Orsam Books

Lord Orsam Says.....(Part 14)

The last Orsam Day passed without any controversy on the Forums which must either mean I'm doing something right or I'm doing something wrong!

I like to think that there was nothing for any of the usual suspects to even begin to challenge, so that I was doing something right.

The Clanger will have read my clear explanation as to how he had outrageously requested two members of JTR Forums to criticize me on a false basis over his response to my 'Bunny's Aunt' article but he's said nothing about it, neither acknowledging what he did or apologizing for it.  To do so would, of course, require him to possess characteristics of decency, honour and humility.  As we all know, bullies do not possess such characteristics.

Equally, the Clanger will now know that he falsely told another member that I had used the evidence of Andrew Stevens out of context.  As we've all seen, Stevens stated at the Kate Roman inquest that he was the rateable owner of the property in which Roman was murdered and that this evidence, which could not possibly have been taken out of context, stood alone.  Again, no acknowledgment or apology.   This is the man who has criticized Hallie Rubenhold for refusing to acknowledge her errors.  Is he any better?

Anyway, the silence from that quarter, and from all other quarters, is merciful which means I don't have to spend the usual thousand words responding to nonsense.  

As I have a bit of time, I will instead respond to something Caroline Morris wrote on the 'Lord Orsam's Blog' thread although it wasn't directed at me nor did it concern anything I had written.

It's a funny thing, Caroline Morris chose the 18th January, two days after the last Orsam Day, to respond to something RJ Palmer had written almost a month earlier, on 22nd December.  Why she decided to do this is a mystery but, in her second post of 18th January (#599), and her further post of 19th January (#601), one finds clear support of what I said in the last 'Lord Orsam Says...' about her brain being broken.

Her central thesis in these two posts is that Mike Barrett wanted to avoid any publicity in Liverpool regarding his discovery of the diary because he didn't want Eddie Lyons to know about his involvement.  In her own words, he was worried 'how a certain electrician might react to the publicity being generated' (#599) and was 'wary of it all coming out in Liverpool if he...was on the verge of becoming a rich man off the back of an "old book" he had bought from an unsuspecting Saddle regular for a paltry sum'.  

Even if it was true that Mike was worried about publicity in Liverpool particularly, for which there is no evidence (as discussed below), his fear of Eddie Lyons' reaction makes no sense.  After all, in the Morris/Skinner theory, Eddie knowingly, willingly and freely gave or sold to Mike an old diary written by someone signing themselves 'Jack the Ripper'.  He must have seen the 'Jack the Ripper' signature on the last page of the diary entries and we've even been told in the past that the very reason Eddie approached Mike of all people was because he had literary connections due to his journalistic work.  Certainly, he must have given the diary freely to Mike, with Mike able to do what he wanted with it, so why would Mike have been in any way worried about Eddie's reaction when he did what Eddie must always have known he was going to do and make a profit out of it?  After all, Eddie couldn't have made a huge profit himself because he had supposedly stolen it and thus couldn't go public with it, so his only option was to make as much money as he could by selling it to a third party who, by virtue of having no connection to the finding of it, could become rich.

At this point, I would make two observations about Caroline Morris's summary of events.  Firstly, she claims that Mike sold the diary to Eddie for a 'paltry sum' even though there is literally zero evidence relating to the existence of any transaction between the two men, let alone what price Eddie is supposed to have sold the diary to Mike for.  But if he did sell it for a low price, it would have been a free transaction with no-one holding a gun to his head.  Secondly, she refers, as she does continually, to an "old book" in quotes as if anyone involved the supposed discovery had ever mentioned an "old book".  As I've discussed in the past, there is no evidential basis for the claim that anyone ever referred to the diary an "old book" but even if they did, it's impossible to see what relevance it has to Mike being worried about Eddie seeing publicity for the diary, so why does she keep doing it?

In Caroline Morris' posts, Mike is also supposedly worried about the Devereux family learning about the diary although it should have been obvious to him that Shirley would make enquiries of that family so that publicity for the diary, and Mike's role in its discovery, wasn't going to make any difference. 

If Mike had been worried about his role being made public in Liverpool specifically, it could easily have been for other reasons, such as him being in debt to individuals in Liverpool and not wanting them to know that he was likely to be coming into funds very soon.

But is it correct to say that Mike was particularly worried about publicity in Liverpool?  Well there is simply no warrant for Caroline Morris to say this.  It's based on two points, the first of which is ludicrous.  She wonders if Mike's desire to keep the story out of Liverpool explains why he contacted a literary agent in London.  This is just laughable.   The best literary agents would, of course, be based in London so Mike was obviously going to look to London for such an agent.   But picking a literary agent based in London bears absolutely no relation as to where the publicity for the book would occur, nor is the thought likely to have occurred to Mike that if he chose a London literary agent there would be no publicity in Liverpool.  The very idea is crazy.

The second limb of the argument is that Mike was particularly fearful of a story being published in the Liverpool Echo, but that's not what the evidence shows.    Firstly, we have Doreen writing to Mike in May 1992 to assure him that she hadn't mentioned his name when writing to potential publishers because he had told her that he wanted to 'keep a low profile'.  That has absolutely nothing to do with Liverpool and shows that Mike wanted to avoid publicity in general.  Then, in July 1992, Shirley wrote to Mike saying that she had mentioned 'possible publicity' in a letter to Tony Devereux's daughter, but said that she would do her 'level best' to keep Mike's name out of things.  However, she told Mike that she did need the press to help her and had asked the Liverpool Echo to publish a story appealing for information.   At the same time, she reassured Mike that he didn't need to worry and that he should say that he didn't want to give interviews due to his health.  From this, there is absolutely no indication that Mike was especially worried about publicity in Liverpool.  Shirley was telling Mike that there would need to be publicity in general but just happened to be saying that there would be a story in the Liverpool Echo.   It's bizarre that, from this, Caroline Morris felt able to say that Shirley's letter:

'would suggest Mike's growing worry about publicity, and the involvement in particular of the Liverpool press'.

It does no such thing in respect of the Liverpool press.  It just shows Mike not wanting to do interviews or have his name connected with the diary.  Anything more is just a product of Caroline Morris' overactive imagination.

Caroline Morris also relies on Shirley saying to Tony's daughter:

'The Liverpool Echo is aware of the existence of the diary and there will, inevitably, be some publicity surrounding its discovery.  Mike is extremely anxious, because of his health, not to be involved in this, so we shall do our level best to keep it low key.'

Again, there is absolutely nothing in those two sentences to enable Caroline Morris to ask:

'why would Mike be 'extremely anxious' about any local publicity at this time....?'

Or for her to say:

'it's his fear of local publicity, while waiting to see if a lucrative publishing deal could be secured in London, that is not so easily explained'.

Or for her to say: 

'By late July he was...trying to keep a low profile where the Liverpool press was concerned.'

It's nothing more than another attempt to befuddle and confuse her readers, for Shirley wasn't indicating that Mike was anxious about local publicity. It's just that the only anticipated publicity at that time was going to be in the Liverpool Echo in circumstances where Mike had previously made clear he wanted to keep a low profile and clearly didn't want to do interviews, so that it's obvious that ANY press story about the diary was going to concern him.

We may note that Shirley explained that the reason for Mike's desire to avoid publicity was that he was concerned about the effect on his health.  One assumes that Shirley genuinely believed this at the time and was not lying to Tony's daughter, and it may even be true.  Certainly, if Mike had been involved in creating the forgery, he might well have been worried about the effects on his health of having to tell a false story to journalists and face intense questioning from them about it.

Any other reasons for Mike to be worried about publicity?   Well, yes.  Perhaps he wouldn't have wanted a certain Martin Earl to know about his discovery of a sensational Victorian diary shortly after he had attempted to acquire through him a Victorian diary with blank pages.

He also might have wanted his photograph to be kept out of the papers in case someone at a certain auction house recognized him as the purchaser of an old photograph album under the name of 'Williams'. 

But Caroline Morris doesn't even seem to consider these possibilities, so obsessed is she with Eddie Lyons.

Furthermore, the idea that Mike would have been okay with publicity in national newspapers but not in the Liverpool newspapers doesn't make any sense bearing in mind that the national newspapers also happened to be sold in Liverpool!

So there is really nothing in the entire theory that Mike was worried about stories in the Liverpool press in particular and his desire to keep a low profile could be explained for a number of reasons which have nothing to do with Eddie Lyons, including the fact that he was involved in the forgery of the diary.

When Eddie learned of Mike's role in the diary story, did he explode in rage at the fact that Mike might make loads of money out of it?  Not to our knowledge.  There is not a hint of this from Eddie who continues to deny to this day that he had anything to do with it.

So it's all another load of nonsense from someone whose brain truly does not seem to be working properly. 

What about her other post of 18 January (#597)?  What did she say in that?  Let's quote her in full:

I do suggest that if Anne participated in the diary's creation, she was apparently psychic, not to anticipate any problems arising over the handwriting, or a paper trail left by her hopeless hubby in the process of obtaining the scrapbook they used, or any one of a hundred ways they could both have come unstuck very quickly, very early on. The fact is, despite all your protestations, there were and are no problems for her. No evidence of her participation, either from the handwriting, or from Mike's various claims about the materials and the scrapbook itself. No evidence that the scrapbook arrived in Goldie Street, courtesy of Mike, sans the handwriting. It's all speculation, adapted or taken at face value from a known liar's catalogue of tall stories.

The first sentence about Anne having to have been 'psychic' is madness. It's no different from saying that any criminal in history who didn't get arrested for their crime must have been psychic to know that they weren't going to get arrested!!!  I mean, it's just a barking mad way of thinking.

Then Caroline Morris repeats that there is no evidence of Anne's participation from the handwriting, something which cannot be correct in circumstances where there are obvious similarities between certain elements of Anne's handwriting and the diary handwriting. 

We then see that she switches from no evidence of Anne's involvement to no evidence of Mike acquiring the photograph album which, she claims, is 'all speculation'.  This is not true.  You cannot dismiss Mike's own first hand evidence as 'speculation' simply because Mike said it.  You can say that the evidence he gave of his acquisition of the album isn't corroborated by other evidence but it cannot properly be described as speculation when Mike has sworn an affidavit saying that he obtained the scrapbook from an auction held at Outhwaite & Litherland.   He also repeated that statement in April 1999 at the Cloak & Dagger club and allowed himself to be questioned by both Keith Skinner and the audience, none of whom could break his story. Furthermore, there is the report of an experienced forensic document examiner that the diary is a modern forgery.  This is evidence!  And how can she ignore Mike's hunt for a genuine Victorian diary with blank pages in March 1992?

But if it's speculation that Mike acquired the photograph album, then it's equally speculation that Mike obtained it from Eddie Lyons.  In other words, everything about the origins of the diary is speculation.  And she herself is relying on speculation!   So, really, what is her point?

The way I would put it is that the argument is very strong that the diary was created in March 1992 and that Mike was involved in its creation.  We don't have the absolute proof of this but then I would say that the reason for this is that the main investigators who had access to Mike and Anne during the 1990s didn't ask the right questions and didn't pursue the lines of enquiry that could have got the proof, mainly because, for reasons best known to themselves, they seemed to believe that the diary was either genuine or old.

The bizarre nature of Caroline Morris' own argument about Anne is found in her statement in #597 that:

'Anne came out with her 'in the family story', not anticipating any problems arising over that either'.

As Caroline Morris believes that the 'in the family story' was a lie, she's entirely cut across her own argument that Anne wouldn't tell a lie if there was a chance of being found out!    Caroline Morris' explanation is that Anne was 'quietly confident' that her story could not be disproved (as if that somehow explains or justifies why she told it!) because she 'believed' that the diary had been obtained in circumstances 'which nobody would be willing to reveal or able to prove' although what the basis of that belief was, in circumstances where Anne is supposed to have known nothing about the real origins of the diary, Caroline Morris entirely fails to explain.  

One could equally say that Anne was 'quietly confident' about the success of the forgery in March 1992 because she KNEW that nobody would be be willing to reveal, or able to prove, that the diary was created by her and Mike in that month, especially if she had personally destroyed all the evidence relating to its creation. 

But the fact of the matter is that no-one can possibly know what Anne was thinking at the time because no-one knows her very well. 

And indeed it must be repeated that Caroline Morris continually talks about Anne as if she did know her very well and as if she would never have done anything wrong, if there was even a small chance of discovery.  But that makes massive assumptions about Anne's personality and character about which I suggest it is impossible to know anything with any degree of certainty.  After all, we have a woman who, on Caroline Morris' own account, was very cool in telling an enormous lie to the world, including on Liverpool radio, about how she saw this diary during the 1960s and, having told what Caroline Morris would accept to be an enormous lie about the Maybrick diary, she then went on to write a book about Maybrick!!  To me, such behaviour more resembles that of a psychopath.  And if she is a psychopath, all of Caroline Morris' endless speculation about what Anne would or would not have done in March 1992 based on Anne being a normal responsible and sensible person, worried about discovery, is completely worthless. 

On 20th January, having responded to RJ Palmer, Caroline Morris also finally decided to reply to Kattrup's post of 18th December.  For some reason it took her more than a month to get round to it. 

Kattrup had made the point that Caroline Morris had stated as a fact that Mike had arranged to see the diary before committing to pay for it whereas, he pointed out, this is not what Martin Earl had said.

In her response, in #602 of the 'Lord Orsam's Blog' thread, Caroline Morris once again confused the fact that Earl didn't take payment in advance with him having provided it to Mike without a commitment to pay for it.  The two things are not the same.  She wrote:

'Any reasonable person would grasp that Mike was not committed to purchase the item sight unseen, on the basis of the description, or he'd have been asked to pay for it before it was ordered and sent out.'

So she's basically there admitting that it's her own interpretation of what she'd been told that she's relying on - not anything Martin Earl actually said - because she, as a purported 'reasonable person', can't think why Mike wasn't asked to pay for it before it was sent to him.

But there is one very obvious reason, which is that Mike asked for the diary to be sent to him urgently, and he would then pay for it upon receipt, assuming that it matched the description he had been given, per Earl's normal terms and conditions.  Why would a reasonable person not assume that this is what had happened?

She then asked a completely nonsensical and incomprehensible question:

'Can you think of any possible reason why Martin would have paid for it out of his own pocket, if Mike was already committed to the purchase?'

This just makes no sense at all.  If Mike was committed to the purchase, Martin Earl would have had no problem paying for the diary out of his own pocket because he would have known that Mike would reimburse him (and was both legally obliged to do so and had already committed to doing so).  If, however, the diary didn't match the description which Earl had been provided by his supplier he would have been entitled to a refund from his supplier just as Mike would not then have been obliged to pay for it.  So there was, in theory, no risk to Earl in paying for it. 

Surely the more sensible question is this:

Can you think of any possible reason why Martin would have paid for it out of his own pocket, if Mike was NOT already committed to the purchase?

If Mike could simply have returned the diary because he wasn't satisfied with it, perhaps Caroline Morris could tell us why Earl paid for it out of his own pocket because it doesn't make sense for him to have done so.

Then she said something that simply isn't true:

'The very fact that Mike asked Martin to order this 1891 pocket diary, and Anne later agreed to sign a cheque for it when he was being chased for payment, would suggest that she'd had nothing to do with it, and assumed it was something Mike  had ordered rashly, for no good reason. Had they both known it was ordered with Maybrick's fake diary in mind, it could have been returned promptly with no comeback, when they saw just how spectacularly unfit for the purpose it was.'

We know that payment had to be made to Earl within 30 days.  By the time Anne wrote the cheque, more than 30 days had passed so the diary could not have been returned.  

And I do like the way that Caroline Morris squeezes in the word 'promptly' thus showing she is aware of the 30 day rule but unable to reconcile it with the fact that Mike only appears to have asked Anne to pay for it after 30 days had passed, making it impossible to return. 

Did Caroline Morris say she was once a legal secretary or otherwise worked in the field of law?  If so, it's strange to find her writing that 'possession is nine-tenths of the law'.  This is completely untrue from a legal perspective and Mike would have been liable in law to pay for the diary having ordered and received it.  Possession means nothing in a court of law.

Caroline Morris went wrong again when, in response to Kattrup saying that Mike might have omitted to pay for the diary through absentmindedness or laziness, she wrote:

'Yes, but I would think that was more likely on Mike's part, failing to consult Anne until he was finally chased for payment. Why they didn't return it at that point is not clear, considering that the Maybrick diary had been seen in London by then...'

In fact, it's VERY clear why they didn't return the diary in May 1992.  They couldn't legally do so.  The 30 day period had passed so that they couldn't have then returned it even if the diary wasn't as had been described (which it was, thus making it doubly impossible to return!).  Amazing that Caroline Morris STILL hasn't understood this.  Regular readers will know that I explained all this on the last Orsam Day thus proving the truth of the well known saying: No Orsam, No Comment!

It's equally astonishing that Caroline Morris continued:

'but if it was just laziness, I would question whether either of them had any inkling in 1992 that a little 1891 appointments diary might one day be seen as evidence that they faked the Maybrick one.'

Leaving aside that returning the diary wasn't then possible, this seems to be based on the belief that, if they had returned the diary to Martin Earl, they would have somehow eliminated the possibility of it being used as evidence against them that they were involved in faking the Maybrick diary.  How can someone get it so totally wrong every time?  Martin Earl would still have retained a record of the transaction, so that returning the diary (even if they could have done so) wouldn't have helped them at all to avoid it being used against them.  Furthermore, it's not even the 1891 diary that is the evidence that they faked the Maybrick one, it's the flipping request by Mike for a Victorian diary with blank pages which is the key evidence in this regard.  She keeps forgetting this!  And that evidence (preserved in amber in Bookdealer magazine) wasn't going to go away even if they had burnt the 1891 diary in their garden.  

You've got to love the ability of Caroline Morris to shift meanings in a very subtle way.  Hence, responding to one of her arguments that a forger wouldn't have left a paper trail of their attempt to acquire a Victorian diary, Kattrup had quite reasonably made the point that the Barretts were not master criminals and that 'in the real world, the diary creators had to get a suitable volume from somewhere' which, he said, would 'inevitably lead to a process which could be traced back to them'.   He was talking about 'a process' which COULD, but not necessarily would, be tracked back to them but Caroline Morris pretended to misunderstand when she replied:

'The Barretts were certainly very far from being 'master criminals' and yet, in the real world, these 'amateurs', supposedly 'fumbling around' to get a suitable volume from somewhere, did not 'inevitably' lead the scrapbook's origins and contents to be traced back to them.'

You can see she took out the word 'process' and tried to make something of the fact that the origins and contents of the scrapbook were not, in fact, traced back to them.  But that wasn't Kattrup's point at all.  He was simply saying that in order to obtain a suitable Victorian diary or scrapbook or photograph album there was no option but to leave some kind of trail back to them. They couldn't magic one up out of thin air. Unless there was a hidden underground black market in Victorian diaries, they had to take some form of risk in order to obtain one.

Kattrup's point was was simply to explain why Mike (inevitably) left a trail with Martin Earl.  It went no further than that but, of course, Caroline Morris had to twist it into a totally different point, one which doesn't even help her.  Because if we ask why no-one has been able to prove that the photograph album was sold by Outhwaite & Litherland, all eyes turn to her good friend Keith Skinner for an explanation as to why the records of O&L for March 1992 were never searched (not forthcoming!).

Then we have this beauty:

'how much has been achieved in those 20 years devoted to tracing the diary's creation back to the Barretts? It's all still suspicion and speculation, with no substance....It seems that the Barretts didn't need to be 'master criminals' in 1992 to know that a bunch of amateur armchair sleuths nearly 30 years later would still be unable to touch them'.

It's not the 'amateur armchair sleuths' in 2021 that's the issue.  The issue is with the amateur sleuths in the period 1992-2007 who had the opportunity to question Mike and Anne Barrett but who were basically unqualified Ripperologists or researchers with no experience or ability to conduct investigations into questionable artifacts.  Some of them, such as Feldman, even had a vested interest in the diary being genuine.  There were so many missed opportunities and unasked questions it's almost unbelievable. And, of course, none of them got round to arranging a check of the 1992 records of Outhwaite & Litherland.  They didn't even get any clarity about how O&L auctions were conducted, causing Caroline Morris to have to pester Mr Litherland about this in 2020!  If these people didn't get the basics of the investigation right - which they didn't - then it's virtually impossible today to prove or disprove anything.   O&L's records have long since been destroyed and, in the absence of those records, how does Caroline Morris think it would be possible to confirm one way or the other whether Mike bought the photograph album at an O&L auction in 1992?

As to that auction, Caroline Morris says:

'And the less said about the mythical auction at the end of March 1992, which Mike supposedly attended [but dated back to January 1990] the better.' 

The bit about Mike dating the auction back to January 1990 is another false statement because, when he actually spoke in his own words to the Cloak & Dagger club in April 1999, he dated this auction to a period after his telephone call with Doreen Montgomery which was on 9 March 1992.  So Mike DID date it to the correct time period.  Caroline Morris is evidently referring to the date in Mike's affidavit which was typed by Alan Gray and which contained a number of obvious typos.  The date in the affidavit is clearly supposed to be January 1991 and, in this respect, Mike must have believed in 1994/95 that he first brought the diary to London at some point in 1991 because that is what he appears to have told a journalist in June 1994.

Mike just wasn't good with dates and would probably have made the same mistake in 1999 if pressed as to the actual dates (prior to having had his memory refreshed) but his point was that he went to the auction after he acquired the 1891 diary (which was consistent with what he said in his 1995 affidavit). Nothing had changed between 1995 and 1999 to lead one to think that in 1995 Mike wouldn't have told the same story in his own words about purchasing the photograph album from O&L after having spoken to Doreen, had anyone asked him about it.

Sadly, Keith Skinner didn't know about it in 1995 because Anne withheld any information from him about Mike's affidavit.

Caroline Morris went into a froth of outrage when Kattrup suggested that Mike took the diary to people with an economic incentive to sell as many books as possible with no possible obligation to question its authenticity, to which she responded:

'If Doreen had no professional obligation to question the diary's authenticity, she did have her professional pride and reputation as a literary agent to consider, and of course she couldn't simply have taken the path of least resistance if she wanted to attract a serious author and publisher. Why were those most closely involved seeking professional opinions and advice from experts in all the relevant fields, if they only needed to publish a facsimile of the diary, bash  out a book based on a couple of ripper and Maybrick sources, then sit back to watch the sales figures soar?'

I had to laugh about those closely involved 'seeking professional opinions and advice from experts in all the relevant fields'.

Ha ha ha!

The MOST relevant field, one would have thought, would have been the field of forensic document examination but the only such expert to have been instructed to produce a report in this case (Dr Baxandale) had his entire report ignored because his conclusion wasn't to the liking of his clients.  The only other expert forensic document examiner to have examined the diary (Maureen Casey Owens) also rejected it as a fake.  Indeed, the entire Rendell team concluded that the diary was a fake.  But try telling that to a Diary Defender and they're not interested.

Some more nonsense:

'The onus is not on me to demonstrate that Mike was too talentless, too drunk or too stupid to have planned or created this diary in a million years, or that Anne was far too grounded to have allowed herself to be drawn into such a scheme with this man. The onus is on you, as a believer in the Barretts' guilt, to demonstrate that they were not only capable - physically, mentally, intellectually and psychologically - of doing this together, but that they actually did so, despite all the objections from the people who met and worked with them, or grew to know them well.'

I say it's nonsense because the only important issue at stake is whether the diary is fake or genuinely written by James Maybrick.  Once it is concluded to be a fake, the identity of the actual forgers or precisely how it was forged is really of VERY little interest.  Academic interest only really.  The onus to prove that one or both of the Barretts forged the diary would only be on an investigative body such as the police investigating a criminal offence.  Other than that, all Kattrup has to do, and all I have to do, to the extent we have to do anything, is put forward a reasonable argument that it is plausible that one or both of the Barretts could have created the diary.  This was, in fact, done a long, long time ago.

I once asked Caroline Morris directly on the Censorship Forum why she thought it wasn't plausible and she was unable to give me a sensible answer. 

Ms Morris concluded her post #602 by claiming that it was some sort of massive mistake for Barrett to have used the name 'Williams' at the auction considering that he also used that name when he telephoned Doreen, but not really.  After all, why would anyone have ever been looking at the records of Outhwaite & Litherland in the first place?  The only reason they became relevant was because Mike himself revealed that this is where he acquired the photograph album.  Secondly, what would the name 'Williams' have proved?   It's a common name.  Frankly, if anyone had got to the stage of searching the records of O&L, Mike's plan had already gone wrong!

Then we have:

'I wonder how many other mistakes made by Mike you'd be willing to take on board, in order to keep him as your faker, before you begin to wonder why none of them ever caught up with him.'

Well his mistakes DID catch up with him.  His attempt to acquire a Victorian diary with blank pages, for example, even though we probably wouldn't even know about it to this day had he not himself revealed it.

To the extent that they didn't catch up with him earlier, I can only repeat what I said earlier about the competence of the researchers who were supposedly investigating the origins of the diary and their lack of ability to get to the truth or establish material facts.

Here's a good one in her concluding sentence:

'The 'poor guy' was out of his depth from day one. Everything he said and did in relation to the diary bears witness to his lack of awareness, from 9th March 1992, of what he was letting himself in for.'

It's amazing.  She's just been writing in her earlier posts about how Mike had wanted from the very start to keep a low profile and now she's saying that 'Everything' Mike said and did from 9th March 1992 shows his lack of awareness of what he was letting himself in for.

Surely his desire to keep a low profile shows an acute awareness of what he was letting himself in for!

I've no idea what else is supposed to bear witness to Mike's 'lack of awareness' but he might have lacked awareness just as much if had faked the diary as if he had bought it from an electrician in a pub.  It gets us nowhere, just like all of Caroline Morris' posts. 


Trevor Marriott foolishly decided to dip his toe into the fetid waters of diary defending in #603 of 'Lord Orsam's Blog' thread by saying (some spelling and grammar corrected):

'For what it's worth I attend auctions on a weekly basis, but before being able to bid, or leave a bid you have to register your details and a credit card.  So I don't see how he [Mike Barrett] could have used an alias at any of these auctions to purchase any items'.

What Trevor doesn't appear to know is that Kevin Whay of Outhwaite & Litherland told Shirley Harrison in January 1995 that:

'There would quite likely be several 'Mr Williams'  or 'Mr Jones' as a lot of people use a pseudonym  when buying at auctions'.

So that answers that.

I doubt that Mike Barrett even had a credit card in 1992.  Clearly there wasn't a requirement at O&L in 1992 for bidders to provide proof of identity, otherwise a pseudonym would have been pointless.  


Crazy Ally Ryder has been busy sending out inconsistent messages to the members of her highly censored forum.

On 22 January, by way of reminder about how she doesn't bother to do her job properly, she posted in the Wallace thread:

'As Stated in the Infraction System thread, in the Read This First forum that hardly anyone actually reads: "We rely on our members to assist us in policing the boards. We cannot be everywhere and we cannot read every post. Also, we presume to some extent that if no one is complaining, then there are no problems. If you see a post that violates one of the rules, please use the Report Post button.' 

We cannot be everywhere and we cannot read every post.  Really? Isn't that the job of a moderator or administrator?  And what does she mean by "everywhere"?  She only has to be in one place, in front of a computer!

Anyway, the very next day in an 'Update to Major Rules' thread, she posted: 

'Please be advised that we have made a minor adjustment to the Major Rules, Rule 5, Harassment policy. We have added this sentence:

"Do NOT use the Report Post button on every minor, petty infraction they do in an attempt to get them banned. We will view this waste of our time with EXTREME displeasure."

This is not intended to prohibit anyone from Reporting serious or actual breaches of the rules, it is for people who have a specific vendetta against a single poster and who report no one and nothing except the most minor and idiotic infraction every time a specific poster posts. For example, if you repeatedly report a poster for infractions such as saying something like "You really dont know what you are talking about." or "You have missed the point again", this is what we are talking about in terms of wasting our time on petty BS. They said YOU and it wasn't positive! PERSONAL ATTACK!

Don't. We are done with this nonsense.' 

One minute she's asking the members of the Forum to police it for her and report infractions, the next minute she's saying "whoooaaa!" you're sending me too many.  Please stop so I don't have to do anything!

Anyone who thinks that is crazy, well of course it is.  You won't find this mentioned anywhere else online though.  Discussion of Admin's ruling on the Censorship Forum is, of course, totally forbidden and you're not allowed to do it on JTR Forums either.  It's only here that free speech survives.


While silent on JTR Forums, the red mist was still impairing the Clanger's cognitive functions on the Censorship Forum where he replied to a series of case studies I posted over three years ago in a thread entitled 'Lechmere/Cross Name Issue Part 2'.

I've said it before but it's amazing how bad the Clanger is at constructing a rational argument once he moves away from basic genealogy (and even then I'm not so sure). 

He first responded to a case I posted where a man calling himself Charles Taylor gave evidence at a magistrate's court in May 1878.  My research showed that his birth name (or 'proper' name, as the Clanger prefers to call it) was Charles Jones.  But here we have a case in black and white where an individual used his stepfather's name when giving evidence in court without apparently also stating that he was born with a different surname.

On my understanding of the law and practice, that was perfectly normal and common whereas, on the Clanger's (mis)understanding, it shouldn't have happened.

Astonishingly, despite this being a clear parallel to the situation whereby a man born as Charles Lechmere, gave evidence in an inquest as Charles Cross, the Clanger wrote (in #331 of the thread 'Why is the possibility of Lechmere interrupting the ripper so often discarded') that he couldn't see why I had included this case study!  Lol!  No, of course he couldn't, he's in denial.

According to the Clanger, in the 1878 case, Taylor was giving evidence 'in a case involving the business of his still living stepfather and employer James TAYLOR'.  That, however, is completely untrue and the Clanger seems to have confused his cases.  The 1878 case was one in which Taylor was giving evidence about a mariner called William Holbrook whom he had seen mistreating a horse.  It had nothing to do with 'the business' of his stepfather.

The case is, therefore, directly analogous to the case of Lechmere.  We have a man giving evidence in court using his stepfather's surname without apparently noting that he was also known by another surname.  And there was absolutely nothing wrong with him doing so!

The Clanger also seems to have missed the clear statement of the law by Lord Lindley from a 1901 judgment in the House of Lords (the highest court in the land) that I posted in the 2017 thread, in which Lindley said:

'Speaking generally the law of this country allows  any person to assume and use any name, provided its use is not calculated to deceive and to inflict pecuniary loss'.

This simply confirmed what had been previously understood by legal experts from as far back as the thirteenth century, e.g. Henry de Bracton from 1235:

'if a person has two names, whether in his name or in his surname, that name is to be adopted by which he is more frequently accustomed to be called'. 

and, from the nineteenth century:

'the true surname in the context of the Marriage Act was simply the surname by which a person was generally known within the parish where they live'.

A sixteenth century court case had recognised that 'a man can have one name of baptism, but may have two surnames'

In the nineteenth century, advice in the South London Press of 8 October 1869 had stated that:

'The legality of a marriage cannot, on any account, be called in question because of the husband being illegitimate, and marrying in the name of his stepfather'.

In similar vein, the Sheffield Weekly Telegraph of 13 July 1895 had informed an 'Anxious Enquirer' that:

'The young man ought to keep the name by which he has generally been known, and that, we understand, is his stepfather's name.  If he marries in that name it will be all right.'

In other words, the name by which a man was 'generally known' was a name by which it was entirely lawful for him to call himself, regardless of what was on his birth certificate or baptismal records.

So what surname was our friend Charles Allen commonly known by in 1888?  Lechmere or Cross?  The answer to that is that we simply do not know.  There is not a jot of evidence to tell us what his colleagues and acquaintances called him other than that he had been recorded on the 1861 census as 'Charles Cross' and he appears to have given evidence at two inquests using that name which suggests that he was known by it in 1888.

Although the Clanger posted a directory entry from many years later when Charles Allen had become a grocer, this does not assist us as to the position in 1888, when the guy was working for Pickfords who may well have employed him as 'Charles Cross' so that he retained that name during his period of employment with them.

Back in the Censorship Forum (#334 in the Lechmere thread) the Clanger referred to another of my case studies which he described as 'Classic Orsam' but missed the point of the case study entirely.  He focused on the fact that the wife of a man known as William Slack had showed up at an inquiry to say that the man's 'proper' name was William Adams.  But the point of the case study was that his wife confirmed that her husband 'commonly went by the name of Slack' whereas every known census entry for the man had him down as William Adams and his name was recorded as William Adams on the birth certificates of his two children.   This is directly equivalent to Charles Allen recording his name as Lechmere on 'official' certificates yet being commonly known as Cross.  The use of language by a random individual in 1907 to describe an alternative name as a 'proper' name is neither here nor there.  It's the actual practice that we are looking at and what we can see in this case is a person who was recorded in the official records by one name but was generally known by another name.  THAT was the point I was getting at.

Then, in #335, referring in his clanging way to my 'magnum hopeless', the Clanger says of me, 'He completely misses the point - as always'.  Such a statement could hardly be more ironic because not only had I not missed the point but it was actually the Clanger himself missing the point, as we shall see.

Why did the Clanger think I had missed the point?  Well, according to him (underlining added):

'It’s not being said that Lechmere couldn’t have been known informally - at work, say - as Cross, although there is no evidence to suggest that was the case. Or that he would have been breaking the law by using a name other than that on his birth certificate. It’s being said (at least by me) that he would have thought it the correct thing to do to use his ‘proper’ name when giving evidence in a coroner’s court. As so many others clearly did.' 

That 'at least by me'  remark is what gives the game away.  In November 2017 I wasn't replying to anything that the Clanger had said!  Least of all was I replying in November 2017 to something the Clanger was to say in January 2021!!! I was replying to what Fisherman had said in 2015 and I explained what this was at the very start of the thread (#1) where I wrote:

'It has been claimed that in calling himself Charles Cross, the man who was born as Charles Lechmere gave a false name.

According to Fisherman:

"Lechmere-Cross bye bye" thread, #1, 2 October 2015,

"…my definition of a false name is any name that is not the name officially registered." (Lechmere-Cross by bye bye thread, 2 October 2015)

At a time when compulsory registration of births had only been introduced 13 years earlier, there must have been thousands of men who did not have "officially registered" names. Thus, either these men lived under false names for their entire lives or there is something wrong with Fisherman’s definition.

So that was the claim to which I was responding: i.e. that the definition of a false name is any name that is not the name officially registered.  I already explained this in my 2019 article A Bee in his Barnett.  My response, of course, is that this the not the case.  Such a name is NOT by definition a false name. It would have been interesting to know if the Clanger agrees with this.  But, amazingly, he doesn't directly address the point.  He only accepts (1) that it was possible that Lechmere was known as Cross at work and (2) that he wasn't breaking the law by using the name Cross.  This shows quite plainly that he hadn't understood the issue which I was addressing in my thread, despite having stated it very clearly at the outset.

I went on in the same post to say what I was intending to prove by my case studies, namely that:

'I suggest that it was not uncommon for men in the nineteenth century to bear two legitimate names in circumstances where they had either been adopted or had lived with a stepfather from a young age so that their "officially registered" name (if they had one) was not the name by which they were known as an adult.' 

This perfectly explains why (as quoted by the Clanger) I concluded my series of case studies by saying:

'In any event, what I think we have clearly seen is the flaw in Fisherman's argument that because Charles Lechmere "signed his name" on numerous official documents as Charles Lechmere (ignoring his appearance on the 1861 census as Charles Cross) this somehow means that he was not commonly known as Charles Cross and/or that there was something suspicious about him calling himself Charles Cross at the inquest. He could well have been commonly known as Charles Cross, regardless of how many times he was recorded as Charles Lechmere in the documents and, that being so, he was perfectly entitled to state his name under oath as Charles Cross, without the need for explanation, during the inquest.'

This is what the Clanger claimed showed I had 'missed the point' but, in fact, it was bang ON the point and remains bang on the point to explain why Cross was entitled to state his name under oath as Charles Cross, without any need for explanation, during the inquest.

What's incredible is that the Clanger frames the debate as being what was in Charles Allen's mind about which it is impossible to know!  He claims that 'he [Charles Allen] would have thought it the correct thing to use his 'proper' name when giving evidence in a coroner's court'.  But where is the evidence?  The Clanger claims that 'so many others clearly did' but he has provided zero evidence to support that assertion.  Certainly none in any case where the witness wasn't related to the deceased, or to any other witness, so that the identity of the witness and their relationship to the deceased wasn't a relevant factor.

In any case, despite not being a response to the Clanger, the above conclusion to my series of cases studies STILL DID answer the point raised by the Clanger because it stated that Charles Cross had no need to say anything more than that his name was Charles Cross, thereby countering the Clanger's point that he would have thought he needed to state that he was born in the name of Lechmere.  How, therefore, can it possibly be said that I missed the point that the Clanger now wants to make?

The Clanger disingenuously points to the wife of William Slack a.k.a. Adams referring to 'Adams' as her husband's 'proper' name in one of my case studies but that has nothing to do with the issue.  That's just a word she used to describe the name he had been given at birth.  It does NOT thereby mean that his use of the name 'Slack' was improper nor was she in any way suggesting this.  It's just a word she used to mean his birth name.  What it certainly does NOT mean is that she would have thought there would have been any kind of need for him to state both his names at an inquest if he had simply found a dead body lying in the street, or that there would have been anything in the least wrong with him not doing so.

So it's clear that it is the Clanger who has missed the point and has focused on what is plainly irrelevant semantics which continues to mislead him. 

He continues the irrelevancy by noting that when he married his own wife she informed the registrar that she had two surnames.  Leaving aside that I don't suppose that this marriage occurred in the nineteenth century, it's a very different matter as to what a person tells a registrar about their name when it is being recorded on a marriage certificate, where they want to ensure that their marriage is legal, as to what they say when giving evidence at an inquest where their identity is entirely irrelevant to the issues being decided at the inquest which doesn't affect them personally in any way.

In any case, I already posted above some advice from the nineteenth century which stated that it was fine for a man to marry a woman under their alternative name, i.e. not the name by which they were born.  I'll even repeat it for those such as the Clanger with comprehension difficulties:

'The young man ought to keep the name by which he has generally been known, and that, we understand, is his stepfather's name.  If he marries in that name it will be all right.'

We also saw an 1869 newspaper saying categorically that the legality of a marriage cannot be called into question if a man married under his stepfather's name.

So the experience of the Clanger's wife is neither here nor there and is trumped by the fact that people in the nineteenth century were actually being told that they didn't need to have their birth name (or their 'proper' name if you prefer) recorded on their marriage certificate.

It really is all over for the Clanger.  In the last 'Lord Orsam Says...' I challenged him to produce evidence of individuals with two surnames stating both surnames when giving evidence in any kind of court case in circumstances where their identity was irrelevant to the issues being decided in the case.  He's failed to do it.  He clearly doesn't have any. 

Returning to the subject in #411, the Clanger asked a daft question of Kattrup:

If Christer discovered a body on his way to work one morning and when he eventually made contact with the authorities he told them his name was ‘Christer Fisherman’, would you consider that at all odd? After all, dozens of us know him by the name Fisherman.

I personally would find it extremely odd. It may not be illegal in Sweden to do so, but I bet the vast majority of the population there would also find it somewhat suspect.

It's daft for two reasons.  Firstly, we are not dealing with what would happen today in 2021 (let alone today in Sweden).  We are dealing with what happened in the nineteenth century at a time when compulsory registration of births had only been introduced 13 years earlier (i.e. long after Charles Allen had been born).  Secondly, Christer Holmgren is not, and never has been, known as 'Christer Fisherman' so of course it would be odd if he ever gave that name to ANYONE let alone at an inquest.  What would also be odd is if Christer Holmgren gave evidence of discovering a dead body at an inquest and decided to tell the coroner "My name is Christer Holmgren but I'm also known online as Fisherman".  Why on earth would he do that?  If, however, Christer was giving evidence in a libel case whereby, let's say, Trevor Marriott was suing Caroline Morris for comments made on the Forum, it might well make sense for him to commence his evidence in that way (but still not legally required).

The Clanger's final act of desperation was to post in #411:

'There is considerable evidence that the Victorian public held the same view as me, that the name in which your birth was registered is your ‘official’ name.'

Just pausing there.  That statement, for want of a better word, is bollocks.  The reason it is bollocks is that throughout the Victorian age, including in 1888, not everyone's birth had been registered, bearing in mind that compulsory registration of births did not begin in the country until 1875.  A lot of people, therefore, would not have had their birth registered.  So is the Clanger seriously wanting to tell us that these people did not, in fact, have an official name?  Like I say, utter bollocks from the usual source of it.

The Clanger continued: 

'And there are even examples of newspaper advice columns expressing the same view. Plus we have countless examples of people who have adopted a new name disclosing their ‘real’/‘proper’ (whatever) name. Why would they have bothered to do that unless they thought it was the correct thing to do? And if they thought so, why didn’t CAL?' 

The Clanger keeps telling us about all this evidence but never produces it! To the best of my knowledge, he hasn't produced these newspaper advice columns nor has he produced 'countless examples' of people who adopted a new name disclosing their 'real' or 'proper name', especially at an inquest or other court case and especially in circumstances where what I would call their 'birth name' isn't relevant to the proceedings of the court.   Why hasn't he provided them?

I repeat and insist that it would NOT have been the correct thing for Charles Cross, especially if he was generally known under that name, to have stated at an inquest that he was born under the name Charles Lechmere. The reason for this is that it was entirely irrelevant to his evidence as a witness to the discovery of the body of Nichols and to the job the coroner was doing in attempting to establish when and how Nichols died.  I would even go so far to say as it would have been entirely unnecessary for him to do so and would not have been welcomed by the coroner who didn't want or require the life history of the witnesses in his inquest.  Just simply no need.  One name was enough.  He was perfectly correct to give one name and that is supported by law.

In saying this, it is essential to remember that Cross was not getting married!  Nor was he involved in any other personal matter such as recording the birth of his children or having them registered at school.  Sure, if he was getting married (in the name of Cross) he might well have thought that he should tell the registrar that he was born in the name of Lechmere to ensure that his marriage was entirely legal (even though it would have been had he not done so).  But that's an entirely different circumstance.  To repeat the point, a coroner would have had no interest in the life history of a witness where that history bore no relevance to the proceedings of the inquest.  It's not only obvious and common sense but supported by the legal authorities to which I've already referred. You just can't compare what people did when they got married with what those same people did when giving evidence at an inquest!  They are completely different events.

It cannot be said that Charles Allen used the name Cross at the inquest to deceive or for pecuniary reasons.  He was perfectly entitled to use the name Cross. It was his stepfather's name and confirmed by the 1861 census to have been the name he was known by when he was a child.  There's a very good chance it was the name by which he was commonly known in 1888, certainly by his childhood friends, work colleagues, and his employer.  That some people might have called him Lechmere (as the Clanger speculates in #335) does not change this.  That being so, this really is case closed on the issue.


Almost unnoticed in the same thread, Christer Holmgren repeated one of his loopier points when he said (#395) that Charles Allen:

'nevertheless signed himself Lechmere in all his authority, contacts, either himself or he had his name signed for him'.

I already explained to Holmgren that, absent some form of disability, another person can't sign a form on behalf of someone else.  That would be fraud or some other kind of improper activity.

He doesn't really mean to use the word 'sign'.  He just means that a third party recorded Charles Allen's name on a form as 'Lechmere'.  That's not a signature!

But Holmgren repeats this false claim because he's been saying for years, and wants to continue to say that there are over one hundred examples of Charles Allen signing his name as Lechmere.  That isn't true.

Here we are an 2021 and these hundred examples still haven't been produced.  The reason is that they don't exist.  There is no way that more than a mere handful of actual signatures of Charles Allen will have been discovered (and perhaps just one, being on the 1911 census).


With Caroline Morris seemingly abandoning her role on both forums as Chief Diary Defender and Chief Disinformation Officer, it fell to Iconoclast imitator, Errorbitha, to answer Mike J.G.'s question in the Incontrovertible thread (#6200) as to why Mike Barrett had been searching for a blank Victorian diary in March 1992.  The answer revealed another comprehension failure on the part of Errorbitha who said (#6204):

'In my view he was attempting to buy something that would give him an idea of something he could compare to what he had'.

Naturally, there was no acknowledgment by this poster of the existence of the Bookdealer advertisement, let alone any attempt to understand its significance.  It's such a short advert, yet no Diary Defender seems to have the ability to read and comprehend it. 

It fell to R.J. Palmer (#6207) to ask why Mike had stipulated that the diary must have at least 20 blank pages, to which Errorbitha babbled some complete nonsense in reply (#6208):

'How many pages were missing from the front of the scrapbook?  I can only guess in Mike's mind that was significant enough to try and compare somehow'.

Well the answer is that 48 pages had been cut out with a knife from the front of the scrapbook, but what that has to do in Errorbitha's mind with a request for a minimum of 20 blank pages is anyone's guess.

If we are being generous and assume that Errorbitha had got confused and was thinking of the 17 unused pages at the end of the Maybrick diary, which Caroline Morris always babbles on about, it still gets him nowhere.

Let's now look at the words of the advertisement and see if, 14 years after it was first revealed, it's finally possible to decipher the obviously coded message it contains:

'Unused or party used diary dating from 1880-1890, must have at least 20 blank pages'.

For anyone able to speak English, it's obvious that Mike would have accepted (and, indeed, it's the first requirement) a completely blank and unused diary from any year in the 1880s, perhaps containing 365 blank pages.  For that reason, the '20 blank pages'  element is a red herring which can't possibly have anything to do with the number of blank or missing pages in the Maybrick/JTR diary.

Furthermore, the alternative request - if an unused diary could not be found - for a diary with 'at least' 20 blank pages means, by definition, that Mike would have been perfectly happy with a diary with 30 blank pages, or 40 blank pages, or 50 blank pages, or 100 blank pages.  The 20 blank pages is nothing more than a minimum requirement.

If Mike, for any reason, needed to see what a blank page in a Victorian diary looked like, he only needed one blank page so the advertisement would only have needed to ask for such a diary with at least one blank page.  Why did he need A MINIMUM of 20 blank pages?

If Mike had just wanted to see what a Victorian diary looked like - or one from a specific decade - the advertisement would just have asked for a used or unused diary.  But what must be obvious to everyone, diary defender or otherwise, is that the one thing Mike did not want was a fully used diary, or one that was almost fully used.  Equally, what he particularly DID want was a blank diary.  The fewer pages on which there was writing the better!

So Mike wasn't interested in seeing what a genuine Victorian person wrote in a diary.  He was only interested in the blank pages.

So we now get to the real question which is: why did Mike want either a totally unused diary or one which in which there was at least 20 blank pages but potentially many more blank pages than that?

I suggest that the ONLY possible answer is that he wanted to use those blank pages to write on, in order to create a document (specifically a diary) which was written on genuine Victorian paper. 

Certainly, in the past fourteen years, no-one has ever come up with any other answer which takes into account and explains the specific wording of the advertisement.  Errorbitha is only the latest in a long list of failures in this regard.


The utter misunderstanding of the Bookseller advertisement is shown by Errorbitha's posts #6226 and #6233 respectively in the 'Incontrovertible' thread in which he (or she) stated:

'So we have a forger assumed to be Mike Barrett because an advert was placed in March 1992 for a diary that proved to be no use to anyone by Mike Barrett'


'An ad that produced a useless 1891 diary.  These are your facts'.

From this you'd think that Mike actually asked for an 1891 diary!

That's the complete opposite of the truth because Mike actually asked in the advertisement for a diary with blank pages from between 1880 and 1890.  The problem was that this produced ZERO results.

So the advertisement for a diary from that decade with blank pages failed.

In the end, Mike had to accept an alternative that was offered to him by Martin Earl but it wasn't what he had asked for.  

The fact that the diary was from 1891 is a massive red herring and a distraction introduced into the equation by diary defenders who know it's a distraction.  Mike was obviously after blank pages from a Victorian diary and a blank page from an 1891 diary is no different in any material respect from a blank page from an 1889 diary, with the emphasis on the word 'blank'.

Furthermore, Mike wouldn't have known whether it was feasible to use the 1891 diary discovered by Earl to forge the Ripper/Maybrick diary until he actually saw it.  Once he saw it, as stated in his 1995 affidavit, he realised it wasn't suitable.

Having apparently abandoned his claim that Mike wanted to do some kind of bizarre comparison, Errorbitha, just like Dizzy Miss Lizzy, came up with a new theory in #6238 which was that:

'perhaps Mike was suspicious and wanted to see for himself how easy it was to purchase such an artefact for himself.  I can see the logic in that.  Turns out it wasn't easy because he ended up with an 1891 diary'.

While Errorbitha claims to see the logic in this suggestion, he must be imagining it.  Let me explain why there is no logic in it.

Firstly, Mike would have known it was an 1891 diary before Earl sent it to him (because Earl would have told him over the telephone) so, if he had wanted to know how easy it was to obtain diaries for the period between 1880 and 1890 (as stated in the advertisement) he didn't need Earl to send him the 1891 diary, which he then had to pay for.  He would have known it wasn't possible to obtain such an artifact, not, at least, via Martin Earl. Secondly, and in any case, Martin Earl was just one of the many dealers in rare and secondhand books who Mike could have contacted, and perhaps another dealer would have been able to find one or more blank Victorian diaries.  Thirdly, Mike would have discovered nothing about how easy it was to acquire a Victorian diary in person from an antique shop or an auction house or a multitude of other places, so that he actually learnt nothing and could never possibly have expected to learn anything from going down one single route over the telephone. Fourthly, there is no reason for Mike to have thought that Eddie Lyons (or any forger of the diary) would have contacted Martin Earl or any other rare and secondhand bookdealer to acquire a Victorian diary.  Fifthly, the Ripper/Maybrick diary did not bear a date, other than the date of the signature, so that, if Mike was suspicious about the authenticity of the diary which had been shown to him, he had no way of verifying that he was being shown a genuine artifact from the 1880s, making the entire exercise of obtaining a diary from that period, in order to find out how easy it was, totally redundant and utterly pointless.  Sixthly, having been shown the Ripper/Maybrick diary/scrapbook/photograph album, if Mike was really trying to discover how easy it would have been for a forger to acquire a blank one to use for a forgery, he would surely have been trying to find something resembling what he had been shown by Eddie Lyons, in other words a large black leather bound volume which had the appearance of being Victorian.  Getting hold of anything else would have told him literally nothing about how easy it was to acquire a large black leather bound volume which had the appearance of being Victorian.

So the entire notion that Mike was trying to see how easy it was to acquire such an artifact for himself is utterly illogical.  There is no logic in it whatsoever.  No doubt this is why Caroline Morris herself abandoned it.

Nevertheless, Errorbitha attempts to create a false equivalence by claiming that the theory that Eddie found the diary in a biscuit tin in Battlecrease on 9 March 1992 has '[as] much validity as Mike being the master forger'.  Leaving aside that the claim being made is not that Mike himself was the master forger, this is totally false because the only thing which supports the idea of the diary having been found in Battlecrease on 9 March 1992 is the fact that electricians happened to be doing some work in that house on that day, being the same day that Mike contacted Doreen Montgomery.

That can be explained in a straightforward way whereas there has never been any sensible explanation as to why Mike was seeking a Victorian diary with blank pages on  or shortly after 9 March 1992.  That's why the two theories are very different.

An obvious explanation for the coincidence of Mike contacting Doreen Montgomery on the same day that electrical work was being done in Battlecrease is, needless to say, pure coincidence, which requires no further explanation.  What is always forgotten by the Diary Defenders is that 9 March 1992 wasn't the only day of that year in which electrical work was being done in Battlecrease.  Electricians were working in that property on FOURTEEN days of that year.   So the coincidence isn't even that great.

And don't listen to those who claim that this was the only day on which floorboards were lifted.  Not only is there no good evidence to support that claim but the floorboards of Battlecrease had been lifted some years earlier.  And the Diary Defenders are very flexible.  One day they are claiming (without any evidence) that Eddie found the diary under the floorboards, the next day we are told it could have been found anywhere in the house (having been secreted somewhere by a visiting day tourist). 

But, if it wasn't pure coincidence, there is a very simple explanation, namely that Mike was drinking in the Saddle on (say) Friday, 7 March 1992, when he heard some of the Portus & Rhodes electricians discussing that they would be doing some work in James Maybrick's old home on Monday and this triggered off a desire to complete an old plan to produce a forged diary of Jack the Ripper which had commenced while Tony Deveruex had been alive but which had been temporarily shelved following his death. 

As I've mentioned before, there is actually some evidence to support this notion.  A report in the Sunday Times of 19 September 1993 - some eleven years before the timesheet evidence was discovered - indicated that the electricians themselves thought it was possible that someone might have overheard them discussing the work in Battlecrease.   Hence:


As we can see, the electricians who drank in the Saddle accepted that 'they might have talked about their work' in that pub.  

The coincidence CAN, therefore, very easily be explained. 

Yet, to repeat, no-one has ever managed to explain Mike's attempt to acquire a Victorian diary with blank pages in March 1992.   Just have a look at the ludicrous failed attempts made by Caroline Morris as set out in Dizzy Miss Lizzy.  

That's why it's far far far more likely that Mike was involved in a forgery attempt in March 1992 than that he was miraculously shown or given Jack the Ripper's diary on the same day that an electrician found it in Battlecrease.   


Almost unnoticed and deservedly ignored, little Scottie Nelson popped up (as he often does) in the Incontrovertible thread babbling nonsense (as he usually does).  What did he say this time?  Here it is in all its glory, from #6205:

'Devereux obtained an unknown document from a workman, Darren, who found it in Battlecrease sometime in the late 1970s or early to mid 1980s. Devereux then watched the Michael Caine mini-series in 1988 and decided to write a Maybrick Diary based on this old document with modern trimmings, such as the Abberline emphasis. He then gave it to Mike Barrett before he died. The older document may be with the Devereux family or may have been destroyed. '

What is he talking about?

I don't claim to know, but I can't help feeling that the 'Darren' in question is, at least in Nelson's mind, a self-confessed 'Jack the Ripper nut' called Darren Bytheway (which may even be his real name) who posted on Casebook in April 2001 to say that a Scouse work colleague of his had told him that a couple of electricians had found the diary in the loft of Battlecrease, under some rubbish, while they were doing a rewiring job (and he mentioned the name 'Rigbys').  

It was, of course, nothing more than hearsay and rumour from his colleague who, he admitted, had seen Feldman's video about the Maybrick diary.

Mind you, it makes a change from Nelson posting confidently but without any good reason that Harry Dam was the forger of the diary. He now seems to have settled on Tony Devereux. But that is all by the way.


Anyone with an interest in the Whitechapel murders will know that the evidence points strongly to Liz Stride having been murdered at around 1am on the morning of 30 September 1888.   

Louis Diemschutz stated in his inquest evidence that he discovered her body at 'exactly' this time (about which he said he was 'certain', although in reality he might have been a few minutes out) and Morris Eagle, a member of the International Working Men's Club corroborated, saying that he was told about the discovery at about 1am. 

Edward Spooner, a non-Jew, with no connection to the club, said that he was standing outside a nearby public house chatting to a women for about 25 minutes, between 12.30 and 1am, when he saw two Jewish men running along the street calling out that there had been a murder and that, when he went to look at the body in Dutfield's Yard, blood was still flowing from the throat, indicating that the murder had occurred recently.  Spooner said that a police constable arrived five minutes later.  Police Constable Lamb, the first officer on the scene, stated in his inquest testimony that he had been notified of the murder by two men in nearby Commercial Road at 'About 1am'.   

After rushing to Dutfield's Yard, PC Lamb said that he, 'at once', sent another constable for the nearest doctor and Dr Blackwell, who was based only minutes away in Commercial Road, stated in his evidence that he was summoned at 1:10am.  All witnesses at the inquest thus corroborated each other of the discovery of a recently murdered woman at about 1am.

Conspiracy theorist, Michael Richards, however, has a different view.  Based almost entirely on unsworn, and thus unchallenged, newspaper reporting of comments by people who weren't wearing timepieces, he thinks that the body was discovered about 20 minutes earlier and that, instead of immediately informing the police, 'the only reaction was hushed concern for the possible implications for the club' followed by some sort of cover-up.

I'm not going to go into any detail into the reasons for this supposed cover-up.  It's best ignored.   I just want to concentrate on a post by Richards addressed to Herlock Sholmes in #526 of the Casebook thread “Schwartz, a fraud?” in which Richards said:

'Easy little man, youre bordering on being outed as a liar. Post 513.."You know as well as I do that Gillen is referred to but not interviewed".

There is, of course, no such person as 'Gillen' in the story of the Liz Stride murder.  Richards was referring to the man who told Morris Eagle at around 1am of the discovery of Stride's body. This man was called something like 'Gilleman' or 'Gidleman', according to press reports of Eagle's evidence at the inquest.

But why is Herlock being called 'a liar'?  What could he have possibly lied about?

Well, he was calling Richards out on some claims he had previously made about the man he (Richards) calls 'Gillen'.  Herlock didn't quote them all but it's worth reminding ourselves of some of them to see if we can establish who is telling the truth here and who is lying.  For Richards has been falsely claiming since 2010 that someone called 'Gillen' supports his theory of an early discovery of the body. As Richards is so concerned with the truth, let's have a look at what he's been saying over the past eleven years about 'Gillen':  

5 February 2010 

"Considering the nature of the organization and their likely involvement in local matters the police would find interesting, like strike or march organizing for example..... and considering the fact that not one of the member statements that night from Morris Eagle, Lave, Isaac Kozebrodski, Mrs Diemshutz, Louis, Heschberg, Gillen have corroboration... even from each other, including the later statement from Israel Schwartz which is curiously absent in the Inquest records, ....shouldnt we almost assume that at least some of the statements made that night were to create the best public face for the Club and its members regarding this crime?"

Lord Orsam says: So Richards was referring here to a supposed statement by 'Gillen' which failed to to corroborate statements by, amongst others, Morris Eagle.  This is totally untrue. The very source of the so called 'statement' by 'Gillen' was Morris Eagle himself!

17 December 2018 

"I believe Isaac doesn't show at the Inquest because he, and members like Gillen and Heschberg, conflict with the official line of  discover at 1am, "saw nothing heard nothing"."

Lord Orsam says: There is no truth in the claim that anything 'Gillen' ever said conflicts with a 1am discovery.  On the contrary, the only thing he is ever referred to as saying (by Morris Eagle) is that the body of Stride had been discovered at about 1am.

16 November 2019 

"12:40-12:45- Eagle returns, Lave is still by the gate, neither see each other.  Heschberg and Gillen and Issak Kozebrodski say they were alerted to  a body in the passageway, by Louis."

Lord Orsam Says: It's not true that 'Gillen' said he was alerted to the body by Louis Diemschutz at between 12.40 and 12.45. 

10 February 2020 

"Spooner, Heshburg. Issac K have their remarks here under Witnesses in the files....Spooner..."about 25 to 1", Heshburg.." about 20 minutes to 1", Issac K..."about 20 minutes to 1", Gillen is referred to by another witness at around 12:40".

Lord Orsam says: That’s not true. The only mention of 'Gillen', which is by Eagle, relates to him announcing the discovery of a dead body in the yard at about 1am.

12 February 2020

"12:40-12:45- Issac Kozebrodski, Abraham Heschburg, a member named Gillen, and Edward Spooner say they were in the passageway standing over Liz. Louis is said to be there, others were also there".

Lord Orsam says: This is untrue.  'Gillen' said nothing of the sort in respect of any time, let alone 12.40-12.45.

4 March 2020 

"I have Louis being contradicted on his arrival time by Heschberg, Gillen, Spooner, Kozebrodsky and Mortimer. Oddly enough, all of them essentially agree with the other though...one times, on what was happening, and who they observed."

Lord Orsam says: 'Gillen' doesn’t agree with anyone about anything.  All we know is that Eagle said that 'Gillen' (as Richards calls him) told him that there was a dead woman in the yard at about 1am.  

19 March 2020

"Kozebrodski, Gillen, Heschberg, Spooner, ...all state they were by the body, with others, at between 12:40 and 12:45"

Lord Orsam says: This is untrue. No-one by the name of 'Gillen' or any similar name ever stated any such thing.

16 April 2020

"Heshberg and Issac K stories match in the vital areas, Laves and Eagles don't match each others. Gillen and Spooner also agree with those first 2 men". 

Lord Orsam says: Richards is talking there about 'Gillen' and Spooner agreeing with Heschberg and Kozebrodski but 'Gillen' doesn’t agree with anyone about anything because he is not known to have said anything about the murder to anyone (other than to Morris Eagle at about 1am on the night of the murder).

11 May 2020

"In effect cd the only Inquest value that Fanny has in the bigger picture is that she saw Goldstein at 12:55. That validates her statement to the police that she was at her door continuously when she says she was. If you are asking me why the police presented the witnesses they did, and in the order they did that, then I cant answer you. In almost every case you would normally expect either the person who saw her last or the person that found her to speak first. Wess speaks first here. Why...who knows? Why put Mary Malcolm there  and go through her story if they already knew that Liz Stride.. as identified by Kidney among others.. was the victim? Why put James Brown as the witness on record for 12:45...its almost a cert that he didn't see Liz Stride. Many questions. Why not have Fanny, Heschberg, Gillen, and Spooner give their statements which would show clearly what Im talking about here".

Lord Orsam says: It's impossible to see how Gillen's statement (if he had made one), showing that he mentioned a dead woman in the yard to Eagle at 1am, would have assisted in showing 'clearly' what Richards was talking about.

13 May 2020

'Issac Kozebrodski says he was alerted to the body around 12:40...concurring with Gillen and Heschberg, and concurring with Spooner'.

Lord Orsam says: It’s not true that a discovery of the body at 12.40 concurred with anything 'Gillen' is supposed to have said.

20 October 2020

'Edward Spooner, Issac Kozebrodski, club Member named Gillen, Club member named Hoschberg.

Spooner: "Spooner believed that he had first arrived at Dutfield's Yard at "25 minutes to 1"

Kozebrodski: "About twenty minutes to one this morning Mr. Diemschitz called me out to the yard."

Hoshberg: "It was about a quarter to one o'clock, I should think, when I heard a policeman's whistle blown, and came down to see what was the matter."

Ill find the reference to Gillens statement, which supports the above.'

Lord Orsam says: Gillen’s 'statement' (which doesn't even exist) doesn’t support any of the above.

24 October 2020

'Eagle was there at 12:40, so was Lave by their statements, and Israel was outside the gates about to witness an assault in the street with who he believes is the soon to be murder victim, with a man smoking a pipe watching, ..around 12:45, and theres Brown seeing the young couple so many think is Liz and someone...at 12:45, then theres Heschberg and Gillen, and Mr Spooner gets into the picture, all around 12:40-12:45.'

Lord Orsam says: Another factually incorrect statement about 'Gillen' whose only known involvement in the entire case was telling Morris Eagle at about 1am of the discovery of Stride's body.

4 February 2021

'In the four cases I mention, Isaac K, Heschburg, Gillen and Spooner, all of them in some interviews said they were alerted to the body between 12:40 and 12:45.'

Lord Orsam says: Completely untrue.  'Gillen' said no such thing. 

Now, I have experience of people who throw out accusations of 'liar' against those who've exposed their mistakes.  Pierre's reaction after I demolished his Gog Magog theory comes to mind. Is that what we have here?

Well, we can see that time and time again, over a period spanning eleven years, Richards has been claiming that some kind of statement by 'Gillen' supports his theory that the body of Stride was discovered at about 12.40.

He recently discovered that he was wrong and that no such statement of 'Gillen' exists.  This occurred on 5 February 2021 when, in answer to a request by Frank O to 'post this Gillen guy's statement, in which he's supposed to say that he was alerted to the body between 12:40 and 12:45?' Richards replied, 'You know as well as I do that Gillen is referred to but not interviewed' making it impossible to understand why only the previous day, as quoted above, he had claimed that Gillen had said in an interview that he had been alerted to the body between 12.40 and 12.45.

And his answer to FrankO didn't even acknowledge that, regardless of whether 'Gillen' had ever been interviewed or not, he'd never said anything about being alerted to the body between 12.40 and 12.45!

Leaving aside that he's never admitted that 'Gillen' is an error which doesn't reflect any contemporary spelling of the man's name, it's extraordinary that, even today, he can't seem to admit that all 'Gillen' ever did was tell Morris Eagle about the discovery of the body at 1am. And the fact that he posted a weird and vague admission on 5 February 2021 that 'Gillen' is 'referred to but not interviewed' doesn't even begin to correct the errors he's made over the years about some kind of statement by Gillen that the body of Stride was discovered at 12.40. 

He can't even seem to bring himself to admit that the reference to 'Gillen' is NOT in respect of anything happening at 12.40.  He also can't seem to bring himself to state that 'Gillen' was only referred to by Eagle who said that he was told by 'Gillen' about the body at around 1am.  

In fact, it seems he is in complete ignorance about who 'Gillen' actually is.  Despite him telling us on 12 February 2021 that he's been 'studying' these cases since 1988, he wrote on that same day:

'Don't we have a reference to "Gillen", which is the same man [as Gilleman], that says 12.40.  Yes we do'.

But, in fact, no we don't! 

He still doesn't understand this, after 23 years of study and eleven years of commentary. 

Even worse, the above post was in response to him being asked directly by Herlock Sholmes, 'Where did GiIleman say 12.40?'  He simply didn't answer the question. 

All we've had from Richards is a mealy mouthed statement that doesn't properly retract all the previous false statements he's made with an admission that 'Gillen' doesn't help him at all.

His theory about the early discovery of the body is self-evidently wrong.  In fact, it doesn't even make sense.  As I understand it, his belief is that Diemschutz, Eagle and Kozebrodski all found the body at 12.40am (or 12.35am) but waited until 1am to raise the alarm (because one of the club members was the murderer or suspected of being murderer).  But then why does he rely on Spooner in support of the earlier discovery?  If, as Richards claims, Spooner was describing events he saw at about 12.35am, this doesn't fit at all with Spooner saying that a police officer arrived within 5 minutes of the alarm being raised, bearing in mind that this was PC Lamb who said he was alerted to the discovery by two men (presumably Eagle and Kozebrodski) at about 1am.   Spooner wasn't Jewish so wouldn't have been part of any conspiracy, nor would P.C. Lamb.   

Thus, if Richards wants to rely on Spooner, he should be relying on the part where Spooner says that he first became aware of the dead body at about 1am which at least fits in with the conspiracy whereby this was the time that the members of the club raised the alarm.   Yet, bizarrely, he consistently relies on Spooner's mention of 12.35am (as being the time when he went into the yard after the alarm had been raised) which is thus inconsistent with his entire theory!

It's true, incidentally, that, at one point in his inquest evidence, Spooner seems to say that he went into Dutfield's Yard at 12.35am, but that doesn't match with what he said elsewhere in his evidence about speaking to a friend outside a pub for a full 25 minutes, between 12.30 and 1am, before he saw the two Jewish men (Eagle and Kozebrodski) raising the alarm.  That fits with a 1am discovery of the body, as described at the inquest by Diemschutz and Eagle, and with the timings of PC Lamb and Dr Blackwell. 

The only other two individuals relied on by Richards (Heschberg and Kozebrodski) were not witnesses at the inquest and did not give evidence on oath which could be questioned.  Abraham Heshberg of 20 Berner Street spoke to a newspaper reporter to whom he said that, 'it was at about quarter to one o'clock, I should think, when I heard a policeman's whistle blown' (Irish Times, 1 October 1888). As PC Lamb gave evidence that, at about 1am, after after arriving at Berner Street (Dutfield's Yard), 'I then blew my whistle' it must have been Lamb's whistle that he heard, so that his tentative timings must have been out by about fifteen minutes, which is perfectly understandable.   Isaac Kozebrodski, who spoke English imperfectly, told a reporter that he was called into the yard 'at about twenty minutes to one' (Daily News, 1 October 1888).  He didn't say how he fixed the time and, as he said he was called to the body by Diemschutz, who was sure this was at 1am, and ran to find an officer with Eagle, who said he didn't hear about the body being in the yard until 1am, his timing must have been out.  It certainly makes no sense for there to have been a carefully planned conspiracy among the club members to pretend to have discovered the body at 1am only for Kozebrodski to blow the entire thing by telling a newspaper reporter that it happened twenty minutes earlier than this!   

There cannot be any reasonable doubt that the body of Stride was discovered at about 1am.

Equally, there was no good reason to call Herlock Sholmes a liar.  Michael Richards, who now who wins the 2021 Kristina Nordqvist Award for False Accusations to Deflect From One's Own Failings should be hanging his head in shame. 


I see that, once again, members of Casebook fail to understand the purpose of a coroner's inquiry.

One person (Varqm) has repeatedly quoted this passage from the Coroner's Act of 1887 (which is clause 4(2) of the Act):

'It shall be the duty of the coroner in a case of murder or manslaughter to put into writing the statement on oath of those who know the facts  and circumstances of the case, or so much of such statement as is material, and any such deposition shall be signed by the witness and the coroner'.

Taken out of context, this makes it seem as if the coroner had to summon everyone who knew something about the facts and circumstances of a case to give evidence.  Thus, said Varqm (#554 of the 'Schwartz, a fraud?' thread), it would have been 'amateur hour' if Baxter had not included a witness who saw an assault on the victim 'minutes' before the murder and that the suggestion is 'silly' because the inquest would have been 'way too incomplete'.  But, hold on, let's look at clause 4(2) of the 1887 Act in context with the preceding clause 4(1):

'The coroner and jury shall, at the first sitting of the inquest, view the body, and the coroner shall examine on oath touching the death all persons who tender their evidence respecting the facts and all persons having knowledge of the facts who he thinks it expedient to examine.'

There then follows in 4(2) the passage I've quoted above which I shall now quote again so we can consider it in the light of 4(1):

'It shall be the duty of the coroner in a case of murder or manslaughter to put into writing the statement on oath of those who know the facts and circumstances of the case, or so much of such statement as is material, and any such deposition shall be signed by the witness and the coroner'.

What one can now see is that 'those who know the facts and circumstances of the case', referred to in 4(2), in a murder or manslaughter case, are no more than those from 4(1) who have, in all cases of suspicious death, tendered their evidence and/or who the coroner thinks it expedient to examine.  In other words, 4(2) is NOT saying that the coroner must examine EVERYONE who knows something about the case.  Not at all.  What 4(2) is saying that, in a murder case, in respect of those who have tendered their evidence and/or who the coroner has thought it expedient to examine, the coroner's duty is to put their evidence into writing

THAT is what 4(2) is telling the coroner.  It's not telling the coroner who he must examine (because that is what 4(1) has already done); it is telling the coroner that, of those examined by him in a murder or manslaughter case who know the facts and circumstances of the case, their evidence must be put into writing, or at least as much of their evidence which is regarded as material, and that this document (the deposition) needs to be signed by both the witness and the coroner.

In practice, as a coroner could hardly know if the case was one of murder or not before hearing the evidence, witnesses would have their evidence taken down in writing in all cases. 

By way of reminder, the purpose of a coroner's inquiry is clearly set out in paragraph 4(3) of the Coroner's Act, 1887, which states that what the jury is supposed to establish is:

'who the deceased was, and how, when, and where the deceased came by his death, and if he came by his death by murder and manslaughter, the persons, if any, the jury find to have been guilty of such murder or manslaughter, or of being accessories to the murder'. 

As I've mentioned previously, the 'when' relates only to the date of death, not the time of death.

Another way of looking at it is that the information to be obtained by the coroner's jury is that information which was included in the death certificate.

While we can see that the jury was supposed to identify any named individual or individuals it found to be involved in a murder, this doesn't mean that a coroner's inquiry was equivalent to a police investigation.  In other words, if a witness gave a description of an unknown person they saw committing a murder, it wasn't for the coroner's inquiry to identify that person.  That was a job for the police. 

Nor was the jury able to make a finding that the deceased was killed by a tall man or a small man or a dark haired man or a light haired man or anything of that sort.  They had to know the identity of any such accused person.

In the Eddowes inquest, Joseph Lawende was about to describe the man he saw with Eddowes, and had said no more than that the man had a cloth cap with a peak, when he was stopped by the City solicitor and no further description of the man was provided to the jury. Lawende's deposition merely said, 'I have given a description of the man to the police'.  That was regarded as sufficient by the coroner so that the jury was never told anything about the man's height and build or the rest of his outfit, which information had been given to the police.

The coroner certainly had the power to issue a warrant to arrest an individual charged with murder, and his jury had the power to send such a person to trial, but the key point is that, in the absence of any actual known suspect or accused person, there was no role for a coroner's inquiry in respect of the part of 4(3) which charges them with naming the guilty party.

In other words, with respect to all of the Whitechapel murders in 1888, that part of 4(3) which refers to the jury deciding the guilt of the person or persons alleged to have committed the murders, did not, in reality, apply because no identified person in 1888 was ever alleged to have committed them.

Hence, the role of the jurors in the inquiry into the murder of Elizabeth Stride was limited, by law, to establishing that she was indeed Elizabeth Stride, that she died by having her throat cut (or by 'violent haemorrhage from severance of blood vessels in the neck') by an unknown person, that she died on 30 September 1888 and, finally, that she died in a yard off Berner Street, St George's.  That was it.  That was all that was required of the coroner's inquiry into the murder, absent any identified person having been accused of having committed it, and there was more than sufficient evidence presented at the inquest to enable the jury to establish all those necessary facts.

Now, there is endless chatter on the Forum as to why Israel Schwartz wasn't examined at the inquest.  The reason for this is not known and can only be speculation (and there are a number of possible explanations which don't involve a belief on the part of the coroner that Schwartz was lying or mistaken).  But I just want to see whether it's true that Schwartz was an essential witness.  Let's just look at what he could have contributed.

Was Schwartz able to identify the deceased as Elizabeth Stride?  Answer, no.

Was Schwartz able to say how Elizabeth Stride died?  Answer, no.

Was Schwartz able to say when Elizabeth Stride died?  Answer, no.

Was Schwartz able to say where Elizabeth Stride died? Answer, no.

What that shows, therefore, is that Schwartz was NOT an essential witness. He simply could not have answered any of the questions that the jury had to decide.

Now, of course, it's undeniable that he had some evidence to offer concerning Stride's death.  He was, after all, if his evidence was correct, the last known person to have seen Stride alive.   So he could have confirmed that she was alive at 12.45 and, furthermore, that she was alive in the vicinity of Dutfield's Yard, both of which facts could be said to have at least some relevance to when and where she died, albeit not determinative.  He MIGHT have seen the man or men who murdered her but, as he didn't know their names, that would not have assisted the jury in carrying out their legal duty to send the guilty parties to trial.  Not having witnessed her murder, as far as he was aware, he couldn't say anything about that.

Yes, if she was alive at 12.45 then that might have assisted in fixing the time of death but the time of death was not something the coroner or the jury needed to establish.  It wasn't something that was included in any death certificate.  In any event, there was other evidence to fix the time of death at around 1am, and, on the evidence presented to him, the coroner had no problem in saying in his summing up of the facts that, when Diemschutz found the body at 1am, 'the death had only just taken place'.  So Schwartz's evidence was in no way essential or necessary to fix the time of death.

As there were other witnesses who had seen Stride alive after midnight, there was no issue as to whether she might have been murdered on 29 September as opposed to 30 September which WAS ideally something the coroner's jury needed to establish.

So, while some people might get carried away into thinking that Schwartz was an essential or 'must have' witness, this wasn't the case.

While I'm not going to engage in speculation as to why Schwartz didn't give evidence at the inquest, one thing is absolutely certain: it wasn't because the police had lost faith in him.

In the first place, it was the coroner not the police who decided which witnesses would give evidence at the inquest so the police's views on Schwartz are neither here nor there.

As to the police view's on Schwartz, we know for an absolute fact that he was believed to be an important witness of truth.  The description given by Schwartz to police during the evening of 30 September was immediately circulated by wire to other divisions.  A report of Inspector Abberline of 1 November 1888 records that police had been searching during October for a man named 'Lipski', as described by Schwartz.  A report for the Home Office by Chief Inspector Swanson dated 19 October 1888 sets out Schwartz's evidence and not only is there no hint in that report that Schwartz was disbelieved but the Permanent Under Secretary at the Home Office, Godfrey Lushington, actually recorded that Swanson's report 'casts no doubt' upon the truth of Schwartz's statement (HO 144/221/A49301C). 

Furthermore, the Home Secretary, Henry Matthews, noted with interest, in his own hand, on 27 October 1888 (HO 144/221/A49301C) that Schwartz's statement, with its mention of 'Lipski', 'seems to furnish a clue which ought to be followed up' .  This was done, with Inspector Abberline being asked to prepare a report on the subject.

On a copy of Swanson's statement in the Home Office files (HO/144/221/A49301C), Godfrey Lushington recorded that, between the Police Constable, who saw a man with Stride, and Schwartz, 'it is clearly more probable that the man whom Schwartz saw was the murderer' , albeit that it was also regarded as entirely possible that this man subsequently walked away from Stride who was murdered by someone else (possibly another client).  It would be absolutely unthinkable for Scotland Yard to have deceived officials at the Home Office, including the Home Secretary, into believing that a witness they had lost faith in was a genuine material witness.

In addition to this, we have the Police Gazette of 19 October 1888 carrying a notice, of which the below is a transcript:

The woodcut sketches, purporting to resemble the persons last seen with the murdered women, which have appeared in the "Daily Telegraph", were not authorised by Police. The following are the descriptions of the persons seen:-

At 12.35 a.m., 30th September, with Elizabeth Stride, found murdered at 1 a.m., same date, in Berner-street - A MAN, age 28, height 5 ft. 8 in., complexion dark, small dark moustache; dress, black diagonal coat, hard felt hat, collar and tie; respectable appearance. Carried a parcel wrapped up in newspaper.

At 12.45 a.m., 30th, with same woman, in Berner-street - A MAN, age about 30, height 5 ft. 5 in., complexion fair, hair dark, small brown moustache, full face, broad shoulders; dress, dark jacket and trousers, black cap with peak.

At 1.35 a.m., 30th September, with Catherine Eddowes, in Church-passage, leading to Mitre-square, where she was found murdered at 1.45 a.m., same date - A MAN, age 30, height 5 ft. 7 or 8 in., complexion fair, moustache fair, medium build; dress, pepper-and-salt colour loose jacket, grey cloth cap with peak of same material, reddish neckerchief tied in knot; appearance of a sailor.

Information to be forwarded to the Metropolitan Police Office, Great Scotland-yard, London, S.W. 

The description given to Schwartz of the man he saw assaulting Stride in Berner Street at 12.45am was recorded in Swanson's report on the very same day as being: 'age about 30 ht 5ft. 5in. comp. fair hair dark, small brown moustache, full face, broad shouldered, dress, dark jacket & trousers black cap with peak, had nothing in his hands'. So there can be no doubt that the description in the Police Gazette of the man seen with Stride at 12.45am, which is an authorised one, was the description provided by Schwartz.  

Furthermore, Chief Inspector Swanson prepared, in his own handwriting, a schedule entitled 'Comparison of the descriptions given of the men who were observed near the scene at the time of the several murders' which included two columns setting out the details of the men 'seen by Schwartz' in the case of the murder of Elizabeth Stride as below (from MEPO 3/2890):

In the face of such overwhelming evidence that Schwartz's descriptions were taken seriously, why is it believed that the police had lost faith in Schwartz? 

Well this appears to be based a single newspaper report in the Star of 2 October 1888 relating solely to the Leman Street police.  No quotes are included in the report which states:

'In the matter of the Hungarian who said he saw a struggle between the man and woman in the passage where the Stride body was afterwards found, the Leman-street police have reason to doubt the truth of the story.  They arrested one man on the description thus obtained, and a second on that furnished from another source, but they are not likely to act further on the same information with out additional facts.' 

It can be seen that the second sentence of this story does not support the first.  If the journalist had simply been told by an officer that a man had been arrested by the Leman Street police on the basis of Schwartz's description (and a second man arrested on the basis of information provided by another source) but that they were 'not likely to act further on the same information without additional facts', he might have assumed that the Leman Street police were doubting Schwartz's story, even though this is not what he was actually told.  The fact that the Leman Street police were not likely to make any further arrests on the basis of Schwartz's description (nor on the basis the description provided by their other source) doesn't necessarily mean they doubted what Schwartz had said. It could just mean that the description wasn't detailed enough to allow them to safely arrest anyone. 

Alternatively, it might simply have been that the police weren't sure that the man Schwartz saw actually was the murderer. As recorded by the Permanent Under Secretary at the Home Office on Swanson's report of 19 October 1888:

'I understand the Inspector [Swanson] to suggest that Schwartz' man need not have been the murderer...the suggestion is that Schwartz' man may have left her, she being a prostitute then accosted or was accosted by another man, & there was time enough for this to take place & for this other man to murder her before 1.0'.

If this was the case, Schwartz's evidence wasn't even relevant to Stride's murder and would explain why no further arrests were anticipated to be made on the basis of it.  Nothing to do with a belief he wasn't telling the truth. 

In any event, at this time, Inspector Abberline of Scotland Yard was based at Leman Street and was the officer who had actually interviewed Schwartz and was in the very best position to assess the reliability of his evidence.  Hence, in his report of 1 November 1888, he said that he had 'questioned Schwartz very closely' about Lipski.  We know from his report that he didn't discount Schwartz's evidence and, given that Abberline personally interviewed Schwartz, and was the senior investigating officer at Leman Street, it cannot possibly be said that the Leman Street police as a whole had discounted Schwartz's description as at 2 October.

In any case, as I've said, it's the coroner who decides which witnesses will testify at an inquest not the police, so the views of any individual police officer as at 2 October would have counted for nothing in this respect. 

That does, of course, assume that the coroner was aware of Schwartz's statement.  No doubt it was the police who informed the coroner which witnesses had come forward.  In this case, one can speculate that informing the coroner of the available witnesses was the responsibility of Inspector Reid, the divisional detective at H Division, who, alone, watched the Stride inquest proceedings on behalf of the Criminal Investigation Department (Times, 2 October 1888). 

Relations between Scotland Yard detectives and divisional detectives were notoriously bad, and full of jealousy, so that it's not inconceivable that Inspector Reid disagreed with Inspector Abberline's assessment of Schwartz as a witness and didn't inform the coroner of his statement.  There could, however, be other reasons for Reid not informing the coroner about Schwartz's statement, including negligence, but this would only be speculation and there's not much point in engaging in that.

Certainly, if Inspector Reid did disagree with Inspector Abberline about Schwartz, of which there is no evidence, it wouldn't tell us very much at all about whether Schwartz was a truthful witness or not, especially bearing in mind that we know that Abberline personally interviewed Schwartz and believed him. 

Finally, it's worth noting that the Assistant Commissioner of the Criminal Investigation Department, Robert Anderson, was under the impression that Schwartz had testified at the inquest, hence he wrote on 5 November 1888 of 'the evidence of Schwartz at the inquest in Eliz. Stride's case' (HO 144/221/A49301C).  The proves that there was certainly no knowledge at Scotland Yard of any attempt to withhold Schwartz's evidence from the coroner.


Returning to the Maybrick diary, RJ Palmer offered up an interesting analogy in response to an accusation by Errorbitha that he was cherry picking from Mike's 1995 affidavit.  The allegation of cherry picking was that RJ was ignoring the supposed date of January 1990, when Mike was supposed to have acquired the scrapbook, preferring this to have occurred in March 1992, after he had acquired the red 1891 diary (which is the stated chronological sequence of events in the affidavit).  In the Incontrovertible thread (#6252), RJ posted in response to this allegation:

It's like a man saying "Five years ago, I bought a pair of ice skates. The first time out, I broke my ankle."

A receipt then turns up, showing the man bought his ice skates three years ago.

So do we now conclude that he broke his ankle two years before he bought his ice skates? Or do we acknowledge the two events were linked, he just got the year wrong?

I'd like to adopt that analogy but I think we need to add some extra layers to it.

Firstly, in my expanded analogy, it's not actually the man himself saying that he bought the pair of ice skates five years earlier, when he broke his ankle.  The information is, in fact, coming from a third party who didn't actually know the man in question at the time he broke his ankle, but had been told the story of the purchase of the pair of ice skates by the man, and was now attempting to relay that story to others. 

However, we need to bear in mind that the man in question was both drunk and incoherent while telling the story of the purchase to this third party.

And, even when sober, our man didn't have a very good memory or grasp of detail and had no documentary records to refresh his poor memory. 

Now, we also have to add into the mix that a newspaper had reported that the man's ankle had fully recovered a full four years earlier, based on what the man had told one of its reporters.  On that basis, it was literally impossible for the third party, assuming he had read that newspaper story, to conceive that the man had bought the ice skates only three years earlier.

Then, finally, we have to factor in that, two years prior to buying the pair of ice skates, the man in question had purchased a pair of roller skates and had fallen off those too when he first rode them and hurt his ankle.  For that reason, we can't be entirely sure which pair of skates the man was talking about at any particular time.

I feel certain that, taking all the above into question, no-one in their right mind would say that, when the third party stated that the man had bought his skates five years ago, this could be considered reliable information.

Yet, with the diary, some people seem to want to insist that Mike said in his 1995 affidavit (almost certainly drafted by Alan Gray) that he purchased the scrapbook five years earlier, in 1990, even though this was only what Alan Gray had evidently understood from some drunken and incoherent conversations he had had with him. 

Had Gray read the Liverpool Daily Post he would have seen it stated that Mike had brought the scrapbook to London in 1991 meaning that the purchase of the artifact couldn't possibly have occurred after that year. 

The expression "writing the diary" is ambiguous, having two possible meanings (drafting the text or hand writing the text into the scrapbook) and it's entirely possible that Mike said that he started writing the diary in 1990, which Gray interpreted as hand writing the text into the scrapbook, leading him to believe, quite understandably, that the scrapbook couldn't have been purchased any later than 1990.  

I suppose there is one more thing we should add to this.  Four years later, the man goes to a pub and tells the story to a group of people in his own words for the first time.  He makes clear that he bought some roller skates ten years earlier but, two years after this, purchased the ice skates from which he fell and broke his ankle.  Everyone, I think, would agree that it is highly likely that he purchased the ice skates eight years earlier, not ten years earlier as the third party's version of events had once stated.


On 8th March 2021, in a thread entitled 'Politicians Behind the Whitechapel Murders', Howard Brown posted an anonymous letter (by someone, presumably an American, signing as 'Vide Et Credi') published in the New York Evening World of 17 November 1888 speculating that the Whitechapel murders had been committed 'with the connivance of certain politicians, for ulterior purposes' .  The writer added that, 'one point has already been gained by forcing the resignation of Sir Charles Warren, against whose appointment originally a loud outcry was made by jealous rivals'.

Naturally, this was going to bring out the conspiracy loons, attracted like moths to the flame.  First off was 'Melville' who, apparently not understanding the word 'politicians', and not even seeming to understand that Howard had posted a letter from a member of the public, stated nonsensically (in #2):

'It is obvious that it is James Monro who is the subject of this article'.

It is, of course, not obvious at all.  Monro wasn't a politician, whereas the subject of the letter, as reflected in the headline, was politicians who had connived to commit the murders.  For the avoidance of doubt, Monro was also not a jealous rival of Sir Charles Warren at the time of his appointment.  There was never any suggestion that Monro would replace Sir Edmund Henderson as Commissioner of Police in February 1886, so that it follows that he did not make a jealous outcry at that time.  His relations with Sir Charles were, in fact, initially quite good during the first year of them working together.  

Nor had Monro even been appointed to replace Sir Charles Warren as at 17 November 1888 when the letter was published.  So why would 'Vide et Credi' have made Monro the subject of a letter of this sort?

One thing is certain.  Sir Charles was NOT removed from his post due to the Whitechapel murders.  The letter writer was quite mistaken. The reason for his resignation was because he stubbornly refused to accept that his actions were subject to the authority and control of the Home Secretary (specifically in respect of writing articles for publication).  The timing of his resignation letter as being written on the day before the murder of Mary Jane Kelly and being accepted by the Home Secretary the day after the murder was pure coincidence.

Next out of the blocks to talk nonsense was, of course, Simon Wood.  He posted (in #3):

'During the murders, Monro was at the Home Office as "head of the Secret Inquiry Department" or "head of the Detective Department".

Fact Check: FALSE.

I literally have no idea why Simon Wood thinks that Monro was ever described as being the head of the Detective Department during the period of the Whitechapel Murders.  He handed in his resignation as head of the Detective Department of the Metropolitan Police on 17 August 1888, as Simon Wood well knows.

I cannot think why Simon believes that Monro was described as the head of the Detective Department after his resignation.  He must have got himself confused by references to him in the press as "the late head of the Detective Department'.  I suppose if you take out the crucial word "late" then you have Monro being described as the head of the Detective Department!

I can see, incidentally, that Wood made exactly the same mistake in his book Deconstructing Jack, where he wrote:

'James Monro was whisked across Whitehall to the Home Office, and in early September was reported to be "head of the Secret Inquiry Department" or "head of the Detective Service".

He's obviously copied this out of his book into his JTR Forums post without thinking about whether it could possibly be true (although he seems to have given the matter enough thought to change the word "Service" to "Department").  But, of course, Monro wasn't being described as the head of either the Detective Service or the Detective Department during September 1888, unless in error.  He had been replaced by Robert Anderson.

But what this error does is to give the impression that being "head of the Secret Inquiry Department" was exactly the same thing as being the "head of the Detective Service" when the two things were completely different.   Edward Jenkinson had been the head of the Secret Inquiry Department at the Home Office from the Spring of 1884, while Howard Vincent was the head of the Detective Department of the Metropolitan Police. Jenkinson continued as head of the Secret Inquiry Department at the Home Office after Monro became head of the Detective Department at Scotland Yard, until he was replaced by Monro in January 1887.   

Ironically, Jenkinson WAS someone who had hoped to succeed Sir Edmund Henderson as Commissioner of Police in 1886 but his hopes were dashed when the job was handed to Warren.  But I'm talking about historical facts here, which some people just don't bother with.

Monro, between January 1887 and August 1888, was, therefore employed in two roles, as both the head of the Secret Inquiry Department responsible to the Home Office AND as the head of the Detective Department at Scotland Yard but, as I've mentioned, he resigned as the head of the Detective Department in August while continuing in his role as head of the Secret Inquiry Department, or Secret Agent, or whatever you want to call it.  This meant he received all intelligence about possible Fenian dynamite outrages being planned in the country and had control of all secret anti-Fenian operations outside of London. This was basically the same function that Edward Jenkinson performed between 1884 and 1887.  I set all this out in The Untold Story of the Special Branch for anyone interested in the details.

Now I don't actually know what point Wood is trying to make with his misrepresentation of Monro's job title but, considering that he was responding to someone who was claiming that Monro had a motive to commit the Whitechapel murders in order to remove Sir Charles Warren from the Commissionership of the Metropolitan Police, he seems to be implying that Monro was in a position of some considerable power during the period of the murders and, that being so, would have been in a position to instruct his team of secret detectives (of which he was supposedly the department head) to carry out a whole host of evil deeds, including murder. 

It's completely ludicrous of course.  During the period of the Jack the Ripper murders in 1888, at least after Tabram's murder, Monro had no responsibility for anything happening in London.  As noted in a Home Office memo dated 8 November 1888, he was only doing the 'provincial work' at that time.  During the Autumn of 1888, the policing of London - both the normal policing and the secret policing - was the responsibility of the Metropolitan Police under Sir Charles Warren as Chief Commissioner and Sir Robert Anderson as Assistant Commissioner of the Criminal Investigation Department.

Defying all concept of logic, Melville replied to Wood's post (in #4 of the thread) to say, quite astonishingly:

'Indeed Simon you are right.  Which confirms that Jack the Ripper was protected by a high personality of Scotland Yard'.

Even if Simon Wood had been correct in saying that  Monro was, during the period of the murders, both the head of the Secret Inquiry Department and the head of the Detective Service, which he wasn't, how does that take us to within even a million miles of confirming (confirming!!!! ) that Jack the Ripper was protected by a high personality of Scotland Yard?

There is just no logic at all in the claim being put forward here.  It is simply madness.

Monro's role at the Home Office - whatever it was - has no obvious connection with the Jack the Ripper murders, nor does it even have any connection which isn't obvious. 

The idea that Jack the Ripper was 'protected by a high personality of Scotland Yard' is nothing more than fantasy but, more than this, the idea that Simon Wood's post about how Monro had been described in the press could possibly confirm anything about at all about Jack the Ripper is more than bizarre.


20 March 2021