I think the US paper just got it wrong, Abby.
The original PMG interview with Tait was published on the 20th September and billed as the theory of an 'eminent surgeon'
The US press got an earlier cable (17th) and they must have thought the 'London butcher' the eminent surgeon Tait talked of, was an eminent London surgeon being spotted and accused.
The original PMG article also makes it clear that Tait included all the Whitechapel murders and torsos as a series.So that answers my other question.
The PMG rushed that article to press. A statement at the end said the conclusion of the interview with Tait had not reached them at the time the paper went to press. This was the fourth edition of 20th September 1889. I don't know where or when it was concluded.
I've had the same thought. Hebbert and Tait wouldn't have been the first to do so, either. Not that they'd have been wrong in denying a surgeon's involvement, but there might be a hint of wounded professional pride behind their statements.
Although Hebbert did actually see all the torso cases and witnessed with his own eyes how the joints were opened and disarticulation done. He might have thought to himself that he wouldn't be familiar with how to do that. Dr Phillips also thought a butcher would be better accustomed to separating the head and working on the spine as doctors were never required to do that.
Reading about the issues surrounding dismemberment and how unusual an act it was I am reminded of the case of Kate Webster in 1871 in Richmond. This woman murdered her employer then systematically took the remains apart, leaving pieces of her in a pot on the stove, and about Richmond. The victims head was actually found in 2010 when Richard Attenborough was remodeling his house.
The point for me is that doing something horrible isn't particularly unique to the murders in 1888, nor is it something that has to have been done by people who were doing so out of madness. Practicality, deceit, avoidance of punishment are are reasons why some killer exceed the acts required to merely take life.
John Gill in Bradford is another example of dismemberment the same year as this so called "Ripper", and the Torso. Yet the act was never linked with either of those cases.
I would just ad that motives are the key, not the acts.
If anyone can prove that the Torsos were created by someone who killed just so he could make Torsos that would be something, as it is they may have been created merely to dispose, deceive, or avoid detection for murder.
Here is a list of convicted and executed murderers in England in 1888-89:
-David Rees murder of Thomas Davies Carmarthen 13-Mar 1888
-Alfred Scandrett and James Jones murder of Philip Ballard, Hereford 20-Mar 1888
-George Clarke, murder of stepdaughter, Winchester 27-Mar 1888
-William Arrowsmith, murder of his uncle, Shrewsbury 28-Mar 1888
-John Alfred Gell, murder of Mrs Mary Miller, Manchester 15-May 1888
-James William Richardson, murder of William Berridge, Leeds 22-May 1888
-Robert Upton ,murder of wife, Oxford 17 July 1888
-Thomas Wyre, murder of son, Worcester 18-Jul 1888
-John Jackson, murder of warder, Webb Manchester 07-Aug 1888
-Arthur T Delaney, murder of wife, Derby 10-Aug 1888
-George Sargeant, murder of wife, Chelmsford 15-Aug 1888
-George N Daniels, murder, Birmingham 28-Aug 1888
-Harry B Jones murder Birmingham 28-Aug 1888
-Levi Richard Bartlett, murder of wife, Newgate 13-Nov 1888
-Samuel Crowther, murder of John Willis, Worcester 11-Dec 1888
-William Waddell, murder of woman, Durham 18-Dec 1888
-Charles Bulmer, murder of wife, Leeds 01-Jan 1889
-Thomas Clews, murder of woman, Stafford 01-Jan 1889
-George Nicholson, murder of wife, Warwick 08-Jan 1889
-William Gower and Charles Joseph Dobell murder of Bensley C Lawrence - Tunbridge Wells Maidstone 02-Jan 1889
-Ebenezer Samuel Jenkins, murder of his sweetheart, Wandsworth 06-Mar 1889
-Samuel Rylands, murder of little girl, Shepton Mallet gaol 13-Mar 1889
-Thomas Allen murder, of F G Kent, Swansea 10-Apr 1889
-John Witney, murder of wife, Bristol 11-Apr 1889
-George Horton, murder of little daughter, Derby 21-Aug 1889
-Benjamin Purnell, murder of wife, Devizes 09-Dec 1889
-William Dukes murder of Mr Gordon Bury 24-Dec 1889
-Robert West, and Frederick Brett, wife murder, Leeds 31-Dec 1889
-William Thomas Hook, wife murder, Maidstone 31-Dec 1889
If you look at the list you will see that few, if any, at first glance anyway, seem to have Madness as the compelling motive.
He didn't SEE them, though, so how could he? For instance, it would support his argument that it was the same torso killer if he could have demonstrated that the saw-marks were identical, assuming such a forensic technique was available back then, which I doubt. Bearing that in mind, how could even the local police or doctors have passed definitive judgement as to the authorship of the crimes? And, as we know, no saws were used at all in the non-torso murders, so how could anyone - then or now - be absolutely sure that the same hand was behind those murders, still less make grand pronouncements that, not only was it the same hand, but that it "must have been" the hand of a butcher?
Tait is demonstrably speculating on what the wounds were like and who inflicted them, based on no direct involvement in the examinations at all. He was evidently an avid follower of the cases, almost certainly from reading about them in the papers. However, when we consider that no empirical, qualitative data as to the appearance of the wounds appeared in any press reports*, Tait's speculations are pretty much useless.
(*the best we get are adjectives like "jagged" or "deep", which don't help much.)
Probably a baseless speculation on my part, but could the pioneer founder of gynecological surgery have known so much about the torsos because he was responsible for them?
--------------- Von Konigswald: Jack the Ripper plays shuffleboard. -- Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Kurt Vonnegut, c.1970.