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  • Lord Orsam

The Long Game

INTRODUCTION


As I mentioned in the Electricians' Special, if you summon Lord Orsam, he will come.

Readers of the 'Lord Orsam's Blog' thread on JTR Forums might have noticed a very strange post on 13th September. It was, until today, #756 of that thread but it's been moved (erroneously) by Admin to a Maybrick thread, of which it is currently #17:

This is it:



As can be seen, nothing was actually said in the post, it was merely a post which linked to a thread about why Elizabeth Long was also called Durrell, a subject on which Lord Orsam has never opined. So why was this poster linking to that thread in the 'Lord Orsam's Blog' thread?

Well it seems he wanted to send a message to Lord Orsam through a typically obsessive series of posts made in the Long/Durrell thread. So we had this:

'presumably Elizabeth felt it appropriate to mention both names when she contacted the police … as you would. ;-)' (#30)

'As SPE said, In the police reports she primarily appears as 'Mrs. Long' . They occasionally refer to her as Long, alias Durrell, but it only appears to be in the press that she is named solely as Durrell.' (#35)

'The first seems to evidence the name by which Long was known locally, the second the name she thought it appropriate to use in the formal setting of an inquest. In between, the police had picked up on both names and referred to her as Long, alias Durrell.' (#43)

'Of course, it was probably when she gave a statement to the police that she thought it correct to reveal her ‘real’ name and that carried through to the inquest.' (#44)

'What do we think? That the police investigated Mrs ‘Durrell’ and discovered her real name, or that she volunteered it?' (#45)

It would appear that this individual thought he'd made some kind of amazingly good point about how Mrs Long felt the need to disclose to the police that she was also known as Mrs Durrell by way, presumably, of contrast as to how Charles Cross didn't disclose the name of Lechmere. A point which he needed to flag to Lord Orsam because it was so good.

Unfortunately, as we shall see, the point has no validity.

MRS DURRELL

In my 'Name Issue' posts, I always avoided cases of women with two surnames simply because married women inevitably always have, or have had in their life, two surnames: their maiden name and their married name. Then we have those not married in a formal wedding ceremony, but living with a man, who adopt the man's surname, something which was extremely common in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In my book the Camden Town Murder Mystery, for example, I note how Emily Dimmock referred to herself as 'Mrs Shaw' because she was living with a man called Bertram Shaw, as his wife.

So a woman known by two surnames isn't much of a surprise and, for that reason alone, can't really be compared to Charles Cross but what we learn from the Long case is that Elizabeth Long appears to have usually called herself Elizabeth Durrell - as this is how she evidently referred to herself when speaking to the members of the press on 12th September, shortly after the murder of Annie Chapman. Hence, by way of example, from the Daily Chronicle of 13 September 1888:


Yet, as we know, when she gave evidence to the coroner, she gave her name as Elizabeth Long.

With her usual nifty detective work, researcher Debra Arif discovered that the surname of the stepfather of James Long, Elizabeth's husband, was Durrell, so that James was himself presumably another one of those chaps who was known by, or used, two surnames.

MRS LONG AND THE POLICE

There is a document in a Home Office file in which we find written "Long Mrs, alias Durrell". Unfortunately this has been misrepresented by Stewart Evans, the very last person one would normally expect to have misunderstood the evidence. In a JTR Forums post on 3 September 2010 he wrote:

"folio 136 (the police file contents list), as quoted above clearly states 'Long Mrs. alias Durrell'..."

The document in question, however, is not a 'police file contents list'. Mr Evans misunderstood it, just as it has been misunderstood in a slightly different way in his and Skinner's Ultimate Jack the Ripper where it is wrongly stated that it is an 'index to the Chapman murder file'.

The document is not a contents list or index of any file. It is an index to the report of Chief Inspector Swanson dated 19 October 1988 into the murder of Annie Chapman. This is the document:


Stewart Evans has clearly assumed that the document was listing three witness statements in a police file, those witnesses being Richardson, Cadosh and Long (and that, in her witness statement, Long said that her name was also Durrell). But it isn't. The reference to page 4 is a reference to page 4 of Swanson's report in which Long's evidence is mentioned. But the body of Swanson's report makes no mention of Long having the alias of Durrell.

The index to Swanson's statement appears to have been created either by Swanson himself or by a Metropolitan Police clerk on 19th October 1888. We don't know any more than this. But clearly, by 19th October 1888, the police had established that Mrs Long also went by the name Mrs Durrell.

MRS LONG V CHARLES CROSS

While this doesn't necessarily mean that the police knew it in September, nor does it necessarily mean that Mrs Long told them this, let us assume that Mrs Long did tell the police in September 1888 that she was also Durrell, how does that help us?

The answer is that it does not help us. The reason for this is that we have no idea if Charles Cross also told the police in similar fashion that he was known as Lechmere.

In the only police reports we have regarding the Nichols murder, including a report by Swanson dated 19th October 1888, Charles is referred to as Cross. Similarly, in the only police reports we have regarding the Chapman murder, including a report by Swanson dated 19th October 1888, Elizabeth is referred to as Long.

Not a single police report refers to a Mrs Durrell just as not a single police report refers to a Mr Lechmere. It is only the index to one report which does so.

There is an index to Swanson's report of 19th October 1888 regarding the Murder of Mary Ann Nichols but this doesn't list the names of any witnesses mentioned in the report.



Had this index included witness names, we simply don't know if it would have have noted "Charles Cross, alias Lechmere".

As a result, even if Mrs Long did tell the police that her name was also Durrell, so might Charles Cross have told the police that his name was also Lechmere.

It's something we don't know and can never know.

But the most important thing to note, which the individual who seems to think there is something helpful in the Long/Durrell case seems to have overlooked, is that Mrs Long did NOT inform the coroner when testifying at the Chapman inquest that she was also known as Durrell.

So we have an individual clearly known by two surnames who only felt the need to inform the coroner of only one of those names. Just like Charles Cross! Fancy that.

And she was perfectly within her rights. The coroner wouldn't have been interested in her alternate name, nor would the jury. The only reason it could ever have been relevant was if another witness had seen Mrs Long in Hanbury Street and told the coroner that he or she had seen "Mrs Durrell". Then, of course, Mrs Long would have needed to mention that she was also Durrell. Otherwise, it had no relevance whatsoever to the inquest. Just like it was irrelevant to the inquest that Charles Cross was also known as Lechmere.


LORD ORSAM

15 September 2023


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