Case File #0265
Frederick Deeming
The Rainhill Murderer
"The Jury listened well to the yarn I had to tell, But they sent me straight to hell."
In March 1892, police were called to investigate a vile smell emanating from a house on Andrew Street in Windor, Melbourne. Once they located the source, officers unearthed the decomposing body of a young woman who had been buried in cement under the fireplace. Detectives learned the house was leased to a Mr. Druin, a man with a large moustache who dressed flamboyantly and bragged about his colourful escapades throughout the world. Further enquiries revealed Mr. Druin was travelling under the name Albert Williams and it was believed the corpse was that of William's wife, Emily. He was soon tracked down, only this time he had assumed the persona of Baron Swanston, but there was no mistaking the man's uncouth behaviour and distinctive moustache. In police custody, the Baron was finally revealed to be the English-born Frederick Bailey Deeming, and he was soon suspected of an even more dreadful act of murder, one that would earn him a place as a suspect in the Whitechapel Murders committed by Jack the Ripper.
When police were summoned to number 57 Andrew Street in the Windsor suburb of Melbourne on 3 March 1892, they were not fully prepared for what they would find. Someone had reported a disgusting smell emanating from the property, and officers eventually located where it was coming from within the unoccupied dwelling. Beneath a hearthstone by the fireplace, the uniformed policemen unearthed the decomposing body of a young woman embedded in cement. The post-mortem revealed she had been roughly 30-years-old, and had been dead for about three months. The cause of death was easily established, someone had viciously cut her throat, but curiously there was no sign of blood anywhere in the house.
Two Melbourne detectives, Sgts. Henry Cawsey and William Considine were assigned to the case and immediately began enquiries as to the identity of the previous tenant who had occupied the cottage. They discovered from the letting agent that the premises had been leased by a man named Druin. Further enquiries led the detectives to a local iron-monger who delivered numerous supplies to Mr. Druin, including a broom, closet pan, trowel, a spade and some cement a few weeks earlier.
The iron-monger described the man as being in his mid-30's, of medium height and slight build, with fair-hair, a fair reddish beard and a large distinctive moustache. He pointedly remembered Mr. Druin dressed rather flamboyantly, with lots and jewellery and recalled how he spoke in a loud manner, with a distinctively thick Lancashire, English accent. A thorough search of the house yielded little evidence, except for a torn luggage ticket.
But from this, Cawsey and Considine learned that Druin had travelled from the United Kingdom to Melbourne on 9 December 1891, aboard the passenger vessel Kaiser Wilhelm II. Once they checked the passenger manifest it became clear that Druin was accompanied on the voyage by his young wife, Emily, but it seemed he had been travelling under the name Albert Williams. The detectives questioned other passengers who easily recalled the loud, oafish and boasting behaviour of Mr. Williams, who they unanimously described as boorish in his attempts to impress anyone who would listen to his clearly fictitious adventures around the globe.
The vulgar passenger was also remembered by the crew, who were offended by his repeated attempts at accusing them of stealing his valuables, and were glad to see the back of him. It became clear, and the detectives were now certain, that the putrefying corpse found beneath the fireplace in Windsor was that of Emily Williams. They issued a nationwide alert for the capture of Albert Williams, sending out a description of him and his distinctive physical and behavioural characteristics to every police station in the country. It was their reasoning, that if Mr. Druin, alias Mr. Williams were to continue his persona, then he would be easily located.
At an inquest held on 8 March, evidence was presented that a man matching Mr. Williams description had previously held an auction of household goods, ostensibly wedding presents, in early January 1892. The man was staying at the Cathedral Hotel in Swanston Street, Melbourne, registered under the name Mr. Duncan. The same man approached Holt's Matrimonial Agency with the intention of meeting a young woman for matrimonial purposes. The police discovered he also perpetrated a swindle of a local Melbourne jeweller. In the meantime, the residents of Melbourne were curiously interested in the apparent murder of the young Emily Williams and the circumstances of her death soon captured the public's imagination. A large crowd of inquisitive onlookers gathered to watch her coffin as it was lowered into a pauper's grave the week after the grim discovery.
A break in the case was made when the detectives were notified that an observant employee of a coastal shipping company notified police of having seen a man matching the description of Mr. Williams. However, the flamboyant character was now travelling under the name of Baron Swanston. He was seen boarding a vessel which disembarked from Melbourne on 23 January to Perth in Western Australia. A wanted poster was immediately issued by police to every settlement in the region.

The Baron Swanston

Soon enough someone matching his description was located in the small mining settlement of Southern Cross. The day after the remains of Emily Williams were laid to rest, a trooper wired the detectives in Melbourne and told them that a man matching the description of Swanston had been arrested. He was picked up on 14 March 1982, at around 1:00pm, and told the arresting officer, "I shall say nothing. I am innocent. I have never been to Windsor to the best of my knowledge. I do not know where it is.". He then added, "My name is not Williams." The arresting officer, PC William replied, "I can't help that", as he placed the prisoner into a wagon for transportation to the jail in Southern Cross.
The prisoner was described as having a distinctive look, wearing city clothes, lots of jewellery and having a large moustache and English accent, which made him stand out considerably from the assortment of drunken miners held in the jail. The Baron Swanston had taken a job as an engineer at the Fraser Gold Mine, in charge of the machinery. The arrest of the man know variously as Druin, Williams, Duncan and now Swanston soon reached the residents of Victoria through newspaper headlines which read, "Windsor Murderer Arrested". Another name surfaced for the mysterious individual, only this time it was his real name, Frederick Bailey Deeming.
During their investigation they had learned everything they could about Deeming and his colourful history. He had arrived at New South Wales from England in 1881, and bought a house in the inner Sydney suburb of Petersham, where he lived with his Welsh born wife Marie and their two baby daughters. Those who knew him told the detectives that Deeming operated a gas fitting shop, which mysteriously burnt down. When the insurance money failed to cover his expenses, he resorted to petty theft such as raiding his clients guttering and selling the lead for scrap. He was soon besieged by furious customers whenever the rain deluged their homes.
He was well known about town for drawing unwanted attention upon himself, and once served a jail sentence for boasting how he had given false testimony in a case at bankruptcy court. When the detectives interviewed those acquainted with the Deeming family, they remembered his wife, who had been nothing like Emily Williams. She was older, shorter and had a much darker complexion, different it appeared in almost every way. It became apparent to the detectives, that there were in-fact two Mrs. Deemings, but they only knew the fate of one who was not the mother of his children.
As Deeming languished in the Southern Cross jail awaiting extradition to Melbourne facing a murder charge, detectives Cawsey and Considine began searching for the whereabouts of the missing Mrs. Deeming and their children. The only clue found in the house was a crumpled invitation to a dinner hosted by one Albert Williams at the Commercial Hotel, Rainhill, which was a small village roughly 14 kilometres east of Liverpool in England.
Suspecting that Albert Williams might not just be an assumed name but an actual person, the detectives telegraphed Lancashire police and requested they make inquiries about the dinner. They wished to locate Albert Williams, so that he might be able to help shed some light on Frederick Deeming and his missing family. When the local police made further inquiries they discovered the Rainhill news agency, which was owned and operated by the widowed Mrs. Dove Mather, who it turns out, was the mother of the deceased Emily Lydia Williams.

Emily Mather

She fainted when the officers told her of the death of her daughter. When she regained herself, Mrs. Mather explained that she also operated a Rainhill letting agency, and her daughter met with a Mr. Williams, a man matching Deeming's description, who enquired about renting a house. She claimed to have received a letter from Mr. Williams, who was at that time posing as one Mr. Duncan, several days after her daughter's murder. Deeming arrived in Rainhill, Merseyside in late October 1891, and took out a lease on Dineham Villa, a property in Rainhill on behalf of his employer, a Colonel Brooks, who he said would be arriving from India shortly.

Dineham Villa

It appeared the story was fictional, and the Colonel never existed. Whilst he waited for his employer to arrive, Deeming spent his time at the local Commercial Hotel, where he began spending large amounts of money, holding court at the Hotel's bar each night and regaling those who would listen with stories of his far fetched adventures. Soon enough Emily Mather fell for his charms and lies and they were soon married in Rainhill on 22 November 1891. Mr. Williams threw a lavish reception before he and his bride sailed from London aboard the German steamship Kaiser Wilhelm II on a voyage to Australia, where they had planned to spend their honeymoon. Before he departed, Williams left a large pile of unpaid bills in both London and Rainhill. As they spoke with the residents of Rainhill, the local police learned more about Deeming and his life at Dineham Villa.
There were rumours of a woman and children living at the residence, and a neighbour recalled talking to a young boy and girl one afternoon after they asked if they could have strawberries. Before the man could learn anymore, the children were ushered inside by a woman who abruptly closed the door and drew the curtains. Other neighbours also reported seeing a woman and children, but Deeming maintained they were his sister and her children, visiting from Port Said, and nothing more was known about them. Masquerading as Mr. Williams, Deeming began to complain that the drains were defective at Dineham, and he closely supervised the work which was carried out. Not long after the woman and children abruptly vanished from the Villa, or went home as Mr. Williams explained.
Just two weeks after the body of Emily Mathers was discovered, officers visited Dineham Villa on 16 March 1892. When they recevied no reply they were forced to break down the door. Soon enough they were presented with the unmistakable odour of decomposing human remains. As the policemen eventually found the source of the pungent smell, they used shovels and crowbars to pulled up the fireplace and remove the hearthstones, where was found the corpses of a woman and two children, all wrapped in oilcloth and in an advanced state of decomposition.

Illustrated Police News Article on the Rainhill Murders

The woman was positioned on her back, whilst the two children were turned with their faces downward, lying one on each side of her. When the bodies were removed, the strong smell of decomposition remained and so the police investigated further. An equally terrible sight was discovered, when another two more bodies were found embedded in cement, that of a young girl and an infant lying at the woman's feet. It was established by the coroner that the woman and 9-year-old girl had been strangled, and the other children had their throats cut.
Police found a book near the bodies, which contained the name Deeming crossed out and Williams added instead. They were now certain that Deeming and Williams were one and the same person. At the Rainhill inquest, two days after the ghastly discovery, the coroner surmised the murderous series of events which occurred at Dineham Villa. The 9-year-old girl had awoken from the her as the killer crept around the house, and strangled her to ensure her silence. Two visibly distressed men appeared at the inquest, and explained they had travelled from Liverpool and knew the identity of the murdered woman.
The men, Alfred and Walter Deeming, explained the woman was Marie James who was the wife of their brother, Frederick. The children were also of the Deeming family, who had all been brought back from Australia several months before. They said their brother was a cockney, born in London on 30 July 1853. As a young man he had worked as a ship's purser and travelled to many different parts of the world. When he returned to England in 1881, he married Marie James and then settled in Australia, where the coupled welcomed two girls, Mary and Bertha, who were born in Sydney.

Frederick Bailey Deeming

Later research would show the family moved to South Africa in the mid-1880's, where they spent some time and where their third child, a boy they named Sydney, was born at sea. In 1889, Deeming became involved in a diamond mining swindle in Transvaal, and this might have been the reason he promptly left the country. By 1890, Deeming and his wife returned to England aboard the steamship Yumna, and soon their fourth child, a girl they named Leala, was born at Birkenhead. Leaving his family, he arrived in Hull during November 1889 and lodged in the nearby town of Beverley. There he assumed the persona of "Harry Lawson, retired sheep farmer", and claimed he came from Mount House Farm, Rockhampton, Queensland, and was living on the annual sum of 1,500 pounds a year. He wooed 21-year-old Helen Matheson, the daughter of his landlady, and soon bigamously married her on 18 February 1890.
A month later, he suddenly disappeared during their honeymoon in the south of England, taking the expensive wedding gifts to his bride with him. His wife Marie apparently learned of his bigamous marriage to Matheson and he visited her and the children in Birkenhead. He gave his first wife several hundred pounds and without much explanation declared he was moving to South America. In order to finance his trip he conducted another swindle at a jeweler's in Hull. He evidently arrived in Montevideo, but was soon arrested on charges of "obtaining goods by false pretenses" and extradited back to England where he was sentenced to nine months prison. Upon his release from prison in July 1891, he moved Marie and the children to stay briefly with his brothers before renting Dineham Villa, where he perpetrated his fantasy persona of Albert Williams. He kept his family secluded there, whilst he played the part of the eligible bachelor about town. The Deeming family soon disappeared from Rainhill.

The Deeming Family

Around this time, he met Emily Mather and eventually his family became a burden. He cold-bloodedly murdered them, hiding their bodies under the fireplace at Dineham. He began courting Ms. Mather, entering into a bigamous marriage and travelled with her to Australia, where she too suffered a similar fate. In January 1892, Deeming travelled to Sydney under his latest alias Baron Swanston. During the voyage he became acquainted with and attempted to court Kate Rounsefell, telling the young woman if she agreed to marry him, "she would never regret it, and would always congratulate herself on having entered into matrimony with him". Deeming gave her numerous items, all of which would later be shown to have been stolen from Melbourne jewellers. Eventually Ms. Rounsefell consented to marry Swanston and agreed to follow him to Western Australia. Using false credentials, he obtained a position at the Fraser Gold Mine in Southern Cross.
He left the mining town for Fremantle on 22 January 1892, and as Baron Swanston, Deeming again made himself known to the passengers and crew of the ship with his boasting about his fictional wealth and upperclass pedigree. During the voyage, he made advances upon a Ms. Maude Beech, who was travelling under the care of her aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs Wakeley. Unconvinced by Deeming's apparent lies, Mr. Wakeley told him, "I may tell you plainly, that I don't believe your stories and I am not in the habit of allowing men of your class to enter my family circle." When he returned to Southern Cross, he began a lengthy correspondence with Ms. Rounsefell, begging her to acquiesce to his marriage proposals. On 8 February he wrote, "Don't keep me waiting dear. If you love me half as much as I love you, you would not keep me waiting a day". The following month he was arrested, and as he was held at the Southern Cross jail, Deeming faced several murder charges and a host of questions from detectives.
He was taken under armed guard by three constables from Southern Cross during a five day journey to Perth, the capital of Western Australia. There an extradition hearing awaited him, which resulted in his recall to Victoria, where he was to be tried for the murder of Emily Mather at Windsor. The train stopped overnight in several different towns, and Deeming found it difficult to eat or sleep, fainting twice during the journey. The prisoner was kept under constant watch day and night, and his handcuffs were never removed.
During the final night of the journey, the train arrived in the small town of York, and the platform was packed with townsfolk after a large crowd had gathered to catch a glimpse of the man who was accused of murdering his entire family at Rainhill and third wife at Windsor. As he stepped off the train, under close guard, he soon became aware of how closely the crowd observed his every move. Fearing for his safety, Deeming raised his handcuffed hands and said loudly, "Ladies and gentlemen, you need not look at me. I am not guilty, but I have been victimised." As the train disembarked, Deeming smiled at the hostile crowd.

The Rainhill Murders

When he arrived in Perth, the awaiting crowd was so large that instead of moving Deeming off the train at Perth Central Railway Station, he was instead taken to the nearby Lord St. Crossing, and there placed in waiting transport and taken to the Waterside Jail. There an inventory was taken of a trunk filled with Deeming's personal possessions. Inside they found a double photo frame containing two photos, one of a family of a father, mother and three children, the other of Deeming and a little girl of about 6-years-old. A silver case with "Emily" engraved onto the outside, and which contained a pair of gloves, a small battle-axe, with a sharp blade, a master mason's apron with the initials F.B.D monogrammed onto it, a pocketbook that contained a small timetable of trains to and from Rainhill and St. Helen's Junction and lastly a book of common prayer with "December 26th 1889 Emily," written on the leaf of the cover.
Because of the discoveries in England, Deeming's guilt was a foregone conclusion. At his extradition hearing at the Perth police court on 24 March 1982, Deeming appeared thin and haggard, the result of his fearful journey. Detective Cawsey had sailed from Melbourne so he could personally transport the suspected killer to stand trial. His lawyer, Richard Haynes, QC had attempted to block his clients extradition, arguing desperately that he could not hope to receive a fair trial in Melbourne on the grounds of the notoriety surrounding his name. This he argued, was supported by the angry crowd which had gathered outside the Perth courthouse.
Several days later Deeming's luck had run out when the extradition order was granted and he was placed into the custody of Det. Cawsey. On 27 March at 11:00am, he was escorted by Cawsey, three armed police constables and two reporters to the Midland Junction on the outskirts of Perth and there boarded a train. The subsequent journey involved an overnight 250-mile rail trip to Albany in southwest Australia, where detective Cawsey planned to rendezvous with the S.S. Ballarat, which would then sail for Melbourne.
The first first stop was at York, roughly 60 miles outside of Perth, where the crew stopped for coal and water supplies. Because word had spread through the area by telegraph that the wife and child murderer would passing through, a large angry crowd had formed at the station. Most people had come to get a curious glimpse of the killer, and voice their opinion on his fate. Many women in the crowd began to shout such things as, "drag him out", "lynch him", and "pull him to pieces with bullocks.".
Cawsey made precautions to protect his hated prisoner, and the shutters on Deeming's compartment were placed upwards, to conceal him from the fury of the crowd. But the angry mob surged forward and began pushing the carriage, almost rocking it to one side. On the opposite side of the platform someone broke one of the carriage windows. In a state an panic, the terrified Deeming began jumping from one side of the compartment to the other, begging the police to protect him from what he suspected was a lynch mob.
The small country town of Beverley was the next stop, and Cawsey decided to smuggle Deeming off the train and into the railway station for his own safety. An angry crowd which formed there soon learned of this plan and gathered near the door of the room. Their outrage was such that they threatened to bash down the door and drag Deeming away to face rough justice. He was quickly taken back aboard the train where it departed. At this point, Deeming began to struggle with his captors, and kicked out so violently, that it took four men to subdue him and it was a full half an hour until his rage subsided.
During his violent spasm, Deeming remained in handcuffs which caused his wrists to become badly swollen and bruised. Despite his protestations and pleading, the restraints remained on for the rest of the journey, even when he had two more fits of violence not long afterwards. The next stop was Albany, and to prevent a similar scene the train was stopped around 50 yards from the Albany prison, and from there a bewildered and fearful Deeming was transferred without any protestations, into the custody of the Governor, Mr. McGovern.
Not long after arriving at the prison, Deeming's disposition became more cheerful and soon enough his brash and loud manner returned. He protested his innocence to anyone who would listen and regularly engaged in a game of draughts with his jailers. A medical examination was conducted and although Deeming was found to be suffering from anxiety and fear, he was for all intents and purposes, in good health.
Detective Cawsey had planned that Deeming and his escorts would spend the night at the jail, and at 5:00am he would be taken by three officers to the S.S. Ballarat and travel onwards to Adelaide. Det. Cawsey, Det. Smyth and Constable Williams, the man who arrested Deeming at Southern Cross, would all perform guard duty on the prisoner, who remained handcuffed to all three alternately throughout the journey.
By now Deeming had become particularly notorious for his criminal misdeeds, and his distinctive physical features, in particular his large moustache, had been one of the primary attributes which helped track him. So when officers entered his cell in the morning they were surprised to find that Deeming was missing his moustache. Despite being kept under hourly surveillance so he could not harm himself, the prisoner had managed to remove his most recognisible feature. Deeming smiled when saw the confused expression of their faces.

Deeming after the removal of his moustache

The loss of his moustache now revealed Deeming's unusual features, a bold prominent chin and large wide mouth were now exposed. His keepers agreed that despite the lack of appropriate tools, Deeming had made an adequate job of removing his own moustache. A search of his prison clothes revealed a piece of glass from a bottle little bigger than a shilling. Officers searched his cell and found the neck of the bottle, from which a smaller piece had been broken off and used as a razor.
To the astonishment of the police, Deeming had managed to remove roughly 75 percent of his moustache hairs, plucking most out by the roots. He used the glass mainly to cut away the hairs around the corners of his mouth. In what must have been agonising pain, Deeming was somehow able to remove the hairs without uttering a single sound, remaining deathly silent so that none of the guards reporting hearing anything untoward. It was ascertained that Deeming was not helped by anyone, acting alone and must have acquired the broken bottle in the exercise yard.

Illustrated Police News Article showing Deeming removing his moustache

There was considerable concern amongst the police, that the loss of his moustache made a significant difference to Deeming's appearance. Detective Cawsey feared the prosecution might try to use the missing moustache as part of their defence strategy. Two days later the S.S. Ballarat dropped anchor at Larges Bay in South Australia, but because of the nationwide hostility towards Deeming, and the fact that a large and aggressive crowd had form at the Port Adelaide Wharf, the police guarding him decided it would be a safer option to journey onwards to Melbourne. It was feared Deeming might be taken from the train from Adelaide to Melbourne and lynched.
During the sea voyage, Deeming's mood once again became dark when the full realisation of his predicament dawned upon him. He knew he was possibly the most hated man in the country, and apparently understood the public's animosity towards him. He complained, "They might wait until I'm found guilty, many innocent men have been hanged. I'm not afraid to die. If I have to die I'll die like a man, but first I'll make sure some revelations that will astonish the world." The S.S. Ballarat anchored in Port Phillip Bay at 9:00am on 2 April 1892, and Deeming was taken immediately to the Police court where he was formally charged with the murder of Emily Williams. When the court made a request he declare his name, he refused and was charged under the name Albert Williams.
His trial began on 2 May 1982 at the Melbourne Supreme Court, and lasted for four days. His defence counsel, Alfred Deakin, argued Deeming was not guilty on the grounds of insanity and the court ordered he be examined. Six doctors conducted a thorough inspection of his mental faculties, some as many as six times, but none could state unanimously that he was insane. Some believed he suffered from epileptic fits, and a physical examination revealed he was undoubtedly infected with venereal disease, which may have impaired his mind. This might explain his moody personality and tendency for loquacious talk about his obviously fantasised past.

Frederick Deeming

In an apparent show of imbalance, Deeming declared that the spirit of his dead mother instructed him to kill Emily Mather and that he felt an overwhelming urge to kill whichever woman was currently in his life. The prison physican, Dr. Shields said of him, "I have frequently conversed with him but cannot believe anything he says." When Deeming was question by the doctor on the difference between right and wrong he said, "that stealing for example, was a matter of conscience. Murder was also permissible in certain circumstances." His murderous nature was evident and Deeming told him that he had ventured out several times with a revolver looking for women who had given him venereal disease, believing all prostitutes should be murdered.
As the trial reached its conclusion, Deeming decided, against the advice of his lawyer, to take the stand. This singular moment was what the packed gallery had been waiting for and at last they would get the chance to hear from the very man who had been accused of cold-bloodedly murdering two of his wives and three of his own young children. It was Deeming's opportunity to clear his name and the public could finally judge for themselves if this man was indeed the monstrous beast he was portrayed in the media. Deeming did not disappoint.
Standing before the court, he hung onto the rail infront of him and appeared to be rocking from side to side, often closing his eyes as he spoke. With no notes to had, he said in part, "I don't think there has ever been a man brought into court that has ever been prejudged more than I have been. Before I arrived in the colony my photographs were distributed about the city of Melbourne, in paper shops, in jewellers' shops, and it is from these photographs I have been identified. I will ask the jury themselves if it would be possible to go and pick out 200 people in Melbourne who would not execute me without the option of a trial."

A contemporary Illustration of Deemings crimes

He denied all knowledge of the dreadful crimes, and claimed quite ludicrously that his wife Emily was not actually dead and that she had run off with another man. He said quite emphatically, "and my only comfort is in knowing that I have not done it and that the woman is not dead. And that alone will comfort me, let the end be what it may." As the old saying goes, a man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client, and would seem to apply to Deeming's attempt to venerate himself on the stand, because his egotistical nature irresistibly rose to prominence one more.
He began to boast of his adventures and conquests in life claiming, "It is not giving up this life I fear... not the slightest. I have gone through the world and after the dangers I have faced I am not afraid to give up my life. I have been on the Zambezi among the black fellows and have been battered about the head and gone among bears and gone into lion's caves and brought them out alive, as it has been stated in the papers, and now they are alive in the hands of a man in England."
It became apparent to those within the courtroom that Deeming was not insane, but a man so overwhelmed and wrapped up so in his own self-importance, that he was capable of committing the most reprehensible of crimes if it justified his own selfish interests. After an hour-long rambling monologue, he stopped talking and looked around the courtroom, coming to the realisation that he had sealed his own fate. When the jury returned from their deliberations, a verdict of guilty was handed down and Deeming found guilty of the charges.
During his last few days in jail, Deeming wrote his autobiography and various poems, one of which contained the verse, "The Jury listened well to the yarn I had to tell, But they sent me straight to hell." He spent time with ministers of the Church of England and allegedly confessed to his crimes. The sentence was confirmed and an appeal refused. Frederick Bailey Deeming, the Murderer of Rainhill and Windsor was hanged at 10:01am on 23 May 1982 at the Old Melbourne Gaol. The autobiography he wrote in jail was subsequently destroyed. His death mask was put on display at the place of his execution and at the Black Museum at New Scotland Yard, where it was listed as that of Jack the Ripper.

Deemings Death Mask

In the decades since his death, Deeming has become a suspect in the unsolved murders of the London serial killer, and newspaper atricles from the period seemed to point towards a suspicion that Deeming's crimes were related to those of the London Ripper. But his candidacy as the Whitechapel murderer has been subject to debate. His whereabouts at many different periods throughout his life are obscure, but Deeming might have been in London in late 1888 during the Autumn of Terror. Public opinion was such that Kreitmayer's Melbourne waxworks of 1912 depicted a waxwork of Deeming burying his victim Emily Mather and declared he was, "identical with Jack the Ripper".

Illustrated Police News Article comparing Deeming with Jack the Ripper

A former Scotland Yard detective, Robin Napper, has invested considerable research into Deeming and come to the conclusion he was the infamous murderer. Napper claims the police always considered Deeming a suspect and cites the fact that his death mask was presented as that of the Ripper. Although he was believed to be either abroad or in jail at the time of the murders, Napper has proved he was back in England in 1888. Despite little evidence pointing to his involvement with the Ripper murders, Deeming was known to possess a hatred of prostitutes and the venereal disease he contracted has been put forward as a possible motive. The capture of Deeming was swift and the result of dedicated policework, whilst justice was served by his sentence due to the ghastly nature and savagery of his monstrous crimes.

Written by Nucleus