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Old 05-16-2018, 06:57 AM
Kattrup Kattrup is offline
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Denmark
Posts: 222
Default Eddowes' gut cut

I've been wondering about the cut to Eddowes' abdomen.

I'm having some trouble understanding the following passage, which describes the cut:

We examined the abdomen. The front walls were laid open from the breast bones to the pubes. The cut commenced opposite the enciform cartilage. The incision went upwards, not penetrating the skin that was over the sternum. It then divided the enciform cartilage. The knife must have cut obliquely at the expense of that cartilage.
While the general meaning is clear, I can't seem to make sense logically of the description.

"breast bones" - the sternum, roughly. So the cut extends from the chest to the pubes. Ok.
"commenced opposite the ensiform cartilage" - opposite I take to mean the cut started in the pubic area.
then: "went upwards" i.e. towards the chest
"not penetrating the skin that was over the sternum"

"It then divided the ensiform cartilage" - how does this "then" make sense in a description that has already reached the sternum?

"The knife must have cut obliquely at the expense of that cartilage" - what does this sentence mean?

Compared to the post-autopsy photo of Eddowes, where a long incision extending from the top of the sternum to the pubic area is clearly visible, I wonder of the upper part (skin of the sternum) was cut by the doctors as part of the autopsy?
The description seems to clearly say that the skin of the sternum was not cut, yet on the photo it has been.

Furthermore, when reading the next paragraph about the cut, I am somewhat surprised to see the cut starts behind the rectum:
The abdominal walls were divided in the middle line to within a quarter of an inch of the navel. The cut then took a horizontal course for two inches and a half towards the right side. It then divided round the navel on the left side, and made a parallel incision to the former horizontal incision, leaving the navel on a tongue of skin. Attached to the navel was two and a half inches of the lower part of the rectus muscle on the left side of the abdomen. The incision then took an oblique direction to the right and was shelving. The incision went down the right side of the vagina and rectum for half an inch behind the rectum.
Compare the description to the photo.
Since the cut started from below - the killer started the cut behind the rectum, then led the knife upwards towards the abdomen? Deftly cuts around the navel, then ends the cut severing the xiphoid process (ensiform cartilage).
What does it mean the cut was "shelving"?

Are there any other descriptions of the wounds available?
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