KEY QUESTION FROM SIMON WOOD
In his thread of 16 April 2020, entitled 'Who Died in Dutfield's Yard?', Simon Wood posted some biographical information relating to the victim murdered there and then posed the crucial, important and never-asked-before question:
'So who was it who died in Dutfield's Yard?'
Oooh, me sir, please sir, me sir, me sir!
Yes, go ahead Orsam.
Was it Elizabeth Stride, sir?
Don't be blithering idiot, boy.
Well, hold on a cotton picking minute, might it not have been the Swedish woman, Elizabeth Stride? Well let's see.
At the inquest on 3 October 1888, we had this evidence:
1. Elizabeth Tanner (deputy of lodging house at 32 Flower and Dean Street) - 'I have seen the body in the mortuary and recognized the features of the deceased as the woman who had lodged off and on at the lodging house for six years. I knew her by the name of "Long Liz".... She told me she was a Swedish woman...The CORONER: 'Are you sure it is her?' Tanner:'I am quite sure'.
2. Catherine Lane (resident of lodging house at 32 Flower and Dean Street): 'I have seen the body of deceased in the mortuary and recognize it as "Long Liz," who lived in the same lodging house...I have known her for six or seven years....she was a foreign woman...'
3. Charles Preston (resident of lodging house at 32 Flower and Dean Street): 'I have seen the deceased there and identified her body on Sunday afternoon at the mortuary. I am quite sure the body is that of "Long Liz"...she was a Swede by birth.'
4. Michael Kidney: 'I have seen the body in the mortuary and it is that of a woman whom I have lived with. I have no doubt whatever about it...Elizabeth Stride. I have known her about three years, and she has been living with me nearly all that time...She told me she was a Swede, and that she was born at Stockholm'.
Four witnesses, three of whom had known her for years identified the body as being that of Elizabeth Stride (from Sweden) also known as 'Long Liz'. As the coroner stated in his summing up to the jury, 'it appeared to be satisfactorily proved that the deceased was Elizabeth Stride'.
We know, of course, that a woman called Mary Malcolm (who had testified at the inquest on 2 October) mistakenly thought that the victim was her British sister, Elizabeth Watts, but this was resolved - Elizabeth Watts presented herself alive and well at the inquest - and the death certificate was made out in the name of Elizabeth Stride. So why does Simon Wood think there is an issue with identification? Why does he ask the question 'Who was it who died in Dutfield's Yard?'
Well, the first issue he raises is that, 'Sven Olssen, clerk at the Swedish Church, London, said Stride was 45 years of age' whereas Charles Preston thought she was 35 and Kidney said she was 'between 36 and 38'. For some reason, he also includes Mary Malcolm's evidence that Elizabeth Watts was aged 37, which is irrelevant.
In actual fact, Olssen said no such thing as attributed to him by Wood. The evidence he gave at the inquest was no more than that Stride was born Elizabeth Gutasfdotter on 27 November 1843. This would have made her 44 years old at the time of her death on 30 September 1888, not 45. Amazing how Wood can't even perform a simple arithmetic calculation. Needless to say, Olssen himself did not make such a basic error.
Okay, so Stride, a woman of 44, could pass for a woman in her mid to late 30s. Is there anything unprecedented or even unusual in this? Clearly not.
So what else is there?
Well Olssen also told us that Stride was born in Gothenburg, Sweden, whereas Stride told people she was born in Stockholm, Sweden.
Is there anything so unusual about this? Clearly not. As Hallie Rubenhold has discovered, she was placed on a police register in Gothenburg as a prostitute so perhaps she didn't want to mention her history in Gothenburg to anyone.
Then we have the fact that Stride's age was entered incorrectly as 48 in the register of the Whitechapel Infirmary in December 1881, a clear clerical error. She was actually 38 at this time (although the 1881 census gives her age, wrongly, as 34). Anyone familiar with registers and censuses will know that it is extremely common for ages to be entered incorrectly.
Similarly, there doesn't seem to be anything in the point that her father's name appears to have been entered incorrectly on her marriage certificate as 'Augustus' (the middle name of her husband's brother) rather than 'Gustaf', although both names are quite similar. According to Wood, her father's name was entered as'Frederick Augustus' but when asked (by the Clanger) where the name 'Frederick' is to be found on Stride's marriage certificate, Wood went completely silent.
Having disposed of those four points, and ignoring Wood's odd mention of the seemingly irrelevant fact that Elizabeth's husband, John, had a cousin who would have been 55 or 56 at the time of Stride's murder, is there anything else?
Well, as usual with Wood, during the progress of the thread, he seems to have abandoned all these points and then focussed on something he didn't even mention in the OP. This is the issue of Stride's mouth.
At the inquest, Elizabeth Tanner said of her identification of Stride that,
'I recognize the features, and by the fact that she has lost the roof of her mouth. She told me that happened when the Princess Alice went down...it was during that time her mouth was injured.'
Dr Phillips went back and checked the roof of the deceased's mouth but said, 'I could not find any injury or absence of anything from the mouth'.
At the same time, we know that Stride had lost some of her teeth (her front teeth according to both the coroner and Inspector Reid). It would have been this loss of teeth that Tanner was referring to in her evidence. For there is really no chance that Tanner had actually inspected the roof of Stride's mouth in the years that she knew her and there is equally little chance that Tanner looked inside the mouth of the corpse in the mortuary. She must have seen the teeth missing and this was what she meant by the injury to her mouth.
As for why Tanner believed the roof of Stride's mouth to have been lost, she had obviously been told by Stride that this happened during the sinking of the Princess Alice but it is generally agreed that Stride lied about having been involved in this. That being so, it's not terribly surprising that she also lied about having lost the roof of her mouth, something that she would have known it would have been impossible for anyone other than a dentist to check.
In his own evidence at the inquest, Michael Kidney agreed that the roof of Stride's mouth was 'defective'. However, when recalled to give further evidence, he said that this was what Stride had told him but he had never personally examined it. 'Well I only know what she told me', he said.
At the end of all this we are back to where we started. The body found in Dutfield's Yard was that of Elizabeth Stride. Another Simon Wood waste of time.
YET ANOTHER SIMON WOOD WASTE OF TIME
While we are talking about Simon Wood and his time wasting, do you think someone ought to tell him that the Whitechapel murders were UNSOLVED? Coz, you know, and stop me if this is too complicated, perhaps this UNSOLVED element to the investigation explains why different police officers later put forward different candidates as prime suspect for the murders. Like, I mean, golly, they didn't solve the crimes so they didn't actually know who committed them. Is that, do you think, a plausible explanation?
AND ANOTHER WASTE OF TIME
This is from #346 of the Censorship Forum post in 'The Special Branch Secret Ledgers'
Stewart Evans is not a man given to talking bollocks.
He wrote in 2011—
"Whilst making tentative enquiries about the ledgers a few years ago we were warned that it was a sensitive subject and was best steered clear of. I took part in a public debate about the Whitechapel murders and I mentioned the Special Branch material. After the talk I was approached by someone who informed me that the material would never be released and if it appeared that it was going to be accessed it would be destroyed."
Interesting that someone so apparently well informed about the subject should have attended Stewart's talk.
If this doesn't tell you all you need to know about the WM, I don't know what will.'
While I appreciate that no-one of sound mind is going to be fooled by that painful non sequitur, it still needs to be said that the Special Branch material is almost entirely unconnected with the Whitechapel Murders. As was made clear at the Marriott instigated hearings on the matter, about which I've already written, the sensitive issue with the Special Branch material was that it contained names of informants.
That's the reason why the material wasn't released to the public and, as a consequence, was the reason why it was destroyed.
It follows, therefore, that the fact that an individual who attended one of Stewart Evans' talks believed that the Special Branch material would never be released to the public tell us precisely nothing that we need to know about the Whitechapel Murders.
Simon Wood does need to calm down.
For the record, his post continued
'And yet collectively we playfully cling to the belief that a man known initially as Leather Apron and subsequently as Jack the Ripper stalked the East End bumping off unfortunates, and, further, based on the desultory evidence bequeathed to us by policemen who obviously knew better, that it's possible to put a name to him.'
What I think sensible people 'cling to', should sensible people need to cling to anything, is that the evidence suggests that there was an individual in 1888 who brutally murdered a number of women in the East End of London. It could, of course, have been two individuals or gang but the overwhelming likelihood is that it was one person. The nickname attached to that individual, be it the Whitechapel Murderer, Jack the Ripper or Leather Apron (mainly by the press), is totally irrelevant.
One thing is for certain. The person who committed the murders had an actual name. If it was a gang they all had names. If (as Simon seems to believe) there were many different murderers of the different women, they still all had names.
HOW RIPPEROLOGY WORKS: HALLUCINATE, RINSE, REPEAT
'Hot Potato' thread
Michael W. Richards, 11 September 2012 (#38):
'It is worth noting that Warren in a memo written in mid-October suggested that General Millen was this fellow known as Jack the Ripper.'
Michael W. Richards, 15 September 2012 (#41, having been asked for the source of the above statement)
'If I am recalling correctly the internal memo was dated around mid month in October and it was a summary of Warrens thoughts on the most recent murders. I've tried a few searches for it without luck but Ill try to find a source for the comments again tomorrow.'
Michael W. Richards, 15 September 2012 (#43, having been asked if he had got confused with a memo in which Warren was thinking about Socialists):
'I dont believe Ive confused the memo I do recall with the above, but Ive yet to find a source for my statement. Again, if memory serves me, the memo was issued by Warren and it was in mid-late Oct, maybe the 18th?, and it contained an opinion that Millen was behind the murders. Ill keep looking...I do feel like this is a valid recollection.'
Michael W. Richards, 16 September 2012 (#45):
'Ive been searching through my books, notes and captures and I cant find a reference to the memo Ive stated Warren wrote mentioning Millen. Ive either made an error, or its an obscure reference that my lack of proper cataloging is making very difficult to find.
Before my eyes go blurry Ill keep looking for a while...I do feel I saw such a reference and although my memory is fallible, its also served me pretty well.'
Michael W. Richards, 16 September 2012 (#49)
'I have trod through all I have the patience for and cannot find a reference for the comment I made about Warren, so Ill retract it.
Perhaps Ive confused the individual in question.
Sorry for the sidetrack.'
AND NOW HERE'S THE PUNCHLINE....
Nearly eight years later, on 14 March 2020, when listing the various different Ripper suspects of the various different police officers (in thread 'Senior Investigators - Inside Knowledge', #15, the same Michael W. Richards posted: '
'Warren I believe thought that the man involved in organizing the Balfour Assassination Plot was responsible, and I believe he mentions Millen.'
It's just like they say: 'Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.'
6 June 2020