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Reginald Traherne Bassett Saunderson

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  • Reginald Traherne Bassett Saunderson

    I’ve been here before, but I’d like to go there again.
    Reginald Traherne Bassett Saunderson, a descendent of Mary Tudor if you please, murdered Augusta Dawes in 1894 by slitting her throat on an open street at night in what has popularly become known as the ‘Holland Park Road Crime’.
    Six years earlier in 1888, Saunderson’s father had placed the young lad at a ‘specialist school’, after he had discovered in December of 1888 that his ‘son’s mind was defective’.
    And there he had remained, apart from day excursions, until he escaped in 1894 and murdered an unfortunate woman late at night on the open street with a knife that he carried with him for that purpose.
    Making his escape to Ireland the young Saunderson then taunted the London police in letters where he signed himself as ‘Jack the Ripper’.

  • #2

    Thanks for going here again..

    Was this Reginald Saunderson from London and accountable for during that Fall?

    Thank you sor...


    • #3
      Thanks How, it is those very issues which I hope to resolve.
      Meanwhile it is worth remembering the strange – and often discredited – tale as related by Dr Harold Dearden in 1935 in ‘Who was Jack the Ripper’, published in ‘Great Unsolved Crimes’, where he talks of being in the trenches on the Somme on the 9th November 1918 with an unnamed companion whose birthday it was, and this companion relates the story of the young boy lunatic who was brought to his father’s private lunatic asylum outside of London on the same date in 1888, ruining his birthday party then.
      The lunatic boy was the son of one of his father’s oldest friends.
      I think I’m probably in the position now to link Saunderson to this Dearden story, not 100% sure, but I reckon it has wings and can fly.
      I have always believed that Reginald Saunderson’s father when in court was somehow misremembering the exact date of his son’s confinement to the private lunatic asylum.
      We talk of a few days here, after six years.


      • #4
        Yes How, Reginald Saunderson was resident in London in 1888, and the close friend of his father and doctor, John Langdon Down, was at the London Hospital, and for some time had a surgery at 265 Whitechapel Road.
        John Langdon Down was of course the very famous doctor, along with one of his sons, who first described 'Down's Syndrome', and ran the lunatic home for wealthy young men at Hampton Wick, known as 'Normansfield', where of course Reginald Saunderson was committed to in late 1888.
        The Saunderson's and Down's were all old friends, landed gentry from Ireland with connections right up to the crown of England, Reginald himself being a direct descendent of Mary Tudor, it appears.
        John Langdon Down had three sons, Everleigh died very early at 21, but both Percival and Reginald would have served in the Great War as doctors, which does incline me to think that the companion of Dr Harold Dearden in the trenches on the Somme that day on November 9th 1918 would have also been a doctor, called perhaps Langdon Down.
        Now all we need is someone to give me the date of birth of all of John Langdon Down's sons and if one of them happens to be the 9th November, then it is very much case closed for a very long time indeed.


        • #5
          One of the many reports from The Times - 11th December 1894 - concerning the strange case.

          THE HOLLAND-PARK-ROAD CRIME.The inquiry into the painful circumstances connected with the murder of Augusta Dawes in Holland-park-road, Kensington, on Sunday night, November 25, was resumed and concluded yesterday before Mr. C. Luxmoore Drew, the West Middlesex coroner, and a jury, at the Kensington Town-hall. The court was crowded. Mr. Horace Avory, barrister, appeared for the Public Prosecutor; Superintendent Ferrett, Chief Inspector Swanson, and Detective Inspector Smith watched the case for the police. Colonel Saunderson, M.P., accompanied by Mr. Llewellyn Saunderson, the father of the young man who is charged with the murder, was present during the inquiry.
          Walter Knee, a baker, of Chelsea, identified the deceased as his cousin. She was about 29 years of age and was the daughter of a wine merchant's manager, of Bristol, who was dead.
          T.G. Foreman, a riding master, of 25, Holland-park-road, said he was in bed on the night of the murder at 11 45. He heard a scream in the street, and directly afterwards a thud, and then heard two people running. Ten minutes afterwards he heard the police whistle blown.
          William Case, groom, of 27, Holland-park-road, said that at 11 30 he heard a man and a woman talking under his window. They were not quarrelling. He heard no scream, but heard two people running.
          Valetta French, a barmaid at the Holland Arms, said the deceased woman was in that house alone at 11 o'clock on the night of the murder.
          Richard Stubbles said he saw the deceased woman about 11 30 in Holland-park-road. She was with a gentleman, and they were walking together. The man's back was towards him and he did not see his face. He was tall and smart-looking, and was wearing a long overcoat and a hard felt hat. He was leaning on a walking-stick with a crooked handle. The stick which was found and now produced was similar to the one he saw. Witness was chasing his old cat in the road, and was quite close to them. They moved off in the direction of Addison-road. He often heard noises in that neighbourhood, so he took no notice of the row he heard on the night in question.
          Herbert Schmalz, an artist, of the Studios, Holland-park-road, deposed that he was going to post a letter on the night of November 25, when he saw a man and a woman. The man was on the footpath and the woman was against the wall. Afterwards he was asked to make a sketch of what he saw, and did so. But the man's face was in shadow, and he could not, therefore, well remember it. As he returned from the pillar-box he saw them again. The woman was still leaning against the wall and the man was close to her. They got closer together, and then they both fell down. He did not hear any scream.
          Mr. Avory.-What next attracted your attention?-I heard something about "brutes." That is all I can recollect. It was the woman's voice I heard. I hurried forward and said, "What the devil are you doing?" I picked up a stick. When I got 15 or 20 yards from them the man jumped up and ran away in the direction of Addison-road.
          Continuing, the witness said he ran after the man, but lost sight of him in High-street, Kensington. In his pursuit he passed the woman, who was on her knees, exclaiming, "O Christ!" Having lost sight of the man, he returned to his house. A little later, after he had gone to bed, he heard a police whistle blown.
          Counsel.-Do you think you would know the man again?-I am unable to say that, to be on the safe side. The man was a very fast runner.
          Evidence as to the finding of the knife having been given,
          Francis Rollison, one of the masters at Eastcote, Hampton Wick, said Reginald Saunderson was one of the pupils there, and he was well acquainted with his writing. He had no doubt that the letter and envelope produced, and dated November 27, 1894, had been written by Saunderson.
          Mr. Avory.-The letter is signed "Jack the Ripper," and is addressed to "The Police Station, Kensington, London, W., England."
          The witness went on to give details as to Saunderson's escape from Hampton Wick, and as to his possession of a knife similar to that found.
          Mrs. Mary Langdon-Downs, of Eastcote, wife of Dr. Langdown-Downs [sic], said Saunderson had been a resident there for six years. He had absented himself many times for short periods without permission, and had had to be brought back, but not within the past two years.
          At this juncture Mr. Llewellyn Saunderson interposed, in response to an inquiry by the coroner as to whether there was anybody present to represent the accused, and said he felt it his duty to give the Court information as to his boy's past history. It was now six years since he discovered that his son's mind was defective, and he was advised to put him under medical care.
          The CORONER.-The question of insanity is not a matter for this Court to inquire into.
          Mr. Saunderson, continuing, said his residence was in Switzerland, but he was now living at Kington. His son's full name was Reginald Traherne Bassett Saunderson, and he was 21 on November 23 last.
          Mrs. Eliza Ahrens, of St. Albans-place, Haymarket, W.C., said she had known Reginald Saunderson for about one year. He had stayed at her house. He called on her on Sunday, November 25, about 10 o'clock at night, and asked for a room for himself. He also said he should want one for his brother on the following day. His brother, he added, had come from India, and was at that moment at the Constitutional Club. She told him she was unable to let him have a room that night, but that she would accommodate his brother on the following day. Saunderson complained of having been very ill with rheumatic fever. She advised him to go back to the Constitutional Club and stay there. He asked how far it was to Tottenham-court-road and to Euston. He did not say where he was going to sleep that night.
          William Hollier said he was a fishmonger's assistant at Harrow. On November 26 he was driving form London to Harrow. About 8 15 a.m., when he was at Stonebridge-park, six miles from London, he picked up a gentleman who asked him for a lift. That gentleman was the prisoner Saunderson. On the journey the gentleman said he had seen a dreadful murder on Sunday night near Holland-park-road. He said it was a woman who had been murdered. In reply to a question he told the witness that he was going to see a Mr. Davidson, an assistant-master at Harrow School. He added that he had come from Guildford on the Friday. Asked how he was going back, he said it would be all right when he had seen his friend. He had, he said, been walking the whole of the night before. Witness noticed that he walked lame when he got down opposite the King's Head Hotel, Harrow, at 9 5. He was dressed in a dark suit, but had no great coat, gloves, stick, or umbrella.
          Mr. Davidson, said that Saunderson called upon him a little after 9. He said he had ridden on his bicycle from Portsmouth, and that while he was stopping at a house in Willesden the bicycle was stolen. He had spoken to the police and they had advised him that it was no good troubling about the matter any further. As he had no other friends near, Saunderson said he had walked into Harrow to see him. He asked for a loan to enable him to get back to Portsmouth, where his aunt resided. Witness knew he had been in charge of a doctor near London, but did not know where. He lent him a sovereign, and found out when he could return to Portsmouth. He also telegraphed to the address which Saunderson gave him, but the telegram was returned as the address was not known. Saunderson told him of a lot of dreadful things that, he said, had occurred lately, one being that a fire had broken out at a hotel in Switzerland in which a young girl was burnt to death. Also, he said, that as he was passing through London a policeman near Westminster-bridge asked him to help to lift up a murdered woman, whose throat had been cut. He said his glove had thus got covered with blood. He left at half-past 10, but returned half an hour later saying that the money he had received was not enough, and that he wanted half-a-crown more. Witness lent him 3s. more. Saunderson said he was going to stay in London that night at the Arundel Hotel, where he expected to meet his father.
          Detective-inspector Smith, of the F Division, said he received a letter at Kensington Police-station on November 28. It was sent from Dublin, and the envelope bore the words, "Police Station, Kensington, W., London, England." The letter ran as follows:-"Dublin, Nov. 27th.-Dear Sir,-The murder that was committed I did it. I did it just to the right of the door of a gentleman. I got her by the throat and tried to choke her, but without success. I got her on the ground and cut her knife with a sloid knife. It was a very good cut. When I had cut her a fellow was coming along, so I flew for my life, but left the stick, and the knife was thrown away in the back lane in a back street. I did the murder at 12 30. So good bye. On the job. From Jack the Ripper. You will find my name is well known at certain places round there. I am now at------." That was the letter which had been identified as being in Saunderson's handwriting.
          Thomas Thompson, Detective-sergeant, of the F Division, said he and Sergeant Dyson took Saunderson over from the custody of the Royal Irish Constabulary.
          The CORONER.-Has the accused made any statement?-No, Sir.
          The CORONER, before summing up, asked Mr. Llewellyn Saunderson whether he would like to call any witnesses, and received a reply in the negative.
          The jury found that the deceased woman was murdered, and that the cause of her death was hemorrhage from wounds in the throat inflicted by Reginald Saunderson. They added a rider calling attention to the insufficient lighting of Holland-park-road, and suggesting that the road could be improved so that it might not be a harbour for questionable characters.
          The inquest lasted nearly three hours.


          • #6
            Just like poor old Thomas, Reginald eventually ended up at the billiard room at Broadmoor.
            Perhaps they shared a 'knock' together?

            Reginald Llewelyn Traherne Bassett Saunderson was extremely well connected.
            As I said he was a direct descendant of Mary Tudor; and the nephew of Colonel Edward J Saunderson, the leading 'Orange' Member of Parliament for Northern Ireland, Deputy Lieutenent for the province and a magistrate.
            He was the son of Llewelyn Traherne Basset Saunderson, Esq. Justice of the Peace, married to Lady Scott, sister of the Earl of Clonmell.
            Who had his own castle, Castle Saunderson.
            He was also related to Lady Caroline Monck, Viscount Monck and the Fitzclarence's; and the Earl of Munster, grandson of William IV.
            Now that is a hot potatoe indeed.
            And some members of the press felt that he was Jack the Ripper.


            • #7
              He was 'Cutbushed' when he eventually reached the Old Bailey.

              199. In the case of REGINALD TREHERNE BASSETT SAUNDERSON , charged with the wilful murder of Augusta Dawes, on the evidence of DR. GEORGE WALKER , Surgeon of Her Majesty's Prison, Holloway, and DR. EDGAR SHEPHERD , the JURY found the prisoner to be insane, and not in a condition to plead to the indictment. — To be detained until Her Majesty's pleasure be known. '

              That's it.
              What a shame.


              • #8
                Forbes Winslow on Saunderson

                Comments by Winslow on his mental assessment of Reginald Saunderson 1894

                A dreadful crime was committed in the neighbour-
                hood of London a few years ago, which for some time
                bailled the vigilance of the police. A young woman's
                body was found in one of the suburbs of London with
                her throat cut, and the culprit turned out to be a
                youth, aged twenty-one, who had been in the habit of
                drawing very much upon his imagination, and had
                been placed at a school for boys, mentally deficient,
                at Hampton Wick.

                At the time of his escape from the institution, he left behind him, unposted, letters addressed to relatives, which were found to consist of
                a tissue of exaggerations. Thus, enlarging upon the
                circumstance that there had been some land flooded in
                the neighbourhood of his school, he described a scene
                which was purely imaginary.

                "Houses," he wrote, - had been swept away, and cattle and bodies had been
                daily seen in the swollen Thames." It was partly this
                facility for disregarding the truth which led to the
                young fellow, a boy of fifteen, being placed under the
                charge of a medical man, who had a school for the
                education of lads who "have," as it is described, a
                moral rather than a mental "twist."

                From his entrance into the establishment, however, he won the
                affections of his schoolmates. He was always of the
                most amiable and gentle disposition. He never
                betrayed the least tendency to homicide, and he was
                never accompanied by a special attendant. Up to the
                moment of his last disappearance, his conduct had not
                caused the least suspicion that he was dangerous ; and
                if he had shown any signs of such condition of mind,
                he would not have been permitted to remain m the
                school, which was not intended for inmates medically
                certified as insane. His time at the school had in
                reality expired, and it was at his own desire that he
                was remaining as a pupil for another three months.

                His father had already written stating that he was
                prepared to take him to Canada, where it was intended
                that he should learn farming. In preparation for such
                a career he was allowed to occupy himself in the
                garden, and, for the purpose of pruning and the like,
                he borrowed a knife from a fellow -pupil, who had
                bought it for his wood- carving lessons. No one
                suspected that a weapon of the kind was likely to be
                misused, and it would seem that he had the knife still
                in his possession, more by accident than by design,
                when he came to town. He ultimately communicated
                with the police, and gave himself up.

                I examined him on the 24th of December 1894, and the following
                conversation took place (at the time of my visit he
                had just had a paroxysm of excitement, in which he
                had nearly killed one of the inmates of his ward).
                He said as follows : " I was drugged when I was
                brought in here, but cannot tell where I am. Every-
                thing around me appears to me as if in a dream, and
                I have no recollection of having committed the murder
                of which you speak ; had I done so, I cannot under-
                stand the wickedness of the act, or what I should suffer
                in consequence. I hear, and have heard for some time,
                and do at the present moment hear people speaking
                to me, who apparently are hidden behind the walls ; I
                have been persecuted by these voices for a long period
                of time, urging me to do the various acts, and I believe
                in their reality." He evidently was of very weak
                capacity, and liable to do any act to which his insane
                mind directed him.

                This case created a great deal of excitement in
                London, from the cruelty of the murder and circum-
                stances surrounding it. The general opinion was that
                it resembled one of the series of murders committed
                by Jack the Kipper, the victim being a woman,
                whom he casually met and whom he stabbed, and hid
                the knife in a heap of rubbish some distance off.
                After the commission of the murder he rushed off to
                Ireland, where he afterwards gave himself in charge.
                It was found that he was the actual murderer. He
                had suffered for some time from the hallucination of
                hearing voices, and in all probability the attack was
                brought about by brooding over the horrors of the
                Whitechapel type. He was tried, and his case ended
                in an order for detention in a criminal lunatic asylum
                during "Her Majesty's pleasure." He had sent, at
                the time of the murder, which was causing much sen-
                sation in London, a " Jack the Ripper " letter to the


                • #9
                  Evening Star
                  December 4, 1894


                  • #10
                    Evening Star
                    December 15, 1894