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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Witnesses

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Old 06-29-2008, 07:57 PM
Ben Ben is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 6,731

Hi Richard,

I wouldn't pay any attention to that alleged account by Mrs. Cox's niece. It's second-hand after-the-event hearsay of the worst type, and clearly contradicted Cox's original inquest evidence and police report.

Best regards,
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Old 06-29-2008, 08:31 PM
richardnunweek richardnunweek is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,264

Hello Ben,
You feel that it would be unwise to put any faith in the account of the sighting described by Coxs niece, calling it just second hand, and proberly worthless as a likely happening.
When it comes to trying to decipher fact from fiction with regard to witnesses accounts made during that Autumn of Terror, I tend to look for little snippits of credibility in accounts.
For Exsample.
The alleged meeting with Mjk by Prater at the court entrance at 9pm on the 8th iI would give marks of truth, because of two remarks made'She had her coat and bonnet on, I do not own any' and 'She said 'Goodnight my pretty, the name she always called me'
Both those quotes have a ring of truth of a sighting.
Another Exsample.
I was standing at my door waiting for my hubby to come home from the pub, when Mary came down the passage saying 'All right Luv dont pull me along'
He was a real toff, tall hat but not silk'
Again a ring of truth.
Another Exsample.
'She said 'Ive lost my hankerchef' he handed her one, a red one, and gave him a kiss.
That remark obviously comes from Gh, also the description of kelly being accosted by Astracan, and the laughter shared, and the walk back with hand placed on marys shoulder. all has the hallmarks of truth,
And a final exsample.
Caroline Maxwell.
'She said[Kelly] 'I have the horrors of drink' as I have been drinking for some days past, also the pointing to vomit close by.
Also if one takers the wording'Her eyes looked queer, as if she was suffering from a heavy cold' and put that in relation with I have lost my hankerchef', we have a line of form from two different witnesses which could fit nicely with Kellys hangover look.
I hope this makes sense, it is simply the way I attempt to analyse 'Fact from possible fiction'.
Regards Richard.
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Old 06-29-2008, 09:04 PM
Ben Ben is offline
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Posts: 6,731

Hi Richard,

Unfortunately, a "ring of truth" is meaningless if the source is dubious or non-existent. For example, where does "Goodnight my pretty" come from, if not from any inquest evidence, police report or even press report? It's not a contemporary source and far from having a ring of truth, it has all the hallmarks of obvious fiction and embellishment. Don't be tempted to think that lots of seemingly trivial or peripheral detail makes the account more plausible. It doesn't. It makes it worse. The image of a "real toff" in a top hat being reprimanded by Kelly for pulling her along is classic "Gladstone bag" syndrome of the order that panders to popular ripper myth. It's like claiming to have seen a monster in Loch Ness with a long neck, three humps and a tartan scarf.

The "lost my handkerchief" account at least derived from a documented primary source, but in that case, the physical conditions simply didn't facillitate the witness' claims. Bear in mind that a "ring of truth" is a deeply subjective entity and a matter for personal interpretation. In this case, for example, I see less rings of truth and more indications of borrowing from earlier witness sightings to make the current one appear more plausible. Your mileage may vary, and probably does.

All the best,

Last edited by Ben : 06-29-2008 at 09:07 PM.
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Old 06-30-2008, 02:25 AM
Posts: n/a

Originally Posted by Sam Flynn View Post
That's not the case, Mike, because Hutchinson claims he saw her going indoors just after 2 AM, and his statement is on record too. As is Caroline Maxwell's. I see no a priori reason why one should deem Mrs Cox's evidence to be more "accepted" than any of the other witnesses.

Anyone who really wants to solve this murder needs to take account of ALL the evidence. Changing the parameters in the direction one would like them to take is just not cricket.
Hi Sam,

George Hutchinsons account is on record, its on record as of the 13th... and it was abandoned before Nov 16th. Caroline Maxwells account of record, at Inquest, was not seriously considered from the outset, she was warned about even giving it, as it disagreed with the estimated Time of Death by the senior medical man of these cases, and it suggests a time of death that is in variance with the condition of her corpse.

We also have witnesses that claim they saw men on the grassy knoll behind a fence in Dallas on November 22, 1963, and smoke rising from there when gunshots were heard. Do those accounts also still get to be factored in that case? Seems to me those claims had little impact on the investigations conclusions.

So should George's and Caroline's, when determining what actually occurred involving Mary Kelly after 11:45pm on Nov 8th, 1888. George say he saw Mary Kelly enter again with a man at a time when Mary Ann Cox is still trying to make money. When she comes in around 3am, the courtyard is still dark and quiet, as it had been since before 1:30am. Caroline Maxwell said she spoke with a woman she believed was Mary Kelly, at a time when Bond's finding say her corpse was in room 13.

I dont suggest ignoring the accepted evidence though. Which came from Mary Ann Cox, on Marys arrival home and her companion....and Mrs Praters and Sarah Lewis's statements, hearing a cry out of "oh-murder" at approximately the same hour, ...and Barnett, McCarthy and Bowyer, when they id'd the body.

Might be a wise choice not extending a superior level of credibility to two individuals that we do not know even knew Mary Jane, let alone saw her that night, or the following morning...when we do have people who lived in her courtyard, and had slept in her bed.
Despite the many opinions to the contrary, it is not possible to make a silk purse from a sows ear.

Best regards

Last edited by perrymason : 06-30-2008 at 02:31 AM.
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