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A Case For William Grant Grainger

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  • A Case For William Grant Grainger

    Personally, I favor none of the crop of suspects in the Whitechapel Murders...and feel he eluded detection, despite the arguments made for some of the suspects, such as Kozminski and Druitt.

    However, I think William Grant or Grant Grainger is worth keeping in mind for two specific reasons....one for a revelation and the other for his candidature as being the Whitechapel Murderer.
    Like Thomas Cutbush, he seems to have forced the hand of the police...Cutbush being instrumental in the eventual creation of the Macnaghten Memoranda...and Grainger, in the Pall Mall Gazette newspaper nugget which has Swanson claiming he felt the Ripper was dead ( May 1895 ).

    Two....Nemo's list of suspectworthy items in the recent thread created by Tom Wescott being the other.
    In addition, as with James Sadler in 1891, the police made an effort to locate Grainger in 1888...but unlike Sadler, there is a bit of mystery as to where Grainger was, at this point in time.
    I've set this thread up specifically for anyone with more information ( How the hell to obtain it, I don't know at this point ) on Grainger to post it here if they wish to.

    As you see, most of this is old hat to long time Ripperologists....but just in case we get someone on the boards who hasn't gone through the Grainger section....this is more for them.

    Thank you.
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  • #2
    I'll list a few other points later today Howard

    I have a couple of items that haven't appeared on the boards but nothing major

    Much of what was said about Grainger being the Ripper was said by his solicitor, George Kebbell in 1910, so George Kebbell's character is of interest

    Everything I have found points toward Kebbell being a very reliable source

    Comment


    • #3
      William Grainger was 28 years old in 1888
      He had dark hair, described as dark brown and at times sported a moustache described as "dark" though it is not known if he had a moustache or beard in 1888
      He was 5'10" and had a "stalwart" build
      He was quite heavily tattooed on his arms and hands, most tattoos being of the sailor type, such as women and a Royal Navy insignia
      He had "WG" tattooed on his wrist and rings tattooed on his fingers
      Since he was a teenager he suffered from an affliction that appears to be TB related which caused swellings on his neck and face, his neck and right cheek subsequently being described as scarred

      He was able to read and write

      He used a number of aliases, the most well known being "William Grant" by which name he appears to have been well known in London's East End

      He was a persistent drunk and at least once entered an asylum for treatment of what appears to be delirium tremens, reported as suffering from hallucinations and a delusional mental state

      He is said to have run away to sea at a young age, which might coincide with his family abandoning him because he had "sinned", though this may have occurred much later, possibly circa 1889

      Known addresses would tally with him being a sailor or dock worker
      He is known to have frequented workhouses in London and Ireland
      Around 1888 he appears to have regularly travelled between Cork and London staying in workhouses and probably low end lodging houses

      He had joined the Cork militia in 1883 and attended annual training, being discharged in 1889 as being of "bad character"
      Later speculation was that he was a medical student at St Bartholomews Hospital circa 1889 and that he was married at that time, though he confessed to being the Ripper to his wife who died of the resultant shock and he changed his name and left the medical profession

      He was frequently in trouble with the law which would appear to be related to drunkenness charges or assault
      He was able to pay a fine of 6 shillings on one occasion

      He himself stated that he worked on various ships but the police could not verify this, nor could his mother name any ship he had served on

      His mother said he fraternised with prostitutes in Ireland and at times had been robbed by them, which was a common occurrence with drunken sailors

      She also stated in 1895 that about 4 years previously he had been robbed and stripped of his clothes by prostitutes in Whitechapel London

      He was known to have regularly carried a long surgical knife of peculiar pattern with a twist in the blade

      On one occasion this was described as a pocket knife, so it might have been a folding surgical knife, probably of American origin
      He was supposedly observed cutting an apple in a bar with this knife and was reported to and watched by police as a Ripper suspect

      The origin of the knife may coincide with later claims that he was medically trained and once acted as a ship's doctor on a ship which travelled between America and England, though on his return circa 1895 he occupied a lower position as a ship's fireman or stoker on a cattle boats

      In February 1895, around 2am he was caught red-handed stabbing a prostitute in the genitals after throwing her on her back and clasping his hand around her throat and then over her mouth, this occurring in a court in Tenter St not far from Dorset St Spitalfields

      His excuse was that she tried to "bilk" him, though it seems he connected an earlier attempted assault by three ruffians with the woman

      Being attacked by the three ruffians he was confident enough to remove his coat and offer to fight them all

      He stayed silent when arrested and appears not to have given any useful information to police while remanded

      His solicitor was able to contact "friends" of his and also his family but they all washed their hands of him and would not contribute to his legal defence

      His solicitor also stated that he confessed to certain facts indicating he was the Ripper in "remorseful" moments

      Grainger was said to have escaped any hunt for the Ripper by rowing away down the Thames in a small boat

      It may have been a combination of the lack of monetary recompense or the conviction that this man was the Ripper which caused his solicitor to abandon his defence and Grainger appeared in court undefended

      He was charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm which charge the Recorder of London questioned, stating that he felt Grainger should have been charged with attempted murder ("the capital charge")

      During his trial it was reported that he was positively identified by a Ripper witness, probably Joseph Lawende who saw a man dressed like a sailor at the head of Church Passage off Mitre Square with Catherine Eddowes

      He was sentenced to 10 years penal servitude and was released on 1902 but was subsequently recalled to prison

      He was still living in workhouses in 1910 and there is evidence that he was still getting drunk and fighting with police as late as August 1910

      He had dealings with Lyttleton Stewart Forbes Winslow in 1910 during which he maintained that he was totally innocent of the stabbing, which he said had been carried out by the ruffians and also stated that he was indeed at one time a medical student

      He had previously assaulted a woman which was described as of a similar nature to the stabbing he was convicted for

      Sir Robert Anderson was personally involved in Grainger's case, Grainger's solicitor stating that Anderson had retained Grainger's knife

      The solicitor also claimed that it was "fully acknowledged" at the time (1895) that Grainger was the Ripper

      There were suggestions of a cover-up of the Grainger case due to his family in Ireland being well-connected

      Although it was known in 1895 that his name was Grainger, he was prosecuted under the name Grant

      In reference to these aspects, the case of Grainger was described in one press article as being a "hot potato"

      Patricia Cornwell owns a clippings book which appears to be a collection of articles and notes from some type of investigator of the Ripper crimes in 1888

      In this book there is a note from around the time of the Annie Chapman murder which asks "Which regiment does Grant belong to?"

      Grainger only has an alibi for the murder of Frances Coles

      Comment


      • #4
        Ah, but does he have any connections to a cat`s meat shop? The modern gauge of evilness.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi Nemo,
          Thanks for setting this out
          Just a couple of things to add:-
          Grant/Grainger is always described as a sailor in the Cork prison records apart from after his release from prison in England in the 1900s- when he is then describes as a clerk.
          Grainger appeared in court in Cork nearly every year from 1879 to 1892 and then again in the early 1900s up to 1909,sometimes a couple of times in each year.
          None of his court or prison sentences that I've found coincide with any of the Whitechapel murders. In 1888 Grainger was in prison in Cork from 19th April to 22nd April.

          Comment


          • #6
            Many thanks for that additional information Deb

            Comment


            • #7
              Outstanding Neems ! Thanks very,very much !

              Thanks to you too, Debs !
              XXXXXXXXX
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              Comment


              • #8
                So there is still nothing to place Grant/Grainger in London in the fall of 1888?
                Regards, Jon S.
                "
                The theory that the murderer is a lunatic is dispelled by the opinion given to the police by an expert in the treatment of lunacy patients......."If he's insane
                " observed the medical authority, "he's a good deal sharper than those who are not".
                Reynolds Newspaper, 4 Nov. 1888.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Yes WM, for what it's worth, there is the positive ID by Lawende, as I'm sure I've mentioned before

                  His own confession to his solicitor also places him there doesn't it?

                  If you feel your point is enough to exonerate Grainger from being the Ripper then so be it, I'm not going to attempt to change your view

                  You stated previously something along the lines that before any research is continued on a suspect, it is essential to prove that person was in the East End in 1888 on the significant dates

                  If you remember, I pointed out that not one single major suspect can be proven categorically to have been in the East End on all the significant dates, so where does that leave us if we follow your line of thinking?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Nemo View Post
                    Yes WM, for what it's worth, there is the positive ID by Lawende, as I'm sure I've mentioned before

                    His own confession to his solicitor also places him there doesn't it?

                    If you feel your point is enough to exonerate Grainger from being the Ripper then so be it, I'm not going to attempt to change your view

                    You stated previously something along the lines that before any research is continued on a suspect, it is essential to prove that person was in the East End in 1888 on the significant dates

                    If you remember, I pointed out that not one single major suspect can be proven categorically to have been in the East End on all the significant dates, so where does that leave us if we follow your line of thinking?
                    But some suspects have simply become suspects because they either lived in the East End or frequented the East End with nothing more to support their viability as a suspect other than that, so there are two sides to the coin.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I totally agree Trevor

                      Taking the listed points into consideration, I think Grainger is worthy of inclusion on suspect lists in comparison to the usual lists of suspects you come across in Ripper books

                      Certainly worthy of further research in my view

                      It would be nice to place him at an address in the East End with witnesses to his occupancy during the relevant time, but as in most cases we have to accept that is not possible on current evidence

                      I think the only "suspect" we can have relative certainty of being in the East End at the right time is perhaps Donston in the London Hospital

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Nemo View Post
                        I totally agree Trevor

                        Taking the listed points into consideration, I think Grainger is worthy of inclusion on suspect lists in comparison to the usual lists of suspects you come across in Ripper books

                        Certainly worthy of further research in my view

                        It would be nice to place him at an address in the East End with witnesses to his occupancy during the relevant time, but as in most cases we have to accept that is not possible on current evidence

                        I think the only "suspect" we can have relative certainty of being in the East End at the right time is perhaps Donston in the London Hospital
                        Yes but most seem to forget that most of these suspects are not suspects in the true sense but should be re-categorized as simply persons of interest.

                        This is where the world of Ripperology has spiraled out of control with regards to suspects over the years. The reality is that as far as evidence in concerned there is not one named suspect who can safely be regarded as a prime suspect.

                        I ask where would Ripperology be without the term prime suspect. Just think of all those books which would never have got published, all those documentaries that would not have been made. The word prime suspect and its use has a lot to answer for.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Obviously one has to take Tumblety's own words with more than a pinch of salt, but didn't he himself say that he visited Whitechapel around the time of the murders? (Wearing a slouch hat?)
                          DavidGB

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            During his trial it was reported that he was positively identified by a Ripper witness, probably Joseph Lawende who saw a man dressed like a sailor at the head of Church Passage off Mitre Square with Catherine Eddowes
                            So that would have been in 1895? Seven years after the occurrence in Mitre Square when Lawende said that "He did not believe he would be able to identify the man again"? Hard to believe.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DGB View Post
                              Obviously one has to take Tumblety's own words with more than a pinch of salt, but didn't he himself say that he visited Whitechapel around the time of the murders? (Wearing a slouch hat?)
                              I'd agree DGB, but, without attempting to speak for him, I don't think that would be conclusive enough for Wickerman

                              We could assume Kosminski or Lechmere were in the East End, but we don't have proof do we?

                              Is there any suspect we can categorically say was present in the East End on the murder dates?

                              Comment

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