Speakers 2017-07-22T22:56:23+00:00

Conference Speakers

Fred Dinenage: Murder Casebook

Fred Dinenage is a very well known English television presenter, broadcaster and author. Known for his affable persona, he has had a TV career spanning more than 50 years. Alongside his television career, Dinenage has written several factual books, including ghosting on autobiographies My Story and Our Story for the notorious Kray twins.

Dinenage became co-anchor of a new pan-regional edition of Meridian Tonight on Monday 9 February 2009, presenting alongside former South East anchor Sangeeta Bhabra. In February 2014 he celebrated his 50th anniversary as reporter/presenter with ITV. Recently Fred has hosted “Murder Casebook” for the crime network channel as it reinvestigates the most infamous murders from the 19th, 20th and 21st Centuries, exploring them from a modern perspective.With the help of leading criminologist Professor David Wilson, specialists and family members, Fred builds a picture of the person behind the horrific murders and discovers what led them to become a killer.During the series Fred has investigated, The A6 Murder, Jack the Ripper, The Moors Murders, Reginald Christie , The Acid Bath Murder and The Blackout Ripper. At this years Jack the Ripper crime Conference Fred Dinenage will recall tales from his investigations and life adding some new insights into old but familiar crime cases. We look forward to hearing what Fred has to say at this years conference!

Michael Hawley: The Ripper’s Haunts

Michael Hawley has published eleven research articles on the Whitechapel murders in Ripperologist, Whitechapel Society Journal, Casebook Examiner, and The Dagger True Crime Quarterly by H division Crime Club. He is the author of The Ripper’s Haunts (Nonfiction, Sunbury Press, April 2016), highlighting newly discovered evidence on Jack the Ripper suspect Francis Tumblety.

He has also submitted articles to numerous online sites; most notably Richard Jones’ Jack the Ripper Tour, which was titled The Life and Crimes of Francis Tumblety. It was selected as the Article of the Year for 2016. In April 2016, he was honoured to speak at RipperCon 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. Michael is also the author of a series of three fiction novels, Curse of the Bayou Beast, Jack’s Lantern, and The Ripper’s Hellbroth.

In 2010, he published his first book, Searching for Truth with a Broken Flashlight(nonfiction). He has been involved in genealogical research since 1992, which ultimately led to his interest in Ripperology research. Michael holds a master’s degree in invertebrate paleontology and secondary science education from the State University of New York, College of Buffalo, and a bachelor’s degree in geology and geophysics from Michigan State University. He is a commander and naval aviator in the U.S. Navy (retired), and is currently enjoying a career as a secondary earth science and chemistry teacher at Tonawanda City High School. He resides with his wife and six children in Greater Buffalo, New York.

This summer Michael Hawley will be publishing his second Ripperology book entitled:

Jack the Ripper Suspect: Dr. Francis Tumblety.

John Gannon: The Killing of Julia Wallace

John Gannon will attempt to unravel the secrets of Liverpools most baffling murder mystery. John Gannon is a writer and researcher. After the publication of his first book, ‘The Beatles: Living in the Eye of the Hurricane’ (co-authored with Kevin Roach), his second, ‘The Killing of Julia Wallace’ soon followed.

Having been granted access to an abundance of contemporary records and files never before granted to other investigators, Gannon’s vigorously researched investigation of Liverpool’s most famous, unsolved murder is thought of by many as being the current definitive book on the subject.


John was awarded the Lynda La Plante screenwriting award in 2006, and has assisted and appeared on several BBC 4 documentaries, including ‘A Very British Murder’ with Dr Lucy Worsley, and ‘Tom Thumb: The World’s Smallest Superstar’ with Sir Michael Grade, for which John uncovered brand new, important, information regarding the diminutive Victorian showman.

John was also approached by a Fellow of Singapore University, Dr Kees Rookmaaker, to co-author an academic paper which was published by Edinburgh University’s Journal of Natural History. John is currently working on several papers for the Liverpool History Society, whilst writing and researching a new book. John has a science degree in Earth Science and a master’s degree in Screenwriting.

Christopher T. George: The Devil in Mr Deeming

There can be no doubt that the serial killer Frederick Bailey Deeming, born 1853, was an extremely nastyspecimen of a human being—a proven cold-blooded killer of women and children, con man, philanderer, and bigamist. Deeming murdered his first wife Marie and their four children at Dinham Villa, Rainhill, then took second wife,young Emily Mather, to Australia, where hecallously murdered her as well.

Having been granted access to an abundance of contemporary records and files never before granted to other investigators, Gannon’s vigorously researched investigation of Liverpool’s most famous, unsolved murder is thought of by many as being the current definitive book on the subject.

Deeming is alleged to have confessed to the last two Jack the Ripper murders before he was hanged in Melbourne in May 1892. Christopher T. George returns to Liverpool , the City of his Birth, this September, to look closer at this most savage and devious killer and further examines the case for him having been Jack the Ripper , the Whitechapel murderer.


Christopher T. George is a Ripperologist, poet, songwriter, artist, and published historian of the War of 1812 between Great Britain and the United States.

He was born in Liverpool, England in 1948 at Oxford Street Maternity Hospital, the same hospital as John Lennon. He emigrated to the United States with his parents in 1955 but returned to the UK to live with his grandparents during the Swinging Sixties, up the street from James and Florence Maybrick’s home of Battlecrease House.

Chris co-organized the first U.S. Ripper conference in New Jersey in 2000; served as editor of Ripper Notes, 1999–2000; and has been an editor of Ripperologist magazine since 2003.

He is co-author with John McCavitt of The Man Who Captured Washington: Major General Robert Ross and the War of 1812 (Oklahoma University Press, 2016). He recently retired as a medical editor in Washington, D.C., and lives in Baltimore with his wife Donna and two rescue cats.

With true crime expert and writer Janis Wilson, Chris organized RipperCon, a Jack the Ripper – True Crime conference held at the Maryland Historical Society, April 2016.

Shirley Harrison: The Diary of Jack the Ripper – 25 years of mystery

What would it take to convince you of someone being Jack the Ripper? How about a signed and detailed confession? That’s exactly what the world was presented with 25 years ago, in Liverpool. In 1992, Michael Barrett, a Liverpool scrap metal dealer, presented to the world a journal which claimed to be written by notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper.

It was not signed or named, but there were enough details for it to be obviously written about James Maybrick, a Liverpool cotton merchant who was purportedly murdered by his wife in 1889.

Shirley Harrison was the original author and investigator, who in 1993 , brought the whole story to light with her ground breaking book “The Diary of Jack the Ripper”.

For the last 25 years, despite numerous scientific tests , intense research and many fierce debates the Maybrick journal has neither been proved a hoax or genuine. Is this all about to change ?

At this years official Jack the Ripper conference in Liverpool, Shirley Harrison will join a special investigative panel of experts in a unique special event to look back on the story that once rocked the field of ripper studies and discusses the journey of the Maybrick diary over the last 25 years and what recent research can now finally tell us about the Diary of Jack the Ripper.

Dr Elizabeth Yardley: Making Sense of Women Who Kill – From Mary Ann Cotton to Amanda Taylor

Regarded as one of the UK’s leading criminologists, Elizabeth Yardley is an Associate Professor of Criminology at Birmingham City University, where she is also Director of the Centre for Applied Criminology. Her research explores homicide and violence, focusing specifically upon female perpetrators and the role of networked media in these crimes.

Elizabeth’s book, Female Serial Killers in Social Context, explored the case of Mary Ann Cotton, Britain’s little-known but arguably most prolific female serial killer.

Elizabeth led the first academic study into homicide perpetrators’ use of social media and has explored the impact of networked media and true crime fan culture upon victims and secondary victims of violent crime. Her most recent work, Social Media Homicide Confessions: Stories of killers and their victims, investigates the phenomenon of confessing the murder on social media.

This work will be published as a book by Policy Press in November 2017. She is currently conducting research into websleuthing in terms of the impact of these activities on websleuths, the criminal justice system and individuals affected by crime.

Elizabeth’s talk at the conference is entitled Making Sense of Women Who Kill: From Mary Ann Cotton to Amanda Taylor. Elizabeth will explore two cases of female murderers – one from the late nineteenth century and one from the twenty first century. Women who kill have always fascinated us.

Not only do they transgress the legal code in committing murder, but they also shatter a range of moral codes and social expectations about who women are and how they should behave. Cotton and Taylor are more than a century apart but are they really all that different from one another? Why did these two women choose to commit the most serious of crimes? How did society make sense of them? Why do we continue to be so interested in women who commit this type of crime, particularly given that women only constitute around 10% of all homicide suspects?

Amanda Harvey-Purse: Jack and Old Jewry:  The City of London Policemen who hunted the Ripper

At this years conference Amanda will discuss the real story behind the City of London police officers who investigated the Jack the Ripper murders, offering a unique insight into the lives of those who so far have remained just names in the worlds most infamous murder mystery. Amanda Harvey Purse has studied the Jack the Ripper case for over twenty four years.

Turning her attention to the history of the City of London Police fifteen years ago, she became a tour guide and researcher for the City of London Police Museum.

She has studied various other Victorian and Edwardian Crimes leading her to be a researcher for documentaries and TV Shows for the BBC, History Channel and Channel 4. She is also the author of an Jack the Ripper fictional (but factual) series of books called Jack the Ripper’s Many Faces, Dead Bodies Do Tell Tales and The Strange of Caroline Maxwell.

She is the author of the e-book series, Victorian Lives behind Victorian Crimes and has written various crime related articles for Magazines, Journals and Newspapers.

Now, she has written her first fully factual book, called Jack and Old Jewry: The City of London Policemen who Hunted the Ripper, in which she hopes to make the officers who had to cope with what ‘Jack’ did and go back to work the next day, seem more human than just names mentioned in books, newspaper articles or police reports. With that in mind, Amanda will be talking about the interesting events that are in this book

Keith Skinner: The Diary of Jack the Ripper: 25 Years of Mystery

This year, after a long absence, we welcome back to the official Jack the Ripper conference, Mr Keith Skinner. Regarded as one of the most highly respected experts in the world on the subject of Jack the Ripper and certainly regarded as the most influential researcher of the field, Keith Skinner will share his knowledge and research into the whole Maybrick story at the 2017 Conference in Liverpool this September.

As far as Ripperology and true crime goes, Keith has a fantastic resume: In 2001, he worked on the film From Hell as an historical consultant. He also worked as a historical researcher and consultant for the documentaries The Hunt (2001) and Hunt For Jack the Ripper(2001).

He has also co-authored some of the best books in the field of Ripperology and true crime, namely:

  • The Ripper Legacy: Life and Death of Jack the Ripper by Martin Howells and Keith Skinner (1987)
  • Peasenhall Murder by Martin Fido and Keith Skinner (1990)
  • Scotland Yard Files: 150 Years of the CID, 1842-1992 by Paul Begg and Keith Skinner (1992)
  • The Jack the Ripper A-Z by Paul Begg, Martin Fido and Keith Skinner (1992, 1996)
  • The Jack the Ripper Whitechapel Murders by Keith Skinner and Kevin O’Donnell (1997)
  • The Official Encyclopedia of Scotland Yard by Martin Fido and Keith Skinner (1999)
  • The Last Victim: Extraordinary Life of Florence Maybrick, the Only Woman to Survive Jack the Ripper by Keith Skinner, Anne E. Graham and Carol Emmas (1999)
  • The Ultimate Jack the Ripper Companion by Stewart P. Evans and Keith Skinner (2000)
  • The Ultimate Jack the Ripper Sourcebook: An Illustrated Encyclopedia by Stewart P. Evans and Keith Skinner (2002)
  • Jack the Ripper and the Whitechapel Murders(Document Pack) by Stewart P. Evans and Keith Skinner (2002)
  • The Ripper Diary by Seth Linder, Caroline Morris and Keith Skinner (2003)
  • The Scotland Yard Files: Milestones in Crime Detection by Keith Skinner and Alan Moss (31 Aug 2006)
  • The Complete Jack the Ripper A-Z by Paul Begg, Martin Fido and Keith Skinner (2010)
  • Jack the Ripper: Letters from Hell by Stewart P Evans and Keith Skinner (2002, 2004, 2013)
  • The Victorian Detective (Shire Library) by Alan Moss and Keith Skinner (2013)
  • The Crime Museum Casebook: An Encyclopedia of Scotland Yard’s Investigations by Alan Moss and Keith Skinner (2016)

This September Keith Skinner joins the official Jack the Ripper conference in Liverpool to re-visit the alleged Diary of the Jack the Ripper.

Together with a select panel of experts, Keith will reveal the intense background story surrounding the research that has been conducted into the Maybrick Mystery saga and finally reveal the definitive story of one the greatest mysteries in Ripperology. 25 years after the Maybrick Diary first captured the imagination of the world , it now comes full circle, back to its city of origin.

Can the ghosts of the past finally be laid to rest ?

Robert Anderson: Time after Time: An Overview of The Maybrick Case, The Watch & The Diary.

Robert Anderson will focus on one of the most controversial mysteries in the subject of Ripperology.  The Maybrick Diary and Watch. Its been 25 years since a diary and watch supposedly belonging to Liverpool cotton merchant James Maybrick was uncovered, linking him with the Jack the Ripper murders of 1888.

Robert will re-visit this most intriguing mystery, looking behind the scenes at the research and the known facts surrounding these two artefacts, plus dispelling many myths and rumours that have built up over the last two decades.

His presentation will be followed by a special panel discussion, hosted by Robert himself, and including leading authorities on the Maybrick story, Shirley Harrison, James Johnston, Keith Skinner and Chris Jones.

Together the experts will attempt to unravel the truth behind the worlds most famous unsolved murder mystery. Tempus Omnia Revelat – Time Reveals All

About Robert Anderson

Robert Anderson is a Senior Moderator at JTR Forums, the largest moderated internet Forum site, dedicated to the Jack the Ripper investigation.  In 2007 he led an effort to take a fresh look at the Gas-Liquid Chromatography analysis of the Maybrick Diary ink carried out by Leeds University in 1994, efforts he detailed at the 2012 York Jack the Ripper Conference.

In 2014 he addressed issues regarding venereal disease in Whitechapel 1888. When he is not trying to run James Maybrick to ground, “Sir Robert” is a biotech venture capitalist after a 20 year career at Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers and has a keen interest in health and medical issues. He holds a Master’s Degree from the Harvard Business School.


For seven days in August 1889, the eyes of the world were focused on the unfolding events of a sensational trial in Liverpool. A young American woman, Florence Maybrick, was on trial for the murder of her much older husband, James, a respected Liverpudlian cotton trader, whom she allegedly killed through arsenic poisoning.

A key piece of evidence at the trial was a letter that Florence had written to her lover, another local cotton trader named Alfred Brierley. The dark secret that the letter exposed, seem to provide her with a motive for murder. However, as the trial progressed, more and more dark secrets began to emerge that also painted her husband in a sinister light. He was man who outwardlyappeared to be sociable, successful and widely respected, yet hidden below the surface, was a man who was privately difficult, intense, aggressive and addicted to a range of poisonous substances including arsenic and strychnine. He was also a serial adulterer and had a mistress in Liverpool. It was a case that shocked the Victorian mind-set and attracted the attention of the embryonic feminist movement who saw raw male hypocrisy at the heart of the case.

At the end of the trial, the jury took just thirty-five minutes to reach a guilty verdict and the judge sentenced Florence to be hanged. The verdict was greeted with anger in and outside the courtroom and soon the anger was to spread around the world, especially in America. The public outcry forced the Home Secretary to commute the sentence to one of life in prison. Three American Presidents became involved in the case and requested her release from jail. Florence served fifteen years in prison before being released (but never pardoned). She returned to America and after some years of fame and public speaking, she retired to a life of anonymity, living in relatively poverty in a simple wooden house in an isolated wood in Connecticut.

While the trial had a devastating personal impact upon Florence, it also led to fundamental changes within the British legal system. In 1898 an Act was passed that allowed, for the first time, a person accused of murder,to give evidence on oath at their trial. It was also one of the landmark cases that led to establishment of the Criminal Court of Appeal in Britain in 1907.

At this years official Jack the Ripper conference in Liverpool , Chris Jones will look at the background to the case, how James and Florence met and subsequently married, how and why the marriage started to disintegrate and the events leading up to James’s death. He will examine key moments in the trial and why the jury produced a guilty verdict. He will also look at the reasons why the trial attracted such a global audience. Most importantly, he will address the big question, did Florence really kill James?!

Chris Jones will also be appearing alongside Shirley Harrison, Keith Skinner and James Johnston, as part of a very special public event to mark the 25th anniversary of the Diary of Jack the Ripper.

About Chris Jones

Chris Jones is a graduate in Modern History and Politics from Liverpool University and has taught for thirty-six years in secondary schools in Liverpool. He was for many years Head of History in a Merseyside school and later became Deputy Headteacher of one of the Liverpool’s largest comprehensive schools. He is heavily involved in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and is currently in the process of setting up his own outdoor walking company, Simply Trekking.

In 2007, Chris organised the Trial of James Maybrick, which was one of the main events in the city to mark Liverpool’s 800th birthday and its status as European Capital of Culture. The trial took place in Liverpool Cricket Club, directly opposite Battlecrease House, home to the Maybricks, and where both James and Florence Maybrick were members. Following the success of the trial, Chris wrote the widely acclaimed book The Maybrick A to Z. In the book he tried to take an objective review of the evidence surrounding Florence’s trial for James’s murder in 1889 and also James’s alleged links to the Ripper murders. He has continued his research into James and especially Florence, and has given talks on the Maybricks in both Britain and America, including in Mobile, Alabama, where Florence was born and to serving and retired police officers in New Scotland Yard, London. He has written several articles on the Maybrick case, his most recent one was a critique of the section of the recent book by Bruce Robinson, We all love Jack, in which he made some doubtful claims with regard to the conduct of Florence’s trial.

JAMES JOHNSTON: The Diary of Jack the Ripper – Panel Discussion

James Johnston is a twenty-three-year-old filmmaker and Maybrick Diary researcher, born and raised in County Down, Northern Ireland, who first became interested in Jack the Ripper, around the age of sixteen. For most, the greatest riddle has been the question of provenance, and it is with regard to the Diary’s origins that James has devoted so much of his time and research.

Working alongside Shirley Harrison, and others closely associated with the Diary,  James has traced and interviewed many of those entangled in the Maybrick story, including an exclusive interview with workmen involved with Battlecrease house in Liverpool.

Piecing together the testimonies of those involved, it is James understanding that the Diary, and in all likelihood the ‘Maybrick watch’, were discovered and removed from Battlecrease House.

Over the course of his research, the humble origins and intricacies of the Diary’s story have become as enthralling as the plot of any classic mystery, and it is poignant that the story should return to Liverpool, the city of its origin, twenty-five years since first capturing the world’s imagination.

James has stated that in the absence of any hard evidence pointing toward a modern forgery, it is his hope that by addressing the issue of provenance, researchers and enthusiasts alike will turn their attention to investigating how and why this document was written in/or close to the date of 1888, and who would have had the motivation to write it.

STEPHEN WADE: Murder in mind: The Pleasures of the Criminous

At this years conference Stephen’s talk will be an investigation into the nature and appeal of the criminous, as the great crime writer William Roughead termed the material of true crime in its most literary sub-genre. He offers a theory concerning an infamous crime from his own city of Leeds, a response to Bruce Robinson’s vast work on Jack the Ripper, and some thoughts on murder resulting from his years as a writer in prisons.

Stephen Wade has written widely on crime history and true crime, and he has a special interest in the history of police and prisons. His book, Murder in Mind, is out this year from Leeds publisher, Scratching Shed, and in this Stephen reflects on some favourite cases and offers a memoir of his work as a prison writer and historical investigator.

DR KARL BELL: The Legend of Spring-Heeled Jack

Dr Karl Bell is a Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Portsmouth and director of the Supernatural Cities project (www.port.ac.uk/supernaturalcities/). He is the author of The Magical Imagination: Magic and Modernity in Urban England, 1780-1914, and the award-winning The Legend of Spring-heeled Jack: Victorian Urban Folklore and Popular Culture. He is the co-editor of Port Towns and Urban Cultures: International Histories of the Waterfront, 1700-2000.

He has also co-edited a short story collection entitledDark City: Portsmouth Tales of Haunting and Horror. More recently he has conducted research into cases of occult crime in the Old Bailey in the Victorian and Edwardian periods. Dr Bell is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Karl’s talk will explore the Victorian urban legend of Spring-heeled Jack, a mysterious individual who terrorised London fifty years before Jack the Ripper. Spring-heeled Jack appeared in cities across Victorian England and he is said to have made at least two visits to Liverpool, one in 1888 and another, often taken to be among his last, in 1904. By examining the resonances and connections between these two legendary terrors of Victorian London, Karl’s talk will help set our understanding of Jack the Ripper in a broader historical context.