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  • Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post

    As I’ve said on here regularly I’m certainly not what you would call scientifically-minded. Others on here might be of course though. So I tend to avoid detailed scientific/medical stuff and just go with the experts. That said I have a friend who is. He’s not a scientist or a medical but his job requires analysis of these kinds of documents. I’ve sought his opinion many times so I thought that I’d ask him to take a look in relation to your points. This isn’t an exercise in point scoring, it’s purely a different viewpoint. This is what he wrote to me in an email.

    The Amsterdam paper says that the current "gold standard" is the Henssge model but that, "the uncertainties of PMIs determined using Henssge’s nomogram vary broadly from 3 to 7 hours on a 20-hour time scale."

    That "20 hour time scale" = the time of death followed by 20 hours after death. In other words, estimating time of death within 20 hours of death leads to a margin of error from minimum plus or minus three hours to as much as plus or minus 7 hours.

    Now there has been mention of the 5 to 50 hours but that's only because the experiment referred to in the 2020 paper could only test corpses which had been dead a minimum of 5 hours and a maximum of 50 hours (or at least that all they did test). So their work has literally no relevance to a case (like Nichols) where the victim had been murdered within 5 hours of the body having been examined by a medical examiner. Or rather, we have no idea if their new method using skin thermometry would be able to work when examining a recently murdered dead body.

    In any case, if you look at their results, even they admit that, while their average margin of error was plus or minus 38 minutes, nevertheless 26.7% of cases deviated by more than one hour from their true time of death!! So even today, if they had been examining the body of Nichols five hours after her murder (at say 11am) they wouldn't have been able to conclude with any real degree of certainty if she had been murdered at 4.30am or 5.30am. Their test is just not that reliable. And that is them exceeding the "gold standard" in 2020!!

    I don’t understand the point that is made re that Dr Philips agreed with their approach "when it comes to Mary's death"? Dr Phillips didn't give an estimated time of death in the Kelly case that we know of. Does he mean Dr Bond? His comment that because the doctor concluded "2am to 8am" that this is in the 5-50 hours PMI range means that he hasn't understood the Amsterdam paper at all. Sure, Dr Bond examined the body more than five hours after Mary had died - that is certain - but his estimate was based on temperature and stomach contents. It has nothing to do with the Amsterdam method of skin thermometry and, moreover, that fact that he might have given a wide range of 6 hours as to when death occurred has no bearing on the Amsterdam approach (which claims to have got the margin of error down to below 3 hours).

    The only real relevance of the Amsterdam paper is that it contains a clear admission that even the best modern tests to estimate the time of death up to 2020 have been literally unable to reliably narrow it down to an hour or even close. Thus Dr Phillips could not possibly have done what he thought in ignorance in 1888 that he could do.

    In sum, the person who has written this concludes that the Amsterdam research is not applicable to Annie Chapman. The point about Dr Phillips and Mary's body is that he offered a wide window of possibility in terms of TOD.

    That said, it's fair to apply the same standards to this person's conclusion as it is to the Amsterdam research. Who is he/she? Is he qualified to definitely ascertain that the Amsterdam research is not relevant to Annie's PMI of 1 hour?

    Edited to add: it is worth reminding ourselves that Dr Phillips didn't give an estimated TOD on Annie in the sense of nailing it down to a specific time. He stated: "at least two hours and probably more". This means he is saying between 2 and 3 hours or between 2 and 4 hours. It's not clear exactly how many hours he had in mind.

    What we're debating at its core is not could Dr Phillips give us a specific time, but rather was Dr Phillips capable of getting it right in terms of the TOD being within the window of 2 to 3 hours or 2 to 4 hours (when examining a very short PMI). I think this point had been lost during this discussion. You may want to point out to your friend that when pressed for a TOD, Dr Phillips replied: "at least 2 hours and probably more".
    Last edited by Fleetwood Mac; 08-06-2022, 11:49 AM.

    Comment


    • I’m unsure if I’ll get any further comment from him as he’s no longer really interested in this case. I certainly wouldn’t claim that he was qualified in terms of being of a medical or scientific background but his work requires him to analyse documents and he has done a fair bit of reading on the subject of TOD estimations. so I just thought that I’d get his opinion as I occasionally do on various subjects to add to yours and Jeff’s.

      From my own point of view, when someone gives a range (in anything) surely we can’t assume that it might actually be the case that there has to be leeway at both ends. If someone says something like “ x usually occurs between 5 and 7 hours,” then we would have to accept the possibility of less than 5 hours or more than 7 hours? Phillips gave his minimum estimate as 2 hours and it appears that modern scientist can’t tie down a TOD estimate to an hour or less with anything close to certainty so it’s difficult to see how we can conclude that Dr Phillips could have been out by a mere 40 or 50 minutes in the LVP?

      Another question might be - can we find a modern day expert who could look at Phillips evidence and say, reputation on the line, that it’s overwhelmingly likely that Chapman couldn’t have been killed 40 or 50 minutes later than Phillips lower estimate?
      Regards

      Sir Herlock Sholmes

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post

        He said may, but yes. I’ve never said that Phillips couldn’t have been correct or even close Trevor. But it’s also the case that he could have been wrong and that the methods used by him were certainly unreliable ones. The top and bottom of this is that we have no way of assessing or knowing if he got it right or not. So, in regard to the witnesses, how do we use what Phillips said? I certainly can’t say “well Phillips was wrong so the witnesses were probably right.” And no one can say “well Phillips must have been right so the witnesses must have been wrong.” So my question is the same, in regard to the witnesses, how does Phillips testimony help us or get us any further forward? It can’t. Therefore we have to assess the witnesses by weighing up the pro’ and con’s. Your interpretation of them is that they were mistaken or lying (and others agree with you). Mine is that they weren’t (and others agree with me.)Discrepancies and questions exist of course but I don’t think that they come close to requiring them to be dismissed.
        But you and others have been looking to prove Phillips wrong by posting a plethora of information gleamed from the net which is in general form, what I produce is corroboration to show that Phillips might have been right from a modern day forensisc patholgist.

        www.trevormarriott.co.uk

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post
          I’m unsure if I’ll get any further comment from him as he’s no longer really interested in this case. I certainly wouldn’t claim that he was qualified in terms of being of a medical or scientific background but his work requires him to analyse documents and he has done a fair bit of reading on the subject of TOD estimations. so I just thought that I’d get his opinion as I occasionally do on various subjects to add to yours and Jeff’s.

          From my own point of view, when someone gives a range (in anything) surely we can’t assume that it might actually be the case that there has to be leeway at both ends. If someone says something like “ x usually occurs between 5 and 7 hours,” then we would have to accept the possibility of less than 5 hours or more than 7 hours? Phillips gave his minimum estimate as 2 hours and it appears that modern scientist can’t tie down a TOD estimate to an hour or less with anything close to certainty so it’s difficult to see how we can conclude that Dr Phillips could have been out by a mere 40 or 50 minutes in the LVP?

          Another question might be - can we find a modern day expert who could look at Phillips evidence and say, reputation on the line, that it’s overwhelmingly likely that Chapman couldn’t have been killed 40 or 50 minutes later than Phillips lower estimate?
          a loaded question, because that cannot be conclusively answered, because modern day experts were not there and did not exmaine the body.

          www.trevormarriott.co.uk

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post

            "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"
            Hi Trevor - I wonder if Dr. Biggs would be willing to expand on this point or to clarify it?

            One can readily understand why the public might be confused because there are forensic textbooks that say something very different indeed-- that malnutrition (and the resulting lack of adenosine triphosphate) can greatly accelerate the onset of rigor mortis.

            The following is taken from one of those "internet sources" that you warn against, but I have seen the same thing stated in reputable textbooks and in published scientific papers. That said, I've also seen contradictory statements in reputable scientific papers.

            "Rigor mortis initiates when ATP levels are approximately 85% of a normal, healthy level. In subjects who, previous to death, were unable to produce normal levels of ATP either through malnutrition or other disorders such as Huntingdon's disease, rigor mortis will develop at a more rapid rate."

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post

              Phillips gave his minimum estimate as 2 hours and it appears that modern scientist can’t tie down a TOD estimate to an hour or less with anything close to certainty
              As a reminder:

              1) At the inquest Dr Phillips stated: "at least two hours and probably more".

              2) The Oxford Dictionary definition of probably is: likely to happen, to exist or to be true, the probable cause/explanation/outcome.

              So, Dr Phillips is clearly stating that he believed Annie was murdered not at 4.30am but prior to 4.30am. We don't know exactly how many hours he has in mind because he doesn't clarify that. It could be 3.30am and it could be 2.30am.

              It follows that Dr Phillips gives us a window of what is the earliest and what he believed.

              Comment


              • The following is a case where the beginning of rigor mortis was noticed within two minutes of death in a hospital setting. (Warning for the squeamish--there is a semi-graphic image)

                Accelerated rigor mortis: A case letter - PMC (nih.gov)

                Comment


                • Originally posted by DJA View Post

                  In fact,a malnourished person would have a lower level of ATP, therefore rigor mortis would be evident earlier.
                  I missed your message before posting the above. My understanding is the same.

                  TB can also lead to a loss of appetite and drastic changes in one's ability to absorb nutrients, so one might expect Chapman's levels of ATP to have been lower.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post

                    a loaded question, because that cannot be conclusively answered, because modern day experts were not there and did not exmaine the body.

                    www.trevormarriott.co.uk
                    Then why are you quoting Dr. Biggs?
                    Regards

                    Sir Herlock Sholmes

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post

                      But you and others have been looking to prove Phillips wrong by posting a plethora of information gleamed from the net which is in general form, what I produce is corroboration to show that Phillips might have been right from a modern day forensisc patholgist.

                      www.trevormarriott.co.uk
                      How many times do I have to explain this point to you Trevor?

                      I can’t begin to prove Phillips wrong. I’ve never tried to prove that Phillips was wrong. I’ve never stated that Phillips couldn’t have been correct.

                      The relevant point is that he could have been wrong. So if he could have been wrong we can’t dismiss the witnesses based on Phillips. Yes, as individuals we can assess the witnesses and dismiss them as you do, but only on the basis of looking at other information. We can’t say “the witnesses can be dismissed because Dr. Phillips said……” unless we can accept that he was infallible; which isn’t the case.
                      Regards

                      Sir Herlock Sholmes

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Fleetwood Mac View Post

                        As a reminder:

                        1) At the inquest Dr Phillips stated: "at least two hours and probably more".

                        2) The Oxford Dictionary definition of probably is: likely to happen, to exist or to be true, the probable cause/explanation/outcome.

                        So, Dr Phillips is clearly stating that he believed Annie was murdered not at 4.30am but prior to 4.30am. We don't know exactly how many hours he has in mind because he doesn't clarify that. It could be 3.30am and it could be 2.30am.

                        It follows that Dr Phillips gives us a window of what is the earliest and what he believed.
                        I accept that but what we would have to accept is that Dr. Phillips in 1888 with the knowledge available to him at the time, by noting a slight stiffening and by just touching the body, couldn’t have been out by 40 or 50 minutes at the lower end of his estimate, when modern day experts can’t achieve such accuracy or confidence?
                        Regards

                        Sir Herlock Sholmes

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post

                          Hi Trevor - I wonder if Dr. Biggs would be willing to expand on this point or to clarify it?

                          One can readily understand why the public might be confused because there are forensic textbooks that say something very different indeed-- that malnutrition (and the resulting lack of adenosine triphosphate) can greatly accelerate the onset of rigor mortis.

                          The following is taken from one of those "internet sources" that you warn against, but I have seen the same thing stated in reputable textbooks and in published scientific papers. That said, I've also seen contradictory statements in reputable scientific papers.

                          "Rigor mortis initiates when ATP levels are approximately 85% of a normal, healthy level. In subjects who, previous to death, were unable to produce normal levels of ATP either through malnutrition or other disorders such as Huntingdon's disease, rigor mortis will develop at a more rapid rate."
                          If you would care to formulate a question covering those points I would be happy to put it to him

                          www.trevormarriott.co.uk

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Fleetwood Mac View Post

                            As a reminder:

                            1) At the inquest Dr Phillips stated: "at least two hours and probably more".

                            2) The Oxford Dictionary definition of probably is: likely to happen, to exist or to be true, the probable cause/explanation/outcome.

                            So, Dr Phillips is clearly stating that he believed Annie was murdered not at 4.30am but prior to 4.30am. We don't know exactly how many hours he has in mind because he doesn't clarify that. It could be 3.30am and it could be 2.30am.

                            It follows that Dr Phillips gives us a window of what is the earliest and what he believed.
                            I didn’t expect a second email but my friend has responded……

                            In sum, the person who has written this concludes that the Amsterdam research is not applicable to Annie Chapman.

                            It applies in the sense that we are told in the Amsterdam paper that TODAY'S gold standard (or rather as at 2020) is minimum margin or error of plus or minus three hours. In other words, it wasn't possible in 1888 to accurately estimate a time of death to within a 3 hour range based on body temperature, just like it wasn't possible in 2020 with all the best modern methods available including taking the temperature with a thermometer, which wasn't done by Dr Phillips.

                            “The point about Dr Phillips and Mary's body is that he offered a wide window of possibility in terms of TOD.”

                            No, the point about Dr Phillips and Mary's body is that, if he offered a TOD, we don't know what it was or what it was based on. We only know what Dr Bond said.


                            “That said, it's fair to apply the same standards to this person's conclusion as it is to the Amsterdam research. Who is he/she? Is he qualified to definitely ascertain that the Amsterdam research is not relevant to Annie's PMI of 1 hour?”

                            It's in the paper. You just need to read English. They only tested on bodies that had been dead for five hours at the earliest. That being so, no one can possibly know if their results would be the same for a body which died one, two, three or four hours earlier than their tests.


                            Edited to add: it is worth reminding ourselves that Dr Phillips didn't give an estimated TOD on Annie in the sense of nailing it down to a specific time. He stated: "at least two hours and probably more". This means he is saying between 2 and 3 hours or between 2 and 4 hours. It's not clear exactly how many hours he had in mind.

                            No, but earlier in the thread Fleetwood said that he believes that modern day pathologists can narrow a time down to a single hour - he mentioned four o'clock in the afternoon. They can't do that.


                            ”What we're debating at its core is not could Dr Phillips give us a specific time, but rather was Dr Phillips capable of getting it right in terms of the TOD being within the window of 2 to 3 hours or 2 to 4 hours (when examining a very short PMI). I think this point had been lost during this discussion.”

                            No, the point hasn't been lost. What Fleetwood has, I think been repeatedly told, is that Dr Philips was not capable of getting it right in terms of the TOD being within the window of 2 to 3 hours or 2 to 4 hours as opposed to a window of 1 to 2 hours or 1 to 3 hours or 1 to 4 hours. It wasn't physically possible for him to do this on the basis of feeling the body of Chapman with his hands (and he couldn't even have done it accurately with a thermometer) and by noting the commencement of rigor. Those observations do not in any way rule out a TOD of one hour prior to his examination in preference to two or three hours. The problem is that in 1888 he wasn't fully aware of this. We now know that it's simply impossible to accurately estimate the time of death from feeling a cold or partially warm body (especially one found outdoors) and on noting commencement of rigor. That's what the Amsterdam paper expressly tells us - and the fact they don't mention using commencement of rigor at all to estimate time of death simply demonstrates how utterly useless it is as a factor for pathologist. What Dr Phillips was attempting to do was simply impossible. His estimate was just as likely to lead to the coroner being misled as to him being able to accurately record the time of death. As it happens, the coroner rejected the doctor's estimate, believing that Chapman might have been murdered at 5.30am as he was perfectly entitled to do, and no modern pathologist would say that the coroner was wrong to have done so.
                            Regards

                            Sir Herlock Sholmes

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post
                              The following is a case where the beginning of rigor mortis was noticed within two minutes of death in a hospital setting. (Warning for the squeamish--there is a semi-graphic image)

                              Accelerated rigor mortis: A case letter - PMC (nih.gov)
                              In terms of its relevance to Annie's murder, what you're posting is an outlier and at the other end of the spectrum there are instances of rigor being delayed by several hours.

                              What we should be doing is not looking at the outliers/extreme ends but looking at what is a decent guide more often than not, a guide from well respected bodies in this field.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post

                                I accept that but what we would have to accept is that Dr. Phillips in 1888 with the knowledge available to him at the time, by noting a slight stiffening and by just touching the body, couldn’t have been out by 40 or 50 minutes at the lower end of his estimate, when modern day experts can’t achieve such accuracy or confidence?
                                Do you have an example of these modern day experts?

                                By the way, rigor mortis was well understood in Dr Phillips' time.

                                Comment

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