Every so often, Caroline Morris produces one of her "specials". A post which is so utterly full of crazy befuddling misinformation and that it needs an entire article devoted to unpicking it.
PART 1 - THE ELEVEN DAYS
Her #6301 on the 'Incontrovertible' thread is ostensibly a response to RJ Palmer's queries relating to the source of the Barretts' transcript of the diary (which I will deal with later in this article) but is really a device for her to sneak in an attempted explanation for Mike saying in his January 1995 affidavit that it took him and Anne eleven days to write the diary.
This is a really dangerous problem for the Diary Defenders because Mike could have selected any period of time for that writing of the diary to have occurred: from weeks, months or even years but he chose a mere eleven days.
Initially, he was mocked for this, with those clever Diary Defenders telling us that the diary couldn't possibly have been written in eleven days.
It was really only when I started investigating the diary that I noticed that eleven days fitted PERFECTLY with the story (told in Mike's affidavit) that he only obtained the scrapbook after the red 1891 diary proved to be a disappointment.
We know that this means he couldn't have obtained the scrapbook earlier than 28 March 1992.
I subsequently established that Outhwaite and Litherland held an auction every Tuesday in 1992 meaning that there would have been an auction on 31 March 1992.
If he and Anne started work on the diary immediately, and it took eleven days, they would have finished on Friday 10 April 1992 (or on Saturday 11 April if they didn't start until the Wednesday), allowing the ink to dry over the weekend before bringing the diary to London on Monday.
It rather looks like an excited Mike set up the London meeting with Doreen on Wednesday 8 April, having presumably spent a full week engaged on the exercise of transcribing the diary, confident that the work would be completed in a couple of days. I say that the meeting was probably set up on 8 April because that was the day on which Doreen sent a letter confirming the meeting and giving directions (which I assume she did immediately after the telephone call arranging it).
So that's the problem for the Chief Diary Defender. How does she deal with it in #6301? Well, she says that the transcript was:
'done fast - I suggest between 13th and 22nd April, while Caroline was off school for the Easter holidays - and Mike evidently saw it as a considerable achievement on his part, despite Anne doing the typing because he was '"hopeless" at it - as every example I have seen from after Anne left him clearly demonstrates. They had created a transcript between them, but Mike liked to take the credit for what he saw as his creation. This was surely what he was recalling when he claimed the diary was written over 11 days.'
The reason for the end date of 22 April is because on this date Doreen Montgomery wrote to Sally Evemy saying:
'Shirley and I agreed, that to save time, I would send you a copy of the typed script of the Diary. Shirley has one too.'
If this typed script had come from the Barretts it had to have been sent by post which means that it must have been completed by 21 April at the very latest (which assumes that Doreen wrote to Sally the very day after its receipt and circulation to Shirley). There is no actual evidence that it WAS received on 22 April although Caroline Morris speculates furiously that the reason for Doreen's call to Anne in the evening of 21 April was to acknowledge receipt of the transcript, although there is not a hint of that in her summary of the call.
So Caroline Morris wants to argue that, when claiming that it only took 11 days for Anne to write the diary in his affidavit (at his dictation), this is really what Mike had in mind, i.e. the 11 days it took him and Anne to have the transcript of the diary typed up.
But, dear reader, you may have spotted one littttttle problem with the theory.
If we assume that the Barretts started work on the transcript on 13th April, immediately after they arrived back home from London, then posted it off to Doreen on 21 April, which is literally the maximum amount of time available, well that is, er, *counts fingers, scratches head, double checks, looks at 1992 calendar, takes out pencil and writes down days, recounts fingers, searches for online calculator, adds up days, checks calculation, falls off chair*......er....er....all of NINE days.
Mad as Caroline Morris is, I think she is able to do simple arithmetic. She knows full well that it couldn't possibly have taken more than 9 days for the Barretts to produce a transcript in that period. But she never explains to her reader that this is a problem with her theory. She never says that the eleven days comes from nine days and must have got muddled in Mike's memory. Why not? I don't know. Perhaps she hoped that no-one would notice.
But we caught her didn't we boys and girls? Bang to bloody rights.
Even if there HAD been eleven days between the London meeting and the transcript being produced it still would mean that somehow, miraculously, Mike chose in his affidavit a period of time to have created the diary which fitted perfectly with the period between the earliest he could have bought the scrapbook from Outhwaite and Litherland within his timeline and the London meeting on the 13th April. I mean it really did fit perfectly, even though Mike clearly wasn't doing this deliberately because the affidavit places the writing of the diary in the wrong year.
And then, when Mike came to London in April 1999, he told a story that was 100% consistent with the story in his affidavit in respect of only creating the diary after he had spoken to Doreen on the telephone on 9 March 1992.
This infuriates Diary Defenders so they do everything they can to undermine this extraordinary fact but they fail every time.
To read Caroline Morris, you'd think that Mike actually described a process of transcribing the diary on a word processor in his affidavit. But the words in the affidavit are very clear (underlining added):
'Anne and I started to write the Diary in all it took us 11 days. I worked on the story then I dictated it to Anne who wrote in down in the Photograph Album and thus we produced the Diary of Jack the Ripper'
Furthermore he also wrote:
'I sat in the living room by the rear lounge with my word processor. Anne Barrett sat with her back to me as she wrote the manuscript'.
So it was being made clear that HE was sat with the word processor, not Anne, and that Anne wrote it down.
Caroline Morris also wants to make an issue of the fact that Mike said that their daughter was a witness to the forgery as if this means it could only have occurred during the school holidays. But, if the writing was done in the evenings, after Anne returned from work, and at weekends, it's inevitable that young Caroline would have been a witness to it.
PART 2 - THE BANK
That nine/eleven days switcheroo is a beauty but there is an even more beautiful beauty in #6301. For we are told the following about Doreen's letter of 22 April 1992:
'In the same letter, Doreen mentions her first conversation with Anne the previous evening, in which Anne said that she asked Mike to place the physical diary with the bank because of the risk of fire'.
So there we have a hard fact, one that is unsettling for the Chief Diary Defender due to the clear contemporary evidence that Anne was being oddly protective of the diary, almost like it was her baby or something.
So naturally that factual statement was immediately followed up by some classic Caroline Morris speculation:
'My hunch is that Anne was far more concerned about a knock on the door from the diary's rightful owner. Why the need to place it with the bank at all if it was their own creation?'
Anyone who thinks I'm being unfair when I keep saying that Caroline Morris' brain is broken really does need to consider the above very carefully.
Why the need to place it with a bank at all if it was their own creation?' asks Caroline "Sherlock Holmes" Morris.
Er.......er.....*reads text of Doreen's letter of 22 April 1992.....blinks....double checks...puts on glasses.....looks again.....scratches head......reads words in letter very slowly.....thinks....falls off chair*.....er.....the answer is in the FUCKING LETTER!!
Excuse my language chaps, it's unforgivable. But yet, I'm not going back to edit it.
Because the answer really is in the letter. Anne told Doreen EXACTLY why she wanted to place the letter in bank. It was because she was worried that it would be lost in a burglary or a fire so she wanted to put it in a safe place.
Does that make perfect sense? CHECK
Does that mean it's likely to be why she did it? CHECK
Is the placing of the diary in the bank inconsistent with it being her own creation? NO IT IS FUCKING NOT!
I'm so sorry again. But no I'm not deleting it!
I mean, we really are dealing with someone who's brain is absolutely and utterly broken.
I think we can all agree that, if the diary was the Barretts' own creation, it does not in any way undermine the notion that Anne wanted it in the bank to keep it safe from theft or fire. That would be true of ANY potentially valuable item whether Anne had created it or not.
I mean, we know exactly what has happened. Anne has discovered that Doreen is very interested in publishing the diary so that she is now aware that she and her husband have a potentially very valuable item on their hands and she is not only totally engaged in protecting that diary but must have been fully supporting and corroborating Mike's story that he received it some months earlier from Tony Devereux (with Doreen noting that she 'sounded a very chirpy, friendly woman' who was 'genuine'). Her 'only anxiety' said Doreen was ensuring that the diary would be placed in a bank. We might also note at this point that Doreen records that Anne was 'asking her husband to place the Diary with the bank', thus demonstrating that she trusted Mike with important tasks of this nature.
But of course Caroline Morris, without any evidence, and in flat contradiction of the contemporary documentation, has a different theory as to what was going on. It's all based on her 'hunch'. Christ if I had ever posted that I had a hunch about where the diary came from without evidence, I'd have been roasted alive on the Forum (by her!).
Anyway, as we've seen, her hunch is that 'Anne was far more concerned about a knock on the door from the diary's rightful owner' which is why she was anxious to place the diary in a bank.
A moment's thought about this will tell you that this is pure and utter nonsense.
I mean, what kind of knock on the door is Caroline Morris thinking of. Is that how rightful owners trace stolen items then? They just go round knocking on the doors of people who they think are in possession of their item?
But then what? They knock on the door and they're told to fuck off.
(hey, we've already done two fucks, why not a third? Whoops that's four now!)
So they're told to go away and that's that. They can't exactly force their way into the house and search around for the diary can they? That's not how it works.
But you see how Caroline Morris operates. She actually puts the idea into your head that Anne might have been frightened of the rightful owner literally knocking at the door so that she didn't consider the diary to be safe in her own house.
Well, you might be thinking, she didn't mean it literally, she just thinks that the police might have found it in the house with a search warrant.
Right, now, if you really did have that thought you need a quiet word with yourself.
Think about it a bit more.
If the police were going to search the house they would surely have found the bank receipt for the diary as well as the correspondence from Doreen Montgomery. Speaking to Doreen they would have been told that Anne had placed the diary in the bank. They would have located it in literally two seconds!
So the idea that Anne was putting the diary in a bank to protect it from its rightful owner doesn't hold water and, indeed, makes no sense whatsoever. If you are trying to hide an item in that way you'd secretly put it in a safety deposit box and the one thing you would most certainly not be doing is arranging for the bloody thing to be published nationwide so that the rightful owner can come along and sue your fucking arse off.
(Well I've started swearing, and there's just no stopping me now).
There's one more bit of nonsense relating to the placing of the diary in the bank. Caroline Morris adds another question, like so:
'Why the need to place it with the bank at all if it was their own creation? And why now, if it had been in the house since before Tony Devereux died?'
As we've discussed, the first question is mad enough but if anyone is in any doubt at all that this woman's brain is broken please do explain to me how she came to ask that second question?
No-one is arguing that the diary had been in the house since before Tony Devereux died. The argument against her is that Mike and Anne created the diary in March 1992. So she's really just arguing with ghosts from 20 years ago when, at that time, the primary argument was that the diary was created in 1990 or 1991. I mean, her email was addressed to RJ Palmer who is arguing that the diary was created in late March and early April 1992. So why is she asking him why Anne was only now, in April 1992, getting the diary put into a bank? It's crazy. I can't honestly explain it other than saying that it's the product of a broken brain. Can you?
PART 3 - THE FIDO DIVERSIONARY PLOY
The third beauty in the post is Caroline Morris telling us:
'On 17th June 1992, Keith Skinner sent a photocopy of the typescript to Martin Fido. I don't recall Martin saying there was anything suspicious about it, despite his firm belief that the diary was a modern fake and the Barretts were involved'.
This is pure misdirection for two reasons:
1. For Martin Fido to have even begun to have been suspicious he would first have had to have been told that the transcript was prepared by the Barretts, for which there is no evidence, but if he WAS told it was prepared by the Barretts - but prepared in April 1992 - what possible grounds for suspicion could he have had? Furthermore, is there any evidence he ever sat down and compared the transcript to the original diary? If he didn't do this (and there's no reason to think he did) Fido's lack of suspicions are neither here nor there.
2. Even more importantly, we have been told directly by Keith Skinner that there IS something suspicious about the transcript!!!! That being so, Martin Fido's views are completely irrelevant. By way of reminder, Skinner posted on Casebook in 2019 that he had decided to renege on his promise to publish the transcript because, he said:
'There are "textual discrepancies between the Diary proper" and the transcript and- yes - meaning could be gleaned from from the discrepancies.'
So we have what Skinner is clearly telling us are suspicious discrepancies in the transcript. That being so, why not just publish the fucking thing (you knew that was coming didn't you?) as he promised me he would do in 2018.
And rather than throwing up diversionary tactics to pretend there is nothing suspicious in the diary, such as the Martin Fido ploy, Caroline Morris herself could put an end to the speculation by simply publishing the transcript herself. She must have a copy because she's quoted selectively from it in the past. Why can we all not be allowed to see it? What is there that is so dangerous to the diary defenders in that transcript that Keith Skinner puts his own reputation for honesty and fair dealing in peril by reneging on his written promise to produce it?
PART 4 - THE WORD PROCESSOR LIE
Now we move on to another Caroline Morris beauty. This relates to Mike's lie about claiming he only bought the word processor to transcribe the diary when we know he actually purchased it in 1986.
How does Ms Morris explain it? Well naturally she first mentions that Mike was a man who told a dozen lies before breakfast so that he just lies for no reason; it was just Mike being Mike. But hey Caroline Morris will always conjure up some sort of reason and, lo and behold, we are told that:
'If there was a reason behind Mike's word processor lie, and it wasn't Mike just being Mike, I suspect he said it to impress Doreen about the investment he had already made in the diary and the work he had already put in since his mate Tony had died. He may even have been fishing for an early expenses claim.'
We can discard the expenses claim idea because, after all, Mike made no such claim. If that was why he was artfully telling Doreen about the word processor why didn't he go ahead and make that claim?
There is a much more sensible and obvious reason for Mike's lie about the word processor. He couldn't tell Doreen he had purchased a word processor in 1986 because that might have led to the discovery of his great secret: namely that since 1986 he had been a professional freelance journalist! That was the very last thing that Mike wanted Doreen or Shirley to know which is why there is no mention of it in Shirley's 1993 book. And somehow Anne never got round to mentioning it to Doreen, Shirley or Robert Smith in that period.
The secret that Mike was a professional freelance journalist - something diary defenders are still in denial about to this day - was only revealed by Mike after he confessed to forging the diary. But the real reason he had purchased the word processor was obviously because in 1986 he started writing articles for Celebrity magazine.
Sometimes the simple answer is the correct one.
PART 5 - THE TRANSCRIPT MYSTERY
Although purportedly a response to RJ's thoughtful and fully sourced post setting out the different explanations provided for the origin of the transcript, Caroline Morris barely deals with what he said, disdainfully dismissing the contradictions he set out as 'the slightest discrepancies in time and language use'.
So she barely scratches the surface in her response. As a result, we are simply none the wiser as to whether Rendell was correct when he said that the police 'found a word processor in Barrett's home with the Diary on it'. Shirley Harrison appeared to confirm this information. Is it true? Has a copy of the version of the transcript apparently found on the Barretts' computer ever been seen?
Caroline Morris wants us to think that this must be the transcript which Doreen sent to Sally Evemy on 22 April 1992, but is it? Unless we are able to compare the two documents we can't be certain. There isn't even any clear evidence that the transcript Doreen was referring to in her letter of 22 April had been provided to her by the Barretts, and we can only assume it to be the case.
As to that transcript, there still remains no clarity as to whether it was created by Mike and Anne after Mike's meeting with Doreen on 13 April 1992 or whether it was already in existence. (We have a similar lack of clarity with Mike's research notes as to precisely when they were created.)
Caroline Morris tells us that, 'if the transcript received by Doreen had been ready by [13 April 1992] it would have made sense to take both [the diary and the transcript] with him'. That would be a reasonable argument to support the claim that the transcript wasn't in existence as at 13 April 1992 were it not for the fact that there is literally no evidence that Mike didn't bring a transcript to London with him on 13 April 1992.
Like I've already said, Caroline Morris has simply imagined that Doreen received it in the post from Anne on 21 April 1992. There is no evidence for this and one could certainly argue that, as Shirley also had a copy in her hands as at 22 April, it had been received by Doreen at a much earlier date than that.
What does Caroline Morris' own book, Inside Story, have to say on the subject. Well, interestingly, we find this (underlining added):
'Back in March 1992 when he [Barrett] was due to take the Diary to Doreen Montgomery, he claimed he had decided that it would be a good idea to type out a transcript of the Diary, which would be easier to read. His own attempt at typing was so poor that it was eventually typed by Anne, a secretary by profession.'
If correct, it means that the transcript was created BEFORE Mike want to see Doreen. To my mind, that would be more consistent with Doreen Montgomery's claim that, 'Right from the word go, everyone knew that Mike had bought a WP precisely to transcribe the diary, in order to study its contents more easily'. If Doreen knew that Mike owned a word processor during the meeting of 13 April 1992, it would suggest that Mike had told her either that he intended to prepare a transcript of the diary or (in my view more likely) that he had already done so. After all, if they knew he had a word processor, and that he was claiming to have owned the diary for many months, why would he not have already prepared a transcript to study the contents of the diary more easily? Thus, when Shirley said that 'we certainly asked Mike to produce a transcript' she might have meant that she and/or Doreen asked him to bring in the transcript that he had told them he'd already prepared.
In any event, if the transcript in Keith Skinner's possession is believed to have been created by the Barretts after 13 April 1992, what possible objection can there be to publishing it, as Keith promised me in 2018 that he would do, so that we can all examine it? What meaningful discrepancies can it possibly contain? What are they so scared of?
30 June 2021
Published (Orsam Day) 18 September 2021
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