Having spent some time looking at my mother’s life and in particular her time from 1961 onwards in Notting Hill, I have inevitably had cause to ponder Jack The Stripper and the nude murders. At least six west London prostitutes died in a bizarre series of mid-sixties sex slayings but the killer was never caught. I have always been more interested in the victims than their murderer(s), but I felt it worth commenting on a recent book that claimed to identify the killer. My focus in this review was on the author of this travesty, since he made a number of outrageous claims without any proof to back them up. You can read my review here. Despite this, via the mail form on my website, I get a fair number of messages about Jack The Stripper. Indeed, I got one yesterday that read:
“Nude Murders. Dear Stewart, would you be interested in discussing this subject with me. I believe that 2 people were responsible for these murders. The first is Mungo Ireland, the second Harold Jones, a near neighbour of Ireland. Google Neil Milkins for more info on Jones. Neil Milkins.”
Mungo Ireland is one of the usual suspects put in the frame for the Jack The Stripper murders, alongside the likes of boxing champion Freddie Mills. I hadn’t heard of Harold Jones before. After doing a web search I discovered Jones had been convicted of killing two children in 1921 when he was himself only 15 years-old. Milkins has produced a book about the case entitled Every Mother’s Nightmare: Abertillery in Mourning (Old Bakehouse Publications 2008) and as The South Wales News of 8 November 2007 explained: “After many years of researching the subject, Mr Milkins threw himself whole-heartedly into the project after leaving his job as a tree-feller due to an injury.” When I checked yesterday, the book only had one Amazon review, but it was enthusiastic and gave a 5 star rating:
“Kevin Milkins (Wick/Scotland). I have just finished reading my brother’s first book and found it a great and informative read. Well done Neil for turning an interesting factual story into print for all of us to share. Can hardly wait for your next book.”
My web searches also revealed that Neil Milkins had drummed up some local newspaper coverage for his Jack The Stripper theories. For example, the Hounslow Chronicle ran the following under the headline “Author uncovers new suspect in sixties murder mystery” on 26 August 2008:
“While the hedonists of the King’s Road were preoccupied with the swinging sixties, a grim orgy of killing was taking place just a few kilometres to the west.
“A serial killer obsessed with prostitutes murdered six, possibly eight, young women between 1964 and 1965, dumping their naked and mutilated bodies on the banks of the River Thames. His heinous acts earned him the moniker Jack the Stripper – but he was never caught.
“Now the dormant investigation has been given a boost after the name of a notorious Welsh double-child murderer was put in the frame for the killings.
“Harold Jones was aged 15 when he was convicted of killing two girls, aged eight and 11, in Abertillery, Wales. He served 20 years for his crime and was released in 1941 and moved to Fulham.
“We know he was living in Hestercombe Avenue, Fulham, as Harry Stevens until 1962, said author Neil Milkins, who conducted research into Jones’ movements for his book Every Mother’s Nightmare.
“The next record is from 1965 when he is living in Aldensley Road, Hammersmith, as Harry Jones. But his whereabouts during the years of the killings is unknown. I don’t know that he was involved in the murders, but it is certain a psychopath with the capability of committing callous crimes and covering them up was around the area.
“Mr Milkins examined Jones’ psychologist and prison reports at the National Archives Centre, in Kew, before handing his suspicions over to Scotland Yards murder review team.
“But Neil insists: The coincidence of Harold Jones being there just jumped out at me and I’m hoping people come forward with more information on him where he worked, who he associated with and the kind of person he was. I want to find out where he was between 1962-65, the answer to that may answer a whole lot of other questions.
“Harold Jones died in Hammersmith in 1971, his death certificate names him as Harold Jones, otherwise Harry Stevens.”
Moving on from this newspaper report, I happen to know that Milkins is an Irish name, whereas Malkin is an English name, and these two surnames have quite distinct origins. Nonetheless, some people might be struck by the similarity between Neil Milkins’ surname and the name Malkin, and then read something into the fact that malkin was a slang term for a lewd woman in Elizabethan and Jacobean London. For an example of the word malkin being used in this fashion we might turn to Father Hubburd’s Tales by Thomas Middleton: “and none can justly except me but some riotous vomiting Kit or some gentleman-swallowing Malkin.” (Thomas Middleton: The Collected Works edited by Gary Taylor and John Lavagnino, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2007, page 166; the tale we’re dealing with was first published in 1604). A kit is, of course, a loose woman… but the phrase ‘some gentleman-swallowing Malkin’ is the one that really gets me going, since it might be taken to mean a prostitute doing ‘French’ (i.e. performing oral sex, giving head, providing a blow job etc.). It is thought Jack The Stripper killed his victims by suffocating them with his manhood as they gave him oral sex…
A lot can be (mis)read into the fact that Neil Milkins’ Irish surname sounds similar to the unrelated English name Malkin. Likewise it may appear curious that a Welsh double-murderer seems to have been living in west London when the Jack The Stripper murders took place, but given the size of the population in the area at the time it is unlikely he is the only psychopath who might be put in the frame for the killings on the basis of past record. I haven’t seen anything that convincingly links Harold Jones to these unsolved crimes. And for me the victims are still of greater interest than the killer… To finish, f you want an example of a contemporary Malkin whose reputation is considerably lower than that of a Whitefriars punk, then right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin fits the bill….
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – www.stewarthomesociety.org – you know it makes (no) sense!
Tags: Abertillery, Aldensley Road, Amazon, child killer, Every Mother's Nightmare, Father Hubburd's Tales, Freddie Mills, Fulham, Gary Taylor, Hammersmith, Harold Jones, Harry Stevens, Hestercombe Avenue, Hounslow Chronicle, Jack The Stripper, John Lavagnino, Julia Callan-Thompson, Kevin Milkins, Kew, King's Road, London, malkin, Michelle Malkin, Mungo Ireland, National Archives, Neil Milkins, Notting Hill, nude murders, Old Bakehouse Publications, oral sex, prostitutes, River Thames, Scotland, Scotland Yard, South Wales News, Thomas Middleton, Wales, west London, Whitefriars punk, Wick