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Kosminski Shawl DNA published as peer reviewed paper in Journal of Forensic Sciences

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  • #31

    Originally posted by phantom View Post

    In the paper 'Forensic Investigation of a shawl linked to the "Jack the Ripper" murders' written by Dr Jari Louhelainen and Dr David Miller, both descendant's details were indeed withheld from the paper to protect their anonymity.

    It's also a publishing requirement. I draw your attention to some info I posted earlier re: peer review/publishing process.
    Thanks Phantom - I don't have the relevant details of the Data Protection Act in front of me, but maybe you've seen the following comment in an article by David Adam in Science who is responding to Louhelainen's report?

    "The authors say in their paper that the Data Protection Act, a U.K. law designed to protect the privacy of individuals, stops them from publishing the genetic sequences of the living relatives of Eddowes and Kosminski. The graphic in the paper, they say, is easier for nonscientists to understand, especially “those interested in true crime.”

    "Walther Parson, a forensic scientist at the Institute of Legal Medicine at Innsbruck Medical University in Austria, says mitochondrial DNA sequences pose no risk to privacy and the authors should have included them in the paper. “Otherwise the reader cannot judge the result. I wonder where science and research are going when we start to avoid showing results but instead present colored boxes." (Emphasis added)

    The cynical might point out that the last time Louhelainen's results hit the airwaves, multiple errors were discovered in his report, which led to the relevance of the mDNA match being greatly overestimated and thus misreported in the press. How can we judge the current results are accurate?

    Further, if this is published in a forensic science journal, why is Dr. Louhelainen concerned with the readers of "true crime"? Who is the intended audience of this journal?

    Does he want it both ways--a paper in a "peer reviewed" scientific journal, but in a format that has been dumbed down for "true crime" enthusiasts? Dr. Parson's concerns seem to be wholly legitimate.


    By the way, I've just received an email from a trusted genealogist confirming the identity of the blood donors. I was also informed that the woman's name is Karen Miller, not Kate.

    I did a little poking around on my own at ancestry.com and it appears that the mother of David Melville Hayes (the cloth's original owner) can be traced back to Amos Simpson. As you no doubt know, Amos Simpson was the policeman who supposedly "recovered" the shawl/table runner from the crime scene.

    But, as already pointed out by many researchers, Amos Simpson was an acting Sergeant in the Met in far-off Cheshunt in 1888, twenty-odd miles from Mitre Square, and so would have played no role in the Eddowes' crime scene, the details of which, at any rate, are well documented.



    I realize this joint paper was published in a forensic journal, but the claims were broadcast widely in the media. So, let me just ask. If Dr. Louhelainen is going to dip his toe into historical research, and state as a fact that the shawl was "recovered" by Amos Simpson from a crime scene, do you think a historian should have also played a role in this peer review process? If not, why not? He is making historical claims in the paper as well as scientific ones, is he not?

    Thanks
    Last edited by rjpalmer; 03-19-2019, 03:36 PM.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post


      Thanks Phantom - I don't have the relevant details of the Data Protection Act in front of me, but maybe you've seen the following comment in an article by David Adam in Science who is responding to Louhelainen's report?

      "The authors say in their paper that the Data Protection Act, a U.K. law designed to protect the privacy of individuals, stops them from publishing the genetic sequences of the living relatives of Eddowes and Kosminski. The graphic in the paper, they say, is easier for nonscientists to understand, especially “those interested in true crime.”

      "Walther Parson, a forensic scientist at the Institute of Legal Medicine at Innsbruck Medical University in Austria, says mitochondrial DNA sequences pose no risk to privacy and the authors should have included them in the paper. “Otherwise the reader cannot judge the result. I wonder where science and research are going when we start to avoid showing results but instead present colored boxes." (Emphasis added)

      The cynical might point out that the last time Louhelainen's results hit the airwaves, multiple errors were discovered in his report, which led to the relevance of the mDNA match being greatly overestimated and thus misreported in the press. How can we judge the current results are accurate?

      Further, if this is published in a forensic science journal, why is Dr. Louhelainen concerned with the readers of "true crime"? Who is the intended audience of this journal?

      Does he want it both ways--a paper in a "peer reviewed" scientific journal, but in a format that has been dumbed down for "true crime" enthusiasts? Dr. Parson's concerns seem to be wholly legitimate.


      By the way, I've just received an email from a trusted genealogist confirming the identity of the blood donors. I was also informed that the woman's name is Karen Miller, not Kate.

      I did a little poking around on my own at ancestry.com and it appears that the mother of David Melville Hayes (the cloth's original owner) can be traced back to Amos Simpson. As you no doubt know, Amos Simpson was the policeman who supposedly "recovered" the shawl/table runner from the crime scene.

      But, as already pointed out by many researchers, Amos Simpson was an acting Sergeant in the Met in far-off Cheshunt in 1888, twenty-odd miles from Mitre Square, and so would have played no role in the Eddowes' crime scene, the details of which, at any rate, are well documented.



      I realize this joint paper was published in a forensic journal, but the claims were broadcast widely in the media. So, let me just ask. If Dr. Louhelainen is going to dip his toe into historical research, and state as a fact that the shawl was "recovered" by Amos Simpson from a crime scene, do you think a historian should have also played a role in this peer review process? If not, why not? He is making historical claims in the paper as well as scientific ones, is he not?

      Thanks
      Actually, my own understanding of the case is that very little is actually very well documented, information from newspaper accounts from the time have some issues with reliability. This is one of two central problems in the Ripper case (the second being modern intellectual bad habits).

      But, this is why I say it is interesting, and not that it is "proof." That is, I suggest it adds some warrant to an already existent case that has been made for Kosminski independent of this evidence. As I noted, it is a rather interesting coincidence that an artifact which has been associated with the crime in family history just happens to have mtDNA that matches the victim, and mtDNA from another section identified as semen that matches one of the most cited suspects by the police. This double identification, as I noted above is sort of unique. None of this is certain, though when it comes to abductive reasoning, one must either claim fraud, that this is evidence from the crime scene that indicates Kosminski is the killer, or one is multiplying causes which is usually not considered ideal in abduction.

      Would I say this closes the case, no. It will receive the same debates as we have over the GSG or the Lusk letter. My contention is only that it should not be dismissed easily or quickly.

      Comment


      • #33
        I agree that the provenance of the shawl is pretty iffy at best and that the shawl has most likely been contaminated by a number of people handling it. Now I might be a bit naive as to the ways of the world but are there a lot of women's shawls out there that have semen on them?

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        • #34
          The obvious mistake in the 'contaminated' theory is if the shawl were contaminated then the odds of the DNA being traced to Kosminski's family would not be very likely. "Researchers compared fragments of mitochondrial DNA which the magazine noted is inherited from one's mother to samples from living relatives of Eddowes and Kosminski and found they matched those of Kosminski's relative". https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/...YMRltShElltXHA
          Last edited by Beowulf; 03-20-2019, 01:00 AM.

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          • #35
            One more thought, and an addition to the last, naturally I prefer the absolute reality of things. If the DNA evidence proves not to be trustworthy then so be it but I still think Kosminski is most likely the ripper.

            If he is/was and he was Jewish well then the Goulston Street message... which many seem to have interpreted as prejudice against Jews ie "It's another way of saying, "Jew are to blame for everything." It was definitely meant as an anti-Semitic insult to the Jews that were increasing in population in Whitechapel in London in the late 1800's". https://answers.yahoo.com/question/i...4224801AAB0S5r

            ...may it not instead have been that Kosminski was in fact saying, 'there is a good reason to blame them, because I am guilty and I am a Jew' and so he felt he was justifying the public hostility against them.

            Maybe he was sick of the hostility, feeling it unjust and thought 'well then, I'm going to give you good reason for it' and lashed out at English women in anger? (afterthought).

            "The Juwes are the men that will not be blamed for nothing".
            Last edited by Beowulf; 03-20-2019, 01:49 AM.

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            • #36
              Hi,

              I've just finished reading the Louhelainen and Miller article as it relates to the geographical profiling that I've been working on. DNA analysis is potentially identifiable information (nuclear DNA uniquely identifies someone, other than identical twins, triplets, etc), while mitochondrial DNA identifies a common maternal lineage (and Y-chromosome analysis identifies a common paternal lineage). They ran a number of tests to try and detect forgery, modern hoax, etc, and based upon their analysis they were confident the material in the stains was historical (not recent). It should be remembered that the point of their research was not so much about Jack the Ripper but about whether or not it was possible to extract, and test, DNA from historic materials, like the shawl in question. So ruling out a modern hoax is important to the research they are conducting, linking it to Jack the Ripper and a suspect is just a tangent in that respect. If the sample they had was some old bed sheets from the Victorian era that seemed to have biological material on them they would still need to verify the biological material was from the same era and not a recent deposit.

              Anyway, there were a few questions I wanted clarification on so I'm still awaiting a reply from Dr. Louhelainen, but thought I would share my thoughts here as well. First, I was wondering if semen was found on both the larger and smaller portion of the shawl (it is specified as being on the smaller section, but on the larger section there are some stains identified under UV and cross-polarization lighting, but they are not specifically stated as being semen). With regards to interest in the Jack the Ripper series, it seems to me that there is hardly enough time for completion of the murder in Mitre Square, let alone time to masturbate at the scene of the crime itself. However, if JtR took the piece of the shawl (which I'm assuming was wrapped around her waist, probably under her clothes, hence it being referred to as an "apron" in the police inventory - yes, if it's a forgery all this is unnecessary, but let's just go with it for now), then it appears he stopped at Goulston Street and masturbated into the shawl, and then discarded it. That would make sense for a killer like JtR as it is the kind of post-offense behaviour that is often seen. That would mean the small section is the piece found in Goulston Street and the large section was found with Eddowes. It also means there shouldn't be semen on the larger section, so I've asked for clarification on that.

              The other thing I've asked about is that, while the mtDNA match between the blood stains and the Eddowes' maternal decendant show matches at all 6 marker locations, the semen mtDNA and Kosminsky's maternal descendant only match at 7 out of 9 markers (two are missing from the evidential sample). They say that the suspect sample had 2 blocks that could not be identified with high confidence, but the others were a match. That could mean one of 4 things, though. 1) the 2 markers that would have made it 9 for 9 were detected at a "possibly present" level, but that's not enough to mark them as present in a scientific article. 2) the 2 markers that would have made it 9 for 9 were basically absent altogether, so they weren't detected with high confidence or any confidence at all 3) two of the 7 out of 9 markers are at a lower level of confidence than the other 5 (so we potentially only have 5 out of 9 matches) 4) there are 2 other markers that were "possibly detected" in the evidential sample but not at a sufficient confidence level for inclusion in a scientific article (which means there is potentially 2 more mismatches between the Kosminsky relation and the evidence sample.

              Of those 4 possible outcomes, only the first allows for this to indicate a match with Kosminsky as the age of the sample could explain why some of the markers fall short of criterion for inclusion. In the discussion they point out that 2 or more mismatches indicates exclusion, and they already have 2 mismatches (markers present in the family member, but not the evidence sample). If, however, there's simply no indication that those two markers are present at all (option 2), then that's 2 mismatches which is exclusion. While one might try the age of sample argument, that leaves one in the situation where it is then also possible some other marker was missed, and had it been found that would have led to exclusion as well since it's missing in the family comparison line. Option 3 adn 4 both mean that although we've already met the exclusion criterion, it is possible that it is exceeded by an even greater margin.

              For the purpose of his research none of the above really matters because the paper isn't really about JtR but rather it's about whether or not one can get DNA from historic case material like this, whether it matches or clears Kosminsky is neither here nor there for the science of the article.

              Barring some sort of clever forgery/hoax, which I do not think the researchers would be in on, this would appear to match the shawl to Eddowes and to her killer. If his reply isn't to confirm "option 1", then I would think this actually clears Kosminsky, but it might identify the population from which Jack the Ripper is likely from (ie. Easter European, Celtic, etc). The nuclear DNA had markers for brown eyes and brown hair, so that can be used to exclude suspects if we have such information on any of them. Even narrowing down the population sub-group that JtR belongs to would knock out a few suspects.

              And yes, if something were to show it's a forgery, then of course none of this has baring on the JtR murders. At the moment, though, they've tested for that possibility and all indications are that the blood and semen stains are very old samples.

              - Jeff

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              • #37
                As geneticist/archaeologist Dr Turi King recently observed, the shawl has been in the presence of the descendants of Kozminski and Eddowes, samples of whose DNA were used to compare against the shawl, and it's been handled by many people for decades. The possibility of cross-contamination can't therefore be ruled out, and this casts a serious shadow over the results even if the shawl isn't a deliberate forgery.
                Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

                Comment


                • #38
                  Originally posted by c.d. View Post
                  I agree that the provenance of the shawl is pretty iffy at best and that the shawl has most likely been contaminated by a number of people handling it. Now I might be a bit naive as to the ways of the world but are there a lot of women's shawls out there that have semen on them?
                  They did do tests for contamination, and as is common, they did find on the corners of the shawl markers for the owner and for one of the lab members, both people known to have handled it. However, no modern contamination was found in any of the samples gathered from the stains (blood and semen stains). Also,because DNA degrades over time, "fresh DNA" and "old DNA" respond differently in the testing phase (they can detect if the DNA is fragmenting into shorter chains, which old DNA does and fresh does not, etc). Of course, that doesn't exclude contamination at an earlier time point, but since they were extracting biological material from the blood stained area, and from the semen stains, to then find a 100% match to Eddowes' relation from the blood (all 6 of the tested markers that were present in her relation were also found in the blood stain, a pattern that would be shared by 0.13% (less than 1%) of the modern European population (they point out that given accurate census data including ethnicity is not available for 1888 London, this percentage value may not correspond to prevalence rates at the time). Still, it's becoming a stretch to suggest that on a blood stain they only found DNA from a contamination source and that source just happened by chance to have the same mtDNA sequence as the victim from whom the shawl is claimed to have belonged to at the time of their murder, etc.

                  It's the suspect DNA match that I have more issue with. They found semen stains on the small portion of the shawl (not clear if they were on the larger portion as well), and that provided a partial match to Kosminsky's relation. However, while the Eddowes match was 100% correspondence (6 markers present, 18 absent for the relation, and the same 6 present and 18 absent found in the blood stain), there were 9 markers present and 15 absent for the relation, but only 7 markers present and 17 absent for the semen stains (but the 7 were 7 of the 9 present). That means there were two markers present in the relative that were not present in the semen. I've queried the author on that, as it appears that 2 mismatches (like we have) is the criterion by which mtDNA excludes someone, but one of the statements about their data leaves open the possibility that the two mismatches were simply because the signal was "sort of there, but too weak to confirm", and that could be explained by the age of the sample as the associated difficulties in doing DNA work with such material. Other interpretations lead to excluding Kosminsky specifically, but might be sufficient to determine the ancestral background of JtR (i.e. eastern European). The nuclear DNA that they obtained found markers for brown eyes and brown hair, so if we have details about any suspect's hair and/or eye colour, if those aren't brown, one could probably cross them off the list (but I would recommend using a pencil )

                  - Jeff

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
                    As geneticist/archaeologist Dr Turi King recently observed, the shawl has been in the presence of the descendants of Kozminski and Eddowes, samples of whose DNA were used to compare against the shawl, and it's been handled by many people for decades. The possibility of cross-contamination can't therefore be ruled out, and this casts a serious shadow over the results even if the shawl isn't a deliberate forgery.
                    Yes, but also the tests they perform can detect if the DNA is "fresh", and from what they found they were confident the DNA they were testing was old (i.e. it was fragmented and created smaller chains, while fresh DNA remains fully intact and they get longer sequence matches).

                    - Jeff

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      How long does DNA remain fresh, though? I note that Dr JariLouhelainen defines DNA over 15 years old as "ancient", so that might have a bearing on matters. I myself was in the presence of the shawl nearly 15 years ago, although I don't think my DNA got onto it! If it had, I wonder how fragmented it would have become in the intervening years.
                      Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                      "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by JeffHamm View Post

                        Yes, but also the tests they perform can detect if the DNA is "fresh", and from what they found they were confident the DNA they were testing was old (i.e. it was fragmented and created smaller chains, while fresh DNA remains fully intact and they get longer sequence matches).

                        - Jeff
                        In any event even without this shawl fiasco Aaron Kosminski`s status as Jack the Ripper is poorly deserved, and people should take note of this, but it seems all the other evidence that eliminates him get pushed to the back, especially when it cant be conclusively proved that the Kosminski referred to in an unreliable police memo of 1894 which started this Kosmniski frenzy is Aaron Kosminski, this shows the desperation to try to identify this killer known as Jack the Ripper especially by the press.

                        Where is it going to end, next week there will be another book naming a suspect, with nothing to back it up, the week after another TV documentary all focusing on 5 and 5 only and again wanting to name a suspect where is it going to end when are we going to get a program or a book that tells the real truth?

                        Oh I forgot there is a book !
                        Click image for larger version

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ID:	703554https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jack-Ripper-Truth-Trevor-Marriott/dp/1728912997/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1535752176 &sr=8-2


                        www.trevormarriott.co.uk

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Darryl Kenyon View Post
                          Wearing at the time of her murder:
                          • Black straw bonnet trimmed in green and black velvet with black beads. Black strings, worn tied to the head.
                          • Black cloth jacket trimmed around the collar and cuffs with imitation fur and around the pockets in black silk braid and fur. Large metal buttons.
                          • Dark green chintz skirt, 3 flounces, brown button on waistband. The skirt is patterned with Michaelmas daisies and golden lilies.
                          • Man's white vest, matching buttons down front.
                          • Brown linsey bodice, black velvet collar with brown buttons down front
                          • Grey stuff petticoat with white waistband
                          • Very old green alpaca skirt (worn as undergarment)
                          • Very old ragged blue skirt with red flounces, light twill lining (worn as undergarment)
                          • White calico chemise
                          • No drawers or stays
                          • Pair of men's lace up boots, mohair laces. Right boot repaired with red thread
                          • 1 piece of red gauze silk worn as a neckerchief
                          • 1 large white pocket handkerchief
                          • 1 large white cotton handkerchief with red and white bird's eye border
                          • 2 unbleached calico pockets, tape strings
                          • 1 blue stripe bed ticking pocket
                          • Brown ribbed knee stockings, darned at the feet with white cotton
                          No mention of a Shawl. Also, wasn't most if not all City police archives/records lost in the blitz. Would this not be also true of the shawl, if there was one,[ I am assuming here it would be kept with their files/records on the murders].
                          Regards Darryl
                          The 3rd item listed, "Dark green chintz skirt, 3 flounces, brown button on waistband. The skirt is patterned with Michaelmas daisies and golden lilies", is the closest thing that would match the "shawl", so presumably she was wearing it wrapped around her. The "dark green" doesn't appear to match, and there's no button as far as I can see. However, it is noted that a portion of the shawl was cut off and discarded by Mrs. Simpson because it was so blood stained. The portion that would have been at the front around her midsection would be the most likely portion cut away, and also the most likely to contain the button. The match isn't great, it's not a skirt, but as it also appears that one portion is supposed to be the piece found at Goulston Street, which is referred to as part of her "apron", I note there is no apron listed here either.

                          As with so much of the evidence, there's just enough here to tantalize and scrutinize, and depending upon how you squint, you see different things. I'm not pushing "the skirt is definitely the shawl", just that it has some features in common (daisy's and yellow lily like patterns, etc), later might be referred to as an "apron", making it not quite a skirt nor an apron, but something that could be worn in such a way that either descriptor might be used - and that starts sounding like something that could happen with the current shawl. It's kind of there and then disappears again; but then, sometimes you see what you want to see, and so if I'm looking to see if there is any evidence she had the shawl, I'm more likely to see it than if I were to look for it's absence, in which case I will see it is not listed. So like many things JtR, I'm not sure what I'm seeing in the end.

                          - Jeff

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post
                            when are we going to get a program or a book that tells the real truth?
                            The A-Z is pretty good.

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Originally posted by JeffHamm
                              The match isn't great, it's not a skirt, but as it also appears that one portion is supposed to be the piece found at Goulston Street, which is referred to as part of her "apron", I note there is no apron listed here either.

                              [...]I'm not pushing "the skirt is definitely the shawl", just that it has some features in common (daisy's and yellow lily like patterns, etc), later might be referred to as an "apron", making it not quite a skirt nor an apron, but something that could be worn in such a way that either descriptor might be used[...]

                              - Jeff
                              Her apron was listed among her possessions.
                              • 1 piece of old white apron with repair

                              Dr. Frederick Gordon Brown matched this apron, based on its repair, with the portion found in Goulston Street.

                              “My attention was called to the apron, particularly the corner of the apron with a string attached. The blood spots were of recent origin. I have seen the portion of an apron produced by Dr. Phillips and stated to have been found in Goulston Street. It is impossible to say that it is human blood on the apron. I fitted the piece of apron, which had a new piece of material on it (which had evidently been sewn on to the piece I have), the seams of the borders of the two actually corresponding. Some blood and apparently faecal matter was found on the portion that was found in Goulston Street.”

                              JM
                              Last edited by jmenges; 03-20-2019, 11:22 AM.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Originally posted by JeffHamm View Post
                                I'm not pushing "the skirt is definitely the shawl"
                                Just as well, because shawls don't have buttons or flounces ("ruffles"), but skirts can and do.
                                Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                                "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

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