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Brockley's Jack the Ripper connection



Buried in the Brockley & Ladywell Cemeteries lies Henry (or Harry) Cox (1859-1918). He was the City of London CID officer who was responsible for the surveillance of one of the Jack the Ripper suspects after the murder of Mary Jane Kelly. "The man we suspected was about five feet six inches in height, with short, black, curly hair, and he had a habit of taking late walks abroad. He occupied several shops in the East End, but from time to time he became insane, and was forced to spend a portion of his time in an asylum in Surrey." Cox wrote an account which was published in an article in Thomson's Weekly News on 1 December 1906. He was convinced that the motive was revenge on womankind, not "a lust for blood", and that the murderer, like his victims, belonged to the "lowest class".

Cox comments that the crimes ceased as soon as the man was put under observation, and that he soon "removed from his usual haunts and gave up his nightly prowls". But then he adds that "not the slightest scrap of evidence" could be found against him, and that the police continued to investigate the crimes long afterwards. He concludes by saying that the crimes are as much a mystery as they were "fifteen years ago", that the theories of amateur detectives are based on nothing more than surmise, and that the murderer will be identified only if he confesses and proves himself guilty, or if he kills again and is caught red-handed. Finally he says that he has no evidence as to whether the murderer is alive or dead.

Cox later rose to the position of Detective Inspector. In March 1902 he arrested Harry Davenport, one of a notorious gang of forgers of £5 notes. In 1903 he arrested Samuel Herbert Dougal, later convicted of the murder of Camille Holland at the Moat Farm, after he was detained at the Bank of England on a charge of presenting a cheque forged in the name of his victim. According to Cox, Dougal tried to escape when they reached Old Jewry Police Station, but was recaptured after he ran into a cul-de-sac

By the date of his will, January 1916, Henry was living at 17 Park Road (later Waldram Park Road), Forest Hill. He died on 18 December 1918 at Charing Cross Hospital.

For more on Henry Cox go to: http://wiki.casebook.org/index.php/Henry_Cox