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  • Every minute counts

    So, time for the next thread on Charles Lechmere realting to "Cutting Point" and what is said in it.

    To make my case, I will return back in time a few years, to a debate I had with Steve Blomer (Elamarna). We were debating how long Polly Nichols could have bled and Steve referred to conversations he had had with people involved in the medical profession. What he had learned from that was that they said that Nichols could have bled for a substantial amount of time, perhaps twenty minutes or even more.
    Of course, what such a thing means is that a large gap of time opens up in which another person than Lechmere could have cut Polly Nichols.

    One of the things I thought did not look right with such a proposition was that Nichols' clothing was pulled down over the wounds, and that was something the killer never did otherwise. But all in all, one must perhaps accept that the killer chose to do it in Bucks Row but nowhere else. Illogical? Absolutely. But possible? Yes.

    I did not think that it sounded likely with a bleeding time of twenty minutes at that time. The neck was severed down to the spine, all vessels were cut open totally, there was no blocking of the bloodflow and decapitated people can bleed out in a minute only. So why would Nichols bleed for twenty times as long?

    I have since that debate come to realize that people with the kind of damage Nichols had may actually well bleed for twenty minutes. Or thirty. Or forty. In fact, there is no limit to how long they can bleed, and that owes to how the question is not formulated the way it should be. Instead of asking "how long could Nichols bleed?" we should ask "how long is it likely that she bled?"

    In conversations I have had with Jason Payne-James, the forensic pathologist from the documentary, he has told me about a frustrating fact from the legal world. When a court case is settled, there may be matters paralleling the Nichols bleeding issue involved. And in such cases, it may be that an expert is asked to give his opinion on how long a bleeding could go on. In such a case, letīs say that this expert answers "In my opinion, such a bleeding would as an extreme go on for perhaps fifteen minutes or so, but not much longer than that".
    At this stage, the defender of the accused party, who needs a bleeding time of more than twenty minutes will ask the expert "But if the victim could bleed for fifteen minutes, why could she not bleed for sixteen?" And the expert will only be able to say that it is perhaps possible, but not likely. At that stage, the defender will say: "Okay, if it is possible but not likely that she bled for sixteen minutes, then is it not possible, although pehaps unlikely, that she bled for seventeen minutes? Or eighteen? Or twenty?"

    I hope you can see how this works. No far limit can ever be established. It is impossible to do so. We cannot say that twentyfour minutes and six seconds is the absolute limit. It leaves us with an endless scope and an open verdict.

    So letīs leave that kind of reasoning, and look at the other question that can be asked: How long is it likely that Nichols would have gone on to bleed?
    When I asked Jason Payne-James that question, I gave him thee alternatives. I asked whether it was likely that she would have bled three, five or seven minutes. His answer was that all these three times were possible, but he personally thought that three or five minutes were the likelier propositions.

    That means that Jason Payne-James would personally have expected Nichols to stop bleeding within the 3-5 minute interval, although he did not rule out 7 minutes as a possibility.

    When I spoke to professor Ingemar Thiblin, he concurred with Jason Payne-James in this respect: he too thought that 3 or 5 minutes were the likelier propositions, although he would not rule out 7 minutes either. He also added that he thought that an absolute maximum bleeding time would be perhaps 10-15 minutes, adding that there is luckily precious little material to compare from.

    This made me think about the whole time schedule and bleeding matter. And I quickly realized that I had missed out on a very important factor that can be worded like this: every minute of bleeding that was added onto Nichols overall bleeding time was one where that bleeding was less expected than it was the minute before.

    Another way of phrasing it goes like this: The first minute of bleeding is always the one which is likeliest to be a bleeding minute. People who have their heads taken clean off can bleed out in a minute only. Therefore, minute number two of bleeding will always be a minute where that bleeding is not as expected as it was in minute one.

    This holds true all the way, of course. Minute four is a likelier bleeding minute than minute seven. Minute nine can never be as likely a bleeding minute as any of the eight preceding minutes.

    This is factual. It cannot be challenged, it is a law of nature in practice.

    So letīs see what happens when we apply it to Nichols and what the forensic pathologists said!

    Both pathologists essentially say that they are fine with the suggestion that Nichols would have bled for 3-5 minutes. They are less fine with any added time, because they consider a longer bleeding time as less likely than the suggested time of 3-5 minutes.

    In the book, I suggest that Nichols bled for a minimum of nine minutes. I am reasoning that Lechmere cut her throat as he first heard Robert Paul entering Bucks Row. After that, it took a minute for Paul to reach the murder spot. Paul then says that his meeting Lechmere, examining Nichols and walking up to Mizen took around four minutes altogether. That means that we have five minutes elapsed at that stage. Then there was a conversation between Lechmere and Mizen, after which Mizen tended to some of his waking up duties before he set out for Bucks Row. I reason that this would have added up to around the same amount of time, four minutes, and so the whole procedure before Mizen reached the murder site would have taken a total of nine minutes.
    Of course, it may have taken eight minutes too. Or ten. But the nine minute suggestion will not be wildly wrong.

    As Mizen arrived at the murder site, he said that the blood was still running from the neck, and that it had at this stage started to run into the gutter. He said the blood looked fresh and that it was partly coagulated in the pool. Coagulation begins at around the four minute mark and so it all makes sense.

    The immediate fact that leaps out is that the estimation of a likely bleeding time of 3-5 minutes as per Payne-James and Thiblin does not cover the actual bleeding process. If I am correct on the nine minute timing, then Nichols will have bled for a substantially longer time, almost twice as long as the pathologists both expected.
    However, neither of them ruled out as such that the bleeding time could be longer. Thiblin actually said that he believed that we could be looking at a maximum of 10-15 minutes, and 9 minutes is of course well within that scope.

    But this nevertheless leaves us with the implication that Lechmere is by far the LIKELIEST cutter! Not only does he occupy the 3-5 minute period judged as the likeliest outcome by the pathologists - he occupies a four minute scope BEYOND that time, all the way up to nine minutes.

    If we are to allow for another killer, we must add at least a minute or so of bleeding time: If another killer than Lechmere did for Nichols, then he must have slipped away before Lechmere arrived, and Lechmere said he would have noticed if anyone was in place at the murder site as he himself approached it. So we must add at the very least a minute.

    So which minute is it we must add? Correct, we must add minute number ten. And what can we say about minute number ten? Is it just as likely to have been a bleeding minute as minute number one? No. Is it just a likely to have been a bleeding minute as minutes 2-9? No. It is less likely than all of these minutes to have been a bleeding minute. And we are dealing with a falling scale - minute number ten is a little less likely to have been a bleeding minute than minute number nine, but hugely less likely to have been a bleeding minute than minute number one.

    The conclusion becomes very easy: another killer than Charles Lechmere is a much less likely proposition than the carman. It may well be that the bleeding stopped in minut ten (we should actually expect it to do so, given what the pathologists said) and if this was so, then another killer is of course impossible.

    Then again, maybe she did bleed for fifteen minutes, in which case there is a six minute gap for another killer to have worked in. But such another killer could never be as likely a killer as Lechmere. He would instead be an altogether unlikely and unexpected killer going on what the pathologists said.

    And that bings us full circle back to the frustration Jason Payne-James spoke of: we cannot rule out that unlikely and unexpected things may happen - but we CAN recognize them as being unlikely and unexpected. The likely minutes and well beyond are all occupied by Lechmere, leaving an alternative killer with only unlikely options - or no options at all if Nichols - expectedly - stopped bleeding after minute nine.

    Charles Lechmere is therefore by far the likeliest killer of Polly Nichols. The blood evidence puts it beyond doubt.

  • #2
    When Brown arrived in Mitre Square, at least half an hour after Eddowes had been killed, he observed a pool of ‘fluid blood-coloured serum’ - presumably what Foster labelled ‘liquid blood’ on his sketch. So either this stuff did not coagulate after 4 minutes or it was still running 20+ minutes after the injuries were inflicted.

    I’m sure you’ve batted this one away many times before, but it seems to me that by ‘oozing’ and ‘running’ Neil could have meant ‘had oozed’ or ‘had run’.




    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post
      When Brown arrived in Mitre Square, at least half an hour after Eddowes had been killed, he observed a pool of ‘fluid blood-coloured serum’ - presumably what Foster labelled ‘liquid blood’ on his sketch. So either this stuff did not coagulate after 4 minutes or it was still running 20+ minutes after the injuries were inflicted.

      I’m sure you’ve batted this one away many times before, but it seems to me that by ‘oozing’ and ‘running’ Neil could have meant ‘had oozed’ or ‘had run’.



      Foster depicted "fluid blood” on one side and "clot blood" on the other. I donīt know if blood serum can separate and stay in a liquid state, but I do know that coagulation typicaly begins four minutes after the wound is opened up. It is when the blood exits the body and comes in contact with substances in the wound tissue that the coagulation is set off.

      Just as you say I have seen it led on before that Neil meant that the blood he described as oozing and running was in fact already coagulated. But I think that when Mizen says that the blood was STILL running as he saw Nichols, that dissolves that particular option. Nichols bled many a minute after Lechmere had left her, therefore.

      Another point: why would Neil have said that the blood had "oozed" if he saw it in a coagulated state? How would he have known that it "oozed" out, that it did not simply "run" out? Once he used the word ooze, he described how the blood exited the wound, did he not?
      Last edited by Fisherman; 03-20-2021, 10:27 AM.

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      • #4
        The question that must be asked, Gary: If Nichols still bled as Mizen arrived at the murder site - do you agree that such a thing would implicate Lechmere as the likeliest killer?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Fisherman View Post

          Foster depicted "fluid blood” on one side and "clot blood" on the other. I donīt know if blood serum can separate and stay in a liquid state, but I do know that coagulation typicaly begins four minutes after the wound is opened up. It is when the blood exits the body and comes in contact with substances in the wound tissue that the coagulation is set off.

          Just as you say I have seen it led on before that Neil meant that the blood he described as oozing and running was in fact already coagulated. But I think that when Mizen says that the blood was STILL running as he saw Nichols, that dissolves that particular option. Nichols bled many a minute after Lechmere had left her, therefore.

          Another point: why would Neil have said that the blood had "oozed" if he saw it in a coagulated state? How would he have known that it "oozed" out, that it did not simply "run" out? Once he used the word ooze, he described how the blood exited the wound, did he not?
          Is it always obvious to the naked eye that blood has clotted? Doesn’t it still look liquid?

          I think you might say blood was ‘oozing’ if there was no obvious movement.




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          • #6
            Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post

            Is it always obvious to the naked eye that blood has clotted? Doesn’t it still look liquid?

            I think you might say blood was ‘oozing’ if there was no obvious movement.
            Oozing IS a movement. And Mizen said STILL running, so that closes the issue. As for clotted blood looking fluid, I feel certain that Brown would be able to tell the difference.

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            • #7
              I forgot: Kate Eddowes was always likely to bleed longer than Nichols, since her neck did not sustain the same amount of total damage.

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              • #8
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                Originally posted by Fisherman View Post

                Oozing IS a movement. And Mizen said STILL running, so that closes the issue. As for clotted blood looking fluid, I feel certain that Brown would be able to tell the difference.
                Can we be sure that’s what Mizen said and that he wasn’t talking about some liquid that he noticed while moving the body?

                All that aside, perhaps this is a good place to collect examples of blood flowing at a considerable time after death.

                Here’s my first contribution - in this case a scalp wound was found to be still bleeding 17 hours after death. ‘Very unusual’ apparently.


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                • #9
                  Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post
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                  Can we be sure that’s what Mizen said and that he wasn’t talking about some liquid that he noticed while moving the body?

                  All that aside, perhaps this is a good place to collect examples of blood flowing at a considerable time after death.

                  Here’s my first contribution - in this case a scalp wound was found to be still bleeding 17 hours after death. ‘Very unusual’ apparently.

                  Mizen said that the blood "was still flowing" and "looking fresh", and he pointed out that it was partly coagulated. Thain commented on the blood in direct connection with when the body was taken away, and he did not say that the blood he saw was part coagulated, part flowing and looking fresh. He said it was a large clot of blood.
                  Mizen would not have said that the blood looked fresh half an hour after Nichols was cut, since he would be very much aware that it was not fresh at that stage.

                  The evidence if very much in favor of Nichols bleeding as he first saw her.

                  Yes, some people will bleed long after death, depending on the type of wound. A removed scalp will not involve the severing of any major vessels and so the bleeding can go on for quite some time, I should imagine. But what we should look for is not examples of extreme occurences, but instead what is likely to happen.

                  Note the sequence of the blood observations: The carmen see no blood, Neil sees a pool under the neck, a pool that will have grown after the carmen left, and Mizen sees how the blood in the pool has run over the brim and started to enter the gutter.

                  Logic. Consequence. Gotta love it.

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                  • #10
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                    This a passage from THE SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE IN THE MONTON CASE, an article that appeared in ‘The Scotsman’ of 15th Jan. 1894.


                    Does this mean that Victorian doctors were completely clueless? Or are the few minutes of additional bleeding we need to exonerate Lechmere well within reasonable bounds?




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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post
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                      This a passage from THE SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE IN THE MONTON CASE, an article that appeared in ‘The Scotsman’ of 15th Jan. 1894.


                      Does this mean that Victorian doctors were completely clueless? Or are the few minutes of additional bleeding we need to exonerate Lechmere well within reasonable bounds?



                      "A large vein", Gary, is not tantamount to ALL the large vessels of the neck. How "large" was the vein in your example?

                      Moreover, it is said that the vein in question can bleed "profusely" for "several hours" after death. Would not such a profuse bleeding wmpty out the five or six litres of blood quicker than that? Or does "profusely" mean "significantly" instead?

                      Nichols had her veins and arteries all severed in the neck. Arteries bleed a lot more than veins. A vein can contract itself if cut, thus prolonging the bleeding procedure a whole lot. When you have ALL the vessels in the neck severed, no contraction can occur, the blood will empty out unrestrictedly un less the body is positioned in a manner that stops the bloodflow. Nichols' body wasnīt.

                      Is not about how clueless victorian doctors were. Itīs about not comparing apples to pears if we can avoid it.

                      More to come!

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                      • #12
                        Click image for larger version

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ID:	753576 Another Victorian article from The Scotsman of Jan. 6th, 1893.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Fisherman View Post

                          "A large vein", Gary, is not tantamount to ALL the large vessels of the neck. How "large" was the vein in your example?

                          Moreover, it is said that the vein in question can bleed "profusely" for "several hours" after death. Would not such a profuse bleeding wmpty out the five or six litres of blood quicker than that? Or does "profusely" mean "significantly" instead?

                          Nichols had her veins and arteries all severed in the neck. Arteries bleed a lot more than veins. A vein can contract itself if cut, thus prolonging the bleeding procedure a whole lot. When you have ALL the vessels in the neck severed, no contraction can occur, the blood will empty out unrestrictedly un less the body is positioned in a manner that stops the bloodflow. Nichols' body wasnīt.

                          Is not about how clueless victorian doctors were. Itīs about not comparing apples to pears if we can avoid it.

                          More to come!


                          Had every last drop of Nichols’ blood emptied by the time Mizen helped place her on the trolley?

                          Surely, once the heart stops beating gravity takes control and moving the body might lead to the leaking of liquid blood/blood-coloured fluids.

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                          • #14
                            You can stop posting examples of wounds that cannot be compared to the ones Nichols sustained, Gary! It is not as if the Ripper "neglected to secure the opening in the vessel", is it!

                            Letīs move over to the actual and factual material instead.

                            You wrote before - and the argument is not new - that perhaps Neil spoke of a dried up bloodstream as oozing.

                            Here is how the blood was described by Neil at the inquest, the material coming from two sources.

                            In the Daily Telegraph, Neil is quoted as saying that "he noticed blood was oozing from the woman's throat". If that blood had been dried up, Iīd suggest that Neil would have misled the inquest by using the wrong tense instead of saying that the blood "HAD oozed" from the neck. And if he HAD said that, how on earth was he to know that it had "oozed", Gary?

                            Once you have worked that out, hereīs the nexct passage from the DT:

                            "There was a pool of blood just where her neck was lying. It was running from the wound in her neck."

                            So once again, he uses a tense he should not have used. He should have said "It had run from the neck", not that it WAS running, right?

                            Of course, at this stage, one can say: But what if Neil sinmply worded himself badly, and MEANT that the blood HAD run but said that it WAS running.

                            If that should occur, I am of course ready to fire my last quotation. Itīs from the Morning Advertiser, and it has the same sentence but with a slightly different wording:

                            "There was a pool of blood just where her neck was lying. The blood was then running from the wound in her neck."

                            Then.

                            At that stage.

                            I donīt know why Lechmere is defended in soúch a peculiar fashion. Is it in order to clear away any chance that he is wrongfully convicted? If so, that is an honorable cause, but the truth of the matter is that not a word points to the blood being dry or having seized to run as Neil saw it. Each and every report speaks of an active blood flow, going by the tense used. And that little "then" in the Morning Advertiser seals the deal, does it not?

                            Polly Nichols was bleeding as John Neil examined her.


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                            • #15
                              Can I ask how much additional bleeding time would have to be added for there to have been a killer who on becoming aware of Lechmere approaching swiftly pulled Polly’s clothing down and left the scene unnoticed. A minute or two? Longer?

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