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Transcript Of The Interview With Michael Barrett DISCUSSION Page

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  • Transcript Of The Interview With Michael Barrett DISCUSSION Page

    Please discuss the recent upload of Mr. Skinner's copy of the 1993 Interview conducted by Martin Howells and Mike Barrett in Liverpool on this thread.

    The transcribed document that Keith shared with The Forums is here :

  • #2
    Can't help but feel sorry for the man after reading that.



    • #3
      Originally posted by Mr. Poster View Post
      Can't help but feel sorry for the man after reading that.

      Yes, he clearly didn't sign up for all that happened. Lost his home, lost his wife and daughter, and his mind.


      • #4
        MH: Yeah. It’s just that one of the daughters has apparently said that in fact she remembers that book Murder Mayhem and Mystery being lent to the younger daughter. Tony Devereux’s.

        MB: Well which daughter? Sorry.

        MH: The younger one. I don’t know the names. In other words that the book that you had which was your book.

        I am rather surprised that Barrett doesn't offer up the daughter's name in response to Howell. Actually also slightly surprised that Howell didn't know it. It appears to have never come up in previous conversations with Mike, and it is a reasonably important part of Barrett's "provenance" so to speak.

        Why do I say this? Well, Barrett goes on at some length about Tony's "cynicism" about his family. The clear implication is that he was given the Diary as an award for running his close friend's errands while he was recuperating from a slipped disc and that his daughters weren't providing any help. You would think at this point in the interview Barrett would have responded to Howell by naming the youngest daughter. Or have mentioned it in earlier conversation.

        Question for Keith Skinner Caz and James: has anyone ever fact checked Tony's D's slipped disc? I know the daughters deny that Barrett was a close friend of their father. I suspect that Barrett was sticking to some version of the facts here but it would be interesting if Tony Devereux wasn't incapacitated for any length of time in the relevant time period.

        It's a long shot and perhaps you folks have already looked into it.


        • #5
          I would have thought the daughters would have come out with such a fact that would have directly contradicted Mike's story?


          • #6
            Did he actually have a stroke or is that just another dodgy story like the MI5 one?



            • #7
              Originally posted by Steve Stanley View Post
              I would have thought the daughters would have come out with such a fact that would have directly contradicted Mike's story?
              The daughters did in fact dismiss Barrett's claims that he was close friends with Tony as well as Tony needing outside help. I don't have the exact statements handy.


              • #8
                And another ding:

                "MH: Carry on you were saying that he was your best mate.

                MB: No, he was. You know three, three and a half years you know. So Tony ended up with this slipped hip you know the er the fractured hip for want of a better word or what have you consequently all that year something like the January the February the March the April the May I used to go down and Tony used to ring me up regular day by day Mike can you bring me a loaf of bread can you bring me a pint of milk and you know what I’m saying don’t yer...and I always turned round and said “what harm’s it? The poor one’s in pain.”

                Granted wandering through MB's thought processes is a dangerous thing to the man pretty much said everything and anything at some point in time. But he's saying Tony was his best mate....saw him every'd THINK he'd nail the fractured hip issue. He's actually starting to say slipped disc. A smoking gun? No. But another thing that makes me question the depth of the friendship.


                • #9
                  Thank you Sir Bob. Hope your health is improving. I always thought that Tony Devereux had slipped and broken his hip around Christmas 1990. That was what I was led to believe and had no reason to doubt it. The daughters, with whom I talked, never contradicted that aspect of Mike's story and I genuinely believe that Mike did help out an incapacitated Tony. How frequent Mike' visits were I don't know. Tony's daughters gave the impression that they were round looking after their father on a regular basis. From what I was told, Tony didn't seem to have much time for Mike referring to him as "Bongo" which I don't think was a compliment or term of endearment. But these are all good areas to revisit and tighten up on. One of the daughters I believe appears on Paul Feldman's documentary? It doesn't really surprise me that Martin didn't know or couldn't remember the name of Tony Devereux's daughter. They would have been on a tight shoot in Liverpool with lot going on. I suspect Martin might have just learned about the book and carried that question with him into his interview with Mike. A thought which has just occurred to me is I remember Mike telling me that he, his father-in-law and 'Railway John' (don't even ask) all went to Tony's funeral in August 1991 - and I recall being told by one of Tony's daughters, (it should be on tape), that Mike went round to the family and asked for something of their father's to remember him by. They were surprised and I wondered why Mike had done this. At the time it crossed my mind that perhaps Mike was trying to create an impression of how close he was to Tony in order to make it seem the most natural thing in the world for Tony to have given him the diary and thereby secure his ownership of it. But if that was Mike's intention, then it supports his story he had been given the diary by Tony - which leads us back to Anne Graham's account of provenance. And means that March 9th 1992 date has to be just a bizarre coincidence? Sleep well!

                  Best Wishes


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Keith Skinner View Post
                    Thank you Sir Bob. Hope your health is improving.
                    Thanks for asking. It's been rough since Liverpool. (Not blaming Liverpool!)

                    Originally posted by Keith Skinner View Post
                    It doesn't really surprise me that Martin didn't know or couldn't remember the name of Tony Devereux's daughter. They would have been on a tight shoot in Liverpool with lot going on.
                    True, but Martin had had dinner with MB and they clearly discussed Tony D at length, from what is said in the transcript. But your point is well taken.

                    I'm not pretending that this is a major blow to Barrett's story at that time, but I am a tad surprised he didn't offer up the name or names of the daughters at that particular point in the interview. Earlier when he is talking about Tony's cynicism I can completely understand not naming them because he is basically saying they didn't care about their dad.


                    • #11
                      Tony Deveraux's daughter, who Keith mentioned in a previous post


                      • #12
                        Thank you Sir Bob. I wouldn't rule Liverpool out as being the cause of your malaise. After all, you were sitting close to Chris Jones on the panel and he's fairly contagious at the best of times!

                        Martin's dinner with Mike Barrett casts back to when he first met him in Liverpool in February 1993 - seven months before the interview. Here's how Paul Feldman describes that occasion in 'The Final Chapter' (1998).

                        "We [Paul Feldman, Paul Begg and Martin Howells] had promised to take the Barretts to lunch........we settled at the Moat House for a Carvery lunch. I sat at the head of the table with Mike and Martin to my right, Caroline and Anne to my left, and Paul Begg opposite. My only clear memory of that lunch
                        was when Martin was questioning Mike.

                        "We believe that you got the diary from Tony, but there must be more."
                        Mike replied, "Would you split on a mate?"
                        Anne's ears seemed to act like a radar. "What was that?" she asked, as she turned her head away from Paul, to whom she had been speaking, and towards me, who had not said a word. I explained to Anne that we accepted the story of Tony Devereux but felt that if Mike knew that Tony had perhaps bought something that was not quite kosher he would not be able to say so. Anne's response was, "Did you nick it, Mike?"

                        So it's possible that Mike did talk to Martin about Tony Devereux's family seven months prior to the interview, but to what extent, I don't know.

                        Your suggestion that Tony's cynicism, (as shared with Mike), was aimed at his daughters not caring about him chimed with an observation my late
                        partner, (Coral), made after we visited the daughters in Liverpool in March 2002. As we left the house, Coral remarked that she had thought the daughters were a little too keen to stress how much they had done for their father when he was housebound. Coral wondered whether that may have been to compensate for perhaps feeling guilty at not really having been all that attentive to their father's situation.

                        Best Wishes


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Keith Skinner View Post
                          Your suggestion that Tony's cynicism, (as shared with Mike), was aimed at his daughters not caring about him chimed with an observation my late
                          partner, (Coral), made after we visited the daughters in Liverpool in March 2002. As we left the house, Coral remarked that she had thought the daughters were a little too keen to stress how much they had done for their father when he was housebound. Coral wondered whether that may have been to compensate for perhaps feeling guilty at not really having been all that attentive to their father's situation.
                          Or they were really peeved at the suggestion they hadn't been helpful. If it was my father that Mike claimed I didn't assist I'd be pretty strident.

                          One can torture the statement to make it say whatever one wants.

                          If they don't deny it, it means Mike was right.

                          If they deny it, it means Mike was right because they are denying it out of a sense of guilt.

                          There were three daughters, correct? The odds of all three turning a blind eye to an elderly father with a broken hip are not good.

                          There is one other point, which I remember from my mother's broken hip. It's not just bread and milk and sherry. The patient needs a LOT of help in the early stages of recovery, especially back then. Mike mentions none of this.


                          • #14
                            This should be good for a few giggles.

                            It was the end part of my talk on the Diary ink analysis at York 2012. Bear in mind that at that point I had never spoken to Keith.

                            Wherein I Channel My Inner Keith Skinner
                            A/K/A My Wild Delusional Ravings

                            Keith Skinner made a statement at the Maybrick Trial at the Liverpool Cricket Club in May 2007 to the effect that he could place the Diary in Battlecrease.
                            From a Casebook post by Caz:
                            ----- Original Message -----
                            From: Keith Skinner
                            To: Caroline Morris
                            Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2007 6:15 PM
                            I am not writing a book with Bruce but working on it, as a paid researcher, when Bruce has need of my services.
                            Bruce's book has nothing to do with the Diary which he considers to be a fake.
                            The investigation is ongoing but has nothing to do with Bruce.
                            There are no legal proceedings pending. The essence of what I said was that if I went into a court of law with the documents in my possession, I am confident the jury would conclude the diary came out of Battlecrease House.

                            Obviously this was a thunderbolt across Diary World, as we like to call our little corner of Hell. It was a
                            game changer courtesy of Skinner's reputation for exacting honestly and meticulousness in his
                            statements. The Bruce referred to here is Bruce Robinson, the director of Withnail and I who has been
                            writing a book on the Ripper. I have read on the internet - which means it should be treated as likely
                            to be completely assbackwards - that he believes Michael Maybrick to have authored the Diary.
                            (Michael would make my shortlist as well, along with one of the Janion sisters and of course Alan
                            Rumohr Hughes, Martha Louise Hughes nephew that was the owner/tenant of
                            Battlecrease from about 1921 through 1944.) Those of us that believe the Diary to be an old hoax are
                            looking at not only who might have had a motive to further sully Sir Jim's legacy but who might have had
                            access.....It got in there somehow.
                            I note the use of the word "fake" by Keith as opposed to "forgery". To some that might be a distinction without a
                            difference but I disagree. The handwriting in the Diary was written by someone making no effort in any
                            manner to duplicate James Maybrick's handwriting . It might be a copy of an original. It might be
                            someone's idea of a practical joke. It might be someone's idea of a "penny dreadful" or a "shilling
                            shocker" as Caz has said. We don't know what it is, other than it's inaccurate to call it a forgery and at
                            some point it resided within Battlecrease. I suspect it wasn't out on a coffee table.

                            A comment was made to me at Kings Stores in 2009 that Keith had said to someone that the clue that sparked him
                            was a matter of public record and in plain sight. (The clue, not the Diary lol) So let' s torture
                            Keith's comment and get it to confess. He's got documents, plural. He's talking about a court of law,
                            not the jury at the Maybrick trial. It's clearly a criminal matter then. Theft. Theft out of Battlecrease of at
                            the least the Diary. (I believe the Watch as well.) So he's got papers that would serve as evidence in a
                            criminal trial on charges of theft. Now as the Diary ultimately sold for one pound, it's hardly a serious
                            issue. The Watch on the other hand was worth a few quid and is a somewhat more serious matter. A far
                            more weighty allegation and one that can't be tossed around idly as it involves potential slander. If you
                            are dealing with people whose livelihood depends on trusted access to houses you have to tread very

                            Now, what's in the public record? Well, from almost the very beginning there were rumors and
                            allegations that the Diary had been nicked from Battlecrease by electricians that were working in the
                            house doing renovations. I must mention that there have been many renovations and repairs done in
                            the house over the years. Don't forget it's a duplex. We can't limit our search to one particular side of
                            the house. To complicate matters Dodd further subdivided his part of the house. But we've read of
                            rumors in the press and pub chit chat and every once in awhile a strange posting will pop up somewhere
                            on the 'net. Mark Ripper recently found one from 2003 on a discussion of antiques allegedly from
                            Battlecrease on Southport Online News.
                            Almost certainly nonsense, but there you are. Rumors.

                            Let's listen to Shirley Harrison for a moment. She headed back to Battlecrease to investigate these rumors.
                            "...We made a return visit to Battlecrease House in June 1997 and sat
                            in James Maybrick's bedroom, now Paul Dodd's living room. It was
                            an eerie experience.

                            Paul was adamant. The house was originally gaslit and converted to
                            electricity in the 1920s. It was rewired again when his father bought it in
                            1946 and again in 1977 when Paul himself had gutted the place and
                            lifted the floor boards. Had anything been hidden, he was sure that he
                            would have found it then.

                            Work was done on the cellars in 1989 and in 1991 there were repairs
                            to the roof but the workmen had no access to the house for this.
                            Storage heaters were installed in two phases - in Maybrick's
                            bedroom in the late summer of 1991 and in the downstairs flat
                            in 1993. Paul had again undertaken the inital preparation himself.

                            But once we started pinning down dates, none of the people whose
                            names we had been given appeared to have been in the right
                            place at the right time. The key characters didn't want to talk. It
                            was all very mysterious. Something might have indeed have been
                            found at Battlecrease, but, whatever it was, it was seemingly not
                            our diary and whatever it was had least temporarily!..."

                            Not surprising no one wanted to talk. I am surprised that the conclusion was made that what

                            sprouted legs and walked out of the house wasn't the Diary and/or the Watch!

                            Robert Smith is going to talk a bit about his experiences in Liverpool on the trail of these elusive

                            electricians. I must take particular note that Alan Davies, an employee of the contractors

                            Portus and Rhodes and an electrician, allegedly came in a domestic alarm store in late 1991 and

                            offered "Jack the Ripper's Diary" for 25 quid, he said it had been found in Battlecrease by a

                            colleague doing a rewiring job. Underneath the floorboards he had "found a biscuit

                            tin....(containing) a leather-bound diary and a gold ring." Specifically a wedding ring. But I

                            would raise the issue of whether or not this was a Chinese whisper version of the true story,

                            dialing down the nature of the theft from a gold watch to an old gold ring.....

                            I say this because I have never believed the provenance of the Watch as related by Suzanne

                            Murphy's father as how it came to be for sale in the window of Stewarts when Albert Johnson

                            strolled by. After being in their inventory for quite some time, we are to believe that they just

                            happened to decide to have it cleaned and repaired in a few months before AJ bought the Watch

                            in June of 1992. It's been in their inventory for ages but NOW they decide it should go into the

                            window. Remember Mike Barrett made his fateful first call to London in March of 1992.

                            It's just too much of a coincidence for my taste.

                            So what do I think Keith's documents show? That the Diary and the Watch came out of

                            Battlecrease at virtually the same time. Not that common sense counts for much in this twisted

                            tale, but common sense almost dictates that they did.

                            The Diary wasn't seen to be worth much; it was peddled

                            around until somehow someone thought of Mike Barrett the former scrap metal dealer who

                            fancied himself a writer and stopped by the Saddle to drink, just like one of the electricians....MB

                            takes a few months figuring out what the hell he just bought....And the Watch, being more

                            obviously valuable, goes straight to that watch dealer in time for a

                            date with Albert.

                            And ourselves.

                            Thank you.


                            • #15
                              My thanks good Sir Bob. On to what I said at Chris Jones's gig in Liverpool in May 2007 (The Trial Of James Maybrick)...

                              I had finished my presentation and was taking questions from the floor. Someone (I think it may have been Jeremy Beadle) asked me my position as regards the Diary. Because we were in a make belief court of history I shaped my reply to be consistent with this theme. I do remember I had argued in my presentation that it should not be James Maybrick on trial but the diary which had brought him to the mythical dock. I had in mind that if this event were occurring 100 years in the future and all the jury had at their disposal was the source material generated by the investigation into the provenance, (tapes, video material, letters, memos, transcripts, plus the timesheet evidence I could not disclose and the documentation surrounding Mike's purchase of the little red Victorian diary), my belief was their verdict would be the diary had come out of Battlecrease House. I somewhat foolishly said a 'court of law' when I meant a 'court of history' and I can but apologise for all of the misunderstanding this has created. I did stress, in response to a question from Chris George I think it was, that this was not synonymous with James Maybrick being Jack the Ripper. It just meant the
                              diary had come out of Paul Dodd's house. We are, I still maintain, a long way off from being anywhere near able to historically suggest that Maybrick was the Ripper. Paul Begg's three unanswered questions again, which I keep intoning rather like a ritual incantantation...Who wrote it? When was it written? Why was it written? If it ever was conclusively and satisfactorily established that the diary did come out of Battlecrease on March 9th 1992, the very next question, (in my opinion), has to be, was it in the house on March 8th 1992?

                              I don't know the identity of the person who made the comment to you in Kings Stores in 2009. I don't even know where Kings Stores is although I'm guessing York? What were you doing in there? Bruce's description of the diary as a "fake", which is what I wrote to Caroline, still holds today, although I agree we should be clear on the distinction between a "fake" and a "forgery". Essentially Bruce implicitly believes the diary was written by Michael Maybrick in order to frame James - a view he has held since reading Shirley Harrison's book at Christmas 1993. I should say here that from the day Bruce and I started thinking about and working on his project together, (circa 1997), I have never agreed with Bruce about this. We had countless discussions around this but I could never come round to Bruce's way of thinking. What I did acknowledge was Bruce's feeling about the narrative. I remember him saying the first two thirds were sheer brilliance and could only have been penned by a serial killer. The final third of the book was rubbish and faked by Michael to implicate his brother.

                              As to the clue which sparked off this line of enquiry into the electricians, this can only be the timesheets and my connecting then with the date Mike made his telephone call to London. If I ever did say "... this was a matter of public record and in plain sight" I can have only been referring to the fact that we had given the March 9th 1992 date in 'Inside Story' and the timesheets were in plain sight of anyone who went after them? It seems a bit obscure though.

                              So there we are good Sir Knight. I bet you wish you had never spoken to me!

                              Every Good Wish