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Why is the possibility of Lechmere interrupting the ripper so often discarded?

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  • #16
    " ... why did that somebody take care to cover up the wounds before he did so?"

    There are, of course, numerous possible answers to that question.

    Chief among them; to delay the discovery of the wounds and allow the killer to distance themselves further from the crime scene. As it happens, that's exactly what happened whether you believe it was Lechmere or someone else, so it was a very sound strategy to employ.

    Some of the other many answers are that the killer didn't "take care to cover up the wounds", but rather, they simply dropped the skirt they were holding up whilst inflicting the wounds when they heard Lechmere approach. Or perhaps the killer wasn't the same killer as others. Certainly, Mrs Nichols was only one of two of the so-called canonical five, where the killer was potentially interrupted, so there is no pattern to compare. The list of possibilities goes on, but they have been posted many times before, so no real need to repeat them.

    Merry Christmas or whatever festivity you celebrate!
    dustymiller
    aka drstrange

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    • #17
      Perhaps a better question would be, why wouldn't a killer cover the wounds to better facilitate their escape?
      dustymiller
      aka drstrange

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      • #18
        The way that things are, there are 3 possibilities:
        1. The Ripper came in, killed Nichols, left, then Lechmere came in later.
        2. The Ripper came in, killed Nichols, then Lechmere interrupted the Ripper, and the Ripper left.
        3. Lechmere was the Ripper, possibly interrupted by Paul.

        I have seen people argue for and against possibility 3, but the alternative to it always seems to be presented as being possibility 1, with possibility 2 not really ever considered by many.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Fisherman View Post

          Your memory is just fine, Herlock - Paul DID pull the clothing down. However, and thatīs the point I am trying to make, when Paul first saw Nichols, the clothing was already down to the thighs, covering the cutting in the abdomen. And THAT covering will have had another originator than Paul.

          My suggestion is that Lechmere killed Nichols, that he cut her abdomen open, and then, when he heard Paul approaching, he decided to con his way out of the situation. Accordingly, he cut the throat twice, pulled the clothing down over the abdominal cuts and he also covered the gash in the throat before he got up and backed away from the body. Then, once the carmen had examined Nichols, Paul finished by pulling the clothing further down, to knee-height. Once he did this, the clothing was pulled away from the throat, and accordingly, Neil was able to see the gash immediately as he shone his lantern on the scene.
          If the throat had not been covered a Paul saw her, he would arguably have seen the gash, since it was a very large one.

          Hope this makes sense!
          It does.

          Is it possible that the killer held up Nichols skirts with his left hand whilst handling the knife with his right and as he heard Lechmere approach he just let the skirts fall and left and that’s the way that they were found?

          This might apply to Lechmere too though if he was doing as I mentioned above? Mightn't he have just dropped the skirts intending to flee. Then, for whatever reason, he decided to stay put? (Even though you know that I have an issue with the ‘staying put’ bit.

          Aren’t both possibles?
          Regards

          Sir Herlock Sholmes



          “Conspiracy theorists, she knew, were paranoid by definition, and usually with good reason – they were indeed being watched, largely because they were standing on an upturned bucket, haranguing the sheeple about their wingnut delusions.”

          “If you argue with a madman, it is extremely probable that you will get the worst of it; for in many ways his mind moves all the quicker for not being delayed by the things that go with good judgment.”

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post

            It does.

            Is it possible that the killer held up Nichols skirts with his left hand whilst handling the knife with his right and as he heard Lechmere approach he just let the skirts fall and left and that’s the way that they were found?

            This might apply to Lechmere too though if he was doing as I mentioned above? Mightn't he have just dropped the skirts intending to flee. Then, for whatever reason, he decided to stay put? (Even though you know that I have an issue with the ‘staying put’ bit.

            Aren’t both possibles?
            I am not going to say that things that are perfectly possible are not possible. But I think we must ask another question too: Even if it is possible per se, is it likely?

            Chapman and Eddowes were both found with their wounds more or less on display. It seems the killer did not lift their skirts and cut away underneath, only to then drop the skirts over their wounds. Instead, he flung the clothing up and allowed himself full access to their abdomens. The same thing goes for Tabram - clothing flung up over her to expose her body.

            Why would he have done it differently in Buckīs Row? Would it not be much more uncomfortable to hold the dress up with one hand when cutting with the other? Would he not prefer to get the clothing out of his way, the way he did in the other cases? It would allow for a much more focused cutting in the abdomen.
            Moreover, why is it that Tabram, Chapman and Eddowes all had their legs drawn up and akimbo whereas Nichols did not?

            I would also say that if there was a inch-wide or even two-inches wide gaping wound in the throat, then it would have been perfectly visible to the carmen. A dark gash on a white neck is, simple as that. So if the killer lifted the garments and then dropped them, one must say that they dropped very fortuitously if he wanted to have the wounds covered!

            Much as we can produce alternative explanations for all of this - why would we? And if we do, then reasonably, they are not on par with the explanation that Nichols was subjected to the same thing as the others? In my world, the explanation that he did the same in Buckīs Row as he did in the other cases must be the better bid.

            Legally speaking, Iīd say that any defence lawyer worth his salt would try the same approach as you suggest - and it could well work in a court of law. However, this owes to how it is an isolated detail. Once we weigh it up together with all the other details, the picture changes. Yes, dozens of strange coincidences pointing to the same person can all, taken in isolation, be served with alterntive explanations. But a camelīs back is only so strong.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Stacker View Post
              The way that things are, there are 3 possibilities:
              1. The Ripper came in, killed Nichols, left, then Lechmere came in later.
              2. The Ripper came in, killed Nichols, then Lechmere interrupted the Ripper, and the Ripper left.
              3. Lechmere was the Ripper, possibly interrupted by Paul.

              I have seen people argue for and against possibility 3, but the alternative to it always seems to be presented as being possibility 1, with possibility 2 not really ever considered by many.
              And all the while, it is a much, much more likely thing than option 1.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by drstrange169 View Post
                Perhaps a better question would be, why wouldn't a killer cover the wounds to better facilitate their escape?
                That raises another question, though - if the killer had that kind of a plan, then why did he fail so very miserably in George Yard, Hanbury Street and Mitre Square...?

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
                  Why would he have done it differently in Buckīs Row? Would it not be much more uncomfortable to hold the dress up with one hand when cutting with the other? Would he not prefer to get the clothing out of his way, the way he did in the other cases? It would allow for a much more focused cutting in the abdomen.
                  Happy Holidays, Fish.

                  You must have read the inquest reports of the Nichols murder dozens if not hundreds of times, so it is unclear to me why you are asking this.

                  Paul said the skirts were thrown upwards--as they would be in subsequent cases--and Cross pulled them down, allegedly to keep the woman's legs warm, under the assumption that she was simply drunk and passed out.

                  You think Cross had other motives, of course, but if he wasn't lying, then how is this scene so startlingly dissimilar?

                  Cross must have done a reasonably half-arsed job of it, because PC Neil described finding the victim 'on her back, with her clothes disarranged.'

                  Further, Llewellyn stated 'Deceased clothes were loose, and the wounds could have been inflicted while she was dressed.'

                  So I don't think you have demonstrated that the murderer had left this scene significantly different than in the later cases. Certainly no glaring difference that can't be readily observed in the various victims of left by Kurten, Chikatilo, etc.

                  Whether it was Cross, Druitt, or Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, the murderer had thrown the skirts upwards and desecrated his victim through her loose clothing.

                  The only difference is that Cross later pulled her skirts down--in front of a witness.

                  I acknowledge that his behavior can be interpreted as suspicious; it can also be interpreted as gentlemanly--an act of chivalry on a cold morning.

                  With all good wishes.





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                  • #24
                    Did the killer do anything differently in Buck's Row, Fish? And was the clothing definitely covering the wounds when Paul arrived? According to the Times, Paul said at inquest that "Her clothes were raised almost up to her stomach."

                    That might mean to the top of the thighs, but could equally mean higher. Modesty seems a likely reason for lowering her skirts, and also for the vague language describing their initial height.

                    The same report also says "While he was pulling the clothes down he touched the breast, and then fancied he felt a slight movement."

                    If Paul managed to touch her breast when pulling her skirts down to her knees, that does tend to suggest they were pretty high to start with.

                    The comparisons with Chapman and Eddowes are not so relevant, since the mutilation had proceeded beyond cutting to organ removal - I would imagine that it'd be pretty difficult (and pointless) to pull a skirt down once the intestines were trailing up over the shoulder.
                    ​​​​​​
                    Even so, in the reports of Chapman's inquest, Davis is variously recorded as saying her clothes were "above her knees", "disarranged" or "up to her groin". Not so different to the descriptions of Polly's clothing.

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                    • #25
                      Good Morning R J and Joshua!

                      A few comments:

                      - R J, you ask why the Nichols murder scene was so startlingly dissimilar to the other scenes. The answer is: Becasue the wounds were hidden from sight and Nicholsī legs were stretched out and only slightly apart. She would have lain in a placid position. That can in no way be said about Tabram, Chapman and Eddowes, can it? They had had their clothes flung up over their bodies or cut open, displaying the full array of horrific wounds to their trunks, plus they had drawn up/spread legs. Although it cannot be decisively proven as such that they were staged by the killer, it is a suggestion that has a lot going for it. Not so in Nicholsī case, there was nothing at all that made it look like a staged killing as she was found.

                      - R J, you write:
                      Paul said the skirts were thrown upwards--as they would be in subsequent cases--and Cross pulled them down, allegedly to keep the woman's legs warm, under the assumption that she was simply drunk and passed out.
                      ... but Lechmere never once said that he had pulled the clothes down, not to keep them wam and not for any other reason. The only carman to admit to pulling the clothes down was Paul, and he did not say that "the skirts were thrown upwards". He says that they were "disarranged" (DT, Morning Advertiser), or that the "clothes were raised almost up to her stomach" (Times). If you can show us where you have Paul quoted as saying that the clothes had been thrown upwards, Iīd be interested to see it. If not, then I think it is perilous to misrepresent what Paul said in a manner that puts the deed much more on par with the other murders. Lingusitics are always important when ventilating these things, and in the other cases, it WAS said that the clothes had been flung up over the body or thrown up over it. I hope you can see why I beleive it is important to stay true to the actual reports when it comes to these matters.

                      - You also write:
                      whether it was Cross, Druitt, or Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, the murderer had thrown the skirts upwards and desecrated his victim through her loose clothing.

                      This too is misleading since the clothing was not cut through in Nicholsī case. What was said was that her stays were so loose-fitting as to allow for cutting UNDER them, not through them. If the clothes had been perforated, Llewellyn should have noted it, for example. They werenīt.

                      - Finally, you say that:

                      The only difference is that Cross later pulled her skirts down--in front of a witness.

                      As has been pointed out, it was Paul, not Lechmere who pulled the clothing down in front of the other man. Plus, of course, it has also been shgown that this was not the only difference at all - the wounds were hidden and the legs were not up and akimbo, so the differences are very clear.

                      - Joshua, you ask the old question about whether the clothing was definitely covering the wounds as Paul arrived, and you choose the wording that comes closest to making your point a tad better; "Her clothes were raised almost up to her stomach". It does not, however, help you much - the clothes were not raised up OVER the stomach, and thatīs where the wounds were. "Almost up to the stomach" of course means that they were not as far up as the stomach, but some way under it.
                      Of course, if we add other quotes, we get a clearer picture:
                      "When I found her, her clothes were above her knees", (Charles Lechmere in The Echo". And of course, if the clothing was all the way up to her chest, it would be "over her knees", but I donīt think we should make that kind of an interpretation. The gist of the matter seems to be that the clothes were up somewhere over the thighs, and that the wounds were hidden.

                      -Choosing the same report, you also say that:
                      The same report also says "While he was pulling the clothes down he touched the breast, and then fancied he felt a slight movement", and you conclude that "if Paul managed to touch her breast when pulling her skirts down to her knees, that does tend to suggest they were pretty high to start with."

                      Thatīs more or less ingenious, Joshua! But how did he manage to get them all the way down to her knees if he was touching her chest at the same time? And would it not be an odd thing to do, to simultaneously feel her chest for warmth and pull the dress down to her knees? Awkward, sort of? How about turning to the Echo once more, and read their picture:

                      Charles A. Cross, carman, said he had been in the employment of Messrs. Pickford and Co. for some years. On Friday morning he left home about half past three to go to work, and passing through Buck's row he saw on the opposite side something lying against a gateway. In the dark he could not tell at first what it was. It looked like a tarpaulin sheet, but walking to the middle of the road he saw it was the figure of a woman. At the same time he heard a man about forty yards away coming up Buck's row in the direction witness had himself come. He stepped back and waited for the newcomer, who started on one side, as if he feared that the witness meant to knock him down. The witness said, "Come and look over here. There's a woman." They both went across to the body, and the witness took hold of the hands while the other man stopped over her head to look at her. The hands were cold and limp, and the witness said, "I believe she's dead." Then he touched her face, which felt warm. The other man placed his hand on her heart, saying, "I think she's breathing, but it's very little if she is." He suggested that they should "shift her," meaning in the witness's opinion that they should seat her upright. The witness replied, "I am not going to touch her." The woman's legs were uncovered. Her bonnet was off, but close to her head. The witness did not notice that her throat was cut, as the night was very dark. He and the other man left the deceased, and in Baker's row they saw the last witness whom they told that a woman was lying in Buck's row. The witness added, "She looks to me either dead or drunk," and the other man remarked, "I think she's dead." The policeman answered, "All right." The other man left witness soon afterwards. He appeared to be a carman, but the witness had never seen him before.

                      Can you see how there are lots of things happening between the feeling of the chest and the pulling down of the clothes here? And note how it is the last thing Paul does before they leave, meaning that he may have been the person who enabled Neil to immediately see the gaping wound to the throat as he shone his light on Nichols. Why had Paul not seen that? It would have been a dark gash on a white neck! Because, I suggest, the clothing had been covering it until Paul pulled at it. This may i itīs turn explain why Lechmere did not pulll it all the way down to the knees, like Paul was able to; because if he did do that, then the throat would be uncovered! So Lechmere optimized what cloth there was, in my view!

                      - Last, you say:
                      The comparisons with Chapman and Eddowes are not so relevant, since the mutilation had proceeded beyond cutting to organ removal - I would imagine that it'd be pretty difficult (and pointless) to pull a skirt down once the intestines were trailing up over the shoulder.

                      If you can lift the intestines out and place them over the shoulder, then you can also lift them back and tuck them into the abdomen again if you wish to. It works both ways. But the killer seems nbot to have had that urge in the other cases, it was only in the Nichols case he suddenly developed a calling to cover the wounds up. If you donīt consider that relevant, then that is up to you. I consider it very relevant myself. I tend to think that any inclusion will have a logical explanation and therefore each inclusion is inmportant in my world.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Stacker View Post
                        In my opinion, this is a very likely possibility, and its so frequently ignored. It would help explain why Nicholls was mutilated much less than 3 of the 4 later C5 victims.
                        Because it doesn't suit the far fetched theory that Lechmere was the Ripper.

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                        • #27
                          Deleted.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
                            Why would he have done it differently in Buckīs Row? Would it not be much more uncomfortable to hold the dress up with one hand when cutting with the other? Would he not prefer to get the clothing out of his way, the way he did in the other cases? It would allow for a much more focused cutting in the abdomen.
                            I completely agree with you, Christer, but what if her dress got stuck in some way underneath her bottom? There's reason to believe this, as Paul wasn't able to pull the dress further down than just above the knees. So, perhaps the murderer wasn't able to fling them up as he did in the other cases.

                            I would also say that if there was a inch-wide or even two-inches wide gaping wound in the throat, then it would have been perfectly visible to the carmen. A dark gash on a white neck is, simple as that.
                            I don't think it's that simple, as the carmen weren't able to see that the eyes were wide open, either.

                            All the best,
                            Frank


                            "You can rob me, you can starve me and you can beat me and you can kill me. Just don't bore me."
                            Clint Eastwood as Gunny in "Heartbreak Ridge"

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by FrankO View Post
                              I completely agree with you, Christer, but what if her dress got stuck in some way underneath her bottom? There's reason to believe this, as Paul wasn't able to pull the dress further down than just above the knees. So, perhaps the murderer wasn't able to fling them up as he did in the other cases.

                              Morning, Frank!

                              I do think the dress DID get stuck under her, and this was, just as you seem to agree, why Paul could not pull the dress any further down than to the knees, in spite of trying. However, I donīt think the killer was unable to throw the clothing up over her. It would have greatly facilitated the cutting, as you agree, and if he could not do it, I believe he would have amended that problem in two seconds flat by cutting the garments open by way of knife.
                              As I write in my answer to R J and Joshua, my belief is that if Paul could pull the clothing down to the knees, then so could Lechmere - but he didnīt. Why? Because he needed the clothing to cover BOTH the abdominal wounds AND the neck wounds. And so he arranged the clothing to do just that, and this was why Paul did not see the gash in the neck.


                              I don't think it's that simple, as the carmen weren't able to see that the eyes were wide open, either.

                              All the best,
                              Frank

                              You are going to have to help me out here, Frank. Iīve seen this before, but I cannot identify a source. Where is it said that the carmen missed out on the open eyes? Could you source it for me, please? As for the gash in the throat, the carmen did see the hat and they did see how the clothing was up over her legs, she was visible from the other side of the street - it was not pitch dark at all, and so a great gash in a white neck would have stood out like a sore thumb, at least in my world. If there was anything they SHOULD see, that was it. I fail to see how they could possibly have missed it.

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                              • #30
                                PC Neil's testimony is where the description "Her eyes were wide open" comes from.

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