Saturday, 30 June 2012

Jack the Ripper scare in Market Harborough.

Jack the Ripper on his holidays!

The Lodger, Jack the Ripper - The Macabre Observer

    Dreadfully sorry to keep banging on about the Whitechapel fiend, but on one of my story finding expeditions I discovered this little gem from the Market Harborough Advertiser, 20th November 1888. 
It was at the peak of the Autumn of terror that swept the nation and everyone was on the look out for suspicious characters, I quote verbatim.............

    "               THE WHITECHAPEL MURDER.

                 A man suspected at Market Harborough.

     Some excitement was caused in a certain part of Market Harborough on Friday on hearing that a man answering the description of the Whitechapel murderer had come from London that afternoon and had taken up his abode with a Mrs Green, near the British school. 
    The police were communicated with almost immediately and a watch was set on his movements. During the evening the man went to the station (followed by officers in plain clothes) and returned with his luggage - a portmanteau.
Marker Harborough railway station - The Macabre Observer
Market Harborough railway station.

     On his reaching home again the police entered the house and searched the portmanteau, but nothing  was found to connect the man with the crime of which he was suspected.

    He said his name was Dietrich and that he was a doctor at one of the London hospitals and gave his address at 22, Howland Street, Tottenham Court Road. 

    He wore spectacles and his overcoat was trimmed with astrachan. Not being satisfied with this information, Supt. Bott placed a cordon of police around the house and telegraphed to Scotland Yard for instructions as to whether the man should be detained or not.

     This was about 9 o'clock and an answer was expected within an hour or two. At 11.30, however, no reply had been received and it was not until 5.10 on Saturday morning that an answer was handed to the police. 

    This was of a somewhat vague nature, but the police were on it's receipt withdrawn from the house and no further notice was taken of the matter.

     One thing which had excited the suspicions of the neighbours and the police also, was that the same man was in Market Harbough about three weeks ago and stayed at the same house. 

    His movements were then considered peculiar and the neighbours were actually alarmed about him. While here, no murders occurred in London, but after he had gone back, the latest horror was perpetrated."
Marker Harborough market square - The Macabre Observer
Victorian Market Harborough.

     So, has anyone investigated Dr Dietrich of 22, Howland Street, Tottenham Court Road and why did Scotland Yard tell the local plod to stand down.     Did they want the glory then let him slip away or was he quietly committed to an asylum?? Who knows, he was probably just someone on his holidays......wasn't he!