I recently came across an article in the Dundee Courier, dated Wednesday 26th December 1888, which spoke of Dr Tumblety as a suspect for the Whitechapel atrocities that had occurred in the autumn of that year.
The article bore the tantalising headline IS THIS THE WHITECHAPEL MURDERER? It also reported that he “was arrested some time ago in London on suspicion of being concerned in the perpetration of the Whitechapel murders.
The article further stated that the police had been unable to procure the necessary evidence against him and so they “decided to hold him for trail for another offence.”
What we do know, historically speaking, is that Tumblety was charged with acts of gross indecency with a number of males on 7th November 1888 and that, having been released on bail he jumped bail and headed for Boulogne from where he took ship to New York.
According to the article he was most certainly eccentric and was also a woman hater.
This is an intriguing article on several levels. Firstly, it provides us with a glimpse of a Jack the Ripper suspect whilst the hunt for him was still going at full throttle.
Secondly, it gives a little more information about a man who, if the Dundee Courier is to be believed was considered a viable suspect by the London police in December 1888, but who seems to have not been so in 1894 when Melvile Macnaghten wrote his memoranda [you can read about it here] in which he spoke of three men who may have been responsible for the murders – Druitt, Ostrog and Kosminski.
However, it does make for an interesting read, so here is the article in full.
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