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"No Police Reminiscences?"

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"No Police Reminiscences?"

Post by Karen on Wed 23 Feb 2011 - 7:50

SECRETS OF SCOTLAND YARD.
"JACK THE RIPPER CASE."

The fact that "Jack the Ripper," the man who terrorised the East End of London by the murder of seven women during 1888, committed suicide is now revealed by Sir Melville Macnaghten, head of the Criminal Investigation Department, who has retired after 24 years' service. Although he shrinks from publicity, Sir Melville, during the 10 years he had been head of the "C.I.D.," has broken down the barrier of secrecy between the police and the Press. "I realise that five times out of six the Press can be of the greatest assistance to a detective in his investigations," he says. There was no case of murder or an important burglary during this time which he did not personally investigate. Sir Melville confessed that the greatest regret of his life was that "Jack the Ripper" committed suicide before he joined the Force. "That remarkable man," he said to a "Daily Mail" man, "was one of the most fascinating of criminals. Of course, he was a maniac, but I have a very clear idea who he was and how he committed suicide, but that, with other secrets, will never be revealed by me. I have destroyed all my documents, and there is now no record of the secret information which came into my possession at one time or another. Today, for the first time since I joined the Force on May 24, 1889, I know what it is to be free from official cares, and I shall certainly not write any reminiscences." Sir Melville regards the development of the system of identification by finger-prints as the most notable achievement in crime detection during his experience.

Crime in London.

"We have, after all, in our London records wonderfully little crime, considering the circumstances, and it is remarkable what a small proportion of the perpetrators are undiscovered. There are, of course, cases unsolved, and I think particularly of two in which I was not able to touch a single feather of the criminal. One was the murder of the watchman at the Cafe Royal in 1894, as to which I was unable to get the slightest clue; and the other was the case of Mary Bails, the little girl who in 1909 was murdered, and whose body was found in a brown paper parcel in a lavatory. How she had got there, and even in what district she was murdered, has remained an absolute mystery. Another case that caused me the greatest anxiety was the Muswell Hill murder. I had made my own inquiries, as usual, but could see no clue, and Henry Marshall, who had the case in hand, was at his wits' end. Night after night he used to come down to my place and talk over the day's results, which were generally nil. It was quite five weeks before he came to me one evening with the news that he had got what looked like two clues, one really big and the other a small one. He told me he was going on the big one, and next day I had a message from him to say that it had failed, and that he would now take up the lesser. That was the discovery of the association of the bull's-eye lantern found near the murdered man with Millson's nephew owing to the wick being made out of a piece of tartan cloth which Mrs. Millson was making into a dress for her little girl. That tiny clue hanged both Fowler and Millson. That was a very interesting case, and even more so was the murder of Beron on Clapham Common, for which Stinie Morrison was convicted." A reference was made by the interviewer to the curious way in which a number of the police seem always willing to think a jury has gone wrong in returning a verdict of guilty. Apparently Sir Melville Macnaghten is under no doubt as to the Beron case. "The public, who only read the newspapers," he pointed out, "forget, or perhaps are not aware, that there is hardly a case in which full reports may be given in the daily Press. Much has to be left out. Beyond that, there is this great fact to bear in mind: that the jury, just as with the Judge and the counsel engaged, must go a great deal by the demeanour of the witnesses. Very often the demeanour of a witness is of more importance than what he says, and has more influence with all concerned in the case."

Source: Otautau Standard and Wallace County Chronicle, Volume IX, Issue 433, 26 August 1913, Page 7

Note: In August of 1913, Macnaghten states to a reporter that he does not plan to write any police reminiscences and then a year later, in December 1914, he writes six installments of his own personal reminiscences. So, what caused Sir Melville to change his mind?

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Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"
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Luck and Chance

Post by Karen on Thu 31 Mar 2011 - 8:39

SCOTLAND YARD SECRET.

Sir Melville Macnaghten Reveals Fate of "Jack the Ripper."
Special Correspondence of the News.

London, June 7. - The supposition that "Jack the Ripper," who murdered seven women in the East End in 1888, belonged to a noble family, that his identity was known to the police, and that he was later secretly confined in an asylum, where he committed suicide, has been in great part confirmed by a statement made by a prominent Scotland Yard official.
This official is Sir Melville Macnaghten, who has just retired from the head of the criminal investigation department after twenty-four years' service. In regard to "Jack the Ripper," he said in an interview:
"That remarkable man was one of the most fascinating of criminals. Of course, he was a maniac, but I have a very clear idea who he was and how he committed suicide, but that, with other secrets, will never be revealed by me.
"I have destroyed all my documents, and there is now no record of the secret information which came into my possession at one time or another. Today for the first time since I joined the force, on May 24, 1889, I know what it is to be free from official cares, and I shall certainly not write any reminiscences.
"During the last ten years," remarked Sir Melville, "there have been few crimes for which no one has been brought to justice, although the Camp murder was one. The detectives of today are as good as ever they were, and I am proud to say that with the exception of Patrick Quinn, superintendent of the special branch, and John McCarthy, superintendent of the C.I.D., there is not an officer serving at present whom I have not introduced to the force.
"It is of course, impossible, to compare present day officers with those of years gone by, for every period has had its good men, but there are two officers without whom the criminal investigation department would be completely "at sea." They are: "Detective Inspector Luck" and "Detective Sergeant Chance." If these officers are together on a case then there need be no doubt as to the result. By that I mean that in crime detection, as in everything else, there must be an element of what is called luck.
"The attributes of an ideal detective are to keep his eyes and ears open and his mouth shut. What class of men makes the best detectives it is impossible to say."

Source: The Galveston Daily News, Saturday June 21, 1913, Page 5

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Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"
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