A Beautiful Mind: Jonathan Hainsworth and the Power of Imagination
Updated: Oct 13
Although I've written about the work of some interesting characters, of whom Simon Wood, Michael Hawley, Wolf Vanderlinden, Christer Holmgren and the extraordinary Tom Mitchell spring immediately to mind, I've always focussed on discussing their arguments, not them personally as individuals. With Jonathan Hainsworth, however, it has to be a little bit different because, when it comes to his interpretations of certain texts, it's not really possible to divorce those interpretations from the man himself. While it's not my aim to attack him personally - we are email buddies after all - it has to be said that he has the most extraordinary ability - or is it inability? - not to read the words of documents, and has somehow managed to convince himself that words don't matter because he knows what the writer was trying to say, whether in code or between the lines.
In my most recent email exchanges with him (see the epic More Letters to the Editor which followed the equally epic Letters to the Editor), when discussing the meaning of certain documents, I could only picture him with a broad beautific smile on his face, totally unconcerned about what the documents we were discussing actually said because, like any True Believer in a religious cult, he knows what they mean, despite what they actually say, and only he can grasp the full picture which cannot possibly be wrong because he has seen the light. I even said to him during the exchange that whenever I challenge him about the meaning of a particular part of a document he never quotes from that document in his replies, nor does he even address my quotes. His response to this observation was not to deny it but to make the trite comment: 'I never quote, but you never study; you see but do not observe'. The meaning of this, I guess, was that he doesn't need to quote from documents because his studies have lifted him above the need to understand mere human words and he operates on a much higher astral plane whereby he, like Michael Caine’s pretend Sherlock Holmes character in the film ‘Without a Clue’, observes the full picture, being able to ignore the trees and see only the wood which isn't really visible to the rest of us mere mortals.
It is this attitude, unfortunately, which actually leads him down a long garden path to a flower bed of his own imagination; an imaginary flower bed which, in reality, and sadly, is a junk yard.
In this article, I am going to deal with six documents which Jonathan Hainsworth has plainly and patently misunderstood and has thus misled himself in his understanding of what was going on with Macnaghten, Sims and Druitt. Before I do so, let's just consider Hainsworth's Grand Unified Theory for a moment.
Obviously, Hainsworth thinks that Macnaghten deliberately attempted to disguise Druitt's identity while, at the same time, wanting to reveal to the world that the identity of Jack the Ripper was known to the police. This itself is not an unreasonable argument although I don't personally think it can explain why Druitt was wrongly referred to as a doctor (or, as in the final version of his report, 'said to be a doctor') because I don't believe that he would deliberately have included false information in an official report likely intended for the eyes of the Home Secretary. But, even if I'm wrong about this, it doesn't really matter much. It would simply mean that Macnaghten was always aware that Druitt was a barrister and schoolteacher, which is unproblematic because that's what he was. It wouldn't have required any great amount of work on his part to have known this, bearing in mind that Druitt's family were supposed to have provided private information about Druitt, and it wouldn't help us one little bit in answering the question as to whether Druitt was or was not Jack the Ripper.
There's very little doubt that Macnaghten thought that Druitt was Jack the Ripper and he quite possibly encouraged Griffiths and Sims in this belief, with both of them publicizing the story of the doctor who killed himself in the Thames. But that really takes us no further in answering the question as to whether Druitt was Jack the Ripper.
Where I part company with Hainsworth is in his remarkably obsessive belief that, under the influence of Macnaghten, coded, cryptic or hidden messages about Druitt's guilt were being placed in the press between 1891 and 1898 and then in print in 1905 (with further somewhat cryptic or obscure messages appearing in print in 1910 and 1914, albeit not both in respect of Druitt). I think he's gone badly wrong about this, and I don't even understand what real motive Macnaghten & co could possibly have had for doing it although, even if Hainsworth were right in all cases, I can't see how it would make any difference to anything or even really matter. Let's say Mac, Sims and others were utterly convinced about Druitt's guilt, so that they wanted to place all these clues into books and newspapers, unless we know what that was based on, it doesn't seem to get us anywhere at all.
Anyway, let's look in chronological order at what Hainsworth has so obviously misunderstood.
1. The 1891 German Killer article
Although I already demolished his claims about the German killer in (currently unavailable articles from the old site), 'The Suspect Who Never Was', 'The Smoking Gun With No Smoke' and 'The Amazing Smokeless Gun', as recently as June 2023 on JTR Forums, Hainsworth has been misrepresenting the anonymous piece in the Referee of 1 November 1891. In #38 of the 'Sims article in the Referee, 24 August 1913' thread on JTR Forums, we find him saying this:
'In late 1891 a writer for "The Referee" (not Sims but likely his pal, J. T. Nesbitt) will postulate that the killer maybe rather like a German murderer: young, a brunette with a blonde moustache, a student of science but not a graduate in that subject, a genius at escaping detection, slight of build yet very strong.'
Some of that is just plain false.
The writer of the Referee column of 1 November 1891 did not say that the German murderer (or the Whitechapel murderer) was a brunette. On the contrary, the German murderer was described as having 'blonde hair and mustache'. The word 'brunette' wasn't mentioned once in the article so that, while the writer of the column said that the Whitechapel murderer wasn't necessarily blonde (because the hair colour was hardly an important consideration, and he could have had any hair colour), he was no more likely to have been brunette than ginger; and he could have had blonde hair like the German killer. Why does Hainsworth falsely insert the word "brunette" here? Simply because Druitt was a brunette and he's trying to suggest that the writer of the column was sending some kind of weird coded message to the readers of Referee that the murderer was a brunette like Druitt, perhaps to butter them up for when the truth would eventually be revealed (although virtually every single reader of the edition of the Referee 1 November 1891 would have been dead by the time it was revealed, seventy-four years later, that the suspect who drowned in the Thames was the brunette Montague John Druitt).
We can also see how Hainsworth takes the description of the German murderer as being 'about twenty years of age' and then says that it's basically the same as Druitt who was aged 31, simply because they were both "young".
Then we have the expression 'student of science'. Apart from being a false representation of what the Referee's columnist actually said, which was that the killer was likely to have been 'a student, a dabbler in science, an inquirer into the mysteries of the existence' , Druitt was not a student of science, or of anything, in 1888, and there is no evidence that he had ever been a student of science in his life. Hainsworth is building here on his own unfounded speculation that Druitt had once been a medical student and then equating the study of medicine with the study of science even though the Referee's columnist hadn't even said that the killer was a student of science, as opposed to a 'dabbler' in science, and would surely have expressly said he was a medical student had that been what was in his mind. Personally, I see it as the opposite. The student in question wasn't interested in studying science, he was more of a philosopher who had an amateur interest in science and the mysteries of existence.
One of my favourite ways that Hainsworth treats the description of the Berlin murderer is to describe him as 'a genius at escaping detection' as if he doesn't even need to mention that this applies to Druitt, whereas it only applies to Druitt if he actually was the Whitechapel murderer so that Hainsworth's argument that the Referee columnist was describing Druitt is perfectly circular. The same is true of the concept of 'slight of build yet very strong'. Just as there is no evidence that Druitt was a genius at escaping detection, so there is no evidence that he was 'very strong'. Yet Hainsworth seems to be working on the assumption that the columnist could only have been talking about Druitt in a coded way and, because he must also have attributed Ripper characteristics to Druitt, it's perfectly clear, according to Hainsworth, that Druitt was both a genius at escaping detection and very strong.
All the while, Hainsworth simply ignores facts which prove that the Referee's columnist wasn't talking about Druitt at all, the most obvious one being that the columnist speculated that Jack the Ripper might still be alive in 1891, poisoning women in Lambeth. That alone shows that the columnist did not have the long-deceased Druitt in mind and there is literally no reason why he should have done. Nothing in the piece suggests Druitt in any way.
In the same post, as we can see above, Hainsworth tells us that, 'In fact, the German case involved a suspect who was working class and not a student or a young gent'. Putting aside that the columnist didn't actually describe Jack the Ripper as having been a young gent, merely having described him as potentially 'refined in appearance', the fact that the German killer might have turned out to be working class is irrelevant because we can see what prompted the columnist to speculate that he might have been a student. It was based on his physical description, being that he was aged about 20 and was slightly built, and on the columnist's profiling of the murderer as someone who murdered women because they were intellectually curious and thus likely to be a young student which, of course, Montague Druitt was not in 1888.
In another post by Hainsworth in the same thread (#42), we are told that:
'The Referee reveals that the killer may be a young, English gent who has taken his own life (1891)'.
But that is a very deceptive way of putting it. As we've seen, when saying 'young' the writer meant early 20s, not early 30s. We can see here that Hainsworth removes the accurate word 'student' to replace it with 'gent' which is not a word used in the column. And, from out of nowhere, we are told that the Ripper was an 'English' gent even though at no time was it stated by the 1891 writer that he was speaking of a young English student, even if one can infer that this was probably the case.
But the worst of it is, 'who has taken his own life'. That's only true if it's acknowledged (which Hainsworth does not acknowledge) that he also may not have done and might still have been walking the streets of London murdering women with poison.
So Hainsworth has gone totally wrong but what does he say about what he thinks he has shown by the 1891 column? Well it seems to be no more than that it shows 'what these people knew and what they were prepared to share with the public'. But nothing was being shared with the public in the 1891 Referee article and the discerning reader would probably have come away from it thinking that Jack the Ripper was still alive, still committing murders with a different modus operandi.
2. The 1893 Poem
Having failed to establish that anyone other than Farquharson was talking in 1891 about someone who might have been Druitt as the Ripper, Hainsworth moves onto a poem written by George Sims in 1893 which he has badly misunderstood and misrepresented. In his second book he wrote that this poem was 'a pre-emptive strike' on Farquharson, 'who had shamefully blotted his copybook by putting Colonel Majendie's spotless reputation at risk'. This was because Farquharson had, according to Hainsworth, recklessly (and without Mac's permission!) given away clues as to the Ripper's identity so that the poem was an attempt to ensure that he never again returned to the subject of Jack the Ripper's identity (because the MP would have been too scared to do so having been thoroughly terrified by Sims' 'ruthless and hypocritical demolition' of him).
I was amused to find that Hainsworth made no mention of this poem in his June 2023 forum posts but he didn't back down about the significance of it during my email exchanges with him. Sadly, he failed to ask the members of JTR Forums for their views, as I suggested he do, probably indicating that he has no confidence that anyone will support his interpretation of the poem.
In his Referee column of 25 June 1893, Sims explained that Henry Farquharson, Tory MP for West Dorset (the defendant in defamation proceedings brought by his defeated Liberal opponent, Charles Gatty, after Farquharson had claimed during the 1892 general election campaign that Gatty had been expelled from Charterhouse School for immorality), had unsuccessfully put forward a privilege defence of his slander on the ground that his words were spoken in the heat of an election. Sims then had fun with that defence in his little poem called 'Personality in Politics' which is reproduced here in full:
It doesn’t matter what you call a rival candidate; You needn’t be particular in anything you state, For no remarks you choose to make, of course, have any weight If spoken in the heat of an election. He can’t object to have it said he was a wicked boy, Who killed his brother in a struggle for a toy, And threw the body on the ground and jumped on it for joy, If spoken in the heat of an election. There shouldn’t be a penalty for calling him a cad, Or hinting his behaviour to his wife had been so bad That she’d first attempted suicide and since gone raving mad, If spoken in the heat of an election. It ought to be allowable to cover him with shame, To hint he’s Jack the Ripper, or at least deserves the name; No words should be too slanderous for anyone to aim, If spoken in the heat of an election. But a stupid British jury didn’t see it quite that way, And in Gatty versus Farquharson defendant lost the day; And for his "words of reference" five thou. he'll have to pay, Though spoken in the heat of an election.
What we can see here with crystal clarity is that, when Sims referred to Jack the Ripper in the poem, it had nothing to do with the newspaper report from 1891 about what the West Country Tory MP (later revealed to be Farquharson) had said about Jack the Ripper having been a son of a surgeon. That is a pure coincidence. For what Sims was saying here was that, if Farquharson's legal defence had been a good one, any election candidate could say anything they wanted about a rival candidate without any sanction as long as it was said in the heat of an election. Thus, they could say that the rival candidate had killed his brother as a child, that he was a cad and his wife was mad and even that he was Jack the Ripper without any legal consequence. As Sims said, 'No words should be too slanderous for anyone to aim if spoken in the heat of an election'.
For some peculiar reason, Hainsworth doesn't understand this. As we've seen, he thinks that Sims was chastising Farquharson for his actual reported 1891 comments about Jack the Ripper. But this interpretation makes literally no sense. In 1891, Farquharson hadn't accused any named or identifiable individual of being Jack the Ripper (and the person he said was the Ripper was stated to have died in any case) so that there was no question of any slander and thus no need for any defence to slander. Furthermore, the person accused of being Jack the Ripper wasn't a rival candidate of anyone. There hadn't even been a general election in 1891, so any sort of accusation of anyone being Jack the Ripper obviously wasn't done 'in the heat of an election' which is the entire point of the poem!
What is perfectly clear is that Sims was talking about a hypothetical situation in the future where anyone (not just Farquharson) could call their rival candidate Jack the Ripper and get away with it scot-free, without paying any damages, as long as it was done during the heat of an election. He was, in other words, highlighting in rhyme the absurdity of Farquarson's legal defence.
Not only was this nothing to do with the 1891 Jack the Ripper story but there is no reason to think that Sims was an in any way influenced by what Farquharson was reported to have said in 1891 (even if he was aware that the West Country MP had been identified as Farquharson). The two issues are totally separate.
In his own commentary following the poem, Sims stated that, 'There really is no reason why personal matters should be dragged into an election', adding that, 'A man's private life, unless it is a criminal one, has nothing to do with his fitness as a politician...'. Everything he said on the subject related to what was said during an election. He was laser focused on that subject and that subject only. He wasn't thinking about comments made two years earlier when there was no election!
We can all work out what Hainsworth has done. He's seen George Sims mention Jack the Ripper in the context of a story about Henry Farquharson and leapt to the conclusion that it must be connected with what Farquharson said about Jack the Ripper in 1891 without giving the matter any proper thought. He obviously didn't consider the entire poem and, indeed, when discussing the matter in his book, the first twelve lines of the poem (and the last two) have been excised, making it impossible for his readers to work out what it means.
Even when I explained to him in the clearest possible terms what the poem means, he wouldn't back down or admit that he was wrong. Instead, I was told this:
'Historical methodology means you have to measure every source with every other source. Farquharson is the MP who first leaked the solution of the unnamed Druitt. Mac and Sims want that quashed by ridiculing him for that too - in case it came up again. It's really brutal when you consider they agreed with him about Montie. Sims is simply saying that the MP is a notorious ninny. Because you are a literalist (but, but he has not accused a rival!) you are not strong at deducing the nuances of primary sources that are created with competing purposes.'
It's a nonsensical response, accusing me of being 'a literalist' by saying that the poem only makes sense in respect of an accusation against a rival candidate during the heat of an election, which is obviously the case and precisely what the poem says. You will see that in his response to me, Hainsworth totally ignored the words of the poem. He didn't quote a single line of it! He had no interest in discussing the words used by Sims. How is it possible to discuss textual interpretation of a poem when one ignores the poem itself?
Instead, Hainsworth fell back on the simplistic and plain wrong argument that because Farquharson was the MP who first leaked the solution of the unnamed Druitt in 1891 this by itself means that when Sims ridiculed the idea that a parliamentary candidate could hint that a rival candidate was Jack the Ripper, he must have been referring to the 1891 'leak'. But it's obvious from the words of the poem that Sims was addressing something totally different. The mention of Jack the Ripper is a coincidence. It's just the most obvious way of making the point about an extreme type of accusation that would be permissible if Farquharson's defence was allowed to stand.
3. Nisbet's suspect in 1894
So we've now hit 1894, three years after Farquharson's revelation in the press, and the sad fact for Hainsworth is that there hasn't been a single public comment about that revelation by anyone, least of all by Sims. It's like Sims wasn't even aware of Druitt at this time!
But the keen eye of Hainsworth has found a possible mention in the Referee of 9 December 1894, although in his JTR Forums post in June 2023 (#42) he mistakenly dated it to 1895 when he included in his list of 'spillage' of Macnaghten 'posthumously' (but I think he meant retrospectively) taking credit for identifying Jack the Ripper:
"that the respectable family has tried to hush up the ghastlly truth' (J. F. Nesbitt, 1895)"
For Hainsworth, a story in which a respectable family attempted to hush up the ghastly truth of one of their relatives being Jack the Ripper can only have been a reference to the Druitt family, inspired by Macnaghten, using Nisbet as his puppet. But this is a mere assumption. It's not clear who Nisbet (assuming him to be the anonymous Referee columnist) was speaking of in this column. It certainly doesn't look like it was Druitt because what Nisbet also said about him was:
'The story that the Whitechapel murderer was eventually shut up in a lunatic asylum by his friends, and that he has since died there, I can well believe'.
That, of course, is not Druitt. The key essence of the Druitt story was that he drowned in the Thames. This is saying something completely different.
Earlier in the same year, there had been multiple stories reported in the press that Jack the Ripper had been confined in a lunatic asylum, albeit that this turned out to be Cutbush who was still alive.
While it is true that Nisbet also wrote that:
'I understand that the relatives of Jack the Ripper did at last know or suspect the truth about their charge, though for reasons that can be well understood, they preferred to hush up the affair'
this doesn't necessarily mean that Nisbet had Druitt in mind. There could easily have been another story in circulation about a man suspected of being Jack the Ripper who was confined to a lunatic asylum with the suspicions being hushed up by the family.
In fact, you will note that it is here the "relatives" of Jack the Ripper who were doing the hushing up. If Nisbet was talking about Druitt, it makes a nonsense of one of Hainsworth's big points that when Griffiths and Sims wrote about the unnamed Druitt, it was his "friends" (not family) who entertained doubts about him. So you see, when it's "relatives" who are involved in the story it's Druitt, when it's "friends" it's also Druitt, making the need to disguise relatives with friends redundant.
Ultimately, even if Nisbet had heard a story about Druitt being the Ripper, and that his guilt had been covered up by his family, what purpose was being served by saying that he'd died in a lunatic asylum? What purpose was served by publicizing the fact that the man's relatives had tried to hush the whole thing up when this was supposed to be one of the things Macnaghten, Sims and Griffiths were trying to hide?
While this isn't Hainsworth's most egregious misreading of a document, he still doesn't confront the fact that, on the surface, it doesn't really appear that Nisbet was talking about Druitt.
4. Logan in 1905
There is no doubt that Arthur Griffiths publicly revealed in late 1898 that an insane doctor had disappeared immediately after the last Ripper murder and that his body was found floating in the Thames on 31 December 1888 - and we now know that this was Druitt. A few weeks later, in January 1899, George Sims wrote that the real Jack committed suicide after the horrible mutilation of the woman in the house in Dorset-street, Spitalfields, by drowning himself in the Thames, the first time he had mentioned this fact. In 1902, he wrote that the Ripper had at least once, possibly twice, been in an asylum, and that his friends were trying to locate him at the time his body was found in the Thames. In March 1903, he wrote that the genuine Jack was a doctor whose body was found in the Thames on 31 December 1888. In April 1903, he wrote that 'the body of the man suspected by the chiefs at the Yard, and by his own friends, who were in communication with the Yard, was found in the Thames'.
So when Guy Logan wrote a fictional story about the Jack the Ripper murders in 1905 concerning an insane doctor who escaped from an asylum to commit the murders and ended up drowning in the Thames (albeit not by suicide), he had all the information he needed from publicly available sources on which to base his character of Mortemer Slade, if he desired to do so. According to Logan himself, that character was based on a real surgeon who went mad and had been committed to an asylum but escaped. I don't see any reason, other than the fact that the surgeon hasn't been identified, to doubt this story but it doesn't really matter if it was a cover story and that Logan simply didn't want to admit to taking the well-known story of the anonymous insane doctor who drowned in the Thames and using it for the basis of his novel.
There's certainly nothing in the character of Mortemer Slade that can be linked to the real life Druitt - they are completely different individuals - certainly nothing about the real Druitt is revealed in the story - and it's amusing that the way Hainsworth describes Logan's story in his June 2023 post is as follows:
'In 1905, a literary hack and crony of Sims, Guy Logan, creates the serial "The True History of Jack the Ripper", in which the Druitt figure, an English gentleman doctor in his late 30's named Mortemer Slade, murderously escapes from a plush, private asylum and acts as much like Professor Moriarty as a serial killer of Whitechapel sex workers. The police close at either end of a bridge as Slade fights with a charming, handsome private detective before they are both killed by a bolt of lightning and what's left of the pair falls into the river.'
Other than to call Mortemer Slade 'the Druitt figure', this summary is actually reasonably accurate!
Yet, at the same time, there's nothing in there to link Slade to Druitt. Druitt wasn't an English gentleman doctor. He wasn't in his late 30s. As a working barrister who regularly appeared in court during 1888 up to shortly before his disappearance, he obviously didn't escape from an asylum to commit the Whitechapel murders. He wasn't killed in a fight with a private detective on a bridge over the Thames.
I assume that Hainsworth can't shake from his mind the (utterly false and fanciful) notion he has expressed in his book that the character of Logan's private detective was based on and/or inspired by Melville Macnaghten which he why he stresses that this character, Edmund Blake, was charming and handsome - as if Logan had any reason to portray Macnaghten in this way - but it's nothing more than a fantasy on Hainsworth's part as opposed to one on the part of Macnaghten and/or Logan.
Furthermore, Hainsworth ignores the differences between the two men. Edmund Blake, was 'only thirty years of age'. At the time Macnaghten is supposed by Hainsworth to have solved the Ripper murders in February 1891, he was 37 years old. Furthermore, the first Ripper murder in Logan's book, which Blake immediately spots would likely be the first of a series, was of Martha Tabram, who Macnaghten categorically ruled out as being killed by the Ripper. Indeed, following the Tabram murder, Blake receives a 'Jack the Ripper' letter from the actual murderer dated 12th August 1888! The idea that Logan was writing a story about Macnaghten solving the Ripper murders is, therefore, preposterous. Blake, whose office comprised a suite of four rooms in Gower Street, with a housekeeper/cook, is obviously based on Sherlock Holmes and has nothing to do with Macnaghten at Scotland Yard.
While he didn't go any further with his Logan comments on the forum, Hainsworth nevertheless told me in email that he still believes that Logan had some inside information about Druitt which he incorporated into his story, but there is no foundation for such a belief.
5. Anderson in 1910
Although not in the same category as the others because it's not about Druitt in any way, this is one of the most bizarre misunderstandings which have found their way into Hainsworth's beautiful mind. Read the following passage from Anderson's 1910 memoir, 'The Lighter Side of My Official Life' (pp. 224-5) and tell me what you think he is saying:
'The public never realised what a marvellous escape Mr. Gladstone had in April, 1893, when the lunatic Townsend, with a loaded revolver in his pocket, lay in wait for him in Downing Street. A lunatic is often diverted from his purposes easily as a child; and the man’s own explanation of his failing to fire was that the Premier smiled at him when passing into No. 10 – a providential circumstance that, for Mr. Gladstone was not addicted to smiling. That case cost me much distress of mind. “Never keep a document,” should be the first rule of a criminal. “Never destroy a document”, should be the inexorable rule in Police work. But in this case I had destroyed a letter that would have provided an important piece of evidence. I have always ignored threatening letters myself and I have had my share of them; and when one of my principal subordinates brought me a letter threatening his life, I felt so indignant and irritated at the importance he attached to it, and the fuss he made over it, that I threw it into the fire. That letter was from Townsend, and though no harm came of it, I could not forgive myself for it.'
It seems very clear to me. Anderson foolishly ignored the advice of his subordinate (Macnaghten) to take an assassination threat seriously, even destroying the threatening letter, and, when an assassination attempt of the prime minister by that same individual actually occurred, he realized the terrible error he had made for which he couldn't forgive himself.
The subordinate is the obvious hero of the story who was proved right, but Hainsworth told me during our emails:
'You do realise that Anderson in his memoir calls Mac a coward, albeit without naming him, but Mac knew.'
He also told me that Anderson accused Mac of having 'nerves of jelly'.
WTF? Cowardice? Nerves of jelly?
Where is this accusation of cowardice in the above cited passage?
It doesn't exist, does it?
Even if Anderson was, at the time, prior to the attempt on the life of the prime minister, irritated by the seriousness with which his subordinate took the threat to his own life, he makes clear that Macnaghten was proved to be correct in having taken it seriously.
With respect to the above-cited passage, Hainsworth also said:
'In his 1910 memoir, Anderson tells a story about an abortive assassination attempt on PM Gladstone. He blames the near death of the PM on a subordinate, unnamed, who was so shamefully nervous and worried about his own safety from this lunatic that he dismissed the threat out of disgust. In his copy, Swanson writes that the officer was Mac. I know, what an appalling and unconvincing excuse. It also shows how much he loathed Mac; his junior was correct to take the threat seriously - yet not only he is not given credit, he is blamed!'
How is it possible to read the passage in this way? Where do we see it said that the subordinate was 'nervous and worried about his own safety'? Where do we see that the subordinate is blamed for anything, let alone the near death of the prime minister? Surely Anderson was blaming himself, which is why he said in the clearest possible terms that he couldn't forgive himself.
It's this kind of interpretation of a text that leads me to the sad conclusion that Mr Hainsworth has become somewhat detached from reality, reading things that he wants to read rather than things are actually there.
6. Macnaghten in 1914
In June 1913, Macnaghten gave a press conference to mark his retirement in which he stated that:
'It is one of the greatest regrets of my life that 'Jack the Ripper' committed suicide six months before I joined the force'.
During the same month, he was quoted in the Morning Post as saying:
'I have two great regrets in my life - one is that I was not allowed to play in the match against Harrow, having been turned out of the Eleven before the match, and the other that I joined the CID six months after the Whitechapel murderer committed suicide and I never had a go at him'.
In the preface of his 1914 memoir, "Days of my Lives", Macnaghten wrote:
'A contented mind is a continual feast, and one should always be prepared to accept the bitters of life along with the sweets. It was said once by an enterprising journalist that I only owned up to two disappointments, the first being that, although I played in several trial matches, I was turned out of the Eton Eleven before the Harrow match, and the second that I became a detective officer six months after the so-called ''Jack the Ripper" committed suicide, and I never had a go at that fascinating individual. But the readers—if any take the trouble to peruse the following pages—will be able to judge for themselves as to my "days" and how they have been spent.'
What Mac was obviously saying there, consistent with his 1913 retirement comment, and consistent with the quote in the Morning Post, was that life provides ups and downs and, in his own life, two of the downs - the two biggest regrets of his life - were not playing cricket for Eton against Harrow and not being at Scotland Yard during the Whitechapel murders which meant that he couldn't solve the case himself. However, in his book, he wasn't going to focus on the things he hadn't done, only on the the things he had done.
It's real simple and real obvious. But not for Hainsworth. In his first book, he wrote that, 'Every previous writer on this subject has misinterpreted these lines as meaning that Macnaghten said he had two regrets, whereas he is actually denying he had made any such comment'.
But no, he's not. He's saying that he did have two regrets, the two stated.
The reason that Hainsworth has deceived and deluded himself is because he's noted that Mac has used the same expression, 'enterprising journalist', that Anderson had used a few years earlier to describe the person who created the fake Jack the Ripper correspondence and, as a result, he thinks that what Mac was saying was that the quote about his two regrets was an invention by this 'enterprising journalist' even though one of them had been expressly confirmed by Macnaghten in his retirement speech.
The fact of the matter is that Macnaghten was using 'enterprising' in its normal sense of the word. The journalist had been enterprising for finding out from Macnaghten the two regrets of his life. That's all it means.
Yet, from this misunderstanding, Hainsworth builds an elaborate story that:
'...the introduction to "Days of My Years" contains several deflective lies: Mac claims that a reporter made up his comment about the killer having taken his life exactly six months before he started at the Yard. In fact, Mac had said this in 1913, and six months is about right for the date of the suicide of Montie Druitt.'
It's kinda nuts, this. Macnaghten was actually confirming that the Ripper committed suicide six months before he started at the Yard, not denying it. For Hainsworth, Mac was, for some convoluted reason, trying to backdate the suicide to early November, not early December, but it's really all in his imagination, all in his beautiful mind.
What's so ludicrous is that, when discussing a genuinely interesting document - the Sims article from 24 August 1913 - Hainsworth can't help himself from losing focus and posting about all the other nonsense he thinks was going on with Sims and Macnaghten et al. Even worse, in respect of the most interesting bit of what Sims said in 1913, namely that the police were given Druitt's photograph and identified him as a man associating with prostitutes in Whitechapel, Hainsworth posted in the thread devoted to the article that this story was entirely false! Thus, in #5 he wrote:
'For the first time we glimpse the police investigation - or as Chris and I believe, Macnaghten's solo investigation of 1891 - of the deceased Druitt in the East End, and confirmation of his visits there by so-called "fallen women". We have long established that "friends" stands in for "family" (at the very least brother William) who have to be involved to provide the photo of Montie to the police'.
How he does like to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory! Here in Sims' 1913 article we have one solid reason why the police in 1888 might have suspected Druitt of being Jack the Ripper, albeit after his death, and Hainsworth wants to tell us that it's all just a lie by Sims. It didn't happen this way at all, he says. No, for Hainsworth, Sims was actually describing Macnaghten's 'solo investigation' in 1891 whereby, despite being a Chief Constable who would have been needed every day at Scotland Yard to assist Robert Anderson, HE showed Druitt's photograph to some prostitutes and personally managed to establish that they knew Druitt.
So that only means that Sims' story is a lie and can't be relied upon.
Sure, in #17, Hainsworth had second thoughts, having belatedly understood the importance of the photograph story after an RJ Palmer post, saying:
'Yet, Roger could still be right too; the investigation of Druitt in 1888 did involve showing his picture after he went missing.'
Well hooray. With the landlady story now known to be BS (see the blog post The Lodger and the Landlady), with no relevance to Druitt even if true, the photograph story is the one important piece of information contained in the article. It explains why the police might indeed have suspected Druitt in 1888, before his body was found in the Thames, as Macnaghten arguably implied in his draft report ('I enumerate the cases of 3 men against whom Police held very reasonable suspicion') and as Griffiths suggested in his book ('the police, after the last murder, had bought their investigations to the point of strongly suspecting several persons'). Sims himself had, fourteen years earlier, stated that, if Druitt hadn't committed suicide, he would have been arrested and, as we've seen, in 1903 he had said that Druitt was 'the man suspected by the chiefs at the Yard'. There is a certain consistency in this and one can see how Druitt might well have been a contemporary suspect after he went missing in December if his friends or family had decided to inform the police of their suspicions that he was the Whitechapel murderer. To my mind, it's a reasonable possibility and it's a shame that Hainsworth seems to prefer another interpretation of Sims' account which, by involving a lie, seems to takes us further away from getting to the bottom of the case.
LORD ORSAM 30 September 2023