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  • Here's a question I thought I would ask, who involved in these exchanges is interested enough to go through the press accounts of Sept. 14th to find what Dr. Phillips actually said?
    In the Times, we read two examples.

    On discovery of the body about 6:30 (when Phillips arrived):

    - "Stiffness of the limbs was not marked, but it was commencing."

    Later, sometime after 2:00 pm, at the mortuary he noticed:

    - "The stiffness of the limbs was then well-marked."
    - "On the left side the stiffness was more noticeable, and especially in the fingers, which were partly closed."

    Are there any other quotes from Phillips on the subject, somewhere in the press?

    So, what was contemporary thinking concerning the onset of Rigor Mortis?
    One publication Legal Medicine, by Charles Meymott Tidy, was published in 1882, and is available on the net.
    https://archive.org/details/legalmed...ge/n5/mode/2up

    Modern theory is also readily available, so we can see where Phillips may have erred, if he did.

    Anyone else interested in putting some thoughts together based on the science of the time, when compared with today's thinking?
    Regards, Jon S.

    Comment


    • There was a good article in Ripper Notes by Wolf Vander Linden some years ago (sorry I don't have the reference number) on the Chapman TOD and Richardson's evidence. Gavin Bromley also did an article on the Hanbury Street murder in the Ripperologist.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post

        I have mentioned this before in relation to the coldness of the morning as decsribed by Phillips.

        Well the date was Sept 8th not midwinter so although the morning might have been cool it was not midwinter. But he does say rigor was starting to set in but that process does not start to take effect until after two hours of death and this i belive is the deciding factor which proves Phillips TOD to be near the mark and not as late as 5-6am.

        The weather for whitechapel for that day wasa max of 60 degrees with a min of 46 degrees

        www.trevormarriott.co.uk
        Yes Trevor, but that is only half the story.
        Chapman's physique, her poor health all play a role, plus physical exertion just prior to death has a counter effect and can speed up the onset of Rigor. Chapman's fingernails were 'turgid', evidence of a life & death struggle taking place.
        We must take everything into account, not just that which supports our theory.
        Regards, Jon S.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Scott Nelson View Post
          There was a good article in Ripper Notes by Wolf Vander Linden some years ago (sorry I don't have the reference number) on the Chapman TOD and Richardson's evidence. Gavin Bromley also did an article on the Hanbury Street murder in the Ripperologist.
          It's all Deja-vu for some of us, these well researched conclusions should have been posted on Casebook to avoid the repetition, but then I didn't keep my notes either.
          Regards, Jon S.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Wickerman View Post

            It's all Deja-vu for some of us, these well researched conclusions should have been posted on Casebook to avoid the repetition, but then I didn't keep my notes either.
            https://www.casebook.org/dissertations/rn-doubt.html

            M.

            Comment


            • Just a few quotes from the previous thread on the Chapman TOD. Fish was arguing for Phillips but I was getting help from a friend who has researched the subject of TOD estimations as my own medical knowledge is almost non-existent.



              From: Forensic Biology For The Law Enforcement Officer by Charles Grady Wilber,1974

              'The stiffening of the body or rigor mortis develops usually within an hour or two hours after death.'

              Or,

              From: EstimationOf Time Of Death by Ranald Munro and Helen M.C. Munro.

              "The time of onset is variable but it is usually considered to appear between 1 and 6 hours (average 2-4 hours) after death.'
              …..

              "Francis E. Camps stated that.Ordinarily the rigor mortis appears between 2-4 hours, but sometimes it is seen within 30 minutes of death and sometimes the onset is delayed for 6 hours or more."

              ….

              "Bernard Knight described the method of testing the rigor mortis by attempting to flex or extend the joints though the whole muscle mass itself becomes hard, and finger pressure on quadriceps or pectoralis can also detect the changes. The stiffness may develop within half an hour of death or may be postponed indefinitely."

              ……

              Werner Uri Spitz (1993), a German-American forensic pathologist, "reported that in temperate climate, under average condition, rigor becomes apparent within half an hour to an hour, increases progressively to a maximum within twelve hours, remains for about twelve hours and then progressively disappears within the following twelve hours."

              …….

              From the English physiologist Sir Andrew Fielding Huxley (1974), who lived and worked in a temperate climate, we get this: 'the rigor mortis, which is cadaveric rigidity, starts developing within 1 to 2 hours after death and takes around 12 hours after death for complete development.'

              …..

              Furthermore, according to K.S. Narayan Reddy, author of 'Essentials of Forensic Medicine', "In death from diseases causing great exhaustion and wasting e.g. cholera, typhoid, tuberculosis and cancer and in violent deaths as by cut throats, firearms or electrocution, the onset of rigor is early and duration is short".The paper alsostates that,according to W.G. Aitcheson Robertson, author of 'Aids to Forensic Medicine and Toxicology', in "death followed by convulsions, muscular exertion, racing, the rigor mortis will appear earlier". We are told thatMason JK stated "The onset of rigor will be accelerated in conditions involving high ante-mortem muscle lactic acid e.g. after a struggle or other exercise.". So a struggle could bring on rigor earlier than the average, just like a cut throat. Then what about the physical condition of the deceased? Well according to S.C. Basu, author of the Handbook of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, rigor is "hastened or accelerated in feeble, fatigued and exhausted muscles"

              …….


              What does Fisherman's own favourite expert, Jason Payne James, have to say about using rigor to estimate the time of death? Well let's have a look in Simpson's Forensic Medicine, updated 13th edition by Jason Payne James, Richard Jones, Steven Karch and John Manlove (2011):

              "The only use of assessing the presence or absence of rigor lies in the estimation of the time of death, and the key word here is estimation, as rigor is such a variable process that it can never provide an accurate assessment of the time of death. Extreme caution should be exercised in trying to assign a time of death based on the very subjective assessment of the degree and extent of rigor."

              ……


              From the Textbook Of Forensic Medicine And Toxicology:


              The time of onset and duration of Rigor is varied by multiple factors as will be discussed shortly but in general it is likely to be apparent in about 1-2 hours after death,

              ……


              From Simpson's Forensic Medicine, 13th edition (updated by Jason Payne James and others)

              '...a body is not a uniform structure: its temperature will not fall evenly and, because each body will lie in its own unique environment, each body will cool at a different speed, depending on the many factors surrounding it.'

              …….


              The examples given of factors affecting the rate of cooling of a body are:


              1. Mass of the body
              2. Mass surface area
              3. Body temperature at time of death
              4. Site of reading of body temperature
              5. Posture of the body - extended or in a fetal position
              6. Clothing - type of material, position on body - or lack of it
              7. Obesity - fat is a good insulator
              8. Emaciation - lack of muscle bulk allows a body to cool faster
              9. Environmental temperature
              10. Winds, draughts, rain, humidity

              …….

              Phillips only felt the body for warmth using his hand when he should have taken the temperature rectally using a thermometer. But he didn’t.


              ——————

              There were loads more but this is just a few. I fail to see why people persist in believing that Phillips was so likely to have been correct, and that they will invest so much totally unfounded confidence in his estimation, that they will pretty much assume that Richardson was either mistaken or lying.

              The evidence favours the witnesses in this case imo. Quite heavily.















              Regards

              Sir Herlock Sholmes

              “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.”

              Comment


              • excellent post. it seems fairly clear that the rigor arguments for an earlier ToD should be dropped.

                Comment


                • Thankyou M.

                  Although we all seem to focus on Rigor Mortis, it is possible Dr. Phillips initial remark concerned death from the temperature loss of the body, so, Algor Mortis, not Rigor Mortis.

                  Phillips's initial comment to the coroner concerning a time of death reads:
                  "I should say at least two hours, and probably more; but it is right to say that it was a fairly cold morning, and that the body would be more apt to cool rapidly from its having lost the greater portion of its blood."

                  Body Cooling (Algor Mortis), is covered in the link for Legal Medicine, on pages 38-44.
                  https://archive.org/details/legalmed...signs+of+death

                  It is unfortunate Phillips did not provide the temperatures he took. He is required take the ambient temperature, then the temperature of the body, as part of his post-mortem records, in order to enable him to estimate a time of death.
                  Also, the temp of the room and the body at the commencement of the post mortem.
                  The Times gave us the room temperature at the Eddowes post-mortem, no other example was given in these murders.

                  According to literature available at the time a body will loose 1 deg to 1.5 deg F per hour from time of death. This may have been part of Dr Phillips's calculations.

                  The subsequent quotes from Phillips, given previously, did concern Rigor Mortis.
                  Regards, Jon S.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Wickerman View Post

                    Thankyou M.

                    Although we all seem to focus on Rigor Mortis, it is possible Dr. Phillips initial remark concerned death from the temperature loss of the body, so, Algor Mortis, not Rigor Mortis.

                    Phillips's initial comment to the coroner concerning a time of death reads:
                    "I should say at least two hours, and probably more; but it is right to say that it was a fairly cold morning, and that the body would be more apt to cool rapidly from its having lost the greater portion of its blood."

                    Body Cooling (Algor Mortis), is covered in the link for Legal Medicine, on pages 38-44.
                    https://archive.org/details/legalmed...signs+of+death

                    It is unfortunate Phillips did not provide the temperatures he took. He is required take the ambient temperature, then the temperature of the body, as part of his post-mortem records, in order to enable him to estimate a time of death.
                    Also, the temp of the room and the body at the commencement of the post mortem.
                    The Times gave us the room temperature at the Eddowes post-mortem, no other example was given in these murders.

                    According to literature available at the time a body will loose 1 deg to 1.5 deg F per hour from time of death. This may have been part of Dr Phillips's calculations.

                    The subsequent quotes from Phillips, given previously, did concern Rigor Mortis.
                    It looks like Phillips didn’t take a temperature, he just used his hand Wick. And we have this:

                    From Simpson's Forensic Medicine, 13th edition (updated by Jason Payne James and others)

                    '...a body is not a uniform structure: its temperature will not fall evenly and, because each body will lie in its own unique environment, each body will cool at a different speed, depending on the many factors surrounding it.'

                    which shows that even with properly recorded temperatures it’s still difficult to get this estimate correct. So with Phillips just using touch…..
                    Regards

                    Sir Herlock Sholmes

                    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.”

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post

                      It looks like Phillips didn’t take a temperature, he just used his hand Wick. And we have this:

                      From Simpson's Forensic Medicine, 13th edition (updated by Jason Payne James and others)

                      '...a body is not a uniform structure: its temperature will not fall evenly and, because each body will lie in its own unique environment, each body will cool at a different speed, depending on the many factors surrounding it.'

                      which shows that even with properly recorded temperatures it’s still difficult to get this estimate correct. So with Phillips just using touch…..
                      True, Herlock.
                      The armpit (axilla) was, I think, the best location for a body at a crime scene.
                      At the post-mortem it was done internally, within the abdomen, but with these murders that was not a reliable spot for obvious reasons.
                      The brain was a second choice to take a temperature, as it was rarely compromised.
                      Regards, Jon S.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post

                        It looks like Phillips didn’t take a temperature, he just used his hand Wick. And we have this:

                        From Simpson's Forensic Medicine, 13th edition (updated by Jason Payne James and others)

                        '...a body is not a uniform structure: its temperature will not fall evenly and, because each body will lie in its own unique environment, each body will cool at a different speed, depending on the many factors surrounding it.'

                        which shows that even with properly recorded temperatures it’s still difficult to get this estimate correct. So with Phillips just using touch…..
                        Let me throw Dr Biggs into the long list of who you researched because I notice you didnt mentioin his name despite him being an integral part of the review of the evidence of these murders and the torsos. The following is his take on the topic

                        Rigor mortis could possibly be detected by a trained observer within an hour (or even less) after death, but would not usually be expected to become apparent for a (small) number of hours. In extreme cases (e.g. severe physical exertion before death) this might be even quicker. Ignoring the likely artefact of so-called “cadaveric spasm”, if a body is genuinely stiff at the time of discovery, then it hasn’t died immediately before discovery. The exact time since death cannot be estimated with any degree of accuracy or certainty.

                        "As an aside, if the victim is a malnourished, slight, alcoholic female then rigor mortis may be less pronounced than might be expected, and so detection of rigor mortis in such an individual may indicate a longer time has elapsed since death"


                        The last part specifically applies to Chapman and is an accurate description of how she was described by Dr Phillips when he carried out the original post mortem

                        www.trevormarriott.co.uk

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post

                          Let me throw Dr Biggs into the long list of who you researched because I notice you didnt mentioin his name despite him being an integral part of the review of the evidence of these murders and the torsos. The following is his take on the topic

                          Rigor mortis could possibly be detected by a trained observer within an hour (or even less) after death, but would not usually be expected to become apparent for a (small) number of hours. In extreme cases (e.g. severe physical exertion before death) this might be even quicker. Ignoring the likely artefact of so-called “cadaveric spasm”, if a body is genuinely stiff at the time of discovery, then it hasn’t died immediately before discovery. The exact time since death cannot be estimated with any degree of accuracy or certainty.

                          "As an aside, if the victim is a malnourished, slight, alcoholic female then rigor mortis may be less pronounced than might be expected, and so detection of rigor mortis in such an individual may indicate a longer time has elapsed since death"


                          The last part specifically applies to Chapman and is an accurate description of how she was described by Dr Phillips when he carried out the original post mortem

                          www.trevormarriott.co.uk
                          So what Dr. Biggs is saying in effect is - rigor can possibly be detected in less than an hour but it more usually appears in a small number of hours (quotes vary, 1-6, 2-4 etc). But it can be quicker in severe cases (you can’t get much more severe than Chapman)

                          And that in a malnourished person like Chapman rigor MAY be less pronounced and so this MAY mean a longer time. So it could have been longer than ‘less than an hour.’ Like the hour or 70 minutes between her death and Dr. Phillips examination then.
                          Regards

                          Sir Herlock Sholmes

                          “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.”

                          Comment


                          • Hi Mark,

                            Thank you for that link. There will probably be disagreement from some posters, but I see Wolf Vanderlinden's dissertation as completely debunking Long, Cadosh and Richardson, and vindicating the evidence of Phillips and Chandler. The police thought the same.

                            Cheers, George
                            “Contrariwise,” continued Tweedledee, “if it was so, it might be, and if it were so, it would be but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.”

                            “Oh, you can't help that,” said the Cat: “we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.” “How do you know I'm mad?” said Alice. “You must be,” said the Cat, or you wouldn't have come here.”

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post
                              .... But he does say rigor was starting to set in but that process does not start to take effect until after two hours of death and this i belive is the deciding factor which proves Phillips TOD to be near the mark and not as late as 5-6am.
                              But this is an oversimplification, take these quotes from modern analysis into consideration.



                              Here, it is explained why it is unreliable to rely on the often repeated "2 hours". An accurate estimate must include consideration of ambient temperature, internal body temperature, and physical activity prior to death.
                              Did Chapman struggle with her attacker?



                              Then we must consider if Chapman was ill, and indeed Phillips talks about disease of the lungs, and of the brain.
                              Disease causes heat which affects the onset of Rigor Mortis.



                              Time of Death.
                              Decomposition and Identification.
                              An Atlas.
                              Dix and Graham, 2000.

                              The weather for whitechapel for that day wasa max of 60 degrees with a min of 46 degrees
                              Yes, but what was the ambient temperature between 4:15 and 5:45 am?

                              Trevor, your argument is too selective, you repeat the time window, but ignore all the important details that affect that time window.
                              I would even ask if you gave your Dr. Biggs all the available information, because for some reason you do not have him mentioning all the necessary details that we can read in published papers.
                              Regards, Jon S.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Dickere View Post

                                Is there lying involved though ? Maxwell and Lewis may have been certain themselves but got the wrong day. Much easier for that error to apply like that, than to be certain there was no body there when there was. I don't see the two as similar situations really.
                                Hi Dickere,

                                I don't think the "wrong day" theory can be suggested for Maxwell and Lewis as they were making statements to police on the day, only hours after the body was discovered. It has been suggested that Hutchinson may have got the day wrong.

                                Cheers, George
                                “Contrariwise,” continued Tweedledee, “if it was so, it might be, and if it were so, it would be but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.”

                                “Oh, you can't help that,” said the Cat: “we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.” “How do you know I'm mad?” said Alice. “You must be,” said the Cat, or you wouldn't have come here.”

                                Comment

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