Orsam Books

A Bridge Too Far: The Curious Case of Mortemer Slade


J.J. Hainsworth's 2015 book, Jack the Ripper: Case Solved, 1891, identifies the Ripper as Montague John Druitt.  As it happens, that's not the most controversial part of the book, largely because Druitt is an old suspect and no new evidence of his guilt is presented. The main topic of controversy is Hainsworth's ingenious argument that the Chief Constable of the C.I.D at Scotland Yard during the 1890s, Melville Macnaghten, was involved in a cunning scheme - or 'gentlemanly bit of sleight of hand'  as he prefers to call it - to reveal to the public that the identity of the murderer was known to the police, while at the same time deliberately concealing the murderer's identity.

Part of this cunning scheme, we are told, involved Macnaghten enlisting certain writers to propagate the 'facts' he wished to be made public, including Major Arthur Griffiths, George Sims and (either directly or indirectly) Guy Logan, whose fictional, or factional, story, The True Identity of Jack the Ripper, published in serial form in the Illustrated Police News from July 1905, portrayed one Mortemer Slade as the Whitechapel Murderer.

According to Hainsworth, Mortemer Slade is merely Montague Druitt in semi-fictional form.  I respectfully disagree. For while Logan has obviously taken the known facts relating to the Jack the Ripper murders and then interwoven into those facts a story about a mad doctor who committed the murders (apparently based, to some extent, on published assertions by Arthur Griffiths and/or George Sims that the Ripper was a mad doctor), there is no other relationship, in my view, or on any sensible view, between the fictional Slade and the real life historical Druitt, who was not, in any event, a doctor.

Hainsworth may be correct in certain of the connections that he has identified between some fictional stories and Montague Druitt, and he may even be correct in his speculations about Macnaghten ruthlessly and secretly plotting the moves of his cunning scheme on a chess board like some kind of anti-evil genius (although I rather doubt it), but I believe that in the case of Guy Logan's story, it is a bridge too far, both in the figurative sense of his argument being horribly overstretched and in the literal sense of the bridge over the Thames near Pangbourne, upon which the fictional Slade is killed, being way too far out west to have any connection with Druitt's supposed leap into the Thames from Chiswick Bridge or (if not a bridge) any other location between Chiswick and Charing Cross. 

The focus of this article is very much on Mortemer Slade but I first do need to put the 1905 appearance of Slade into the context of Hainsworth's argument about what Macnaghten was up to.

The West of England M.P. 

The story of the West of England M.P. begins on Tuesday, 10 February 1891, when the London correspondent of the Nottingham Daily Guardian revealed in a letter from London, written on the evening of that date, but published in the newspaper on the morning of Wednesday, 11 February 1891, that an unnamed West of England M.P. (who turned out to be Henry Farquharson) had flushed out the identity of Jack the Ripper. 


The name of the suspect was not revealed in the letter (he was, bafflingly, said to be 'a son of a father') but readers of that same morning's Newcastle Daily Journal were treated to an almost identical reproduction of the story (this time with a headline) which told that he was a maniacal 'son of a surgeon' who, as had been mentioned by the correspondent of the Nottingham Daily Guardian, committed suicide 'on the night of the last murder'.  The incriminating evidence against him appears to have been bloodstained clothing (but whether he was supposed to have been wearing this clothing at the time of his death or he had simply left it in his room is not clearly stated).


These reports were reproduced in some of the London newspapers over the next few days and Hainsworth speculates that Melville Macnaghten read one of these newspaper reports and - possibly after a pause of a few weeks while unsuccessful proceedings were launched against Sadler (Hainsworth doesn't seem quite certain of the timings) - decided to conduct an unofficial and informal one-man investigation to establish the truth or otherwise of the the West of England M.P.'s story. 

As part of this investigation, he believes, Macnaghten managed to establish that the West of England M.P. was referring to a barrister and schoolteacher called Montague Druitt who, before committing suicide by jumping into the Thames, had confessed his crimes to a vicar in the west country, from which area Druitt hailed, but who claimed in public to come from the north country, and the Chief Constable either spoke to that vicar (who might have been a relation of Druitt's) or another vicar to whom the first vicar had confided the story of the confession. Macnaghten persuaded the vicar to keep quiet for another eight years until the tenth anniversary of Druitt's death when he was then instructed to go public (writing to the Daily Mail in January 1899), while at the same time carefully concealing Druitt's identity.  

This was supposed to be a masterstroke by Macnaghten because, waiting patiently until 1898, he arranged for the vicar's scoop to be out-scooped by having the same story published in a book by his friend Griffiths while his other friend Sims rubbished the vicar's story (and if you don't understand why this was done, don't worry neither do I).

What is clear, according to Hainsworth, is that Macnaghten did not want it known that Druitt was Jack the Ripper in order to protect the good names of (a) Blackheath School (b) one of his senior colleagues at Scotland Yard who was a distant relation of Druitt and (c) the entire Druitt family. He also didn't want the whole truth to come out in order to protect Scotland Yard from accusations of failing to arrest Druitt while he was alive. But Macnaghten was nevertheless gagging to reveal that he now knew who the Ripper was and that the infamous crimes of 1888 had been solved (by the police, or at least by a police officer). 

Given the opportunity presented by newspaper articles suggesting that Thomas Cutbush was the Ripper, Macnaghten included his suspicions about Druitt in an 1894 briefing note for the Commissioner of Police (Sir Edward Bradford), intended for onward transmission to the Home Secretary (Herbert Asquith), albeit for some convoluted reason, which we shall discuss in due course, he concealed from the Commissioner and, by extension, from the Home Secretary, that Druitt was a barrister/teacher and decided to pretend that he believed him to be a doctor.  

The briefing note was never used by the Home Secretary but was just filed at Scotland Yard which presumably must have been frustrating for the Chief Constable who could not go public with his information (although, as mentioned above, Hainsworth's theory seems to involve him knowing that the vicar was going to reveal it in some form or another shortly after the tenth anniversary of Mary Jane Kelly's death). Consequently, Hainsworth tells us, in or about 1898, Macnaghten allowed Major Arthur Griffiths in on the secret. In his book entitled Mysteries of Police and Crime, Griffiths then published the salient facts about the 'mad doctor' and his suicide following the murder of Mary Jane Kelly, using information sourced from a version of the briefing note. 

George R. Sims 

Also in the know (from as early as 1891, claims Hainsworth) was George Sims, known to readers of the Referee as 'Dagonet', who confirmed in his Mustard and Cress column, and other newspaper articles during the 1900s, the existence of this mad doctor but seems to have got a bit carried away with himself by claiming that he had escaped from a lunatic asylum in 1887, something which Macnaghten had not stated in his briefing note and which he specifically denied to be the case when he wrote publicly about the Ripper some years later.

It is not known why Sims added this false piece of information but it may be noted that he had, for many years, been campaigning on the issue of lunatics being released too early from asylums; the idea that Jack the Ripper had been released from a lunatic asylum only to murder and mutilate five women was, therefore, rather helpful to Sims in this respect.

Between the years 1902 and 1905, Sims repeatedly described the Ripper as a maniac who had committed suicide (although he didn't say that he was a doctor until an article of 29 March 1903) and, in 1905, Guy Logan published his fictional story in which a mad doctor who escaped from an asylum went on a killing spree of prostitutes because he had been rejected by the only woman he loved.

Dr Montague Druitt 

Before we look further at Logan's story, let us consider some troubling aspects of Hainsworth's theory.

The most obvious problem is that Hainsworth believes that Macnaghten intended to deliberately mislead the Home Secretary by telling him in his 1894 briefing note that Druitt was 'said to be a doctor' when he knew perfectly well that he was a barrister. Hainsworth actually believes that Macnaghten hoped that the Home Secretary would inform the House of Commons that Druitt was a doctor.  

The chances of the Chief Constable of the C.I.D., who no doubt wanted to be promoted by the Home Secretary to Assistant Commissioner, giving both the Commissioner and the Home Secretary deliberately false information would seem to me to be very slim to the point of non existent.  Further, the very fact of calling Druitt a doctor makes the case against him far more attractive than if he had been said to have been, say, an accountant, so that the deception was no trivial one.  It actually includes a false reason for thinking that Druitt might have been the Ripper because the Ripper was believed to have medical knowledge.  So, if Hainsworth is right, Macnaghten must have been hoping to lead the Home Secretary right down the garden path by telling him that one of the main police suspects, whose family suspected him of being the ripper, had medical knowledge by being a doctor.

If that doesn't seem likely it gets even worse because according to Hainsworth's theory, Macnaghten is very happy to reveal to selected writers and journalists that the suspect is called Montague John Druitt yet does not seem at all concerned that one of those writers or journalists would carry out their own investigation, speaking perhaps to Druitt's family, and would discover that Druitt was never a doctor.  Had this happened, the whole of Macnaghten's cunning scheme could well have come crashing down around his ears.

Well perhaps Macnaghten told the selected few that Druitt was a barrister and asked them to keep this knowledge to themselves.  But not only would this have required a certain amount of faith on Macnaghten's part in the willingness of the journalists to keep a secret - and bear in mind that even Hainsworth thinks that the secret was known to quite a number of people (such as the writer Frank Richardson who referred in one of his works to a 'Dr Bluitt') - but it also involves an expectation that they would be happy to tell a lie to their readers too.  For it would mean that both Griffiths and Sims were deliberately deceiving their readers (and publisher or editor respectively) by peddling a false story.  While Macnaghten could reasonably expect responsible writers not to reveal Druitt's name, it is hard to believe that they would go along with this deception in Macnaghten's interests.

If, on the other hand, Macnaghten was deceiving Griffiths and Sims into thinking Druitt was a doctor then this brings us back to the earlier point that, by knowing his full name, they could have done their own research to find out that he was not a medical man, in which case they would have discovered that Macnaghten was not a trustworthy source.  Perhaps Macnaghten thought that both Griffiths and Sims were lazy and unlikely to check anything he told them (which is plausible) and perhaps he gambled that none of the other writers 'in the know' would check any facts either but the uncertainty in Hainsworth's argument as to precisely what Macnaghten told the Griffiths and Sims does make it difficult to work out what was supposed to be going on.

Mac's Memory 

The obvious question that one would want to ask is: could Macnaghten, when he wrote his briefing note in 1894, simply have been mistaken when he wrote that Druitt was (said to be) a doctor?  For Hainsworth, this is inconceivable.  Apparently Macnaghten was incapable of error.  He had, according to Hainsworth, 'almost miraculous powers of recall' and 'meticulous attention to detail'.  Although he cites Basil Thomson in support of this proposition - Thomson wrote that Macnaghten had 'an astonishing memory for faces and names'  - I don't feel that Hainsworth establishes that there was anything otherwise special about Macnaghten's memory or his attention to detail and, in fact, from my own research, I know it's not true to say that it was special.  He certainly was capable of mistakes of recollection.

In my 2014 book, The Camden Town Murder Mystery, I deal with the murder of Emily 'Phyllis' Dimmock in September 1907 and the subsequent failure of the police to solve her murder and convict the man arrested for the crime.  Macnaghten, who was, at the time of the murder, the Assistant Commissioner of the C.I.D., was personally involved in supervising the investigation into the crime and he devotes a few pages to it in his 1914 memoirs (but only a few because it was not, of course, a great success for his department).  Yet, in those few pages, as I comment in my own book, he makes some basic errors when describing the discovery of the murder, the facts of which were all in the public domain. As I wrote in 2014, 'the man in overall charge of the investigation managed to get some of his facts badly wrong.'

He says at page 117 of Days of My Years that the body was found at 'About three o'clock in the afternoon' .  This is quite wrong: for the discovery occurred shortly after half past eleven in the morning.  Further, the details of the discovery given by Macnaghten are confused.  He says that 'the landlady tried the door of her [Dimmock's] room, became anxious and called the police'.  It didn't happen like that at all. He was, as I wrote in 2014, 'just about wrong in every particular.'  The landlady had a key to Dimmock's apartment and her dead body was found by Dimmock's common law husband (or more accurately the man with whom she lived) who then called the police.   

This shows that Macnaghten cannot always be trusted to remember facts accurately but there is one other major error in his account which might, in fact, be deliberate.  He claims (on p.119 of his book) that a postcard was found in Dimmock's room a fortnight after the murder by an officer making a thorough search of every part of the room.  In fact, the postcard was found not by the police during a search but accidentally by Dimmock's 'husband' and it was a huge embarrassment to the police at the time that it had been missed by them when they had searched the room immediately following the murder.  Macnaghten himself personally commented in a handwritten note that the search of the apartment was the one thing that the police had done badly during the investigation so it is hard to believe that he had forgotten the cock-up only seven years later. To me it looks like Macnaghten was here refusing to admit to a police failure.  But the true facts were publicly known to anyone who wanted to investigate them so it's not quite a case of him being in control of the truth in this instance.  

Ultimately the problem with Hainsworth's theory is that it is difficult to be sure if Macnaghten's error was deliberate or accidental.  While Hainsworth seems to think he is able to read Macnaghten's mind, he does so without any actual evidence. 

One might wonder what difference it really makes to anything whether Macnaghten was mistaken or lying about Druitt being a doctor. The answer, in my view, is not much. Ultimately, it seems to be all about the credibility of Macnaghten. If he was mistaken about this, so the argument appears to go, then perhaps the rest of what he says about there being evidence against Druitt can be downgraded. If, on the other hand, it was a deliberate error, it might be considered that the case against Druitt needs to be taken seriously.  Even if his 'mistake' was deliberate, however, it does not take us much further in knowing whether he was engaged in a wider scheme of misinformation.

The M.P.'s Suspect 

At this point, we should ask whether the West of England M.P. was, in fact, referring to Druitt.  The reasons for thinking he was are: (1) Druitt was the son of a surgeon (2) Druitt committed suicide (3) Druitt was from the west of England, like the M.P., suggesting that there was a west of England connection to the story.  If there is a reason for doubt, it is that Druitt cannot have committed suicide before 1 December 1888 (the date of a rail ticket that was found on his corpse) yet the West of England M.P. claimed that his suspect committed suicide 'on the night of the last murder.' 

One assumes today that the M.P. meant that the 'last' murder was on 9 November 1888 but this wasn't how everyone interpreted the story at the time.

The Aberdeen Evening Express of 13 February 1891 described the M.P.'s story as 'a rumour to the effect that after committing his last murder in September 1889 Jack the Ripper had committed suicide.'   So that newspaper at least clearly believed that the M.P.'s suspect had murdered Alice McKenzie in July 1889 and was responsible for the Pinchin Street trunk murder in September 1889. The M.P.'s story also did not incorporate the claim that his suspect committed suicide by drowning in the Thames, leaving the actual method unstated.

The Informant 

On the whole, however, it seems likely that the West of England M.P. was referring to Montague Druitt.  But does that mean that this M.P. (i.e. Farquharson) was the source of Macnaghten's information?  It has generally been assumed that he was - and Hainsworth is certainly in no doubt about it - but I think we should consider if this is necessarily so. 

While I would have no problem if the M.P. had contacted Scotland Yard with his information, I find the concept of Macnaghten, on his own accord, carrying out a private investigation into a newspaper report of this nature rather unlikely.  He might well have ignored the story - which was little more than a one week wonder in the papers - like most people did, especially as his department was involved in investigating the murder of Frances Coles two days after the first publication of the M.P.'s story (although Hainsworth, at one point, seems to think that Macnaghten waited a couple of weeks, until after Sadler was declared innocent, before trying to get to the bottom of it).

The West of England M.P. refers to his suspect as a son of a surgeon which, of course, Macnaghten does not do. Macnaghten does not even refer to Druitt as a 'surgeon', which one might expect if he was trying to be clever by transforming a 'son of' a surgeon into an actual one, but a 'doctor', which could simply mean a physician rather than a surgeon.  More importantly, the reason given as to why the son of the surgeon was suspected of the murders was the discovery of bloodstained clothes. Not only is this not mentioned by Macnaghten but it is almost completely ignored by Hainsworth, apparently because he thinks that the M.P. was saying that his suspect was found wearing the bloodstained clothes after his death, although this is not stated in the newspaper reports.

In fact, the way Hainsworth deals with the bloodstained clothing issue is very odd. He claims that the M.P. was lying about it in order to 'obscure the Thames River location of an act of repentant suicide'.  I don't see how the M.P. could conceivably have been attempting to obscure the fact that his suspect drowned (in the Thames or anywhere else) simply by referring to his bloodstained clothing. 

Furthermore, it would seem quite bizarre for that M.P. to announce truthfully to the world that Jack the Ripper was a son of a surgeon who committed suicide (albeit not on the night of the last murder, an understandable error) but then put forward an entirely false reason for suspecting that he was the Ripper. At the point he came forward to the press, the M.P. hadn't (on Hainsworth's account) spoken to Macnaghten so the bloodstained clothing could not have been part of the Chief Constable's cunning scheme of deception. Hainsworth seems to think that everyone is 'at it' with their semi-fictionalizing of accounts, even when it doesn't make any sense for them to be doing so. 

I rather fancy that Hainsworth would not have been attracted to the bloodstained clothing point in any event because there could have been a completely innocent explanation for the bloodstains.   Instead, Hainsworth focuses on the far more juicy 'confession' to a vicar which Macnaghten is said to have discovered during his one-man investigation in February 1891.

The 'north country vicar' 

Hainsworth is certain that the story told by the 'north country vicar' in 1899 is corroboration of the West of England M.P.'s story of 1891 but can we be sure of this?  The vicar speaks of a surgeon, while the M.P. spoke of a son of a surgeon.  The vicar says that the surgeon died shortly after committing the last murder but makes no mention of suicide, while the M.P. was clear that the son of a surgeon committed suicide.  For those reasons it is not entirely clear that they were both talking about the same person and, bearing in mind that the vicar is said to be from the north country, there is no obvious connection with the west of England M.P.

On this point, it is notable that George Sims, undoubtedly a friend of Macnaghten, rubbished the vicar's story. In his Referee column of 22 January 1899 he said in response to the Daily Mail's report from four days earlier:

'There are bound to be various revelations concerning Jack the Ripper as the years go on. This time it is a vicar who heard his dying confession.  I have no doubt a great many lunatics have said they were Jack the Ripper on their death beds...I don't want to interfere with this mild little Jack the Ripper boom which the newspapers are playing up..but I don't quite see how the real Jack could have confessed, seeing that he committed suicide  after the horrible mutilation of the woman in the house in Dorset-street, Spitalfields'.

Given that Sims, Macnaghten and the vicar were all supposed to be part of the same plot, singing from the same hymn sheet, it is strange that Sims reacted in this way.  

What does Hainsworth say about it?  

Well, he thinks that in collusion with Macnaghten, Sims was determined to 'ruthlessly rewrite the vicar's Ripper as a better scoop'.  How does he do this?  Well, says Hainsworth, he changes the story so that 'now it is the vicar himself who hears the confession from a criminal lunatic on his deathbed'.  

It has to be said that it is not much of a 'ruthless rewrite' because Sims' summary is pretty much exactly what the Daily Mail reported on 18 January. That newspaper had said that, 'The vicar obtained his information from a brother clergyman, to whom a confession was made.'  Sims' version, as above, was, 'This time it is a vicar who heard his dying confession.'  Other than the use of the word 'dying', that is word for word what the Daily Mail reported the vicar had said and 'dying confession' seems to be a reasonable interpretation of the vicar's story because the vicar told the Daily Mail journalist that the murderer died 'very shortly after committing the last murder' so the confession was presumably a dying confession and, at the very least, must have been made 'shortly' before his death.

So the 'rewrite' is a bit lame. But there is more because Hainsworth tells us that Sims torpedoed the story on the basis that the real Ripper had no time to confess anything to anyone before his suicide because he was a 'gibbering wreck'.    Well, Sims does not actually say this; he only says that the Ripper committed suicide after mutilating Kelly - by which he appears to mean straight after the murder or, in his own words (in 1899), 'almost immediately after'  so that there literally was no time for him to confess to anyone.  This is supported by what Sims said eight years later in his 1907 LWN article with reference to the Kelly murder (underlining added):

 'The probability is that immediately after committing this murderous deed the author of it committed suicide....What is probable is that after the murder he made his way to the river, and in the dark hours of a November night or in the misty dawn he leapt in and was drowned.'

If that is what Sims genuinely believed had happened on 9 November 1888 then there was, indeed, no time for a confession. But if Sims did not genuinely believe this, and thought that there was plenty of time for the Ripper to have confessed to a vicar after the Kelly murder, why did he torpedo the story?  I'm not sure a clear answer to this has been provided.

Hainsworth then tells us that, 'The writer-criminologist consolidates Mac's myth that the police were about to arrest the Mad Doctor' .  Sims did indeed write of the man who drowned himself in the Thames that, 'His name is perfectly well known to the police.  If he hadn't committed suicide he would have been arrested'. This is all well and good but why did it also require a rubbishing of the vicar's story? Surely all Sims needed to say was that the vicar was absolutely right and the police knew perfectly well who the surgeon he was talking about was because they were on the verge of arresting him before he jumped in the Thames.

Why did he not also say that the vicar's suspect was the very same mad doctor whose body was found floating in the Thames on 31 December 1888 who had been referred to in Major Griffiths' recently published book, thus bolstering support for the story that Macnaghten was presumably very keen to circulate as widely as possible? If Hainsworth is correct, the vicar was totally on message, telling the Daily Mail reporter (falsely) that the prime suspect was a deceased surgeon while also refusing to reveal that surgeon's name. What was the problem with the vicar's story?

I have carefully read the entire passage dealing with it in Hainsworth's book - most of which is quoted above - and it is, I think, one of the few parts of the book where I don't even understand what he is saying.  He goes on to praise Sims for being clever by suggesting that Jack died in his bed when the vicar had claimed no such thing but I find it hard to know why he would want to do this.  If, in the vicar's story, the suspect drowned himself in the Thames, why did he want to pretend that the vicar was saying that he died in his bed? 

Hainsworth's answer seems to be that he was shielding Druitt's family members, but, if that's the case, why was Griffiths supposedly authorised to publish that the Ripper was a doctor who had committed suicide by jumping into the Thames?  Why did Sims not want to rubbish this story too? It was closer to the truth than the vicar's story. 

The only thing that seems to make sense is that Sims did not actually believe that the north country vicar could possibly be talking about the same suspect that he (Sims) believed was the Ripper, i.e. the man who had committed suicide in the Thames. And the main reason, one imagines, that he would have come to this conclusion was that Macnaghten knew nothing whatsoever about any confession by Druitt and did not believe for one second that Druitt had confessed.  So when Sims contacted his friend Macnaghten to ask him about the north country vicar's story (assuming he did so) the Chief Constable told him it was all nonsense. 

If we actually follow Hainsworth's thesis that Macnaghten attempted to deliberately deceive the Home Secretary in his 1894 briefing note, we could argue that Macnaghten was sure that the vicar's story was false because he knew perfectly well that Druitt was a barrister, not a surgeon.

Alternatively, if we reject the Hainsworth thesis, we could conclude that Macnaghten genuinely believed Druitt to have been a doctor; but a physician, not a surgeon. Certainly, neither Griffiths nor Sims ever refer to the suspect (Druitt) as a surgeon.  They normally refer to him simply as a 'doctor' but it is notable that Sims was reported in the Daily Express of 1 August 1904 as saying that the Ripper was 'a mad physician'.  Macnaghten also never referred to Druitt as a surgeon. So both alternatives are possible.

In this respect, it is interesting to note the police (Scotland Yard?) reaction to the vicar's story.  According to the London correspondent of the Western Times of 19 January 1899:

'In police circles there is the most deep distrust of the new version as to who Jack the Ripper really was. The new version is that he had been a surgeon and engaged in rescue work in the East End, and then after confessing his crimes to a clergyman who told the story to another clergyman, the narrator, committed suicide in the Thames.  An earlier version made the man a petty officer on board a ship always in dock in the East End who, being suspected, came no more to England but wholly disappeared.  A third story, told elaborately, made him out to be a living inmate of one of our suburban asylums.  Naturally one story is as good as another...'

If this report is to be believed then the police dismissed the vicar's story, and, as far as I can see, this could well be consistent with Macnaghten's thinking. 

Observant readers will have noted that the Western Mail correspondent says that the vicar's suspect 'committed suicide in the Thames' despite the fact that this particular piece of information was not part of the Daily Mail report of the vicar's story. Was it included because the Western Mail had some unpublished inside information from the vicar?  Was it what they been privately told by Scotland Yard (Macnaghten)?  Or was it simply an error based on assumption that the vicar's suspect was the same person referred to by Griffiths in his recently published book?  

Mr Hainsworth might have his own answer to this question but I think that the Western Mail correspondent had been confused by the Daily Mail report which, when referring to Major Griffiths' book, noted that Griffiths said that 'the police believe the assassin to have been a doctor, bordering on insanity whose body was found floating in the Thames soon after the last crime in the series.'  I think that must be why the Western Mail reporter got the idea into his head that the vicar's suspect had been found in the Thames.

Careless Sims?

As we have seen, Hainsworth places great importance on the fact that Sims claimed that the vicar had referred to a dying or deathbed confession when that actual term did not appear in the Daily Mail report of the vicar's story. Could that not simply have been Sims being a little careless and not being entirely accurate in his representation of the story?  Sims was not infallible and was far from incapable of making elementary mistakes as the below examples show.

In his article in Lloyds Weekly News of 22 September 1907, Sims, informed by Macnaghten, lists the C5 murders with their dates, showing Stride and Eddowes both murdered on 30 September 1888.  Later, he says (underlining added):

'The first murder was committed on Aug.31, and the last on Nov. 9 - the night of Lord Mayor's day - therefore, five times during three months did the Ripper rise from his orgy of blood, and walk through the streets of London to his home without by his appearance attracting the attention of one single witness who could be called upon to give evidence of any value.'

You can probably see the obvious flaw in this sentence.  There were five murders but on four separate dates so the Ripper would only have walked through the streets of London to his home without attracting attention on four occasions, not five.  Sims had written carelessly without noting the dates and times of the five murders.

In the same article, referring to the night of the double event, Sims says:

'In the early hours of the date of these murders, between three and four in the morning, as far as I can remember, a man came to the stall and asked for a cup of coffee.'

A few paragraphs later after describing the man as having bloodstained cuffs, he says:

'The man with the blood-stained cuffs had suggested between two and three in the morning that "two" murders might be heard of in a few hours.'

It will be noted that the time of the man's appearance at the stall has changed from between 3 and 4am to between 2 and 3 am. This extra hour is rather important in a situation where Eddowes' murder was discovered shortly before before 2am.  More people on the streets of the East End that night would presumably have been aware of the double murder at 3.30am than at 2.30am. 

In 1907, Sims made clear that both murders had been discovered prior to the coffee-stall keeper's conversation with the man but, in a 1917 article, he wrote, 'At dawn the bodies of two women murdered by the Ripper were found' , thus making the story far more dramatic but less true.

So the fact that Sims did not correctly represent what the vicar was reported to have said about Jack the Ripper may simply be due to his lack of attention to detail.

Absent Friends

Before leaving the topic of Sims, there is another inexplicable point raised by Hainsworth about Sims' writings regarding his use of the word 'friends' which is worth mentioning.  According to Hainsworth, when Sims wrote in Referee in 1902 that, 'At the time his dead body was found in the Thames, his friends, who were terrified at his disappearance were endeavouring to have him found', he was in some way 'disguising' Druitt's 'family' as his 'friends' because Macnaghten had written in his briefing note of Druitt that, 'I have little doubt but that his own family believed him to have been a murderer'. Hainsworth has made the same point in internet postings and presumably he is saying that this is more evidence of Sims being engaged in a sleight of hand to protect Druitt's family: although why they needed further protection over and above him not mentioning Druitt's name and not calling him a barrister is hard to discern.

Might I suggest, however, that it is not Sims who was changing anything, but Griffiths.  For Griffiths wrote in his 1898 book of Druitt that, 'there was every reason to believe that his own friends entertained grave doubts about him.'  As far as I can tell, Sims was relying on Griffiths for his information about what was in the 1894 briefing note, especially because Macnaghten's note (Aberconway draft) refers to a police officer who saw the Ripper near 'Mitre Square' yet Griffiths (in 1898) refers to it as 'Mitre Court' and so does Sims (in 1907). Consequently I would suggest it was Griffiths who, by mistake or design, amended the 'family' of Druitt to his 'friends'. 

There is, I think, also the possibility that there was another (currently unknown) version of the Magnaghten note in existence, the contents of which were reproduced accurately by Griffiths, but either way it doesn't look like the 'family' to 'friends' change was one made by Sims.

Changing the substantial truth?

Hainsworth seems to think that 'north country vicar' is a disguise for 'west country vicar' but this is rather unlikely because there doesn't appear to be any obvious reason for the Daily Mail, which published news of the existence of the vicar's story, to have disguised the vicar's location bearing in mind that no details of the vicar's suspect were included in a story which was already said by the vicar to be partly fictitious (i.e. 'substantial truth under fictitious form') for the specific purpose of hiding the suspect's identity. 

A reporter for the Daily Mail travelled to speak in person to the vicar, so the Mail must have known where the vicar was based.  That being so, what possible reason could there have been for the Mail to have changed 'west country vicar' to 'north country vicar'?

The fact that the vicar might have resided in the north country does not by itself destroy Hainsworth's theory because the vicar told the Daily Mail reporter that he only knew about the confession from being told about it by another vicar and that vicar might have come from the west country.  Hainsworth doesn't really believe the vicar because he thinks that the confession was told directly to him but if one starts disbelieving what the vicar told the Daily Mail in a private conversation, where there were no caveats as to him speaking the truth, then one might has well discount the entire story as coming from a liar.   

The vicar also told the Daily Mail reporter that the man who confessed was involved at one time in rescue work in the East End which does not help us one way or the other.

Perhaps Hainsworth's best point is that the vicar's partly fictional story was called 'The Whitechurch murders: Solution to a London Mystery' and Whitechurch (or Whitchurch) Canicorum was the vicarage of Charles Druitt, a cousin of Montague. Does this reveal that the vicar to whom the confession was taken was from the Whitchurch Canicorum?  Or did the north country vicar simply get confused between Whitechapel and Whitechurch/Whitchurch?

Hainsworth might be influenced by the fact that Druitt had relatives who were vicars but there is an obvious danger here that he has (subconsciously) latched onto the vicar's story because he likes the idea that Druitt confessed. 

If, however, both the M.P. and the vicar were speaking of the same person and that person was Druitt then might it not be that the vicar was Macnaghten's informant rather than the M.P.? 

Hainsworth certainly believes that Macnaghten spoke to the vicar in 1891 because he thinks it was Macnaghten who gave the vicar the rather odd 'direction' to wait until 10 years after the Kelly murder before going public and who also suggested that, when doing so, he changed certain facts story to protect Druitt's identity.  This was all part of Mac's plan, apparently, to get the story out into the public domain, presumably (although this is not said by Hainsworth) because in 1891 he did not expect anyone else, such as Griffiths or Sims, to publish the story in the future.

Given that the vicar wrongly called Druitt (if he meant Druitt) a surgeon - and he was surely not deliberately lying here because this was in the conversation with a Daily Mail reporter without caveats rather than in his fictitious story - then that might be why Macnaghten wrongly referred to Druitt as a doctor.  No doubt Macnaghten must have had some information from the inquest (where Druitt was correctly referred to as a barrister) because he knew that the body was found on 31 December, having been in the water for upwards of a month, and that (as noted in the Aberconway version of his memo) Druitt had a season ticket between Blackheath and London in his possession when he drowned, but that does not necessarily mean that he could not have got Druitt's occupation muddled up in his mind, especially if he had been told by the vicar that he had been a surgeon. If he had later seen a press clipping from the inquest saying that Druitt was a barrister he might simply have believed that the newspaper got it wrong or overlooked it.

Equally, bearing in mind that quite a number of people must have known the story about Druitt being the Ripper - as it had reached the ears of the local M.P., as well as those of a London based journalist - there might have been another informant who also thought Druitt was a doctor. What about Colonel Majendie, the Chief Inspector of Explosives, who was related by marriage to a daughter of a cousin of Druitt? Might he not have heard through his family a story about one of his distant relatives being the Ripper and passed it on to Macnaghten, thinking that Druitt was a doctor rather than a barrister?  In the absence of any evidence, I fail to see how we can know; and Hainsworth's flight of fancy about Macnaghten puffing away on his pipe on the train journey home from his investigation into the matter, having spoken to the member of Parliament, the vicar and some Druitts, feeling quietly elated, is far from convincing. 

However, my purpose in writing this article is not to challenge Hainsworth's theory about why Macnaghten called Druitt a doctor nor to fuss about who his informant was.  Clearly he did receive some private information about Druitt from someone at some time prior to 1894 which led him to conclude that Druitt was a sexual maniac and might well have been Jack the Ripper.  What I really want to aim at is the notion that Guy Logan was involved in any way with Macnaghten's cunning public relations campaign.

Sims Again

Before dealing with Logan's book, we first need to return to George Sims because he is said by Hainsworth to have been a key intermediary between Macnaghten and Logan.

The reason why Hainsworth thinks that Sims was let into the secret in 1891 is because he wrote an article which appeared in Referee of 1 March 1891 - less than a month after the report of the West of England M.P.'s discovery appeared in the newspapers - in which he appears to accept a story that he had, according to Hainsworth, previously dismissed about the Ripper resembling his own portrait on the cover of his 1881 book, The Social Kaleidoscope.  

As alluded to earlier, this story was based on a coffee-stall keeper speaking to a man, with bloodstained cuffs, within a few hours of the double event, when the murders were not common knowledge, who predicted that the coffee-stall keeper would hear of two more murders in the morning.  The coffee-stall keeper later swore that the man he spoke to was the double of Sims as he appeared on the front cover of his 1881 book.

I don't, however, agree with Hainsworth that we can conclude from Sims' article of 1 March 1891 that he had been taken into Macnaghten's confidence at this early stage. The reason for Sims' article was that, following the collapse of the case against Sadler for the murder of Frances Coles, he had seen a statement in the press that the police knew perfectly well who Jack the Ripper was and had been shadowing him for years.  This led him to wonder in a lighthearted piece whether the police had been shadowing him for years on the basis of the coffee-stall keeper's identification. 

Critically, Sims said that he had forgotten all about the coffee-stall keeper's identification 'until I saw that extraordinary statement in a daily paper this week.'  There doesn't seem to be any reason to doubt the truth of this which clearly means he had not been reminded of the coffee-stall keeper's 1888 identification in February 1891 by Macnaghten showing him a photograph of Druitt and realising as a result that he was his double (at least as he was portrayed on the cover of his 1881 book).  Perhaps more importantly, Sims doesn't take the opportunity to say that the Ripper is dead but instead asks for the police to name the living suspect they have been shadowing for years. 

According to Hainsworth, Sims' attitude to the coffee-stall keeper's story on 1 March 1891 was very different to how he had treated it (with ridicule) in 1889 and he thinks this is because Sims became aware in February 1891, on the basis of what Macnaghten had secretly revealed to him, that the real killer (Druitt) did indeed look like his portrait on the cover of The Social Kaleidoscope

But Sims did treat the story seriously in 1889.  In his article of 6 October 1889 he described the coffee-stall keeper's story as 'very plausible' and said that 'there may be something in it.'  If we compare this with what he said in an article dated 22 September 1907, at which time he certainly was aware of the Macnaghten theory, we find that it was virtually the same thing.  Thus, he wrote of the coffee-stall keeper: 'One other man believed he had seen the Ripper soon after the double murders of Sept. 30, and he may have done, but there was no absolute proof that he was correct in his surmise'.   Consequently, there is no reason to believe that Sims was aware of the Macnaghten theory and briefing note prior the publication of Major Griffiths' book in 1898 which publicly revealed the existence of three prime suspects, including the drowned doctor, for the first time.

The Priest's Secret

I should say that Hainsworth also points to an 1892 fictional story by Sims called 'The Priest's Secret' in which a living murderer, John Arkwright, who killed his first wife and child in America, confesses his crimes to a curate who is, as a result, burdened with shared guilt and angst as to what to do, especially as the murderer is a good friend, but he keeps silent.  As his doctor friend (the only person to whom he reveals the secret) tells him, 'looking at all the circumstances, I think you are fully justified.' 

Apparently, Sims was sending a private, almost subliminal message to the 'north country vicar' - who has already revealed his secret to the Chief Constable at Scotland Yard - that he should say nothing to the press. How the vicar is aware that Macnaghten has blabbed out to Sims his most private information in order that he will be able to understand that the message is directed at him is not explained.  This is assuming that the vicar was even aware of the existence of Sims' story. What is also not explained is why the curate's doctor friend in the story says that the main reason for the curate to keep quiet is Arkwright's 'brave, devoted wife', something which did not apply to Druitt.  The doctor does, it is true, suggest that even if Arkwright was 'alone in the world' no good would come of betraying him but that didn't apply to Druitt either.

If we look further at 'all the circumstances', we see that Arkwright committed the murders in the middle of the night because he was suddenly gripped with the fear that he was going to die, so that his wife and child would be left alone in the world to face misery and starvation.  He murdered them with a knife quickly and cleanly as they slept and was about to kill himself too when he lost his strength. Bearing in mind that what we have here was, in Arkwright's mind, virtually a mercy killing, it's not the same thing as the Jack the Ripper murders and mutilations at all.

At the end of the story, Arkwright, who was never suspected of the murders, dies and the curate and doctor agree to keep the story of them secret forever.  The curious thing about this is that, according to Hainsworth, by the time Sims' story was published in December 1892, Macnaghten had already instructed the 'north country vicar' to reveal his story to the world after ten years, albeit in semi-fictitious form.  One wonders why the curate and priest did not also decide to do this in the fictional story if it was the right thing to do in real life.  Keeping silent forever would have gone entirely against Macnaghtan's wishes, if Hainsworth's theory is correct.

With this part of the theory, we really need some form of explanation from Sims himself as to why he wrote his story, either in correspondence or his personal papers. He wrote a number of works of fiction.  Were they all sending messages to someone or just this one?   Without more information I'm not sure we can reach any kind of sensible conclusion.

The Photograph

Sims never actually says in any of his writings that he had seen a photograph of the man suspected by police of being Jack the Ripper which resembled him as he looked on the cover of his 1881 book but, from 1904 onwards, he does make some positive statements about the similarity which suggest he might well have been shown a photograph of Druitt by Macnaghten.   

However, the fact that Sims might have detected a similarity between his portrait and a photograph of Montague Druitt is not by any means proof that the coffee-stall keeper spoke to Montague Druitt in his shop in the early hours of 30 September 1888.  Speaking for myself, comparing the known portraits of Druitt with the cover portrait of Sims, I would be very reluctant to say that I am looking at identical twins. If Logan saw both photographs and then based Mortemer Slade on Montagu Druitt, he must have thought the same thing because he has Slade disguised with a false beard and moustache when he is out and about committing the murders.

A couple of other points are worthy of note.  The coffee- stall keeper said he went to the police about his identification in 1888 but there is nothing in the surviving police files about this and, more importantly, Macnaghten says nothing about it in his 1894 briefing note.  Given that a number of police officers knew about the double murders on the night, it's not impossible that a few members of the public knew about it too and one of them played a 'joke' on the coffee-stall keeper using that inside knowledge.

The True History of Jack the Ripper 

So far, Hainsworth's conjectures seem unlikely but not impossible.  When it comes to Guy Logan's fictional story of the Ripper, however, Hainsworth goes badly wrong.  He claims that Logan said names and locations in his story were disguised.  Thus, he says: 'The first installment in the 1905 Illustrated Police News of Logan's novella, titled "The Escape"…begins by pointing out that the names of people and places have been altered to protect the innocent (and the guilty")'. But Logan does not actually say this.  The caveat which appeared at the start of his story in the Illustrated Police News of 15 July 1905 (and a few other subsequent chapters) - of which Hainsworth is fully aware because he has reproduced it in online postings (but not in his book) - read:

'The inner history of the unspeakable crimes associated with the murder-name of  "Jack the Ripper" is known to very few. The relatives of that monumental criminal are still, many of them, in the land of the living, and I am consequently precluded from giving the exact name of the monster who haunted London's East End in 1888. In all particulars except that - and the place of the maniac's original confinement - this account of the Whitechapel Horrors is absolutely true.'

This does not support Hainsworth's summary of it. For Logan is only claiming to have changed two things: (1) the name of the doctor and (2) the name of the institution into which he was committed.  Other than these two things, 'all particulars' are supposed to be true. Thus, according to Logan, no geographical places have been disguised. Taken literally, this must mean that the real doctor's family came from Yorkshire. 

Further, if we took Logan literally, then the real Mortemer Slade must have been confined in a lunatic asylum prior to committing the murders because Logan said that he was disguising the  real 'place of the maniac's confinement' .  He can't disguise a place that doesn't exist, can he?  Yet Hainsworth accepts that Druitt was never confined in such an asylum. I don't know how he reconciles this paradox because he never refers to it.

As it happens, Logan's caveat is rather contradicted in the first paragraph of the story in which he refers to a private asylum run by a man 'whom, for the purposes of this history, we will call Dr Kent'. This means that he also changed the name of the proprietor of the asylum. But again, as Druitt was never committed to an asylum, there can't possibly have been any real doctor in Druitt's life story upon whom such a character was based.  If however, there was a real asylum into which a surgeon known to the author had been committed, Logan's caveat might make some sense.

We might also note that Logan contradicts his caveat once more at the end of the story when says the same thing about the man who married Slade's former sweetheart, Phyllis Penrose, said to be a member of parliament called Stephen Grant Darrell.  Thus, Logan says of Darrell, 'his unquestionable talents soon availed to bring him to the front, and in his real identity - for I have written of him under an assumed name - he is greatly admired and respected in the House.'  But Hainsworth doesn't contend that Phyllis Penrose was based on a real woman to whom Druitt proposed nor that Penrose's subsequent husband, Stephen Darrell, was a real person. 

What is obvious from the nature of Logan's story is that he is really saying no more than that his story was inspired by true events.  Although it was published in a newspaper dedicated to reports of true crimes, his claim to be writing about certain people under assumed names was almost certainly a literary device to make the story seem more realistic.  If Slade was based on Druitt then it definitely  was a literary device because so many of the facts relating to Slade cannot possibly have related to Druitt. 

It is certainly true that Logan's story includes a number of factual details about the murders and the victims about which the author must have done some research, presumably from newspaper reports of the inquest.  He never describes any of the murders as they take place (i.e. with Slade as an actor in the crimes) only the aftermath, and these descriptions could be actual newspaper reports because they are all pretty much factually correct.

One can almost fancy that Logan included these factual details in order to fill up space in his story because it looks like he has simply transferred the basic facts into the narrative and those facts could have been included regardless of who the killer was in the story.  For the readers of the Illustrated Police News in 1905, who were either unaware of had forgotten the details of the Jack the Ripper murders from 17 years earlier, it might have made interesting reading from a true crime perspective and Logan is careful not to change the facts of the murders for plot related purposes (which is not to say that he does not make some small factual errors).

There are a few areas where the character of Slade does interact with real life facts relating to the murders (or facts which are close to those as reported at the time).  For example, he takes three brass rings from Annie Chapman to make the police think the motive for the murder was robbery (and then throws them in the Thames).  He is also responsible for the writing on the wall after the double event whereby he writes meaningless nonsense graffiti about Jews to confuse the police. 

There isn't much else of this sort of thing though.  The Carnac book, to take one example, is much more imaginative with it's construction of a fictional plot around the true life murders. In Logan's story the victims are just random prostitutes whom Slade murders to cause terror (particularly terror for his ex-sweetheart) and there is no real effort made to weave a realistic sounding story around the various killings.

Although at the very start of his sequence of killings, Slade writes a private letter signed 'Jack the Ripper' in liquid human blood, this is done to wind up the most famous private detective in the country (a sort of Sherlock Holmes character) and Logan doesn't bother to even mention the 'Dear Boss' correspondence (even though Slade must have written it) nor the 'From Hell' letter.  There is no indication in the story that any organs have been removed from any of the bodies.   Yet, strangely, Hainsworth doesn't argue from this that the Marriott theory about non-organ removal must be correct based on Macnaghten's secret information passed on via Sims.

One additional point I would make relates to the absence in Logan's story of a conversation between a coffee-stall keeper and the killer after the two murders on 30 September.  If Logan believed that the circa 1879 portrait of Sims was the living image of Druitt in 1888, and he wanted his story to be accurate, then surely he would have had Slade tell a coffee-stall keeper in the early hours of 30 September that he would read about two murders in the morning. But he doesn't. If Hainsworth's theory is correct, it's a striking omission which requires explanation but Hainsworth doesn't even mention it.

In this respect, it is very interesting to note two things. Firstly, that a coffee-stall keeper does feature a couple of times in Logan's story and, on one occasion, after the Turner murder, while Slade is at the coffee-stall, another character remarks in Slade's presence: 'Seems strange, when you come to think of it that the murderer is abroad now, and may at any moment rub shoulders with you or me. He might, for anything we know, be standing here now.'  This has echoes of the story of the real coffee-stall keeper who thought he had spoken to the Ripper but, at the same time, is rather different.

Secondly, and perhaps even more to the point, Slade has a conversation with a barman which almost exactly mirrors what the real alleged Ripper was supposed to have said to the coffee stall keeper.  Thus, at 6:30am on the morning of 7 August 1888, only 90 minutes after the discovery of the murder of Martha Turner, Mortemer Slade tells the barman of the Brunswick Arms, who had casually enquired of him whether there were any reports of spicy divorce cases or murders in that morning's paper: 'Perhaps you'll get a murder in tomorrow's issue. I'm not sure about the spicy divorce case but I think I can promise you a fine murder in tomorrow's.  Good morning.'  With those familiar words, Slade then walked out of the pub.


There can be little doubt that this exchange was inspired by the conversation between the supposed Ripper and the coffee-stall keeper told publicly by Sims.  Yet, showing blatant disregard for accuracy, despite his account purportedly being 'absolutely true', Logan has Slade speaking to a barman instead of a coffee-stall keeper shortly after the murder of Martha Turner instead of the double murders of Stride and Eddowes. There was no reason for Logan to disguise the details of this conversation for it had been placed in the public domain by Sims. Should we draw any conclusions from this?  Of course not. It's nothing more than dramatic licence.

Slade should not even have murdered Martha Turner if Logan was following Macnaghten's version of events in which there were only supposed to have been five Ripper murders. Hainsworth doesn't explain this. 

If Logan based the character of Mortemer Slade on Montague Druitt, changing not only his name but the places where Druitt came from and lived, what would have been the point of then including real details or incidents from Druitt's life in the story, as Hainsworth claims he does? 

If Logan is trying to hide Druitt's identity then how does one know which aspects of Slade's life and character are real and which are invented?  It seems to me that, in Hainsworth's theory, we have a situation where any similarities between the two characters are being used to prove they are the same person while any differences are being ignored on the basis that Logan is disguising Druitt's identity! From an evidential perspective, in trying to work out whether Slade really is Druitt, this is not very satisfactory.  

The differences between Druitt and Slade that Hainsworth puts down to an attempt to disguise Druitt's identity are (1) that Slade was an eminent surgeon whereas Druitt was an average barrister and (2) that Slade was a wealthy man from Yorkshire whereas Druitt was a relatively impoverished chap from Bournemouth who needed to work as a school teacher in order to survive.  Hainsworth is so certain that Logan was deliberately describing Slade differently to Druitt that he says, without qualification, that 'Logan has the Dorset clan relocated from the southwest of England to Yorkshire in the far north, and, sure enough, upped to the ranks of the nobility' and that 'Montague Druitt - the murderer (and his "cousins") are relocated to Yorkshire in the North to hide everybody's identity' and again that, 'the middle class Druitts in Logan's book are relocated as far away as possible from the southwest...to Yorkshire in the north.'  But, despite the certainty of these statements, he's just guessing and I think he's wrong.

Hainsworth has not even fully understood the character of Mortemer Slade for, bafflingly, he says of him in his book that he was 'a middle-aged doctor who has never had a patient'  and that he was 'trained as a doctor but yet to practice.'  Neither of these statements are correct.  Before he went mad in the story, Slade was an 'eminent surgeon' (p.43) who was 'one of the coming surgeons of the day' (p.42).  He 'had a profession'  and 'was likely to rise in it' (p.42).  I can only assume that Hainsworth was so certain that Logan was trying to link Slade with the non-doctor Druitt that he wrongly convinced himself that Slade never had any patients and had never practiced as a doctor so that he was never really a proper doctor. 

We should note that Slade was actually quite famous in his time for when one character in the book (Darrell) is asked if he has heard of him, he says, 'Oh yes, who has not? A wealthy eccentric, a doctor I think, who went mad, and is now capering around a private asylum, believing himself to be a bicycle or something'.  Sound like Druitt?  No, it doesn't.

Hainsworth believes that, at a minimum, Logan, whom he refers to for some reason as 'a Sims crony', was briefed by Sims about Druitt - but it could have been by Macnaghten himself - because he supposedly includes details about Druitt's life in Mortemer Slade's story which only Sims or Macnaghten could have told him (which, in turn, assumes that Sims knew Macnaghten's suspect was called Montague Druitt, which is by no means certain considering he appears to have referred to him in a letter to former Chief Inspector Littlechild in 1913 only as 'Dr. D' ).   Thus, he imagines that 'Logan sat down and had quite a long session with Sims – at some restaurant or pub, or his cluttered mansion – and the former took copious notes.'   It must have been Sims, he thinks, because 'there was nobody else, apart from Macnaghten, who knew the nuts and bolts of the Druitt solution'.  

However, there is no evidence of any such meetings between Sims and Logan (or Macnaghten and Logan) and, while Hainsworth relies on Jan Bondeson to tell us that Sims and Logan knew each other, Bondeson also says, 'we do not know if these two were friends or just nodding acquaintances' (p.214).  So, on the available evidence, Sims and Logan might never even have had a conversation with each other.

Nor does Logan, in fact, include any details of Montague Druitt's life in his story.   The idea that he does exists only in Hainsworth's imagination. In reality, there are no 'nuts and bolts' of Druitt's life revealed in The True Story of Jack the Ripper. The real inspiration for Mortemer Slade is not even Montague Druitt.  In an article in Famous Crimes, referred to in Bondeson's introduction but either missed or ignored by Hainsworth, Logan made clear that he was inspired by a surgeon known to him who was locked in an asylum.  Thus he said in his Famous Crimes article (as quoted by Jan Bondeson):

'Among the medical acquaintances of the writer [i.e. Logan himself] was a brilliant young surgeon, who, whilst performing a certain operation upon one of London's many fallen women, became inoculated, through a scratch on his finger, with the loathsome virus.  He had been married only a year at the time of his mishap to a beautiful woman.  Hardly another year had elapsed before he developed into a raving lunatic.  The curses which he heaped upon sex and oaths of revenge which he uttered were terrible to listen to. The closest watch was kept upon him at all times.  Twice or thrice he appeared to have returned to sanity, and was restored to his relatives and friends, only to be taken back to the asylum where he was cared for, until one fateful day, when he leaped from a window incautiously left open, and ended a career which had been blasted so miserably on its very threshold.  It is within the knowledge of the writer that when the earlier 'Ripper' murders were a-doing this brilliant young surgeon's friends were fearful as to the identity of the bloodthirsty culprit.'

So here we have the basics of the Mortemer Slade story.  A truly brilliant young surgeon whose career was cut  short, who is separated from a beautiful woman and who ends up, with thoughts of revenge, in a lunatic asylum.  Moreover, this man was actually suspected by his friends of being Jack the Ripper in real life.

There is no virus in Logan's story and Slade was not married but it is the rejection of a beautiful woman which sends Slade over the edge and turns him quite mad. 'The whole world shall ring with the dread name I shall assume'says Slade, before he goes on his murderous spree, and 'I will strike terror to every heart'.  Such comments are reminiscent of the oaths of revenge referred to by Logan when speaking of the real mad surgeon.

There is no doubt that Logan was also aware of the claims Sims had made about the Ripper's identity.  For in the same article in Famous Crimes he said:

'According to a statement by Mr G. R. Sims, who has made this subject a special study, 'Jack the Ripper' was confined on at least two occasions in an asylum and, upon showing signs of complete recovery from his mental trouble, let loose upon society to gratify his hideous lust for the blood of immoral women. It is more than probable that if this demented demon had not in a moment of suicidal frenzy thrown himself into the Thames and perished in its waters, he might have gone on being detained and liberated in the intervals between his ghastly murders.' 

It will be noted that Logan does not here seem to appreciate that Sims' suspect was a doctor let alone a surgeon.  This is, perhaps, not hugely surprising because Sims did not mention the Ripper being a doctor in his articles on the subject on 22 January 1899, 16 February 1902, 13 July 1902 and 5 April 1903 (although he did in his articles of 29 March 1903 and 31 July 1904).  Logan might well have been aware that Griffiths or Sims had said that the suspect was a mad doctor but, if so, it seems to have set him thinking about his mad surgeon friend who had been incarcerated in an asylum, thus inspiring the story about Mortemer Slade.

There is no reason to believe that Logan even knew that the Sims suspect was called Montague Druitt.  I can't say it's impossible and he might have done. The name Mortemer certainly begins with an 'M' (and 'o') and has three syllables like Montague but then Slade bears no obvious relationship to Druitt so why should we think that Mortemer has any relationship with Montague? It's surely not enough of a similarity to conclude that 'George Sims must have known Montague Druitt's real name and passed it on to Logan', as Hainsworth does.

According to Hainsworth, there are supposed physical similarities between the two men.  Logan tells us that Slade had thin lips, sharp discoloured teeth, a sinister smile, a cadaverous face, penetrating eyes a shade too close together, thin colourless lips, sleek black hair, finely pencilled eyebrows and sallow skin.  According to Hainsworth, who gets rather excited about this description, or parts of it, it resembles photographs of Druitt but there is no evidence that Logan had any idea what Druitt looked like and the description of Slade to my eyes simply seems to be designed to paint someone as sinister.

Here is Hainsworth's own description of the young Druitt: 'broad-shouldered, handsome, aquiline-faced young man, with hooded eyes and a noble forehead framing a prominent Romanesque nose above the smudge of a square-cut, fair moustache....of medium build and height...he parted his straight hair in the dead center' . It's not exactly what I would call identical.   Furthermore, there is no mention in Slade's description of him having a moustache (although he wears a false one, as well as a false beard, when committing the murders) nor of him having his hair parted in the centre which seems to be one of the more obvious similarities between him and the photograph of Sims on the cover of The Social Kaleidoscope.

Sims had already stated publicly that he believed from the information of the coffee-stall keeper that the Ripper resembled his portrait on the cover of The Social Kaleidoscope so that if Logan had a copy of that book, or had seen the cover of it, he might have been inspired by that in creating Slade's physical appearance.  In particular, as mentioned above, Slade wore a false beard and moustache when he committed the Ripper murders.  This might have been prompted by the fact that Sims sports a full, bushy beard and moustache on the cover of The Social Kaleidoscope.  In other words, Logan had no need to see a photograph of Druitt when he could have viewed Sims' portrait if he wanted to know what the Ripper was supposed to look like.

There is, I think, a tension between the idea that Sims and/or Logan did not know that the prime suspect was a barrister (because they were being misled by Macnaghten) yet knew plenty of minor details about Druitt's life and appearance. If, however, Macnaghten had told them the truth that the prime suspect was a barrister yet they still continued to perpetuate the myth that he was a doctor or surgeon who escaped from an asylum, then why bother to include any details about the real Montague Druitt?  The whole thing might as well be fictional.

In his book and online posts in which he wants to convince us that Druitt and Slade are essentially the same person, Hainsworth zooms in on a few small aspects that Druitt and Slade have in common yet ignores all the other differences (in addition to their different occupations and places of origin/residence). Thus he tells us that both men went to Oxford.  Considering that (with apologies to Edinburgh) there is a decent chance that any eminent surgeon from a wealthy upper class family went to either Oxford or Cambridge, this is not terribly surprising.  Had Slade gone to Cambridge I suspect we would have been told by Hainsworth that this was merely another way of disguising Druitt's identity. 

In any case, we are only told that Slade went to Oxford at the very end of the book when Slade has a dream recalling how he was cheered at that university after graduating, in contrast to the way he anticipated he would be booed by everyone if he was arrested having murdered and mutilated six prostitutes. It's not, in other words, an essential part of his character.

Furthermore, Slade is said to have graduated from Oxford with 'high honours' (clearly a first, probably a double first) whereas Druitt scraped through with a third class degree.  Hainsworth knows this but seems to argue that the differences provide the same proof of connection as the similarities!

Another point which is supposed to be of significance is that both Druitt and Slade were athletes.  Well Slade is certainly described by Logan as an 'athlete', by which he means a boxer, something Druitt was not, but the only person who has described Druitt as an athlete as far as I am aware is Hainsworth himself.  In fact, Hainsworth seems to call Druitt an athlete at every opportunity. Thus, he refers to him in his book as 'a schoolboy athlete', 'a diligent student and promising athlete', 'a talented athlete' and 'a teacher of boys, an athlete and an Oxonian'.  Druitt might have played sports, such as football and fives, at school/university (which Slade did not in the story) but, as an adult, he was a cricketer so why is Slade not a cricketer too?  Druitt was not a boxer so why is Slade one?

That last question can be answered within the plot requirements of the book. Slade needs to beat up two ruffians at one point whom he later recruits to assist him to evade the private detective on his tail.  So at that point and at that point only we are told that he was an athlete and a trained boxer in his youth.  He then demonstrates this by giving the two ruffians a good thrashing.  But, like the fact that he went to Oxford, it's not an essential part of his character.  Moreover, Hainsworth ignores the fact that, in 1882, Slade won the Grand Prix de Nice (either a horserace or yachting race) which bears no relation whatsoever to Druitt's life.   Any fair reading of Logan's story will confirm that Slade being a boxer (or athlete) is just a plot device which is unimportant to the character of Slade and is thus unlikely to be related to Druitt or any other real life person in any way.

Another supposed similarity between the two men is that they had 'a family history' of suicide.  We are certainly told by Logan that one of Slade's uncles drowned himself in 1879 - which seems to be what Hainsworth means by a family history of suicide - and this was supposedly based by Logan on Druitt's grandmother committing suicide although not in 1879 and not, apparently, from drowning, although Hainsworth does not provide any details nor reference as to how he knows about the death of Druitt's grandmother.  More importantly, how was Logan supposed to have known it?  It's one of those things that he was supposedly briefed about in private by Sims but how did Sims know it? Surely the fact that Druitt's mother had been committed to a lunatic asylum would have been more relevant and likely to have been known by Sims/Logan, so why could Slade's mother, or uncle if such thing needed to be disguised, have not been similarly committed?

For Hainsworth, the date of 1879 when Slade's uncle drowned is significant because that was supposedly the date that Sims had the photograph, which appeared on the cover of his 1881 book, The Social Kaleidoscope, taken.  A more tenuous connection it is hard to imagine.  Slade's uncle drowned in 1879 and Sims had a photograph taken in that year.  There's a significance to this?  Really?  Even worse is that Sims himself only said that the photograph was taken in 'about 1879'  (according to his LWN article of 22 September 1907) so it might have been another year entirely. 

If Logan was so keen on replicating Druitt's background in the character of Sims why did he not tell us that Slade's father (or some other very close relative) had recently died of a heart attack (or similar if he is trying to disguise it)?  Druitt's father had died from a coronary failure in 1885 but there's no equivalent of this recorded by Logan in Slade's life, so one self-drowned uncle when none of Druitt's relatives are known to have drowned is hardly significant.

Druitt and Slade are both also said to be childless bachelors and, while this is true enough, as many men are, and have been through history, Slade proposed to Lord Caversham's seventeen year old daughter who refused him (thus making it a requirement of the plot that he was single).  This rejection seems to have flipped the balance of Slade’s mind and he ended up in a private lunatic asylum before escaping to murder prostitutes. 

What is so odd is that Hainsworth does not think that this must mean that Druitt had a marriage proposal rejected or was infatuated by a teenage girl.  He ignores rejection and infatuation completely as factors which drove Druitt.  But why?  If Slade was based on Druitt – of whom Logan is supposed to have acquired detailed information about his life – why does Hainsworth not get very excited about this snippet of information and tell us confidently that Druitt’s murder spree must have been caused by rejection in love by a young woman with whom he was infatuated?

When it comes to Slade's death, Hainsworth seems to totally confuse himself.  He says in his book that 'the dramatist [i.e. Logan] gives himself some breathing space by extending the gap between the final murder and the act of self-murder to a couple of days and nights"But there is simply no self-murder in Logan's story!  

In fact, in Logan's story, Slade was attempting to escape from the police, and from the private detective chasing him, but ended up being struck by lightning in a fight with the private detective, killing both of them instantly, with the bodies of the two dead men falling into the Thames. This is described by Hainsworth in his book but he clearly cannot shake off the idea that Slade must have committed suicide because this is what Druitt did. The truth of Slade being killed by a bolt of lightning is too inconvenient and he seems to have erased it from his mind.

Consequently, in a Casebook forum post on 12 November 2016, Hainsworth says that one similarity between Slade and Druitt is that Slade 'does not drown himself instantly after eviscerating Mary Kelly.'  Well actually, Slade did not drown himself at all.  Equally, on JTR Forums on 14 July 2015, he said (underlining added): 'Logan has the Ripper not kill himself immediately but a few days later, struggling with a fictional figure on a Thames bridge who is a composite of Sherlock Holmes and, arguably, Melville Macnaghten.')  But Slade did not kill himself at any time.

In Logan's story, Slade never even seriously considers suicide.  It only enters his mind as an option if he is caught because he never wants to go back to an asylum. His preferred option is escape and even in his last minutes alive he is planning for the future. Thus, considering what to do next while fleeing from his pursuers in Pangbourne, he says (on p.183):

'He would retrace his steps to London.  With the start he had he might reasonably hope to give his pursuers the slip and hide himself again in the labyrinths of the great city.'

Only if he was caught would he 'bare his own breast to the knife and die, cursing them all and laughing at their disappointment'.  So even when he contemplates the possibility of suicide it's not by drowning himself.  

What does it matter if Logan did or did not base the character of Mortemer Slade on Montague Druitt?  Not a great deal I would say but Hainsworth thinks he can take information about Slade which only appears in Logan's story and apply it to Druitt on the basis that Logan must have obtained privileged information about Druitt from Sims and/or Macnaghten.

Thus, says Hainsworth:

'And there is this bit of fiction about Mortemer Slade that is arguably pertinent regarding why the real Montague Druitt was fired from the school (as he was from his sporting club): "Later in the morning, having snatched a hasty meal at a cheap eating house he went to his lodging and removed a few belongings in a carpet bag, informing his landlady that business called him abroad."'

He takes the use of the word 'abroad' which also appears in minutes of the Blackheath Cricket, Football and Lawn Tennis club dated 21 December 1888 and concludes that here we have an explanation as to what Druitt told people before his disappearance. Indeed, he thinks that Druitt wanted everyone to believe he had gone abroad rather than committed suicide. Thus, he refers to 'Montie's plan to appear to have vanished' which 'came undone with the rocks fell out of his pockets, and his corpse floated into view?''

On the Casebook forum, in a post on 10 November 2016, he developed the point, saying:

'I think the Logan source confirms this from 1905, seventeen years later. It is a glimpse into what really happened: Druitt left [false] word with the school and probably his legal chambers, that he was headed overseas. The brother was not searching for him until the day before the body turned up in the Thames. Something or somebody changed William Druitt's mind that his brother had hightailed it to, say, Paris.' 

So from a work of fiction about a mad doctor written by Guy Logan we supposedly have a 'glimpse into what really happened' with Montague Druitt.

The problem here is that when Mortemer Slade told his landlady that he was going abroad, it was in September 1888, before the double event.  It was certainly not part of any kind of plan to make anyone else think he was abroad because he continued to murder prostitutes, thus ensuring that those who knew his - i.e. the Ripper's - true identity (as a number of people in the story did) also knew he was still in London.  The stupid police thought he had already died after he had escaped from the lunatic asylum in October 1887 and his landlady only knew him by his false name of 'John Maidment'.  So Slade wasn't really trying to fool anyone with a false story, merely hoping to make a quick escape from his lodgings. There doesn't seem to be any connection here with Druitt's actions at all.

Slade tells his landlady that he is going abroad simply so that he can get away quickly without her asking him any awkward questions.  The reason for his leaving his lodgings at this time, having just returned from Rome, is explained briefly: (underlining added)

'...I have not run my course.  The hour of doom is not yet. My freedom is not seriously endangered. I must find a fresh disguise - if need be a fresh lodging.  If Stephen Darrell  [whom he has just stabbed in Rome] recovers, as I think he will, he will move heaven and earth to encompass my death and capture.  But the play is not yet over. There are other acts to come.'

Hainsworth describes this moment as the start of Slade's 'final odyssey'.  Thus, he says:

'Druitt was recorded to have "gone abroad" by his cricket club, and Slade uses the same cover with his landlady when he begins his final odyssey'.  

The concept of 'final odyssey' is, I think, deliberately used by Hainsworth to try and link Slade's action after the Chapman murder with Druitt's action after the Kelly murder, thus obscuring the fact that that these two actions occurred at totally different times in the respective chronologies of the two individuals. He uses exactly the same expression in his online postings.  Thus, on the Casebook Forum on 15 February 2015 he said:

'Logan's Druitt figure, named Mortemer Slade, tells his East End landlady that he has 'business abroad', as he actually begins his final odyssey to the Thames.' 

On JTR Forums on 2 April 2015 he said:

'Guy Logan writes in 1905 about Druitt (called Mortemer Slade) leaving word with his landlady that he is going abroad (actually he was beginning his final odyssey that would end in the Thames) and thinking to himself that he would rather die than live the rest of his years in a madhouse (e.g. in real life to go like his mother).' 

But the two mentions of 'abroad', one apparently by Druitt and one by Slade, were totally separate, spoken at two different times for totally different purposes. Hainsworth makes makes it sound like Slade (who he here presumptuously calls 'Druitt') was preparing to commit suicide and, as the first step of this journey, came up with a cover story that he was going abroad. He gives the impression that Slade was about to be arrested and on the verge of suicide at the time and quotes Slade saying 'I’ll kill myself first' rather than go back to a madhouse.  He says that this all occurs, 'Towards the end of the tale, as the net closes round the fiend.'  But this is not what happened at all. These words of Slade quoted by Hainsworth were actually said in September 1888, before the murders of Stride and Eddowes, at the same time as he told his landlady he was going abroad, as mentioned above.  In fact, to the very end, Slade hopes to escape from his pursuers.  If he is caught he will kill himself but not otherwise.   There was no 'final odyssey' for Slade at this time.

Having stabbed Darrell, Slade knew there would be increased efforts made to trace him so he left his lodgings (a wise decision as it transpired because those lodgings were under observation) but he still had three murders in him and was thus only halfway through his murderous mission (although there could potentially have been more than three murders to go because he had set no limit).

It seems from his Casebook post cited above that, on the basis of the cricket club minutes, Hainsworth had, prior to reading Logan's story, already formulated the theory that Druitt had told people that he had gone aboard before committing suicide.  When he read The True History of Jack the Ripper in which Slade told his landlady that he was going abroad, he latched onto that single unremarkable part of the story as confirmation of his theory. I don't see it I'm afraid.  I think he has misled himself into seeing something that isn't really there.

The Real Mortemer Slade 

When you start cherry picking pieces of information from a fictional story and applying them to Druitt how can you possibly know which bits are based on Druitt and which bits are purely fiction?  Here are some 'facts' about the fictional Mortemer Slade:

1. He was, until the mid-to-late 1880s, an eminent and wealthy surgeon with an income of £7,000 per annum, a handsome town house and a 'fine place' in Yorkshire.

2. He was a former boxer with muscles of steel and winner of the Grand Prix de Nice in 1882.

3. He smoked cigarettes, drunk neat brandy, spoke French, had brilliant conversational powers and always dressed in black. 

4. He was in love with a beautiful young lady who rejected his proposal of marriage.

5. He was incarcerated in a lunatic asylum in Broxbourne from whence he escaped in October 1887, murdering a young male doctor in the process.

6. From July 1888, he lodged in Stamford Street, Blackfriars, in the borough of Lambeth.

7. He used the fake name of 'John Maidment' and wore a disguise involving a false beard and moustache, a black inverness cape, a dark slouch hat and shabby boots.

8. He wrote to his former sweetheart on 6 August 1888 to let her know he was going to do something dreadful and, six days later, to a private detective, signing himself as 'Jack the Ripper' in liquid human blood.

9. During the period of the murders he had a hideaway house in Chislehurst for use if he needed it.

10. Before each murder he appeared briefly before his ex-sweetheart, or visited her, so that she would know a murder was about to take place.

11. He went to Rome after murdering Annie Chapman.

12. In Rome he stabbed his ex-sweetheart's fiancée.

13. On returning from Rome he left his lodgings prior to murdering Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes.

14. At some point after the double event he was given shelter by Mary Jane Kelly.

15. He left a case at 13 Miller's Court with a change of clothing which Kelly looked after.

16. On the eve of the Kelly murder he was engaged in a fight on a train from Dover to London with a private detective.

17. He threw the case containing the bloodstained clothing he wore when he killed Kelly into the River Thames at London Bridge.

18. After the murder of Kelly he fled to Weybridge and from thence to Pangbourne.

19. In the process he was spotted by a passing tramp who had earlier seen him kidnapping one of the private detective's female agents and who tipped off the private detective chasing him.

20. He was killed when engaged in a fight to the death with a private detective and buried in a pauper's grave.

Good luck in picking out which, if any, of these facts could be said to relate to Montague Druitt.  It is, of course, impossible to do it and the assumption is that they are all fictional bits of information, just like the bit of the story when Slade tells his landlady that he is going abroad in order to assist the plot to move forward.

If you already had a theory that the killer went to Italy between the Chapman murder and the double event, you would no doubt be very excited and regard Logan's story that Slade went to Rome at this time as confirmation of this belief.  If you had a theory that the killer was in Pangbourne in November 1888 you would be equally excited that some inside information had been imparted to Logan which he included in his story.  If you believed that Druitt was locked in a lunatic asylum from which he escaped in 1887 you would surely be ecstatic that you now have confirmation of this fact. But you would, of course, be deceived by ideas that Logan has undoubtedly drawn from his imagination.  He was not, I am sure, sending out coded messages at certain points in his little story to be interpreted as the literal truth.

A point to note from the above list of Slade facts is that Stamford Street, Blackfriars, just happened to be where Dr Neil Cream resided in 1891, at number 118, and it is quite likely - given that Logan actually mentions in the story that Cream later lived there - that this was the inspiration for Logan selecting that particular address for his Dr Slade.  

There are plenty of other differences between Slade and Druitt in the story and it is ironic that Hainsworth uses some of those differences to somehow support his theory.  We have already seen that Hainsworth does not bat an eyelid at the fact that Slade and his family come from Yorkshire whereas Druitt and his family came from Dorset, saying that this is nothing more than Logan disguising Druitt's identity.  He also notes that Slade has no brothers or sisters only (he says) cousins and, although Druitt did have brothers and sisters, the fact that Slade had none is supposed to be significant in some way, but, again, only in that it's meant to be another attempt at disguise. 

As it happens, it's not quite true to say that Slade's relatives were only cousins. What Logan says (underlining added) is that 'Dr Kent had of course communicated with his [Slade’s] relatives, cousins for the most part, who coveted his worldly goods'.  So Slade did have some other unspecified relatives, possibly even brothers and sisters, some of whom were perhaps not in communication with Dr Kent, but we just don't know.

When Slade is said to come from an ancient Yorkshire family 'whose ancestors had served the kings as soldiers or Ministers of State', something which Druitt's ancestors had not, Hainsworth finds the explanation in a (much later) reported comment by Macnaghten that the Ripper was the 'scion of a noble family' or, perhaps, that Logan was referring to the family of someone else (Majendie) distantly related to Druitt's family by marriage but it's all very thin and unconvincing.

There are a variety of miscellaneous other supposed connections between Logan's story and real events or people.   According to Hainsworth, Logan suggests, in similar terms to Macnaghten in the Aberconway version of his note, that at one time the truth lay at the bottom of the Thames although Logan doesn't use those words.  What he said was that, 'Only the great detective, now lying in a watery grave - for his body was never discovered - could have established the exact truth.'  This is rather different to what Macnaghten said which, on my interpretation, meant that only Druitt, who once lay at the bottom of the Thames, knew the truth. about the Ripper murders. 

Macnaghten couldn't, incidentally, have meant Druitt's knife, as Hainsworth seems to suggest when he says, 'perhaps Macnaghten's meaning about something vital being left behind in the Thames becomes clear as Slade throws his knife into the river before confronting Blake [the private detective]', because that would still have been lying at the bottom of the Thames when Macnaghten was writing. It will be recalled that he used the words 'the truth, however, will never be known, and did indeed, at one time lie at the bottom of the Thames...' (underlining added). This must mean that it no longer lay at the bottom of the Thames and, unless any such knife has been recovered by a frogman, it must still be there today. 

Logan was evidently referring to the fact that only the private detective who had been killed would have been able to prove that Slade was Jack the Ripper. It's rather different from what Macnaghten wrote so there's no reason to make a connection between the two.

The knife incidentally was only thrown into the river by Slade so that he could fight the private detective naturally, without any weapons.  It wasn't to destroy the evidence.

Another attempted comparison by Hainsworth is in respect of Druitt fearing he was going to be like his mother (as he wrote in his suicide note) with Slade deploring the possibility of ending up in a madhouse. Hainsworth makes the point that Slade said that the worst thing that could happen to him would be incarceration in Broadmoor as a dangerous lunatic.  The difference, however, is that Slade had already been certified insane and had escaped from an asylum.  So the state of mind of Druitt and Slade in these examples is rather different.  Druitt feared he was going mad while Slade was afraid of going back to an asylum.  It's not the same thing.

I don't want to spend too much time on it but we may note that Hainsworth also claims that the character of Edmund Blake - the brilliant and famous private detective who pursues Slade - is somehow based on Melville Macnaghten.  He doesn't make out any kind of case with supporting evidence and we only need to note that Logan has Blake say: 'I'm afraid the CID authorities regard me as a bit of a charlatan'.  If the character of Blake was based on Macnaghten would Logan really have had him say this? 

Another supposed Macnaghten connection is when Slade declares: 'Let us take Alexander the Great, St John the Divine of the very Good, and Nero of the very Bad.  I could not hope to eclipse the first two.  But I, even I, might surpass the deeds of the Roman Emperor whose name posterity abhors'.  What in this could possibly link to Macnaghten?  Well, nine years after Slade's story was published, Macnaghten wrote in his memoirs that 'Nero was probably a sexual maniac'.  Yet Slade/Logan didn't call Nero a sexual maniac at all, just a 'very bad' person. So there is absolutely no reason to think that the Logan/Slade mention of Nero, who let's face it is hardly an obscure historical symbol of evil, has anything to do with Macnaghten at all.

Conclusion Part 1

The reason I have had to approach this subject at some length is because for me to have said simply that Mortemer Slade was not Montague Druitt, while correct,  would have ignored the fact that Slade clearly bore some relation to the Sims/Griffiths suspect, the mad doctor, who was, of course, the same suspect as the Macnaghten suspect who was Druitt, despite the fact that Druitt was not a doctor. I know, it's complicated. 

So in some respects one could say that Slade was Druitt but the truth is far more nuanced than this, not only because Logan appears to have been acquainted with another mad doctor (surgeon) who was suspected of being the Ripper and not only because Druitt was not a doctor and not only because the Sims suspect was said to have escaped from an asylum, which the Griffiths/Macnaghten suspect (Druitt) did not do, but also because Logan may not even have been aware that Druitt was the Sims/Griffiths suspect or, even if he was, it is quite possible that he only knew his name and nothing else about him other than that he was supposed to have been a mad doctor who escaped from an asylum. 

My central point is that there is absolutely nothing else in Logan's story over and above that the Ripper was a mad doctor who escaped from an asylum which links him to the Sims suspect and thus to the historical Montague Druitt who was, of course, not a mad doctor and did not escape from an asylum.  There is no reason to think Logan was fed inside information by either Sims or Macnaghten and, if one reads Logan's story in its entirety, the idea is absurd.  Being accurate in some relatively minor details, such as which university he went to or what he said to his landlady (or whoever) when leaving his place of residence, would have been completely pointless given the fantastical and melodramatic nature of the plot and the involvement of a cat and mouse game between Slade and the private detective and the various additional fictional killings (including the killing of a dog) and actions, such as Slade stabbing his ex-sweetheart's fiancé, which pepper the pages of the tale. 

There isn't even a suicide which one would have thought would have been an essential part of the story. Yes, Slade's body was fished out of the Thames but he didn't drown nor did he jump in deliberately and police officers saw his body go in, so the circumstances were entirely different.  There was, in other words, no intention on the part of Logan to write an account of the Ripper story which matched the known facts according to the Mac/Griffiths/Sims account and, consequently, he didn't need to obtain details about Druitt's life.  That wasn't the type of story he was telling.

It would be just bizarre if Logan had bothered to acquire information about Druitt for his story and then changed virtually all that information to disguise Druitt's identity but then left in one or two real items of information.  There wouldn't be any point.  It just wouldn't make sense.

In short, Logan's story is most certainly not a 'smoking gun' in favour of 'the Dorset solution' as Hainsworth claims in his book. It's also not 'one of the most important finds about the Ripper case'  containing an 'embarrassment of riches' as he has also asserted.

 Conclusion Part 2

Does it actually matter whether Logan's story is based on Druitt or not?

The only 'smoking gun' piece of 'important' information that Hainsworth tells us that he has extracted from the book is that Druitt told people he was going abroad before he committed suicide.  If it were true - and the argument can be made on the basis of the cricket club minutes without any need to rely on a work of fiction - it's hardly the most earth shattering fact connected with the case and hardly a smoking gun.

If, by some miracle, however, Hainsworth has identified one of the only things in Logan's work of fiction that is supposed to relate to the real life Montague Druitt, how can he be sure that the information came from Sims or Macnaghten and was reliable?  Might Logan, assuming he knew that Sims' suspect was Druitt, not have known one of Druitt's fellow cricketers, for example, who told him that Druitt was believed to have gone abroad in December 1888 - which is why Logan had Slade telling someone he was going abroad in September 1888 - so that Logan was simply repeating what is already known to us from the cricket club minutes rather than corroborating that information?  If that is the case, and I can't see how we can possibly know whether it is or is not, it gets us absolutely nowhere.

So, if all we can take from The True History of Jack the Ripper, is that Logan believed that Druitt went abroad it's not very much.

But hold on, in a online post post on JTR Forums, Hainsworth has said, 'It is not just that Guy Logan's 1905 melodrama confirmed the interpretation that Druitt was sacked for being abroad.  It's that the source confirmed the theory that Druitt killed himself to avoid 'going to be like mother', e.g. ending up in a madhouse.'  Considering that Logan's central character did not kill himself, it is impossible to work out how Hainsworth has reached this particular conclusion, although if Druitt's suicide note is genuine (which Hainsworth seems to challenge) then one would have thought that we already knew that Druitt killed himself because he feared his was going mad like his mother.  It doesn't get us any closer to knowing whether Druitt was also the Ripper. 

Hainsworth also thinks that the Logan story shows that Macnaghten and Sims knew lots of minor details about Druitt's life.  Thus, he has said in a JTR Forums post, 'we now have the Guy Logan source which is an embarrassment of riches re: the Druitt solution as a mixture of fact and fiction with details that again show that Macnaghten knew the smallest details about his chief suspect, and so did Sims.'  Unfortunately, as I think has been demonstrated, that is really all in his imagination.  There is no embarrassment of riches. Only a fictional story.

Ultimately, we can say with a high degree of confidence that it is quite wrong to put forward the fictional story devised by Guy Logan as offering any support whatsoever to any claimed knowledge of the facts surrounding the life of Montague Druitt.


David Barrat
29 November 2016 

"The first instalment in the 1905 Illustrated Police News of Logan's novella, titled "The Escape"…begins by pointing out that the names of people and places have been altered to protect the innocent (and the guilty")
"The first instalment in the 1905 Illustrated Police News of Logan's novella, titled "The Escape"…begins by pointing out that the names of people and places have been altered to protect the innocent (and the guilty")