I've always been sceptical about the possibility that Mary's killer burned her missing heart in the fireplace. Not least because the ashes were investigated for the remains of burnt body parts, seemingly without any results.
But I recently saw a documentary about self-confessed hitman John Childs, who claimed to have killed 6 people in the 1970s and disposed of each of the bodies in his flat by chopping them up and simply burning the chunks - bones and all - in his small fireplace over a 24 hour period. Any recognisable bone fragments in the ashes being later pounded to dust.
This sounded rather implausible to me - especially as there's a possibility that Childs was a compulsive liar who made the whole story up - but according to the program, the theory was tested by a home office scientist, who did indeed manage to use the same method to turn a 12st pig into nothing but ash in 13 hours.
So, if it's possible to dispose of an entire body in a fireplace, then turning a heart to ash in a large fire would seem an easy task....but would no trace really be detectable?
So, if it's possible to dispose of an entire body in a fireplace, then turning a heart to ash in a large fire would seem an easy task....
Only, I'd suggest, if the fire were kept going for quite some time, as the heart is a large, dense lump of muscle. It was only a small fireplace; I wouldn't have thought that Kelly/Barnett kept a large supply of coal; and I doubt very much that the killer would have hung around to tend the fire until no trace remained.