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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Suspects > Thompson, Francis

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  #1  
Old 11-29-2014, 03:42 PM
Richard Patterson Richard Patterson is offline
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Default Francis Thompson. The Perfect Suspect.

During the reign of the Ripper, London's East End held 900,000 people. Francis Thompson was just one East Ender. You might well ask how come, out them all, I think Thompson is the likely suspect for Jack the Ripper. It is because he is the only one who has combined all four main traits that people look for in the Ripper - ability, opportunity, motive, and a weapon.

Ability:
Thompson trained as a surgeon for 6 years, at Owens Medical College Manchester, where he cut up hundreds of cadavers. There he was taught the very new and rare technique of heart removal called the Virchow method. This entails the removal of the heart via the pericardium. Doctor Thomas Bond, who performed Mary Kelly’s Autopsy, told the killer had used this method to remove her heart.

Opportunity:
Thompson was able to walk the streets at all hours. Being homeless for 3 years in the East End, he was part of the landscape and could come and go without rousing suspicion.

Motive:
Thompson had a resentment of prostitutes. At the start of June 1888 his year long relationship with an unnamed Chelsea prostitute ended angrily and suddenly. After he told her his first poems were to be published, she said she did not want the attention and she threatened to leave him. She since disappeared without a trace.

Weapon:
Thompson not only possessed a knife, it was a dissecting scalpel, which was the perfect weapon for the Ripper crimes.

Out of the thousands of existing suspects out there, from of all the books that have been written, surely somebody can present one that can match these 4 necessary traits. If only I can then I've just shot Thompson, the perfect suspect, to the top of the list.

More information can be found on Facebook at: ‘Francis Thompson and the Ripper Paradox Book Group’

https://www.facebook.com/groups/502480266521400/
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  #2  
Old 11-30-2014, 05:39 AM
Hunter Hunter is offline
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Except that your interpretation of necessary traits may not necessarily be that of others.
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Best Wishes,
Hunter
____________________________________________

When evidence is not to be had, theories abound. Even the most plausible of them do not carry conviction- London Times Nov. 10.1888
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  #3  
Old 11-30-2014, 06:14 AM
Harry D Harry D is offline
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Hello, Richard.

As I previously confessed, Thompson was one of the first suspects I looked at when I first delved into the murky world of Ripperology. You're right that he does have some points in his favour.

How do you account for Thompson's poor health at the time? Nevermind the skill, did he have the required strength to subdue the victims and perform the mutilations? Isn't it generally accepted the Ripper was right-handed? Thompson was a southpaw, was he not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Patterson View Post
Out of the thousands of existing suspects out there, from of all the books that have been written, surely somebody can present one that can match these 4 necessary traits.
Gladly. Look no further than Jacob Levy.

Ability: Was a butcher by trade, in fact it was the family business. No matter what anyone says, I believe the killer was skilled with a knife and had a crude anatomical knowledge. Levy's background fits the bill.

Opportunity: Levy lived in the heart of the area, and according to his wife was known to wander the streets at all hours and feared he would do violence upon someone.

Motive: Levy was diagnosed with syphilis. This gives him a motive for targeting prostitutes. A possible stressor could also be that his mother died a couple of months before the murders started.

Weapon: Levy was a butcher, 'nuff said. Although, to be honest, I doubt it would've been difficult for anyone to have acquired the right blade for the murders.

Last edited by Harry D : 11-30-2014 at 06:19 AM.
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  #4  
Old 11-30-2014, 07:58 AM
Hatchett Hatchett is offline
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Hi,

I dont think that there is anything that connects him to Whitechapel, let alone to murder or violence of any kind.

Really, just a sad and talented soul who lost his way.
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  #5  
Old 12-03-2014, 08:02 PM
Hatchett Hatchett is offline
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Hi,

Isnt it strange that the story of a prostitute befriending Thompson when he was down and out and then disappearing because she thought she would hinder his career is the same story that Thomas De Quincey wrote about himself when he was under the same sircumstances in Confessions of An Opium Eater.
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  #6  
Old 12-04-2014, 12:15 AM
Richard Patterson Richard Patterson is offline
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Default Levy, De' Quincey & Thompson.

Two points.

Levy:
Jacob Levy is thought to be as a very strong suspect, but he doesn’t even come close to Thompson. Levy, knew how to cut up carcasses while Thompson knew how to cut up people. Levy was an East Ender living in Aldgate while Thompson was an East Ender living in Limehouse. Levy had no motive. People guess that Levy’s sexual disease may have been a reason for him to blame prostitutes even though there is nothing to say he even visited one. Thompson has a clear motive. He was devastated when his prostitute friend broke off their intimate year-long relationship. Levy had butchers knives designed to cut up carcasses while Thompson had a dissecting scalpel designed to cut up humans.

De’ Quincey:
During the Ripper murders the “Times” newspaper suggested to its audience it would have to seek out, on their own, the works of gothic horror of the likes of, ‘De Quincey’s (Confessions of an English Opium Eater) to reinforce the heinousness of the crimes.’ Bye the way, Thompson was a huge fan of the English poet Thomas De Quincey, showing a fondness of this earlier writer’s essay, “Murder Considered One of the Fine Arts” in an essay of his own on De’ Quincey Thompson could not conceal his admiration,
'The famous “Murder as One of the Fine Arts” is the only specimen which we need pause upon. ...The passage which describes how murder leads at last to procrastination and incivility –“Many a man has dated his ruin from some murder which he thought little of at the time”-...In this, as in other things, De Quincey was an innovator and, like other innovators, has been eclipsed by his successors.'

Thompson so often quoted the works of Thomas De' Quincey, that his biographer, son of his publishers, was brought to remark upon the relationship between Thompson and De' Quincey, 'De' Quincey's words become his own by right of succession'. The connections between Thompson and De’ Quincey are so many, that it is worthwhile having them listed in point form.

Both were connected to Manchester.
Both fled to London
Both became vagrants in London.
Both fell for a prostitute.
Both affairs ended badly.
Both became addicted to laudanum
Both showed, in their writing a fascination, of murder.
The crimes, written about in De Quincey’s essay were about the 1811 Mar family murders in Whitechapel in which the murder weapon was a tool called a ‘ripping hook’. 77 years later we had Jack the Ripper. De' Quincey had earlier written a story about a murdering religious crusader and avenger, Thompson also wrote a story about a murdering religionist.
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  #7  
Old 12-04-2014, 12:57 AM
Richard Patterson Richard Patterson is offline
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If ability, motive, opportunity and weapon are irrelevant traits for a ripper suspect, I'd love to know what they might be. Possibly a forged diary or faulty dna results or being a Jew or a keen cricket player? If the four traits that I have listed do not warrant serious discussion here then, like Druitt, I'm stumped. No wonder he got away with it for a hundred years, if what I have seen so far here is any indication of what we can expect in reason based critical thinking. Thankfully I believe it more a reflection of the limited world-view of a few rather the many.
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  #8  
Old 12-04-2014, 01:08 PM
Hatchett Hatchett is offline
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Hi,

I think it was a ripping hook and more importantly a maul that figured in the Hatcliffe Highway murders and mystery.

Best wishes.
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  #9  
Old 12-05-2014, 05:07 AM
Harry D Harry D is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Patterson View Post
Jacob Levy is thought to be as a very strong suspect, but he doesn’t even come close to Thompson.
I may have missed it, but have you accounted for Thompson's poor physical state and left-handedness?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Patterson View Post
Levy, knew how to cut up carcasses while Thompson knew how to cut up people.
Doctors at the time were split on how skilled the killer was. I believe he had to have some rough anatomical knowledge to commit these kinds of mutilations under pressure, but to what kind of level is still open to debate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Patterson View Post
Levy was an East Ender living in Aldgate while Thompson was an East Ender living in Limehouse.
Relevance?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Patterson View Post
Levy had no motive. People guess that Levy’s sexual disease may have been a reason for him to blame prostitutes even though there is nothing to say he even visited one.
Levy's wife didn't have it, nor did he inherit it from his father. Syphilis is usually transmitted via sexual intercourse. Living in a neighbourhood full of loose women, we have good reason to suspect that Levy caught it the old-fashioned way. Speculative, yes, but then that's the case for every possible suspect. We can only explore a range possibilities of what might be, based on the information available to us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Patterson View Post
Thompson has a clear motive. He was devastated when his prostitute friend broke off their intimate year-long relationship.
How is that a clear motive? In his own words, Thompson described her as his 'saviour', therefore while he was surely upset by her leaving him, there's nothing to imply he was embittered enough to start butchering women.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Patterson View Post
Levy had butchers knives designed to cut up carcasses while Thompson had a dissecting scalpel designed to cut up humans.
There is no consensus on what specific type of knife was used. A butcher's knife could've done the trick.

- We can link Levy to one of the witnesses - who acted suspiciously according to reports.
- We know his brother, Isaac, was living in the Wentworth Building on Goulston St.

Do you have ANYTHING connecting Thompson to the case?
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  #10  
Old 12-05-2014, 06:19 AM
Hatchett Hatchett is offline
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Hi,

As I hinted at before, it is highly likely that Thompson's story about the prosititute girl friend was "borrowed" from De Quincey.
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