THE MACNAGHTEN MEMORANDA
THREE MORE SUSPECTS
The Police, it appears, had already considered and looked into the possibility of Cutbush’s being Jack the Ripper and had ruled him out as a suspect. But, as a result of The Sun’s accusations, Melville Macnaghten was asked to prepare a report in which he refuted the newspapers allegations. Now known as the Macnaghten Memoranda this report was one of the first official documents to provide an insight into who the police at the time thought the killer was. Macnagheten mentions three suspects who were more likely to have been the murderer than Cutbush. It is important to note that Macnaghten does not say any of the three were Jack the Ripper, just that they were more plausible suspects than Cutbush. Referring to the killings Macnaghten wrote:
It will be noted that the fury of the mutilations increased in each case, and, seemingly, the appetite only became sharpened by indulgence. It seems, then, highly improbable that the murderer would have suddenly stopped in November ’88, and been content to recommence operations by merely prodding a girl behind some 2 years and 4 months afterwards. A much more rational theory is that the murderer’s brain gave way altogether after his awful glut in Miller’s Court, and that he immediately committed suicide, or, as a possible alternative, was found to be so hopelessly mad by his relations, that he was by them confined in some asylum.
No one ever saw the Whitechapel murderer; many homicidal maniacs were suspected, but no shadow of proof could be thrown on any one. I may mention the cases of 3 men, any one of whom would have been more likely than Cutbush to have committed this series of murders:
(1) A Mr M. J. Druitt, said to be a doctor & of good family — who disappeared at the time of the Miller’s Court murder, & whose body (which was said to have been upwards of a month in the water) was found in the Thames on 31st December — or about 7 weeks after that murder. He was sexually insane and from private information I have little doubt but that his own family believed him to have been the murderer.
(2) Kosminski — a Polish Jew — & resident in Whitechapel. This man became insane owing to many years indulgence in solitary vices. He had a great hatred of women, specially of the prostitute class, & had strong homicidal tendencies: he was removed to a lunatic asylum about March 1889. There were many circumstances connected with this man which made him a strong ‘suspect’.
(3) Michael Ostrog, a Russian doctor, and a convict, who was subsequently detained in a lunatic asylum as a homicidal maniac. This man’s antecedents were of the worst possible type, and his whereabouts at the time of the murders could never be ascertained.