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MEMORIES OF MANY CRIMES, Issue 15693, 6 January 1915
MEMORIES OF MANY CRIMES
STORIES HITHERTO UNTOLD
BY C.I.V. CHIEF,
There Is a breesdness and vivacity about Sir .Melville L. Mannaghteu’s ‘ Days of My Years,’ which will form an admirable tome just now, when wo are all thinking too much ami reading too much about the war.
Sir Melville, it may he necessary to remind a short-memoried public, was for many years chief of tho - nvestigation Department, Scotland Yard, from which he retired in 1912. Without any police training ho was offered the post of assistant chief constable at Scotland Yard by Air James Munro, whom ho had met in India. That Sir Melville was so undoubted a success may be ascribed to the devotion and industry with ■which ho pursued detective work. It was an interesting period at “The Yard ’ —that of the late eighties—a. period of transition. The superintendent of the C.I.D. at this time, was a fine old policeman of a type now obsolete. His educational attainments were sadly to seek, lint his knowledge of the thieving fraternity was unrivalled, and he possessed a very remarkable memory for their names and faces. His physical strength was enormous, and he could eject a welsher in each hand from any ring on any racecourse over which the Metropolitan Police had control. Though murders naturally play a large part in ‘ Days of My Years,’ other crimes are given due prominence. —Tho Refuge of Anarchists. —■ Sir Melville has some pertinent observations to make on the subject of anarchism. Although we are inundated with the scum of other countries, and various parts of London swarm with Nihilists from Russia, advanced .Socialists from Germany, and Communists from
France (to say nothing; of a large contingent of knifing Neapolitans), vet all these gentry are perfectly well aware that if they begin throwing bombs about in the London streets the British workman (honest fellow, though occasional grumbler, that he is!) would he the first person to hoof them out
of the* country with an uncompromising ami hobnailed boot, and that then the
gates of their very last oily of refuge would bo banged, bolted, and barred against them. It is this that has given, and that continues to give, to Kngland a very groat immunity from the crimes which so often terrorise the dwellers on the Continent.
There have been numberless theories about the identity of “Jack the Ripper," the notorious miscreant who terrorised Whitecha pel in the latter part of 1888. That was just before Sir Melville joined “ The Yard." and even after that, and, indeed, as late as 1391, murders were attributed to dark the Ripper, but in the author's opinion the Whitechapel murderer pet an end to himself soon after the Dorset street affair, the fifth of the murders, in November, 1838.
It will have been nothcd tliat tlic fury of the, murderer, as evinced in ills methods of mutilation, increased on every occasion, and Ids appetite appears to have become sharpened by indulgence. There can bo no doubt that in the room at Miller’s court the madman found ample scope foj. the opportunities ho had all along been seeking, and _ the probability is that, alter his awful glut on this occasion, his brain gave way altogether, and he committed suicide; otherwise the murders would not have ceased. “ The man, of course,'’ Sir Melville writes, "‘was a sexual maniac. Sexual murders are the most difficult, of all for police to bring home, to the perpetrators, for 'motives’ there are none: mdv a lust for blood, and in many cases a Inured of women as women.’'' “.lark the 'Rippor’s ’’ Fate.- - The author does not believe that ih.c man had ever been detained in an asylum. He inclines to the opinion, no doubt •"from information received,'' that the murderer resided with his own people: that he Absented himself from home at certain times: and that he committed suicide on or about November .10, 1888, after—as the author feelingly remarks—“he had knocked out a. Commissioner of Polite and very nearly settled the hash of one of Her Majesty’s principal .Secretaries of State." Neil Cream, the wholesale poisoner of women, is the subject of another studv by Sir .Melville. He was a maniac of a particularly diabolical kind, the kind for whom the gallows and not the asvhnn is the best place. In America be committed at least three murders. For the third he was sentenced to death. Tint the sentence was commuted to 10 years' penal servitude. a clemency on the part of the American authorities for which at least half a. dozen Englifik women paid with their lives.
The gratification of a, mad Inst of cruelty was the one object of his rmn> dcris—at least on this side of tho Atlan-
tic. He had absolutely nothing else to gain by them. The ‘blackmailing letters that he sent to well-known people after cadi crime were acts of sheer insanity. In one he demanded £300.000. He was a mad monster of a peculiar type. The nearest approach we have had to him since his execution was Ocorgo Chapman, who, curiously enough, also poisoned a girl named* Marsh.
Some <>f Neil Cream's crimes on the ether Bide of the Atlantic, like some of Chapman's on this f-ide, may have had a. pecuniary motive, underlying them, but by both miscreants a number of women were deliberately poisoned solely for the gratification of a. monstrous instinct.
—The. Story of Fowler and Milsom.—• A grim story is tolri of the hanging of Fowler and Mdsom, the Musvreil fill! murderers. and Seaman, who murdered an elderly Jew and his maid servant at .Stepney. It will be remembered that in the dock at the Old Bailey Fowler had made a- desperate attempt to assault Milsom. having heard that he had turned Queen's evidence. On the day of the execution, when the fatal shod was .reached. Seaman found himself placed under the beam between the two Muswell Hill murderers, and just before the drop fell he was heard to remark; " This is the first time as ever I was an adjective peacemaker.”
To those who think that newspapers, by investigating crimes on their own account, binder the work of the police, what Sir Melville has to say on tho subject. forms a useful corrective.
• I most gratefully admit that the Press and the public (not always sympathetic with the department over which I had the honor to preside for more than 10 years) never unkindly nor unfairly criticised my work. At certain times Pressmen did hamper- one, but in nine cases out of ten they have been of the greatest use to me, and on occasions rendered yeoman service in the successful investigation of crime. The old idea.
used to be that detectives best served
the interests of justice by keeping journalists at a distance, with the natural result that Pressmen, being under tho necessity of reporting something, used to string together unreliable stories, and to set about investigations themselves in a manner very maddening and handicapping to the detective officers who had the handling of the case. It seemed well, therefore, in many cases to give fully and 'frankly such information as coufd be used without hesitation and at the same time with profit to the public and to the police.
MEMORIES OF MANY CRIMES, Issue 15693, 6 January 1915
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