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Casebook: Jack the Ripper - Message Boards » Suspects » Stephenson, Roslyn Donston » Stephenson Second Trip To The Hospital in 1889 « Previous Next »

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Howard Brown
Chief Inspector
Username: Howard

Post Number: 825
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Saturday, August 20, 2005 - 8:33 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Within the first 4 and ½ months of the year 1889, RDS went back to London Hospital for a 10 and ½ week [ 73 days ] period for treatment for chloralism.

He went into the same ward [ Davis ] and was attended to by the same doctor [ Doctor Sutton ] on this occasion. It had only been 144 days since he left in December [ 7th ] of the previous year.

During this stay and in fact only 8 days prior to his departure [ Stephenson was declared “cured” by the attendant-in-charge the second time around] from London Hospital, another murder of a woman,Alice McKenzie, took place in Castle Alley,Whitechapel.

Chief Comm, of Police James Monro filed a memo[ A493011/1] the same morning as the murder stating that he was inclined to believe that the same hand at work in the Fall of ‘88 was at work here...once again.

Differing from this opinion was Dr. Phillips. However,Dr. Thomas Bond agreed with Comm. Monro’s opinion and went so far as to send his report to Robert Anderson. Anderson,you will remember,asked Dr. Bond for his post-mortem report following the murder of Mary Kelly.

Back to Stephenson...

In a recent [ Ripperologist # 56,November 2004 ] article regarding the possibility of RDS being the author of one or more of the Ripper letters,by my fellow D’onstonite,Thomas C. Wescott, Tom included the late December [ 30th] 1888 Pall Mall Gazette excerpt which stated that the Police were interested in a patient who had been “in” London Hospital during the period of the Whitechapel Murders....had sent a letter to someone involved in charitable [ philanthropic] work in the East End,which were allegedly similar to some of the letters sent by “JTR”....and that the Police were currently conducting surveillence as they had seen this person subsequent to his departure of the Hospital.

In Tom’s excellent article, there is a reference to RDS having “fled” the Hospital. This may be a minor exaggeration,of course,but nevertheless, Stephenson did not flee the Hospital. Stephenson was discharged with the word “Relieve” next to the “Condition of discharge”...



In any event,Stephenson is living in St.Martin’s Lane within two days of his first release.

However, 4 and a half months later,Stephenson gives his address as being one found in Mile End in Burdett Cottage,Burdett Road.

Which brings up the whole point of this rambling.....

If,as has been suggested,Stephenson WAS the man that the Police had had under surveillence, their initial inquiries made at the Hospital would have undoubtedly been fresh in the minds of those whom the Police discussed this mysterious patient with. Any person,whether attendant,security personnel,and especially the doctor-in-attendance would have not soon forgotten that the Police inquired about the possibility of someone in their care being behind either a letter purporting to be from JTR or in fact,the actual murderer himself. Sadly,we don’t know which letter was in question. But in any event,the memory of the Police making the rounds at London Hospital would have been not soon forgotten...

Then in May...here comes Stephenson back to the Hospital. Back to the same ward....and back to the same doctor.

If anyone had forgotten about JTR [ which was hardly possible ] the murder 8 days before Stephenson’s second cleared discharge would have shaken some memories.

Yet the Police were not called upon in mid-May nor at any time during the 73 day stay by RDS regarding the similar letters or his hasty departure from Hospital back in December [ 7th ] .

To me,this indicates that Stephenson was NOT the man in question back in late December of 1888 who had left Hospital,been under surveillence,nor was wanted for questioning for anything. Stephenson,if he was aware of being “wanted”,certainly did everything possible to make his “capture’ easy for the Police. Not only did he leave an address that could easily have been checked out, he stays in the Hospital for another 2 and ½ months ! Had Stephenson made an error in judgment, he was a fish in a barrel for the Police to apprehend....right there in the same ward as he had been only 4 and a half months prior.

In all honesty, more than the arguments from people who mention his age...his career of prevarication...the ability to leave the Hospital to kill...as reasons for him NOT being the Ripper...this situation stands out as a better argument against him being the Ripper. If what Tom has posited has any foundation in fact,from the PMG accounts, then we must honestly ask ourselves about why the Police didn’t check out the man they had been curious about back in December of 1888. Not only that,but why would this man go back to a place where he would have HAD to know he was remembered as leaving hurriedly....and to further stimulate dormant memories,the recent murder of Ms. McKenzie would have jarred the most inert grey matter. In addition, there were other Hospitals in London to get treatment for whatever ailed Stephenson..

That is....if he was the man they were looking for in the first place....


Your comments,please........
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Spiro
Police Constable
Username: Auspirograph

Post Number: 9
Registered: 9-2005
Posted on Sunday, October 16, 2005 - 2:50 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Howard,

You make some very intriguing points here. A brilliant summary of the events and facts surrounding Stephenson's second admission into London Hospital during 1889.

Could it be that Stephenson was not interviewed further either late December 1888 or during 1889 because the police had already determined upon another suspect?

By the time Stephenson was re-admitted voluntarily the hunt for the Ripper was winding down. The failure to follow-up on Stephenson demonstrates that the inquiry was led in another direction entirely.

Stephen Knight and Richard Whittington-Egan both surmised as much regarding Stephenson as a contemporary suspect based on their assessment of the files in the 70's.



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Howard Brown
Assistant Commissioner
Username: Howard

Post Number: 1072
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Sunday, October 16, 2005 - 8:59 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Spiro:

"By the time Stephenson was re-admitted voluntarily the hunt for the Ripper was winding down."

Spiro,that may be true of police presence on the street. I believe that began in March of 89.

Could it be that that only applied to the PC on the street ?

"The failure to follow-up on Stephenson demonstrates that the inquiry was led in another direction entirely."

It sure could have been. In fact, despite what may only have been attempts to get investigated, we don't know if he ever was in the sights of the authorities. I,for one, don't think that that story in the PMG referred to RDS,as it describes a totally different scenario. It may have been about RDS departure,as it fits in with that time frame,but with invented "facts" and with an invented scenario.

Thanks for the compliment,Spiro.





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