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History Teacher in need of HELP - Ripper Investigative Methods

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  • History Teacher in need of HELP - Ripper Investigative Methods

    I am a history teacher in need of some help. My exam board has set a task for my students to compare the investigative methods used in the cases of Jack the Ripper (1888) & the Yorkshire Ripper (1975–81).

    I have read 'Jack the Ripper - Scotland Yard Investigates' by Evans & Rumbelow which was some help, but I was a little disappointed. Having looked at the Internet there appears to be so much missing.

    Does you know of anywhere else that does just focus on the investigation ?

    I could do with knowing if, when & where the police dressed up as prostitutes. What analysis of crimes scenes were made if any ? I saw on another forum about a blood sample having taken, after which murder was this ? What did the police do with the piece of apron ? How come the coroner seemed to take a lead in the investigation rather than the police ? If anyone could suggest any other methods I would really appreciate the guidance. Unfortnately the more detail the better.

    I have just read 'Wicked - Beyond Belief' by Michael Bilton & would like to build up an equally as detailed analysis. Perhaps the authorities simply did not have a wide a range of techniques, leads, clues as the West Yorkshire police ?

    Sorry to take up peoples' valuable time but want only the best for my students.
    Last edited by markc; 08-12-2009, 01:45 AM.

  • #2
    Hi Mark,

    I notice you have had much assistance on the other site, so I don't know if what I say is of any use but here's a few answers. Hopefully others will chime in. If Stewart Evans sees this, hopefully he'll help clarify a few things...

    Originally posted by markc View Post
    What analysis of crimes scenes were made if any ?
    Very basic - they would have looked for a discarded murder weapon, other bloodstains, footprints etc. as well as questioning nearby residents. However, once the body was taken away, it seems like 'cleaning up' was the order of the day. Mary Ann Nichols in Buck's Row is a good example (where a local lad washed the bloodstains away with a bucket of water). Today, crime scenes are isolated, but in 1888 there were all sorts of onlookers and casual passers-by who by today's standards would have well and truly 'contaminated' the area.

    Originally posted by markc View Post
    I saw on another forum about a blood sample having taken, after which murder was this?
    I don't know which murder this followed or the context of the 'blood sample', but I believe that blood analysis in 1888 was simplistic to say the least. Human blood could be identified as mammalian and that is all, therefore it could also have been a dog's, or pig's blood.

    Originally posted by markc View Post
    How come the coroner seemed to take a lead in the investigation rather than the police?
    It sounds like you mean Wynne Baxter - a rather opinionated fellow by all accounts who tended to stretch inquests beyond the necessary decision as to cause of death. That said, the inquest reports where Baxter was involved no doubt turned up more information than one would get with a different coroner. Mary Kelly's inquest lasted only a day, for example.

    However, there were complaints that the 'fullness' of Baxter's inquests gave away more information to the hoi-polloi than the police would have liked.

    Hope this is helpful and hope others chip in.

    JB
    Last edited by John Bennett; 08-12-2009, 03:10 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Analysis

      I have already posted a reply on the similar thread that exists on jtrforums.

      Wise advice John, with no blood grouping, DNA analysis, fingerprinting and other possibilities offered by modern forensic science there was no real point in crime scene preservation and meticulous examination. The search was for basic clues only and, in the streets in public view, the idea was to clear the crime scene as quickly as possible.

      They were quite good at the analysis for various poisons which, of course, did not apply in this case although there was some testing for incapacitating drugs.

      The senior Home Office analyst of the day was Dr. Thomas Stevenson, D.M., F.R.C.S., who often examined clothing and other items from murder scenes. He was the analyst in the John 'Babbacombe' Lee case of 1884 (for which I have his original notes).

      The changes were to come gradually with the improvements in photography, fingerprinting and blood analysis.
      SPE

      Treat me gently I'm a newbie.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you both. You time & effort is much appreciated.

        Comment


        • #5
          Blood sample

          Markc,

          A sample of Coles blood was taken after Coles murder. As John states, blood sampling was in its infancy but Stewart logically suggested that this sample could have been taken to test for narcotics in Coles blood.

          Here attached is from Lloyds Weekly dated February 22nd 1891.
          Attached Files




          Author of Capturing Jack the Ripper.

          http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/1445621622

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Mark,

            It seems to me that there wasn't that much difference, at least less than we have between Yorkshire and now with DNA, GPS, MRI and mass spectrometers. Blood typing and fingerprinting had been developed in the interim but what good did they really do regarding the solution? There were also investigation tools like ballistics that didn't apply to the case. Then you had voice recording and analysis that actually hindered the solution.

            As for similarities beyond some obvious ones, one of note was coverage in the USA. Jack the Stripper also received some coverage but neither Christie nor Bible John did so I guess you needed a name that ended in ipper.
            Last edited by sdreid; 08-12-2009, 04:39 PM.
            This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.

            Stan Reid

            Comment


            • #7
              Anyone able to tell me when photofits were first used ?

              Also would anyone like to enlighten me as to their opinion of the most significant flaws in the Ripper investigation ? This would enable me to compare with those of the Yorkshire Ripper case. Apparently Paul Begg stated the police were 'professional & competent' is this a fair assessment ? Donald Rumbelow believed 'Warren's biggest mistake was to keep the press at arms length' is this correct too ? Richard Jones appears to criticise the police in using 'old' methods rather than embracing the 'new' such as fingerprinting - any opinions ?

              Thanks again to you all.
              Last edited by markc; 08-12-2009, 07:20 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Mark

                Edwin Bush, 1961, first use of the photofit in the UK. It was nabbed from the USA where it had been used some years before.

                Pauls assessment is a fair one in my opinion. The issue was the lack of forensics in 1888. Unless he was caught red handed, or he held really incriminating evidence, catching Jack was extremely difficult. And obtaining conviction even more difficult.

                Monty




                Author of Capturing Jack the Ripper.

                http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/1445621622

                Comment


                • #9
                  Tabliodism

                  I also think the emergence of sensationalistic reporting bought new, unheard of pressures upon the police. For the first time, the lower classes had the ability to read en mass. And with the cheap papers emerging, the now had something to read.

                  I suggest you compare the Times reporting of the murders and compare it to the Stars. Very differing styles and not how the police are portrayed in both.

                  The Polices actoins were, suddenly, under scrutiny from the very people they were working amongst.

                  Monty




                  Author of Capturing Jack the Ripper.

                  http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/1445621622

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by markc View Post
                    I am a history teacher in need of some help. My exam board has set a task for my students to compare the investigative methods used in the cases of Jack the Ripper (1888) & the Yorkshire Ripper (1975–81).

                    I have read 'Jack the Ripper - Scotland Yard Investigates' by Evans & Rumbelow which was some help, but I was a little disappointed. Having looked at the Internet there appears to be so much missing.

                    Does you know of anywhere else that does just focus on the investigation ?

                    1. I could do with knowing if, when & where the police dressed up as prostitutes. 2. What analysis of crimes scenes were made if any ? 3. I saw on another forum about a blood sample having taken, after which murder was this ? 4. What did the police do with the piece of apron ? 5. How come the coroner seemed to take a lead in the investigation rather than the police ? If anyone could suggest any other methods I would really appreciate the guidance. Unfortnately the more detail the better.

                    I have just read 'Wicked - Beyond Belief' by Michael Bilton & would like to build up an equally as detailed analysis. Perhaps the authorities simply did not have a wide a range of techniques, leads, clues as the West Yorkshire police ?

                    Sorry to take up peoples' valuable time but want only the best for my students.
                    Hi Mark,

                    First my disclaimer, Im an avid student of the crimes but not an author or an expert on them, there are those kinds of members here, hopefully you will get some feedback from one or more of them.

                    In the Interim, heres a bit that may help you...

                    1. It is said that Police were considering dressing up as prostitutes, I dont know that it ever was documented, but reporters did do that, and perhaps members of some vigilance committees. There was even talk of providing the Unfortunates with steel collars round their necks, spiked collars, or some way of signaling for help by one or more editorial letter writers, and one of the less sophisticated senior police ideas suggested arresting the women for their own protection.

                    2. Very little analysis in Bucks Row for the first murder, as the body was discovered in effect 3 times before the first evidence gathering began. Basic description of the deceased, and of course interviews with any local resident. On the second, sketches of the body and blood splatters on the wall, a complete description of the deceased's position and condition. Interviews with the people in the house on Hanbury. On the 3rd murder they closed the yard down, interviewed all the members in attendance, some 28 men....searched the cottages, the club and the unused stable, interviewed the man that found her and a complete description of the womans condition, position, and blood flow. On the 4th murder they had a sketch made of the victim, they documented the condition and position, they searched the houses in the square, they interviewed the nightwatchman and the policeman who lived at # 3 in the square...later they checked the manhole covers. The second sight of the investigation, where the apron was left, is a bit of a shambles,...they did not accurately record a single version of the writing, didn not record the exact location of it as relates to the apron, and they washed off the writing before a picture could be taken. On number 5, they had a private room and courtyard, so they closed off the entire courtyard access to Dorset, and waited 2 hours for all the relevant people to be assembled there. They thought bloodhounds were coming apparently, but that was impossible, neither were available by then. They forced the door open at 1:30pm, and we are told took photos of the body in the room,..we know of 2, then the position, description and variables regarding the immediate space were recorded.

                    So you know, blood analysis was in its infancy, fingerprinting although widely known by that time was not part of the adopted police procedures, DNA, Fibre or Hair Analysis didnt exist.. though they could be microscopically analyzed, some thought taking photos of the retina would be usefull to capture the final image seen by the victim, they could use bloody footprints but didnt find any worth noting, ......this was an era where it would be hard to convict someone without a witness, because that was the most convincing evidence at that time I surmise.

                    3. Im not sure that a blood sample was taken, though I had heard that as well.....nor what good it would have been if it had. Taken from whom?

                    4. It was noted and taken into evidence by PC Long, who turned it in, and it was later forwarded to the Eddowes investigation team to see if it matched the missing piece of Kates frock. It did.

                    5. The fact is is that there was no evidence recovered from any alleged Ripper site that was believed to be left by the killer that didnt belong to the victims, so the way the women were killed and what they had done to them was the only barometer they had to assess whom to include. They suggest that the killer killed the 5 Unfortunates murdered from the end of August until November 9th in that fashion.....which to me shows that they felt the killer was in the midst of an uninterrupted series of murders, because there are inclusions in those 5 that are not clearly warranted by the evidence alone.

                    I hope that helps a bit, although if you need dates, names and specifics, I would recommend rifling through at least the police files here.

                    Best wishes......and let them know they can still try to solve this if they want to, but not without many years of in depth analysis of the available evidence, dealing with some formidable researchers and scholars who have been doing just that and are leaps ahead of them,.... and by virtue of some really good deducing.

                    Cheers Mark
                    Last edited by perrymason; 08-12-2009, 09:59 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      "I hope that helps a bit."

                      No, it helps a lot. Thank you.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Bare Naked Dancing Quartet.




                        Author of Capturing Jack the Ripper.

                        http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/1445621622

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by markc View Post
                          Also would anyone like to enlighten me as to their opinion of the most significant flaws in the Ripper investigation ?
                          In my humble opinion, one of the worst flaws was police officials dragging their feet about committing to the use of the bloodhounds. Chances are that the bloodhounds would have turned up nothing, but surely there was some kind of scent left behind by the Ripper they could have possibly followed. Even if they only tracked a scent for a distance, it might have triggered someone to realize that maybe someone they saw everyday at that spot could possibly be the one.
                          Last edited by Brenda; 08-12-2009, 11:13 PM. Reason: forgotten words

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I don't know if you've read it already but I would certainly reccommend The Ultimate Jack The Ripper Source Book, basicaly a collection of surviving police records, inquest reports and contemporary newspaper reports. Clearly the police of the time were unable to call upon forensics and dna evidence making their task that much more difficult and one has to have some sympathy for them in this respect. Could more have been done? well there was certainly a lot of contention early in the investigation about the reluctance of police and home secretary to offer a reward. There was also some critiscism levelled at the police for erasing the Goulston Street graffiti before it could be photagraphed, although it is hard to see what may have been learned from it. The education act of 1870 had brought about a great increase in literacy and a new growing press to take advantage of it but, possibly because of the growing animosity between press and police there seems to have been a reluctance to use the press to circulate witness descriptions and sketches of suspects. In common with the Yorkshire case the police in whitechapple received numerous items in the post purporting to be from the ripper but unlike their yorkshire counterparts they seem to dismiss them all early on, even the kidney portion, whereas in Yorkshire the police wasted valuable time and resources looking for the Geordie on the tape. It is interesting to note that even with the extra tools available to them the Yorkshire Ripper was eventually caught by good 'coppering' on the ground and the lucky break the whitechapple police didn't get.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thanks for the 'The Ultimate Jack The Ripper Source Book' recommendation, I've ordered it today.

                              As for 'Bare Naked Dancing Quartet', I've googled this & I am working on a school laptop, so I hereby deny any blame for what may or may not be on my hard drive.

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