This thread is about Diemschutz' claim to have touched the object on the ground - Elizabeth Stride - with his whip handle.

Thanks to this post we can get a good approximation of the dimensions of Diemschutz' cart.

It looked something like this...

The cart is 97cm high, 98cm wide and 226cm long.

(I will do all the dimensions in centimetres.)

I cannot find a good picture with a pony and driver, pulling and driving a barrow like this, but from descriptions I have read, the pony would be connected on the left side, and the driver sits close to the front, with lower legs dangling through the curved struts connecting base to upper frame.

Consequently, we can imagine the cart moving right to left, with the corrugated door representing the wall of the IWMEC building.

By the way, if the driver alternatively sat at the rear, some sort of seat would be required, resulting in the driver being higher off the ground, and in this case, further from the body. This seating position would also use up more of the precious carrying space.

Diemschutz had this to say about where he stopped in relation to the body:

So Diemschutz has gone some way past the body when he stops.

Stride lay with feet at gate end, and head at yard end.

Consequently, it will be assumed that Diemschutz prods at Stride's head, as this is the part of her body, he is closest to.

In this Casebook dissertation, the author (Fisherman) estimates Stride's head to be 35-40cm from the wall, and uses this graphic to illustrate...

The red lines represent a carriage's wheel span and path.

Fisherman gives a lane width of 280cm.

I will also assume these lengths:

Ground to seat/deck height: 65cm

Seat to mid-shoulder of driver: 50cm

Half-wingspan of driver: 85cm

If the head distance from wall is taken to be 38cm, the midpoint of the lane to head distance is: (280 / 2) - 38 = 102cm

Mid-shoulder height from ground, is seat height plus shoulder from seat height: 65 + 50 = 115cm

If the cart enters the yard with equal distance to each wall, Diemschutz' midpoint is horizontally offset from Stride's head by 102cm, and vertically offset by 115cm.

Now we know that Diemschutz claimed that his pony shied to the left, and we also know he would be capable of leaning a little to his right.

Let's assume these two factors cancel, and therefore assume the cart goes exactly up the middle of the lane.

Using the Pythagorean theorem, we can calculate the distance from Diemschutz' midpoint at shoulder height, to Stride's head:

Sqrt of (115^2 + 102^2) = 154cm

Subtracting the half-wingspan length (85cm) from this, gives us 69cm.

Therefore, 69cm is the distance from fingertip to

This number may be optimistic, given what Diemschutz says about his stopping position relative to the body - Stride's head is somewhat further away (than if directly in line), and she is now over Diemschutz' right shoulder (relative to his forward-facing position). Therefore, she is more awkward to reach, and increasingly so as the assumed distance past the body is increased.

This means that the actual horizontal offset (of driver to body) may have been significantly more than the number calculated above.

Let's assume that Diemschutz "uses up" 10cm of whip handle, due to his grip of it.

We now need to calculate the (outstretched) hand to head span surplus – that is, the remainder after subtracting handle length from the distance to the body (with allowance for grip), using this equation:

span_surplus = (handle_length – grip_offset) - distance_to_body

Assuming a handle length of 25cm, gives us: (25 - 10) - 69 = -54cm

In other words, there is

Modern pony and cart whips I have looked at are around 65-75cm in total length. Diemschutz claims to only use the whip handle to prod with - that is, the stiff section of the whip. Therefore, to reach the body, Diemschutz requires a whip with a handle length of around 80cm – that is, longer that the

Of obvious importance is the distance of the whip hand to pony's rump, which is the part of the pony the whip is intended to contact. In the forward seating position, this would only be around the 65-75cm distance that modern whips lengths are adequate for. This means a whip with a handle of around 80cm (or more) plus strap, would be excessively long, as well as excessively heavy, and therefore tiresome on the arm.

Now let's consider if the assumption of the cart travelling exactly up the middle of the lane, is a reasonable one.

The following day, Diemschutz had this to say in an interview...

Based on this, we could suppose that the left wheel rides in the left side rut/depression/track, formed by carriages as they enter and exit the yard (the left red line in the body graphic, above).

This would have given the cart a noticeable leftward lean.

Fisherman approximates the carriage wheel span to be 200-210cm. Let's assume it to be 206cm (the even number makes for whole number division).

The lane is 280cm wide.

Therefore, the cart's left wheel sits (280 - 206) / 2 = 37cm from the left wall.

The cart itself is 98cm wide, so the midpoint of the cart (and driver) are a further 49cm from the left wall, for a total of 86cm.

This gives us a horizontal offset to head of (280 - 86) - 38 = 156cm

Recalculating the overall distance gives us:

Sqrt of (115^2 + 156^2) = 194cm

Less the half-wingspan is 109cm.

This results in

These deficits indicate that in attempting to prod the body with a 25cm whip handle, Diemschutz falls short by around 54-94cm.

Even doubling the whip handle to 50cm leaves him 29-69cm short.

Tripling to (around total whip length of) 75cm, and the deficit is 4-44cm.

It is only when we get to a 1m whip handle that the claim to have prodded the body becomes feasible, and then only when the cart travels close to the middle of the lane.

Based on these calculations, we can see that Diemschutz' claim to have prodded Stride with his whip while seated in his cart, looks suspect.

Given that Diemschutz claims to have discovered the body of Liz Stride, and has apparently given misleading statements about his interaction with the body, he must now be regarded as a person of great interest.

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After discovering the body and going inside the club to find his wife and alert other members, Diemschutz claims to have gone off searching for a policeman, over a distance of a few blocks, fails to find one, and then returns to the scene of the crime. By that stage other men, and shortly after, Constables, are with the body, followed several minutes later by doctors.

Okay, so what is done with the pony and cart, which must surely be making clear access to the body much more difficult than necessary? Reversing out of the yard would have been almost impossible, as this video indicates.

The slightly annoying dog points to the difficulty of coordinating the backward movement of the horse. This is far from being a straightforward exercise! Consequently, it must be supposed that the pony and cart stayed right along side Elizabeth Stride's body during her examination by police and doctors, or were moved to the back of the yard, at least until the body had been removed.

Diemschutz claims to have left the yard once doctors had arrived, and gone back into the club to continue with his duties. However, between the period of constables and then doctors arriving, Diemschutz manages to get a good enough look at Stride to later describe her dress standard, in comparison to Annie Chapman, the position of her hands, and what her hands were holding. He sees both a doctor and constable place a hand on Stride's chest, and estimates the amount of blood on the ground. This suggests Diemschutz was not asked to move the pony and cart, giving him plenty of time to make these observations. Furthermore, this period supposedly also includes being searched by police.

How does Diemschutz make all these very specific observations, with his own cart right in front of the body, in an area dark enough to require a candle to even make out that what he had discovered on the ground was a human body?

Another query I have about Diemschutz' account, is the prodding of the body with the handle of his whip. He claims to attempt to lift the body (not knowing it was one, of course) with the handle, while still seated in his cart. Has anyone tried to recreate this scene? On doing so, it might be discovered that a handle of several feet in length would be necessary to attempt to do what Diemschutz claims to have attempted.]]>