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  • Cutting position?

    Lately, I have been bothered by a detail in The Chapman case. It revolves around the position in which she was found. As always, one sometimes cannot make heads or tails of what was said, and so I would appreciate your input on this thing.

    Letīs first try and establish where Chapman was found:

    Sugden: "The body of a woman ... lay ... between the steps and the wooden fence ...Her head was towards the house..."

    Dr Phillips: "The head was about 6 in. in front of the level of the bottom step..."

    Chandler: " I saw the body of a woman lying on the ground on her back. Her head was towards the back wall of the house, nearly two feet from the wall, at the bottom of the steps, but six or nine inches away from them. "

    James Kent: " ... standing on the top of the back door steps, I saw a woman lying in the yard between the steps and the partition between the yard and the next. Her head was near the house, but no part of the body was against the wall."

    John Davis: "There was a little recess on the left. From the steps to the fence is about 3 ft. There are three stone steps, unprotected, leading from the door to the yard, which is at a lower level than that of the passage. Directly I opened the door I saw a woman lying down in the lefthand recess, between the stone steps and the fence."

    Does this mean that Chapmans head was resting in the recess between the stone steps and the fence? Thatīs how I read things. If so, how did the killer perform the cut to the throat? The blood spurt on the fence clearly tells us that Chapman was cut at the spot where she was found.

    We also know that the cut(s) to Chapmans neck had been carried "entirely around". For this to have been accomplished, the best guess is normally that the cutter performs his work from a position behind the victim. But this seems not to have happened in the Chapman case - if her head was in the recess, it would leave the killer a very awkward stance on the stone steps to work from, something that seems very unrealistic.

    Question: Given Chapman īs position - how did the killer perform the cut to the neck? What position was he himself in as he delivered it?

    All suggestions welcomed!

    The best,
    Fisherman

  • #2
    He sat on the top step using part of his body to keep the door from being pushed open.

    Comment


    • #3
      Scott Nelson:

      "He sat on the top step using part of his body to keep the door from being pushed open."

      You think so? But that precaution would have been abandoned as he cut away at the stomach, right? And would he be able to carry the cut all the way down the right side of Chapmanīs neck from such a position?

      A very interesting suggestion at any rate. Thanks!

      The best,
      Fisherman

      Comment


      • #4
        I don't think she could be in that little recess. I think that when saying she was between the steps and the fence it was more of a division thing. Like if you divided the yard up by a line from the steps, and then fence was another line, she was between those two lines, not those two structures. Chandler and Phillips commented that she was in fact in front of the steps, not beside them. Davis says she was in the recess, but unless they moved the fence before the site photos were taken, I really don't think there is three feet between the steps and the fence. It looks like maybe a foot and a half.

        Even so, if her attacker was right handed, he couldn't have been facing the rear of the house. She was so close to the wall he would have been banging against it the entire time.
        The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

        Comment


        • #5
          position

          Hello Christer.

          "Does this mean that Chapman's head was resting in the recess between the stone steps and the fence? Thatīs how I read things."

          Pretty much how I read it too. Of course, it seems that her head is just beyond the steps from the house. It seems to me that he was directly behind her and near the end of the steps. He may have strangled her there and cut her throat before laying her down.

          This time the blood spatters were there to indicate position.

          Cheers.
          LC

          Comment


          • #6
            Face first throttle...

            Hi y'all,

            I think he faced her in the alcove and began to throttle her as he forced her down. I don't believe he took her down from behind as this isn't a nice position for conversation. He could have but I think he's a front faced chokehold guy. He may like to see the horror on their faces! They would have been mostly in front of the steps but as he laid her down her head may have gone just beyond. He then lifted her head back and cut her throat and then did it again to make sure it killed her or else he wanted to take her head clean off. I believe the blood spatters were no higher than 18 inches indicating throat position. He mutilated her from her right side but didn't have obstruction with the steps although he certainly moved around some..............Speculation of course but I believe the distinguished Mr. Fisherman was asking for such....

            Greg

            Comment


            • #7
              Oh!!, Sorry Everyone!!!

              I meant, of course, that he ripped open her abdomen when she was up in the corner, head against the wall of the house. Then, when he was done, he pulled her down till her head was next to the bottom step to the yard - so he could cut her throat -- Always trying to mix it up --obfuscate!! Maximum shock affect to the next person opening the back door.

              That's why the entrails appeared to be thrown "upwards" over the shoulders.

              Or wait??? Maybe I'm confusing Eddowes. I don't know.

              Hey, maybe I was there? How else could I know these things?

              Comment


              • #8
                Ok. now this is bothering ME. I keep looking at the photo of that yard, and none of the measurements add up at all. If the photo is representative of the layout when Chapman was murdered, then Chandler and Davis had absolutely no concept of space (which is not the strongest trait in the male arsenal anyway). In that photo, the fence is maybe a foot away from the steps. The average door is 3 ft wide, and the photo shows maybe a 120 degree angle on the open door before it hits the fence. If the fence was 3 ft. away from the steps, the door should be at almost 180 degrees before it hits the fence. And didn't a witness say something about the door banging against the fence all the time? Since most people only open the door as much as is required for them to pass through, the door had to be really close to the fence.

                And if it was that close, theres no way Annie Chapman's head was in that recess. Her shoulders wouldn't even fit in that space. And with maybe a foot of play, he couldn't cut her throat in there even if her head was in there. He'd hit the steps or the wall with the knife on every cut, and stick it in the wood or shatter it on the steps. It's like cutting someone's throat in a shoebox. I'm pretty sure that's impossible.
                The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi all, and thanks for the contributions!

                  This is a tricky one, it would seem. As for Erratas problems with the photo of the yard, I think it all depends on which photo we are speaking of. On the site http://www.channel6.net.au/JTR%20The%20Murder%202.html there are TWO photos of the place, and the lower one seems to portray a recess that may well have been 3 ft. We know that this was the approxiamte width of the passageway leading out to the yard, and if we take a look at the width of the door and compare it to the width of the wall left over before we reach the fence, the distances look pretty much the same to me.

                  We of course also know that the fence was renewed over the years, and it may well have drifted somewhat during the process.

                  Lynn, you write: "It seems to me that he was directly behind her and near the end of the steps. He may have strangled her there and cut her throat before laying her down.
                  This time the blood spatters were there to indicate position."

                  They were - but they were on the fence, just the one or two ft away from the back wall, judging by the drawing we have. If he cut her before he laid her down, then why is there no other blood splatter around? To me, it seems that the splatter on the fence would have come about as she was down...?

                  This is how Phillips described the traces of blood at the crime scene: "On the back wall of the house, between the steps and the palings, on the left side, about 18in from the ground, there were about six patches of blood, varying in size from a sixpenny piece to a small point, and on the wooden fence there were smears of blood, corresponding to where the head of the deceased laid.."

                  Phillips also believed that the killer had grabbed Chapman by the chin as he cut: "I mentioned to you that there were reasons why I thought the perpetrator of the act upon the woman's throat had caught hold of her chin. These reasons were that just below the lobe of the left ear were three scratches, and there was also a bruise on the right cheek."

                  Much of this is consistent with Scottīs suggestion of the killer sitting on the top step of the stone stair, I guess - the splatter, the grip on the neck, the notches to the spine. He would have sat, in such a case, in a 45 degree angle, just about, as he cut. I guess it could have been done like that, although I still think it would have been awkward to reach all the way around with the cut - unless he actually lifted her head up significantly by that grip on her chin. Maybe that could be done, if you dig your fingers in hard enough, which may account for the scratches under the left earlobe...?

                  One canīt help but to think that hauling Chapmans body a bit further out and down from the position she was found in would have facilitated things, though.

                  The best,
                  Fisherman

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The opportune time,as i see it to begin the attack,would have been by letting her proceed him down the steps,and as her attention would have been on the steps,attack from behind.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      blood spatter

                      Hello Christer.

                      "it seems that the splatter on the fence would have come about as she was down...?"

                      I presume it depends which way her neck pointed during various phases of the struggle and cutting.

                      The reports seem to indicate that her head was not in the recess but about a half foot beyond.

                      Cheers.
                      LC

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Lynn:

                        "I presume it depends which way her neck pointed during various phases of the struggle and cutting."

                        True enough, Lynn. Maybe I should instead have said that the blood splatter is in accordance with her being cut in the position in which she was found.

                        The best,
                        Fisherman

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          sketch

                          Hello Christer. Say, you have a knack for reconstruction. So why not make a tentative sketch of the yard (with steps) and all the proper dimensions. Then you could indicate the exact location of the body, the spatters, etc.

                          With such a representation, we could have a starting point for a serious further discussion. It would be even better if the sketch could be tweaked and precised over time.

                          Thoughts?

                          Cheers.
                          LC

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Lynn:

                            "why not make a tentative sketch of the yard (with steps) and all the proper dimensions."

                            What makes you think I have not tried that already...? The problem, though, is the scarcity of information. Getting the measurements right, getting the angle of the body etc. Much, much easier with Stride, Iīd say, where there is sufficient information to get things right.

                            The best,
                            Fisherman

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Various sketches...

                              Hi all,

                              It's going to be hard to beat this dissertation for Chapman/Hanbury sketches and a great painting by Jane Coram...

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

                              I believe the 3 foot gap is probably more accurate but I don't believe he did much work between steps and fence anyway....maybe the initial throat cutting? I also think he tossed the intestines away to get at the organs. If the body was dragged I think evidence of that would have been noticed. I find visuals to be very helpful in this case.......

                              Greg

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