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Jack the Ripper : The Macnaghten Memoranda

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  • #16
    Executive Superintendent

    Originally posted by A.P. Wolf View Post
    I don't believe I confuse or confound Charles position within the Metropolitan Police Force, he was if I'm correct the serving head officer - working officer I mean of course - of the most senior branch of that force, the Executive Office.
    His office being superior to that of the CID.
    Simon's post cuts to the chase.
    Would Macnaghten have written his memo if Charles Henry Cutbush was not related to Thomas Hayne Cutbush?
    The answer to that I'm afraid is an emphatic 'no'.
    Where do you get the idea that Cutbush was the head 'of the most senior (thus 'superior') branch of that force, the Executive Office'?

    If by senior you mean oldest then that is a different matter as the C.I.D. was relatively recently formed after the break up of the Detective Department after the scandal of the detectives. However, in terms of importance and law enforcement the C.I.D. was the more important department. So his department was not superior to the C.I.D., merely older.

    The Executive and Common Lodging House Branch of which Cutbush was head was more of an administrative department that checked up on force discipline and duties and reported any irregularities to the Commissioner. Part of his duties was to visit the divisions for spot checks, recording his visits in a book for that purpose and adding any remarks that he had in the occurrence books.

    The Executive Superintendent's remit also included attending large fires, assisting in making and carrying out the arrangements for public processions and special duties, taking charge when no senior officer was present and reporting every morning on any unusual or important occurrence for the Commissioner's information.

    It was also his duty to occasionally attend the courts and justice rooms, particularly during the hearing of important cases, to watch and report on behalf of the Commissioner. He also had to attend at the Sessions of the Central Criminal Court with sufficient sergeants and constables to preserve order and carry out the directions of the Sheriffs. He also reported on the times of arrivals of constables involved in the cases and reported any irregularity on the part of the police to the Commissioner.

    The Executive Superintendent also received applications of candidates for admission to the force and was responsible for seeing that all necessary requirements were fulfilled. He was responsible for the due performance of the Drill Instructor, Inquiry Officer, Storekeeper and Summoning Officer. You are aware, I believe, of his responsibilities with regard to the licensing and checking of the Common Lodging House applications, and registers.

    He was not responsible for criminal investigation, this being the responsibility of Superintendent Shore and the Criminal Investigation Department.

    As regards your last point, I fully addressed that in my last post, the fact that Thomas Cutbush may or may not have been related to Charles Cutbush is definitely not the reason for the report. It's a point of related interest only.

    Comment


    • #17
      Indeed SPE, the thrust of the Macnaghten memo is to ensure that TH Cutbush is plainly guilty of the 'jobbings' but entirely innocent of crimes that took place in 1888.
      However here we have Macnaghten at his very best in the disinformation and misinformation game, for he also claims - as supportive evidence - that 'Colicott was arrested, but subsequently discharged owing to faulty identification'.
      But that is a lie too many.
      Colicott was firmly identified by several witness, and he was found guilty.

      Comment


      • #18
        No Need

        Originally posted by A.P. Wolf View Post
        Indeed SPE, the thrust of the Macnaghten memo is to ensure that TH Cutbush is plainly guilty of the 'jobbings' but entirely innocent of crimes that took place in 1888.
        However here we have Macnaghten at his very best in the disinformation and misinformation game, for he also claims - as supportive evidence - that 'Colicott was arrested, but subsequently discharged owing to faulty identification'.
        But that is a lie too many.
        Colicott was firmly identified by several witness, and he was found guilty.
        There was no need for Macnaghten to engage in 'disinformation and misinformation' here. It's a confidential, internal police report and Macnaghten was reporting the facts as he believed them to be, although, as we know, he certainly made a few errors.

        Comment


        • #19
          Hi Stewart

          Thank you for these very interesting posts, and I'm looking forward to more.

          On the matter of the drawings :

          "The manner in which the creature spent the portion of the day in which he was not in bed, is also clear proof of his nocturnal occupations and of his identity. Persons who knew him declare that he always exhibited a strong love for anatomical study, and that - this is most significant - he spent a portion of the day in making rough drawings of the bodies of women, and of their mutilations, after the fashion in which the bodies of the women murdered in Whitechapel were found to be mutilated. His own reason assigned for these performances was that he was studying for the medical profession - a reason that must be taken in connection with that startling interview in North London, the particulars of which we gave in our issue of yesterday." (from the SUN Feb 14th)

          Unless Macnaghten or his officers interviewed the supposed persons who knew him and were told "No, that's not what I said," I don't see how he could be sure that it was "based solely" on the two scribble drawings. Of course, the police may have interviewed these "persons who knew him" - I can't say for sure one way or the other. But I get a strange feeling when I confront Macnaghten - I never know whether he's actually got a particular statement right or not.

          Comment


          • #20
            Collicott

            Originally posted by A.P. Wolf View Post
            However here we have Macnaghten at his very best in the disinformation and misinformation game, for he also claims - as supportive evidence - that 'Colicott was arrested, but subsequently discharged owing to faulty identification'.
            But that is a lie too many.
            Colicott was firmly identified by several witness, and he was found guilty.
            Nick Connell wrote an essay on Edwin Colocitt [Collicott] in the January 1997 issue of Ripperana. The Police Review in 1898 said in connection with the crimes of Thomas Cutbush "that an innocent young man was indicted at the Surrey Sessions but was ultimately discharged."

            On 21 February 1891, 26 year old Edwin Colocitt [Collicott] surrendered to bail on four charges of malicious wounding and assault. The crimes took place at Clapham and Brixton around 9.30 p.m. and in each case the victim was followed by a man who stabbed them in the lower back before running off.

            Colocitt was tried at Newington. The evidence showed that police had warned locals to be on their guard and on 20 January 1891 Charles Myers, a furniture dealer, saw Colocitt outside his shop where 'he was obstructing young women who were passing and witness [Myers] saw him touch the backs of several of them. Witness followed him and saw him make a thrust three times at the lower part of the back of one lady. Myers then caught him by the wrist, but he cried and shouted so loudly that a crowd collected which attacked Myers, and rescued the defendant (Colocitt) from him. He was caught, however, further on by a constable.'

            Macnaghten's belief of a faulty identification of 'Colicott' was confirmed by Colocitt's defence lawyer who explained that, 'several other ladies who had been assaulted in a similar manner had failed to identify him.' Despite this and character references which revealed that Colocitt was of a very weak intellect due to a fall as a baby, the jury swiftly returned a guilty verdict.

            By the day of Colocitt's sentencing Cutbush had been caught and Colocitt's lawyer jumped at this fact reminding the jury that 'a case now being investigated, in which another person was charged with the commission of exactly similar offences in the same neighbourhood and in view of the fact that the defence of the prisoner at his trial was that a mistake had been made as to his identification.' Sentence was duly postponed.

            Two days later the judge 'accepted the father's and uncle's sureties each in 100, with a proviso that a competent attendant should be engaged, who would be responsible for the prisoner's safe conduct. The father also engaged to exercise such care and supervision over the prisoner as to protect the public from the possibility of any repetition of the offence.'

            This could explain why the Police Review believed the 'innocent' suspect was discharged. And, of course, likewise Macnaghten. We certainly cannot say that Macnaghten deliberately lied. The facts seem to indicate that we have here one of those rare instances of a coincidence being almost too strange to believe.

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by SPE View Post
              The Whitechapel murders were a series of unsolved murders that spanned the period between early April 1888 and mid-February 1891. They comprise eleven unsolved cases that obviously involved multiple perpetrators. In past years this was not clearly understood and that led to some confusion amongst writers both of the press and books. This confusion is apparent in the Sun Cutbush story and led Macnaghten to define his 'canonical' five. But, perhaps, he was wrong to do so as it is impossible to positively accredit a murder to a particular offender when no offender has ever been identified.
              Indeed Stewart, but as regards the last sentence the only logical inference is that the offender must have been identified and Macnaghton says as much in his autobiography. He doesn't give the impression in the memo that JTR is still at large and might possibly start killing again which should have been the case if the offender was not identified. Alice McKenzie was believed by all the world to be a Ripper victim and if Macnaghton says quite adamantly that she wasn't then he must have known things that others didn't.
              Itsnotrocketsurgery

              Comment


              • #22
                Imitation.

                Whatever that reference to the "faulty identification" means, the following sentence clearly seems to imply that MacNaghten knew, and made no attempt to deny, that both men were in fact guilty of cutting or stabbing women:

                " This Cutbush, who lived with his mother and aunt at 14 Albert Street, Kennington, escaped from the Lambeth Infirmary, (after he had been detained only a few hours, as a lunatic) at noon on 5th March 1891. He was rearrested on 9th idem. A few weeks before this, several cases of stabbing, or jabbing, from behind had occurred in the vicinity, and a man named Colicott was arrested, but subsequently discharged owing to faulty identification. The cuts in the girl's dresses made by Colicott were quite different to the cut(s) made by Cutbush (when he wounded Miss Johnson) who was no doubt influenced by a wild desire of morbid imitation."

                So, Cutbush was "morbidly imitating" this Colocitt/Colicott ?

                Comment


                • #23
                  Cracking point, Pilgrim.
                  Macnaghten was lying. Clearly.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Indeed Robert, witness testimony talks of 'drawings', whilst Macnaghten has them as 'scribbles'.
                    In other words Macnaghten was deliberately using language to dum down THC, same as he had him 'rambling' around Whitechapel.
                    It's a cop out.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by A.P. Wolf View Post
                      Macnaghten was lying. Clearly.
                      It all depends how well he knew the facts of these cases, doesn't it ?

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Well, Pilgrim, he only had to ask Inspector Race, which he did.
                        And surely the minimum requirement for a senior police officer preparing a report for a superior would be to ask for and examine the files of the cases he is concerned with?
                        Macnaghten appears to have done this with all the suspects he deals with in the memo, apart from Cutbush and Colicott that is.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          This is terribly complicated. Colocitt, or Colocott as I think he probably was, was charged with four offences. In the MM Macnaghten says that Cutbush did not stab six women behind - that would be to confound his case with that of Colicott. How did it get to six? Has Macnaghten given Colocott Thomas's two stabbings? In that case, what's left for Thomas?

                          I'm confused!

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Don't be confused, Robert, for your confusion just blasted Macnaghten's disinformation out of the water.
                            'ave a whisky dear chap.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Stephen Thomas View Post
                              Indeed Stewart, but as regards the last sentence the only logical inference is that the offender must have been identified and Macnaghton says as much in his autobiography. He doesn't give the impression in the memo that JTR is still at large and might possibly start killing again which should have been the case if the offender was not identified. Alice McKenzie was believed by all the world to be a Ripper victim and if Macnaghton says quite adamantly that she wasn't then he must have known things that others didn't.
                              No offender was identified and Macnaghten's conclusion after identifying his five victims in his report was that the murderer had either committed suicide or had been 'confined in some asylum' after the Kelly murder.

                              In Days of My Years, (London, Edward Arnold, 1914) Macnaghten does not say that the offender was identified. He merely states that 'the Whitechapel murderer, in all probability, put an end to himself after the Dorset Street affair in November 1888...' [i.e. Druitt]. His idea as to the Ripper's probable identity appear to have hardened over the years into this opinion stated in 1914.

                              Alice McKenzie was not 'believed by all the world to be a Ripper victim' although initially this was the majority opinion. Monro soon decided that she wasn't and so too did Anderson.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Robert Linford View Post
                                This is terribly complicated. Colocitt, or Colocott as I think he probably was, was charged with four offences. In the MM Macnaghten says that Cutbush did not stab six women behind - that would be to confound his case with that of Colicott. How did it get to six? Has Macnaghten given Colocott Thomas's two stabbings? In that case, what's left for Thomas?
                                I'm confused!
                                I think that Macnaghten was probably right in suggesting that Cutbush had copied Colocitt's offences. Athough Colocitt was found guilty he was not 'discharged owing to faulty identification' although this was the defence raised by his counsel and the final disposal did not involve imprisonment hence the discharge presumed in the Police Review and Macnaghten. There is no evidence to suggest that Macnaghten lied but he did make some errors and was not as careful as he could have been.

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