View Full Version : William Seaman

AP Wolf
April 18th, 2008, 02:21 PM
Looking through the new Old Bailey transcripts, I do believe this is first genuine hit I've found which might indicate that an almost completely unknown suspect might have had some role in what we know as the Whitechapel Murders.
William Seaman was a very violent man, most people will remember him from the unprovoked attack on a chemist in Berner Street in October of 1888 where he pounded the poor chap with a hammer; but mention is made of a previous conviction for violent theft in 1876.
Then we slip forward to 1896 where a William Seaman is on trial for two very nasty murders, where the victim's throat's are cut... the age is slightly out, but then Seaman in his defence says this:
The Prisoner, when asked whether he had anything to say in his defence,

stated that he had nothing to say about the case, but that he desired to complain about a statement in a newspaper to the effect that he had previously been charged with an attempt to murder, and assault and theft, and that that statement was false.

Interesting detail that.

April 18th, 2008, 02:54 PM
Who are you trying to fool, Mr. Wolf?

According the the coroners' reports, there were no traces of seaman found on any of the victims.

AP Wolf
April 18th, 2008, 04:09 PM
'DUNCAN ALEXANDER McCOMBIE . I am a surgeon, practising in the Commercial Road—on April 4th, at 1.40 p.m., I was called to 31, Turner Street, by the police, and was taken to the basement—I saw the dead body of Levy in the w.c.—the body was quite warm—I thought he had probably been dead from fifteen to twenty minutes at the outside—there was a large semi-circular wound in the throat; it would probably have caused death—it might appear to a lay person as having nearly cut off the head, but it was not so actually; the wound severed the wind-pipe and gullet, and one of the large arteries on the left side was divided—I saw there were a great many injuries to the head and scalp—next day I made a post-mortem examination—the lower margin of the wound in the throat was about eight inches, from end to end—I should say its direction was from right to left; it was much deeper at one side than the other; very likely such a knife as this could have caused it—some of the wounds on the scalp were contused, some were cleaner cut; they could have been produced by some blunt instrument: the door being burst open might have caused some—there were, perhaps, a dozen altogether, varying in sizfc from three-quarters of an inch to two inches, on different parts of the head—most of them appeared to have been produced by some instrument—onthe side of the head was a large lacerated wound, down to and exposing the bone, and another smaller one just at the outer side—there was an incised wound just over the left eyebrow, leading down to a compound fracture of the nasal bones—there was a partial fracture of the bones of the forehead—two ribs on the right side and four on the left side were fractured—considerable force must have been used to cause those injuries—the wound in the throat would be quite sufficient to cause death—a man could not live with such a wound; death would have ensued instantaneously.
GUSTAV MICHAEL . M.B. I practise in the Commercial Road—I was called to 31, Turner Street on April 4th, and arrived there a little after two p.m.—I examined the body of Mrs. Gale, which was lying in the front bedroom, top floor—rigor mortis was just commencing—she had been dead, I judged, at least two hours; it is impossible to state accurately—I saw she had injuries to her head, and that her throat was cut—the injuries to her head were most apparent—I made a post-mortem examination the next day; I found several injuries to the head, just such as might have been produced by this hammer—the cutting of the throat may have been done by this knife.'

Well, the victims didn't find it very funny.

AP Wolf
April 19th, 2008, 01:30 PM
By piecing together various reports in 'The Times' I have been better able to get an overview of William Seaman's criminal career.
October 1870 - Old Bailey - Burglary - 7 years.
December 1876 - Old Bailey - 'Violence' - 14 years + 7 years police supervision. (this must have been a nasty offence considering the sentence).
October 1888 - Old Bailey - wounding with intent - 7 years.
1896 - Old Bailey - murder - death.
A comprehensive police report in 'The Times' makes it absolutely clear that it is the same man in every offence, although he sometimes used the surnames King and Saunders. Mention is also made that all of the offences were committed in Whitechapel.

AP Wolf
April 20th, 2008, 01:44 PM
'When she saw me, she shouted and began struggling, but I soon stopped her kicking. I then came downstairs, and soon put the old Jew's lights out. After the job was finished I heard someone keep knocking at the door. I stood behind the door, considering whether to let them in or not. If I had opened the door I would have soon floored them, so as they would not have walked out of that house again alive; they would have been carried out stiff with the others.'
This chilling statement from Wiliam Seaman in court shows that he was prepared to kill, again and again.
While in police custody he got very rattled when the police refused to let him have the 'Evening News', because he wanted to read up on the 'Muswell Hill Murder'.
The first officers on the scene of the double murder described the victim's head as almost 'removed' from the body by the cuts to the throat.

Dan Norder
April 21st, 2008, 11:10 AM
I do believe this is first genuine hit I've found which might indicate that an almost completely unknown suspect might have had some role in what we know as the Whitechapel Murders.
William Seaman was a very violent man, most people will remember him from the unprovoked attack on a chemist in Berner Street in October of 1888 where he pounded the poor chap with a hammer

Seaman has already been discussed a few times in Ripper Notes as an interesting aside to different articles, but he's not much a Jack the Ripper suspect.

His attack on the chemist was made on Sept. 8th, not in October, and he was captured in the act and placed in jail. He could not have killed Stride, Eddowes, Kelly or any of the later Whitechapel victims. Unless you postulate that Nichols and Chapman were killed by someone other than the person responsible for Eddowes, he clearly was not Jack the Ripper.

AP Wolf
April 21st, 2008, 11:34 AM
Well, Dan, I was only just reading an interesting little article in one of them rags you boys produce where the writer speculated on there being a copy-cat killer, or even a number of 'em.
Can't quite remember the name of the fellow now, but I do agree with you, he was probably talking out of his hat.

Dan Norder
April 21st, 2008, 11:52 AM
Not sure what article you think you read, but mine pointed out that most of the murders were certainly by the same person and that the evidence some people have tried to use to argue that there was a copycat killer in the East End is actually better explained by Jack the Ripper himself having been inspired by newspaper article of things he allegedly did but hadn't.

AP Wolf
April 21st, 2008, 01:16 PM
That's where me and you part company, Dan.
You want there to be a Jack the Ripper. I don't.
It is part of the conditioning to view the Whitechapel Murders as a series of crimes, and most folks, like you, go along with that, because you sort of want a serial killer, not just any serial killer, but Colin Wilson's 'first sexual serial killer' of the modern world.
I, in turn, view each crime as an isolated incident connected by only one unremarkable fact, that the actual crimes were not remarkable in the LVP, even though they might be today.
Before, during and after the Whitechapel Murders in 1888 there were equally brutal murders, with associated mutilations. The cases that Debs has highlighted on the podcast recently being just a small example, but as a for instance, not long after Kelly's brutal murder a woman was even more brutally murdered and savagely mutilated in front of her young baby.
But do we by association classify that as part of a series of murders because they are all linked by the mayhem of murder and mutilation?
No we don't, because in that particular case the murderer was caught.
Our view, or at least your view, might be different if he hadn't.
I don't consider copy cats here, or even the influence of press reports, but rather the inescapable fact that many men in the LVP resorted to the murder and mutilation of women; and as I have clearly shown the murder rate of women in Whitechapel in 1888 remained unaffected by the activities of this person you call Jack the Ripper.
It was just business as normal.
And that is why a murderous individual like William Seaman is very important to our understanding and comprehension of such crime in the LVP.

Dan Norder
April 21st, 2008, 02:36 PM
This isn't a question of what I "want" to see or "conditioning" or anything of the sort. I don't depend upon other people's opinions, or some particular suspect theory or anything of the sort. I look at the evidence, and the evidence is pretty clear that the same person killed at least four people -- and very probably more than that. To claim otherwise would be like knowing that a zebra is loose in the East End and then seeing a zebra there and deciding it can't be the same zebra you are looking for. Mutilation murderers are fairly rare, and it would be extremely unlikely to have more than one in the same place and time. That's just basic logic. Some people prefer to ignore logic so they come up with more dramatic answers, or to support a favored suspect, but we have to stick with reasonable conclusions based upon the existing evidence. That's all.

AP Wolf
April 21st, 2008, 04:22 PM
No, Dan, logic does not dictate that four, five, six or even seven women were all killed by the same hand in Whitechapel in 1888, because logic shows us that four, five, six or even seven women were killed in 1887 and 1889 in Whitechapel by different hands.
So simple logic implies that there was no Jack the Ripper.
Which has always been my stance.
The Whitechapel Murders were just the day to day business of the LVP.
I think the problem here is that blokes like you just follow the lead of your old masters, who attempt to make 1888 a very special sort of place which nobody has ever seen before. But if you get into the records, you'll find a whole host of crimes, all called something like the 'Whitechapel Murders', or the 'East End Mystery' where women are being murdered and mutilated way before 1888; and as I have already shown a case could be made for a serial killer operating in Whitechapel from 1834 till 1900, but folks don't live that long.
The chances of one killer being responsible for all the killings in Whitechapel in 1888 are so slim that you, Dan, just slipped off the edge of the planet.
But I understand you have a parachute designed by Tom Westscoot which enables you to free fall into Stewart's arms where he catches you and puts you in a cot along with a lot of tiresome old farts.

Jerry Dunlop
December 22nd, 2016, 01:17 PM
Some press reports indicate Seaman was thick set between 5'8" to 5'9" with a tuft of red whiskers under his chin. At his hanging he is described as pale, freckled, rather ruddy face with reddish/grey whiskers.

London Evening News
London, Middlesex
April 10, 1896


Debra Arif
December 22nd, 2016, 05:34 PM
Thanks for the pic of Seaman , Jerry.