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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Motive, Method and Madness

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  #1  
Old 03-23-2008, 12:49 AM
Sam Flynn Sam Flynn is offline
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Default JTR: Not even the skill of a butcher?

Seeing as the Eddowes-specific thread "Freakishly fast" is in danger of turning into a long debate on how much skill/training the Ripper either needed or demonstrated, I thought it best to abstract it to a "victim-neutral" thread.

I've made my views on the matter clear in the past - i.e. I'm with those early medicos on the case, Dr Phillips apart, who saw little evidence of surgical skill ("knowledge" should not be confused with "skill", by the way).

What think ye to this?
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  #2  
Old 03-23-2008, 01:39 AM
tji tji is offline
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Hi Sam

I think i've got to agree with you on this, I don't believe that jtr had specific knowledge of anatomy, however I think he had enough basic knowledge on using knives that he was 'comfortable' with them - which I don't suppose helps as I realise that the majority of jobs then used knives on regular occasions.

However, maybe a silly question but, would the skill of a butcher not be sufficient enough?

tj
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  #3  
Old 03-23-2008, 03:55 PM
Doctor X Doctor X is offline
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Basically.

I think the thing that makes one suggest a surgeon or someone very knowledgeable is the removal of Eddowes' kidney. What impressed Dr. Brown--"I should say that someone who knew the position of the kidney must have done it," (Sugden, 242)--is that the kidney is what is known as "retroperitoneal." With respect to looking into the abdomen, the kidneys and some parts of the colon are behind the lining of the abdominal cavity. Also, the small intestines are "fixed" together and attached to the the peritoneum by an extension known as mesentery.

Below is a sagittal--split-in-half lengthwise--view:



. . . and this diagram shows how the the small intestines are connected to the peritoneum by the mesentery, and part of the bowel is behind that lining:



This:



gives an idea of how "hidden" the kidneys are if you remove the intestines.

So what is the big deal? One can not simply "pull out" the small intestines, find the kidney, "snip!" The person has to detach them from the mesentery and know where the kidney is located to find it. Other than that, removal is a piece of cake.

So, the guy is a respected member of the Royal College of Surgeons, or at least a respected pathologist! Where was Virchow during these murders?! Halsted?! J'accuse!

Or is it really that difficult? Let us ["Us?"--Ed.] consider an earlier victim: Annie Chapman. Again, pulling out my Sugden:

Quote:
An unsigned piece in the Lancet of 29 september set down the gist of Dr. Phillips' description of the injuries to the abdomen and indicated why he thought he had detected professional skill in their execution. It tells us that 'the abdomen had been entirely laid open; that the intestines, severed from their mesenteric attachments, had been lifted out of the body, and placed by the shoulder of the corpse; whilst from the pelvis the uterus and its appendages, with the upper portion of the vagina and the posterior two-thirds of the bladder, had been entirely removed (Sugden, 91).'
Contrary to Phillips reported laudatory assessment of the skill of Jack, Jack actually made a bit of a mess of it--literally--by whacking two thirds of the bladder in his removal of the vagina! If you look at the above diagrams, you will see that the bladder is in its own way retroperitoneal. Yet Jack whacked two-thirds of it off going for the uterus! As I will indicate below, he was using the wrong tools for anyone with medical knowledge. "Missing" the rectum is not difficult; you merely lift the uterus and vagina away from it and cut.

How much skill does it take to do this? Remove the intestines from their mesenteric attachments? Remove a uterus? The answer is actually not much more than knowledge of their location. 1st year medical and anatomy students do this with no training other than following an atlas and the occasional prompting of a bored upperclassman--"No, NO! There!"

In the same description is this interesting finding:

Quote:
'The following parts were missing:- part of belly wall including the navel; the womb, the upper part of the vagina & part of the bladder,' (Sugden, 91)
. . . and with that, I doubt Jack is a surgeon or pathologist or one who has knowledge of either. Both know that when you incise the belly "from sternum to pubis" you have to cut around the navel. He did not do that; he had to remove it as a piece after his cutting to get access. Unfortunately, there are no photographs of the wounds to give a better appreciation of how he made his incision, but compare the famous sketch and photograph of Eddowes' incision, if it may be called that:





The superior part sutured is the autopsy incision. Notice how jagged and haphazard the abdominal incision is. That is simply not an abdominal incision a surgeon, pathologist, or even a medical student would make. It is not as efficient as a traditional incision. This wound along with the extent into the genitals with cuts in the groin is more part of Jack's fetish rather than skill. The type of person who slices at a face. Or he simply does not know how to turn an abdominal flap.

It appears Jack learned from Chapman when he took Eddowes' uterus.

Now turn to Mary Kelly. Jack removes the breasts and heart the way an amateur would:

Quote:
[Dr. Bond writes--Ed.] Both breasts were removed by more or less circular incisions, the muscles down to the ribs being attached to the breasts. The intercostals between the 4th, 5th & 6th ribs were cut & the contents of the thorax visible through the openings (Sugden, 319).
This is someone interested in mutilation.

Jack did not bring the tools a surgeon or pathologist or a medical student who ever had to dissect anyone would use: SCISSORS!!

Thus, in my opinion, Jack had only a knowledge a butcher would have or someone who may have had the opportunity to study textbooks, pictures. Maybe he observed an autopsy. Perhaps he has practiced on animals. At best, he is a beginner.

Which, of course means he must be

Yours truly,

--J.D.
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Old 03-23-2008, 04:43 PM
Howard Brown Howard Brown is offline
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gives an idea of how "hidden" the kidneys are if you remove the intestines.

So what is the big deal? One can not simply "pull out" the small intestines, find the kidney, "snip!" The person has to detach them from the mesentery and know where the kidney is located to find it. Other than that, removal is a piece of cake.

Nice presentation Doctor X.

I for one wonder if the lighting was sufficient in that part of Mitre Square for the killer to see the kidney without looking for it with any sort of intent...or whether he intended to take the kidney or any organ in general which presented itself after the assult on her insides and despite the possible absence of sufficient ambient or manmade lighting simply got "lucky".

The reason I mention this is that I sort of sit on the fence about the "intent" aspect of the evisceration.

The primary reason I suspect some sort of intent...and this is merely a thought...is that he didn't simply rip out the kidney, he cut it,as you mentioned in the previous post....and left one inch of renal artery as well.

Six or one half dozen of the other, I suppose, but if the assault on her body has a moment where he seems to use discretion or seems to pause, its at the point where he first comes into contact with the kidney.

Your thoughts?
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  #5  
Old 03-23-2008, 04:51 PM
Bob Hinton Bob Hinton is offline
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The problem with using numerous diagrams to show the position of various organs is that the mutilations were not part of an anatomy class.

For example if I handed you a rabbit and told you to remove the kidneys, unless you had some practical experience it would be nigh on impossible.

Yet I've done it hundreds of times. It's simple. Put the rabbit on its back, insert the point of your knife between his rear legs and slit up. Hold it by the neck, reach up inside, grab the innards and pull. There on the floor somewhere will be the kidneys.

Whether or not the person who mutilated Eddowes had skill, there was so little light available that to deliberately remove a particular organ would be well nigh impossible.
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Old 03-23-2008, 04:58 PM
Howard Brown Howard Brown is offline
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Judge Hinton:

Fair enough. You're absolutely right. No one studies mutilation in anatomy class.

Do you believe that in the absence of lighting...and that no deliberate attempt to find a specific organ was present...that upon the initial contact with the kidney, that the pause to cut the renal artery constitutes intent at that critical juncture?
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Old 03-23-2008, 05:09 PM
perrymason
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Hinton View Post

For example if I handed you a rabbit and told you to remove the kidneys, unless you had some practical experience it would be nigh on impossible.

Whether or not the person who mutilated Eddowes had skill, there was so little light available that to deliberately remove a particular organ would be well nigh impossible.
Hi Bob,

I captured the two bits above to address If I could. On your first point, I believe that unless you are a hunter, butcher, or have cut into carcasses, I feel you are 100% correct. Regardless of whether I can just scoop out the inner workings to get at it easily, I really couldn't tell you what one should look like while in a human, or to what it would be attached. Sure.. I could just look it up and study for a bit before attempting it...but that makes me then somewhat familiar with anatomy...not ignorant of it, as many suggest Jack was.

On the second point though, if one had familiarity with cutting into bodies of humans or animals, as you said you are with the Rabbit, then he might make a mess in the dark but could probably identify and locate the organ desired with only his hands.

And I dont think it should be ignored that although the uterus was only partial in this case for his take away bag...which was likely the apron, he did take it too.

I think a reasonable statement is that the only 2 Canonical victims who revealed possible skill and knowledge on the killers part are Annie and Kate. The uterus came out perfect in Hanbury, and that wasn't operating theater lighting..although dawn was assisting somewhat I suppose. And in Kates case, he obtains an organ which is located in her lower back, from her front.

He may have been messy due to lighting, or time, or fear, ...that doesn't make him an amateur, it shows perhaps he was focussed on a goal, and that was the important part to get right, and he could afford to be careless when dealing with the "obstacles" on the way...like intestines.

My best regards Bob.

Last edited by perrymason : 03-23-2008 at 05:16 PM.
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  #8  
Old 03-23-2008, 05:31 PM
Doctor X Doctor X is offline
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You are both correct.

The diagrams serve to show why the kidneys are considered "hidden" and why the removal was considered so "expert" to those use to dissections. The problem is that one can read into the findings significance that is not there, like trying to make Eddowes' facial wounds "significant" if you stare at them the right way.

Case in point is the leaving of an inch of the renal artery. I recall this being a "significant" point for some reason. Well, the left renal artery is between roughly 2.59 and 5.11 cm in length (Talenfield, et al.). So . . . he cut near the hilus of the kidney which is where most people would cut. Less dissection that way. If he left half-an-inch I wonder if that would be deemed "significant!"

It is not nearly as easy as tearing the guts out of a bunny--"And I will hug him and squeeze him!"--but it is not nearly as impossible as suggested by those who deem he must have been a medical professional.

Bottom line: if Jack was "medically trained" and if his interest was gathering organs primarily--for whatever fetish--he did not use the tools such would use--scissors. Easy to conceal. Easier to use than a knife. It appears he was more interested in mutilation. His opportunity, ability, and perhaps interest grew, particularly if one accepts Tabram as a victim. He mutilates a victim, takes a few souvenirs. In that respect, Howard, Jack probably could have mutilated, taken the easy souvenirs--uterus--the with the removal of the intestines could have bloody well felt the kidney. "Cool! Something to take!" Notice he does not take the kidney in any other victim--including Mary Kelly.

Anyways, the point is that a surgeon, a pathologist, or a medical student who has spent a day or two in his dissections, would have done it differently. Otherwise, such threw out basic understanding to mutilate.

Of course . . . this could have been all answered better if they bothered to have taken more pictures!

--J.D.

Reference:

Talenfeld AD, Schwope RB, et al, "MDCT Angiography of the Renal Arteries in Patients with Atherosclerotic Renal Artery Stenosis: Implications for Renal Artery Stenting with Distal Protection," AJR 2007; 188: 1652-1658.

Last edited by Doctor X : 03-23-2008 at 05:52 PM. Reason: [To reference the reference he referenced without referencing it.--Ed.]
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  #9  
Old 03-23-2008, 05:36 PM
Doctor X Doctor X is offline
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. . . oh and the kidney is not located in the back. It is plastered up against the posterior abdominal wall.

The reason surgeons go through the flank is to remain retroperitoneal--not actually enter the abdominal cavity. Much easier. Keeps the bowels out of the way. It is also a "shorter" distance and you do not have to move things out of the way that you want to keep.

But Jack does not care about such! If you do not care about damaging things, through the abdomen is just fine and dandy! Incidentally, he damaged Eddowes' aorta in his "rummaging around." Bad form for a surgeon!

--J.D.
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Old 03-23-2008, 05:47 PM
Dan Norder Dan Norder is offline
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If we knew that Jack tossed a farthing across Mitre square and it happened to land on a specific cobblestone, would it make more sense to assume that:

•He had excellent night vision, an amazingly accurate aim, and some fascination with that particular cobblestone?

or

•That it landed where it landed and he didn't plan where exactly that would be beforehand?

A kidney was taken in this instance and this instance only. It seems odd to assume that the killer set out specifically to get that kidney instead of just pushing his hands in, feeling something promising, and taking it out.

As an old television commercial for a fast food restaurant put it, "Parts is parts."
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