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  #1  
Old 12-15-2014, 02:38 PM
David Orsam David Orsam is offline
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Default Robert Paul & the LWN "statement"

As the so-called "statement" of Robert Paul in Lloyd's Weekly News of 2 September 1888 has, for some people, remarkably taken on the status of evidence in this case, it is worth looking very closely and carefully at it. Some of what I say in this post will be based on deduction but some is based on my life experience of how the world works.

In respect of how the "statement" came into existence, I imagine that Paul was walking back home down Buck's Row after finishing work on the Friday afternoon when he saw a newspaper reporter who was interviewing local residents and stopped to speak to him, telling him that he had found the body. Alternatively, it is possible that Paul told friends what he had seen and this made its way to the LWN reporter who was in the area and tracked him down.

Either way, from my experience, there are very few people who can tell a story in perfect chronological order with all the facts set out clearly in an orderly structure. What almost certainly happened is that the reporter extracted the information from Paul with questions such as "what did you see?", "what did you do next?" etc. and Paul told his story in this way, probably rambling a bit as people do. The reporter might have committed the story to memory or he might have taken notes but when he returned to his office he had to make sense of those notes which might not have been an easy matter. He then wrote it all out as if it was a direct quote or "statement" from Paul when this was almost certainly not the case.

The reporter did one thing well in that he got Paul's name right, something which not all the court reporters did when Paul came to give evidence. However, what stands out loud and clear to me is that the reporter had some difficulty with Paul's no doubt heavy cockney accent.

We see this in the reporter's attempt to decipher the location of Paul's employment. Whereas Paul would have told him that he was on his way to "Corbett's Court" the reporter has plainly heard this as "Covent-garden" and assumed he worked as a carman at the market.

I very much doubt that Paul said of Cross "as I knew the dangerous character of the locality I tried to give him a wide berth" in those exact words, as that sentence is far to well-worded and does not sound like spoken English, but the reporter seems to have picked up the gist of the story at this point. However, he has obviously misunderstood what happened next. He thinks that Paul said "I went on and told the other man I would send the first policeman I saw" revealing that he understood that Paul had left Cross at the body, whereas we know that both Paul and Cross went on to find a policeman together. It is the type of misunderstanding that can easily happen during the telling of a story.

Then we have another howler as the journalist has Paul say that he saw a policeman "in Church-row, just at the top of Buck's-row". While this could have been Paul's error, it seems unlikely that Paul would have confused Baker's Row - which he must have walked across every day - with Church Row, a fair distance to the north and this is most likely to have been another error by the reporter, unfamiliar with the area.

In view of the above errors I suggest it is most likely that the reporter did not understand who it was who spoke to the policeman. Having thought that the other carman (Cross) had been left by the body, when he came to write up the story it could only have been Paul in his mind who did the talking, hence he put the following words into Paul's mouth, namely: "I told him what I had seen, and I asked him to come". In reality, it seems that Cross did the talking at this point.

No doubt the reporter has correctly understood Paul's complaints about Mizen continuing to knock-up (although those complaints did not feature in Paul's evidence at the inquest) but it is clear that a few things have been added ex post facto, such as the comment "It was too dark to see the blood about her". This is very unlikely to have been a comment made by Paul off his own bat and is likely to have been a response to the reporter's question, "did you see the blood?". Obviously, at the time, Paul did not know there was any blood there.

Paul also apparently came up with the theory "she must have been murdered somewhere else and carried there" but, at the time he saw the body, he did not know there had been a murder so such a notion was probably dragged out of him by the reporter.

Anyway, in view of the clear errors in this short "statement", we have to question whether Paul actually said that he arrived in Buck's Row at "exactly a quarter to four". This is particularly so in view of the actual sworn evidence of PC Mizen who estimated that he spoke to Cross and Paul at the end of Hanbury Street at about 3:45am (and he must have been in a good position to know the time considering he was engaged in his duty of waking people up and would thus have needed to know what time it was) and the sworn evidence of PC Neil who said he discovered the body at about 3:45am. In addition, Paul's reported comment as to the time must also be viewed in the context of a report by the investigating officer, Inspector Abberline, who estimated that the time the body was discovered was 3:40am (a time not mentioned by any witnesses at the inquest which suggests that Abberline was either privy to information not known to us or had given the matter some thought and worked it out for himself).

So did the LWN reporter simply invent the time of a quarter to four? Well, based on the totality of the evidence, what I personally think has happened is that Paul must have said that he needed to be at work at exactly 3:45 and was walking down Buck's Row on his way to work when he discovered the body - and the reporter has misunderstood or misremembered or misrecorded what he said. That seems to be the most logical explanation.

We may note that when it came to the inquest, Paul did not say that he was walking along Buck's Row at 3:45am. The Times records him as saying he left his house at "about 3:45" but most reports state that he said that he left his house "just before 3:45" so that is probably more accurate. It is clear that the wording of "just before" is very vague and we simply do not know how long before 3:45 he meant. It is only the time given in the LWN "statement" that has led people to believe that Paul must have left his house at a time to enable him to have been in Buck's Row at exactly 3:45 but this is to make the mistake of assuming that the LWN statement is reliable, which it demonstrably is not.

My conclusion is that to try and claim that there is some sort of evidential gap in the timings in this case based on this single clearly flawed newspaper report is foolish.
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  #2  
Old 04-22-2016, 09:23 PM
Billiou Billiou is offline
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Originally Posted by David Orsam View Post

Then we have another howler as the journalist has Paul say that he saw a policeman "in Church-row, just at the top of Buck's-row". While this could have been Paul's error, it seems unlikely that Paul would have confused Baker's Row - which he must have walked across every day - with Church Row, a fair distance to the north and this is most likely to have been another error by the reporter, unfamiliar with the area.
I would like to just point out that Hanbury St was called by different names before 1888.
At least up to 1882 along it's length from Commercial St to Baker's Row it had been called Brown's Lane (Commercial to Brick Lane), Montague St (Brick Lane to Spital St), Preston St (Spital to High St [which became Great Gardens St]), and Church St (High St to Baker's Row).

So it is very possible that all Paul was doing was using the old name, and/or the name the locals still used, for the same street.
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Old 04-23-2016, 01:29 AM
David Orsam David Orsam is offline
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I would like to just point out that Hanbury St was called by different names before 1888.
At least up to 1882 along it's length from Commercial St to Baker's Row it had been called Brown's Lane (Commercial to Brick Lane), Montague St (Brick Lane to Spital St), Preston St (Spital to High St [which became Great Gardens St]), and Church St (High St to Baker's Row).

So it is very possible that all Paul was doing was using the old name, and/or the name the locals still used, for the same street.
Are you saying "Church Street" and "Church Row" are identical?
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Old 04-23-2016, 04:43 AM
Billiou Billiou is offline
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Are you saying "Church Street" and "Church Row" are identical?
Of course the words aren't identical, but in the meaning that they both could refer to Hanbury St. Once again we only have the newspaper reporting to discuss and we don't know exactly what Paul said, but I am sure we can agree that he meant Hanbury St/Bakers Row??

I was just trying to put forward a reason why, if Paul did say "Church St", that the reporter may record it as "Church Row", for the reason that you wrote, the reporter getting it wrong because he doesn't know the area and maybe misidentifies it. That is all I meant.
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Old 04-23-2016, 04:58 AM
Fisherman Fisherman is offline
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David Orsam:

This is particularly so in view of the actual sworn evidence of PC Mizen who estimated that he spoke to Cross and Paul at the end of Hanbury Street at about 3:45am (and he must have been in a good position to know the time considering he was engaged in his duty of waking people up and would thus have needed to know what time it was) and the sworn evidence of PC Neil who said he discovered the body at about 3:45am.

I always thought that you were of the meaning that when people use the term "about", we need to allow for a mistake of up to ten minutes...? At least we need to do so when an "about" is added to Lechmere´s timing of 3.30.

Does that factor not come into play here, when we have two PC:s speaking of approximate timings?

As for your belief that Paul said that he had to be at work exactly 3.45, I must say that I have never heard anybody say that he or she has to be at work at "exactly" so and so. I makes it sound as if it was forbidden to arrive earlier.

Maybe you should leave the timing issues, David. You seem to get badly tangled up by them.
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Old 04-23-2016, 05:20 AM
David Orsam David Orsam is offline
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David Orsam:

This is particularly so in view of the actual sworn evidence of PC Mizen who estimated that he spoke to Cross and Paul at the end of Hanbury Street at about 3:45am (and he must have been in a good position to know the time considering he was engaged in his duty of waking people up and would thus have needed to know what time it was) and the sworn evidence of PC Neil who said he discovered the body at about 3:45am.

I always thought that you were of the meaning that when people use the term "about", we need to allow for a mistake of up to ten minutes...? At least we need to do so when an "about" is added to Lechmere´s timing of 3.30.

Does that factor not come into play here, when we have two PC:s speaking of approximate timings?
If you actually read what I posted Fisherman you will see that I made two points about this. Firstly that Mizen was engaged in waking people up and (bearing in mind that people being woken at 3:45am would probably not have wanted to be woken up earlier than necessary) is likely to have had a good grasp of the time and, in addition, Inspector Abberline's report states that the body was discovered at about 3.40. You can live in your dream world that Paul walked into Bucks Row at "exactly" 3.45 if you like but there is no evidence to support this notion.
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Old 04-23-2016, 05:55 AM
David Orsam David Orsam is offline
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As for your belief that Paul said that he had to be at work exactly 3.45, I must say that I have never heard anybody say that he or she has to be at work at "exactly" so and so. I makes it sound as if it was forbidden to arrive earlier.
I didn't say he had to get to work at exactly 3.45 but that perhaps he had to be there at that exact time otherwise he would be late if he wasn't there at 3.45.

In any event, as you know, there is an alternative scenario which is that he was saying he was in Bucks Row at exactly 3.45 by way of contradicting the account of PC Neil. In my timeline I have placed him there at exactly 3.45 so that would be consistent with what he possibly told the newspaper reporter.

The time of 3.45 is redundant to argument anyway if we don't have a reliable timing of when Lechmere arrived in Bucks Row and unless you confirm the route you took when you timed the walk as 7 minutes and 7 seconds then we can't even begin to consider that as a viable time can we?
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Old 04-24-2016, 10:01 AM
Fisherman Fisherman is offline
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If you actually read what I posted Fisherman you will see that I made two points about this. Firstly that Mizen was engaged in waking people up and (bearing in mind that people being woken at 3:45am would probably not have wanted to be woken up earlier than necessary) is likely to have had a good grasp of the time and, in addition, Inspector Abberline's report states that the body was discovered at about 3.40. You can live in your dream world that Paul walked into Bucks Row at "exactly" 3.45 if you like but there is no evidence to support this notion.
But you don´t know it´s a dreamworld, David. That´s just your way of trying to discard what cannot be discarded.
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Old 04-24-2016, 10:02 AM
Fisherman Fisherman is offline
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I didn't say he had to get to work at exactly 3.45 but that perhaps he had to be there at that exact time otherwise he would be late if he wasn't there at 3.45.

In any event, as you know, there is an alternative scenario which is that he was saying he was in Bucks Row at exactly 3.45 by way of contradicting the account of PC Neil. In my timeline I have placed him there at exactly 3.45 so that would be consistent with what he possibly told the newspaper reporter.

The time of 3.45 is redundant to argument anyway if we don't have a reliable timing of when Lechmere arrived in Bucks Row and unless you confirm the route you took when you timed the walk as 7 minutes and 7 seconds then we can't even begin to consider that as a viable time can we?
I can.
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Old 04-24-2016, 10:33 AM
David Orsam David Orsam is offline
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I can.
But only you know the route you walked which is the whole point I'm making. Any reason you won't tell us? Is it a state secret or something?
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