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5 Q With Tom Wescott: The Front Nine

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  • 5 Q With Tom Wescott: The Front Nine

    One question required me restructuring it for while we wait for #'s 9 Q with Tom:

    Over the past 5 years, what have been the three most important discoveries or resolutions within the Case that have been beneficial to you as a researcher or towards your knowledge in terms of the Case in general ?

    Personally, it would start with my having asked the right questions about Le Grand and coming to the suspicions I did relating to the murder of Liz Stride. Following this and the publication of my 'Berner Street Mystery Pt. 1' in Ripper Notes, a flood of new information came in regarding Le Grand that strongly supported my ideas. More recently, discoveries by Mike Covell and Mark Ripper confirmed my suspicions that Le Grand was indeed a contemporary Ripper suspect, and I believe the strongest suspect we have to date. On a less revelatory, but still very important note, we also have Philip Hutchinson's discovery of the Dutfield's Yard photo, which is important to me on a personal level.

    Which primary sources do you rely on in constructing articles more often ? Newspapers, Ripper related books, or peripheral books which focus on areas of interest ?

    First and foremost would be the police files as found in Evans and Skinner's 'Ultimate JTR Companion/Sourcebook', followed closely by the amazing Press Reports Project at Last but by no means least would be fresh finds from a number of top notch researchers, namely Debra Arif, Mike Covell, Chris Scott, Mark Ripper, and yes, Howard Brown!

    Which suspects have you seen promoted in Ripper works over the last three years that you find amusing or works constructed solely for profit ?

    I wanted to believe that MJ Trow's Robert Mann nonsense was purely profit motivated. I can understand that. But he actually seems to believe his own crap, which I find unbelievable and rather disturbing. What an amazing waste of time it was, and whatever reputation Trow had built through his fiction and his Ripper photo book, he completely destroyed for all time with his theory book and documentary. Regarding Thomas Toughill's 'The Ripper Code', the theory that it's Frank Miles is laughable and most of the book was written in the 1980's, so it's like a time capsule. But unlike Trow's useless book, Toughill presents original research on Druitt that some might find intriguing. I also found some value in Andrew Cook's book. His find regarding Best and the Ripper letters is important, but his theory that there was no Ripper is as stupid now as it was when Peter Turnbull first published the idea 20 years ago.

    What, to your way of thinking, is the most underrated event in the whole of the Case ? If you need as many as you feel necessary.

    Why a career criminal and pimp like Le Grand would step into the spotlight for the first and ONLY time in the entire case to coax Matthew Packer and the two sisters into lying to the police in order to promote a suspect who never existed. Because Packer was dismissed as a viable witness (and rightfully so) long ago, no one really considered the implications of what occurred in Berner Street in the first days following the murder. Not even Gerry Nixon, the man who first published on Le Grand's criminal history. You've got to turn over a lot of rocks in this case if you want to find any pearls, and I'm glad I turned this one over.

    What do you make of all this SRA debate ? Do you feel Anderson was reporting the facts as he saw them based on his appearance at the identification ? Or, do you believe it is just as or more likely that he wasn't even in attendance at this event ?

    I think the SRA debate has more to do with the personalities debating it than anything else. Kosminski is most certainly a viable contemporary suspect, and I would put him over Druitt and Tumblety, but perhaps that's because we know so little about him. We know enough about Druitt and Tumblety to know that they're unlikely Ripper candidates, but because we know so little about Kosminski, we don't have that luxury. Perhaps for that reason alone he heads that pack of three. Sir Robert Anderson was a human being, so he was fallible. But he was also successful on a number of fronts, which tells me he possessed some measure of integrity and was probably not a habitual liar, although he did put more faith in his own thought processes than he perhaps should have. Whether or not he was present at any identification is pure conjecture, so I have no idea.

    You,like I, are on the side of the fence that leans towards the graffiti on Goulston Street being penned by the Ripper or Whitechapel Murderer. Give us the number one reason that you feel supports that being from the Saucy One.

    It was found written over the bloody apron but does not appear to have been there earlier that evening. While I'm aware that coincidences exist in this case, I find it harder than some other researchers to believe that literally everything from the 'double event' to the graffiti and on was a coincidence. I think the message makes perfect sense within the context of the two murders that occurred that night.

    I've seen a newspaper report ( from the U.S. ) which stated that following Mary Kelly's murder, there was a noticeable lack of emotiveness on the part of the rank and file East Ender towards that murder primarily because they were "expecting" such murders by that time. Yet...there had been a lull for 40 days from the Double Event to November 9th. Do you get the sense, in reading the literature, that there is some truth in that claim ? If not, please elaborate.

    I think the shock value had worn off, but I also believe this is when the true, longlasting fear of the Ripper came in. He only became a boogeyman after people realized he could and would kill you in your own home, so the Kelly murder was pivotal in creating the legend of Jack the Ripper.

    Since individuals...who had committed murders by 1894... such as James Kelly,& William Bury, ...did not appear in the Macnaghten Memoranda....what do you think that means in terms of their candidacy as a bona fide suspect in the WM ?

    They are not bonafide suspects. They are plausible, but generally regarded as unlikely, and rightfully so. I think we've seen support for them grow in recent years only because people have come to realize that the Macnaghten memoranda was little more than a piece of fiction and did not contain the name of Jack the Ripper.

    If you were Inspector Race's superior in 1894....what,if any,punitive actions would you have taken towards him for his interview with The Sun newspaper ?

    I would have sh*tcanned him, but I wouldn't have sued him. Cops didn't get paid squat and still don't.
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  • #2

    For those of us who want to learn more about Le Grands candidacy as the Ripper, where do you suggest we go?

    "It is far more comfortable to point a finger and declare someone a devil, than to call upon your imagination to try to understand their world."


    • #3
      Hi Big Jon. The only place to go would be the next issue of The Examiner, and eventually my book. Thanks for asking!


      • #4
        When can we expect the book?

        "It is far more comfortable to point a finger and declare someone a devil, than to call upon your imagination to try to understand their world."


        • #5
          Oh Lord, no telling. I'm sure I'll write it faster than it's going to be published though. That's why I'm putting out the essay as kind of a primer.


          • #6
            ..and here's the 10th of the answers Tom replied to:

            # 10. How important in 2010 do you find Inspector Race's revelations ? Does it rank among the most important events in the Case or do you feel it is overrated ?

            His insubordination in the pursuit of Cutbush as the Ripper led to the Macnaghten memoranda which pretty much shaped Ripperology for the second half of the 20th century and up to today, so in that respect only, Race is significant. But since Cutbush was almost certainly not the Ripper and the memoranda is on its last legs as being considered a source for the identity of the Ripper, I don't see Race as being significant at all in terms of identifying the Ripper. Just another red herring.
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            • #7
              Great interview. I know very little about LeGrand so you sure have my curiosity up. One thing on Macnaghten though, I believe his mention of Kosminski still makes his document very relevant, at least until we learn more; If we ever do.
              Best Wishes,
              Cris Malone
              "Objectivity comes from how the evidence is treated, not the nature of the evidence itself. Historians can be just as objective as any scientist."


              • #8
                Another excellent Q & A; thanks How and Tom.