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  • #31
    Originally posted by How Brown
    Steady on folks....
    I hope my post doesn't appear to be antagonistic, Howard, as it isn't intended to be anything of the sort.

    I am calling out Neil - with whom I have a friendly relationship - because I believe that his campaign for level-headed objectivity has turned against one of the most level-headed and objective 'suspect' cases that has ever been presented.

    For the record: I am not inclined to believe that Charles Lechmere had anything to do with any of the so-called 'Whitechapel Murders'.


    • #32
      Thanks for clarifying, Colin.....I appreciate that.


      • #33
        Relax How,

        Edward took my tongue in cheek comment extremely well and responded in the same vein, as I deserved no doubt.


        No, actually I'm not. I'm honestly surprised not to see Christer here. As for Edward, as with you we have bumped heads however I have stood back in recent weeks and tried to gain a proper perspective on his theory.

        My opinion has not altered, pure circumstantial however we can say that on almost all of the major suspects. His actions at the scene are not suspicious to me, nor the use of the name Cross. However, he is contemporary and is certainly not the worse suspect theory I've ever seen. THAT I give you. I have always favoured a local unknown, a bill Cross fits.

        I fully accept there will be times when Edward and I clash however, as with you, I hope we do not move it on to a personal level anymore. I'm getting too old for this $hit. That said, I dislike the passing of some assumptions of Cross as fact (something Christer is more prone to than Edward granted, Edward has always had a degree of the proper) and will comment if I see such things.

        The boards were saturated on a daily basis on how Cross IS guilty, how he IS suspicious etc. This is pure balderdash and unproven, yet this is what the readership was fed. If a balanced presentation was made from the off then maybe my opposition would not have been so strong.

        As for Mei.....I'm not re treading the past. Those who saw what went on know.

        I'm am well, and thanks for asking. I hope you are too.


        • #34
          Originally posted by Monty
          I am well, and thanks for asking. I hope you are too.
          I am indeed, Neil.



          • #35

            The Lechmere Viaduct
            A means, by which one can 'Cross' the Charles River, in Boston, Massachusetts

            (Click Image, to View Wikipedia Reference)


            • #36
              Ok, now I'm convinced.



              • #37
                Christer's article translated:
                Was the witness really the killer?

                Sydsvenskan´s Christer Holmgren has together with Ripperologist Edward Stow presented a theory about the identity of the most notorious serial killer of all time.
                Come along to the East End of London, in the autumn of 1888 – if you dare.

                Early on the 31:st of August 1888, the carman Robert Paul was on his way to work in Corbett´s Court in London´s East End. He was late; the time was 3.45 as he briskly walked down Buck´s Row after having turned into it from Brady Street. At the intersection between the streets he passed a gas lamp. There were a further couple of lamps along Buck´s Row, but none of them functioned, so the darkness deepened around Paul with every step he took. Having walked a hundred yards or so, and with the light from the gas lamp as a haze in the distance, he suddenly discerned a man standing still in the middle of the street. Robert Paul felt uneasy, and as the other man took a step or two towards him, Paul chose to step down from the pavement to walk round him. Then the other man stretched out his arm, put his hand on Paul´s shoulder and said:
                - Come and have a look, there´s a woman lying over here.
                At the entrance to Brown´s Stable Yard, a figure was stretched out on its back. The men crossed Buck´s Row to take a look.
                The woman lying on the southern side of the narrow street was the 43-year old prostitute Mary Ann ”Polly” Nichols. The man that had stopped Robert Paul was also a carman, 38 years of age, answering to the name Charles Allen Lechmere. And the murder – for it was a murder – was the first in the series attributed to Jack the Ripper.
                The Ripper murders were all knife slayings. They were so violent that they made Londoners presuppose that they were dealing with a complete maniac. They would remain unsolved. There were five of them according to traditional opinion, and they were perpetrated over a period of around ten weeks.
                When the story about them is told, a number of elements are usually involved: the competent Victorian police, the dark labyrinth of crime-infested streets called the East End and the skill that allowed the killer to avoid the police net.
                Those who dig deep enough into the case will discover that one of these elements was not really there. Sadly, that element was the police competence. It is a controversial view, but an inevitable one. The police force had no experience of serial killings, it was led by men who in many instances had peculiar qualifications for police work and it carried out its duties in an era when racism abounded and phrenology – the belief that criminality could be read into people´s differing physiognomies – was an accepted ”science”.
                If the investigation had been handled the way investigations are handled today, then Polly Nichols would probably never have come to be regarded as the first Ripper victim. The killings would probably have ended there and then. A modern police force would arguably have concluded that the man Robert Paul found standing by Polly Nichols, was also her probable killer: Charles Allen Lechmere. But let´s return to Buck´s Row and find out what it is that points towards him.
                At the inquest after the murder, Lechmere claimed that he had noticed that there was something – his guess was a tarpaulin – lying on the southern side of Buck´s Row. He had then walked out into the street. At that same stage, he heard somebody – Robert Paul – was approaching. But he did not notice Paul until he was some thirty-forty yards away.
                And yet we know that a policeman during the same night heard his colleague´s steps from 130 yards away. Reasonably, Lechmere should have already heard Paul when the latter turned into Buck´s Row. The street was resting in silence and the shoes of that time had hard, loud heels.
                Likewise, Paul should have heard Lechmere walking in the darkness some thirty, forty yards ahead of him. But he didn´t.
                The conclusion is inescapable: Lechmere was in place before he admits to have been. And once he noticed the approaching Paul, he chose to bluff the newcomer instead of running for it, and attracting attention to his person.
                They then went over to the woman together to feel her. Her hands were cold, but the face was warm, and as Paul felt her chest he discerned some small movement.
                - I believe she is alive, but only just, he said. Let´s prop her up, he suggested. But Lechmere then said that he would not touch her.
                The reason for this is easy to see: as long as the woman was lying on the ground, it could not be made out in the darkness that she had had her neck severed down to the spine, and it provided Lechmere with the opportunity to procure an alibi for whatever blood he could have gotten on himself. But the moment they tried to sit her up, what had happened to her would become obvious.
                Paul now remembered that he was late. He suggested that he should go and fetch a policeman to send to Buck´s Row. This made Lechmere say that he too was late, and throw forward a proposal that they should seek out that policeman together. If he had the murder weapon stashed on himself – no weapon was found at the spot when it was searched later – one can understand that he did not wish to wait for a policeman. And Paul had seen him and could identify him, so running was no longer any alternative. Lechmere was forced to improvise.
                Before they set off, Paul respectfully pulled the woman´s clothes down as best as he could. Before that, they had been pulled up to the hip region, leaving the legs bare. But the clothes had covered her belly completely, and therefore her other wounds had been hidden – she had had the stomach ripped open from the breast bone down to the pelvic region. So somebody had taken the time to conceal this by using her clothes. Only one person stood to gain something by such a thing: a killer that had not been able to flee.
                The carmen now left Buck´s Row and walked westwards. A couple of hundred yards from the murder scene, they ran into PC Jonas Mizen, who was in the process of knocking people up by tapping on doors and windows, a practice that was common amongst the police. Mizen would later at the inquest say that only one of the carmen – Lechmere – had spoken to him, and that this carman had told him that he was needed in Buck´s Row, where a woman was lying on the ground and where a fellow PC awaited his arrival.
                But wait a second …?
                There was no other PC in Buck´s Row, was there?
                But if Lechmere was the killer, then he was still carrying his murder weapon on his person. Therefore he would have been anxious not to be searched, and determined to avoid being forced back to the murder site. That would have been why he invented a fictive PC, something that made Mizen accept that the carmen had already been cleared.
                That is how easily the probable killer of Polly Nichols got past the police! And actually, there was another PC in place as Mizen arrived in Buck´s Row – PC John Neil had found Nichols on his beat a few minutes after the carmen had left her.
                Could Lechmere possibly have known that Neil would be in place as Mizen arrived? Yes, that is an obvious possibility. He had probably picked Nichols up on Whitechapel Road, a known prostitute haunt. At that stage, the couple would reasonably have checked where the beat PC was before they sneaked up to Buck´s Row; prostitution was a crime.
                The fact is that John Neil for a couple of days remained the man believed to first have discovered the body. But Robert Paul apparently had gotten word that Nichols had been killed, which was why he went to the press and gave a (probably well-paid) interview. It was published on the Sunday, two days after the murder and the day before the inquest. In the interview, Paul claimed to have found Lechmere standing ”where the body was”.
                That was alarming news for Lechmere, and it arguably made him report himself to the police to provide his own version of the story, after which he was summoned to the Monday inquest. If he had avoided going to the police, then they would have had a situation where they knew a man had been standing by Nichols´ body at the approximate time of her death, only to later disappear. And Lechmere knew that both Paul and Mizen could identify him. Therefore he chose to come forward and present himself – but not fully. For he chose to call himself Charles Cross as he witnessed!
                As a child, he had for a duration of around a decade had a stepfather called Thomas Cross, but there are no signs that Lechmere used his stepfathers name in any other context than the murder of Nichols. On the contrary; there are around ninety instances when the carman´s name is recorded in different official contexts. Every single name he writes himself Lechmere.
                The secret about the name was unrevealed for more than a hundred years – it was not until some years ago that a genealogist made the connection.
                The particulars Lechmere gave to the police where otherwise – apart from the name – correct. He stated 22 Doveton Street as his home address and he added that he worked for a Pickfords depot since an approximate twenty years. But when he witnessed before the inquest he added another anomaly to the false name: he did not state his home address before the jury, something witnesses normally do.
                He said his name was Charles Cross and that he worked at Pickfords. But hundreds of men worked there, and without any home address he became unidentifiable to those who took part of the inquest proceedings in the papers. Consequently, his neighbours and his family could read about the murder without understanding that it was Lechmere who had found the victim.
                But what about the police – surely they must have checked him out?
                Not at all – a check in the registers, a visit at his home address or at Pickfords would immediately have disclosed that his name was not Cross. But Lechmere swiftly disappeared from the investigation, suspected of nothing at all. To be sure, a juryman did ask him if he had really told PC Mizen that another policeman was awaiting him in Buck´s Row, but this Lechmere denied. He added that he actually could not have said such a thing since there had not been any PC in Buck´s Row. This Robert Paul could of course confirm, and therefore everything pointed to Mizen having misunderstood things. And deeper than that nobody went – a murder inquest´s aim is merely to establish the cause of death.
                Why then did the police fail to check Lechmere out? Well, they decided at an early stage that they were looking for a lunatic, very possibly a foreign such.
                After the fourth Ripper killing, that of Catherine Eddowes, the detective Daniel Halse met two men in a street adjacent to the murder spot. His only measure was to establish that the men had legitimate reasons to be there. After that, he let them go. They were probably British, and they probably stated that they lived in the street or nearby, or perhaps that they were on their way to work. Exactly such a statement was also enough, as we have seen, for Charles Lechmere to gain a free passage from the inquest. He was British, he was a family father with eleven children, he was en route to his work. He was everything the Victorian police did not expect the killer to be.
                And still, he was alone with a murder victim, a victim that may well still have been alive as Paul thought he discerned a small movement in her chest. When John Neil laid eyes on her, perhaps some three or four minutes afterwards, there was still blood running from her neck. And Mizen claimed the exact same thing, being in place a couple of minutes after Neil. The extensive damage she had suffered ought to have emptied her of blood quickly, it would not have been a matter of many minutes.
                To tell the truth, Charles Lechmere should not even have been in Buck´s Row at 3.45 in the morning. For he claimed that he had left his home at 3.30, and to walk from Doveton Street to the murder spot is easily done in six or seven minutes. That means that Charles Lechmere should have left Buck´s Row well behind him long before Robert Paul turned into it. Therefore the time window is in place for Lechmere to have committed the murder.
                All in all, a substantial amount of accusations can be raised against Charles Lechmere. But do we have something to check it against, something that can strengthen the case?
                Yes we have, actually! We can take a look at the five Ripper killings, and we can add another knife slaying that may have been perpetrated by the same man, three weeks before the Ripper series. After that, we can compare the times and places the murders occurred at with Charles Lechmere´s route to work. When doing so, an amazing pattern emerges.
                Lechmere had two roughly comparable thoroughfares from Doveton Street to Pickfords in Broad Street, where today’s Liverpool Street station is situated. They were Hanbury Street and Old Montague Street.
                -On the 7:th of August, Martha Tabram was killed at the approximate time when Lechmere went to work. She died in George Yard, only thirty yards or so off Old Montague Street.
                -On the 31:st of August Polly Nichols died on Buck´s Row – along Lechmere’s working route.
                -On the 8:th of September Annie Chapman was murdered early in the morning on a working day, in the back yard of 29 Hanbury Street.
                -On the 9:th of November Mary Kelly met with her killer, early in the morning of a working day, in Miller´s Court, Dorset Street. And Dorset Street offered a short cut to Pickfords along the Hanbury Street route.
                There are two murders left to account for, both of them on the 30:th of September, when first Liz Stride and later Catherine Eddowes were killed. Here is a deviation: Stride was killed shortly before one o clock in the morning. That was not a time at which Lechmere was en route to his job. Eddowes died a little less than an hour later, that too being too early to be tied to Lechmere´s working trek.
                Nor did these victims die along Lechmere´s working route. Stride met her end on Berner Street, a couple of hundred yards south of the Hanbury Street/Old Montague Street area, and Eddowes fell prey in Mitre Square, that too being situated south of the Lechmere working trek territory.
                These cases can, however, be regarded as confirmation of Lechmere´s culpability. For they took place on the night leading up to a Sunday, Lechmere’s day off. And the Stride case took place in the exact territory where Lechmere had grown up and lived for a long stretch of years. Furthermore, Berner Street was a thoroughfare to Cable Street, where Charles Lechmere´s mother and one of his daughters were living!
                For a hard-working carman, there was only one real evening off, and that was Saturday evening. What could be more natural than to use that evening to visit your mother and daughter?
                The Stride killing was different from the other canonical cases in the sense that her stomach was not ripped open. There is an obvious possibility that Lechmere was disturbed, and frustrated fled Berner Street. After that, he sought out Catherine Eddowes and killed her in Mitre Square – alongside his old working route from James Street to Pickfords! Lechmere lived in James Street until June 1888, when he made the move to Doveton Street. That means that he left his old grounds – and the close proximity to his mother – only weeks before the murders began.
                The British police hunted the Ripper up until 1892. After that, scores of armchair detectives have tried to catch the illusive killer. Hundreds of suspects have come and gone, one more fantastic than the other. Lately, a theory that Vincent van Gogh was the killer has seen the light of day.
                Many ripperologists have made a quid by throwing a speculation in along the rugged road that winds through the gas lit East End streets of the 1880:s. There now being a rationally functioning, everyday, grey suspect is not something all Ripper researchers have wished for.
                They can find consolation in the fact that Lechmere actually has a glamorous family history, counting an archbishop and one of Admiral Nelson´s closest men. Lechmere’s branch of the family, however, had the bad luck of being hit by a waster, namely Charles´ grandfather, who threw away his fortune.
                So, to top things off, Charles Lechmere had good reason to feel a strong urge for revenge as he wandered the streets of the East End together with prostitutes, pimps and robbers, carrying the insight that he was made up of another material altogether himself than they were.
                Did that insight ultimately drive him over the edge?
                Charles Allen Lechmere died at the age of 71, on the 23:rd of December 1920, in Bow, London, after having suffered brain hemorrhage two days earlier.


                • #38
                  Thanks Edward and Christer ! Much appreciated gents....


                  • #39
                    Colin Roberts rules... That's just a fact.

                    Good to see Lechmere (Edward) and Fisherman (Christer) around. I enjoyed Fisherman's new article. Very concise and level-headed.

                    Yours truly,

                    Tom Wescott


                    • #40
                      The Lechmere Bridge Cross-ing over the River Charles is actually vital to the case. It adds the all important US ingredient essential for the financial viability of any Ripper project.
                      All hail the Yankee dollar!


                      • #41
                        Tom Wescott:

                        "I enjoyed Fisherman's new article. Very concise and level-headed."

                        Many thanks, Tom! Hope you´re well (I´m never certain of that when you commend my work).
                        Nah, just kiddin´- I DO hope all is well with you!



                        • #42
                          I've checked the posted genealogy but haven't seen anyone ask this yet, but was Charles Allen Lechmere's sister, Emily Charlotte, known to have been baptised twice? Once in 1847 in Hereford and once in 1859 along with Charles?


                          • #43
                            I have been to the Hereford Records Office and I think the reference to her being baptised in 1847 is a mistake.


                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Edward Stow
                              I have been to the Hereford Records Office and I think the reference to her being baptised in 1847 is a mistake.
                              OK, thanks Edward.
                              What kind of mistake would this be? How does someone get entered into the parish records as 'mistakenly' christened? Just curious, it's something I've never come across before.


                              • #45
                                This may have something to do with a mistake-The source citation for the 1847 christening record is the Genealogical Society of Utah. England, Births and Christenings. Index based on data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.
                                It may have been included from a family tree submission or something similar then? Is 10th March Emily Charlotte's date of birth?