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Coroners' Depositions

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  • Coroners' Depositions

    Has anyone ever considered the significance of the following in Jervis on the Office and Duties of Coroners?

    "By a circular from the Home Office in September 1884, coroners were requested, in all cases in which a verdict of manslaughter or murder should be returned, to send a copy of the depositions to the director of public prosecutions with or without any remarks which the coroner might think fit to offer."

  • #2
    Nothing comes to mind, do we know the reason why this circular was issued?
    Regards, Jon S.

    Comment


    • #3
      Surprised it wasn't just common practice anyway.
      G U T

      There are two ways to be fooled, one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe that which is true.

      Comment


      • #4
        So there might be some depositions tucked away somewhere?
        dustymiller
        aka drstrange

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        • #5
          Originally posted by drstrange169 View Post
          So there might be some depositions tucked away somewhere?
          I don't know how long the Prosecution service would keep them?
          G U T

          There are two ways to be fooled, one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe that which is true.

          Comment


          • #6
            I've sent them an email on the off chance, but I suspect you are right.
            dustymiller
            aka drstrange

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            • #7
              Originally posted by drstrange169 View Post
              I've sent them an email on the off chance, but I suspect you are right.
              Never hurts to ask.
              G U T

              There are two ways to be fooled, one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe that which is true.

              Comment


              • #8
                Tell that to Oliver.
                dustymiller
                aka drstrange

                Comment


                • #9
                  It's a good avenue to follow, but Philip Sugden has already been there, noted in the introduction to the second edition of his book.

                  Dave

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                  • #10
                    There's a file that's supposed to be at the LMA, related to the County of Middlesex and the custody of coroner's records. Since his father had been in office at the time of the Local Government Act coming into effect, it's probable that Francis Baxter would have done what other executors and heirs of coroners were doing, and that was to divide the records according to who had funded the inquest. In Baxter's case, records dating Nov 1886-April 1889 probably went to Middlesex, and the rest to the LCC, which destroyed what they had. Ought to be some documentation in the Middlesex side of things.

                    Dave

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Dave O View Post
                      It's a good avenue to follow, but Philip Sugden has already been there, noted in the introduction to the second edition of his book.
                      Thank you Dave O (no relation!), I thought someone must have picked up on this.

                      As Sugden seems to have established, Wynne Baxter did indeed fulfill his obligations under the 1884 Home Office circular and lodge copies of all the depositions from the Ripper victim inquests he conducted during 1888 with the Director of Public Prosecutions.

                      I figured the chances of them surviving were remote but the question I was going to ask was rather what has actually happened to them? Were they deliberately destroyed as part of normal policy? Or have they simply gone missing?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hi David,

                        The LCC destroyed their portion of the records under the 15 Year Rule. They had run out of storage, and then there was a paper shortage during the war. This is documented in a file held by the LMA, which was transcribed in Ripperologist #69 ("The Sunshine and the Shadow") and is in a searchable format. If you're interested in reading it, it's free Drop me a PM if you would like me to send it or you can get the back issue by writing them.

                        But it's not clear what the County of Middlesex did with its portion--this probably can and should be documented. For example, all of the records of Roderick Macdonald that survive have done so because they were in the custody of the County of Middlesex.

                        Apologies if I'm not very coherent. I am sleep deprived
                        Cheers,
                        Dave

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Dave O View Post
                          Hi David,

                          The LCC destroyed their portion of the records under the 15 Year Rule. They had run out of storage, and then there was a paper shortage during the war. This is documented in a file held by the LMA, which was transcribed in Ripperologist #69 ("The Sunshine and the Shadow") and is in a searchable format. If you're interested in reading it, it's free Drop me a PM if you would like me to send it or you can get the back issue by writing them.

                          But it's not clear what the County of Middlesex did with its portion--this probably can and should be documented. For example, all of the records of Roderick Macdonald that survive have done so because they were in the custody of the County of Middlesex.

                          Apologies if I'm not very coherent. I am sleep deprived
                          But why would documents held by the Director of Public Prosecutions have ended up with the London County Council?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'm referring to the case papers that were in the custody of Wynne Baxter's family and were passed on to the County of London in 1921, not anything that the DPP ever had in its possession. Since Phil Sugden has already investigated that angle, I am suggesting that one avenue that hasn't been researched (so far as I know), is documenting the movement of that portion of Baxter's papers that most likely went into the custody of the County of Middlesex at the same time, because it's likely that they would have received those papers dating from Nov 1886 through April 1889.

                            Dave

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Dave O View Post
                              Since Phil Sugden has already investigated that angle
                              But all Phil Sugden says in his introduction to his book is that the papers lodged with the DPP are no longer there. He doesn't say what enquiries he made or what happened to them, which is what I'm interested in.

                              For the purpose of this thread, I'm really only interested in the copies of the depositions provided to the DPP because, as a Government department, I would have expected them to have been retained and then lodged with the Public Record Office (as was). If they weren't then presumably they were destroyed but did someone deliberately do it knowing they were the JTR inquest papers or was it just carelessness, thinking they were of no interest?

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