David Bate­man (Mil­ton Keynes)

The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - Cover Story -

A pos­si­ble link to the po­lice hunt for Jack the Rip­per and the shadow of a court mar­tial hang­ing over his fa­ther’s his­tory drove David Bate­man to en­ter the com­pe­ti­tion.

Lance Cor­po­ral Al­fred Bate­man of the 2nd Bn Queen’s Royal Reg­i­ment was sen­tenced to 112 days’ hard labour and dis­charged from the Army in 1933 for theft.

But, on ap­peal, his sen­tence was re­duced to 28 days with­out hard labour and he was al­lowed to stay on in the ranks.

The re­search turned up a charge sheet al­leg­ing that L/Cpl Bate­man had stolen a jacket be­long­ing to Private W Calvy and handed it in to a tai­lor’s shop to be altered so that it would fit him. That was suf­fi­cient for a con­vic­tion.

The much more se­ri­ous busi­ness of catch­ing the Rip­per in Lon­don’s East End in 1888 may, Bate­man thought, have in­volved his great-grand­fa­ther, James Thomas Hall. He was a slip­pery cus­tomer who went by two names and ap­par­ently lied about his age on join­ing the Metropoli­tan Po­lice in 1875. No ev­i­dence was found link­ing him to the Rip­per in­quiry and a fam­ily leg­end that he had come up with the the­ory that Jack was ac­tu­ally a wo­man seems un­likely to be true. James T Hall was work­ing nowhere near the area where the Rip­per’s killings took place.

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