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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Doctors and Coroners

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  #1  
Old 07-17-2009, 11:38 AM
alucard alucard is offline
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Default Dr Rees Llewellyn

Why was Dr Llewellyn only on hand for the Nichols autopsy? Having lived on Whitechapel Road, surely he should have been involved with the subsequent Whitchapel victims postmortems, especially as he was the first man to view the Ripper's handy work? Therefore why did Dr George Bagster Philips take charge afterwards? Did the authorities doubt Llewellyn's capabilities?
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Old 07-17-2009, 06:34 PM
Wolf Vanderlinden Wolf Vanderlinden is offline
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Phillips was the H Division Police Surgeon and had been from 1865. He was the more experienced man.

Wolf.
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  #3  
Old 07-18-2009, 01:26 AM
Sam Flynn Sam Flynn is online now
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Would Polly's being a "J" Division (Bethnal Green) murder have had something to do with it?
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  #4  
Old 07-18-2009, 02:37 AM
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The Grave Maurice The Grave Maurice is offline
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I imagine that they were simply looking for the nearest medico, and that our boy Rees Ralph was it.
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  #5  
Old 07-18-2009, 07:39 AM
Dave O Dave O is offline
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As far as the autopsy goes--in cases like this that dealt with the discovery of murder victims, generally the coroner summoned the surgeon first on the scene to perform the postmortem examination and testify upon the cause of death. It could be any legally qualified medical practicioner who worked in the vicinity (so long as there wasn't a question of his having caused the death). At this time, the ideal medical witness was a local person with clinical knowledge of the victim, especially for cases where the case of death wasn't apparent (this is why you have Dr. Arthur performing Annie Milwood's autopsy). When clinical knowledge was absent, the next best thing to have was whatever local doctor had done the earliest observations of the victim in situ (this doesn't always hold true, I am speaking generally). Usually when the police were involved this meant the divisional surgeon, but in Nichols' case, it happened to have been Llewellyn, a local man that the police had called in (I presume a divisional surgeon wasn't available). Llewellyn was not called to the other scenes, which is why you don't see him at the other inquests.

Medical witnesses varied in their strengths--1) a local practitioner might have treated a victim in life, offering the always sought after clinical history (especially when it was unclear how a person died), or been first on the scene, but may not have been skilled at performing postmortems, unless it was someone associated with a hospital. 2) A divisional surgeon would have observed the victim at the crime scene, have a good working knowledge of the locale, and would have a lot of experience performing postmortems dealing with violent death, and testifying at inquests. 3) A pathologist may not have observed the victim in a pristine state, but would offer great knowledge of forensic medicine and anatomy, and would often be associated with some well-regarded teaching institution.

But again, generally speaking in cases of sudden death with no clinical history of the victim available or if they were dealing with an obvious murder perhaps, the coroner's rationale for a doctor's performing the autopsy was that he was first on the scene, or one of the first. With the Whitechapel murders, the coroner's choice of first on the scene was necessarily dictated by the actions of the police investigating the crime scene, and that usually involved a divisional surgeon. If a jury found the testimony of a medical witness lacking in some way, they had the authority to compel the coroner to select a surgeon of their choosing, and the coroner who failed to comply would be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Cheers,
Dave

Last edited by Dave O : 07-18-2009 at 08:08 AM.
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  #6  
Old 07-18-2009, 10:07 AM
Jon Guy Jon Guy is offline
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I believe that after the Chapman case it became procedure for more than one Surgeon to be present at the post mortem.
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  #7  
Old 09-14-2009, 01:07 PM
dixon9 dixon9 is offline
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Do many people believe that Dr Liewellyn is correct that the abdominal injuries were carried out before the throat injuries?I am no medical expert but surely if they were the first injuries inflicted the clothing would have had more blood around that area.Lets not forget he did miss these injuries at first(although dark) surely the blood would have soaked through for him to have noticed,also would Polly have not been able to give out a little cry if first stabbed in that area?

Sorry if i have got this wrong,but for me i just feel the throat cut was the first wound.Open to any help if i have this totally wrong.
thanks

dixon9
still learning
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  #8  
Old 12-01-2009, 12:19 AM
glyndwr glyndwr is offline
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Default glyndwr

Quote:
Originally Posted by alucard View Post
Why was Dr Llewellyn only on hand for the Nichols autopsy? Having lived on Whitechapel Road, surely he should have been involved with the subsequent Whitchapel victims postmortems, especially as he was the first man to view the Ripper's handy work? Therefore why did Dr George Bagster Philips take charge afterwards? Did the authorities doubt Llewellyn's capabilities?
Dr. Rees Llewellyn (correct Welsh spelling should be Rhys Llewelyn) was a gynaecologist whose office was close to where Nichols (victim #2) was found. It was around 4:00am when he was summoned; because of his occupation it was assumed he would be available in the early morning. He was subsequently asked to do the autopsy which was carried out at Whitechapel Workhouse, the body "prepared" by a couple of the inmates. Llewellyn was unqualified as a medical examiner and made a ****-up of the investigation from not noticing the blood under body and suggesting the the murder was left-handed. I doubt he would have been called even if future victims were in his Division.
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Old 12-13-2010, 01:29 AM
Lechmere Lechmere is offline
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Rhys or should I say Rees Llewellyn's memorial on his family vault in Tower Hamlet's cemetary.
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Old 12-13-2010, 01:33 AM
Lechmere Lechmere is offline
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And here's a view of the whole monument - Rees's name is on the right hand face (as seen from this position).
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