CLANGER THE CONJURER
My 'Breaking Point' article was rather well timed on the last Orsam Day, coming on the very same day that Christer Holmgren started a thread on the Forum about the blood evidence. I'll come to that shortly, but we must first look at the Clanger's hysterical reaction to a part of my article.
Having read what I said about Holmgren's book, the Clanger immediately, and in much haste, made a post in the thread 'Every Minute Counts' which was specifically dedicated to the blood evidence, to say something which had nothing to do with the blood evidence!
Despite the fact that the majority of my article related to the blood evidence, the Clanger wasn't interested in any of that.
So consumed is the Clanger with his hatred of me, that the red mist descended and compelled him to write a ludicrous off-topic post in the blood evidence thread about an 1876 inquest relating to the death of young Walter Williams in which the Clanger's conjuring skills were in great evidence.
The incredible thing about the Clanger's post is that he completely ignored the point of what I had said which was that Christer Holmgren had written in his book that, 'four out of the six witnesses...apparently stated their addresses at the inquiry'. The entire point of my section relating to this part of Holmgren's book was that Holmgren was agreeing with I had previously said on this topic and, by doing so, had thrown the Clanger under the bus, because the Clanger had always insisted that FIVE out of the six witnesses had stated their addresses at the inquiry.
When posting in the Forum, the Clanger completely ignored Holmgren's claim about the four witnesses (and four witnesses only) having stated their addresses at the inquest. He skipped past it as if it wasn't there, even though he was actually posting in Christer Holmgren's own thread and debating with him! All I did in my article was effectively repeat what Holmgren had said in his book and agreed with him. So why on god's green earth was I, Lord Orsam, the Clanger's target, not Holmgren? It makes no sense, unless he is maniacally obsessed with me (which, as we all know, he is). I mean, why not just take up the point with Holmgren? He knows I can't post in the thread in reply to him, so it strikes me as craziness to direct the force of his unbridled anger at me.
But let's just look at what he said about me. The first thing he said was that Lord Orsam 'somehow misses' one of the three witnesses at the inquest whose addresses were published in full (although I assume he meant to say four witnesses). Of course, Lord Orsam missed no such thing.
In my initial article on the subject, Crossing the Line, I had posted the full inquest report. This showed that in the case of the evidence of George Porter it was stated:
'George Porter, a traveller, said on Thursday, at about four o'clock in the afternoon, he was outside his brother's shop, 3 Elizabeth-terrace, when he witnessed the accident'.
You can compare this with the three witnesses who did give their full addresses:
Walter Williams, of 36, Cloudesley-road, a jeweller...
Henriette Owen, of 100, Aldenham-street..
William Warner, of 25, Henry Street...
It's a huge difference!
The other witness, incidentally, whose address was not given in full but it was an address, was the medical man of whom it was stated:
Dr Hindaugh, of Barnsbury-road...
As the Clanger knows full well, I stated in Lord Orsam Says...Part 4 that:
'What the newspaper does say is that George Porter was standing outside his brother's shop at 3 Elizabeth Terrace when he witnessed the incident but that was neither given as George Porter's address nor the residential address of his brother.'
The Clanger knows this, so that it is extraordinary for him to now be claiming that I had missed the reference to 3 Elizabeth Terrace in the newspaper report. He knows I'm fully aware of it but, of course, he always likes to frame things in way that I must have missed or overlooked something, even when he knows it's not true.
Now, what I found so amusing about the Clanger's latest petulant response to being caught out in an error was his magnificent conjuring trick in trying to escape from what he originally said.
By way of reminder, his original claim was that:
'It's strange that an address was given for every other witness but the carman's was omitted.'
Now, here is the wonderful sleight of hand he adopted in his post #58 of the Forum thread, 'Every minute counts', while claiming that I obscured the point being made (underlining added):
'No address or location was provided for Cross, for all the other witnesses one was.'
Ha ha! Do you see it? Of course you do. I underlined it! He knows it's not correct to say that Porter's address was stated - because it wasn't - so he's craftily and deviously slipped in the word 'location'.
Expect that by doing so he's destroyed himself.
For Cross's location at the time of the accident was ALSO stated in the newspaper report. Hence:
'Charles Cross, carman to Pickford and Co, said he was crossing with his van from Copenhagen-street to Elizabeth-street...'
In other words, while George Porter said that he was standing outside his brother's shop at 3 Elizabeth Terrace at the time of the accident, Cross said he was at the crossing Copenhagen Street to Elizabeth Street. Both men gave their locations!
The Clanger's done himself, hasn't he boys and girls?
Now, in case it should be said that the Clanger was only trying to say that Porter had given a location at which he could be contacted, i.e. his brother's shop, exactly the same is true of Cross. He could have been contacted at Pickford and Co.
As to that, we might want to note that one thing we find from the original depositions (as reflected in court reports) is that professionals often did NOT give their home address when attending court hearings in a professional capacity. Policemen didn't and medical men based at hospitals would usually just state the name of their hospital, not their residential address. If the managing director or chairman (or whatever his title was) of Pickford & Co had come to court to give evidence about Pickfords' practices, I would imagine he would simply have stated the company address, not his own personal address.
Anyway, there shouldn't be any need to re-argue an issue that was already disposed of by me in part 4 of 'Lord Orsam Says...'. I wasn't arguing about that in my response to Holmgren's book. The short point is that my 'Breaking Point' article was doing no more than pointing out that it was Christer Holmgren who had thrown the Clanger under a bus by agreeing with me that addresses were only given in the press reports for FOUR of the six witnesses, not FIVE as the Clanger had claimed.
So why didn't the Clanger take it up with Holmgren who was posting in the very same thread that he was? Well you'll have to take that up with the Clanger once he's stopped seething at the realization that he's managed to cock it up all over again!
I can't be the only one who thought that Holmgren's OP in his 'Framing Charles' thread was utterly ludicrous. It seemed to be an attempt to argue against the notion that Cross could have been framed by someone in 1888 but I've never heard anyone make such an argument. The only person who's been accused of framing Charles Cross is Holmgren himself!
Which brings me nicely onto to his thread 'Every Minute Counts'. It's a pointless thread. Blood can ooze from a body for well over 15 minutes after death. It's not even controversial. No-one with any expertise in the subject would be at all surprised to find blood oozing from a body 20 minutes after death. In News of the Ooze I gave the clearest possible example of blood oozing from a dead body half an hour after death!
For that reason, anyone could have murdered Nichols. Not just Lechmere, but anyone who was there prior to Lechmere's arrival. She could easily have been murdered at 3.30am.
Holmgren himself admits in his OP that he has come to realize that:
'people with the kind of damage Nichols had may actually well bleed for twenty minutes. Or thirty. Or forty'.
That being so, I fail to see what more there is to argue. Holmgren tries to re-frame the question into how long was it 'likely' for Nichols to have 'gone on to bleed'. Not only is this a pointless question bearing in mind that it was perfectly possible for blood to have been oozing from Nichols' wound after 30 minutes, so that no forensic pathologist would be surprised by it, but he never gets an answer from his expert to that question.
For, as I demonstrated in 'Breaking Point', Jason Payne-James only told him about the likely time of blood flow after death. He was never asked, and he never dealt with, the issue of blood oozing. So, from Payne James, we literally have no idea how long he would have said it was likely that blood could ooze from a dead body.
As I mentioned in 'Breaking Point', even Holmgren's own Swedish pathologist seems to contradict Payne-James, but the key point is that this pathologist has never been quoted by Holmgren so we don't know what he said about the matter in his own words. I find that quite extraordinary. You can say what you like about Trevor Marriott but when he reported what Dr Biggs had told him, he quite properly did so in Biggs' own words.
As to that, Biggs made clear that there are two possible stages of what Holmgren would describe as 'post mortem bleeding'. The first is a blood flow where blood can be seen to gush out from a body, followed by a period of possible oozing. It's the oozing period that we need to focus on but Payne-James only spoke of the period of the flow of blood.
Holmgren tries to frame Lechmere for the murder by a tortured twisting of logic whereby each minute extra that blood was seen oozing from the body makes it more likely that Lechmere was her killer. There is truly no warrant for this ridiculous claim.
Why didn't he just ask his experts if the fact that PC Neil saw blood oozing from Nichols' body five or six minutes after Lechmere had found the body means that Lechmere was the likely murderer? I'll tell you why. Because there is no way that any reputable expert would ever say such a thing. All we have is tortuous twisted logic from Holmgren trying to twist the evidence to arrive at this conclusion.
During the thread, Holmgren continued to misrepresent the evidence of the two experts he consulted (while ignoring in its entirety the evidence of Dr Biggs). Hence we find in #19 a reference to:
'the 3-5 minute space where the pathologists placed the likely ending of the bleeding'
But there was no such 3-5 minute space! Holmgren has imagined it. What Payne James said was that blood 'may continue to flow' for up to seven minutes but that the shorter periods of three or five minutes were 'more realistic'. That, however, is flowing, not bleeding because bleeding incorporates oozing, which Payne James said nothing about.
As for his Swedish expert, even Holmgren admits that he said that a seeping bleeding could go on for 'ten to fifteen minutes'. In Holmgren's book he literally says nothing about three minutes but is supposed to agree with Payne James that five minutes of bleeding (which Payne James did not say, having used the expression 'blood...flow') is more likely than seven minutes but without the actual quote it's impossible to know what kind of 'bleeding' the Swedish expert was here talking about.
To repeat the key point. Dr Biggs said that it was unlikely that a significant quantity of blood would flow from a body'several minutes' after death. I am quite sure that this is also what both Payne James and the Swedish expert were saying. Every expert seems in agreement that this type of extended flow would be unlikely. But Dr Biggs added that it would certainly be possible for there to be oozing of blood from a body 20 minutes later.
So there is a massive distinction between blood flowing from a body and blood oozing from a body and Holmgren, with his apparent allergy to the word "oozing", never asked either of his experts about oozing nor about the likelihood of blood oozing from a body 20 or 30 minutes after death.
But even if one of those experts were to say it's not likely to see blood oozing twenty minutes after death (which I suspect they would not do but let's say hypothetically they did) it truly means nothing if, at the same time, they would say that it's possible for such oozing to occur so that they would not be surprised if they, themselves, would find it happening when attending a dead body.
If that's the case then you cannot possibly use it as evidence against Lechmere. You cannot do what Holmgren does, either legally, ethically or logically, to twist it around into a calculation of the likelihood of Lechmere being the murderer because real life just doesn't work like that.
We're not even talking about a rare or uncommon event. We are talking about something that no pathologist would be surprised to see. Holmgren didn't even dare ask his pathologists if they would be surprised to see it! How is that even fair on Lechmere?
In #52 we find Holmgren responding to Trevor Marriot who had stated that there is no way of telling how long Nichols had been bleeding, by saying:
'Not exactly, no - but we know for certain that it exceeds the likely time frame the pathologists spoke of'.
This is false. Payne James never spoke of the likely time frame for blood oozing. He simply wasn't asked! The Swedish pathologist seems have spoken of a likely time frame for 'seeping bleeding' of ten to fifteen minutes, thus not exceeding the time frame referred to by Trevor Marriott. So Holmgren's statement is wrong for both of his pathologists!
Yet, he kept repeating the point. Thus in #53:
'Whichever way we look at things, it must be accepted that the total amount of time could not have been five minutes only, far from it, and that is what it would take to reach the window of time the two pathologists name as the likely bleeding period'.
I mean it's false, obviously, but just so blatant. Payne James never spoke of 'the likely bleeding period' at all. He said nothing more than that he guessed that blood could continue to FLOW for up to seven minutes after death but that the period of blood flow of three or five minutes was more realistic, thus corroborating what Dr Biggs said about the period of blood flow.
What Holmgren does by changing Payne James' actual words of 'blood...flow' to 'bleeding period' is to deviously attempt to incorporate oozing into the expert's answer. As far as I'm concerned, the idea that Payne James would say that blood is unlikely to ooze out of a body more than five minutes after death seems so incredibly unlikely to the point where we can say with a degree of certainty that it just can't be possible for him to have said it or to have intended to say it. For one thing, it just doesn't match evidence of cases where blood is known to have been oozing for much longer than that. It doesn't match what Dr Biggs has said. It doesn't even seem to match what Holmgren's own Swedish expert said. So the very idea that Payne James declared blood oozing after five minutes as being unlikely is, itself, so unlikely as to be something that can be entirely ruled out.
Holmgren's attempt to frame Lechmere with the blood evidence by claiming that 'every minute counts' when it does not, fails in its entirety.
There was a fantastic moment in the 'Every minute counts' thread when Holmgren accused one poster, Dusty Strange, of 'avoiding the input from the real experts' (#206). In circumstances where Holmgren has totally avoided the clear and unambiguous statement of Dr Biggs regarding post-mortem oozing and preferred to focus on vague and ambiguous statements from Payne James and Thiblin which, in the case of the latter, he hasn't even quoted, either in his book or in his Forum thread, neither of whom mention oozing, and whose words he literally changes in his summaries, it really is hilarious that he even thought he could get away with such a statement.
No wonder that as soon as the going got a bit tough he did his usual disappearing act!
THE CLANGING CLANGER CLANGS
More than four hours after his off-topic post in the 'Every Minute Counts' thread, to which no-one had responded, the Clanger returned - because he just can't help himself - with a follow-up post (#59) in which he reproduced the newspaper report of the 1876 inquest into the death of young Walter Williams which did nothing more than prove my point that the address of George Porter wasn't given in that report because it said nothing more than that he was standing outside his brother's shop when he witnessed the road accident.
Then the Clanger went on to say:
'Would it have been a responsible act for the Coroner to have disclosed Cross's home address in open court?'
That is, of course, a totally different issue from the one I was addressing in 'Breaking Point'. In that article I was doing no more than discussing the number of witnesses whose addresses were stated in the newspaper report of the inquest. That was a simple question of mathematics. Clearly, only addresses for four of the witnesses were stated (as Holmgren had said in his book). The Clanger was wrong to say it was five and that's the end of it.
What the Clanger was doing with his question here was attempting to draw conclusions from the newspaper report and assuming that, because Cross's address wasn't included in the report, it wasn't 'disclosed' in open court.
The Clanger seems to be making assumptions based on his total ignorance for which he has no excuse, because in my article Crossing the Line I gave the example of a case where a carman involved in a similar incident WAS required to state his address in open court. I gave full details in 'Crossing the Line' but, by way of reminder, here is the extract of the evidence of the carman, William Whittaker (or Whitaker), at an inquest into the death of Rev. Henry Jones, as reported in the Holloway Press of 11 May 1878:
We can clearly see that the address of this 17-year-old carman is given as being St John's-street, West Smithfield. The absence of a door number, incidentally, is consistent with another witness in the same report, namely Isaac Heywood, a carpet dealer, whose address was only given in the newspaper as 'Upper-street, Islington'. In both cases, I have no doubt that their full addresses were stated in court and entered into their depositions. Just like butcher William Bloomfield whose address in the newspaper report was stated to be 279 Goswell Road.
Now, was the coroner in this case being irresponsible in making Whittaker state his address in open court? The Clanger must think so. But to anyone who has actually read original inquest depositions, which the Clanger appears not to have done, the very question is absurd. All lay witnesses would be asked to state (or confirm) their occupation (if they had one) and address. This would have included Whittaker. And it clearly did include Whittaker in this case, hence the reporter for the Holloway Press was able to report that he lived in St John's Street.
I might add that not only had Whittaker been arrested for dangerous driving in respect of the reverend's death and, at the time of the inquest, was on remand, but, in his summing up, the coroner said that, 'he did not think that this was altogether a pure accident, for the driver confessed that he saw deceased before he got to the pavement....He pulled up suddenly when the accident occurred, and might have pulled up before'. He went on to say that this struck him as a typical example of a driver's determination to go straight on 'as if the road was theirs exclusively'. So despite this strongly worded condemnation of Whittaker, in circumstances where the adult son of the deceased (a student at Oxford) was in attendance at the inquest, he STILL required Whittaker to state his address in open court. Of course he did! Because that's the way things were done in the nineteenth century.
But there's a twist to this story. As I showed in 'Crossing the Line', the same report of the inquest in the previous day's 'Islington Gazette' included the evidence of William Whittaker but did NOT state the carman's address, hence:
If we only had that single report to guide us, no doubt the Clanger would be telling us emphatically that Whittaker was NOT required to state his address because the coroner didn't think it was the responsible thing to do, bearing in mind that he didn't think the death of Rev. Henry Jones was a pure accident. And the Clanger would be wrong.
Like I say, there's no excuse for the Clanger in not knowing all this because he read and responded to 'Crossing the Line' at the time I published it.
What my article shows is that a witness's address being included or not included in a newspaper report of an inquest bears no relation to whether that address was stated in open court and included in the deposition. Addresses for lay witnesses were almost always included in depositions. To know whether Cross stated his address in court we cannot simply rely on newspaper reports, we need his deposition. For all we know, perhaps the newspaper reporter didn't think it was the responsible thing to do to include Cross' address in the inquest report. That is completely irrelevant as to whether the address was or was not stated in court.
Lord Orsam insists that Charles Cross was very likely to have stated his address in his evidence during BOTH inquests. The reason is because all witnesses were asked their name, occupation and address by the coroner, which answers were naturally recorded in their depositions. We cannot draw any positive conclusions on this issue from the presentation in newspaper reports because an analysis of such reports shows variations and inconsistencies in the way addresses were reported, or not as the case may be.
I dealt with this entire issue in 'Crossing the Line' and the fact that the Clanger has ignored it simply shows his desire to avoid ever admitting error (something I've never known him to do in response to the numerous occasions where I've demonstrated he was wrong over a number of years) as opposed to getting to the truth of the matter.
BAFFLING THE FISH
It was amusing to read Holmgren's baffled response to the Clanger's post in his thread about the 1876 inquest: 'not sure why you posted that'.
For, indeed, it had nothing to do with the blood evidence which was the subject of the thread.
But the bigger mystery concerns the Clanger's response to Holmgren's book.
The Clanger finished reading 'Cutting Point' on 21 February 2021, at which time he posted:
'I was pleased to see the 1876 incident being given consideration'.
This means he must have read Holmgren saying this:
'we can see that four out of the six witnesses who are quoted in the article apparently stated their addresses at the inquiry'.
As I mentioned in 'Breaking Point', Holmgren was thereby disagreeing with the Clanger's publicly stated view that the addresses of FIVE out of the six witnesses were quoted in the article and that, as the Clanger believed, only Lechmere's address wasn't stated.
What did the Clanger have to say about this when responding to Holmgren's book on 21 February?
Yet, when I wrote the same thing, namely that 'Four out of the six witnesses did not have their addresses published in the local press report of the inquest' , the Clanger exploded with outrage and indignation, accusing me of missing something!
This shows that the Clanger isn't interested in the truth but with his own massive ego.
But let's face it. When even Christer Holmgren doesn't take a point against Lechmere by saying that he was the only witness whose address wasn't stated in the inquest, you must surely know you are in trouble.
The simple fact is that the Clanger made a mistake. He saw an address stated in George Porter's evidence but overlooked the fact that it wasn't Porter's address being given. But his massive ego won't allow him to admit to the mistake so he just blathers on nonsensically hoping that no-one will notice.
BACK TO HIS OLD WAYS
Regular visitors to this site will recall how I praised Christer Holmgren for not claiming pejoratively and inaccurately in his book that that Lechmere was 'found alone' with the dead body of Polly Nichols.
Well it didn't last long.
At #91 in the appropriately named 'Framing Charles' thread we find this:
'And Charles Lechmere was found alone with one of the Ripper victims at a moment in time when she would go on to bleed for many a minute.'
Oh dear. I guess he can't help himself. The only way to frame Charles, as he seems intent on doing, is to twist the English language to its breaking point.
Lechmere wasn't found alone with Nichols in any meaningful sense. He was standing in the middle of the road, while Nichols was lying on the pavement, when Paul first saw him in Bucks Row.
But, hey, Framers gonna frame.
CAT'S MEAT CLANGER
For anyone wondering why the Clanger is so utterly obsessed with cat's meat men, we may find a clue in #14 of his own thread 'Horse Meat Dealers' in which he tells us:
'Cat's Meat Men were figures of fun in Victorian society, the butt of jokes and songs'.
Perhaps he has a certain affinity with such figures of fun, knowing from bitter experience what it's like to be the butt of so many jokes.
THE REAL QUESTION
I still can't quite get over Christer Holmgren saying:
'Instead of asking "how long could Nichols bleed?" we should ask "how long is it likely she bled?".
He's wrong of course. What we should be asking is: how likely is it that Christer Holmgren knows what he's talking about?
The answer to that question is, of course, not very likely at all, which renders all other questions redundant.
THE FAIR FISHERMAN
Now this is a classic. When considering the "bleeding time" for Nichols, and the estimated time of death for Chapman, according to Christer Holmgren, we MUST consider, in order to be fair, that both women were absolutely normal human specimens with no deviation from the average person. Hence, in #117 of the 'Every Minute Counts' thread we find this beauty:
'The fairest way to do it - in my opinion - is to work from the presumption of normality until something else can be established'.
I'm not sure that Christer understands the concept of fairness. I think he must mean fairness to him and his attempt to frame Lechmere. Well I guess, sure, if we want to be fair to Christer in his attempt to frame Lechmere, we must assume that Nichols and Chapman were absolutely average healthy women with no deviations from the norm whatsoever.
This is despite Chapman having clear signs of TB and malnourishment and Nichols being 'not a particularly sober woman'.
But further, in the case of Nichols, Christer isn't just arguing that she should be regarded as physically normal but that there is only one normal range within which any form of 'bleeding', including oozing, can occur after death. The real problem for him is that, if it even exists, he simply hasn't established what that is. A guess from Payne James about the most realistic time for blood FLOW doesn't come anywhere near to doing it, despite Christer trying to pull of the biggest scam in criminological history by persuading the world that he's done it!
The truth is that, in considering whether someone has committed a murder on the basis of the 'bleeding time', the only FAIR way to approach the matter is to consider what the maximum possible 'bleeding time' is and assume that this is what happened in the case of Nichols (because there is literally of knowing that it did not). If, in doing that, we conclude that it's not possible to point the finger at Lechmere, then THAT is not only the fairest way to do it but the most logical and rational way too.
THE SUSPECT WHO NEVER WAS
Jon Hainsworth is back!
The American version of his book, apparently, has 'new information', as did the UK version, but that was a bit of a damp squib to say the least, as I explained in Bridge Over Troubled Water.
In his latest post on the Forum ('Message from Jon Hainsworth and Christine Ward-Agius', #1), Hainsworth tells us, bafflingly, that Druitt is 'not a suspect in the Whitechapel murders'. No, because you see, he was 'the solution to a handful of upper class Victorians'.
I confess that I stared blankly at my computer screen, attempting to process this information, but could not for the life of me fathom the distinction Hainsworth was trying to make. Surely the solution to the murders, by definition, involves identifying a suspect.
Anyway, let's not worry about that because it doesn't strike me as the most important point in the world.
I must confess to also not understanding Hainsworth's second argument in his post which is that Druitt did not 'die at the right time'. He puts those words in quotes so I assume someone has said them but I don't know who, or what the right time means. As far as I can see, Druitt did die at the right time if Mary Jane Kelly was the last victim. I think he's saying that Druitt wasn't the obvious suspect during the 1890s bearing in mind that there was a general belief that the Ripper continued murdering women in and after 1889 but I have great difficulty understanding why he's bothered to mention it. If Kelly was the Ripper's final victim then it's obvious that Druitt's suicide came at a time which shines suspicion on him, but no more than that.
So we now come on to the third argument Hainsworth makes, which is the only important one that I can see in his post. This relates to what he describes as a George Sims 'source from the Dec 1st 1891 issue of "The Referee" found by Christine'.
According to his book, the article in question was actually from the November 1st 1891 issue of The Referee, not December 1st. His transcript of the article, which also dates the relevant issue to 1 November 1891, can be found here.
So, you might ask, what's so amazingly important about this article by Sims that it becomes the centrepiece of Hainsworth's entire argument that Druitt was the suspect, sorry the solution of the Whitechapel murders?
Well, when we compare what Sims said to the way Hainsworth reports it, we find that Hainsworth is back to his old tricks of noting things said by someone which (vaguely) support his theory while totally ignoring those which contradict it.
The first thing to note about Sims' article is that he was responding to a report that Jack the Ripper was operating in Berlin. In that context, he cited a description of a man seen to have committed a Ripper-like murder, which was that he was 'about twenty years of age, of middle height and slightly built, with blonde hair and mustache'.
What this did was trigger Sims into telling his readers that they should not be assuming that the Whitechapel murderer 'is necessarily an old and hardened criminal'. He was saying, in other words, that the example from Berlin shows us that the murderer might not be like the stereotypical 'rough, vulgar, or drunken corner man or bully' which most people probably assumed Jack the Ripper to be.
As I read his article, that's really all he was trying to say, but, given Hainsworth's interest we must, of course, look closer.
The first thing that Sims said about the Whitechapel murderer in his article was this:
'I think it extremely likely that the Whitechapel murderer was or is an individual of the type now wanted by the Berlin police'.
Oh, oh! Problemo numero uno.
'was or is'
Sims doesn't seem at all sure in 1891 that the Whitechapel murderer is dead. In fact, as we've seen, he first said that we should not assume that the Whitechapel murderer 'is' a hardened criminal, which would assume he was still alive at the time.
Even worse for Hainsworth, Sims said later in the article:
'It is very possible that, if still alive, he may change his tactics, and for this reason the mysterious case of poisoning in Lambeth, where a wretched woman was induced by a "young dark man" to drink poison out of a bottle, ought to be very closely and assiduously investigated'.
So he was there quite clearly and unambiguously saying that he thought that Jack the Ripper might well be the same person as the Lambeth poisoner and he actually advised the police to investigate the Lambeth poisoner with this in mind!!
It would be astonishing if he gave this advice while firmly believing (having been told so by Macnaghten) that Jack the Ripper had died shortly after the murder of Mary Jane Kelly.
What does Hainsworth have to say about Sims' theory that Jack the Ripper might have been the Lambeth poisoner?
Yes, you guessed it. Nothing!
It doesn't fit the theory so it's ignored. Even worse, Hainsworth tells us that Sims said the very opposite to what he was, in fact, saying. Hence, he says:
'Sims, the close pal of Macnaghten 'speculates' that the murderer is likely dead, a suicide'
Whooooaaaa!! Hold on there a minute. Sims doesn't say that at all. Nowhere does he say that the murderer was likely dead.
This is what he does say at the end of the article.
'But possibly the Whitechapel murderer is dead. The homicidal maniac often turns his hand against himself.'
I'm right in thinking that Hainsworth is a teacher, yeah? Surely he knows the difference between 'possibly' and 'likely'. Or is he using the Fisherman Dictionary of the English Language where words take on brand new meanings when they are applied to one's theory?
So, no, Sims did not say it was likely that the murderer was dead and had committed suicide. He only expressed it as a possibility, which is odd bearing in mind that he's supposed to have had inside information direct from Macnaghten that Druitt killed himself back in November 1888. Even odder, as we've seen, is that Sims thought in 1891 that Whitechapel murder might also have been the Lambeth poisoner. Did Sims believe in ghosts, perhaps?
Having totally misled himself as to whether Sims believed that the Whitechapel murderer was dead or not, Hainsworth goes on to suggest that Sims was describing Montague Druitt to a tee by saying that the murderer was extremely likely to be (or have been):
'young, a gentleman, a brunette, slightly built yet strong, who expressed insincere regret for his crimes, that he was a genius at evading capture, that he had "dabbled" but not qualified in scientific studies (and whose date of death does not explain the murders ceasing, as they haven't yet).'
The first fail here is that Sims did NOT say in his 1891 article that the murderer was a gentleman, nor did he say he was a brunette. I honestly don't know how Hainsworth imagines these things. What Sims actually said is that the description provided by the Berlin police of their suspect (namely, about twenty years of age, of middle height and slightly built, with blonde hair and mustache) was extremely likely to be 'of the type' of person who committed the Whitechapel murders.
As to his hair colour, he said by way of caveat, 'not necessarily blonde'. Now again, my comprehension skills may be limited, but if he had wanted to say that the murderer was not blonde, surely he would have said this. To me, what he was saying was that the murderer could have had blond hair, but not necessarily, which means that his hair colour wasn't a relevant factor. It could have been any colour! He never said in his article that it was likely that the killer was brunette.
As for being a gentleman, he said nothing of the sort. What he said was that he thought the Whitechapel murderer was extremely likely to be (or have been):
'young and slight, and possibly refined in appearance'
Being (possibly) refined in appearance does not necessarily make a young man a gentleman! In fact, he thought him likely to have been 'a student'. Just look at Hainsworth's summary of Sims' description above. Does he mention anywhere that Sims thought the murderer was a student? No, he does not, is the answer. And I assume he discards it because Druitt was a professional: a barrister (and a schoolteacher).
So let's see the full quote from Sims, as transcribed by Hainsworth:
'I think it extremely likely that the Whitechapel murderer was or is an individual of the type now wanted by the Berlin police—not necessarily blonde, but young and slight, and possibly refined in appearance--and my reason is this: The insane motive is most probably a desire to see death, to look upon the actual palpitating heart, to feel the warm blood of the victim, and this would be more likely to occur to a student, a dabbler in science, an inquirer into the mysteries of existence, than to a rough, vulgar, or drunken corner man or bully.'
The first thing we notice here is that Sims GIVES HIS REASON for why he says that the murderer was young and slight, and possibly refined in appearance, which is NOT that he has been told this by a Chief Constable at Scotland Yard!!! Not at all, it's because he thinks that the desire to see death and feel the warm blood of a victim is something likely to be desired by an immature but educated and curious young male, not the rough hardened stupid criminal type who doesn't care for such things. That's his theory.
He defines the student as:
'a dabbler in science, an inquirer into the mysteries of existence'
Does that sound like Druitt? Not particularly, or at all. He was a barrister and a schoolteacher. What reason is there to think he had ever dabbled in science or inquired into the mysteries of existence?
None that I can see.
Sure, Hainsworth has a theory, for which there is precisely zero evidence, that Druitt once studied medicine (which is why he tries, implausibly and without providing any examples, to persuade us in his book that the term 'medical student' was interchangeable in Victorian England with the terms 'doctor' and 'surgeon') but even that doesn't strike me as being the equivalent of someone who dabbled in science. If Sims meant medicine he would surely have said medicine, not science.
In his Forum post, Hainsworth notably changes 'science' to 'scientific studies', presumably to try and bring medicine into that category but it's so blatant as to be pathetic.
It's notable, incidentally, that in his book, Hainsworth says the following, while trying to argue that a medical student was basically regarded the same as a doctor or surgeon:
'For example the famous writer [Lord Orsam note: he appears to mean Sims] who would fictionalise [the unnamed] Druitt as a middle aged, fully qualified surgeon had also years earlier revealed the murderer to be really only a 'dabbler' in science'.
The plethora of false and circular arguments in that single sentence are amazing. I couldn't actually tell you when and where Sims is supposed to have fictionalized Druitt as a middle aged, fully qualified surgeon (is he referring to Logan's book?) - and I thought Sims once referred to the killer as a 'mad physician' - but it's just Hainsworth guessing that it's Druitt, just as he's guessing that Sims was labelling Druitt as a 'dabbler' in science.
The rest of Sims' profile of the murderer in his 1891 article comes from this paragraph:
'Not only the reckless hacking of the victim's body, but the cleverness of the murderer in escaping detection and eluding pursuit, is to my mind an evidence of insanity. The reputed strength and cunning of the madman are perfectly true; the very superabundance of his nerve energy may be the cause of his insanity, and his nervous force may not only enable him to put forth abnormal muscular strength, but also to think acutely.'
Hainsworth highlights 'genius at evading capture' but surely that doesn't relate to Druitt more than anyone else in the world. Did Druitt have a reputation for evading capture? Not that I'm aware of. But it's obvious that the Ripper did!
Someone who expressed 'insincere regret for his crimes'. Well Druitt never said anything about his crimes to our knowledge so this doesn't help us to identify Sims' suspect as Druitt.
Someone who had 'strength and cunning'. Well why does this apply to Druitt? Why should we think he had any strength at all? Let alone cunning.
What did Sims really say about his suspect?
As we've seen, he certainly said he was very likely a young and slight student (in contrast to a hardened thug) who was possibly of a refined appearance. He might have had dark hair or blond hair. He was quite likely to still be alive, still killing people with a different modus operandi, but he might possibly have committed suicide. He had strength and cunning and was able to evade capture due to a superabundance of nerve energy.
Is this so similar to Druitt as to be indistinguishable from him?
I really don't think so. Druitt wasn't a student for one thing. He was also certainly dead whereas Sims thought the Whitechapel murderer might have been alive. Was Druitt young? Well not really, he was 31 years old at the time of the murders. The Berlin suspect to whom Sims was comparing Jack the Ripper was 'about twenty years of age'. And a student. I'm sorry Mr Hainsworth, it's just not the same.
Funny isn't it that if Sims was trying to rule Druitt in by saying that the Whitechapel murderer was 'not necessarily blonde' like the Berlin suspect, he didn't also say that he wasn't necessarily as young as 20? On the contrary, by referring to him as a student, he was suggesting that he WAS as young as 20!!
It's not Druitt, it it?
As far as I can see, having now read two of Hainsworth's books, there's no reason to think that Sims had been told anything by Macnaghten about Druitt prior to 1894 when Macnaghten wrote his memorandum. Not a thing.
AN INQUIRY INTO 'AN INQUIRY INTO A CORONER'S INQUIRY' (PART ONE)
My article about the Stride Inquest caused a bit of a stir on Casebook. Perhaps the most amusing response came from Varqm who, while not wanting to admit to having read it, gave himself away as having done so. Previously during the thread, he quoted repeatedly, ad nauseam, from section 4(2) of the Coroner's Act to claim that it shows that a Coroner was legally obliged to call EVERY witness who could say something about the facts or circumstance of a case. It was his one and only big point! But reliance on that particular part of the Act, initially at least, seemed to have been abandoned by him. And with good reason because I showed conclusively that Varqm had misunderstood it.
Following the publication of my article, in which I showed not only that section 4(1) is the applicable section of the Act (because all section 4(2) does is state that evidence needs to be taken in writing in murder cases), but that, aside from evidence tendered by a witness, which it appears to be mandatory for him to take, a coroner has discretion to call only those witnesses he thinks it expedient to examine, what Varqm now said is that 'the Coroner can call any witness he needed" (#375). That’s never been in doubt. The point is: Did he need Schwartz? The answer has to be no, he did not need him in order to fulfil his legal duty.
Varqm also started saying that the Coroner had the power to summon witnesses and fine them if they didn't appear without lawful excuse. Well, yes, but that doesn't get us anywhere because we don’t know if Wynne Baxter was always prepared to use his powers nor, indeed, if he did, in fact, fine Schwartz for non-attendance. Maybe he did but would we necessarily know about it? Were these things always reported? If not, we can’t even say if it happened.
Varqm also started saying saying vague things like 'Read the inquests again on how coroners run inquests and the witnesses they used". We've all read the inquests but they simply don't help in determining how a coroner chose what witnesses to summon to inquests.
There seems to be a belief that every witness at an inquest was believed to be a witness of truth or one in whom the coroner had no doubts as to their veracity. But that can’t possibly be the case. Mrs Malcolm, for example, was clearly disbelieved by Baxter, and as Baxter pointed out at the start of her evidence, she had herself admitted before the inquest that she had had 'some doubts at first' but she was still examined by him. MacDonald at the Kelly inquest may well have harboured doubts about Mrs Maxwell’s evidence but she still testified. (I give more examples in The Big Coroner's Inquiry Inquiry'.) For that reason, one can’t possibly say that Schwartz didn’t attend at the inquest because the coroner didn’t believe in him. It’s not even credible. If the police at Scotland Yard, who had interviewed Schwartz, believed him, as we know they did, on what rational basis could the coroner have doubted him to the extent that he made a conscious decision not to call him?
No, we have to look elsewhere.
We know that the Coroner's Act said that the Coroner was supposed to examine all persons who tendered their evidence. Varqm finally cited this section of the Act in #644! Could individuals with some knowledge of a death turn up at inquest and ask to be examined? If they did so, it’s hard to see what legal basis the coroner would have had for refusing to allow them to do so.
While I certainly don't want to say that this was the reason, it could explain why someone like James Brown gave evidence even though the coroner wasn’t entirely sure that the woman he saw was Elizabeth Stride. Thus, in his summing up of the facts to the jury, he said of Brown’s evidence:
'Now if this evidence was to be relied on, it would appear that…with a quarter of an hour of her being found in a corpse she was refusing her companion something in the immediate neighbourhood of where she met her death. But was this the deceased?'
Brown had testified that he was “almost certain” that the woman he had seen was the deceased so Baxter was here, by asking the question, casting doubt upon that evidence. Could Brown’s evidence be relied on?
And did it even matter? The answer is no. Baxter wasn’t sure if Brown saw the same man as had been seen with Stride by Smith and Marshall but it wasn’t important for his inquiry to resolve that issue. It wasn’t something that was going to be included on the death certificate. So it was included in his summing up more in passing, or as background information, than as a fact that the jury needed to determine. The jury certainly never needed to determine which of the men had been in Stride’s company or with whom she was last seen alive. It wouldn’t, therefore, have mattered if Schwartz had attended or not. It certainly wouldn't have affected the verdict.
People keep thinking that the coroner needed to determine the time of death so that he needed to know whether Schwartz did see Stride alive at 12.45. I repeat that, while coroners usually showed interest in the subject for obvious reasons, the time of death was not something that a coroner’s inquiry actually needed to resolve, regardless of how many people seem to think otherwise.
Of course, if you think that the coroner did need to establish the time of death, you will regard Schwartz as an important witness for the inquest. But, as your premise would be wrong, it follows that your conclusion must be wrong too.
It was disappointing to see Wickerman falling into the trap of whataboutism. What about Brown, what about Eagle, what about Diemshutz, what about Marshall, what about Smith. he says. Well, we can leave Diemshutz aside because he discovered the body and was thus in a position to testify as to when, how and where Stride died. If Wickerman thinks I was saying that a witness needed to know the victim, he hasn't been concentrating. The ability to identify the victim was only one of four requirements for a witness. Thus when Wickerman says:
'Wess, Eagle, Diemshitz etc., none of them knew the victim' .
he has misled himself. A witness only needed to be able to assist in one of the four questions I raised in order to be someone who the coroner could decide was necessary to enable his jury to fulfil its legal obligations.
Wickerman has also misled himself if he thinks I was saying that Schwartz wasn't called BECAUSE he couldn't answer any of the four questions I posed. I wasn't saying that at all. I was responding to Varqm's claim that, had Schwartz been believed to have been telling the truth, he would have been an essential witness and that it would have been improper not have called him, to the extent that it would have rendered the inquest incomplete.
Now that I've disproved that, Wickerman seems to be trying to make the same claim but in a different way, by pointing not to the law but to the coroner's practice in calling other witnesses.
The first thing I would say about this is that non-essential witnesses frequently testified at inquests. Not every witness was 'essential' but the fact that Wynne Baxter examined some witnesses who couldn't assist his inquest in fulfilling its statutory duties doesn't mean that he thereby must have called all other witnesses who couldn't assist in that respect.
Secondly, even if the coroner positively called all the witnesses himself (as opposed to those witnesses being asked to attend by the police or forcing themselves upon him by tendering their evidence) there might have been specific reasons why some witnesses were not called which had nothing whatsoever to do with whether the coroner believed their evidence or not. The problem is that we get here into the realms of speculation which I'd prefer to avoid but I will, below, look at some of the possible reasons.
For now, let's look now at some of the witnesses mentioned by Wickerman. He says, why was Eagle called? What could he offer? Well, the fact is that he couldn't offer much that was material over and above what Diemshutz could tell the jury and, to that extent, there wouldn't have been much lost if he hadn't appeared. But then we look at Kozebrodski. If Eagle was regarded as sufficiently important, what about Kozebrodski? Do we say that the coroner believed the evidence of Eagle but not Kozebrodski?
Perhaps Wickerman will say that Kozebrodski wasn't necessary because of Eagle's evidence which he would have duplicated but that is simply making up criteria applied by the coroner without evidence. It doesn't make much sense in any case, for why was Paul called when Cross had already given evidence about the discovery of the body. What could Paul add that Cross had not already told the jury? Or put it this way, was it common practice, if two people were present at a murder scene prior the arrival of the police, only to call one of them to avoid duplication? I'm not aware of such a practice. To me, this shows the danger of second guessing the coroner's decisions (if they even were the coroner's decisions) and trying to work out why some witnesses appeared and some did not, without any evidence in support.
To my mind, the idea that the coroner didn't call Schwartz because he, personally, didn't believe him makes no sense at all. It wasn't his job to make such decisions. And, like I've said, if the police at Scotland Yard believed Schwartz, how could the coroner have been better placed to make a decision about his credibility? So to my mind we can safely rule that idea out.
But, yes, the non-appearance of Schwartz at the inquest does require an explanation. That is not disputed, although it is only not disputed because, for the Whitechapel murder inquests, Wynne Baxter seems to have been prepared and willing to examine a large number of non-essential witnesses where other coroners might well not have done, so that the non-appearance of Schwartz would not, in other cases, have been exceptional. But there is no dispute that there must have been a reason why Schwartz alone out of all the known possible witnesses wasn't examined by Baxter. It's just that there are a number of possible explanations as to why this non-essential witness did not give evidence along with the other non-essential witnesses who did.
AN INQUIRY INTO 'AN INQUIRY INTO A CORONER'S INQUIRY' (PART TWO)
So what reasons might there have been for Schwartz not to have been examined at the inquest?
The first one that occurs to me is that Schwartz didn't speak English. The solution to that problem was simple. Use an interpreter. But interpreters cost money. Someone has to pay for a suitable one to come to the inquest. The coroner would have had to pay out of his own pocket and reclaim on expenses. No doubt the coroner was mindful of the overall cost of his inquests. By the time of Stride's death, he'd already held two (not including Tabram) for which there were more witnesses than at the average inquest who presumably needed to be paid. One can find examples of Baxter using interpreters at his inquests (discussed below), so it was perfectly possible for him to do so, but to the extent that the coroner was already undecided whether to summon Schwartz for other reasons, or insist on his attendance, the fact that he didn't speak English might have swung the decision for him.
A second possibility is that the police, with or without the coroner's agreement, wanted to keep Schwartz's evidence about the name 'Lipski', which hadn't been published in any newspaper, under wraps. This could either have been for operational reasons to avoid tipping off a suspect or, alternatively, due to fears about possible violence against the Jewish community if the murderer was believed to be a Jewish man called Lipski. In this respect we find some newspapers in early October 1888 advancing a theory that the Ripper murders were a way of 'avenging Lipski' and were carried out by 'Lipski's compatriots'. It was also being noted in the press at the same time that Berner Street was only a 'few yards distant' from where Lipski had murdered Miriam Angel during the previous year. Mr Packer meanwhile was telling reporters that the man he saw with Stride, 'lodges not a great way from the house where Lipski, who was hanged for poisoning a woman lived' . This was all combustible stuff and throwing a witness into the public arena who spoke of someone called 'Lipski' (presumably a Jewish man) possibly being Jack the Ripper could have led to serious consequences for public order. We have literally no idea if this was a consideration or not, yet some people focus obsessively on the issue of Schwartz's truthfulness.
A third possibility is that Schwartz made clear that he didn't want to attend at the inquest for personal reasons and the coroner agreed that he didn't need to. How do we know that didn't happen? We don't! (I might add that Evans and Rumbelow say that coroners could accept written statements, presumably implying that this might have happened with Schwartz. They don't give a source although I have seen references in newspaper reports to written statements being read as evidence by coroners on very rare occasions even though this appears to conflict with the Coroner's Act 1887 which refers to the need to examine witnesses. Had Schwartz's written statement been admitted into evidence, one would have expected the coroner to have referred to it in his summing up. The fact that he didn't strongly suggests that no such written statement was provided to the coroner.)
A fourth possibility is that Schwartz was summoned or warned to attend but was taken ill or suffered a serious injury. What do people think happened when a witness was taken ill? If they were incapacitated that would be it, they couldn't attend. A very simple explanation. Did it happen? We literally have no idea as to the state of Schwartz's health during the period of the inquest. But this does provide a good example of the difference between essential and non-essential witnesses. Had an essential witness been sick, the coroner could have adjourned the inquest until he or she recovered. Here's an example from the Buckingham Advertiser of 27 February 1926 in a report of an inquest into deaths caused by a train crashing into a coach at a railway crossing:
As we can see, 'the most essential witness' was unable to attend the inquest so that it was adjourned to enable him to attend which, elsewhere in the report, is stated to be another fortnight. Had it been a non-essential witness who was in hospital, the inquest could have concluded and the jury given its verdict. A similar circumstance occurred at an inquest in Coventry in 1926 as reported in the Coventry Herald of 24 July 1926:
Again, if it hadn't been an essential witness on holiday, the inquest could have been wrapped up there and then, no bother.
A fifth possibility is that Schwartz was warned to attend the inquest by either the police or the coroner's officer and failed to do so, either because he was reluctant or didn't understand what he had been told, but he wasn't considered a sufficiently important witness for anyone to bother to do anything about it and enforce sanctions for non-attendance. Is that plausible? I can't see why not.
A sixth possibility is that Schwartz changed his address and the police and coroner didn't know where he was living. You might pooh pooh the notion but look at this extract from a report of an inquest into the deaths of Mr and Mrs Beck and Johanna Blume at Croydon Coroner's Court in May 1907 (from the Daily News of 10 May 1907):
Richard Brinkley was in custody on a charge of murder while Henry Hird had supposedly witnessed the will of Johanna Blume along with a man called Reginald Parker. But Parker, who gave evidence to the coroner, said that he hadn't actually witnessed the will and his signature on it was a fake. As we can see from the newspaper report, Hird had been given notice to attend the inquest, 'but he had changed his address, and it was not likely he would be present'. The inquest was adjourned for three weeks to allow for analysis of the contents of the stomachs of the deceased, and Hird appears to have come forward or been traced the next day, but it should be obvious that if you can't find a witness - and there are only ever finite resources that can be applied to tracing them (the amount of time and resource depending on the importance of the witness) - you can't serve them with a summons. Furthermore, if the witness in question isn't an essential one, you might not even waste the time to serve a summons.
A seventh possibility is that, by pure administrative oversight, Schwartz's statement was never provided by the police to the coroner who thus never knew of his existence. Just pausing there, I don't actually think the police provided statements of witnesses to the coroner (see The Big Coroner's Inquiry Inquiry) and the fact of the matter is that we simply don't know enough about the procedure and the type of communications between the police and coroner to know whether this is a credible suggestion. In the absence of such evidence I can't see how it can be ruled out. Certainly the fact that Anderson appears to have believed that Schwartz did give evidence could be said to support this notion.
An eighth possibility along similar lines is that the prime mover in organizing the witnesses was the coroner's officer who interviewed all of them beforehand but, for whatever reason, never managed to obtain a statement from Schwartz, and possibly never even knew of his existence, so that his evidence was entirely overlooked. From a review of reports of other inquests, I happen to think this is a credible suggestion. See The Big Coroner's Inquiry Inquiry for more on this possibility.
AN INQUIRY INTO 'AN INQUIRY INTO A CORONER'S INQUIRY' (PART THREE)
Simon Wood has been waiting for over five years to try and catch me out on something, anything, after I destroyed all his ludicrous theories, and, after the last Orsam Weekend, he was delirious with excitement. Out came the champagne and up went the bunting. He thought he’d finally done it!
Thus, popping up in #369 of the Schwartz thread, Wood quoted me as having said:
“Was Schwartz able to identify the deceased as Elizabeth Stride. Answer, no.”
He thought I was wrong and could prove it, even though it was physically impossible for Schwartz to have identified the deceased as Stride, bearing in mind he had never seen her before in his life and never knew her name!
In his moment of imagined triumph, he quoted from Swanson’s report in which Swanson said that “Schwartz identified the body as that of the woman he’d seen”.
It’s a simple sentence but Wood, whose brain now seems to be broken in the same way as Caroline Morris’, obviously misunderstood what Swanson was saying, thinking that because Schwartz identified the woman in the mortuary as the women he had seen being assaulted in Berner Street, he thereby identified her as Elizabeth Stride for the purpose of the coroner’s inquiry.
Of course, he did no such thing.
Down came the bunting.
Champagne back in the cupboard.
It was other people who identified the deceased as Elizabeth Stride. For all Schwartz knew, the woman he saw could have been Mary Malcolm’s sister or, indeed, anyone else in the world. His evidence, in other words, was of no assistance to the coroner in identifying the corpse as Elizabeth Stride. Hence, he did not need to be called to the inquiry for this purpose.All that much is obvious but I must say I did love Wood’s comment on Swanson’s statement when he said:
“I believe that is known as evidence”.
This is somewhat of a Damascene conversion on Wood’s part in FINALLY accepting a police report as evidence! I tried for years to get him to agree that such official reports were evidence in the case but, as far as I recall, he was having none of it. Now that he understands that Swanson’s reports may be described as “evidence” we really are getting somewhere.
In similar fashion, perhaps he will accept that when Abberline wrote in his report of 19 September 1888 (as countersigned by Swanson) that “Bucks Row is a narrow quite thoroughfare frequented by prostitutes for immoral purposes at night” this is known as evidence also!
It wasn’t that long ago that he was muttering nonsense about Abberline having ‘alibis laundered’ at the cleaners when this statement was drawn to his attention ('Every minute counts' thread, #89).
Strange though that he rejects other parts of Swanson's report in which he refers to the very same Israel Schwartz, for in #484, of the 'Schwartz lied' thread he posted:
'Did Schwartz actually exist?'
To which we only need to point to the reports of both Swanson and Abberline and say: 'I believe this is known as evidence'.
Wood’s brain, as we know, is broken but it must be said to be surprising that Darryl Kenyon also got confused by such a simple point when he wrote that “Schwartz did ID at the mortuary”. He did not, of course, ID her as Elizabeth Stride which is the crucial identification required for the purpose of the inquest, and the only identification I was talking about.
Needless to say - this is a Ripperology forum we are talking about - neither Wood nor Kenyon acknowledged their errors. They just sailed by as if they hadn't misunderstood simple English. Even worse, Wood, having been humiliated by Kattrup over his misunderstanding, claimed that Lord Orsam 'is to the subject at hand what Socrates was to spot-welding'. I must admit to not knowing that Socrates was a dab hand at spot-welding but he must have been bloody good at it!
AN INQUIRY INTO 'AN INQUIRY INTO A CORONER'S INQUIRY' (PART FOUR)
RJ Palmer writes of Schwartz in #460 of the 'If Schwartz lied...' thread:
'The Star of Oct 1st claims his story was not entirely believed by the police and the issue of Oct 2nd repeats this allegation.'
I have to take issue with this statement.
I can't find anywhere in the Star of 1 Oct where it is stated that Schwartz's story was not believed by the police. On the contrary, after referring to 'information which may be important' it is stated that, 'The police have arrested one man answering the description the Hungarian furnishes'. Perhaps RJ is referring to the next two sentences of the Star's report which state:
'The prisoner has not been charged, but is held for inquiries to be made. The truth of the man's statement is not wholly accepted.'
The natural reading of this, it seems to me, is that the man being referred to in the second sentence is the prisoner mentioned in the first. I don't see why it should be a reference to the Hungarian (Schwartz). What it reads like to me is that the prisoner had given a statement (presumably showing that he was innocent of any murders) but the truth of that statement was not wholly accepted which is why he was still being held for inquiries and not immediately released.
At the very least, it's ambiguous. I don't see that it's possible to say for certain that the Star was claiming that Schwartz's story was not entirely believed by the police. Even if the reference WAS to Schwartz, it's still ambiguous as to whether the truth of the man's statement wasn't believed by the police or by the newspaper. But to my mind it wasn't speaking about Schwartz at all.
After having written the above, I performed a Google search of the final sentence which shows that the issue was discussed on Casebook eight years ago here and the consensus seems to have been that the man being referred to was indeed the prisoner, not Schwartz.
Then, as I've already said, the report in the Star of 2 October needs to be treated with great caution because the Star provides no support to its claim that 'the Leman Street have reason to doubt the truth of the story'. It certainly doesn't tell us what that reason was and the only information provided was that the police were unlikely to make further arrests based on Schwartz's information without further facts. We know for 100% certain that within Scotland Yard there was uncertainty as to whether the man seen by Schwartz was Stride's killer or simply another client who had assaulted her. So that alone could have been the reason for the police going cold on Schwartz's information, but it could equally have been that the description wasn't good enough to really identify anyone.
Surely one has to be very wary in circumstances where the claim that the Leman Street police'had reason to doubt the truth' of Schwartz's story is wholly unsupported by information provided by senior officers in Scotland Yard to the Home Office and might easily be a single reporter's interpretation of what the police were thinking based on his understanding that the police were unlikely to make further arrests from Schwartz's description.
Even if we go further and accept that, say, Inspector Reid had some doubts about Schwartz, what can that possibly tell us about the veracity of Schwartz's evidence in circumstances where no such doubts were expressed to the Home Office by either Abberline or Swanson? Not much, I would suggest.
AN INQUIRY INTO 'AN INQUIRY INTO A CORONER'S INQUIRY' (PART FIVE)
Talking of RJ Palmer, he set a challenge in #432 of the Schwartz thread as follows:
'The challenge I would suggest is this. Can anyone name a historical case where the police knowingly withheld a non-essential witness from the Coroner, even though he was considered of prime importance, and they were still investigating his account behind-the-scenes?
Or a trial at the Old Bailey where an important witness is called by the prosecution, even though he or she had not appeared at the inquest?'
The problem with the first part of the challenge is that we really don't have any records in any cases (as far as I'm aware) of the communications between the police and a Coroner so how would it ever be possible of establishing whether they 'knowingly withheld' anything?
Conversely, the second part of the challenge is too easy. Probably in every major murder case there will be some important witnesses called by the prosecution at trial who weren't called at the inquest, simply because the investigation will have progressed by the time of the trial. In some cases, the suspect will only have been identified after the inquest so that many crucial witnesses will have emerged during the committal proceedings (or later). I've written two books about murders from the early twentieth century and in both cases there were prosecution witnesses who hadn't been called by the coroner at the inquests. Whether they can be described as 'important' is a matter of opinion but would Schwartz have been an important witness for the prosecution at any Ripper trial if the man he saw attacking Stride wasn't the accused prisoner?
For the record, in the Camden Town murder case, Jack Crabtree gave evidence for the prosecution at the Old Bailey against Robert Wood. He hadn't been called by the coroner to the inquest into the death of Emily Dimmock but (in an interesting twist) he HAD been called by the Defence lawyer! If he hadn't been, it seems unlikely that he would have appeared at the inquest at all. Exactly the same is true of two witnesses who said they saw Dimmock with a man shortly before her violent death (who was not Robert Wood). These men had provided statements to the police but weren't called to the inquest by the coroner (or by the Treasury Solicitor). At trial, as at the inquest, these men gave evidence for the Defence.
Then we also have John William Rogers (albeit not a prosecution witness) who said he saw Robert Wood returning home in King's Cross at shortly before midnight on the night Dimmock was murdered some distance away in Camden Town, thus giving Wood an alibi. At the Old Bailey, where he appeared as a witness for the Defence, he said this:
'I attended at the inquest as a witness and was very much aggrieved on public grounds I was not called.'
It would seem that he attended the inquest off his own bat, without being told by the police or coroner to attend, but expected to be called to give evidence.
I could also draw attention to a handwriting expert, Charles Ainsworth Mitchell, who only gave evidence for the prosecution at the police court and trial, not at the inquest.
On the eve of Wood's trial, the Star had an exclusive story that a man known as 'Scotch Bob' was likely to give evidence (for the first time in the case) on behalf of the prosecution and, while that turned out not to be true, it could have been, and the manager of a hotel in Scotland, John Paul Mair, who knew 'Scotch Bob' did give evidence for the prosecution for the first time at trial, not having attended at the inquest.
For the Islington murder of Mrs Wootton, I could refer to Second Lieutenant Caldwell-Cook who only gave evidence at trial (giving the deceased's husband an alibi for the murder). I could also point to Ernest Ashdown who first gave expert evidence relating to ammunition at the police court.
['The Camden Town Murder Mystery' and 'The Islington Murder Mystery', both cracking reads, are available at all good booksellers!]
In any event, I provide details in The Big Coroner's Inquiry Inquiry of four important prosecution witnesses at the trial of Henry Glennie for the murder of Frances Maria Wright who hadn't given evidence at the inquest into Mrs Wright's death (as well as a number of other examples) so that particular challenge has been well and truly met.
Let me just add one more. From Lloyds Weekly News of 27 February 1887 reporting on Police Court Proceedings in the case of Thomas Currell accused of murdering Lydia Green at 8 Baches Street, Hoxton, on 5 February 1887 (the case, it will be recalled, which featured in News of the Ooze showing a proven 30 minute, post-mortem, blood oozing time):
'The Treasury had considered it necessary to summon 26 witnesses, several of whom had not given evidence at the inquest.'
The coroner at that particular inquest had been none other than Wynne Baxter.
It can and does happen!
For more on these additional witnesses, see The Big Coroner's Inquiry Inquiry
In the last 'Lord Orsam Says...' I made a distinction between essential and non-essential witnesses at an inquest. Was I inventing such a distinction?
No. Because we have it on the authority of none other than Wynne Baxter himself that there was such a thing as an essential witness at an inquest. If we look at the report in the London Daily News of 12 February 1887 of the inquest into the death of Lydia Green, which I've just mentioned, we find Baxter, the Coroner at that inquest, saying (underlining added):
'I am very anxious to get to the verdict as soon as possible, as there are various matters in connection with the course of justice that render this desirable. So we will only take essential evidence'.
I'm pretty certain, incidentally, that he's not saying he will only 'fake' essential evidence! The inquest was wrapped up that day (the second day of the inquest) with a verdict from the jury after hearing from only a few more witnesses.
ONE FOR THE CLANGER
Let's not leave the Currell case without mentioning that, in the aforementioned report of the inquest in the London Daily News of 12 February 1887, the addresses of witnesses Thomas Attril and Robert Cracknell were dutifully given in full. Let me prove it:
8 Baches Street for Thomas Attrill.
22 Fanshawe Street for Robert Cracknell.
But for witness Annie Manton, who worked with Lydia Green, it is simply stated that she was a surgical coverer employed by Mr Andrews of Walthamstow. Here's the proof:
So I guess the Clanger will conclude that Annie Manton didn't state her address at the inquest. I mean, it's obvious isn't it?
Yet, her deposition in the file at the National Archives reveals that she did state her address as '10 New Street, Drysdale Street, Hoxton'. Oh dear. CLANG!
The Times, incidentally, reported her address but incorrectly as 2 New Street, Drysdale Street. The Globe did report it correctly.
THE RETURN CHALLENGE
The challenge I would offer in return to RJ or anyone else who wants to take it is to find a confirmed example of a case where a witness in a murder case has provided a statement to the police but has not been called to give evidence at the inquest because the coroner disbelieved their evidence. I feel sure that is going to be an impossible challenge to meet for many reasons, not least because coroners simply don't make those types of witness assessments. If a witness claims to have relevant evidence they will be called to the inquest and their evidence taken on oath.
EVERY MISLEADING STATEMENT COUNTS
There was a pointless discussion in the 'Every minute counts' thread between Christer Holmgren and Jeff Hamm over the theory of statistical analysis in respect of 'bleeding time'.
It was pointless for two reasons.
Firstly, Christer doesn't accept any way of looking at anything if it doesn't point towards Lechmere as the murderer. Secondly, there is no reliable underlying data on which to make any calculations. Christer is simply working on a garbled exchange he once had with Jason Payne James in which Payne James made clear that he was guessing that 3-5 minutes is a more realistic estimate for blood flow after death than 7 minutes.
Leaving aside that we don't know if Payne James would have said that 7 minutes was more realistic than 10 minutes and 10 minutes more realistic than 15 minutes (because he wasn't asked), the fact of the matter is that Payne James was talking about a period of blood flow whereas what he should have been asked about was the period after an initial flow of blood when the blood would have been oozing from a wound. As to that, we have no data from Payne James, whereas it's the most critical part of the equation.
The reason I mention this now (again) is because I wanted to draw attention to a wonderful moment when poor old Jeff - who seems to have taken Christer seriously for some reason, asked him (in #127 of the thread):
'Do you know what study the pathologists are working from? If you could find that study we might be able to use the data reported in it to construct the appropriate distribution'.
Study!!! Ha ha ha ha ha! Oh my sides.
Poor innocent Jeff. Apparently having no idea that he's discussing in great detail some kind of guess relating to the wrong type of blood flow! Looks like another for whom the old saying 'No Orsam, No Comment!' applies.
But how did Christer Holmgren respond to Jeff's question about the study?
Yep, you guessed it, he simply ignored it.
The irony of this is that only shortly before, in #123, Holmgren had chastised Jeff for not responding to one of Holmgren's statements in #121, as he said aggressively, 'You failed to say whether or not you agree with the points I made in my last post. Why is that?'
Now in #128, Holmgren floated over Jeff's important question about the study as if he'd never asked it. Holmgren doesn't care for scientific studies!!! That's not how science works for Holmgren. The way science works is to bamboozle an expert with inexact questions and use his confused and vague responses to frame Charles Lechmere! That's science.
And one can forgive poor trusting Jeff for thinking there must be some sort of study. After all, he'd been told by Holmgren in #90
'what the pathologists agreed upon is that once we pass the five minutes border, we venture into a bleeding time that they thought a less likely one...So basically what the pathologists say is that alternative killer must have worked in a gap of that time that we should not expect to be present because it's unlikely to have been there...That's what's suggested by the pathologists'.
FACT CHECK: FALSE. The two pathologists consulted by Holmgren never said any such thing and Holmgren has simply ignored what Dr Biggs said on the subject.
And Jeff had been told by Holmgren in #119:
'Whichever way we look on it, if the pathologists are correct, then Lechmere is the likeliest killer as far as I can see'.
FACT CHECK: FALSE. If Holmgren's Swedish expert is correct that blood can seep from a wound for up to 15 minutes after death (and Dr Biggs tells us from his experience that it can continue to ooze for (at least) 20 minutes) this does not make Lechmere 'the likeliest killer'. It means that Lechmere might have been the murderer but then so might anyone else who was in a position to be with Nichols prior to Lechmere's arrival on the scene. How is it possible to say which scenario is more likely? The answer is that it's not.
OH TO BE IN THE FORUM NOW THAT APRON TIME IS HERE
I well remember discussing Kate's apron with Trevor Marriott many years ago in the Forum and time has come round in a circle as the discussion returns again.
I don't really want to say too much about his strange theory but I can't help but comment on Trevor's interpretation of a letter from Sir Charles Warren to Sir James Fraser dated 3 October 1888. The letter said this (with my corrections from the original compared with Trevor's transcript in red):
My dear Fraser,
I have seen Mr. Matthews today and he is anxious to know whether it can be shewn that the torn bib of the woman murdered in Mitre Square cannot have been taken to Goulston Street by any person except the murderer. In order to do this it is necessary to know if there is any proof that at the time the corpse was found the bib was found with a piece wanting, that the piece was not lying about the yard at the time the corpse was found and taken to Goulston Street by some of the lookers-on as a hoax, and that the piece found in Goulston Street is without doubt a portion of that which was worn by the woman. I shall be very glad if you can give me the necessary particulars on this point. Very truly yours C.W.
What Trevor says about this letter in #492 of the Apron thread is that
'some senior officers doubted the killer cutting a piece from her apron in any event as the letter below shows and questions'.
Now, it is perfectly obvious that the letter does not show Warren or Fraser (or any other senior police officer) doubting anything. Fraser's views are not recorded in Warren's letter and Warren was doing no more than passing on a request from the Home Secretary to the person in ultimate charge of the investigation into Eddowes' murder.
So Trevor has, once again, got himself very confused by a simple document.
The answer to the Home Secretary's question about whether the piece of apron had been worn by Eddowes was, incidentally, contained in a report by City police inspector McWilliam who recorded in a report dated 27 October 1888, provided to the Home Office, that the piece of apron found in Goulston Street was 'compared with a piece the deceased was wearing & it exactly corresponded'.
The piece found in Goulston Street, therefore, was indeed without doubt a portion of that which was worn by Eddowes. It corresponded exactly with it.
This corroborated the evidence of Dr Brown who said (underlining added):
'My attention was called to the apron - it was the corner of the apron with a string attached. The blood spots were of recent origin - I have seen a portion of an apron produced by Dr Phillips and stated to have been found in Goulstone Street. It is impossible to say it is human blood. I fitted the piece of apron which had a new piece of material on it which had been evidently sewn on to the piece I have. The seams of the borders of the two actually corresponding - some blood and apparently some fecal matter was found on the portion in Goulstone Street.'
Now, I can't tell you exactly what is going on in Trevor's mind but he seems to think that Eddowes had not been wearing the apron despite PC Hutt stating in his evidence at the inquest that, 'I noticed she was wearing an apron. I believe the one produced was the one she was wearing when she left the Station'. This comes not from any newspaper report of the inquest but directly from Hutt's sworn deposition. This was corroborated by PC Robinson who testified (as recorded in his deposition): 'She was wearing an apron. I believe the apron produced was the one she was wearing'.
As Simon Wood might say, that is what is known as evidence.
So there is overwhelming proof that Eddowes was wearing an apron and that the piece of an apron found in Goulston Street matched the remaining piece of the apron she was wearing at the time of her death.
A more open and shut case one could not imagine.
A piece of a white apron was even listed by Inspector Collard in his list of articles found on her. Collard also produced in his evidence 'a portion of the apron which deceased was apparently wearing which had been cut through and was found outside her dress' . Despite Trevor's desperate protests, the word 'apparently' as used in that sentence was clearly not qualifying the notion that Eddowes had been wearing the dress but, on the contrary, Collard was saying that it appeared that she HAD been wearing it.
Trevor quibbles that the piece of white apron is not listed alongside Eddowes' clothes in the list of articles but Collard never said that the order of the list reflected whether Eddowes was or was not wearing any of the articles. Trevor blusters that when police prepare lists they do so in a certain order but (to the extent he isn't just making that up) he can only speak of his own twentieth century experience in the police force, he has no idea how things were done in the nineteenth century let alone how they were done by Inspector Collard in a nineteenth century East End mortuary. It was obvious to the police at the time that the piece of apron was different from all of Eddowes' other clothes due to the missing piece that had been found in Goulston Street, so that it might well have been separated from Eddowes' other clothes, which fact alone could explain why it was tagged on to the end of Collard's list.
So completely has Trevor confused himself, that he claimed in one post (#497) in response to Wickerman that, had Wickerman's argument been correct, the apron would have been 'listed as part of her clothing'. But Collard's list doesn't separate out clothing from other items! Collard simply described his list as a list of articles. It's only in Trevor's mind that the first items on the list must have been those worn by Eddowes with the later items being her possessions. This is not something which is stated on the list itself and Collard never said that this is what he intended.
Out of all the issues relating to the murders, this is probably the one where there is the most overwhelming and clear cut evidence. Eddowes had been wearing an apron, a piece had been cut off and deposited in Goulston Street. That's it. Proven. I understand that Trevor thinks that it had been deposited by Eddowes (after using it as a sanitary towel) but one cannot think of a more unlikely scenario. If she had wanted a sanitary towel she had 12 pieces of white rag in her possession, some but not all of which appear to have been used because they were bloodstained. The idea that she would have been so financially reckless as to cut off a piece of her apron for the purpose seems ludicrous.
Finally, we can't let the subject of the thread go without noting that Trevor is back to his old tricks in claiming that newspaper reports of inquests are 'secondary' evidence. He's been told time and time again that this is not the case but he's gone even further to tell Wickerman in #572:
'When are you going to realize that these newspaper reports are secondary hearsay evidence, and cannot and should not be relied upon'.
It is strange that after all these years, and after having been a serving police officer, Trevor does not understand what hearsay is. A newspaper report of inquest proceedings cannot in any way be described as 'hearsay'. It would normally be regarded by historians as primary evidence but the debate about what is primary and what is secondary evidence has been going on for years and Trevor will clearly never change his views.
What is certain is that the reporter for the Morning Post (who was also the same reporter for the Globe) and the reporter for the Scotsman, who saw the apron with their own eyes, both recorded that it was in 'two pieces' when it was produced in court. That is primary evidence!
STILL RUNNING FROM THE TRUTH
It's amazing. I put it on a plate for the members of the Forum but they don't seem to be concentrating.
Christer Holmgren has been allowed to constantly repeat a claim in his internet posts which is totally contradicted by his book.
Time and time again he claims that Mizen stated that the blood was "still running" when he saw it.
For example, posts #1 #3, 6, #16, #143 and #145 of the 'Every minute counts' thread.
The source is from the report of the inquest in the Morning Advertiser of 4 September 1888 in which Mizen was quoted as saying 'The blood appeared fresh, and was still running from the neck of the woman'.
But, as I mentioned in 'Breaking Point', Holmgren believes that this quote in the Morning Post is inaccurate. He actually tells us what Mizen really said at page 81 of his book when quoting from the Echo's report which, Holmgren explains, records the conversation 'in a fuller manner'. And what the Echo records is that Mizen said:
'There was blood running from the throat towards the gutter'.
No mention there of 'still running'.
According to Holmgren, the reporter for the Morning Advertiser who reported Mizen as having said that the blood was 'still running' completely misunderstood Mizen's evidence and thought he was talking about a different point in time, after he had come back with the ambulance, hence the use of the word 'still'.
As Holmgren writes at page 80 of his book:
'Why then would Mizen say that the blood was "still running" and that it "looked fresh" if around half an hour had passed since Nichols would have been cut and if the blood under her neck was already congealed?'
Holmgren answers the question by telling us that the Morning Advertiser report is inaccurate and directs us to the Echo which, as we've seen, does not record Mizen using the word 'still'.
Now, I have no idea why no-one has picked Holmgren up on this. Like I say, I put it on a plate. Someone called 'Fiver' questioned Holmgren, but this person was unaware of the Morning Advertiser report.
Holmgren wants to have it both ways. He wants to discard the Morning Advertiser report yet keep the words "fresh" and "still running".
Frankly, I have no idea why. If Mizen did say the blood was 'still running' when he first saw it (which seems very unlikely) it was after Neil had already described it as oozing from the body. The word 'still' in this context, to the extent it makes any sense, is of no effect because it would have been the first time that Mizen saw the body and the blood, at which point we know from Neil's evidence that it was (slowly) oozing from the wound. It doesn't help us at all as to how long Nichols had been dead bearing in mind that Dr Biggs tells us that oozing can easily continue for 20 minutes after death (and longer).
The word 'still' can only be of any value if Mizen was talking about the time when he returned with the ambulance but Holmgren tells us that Mizen wasn't talking about this period. So why does he keep using the word 'still' from a newspaper report which he is convinced is wrong?
Is it because he is still running from the truth?
We know that the Clanger read my 'Breaking Point' article so he could have confronted Holmgren with his inconsistent treatment of the Morning Advertiser report but I guess he was so obsessed with my comments on the 1876 inquest that he didn't read my article properly. Nevertheless, at least the Clanger did raise with Holmgren (#150 of the 'Every minute counts' thread) the fact that it would have been strange for Mizen to have used the expression 'still running' when he first saw the blood. Most importantly, the Clanger also noted that, when Neil saw the body, the blood was merely oozing.
Forced to confront the painful truth about oozing which he has completely avoided in his book, Holmgren was thoroughly rattled and tried to start an argument with the dictionary about what 'oozing' means!!!
We'll look at that in a moment but a clear sign of Holmgren's discomfort and desperation was that he revived an old and discredited claim when he said that (#151):
'We also have the original press reports from before the inquest, where Neil said that Nichols bled "profusely".
This is completely false and one wonders how Holmgren - a man who always protests with howls of outrage when his integrity is publicly challenged - can possibly defend such behaviour.
His statement is false for two reasons.
Firstly, the press reports that Holmgren is referring to do not quote Neil as saying that Nichols bled "profusely". Those reports say that: 'The wound was about two inches wide and blood was flowing profusely'. That is not a quote from Neil. It is the newspaper's words.
Secondly, and most importantly, I demonstrated conclusively in a Forum post on 18 May 2017, in a thread entitled 'Blood Oozing' (#469), that the original Central News agency report on which the subsequent reports referred to by Holmgren were based did not include the statement about the blood flowing profusely. That post can be found here.
As can be seen from that post, The Globe was the first to publish the Central News agency report in its 12.30pm edition of 31 August 1888 and what that report stated was that:
'The wound was about two inches wide, and the woman was lying in a pool of blood'.
It was the Star which subsequently appears to have changed the wording in a later edition that day to make it more dramatic and thus altered the sentence to:
'The wound was about two inches wide and blood was flowing profusely'.
The reason why it is hard to avoid the conclusion that Holmgren is now lying is because, in responding to my post two days later, on 20 May 2017 (#478), and having admitted that my post was 'quite clear' in demonstrating the source of the Star report, he said:
'This means that the probable thing is that the term profusely was added by a reporter'.
He then repeated this concession in the same post when he said that:
'the term profusely should be regarded as having been added by a journalist'.
At the same time, he made a great fuss at an earlier suggestion of Steve's (Elamarna) that, when responding to my post, he might have been blinded to the facts by his own personal beliefs. Thus he said:
'Steve implies that there is a risk that I would put personal belief before facts'.
But, having accepted that the word 'profusely' was added by a journalist he preened:
'That is how I work, Steve. There is no rebuttal, because denying the obvious would be downright silly....David is correct on this score'.
Let's repeat that. David is correct on this score. Oh yes.
Here we are four years later and, in his desperation, he's gone back to claiming that the Neil used the word 'profusely' despite having accepted in the clearest possible terms in 2017 that this was a word gratuitously added into the story by a newspaper.
I don't think we can even be generous and say he forgot, because he didn't mention the press report using the word 'profusely' at all in his book which means that he must have deliberately omitted to include it because he knew full well that the word was not Neil's.
Neil's sworn evidence at the inquest was perfectly clear. The blood was 'oozing'. We all know what oozing means. It's a slow trickle or discharge. There is literally no other meaning.
Nevertheless, Holmgren would like it to mean fast flowing in order to frame Lechmere for the Nichols murder so we were treated to an entertaining lot of nonsense.
Having deceived his readers into thinking that Neil told the press that the blood was bleeding 'profusely', Holmgren in his #151 in the 'Every minute counts' thread started talking about blood oozing profusely. And he did a search on Google for 'a lot of blood oozed' for which he said there are 32,600 hits.
The first thing to say about this is that Holmgren is confusing volume with speed or, rather, rate of flow. The word 'oozing', as used by PC Neil only tells us about the rate of flow of blood (i.e. it was slow), not about the amount of blood. There could have been a lot of blood oozing or a little. The human body has about ten pints of blood and, in the case of Holmgren's famous exsanguination, or draining of blood, if blood were to ooze continuously from the body, there could potentially be ten pints of blood oozing which would certainly be a lot of oozing, or a profuse amount of oozing.
In fact, if Neil had spoken of a profuse amount of oozing, that would be totally unhelpful to Holmgren's attempt to frame Lechmere because it would suggest that the oozing went on for a long time - exactly what Holmgren is trying to convince us did not happen!
The fact remains, however, that Neil did NOT use the word 'profusely' when describing the oozing blood but it's nevertheless interesting to have a look at the Google results of 'a lot of blood oozed'.
Although, Google does announce 36,300 results when I perform this search, it only shows me a grand total of 38 results over four pages! On the last page there is a statement: 'In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 38 already displayed'.
So it doesn't look like the phrase is, in fact, very common.
Of those 38 results, what have we got?
Well six of them relate to a single boxing match involving Vijender Singh in which Singh was quoted as saying 'The fight was tough and a lot of blood oozed out, but finally the win was ours'. During the course of a boxing match, over 10 rounds, where boxers get cuts, it is perfectly understandable that a lot of blood might ooze out. Clearly there wasn't blood gushing out all over the place! But this obviously relates to living human beings with hearts pumping so that oozing of blood can go on for ages. Hence a lot of blood oozing out. It tells us nothing at all about what would happen to a dead body lying on the ground.
Then we have:
'A lot of blood oozed out from the mutilated region such that I fainted.'
Let's not go into the details of that but it's a case of female genital circumcision and a woman has been circumcised leading to a lot of blood oozing from that part of her anatomy. She was alive but fainted. Again, this tells us nothing about oozing from the wound of a dead person.
Then we have another living person telling us that when they were a child their cheek was cut by a metal fence and a lot of blood oozed out from the wound. Living person. Volume only being mentioned, not rate of flow. Irrelevant.
Then we have two duplicate quotes of 'suddenly a lot of blood oozed out of the corner of his mouth' and another quote of someone saying 'a lot of blood oozed from his hand'. More living people. Volume only being discussed. Totally irrelevant.
We have now reached the end of the first page of the Google results.
On the second page we have someone dying from internal bleeding and 'a lot of blood oozed inside'. Perfectly understandable that, with such internal bleeding, there would be a lot of blood which would ooze.
In one case, where the writer is referring to dead bodies, he is talking about a lot of them. Hence, in a book by Dan Sutherland, it is stated that:
'Bodies littered the road from back to front...my clothes were starched in human blood. Chunks of flesh were stuck on us. I tell you that on that ground a lot of blood oozed'.'
So, bearing in mind that the writer is saying that blood was oozing from many dead bodies, that's actually very different from what Holmgren tries to persuade us his search has found and shows that you cannot simply rely on a large number of results without seeing what those results actually say.
I'm not going to go through the rest of them. Other than the Dan Sutherland one, they all seem to be the same. Living people with lots of blood oozing from a wound. It doesn't help Holmgren at all! Every single statement implies a slow trickle of blood. Otherwise they would have said the blood flowed from the wounds or gushed out.
We can see Holmgren's real desperation on this point when he says:
'Is the "ooze" in "oozing with confidence" the same "ooze" as in trickle very slowly?'
Ha ha! No, is the answer. No, it is not the same. But, here, Holmgren shows that he understands perfectly well that "ooze" means trickle very slowly. There is no other meaning of the word in the context of Neil describing the blood.
But here's the best bit. A few posts later (#155) he writes:
'Have a look at the sentence "a lot of blood oozed" on Google, and you will see that it describes very substantial flows many times".
Brilliant! The great magician has, in a stroke, managed to redefine ooze to become 'very substantial flow'. Incredible.
But, as we've seen, that's not what the Google results for 'a lot of blood oozed' show at all. There is nothing in them about substantial flows of blood! They are just talking about a lot of blood slowly trickling out of wounds. That's all! And that's no doubt why Holmgren didn't quote a single one of the 32,000 results he claimed he'd found. None of them help him at all.
In his frantic attempts to frame Lechmere for the murder of Nichols, Holmgren literally tries to manipulate the English language and it's painful to watch.
His next wheeze to attempt to change the meaning of 'ooze' came when he searched the word on the Old Bailey website. He claimed that he had found three examples from the nineteenth century of 'how the word was many times used to describe a significant or very significant blood flow'.
But had he found even a single example of this? Of course not! That's not what ooze means. At least, it doesn't mean a significant FLOW of blood.
Let's look at them individually:
EXAMPLE 1: In 1839 one witness said he 'heard the blood ooze like water'. According to Holmgren, if you hear a blood oozing like water, 'it will be running in significant quantities'. But this is simply not true. Has Holmgren never heard a tap dripping? Or a roof leaking? Water can ooze too! It can just trickle if it's moving slowly. Holmgren is simply imagining that the witness was talking about blood 'running in significant quantities'. That's not actually present in what he said. In any case, I repeat that the quantity of blood is not the relevant factor here. The relevant factor is the rate or flow, about which the witness plainly said nothing other than that it was oozing which means that it was trickling.
EXAMPLE 2: In 1852 a police inspector said of a victim that 'blood was oozing very profusely from a wound just above her knee'. I've already dealt with profuse oozing. It just means that there was a lot of oozing. And we're talking about a living person with a heartbeat in any case so there's really no comparison between that type of oozing and the oozing of a corpse. Once again, we are told nothing by this witness which contradicts the notion that the profuse amount of blood being described was trickling out slowly. And it must have been, because the witness said it was oozing!
EXAMPLE 3 - A witness in 1853 said of a 'dreadful bad wound' that 'the blood was oozing out very bad indeed'. Again, this was a living person (soon to be dead) so there could have been a huge volume of oozing from a serious wound but it doesn't affect the fact that it was a slow trickle or seeping of blood from the body. That's what the witness was saying. It wasn't flowing out, it was oozing!
After citing these examples, Holmgren said: 'These three cases should settle the issue about whether "oozing" can portray substantial bleeding or not'. But no-one is arguing about whether oozing is consistent with 'substantial bleeding' or not, especially not for a living person! The argument is about what rate of blood movement is conveyed by oozing and the dictionary answer (and the way it is used by English speakers) is that it is a SLOW rate of movement. But it doesn't tell us anything about the amount of blood coming out of the body, especially over time.
After all, if blood had been oozing out of the body of Nichols for 20 minutes or half an hour when Neil first saw it, we would expect a large volume of blood to have oozed out of the body which could, if one wishes it, be described as 'substantial bleeding'.
But we should also remember that Neil just used a single word 'oozing'. He did not refer to a substantial oozing, or a profuse oozing or a lot of oozing. So the volume is unknown. But the rate of the movement of blood is very clear. It was slow. Hence it was in the second phase of post-mortem 'bleeding' (to use Holmgren's word). The first phase is usually a flowing or gushing of blood lasting only a few minutes. The second phase (or the first phase if the person was dead when cut open) is an oozing which can go on for a very long time. Certainly long enough to mean that it cannot be concluded that the murderer was likely to have been Lechmere on the basis of Neil's observation of the oozing.
One thing is for sure. We can now see why Holmgren avoided any discussion of 'oozing' in his book. He just rambles nonsensically on the subject.
HE'S OOZING NONSENSE
I loved the way that Holmgren attempted to shift the discussion about oozing from rate of movement towards volume and thereby from volume back to rate of movement.
Look at this statement by way of example (from #164 of the 'Every minute counts' thread):
'must ooze always mean trickling only very slowly and in small proportions? And that is where my three examples emphatically prove that this is not so - it was not so in the mid 19th century either.'
It's a conjuring trick worthy of the Clanger himself. Because sure, Holmgren's examples show that oozing is not always in small proportions But whoever said it was? I don't recall anyone saying this. On the contrary, the argument against Holmgren is that, in the case of Nichols, there was a LOT of oozing, sufficient to last for at least 20 minutes.
But, having shown that oozing blood does not always need to be in 'small proportions', Holmgren slips in the claim that he's also shown it doesn't always mean 'trickling only very slowly'. Well I must have missed him showing that! It is, after all, precisely what oozing means: always has and always will. He's not provided a single example of anyone talking about fast oozing, which would be impossible! That's what he needed to find but couldn't.
So he tries to use sleight of hand. Large proportions of oozing somehow equates to fast oozing. Or rather, having shown that 'oozing' doesn't always mean BOTH trickling very slowly AND in small proportions (which no-one has ever said it does) he now thinks that because he's knocked out the 'small proportions' part of the equation he's also knocked out the 'trickling' part too.
So with utter bare faced cheek he then says that it all 'points a VERY clear finger at Lechmere, I'm afraid'.
Then he's back to his rubbish about 'the pathologists both said that a bleeding time of 3-5 minutes was the likeliest span'. Except that, of course, they didn't. Neither pathologist said this, as I explained at length in 'Breaking Point'.
A STRANGE INTERVENTION
Dusty Strange went over Holmgren's Old Bailey searches and claims he found two examples 'used to describe flowing blood'. He pointed out that in both cases the individuals were alive but, while this has relevance to the volume of blood, it should not, in theory, change the meaning of the word 'ooze'.
Of those two examples, he only provided details of one, which was a woman saying that a man's head wound was 'streaming with blood'. She said she bathed the wound but that, as much as she did so, 'the blood oozed out again'. While the word 'again' here may suggest she is referring back to the 'streaming' that's not so certain. She might have been saying that, following the streaming, there was oozing and that all she meant by the word 'again' was that the blood was coming out of the wound again. After all, why did she not say that the blood 'streamed out again'? There is a strong likelihood that she was distinguishing here between streaming and oozing.
One assumes this was his best example, so if his other example is no better I don't think he's established what he claims to have done.
Of course, oozing blood incorporates some kind of flow. But if someone talks about flowing blood without qualification it suggests fast flowing blood, not oozing. For oozing by definition means a slow flowing blood or a trickle. That's just what oozing means. There was no different Victorian usage of the word, as Holmgren would love there to have been. If anyone ever used 'ooze' to mean a fast flowing blood it would have been in total ignorance of what the word meant and thus a wrong use of that word.
I DON'T BELIEVE IT!
Surely only Trevor can see a witness saying "I believe..." and translate that into "I don't believe..." .
It literally happened in #663 of the Kate's Apron thread:
According to Trevor, the witness would not have said 'I believe [the apron I saw Eddowes wearing is] the one produced' if they believed the apron produced was the one they saw Kate wearing because 'I believe' supposedly implies doubt. You just cannot make this kind of stuff up.
WAS TREVOR RIGHT?
In 'Kate's Apron' thread at #592, Trevor stated:
'The depositions are taken down and the witness is then asked to read it before signing or, it is read back to them as being correct that [is] how it works so there should be no room for errors like you suggest'.
Responding to him, Wickerman said (in #601):
'The depositions in Eddowes case were signed, the depositions in the Kelly case were not signed'.
I don't happen to think Wickerman is correct. The depositions in the Eddowes case are certainly signed but the surviving depositions in the Kelly case must surely be copies of those depositions, not the originals. After all, the Coroner's Act 1887 states at Section 4(2):
'It shall be the duty of the coroner in a case of murder or manslaughter to put into writing the statement on oath of those who know the facts and circumstances of the case, or so much of such statements as is material, and any such deposition shall be signed by the witness and also by the coroner.'
It would have been most irregular for the depositions in the Kelly case not to have been signed by the witnesses so, for that reason, we can be fairly sure they were.
By law (Section 5(3) of the 1887 Act), coroners had to deliver the original depositions to the Court where someone was tried with murder or manslaughter so that it is likely that many or all of them ensured that they made copies of any such depositions in case someone was arrested and tried for the death of the person whose inquest was being conducted and that's what I assume has survived in the Kelly case, with the original signed depositions stored elsewhere but now lost.
That being said, Trevor's point is not entirely good because I've seen plenty of cases where witnesses claimed not to have said things that were in their depositions in coroners courts and police courts or to have claimed to have said things that weren't included, albeit that in many of those cases the witnesses might not have been telling the truth. Here's just one example:
'The constable in the case appeared from his deposition to have stated at the police court that the horse and cart had not been claimed but now swore that he had never said so...' (Times, 17 March 1893, trial of Albert Presland).
Now, Wickerman normally talks sense but not always and I'm not sure about this (from 'Kate's Apron' thread #669):
'Where I take issue with the signature is, for the witness to read a verbatim transcript will take almost as long as his testimony. In Brown's case if he was on the stand for 40 minutes answering questions, it is going to take him almost the same amount of time to read what was transcribed. The number of words is the same, it's like reading the script for a play. If it takes you 15 minutes to read your part, it still takes 15 minutes to do it on stage.
I can't see the inquest being halted after every witness for this to take place.
What you are suggesting is the proceedings of the inquest have to halt while each witness reads, or has it read back to them word for word. My experience in a number of courts today this has never happened.
I think they were simply handed the transcript to sign as a means of certification, not that they re-read it, word for word.'
In the first place, an examination of a witness in a coroner's court involved questions and answers (albeit to a lesser extent with medical evidence) but the questions weren't included in the deposition. Furthermore, there would be pauses in the answers, especially if the coroner needed time to write them down. A coroner also did not write down everything said by a witness. For those reasons I would seriously question whether it would take a witness 'almost the same amount of time' to read what was written.
Wickerman certainly uses the wrong word in 'transcribed'. While it is true that Jervis says that, 'The coroner should where possible follow the precise expressions of the witness in the first person' that doesn't necessarily mean that the coroner had to include everything said by a witness, as Wickerman well knows. If they rambled on to talk about matters that the coroner didn't think important it wouldn't be included in the deposition. By way of example, James Richards, deputy coroner for Middlesex, stated at the 1867 Old Bailey trial of John Wiggins that it was 'not usual' to take down every word in a deposition. Called as a witness at the trial of dynamitards, Callan and Harkins, in January 1888, Mr Samuel Langham, the coroner for London and Southwark, stated:
'I believe I took down everything that Harkins said, as far as was material - some things that I did not consider material I may have omitted'.
Interestingly, Langham (like some other coroners giving evidence at the Old Bailey) referred to his 'original notes'. It's not entirely clear if, by this, he meant the deposition but what it appears that some coroners did was to note down the evidence of witnesses (sometimes in shorthand if they could do it), which was then written up into depositions at a later date, which depositions were then read to the witnesses (who returned to the court for that purpose) and signed them. That's what seems to have been happening in some cases, at least, although we know that Wynne Baxter didn't take this approach.
Apart from the fact that Baxter's surviving depositions are a bit too scrappy to have been written from notes at a later date (and in murder cases he always had his depositions printed in beautiful pamphlet form) his actual practice was recorded in the Daily News of 11 September 1888 which noted that:
'At the latest Whitechapel inquest...a great number of witnesses, policemen, jurymen and others are detained three times as long for the recording of evidence by the deliberate longhand system of Mr Baxter as is necessary for the mere hearing of testimony. Business is interrupted, justice is impeded, expense is incurred, and everybody grows tired of the slow procedure, simply because it is deemed necessary to dribble out what has to be said sentence by sentence, with long pauses between.'
This, I think, entirely disproves Wickerman's point that it would have taken the same amount of time to read a witness's deposition as it would have taken to examine them. The wider point though, is that it's not such a simple subject that one can invoke common sense or one's gut feeling as to the practice of the time. It needs evidence.
There is plenty of evidence of coroners saying that depositions were read over to witnesses before being signed and sometimes this is actually stated on the depositions themselves. As for Wynne Baxter, we find good evidence of his practice at one of his Whitechapel murder inquests which suggests that all his witnesses DID have their depositions read over to them before signing. You might not think so from this extract from the Evening Standard of 18 July 1889 reporting the end of the evidence of Margaret Cheek at the inquest into the death of Alice McKenzie presided over by Baxter:
Reading this on its own, it might not appear that anything was read over to this witness who would presumably have been unable to read the deposition over for herself.
The truth of the matter, however, is happily revealed in a report of the same woman's evidence in the Daily Telegraph of 19 July 1889 as follows:
As we can see the report says:
'Mr Baxter read over the evidence, which witness accompanied with free comment'.
It would appear from this example, therefore, that Baxter's practice was to read over a witness' deposition to them and his officer would ensure the witness then signed it.
Ms Cheek's decision to flounce out of the court - and it's unlikely she could have been stopped - seems somewhat at odds with the notion that witnesses were required to remain at the court until the conclusion of the hearing and being bound over until the ultimate conclusion of the inquest. But there is a revealing statement at the end of the Daily Chronicle's report of the proceedings of 18 July 1889. For it says this:
'The depositions of the witnesses were then read over to them and signed...'
This would appear to answer Wickerman's objection that depositions would not be read aloud because this would have taken up too much time. At this inquest, at least, it would seem that the proceedings were not held up for depositions to be read over to the witnesses because this was done at the conclusion of the day, quite possibly after most of the press and public had departed. Margaret Cheek might have been an exception due to her making very clear from the outset that she wasn't going to be staying long. Perhaps she hadn't been summonsed while other witnesses had. Who knows? But I would point out that Dr Phillips was one of the witnesses who was examined that day (18 July 1889) and was presumably one of those whose depositions were read over before signing.
Having said that, it's worth noting that Dr Charles Graham Grant was asked in cross-examination at Thames Police Court in 1904 about evidence he had given at an inquest into the death of Emily Farmer which appeared to be inconsistent with his evidence at the police court, and he said about his inquest deposition, as recorded in his police court deposition, 'I read my evidence over - it was not read to me'. The inquest into the death of Emily Farmer had been conducted by Wynne Baxter so perhaps he had a different practice when it came to medical witnesses, and simply asked them to read their depositions over to themselves before signing. The larger, point, however, is that it seems clear that witnesses of all kinds did not sign their depositions without knowing exactly what they contained.
Wickerman is usually a sensible poster but he does have a habit, on occasion, of imagining things and going further than the evidence allows. Even worse is that we can see from #669, he said that. 'My experience in a number of courts today this has never happened'. The problem is that he doesn't say what type of courts he is talking about and whether he is referring to depositions. We are talking about what happened in a period prior to the invention of computers and machines when things were done very differently so his own modern experience of court procedure isn't going to help him.
In short, therefore, while there are still some gaps in our knowledge about how depositions were signed in all cases, I would say that Trevor was basically correct and that depositions on the whole can be relied upon but that, like any document, it's still possible that a deposition - even one read to and signed by a witness - can contain errors.
Wickerman fell into error once again in #482 by guessing about what he thinks must have happened at an inquest. Thus he said:
'All the witnesses were called by summons delivered to them from the coroner's office. Each witness must produce that summons after the inquest has run its course in order to get paid for their time'.
While that might seem like common sense, it's not true. Witnesses at inquests held in Middlesex would be paid (at the coroner's discretion) whether or not they had been summonsed to appear, as I explain in The Big Coroner's Inquiry Inquiry.
Wickerman compounded his error by saying:
'There are no 'walk ins', this is not a clinic.'
But what would happen if a witness turned up at an inquest claiming to have important information about the death of the individual in question?
Wickerman was asked this and after babbling on pointlessly about security, was forced to admit:
'I guess, if the new witness did have important information the details taken down on the spot might be handed to an officer of the court, who will bring it to the coroner to read personally. The coroner could...admit him on the spot'.
What, you mean a bit like a walk in???!!!
As I've explained in The Big Coroner's Inquiry Inquiry, it wasn't necessary for a summons to be issued to witnesses to attend an inquest. They could simply be (verbally) warned to attend. Different coroner's jurisdictions, however, would no doubt have different practices.
From Lloyds Weekly News of 30 September 1888, we have an indication that Wynne Baxter perhaps tended to formally summons witnesses. Having said that, only one summons is actually mentioned in the article, that issued to Robert Paul. But Paul seems to have been reluctant to have come forward in the first instance because, he complained, he was fetched up by the police 'in the middle of the night'. Fees are mentioned as having been paid to other witnesses but whether they had received a summons or not isn't entirely clear and, like I say, they would have received attendance fees regardless of whether a summons had been issued for their attendance.
THE RETURN OF GUESSINGMAN
Wickerman was back in the thread to make an odd claim with regard to inquests (in #515 of the Schwartz thread):
'Interpreters were always available, it was their legal right'.
Always available????? What IS he talking about?
Does he truly think that suitable and qualified interpreters of all languages spent their time prowling around all the coroners courts (and police courts, presumably) of England and Wales on the off chance that their services might be required?
Even Trevor was able to point out this was nonsense (in #519) and, with all due respect to Mr Marriott, when Trevor is being the sensible one in an exchange you know in you're in big trouble.
Ideally, an interpreter would be a professional, with sufficient academic qualifications. But not always, it seems.
Let me first give this example of an inquest involving Wynne Baxter in November 1887 inquiring into the death of a Spanish sailor called 'Santiago', from the Times of 9 November 1887:
We can see there that the man acting as (Spanish) interpreter at the inquest was Joseph Blye. Who was he? The Times report doesn't tell us but a report of the adjourned inquest in the Daily News of 25 November 1887 reveals his status:
He was a witness!!! A friend of Santiago. So perhaps to save time, perhaps to save money, Wynne Baxter allowed one of the witnesses at his inquest to act as an interpreter. As we can see, he had previously interpreted for the police at Leman Street. He was a mere navy steward (a report of the police court proceedings in Lloyds List of 30 November 1887 says he was a steward in the British Navy, not Spanish) who, presumably, had no academic qualifications which would have allowed him to act as an interpreter in a professional capacity.
Now Baxter certainly did use interpreters when necessary. For example, there was an interpreter at an inquest he held into the death of Simche Siffe, a Polish Jew, on 24 December 1889 in order to translate the widow's evidence. There was one at the inquest of Lazarus Kreutzner on 21 August 1890 to translate the evidence of Leah Kreutzner, mother of the deceased, who was Polish. An interpreter translated the evidence of an Austrian woman, Yatty Yance, mother of deceased Moritz Yance, at an 1891 inquest, while an interpreter translated the evidence of a Russian man, Adoph Cushneer, at an inquest into the death of his daughter on 5 January 1892. Still, all these witnesses were 'essential', being the close relatives of the deceased, whereas the necessary fee for the interpreter might have been a reason (not necessarily the reason) against calling Schwartz, who was not.
But were the above interpreters professionals or children? In the early 1900s it seems that Wynne Baxter was using a little girl to interpret for him at some inquests as per this story in the Daily Mirror of 27 January 1905:
The story concludes with the comment that Baxter had written to 'the little lady' telling her not to worry. From other reports we know that the little lady was a thirteen year old girl called Louisa Klinczynsky (or Klinozynsky). A story in the Daily News of 8 December 1904 stated that Louisa had been discovered by the coroner's officer and that Baxter was 'pleased and astonished' by her. For the first time, the newspaper said, Baxter was assisted by a competent interpreter of the Lithuanian tongue. It quoted Baxter as saying, 'She is the only person I can find to interpret this most difficult language'. Crucially, the story revealed that was given a shilling each time she interpreted at the coroner's court. This must have been a bargain considering that, from other reports, interpreters could earn anywhere between seven and ten shillings per day for court work during the 1880s. Someone had to pay that money (and in police courts we find examples of magistrates insisting that the interpreter's fee was paid either by the either prosecutor or the defendant).
Using a child was by no means unique. A 'pretty little Italian girl' aged ten, Louisa Vigilande, the cousin of a deceased baby, was reported to have acted as an interpreter at an inquest held at Poplar Town Hall in August 1906 (possibly presided over by Baxter) and a 13 year old Belgian boy was used by the Westminster coroner in 1915.
Baxter's little girl might have been of a higher standard than some his previous interpreters. In a letter to the Jewish Chronicle of 21 August 1896, a Jewish solicitor complained of the standard of interpreters in the East End courts. He said the chosen interpreter was usually 'a very badly educated person and often does not properly understand his own language, and is quite unable to translate so that....persons in Court, can understand what he is talking about'. He went on to say that he was at an inquest before Wynne Baxter at the London Hospital and that the mode of translating was 'so painful' that he didn't think the jurors would have been able to come to a proper verdict.
At an inquest into the death of Frederick Leback on 24 December 1889, there was a massive problem when Wynne Baxter attempted to ask questions of a German witness, Herman Ruthven, but Ruthven didn't understand him. A number of jury members tried to assist with the translation but made matters worse, causing Baxter to adjourn the inquiry 'for the attendance of a proper interpreter'. This led to such complaints from the jury members about the delay this would cause that Baxter threatened to send them to prison!. So much for Wickerman's claim that interpreters of all languages were 'always available'. Here's the story as reported in the Morning Post of 25 December 1889:
It would seem that Baxter's preferred interpreter of the Hebrew, Yiddish, Russian and German languages during the 1880s was a man called Leo William Karamelli, a member of the Whitechapel District Board of Works. According to a genealogical website here, he'interpreted Yiddish to English at the inquests of Jack the Ripper's victims'. There are certainly reports that Karamelli interpreted for Baxter at his inquests in the 1880s and we find from newspaper reports that he was active on 8 October 1888 as interpreter at Worship Street Police Court for the Swedish prosecutor in a case of theft and assault. As it happens, Karamelli had acted as interpreter at both the Thames Police Court and the Old Bailey in the proceedings against Israel Lipski.
I've been reasonably generous to Wickerman so far. He's made some guesses, sure, and those guesses have been wrong but at least they were understandable and, to some extent, educated guesses. In #517 of the Schwartz thread, however, he just started talking bollocks for want of a better word.
'A coroner's court does not provide capabilities for the defence of an accused. If an accused is identified at an inquest, proceedings must stop and the case is passed to a higher court.
A coroner cannot pursue a murder inquiry, he is not legally qualified to conduct one.'
To the extent that this is supposed to describe the situation in 1888 (and Wickerman, writing here in the present tense, had the cheek to say to Trevor in #532 'when you reply in the present tense it only serves to confuse the issue'), every word of that is utter bollocks.
He should read the 'Islington Murder Mystery' by David Barrat. He will see that not only did the coroner's court in that 1915 case provide capabilities for the defence of the accused but she was represented by Counsel who cross-examined witnesses. If he also read 'The Camden Town Murder Mystery' he would see that, during the inquest into the death of Emily Dimmock, the Crown was represented by Sir Charles Mathews, instructed by the Treasury Solicitors' Department, with Arthur Newton acting for the accused prisoner, Robert Wood, and also cross-examining witnesses. The police court proceedings against Wood were stayed until the conclusion of the inquest.
Furthermore, an accused person in a coroner's court could call their own witnesses if they desired to. As I've already mentioned, in the inquest into the death of Emily Dimmock, Arthur Newton did indeed call witnesses, including two witnesses who had provided statements to the police but had not been called to give evidence on behalf of the crown (or by the coroner).
Far from a coroner not being able to pursue a murder inquiry, it's in the bleedin' Coroner's Act that he could charge a person with murder and 'shall issue his warrant for arresting or detaining such person'. A coroner's jury in 1888 was, to the extent they were able, supposed to 'set forth the persons, if any, whom the jury find to have been guilty of such murder or manslaughter, or of being accessories before the fact to the murder' . The coroner and his jury had the power to commit a prisoner to trial regardless of whether that prisoner was committed by a magistrate or not. He WAS, in other words, legally qualified to conduct a murder inquiry! That was part of his job.
LEAVING THE ROOM
Talking of coroners, I was once asked on the Forum if witnesses could sit in the court room while other witnesses were giving evidence at an inquest, before they had given theirs. My answer was that I didn't think it was compulsory for them to be excluded but that they were probably directed to an ante-room and given a cup of tea and were probably happy not to have to sit in court while other witnesses were examined. What I wasn't aware of was this sentence from a report in the East London Observer of 25 August 1888 regarding the inquest into the death of Martha Tabram:
'At two o'clock - the time fixed for the commencement of the inquiry - there were very few people present beyond the jury - the witnesses being compelled to sit in the lobby outside the room'.
This particular inquest was run by George Collier (Baxter's deputy), but it makes it seem that the usual practice for inquests in that part of Middlesex, and thus those conducted by Baxter himself, was not to allow witnesses into his court room until it was time for them to testify.
A RUNNING JOKE
Christer Holmgren seems to think he can frame Lechmere for the murder of Nichols on the basis of newspaper reports from an inquest that blood was 'running' when seen by police.
Let's consider that.
Inspector Reid was at Castle Alley no earlier than 20 minutes after the death of Alice McKenzie. What did he see? Well, according to the Evening News' report of Reid's evidence on 18 July 1889, he saw blood running. Hence:
There we have it ladies and gentlemen. A quantity of blood from the head 'was running into the gutter'. Suspicion surely has to be thrown on PC Andrews considering that no-one else was seen in the area and he must be more likely than anyone else to have murdered McKenzie.
The Evening News report is confirmed by the Pall Mall Gazette and by the paper of record, The Times, from the next day:
'...there was a quantity of blood under the head which was running' into the gutter'.
That blood was clearly running into that gutter.
It gets even better when we consult the London Daily News of 19 July 1888. For there we find that the blood seen by Inspector Reid was not only running, it was flipping flowing!!!
Bingo! 'a quantity of blood was flowing under her head, and running into the gutter'. Flowing AND running. All we need is the word 'profusely' and we have the Holmgren Holy Trinity!
But hold on, before we get too excited, we should probably check some other newspapers. What did the Daily Telegraph say about Reid's evidence?
Hmmmnn, that's a bit worryingly ambiguous isn't it? the blood 'ran into the gutter'. That's also what the Evening Standard, Morning Advertiser and other newspapers reported. But hey running, ran, it's the same thing isn't it?
But then there is this agency report which appeared in a number of regional newspapers, including the Scotsman, which paints a very different picture:
Ugh! 'a quantity of blood which had run into the gutter'. Now we can't be sure of an anything.
But if we are Christer Holmgren we can ignore that report which seems like an outlier.
Now let's look at what PC Andrews said about the blood in his evidence to the inquest on 17 July 1889 from the next day's Times:
We're in business! He noticed that 'blood was running from the left side of the neck'.
Can we do any better? I think we can actually. From the Daily Chronicle:
Wow. It was 'running freely'. It's a long way from oozing that! But presumably Holmgren would say it's the same thing.
Believe it or not it gets even better than this. For in the London Daily News we are told that the blood was actually streaming from the wound!!!
'The blood was streaming from the left side of her neck and going into the gutter'.
Rather different that from what Neil said about the blood coming from Nichols wound and it means that, at 12.50am, the blood was either running, running freely or streaming from the neck of Alice McKenzie, then at some time after 1.05am it was possibly still running as reported to the inquest by Inspector Reid (at least by some newspapers). As I mentioned in 'Breaking Point', Dr Phillips said in his report that he arrived at Castle Alley at 1.10am and that: 'Blood poured out from the wound in the neck'.
So who can we frame for the murder on that basis? Hey, what about Isaac Lewis Jacobs who initially appears to have been suspected by the police of being involved and detained at the scene? After all, PC Andrews didn't see anyone else about and unless the constable himself was the murderer (maybe we can frame him too?) can we not say, per Holmgren, that the murderer was more likely to have been Jacobs than any other unidentified person? Surely we can. After all, if McKenzie had been murdered at 12.45 it's more realistic to say that blood should have stopped streaming after three minutes at 12.48, per Payne-James, but it was still going strong at 12.50, apparently. Jacobs was supposedly on his way to Dorset Street, probably to murder another woman in Miller's Court, although he claimed he was going to McCarthy's shop to get some food. Anyone remember the testimony of Isaac Eagle from the Stride Inquest? He saw a mysterious man called 'Jacobs' running towards Fairclough Street, supposedly to summon a police officer but quite possibly fleeing the scene of the crime. Can this 'Jacobs' be anyone other than Isaac Lewis Jacobs? I very much doubt it. He was a bootmaker so would have worked with knives. Did he say anything about the blood? Not to the inquest he didn't (crafty sod) but, to a newspaper reporter, giving a false name, or alias, of 'Isaac Lewis', no doubt to avoid anyone connecting him with the 'Jacobs' seen running from the Stride murder, he said that he saw blood 'gushing' from the neck wound 'very fast':
We can see that 'Lewis' said he 'closely examined' the body while Andrews was blowing his whistle, and knew it was warm, so he was obviously touching the body and fiddling with the evidence, probably murdering her even more. He actually told the reporter what the murderer knew about the barrows being stored elsewhere and, I mean, come on, he's giving it away.
Mr Jacobs, you've been framed!
THE MISINFORMATION OF WICKERMAN
As long ago as June 2017 I criticized Wickerman for stating as a fact that witnesses who gave statements to the police in murder inquiries were instructed not to talk to the press.
On 2 June 2017 (at #621 in the thread 'Hutchinson's statement') he posted categorically:
'Police did insist that witnesses speak to no-one about what they saw/heard/said' .
His only basis for saying this was that Elizabeth Prater had told the police on the afternoon of Friday 9th November that she had been wakened by two or three screams of murder yet, later on Friday and on Saturday, apparently said to the press that she had heard nothing during the night.
On this basis, and on this basis only, Wickerman claimed that, 'it seems quite reasonable to accept these reports as an indication that the police requested Prater to withhold critical information from the press & her friends'.
My response at the time was that Mrs Prater didn't even tell the coroner that she was wakened by two or three screams of murder during the night and I asked him if she was also acting under police instructions by not telling the coroner of the two or three screams that she had supposedly heard (#631).
He never answered my question and I told him in #650 that the inference that he was drawing from the newspaper reports was 'very dubious'. After all, might it not simply have been a case of Prater fabricating the screams that she supposedly heard in the night? I said to him:
'Find some positive evidence, not inference, that police actually did instruct witnesses not to speak to the press and you might have a point...'
I also pointed out that the police had no legal authority to give any such instruction. I asked him (in #658) why the police would have isolated one part of Mrs Prater's evidence (the screams in the night) and asked her not to speak to the police about them while allowing her to speak to the press about everything and anything else. I also asked:
'Did they ask all witnesses not to speak to the press about specific parts of their evidence or was it just Prater do you think?'
I then said to him (in #660)
I asked him how he thought that would go down with the public and the Home Office.
'Jon, please think about this for a moment. You are suggesting that the police would be happy for a witness, at their express request, to tell a lie to a newspaper, saying that she had heard no scream, and then 24 or 48 hours later, come and say the direct opposite under oath to a coroner's jury who had possibly read the very newspaper in which the witness had told that false story? And then when perhaps a member of the jury asks the witness about it, the witness, still on oath, says "Oh the police told me to lie to the press".'
It turned out that Wickerman's theory was created because he couldn't find any details in the press from Cox, Prater or Lewis which related to the hours from midnight until 3am. On that basis he concluded that 'the witnesses all avoided commenting on that part of their story' having either been instructed or requested to do so by the police.
But it's no more than a theory on his part. There is literally no evidence to support it.
I also pointed out to him that Cox didn't hear anything relevant to the murder during the night so that there was nothing she could have told the press. Prater said different things at different times and if, as seems likely, Sarah Lewis was also Mrs Kennedy, then she did speak to the press about hearing a cry of murder during the night.
Later in the thread (#939), on 9 June, Wickerman claimed it was 'a reasonable deduction' that Prater was deliberately withholding information from the press. I reminded him that he had said in #621 as a statement of fact that the police 'did insist' that witnesses spoke to no-one about what they had seen or heard, but he didn't correct that statement.
We returned to the subject later when Wickerman thought he'd finally found some actual evidence which supported what he was saying. In #1074 on 13 June he posted an extract from a report in the Morning Advertiser of 10 November 1888 which stated:
'Mrs McCarthy, the landlady, might easily have seen the murderer as he passed out of the court, but she observes a strict reticence, having apparently been cautioned by police'.
This didn't particularly help him much considering (a) that Mrs McCarthy wasn't a witness called to the inquest, (b) that the newspaper used the word "apparently", and (c) the police had no power to 'caution' a witness about what they should say to the press.
In any case, Wickerman's original point wasn't that witnesses were cautioned by the police not to speak to the press at all. On the contrary, they were clearly allowed to speak to the press (because, like Mrs Prater, they did so). His point was that when they DID speak to the press there were certain things they were allowed by the police to say and certain things they were not allowed to say.
After I told him that the police didn't have the authority to caution witnesses in such a way, Wickerman asked me for evidence of this. I told him (in #1103) that HE was the one claiming as a fact that they did have such a power and I said to him:
'I can't say it's impossible that a police officer could have made a false threat with a hint of menace, i.e. "Don't speak to the press or you'll get in trouble" but if they can't back it up it's pretty meaningless. That's why you need to prove that either such a request, or such threats, were actually genuinely made because you are the one making the assertion. I could hardly be expected to prove a negative of this type.'
Yet, still without any evidence in support, Jon claimed in #1114 that:
'a caution/request may be made to the witness not to jeopardize the integrity of his/her testimony by discussing her story with anyone before an inquest'.
He'd obviously forgotten that this wasn't even what he had started off the discussion by saying because he originally told us that Mrs Prater DID discuss her story with the press before the inquest but, on the direct request of the police, lied about what she had heard during the night!
My reply to him was:
'Well I said from the start that the police could, in theory, request witnesses not to speak to the press (your new formulation of "caution/request" merely amuses me) - and I was objecting to your claim that they could instruct them to do so - but that's plainly not what happened here, in November 1888, because of the number of witnesses that DID speak to the press.
Where you have gone wrong is to think that the police would have said to selected witnesses "oh yes, feel free to speak to the press but please don't mention (a), (b) and (c")". Especially where one of those things not to mention is a cry of murder in circumstances where one of the witnesses (Mrs Kennedy) who, in your view, has also given a statement is free to blab whatever she wants to the press, including about the cry of murder.
In short, you have noted that Prater didn't, apparently, mention the cry of murder to the press and have drawn a false conclusion from that fact.'
He quibbled with my use of the word instruct even though he had used the word 'insist' and, at the same time, had referred to a 'restriction' placed upon witnesses not to speak to the press about certain things. When asked by Varqm whether there really was 'a widespread practice by the police of not allowing witnesses to talk to people' he hadn't challenged hat formulation but tried to support it with his example of Elizabeth Prater in #621.
The reason I've gone over this old discussion from four years ago at such length is because we find Wickerman is back to his old tricks in the 'If Schwartz lied' thread where he posted on 17 April 2021 the unqualified statement that:
'The police do caution witnesses to not say anything to the press or public concerning the details of their statement, this is a fact.'
His unsupported theory has now become a solid fact!
The statement seems to be based on nothing more than one newspaper speculating that Mrs McCarthy might have been 'cautioned' by the police not to speak to the press. This has now become the fact that police do caution witnesses (all of them apparently) - by which he presumably means that they did in 1888 - not to say anything to the press.
Then he goes even further and says:
'And, as a consequence of this the police do have the authority to dismiss the witness if they break that confidence'.
There is literally no evidence of this and I believe it is absolute nonsense.
I don't even know what it means for the police to 'dismiss' a witness, or why they would want to do so if that witness was a crucial potential prosecution witness.
I think his behaviour is disgraceful because on a number of topics Wickerman clearly is well informed, hence, when he makes statements like this, people will expect him to have a solid foundation for doing so. There's no way they can be expected to know that he is talking out of his arse.
MRS MCCARTHY AND THE PRESS
It's amusing that Wickerman clings to the word 'caution', as if it's some kind of official term, when he claims that 'police do caution witnesses to not say anything to press' . A police caution is, of course, something totally different to a request not to speak to the press but Wickerman's use of the word is obviously based on the inaccurate use of it by the Morning Advertiser in November 1888 in a report which he discovered during the course of the debate during June 2017 (as mentioned above).
But I now realize that the report in the Morning Advertiser is an abbreviation of the full report. We find from the regional press (e.g. Sheffield Daily Telegraph) that the full report, which was probably circulated by the Press Association, was as below (extra part underlined):
'Mrs McCarthy, the landlady might easily have seen the murderer as he passed out of the court, but she observers a strict reticence, having apparently been cautioned by the police, and answers all inquiries with the official "I don't know".'
There are, as a result, two major things wrong with Wickerman's reliance on this.
Firstly, there is no reason to think that Mrs McCarthy did, in fact, see the murderer as he passed out of the court. As I've mentioned, she certainly wasn't called as a witness to the inquest and the police don't appear to have issued any kind of description based on anything Mrs McCarthy saw. We may note that the newspaper report appears to be nothing more than speculation by an agency reporter, saying that she 'might easily' have seen the murderer without any real basis for thinking that she did so.
Secondly, we can see (what does not appear in the Morning Advertiser) that Mrs McCarthy was literally telling reporters who were pestering her that she didn't know anything! Surely she said that because she genuinely didn't know anything. For some reason, the agency reporter doesn't seem to have believed her and has woven a fantasy that she had been 'cautioned' by police not so say anything to the press; a fantasy which has now been adopted by Wickerman. Just because a press reporter was ignorant of police procedures in 1888 doesn't mean that Wickerman must repeat that ignorance as if it shows something that the police did as a matter of routine.
The fact of the matter is that there is no reason to think that Mrs McCarthy knew anything about the murder of Mary Jane Kelly and thus no reason to think that the police would have asked her not to speak to the press.
A WORD OF CAUTION
I want to make clear that I am not stating as a fact that the police could not possibly have asked witnesses not to speak to the press in advance of an inquest nor even that it was impossible for them to have asked them not to reveal certain things if they did speak to the press. Once an inquest commenced, the proceedings might have been regarded as sub judice (the legal application of sub judice in respect to a coroner's inquiry in 1888 is somewhat unclear but let's assume that it did apply) so that speaking to the press about material matters affecting the inquest might have been regarded as affecting the interests of justice.
As of Friday 9 and Saturday 10 November 1888, however, the inquest had not yet commenced so it's hard to see what legal basis the police could have had for preventing witnesses speaking to the press during this time. We find witnesses like Joe Barnett and Mrs Maxwell speaking freely to the press over the weekend and all Wickerman seems to be able to say about that is that they must have ignored the police 'caution'.
But there is simply no evidence that the police ever cautioned or requested witnesses not to speak to the press in 1888. There is nothing about it in the Police Code, example, nor are there any Police Orders or regulations that suggest they should have have been doing it as a matter of routine, or at all. Nor do we have a single example of a witness telling the press (or anyone else) that they had received any instructions, requests or cautions from the police!
In particular, it seems unfathomable that the police would have bothered to tell Elizabeth Prater that, while she could speak to the press, she should not mention the screams that she was claiming to have heard at an unknown time during the night (or worse, positively lie about this by saying that she heard no screams). I cannot see how it could or would have been in the interests of justice for this information to have been withheld for 24 or 48 hours before being mentioned by Prater in open court at the inquest and then inevitably reported by the press. What possible rationale could have been behind it?
One can understand the police not wanting descriptions of the murderer or certain key information about the murders (i.e. things that only the murderer could have known) to be withheld from the public but the idea that they would have cared whether the press knew about screams in the night lacks any credibility.
The fact that Prater herself never even testified about hearing any screams at all during the night, just a single cry of 'Oh murder' in a 'faint voice' - in circumstances where Mrs Cox said she heard nothing but would have heard 'any cry of murder' - can only lead us to question the veracity of her testimony. It should not lead us not to come up with the idea that she had been told to keep information from the press, or lie to them.
One could also ask why this issue even matters. It's not of great significance, albeit that Wickerman is now trying claim that Schwartz's non-attendance at the inquest was because he broke the code of silence by speaking to the press and was discarded as a result!
My real issue with Wickerman is that he has a tendency to state controversial matters as facts which are not facts at all. Perhaps he's not the only person who does this but the offence is much greater with Wickerman because he has a wide knowledge of the case and when he makes unqualified statements which are not, in fact, supported by any evidence, it bamboozles his readers who assume that he must have some basis for saying what he does. On this occasion, like others I've mentioned, he has no basis whatsoever.
THE TUKE LETTER
I see that in a thread entitled 'The man who denounced Druitt?', David Andersen, author of 'Blood Harvest', wrote in the OP:
'In issue 165 of 'Ripperologist' writer David Barrat presented an article about the many letters which had been received by Scotland Yard at the time of the murders. None of the letters have survived but luckily a list of those who sent information in to Scotland Yard had been made before the letters were routinely destroyed, the list comprises of 27 entries'.
While it is true that I wrote an article for Ripperologist under the pseudonym of an imaginary 'David Barrat' [Typist's note: I'm never entirely sure if Lord Orsam appreciates that he has subconsciously (?) used my own name as an alias for his books and articles; he always claims - jokingly, I think - that he can't remember my name but I suspect he knows full well that he's stolen it for his own purposes and is a bit embarrassed by the whole thing] not a lot else in that short paragraph is true.
Firstly, the letters in question were all sent to the Home Office, not to Scotland Yard, although it's certainly possible that those letters which offered up suggestions as to how to catch the murderer, as Tuke's letter supposedly did, were sent to the Commissioner (and we know that on 20 November 1888, which was four days before Tuke's letter was received at the Home Office, the Under Secretary forwarded to Sir Charles Warren four letters from members of the public 'offering observations and suggestions with reference to the perpetrator of the recent murders at Whitechapel'), although it's equally possible that the most barmy of the suggestions were not passed on.
Secondly, not all the letters were received at the time of the murders. Some were received many years later.
Thirdly, it's not correct to say that none of the letters have survived. Some have, as noted in the table in my Ripperologist article.
Fourthly, and from my perspective, most importantly, a 'list' of those who sent information to the Home Office was most certainly NOT made!
The information relating to the 227 Ripper files had to be painstakingly extracted by me from a series of massive Home Office registers covering a period of nearly 20 years - but I had no idea when the last entry would be, so, for all I knew at the time, it could have been many more years than that.
In fact, it was an absolute miracle that I discovered the last entry from 1905 which was in a register six years after the previous entry, which itself was from 1899. Some people say that Lord Orsam doesn't like to get his hands dirty but you can't avoid it when reviewing these massive dusty registers which, in three large and heavy volumes for each year, record all the correspondence received at the Home Office.
Between 1888 and 1905 there were more than 50 volumes, all or most of which had to be manually reviewed by me, line by line. Had I not done it, I doubt anyone else ever would have. While the entries for 1888 and 1889 were not too difficult to find (albeit not particularly easy), once I got past 1889, and then especially past 1891, it was looking for many needles in many haystacks. Anyway, the point is that there was no bloody list sitting there for me to copy, it took a huge amount of work over many days, spanning a period of some weeks, for me to compile that list myself.
Before I leave the subject of my Ripperologist article, I have one little update regarding it. It may be recalled that I had discovered that the Ripper files were still at the Home Office during the 1930s. While perusing Donald Rumbelow's 1987 version of the Complete Jack the Ripper in preparation for my recent article, 'Forging a Victorian Diary', I noted that Rumbelow tells us at page 132 of his book that, 'the Yard's files came under the control of the Public Records Office (being Home Office papers)' in 1959. Although there are two distinct series of Ripper files at the National Archives (which was formerly the Public Records Office), one coming under the category of MEPO, being Metropolitan Police/Scotland Yard files on the case, and the other under the category of HO, being the Home Office files, I think he might here have been talking about both sets of files, including the famous A49301, which was the subject of my article.
The Clanger finally produced one (and only one) of his much heralded, and almost certainly imaginary, newspaper articles regarding the use of two surnames, as I challenged him to do in the last 'Lord Orsam Says'. It turns out to come from what the Clanger refers to deceptively as 'the Weekly Telegraph' of 4 August 1888, but is, in fact, the Sheffield Weekly Telegraph and says, under 'Legal Answers':
'USE OF SURNAME - To "Lana." The son ought not to have assumed his stepfather's name, and he and his children ought to be known by their real name. We cannot understand why people should create such confusion by altering their names.'
The problem here should be obvious, and should have been obvious to the Clanger before he posted it. The Sheffield Weekly Telegraph writer was responding to a letter from Lana, not published, so that we have no idea of the circumstances which led Lana to write it or what she was asking. The advice being given here might have been entirely specific to whatever has been going on in this particular case in which some 'confusion' seems to have been created by the person who assumed his stepfather's name. The writer here speaks of the person having 'altered' his name so that it's entirely unclear if he was known by his stepfather's name during his life or suddenly changed it back to his stepfather's name for some reason, having been known by his 'real' name for most of his life.
One wonders if the reason Clanger was so coy about revealing the correct name of the newspaper was because I posted the below extract from the exact same newspaper, the Sheffield Weekly Telegraph, of 13 July 1895, back in #19 of my 'Lechmere/Cross Name Issue Part 2' thread on Casebook in 2017 here
USE OF SURNAME - To "Anxious Enquirer". The young man ought to keep the name by which he has generally been known, and that, we understand, is his stepfather's name. If he marries in that name it will be all right.
Then, from the same newspaper of 23 November 1895 we find this:
MARRIAGE IN WRONG NAME - To ABC: The husband ought to use the name of his own father, and not his stepfather's name. But if he has long been known by his stepfather's name, there should be no harm in marrying in that name but it is certainly not a step which we should not advise be taken.
Even worse, in 321 of the 'Framing Charles' thread, the Clanger continues to claim, without evidence, that Lechmere 'deviated from the norm of witnesses revealing both names'.
From what he says in the thread, he seems to be basing this claim entirely on Kattrup's research in producing a list of what boiled down to no more than 7 male witnesses at the Old Bailey who used an alternative surname (as opposed to a false name), but has evidently forgotten, as I demonstrated very clearly in A Look Under the Barnett that these were all cases where there was either good reason for the witness to reveal that they used an alternative because it was relevant to the criminal proceedings (e.g. because the witness was related to the victim or prisoner or their alternative name had already been revealed in evidence before they testified) or where the use of the alternative name was only dragged out of them in cross-examination, thus, in those cases, entirely contradicting the Clanger's claim that it was 'the norm' for them to reveal both names in their evidence (and, one assumes, in such cases the witnesses had omitted to state their alternative name when they gave evidence at the police court during the committal proceedings or, if in a murder case, at the inquest).
It's a total logic fail in any case. The fact that some witnesses revealed in criminal cases that they had two names does not mean it was 'the norm'. To say this with any degree of confidence, we would need to know the total number of witnesses who (legitimately) used two surnames and then calculate the percentage of those who stated that they did so in their evidence in court. But we don't know this total so it's not possible to say what the norm was. All we can say is that it sometimes happened (on very rare occasions, it seems) that witnesses stated in their evidence unprompted that they used two surnames.
For obvious reasons, it's very difficult to know which witnesses used alternative names if they didn't mention doing so in their evidence. One would have to do an incredible amount of background research into each individual who testified in criminal cases to establish how many such witnesses used alternative names in their lives and even then there may be no documentary record of it so that it's impossible to know. Most of the time, absent direct testimony from them in a courtroom, the only reason we know that individuals used two surnames is when certain circumstances have arisen, such as their death, when that fact has been revealed.
When I managed to identify a case where a man gave evidence at a police court in his stepfather's name without apparently stating his 'real' name, how did the Clanger react? He first ignored it! Then he falsely claimed that the case related to the business of the man's stepfather. Two complete fails. The guy just clangs.
IF WE JUST CHANGE OR IGNORE THE FACTS OF THE CASE.....
There was a wonderful post in JTR Forms from Errorbitha, now calling himself J.W. Sage (a man who turns out, unsurprisingly, to be a prospective writer of fiction) in the 'Israel Schwartz - new information' thread which demonstrates everything that is wrong with modern online Ripperology. In a desperate ploy to undermine Schwartz's evidence, Errorbitha said:
'If Schwartz did not have the endorsement of Swanson from the 19th October onwards, who here would regard him as a reliable witness?'
I mean, honestly! If my aunt had cojones she'd be my uncle but that's not the world as it is. What possible purpose can be served by wondering what would have happened if Swanson hadn't treated Schwartz's evidence as credible in his report? The fact of the matter is that he did. So why even bother to imagine an alternate and imaginary universe where different things happened?
A CROSS WORD
There can hardly be a more ludicrous claim than Christer Holmgren's in #421 of the 'Framing Charles' thread that 'the likelier' thing is that Cross was known as Charles Lechmere at Pickfords, as opposed to Charles Cross.
I say it is ludicrous because there just isn't enough information on which to reach a conclusion one way or the other but, equally, there is literally nothing that rules out the idea that he was known by his stepfather's surname at Pickfords so that it remains entirely possible that he was known there as Charles Cross.
Holmgren's only point is that Charles was baptised under the name of Lechmere in the year after his mother married Thomas Cross but against that, of course, is the fact that Charles was recorded as Charles Cross in the 1861 census, not to mention the apparent fact that he called himself Charles Cross when he appeared at the 1876 inquest (assuming it was him).
Other than this, we have nothing on which to base any conclusion. Holmgren is right to say that there no proof that Charles was known as Cross at Pickfords - we just don't have any evidence about it - but the only way that anyone can say that it was likely for Charles to have been known as Lechmere at that firm is either if they don't understand the meaning of the word 'likely' or they are determined to frame the man for the murder of Polly Nichols. Which is rather ironic in a thread called 'Framing Charles'.
Holmgren continued his business of framing Cross in the same post when he said that, when presenting himself at the inquest, Charles 'suddenly decided that he was Charles Cross'. But, if Charles was known by Cross at Pickfords - which is the entire subject of Holmgren's post - there is no 'suddenly' about it. It would have been his name: Carman Cross.
As usual, Holmgren cannot seem to stop himself twisting the English language to its very breaking point with the words 'likely' and 'suddenly'.
MRS RICHARDS AND HER CONFUSION
Michael Richards reminds me of that somewhat deaf and confused Mrs Richards from Fawlty Towers. And what is Mrs Richards up to today? Posting this nonsense #794 of the 'Schwartz lied' thread:
'If Israel Schwartz's statement wasn't trustworthy enough to put on record at the Inquest, then was the very presentation of it assuredly in the best interest of serving justice?'
I'll say it again for the benefit of the hard of hearing (and hard of reading). The purpose of an inquest was NOT to 'put on record' facts relating to a murder case. It just wasn't part of the remit.
One can also find 'on the record', whatever that means, all sorts of untrustworthy evidence at inquests.
Hence, the fact that Schwartz did not attend the inquest doesn't necessarily mean that his evidence wasn't regarded as trustworthy. On the contrary we know for a fact that it was regarded as so trustworthy by Scotland Yard that it was passed on by them to the Home Secretary in order to brief him in case he was asked questions about the Whitechapel murders in Parliament.
When Mrs Richards finally understands the purpose of an inquest she might be able to think of some more credible reasons why Schwartz didn't attend.
STUNNING CLANGER FAIL
Having completely failed to provide any evidence to support his claim that people with two legitimate surnames were expected to provide both names when giving evidence at a coroner's inquest, even if the alternative name was irrelevant to any of the issues to be decided at that inquest, the Clanger seems to have failed to understand what I demonstrated very clearly in my Lechmere/Cross Name Issue Part 2 thread which, to repeat, can be found here.
In the 'Framing Charles' thread, the Clanger is now twittering on about Cross regularly using the name "Charles Allen Lechmere" but that is a huge red herring in this case and shows that the Clanger has simply missed the point of my extensive research on this issue.
If we first consider Lechmere's life history, we know that he was brought up by his stepfather, Thomas Cross, and we find him recorded in the 1861 Census as Charles Cross when he was aged 11. If we assume that he started work as a carman during the mid 1860s, while a teenager called Charles Cross, we can say that it is very likely that he would have been known to his employers and his work colleagues as Carman Charles Cross (or Carman Charles Allen Cross, if you prefer).
Now, when Charles married Elizabeth Bostock in 1871 he, like all men brought up by a stepfather, would have been faced with an important choice as to what surname to use on the marriage certificate because he had to choose one. He might have hated his stepfather or might have loved him but we know that there was a worry by some that marrying under anything other than the name on your birth certificate (if you had one), or the name you were baptised under, might be regarded as illegitimate. So, like many others, it's no surprise that Charles chose to marry under the name of Charles Lechmere.
From that moment, we can say that he regarded his name for all official purposes as Charles Allen Lechmere. So it is of no surprise whatsoever that when it came to the electoral register, the census, the registration of his children's births and their school registrations etc. he used his "official" name of Lechmere.
But, and this is a HUGE but, he could still have been known by all of his work colleagues (and indeed by his friends) as Charles Cross. That this would not be unusual is what I clearly demonstrated in my research.
Some highlights by way of reminder.
I gave the example of the reported death in a 1907 colliery disaster of a man called William Slack whose 'real' name, i.e. the name given to him at birth, was William Adams. His case is almost identical to the assumed case of Charles Cross because his death was reported in the name of "William Slack" which means that this is what he must have been called at work (i.e. at the colliery). Yet, in the 1901 census, he was recorded under the name of William Adams and he married in 1905 under the name of William Adams. His children bore the surname of "Adams". There is literally no documentary evidence during his life that I was able to discover of him being called "William Slack". But his wife explained at the inquest into his death that her husband 'commonly went by the name of Slack' (because that was his stepfather's name).
The lesson of that tale alone is that we simply cannot get an accurate understanding of what surname a person used, or was known as, from the official records. The official records in this case would have seriously misled us.
Look at the Clanger's response to my research in #33 of the Name Issue thread and you'll see how he deliberately ignored the entire point of what I was saying about Slack.
Then I gave the case of the murderer, George Plummer, who was recorded in the 1871 census by that name yet, according to the Bradford Observer in 1875, was 'more commonly known' as George Harding, with Harding being his stepfather's name.
Then we had Harry George who is recorded under that name in the 1881 and 1891 censuses and whose children bore the surname George. Nevertheless, the Northampton Mercury in 1894 (after his death) tells us that he was sometimes called Harry Cox, because Cox was his stepfather's name.
After the death of Phillip Pallot, it was revealed at the inquest into his death that, despite having married under the name of Pallot, he 'had gone by the name of Maine' because Maine was his stepfather's name.
Then I gave the classic case of Charles Jones who had not only taken the name of his stepfather, and was thus known as Charles Taylor, although he married under the name of Jones, but was reported to have told a magistrate during police court proceedings when giving evidence against a man for ill-treating his horse, that this was his name (without, apparently, mentioning that his 'real' name was Jones).
I won't go on but I gave a number of additional similar cases.
We all know that the Clanger, with his obsessive love of genealogical research, combined with an equally obsessive desire to try and catch me out in a mistake, must have been all over these examples like a fly over cow's dung, trying to find some errors in my research but he clearly found none and his response (only posted after I'd resigned from the Forum) was pathetic. My research has stood the test of time and there's never been any counter-research from either him, Christer Holmgren or Ed 'Stow'.
So we return to the point of my research which is that it was entirely possible and legitimate for a man to be known by two different surnames during the nineteenth century. In the case of Charles Cross, he could have given his name as Lechmere in a million official documents yet still have been commonly known by the name of Cross and especially as Carman Cross.
Hence, when he gave evidence at an inquest in 1888 (just as he appears to have done in 1876) he was not only perfectly entitled to state his name as Charles Allen Cross but it was the sensible and appropriate thing to do in the circumstances (i.e. him being his way to work) if that was the name he as commonly known by his work colleagues at Pickfords.
The Clanger keeps saying without a jot of evidence that Charles was required or expected to state both surnames but I say that is utter nonsense. There was no such requirement. The evidence of Kattrup actually showed a number of examples of individuals not stating both their surnames at the Old Bailey, with the issue only arising in cross-examination; if their name wasn't relevant to the issues being decided in court, it would have been totally unnecessary for any witness to state that they were known by two different surnames, and the inevitable explanation for this would have been a waste of the court's time.
I don't think this is a difficult concept to understand but the Clanger seems to have great trouble with it.
NON SEQUITUR OF THE YEAR
When the Oxford English Dictionary comes to publish its next edition, I understand that they'll be using this sentence of the Clanger in its definition of a non sequitur.
'He was probably known by both names and therefore should have given both at the inquests'.
I promise you that the Clanger actually wrote that sentence. It's in 'Framing Charles' at #593. The guy is even dumber than I thought.
Not only does it not follow that, because someone was known by two names, they should have given both at an inquest (and, by the Clanger's logic, if Charles had told the coroner that his name was 'Charles Lechmere' he should also have said he was known as 'Charles Cross', which just shows how mad the claim is) but the absolute opposite is true. If the Clanger is accepting that Charles was known by both names, it means he is also accepting that he was known by the name of Cross, which means that he was perfectly entitled to give the name of Cross at either inquest. Why on god's green would he have needed to give the other name by which he was known?
Well, Clanger, what's the answer?
There is simply no authority for the claim. The Clanger has never provided a jot of evidence to support it. It's nothing more than his misguided and ignorant (modern) opinion about what he thinks should have happened. It's not good enough.
I absolutely insist that there was no reason for any witness to have given two names to an inquest (or indeed any other court) if the name they had given was one they were commonly known by. I cannot think of any good reason why Charles Cross should have told the coroner that he was also known as Charles Lechmere. Not one. The Clanger's certainly never provided one.
I might also add that none of us know exactly how inquests were conducted by Wynne Baxter in 1888. For all we know, the witnesses were asked merely to confirm their name and address from information already provided. Hence Baxter might have asked Charles: "Is your name Charles Allen Cross?" "Yes". Is your address "22 Doveton Street". "Yes". Do we know it didn't go down like that? I don't think so.
Not that it even matters because, had Charles said that his name was Charles Allen Cross in response to a question as to what his name was, that would have been perfectly sufficient for the purpose if (as even the Clanger concedes is a probability) he was known by that name.
As to that, incidentally, can anyone explain to me why the Clanger keeps capitalizing Charles Lechmere's middle name, as if it is of any relevance? I mean, look at this string of posts for example:
Three posts in a row in which the Clanger deliberately writes 'Charles ALLEN Lechmere'.
Cross's name, as reported in a number of newspapers (e.g. Morning Advertiser), was stated in the 1888 inquest as being Charles ALLEN Cross? This means that Cross must have given his middle name to the coroner. That being so, the 'Allen' part of his name is totally irrelevant to any discussion about his name, regardless of how much Charles might have loved it.
The other strange thing going on in the Lechmere thread is people keep saying that the argument on the other side has no evidence to support it. The simple fact of the matter is that we have evidence either way as to what Charles was commonly known as in 1888 or as to what he was called at Pickfords. In the absence of any evidence at all, it is not only crazy to speculate but any conclusion as to what Charles was known as in 1888 can only have been arrived at in order to support one's pre-determined belief.
I have to repeat that my research on the name issue, as well as Kattrup's research, demonstrated conclusively that men could be known by two different surnames in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and that the official records will not help us in establishing what any particular individual was known as in real life. The Clanger pooh-pooh'd my research as missing the point or something, but if he had actually read it properly, and understood it, he would surely not be embarrassing himself on a daily basis by making statements which have no validity.
THE CLANGER'S QUESTION
In #678 of the 'Framing Charles' thread, the Clanger asked this question of 'ohrocky':
'Can you explain to me why numerous people with humble origins felt it necessary to disclose their real and assumed names in court but Charles Lechmere didn't?'
Personally, I would love to know who these 'numerous people' are, and if they exist outside of the Clanger's imagination.
The guy doesn't appear to have done any research of his own and, if he's referring to Kattrup's research from the Name Issue thread (which he has elsewhere referred to as supporting his argument), he could hardly be more wrong.
Apart from the fact that a maximum of only four men identified by Kattrup in Old Bailey trials during 1880 to 1895 could be said to have volunteered their alternative name, as I explained in A Look Under the Barnett, one of those is unclear as to whether it was dragged out of him in cross-examination. In respect of two of the other three cases, their alternative names had already been mentioned by other witnesses in court, so that there was no option for them but to clear up their identity, while, in the final case, the witness was related to the prisoner who was his stepfather. Crucially, in none of the cases Kattrup identified are any of the witnesses known to have disclosed both their real and assumed names in the earlier police court proceedings. They only did so in the Old Bailey which entirely contradicts the Clanger's claim.
To the best of my knowledge, the Clanger hasn't identified a single male witness in all of recorded history who 'disclosed' both their real and assumed names at a coroner's hearing, especially not in respect of a witness who wasn't related to the deceased (and he hasn't even identified one of them).
Perhaps the question that the Clanger should be asking is:
'Can you explain to me why not a single man with humble origins is known to have felt it necessary to disclose their real and assumed names at an inquest, just like Charles Lechmere didn't?'
Prediction: The Clanger will read this (like he avidly reads everything I write) but will never answer the question (like he never answers any questions I ask him).
I must admit I did enjoy the clown fight between Harry and the Clanger on the Censorship Forum as they both tried to pretend to know something about the law.
During the discussion about the Cross/Lechmere name issue, in the Framing Charles thread, Harry said (in #674) that the law in the case of murder 'was Common Law, not Statutary Law'.
Heaven alone knows why Harry was considering the law of murder, which has absolutely nothing to do with giving evidence at an inquest, and the Clanger got in the first blow in the clown fight by noting that the correct spelling of the word to describe statute law is 'statutory'.
But then the Clanger showed what a clown he is by saying to Harry (in #684):
'How about judge made law, which your Googling seems not to have picked up on?'
Had the Clanger only done some Googling himself, he would surely have discovered that 'judge made law' is the same thing as the Common Law, or rather that the Common Law incorporates any 'judge made law'. Because that's what Common Law is, i.e. law based on precedent (or custom), as opposed to statutes.
Judges don't, of course, make law - or at least they are not supposed to - but the way they interpret what they believe is the existing law can lead them to appear to make new laws.
Anyway, the point is that Harry had included Common Law in his discussion, so the Clanger's question only showed his own ignorance.
As for what the was law in 1888 regarding the use of names by individuals with two surnames, I already set it out in some detail in my Cross/Lechmere Name Issue thread, part 2, on the Censorship Forum here. As you will see, it includes a discussion of 'judge made law', otherwise known, for the Clanger's benefit, as the Common Law.
The Clanger posted in that very thread, at #32, but said: 'I didn't trawl through every example provided'. And there we've identified the problem with the Clanger in a nutshell. He simply doesn't read things properly (but, on the contrary, seems happy to trumpet his ignorance) which is why he ends up clanging in error just about every time he opens his clanging mouth.
22 May 2021