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  • Physical traces

    I popped into the garden today and when I came back inside, even though I'd tried my hardest to avoid stepping in any puddles, I still left a trail of muddy footprints across the kitchen floor. Which (slightly worryingly) set me wondering....how the heck did Jack manage to avoid leaving any similar traces of himself at the scenes of his crimes? In the shambles of Miller's Court, for instance, I don't recall any mention of bloody hand or footprints (although Dew's memoirs say that he himself slipped on the floor the moment he entered room 13).
    Is there anything to show the killer had a human form, and wasn't just a phantom knife?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Joshua Rogan View Post
    I popped into the garden today and when I came back inside, even though I'd tried my hardest to avoid stepping in any puddles, I still left a trail of muddy footprints across the kitchen floor. Which (slightly worryingly) set me wondering....how the heck did Jack manage to avoid leaving any similar traces of himself at the scenes of his crimes? In the shambles of Miller's Court, for instance, I don't recall any mention of bloody hand or footprints (although Dew's memoirs say that he himself slipped on the floor the moment he entered room 13).
    Is there anything to show the killer had a human form, and wasn't just a phantom knife?
    One thing the Millers Court crime scene was not lacking in was material for wiping bloody hands on. I assume most of Kelly's blood also seeped into the bedding. I doubt there was that much blood on the floor even if Dew suggests differently. Saying all that I suspect that had technology been available at the time some bloody fingerprints could have been discovered and studied. However, in 1888 a few partial fingerprints found at a crime were probably barely worth noting.

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    • #3
      Well, I think Dr Philips said there was about 2 square feet of blood on the floor, although this was underneath the bed by the partition wall. Here's a couple of lines from Dew's (admittedly 50-year-old) recollections;

      "With the state of that room in my mind, I cannot see how the murderer could have avoided being covered from head to foot with blood......All these things I saw after I had slipped and fallen on the awfulness of that floor."

      Which certainly make it seem (to me) unlikely that the killer could avoid leaving hand or foot prints anywhere, although it could be hyperbole. I'm sure Jack could have wiped his hands on some bedding or (burnt) clothing when he'd finished his grisly work, but was he careful enough not to touch or lean on anything until after he'd cleaned himself? Or were any traces simply not mentioned?
      I can see perhaps that the police wouldn't mention prints if they were of no use in identifying or tracing the killer, although they may have been of value in deducing how the murder took place. But I'd have thought the press would love that sort of thing.

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      • #4
        Aha. The Star 1st Oct carries an interview with constable Watkins, the PC who found Eddowes' body;

        "There was perhaps a quart of blood on the stones, but there were no footprints or finger marks, except where the woman's chemise had been caught hold of as if it had fallen down in the way."

        So Jack was red-handed, even if he wasn't caught.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Joshua Rogan View Post
          Well, I think Dr Philips said there was about 2 square feet of blood on the floor, although this was underneath the bed by the partition wall. Here's a couple of lines from Dew's (admittedly 50-year-old) recollections;

          "With the state of that room in my mind, I cannot see how the murderer could have avoided being covered from head to foot with blood......All these things I saw after I had slipped and fallen on the awfulness of that floor."

          Which certainly make it seem (to me) unlikely that the killer could avoid leaving hand or foot prints anywhere, although it could be hyperbole. I'm sure Jack could have wiped his hands on some bedding or (burnt) clothing when he'd finished his grisly work, but was he careful enough not to touch or lean on anything until after he'd cleaned himself? Or were any traces simply not mentioned?
          I can see perhaps that the police wouldn't mention prints if they were of no use in identifying or tracing the killer, although they may have been of value in deducing how the murder took place. But I'd have thought the press would love that sort of thing.
          This post has partly changed my mind on the subject, or, rather got me thinking on the killers laundry. I think the killer could have left Kelly's room without too much blood on his outer clothing. All he had to do was take off his jacket to take care of the problem of blood. However, he will have had substantial amount of blood on his under-clothing/shirt. It would be interesting to know how he dealt with the problem of a bloodied shirt once he got home.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by jason_c View Post
            This post has partly changed my mind on the subject, or, rather got me thinking on the killers laundry. I think the killer could have left Kelly's room without too much blood on his outer clothing. All he had to do was take off his jacket to take care of the problem of blood. However, he will have had substantial amount of blood on his under-clothing/shirt. It would be interesting to know how he dealt with the problem of a bloodied shirt once he got home.
            Read up on the Lodger in the Berner St case.
            Michael Richards

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