INTERIM MEETING REVIEW (MAY) – STEVE RATTEY
The topic for discussion was proposed by Ed Stow in March: is there a link between the Thames Torso Murders (TTM) and Jack the Ripper? Since he was one of the few regular attendees who knew sufficiently about the TTM, we thought it best to keep the discussion general until Ed arrived. We all raised a glass to Adam Wood as it was his birthday, and talked a great deal about Steve Blomer’s walk. The postcard which sold for 22k was very much in everyone’s mind. Cries of ‘worthless to me’ were heard. The cost of the Chamberlain was also mentioned and I was pleased by the support the Society received. One subject that always comes up is profiling and tonight was no exception with a short discussion on the profile of the Yorkshire Ripper, and I loved the concluding statement from Bill that ‘profiling is an art not a science’. There was a rumor of a Lechmere diary and did it exist? Page 3 of the Sunday Sport or the Sun came up but I can’t remember which Captain Tangent brought it up. Is Sam Fox a suspect? Was she known to Abberline and has she ever written a diary? How did we get caught up in this?
Ed turned up as did the TTM. The take-home result of the evening was that no-one felt they had a direct link with JTR but it did give rise to some interesting questions. Why where these people murdered, cut up and thrown into the Thames? I suggested it was to hide their identity. How close was the modus operandi used with the victim Elizabeth Jackson to that used with Mary Kelly? Some thought very close. All the victims were of a similar social standing i.e. unfortunates. I struggle with this one, however, as we only know the identity of one of the torsos and nothing about the others. It was suggested that the torsos were mass suicides, but I’m not convinced, even thought it was not uncommon for people to throw themselves in the Thames at that time. The question of what makes up a torso was raised and what a moribund road that was! (I could never be a pathologist.) It was evident that several people, myself included, believed that all the bodies were found in the Thames when, of course it was in the Thames area. I think the TTM were overshadowed when JTR arrived on the scene, and I suspect that this is because his victims were known people and therefore more relatable In addition to that, the Whitechapel Murders received the full gothic treatment in the media; whereas the TTM didn’t have the full might of the press behind them.
All in all I don’t think the TTM really inspired those in attendance, as the talk kept drifting back to Charles Cross AKA Lechmere (he did it) and Steve’s walk. Of course, to some the TTM are of immense interest, and I can understand that, although personally they do nothing for me. Like Crippen it’s all a bit too grisly. (Yeah, like JTR isn’t. I think I must watch that episode of Ripper Street. again.) But I did learn a few new things from our discussion – for example, I hadn’t realized that the TTM took place over such a long period of time, and that missing parts were found and photographed.
The topic of the night was a good lead into the next interim meeting event which is a visit to the Thames River Police Museum on Saturday 7 July 2018 – a trip which is only available via special arrangement with the curators, so I hope a few of you can join us.
For those that can only make the evening at the Chamberlain, the topic for discussion (proposed by Bill Beadle) is whether or not Alice McKenzie was a Jack the Ripper victim.
Attendees in the house were; Mark Galloway, Bill Beadle, John Pope De Locksley, Samantha Hulass, Steve Blomer, Ed Stow, Dave Cuthbertson and first timer at an interim Julian. Not forgetting of course yours truly Steve the Rattey.