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His One Regret

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  • His One Regret

    Evening Telegraph
    May 13, 1921

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  • #2
    New Mac Source

    In the research for my book this was found. It is another newspaper article also covering that critical press conference that some secondary sources give short shrift to. Nevertheless, Sir Melville Macnaghten--just like Sir Robert Anderson of three years before--claimed, for the public record and not hiding behind cronies, that the Ripper case was solved (barring a trial of course).

    'The Sheffield Evening Telegraph’, June 2nd 1913


    Detective Chief Says He Committed Suicide

    ‘The head of the Criminal Investigation Department at Scotland Yard, Sir Melville Macnaghten, who retired on Saturday, has one great regret--that he joined the Department six months after “the Whitechapel murderer committed suicide, and I never had a go at him.”

    As Sir Melville joined the force on May 24, 1889, “Jack the Ripper” apparently ended his life in the previous December, at the close of the year in which he murdered seven women in the East End of London ...’

    This reporter has nutted out close to the correct date of the un-named Druitt's suicide, likely Dec 1st 1888. It would not be seen again until 1959.

    In the chief's memoir the following year Sir Melville changed the date he started at C.I.D. to June 1st 1889--making itexactly "six months" after his favoured suspect's death on December 1st 1888.

    During the Edwardian era, Sir Melville and George Sims played around with the dates re: Druitt. For example, in 1903 Dagonet has the body of the "mad doctor" being recovered on Dec 31st 1888--which is accurate to the day. By 1907 this has been backdated to early December 1888.

    I think that Macnaghten in 'Days of My Years' choosing November 10th as the likely date for the suicide of the "Protean" criminal was to stick the shiv into Sir Charles Warren. The Commissioner in 1888 had had his resignation accepted that day--the very day he had apparently triumphed over the fiend, you pompous fool!

    Macnaghten despised Warren for initially blackballing his police career and so he denounces him in his memoir--without naming him--whereas his loathing for Anderson meant that the latter was simply airbrushed out of history. Also Mac's chapter on the Ripper implicitly undercut his former boss: there was no key witness, the fiend had never been sectioned, he was not Jewish but a Gentile "Simon Pure", he was unknown to the police for years after he destroyed himself, and he imploded for personal reasons--not because he was in any way threatened by law enforcement. Take that, Sir Robert!


    • #3
      Hi Jonathan,

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      • #4
        Thanks Simon

        Yes I know, I've seen it before.

        I did not mean that Sir Melville was being deceitful about the date of his starting on the Force in his 1914 book.

        Allow me to clarify:

        In his book's Preface (unavailable on Casebook) Sir Melville denied he had ever said such a thing as being six months too late to "have a go" at the fiend; that it was made up by an "enterprising" reporter. Therefore, with that out of the way, he could be honest about the true date he started, which was in fact six months exactly after Druitt's suicide. In the pertinent chapter, Mac claims the Ripper's self-murder was more likely to have been early November, so not six months, nearly seven (for bitchy reasons I outlined in my previous post).

        Whereas I think that in 1913 Sir Melville was, characteristically, trying to have it both ways by saying May 24th 1889 as his starting date (of course he may have been informally in the office by that date) and a reporter still got the gist that it meant that the suspect who committed suicide--about whom the retiring chief said next to nothing--had killed himself in December.

        Which was correct. Too correct.

        I think Sir Melville learned from that mistake, e.g. the following year he misleadingly denied he had ever said it, whilst dating [the un-named] Druitt's suicide to "on or about" Nov. 10th 1888. As in, why on earth would I have said "six months" when it was clearly more like seven? Do you think I can't add up?


        • #5
          Jonathan: I decided to spend today reading back issues of 'Ripperologist' and just finished your article of August, 2009, about Druitt possibly confessing to an Anglican priest. Excellent research and fascinating. I really enjoyed it.

          I am curious how an Anglican clergyman might have handled such a confession. Would he have recommended penance and offered absolution? How cathartic would such a confession be to the penitent? Would the priest likely have told Montie to turn himself in or check into an asylum or would the priest suggest a regimen of prayer? Can an Anglican priest offer absolution? (I think not?)

          In short would Montie have felt beyond redemption and without hope?
          The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript


          • #6
            Thanks Anna

            Hey, you may be the only person who has ever read it?

            I expand on this aspect in my forthcoming book. In my opinion, a big discovery we made was a short story by George Sims that appears to be a fictional reworking of Druitt's confession.

            It is about an English gent, a man above suspicion, who has confessed to a clergyman, so close to him he is like a member of his family, that he is secretly guilty of multiple murder. He murdered with a knife whilst suffering from epileptic mania. After the secret killer passes away, the Anglican priest is torn between keeping the ghastly secret, in order to avoid hurting the dead man's relations, or telling the world for the sake of justice.

            An Anglican clergyman could go straight to the cops; was obligated to the state in what remains a state religion.

            Obviously if the priest that Druitt confessed to, if that is what happened, was also a family member then the latter presumably would have tried to convince his relation to turn himself in to the nearest asylum (I think this is what is behind the suicide note summary, e.g. going like mother.)

            All of the sources--Farquharson, Sims, Macnaghten, the Vicar--for all their fictitious dodges share a theme (or meme) in that they portray the Ripper as having been in a place of torment, even repentance, by his final moments.


            • #7
              Hi Jonathan! (My first post of 2015 was a reply to you here and after careful thought and writing I repeatedly got the notice the network was gone. Refresh lost everything. So I will try again.)

              Your article helped me catch up on things discussed here.

              Interesting about how an Anglican priest of a state religion might handle things. (I'm Catholic, my late husband was Lutheran and theology is a hobby of mine but I never thought of a state religion which we don't have in the US.) Perhaps the priest put pressure on Druitt and suicide was a reasonable action from that perspective.

              While my large dogs climbed the walls over fireworks last night, I thought about Druitt's mind and Hutchinson's information. It seems Hutch was discredited for some reason unknown. It has been suggested he may have seen Astrakhan Man on another night for example. During the shawl debacle last year a poster here commented on British law being very procedural. Perhaps Hutch not testifying under oath nullified some of what he said?

              However it went Hutch' description as published in the press could be a pretty good description of Druitt. So if Montie had guilty knowledge it could have put a lot of pressure on him. If Hutch was correct in describing the watch chain decoration of the spade guinea with red stone, and if Druitt had such a thing, it would have been devastating.

              The one thing that bothers me concerning Druitt as multiple murderer on the streets of Whitechapel is that I would think he would have been noticed, even if he wore workman's clothes and tried to blend in. It seems there would be comments here and there about an odd looking stranger seen before the crimes or leaving afterward.
              The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript


              • #8
                Hutchinson is possibly describing Druitt, of course.

                I subscribe to the theory, however, that he was trying to get the heat off himself and described a semi-fictional figure: the swarthy, wealthy Hebrew villain of stock Victorian pantomime.

                At the time of the murders it was not unusual to run into professional toff-types due to the campaign by the Reverend Samuel Barnett to encourage Oxonians to come to the East End to help the poor.

                This is why, I think, Druitt was in Whitechapel, and how he knew the locale's topography.

                I think the postulated Anglican cleric was trying to convince the mad barrister to get medical help, and the latter knew he was on a time limit to do something.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Jonathan Hainsworth View Post
                  At the time of the murders it was not unusual to run into professional toff-types due to the campaign by the Reverend Samuel Barnett to encourage Oxonians to come to the East End to help the poor. This is why, I think, Druitt was in Whitechapel, and how he knew the locale's topography.
                  It was not so much a campaign as a commune, primarily comprising students of Barnett's alma mater, Balliol College. A bit of an Oxonian "Young Boys' Network", if you like, with a leaning towards alumni of one specific college - which happened not to be Druitt's. Unless the latter had specific skills or a vocation to help the poor, I can't see that there was anything that would attract him to Whitechapel, nor much likelihood of his involvement in the Barnett movement. A movement, incidentally, which required commitment and real work from its members, whose numbers were limited. It wasn't a pop-in centre for any old toff wanting, occasionally, to be seen sympathising with a fashionable cause.
                  Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                  "Suche Nullen"
                  (F. Nietzsche)


                  • #10
                    I disagree with that analysis completely. Even about the definition of the word 'campaign', depending on the context.

                    I have sources backing my argument; that the Rev. Barnett recruited Oxford graduates from New College too, and that it was exactly that: a drop-in center for toffs to help the poor to varying degrees--depending on their own individual capacities. Some were barristers who provided legal help.

                    According to the "North Country Vicar" of 1899 the murderer went to the East End to help fallen women, who then became his victims. He is probably talking about Montague Druitt.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jonathan Hainsworth View Post
                      I disagree with that analysis completely
                      Your prerogative, Jon, but I maintain that my analysis was closer to the truth than your "complete" rejection of it implies.
                      I have sources backing my argument; that the Rev. Barnett recruited Oxford graduates from New College too
                      That doesn't contradict the fact that most came from Balliol.
                      and that it was exactly that: a drop-in center for toffs to help the poor to varying degrees
                      No it wasn't, any more than Médecins Sans Frontières allows any old GP or nurse to turn up on a whim and practice on the charity's behalf.
                      According to the "North Country Vicar" of 1899 the murderer went to the East End to help fallen women, who then became his victims.
                      According to other theorists - sorry, sources - there were midwives, doctors or charity workers who did precisely the same thing. The "North Country Vicar" may well have had more reliable information at his disposal, but to what degree I really don't know.
                      Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                      "Suche Nullen"
                      (F. Nietzsche)


                      • #12
                        That cuts no ice either. The set-up was much more fluid than you appreciate.

                        We will have to agree to disagree.


                        • #13
                          Since the subject of Druitt and Toynbee Hall has come up again, did anyone have an opinion or observation, or any comment at all about Frederick Lacey, whom I mentioned in the same context recently here -

                          (click see post #37)

                          Going once, going twice ...



                          • #14
                            Thanks Roy

                            There is no direct evidence, whatsoever, that Montague Druitt had anything to do with the reformist campaign of the Barretts, e.g. to bring the classes together at Toynbee Hall by having Oxford students live there during their breaks (this could not include Druitt, not as a live-in student, as it only really got going in 1884).

                            There is an inferential case, however, that can be made that he probably was a part of that social reform movement. This was the theory of--in my opinion--the greatest writer on this subject, Tom Cullen ("Autumn of Terror-Jack the Ripper: His Crimes and Times", The Bodley Head, 1965)

                            1. Montague John Druitt is the likeliest suspect to be the Ripper according to a contemporaneous and competent police chief (yes, it's that simple).

                            2. Since Druitt did not live in the East End he could have become familiar with its topography by providing legal assistance to poor people, as he was an Oxonian (no longer a student, a working professional) and graduates like him gave up some of their time in their off-hours.

                            3. The Vicar tale is arguably likely to be Druitt too, described as a gentleman who went to the East End to help prostitutes. That's hardly legal assistance, but is the same kind of broad motive for being in Whitechapel: muscular, Christian charity.

                            4. A gentleman who gave what assistance his busy schedule allowed to a social improvement campaign, and who became dangerously deranged--as certain people at the time "believed"--could twist himself into a self-styled terrorist. This would explaining why he kept returning to a locale that was logistically awkward and, eventually, crawling with cops.

                            5. Why did Druitt not hunt for easier victims in Blackheath, or Hyde Park, etc? In fact, the so-called canonical murders were all committed specifically in the "evil quarter mile", the area identified by reformers as the worst of the worst. Favourable press coverage of the poor began with the horrific murders of Emma Smith, and Martha Tabram (by separate groups) and then a knife-wielding lunatic got going straight after who both consolidated and accelerated this reversal of attitudes--as noted by George Bernard Shaw. Just a coincidence? Perhaps it was. Then again, perhaps it wasn't ...?

                            Now I must go, for a time, as I and members of my family live near the bush-fires currently engulfing parts of my home state of South Australia (and I do not have a tablet).


                            • #15
                              Hi Jonathan,

                              Be safe.