Very Intelligent Correspondent Indeed

Posted: October 26, 2009 in Other Ripper Research
A correspondent of the Standard writes: – May I suggest that it would be well if the police were, for once, not to confine their attention to "suspicious characters" (so-called)? When a man commits four separate murders in the same way, and on each occasion escapes without notice, the inference is irresistible that there is nothing whatever suspicious in his appearance. On the contrary, he is probably a man of most respectable exterior, calm and composed in manner, certainly dressed in dark clothes, wearing probably dark gloves, and possibly even a tall hat. His modus operandi involves no such struggle as would tear or disarrange his clothes. Standing, as he does, at the right shoulder of his victim, and a little behind her, he would not be bespattered by the blood. His left hand, which he places over his victim’s mouth and chin, would also escape pollution. Nor is it at all necessary that in his horrible subsequent proceedings he need be covered with blood, if he stands well away from his victim as he bends over her. That his hands should altogether escape bloodstains is improbable, working, as he does, in the dark, and it seems clear that he wipes them, and then, in all probability, puts on a pair of dark gloves. Thus, when he leaves the scene of his crime, there is absolutely nothing in his appearance to excite suspicion. For my part, I do not doubt that he passed several policemen on Sunday morning. The respectability of his appearance is proved by another consideration. Nothing else would account for the willingness of his last two victims to be led into danger while the whole neighborhood was still aghast at the crimes previously committed. Each must have said to herself, "Well, I am quite safe with him!" – that is, there can have been nothing rough or suspicious in his appearance. Probably, too, there was the offer of gold; but even this by itself would not have been sufficient to induce them to place themselves at a stranger’s mercy had not his appearance been such as to disarm suspicion. When to these considerations we add the fact that the manner in which the crimes have been perpetrated goes far to prove that the perpetrator is a man of education, we are, I think, driven to a conclusion very different to that at which the police have arrived. It is not in the common lodging-houses of Whitechapel that such a criminal must be sought. Were he such a man as haunts these places he must have been detected long ere this. It seems much more likely that he does not live in Whitechapel at all. He is probably a lonely, brooding monomaniac, well provided with money, occupying, very likely, a house by himself. Then, at night he puts on his murder suit, lets himself out with the latch-key, does his deed of horror, and quietly returns home, none knowing when he went out, or when he came back, or having any reason to suspect him. In fine, this is, I think, a case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in real life, suggested possibly to some diseased imagination by that very story.
Source: The Mercury, (Hobart, Tasmania 1860-1954), Friday 16 November 1888, Page 4

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