This morning I took delivery of L.C. Douthwaite’s Mass Murder. The book, published by John Long, London, 1928, features such cases as Burke and Hare, George Joseph Smith and Fritz Haartmann. There are aslo chapters, that will draw the attention of Ripperologists, on Thomas Neill Cream and Frederick Bailey Deeming.
For me the book is interesting as it is one of the earliest books I can find that claims Deeming was in jail in 1888 despite the Home Office files from 1890/91 claiming that the 1890/91 prison term was the first time Deeming had been in any British prison.
Some time ago I ordered a copy of the Home Office Files on Frederick Bailey Deeming, covering the period December 1890 until April 1891 and spanning 43 pages. The files, HO144/479/X30712, which arrived moments ago, feature correspondence between the Home Office and Helen Matheson asking why the Government refuses to charge Deeming alias Lawson under the Bigamy laws. Correspondence between Beverley Police and the Secretary of State, Correspondence between Scotland Yard’s Criminal Investigations Department and the Home Office, Correspondence between the Home Office and the Hull Police, Correspondence between Messrs Reynoldson and Son and the Home Office, and much much more.
The file is currently out of order, so I will spend some time sorting it into chronological order for easier reference.
Yesterday I was fortunate enough to be able to visit the Hull History Centre and found some interesting articles.
February 1988 saw a number of articles that were published, in the Hull Daily Mail, looking at the life of Stephenson. These mention that Melvin Harris claims Stephenson is JTR. The first claims that Stephenson was a doctor, drunk, drug addict, black magician.
The second article in the Hull Daily Mail, using the name Roslyn D’Onson, claims that Stephenson became ill after the murders and booked himself in the London Hospital. It also claims that Stephenson killed 7 prostitutes.
On March 15th 1988 Andy Aliffe, wrote a letter to Hull’s Libraries and Archives asking for help on Stephenson. I have a copy of this letter in my files.
March features an article, in the Hull Daily Mail, that claims Stephenson resided at 5 Regent Terrace and later Norwood Terrace, that he was a customs officer, and that he was involved in smuggling with Thomas Piles. It then goes on to state that Piles shot him and Stephenson fled Hull, appearing in London to form the Pomp.
As you can imagine these addresses are erroneous, they were the home of another Robert Stephenson residing in Hull. The article finishes with an appeal from Melvin Harris, leaving his address at the foot of the page.
July features a report in the Hull Daily Mail, that I have posted here previously, about Ripper Tours in Hull.
August features a report in the Hull Daily Mail, that I have posted here previously, that once again looks at the Ripper tourism boom.
A short while later Peter Ainscough, the County Librarian writes a reply that claims that the only Robert Stephenson they can find is residing in Norwood Terrace in the City. He is a Outdoor Officer with the HMC. They also quote from the Eastern Morning News article. Although the letter is undated, the reply quotes the July and August reports. I have a copy of this letter in my files.
All is quiet until November 1989 when Stephenson appears in the Hull Daily Mail again. This time a small photo of him appears on the front cover! This article looks at the FBI profile against what they claim they know about Stephenson. It is full of “facts” such as Stephenson was a trained surgeon” and “Stephenson fought battles” and “Stephenson lived in Whitechapel,”
1994 saw the Hull Daily Mail publish a short overview of The True Face of JTR. Again the article featured a few facts.
The 1930’s Hull Times saw an article on Frederick Bailey Deeming. This include, an overview of Deeming’s time in Hull, Beverley and Hull Gaol. The article also carried some of the memories of Detective Thomas Grasby, as well as a picture of the man in later life. The memories include his trip to Monte Video to arrest Deeming. His memories of Charles Pearce in Hull, his memories of the Caughy-street Murder, where Councillor Richard Stephenson was very vocal of the Hull Police, and his memories of the Preston Murder of Mary Jane Langley.
The Hull Times in 1941 features a special titled “Swindler, Bigamist, and Murderer” about Deeming. The article, which covered the full page features details of Deeming’s time in Hull and Beverley. The interesting thing about this article is that several players from the period give us a little more information that wasn’t featured in the press of the period. They include the names of ships, dates, shipping lines, and names.
The following week the same publication featured a follow up article entitled, “How Coincidences Caught Callous Murderer” this time covering Deeming’s life in Rainhill and Australia. Henry Webster, former governor of Hull Prison is mentioned.