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Old 01-04-2019, 12:00 PM
Bridewell Bridewell is offline
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Default Michel Eyraud & The Pinchin Street Torso

Does anyone have any thoughts on Michel Eyraud as a possible candidate to be the Torso Killer? He was convicted of the August 1889 murder of Toussaint-Augsent Gouffe whose dismembered body was found in a canvas bag near a river in Lyon after having previously placed in a trunk. The trunk in question was purchased by Eyraud at a shop on the Euston Road in London in the preceding June. As Eyraud was known to travel extensively I'm wondering why this purchase of a new trunk was necessary. Was it because a previous trunk had been put to the same use? Purely speculative of course - but I do wonder as the MO fits.Not sure if the dates fit?
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Last edited by Bridewell : 01-04-2019 at 12:03 PM.
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Old 01-04-2019, 12:28 PM
Sam Flynn Sam Flynn is offline
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Thanks Bridewell. Hadn't heard of the Eyraud case, so had to look it up... most interesting!

The Pinchin Street killer apparently didn't see the need for special packaging, be it a trunk or a canvas bag, and the victim in the French case was a man lured to his death by his girlfriend apparently in cahoots with Eyraud. All three protagonists were rather well-to-do people, so I can't see Eyraud getting too involved with the stews and slums around Pinchin Street. Taking all that into account, I doubt that Eyraud was responsible for the Pinchin Street torso.

What's useful about this case is that it just goes to reaffirm that it isn't particularly unusual for independent killers to resort to dismembering their victims prior to disposal.
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Old 01-04-2019, 01:27 PM
Fisherman Fisherman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Flynn View Post
Thanks Bridewell. Hadn't heard of the Eyraud case, so had to look it up... most interesting!

The Pinchin Street killer apparently didn't see the need for special packaging, be it a trunk or a canvas bag, and the victim in the French case was a man lured to his death by his girlfriend apparently in cahoots with Eyraud. All three protagonists were rather well-to-do people, so I can't see Eyraud getting too involved with the stews and slums around Pinchin Street. Taking all that into account, I doubt that Eyraud was responsible for the Pinchin Street torso.

What's useful about this case is that it just goes to reaffirm that it isn't particularly unusual for independent killers to resort to dismembering their victims prior to disposal.
There were marks from a sack on the skin of the Pinchin Street torso, so we can probably rule out a suitcase.
It is and remains unusual, though, to dismember people. When it happens, it is normally a question of practicality, like here in the Eyraud case. The fewest murder cases involve such practical dismemberment, but the REAL watershed is linked to the dismemberment cases where the removal of the limbs is led on by a sickly wish to take a body apart. Cases like that are extremely rare.
Finally, cases where there IS such a sickly urge to dismember at hand, become ridiculously rare when and if we add an element of evisceration.
No two such cases have ever surfaced in the same city at the same approximate time, nor are they likely to do so forthwith, but if they DO, we can be nigh on certain that they will at least not involve the same odd peculiarities - suggesting such a thing could happen is not compatible with the laws of logic.

And nevertheless, that is the exact proposition that is made out here.

Just saying.

Last edited by Fisherman : 01-04-2019 at 01:44 PM.
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Old 01-04-2019, 02:11 PM
Sam Flynn Sam Flynn is offline
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Nah - sorry, Fish. Many killers over the centuries have hit upon the ploy of chopping up their victims and getting rid of the parts. Here we have an example of someone doing the same thing during the same years as the London torso murders, albeit the cases were separated by the English Channel.

Still, the Ripper murders and all but one of the torso cases were separated by about a million residents, and several miles of road straddling an imaginary line running through Trafalgar Square that neatly split London into its West and East Ends. Whilst that's not exactly the English Channel, it's quite a divide nonetheless.
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Old 01-04-2019, 02:44 PM
Fisherman Fisherman is offline
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Sam Flynn: Nah - sorry, Fish. Many killers over the centuries have hit upon the ploy of chopping up their victims and getting rid of the parts. Here we have an example of someone doing the same thing during the same years as the London torso murders, albeit the cases were separated by the English Channel.

Yes, you are probably right - dismemberment murders are surely very common. I guess that is why I can find these US statistics online:

"The vast majority of the country’s 13,000 or so annual homicides are accomplished with firearms, according to FBI statistics — just 13 percent are carried out with knives or other cutting instruments. And of those, dismemberment killings are so rare that they make headlines when they do happen."


To be frank, Gareth, it is utterly useless and slightly daft to point to how dismemberment cases have occurred over the years - it still applies that they are very rare things. Let's not try and obfuscate that, shall we? Let's be fair and honest!


Still, the Ripper murders and all but one of the torso cases were separated by about a million residents, and several miles of road straddling an imaginary line running through Trafalgar Square that neatly split London into its West and East Ends. Whilst that's not exactly the English Channel, it's quite a divide nonetheless.

And taking the abdominal walls away in sections is quite a similarity! There is no realistic chance of two killers. We can conclude beyond reasonable doubt that we have the same perp in both series. All that remains to be concluded is the whys and hows.
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Old 01-05-2019, 10:49 AM
Bridewell Bridewell is offline
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12th July 1889: Eyraud and his mistress, Gabrielle Bompard (a former prostitute), buy a trunk in the Euston Road.

July 14th 1889:Bompard goes to Paris.

17th July 1889:Bompard returns to London.

20th July 1889: Eyraud and Bompard travel to Paris.

27th July 1889:Victim Gouffe disappears in Paris.

15th August 1889:Gouffe's dismembered body discovered near Lyon.

17th August 1889:Blood-stained trunk found nearby.

10th September 1889:Pinchin Street torso discovered. Estimated date of death being 8th September.

January 1890:Bompard hands herself in to Prefecture in Paris.

20th May 1890:Michel Eyraud arrested in Cuba.

Where were Eyraud and Bompard in September 1889? If they'd left France, as seems likely, who's to say they weren't in London?
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Old 01-05-2019, 10:49 AM
Fisherman Fisherman is offline
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A little something to enlighten us all about just how common dismemberment murders are. This abstract relates to a German study:

[Criminal dismemberment of the corpse].

[Article in German]
Koops E, Burwinkel K, Kleiber M, Püschel K.
Abstract
In the period from 1959 to 1984 the Institute of Legal Medicine in Hamburg had to investigate 27 cases of criminal dismemberment. With regard to all legal autopsies the average frequency was about 1:500. A distinct increase of the number of cases is noticeable within the last years; i.e., 1984 there were 6 victims. Our study enclosed the autopsy findings, the police investigations, and the available court records. 11 cases were classified as defensive and 16 cases as offensive dismemberment of bodies (among these: 2 cases of dismemberment after stealing the corpse and 2 cases of killing the victims by decapitation). One perpetrator had 3 victims, twice there was a perpetrator with 2 victims. The victims were of all ages, but mainly between 40 and 50 years old. 22 of them were female and 5 male. 16 perpetrators could be identified, 14 of them were male and 2 female; all of them were older than 30 years, mostly between the age of 40 and 50. The psychiatric experts classified 11 of the perpetrators as "normal," 3 as abnormal, and 2 as psychotic. More details concerning victims, perpetrators, used instruments for killing and dismembering, elimination and identification of the dismembered bodies and judicial aspects are given in this paper.


So it would seem that in Hamburg, a metropolis of some 3 million people, suburbs included, there was roughly one (1) dismemberment murder per year between 1959 and 1984.
The rate increased a lot in the later years, meaning that it was an even rarer crime in the olden days.
The rate is one (1) dismemberment murder per 500 murders, if I read correctly.

Anybody who claims that a ratio of 1 dismemberment murder per 500 murders makes the crime type "common" needs a reality check.

To note: There were 16 perpetrators identified. None of these were under the age of 30.
If that holds any real significance, then men like Chapman, Druitt and Kosminski look like poor candidates for being dismemberment killers, whereas another suspect, no name mentioned, seems a lot more viable...

All of this predisposes that I have read and understood the abstract correctly. Corrections are welcomed, statements that dismemberment murders are "common", not so much.
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Old 01-05-2019, 10:50 AM
Fisherman Fisherman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bridewell View Post
12th July 1889: Eyraud and his mistress, Gabrielle Bompard (a former prostitute), buy a trunk in the Euston Road.

July 14th 1889:Bompard goes to Paris.

17th July 1889:Bompard returns to London.

20th July 1889: Eyraud and Bompard travel to Paris.

27th July 1889:Victim Gouffe disappears in Paris.

15th August 1889:Gouffe's body discovered near Lyon.

17th August 1889:Blood-stained trunk found nearby.

10th September 1889:Pinchin Street torso discovered. Estimated date of death being 8th September.

20th May 1890:Michel Eyraud arrested in Cuba.

Where was Eyraud in September 1889? If he'd left France, as seems likely, who's to say he wasn't in London?
Or Nicaragua. Or the US, whence the two apparently travelled in the summer of 89.

Last edited by Fisherman : 01-05-2019 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 01-05-2019, 11:13 AM
Bridewell Bridewell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fisherman View Post
Or Nicaragua. Or the US, whence the two apparently travelled in the summer of 89.
They left France probably sometime in August 1889 around the time that the Lyon body was discovered. Difficult to get to the US from France without either visiting or at least passing the UK. Will check Ancestry to see if I can find them on any passenger lists around that time. As you've pointed out, torso killings are very rare - and Eyraud and Bompard were torso killers.
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Old 01-05-2019, 11:26 AM
Bridewell Bridewell is offline
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Haven't found anything for 1889 for either of them - to the UK, US, Nicaragua or anywhere else, but clearly Eyraud must have left the country somehow, even if Bompard did not.
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