Casebook: Jack the Ripper - Main

Ripper Letters
Police Officials
Official Documents
Press Reports
Victorian London
Message Boards
Ripper Media
Games & Diversions
Photo Archive
Ripper Wiki
Casebook Examiner
Ripper Podcast
About the Casebook

Most Recent Posts:
Witnesses: Kennedy and Lewis - by packers stem 23 minutes ago.
Non-Fiction: "Ripperland" by Andrew Firth - by Herlock Sholmes 2 hours ago.
Witnesses: 36 Berner Street............... - by Robert 2 hours ago.
Non-Fiction: "Ripperland" by Andrew Firth - by Andrew Firth 2 hours ago.
Witnesses: 36 Berner Street............... - by Robert 3 hours ago.
Non-Fiction: "Ripperland" by Andrew Firth - by Herlock Sholmes 3 hours ago.

Most Popular Threads:
Witnesses: 36 Berner Street............... - (20 posts)
Hutchinson, George: Why Didn't the Police Have Schwartz and/or Lawende Take a Look at Hutchinson? - (4 posts)
Mary Jane Kelly: Did Mary Kelly meet the Bethnal Green Botherer? - (4 posts)
Non-Fiction: "Ripperland" by Andrew Firth - (4 posts)
Witnesses: Kennedy and Lewis - (4 posts)
A6 Murders: A6 Rebooted - (2 posts)

Wiki Updates:
Robert Sagar
Edit: Chris
May 9, 2015, 12:32 am
Online newspaper archives
Edit: Chris
Nov 26, 2014, 10:25 am
Joseph Lawende
Edit: Chris
Mar 9, 2014, 10:12 am
Miscellaneous research resources
Edit: Chris
Feb 13, 2014, 9:28 am
Charles Cross
Edit: John Bennett
Sep 4, 2013, 8:20 pm

Most Recent Blogs:
February 19, 2016, 11:12 am.
Chris George: RipperCon in Baltimore, April 8-10, 2016
February 10, 2016, 2:55 pm.
Mike Covell: Hull Prison Visit
October 10, 2015, 8:04 am.
August 9, 2015, 3:10 am.
November 14, 2014, 10:02 am.
Mike Covell: Mike’s Book Releases
March 17, 2014, 3:18 am.

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

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 11-30-2011, 02:33 AM
Simon Wood Simon Wood is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 4,604

Hi Jonathan,

Just as a point of order, neither Anderson nor Macnaghten became Commissioner.


Quick reply to this message Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2011, 03:30 AM
Jonathan H Jonathan H is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Posts: 2,329

To Simon

Yes, I should have written 'Assistant Commissioner' rather than 'Commissioner', as that is what I meant.

And the rest of the argument? You think it is torpedoed?
Quick reply to this message Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2011, 03:57 AM
Simon Wood Simon Wood is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 4,604

Hi Jonathan,

Both Sims and Abberline referenced the Home Office file, but I personally feel it's a bit of a red herring.

I've always found it odd that Sims' rebuttal of the dismissive remarks by the "ex-Inspector" regarding the drowned doctor suspect appeared two days before Abberline was quoted in print.


Quick reply to this message Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2011, 04:35 AM
Jonathan H Jonathan H is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Posts: 2,329

To Simon

I am not sure I understand, though God knows I hoipe you are rgiht, as it buttresses my theory!

Here's Abberline, touchngly trying to get in tiuch with Macnaghtem not realising -- as how could he -- that he is the orchetrator of the 'drowned doctor' mythos:

Pall Mall Gazette
24 March 1903

'Should Klosowski, the wretched man now lying under sentence of death for wife-poisoning, go to the scaffold without a "last dying speech and confession," a great mystery may for ever remain unsolved, but the conviction that "Chapman" and "Jack the Ripper" were one and the same person will not in the least be weakened in the mind of the man who is, perhaps, better qualified than anyone else in this country to express an opinion in this matter. We allude to Mr. F. G. Abberline, formerly Chief Detective Inspector of Scotland Yard, the official who had full charge of the criminal investigations at the time of the terrible murders in Whitechapel.

When a representative of the Pall Mall Gazette called on Mr. Abberline yesterday and asked for his views on the startling theory set up by one of the morning papers, the retired detective said: "What an extra- ordinary thing it is that you should just have called upon me now. I had just commenced, not knowing anything about the report in the newspaper, to write to the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr. Macnaghten, to say how strongly I was impressed with the opinion that 'Chapman' was also the author of the Whitechapel murders. Your appearance saves me the trouble. I intended to write on Friday, but a fall in the garden, injuring my hand and shoulder, prevented my doing so until today."

Mr. Abberline had already covered a page and a half of foolscap, and was surrounded with a sheaf of documents and newspaper cuttings dealing with the ghastly outrages of 1888.'

Here is Sims' rude and pompous rebuttal:

March 29, 1903, Dagonet, 'The Referee'

'Severino Klosowski is occupying the cell in which the late Mr. Edgar Edwards spent his last days. Edwards, when he was awaiting trial, was very interested in the Chapman case. His remark to a warder, who had told him the latest evidence at the police-court, was "He is a hot 'un, ain't he?"

I was rather surprised to find high-class newspapers suggesting

Chapman as 'Jack the Ripper."

"Jack" was a homicidal maniac. Each crime that he committed was marked with greater ferocity during the progress of his insanity. How could a man in the mental condition of "Jack" have suddenly settled down into a cool, calculating poisoner?

"Jack the Ripper" committed suicide after his last murder - a murder so maniacal that it was accepted at once as the deed of a furious madman. It is perfectly well know at Scotland Yard who "Jack" was, and the reasons for the police conclusions were given in the report to the Home Office, which was considered by the authorities to be final and conclusive.

How the ex-Inspector can say "We never believed 'Jack' was dead or a lunatic" in face of the report made by the Commissioner of Police is a mystery to me. It is a curious coincidence, however, that for a long time a Russian Pole resident in Whitechapel was suspected at the Yard. But his name was not Klosowski! The genuine "Jack" was a doctor. His body was found in the Thames on December 31, 1888.

Here is Abberline's next salvo:

Pall Mall Gazette
31 March 1903

'Since the Pall Mall Gazette a few days ago gave a series of coincidences supporting the theory that Klosowski, or Chapman, as he was for some time called, was the perpetrator of the "Jack the Ripper" murders in Whitechapel fifteen years ago, it has been interesting to note how many amateur criminologists have come forward with statements to the effect that it is useless to attempt to link Chapman with the Whitechapel atrocities. This cannot possibly be the same man, it is said, because, first of all, Chapman is not the miscreant who could have done the previous deeds, and, secondly, it is contended that the Whitechapel murderer has long been known to be beyond the reach of earthly justice.

In order, if possible, to clear the ground with respect to the latter statement particularly, a repre- sentative of the Pall Mall Gazette again called on Mr. F. G. Abberline, formerly Chief Detective Inspector of Scotland Yard, yesterday, and elicited the following statement from him:

"You can state most emphatically," said Mr. Abberline, "that Scotland Yard is really no wiser on the subject than it was fifteen years ago. It is simple nonsense to talk of the police having proof that the man is dead. I am, and always have been, in the closest touch with Scotland Yard, and it would have been next to impossible for me not to have known all about it. Besides, the authorities would have been only too glad to make an end of such a mystery, if only for their own credit."

To convince those who have any doubts on the point, Mr. Abberline produced recent documentary evidence which put the ignorance of Scotland Yard as to the perpetrator beyond the shadow of a doubt.

"I know," continued the well-known detective, "that it has been stated in several quarters that 'Jack the Ripper' was a man who died in a lunatic asylum a few years ago, but there is nothing at all of a tangible nature to support such a theory.

Our representative called Mr. Abberline's attention to a statement made in a well-known Sunday paper, in which it was made out that the author was a young medical student who was found drowned in the Thames.

"Yes," said Mr. Abberline, "I know all about that story. But what does it amount to? Simply this. Soon after the last murder in Whitechapel the body of a young doctor was found in the Thames, but there is absolutely nothing beyond the fact that he was found at that time to incriminate him. A report was made to the Home Office about the matter, but that it was 'considered final and conclusive' is going altogether beyond the truth. Seeing that the same kind of murders began in America afterwards, there is much more reason to think the man emigrated. Then again, the fact that several months after December, 1888, when the student's body was found, the detectives were told still to hold themselves in readiness for further investigations seems to point to the conclusion that Scotland Yard did not in any way consider the evidence as final."

And Sims let him have it again with both barrels:

April 5, 1903, Dagonet, 'The Referee'

'But that several correspondents have forwarded me news cuttings, and that two or three newspapers have inserted letters questioning my statement, I should not have alluded to

The Ripper Mystery

again. It is argued that "Jack" could not have drowned himself in 1888, because there were murders in Whitechapel in 1891. The last of the Ripper series was the Miller's-court horror, which occurred on November 9, 1888. The East End murders of later years were not in the same 'handwriting.

No one who saw the victim of Miller's-court as she was found ever doubted that the deed was that of a man in the last stage of a terrible form of insanity. No complete description was ever given to the Press. The details were too foully, fiendishly awful. A little more than a month later the body of the man suspected by the chiefs at the Yard, and by his own friends, who were in communication with the Yard, was found in the Thames. The body had been in the water about a month.

I am betraying no confidence in making this statement, because it has been published by an official who had an opportunity of seeing the Home Office Report, Major Arthur Griffiths, one of Her Majesty's inspectors of prisons.

I have the photographs of several of the victims taken after their murder, in my collection of criminal curiosities, and

I Was at One Time Myself Accused

of being the guilty person. Dr. Forbes Winslow will remember the man who came to him with my portrait, and who also went to the police and said, "That is 'Jack the Ripper."'

I told the story at the time and also how one night I was actually on the spot where a murder was committed a few hours later, having with me a black bag in which there was nothing but a long and murderous knife - a curiosity which the late Paul Meritt had given me, and which I had carried with me to the Pavilion Theatre in Whitechapel.

I have no time to argue with the gentlemen, some of them ex-officers of the detective force, who want to make out that the report to the Home Office was incorrect. But putting all other matters on one side, it is an absolute absurdity to argue that a cool, calculating poisoner like Klosowski could have lived with half a dozen women and put them quietly out of the way by a slow and calculated process after being in 1888 a man so maniacal in his homicidal fury that he committed the foul and fiendish horror of Miller's-court. A furious madman does not suddenly become a slow poisoner. "Jack the Ripper" was known, was identified, and is dead. Let him rest.'

So I am confused about the dates not matching?

On the other hand, you open up the possibility that my assumption that 'Commissioner' was just short-hand for Assistant Commisioner, was really another exaggertion and deflection by Mac.

That he told Sims that Griffiths had seen (or was he just told?) that the Commissioner had written a report for that dept. of state.

Notice how a perplexed Abberline says that if the police knew he was dead they would have told the public, not grasping that Sims is backed by Mac -- that this is the public being told, if at one remove (nor does he know that Anderson, in 1895, began openly talking about the locked-up lunatic suspect).

In Sims' last salvo he uses the report to the Home Office as his rump card, but refrains from repeating who exactly wrote it. Only that it is definitive.

Sims does however make it clear that the Ripper's 'friends' knew the terrible truth and were in touch with the Yard. For 'friends' read Druitt family, or a family member, whom I argue was in touch with just Macnaghten but not until 1891.
Quick reply to this message Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2011, 08:43 AM
Tom_Wescott Tom_Wescott is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 6,676

Originally Posted by Hunter
Actually, there appeared to be more of a consensus between several of the top officials in regards to the author of the 'Dear Boss' letter than much of anything else. Littlechild and Anderson referred to a certain journalist being involved (Littlechild names him) and Swanson, in his notations in Anderson's book, confirms Anderson's statement and adds that the author was known to certain high ranking individuals at the Yard. I believe they were talking about the same journalist.
The consensus is that a reporter wrote it, but as you noted, only Littlechild gives a name, Bullen (Bulling) and then contradicts this himself by saying Moore was behind it (apparently not part of the popular Yard story). If I asked you why you believe Anderson and Swanson were talking about Bulling specifically, could you tell me? Many reporters would have been known to high ranking individuals at the Yard. And let's not forget that these policemen had SUSPICION, not evidence, or proof.

Yours truly,

Tom Wescott
Quick reply to this message Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2011, 10:13 AM
Jonathan H Jonathan H is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Posts: 2,329

Tom, you're succumbing to a reductionist tendency, very prevalent here.

Anderson said he knew the name of the reporter.

Macnaghten claimed he was the one who tracked down the hoaxer.

Sims in 1888 was sure it was a reporter's hoax from day one.

Littlechild named the reporter, and his cohort, to Sims.

Unless a source contradicts all that, we know the probable name of the hoaxer(s).

Unless you are a person so imbued with a bias against the contemporaneous police that they are allowed to know nothing about anything to do with Jack the Ripper ...
Quick reply to this message Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2011, 11:16 AM
Stewart P Evans Stewart P Evans is offline
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,994
Default Style

Originally Posted by Jonathan H View Post
I'll say this for the last time.
Historical methodology teaches us that the Littlechild Letter must be seen in context in terms of who wrote it, to whom, and when?
eg. You have to measure against what we know Sims had already written about 'Jack the Ripper'.
Mike is right -- bias by some is as thick here as London fog when it comes to the American suspect.
Jonathan, I like your style, I really do.

Treat me gently I'm a newbie.
Quick reply to this message Reply With Quote
Old 11-30-2011, 11:22 AM
mariab mariab is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Berlin
Posts: 2,977

Originally Posted by Stewart P Evans View Post
There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that 'Best' wrote the 'Dear Boss' letter, or that there is any truth in his tale. In fact quite the contrary.
What I suspect about people pushing Best as a candidate for the “Dear Boss“ letter is that they refer to the Andrew Cook book, which apparently mentions Best without revealing his source for this, AKA the none too accurate and often inventive Nigel Morland. If any new evidence for Best exists besides the references above, could someone please name it?
Best regards,
Quick reply to this message Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2011, 02:28 PM
Fleetwood Mac Fleetwood Mac is offline
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,230

I'm surprised anyone needs a survey.

The following is clear from the letter:

1) He was a suspect in Littlechild's mind.
2) He was a very likely suspect in Littlechild's mind.
3) Dr T was up near the top of the pile, but not alone, there were other 'favoured suspects'.
4) He goes on to explain why he feels he's a very likely suspect.
5) And the reasoning is weak, extremely weak, nowhere near enough to be convincing.

The following is not clear from the letter:

1) Whether or not 'amongst the favoured suspects' means this is his own opinion, or the consensus within police corridors.

Evaluating DR T's status from that letter alone:

1) He was among Littlechild's favoured suspects.
2) The reasoning is shockingly poor, and suggests the logic of a by gone age, which I suppose it was.
Quick reply to this message Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2011, 02:42 PM
Jonathan H Jonathan H is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Posts: 2,329

To Fleetwood Mac

Yes, that is one possible interpretation of the Littlechild Letter, but it is also, arguably, uncovincing in its central thrust that the ex cop was indulging in a personal, homophobic opinion.

This is because Littlechild, Sims and Tumblety are being interpreted by you completely outside of the relevant historical context -- plus it is infused with a modernist, politically-correct tut tutting -- rendering this assessment sterile and reductionist.
Quick reply to this message Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

All times are GMT. The time now is 06:16 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.