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Hebbert's torso writings

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  • Hebbert's torso writings

    Along with "a system of legal medecine", Hebbert also wrote about a couple of torso cases in "The Westminster Hospital reports vol IV".
    The chapter is entitled "an exercise in forensic medecine" and covers the Rainham and Whitehall cases (pages 48-60). It seems very similar to aSoLM but may contain some extra insight if anyone wants to compare the two.

    https://archive.org/stream/westminst...e/n67/mode/1up

  • #2
    Originally posted by Joshua Rogan View Post
    Along with "a system of legal medecine", Hebbert also wrote about a couple of torso cases in "The Westminster Hospital reports vol IV".
    The chapter is entitled "an exercise in forensic medecine" and covers the Rainham and Whitehall cases (pages 48-60). It seems very similar to aSoLM but may contain some extra insight if anyone wants to compare the two.

    https://archive.org/stream/westminst...e/n67/mode/1up
    Hi JR
    The material that appeared in a System of Legal Medicine was taken from two lectures written by Hebbert; An Exercise in Forensic Medicine Part One, covering the two cases in 1887 and 1888, Rainham and Whitehall , published in the Westminster Hospital reports Vol IV in 1888 and also An Exercise in Forensic Medicine Part Two covering the two 1889 torso cases, Elizabeth Jackson and Pinchin St and published in the Westminster Hospital Reports Vol V in 1889.
    In his lectures Hebbert adds a little extra information in the introduction, including the fact that he observed progression of skill in the dismemberment of the spine through all four cases. Originally using a saw in all vertebra separation, he believed the ability to separate through the vertebral substance with a knife showed skills were being learned.
    ,,`,, Debs ,,`,,

    I am not DJA. He's called Dave.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Joshua and Debs

      Interesting stuff.

      Cheers John

      Comment


      • #4
        Cheers Debs!
        Do you know if Vol 5 of the Westminster Hospital Reports is available online anywhere? Other volumes are, but not that one, it seems. At least, I can't find it.

        For info and comparison, here is a link to A System of Legal Medecine;

        https://archive.org/details/asystemlegalmed00godkgoog

        Torso cases are on pages 75-87
        Kelly case on pages 61-63
        And I think there is a discussion of TOD and dissecting tools, pages 34-34
        Last edited by Joshua Rogan; 11-10-2017, 03:11 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Debra A View Post
          Originally using a saw in all vertebra separation, he believed the ability to separate through the vertebral substance with a knife showed skills were being learned.
          debs, I find that very interesting. someone in the other thread wondered if the ripper could have been trying to decapitate the victims? At first thought it might sound ridiculous, but the extreme force used does make me wonder if he was actually trying to decapitate and possibly even take the heads. when did the hebbert say the killer started using a knife? I still wonder if mary Kelly started as an attempted dismemberment but he couldn't succeed in decapitation with the knife. and why burn the clothes?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Joshua Rogan View Post
            Cheers Debs!
            Do you know if Vol 5 of the Westminster Hospital Reports is available online anywhere? Other volumes are, but not that one, it seems. At least, I can't find it.

            For info and comparison, here is a link to A System of Legal Medecine;

            https://archive.org/details/asystemlegalmed00godkgoog

            Torso cases are on pages 75-87
            Kelly case on pages 61-63
            And I think there is a discussion of TOD and dissecting tools, pages 34-34
            Vol V is here JR.

            https://archive.org/stream/westminst.../n170/mode/2up

            These were first mentioned by S G Ryan back in the 90's, Ryan also
            discovered the System of Legal Medicine material.

            Recently looking through medical directories I came across mention of an article written by Hebbert in 1903 titled 'Criminology' and published in a Canadian Medical Journals. I had an idea it would be an interesting one to track down and Cris Malone managed to find it on Google Books. I then found it was also on Internet Archive. Hebbert discusses famous cases he's been involved with including the JTR and Torso cases.

            https://archive.org/stream/canadamed...e/n12/mode/2up

            This is Hebbert's 1889 introduction and inferences on the torso cases. It was published in The Westminster Hospital Reports Vol. V in 1889, along with the details of the cases from 1889. Vol IV of the same publication included Part One of Hebbert's Lecture covering the 87 and 88 torso cases. The autopsy details were submitted for use in ASOLM, published in 1894 but the summary doesn't appear in there.

            In the last volume of Reports I was able to give a description of two cases of mutilation which occurred duering 1887 and 1888. I now take the opportunity of recounting two more instances of mutilation which have happened during the present year. In almost every respect they are similar to the first two cases, and appear to belong to a series of murders and dismemberment by the same hand. The chief point of interest is that in the third case the victim was identified, and the deductions as to sex, age, &c., argued from the anatomical examination, proved correct, and it may be fairly claimed that the identification was in great measure due to the description given by these means.

            In the other cases so far no identification has been possible, but the cases taken as a whole are valuable as illustrating the difficulties we labour under in describing a person from such an imperfect data, and as showing how a skillfull, determined individual can murder and dispose of four bodies without detection.

            In the first and third cases [Rainham and EJ] the whole body was disocvered except the head, and in both most of the pieces had been thrown into the river or canal. In number two the oiece first found was the arm and was in the river, and after that only the trunk and leg, both having been deposited under cover on the earth. In number four only the trunk with the arms attached was discovered, and this again was on the earth under cover.

            In many of the portions decomposition had very far advanced, and the various kinds of decomposition occurring in water, after burial, and when exposed to the air on dry ground were well shown. The mode of dismemberment and mutilation was in all similar, and showed considerable skill in execution, and it is a fair presumption from the facts that the same man committed all the four murders. In the first two cases the vertebra had been sawn through, in the third the sixth cervical vertebra was sawn through, but the dorsal and lumbar vertebra were separated by cutting through the intervertebral substance, and in the fourth the intervertebral substance in the neck was out, showing that the man was aware of the projecting anterior lip on the under surface of the vertebra and suggesting that he was becoming more expert in his work, at the same time indicating that he was not necessarily a good anatomist, but rather a man accustomed to cut up bodies in somewhat large pieces.
            ,,`,, Debs ,,`,,

            I am not DJA. He's called Dave.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by RockySullivan View Post
              debs, I find that very interesting. someone in the other thread wondered if the ripper could have been trying to decapitate the victims? At first thought it might sound ridiculous, but the extreme force used does make me wonder if he was actually trying to decapitate and possibly even take the heads. when did the hebbert say the killer started using a knife? I still wonder if mary Kelly started as an attempted dismemberment but he couldn't succeed in decapitation with the knife. and why burn the clothes?
              Hi Rocky
              My last post contains what Hebbert wrote about progression He believed that where a saw had been used to separate the vertebra in the first case, that gradually the dismember was progressing to being able to achieve this with a knife through learning the anatomy of the vertebra through experience.
              ,,`,, Debs ,,`,,

              I am not DJA. He's called Dave.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Joshua Rogan View Post
                Torso cases are on pages 75-87
                Kelly case on pages 61-63
                And I think there is a discussion of TOD and dissecting tools, pages 34-34
                The Mylett case is also in ASOLM Vol 1 page 111
                ,,`,, Debs ,,`,,

                I am not DJA. He's called Dave.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Debra A View Post
                  The Mylett case is also in ASOLM Vol 1 page 111
                  Ooh, well spotted, I'd not noticed that before! Only a brief reference, but none-the-less interesting.

                  Another reference on the previous page, although nothing to do with Hebbert or JTR, is also interesting;


                  There is one case quoted by Foster (Physiology), where an Italian boy was covered with gold-leaf to represent an angel, and died a few minutes after the whole body was enveloped, with the signs of asphyxia.

                  This sounds a lot like the famous scene in Goldfinger, which Stephen Fry assured me was a myth. But it seems there's at least a grain of truth to it

                  (Excerpt From: Hamilton, Allan McLane, 1848-1919. A system of legal medicine. New York, E. B. Treat, 1894. iBooks. )
                  This material may be protected by copyright.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Debra A View Post
                    Hi Rocky
                    My last post contains what Hebbert wrote about progression He believed that where a saw had been used to separate the vertebra in the first case, that gradually the dismember was progressing to being able to achieve this with a knife through learning the anatomy of the vertebra through experience.
                    Debs what was the first murder where hebs says the head was decapitated with a knife

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by RockySullivan View Post
                      Debs what was the first murder where hebs says the head was decapitated with a knife
                      Pinchin perhaps? Although with the Rainham torso the upper portion of the trunk was missing so they couldn't deremine where the head was taken off. That means they wouldn't have been able to determine a knife or saw in that case.
                      ,,`,, Debs ,,`,,

                      I am not DJA. He's called Dave.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Joshua Rogan View Post
                        Ooh, well spotted, I'd not noticed that before! Only a brief reference, but none-the-less interesting.

                        Another reference on the previous page, although nothing to do with Hebbert or JTR, is also interesting;


                        “There is one case quoted by Foster (Physiology), where an Italian boy was covered with gold-leaf to represent an angel, and died a few minutes after the whole body was enveloped, with the signs of asphyxia.”

                        This sounds a lot like the famous scene in Goldfinger, which Stephen Fry assured me was a myth. But it seems there's at least a grain of truth to it

                        (Excerpt From: Hamilton, Allan McLane, 1848-1919. “A system of legal medicine.” New York, E. B. Treat, 1894. iBooks. )
                        This material may be protected by copyright.
                        Yes, it is interesting. I point it out quite a lot during discussions of the Mylett case because Hebbert was present at the first post mortem with Brownfield and Harris and although it is stated he officially agreed on the cause of death as homicidal asphyxia, this shows that Hebbert didn't appear to agree with the method employed as described by Brownfield and his assistant Harris.
                        They described a two handed action holding a ligature and crossing over at the back of the neck, while Hebbert is describing covering of the nose and mouth while pressure is applied to the front of the throat. Bond thought there had been pressure on the larynx also, caused by Mylett slumping forward while hopelessly drunk.

                        I remember the Goldfinger discussions and the square of flesh left unpainted! Gold leaf is a different material to paint though, perhaps they placed it over the boys nostrils and he also wasn't able to breathe through his mouth.
                        ,,`,, Debs ,,`,,

                        I am not DJA. He's called Dave.

                        Comment

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