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Was John Richardson A Reliable Witness?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post
    I’d ask a general question:

    If Richardson lied about the knife....why did he lie?
    The only person who can answer that is Richardson, and he wont be talking very much soon. No point in others wildly speculating

    www.trevormarriott.co.uk

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
      Mrs Long saw a man talking to a woman outside the door to 29 Hanbury Street. She did not see a man walking along on his own.
      But what she saw is supposed to corroborate the timings by those who propose a later time of death. Either they were the killer and Chapman, or they were not, or she made it up. I dont see what relevance a man walking on his own has.

      www.trevormarriott.co.uk

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post

        Exactly John. At that time of the morning people were on the way to work or else lounging in the street with no reason to be paying attention to anyone. So, unless the killer was dripping with blood, why would anyone have paid him any greater attention?
        Of course, Herlock, it's also been argued that Nichols was also murdered at a time when people were going to work. And her body was discovered on a pavement, therefore in a public area, i.e. not a location where her assailant would have any privacy.

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        • #34
          A well framed question with an excellent summary of the arguments for and against!

          I voted "reliable".

          As with everything else in this case, it's impossible to know for sure at this distance, but I see no reason to believe Richardson lied.

          It's no great stretch to explain away the two differing accounts, I find it quite plausible that Richardson's initial account to Chandler was just a brief summary, after which more details were ascertained at the inquest.

          I also find it hard to believe that he could have failed to observe a dead body at such close proximity.

          Personally I find the arguments in favour of Richardson's credibility as a witness more persuasive than those supporting Dr Phillip's TOD estimate.

          Comment


          • #35
            Originally posted by Ms Diddles View Post
            A well framed question with an excellent summary of the arguments for and against!

            I voted "reliable".

            As with everything else in this case, it's impossible to know for sure at this distance, but I see no reason to believe Richardson lied.

            It's no great stretch to explain away the two differing accounts, I find it quite plausible that Richardson's initial account to Chandler was just a brief summary, after which more details were ascertained at the inquest.

            I also find it hard to believe that he could have failed to observe a dead body at such close proximity.

            Personally I find the arguments in favour of Richardson's credibility as a witness more persuasive than those supporting Dr Phillip's TOD estimate.
            Eh - Phillips´estimate need not have anything to do with it at all. The police concluded that Richardson may have missed the body, and so it may or may not have been in place, regardless of Phillips´ view.

            Why vote "reliable" if you realize that we can´t tell? Isn´t the obvious result of that insight to vote in accordance with it? Just curious.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Fisherman View Post

              Eh - Phillips´estimate need not have anything to do with it at all. The police concluded that Richardson may have missed the body, and so it may or may not have been in place, regardless of Phillips´ view.

              Why vote "reliable" if you realize that we can´t tell? Isn´t the obvious result of that insight to vote in accordance with it? Just curious.
              Hi Fisherman!

              I simply voted on what I felt was the balance of probabilities.

              If we only voted on things of which we were 100% certain, every poll would return an " unsure" or "don't know" result which would be really boring and wouldn't help to clarify anything!!

              Had I been absolutely 50 / 50, I would have voted "unsure " but as I'm kinda 65 / 35, I went "reliable witness".

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              • #37
                By the way, knowing, as I do, a bit about polls, I can tell you that nobody is normally going to vote "unreliable", because it sounds very harsh and there is no evidence to support it, whereas many will vote reliable, because we learn not to judge people from childhood.

                If the poll had had three answering alternatives shaped like this:

                1. There is enough in it to conclude that Richardson was reliable
                2. There is enough in it to conclude that Richardson was unreliable
                3. There is not enough in it to conclude either way

                ... we would get a lot of number 3 answers.

                If we made a generalistic poll and asked whether people who had misinformed an inquest should be relied upon and offered the alternatives:

                1. Yes
                2. No

                ... we would get a result that - applied on Richardson - would condemn him as unreliable.

                It´s how we call out in the forest that determines the kind of answer we will get, as an old Swedish proverb puts it. But polls can of course be good fun anyway, as long as we don´t overinvest in clumsily or badly formulated ones!
                Last edited by Fisherman; 10-21-2019, 05:48 PM.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by Ms Diddles View Post

                  Hi Fisherman!

                  I simply voted on what I felt was the balance of probabilities.

                  If we only voted on things of which we were 100% certain, every poll would return an " unsure" or "don't know" result which would be really boring and wouldn't help to clarify anything!!

                  Had I been absolutely 50 / 50, I would have voted "unsure " but as I'm kinda 65 / 35, I went "reliable witness".
                  But you ARE unsure. "Reliable" is not "probably reliable", it is reliable. It takes 100 per cent. Boring or not.

                  But vote away, by all means, and enjoy it as you go.
                  Last edited by Fisherman; 10-21-2019, 05:51 PM.

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                  • #39
                    I take your point Fisherman, and I'm liking that old Swedish proverb!

                    In this particular case, were the questions framed as above, I think I would still have voted " there is enough to conclude that Richardson was reliable" though. Just!!

                    There are other witnesses in this case who I wouldn't hesitate to label as "unreliable" if asked this question in a poll, so I'm not sure that there is a bias towards believing them to be reliable.

                    I just find Richardson's statement quite credible!

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Fisherman View Post

                      But you ARE unsure. "Reliable" is not "probably reliable", it is reliable. It takes 100 per cent. Boring or not.

                      But vote away, by all means, and enjoy it as you go.
                      I would interpret the poll question as something like "having considered the evidence for and against, on the balance of probabilities, do you find Richardson to be a credible witness?".

                      With a 100% certainty benchmark, surely none of us could vote anything other than "don't know"???

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Ms Diddles View Post

                        I would interpret the poll question as something like "having considered the evidence for and against, on the balance of probabilities, do you find Richardson to be a credible witness?".

                        With a 100% certainty benchmark, surely none of us could vote anything other than "don't know"???
                        Regardless of any benchmarks, the thing is we don´t. And of course, that is not a sexy answer, but it is nevertheless the only applicable one to my mind. The one and only matter where we can check whether he told the truth or not is the matter about the cut leather, where we have clear and unshakable evidence that he said one thing but did another.
                        But these polls are not very sharp intruments anyway - quite the contrary, in fact. As I say, if your intuition tells you that Richardson was a good guy, then vote away to your heart´s delight! And I promise to leave you to it as of now.

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post

                          But what she saw is supposed to corroborate the timings by those who propose a later time of death. Either they were the killer and Chapman, or they were not, or she made it up. I dont see what relevance a man walking on his own has.
                          You should read your own posts, Trev, as I was responding to your response to Herlock:

                          Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes
                          At that time of the morning people were on the way to work or else lounging in the street with no reason to be paying attention to anyone. So, unless the killer was dripping with blood, why would anyone have paid him any greater attention?


                          Originally posted by Trevor Marriott
                          Is seems Mrs Long did ! if she is to be beleived
                          Mrs Long seeing a man and woman standing and talking outside 29 Hanbury Streeet is very different from one man among many walking the streets of Whitechapel after the murder.
                          Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                          "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
                            By the way, knowing, as I do, a bit about polls, I can tell you that nobody is normally going to vote "unreliable", because it sounds very harsh and there is no evidence to support it, whereas many will vote reliable, because we learn not to judge people from childhood.

                            If the poll had had three answering alternatives shaped like this:

                            1. There is enough in it to conclude that Richardson was reliable
                            2. There is enough in it to conclude that Richardson was unreliable
                            3. There is not enough in it to conclude either way

                            ... we would get a lot of number 3 answers.

                            If we made a generalistic poll and asked whether people who had misinformed an inquest should be relied upon and offered the alternatives:

                            1. Yes
                            2. No

                            ... we would get a result that - applied on Richardson - would condemn him as unreliable.

                            It´s how we call out in the forest that determines the kind of answer we will get, as an old Swedish proverb puts it. But polls can of course be good fun anyway, as long as we don´t overinvest in clumsily or badly formulated ones!
                            I don't know if we would get a lot of #3's actually. Richardson's story remains consistent, though more details are filled in as he's questioned but that's sort of what questions are supposed to do. His first telling, given to a police officer at the scene of the crime, which is his mother's property, when things are busy and confused and panicked, are the main and important bits of information 1) I was here at 4:50, 2) I viewed the backyard 3) there was no body. The other details, involving sitting on the steps, attempts to repair his shoe, etc, are drawn out by questioning him. This is because, as others have noted, eye-witnesses can be mistaken. Trying to determine if he could have missed the body is what they were doing, and as more seemingly unimportant details of his activities come to light, the chance of him not seeing the body drops to near zero.

                            All we are left with is the ever present caution of "what if he lied about the whole thing"? for which there is no evidence at all other than reliance on "it has happened before in some other case", which of course isn't evidence about this case. It's also happened before that witnesses have told the truth after all.

                            Fisherman has suggested the police asked him if he looked behind the door, which is a fair speculation, I could see them asking that. However, to conclude that Richardson must have answered NO is based upon the presumption the body was there. We can't create answers to fit the theory, because if we do we must accept as fair counter-argument that Richardson answered "YES, and there was no body". I would be surprised if the police didn't question people at Richardson's work, asking if he did borrow a knife to fix his shoe that day. If they did, it's a shame we don't have a record of what they found. That's the sort of thing that would be helpful to us, but alas, the fine details of many of the police follow up lines of inquiry are lost now.

                            - Jeff

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Fisherman View Post

                              Because, of course, their own surgeon, Bagster Phillips, had offered evidence that seemingly ruled out that Richardson could be right. Therefore, they must have asked him exactly where he sat and exactly what he could see from there.
                              The very fact that the police entertained the idea that Richardson could have missed out on account of the body being hidden behind the door must rest on the fact that he was asked about it and denied having looked there. Otherwise, there could be no case made for Richardson having missed out.

                              The police knew that the entire yard was not visible from the stairs, and they knew that what WAS visible hinged on the position of Richardson and the door. Therefore, there is not a chance that he was not asked about these things. And therefore, the fact that the idea that Richardson could have missed the body will have rested on how his position and the doors ditto may have allowed for it.

                              Of course, they would also have pursued the errand becasue they would not lightheartedly just accept that if Richardson said that he could not have missed a body if it was there. No police force worth their salt would do that - they would ask themselves "is this correct, CAN all of the yard, and specifically the recess berween the fence and the stairs, be seen from where he sat?
                              It is exactly in line with what we should do too, instead of saying "If he said so, then that must be true". And as I pointed out earlier, IF we are to adapt such a careless attitude, then it should at least go for every witness who says something and claims to be sure (see LONG, Alfred - PC).
                              If Richardson had told the police that from the position that he’d taken up he could not have missed seeing a body why is it so unlikely that they might have taken it for granted that that was exactly what he meant and that he wouldn’t have been so stupid as to have not realised the possibility of the body being behind the door? At the end of the day Richardson spoke at The Inquest and was 100% that there was no body in the yard and that he could not have missed one had it been there. This is the crux of the matter.
                              Regards

                              Herlock






                              "Crime is common. Logic is rare. Therefore it is upon the logic rather than upon the crime that you should dwell.”

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post

                                The only person who can answer that is Richardson, and he wont be talking very much soon. No point in others wildly speculating

                                www.trevormarriott.co.uk
                                Why do you call ‘wildly speculating’ whenever we try to interpret events, as if we are just inventing stories? If we didn’t try and interpret there would be nothing to discus on these boards. All we are doing is assessing the possibilities.

                                I think that it’s a valid question. If someone lies it’s usually for a reason. If we have someone that we believe might have lied it’s surely worth asking “why would he lie? What benefit would he have gained?” If we then can’t come up with a reason for that lie or we can’t see how the person benefitted from it then there is greater reason for believing that there might have been an alternative explanation to lying like miscommunication or an error in print.
                                Regards

                                Herlock






                                "Crime is common. Logic is rare. Therefore it is upon the logic rather than upon the crime that you should dwell.”

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