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  • Lord Orsam

Lord Orsam's Diary PART 2

Updated: Jun 10

Thursday 16 November 1993

No better reason as to why all the documents in this case need to be released for public scrutiny can be found than in a post made by the Chief Diary Defender within an hour of publication of Lord Orsam's Diary this morning.

Remember that only yesterday the Assistant Chief Diary Defender had posted confidently that 'when interviewed outside Battlecrease House in 2016 (or so)', Eddie Lyons, 'admitted to having been in Battlecrease House on that fatal morning'.

In my diary, published earlier today, I had already said that this purported admission must have been in 2018, not 2016. This is now confirmed by the Chief Diary Defender. But, in addtion, she now appears to confirm that there never was any such admission by Lyons. It's just an inference that he was there on 9 March 1992, while nothing whatsoever appears to have been said by him about having been there during the morning specifically.

Here is what we are told by the Chief Diary Defender in the (mysterious) absence of the transcript of the 2018 interview with Eddie:

'He freely admitted to helping out on a two-day rewire job at the house, which had been allocated to Arthur and involved floorboards being raised. His description of the work and who else was there could only have applied to that first visit in March 1992, and no other later jobs, including when he was there in July 1992. Following the rewire, the storage heaters had been installed on the first floor in the June, so Eddie had to be talking about the March rewire, to prepare for that installation.'

So Eddie has "admitted" to nothing more than helping out on a rewire job at the house, on a date which he can't recall. It is inferred by the Chief Diary Defender, from what Eddie has supposedly said about that job, that it must have been the job done on 9 March 1992. That may be a very good inference (or it may not be) but it's still very different from Eddie having admitted to having been working there on 9 March 1992 let alone during the morning of 9 March 1992 which is what we were categorically told yesterday, with no possible way of checking it, by Tom Mitchell.

We know that Mitchell has been given access to certain bits of secret unpublished information so one can never know if he is speaking from an informed position or muddling up something he's vaguely misremembered.

Like I say, you really cannot get a better example of why the full transcripts of Eddie's 2015, 2016 and 2018 interviews need to be made available. Because, after all, we are relying on Eddie's memory as to what was done during the job in question. Has he been led to say certain things? Had anyone put false memories into his head during the interviews? Without seeing the transcripts we just don't know.

We also need to see what the description of the work he gave was and who else he said was there. It's not good enough for us to have to rely on the Chief Diary Defender to tell us that SHE has concluded that the work Eddie described, and the other people he said were there, must mean he was describing work done on 9th March 1992. We need to check this for ourselves.

At the moment, it's difficult to understand what Eddie said in 2018 that was in any way different from what he already said to James Johnston in 2015/16. From the snippets provided to me by James Johnston on the Forum in 2018, Eddie had told him in one of the earlier interviews that 'Arthur was there'. He was also asked by James if he could remember another electrician with the initials of J.K. (sic) to which he didn't respond directly but said he did remember a young electrician being there whose name he couldn't recall. This was taken by Johnston to be James Coufopolous. From the limited transcript extracts provided, Eddie also told Johnston that he thought the work he had done involved 'storage heaters or something...Basically it was some heaters...we had the floorboards up....I think we was, we worked on the first floor, the ground floor and then there was a cellar underneath...I don't think we actually done any work in the cellar...I think we had the floorboards up, on maybe the first floor...I think we were just sent there maybe to get us out of the way for an hour, a couple of hours because they didn't have enough work, or it was one of them places you know. I think I was only there a day or two, I can’t remember. It’s that long ago I can’t even think what, I just know it had something to do with putting the heaters in or something.'

Asked a couple of leading questions by James Johnston, Eddie then said it could have been storage heaters tthat wwere being installed and that this would probably have involved taking the floorboards up.

What I'm wondering, then, is whether Eddie was able to expand on any of this from his memory during the 2018 interview or did he simply repeat all of the above?

For all we know, James Johnston and Keith Skinner re-interviewed Eddie in 2018 hoping to get an admission from him that he was there on 9 March 1992 and failed miserably, with Robert Smith putting a brave spin on it in his 2019 book to the effect that Eddie had admitted being there when it was really only an inference from what he said he remembered doing. It's certainly strange that neither Johnston nor Skinner have ever given their account of the 2018 meeting nor has any footage of it been released nor has a transcript been made available, with no reason ever given for this suppression of this key interview.

What else did Eddie say? Did he say things that the diary defenders don't want us to hear which cast doubt on the theory he found the diary?

That Eddie failed to admit to having been at Battlecrease on 9 March 1992 is entirely confirmed by the Chief Diary Defender's carefully crafted next sentence:

'It has been questioned why Eddie would have admitted to his presence when the floorboards were up if he had something to hide.'

So there we have it. He admitted to being there when the floorboards were up. Something he had already said had happened when he spoke to James Johnston in February 2016. THAT is what he admitted to in 2018 per the Chief Diary Defender herself. The same thing he had already admitted to some years earlier. There can be no doubt that if he had admitted in his 2018 interview to having been there on 9 March 1992, the Chief Diary Defender would have written: 'It has been questioned why Eddie would have admitted to his presence on 9 March 1992 if he had something to hide'.

Remember that the Assistant Chief Diary Defender told us categorically that Eddie had 'admitted to having been in Battlecrease House on that fatal morning'.  This turns out to be untrue both in that he didn't expressly admit to having been there at any time on 9 March 1992 and didn't mention anything about having been there during the morning of any day (unless something is being hidden from us).

As for when floorboards were lifted in Battlecrease, I have no idea if they were lifted during July 1992. None at all and I don't know how the Chief Diary Defender knows if they were or were not. It would actually make some kind of sense if they were because it is supposedly on one day in July that Eddie told Brian Rawes that he had found something under the floorboards. One massive problem with the diary defenders' logic is that they tell us that Eddie wasn't working in Battlecrease during week commencing 13 July and that Arthur wasn't working there during week commencing 20 July but this is purely on the basis of the Daywork sheets (aka timesheets) which they tell us are not accurate and cannot be relied upon in respect of who was working at Battlecrease on 9 March. So why can we rely on them being accurate in July? If floorboards were lifted during July then it would seem entirely possible that Eddie, Arthur, Jim Bowling and James Coufopolos were all there together on one day in that month and that this is the day Eddie has a vague memory of. I'm not saying that this is what Eddie was saying but, at the moment, I struggle to see how we can be quite certain that he was not.

Why don't they just release the transcript?

Going back to the Chief Diary Defender's comment: 'It has been questioned why Eddie would have admitted to his presence when the floorboards were up if he had something to hide.' It was me who questioned this and I do admire how she is able, in her answer, to ignore what I said about it. For her explanation is that:

'he could not have known about any existing records putting him there, and he couldn't be expected to remember the date, or to know that Mike had opened his trap about JtR's diary on the same afternoon and this was down on the record.'

Yeah, but that doesn't deal with what I said about it which is that Eddie could simply have said he didn't remember whether any floorboards were lifted or not when he was working there. If he did that, he could not have then been caught out in a lie, whatever records were available. Why would he have admitted to something which incriminated him when he didn't have to?

Her answer is also illogical. The question, remember, was why did he admit to remembering floorboards coming up. But, in her answer, she says that he couldn't be expected to remember 'the date', by which I can only assume she means the date he found the diary. But that's not the point. He would have known, would he not, that the diary was found under the floorboards. So that would surely have been one thing not to admit to remembering.

It doesn't matter whether he would or would not have appreciated the significance of Mike having contacted Doreen on 9 March 1992, although by 2018 it would have showed an incredible lack of interest in the diary story for someone who supposedly discovered it, bearing in mind that this information had been publicly available for many years. Yet, the Chief Diary Defender's theory is that he was 'on a fishing expedition for information'. Not only is this another reason for the transcripts of his interviews to be released - do they in fact show him fishing for information in any way from his questioners? - but it's inconsistent with him being unaware of the significance of the date of 9 March 1992. I mean, if he was so curious for information about the diary, he would only have needed to spend 5 minutes on the internet in 2018 to discover all the answers to any question he could ever have dreamt of.

So I don't buy her 'fishing expedition' theory and it's typical of her that someone who is prepared to be helpful to the diary investigation by kindly and generously turning up to all meetings requested of him,, and giving answers to all questions asked of him, has his motives impugned and he is called a liar. All because he didn't provide the information that the Chief Diary Defender so desperately wants to hear about him having found the diary under the floorboatrds. The reason why he didn't say it is because (and listen carefully) it. did. not. happen.

A little later, JTR Forums Admin opens up the diary thread on JTR Forums following my observation that no one was allowed to respond to Robert Smiths's self-serving statement about his book. It's a funny thing but I guess that Smith must be suffering from the same finger disability which has afflicated Keith Skinner. Despite having posted plenty of online posts in the past, Smith seems to have lost the ability to do so in 2023 and now relies on the Chief Diary Defender to forward his comments to JTR Forums Admin to be posted on his behalf. Likewise, Keith Skinner only ever posts through Casebook Admin, the Chief Diary Defender or her assistant. It's almost like these guys are scared of what people will say to them in response.

In another welcome development, Steve Blomer questions Simon Wood about his 'MJK didn't exist' comments and Wood replies in typically cryptic fashion with the remark that 'Nobody died in Millers Court'. He directs Steve to read the end of his book 'Secret History'. Well I have read this entire book and it is not in any way even said in it that nobody died in Millers Court, let alone explained how such a thing is conceivably possible. In his book he claims, without any proper basis, that what is shown in the photographs is an anatomical dummy but that's as far as he goes (and he is unable to explain why photographs were taken of an anatomical dummy). On page 689 of his book, he asks 'who or what' the police and doctors had been examining in Room 13. Not only does he not answer this question in the book, but, by including 'who' as a possibility, he is evidently allowing for them to have been examining a dead human female. I guarantee that anyone splashing out £23 for this book will not understand what Wood means when he says that nobody died in Millers Court.

Wood replies to Blomer saying: 'Why should I spend five years researching and writing a book, only to give its arguments away for free on the internet?' So the truth is revealed. When posting to say that Mary Jane Kelly didn't exist he had no interest in trying to persuade anyone of this claim. He was was simply spamming two forums and disrupting Richard H's threads in order to market his book and make money. I wouldn't mind so much if someone who went ahead and paid £23 would then discover what he means when he now says that Mary Jane Kelly didn't exist. But it won't be discovered in the book.

As for the idea that his chapter on Kelly is the result of five years of research, do me a favour. I could have knocked that rubbish up in a weekend. There is no evidence of any research on Kelly. He might have done some research into the Millers Court photographs, or rather complied the research of others, but it's not like he's discovered anything at all about Kelly. So why does he expect anyone to have to pay simply to find out what he's talking about?

In spamming the boards in order to market his book, how is he any better than a common spammer? At least try and hide it by setting out the basics of a theory. At least explain how it's possible that nobody died in Millers Court in circumstances where a large number of civilians, police officers and medical men all saw the body lying in the room. Then what about the coroner's jury? They would have viewed the body, wouldn't they? That was normal procedure. So how is what Wood is now saying on the board even possible?

At the end of a long day of incident on the boards, almost remeniscent of an Orsam Day of old, I must just return to something the Chief Diary Defender said earlier. This is that:

'We do know that Mike was already referring to someone as a mate, in connection with the diary, before Feldman ever heard of anyone called Eddie Lyons, or could have been the cause of these two scallywags meeting for the first time. Now who could that mate have been?'

What she's referring to is an incident when Martin Howells was questioning Mike in February 1993 and said, 'We believe you got the diary from Tony, but there must be more' to which Mike, according to Paul Feldman, replied, 'Would you split on a mate?' It was in response to this statement that Anne famously said 'Did you nick it, Mike?'.

According to the Chief, Eddie is the mate in question, although if such a person existed it is more likely to be Anne, but what I like about this episode is that, when it suits her, the Chief Diary Defender will happily rely on something Mike has said. Rather than dismiss the 'mate' as another fictional character invented by the man she regards as a liar, Mike Barrett, he has now suddenly said something truthful and spilled the beans for no good reason.

The Chief Diary Defender's theory doesn't really make much sense because Howells had just told him that he believed his story that the diary came from Tony. He just thought that Mike knew more about where Tony got it from. So why would Mike suddently have buckled at this point to mention his mate (supposedly Eddie Lyons) who had stolen the diary and illicitly sold it to him? I can't see any good reason, and, in the absence of a single piece of evidence that Mike and Eddie knew each other before 1993, it cannot be anything other than wild and hopeful speculation.

Friday 17 November 2023

For a classic example of how diary defenders refuse to accept even the most obvious facts, how about this sentence posted by the Chief Diary Defender:

'If the argument here is that because an article has Mike Barrett's name attached to it, we are obliged to conclude that it was written by him, and him alone, when all the evidence screams: "Oh no it wasn't!", and even Mike admitted he needed help, does the rule then extend to a piece of written work with Jack the Ripper's name attached to it?'

So an article published in a national magazine with the byline 'Mike Barrett' or 'Michael Barrett' cannot be taken to have been written by Mike Barrett just because it has his name on it? Okay.

This is, of course, the same person who once sugggested that 'Mike Barrett' and 'Michael Barrett' might have been different people, both writing for Celebrity. I am seriously not kidding.

I wouldn't mind but the argument against her is that Mike was responsible for the interviews and articles but he got assistance from his wife. No one is saying that he did everything on his own. On the contrary, it's evidence that Mike and Anne were a writing team.

The fact that the Chief Diary Defender starts off by questioning whether an article which has Mike Barrett name attached to it was written by Mike Barrett, and then moves on to a false equivalence whereby she claims to be making the same argument as someone who challenges whether a diary signed 'Jack the Ripper' is real, is beyond absurd.

And, of course, in all of this distraction the original point is lost. Her good friend Robert Smith had claimed, as a fact, that Mike's articles were written by a sub-editor. It was just delusional diary defender wishful thinking conjuring up a mythical ghost writer for which there is no evidence and no good reason.

Following up on her refusal to accept the plain obvious we then had this even worse statement:

'What evidence is there that it was Mike or Anne who 'splurged' all that money on the word processor? Could it not have been a loan from her father, for instance? There is no denying that Mike had writing ambitions, but efforts to deny that they were way above his natural ability will not wash, because we are awash with actual evidence for it.'

I guess that I didn't purchase my property because I got a mortgage from a building society. If i'd taken a loan from a family member - even though a 'loan' implies the need for it to be paid back - it's not me spending that money, it's the family member.

Honestly, one depairs! What evidence is there is that it was Mike who bought the word processor? Only his flipping signature on the certificate of purchase against the price of £458.85. What evidence does she need?

Then in response to RJ Palmer's demolition of Robert Smith's recent statement, she tells RJ to contact Smith directly, thus gaslighting us all into forgetting that only a few days ago SHE had caused a statement from her good friend Smith, made in response to a question asked on JTR Forums, to be posted on JTR Forums via JTR Forums Admin. Yet when someone attempts to reply to that statement she can no longer contact Smith and Smith can no longer apparently read online posts himself. Suddenly, one can only go direct to Smith off the board. Just another example of shocking diary defender behaviour.

At the end of the day, RJ Palmer posts an interesting extract from the 2022 Jones & Dolgin book which only highlights why the transcripts of the interviews with Eddie Lyons urgently need to be made public. The extract from the book says that at some point during Eddie's first conversation with Mike, when Mike came round to his house, Mike 'started to threaten him with a solicitor'. This is particularly interesting because it appears to be based on what Eddie Lyons told the authors and suggests that Eddie is the source of the Chief Diary Defender's claim that Mike threatened Eddie with solicitors. But her source can't be the Jones & Dolgin book because she's been mentioning this threat since long before the Jones & Dolgin book was published.

The reason why this is of such interest is because Jones & Dolgin reveal that Eddie's account of the meeting was that the first words he remembers Mike saying to him were 'You are the famous Eddie Lyons that found my diary'. He said he then made Mike a cup of tea, with Mike being okay at first, but, after Mike threatened him with a solicitor, he thought him a bit of a weirdo and asked him to leave. One can only assume that Eddie told all this to James Johnston and that the Chief Diary Defender's source is the unpublished and secret transcript of this interview. Yet, it's funny because the Chief Diary Defender has never once mentioned Mike's opening remark to Eddie (as recalled by Eddie) about him being the famous Eddie who found his diary nor that the solicitor threat only happened later during the conversation.

It's another classic example of why the diary defenders should not be allowed to reveal selecive extracts from documents which are not publicly available. They tell us only what they want us to hear. They don't like the fact that Eddie made clear that this was his first meeting with Mike and that Mike opened with a joke. So they suppress that part of Eddie's story. They do like the bit about Mike threatening Eddie with a solicitor so that's all they ever mention. It's cherry picking of the highest degree. Whenever the Chief Diary Defender talks about this conversation, the only thing she ever refers to is Mike's threat about the solicitors. The full story is not told. It's why we need to see the entire document of anything these diary defenders quote from. They cannot be trusted.

It also reveals sheer hypocrisy because the Chief Diary Defender claims that Eddie was Mike's 'mate' so that she obviously believes Eddie was lying about what occurred during the meeting to the extent that he was saying this was their first encounter yet she is quite happy to state as a fact that Mike threatened Eddie with solicitors even though this must have come from the very same Eddie who is supposedly lying about the meeting, with no independent corroboration. The only other person who could conceivably have corroborated it his Mike himself but she never believes a word he says.

Once again a diary defender is exposed as a hypocrite and suppressor of the truth.

Saturday 18 November 2023

As we've hit the weekend, the Chief Diary Defender has naturally disappeared to whereever she disappears to over the weekend, and her underlings emerge to take her place. More drip feeding of cherry picked information occurs when Jay Hartley tells us that the landlord of the Saddle, Bob Lee, said that he'd never heard of Eddie Lyons, but:

'Eddie gave an excellent description of Bob and his family, adding that Bob even had a nickname for him. Guess what it was? "Here comes Jack the Ripper now".'

Where did he get this from? It's new to me. Presumably he's taken it from one of suppressed transcripts of interviews with Eddie conducted by James Johnston. But we have no context and it's not revealed by Hartley whether this nickname of 'Jack the Ripper' had been applied by Bob Lee by 9 March 1992 (which would be very odd) or if was only after news about the Jack the Ripper diary had been made public in 1993, in which case it's of no value whatsoever.

It's a funny thing though. Sometimes they tell us they are not authorized to reveal information they've been given but suddenly they produce stuff like this. Who authorized him to do it? On whose behalf is he posting?

What he's implying by posting this is that Bob Lee was lying about not having known Eddie Lyons, and, further, that Lee was himself involved in the conspiracy to market stolen property!!! They will accuse anyone of anything, it seems.

It may be noted that not only does Hartley not reveal his source for Eddie's comments about Bob Lee but he doesn't reveal who told him that Bob Lee said he didn't know Eddie Lyons. How do we know he's not mistaken about that? After all, just about everything else he's ever posted has turned out to be wrong.

All I know about Bob Lee's recollections are what is stated in James Johnston's 2017 essay. In that essay, Johnston reveals that he was informed by Detective Sergeant Thomas that Bob Lee told him that he remembered Mike Barrett very well as 'Bongo the Clown' who made a complete nusiance of himself with other customers who in turn treated him like the local idiot. Crucially, he said that Portus & Rhodes electricians might have known him on the basis that he was in the pub at the same time but 'there was no indication that they had any conversation with him'.

That's the crucial question. Did Mike and Eddie ever speak to each other in the Saddle prior to, or on, 9 March 1992? If Hartley is saying that Bob Lee did remember Eddie Lyons, it's clear that he had no recollection of Eddie ever having spoken with or having drinks with Mike Barrett in his pub.

Sunday 19 November 2023

Hartley finally admits that Eddie Lyons was only known to Bob Lee as 'Jack the Ripper' after news of the diary emerged; so 1993 at the earliest. What a shambles. What a waste of time. How can that possibly have any meaning or relevance?

So he now pivots to a ludicrous fantasy world in which a landlord of a pub knows by name every single person in the local vicinity who has ever walked into his pub. If he doesn't know a name put to him he is lying. Not only is he lying but he's involved in a criminal conspiracyy. It is sheer and utter nonsense. Perhaps in one of his works of fiction this might happen but in the real world it never does.

Later in the day another appalling comment from Jay Hartley as he basically tells RJ Palmer that he needs to trust him that his conclusions about Bob Lee are reliable even though RJ isn't allowed to see the primary material from which he is drawing those conclusions. I'm amazed by the lack of self-awareness of someone who has made so many mistakes from information which is publicly available that he thinks he should be trusted to properly understand and interpret secret material.

Someone then seems to have told him that Bob Lee's daughter has confirmed that her father knew Eddie but where is the proof of this? Can any random person say things on an internet message board and we have to believe them? Without context, we have no idea what Bob Lee's daughter said or what time period she was talking about.

We also had this from Hartley:

'By the way, you might want to pass on this piece of information to the man who cannot be named. Eddie Lyons himself admitted Mike visited him and threatened him with solicitors without being able to explain as to how Mike was able to find him.'

But it's not good enough. It cannot be accepted that this is what Eddie said without publication of the full transcripts of the interviews with Eddie Lyons. Otherwise it's just cherry picking of selective snippets out of context. Anyone who is following what the right wing in America is doing with the footage from January 6th will know how easy it is to take something out of context and twist reality into something different. What Hartley is saying cannot be accepted.

As for what he is saying, RJ has already pointed out from the Jones & Dolgin book, as I mentioned in Friday's diary entry above, that Eddie said, during the conversation (but not at the start) that Mike threatened him with a solicitor. From what the Chief Diary Defender has always said, Mike went straight round to Eddie and threatened him with solicitors. We see from what Jones & Dolgin say that it doesn't appear to have been the primary purpose of Mike's visit which started off in a friendly way. In any event, the point I make about this claim is firstly that no source is ever provided - I assume it's one of Eddie's interview transcripts but this is never stated nor is a copy of the transcript provided - and, secondly, it is always stated as a fact that it happened but Eddie is otherwise not believed about matters relating to the diary. If Eddie is saying something helpful he is being truthful, if it's not helpful he is lying!

We are never told by the diary defenders what the significance of Mike threatening Eddie with solicitors is supposed to be. It might just be a red herring. It seems to be assumed that if Mike was doing that he must have been trying to suppress the truth. Thanks to RJ Palmer we know that legal proceedings were afoot from at least as early as June 1993, as Paul Dodd believed that electricians had stolen the diary from his property. It's not clear when the issue first arose but, of course, Feldman was telling Mike Barrett from a very early stage that Eddie Lyons was claiming to have found it. One would think it was only natural for Mike, whose commercial interests were affected, to have informed his solicitor and for his solicitor to have taken an interest in what Eddie was supposedly claiming.

Another thing to bear in mind is that no one seems to be able to tell us exactly when Mike went round to Eddie's house. Was it in February, March, April, May or June 1993? If it was early June, one could easily see why Mike was talking about solicitors with Eddie if legal threats were already coming from Paul Dodd, who was claiming that the diary was his property.

Monday 20 November 2023

It's the sheer hypocrisy that gets me. Noting that both Eddie and Mike denied knowing each other before 9 March 1992, the Chief Diary Defender posts:

'I'm not sure why relying on the word of Eddie "The Skip" Lyons is considered any wiser than relying on the word of Mike "The Auction Ticket" Barrett.'

Right, so remind me again how you know that Mike threatened Eddie with solicitors when he went round to his house? Coz Eddie 'The Skip' Lyons said so?

And remind me how we know that Eddie was at Battlecrease on 9 March 1992. Coz Eddie 'The Skip' Lyons has allegedly indicated he was there? Or rather, says he remembers floorboards being lifted?

He is believed and relied on when he says something helpful to the diary defender cause, but disbelieved and pooh pooh'd when he says something unhelpful. Just like Bob Lee and Ron Murphy.

For anyone wondering, this diary part 2 is definitely real. Here is the indisputible proof:

Proof doesn't get any better than that.

Now, I think, is a good time to dig out some archive posts to paste into my diary (part 2).

How about this one from February 2018 in which Keith Skinner says that James Johnston is going to be 'digitising and preparing transcripts with an aim to putting up on both Forums':

It's not me imagining it, is it? He really did say on the Forum on 11th February 2018 that James Johnston was engaged in digitising and preparing transcripts, including a transcript of a meeting with Colin Rhodes, with an aim of putting them up on the Forums. And this post was made via James Johnston, so James was well aware of what he was said to be literally in the process of doing.

It seems to reflect what Keith had posted via James Johnston eleven days earlier on 31 January 2018 about the voluminous material that was to be made 'accessible on Casebook':

This was all nearly six years ago. The entire Second World War was fought in a shorter timescale than it's taken for James Johnston to digitise tapes and prepare a single transcript for upload to one of the Forums. How is it even possible that nothing has happened? Keith has certainly never explained it. All we've had is silence while Skinner has continued to correspond happily with diary defenders like Mitchell and Hartley and provide them with secret material. What's going on?

Then, of course, there was the famous promise to make a copy of the Barretts' diary transcript available. All this transcript is supposed to be is a transcript of the diary made by Mike and Anne of the diary after Mike had spoken to Doreen Montgomery and Shirley Harrison in London. Out of all the documents in the case, this really should be the least controversial because, after all, it's nothing more than a bog standard transcript of the diary text. I asked to see it on 17 February 2018:

Keith then promised it would be available via James Johnston in 'a few weeks':

Once again, a promise by Keith Skinner has not been fulfilled.

Some years later, he returned to the forum via Jonathan Menges to offer a feeble excuse for reneging on his promise. Here it is:

It later turned out that he was upset by say that something Abby Normal had posted when he hadn't been been sufficiently grateful after Keith posted a newspaper extract on the Forum, and I think Keith somehow blamed me for what Abby had posted, so he decided to renege on his promise to make the transcript available, or something like that, but the reasons for the suppresson of these documents seem to change on a daily basis. One day it's this, next day it's that.

As can be seen, that was also the post in which he admitted that there are textual discrepancies between the diary and the transcript and that, 'meaning could be gleaned from the discrepancies'. This is what he seems to want to hide.

Talking of Keith Skinner's broken promises, here's another one...

'I am not, incidentally, avoiding answering your very reasonable question about why else would Mike have sought to acquire a Victorian diary with a minimum of twenty blank pages – if not for forgery purposes. I promise you I will address it – as with all of your questions.'

If Keith isn't avoiding answering my question, I'd hate to see what it looks like when he does avoid answering a question. For here we are nearly six years later and no answer in sight.

What did he mean by the words 'I promise you I will address it'?

Did he ever have any intention of addressing it or was he lying to me?

You would think a researcher of the calibre of Keith Skinner would keep his promises. But he doesn't seem to care. He just sticks up the proverbial two fingers to us.

And then, of course, there's the sorry saga of the Barrett/Gray tape recordings. Here we have Jonathan Menges replying to the Chief Diary Defender's optimistic comment made more than three years ago that 'I'd be happy for the tapes to be released...and I suspect they will eventually' (but she pretended that Keith was too busy to do it right now):

Menges said that he asked Keith if he could release them in September 2019 and Keith said that an effort was being taken to clean them up so that he too was hopeful they would be released 'eventually'. He then followed this up shortly afterwards by saying that someone (who turned out to be James Johnston) was already working on cleaning the tapes up:

This was exciting news but months then years passed and nothing happened. On 30 January 2022, there was an update from Mr Menges:

So Menges would now only be allowed to release the remaining material 'after they decided whether or not to use portions of it in their documentary'. But he had been told this in 2019. On 6 October 2023 ,the story changed. We were now told by Keith Skinner that the tapes are being suppressed, not because of audio quality or because they need to be used in a documentary but because, 'An excuse will always be found to explain Mike's irrational behaviour and lies and I strongly suspect ti would be the same with the Alan Gray tapes'.

Translated, this means that Keith didn't like the way a lot of material was discovered in the April 1999 Cloak & Dagger interview which strongly supported the idea that Mike was involved in forging the diary. Nor did he like the way his interviewing technique was criticised.

A very sorry saga.

Tuesday 21 November 2023

On a visit to Amazon’s website I find that one of the books recommended for me is Dr Francis Tumblety & The Railway Ripper by my old friend Michael L. Hawley. 

Reading the free sample, I immediately spot a new Hawley Howler in the first chapter where Hawley defines the DPP as 'the Director of Public Prosecutors'.  He is, of course, and always has been the Director of Public Prosecutions. 

Then, lo and behold, I find what must be a reference to myself when Hawley writes:

‘Some have suggested that if Scotland Yard took Tumblety seriously as a Ripper suspect, it would have had the DPP prosecute the case’.

He then goes on to say that, as the DPP had the authority to take over a case if it was dissatisfied with the National Vigilance Association prosecutors, who were actually due to prosecute Tumblety, ‘it would have kept a close eye on the case’.

Apart from being a non sequitur – how does the fact that they had the theoretical ability to take over a private prosecution lead one to the conclusion that they kept a close eye on this particular private prosecution out of the thousands that were happening every year – Hawley hasn’t even summarized my argument properly. 

I was very clear in my article, ‘The Prosecution of Francis Tumblety’, in Ripperologist 163, to which Hawley must be alluding, that it wasn’t only the DPP (aka the Treasury Solicitor) who could have prosecuted Tumblety but also the Metropolitan Police themselves through their solicitors Wonter & Co who would not have been able to take over a prosecution initiated by the NVA.  Hence I wrote (underlining added) that ‘the Home Office would have instructed the Treasury Solicitor (DPP) to take control of the prosecution, or would have given permission for the Metropolitan Police’s solicitors to do so, rather than leave it to a third-party agency which was wholly outside of the authorities’.  But Hawley decides to ignore this entire possibility as if the suggestion has never been made so that he can misrepresent the argument against him as if the only possibility was for the DPP to prosecute Tumblety.


It simply makes no sense for the authorities to have allowed the National Vigilance Association to prosecute the case against Tumblety.  And he is quite wrong, in any event, to say that the DPP could simply have taken over the case if they weren’t happy with the way it was being prosecuted.  He seems to think that they could have taken over the case in the middle of the trial.  He is wrong about that. The time to take over the case would have been after committal and before the case reached the Old Bailey.  Once the prosecution had commenced at the Old Bailey, as it had in Tumblety’s case, it was too late.  It just wouldn’t have happened.

All we know about the NVA’s involvement in the prosecution is that they were responsible for the criminal trial at the Old Bailey.   We don’t know with 100% certainty that they prosecuted Tumblety at Marlborough Street Police Court, although it can reasonably be assumed that they did. So the NVA were already being allowed to conduct the Old Bailey trial with Mr Muir as their Counsel and Douglas Norman as the solicitor.  The police and the DPP would have had no involvement in that trial.

It just doesn’t make any sense if the reason for the prosecution was to hold Tumblety while he was being investigated for being Jack the Ripper.

Hawley’s bizarre argument is that the police positively wanted the NVA to prosecute the case so as not to alert Tumblety that he was a Ripper suspect, but this is absurd.  Had the police conducted the prosecution, that wouldn’t have told Tumblety or his solicitors that he was a Ripper suspect, if this was something so important to hide from him.   Why would it? The police routinely conducted prosecutions.  Hawley says:

‘If the DPP was used, Tumblety’s legal counsel would have known immediately that his case was being treated differently…’

This is false.  I gave the examples in my Ripperologist articles of indecency offences involving William Henry Carter (1885), Charles Burleigh Harte (1886), Richard Moffatt (1886) and Henry Valentine Pickering (1887) all prosecuted by the DPP through the Treasury Solicitor.  Why would any suspicion have been attached to a similar prosecution of an indecency offence in 1888?

It has become clear to me that the police did not suspect Tumblety of being Jack the Ripper, which is why the NVA conducted his prosecution for the ‘unnatural’ offences.  It’s possible that Tumblety might have been arrested on suspicion because he liked prowling around the East End at night but they either had no evidence against him or they positively exonerated him. Alternatively, he never had anything to do with the case.

Now, one might ask why former Chief Inspector Littlechild expressed the thought that he was a good suspect in 1913.  It’s a fair question but my personal belief is that there was a Special Branch file on Tumblety because he was a suspicious Irish-American.  I have little doubt that this file was filled with intelligence on Tumblety because he was a very odd character but I also know that Scotland Yard monitored the press through a cuttings agency.  I suspect that some of the press stories which alleged that Tumblety was Jack the Ripper because he kept a collection of female body organs etc. were put on the police file and these were read by Littlechild.   I think that such stories would stick in anyone’s mind.  So when Littlechild was discussing the case with Sims and the issue of the possibility of the killer being a doctor arose during correspondence, it brought Tumblety to Littlechild’s mind.  He would have known, of course, from the file, about his arrest for ‘unnatural’ sexual offences and he obviously also knew that the murders had stopped shortly after he left the country so that, in his mind, Tumblety was a perfectly good fit.  But I rather doubt he had ever seen the actual suspect files on the Whitechapel Murders at Scotland Yard because that wasn’t any of his business.  This, to my mind, would explain why Tumblety wasn’t included in Macnaghten’s list of suspects in 1894.  He just wasn’t considered a suspect by those who were actually investigating the murders at Scotland Yard.

That, I hasten to add, does not mean for one second that Tumblety wasn’t the Whitechapel Murderer.  The police simply didn’t have enough evidence to be able to rule most people in or out.  Sure, if Tumblety had been in prison on 9 November 1888 that would probably have been enough to eliminate him but we just don’t know if he was eliminated on that basis.   It would certainly seem that Littlechild didn’t believe Tumblety was in prison on that date, assuming he attributed the Kelly murder to Jack the Ripper.

We then find Hawley stating another non sequitur when he says that, ‘Tumblety’s case was treated differently than other cases of gross indecency at the time’.  By this he means that there is no report in the newspapers of the proceedings at the Marlborough Street Police Court.  For some reason, Hawley seems to think that every single hearing at every single police court in London was reported in the newspapers.  He is mistaken.  There were far too many cases to report each one.  There would only have been one reporter assigned to the Marlborough Street Police Court.  What if he had simply been absent when Tumblety’s case was being heard, possibly because it happened late in the day or early in the morning, or he was simply otherwise engaged at that time?  Or what if the reporter knew that editors weren’t terribly interested in stories about homosexual offences?  Alternatively, it is known that rich men could bribe journalists not to report their cases at police courts in order to keep them out of the newspapers.  Clever solicitors knew how to arrange this for their wealthy clients. Tumblety's solicitors might have had an existing relationship with the Marlborough Street reporter. This could easily explain why Tumblety’s case wasn’t reported.  It is a non sequitur to say, as Hawley does, that because there is no existing report of his remand or committal hearings his case must have been heard in camera.

Even worse is how Hawley’s argument is totally inconsistent.  On the one hand he claims that the authorities deliberately allowed the NVA to prosecute Tumblety so that his solicitor did not get suspicious that his case was very important yet, on the other hand, he thinks that Tumblety’s case was held in camera which, being so unusual, would obviously have flagged to that exact same solicitor that the case was very important to the authorities!  He just argues both ways, or rather says whatever he thinks is consistent with Tumblety being thought to be the Ripper. 

And if the NVA prosecuted the case at Marlborough Street, how does Hawley think that Hannay was persuaded to hold the case in camera?  Does he think Douglas Norman slipped the magistrate a note that Tumblety might be Jack the Ripper so the hearing needed to be in secret?  It defies any logic or commons sense.

We find another false statement when Hawley says:

‘It makes no sense that a magistrate would have offered bail at a committal hearing and not have offered bail at the earlier remand hearing’.

There are plenty of examples of bail not being offered to a prisoner at a remand hearing but offered at a committal hearing.   So Hawley is talking nonsense.  One can certainly argue that the fact that a misdemeanour prisoner was likely to be offered bail at Committal (at the discretion of the magistrate in a Criminal Law Amendment case) meant that he was likely to have been offered bail at the earlier remand hearing, but it’s totally untrue to say it made ‘no sense’ for bail not to have been offered at the remand hearing.

Even if it was offered, Tumblety might not have been able to satisfy the bail conditions. Hawley is completely in error to say that ,‘Tumblety always had a large sum of money on his person and would have been immediately able to post bail’.  I cannot believe that Hawley is still unaware that the amount of cash a prisoner had on him had nothing to do with the ability to satisfy nineteenth century bail conditions. Bail in the 1880s was not done by way of cash.  A prisoner normally needed two sureties to stand bail for him.  So Tumblety would have needed to find two men who were sufficiently wealthy that they could do this.  That might not have been possible at short notice, so he would have gone straight to Holloway prison following the remand hearing. 

I mean, we know for a fact that he did go to prison on 7 November 1888 because that’s what the Central Criminal Court calendar tells us – it’s what it means when he says he was in custody on that date - which proves that the amount of cash Tumblety was carrying on him is irrelevant.  He did go to prison therefore he was not able to make bail on 7 November 1888.  It’s such a simple point that it’s incredible that, after all these years, Hawley still doesn’t understand it.  He admits earlier in the chapter that Tumblety ‘was received into custody at Holloway prison on November 7’.  From the way he writes it, though, he seems to think that this occurred prior to the remand hearing, which was literally impossible.  This is how he puts it:

‘….sometime before November 7, 1888, Tumblety was arrested on suspicion.’

Pausing there, as Hawley obviously means arrested on suspicion of murder, that’s not necessarily true and comes from newspaper reporting only. All we know for sure is that he was arrested for the 'unnatural' offences. Hawley then continues:

‘According to the November and December Central Criminal Court calendars, he was then received into custody at Holloway Prison on November 7.  Under nineteenth-century British law, the writ of Habeas Corpus mandated that within twenty-four hours of incarceration and identification, the prisoner must either be charged with the crime and presented to the judicial branch of government (i.e. the police court magistrate) or be released’.

Hawley has gone totally wrong here. He’s got the order of events the wrong way round.  Tumblety had to be presented to the police court magistrate before he could be received into custody at Holloway Prison. It wasn’t possible for him to have been admitted to Holloway except by the order of a magistrate.  The police couldn’t have sent him there prior to his appearance at the Police Court, which is what Hawley seems to think.

As for the bail issue, does he honestly think that Tumblety stumped up the cash and was allowed to walk free on 7 November?  That could not possibly have happened.  We know that he was transferred to Holloway prison after his remand hearing before Hannay on 7 November 1888. It’s a documented fact!  This means that we know for a fact that he did not satisfy any bail conditions that Hannay granted him on that day (if he granted any).  It didn’t matter how much money he had jangling in his pocket, he was definitely not able to make bail on 7th November.

Hawley’s misunderstanding of the law continues when he writes:

‘Curiously, a warrant for his arrest was not issued until December 10, 1888, when he was a no-show for his trial at Central Criminal Court’

How many times do I have to explain that Tumblety did nothing wrong by leaving the country?  There were no restrictions on his movement by being on bail.   As a result, no warrant could possibly have been issued for his arrest until he failed to show up for his trial.  That was all his bail conditions demanded he do.  That’s why the warrant for his arrest wasn’t issued until 10 December.  It couldn’t possibly have been issued any earlier. There is nothing curious about it.  Sure, it was a rubbish system but that’s how it worked. You need to understand this if you are going to write a book about it which you expect people to pay for.  (Thankfully, I was able to read all this rubbish for free).

It’s no surprise that Hawley repeats the nonsense that Tumblety was ‘seen’ in Bolougne on 23 November and that, in his mind, this supports the idea that Scotland Yard was attempting to track Tumblety since he posted bail.  It will be recalled that, when I tried in 2018 to disabuse Hawley of this notion as a public service on the Casebook Forum precisely so that he would not continue to publish misinformation in his books, Hawley complained to the Admin of Casebook and the entire thread in which I was posting was closed.  So, naturally, Hawley continues to repeat this rubbish.  There is no evidence that Tumblety was seen in Bolougne by anyone and Littlechild did not say he had been.  It was perfectly possible for the police to have worked out Tumblety’s movements in France after he sailed off to America and after the warrant for his arrest had been issued, at which point they did need to track his movements.

It just keeps getting worse because, in chapter 2, Hawley then makes the schoolboy error of not realizing that America at the time was regarded as including both the United States and Canada.   So he thinks that when the Home Secretary said that Inspector Andrews had visited America after the passage of the Parnell commission bill (in August 1888) he was somehow contradicting his statement that Andrews had never visited the United States.  There is no contradiction.  We know for a fact that Andrews sailed to America (Canada) in December 1888.  The Home Secretary confirmed in Parliament that ‘he was not in the United States at all’ which entirely disposes of his batty claim that went to New York to investigate Tumblety.

That’s where the free sample ends.  I’m certainly not going to be buying the rest of the book after so many falsehoods and mistakes in the first two chapters.

Wednesday 22 November 2023

If you suspected that most diary defenders don't even understand how time works, your suspicions would have been confirmed by Tom Mitchell's post of the day:

'I wonder if Mike persuaded Anne to let him buy the word 'prosser' on April 3, 1986, because they were both chuffed to bits that Liverpool FC had just beaten Chelsea 1-0 to secure yet another League Championship? You just never know, do you?'

An incredibly ingenious point...or rather it would have been had not Liverpool beaten Chelsea 1-0 to secure the League championship on the last day of the season....on 3 May 1986.

That's 3 May 1986. Repeat 3 May 1986. Not 3 April 1986 which was a Thursday, on which day Liverpool didn't have any fixtures.

So Tom was only one whole month out which, in fairness, is pretty good for him. At least he got the right year.

He thinks it strange that he can 'visualise that specific day'. Yes, it sure is strange Does he mean that specific day in April or that specific day in May?

It was also 3 May 1986 on which Hearts lost 2-0 to Dundee to lose the Scottish League Championship to Celtic. Mr "Memory Man" Mitchell seems to think that the league season finished in the first week of April during the 1980s. Does he put no thought into anything?

Now, one can laugh but there is a serious point to be made. Once again we find this knee-jerk diary defender reaction whereby they feel the compulsive need to put forward any argument they can possibly think of to the counter the idea the Mike Barrett forged the diary, however weak, however nonsensical and, above all, however evidence-free.

For Mitchell's point was that perhaps Mike didn't purchase his word processor because he wanted to start a career in journalism. No, perhaps he just became so excited by Liverpool's victory over Chelsea to secure the league title that he ran out to Dixons before it closed late on Saturday afternoon to splash out over £400 on a word processor in pure joy and celebration at the match result.

It's just barmy but why does he feel the compulsive need to make such silly points, which would still have been silly even if the date had been correct?

After he was chastised by none other than the Chief Diary Defender, attempting to put her rogue child in place, telling him in a rare moment of clarity to come back from 'fantasy land', on the basis that Mike didn't even appear to like football, let alone support Liverpool, Mitchell claimed that his post had merely been in jest but the truth is that he wanted to throw up some kind of element of doubt about the reason for the purchase of the word processor. It didn't need to be sensible, it didn't need to be backed up by evidence or by anything at all. As long as he could throw sometthing out there which no one would be able to disprove (or so he thought) he didn't care.

It happens time and time and time again. It's the intellectual game he loves to play. In the face of overwhelming evidence, in this case the obvious reason why Mike purchased the WP, Mitchell wanted to try and create another narrative.

Having failed with the word processor, he then moved onto Mike and Anne's silence about Mike's journalistic career. I've never even seen a diary defender attempt to deal with this problem before, and no wonder, looking at what they've come up with.

Tom's evidence-free theory is that maybe Mike was ashamed of his journalist career so kept quiet about it for that reason. Only problem is that, after it was revealed (by Nick Warren), Mike seemed very happy to talk about it at any opportunity, telling people how he once interviewed celebrities. He mentioned having been journalist, for example, when he was on Liverpool local radio bu Bob Azuridan in 1995. Hence (underlining added):

MB:....Because this is one of the suppositions that people have been made. And I think one of the reasons that they made these suppositions is that for a brief period of time about seven or eight years ago I was writing short stories and interviewing various celebrities. In actual fact Mr Azurdia, if you recollect Mr Azurdia you’ve actually been into my house going back seven years ago.

BA: Indeed.

MB: And the type of people I was interviewing such as Kenneth Williams, Stan Boardman, Mick Miller, erm some quite famous celebrities at the time, Bernard Manning etc., and I was working for, freelancing for a magazine called Celebrity magazine. Now because I had, shall we say, a moderate success within writing, people have automatically assumed and picked up on that fact and automatically assumed well if he’s had a moderate success in writing and had moderate success in interviewing people, you know, two and two make five and this is the conclusion an awful lot of people jump to.

That's a man who's proud of himself and what he regarded as his 'moderate success', not a failure by any means.

He also mentioned it during the Cloak & Dagger evening in April 1999:

'I’ve been writing for David Burness, Celebrity magazine, I’ve been writing for Chat Magazine, I’ve been writing for Look-In Magazine. I’ve been writing for all these magazines.'

So if we look at the actual evidence, Mike seems to have been quite proud of what he'd done and with good reason. He had plenty of articles published and it wasn't his fault that the magazines he wrote for folded. What evidence is there that he was reticent to speak about his journalism? Funny how this reticence only occurred before his career as a journalist had been exposed, aint it?

Naturally, we also had the attempt to express doubts about everything. How do we know that Mike didn't mention his journalistic background to Robert Smith, Shirley Harrison and others, he asks? Well there's one easy way of finding out. The Chief Diary Defender can ask her good friend Robert Smith whether he was told. I think Shirley Harrison is still alive. Smith could ask her if she was told. Keith Skinner could reveal if he was told or was in the dark. Let's get some actual facts. It should be easy peasy.

Then, of course, the Chief Diary Defender chips in and we are told that poor old Anne can't be to blame simply because she didn't say anything. I mean, perhaps she didn't know Mike was lying about when and why he obtained the word processor or hiding his journalistic career. It's a funny thing though. One imagines Anne can read English and, equally, one imagines that Anne managed to read Shirley Harrison's 1993 book about the diary for which she attended the book launch. Did it not occur to her to mention to Shirley or Keith that when setting out the story of her husband's life an important chunk of it had been omitted? Did she not notice that a false reason and time period for the purchase of the word processor was being put forward?

The other funny thing is that out of a whole team of researchers, no one ever seems to have asked Anne after the news emerged in July1994 (through Nick Warren's article) why she had never volunteered any information about Mike's journalism. Well, hey, she dealt with that little difficulty didn't she in that very same month by coming up with the story of the diary having been in her family for years and then telling everyone to leave her alone! Well played, madam. Yet, still, we know that Keith spoke to her about the diary in 1995. Did he not even think to ask?

Or perhaps the answer is that there was a conspiracy by the diary team back in 1992 and 1993: by Robert Smith, Doreen, Shirley and Keith to suppress the information that Mike was a journalist in case people suspected him of forging the diary as a result, so they just lied about his reason for purchasing the word processor. Is that what happened? If so, isn't about time we were told?

My favourite part of her post, however, was an incredible sequence of illogical and disconnected statements:

'For what it's worth, the word processor bought in 1986 and the articles Mike had published under his own name, are a fairly good example of cause and effect, before the diary enters the story or needs to do so. Mike wanted to try his hand at writing for magazines and such, and the word processor represents the means to that end. He achieved limited success, but it's doubtful if his earnings exceeded the cost of the word processor, and not clear who would have lost out financially assuming that was the case. I can't see Mike paying anyone back for their original investment, and from what we know about his later carelessness with his own and other people's money, I'd be very surprised if what modest sums he did earn from those articles were not pissed up against the wall before he could say: "Sugar lumps!".'

What possible significance can there be that Mike's earnings didn't exceed the cost of the word processor (although it's perfectly clear on the basis of what we know he was paid that they must have done many times over)? And then what possible significance can there be in whether MIke paid anyone back for the loan or how he spent his money? It just seems like a random sequence of scattergun thought processess all written without any explanation as to what the relevance is. Perhaps it's just another attempt to paint Mike in the worst possible light but I can't see what she can possibly achieve by doing this or why she wastes so much time writing all this stuff which I'm sure no one apart from me reads (and I don't even bother most of the time). I suppose it achieves its aim of avoiding discussing the reason why Mike hid this secret journalistic career so carefully from everyone during 1992 and 1993 while making it appear that she is writing reams of material on the subject.

One thing that was interesting, though, is that in the past she's claimed that Mike said that he bought the word processor in order to work on the diary so he could claim the money back on expenses. Perhaps its finally occurred to her that Mike would have needed to present a receipt for the purchase and that he might have found it difficult to explain why he wanted to start work on the diary in April 1986! So she's toned it down so that now Mike just wanted to impress people with his commitment that he had purchased the word processor for the diary. Just more evidence-free speculative nonsense.

I don't normally mention San "Lambro2" Fran's posts because, like Scott Nelson, he seems to exist in a parallel universe in another dimension and I can't make head nor tail of most of what he posts. But I did notice him say this:

'Yes, we should thank RJ and O for explaining to us the reason why the thieves fenced the document to Mike or more likely gave it to him to fence, thinking he’d know what to do. If he wasn’t a writer, why give it to him? Why that and not the gold watch? Oh right! Now I get it, Roger. Should I also thank Orsam? Thank you Professor.'

Because, of course, the first person to whom anyone would try and fence a stolen item is a local journalist! They won't be writing about it any time soon will they?

No, I think the qualities one looks for in a fence are that they will pay the best possible price and be trustworthy in the sense that they would not grass the thief up to the police. They need to be discreet. But we are told that Mike Barrett was known in the Saddle Pub as 'Bongo the Clown'. Possibly the very last person anyone would try and fence a stolen item too, expecially as he didn't even have any money.

A thief doesn't care if a fence knows what to do with the item they are trying to sell. All they want is their money. What the fence does with it is unimportant.

I mean, honestly, 'If he wasn't a writer, why give it to him?'. No the question is why someone would 'give' a stolen item to a writer.

As for the alternative possibility floated that Eddie gave the diary to Mike to fence, does that mean that Eddie agreed that Mike should sell it to Robert Smith for £1? It's all so puzzling.

No evidence has ever been presented that Mike was even known locally as a writer or journalist, especially not in 1992, years after he had had anything published.

Nothing makes sense about Eddie giving Mike the diary. Everything makes sense about Mike being involved in forging the diary.

Thursday 23 November 2023

Tom Mitchell comes back this morning with a question:

'Well, how exactly did Shirley find out about Mike's 'journalistic' career if not from Mike?'

If Tom had been educating himself by reading the posts on this website rather than jabbering on about drainpipes he would know exactly what happened.

Nick Warren discovered from Tony Devereux's daughters in early 1994 that Mike had once had articles published in a magazine. He published an article exposing this in Ripperana in July 1994.

That would have been when Shirley found out about it (unless Mike confessed to her after receiving a draft of Warren's article in May). July 1994 was, of course, after had Mike confessed to both Shirley and the Liverpool Daily Post that he had forged the diary.

We know that Shirley then made enquiries with Celebrity (receiving copies of Mike's articles November 1994).

Not much else is known because, funnily enough, we are told very little about this entire murky episode or about how all the investigators and researchers who were close to Mike reacted when they heard the news.

That is why Tom Mitchell, despite, in his own mind, being the most well informed person in the world about the diary, having read all the books, as he likes to boast, actually knows very little about what really happened.

Then Lord Orsam gets a mention:

'By the way, if I called myself a 'professional journalist' (as Orsam called Mike), I think I'd be having a word with myself when the pounds rolled in.'

He can't even seem to get one simple thing right. I always, without exception, refer to Mike as a professional freelance journalist. Yes, believe it or not, some professional freelance journalists struggle to make a living wage but, if they're making money from writing, they are doing it professionally. Every diary defender is in denial about this and literally hates the idea that Mike can be described as a professional freelance journalist.... because they are in denial of reality.

Then Mitchell has the temerity to contradict the Chief Diary Defender who only yesterday told us that 'it's doubtful if his earnings exceeded the cost of the word processor'. According to Mitchell:

'Mike said he earned £120 an article and he contributed to around twenty articles in all of his brilliant journalistic career: so he earned around £2,000 in all those years.'

If Mitchell is correct, it would mean that Mike recouped the cost of his outlay by over four times the amount spent. A real kick in the teeth to the Chief Diary Defender.

But what we have here is another classic example of a diary defender relying on something Mike once said (and at the April 1999 Cloak & Dagger event he actually said 'about £120') without any corroboration at all but, regardless of that, Mitchell's calculation is flawed.

Mitchell has failed to include in his calculation of "twenty articles" the money that Mike made writing an unspecified number puzzles and word games for Look-In.

The twenty articles he refers to is 16 attributed to him in Celebrity, 3 in Chat and, presumably, 1 unattributed interview of Kenneth Williams. His acceptance of the latter is quite a concession considering that, in the past, he's ludicrously tried to attribute it to someone else but it means that Mike might have received money for other unattributed articles published during 1986 when Celebrity frequently did not provide bylines for thie articles.

Isn any case, is Mitchell quite sure that the sum of £120 is what Mike received from Chat and Celebrity for his articles rather than what he received from Look-In?

Because if we look at some actual evidence in this case we find that there exists a payment made to Mike by IPC Magazines, in an invoice dated 6 September 1991, for five of his Look-In puzzles, in precisely the sum of £120:

Is it a coincidence that the payment for these word puzzles exactly matched the payment made to make for each of his 20 articles? Or, when Mike referred to a sum of £120, was he confused and thinking of what Look-In paid him?

I have already personally told Tom all this by email some time ago but I guess he's not particularly bothered about accuracy. £120 per article is a sum that suits him so he relies on it, without any documentary or other corroboration, even though it does destroy the Chief Diary Defender's claim that Mike didn’t recoup his outlay on the Amstrad.

So where is Tom heading with all his babbling nonsense? Obviously back to his theory that the reason Mike kept quiet about his journalistic career is that he was ashamed of his earnings, even though it was thousands of pounds by Mitchell's own faulty estimate (and, adjusted for inflation, is probably equivalent to about £5,000 today). Hence, he says:

'I don't know about you but - if that was the reward for all my ground-breaking investigations - I'd keep well schtum about it when in the company of what one could reasonably call real 'professional writers'.'

What kind of twisted garbage is this? Who ever said anything about 'ground-breaking investigations'? Mike never claimed to have been involved a single investigation, ground breaking or otherwise. He merely interviewed some celebrities and other notable individuals. That's all he did and all he ever claimed to have done. We go back to the fact that Mike was happy to boast about his journalistic exploits once they had been exposed, but only after they had been exposed.

Ironically, Mitchell then tries to resurrect a dud theory of the Chief Diary Defender that she appears to have abandoned when he says:

"I recall Caz once making the excellent observation that Mike may have re-dated the purchase of the word 'prosser' because he was hoping to add it to a list of his research expenses when signing-up to co-write the initial book with Shirley. No-one knows if this is true, of course, but it certainly fits the impression we have of the man."

It's not possible that Mike could have claimed the purchase of the word processor on expenses without a receipt which he didn't have, or rather he did have it and it was dated 3 April 1986, the date of that famous footballing non-event.

Then it's back to his ignorant assumption:

'I assume Mike told Shirley, or one of the Devereux sisters said to Shirley that they had heard from their dad that Bongo was a journalist and therefore Shirley confronted Mike at which point she literally pissed herself when she realised the terrible exaggerations Mike had imbibed his 'career' with. Hey, who else do we know who does that sort of thing?'

No, that's not what happened. The Devereux sisters mentioned it to Nick Warren who exposed it in print. If Shirley "literally pissed herself" when she learnt the truth (something which Mitchell oddly describes as "terrible exaggerations" when it was the literal truth) it's odd that she took care to investigate by writing to the editor of Celebrity and must have been gutted to learn that the editor had nothing but praise for Mike's contributions.

Another one of my favourite Mitchellisms is that because Tony Devereux's daughters knew of Mike's journalistic exploits, 'we can therefore imagine that he had told a few folk in The Saddle that he was up for a Pulitzer, and the chaps at the Foreign Legion (or wherever it was that Billy went to)'. Isn't it funny how one day we are told that Mike had literally no mates other than Tony and Eddie then the next day he's chatting intimately to all his many mates in the Saddle and the Foreign Legion? I do wish they'd make their diary defending minds up.

The Chief then pops into the thread to respond to a post by Jay Hartley who had said: 'By the way, wouldn’t a guard book make the perfect decoy if the original pages were left in when the words were being put to the pages? Left in plain view for all to see, hidden behind pages and pages of business junk.'

The Chief's baffling response to this is:

'You put it far more briefly and concisely than I did, making the point more likely to be read and to sink in.'

I say it's baffling because she seems, once again, to have forgotten that she supposedly admits that the diary is a fake. Hartley's point – to the extent it makes any kind of sense – only makes sense if James Maybrick was the author of the journal, devising a cunning and improbable ploy to keep it away from prying eyes.

I mean, is the Chief Diary Defender saying that the forger (who she likes to call "Sir Jim" to avoid using the word "forger") was so ingenious in his thought process that he deliberately tore out the initial pages from the photograph album (or "guard book" according to Hartley), even though that makes the diary look very suspicious, like a forgery, so that anyone considering whether the diary was genuine would think, like Hartley, that the diarist wouldn't have started writing his exploits on the initial pages in case anyone read them?

But the theory doesn't make sense. If that was the plan, why not simply leave the initial pages in the album/guard book? Why remove them? That could only have created suspicion so the plan would obviously have backfired. And no one would have had the convoluted type of thought process that would have to be ascribed to the forger.

If, as Hartley obviously thinks, the author was Maybrick, why were those initial pages ever ripped out? I thought the theory was that he did it because of Lowry which means he did it while writing the journal, which must have been while it was sitting on his desk in the office, which means that the "decoy" plan wouldn't have worked because the diary pages would have been exposed for all to see.

In any case, the scientific evidence tells us that the journal was originally used to host photographs. What were they doing in a "guard book" in an office? It was a photograph album!

Friday 24 November 2023

An early start for the Chief this morning as she sarcastically tells Scott Nelson that his latest daft Tony Devereux theory is "heresy" because it doesn't include the "awesome" O&L auction, immediately following this remark up with, "I don't think Tony belongs in this tale of Liverpool", or, in other words, but what she doesn't actually say, heresy because his theory doesn't include an awesome Battlecrease discovery. You could not make this kind of incredible double standard up if you were writing a work of fiction.

Tom then claims that anyone who can't see "FM" in the picture reproduced in Farson's book needs to go to Specsavers. While we can all see the marks on the wall he is referring to, I do wish he would trace over them for us to show us how the "F", in particular, is formed. Because there is no letter "F" on that wall. He never traces it because, if he does, he knows he will expose himself as a fantasist. Plus, as has been mentioned to him time and time again, there are artifacts in the poor copy Farson reproduction. If you want to work out whether initials are actually on that wall, you need to look at the best quality reproductions, on which it is clear as crystal that there are no letters on the wall. In any case, he demolishes his own argument time and time again because if the letters "FM" are clearly visible in Farson's published photograph, in a book that anyone could have purchased or consulted at any time after 1972, they would have been clearly visible to a forger in the 1990s attempting to create a story about James Maybrick being Jack the Ripper, and would have been a nice bonus for them to incorporate in the fake diary. Not that the letters "FM" are even mentioned in the diary nor does the diarist state that anything was written on the wall.

An odd message from Keith Skinner is then passed on through Tom, his press officer, in which Skinner bafflingly says that he doesn't understand to this day why Martin Fido remarked that he was 'staggered' when told that a research report on the Hillside Laundry Company had been written by Anne. One wonders if Keith Skinner ever consults his own book because, according to the authors of 'Inside Story', of which Skinner is one, Fido actually said that he was 'flabbergasted' by it (p.150). The answer, however, as to why Fido said he was flabbergasted (or 'staggered' if you prefer) falls into the bleedin' obvious category. He clearly didn't expect the unassuming wife of Michael Barrett to have been capable of preparing such a well written piece of research. It's even explained in Skinner's own book! On the same page of 'Inside Story" (p.150), it's stated that what Fido was flabbergasted by was that the report 'was not the work of a professional researcher' and that, as a result of reading the report, "he now believed she could have concocted the basic story of Maybrick as the Ripper 'with one hand behind his back'" (p.150). What is it about this which Skinner doesn't understand?

On page 192 of their book, the authors of 'Inside Story' even use Fido's quote about Anne being able to write the diary with her hand tied behind her back as evidential support for the existence of a suggestion that, 'It was not Barrett...who created the Diary, but Anne'. Astonishing that twenty years later Skinner is puzzled by what Fido meant.

Keith, evidently upset by the implication that Anne would have been capable of writing the diary with ease, couldn't resist following up by passing on Fido's opinion that, "It's also worth adding that Martin Fido concluded that Anne could not have written the diary because she would be incapable of solecisms and making spelling mistakes." We now know for a fact, from examples of her private correspondence, that Anne was perfectly capable of daft solecisms and basic spelling mistakes and that Fido was quite wrong about this. Skinner also passes on that "Martin also acknowledged the handwriting in the diary was not the same as Anne's.". Well that is undoubtedly true but, if the person who wrote the diary made a decent attempt to disguise their handwriting, perhaps writing with their "other" hand, it's not really relevant. We also don't know if Martin was comparing the diary handwriting with the dodgy sample of Anne's handwriting that Keith Skinner obtained from her on an "honour" basis, assuming trustingly that she would write in her normal fashion. Nor do we know whether Fido was able to examine Anne's true handwriting in order to compare with either the original or a high quality copy of the diary in order to establish if there were similarities in the formation of any characters. So none of what Skinner has posted assists, and it's just another diary defender waste of time.

It is good to know, however, from Tom that Keith gave his "ascent" for his email to be posted online.

No doubt the Chief of the Grammar & Spelling Police will be very quick to slap down Mitchell, who often laughs at Mike Barrett's ignorance, for this appalling error…..oh no, that will never happen. She only corrects grammar and spelling of those who disagree with her. Again, incredible double standards.

I was just about to sign off at this point but then OMG! I find that the Chief is now wanting to claim that one of the cassettes of Mike's interviews that Alan Gray just accidentally happened to notice, because he saw that one of the letters on the labelling looked like a letter in the diary, was a fake cassette. But here is how the story is told in her own flipping book (p.152):

'Gray saw the name 'Dorothy Wright', which Barrett had written on the tape of an interview he conducted with the clairvoyant for Celebrity magazine. Suddenly there was an excited edge to his voice: 'By Christ, I've seen that Y somewhere else', he told Barrett....'

Now, the Chief wants to gaslight us all into thinking that it was a cassette 'shown to Gray by a suspected forger' when it's clear that Mike didn't show him anything. Gray just spotted it.

Is the Chief seriously trying to say that Mike created a fake blank interview tape in respect of someone who wasn't even a celebrity to convince people that he had once spoken to Dorothy Wright when all he had done was receive some quotes which were sent to a sub-editor to create an article which was nevertheless given Mike Barrett's byline? If so, she really has departed to another planet.

And I love the way that she questions the authenticity of the cassette on the basis that Mike was 'a suspected forger'. But she also tells us that he couldn't forge anything! Oh what a tangled web of nonsense.

And, once again, the burden of proof is turned on its head. Robert Smith speculates, without even a particle of evidence, that Mike's articles were ghost written and now we have to prove that Mike's contributions were good enough to be 'published unedited'. Of course, she's talking about something totally different. Virtually all journalists have their copy edited. That's why sub-editors and editors are employed! The issue has got nothing to do whether Mike's contributions were edited but whether he actually conducted interviews and wrote them up (with or without Anne's help) which is what the Chief's great buddy has outrageously attempted to deny in print in his book.

She asks why it seems to matter so much. Ha! It wouldn't matter at all if Robert Smith hadn't tried to cast doubt on the writing ability of the Mike & Anne writing team without any evidence. These people really are exhausting.


Published 24 November 2023

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Feb 21

I appreciate that Eddie haltingly and vaguely describes what was the storage heater project, but this was two decades after-the-fact and at a job where Eddie was supposedly present for "an hour, a couple of hours." And there are a lot of "I think" and "maybes" thrown in.

Is he really remembering being there, or is he just remembering details about the job from the rumor mill that circulated two decades earlier and which he was at the center? False memories work that way. I had a brother who remember all sorts of events at which he was never present.

Maybe Eddie was there, but against this we have no evidence of Eddie's whereabouts on March 8, 10, 11, 12,…

Lord Orsam
Feb 21
Replying to

What I've never understood is what happened to the actual timesheets of the electricians which showed the hours they worked. The daywork sheets which have been produced seem to have been for the purpose of charging the client. But we've been told that the hours worked by the electricians in order to allow them to be paid were separately recorded on timesheets which they submitted for that purpose. Colin Rhodes was providing full assistance to Keith Skinner on behalf of Portus & Rhodes. So why didn't he hand over the timesheets? Why doesn't he seem to have known what Eddie Lyons was doing on 9th March 1992? What happened to the records of Portus & Rhodes?

Above all, I simply…


Feb 21

I have grave doubts that Eddie Lyons was anywhere near Dodd's house on the day in question, 9 March1992.

If one studies Caroline Brown's posts, the job in Skem (where Eddie had been working) came to an end on Saturday 7 March. He's done and is ready for his weekend. Eddie's whereabouts afterwards are unknown, and significantly Caroline Brown herself admits that his name is on no timecard for March 8 (a Sunday) or March 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 or 14 March. He's off to parts unknown.

As Caroline writes:

"Eddie's final day on the Skem job was actually Saturday 7th March 1992, when he did a full day's work.

Colin told Keith, while they were consulting all the…

Lord Orsam
Feb 21
Replying to

I also think that it's far from established that Eddie Lyons was at the property on 9th March 1992. The fact that his whereabouts are unknown on that day certainly doesn't put him there.

We've never been told what Lyons said when spoken to by James Johnston and Keith Skinner in 2018, at which time he was presumably asked about the so-called "timesheet", but he did tell Johnston during interviews in 2015 and 2016 that he remembered working at Battlecrease at a time when Arthur Rigby was there, as was another younger electrician whose name he couldn't recall but who was assumed by Johnston to be James Coufopolous. Both Rigby and Coufopolous are down on the "timesheet" as having worke…

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