lynn cates is offline
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Default easy

Hello Christer. Works for me. Simplest is best.

Cheers,
LC
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  #5  
Old 06-08-2011, 01:59 AM
Versa Versa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fisherman View Post
Versa:
An EXTREMELY good question, Versa. The only thing I can think of, is that George Hutchinson was in the clear after the police had scrutinized him. They were of the meaning that he was not a suspect in spite of his admitting to having been in place at the crucial hours.
Do we have any evidence of this? and What were the possible reasons he could be in the clear?

Quote:
Now, keep in mind that Hutchinson was commented upon by Walter Dew in his memoirs, and he wrote that Hutchinson, to the best of Dew´s knowledge, had mistaken the day he was in Dorset Street.
Personally I can't by into that theory... I can remember what I did 9 days ago CLEARLY by working backwords... I can even remember what I bought at the shops 9 days ago and I dont have a murder or other major event to mark it by, I can remember what I wore and I can remember what I cocked for dinner.... I had a lot to drink 3 days ago and I can remember going to bed and getting up again. To imagine that someone would not remember what they had done 3 days ago when being questioned is to me just bizarre... Are you seriously saying that if you sit down and think about it that you cant remember what you did 3 days ago?

Now I CANT remember the people I interacted with other than a basic 'I spoke to james in tesco's' 'I said hello to Sally outside the pub' but I can tell you where I was and what I did...


Quote:
Therefore, the description as such was not dismissed - unless the police knew that astrakhan man would never turn up in Dorset Street on a Friday, Dew could not have made his call grounded on the descrition of astrakhan.
Therefore, something ELSE got him dropped. And that something else would have been something that pointed to Hutch not having been in place on Friday morning. And we know - for starters - that he never mentioned Lewis, who he WOULD have seen if he had been there. After that, there are other factors pointing away from him having been there on Friday morning.

...and that would have been all the police needed to discredit and drop his story - it was NOT related to the murder night - AND set Hutchinson loose with no reprimand at all and no interest in any further investigation into him as a potential suspect.

Simple enough, is it not?

The best,
Fisherman
None of that to me is 'simple' sorry It is possible that he hadn't seen Sarah Lewis.... It seems to me that she saw him but he might not of seen her or been so focused on something else that she simply didnt factor to him. She did see him though....

As Im new to this Im happy to have this 'suspect' ruled out, but to me at the moment he does present as a very viable suspect for these reasons



1. He put himself in Millars Court at the time of the Murder (for an HOUR)

2. He waited 3 days to present as a witness, thereby missing the coroners inquest into MJK's death.

3. Sarah Lewis SAW him (or someone matching his description) loitering in Millars Court at the time of the murder and said so at the inquest.

4. His description of MJK's last cient is OUTLANDISH for Whitechapel at 2am. Thick gold chain, Askaban Coat, Jew etc

5. He lived/stayed in the right area (Commercial St)



Is it ever made clear WHY he spent (according to his own statement) so long hanging about that area? the Dismissal of his 'suspect' for me isn't enough to dismiss him.
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Old 06-08-2011, 02:04 AM
Ben Ben is offline
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Hi Versa,

A very warm welcome to Casebook.

You ask some very pertinent questions with regard to Hutchinson, and I would agree very strongly with Babybird’s responses. While the 1888 police had no familiarity with serial offenders, they were positively overburdened with time-wasters and publicity seekers. I believe that the police rightly concluded that Hutchinson’s account was a fabrication, but wrongly assumed that his motive for fabricating was the pursuit of attention and/or money, and that he was not at the crime scene when he said he was. In addition, an 1888 police force was understandably ill-equipped to consider the possibility that the real offender would insinuate himself into the investigation and request an audience with the police. Unfortunately, this is precisely what other serial offenders have done.

All the best,
Ben
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Old 06-08-2011, 02:05 AM
Versa Versa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by babybird67 View Post
In what way would they 'go after' him? I am not sure what you mean.

Because they didnt have experience of this being a notable trait in serial killers. This was the first serial killer they had come across. It's therefore not surprising.

best wishes

Jen
Hiya

This really is a good point..... Did they let someone go just because his description of the killer was proven to be bunkum? Even modern serial killers have got away with it for a prolonged period of time because of this..... Psychology really wasnt even heard of at the time, to be fair the London Police of the 1980's hadnt heard of it.....
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Old 06-08-2011, 02:12 AM
Versa Versa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben View Post
Hi Versa,

A very warm welcome to Casebook.

You ask some very pertinent questions with regard to Hutchinson, and I would agree very strongly with Babybird’s responses. While the 1888 police had no familiarity with serial offenders, they were positively overburdened with time-wasters and publicity seekers. I believe that the police rightly concluded that Hutchinson’s account was a fabrication, but wrongly assumed that his motive for fabricating was the pursuit of attention and/or money, and that he was not at the crime scene when he said he was. In addition, an 1888 police force was understandably ill-equipped to consider the possibility that the real offender would insinuate himself into the investigation and request an audience with the police. Unfortunately, this is precisely what other serial offenders have done.

All the best,
Ben
thanks for the warm welcome Ben

your answer sums up really what I was hinting at regarding the dropping of GH's witness statement.....

Psychology even now is a minefield and personally I feel that George's utterly ludicrous suspect ID was dropped just because the police were, as you say, inundated, with more likely suspects....

I don't think that the police at the time were incompetent, I simply don't think they were educated in some of the factors that we are now regarding psychology.
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Old 06-08-2011, 02:29 AM
Versa Versa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by babybird67 View Post
In what way would they 'go after' him?
He was the last person (by his own account) to see the victim alive... Surely that in its self deserved further investigation?

They were inundated, they were human, they weren't versed in criminal psychology.... Did they, as in many may cases before, have their man and just let him go....?

Last edited by Versa : 06-08-2011 at 02:32 AM.
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Old 06-08-2011, 02:45 AM
Wickerman Wickerman is offline
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Hi Versa.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Versa View Post
...
If George Hutchinson's witness description/statement was subsequently dismissed by the police why didn't they then go after him?
I'm not so sure we have any indication from police files that they dismissed Hutchinson's description. There is such a suggestion in the press, but the story below was also in the press..

THE EAST-END MURDERS.
STARTLING AFFAIR IN BLACKFRIARS THIS MORNING
At about ten o'clock this morning, a man answering every description to the particulars furnished to the police by G. Hutchinson, as seen by him on the night of the murder of the woman Kelly, attracted attention in Queen Victoria-street, Blackfriars. Finding himself being watched, he immediately hurried his footsteps, and without giving time for any action to be taken, entered the Underground Railway station near by, and escaped.
Evening News, 16 November 1888

Also, as late as 1891 Edward Larkins, a clerk in HM Customs, and self styled Ripper Theorist was using the official police description of Mr Astrachan which had been circulated at the time.
There has always been a belief that the Ripper Hunt was being wound down in the months subsequent to the Kelly murder, so once Hutchinsons description had been circulated it may not have been consistently promoted for any appreciable length of time.
In other words it might be difficult to 'prove' that the description was not dismissed by the police, but I'm not sure if the police would ever publicly announce a withdrawal of a published description.
This is another one of those instances that was suggested in the papers, and gets repeated, and as we all know, that which gets repeated gets believed.

Regards, Jon S.
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