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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Doctors and Coroners

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  #1  
Old 08-16-2012, 10:02 PM
Phil Carter Phil Carter is offline
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Default A time to live, a time to die

Hello all,

One of the many problems with the case is time.
It is the single biggest problem we have in every murder occurrance of the C5.

The Cross/Lechmere possibility has a root problem in the variance of time of attack/death of Polly Nichols.
The Richardson scenario and witness scenario is problematic because of the variance of time of attack/death of Annie Chapman.
At what time did Elizabeth Stride enter that Yard entrance, when was she fatally attacked, when did she die? All questions which are counter argued.
The Catherine Eddowes murder has real problems surrounding time of death, time of police beat involvement and time used prior to 1.45a.m.

Finally, the lack of time of death estimation at a hurriedly closed inquest has theorists vigourously making differing claims

And I have just listed some examples. There are more.

So I turn to the Doctor's estimations about time of death. Just what do we believe in each case?
In some cases there are varying medical opinions. A few approximations seem nigh on impossible relating to witness statements.

So what do we do? How exact could a time of death estimation need to be?
Time of death estimations are notoriously hard, but certain things make the job easier. The nearer the time of the doctor's arrival to the attack makes estimation easier as the window time-frame is smaller, body temperature is relatively near to the live temperaturep, and estimations given due to weather temperature and its effect on the body more easily taken into account.
On the contrary view, the Mary Kelly situation is minefield due to a broken window into a tiny room in a cold month with rain outside and a possibly lit fireplace alight at an unknown time the previous evening/day to complicate the problem of room temperature and at what point did the body become exposed to heat/cold.

If Nichols died at 3.30am- if Chapman died before 4.30am- if Stride died nearer 1am- if Eddowes died at 1.40am- if Kelly died after 6am- these are examples of the problems we face.

Do we believe that in 1888, the doctors were to be relied upon by today's standards of estimation? And what do we do when there are varying estimates given?
Do we rely on any newspaper witness accounts when we consider the doctors timings? Likewise statements given the police and at the inquests?

So which are the most reliable?

Views anyone?

I will be interested to read them.

Best wishes

Phil
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  #2  
Old 08-17-2012, 10:43 AM
John Wheat John Wheat is offline
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To Phil
I don't think the estimations of times of death are that reliable and certainly not by today's standards of estimation. Even if the estimated times of death were reliable how much use would they really be in identifying the killer?
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Old 08-17-2012, 09:42 PM
Cogidubnus Cogidubnus is offline
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You're right Phil...much of the evidence that remains in this case is so, so dependent upon time...and yet as you observe it's a slippy-slidey subjective thing as far as most of the evidence is concerned...

In 1888 absolute time is measured just where? Did the churchwarden actually wind the clock last week and, if he did, did he check it against...(what?)...so even the generally recognised medium of time is relative, rather than absolute...

Any scientific (or even pseudo-scientific) estimate of time of death, any witness estimate of time, any statement at all (even if backed up by a timepiece of some kind), has to be seen against this background...

But I think we knew this anyway mate, and because I know you're a long, long way from being a dummy, I suspect your original post was almost a rhetorical question in it's own right! So spill Phil...what was it you didn't quite ask?

Best wishes always

Dave
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Old 08-18-2012, 10:14 PM
Phil Carter Phil Carter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Wheat View Post
To Phil
I don't think the estimations of times of death are that reliable and certainly not by today's standards of estimation. Even if the estimated times of death were reliable how much use would they really be in identifying the killer?
Hello John,

Perhaps, and perhaps not. It might, in some cases, rule out some of today's suspicions though. Thank you for your reply. Appreciated.

Best wishes

Phil
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  #5  
Old 08-18-2012, 10:28 PM
Phil Carter Phil Carter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cogidubnus View Post
You're right Phil...much of the evidence that remains in this case is so, so dependent upon time...and yet as you observe it's a slippy-slidey subjective thing as far as most of the evidence is concerned...

In 1888 absolute time is measured just where? Did the churchwarden actually wind the clock last week and, if he did, did he check it against...(what?)...so even the generally recognised medium of time is relative, rather than absolute...

Any scientific (or even pseudo-scientific) estimate of time of death, any witness estimate of time, any statement at all (even if backed up by a timepiece of some kind), has to be seen against this background...

But I think we knew this anyway mate, and because I know you're a long, long way from being a dummy, I suspect your original post was almost a rhetorical question in it's own right! So spill Phil...what was it you didn't quite ask?

Best wishes always

Dave
Hello Dave,

What I'd like to see, if possible, is 3 well versed experts in this particular field, study the 5 cases in detail, and individually explain the precise in's and out's of ability to recognise and record times of death given length of time after a murder had supposedly taken place, known conditions of weather and victim exposure, given only from the knowledge of the facts before them.

Imagine all murders medically re-assessed on the basis of time. Would it be possible to confirm or counter the medical opinion of the time? And three people doing it independantly of each other would ensure impartiality.

Thank you for your reply. Most appreciated.

Best wishes

Phil
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Last edited by Phil Carter : 08-18-2012 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 08-18-2012, 10:37 PM
Cogidubnus Cogidubnus is offline
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In some ways I'm disappointed Phil...I thought you perhaps had something more in mind...but nonetheless it's still a very, very, interesting concept...which I'm sure could make a fascinating TV programme...now there's a thought...Where is Mr Leahy when you need him?

All the best

Dave
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:21 PM
Phil Carter Phil Carter is offline
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Hello Dave,

It's a proposition in my mind at least, done as a paper. A written article on the subject. Independantly. The media circus can wait.

i do have a few other thoughts surrounding this but they are far from complete. Hint hint.
LOL

Best wishes

Phil
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:33 PM
Supe Supe is offline
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Several years ago Howard Brown prevailed upon Dr. Cyril H. Wecht, as famed a forensic pathologist as you'll find today, to study the few photographs available of the Canonic Five as well as what inquest or post mortem notes there are. As I recall, Howard reported that Dr. Wecht said there was simply too little surviving information to make any kind of determinations about the murders.

That struck me as a quite reasonable and honest reply, especially from as outspoken a pathologist as Dr. Wecht, and would seem to put finis to any thoughts of a modern pathological investigation based on the very meager amount of material that has come down to us.

Don.
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:51 PM
Phil Carter Phil Carter is offline
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Hello Don,

thanks for the response.
Was he asked to study the medical utterances? Was he shown just the photographs?
Also, did Howard get 2nd and 3rd opinions? Was the pathologist asked to concentrate on the TIME element only? Was a paper of any sort presented with this conclusion? One man's one line opinion doesnt cut it as a fully independant asessment either. Ask the once most highly regarded historian AJP Taylor, or any physicist studying the start of the universe. (one of whom's proposal of a missing anti matter equation has only now, 35 years since his paper, been accepted as true.)

Pas finis.

Regards

Phil
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Old 08-19-2012, 12:58 AM
Phil Carter Phil Carter is offline
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Hello Don,

An apology. i missed the line referring to post mortem comments.
However, as said, a one line utterance isnt enough. And one experts opinion isnt enough. A paper of study, on the Time Element alone, from 3 independant experts, given the material we have today, is in my mind, needed, to give us the correct authenticity.
Just my thoughts.

Regards

Phil
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