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Cutbush JtR suspect/claim prosecution and defence

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  • Cutbush JtR suspect/claim prosecution and defence

    The following extract from The Sun of Feb 1894 is reply to RJ Palmer who recently asked where there might be contemporary evidence of a claim by both the prosecution and defence team in the Cutbush trial that he was suspected of being Jack the Ripper:

    The extract is taken from the introduction to the series of full page articles that appeared in The Sun in February 1894.

    The Sun,13 February 1894 introductory article.......third paragraph,third sentence:
    " In the brief of the counsel who prosecuted,in the instructions of the solicitor who defended,there was the same statement-that he was suspected of being Jack the Ripper.In the case of both the one and the other,the very mention of this or any other dark suspicion was precluded;for, being unable to plead,the wretched creature in the dock was saved from all indictment;was spared the necessity of all defence.He was sent forthwith to the living tomb of a lunatic asylum,and there he might have passed to death without mention of his terrible secret if a chance clue had not put a representative of The Sun on the track."

    Hope this clarifies the matter RJ, ...and others who may have wondered the why and the where of it!................


    Last edited by ; June 28, 2007, 04:22 AM. Reason: to be more exact

  • #2
    Excellent. Thanks for that, Natalie. The ‘brief’ rings a very loud bell, and I do recall this now. I was momentarily puzzled by the reference in ‘Myth.’

    The Times reports list the prosecution as ‘Angus Lewis’ and the only such bloke I am seeing in the 1891 census is an Irishman named Angus S. Lewis, rather young, born 1861 and living with his wife Constance at No. 1 Knights Park Villas, Kingston. He is listed as a “solicitor’s clerk and barrister.” So here is our prosecutor. Is the inclusion of ‘solicitor’s clerk’ suggestive of anything? A junior member of a firm, perhaps, underneath a more experience barrister or barristers(?)

    Not to sound nitpicking, but it may be important to note that it doesn’t actually state that the prosecution believed Cutbush was Jack the Ripper, as APW notes, but, rather, that in his brief Lewis refered to the fact that he had been suspected of being Jack the Ripper. This distinction is potentially significant, I feel, because the claim evidently is that there was police suspicion against him for the 1888 crimes--possibly a reference to Inspector Race’s ongoing investigation (?)

    I’m at somewhat of a loss. I can readily understand what would motivate Mr. Angus S. Lewis for stating this, if only as an inadmissible statement in a brief; as prosecutor, he would certainly wish to paint Cutbush in as dangerous a light as possible. An inexperieced or enthusiastic prosecutor throwing the spectre of 1888 over the proceedings would be just the ticket. I am puzzled, however, why the defense would be playing this card. That seems odd, doesn’t it? Cheers.


    • #3
      RJ, one scenario that was explored was that Kate might have framed Thomas, in order to get her hands on his house.



      • #4
        It is an odd business ,the entire Cutbush saga-----not least Macnaghten"s 1894 seven page missive protesting that he wasnt The Whitechapel murderer!!!
        I wonder if the police were pulling a few strings around the time of his trial? You know, Thomas Cutbush - behaving very strangely/attacking women with knives in 1891/talk of him being the Ripper.. Inspector Reid looking into it..maybe we better have him sectioned before he does any more damage. could be that something like this happened because of the potential embarrassment to the Yard ......


        • #5
          Yes RJP, my Dear Palmer, it is much like us lot pondering Thaw's guilt in whipping and salting a young cod in 1904 when we know for a fact that he put three bullets into a man and murdered him in cold blood in 1906... isn't it?

          The thrust of the Sun article is that young Thomas avoided any and all criminal charges by the declaration that he was unfit to plea due to insanity.
          This is what upset the Sun, that neither prosecution or defence was allowed to proceed with their evidence.


          • #6
            I liked that scenario, Robert, but wasn't it 'houses'?


            • #7
              Dear Sir,

              I don’t follow your first point--but I am glad to see those three bullets are no longer lodged in Sanford White’s head.

              Now, bear with me, because I think the following is a fair point. In the general run of things, aren’t the prosecution and the defense on different sides of the courtroom?

              But not so with the Sun’s strange claim. It states that the prosecution and the defense were in agreement that he was the Ripper, but the judge prevented this ‘evidence’ from being voiced in court. This does need a little explaining, it seems to me, beyond merely stating that 'it is so.'

              For why on earth would the defense want it to be voiced in court? I’m still trying to get my mind around that one.

              In regards to Unhairy Cutbush v. Harry Thaw, the two cases are quite dissimilar, though it is intersting that they do share certain themes in that they were unusual legal wranglings that led towards the madhouse.

              Yet, Thaw’s mumsie did her level best to hide the fact that she had raised a very nasty little boy indeed.

              By contrast, Kate Cutbush seems to have willingly admitted that she had raised a hell-raiser. In a case filled with denials, she seems to have made a point of suspecting her own son. Which could add support to Robert’s interesting theory.

              But the main point that I am struggling with and not ‘getting’ is why the defense would have painted one of their own as the Ripper, unless the Irishman Lewis was merely doing the bidding of his client (Kate) or pushing for the very outcome (insanity) that the Sun claims had scandalized the courtroom.

              I remain &tc, yours truly,


              • #8
                My Dear Palmer
                Thank you for your kind note, and I know that now we have been exchanging letters in this regard for a while, that you will not object to my less formal address.
                Robert has hinted at the fact that it appeared to be in the best interests of Thomas' immediate family to have him considered as unfit to plead in the case, as that later enabled his mother to disinherit Thomas from his inheritance, which then became hers.
                I can't now remember how quickly this happened after the court case - I'm pretty sure Robert will! - but it did appear to me to be inappropriate on the mother's part to disinherit Thomas of his dues when he was still very much alive, and might still have been released from custody at a later date. It was rare, but it did happen, at Her or His Majesty's Pleasure of course, particularly when a new monarch was crowned, as was the case while Thomas was still in detention at Broadmoor.
                Whatever, the thrust of my point is that it does appear to have been Thomas' family's intention to have him committed as a lunatic prior to his appearance in court, and if they were responsible for the hiring of the defence brief, which they probably were, then this was bound to influence the strategy - or lack of it - adopted by the defence in the trial.
                The prosecution might have mooted the idea that Thomas was a suspect in the Whitechapel Murders, which he was you'll kindly remember, my dear chap; and the defence brief said 'by god, you are right' and scribbled in his notebook 'Jack the Ripper?'
                As you'll no doubt remember, my dear Palmer, in the case of Colicitt, the support of his immediate family in court on the day of his trial was absolutely instrumental in securing his release; and it is here that we see the real difference in the two similar cases, that there was absolutely no support for Thomas from his immediate family in court that day.
                Where was grand old uncle Charles?
                If Chief Executive Superintendent Charles Henry Cutbush of Scotland Yard had walked into that court on that day in full dress uniform and expressed some kind of sympathy for his 'nephew' and the promise of future good conduct, plus a sizeable surety, then Thomas could have walked out of court a free man.
                Instead he was confined for the rest of his life; and I believe his mother was complicit in this.
                My point with Thaw, my dear Palmer, was that he escaped true punishment by confusing his act of murder with those of a lesser degree; and that Thomas was being tried for offences of a lesser degree with a great deal of confusion evident regarding a murder case which many felt he was involved in.
                Smoke and mirrors. You'll remember them from the Tumblety story.

                yours always



                • #9
                  My dear folks

                  If I remember correctly, Kate tried to sell Thomas's house, and was told that she must first arrange some sort of legal guardianship to give her the authority to do so. It's still a mystery just how Thomas came to own this house. Thomas's father died in 1886, intestate, after having contracted two bigamous marriages and four (strictly speaking) illegitimate children. There was a case Cutbush v Cutbush in the early 1890s. The bulk of the case records seem to have disappeared. All I have is the Solicitors' Journal entry about selling the house, and a pedigree which was used in the case. It's clear from the pedigree that the case wasn't primarily about Thomas, although he and his father were listed in the family tree chart. When he died in 1903, Thomas had about £80 - not a bad sum in today's terms. The house in Albert St was sold some time in the 90s and another one purchased in nearby Durand Gardens.

                  Kind regards, aye aye that's yer lot etc



                  • #10
                    I've pasted this from Casebook :

                    But here is the 1893 case, as reported in the Solicitors’ Journal Vol.37 P. 685 : CUTBUSH v CUTBUSH – Chitty, J., 2nd August. SOLICITOR – INSTRUCTIONS FROM THIRD PERSON – NO COMMUNICATION WITH ACTUAL CLIENT – RISK. Partition action. On the above action coming on on further consideration it appeared that T.H.C., one of the persons who had been served with notice of the judgment, and for whom the plaintiff’s solicitors had entered an appearance, was of unsound mind. The plaintiff’s solicitors, who were then acting for all parties, had received no instructions from T.H.C. direct, but acted for him on the instructions of his mother, who did not disclose the fact of his unsoundness of mind. A contract for sale of real estate was confirmed in the action, the puchase-money paid into court, and the chief clerk’s certificate made without any guardian ad litem being appointed, and it was only when it became necessary for T.H.C. to execute the conveyance that it was discovered that he was a lunatic confined at B -. The purchaser appeared on the further consideration. All parties were anxious to save expense, and desired to adapt the former proceedings in the action so far as they would be made to bind the lunatic. Chity, J., said the case illustrated the great danger of solicitors allowing themselves to take instructions from third persons. In this case the parties were very lenient, and took no technical objections to the validity of the former proceedings, or he might have had to order the solicitors to pay the costs of any proceedings rendered abortive by their neglect to obtain proper instructions. The following order was made :- "Appoint A.B. guardian ad litem, and the person of unsound mind appearing and submitting to be bound declare him a trustee within the Trustee Act, 1850, and appoint a person to be named in the order to convey in his place. Purchaser to have the costs of this application out of the fund in court." – COUNSEL, J.A. Hay; F. Hoare Colt; Seeley. SOLICITORS, Paterson & Sons; George Turner. (Reported by G. Rowland Alston, Barrister-at-Law.)


                    • #11
                      I see on looking at this again that I made an unnecessary assumption that this was to do with 14 Albert St. The item doesn't say what was being sold.



                      • #12
                        Thanks Robert
                        there appears to be a lot of pasting going on over there at the moment.


                        • #13
                          I know have to have a bit of a laugh sometimes but heck it seems to have taken on a very peculiar turn one way and another today!
                          Thanks a lot for this Robert.Very interesting indeed.


                          • #14
                            I should say that the Plaintiff mentioned above was Eliza Cutbush, daughter of Edward, who was brother to Luke Flood Cutbush. He died in 1890.

                            Edward was also the brother of Thomas's grandad. So I guess that would make him Thomas's great uncle?

                            Thomas, of course, believed that he was his own grandpa.



                            • #15
                              Yes Robert, I seem to remember us going back and forth with this property question a long time ago... for not long before the incidents of which we speak the Flood and Cutbush clans owned half of bleeting Whitechapel; and then suddenly the whole fortune boils down down to a semi detached hut somewhere in Kennington?
                              Unless the entire family fortune was spent on that bell and clock in the London Hospital, and that plaque in the church, where the devil did it all go?
                              Flood's gold watch which he lost at the Mayor's Banquet?
                              On roses?
                              Uncle Charles' collection of Tranters?