In the wake of another thread, I thought I’d have a closer look at how PC Neil and the carmen could have missed one another and to see if I could come up with a reasonable range of time that Neil would have arrived at Brown’s stables after the carmen had left.

It’s become a long post, but I hope you’ll bear with me.

Before we start we have to turn to the Echo of 21 September 1888, which contains the beat walked by PC Neil on the night of the murder:

“

How I read the information about the “exteriors” of Neil’s beat as given above is as follows:

As you can see, this measured about 1.5 km or just under 1 mile, which comes close to the “at least a mile” in Echo article.

Neil’s beat would look like this or something similar:

Total length around 2.2 km or 1.4 miles. Walked at a speed of 3 miles or 4.8 km per hour, the complete beat would be covered in around 27-28 minutes, which fits with Neil’s evidence. In all fairness, I think the complete beat will probably have been a bit longer, seeing that I covered only 7 out of (about) 10 “interiors”.

Now, let’s turn to how the carmen could have missed Neil and vice versa. If Neil would have turned right into Buck’s Row from Baker’s Row, it would have been very difficult for them not to see each other, so I think we can quite safely exclude that possibility.

Looking at the map above, the first possibility that comes to mind is that Neil would have been in either the northern half of Queen Ann Street or in Elizabeth Place, the little L-shaped alley/court off Queen Ann Street, just north of Cross Street (see blue dots on map below), while Lechmere & Paul were passing Q. Ann Street on Buck’s Row (orange dot).

The carmen, coming from the crime spot and walking at a speed of 3.4 miles or 5.5 km per hour, would then have covered 100 meters or 328 feet in 1 minute and 5 seconds.

Let’s say that Neil still had to reach the top of Q. Ann Street and let’s look at the distance Neil still had to cover from the top of Elizabeth Place via the top of Q. Ann Street down to Buck’s Row. That would have been 274 meters or 890 feet. Walking at a speed of 3 miles or 4.8 km per hour, Neil would have covered this distance in 3 minutes and 25 seconds. At that point, Lechmere would already have spoken to Mizen and the latter would already have been on his way to Buck’s Row. Neil would have covered the last 99 meters or 325 feet to where Nichols lay in 1 minute and 14 seconds. So, he would have arrived at the crime spot

If we assume that the conversation with Mizen including the knocking up at one last house lasted 30 seconds and Mizen also walked at a speed of 3 miles or 4.8 km per hour, then Mizen would have arrived at the crime spot 7 minutes and 30 seconds after the carmen had left it. And, so, there would have been 1 minute and 46 seconds between Neil and Mizen arriving at Brown’s stables.

Now, let’s look at the other possibility: where Neil was about halfway between the entrance to Elizabeht Place and the top of Q. Ann Street and that he still had to reach the top of Q. Ann Street. The distance he had to cover before reaching Buck’s Row would have been 188 meters or 617 feet, which would have taken him 2 minutes and 20 seconds. And then the last 99 meters or 325 feet to the crime spot in 1 minute and 14 seconds. So, this option would have made him arrive

OK, these were the slowest possibilities for Queen Ann Street. Now, let’s look at the quicker possibilities, that is: same locations for Neil, but now he’s on his return from the top of Q. Ann Street to Buck’s Row.

From the top of Elizabeth Place back to Q. Ann Street and then a right turn to Buck’s Row would be 102 meters or 335 feet. It would have taken Neil to cover that distance in 1 minute and 16 seconds. In that same amount of time the carmen would have covered 116 meters/381 feet, which would have taken them a few meters around the corner from Buck’s Row into Baker’s Row. And then the last 99 meters/325 feet to Brown’s stables would have taken Neil 1 minute and 14 seconds. So, in this scenario he would have arrived at the crime scene

Then, from halfway between to top of Queen Ann Street and the entrance to Elizabeth Place down to Buck’s Row would also be 102 meters/335 feet. So, this is completely the same as the scenario above: Neil would have arrived at the crime scene

Now let’s see what happens if we’d suppose that Neil was a few meters/yards from turning south on Thomas Street when the carmen passed Thomas Street on Buck’s Row (so, there would be 120 meters/130 yards and a fair bit of buildings between them) AND that Neil skipped a large part of Queen Ann Street: he walked on the western side of Thomas Street until he reached Buck’s Row, there he crossed the street and walked up Thomas Street on the eastern side of the street, then turned right into Cross Street and then right, again, into Queen Ann Street until he reached Buck’s Row and there he took a left turn towards Brady Street. See map below. This would be a distance of 246 meters/808 feet, but when Neil reached Buck’s Row on the western side of Thomas Street, he had covered 130 meters/427 feet. He would have covered that distance in 1 minute and 37 seconds.

The carmen would have covered a distance of 140 meters or 460 feet from the crime spot to Thomas Street. Walking at a speed 3.4 miles or 5.5 km per hour they would have covered that distance in 1 minute and 32 seconds. And then, when Neil reached Buck’s Row 1 minute and 37 seconds later, they would have covered another 148 meters/485 feet and would have almost reached Mizen. Then Neil would still have had to 116 meters/382 feet to reach Buck’s Row from Q. Ann Street. This would have taken him 1 minute and 27 seconds and then the last 99 meters/335 feet in 1 minute and 14 seconds. So, in this scenario Neil would have arrived at Brown’s stables

This whole exercise was to get an idea of the various scenarios and how they would work out, based on the walking speeds I used. That does by no means mean that they are the correct ones. So, I have to stress that my intention wasn't to get precise answers, just to get a bit of an idea of what we're talking about.

If you have any comments, let me know.

All the best,

Frank

It’s become a long post, but I hope you’ll bear with me.

Before we start we have to turn to the Echo of 21 September 1888, which contains the beat walked by PC Neil on the night of the murder:

“

*During the month of August, and up to the 8th instant, when Annie Chapman was killed, the following beats were covered by the men of the J Division quartered at Bethnal green, these forming what is known as the "Second Section night duty." The first police constable would commence his two beats at Wilmot street, three Colt land, Cheshire street, Mape street, Bethnal green road, to Wilmot street, and the interior, this consisting of a few streets, courts, passages, &c. The second constable would cover Three Colt lane, Collingwood street, Darling row, Dog row, Whitechapel road, Brady street, to Three Colt lane, and the interior, this consisting of about twenty streets, courts, passages, &c;*”**the third constable would commence at Brady street, cover Whitechapel road, Baker's row, Thomas street, Queen Anne street, and Buck's row, to Brady street, and all the interior, this consisting of about ten streets, courts, passage, &c.**The fourth constable would commence at Baker's row, go through Nottingham street, White street, Bethnal Green road, Mape street, London street, to Baker's row, and all the interior, consisting of about thirty streets, courts, passages, &c. The fifth and last man of the section would cover Whitechapel road alone, this making a total of nine beats for the five constables. The third beat was the one within the limit of which Mrs. Nicholl (sic) was murdered.**The exterior of the beats are at least a mile in extent, and to this distance must be added the interiors.**How I read the information about the “exteriors” of Neil’s beat as given above is as follows:

As you can see, this measured about 1.5 km or just under 1 mile, which comes close to the “at least a mile” in Echo article.

Neil’s beat would look like this or something similar:

Total length around 2.2 km or 1.4 miles. Walked at a speed of 3 miles or 4.8 km per hour, the complete beat would be covered in around 27-28 minutes, which fits with Neil’s evidence. In all fairness, I think the complete beat will probably have been a bit longer, seeing that I covered only 7 out of (about) 10 “interiors”.

Now, let’s turn to how the carmen could have missed Neil and vice versa. If Neil would have turned right into Buck’s Row from Baker’s Row, it would have been very difficult for them not to see each other, so I think we can quite safely exclude that possibility.

Looking at the map above, the first possibility that comes to mind is that Neil would have been in either the northern half of Queen Ann Street or in Elizabeth Place, the little L-shaped alley/court off Queen Ann Street, just north of Cross Street (see blue dots on map below), while Lechmere & Paul were passing Q. Ann Street on Buck’s Row (orange dot).

The carmen, coming from the crime spot and walking at a speed of 3.4 miles or 5.5 km per hour, would then have covered 100 meters or 328 feet in 1 minute and 5 seconds.

Let’s say that Neil still had to reach the top of Q. Ann Street and let’s look at the distance Neil still had to cover from the top of Elizabeth Place via the top of Q. Ann Street down to Buck’s Row. That would have been 274 meters or 890 feet. Walking at a speed of 3 miles or 4.8 km per hour, Neil would have covered this distance in 3 minutes and 25 seconds. At that point, Lechmere would already have spoken to Mizen and the latter would already have been on his way to Buck’s Row. Neil would have covered the last 99 meters or 325 feet to where Nichols lay in 1 minute and 14 seconds. So, he would have arrived at the crime spot

**5 minutes and 44 seconds**after the carmen had left it.If we assume that the conversation with Mizen including the knocking up at one last house lasted 30 seconds and Mizen also walked at a speed of 3 miles or 4.8 km per hour, then Mizen would have arrived at the crime spot 7 minutes and 30 seconds after the carmen had left it. And, so, there would have been 1 minute and 46 seconds between Neil and Mizen arriving at Brown’s stables.

Now, let’s look at the other possibility: where Neil was about halfway between the entrance to Elizabeht Place and the top of Q. Ann Street and that he still had to reach the top of Q. Ann Street. The distance he had to cover before reaching Buck’s Row would have been 188 meters or 617 feet, which would have taken him 2 minutes and 20 seconds. And then the last 99 meters or 325 feet to the crime spot in 1 minute and 14 seconds. So, this option would have made him arrive

**4 minutes and 39 seconds**after Lechmere & Paul left Nichols.OK, these were the slowest possibilities for Queen Ann Street. Now, let’s look at the quicker possibilities, that is: same locations for Neil, but now he’s on his return from the top of Q. Ann Street to Buck’s Row.

From the top of Elizabeth Place back to Q. Ann Street and then a right turn to Buck’s Row would be 102 meters or 335 feet. It would have taken Neil to cover that distance in 1 minute and 16 seconds. In that same amount of time the carmen would have covered 116 meters/381 feet, which would have taken them a few meters around the corner from Buck’s Row into Baker’s Row. And then the last 99 meters/325 feet to Brown’s stables would have taken Neil 1 minute and 14 seconds. So, in this scenario he would have arrived at the crime scene

**3 minutes and 35**seconds after the carmen had left it.Then, from halfway between to top of Queen Ann Street and the entrance to Elizabeth Place down to Buck’s Row would also be 102 meters/335 feet. So, this is completely the same as the scenario above: Neil would have arrived at the crime scene

**3 minutes and 35 seconds**after the carmen had left it.Now let’s see what happens if we’d suppose that Neil was a few meters/yards from turning south on Thomas Street when the carmen passed Thomas Street on Buck’s Row (so, there would be 120 meters/130 yards and a fair bit of buildings between them) AND that Neil skipped a large part of Queen Ann Street: he walked on the western side of Thomas Street until he reached Buck’s Row, there he crossed the street and walked up Thomas Street on the eastern side of the street, then turned right into Cross Street and then right, again, into Queen Ann Street until he reached Buck’s Row and there he took a left turn towards Brady Street. See map below. This would be a distance of 246 meters/808 feet, but when Neil reached Buck’s Row on the western side of Thomas Street, he had covered 130 meters/427 feet. He would have covered that distance in 1 minute and 37 seconds.

The carmen would have covered a distance of 140 meters or 460 feet from the crime spot to Thomas Street. Walking at a speed 3.4 miles or 5.5 km per hour they would have covered that distance in 1 minute and 32 seconds. And then, when Neil reached Buck’s Row 1 minute and 37 seconds later, they would have covered another 148 meters/485 feet and would have almost reached Mizen. Then Neil would still have had to 116 meters/382 feet to reach Buck’s Row from Q. Ann Street. This would have taken him 1 minute and 27 seconds and then the last 99 meters/335 feet in 1 minute and 14 seconds. So, in this scenario Neil would have arrived at Brown’s stables

**5 minutes and 50 seconds**after the carmen had left there. I see this possibility as less likely as it didn’t include, by far, the bigger part of one of the “exteriors”, Queen Ann Street.This whole exercise was to get an idea of the various scenarios and how they would work out, based on the walking speeds I used. That does by no means mean that they are the correct ones. So, I have to stress that my intention wasn't to get precise answers, just to get a bit of an idea of what we're talking about.

If you have any comments, let me know.

All the best,

Frank

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