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Feb.1893 Letter About E.K.Larkins-SRA

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  • Howard Brown
    replied
    ... in view of the nature of the complaint made by Larkins, the natural reply from Anderson, had any positive identification of the Ripper taken place before then, would be that Larkins' views did not need investigation as the identity of the murderer was known to the police.--SPE

    ...It is also relevant to note that Aaron Kosminski was incarcerated in the relatively insecure Colney Hatch as opposed to the high security Broadmoor Asylum for the criminally insane. If Kosminski was the 'homicidal maniac' that Anderson reckoned him to be this doesn't make any sense.-SPE

    Well taken points,SPE. The first response from you above is what I was alluding to...that there was no need to respond to the HO in that fashion if SRA had already determined 2 years prior that the case was solved.... and Chris George's point that some response was required is likewise true.

    While the thread continues with contributions from CG,RCL, and SPE..if you have questions for any of these gents...please be mindful of the content of the thread and the focus of the discussion. It would be in everyone's advantage to keep on the track here..Thanks in advance.

    One final question germane to the issue for anyone:

    How many instances,offhand, did SRA make statements in 180 degree opposition to the comments within the 1910 Blackwood's Magazine article?

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  • Robert Linford
    replied
    Yes Stewart. A lot of very technical reading!

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  • SPE
    replied
    Lunacy Act 1890

    Originally posted by Robert Linford View Post
    Hi Stewart and Chris
    The whole business concerning the law on lunatics seems to have been a minefield. This piece about the 1800 Criminal Lunatics Act suggests that someone could be sent to a place of the Government's choice even if the prosecution was about to fail (section c). So this suggests the Government had pretty wide powers. Whether this act had been significantly altered by 1891, I don't know.
    http://studymore.org.uk/mhhglo.htm#CriminalLunatics
    There was also the Lunacy Act of 1890.

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  • Robert Linford
    replied
    Hi Stewart and Chris

    The whole business concerning the law on lunatics seems to have been a minefield. This piece about the 1800 Criminal Lunatics Act suggests that someone could be sent to a place of the Government's choice even if the prosecution was about to fail (section c). So this suggests the Government had pretty wide powers. Whether this act had been significantly altered by 1891, I don't know.

    http://studymore.org.uk/mhhglo.htm#CriminalLunatics

    Leave a comment:


  • SPE
    replied
    February 1901

    In February 1901 Anderson had an article, 'Punishing Crime', in The Nineteenth Century. Again his words make for interesting reading -

    "Or, again, take a notorious case of a different kind, 'the Whitechapel murders' of the autumn of 1888. At that time the sensation-mongers of the newspaper press fostered the belief that life in London was no longer safe, and that no woman ought to venture abroad in the streets after nightfall. And one enterprising journalist went so far as to impersonate the cause of all this terror as 'Jack the Ripper,' a name by which he will probably go down to history. But all such silly hysterics could not alter the fact that these crimes were a cause of danger only to a particular section of a small and definite class of women, in a limited district of the East End; and that the inhabitants of the metropolis generally were just as secure during the weeks the fiend was on the prowl as they were before the mania seized him, or after he had been safely caged in an asylum."

    It is true that the lunatic theme, runs through Anderson's theorising from 1892 onwards, but it is interesting, if not significant, to note that he makes no mention of a Polish Jew until 1910.

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  • Chris G.
    replied
    Originally posted by SPE View Post
    On 7 May 1895, in the Pall Mall Gazette, Swanson was stated to have "...believed the crimes to have been the work of a man who is now dead."
    Why couldn't Swanson and other officers have wavered between believing the Ripper to have been one of several candidates? People do change their views and beliefs over time. At the time of the publication of the 7 May 1895, Pall Mall Gazette, he might well have "...believed the crimes to have been the work of a man who is now dead" -- i.e., Druitt. But perhaps later in life come to believe more in the candidacy of Kosminski, if the notations in Anderson's memoirs really constitute an endorsement of his old superior's views.

    Chris

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  • SPE
    replied
    May 1895

    On 7 May 1895, in the Pall Mall Gazette, Swanson was stated to have "...believed the crimes to have been the work of a man who is now dead."

    Again this raises issues which have been discussed at length in the past. Perhaps the most valid contention here is that if the suspect Swanson favoured was Aaron Kosminski, who had been incarcerated over four years earlier and was by now in Leavesden Asylum, how on earth would Swanson not know this? Again given the gravity of the case and the prime importance of the detainee surely Swanson would have kept himself updated on the status of the alleged Ripper.

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  • Chris G.
    replied
    Originally posted by SPE View Post

    This was a very serious case and such an identification, backed by a subpoena against the witness, should certainly allow a charge to be made, no matter what the outcome was as regards giving evidence. Under the Lunacy Act those who were too mad to be arraigned or brought before a jury could be sent to Broadmoor directly by the Home Secretary. They were known as 'Secretary of State's Lunatics', and surely this was a grave enough case for such action.

    In order to make the Kosminski theory tenable all sorts of 'shoehorning' has to be carried out and it is this that weakens the case.
    Hi SPE

    It would seem, if we believe Anderson and, by extension, Swanson, the inability to make the identification was the "straw that broke the camel's back" -- as you say, it is a weak situation, weakly reasoned as well -- the "facts" as explained don't quite add up. Which makes it appear to me that for Sir Robert Anderson, it might have been a neat and tidy way for him to bring a resolution to the case in his own mind, rather than it was actually the true answer to the mystery.

    All the best

    Chris

    Leave a comment:


  • SPE
    replied
    Lunacy

    The question of lunacy and detention is very relevant to the Kosminski theory and it raises many questions, all of which have been debated endlessly without a consensus being reached. There has been the question of subpoena of the witness who, if he had 'unhesitatingly identified' the suspect as the murderer, could not simply refuse to give evidence.

    This was a very serious case and such an identification, backed by a subpoena against the witness, should certainly allow a charge to be made, no matter what the outcome was as regards giving evidence. Under the Lunacy Act those who were too mad to be arraigned or brought before a jury could be sent to Broadmoor directly by the Home Secretary. They were known as 'Secretary of State's Lunatics', and surely this was a grave enough case for such action.

    In order to make the Kosminski theory tenable all sorts of 'shoehorning' has to be carried out and it is this that weakens the case.

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  • Chris G.
    replied
    Originally posted by SPE View Post
    An interesting point Robert which, if correct, reinforces the fact that there was a very weak, or zero case, against Kosminski. This especially in light of the fact that in December 1889, over a year after the last claimed Ripper murder, Kosminski was walking a dog in the City - a nice, quiet sort of relaxation for a homicidal maniac. It also does not tie in with Anderson's later statement that his 'hideous career was cut short by committal to an asylum.'

    Hi Stewart

    No but the description "hideous career" fits with the idea "a maniac revelling in blood." So we have two different things here, it seems, first, Sir Robert Anderson's conception of what the Ripper was like, and, second, the actual circumstances of the man who was being accused. Were the two one and the same, or not?

    Chris

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  • SPE
    replied
    Asylum

    Originally posted by Robert Linford View Post
    Hi Stewart
    I think I once raised that last point with someone (I can't remember who) and they said that since Aaron hadn't been charged with a criminal offence, he couldn't be sent to Broadmoor.
    An interesting point Robert which, if correct, reinforces the fact that there was a very weak, or zero case, against Kosminski. This especially in light of the fact that in December 1889, over a year after the last claimed Ripper murder, Kosminski was walking a dog in the City - a nice, quiet sort of relaxation for a homicidal maniac. It also does not tie in with Anderson's later statement that his 'hideous career was cut short by committal to an asylum.'

    Leave a comment:


  • Robert Linford
    replied
    Hi Stewart

    I think I once raised that last point with someone (I can't remember who) and they said that since Aaron hadn't been charged with a criminal offence, he couldn't be sent to Broadmoor.

    Leave a comment:


  • SPE
    replied
    Anderson in 1892

    As with all of the statements made by Anderson, and Swanson, they cannot really be looked at in isolation.

    In June 1892, Anderson was interviewed at New Scotland Yard and when the subject of the unsolved Whitechapel murders was broached, said this, "There (showing the interviewer the victim photographs), there is my answer to people who come with fads and theories about these murders. It is impossible to believe they were acts of a sane man - they were those of a maniac revelling in blood."

    It is interesting to analyse this statement. Again, why did Anderson not just say that he knew who the killer was and that he was locked up in an asylum? Again a need for some sort of secrecy to explain this.

    It is also relevant to note that Aaron Kosminski was incarcerated in the relatively insecure Colney Hatch as opposed to the high security Broadmoor Asylum for the criminally insane. If Kosminski was the 'homicidal maniac' that Anderson reckoned him to be this doesn't make any sense.

    Leave a comment:


  • Chris G.
    replied
    Hi Howard

    Even if Sir Robert Anderson personally thought the Ripper case was "solved" and the Ripper safely out of the way with Kosminski in Colney Hatch, the theories and letters campaign of Edward Larkins had to be addressed, the more so because he was making a charge against him of obstruction of justice in aiding the escape of the murderer(s). Such a serious charge had to be addressed, at the highest level.

    All the best

    Chris

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  • SPE
    replied
    Anderson In 1893

    Originally posted by How Brown View Post
    Thanks for the effort and for sharing these two documents on this thread,Mr. E. !
    Please give us your impressions of the content in the reply to the Larkins letter,if you will.
    I think that the Larkins letter says something in terms of the status of the WM in 1893....and that it was not resolved in the mind of SRA....to be perfectly frank.
    How, in view of the nature of the complaint made by Larkins, the natural reply from Anderson, had any positive identification of the Ripper taken place before then, would be that Larkins' views did not need investigation as the identity of the murderer was known to the police.

    However, and unfortunately, as the Andersonites will tell you, it is not as easy as that. For I am sure that they will tell you that Anderson had reasons for not disclosing the identification at that time and that he was keeping it secret (for whatever reason, heaven only knows). So we are left in the usual state of impasse, with Anderson's response (below) meaning very little in terms of whether the case was solved or not.

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