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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Victims > Mary Ann Nichols

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  #1  
Old 05-03-2016, 07:07 PM
Robert St Devil Robert St Devil is online now
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Default Were Mary Nicholls wearing her own clothes?

There,s a report that, when Paul and Cross pull Polly,s dress down, it barely comes past her knees. At the inquest, it is mentioned how the clothes looked small on the mortuary man. The dress has no cuts in it, but is described as being large enough to make the abdominal stabbings (and possibly too large for her). Some considered that she may have been redressed after the stabbing, and it is commented upon that her thighs looked clean... as tho they had been washed (i think).
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Old 05-03-2016, 09:39 PM
Disco Stu Disco Stu is offline
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The petticoats were noted as being marked as Workhouse property. Mrs Nichols had been in several workhouses, most likely, "borrowing", the items during one of those visits. The only item of clothing specifically noted to be in the victim's possession pre-mortem, as far as I know, was the bonnet. No objection was raised towards any item of clothing being in the victim's possession by any witnesses at the inquest. The loose fit of the clothing is likely related to the victim's occupation.

The non-clothing items in Mrs Nichol's possession don't appear to be anything unusual. If someone changed her outfit, they'd have to have taken the time and care to insert the items as well.

In my opinion, a post-mortem outfit change could only be accomplished if the murder occurred elsewhere. You don't appear to be suggesting a pre-mortem outfit change. As for the suggestion of the victim's thighs looking clean, I can't recall that reference: Do you happen to have a source?
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Old 05-04-2016, 08:52 PM
Robert St Devil Robert St Devil is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Disco Stu View Post
The petticoats were noted as being marked as Workhouse property. Mrs Nichols had been in several workhouses, most likely, "borrowing", the items during one of those visits. The only item of clothing specifically noted to be in the victim's possession pre-mortem, as far as I know, was the bonnet. No objection was raised towards any item of clothing being in the victim's possession by any witnesses at the inquest. The loose fit of the clothing is likely related to the victim's occupation.

The non-clothing items in Mrs Nichol's possession don't appear to be anything unusual. If someone changed her outfit, they'd have to have taken the time and care to insert the items as well.

In my opinion, a post-mortem outfit change could only be accomplished if the murder occurred elsewhere. You don't appear to be suggesting a pre-mortem outfit change. As for the suggestion of the victim's thighs looking clean, I can't recall thatreference: Do you happen to have a source?
I am using the Morning Advertiser, Daily Telegraph and London Times for the inquest of Polly Nicholls.

Excellent point on having to switch the pocket items because, yes, I was leading it there: was she killed elsewhere? I reread the timeline and heavy rains were reported the night of 31Aug, and it made me reconsider the trail of blood stains and how the weather may have played its part ______-ly. I asked my friend, does Jack the Ripper only kill on rainy nights?

It was the part about pulling down the dress and it not passing her knees that caught my attention. Moreso, the idea of all the other items were hers ( the stays, the petticoats, the bonnet, the ulster*) except the dress. There is also mention that some of her top buttons were undone. Unfortunately this could be attributed to Robert Paul feeling her heart.

If she is murdered on the spot, it leads me to think that she may have been leading him to the Mr. Brown,s yard, and found it closed/locked. Instead of becoming a yard killing like Elizabeth Stride, she is street murdered... it being sufficiently dark and all. It would have taken some power to murder her silently, what with her steel heel boots potentially clanking about and waking the light sleeping neighbor.

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Has to be in the Top 10: ,,Disco Stu does not advertize.,,

Last edited by Robert St Devil : 05-04-2016 at 09:09 PM.
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Old 05-05-2016, 08:25 PM
Disco Stu Disco Stu is offline
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That's good reasoning for a possible body move, especially the rain, but then the rain becomes key to the whole thing. It seems likely that the rain had moved on by the small hours: according to accounts, witnesses spoke to Mrs Nichols in the street (no mention of huddling in a doorway), visibility doesn't seem to have been an issue, and neither Cross nor Paul mentioned the rain. Depending on the prevailing wind, that side of Bucks Row may have simply been protected from the downpour.

Assuming a body move did take place, do you have any thoughts on how it was accomplished? While I have doubts about the supposed light sleepers, I imagine a cart would have been heard on the cobbles at 3am. It's hard to imagine circumstances where an eviscerated body could be hand-ported any distance without leaving some traces, and while carrying the bonnet. Given the nature of the abdominal wounds, the body would likely have been carried face-up: Face-down and the organs would likely have displaced. The nature of the lower neck wound would require the head to be supported if face-up.

Unless a cart was used, the murder would, reasonably, have to have been committed in one of the nearby houses. Likely a murder scene in a public building or workplace would have been discovered later. Anything less than torrential rain would have likely spread a blood trail rather than removing all signs. Regarding the thighs, it seems likely that any cleaning would have to have occurred where the body was found.

It seems the scenario requires heavy rainfall all night, either to wash away a blood trail or to cover the sound of a cart on cobbles. The killer would have required some means to keep the body dry during transportation. The rain would then need to stop once the body is in situ, or at least have the terrace protect that spot from precipitation. There's a possible reason for the spot being chosen, since we're assuming the killer went to the effort of placing the body in a dry dress.
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Old 10-03-2016, 07:50 AM
Penhalion Penhalion is offline
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I'm not sure where people are getting the idea that her skirts were extremely short. First of all as a short woman herself (5'2"), if the skirts were barely to her knee, they would actually be short enough for a child. Even if she was redressed in someone else's clothes, that someone was not an adult.

I am trying to find the actual quote you are referring to but I haven't yet. I did find a passage from the official transcripts that reads: "The clothes were disarranged, and he helped to pull them down." No mention of being too short.

Another description of the clothing from the man who removed them (although there is question about his accuracy): "What did you take off first? - An ulster, which I put aside on the ground. We then took the jacket off, and put it in the same place. The outside dress was loose, and we did not cut it. The bands of the petticoats were cut, and I then tore them down with my hand. I tore the chemise down the front. There were no stays." Again no mention of remarkable shortness in the skirt although they apparently found her stays (because she apparently was wearing them) to be rather short- but then so was she. If she got them second hand, it is easier to wear a corset which is a bit too short rather than too long.

I think what might be going on here is mistaking the words 'pulled the skirts down to her knees' as being as far as they would go. My understanding is that the men who found her pulled her skirts down to provide modesty. Just below the knees would be far enough to provide that by Victorian standards. It doesn't necessarily imply that was their full length.
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Old 10-03-2016, 10:10 AM
Joshua Rogan Joshua Rogan is online now
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I suspect this is what's being referred to, Charles Cross' inquest testimony;

Evening Standard 4th Sept
"When I found her clothes were up above her knees, we tried to pull them over her, but they did not seem as if they would come down."

I'd always assumed that this was because Polly's weight was on the hitched up skirts.
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