The Tell-Tale Blade - Thoughts on the Knives Used on Martha Tabram
I've reached a careful conclusion (o-oh) about what happened to Martha Tabram, meaning how it happened.
The write-down of this resulted in 4 pages, so I'm rather attaching it.
In a nutshell, I'm arguing, that while the use of 2 blades is frequently seen as one argument against the murderer of Tabram as having been the same perpetrator who later murdered Nichols, Chapman, Eddowes and Kelly, it is in fact the very presence of the larger of the blades, which was used to stab her in the heart, that, because it was brought along with the smaller one, may very well imply not only clear premeditation but also that we might be dealing with the same man.
I'd be very grateful for thoughts and/or rebuttals.
According to your theory, the killer changed from stabbing the heart to strangulation/cut throat.
I would suggest he might have done this because of the difficulty in stabbing a standing, conscious individual directly in the heart.
The later victims were not likely to lie down, so I think he would have realized this difficulty.
wow, you're quick. Thank you
Yes, that's indeed a thought I also had. Him bringing the large blade for the specific purpose of stabbing the heart, the need to drive it through bone still presenting a challenge, and effort.
I have no troubles at all imagining him seeing another knife later that, perhaps first on the more instinctive level, actually incites the idea of throat-cutting in him.
I have a similar idea like yours also in regards of the perp having not strangled Catherine Eddowes:
strangling costs more effort and time than the movies will have us believe;
it also involves the victim fighting back, e.g. kicking you in the groin.
it's energy- and time-consuming, it's an inconvenience on the way to what is the real priority.
hence he might be trying without the strangling (alternatively something just went wrong)
- and it is a sufficient explanation for the difference in the cuts to Kate's throat, compared with Polly and Annie.
With Tabram it's the very presence of that large blade in the 1st place that intrigues.
... although I believe that the victim out on the ground is the most convenient with either method.
It's been theorized that he might have tripped his victims. And with Nichols and Chapman it was strangulation.
Which is in the end my point:
- incapacitating the victim (strangulation & throat-cutting / stab to the heart)
- followed by what he wanted to do to the body, i.e. multiple stabs evolving into mutilation and organ extraction
It's pure speculation on my part, with no evidence to back it up, but I've always wondered if the murderer (assuming it was only one) didn't stab Tabram first in the chest with the big knife, expecting her to gasp and fall down dead, like a murder victim in the penny dreadfuls. In my scenario she fainted, and probably struck her head when she fell. The murderer believed that she was dead. Then, when he'd pushed up her dress and begun to 'play' with the small, sharp knife he'd brought along for that purpose, she gave some sign of life, perhaps seemed to be recovering consciousness. The killer panicked, and began stabbing frantically with the small knife which he had in his hand. As I said, complete speculation, but this has always seemed plausible to me.
Wasn't the stab to the heart by a triangular blade? I might be mistaken.
Didn't she go off with a soldier, if so, the knife sounds like the type of bayonet used for the Martini Henry.
If he had tripped Tabram it would be a lot easier to stab her in the heart whilst she was on the floor as the bayonet had no handle, only a curved mounting point for the barrel, much easier to use both hands and thrust downwards, it would be extremely hard to stab forward into a standing person.
Once on the ground dead, he could pull a smaller knife and mutilate at will, which is what he normally does , perhaps the bayonet thing was an early experiment in initial first contact only to be developed later to the strangulation, then/or, the slice across the throat?
As to why two knives, perhaps, as a soldier, he carried a bayonet in his webbing/frog (I don't know if they were allowed to carry it when they were on 24 hr leave)?
Again, as a soldier, he may also carry a personal knife for close in self defence or for whittling? Look at most soldiers in the 20th century, they have a bayonet and often a fighting knife (Kabar bowie, commando knife etc).