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  • Wickerman
    replied
    Originally posted by DJA View Post
    Hmm....see a possible problem there?
    I don't see a problem, though this reality does invite some modern theorists to suggest reporters invented testimony.
    Oddly enough, the only testimony suggested to have been invented just happen to be statements that pull the rug out from under the accusers own theory.....imagine that!

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  • DJA
    replied
    [QUOTE=Wickerman;370910)in many cases the press did quote verbatim, and often provided more detailed responses than those captured by the Court recorder.
    [/QUOTE]

    Hmm....see a possible problem there?

    Leave a comment:


  • Wickerman
    replied
    Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
    While the depositions should be fairly accurate accounts of evidence given by witnesses (albeit not verbatim) one will often find much more information about inquest proceedings in newspaper reports than in the original inquest papers, such as, for example, comments by the coroner to the witnesses and/or jury. This is important because some people seem to think newspaper reports should be disregarded and that the original inquest papers would have all the answers but this is not necessarily true.
    Quite so (thankyou David), and in many cases the press did quote verbatim, and often provided more detailed responses than those captured by the Court recorder.
    The most reliable approach is to collate all the press coverage along with the court version, and study them together. Not dismiss one in favor of another.

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  • Wickerman
    replied
    Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
    Wickerman: Even if the files were complete, the police of the day were not able to put 2 & 2 together, which suggests to me that the files did not identify the killer, nor could they help us identify the killer.

    I really think these are separate matters, Jon. We have 127 years of added understanding and detracted prejudice, and so I donīt think that the failure of the contemporary police would neccessarily dictate the same fate for us.
    It isn't only what was written in the files though Christer, detectives interviewed many suspects and they knew considerably more about their temporary suspects than what was written in the files. Yet no action was taken against anyone.

    What the complete files would do is dispense with all the rot that it written about contemporary witnesses being good suspects.

    Ehrm!
    Just a general observation Christer, obviously with Hutchinson in mind. Sorry if you thought I was taking a swipe at Lechmere, I wasn't.

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  • Mayerling
    replied
    Originally posted by Errata View Post
    There is a phenomenon is baseball cards and comic books which is that vast collections of important pieces suffer a fate known simply as "Mom". Mom throws out what she perceives as worthless junk, actually throws out a Honus Wagner card.

    If the files were in a central location for a long time for some reason, is it possible that if it was left too long, or someone died, that the cleaning lady would simply decide that it was all junk and disposed of it? Or if after a certain amount of time the files were considered less valuable than the space they were taking up and so were discarded?

    I mean, when you lose everything, it sounds like a mom sweep.
    Hi all, and G'Day Gut,

    I've noticed a horrible sense of loss since the 1970s when I read Richard Altick's book "The Scholar Adventurers" which discussed the general question of finding manuscripts and papers in archives and private hands that related to well known English literary people. What I learned then was how much has simply disappeared due to warfare, fire, shipwreck, and even temper tantrums and stupidity. For every wonderful incident like the rediscovery of all of James Boswell's private journals (finally revealing his personality, not Dr. Johnson's), there were stories of how a set of possibly Shakespearean manuscripts were burned by a poor servant girl who needed paper for making pies.

    It's no different for police archival material around the globe. When I worked in lower Manhattan, I frequently went to do personal research at the library in the Surrogate Court's Building on Chamber Street. It has tons of material about the creation of what is currently the city of Greater New York, and I was even able to locate birth certificates of some of my 19th century born relatives (my mother's parents and some aunts and uncles) and even one or two death certificates. But I was surprised to find that the only microfilmed material on 19th Century crime were some books of newspaper clippings of cases handled by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office from the 1890s to 1920 or so. Nothing else was available.

    This surprised me, until I learned something when my own agency, the Crime Victims Board, announced that it was going to start a massive computerization program (most of it is now in place) replacing the old cardboard paper filing system we had - the older files were going to be "winnowed out" depending on whether of not people were still collecting benefits (medical or loss of support) as of 1988. If so those files would be put into microfilm for review if needed. But all files prior to 1988 outside that group (including files on homicides for funeral or loss of support or even some medical and psychiatric) where expenses had ended were to be destroyed without being put on microfilm. The reason was privacy. We were told when we were hired that whatever information we got was private, and could not be shown except to others connected to our agency or the Attorney General's office, or to doctors, hospitals, or employers connected to the victims, or to the victims and their families. This meant that if there were ongoing expenses post 1987 the files were still needed and preserved (and would be archived on microfilm). All others would be destroyed.

    I don't know if the privacy factor was relevant in Britain and the empire - possibly it was - but it certainly had a curtailment affect on the entire saving of material.

    So could cost for storage: We don't think about this because none of us have to store all this material. Theoretically the governments have to. But governments look for ways of cutting costs as well. This was one of the reasons my agency went over to computerized claim folders and microfilmed case files. It's cheaper than using a warehouse. It does not necessarily mean that it is safer (a fire in a warehouse can destroy microfilm or microfiche just as well as paper) but more can be stored.

    Lest you think this is relatively minor, about twelve years ago I read a pretty good modern account of the 1927 Snyder-Gray Case in Queens, and was surprised that no copy of the police notes of the interrogations of Ruth Snyder or Judd Gray still existed. The author depended on the trial transcript (much of it from newspaper accounts) and what the newspapers reported in the initial days after the murder of Mr. Albert Snyder. That case was forty years AFTER Whitechapel. It seemed in 1949 the Queens D.A.'s office burned tons of old case files taking up space, including these items.

    Jeff

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  • GUT
    replied
    Originally posted by Mayerling View Post
    Sorry poor Ned has such archival company as Deeming.

    Jeff
    Buried almost next to each other skulls may have got mixed up at one stage.

    Deeming was a bastard.

    Ned too.

    But different motivations.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mayerling
    replied
    Originally posted by GUT View Post
    Yep Deeming and even Ned are other examples.
    Sorry poor Ned has such archival company as Deeming.

    Jeff

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  • David Orsam
    replied
    Originally posted by GUT View Post
    Exactly the opposit actually David, what I'm saying is that there would have been more than one copy of it.
    That's what I've said GUT, or at least what the Coroners Act was saying. In cases of murder and manslaughter (where there was a charge against an individual) the originals would be sent to the relevant criminal court, with a copy to the DPP. The defendant could have a copy if he paid for it. The papers were not then retained by the coroner.

    But where no charges were brought against an individual, the original papers were retained by the coroner, as in the case of Kelly and Eddowes (but no copy would be made because there was no need for one).

    Loads of original material from the 19th & 20th century is now missing, including from both coroners and police courts, and no doubt there is a reason for each instance.

    Leave a comment:


  • GUT
    replied
    Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
    I hope I'm not being too pedantic in saying that there were never any inquest transcripts back in the day. In terms of the inquest proceedings, there would only ever be depositions (which were not necessarily verbatim records of what a witness said). The other main piece of paperwork was the inquisition (an example of which can be found in 'The Ultimate Jack The Ripper Sourcebook' in respect of the Kelly inquest).

    I don't believe copies of the depositions were sent to the police.

    From the Coroners Act, 1887, s.4(2):

    'It shall be the duty of the coroner in a case of murder or manslaughter to put into writing the statement on oath of those who know the facts and circumstances of the case, or so much of such statements as is material, and any such deposition shall be signed by the witness and also by the coroner.

    The coroner should where possible follow the precise expressions of the witness in the first person. The depositions are afterwards forwarded under section 5 to the proper officer of the court in which the trial is to be, and copies supplied, upon payment, to the person charged in the inquisition, if he requires them.'


    Section 5 states:

    'The coroner shall deliver the inquisition, depositions and recognizances, with a certificate under his hand that the same have been taken before him to the proper officer of the Court in which the trial is to be, before or at the opening of the Court....In cases other than murder or manslaughter the inquisition remains in the custody of the coroner, unless required by the clerk of the peace as a voucher. And if the director of public prosecutions gives notice to the coroner that he has undertaken criminal proceedings, he must transmit the inquisition to him. 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.'

    As a result of the above, when a person was tried for murder or manslaughter at the Old Bailey, the inquest papers were sent to clerk of the arraigns at the Central Criminal Court. The National Archives holds selected murder and manslaughter files from the Central Criminal Court under the CRIM series so that in some cases the original papers from certain Baxter inquests have survived (and it's where I obtained the papers from the Eliza Roberts inquest).

    I'm not aware if any copies sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions have survived.

    When I say that the depositions were not verbatim accounts of what a witness said, I mean that with the following type of question and answer - "Q. Did you know the deceased. A. Yes." - this would be recorded in the deposition as: "I knew the deceased", which is not what the witness actually said.

    While the depositions should be fairly accurate accounts of evidence given by witnesses (albeit not verbatim) one will often find much more information about inquest proceedings in newspaper reports than in the original inquest papers, such as, for example, comments by the coroner to the witnesses and/or jury. This is important because some people seem to think newspaper reports should be disregarded and that the original inquest papers would have all the answers but this is not necessarily true.
    Exactly the opposit actually David, what I'm saying is that there would have been more than one copy of it. I have no doubts that there were deps, one of my relatives was for a shirt time a dep clerk before he got a position with the telegraphs office, which he wanted because it gave outside work, and as I said earlier there are deps here in storage that pre date MJK By about 50 years. And I certainly don't dismiss newspaper reports of inquests.

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  • Errata
    replied
    Originally posted by Rosella View Post
    It says (just above the heading 'A Man and his hobbies') that not a single file from Baxter's 30,000 plus Inquest cases, 1886-1920, is held. Anywhere! What the ....?
    There is a phenomenon is baseball cards and comic books which is that vast collections of important pieces suffer a fate known simply as "Mom". Mom throws out what she perceives as worthless junk, actually throws out a Honus Wagner card.

    If the files were in a central location for a long time for some reason, is it possible that if it was left too long, or someone died, that the cleaning lady would simply decide that it was all junk and disposed of it? Or if after a certain amount of time the files were considered less valuable than the space they were taking up and so were discarded?

    I mean, when you lose everything, it sounds like a mom sweep.

    Leave a comment:


  • David Orsam
    replied
    Originally posted by GUT View Post
    I'd have thought that there'd have been a couple of copies of the inquest transcripts floating about (back in the day). Surely the coroner's court had a copy and the police had a copy at least.
    I hope I'm not being too pedantic in saying that there were never any inquest transcripts back in the day. In terms of the inquest proceedings, there would only ever be depositions (which were not necessarily verbatim records of what a witness said). The other main piece of paperwork was the inquisition (an example of which can be found in 'The Ultimate Jack The Ripper Sourcebook' in respect of the Kelly inquest).

    I don't believe copies of the depositions were sent to the police.

    From the Coroners Act, 1887, s.4(2):

    'It shall be the duty of the coroner in a case of murder or manslaughter to put into writing the statement on oath of those who know the facts and circumstances of the case, or so much of such statements as is material, and any such deposition shall be signed by the witness and also by the coroner.

    The coroner should where possible follow the precise expressions of the witness in the first person. The depositions are afterwards forwarded under section 5 to the proper officer of the court in which the trial is to be, and copies supplied, upon payment, to the person charged in the inquisition, if he requires them.'


    Section 5 states:

    'The coroner shall deliver the inquisition, depositions and recognizances, with a certificate under his hand that the same have been taken before him to the proper officer of the Court in which the trial is to be, before or at the opening of the Court....In cases other than murder or manslaughter the inquisition remains in the custody of the coroner, unless required by the clerk of the peace as a voucher. And if the director of public prosecutions gives notice to the coroner that he has undertaken criminal proceedings, he must transmit the inquisition to him. 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.'

    As a result of the above, when a person was tried for murder or manslaughter at the Old Bailey, the inquest papers were sent to clerk of the arraigns at the Central Criminal Court. The National Archives holds selected murder and manslaughter files from the Central Criminal Court under the CRIM series so that in some cases the original papers from certain Baxter inquests have survived (and it's where I obtained the papers from the Eliza Roberts inquest).

    I'm not aware if any copies sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions have survived.

    When I say that the depositions were not verbatim accounts of what a witness said, I mean that with the following type of question and answer - "Q. Did you know the deceased. A. Yes." - this would be recorded in the deposition as: "I knew the deceased", which is not what the witness actually said.

    While the depositions should be fairly accurate accounts of evidence given by witnesses (albeit not verbatim) one will often find much more information about inquest proceedings in newspaper reports than in the original inquest papers, such as, for example, comments by the coroner to the witnesses and/or jury. This is important because some people seem to think newspaper reports should be disregarded and that the original inquest papers would have all the answers but this is not necessarily true.

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  • David Orsam
    replied
    Some papers relating to inquests held by Baxter do survive. Eliza Roberts in 1898 for example. See below....
    Attached Files

    Leave a comment:


  • Dr. John Watson
    replied
    Here's what Adam Wood wrote in his article on Baxter which appeared in Ripperologist No. 61 in 2005:

    None of Baxter's inquest papers, including the Ripper files, have ever been discovered, despite searches in the various Government archives, personal family files, educational institutions, and archives of Wynne-Baxter and Keeble. The correct deposit for inquest papers, the London Metropolitan Archives at Northampton Row, holds extensive volumes of Coroners' Registers for the Counties of Middlesex and London (catalogue COR/A), including the Western District for 1856-1930, the North Eastern District for 1921-1932, and the all-important Eastern District for 1925-1934. Not a single file from Baxter's 30,000-plus inquests during 1886-1920 is held. It's possible that these were destroyed, but given Baxter's precise and studious nature it seems impossible that he didn't store the papers somewhere.

    Dr. John

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  • Fisherman
    replied
    Wickerman: Even if the files were complete, the police of the day were not able to put 2 & 2 together, which suggests to me that the files did not identify the killer, nor could they help us identify the killer.

    I really think these are separate matters, Jon. We have 127 years of added understanding and detracted prejudice, and so I donīt think that the failure of the contemporary police would neccessarily dictate the same fate for us.

    What the complete files would do is dispense with all the rot that it written about contemporary witnesses being good suspects.

    Ehrm!

    Leave a comment:


  • GUT
    replied
    Originally posted by Rosella View Post
    I've had a look just now at the dissertion on Coroner Baxter

    http://www.casebook.org/dissertations/rip-baxter.html

    It says (just above the heading 'A Man and his hobbies') that not a single file from Baxter's 30,000 plus Inquest cases, 1886-1920, is held. Anywhere! What the ....?
    That's what I mean, sounds careless.

    They must be Dutch, but hats a private Theory and joke.

    Leave a comment:

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