On 18th November 2008, the Broadmoor files of Thomas Hayne Cutbush were opened to the public.
There was much press speculation about the contents of the files and whether or not they would prove that Thomas Cutbush was Jack the Ripper.
According to The Sunday Telegraph on November 9th 2008 in an article entitled “Clues that could finally Unmask the Ripper” Cutbush was / is “the number one suspect.”
According to the article:-
“Cutbush really is the number one suspect. He was a known psychopath and his family actually suspected him of having something to do with the killings because of his strange behaviour…”
I have to confess that I have never really held with Cutbush’s having been Jack the Ripper on account of the fact that Melville Macnaghten refutes all the allegations made against him by The Sun in February 1894.
If you haven’t read the case against Cutbush as presented by The Sun you can follow this link to the Thomas Cutbush story and Macnaghten’s reasoning as to why he wasn’t jack the Ripper.
On 18th November 2008 Paul Begg and I were at the Records Office at 9am and were able to study the Cutbush files.
There are three files in total. The documents include the Warrant for his being sent to Broadmoor and sundry other documents about him.
He was transferred to Broadmoor from Her Majesty’s Prison Holloway in April 1891 and the “Registered number of criminal lunatic” is given as X32007.
Of particular interest is a physical description of Cutbush at the time of his admission.
It reads •Description of Thomas Cutbush admitted from Holloway Prison
•Born: 29th June 1866.
•Age: 26 years.
•Height: 5ft 9 1/2 inches
•weigh: 9 stone 6 1/2 pounds
•Whiskers: black: (very short)
•Eyes: Dark Blue (very sharp)
•Marks slight bruise on left knee. 1 tooth out in front of upper jaw.
There is also a press clipping of a letter written by Cutbush’s Solicitor which reads:-
In the case of Thomas Cutbush Mr George Kirk of 1a Paternoster Row EC his solicitor writes April 16th as follows. My attention has been brought to a report in the paper of yesterdays date of the case of Thomas Cutbush who was charged with maliciously wounding at the London County Session Newington sittings on the 14th instance. In this it is stated that another scare was created by defendant stabbing a young female in Kennington with a toy dagger. As this is likely to create the impression that the defendant is guilty of the charges made against him I write to explain that I the defendants solicitor had a large number of witnesses present on defendant’s behalf to establish his innocence and was advised by eminent counsel whom I had instructed to defend him that his acquittal was almost a matter of certainty. Owing however to the action of the Crown in raising the issue of insanity first the case was not gone into although the defendant’s friends were most anxious to have his innocence established. The circumstances are sufficiently painful to them without having it assumed and published that the defendant was guilty of the crimes imputed which there is good reason to believe he did not commit.
Another document gives further details of his mental state and other information about him and states the cause of and date of his death:-
•Date when he first became a Criminal Lunatic 14th April 1891.
•Removed from Holloway to Broadmoor on 15th April 1891.
•Former Occupation: Clerk
•Religious Persuasion: Church of England.
•Degree of Education: Well
•Of Temperate Habits: Yes.
•Give brief account of the crime by which he became a criminal lunatic: He was charged with maliciously wounding two persons by stabbing.
•Supposed cause of insanity; Hereditary and Over Study.
•How long insane: Since 1889 at least.
•Is he known to have had any previous attacks and if so when: No history of previous attack.
•It is recorded that on 5th July 1903 his bodily health was bad.
•Suffered from Kidney decease.
•Medical condition: demented.
•Died 5th July 1903 of Chronic Kidney disease. (Pyelitis).
There are also several other notes about his behaviour, such as shortly after being admitted he walked up to another patient and punched him hard in the face. Other notes talk of him using bad language and threatening to rip up staff and other patients and of him saying he was going to hang them.
A noted dated 20th April ’03 also states that:-
Mrs Cutbush and her sister visited T Cutbush from 2.35 to 2.55 . Mrs Cutbush tried to kiss her son and he tried to bite her face then commenced to swear at them.
These are the initial findings from the Cutbush files.