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Pinchin Torso Inquest

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Pinchin Torso Inquest

Post by Karen on Wed 3 Nov 2010 - 8:53


The inquest on the mutilated remains of the woman found on the 10th inst. under an arch in Pinchin-street, Whitechapel, was resumed at St. George's vestry hall, before Mr. Wynne E. Baxter, on Tuesday.
Mr. Percy John Clark, assistant to the divisional surgeon, said: A little before six a.m. on the morning of Sept. 10 I was called by the police to Pinchin-street. Under the railway arch there, about eight feet from the road and about a foot from the right wall of the arch, I saw the trunk of a woman minus the head and legs. It was lying on its chest, with the right arm doubled under the abdomen, the left arm lying at the side. The arms were not severed from the body. There was no pool of blood, and no sign of any struggle having taken place there. Covering the cut surface of the neck and right shoulder were the remnants of what had been a chemise, of common make, and of such a size as would be worn by a woman of similar build to the trunk found. It had been torn down the front, and had been cut out from the front of the armholes on each side. The cuts appeared to have been made with a knife. The chemise was blood-stained nearly all over, I think from being wrapped over the cut surface of the neck. There was no clotted blood on it, and no sign of arterial spurting. I could find no distinguishing mark on the chemise. Rigor mortis was not present, and decomposition had set in. The body was taken to the mortuary, and an examination there showed that the body was that of a woman of stoutish build, dark complexion, about 5ft. 3in. in height, and between 30 and 40 years old. I should think the woman had been dead about 24 hours. Besides the wounds caused by the severance of the head and legs there was a wound 15in. long through the external coats of the abdomen. The body was not blood-stained, except where the chemise had rested. The body seemed to have been recently washed. On the back were four bruises, caused before death. None of the bruises were of old standing. Round the waist was a pale mark and an indentation such as would be caused by clothing during life. On the right arm there were eight distinct bruises, and seven on the left, all caused before death and of recent date. The backs of both forearms and hands were much bruised. On the outer side of the left forearm, about three inches above the wrist, was a cut about two inches in length, and half an inch lower down was another cut, both caused after death. The bruises on the right arm were such as would have been caused by the arm having been tightly grasped. There was an old injury on the index-finger of the right hand over the last joint. The arms were well formed. Both elbows were hardened and discoloured, as if they had been leant upon. The hands and nails were pallid, and the former were not indicative of any particular kind of work. The breasts were well formed, and there were no signs of maternity about them.
Dr. Phillips, divisional surgeon, corroborated the evidence of his colleague, who was present with him when he first examined the body. He added: The marks upon the fingers had fairly healed, and had evidently been in the process of healing from some time previous to death. I think the pallor of the hands and the nails is an important element in enabling me to draw a conclusion as to the cause of death. There was throughout the body an absence of blood in the vessels. The heart was empty; it was fatty, and the vessels coated with fat, but the bowels were healthy. The right lung was adherent, except at the base, the left lung free, and, taking them both together, fairly competent, and especially considering the decomposition of the remains. The stomach was the seat of considerable post-mortem change, and contained only a small quantity of fruit, like a plum. In my opinion the woman had never been pregnant. I believe her to have been under 40 years old. There was an absence of any particular disease or poison. I believe that death arose from loss of blood. I am of opinion that all the mutilations were subsequent to death; that the mutilations were effected by someone accustomed to cut up animals or to see them cut up; and that the incisions were effected by a strong knife, eight inches or more long. The supposition - and it is only a supposition - which presents itself to my mind is that there had been a former incision of the neck, the signs of which had disappeared on the subsequent separation of the head. The loss of blood could not have come from the stomach, and I could not trace it coming from the lungs. I have a strong opinion that it did not.
By a Juryman: I cannot say whether the person who severed the head from the body was a butcher or not. I merely wish to say it was someone accustomed to use either a knife or some sharp instrument in cutting up animals. I have no reason for believing that he had human anatomical knowledge. In fact, it probably is known to you, and to most people, that the spine is not the part which would be disarticulated by a medical man.
Michael Keating, of 1, Osborne-street, Brick-lane, a licensed shoeblack, said he passed up Pinchin-street on the night of the 9th, between 11 and 12 o'clock. He saw no one about, and observed nothing under the arch, but he was not very sober at the time. Witness went to sleep under the arch, and was not awakened during the night. The police roused him in the morning, and as he was leaving he noticed the body, which the inspector was covering up. He lent the police the sack in which he carried his blacking-box. If the body had been there when he went in he was not certain he was sober enough to have seen it. As far as he remembered, however, he went in on the other side of the arch. He did not hear anyone else coming in during the night. Witness had never slept there before, but he knew it was a quiet and convenient place.
Richard Hawke, seaman, of St. Ives, Cornwall, stated that about seven or eight weeks ago he was paid off, and was in hospital till Sept. 9. He walked about the streets until 20 minutes past four a.m. on the 10th, when, happening to be in Pinchin-street, he went under a railway arch to lie down. It was dark, and he was not exactly sober.
The Coroner: How did you know it was 20 minutes-past four?
Witness replied that he asked a policeman he saw close to the arch. He did not see anyone or anything in the arch when he went in. There was another man with him. His companion was in about the same condition as himself. They met in a public-house. He neither heard nor saw anything, and went to sleep very soon.
Nehemiah Hurley, carman, deposed that he lived near Pinchin-street, and was called by a policeman as usual at five a.m. on the 10th inst. Work commenced with him occasionally at half-past five, but he left the house on the morning in question at 25 minutes to six. He went by way of Phillip-street, where he saw a man standing at the corner, having the appearance of a tailor waiting to go to work. Witness observed no one else until he got into Pinchin-street, where he saw an inspector and other police standing by the arch under which the body had been found.
Inspector Moore said he had had charge of the case. There was nothing at present to show how the body was placed in the position in which it was found. He saw no reason for adjourning the inquiry. The chemise he produced had been torn and cut. It was of common material, hand-stitched, and was certainly not made by an experienced needlewoman. It looked like a garment made at home by some poor person.
Police-constable Pinnett, recalled, said he was not stopped by anyone and asked the time on the night in question.
A statement was read by the coroner from the man who was under the arch with Hawk, and confirming the latter's statement.
Dr. Phillips, recalled, said there was not such a similarity between the manner in which the limbs were severed in this and in the Dorset-street murder as would convince him that both crimes were the work of one man, but the division of the neck and the attempt to disarticulate the bones of the spine were very similar in each case. The savagery shown in the mutilations in the Dorset-street case was far worse than in the one now under consideration. In the former case mutilations were most wanton, whereas in the Pinchin-street crime he believed they were made in order to dispose of the body. These were points that struck him without any comparative study of the Dorset-street case, except such as was afforded by partial notes which he had with him. He believed that in this case there had been a greater knowledge shown in regard to the construction of the parts composing the spine, and, on the whole, there had been a greater knowledge shown of how to separate a joint.
The coroner, in summing up, pointed out that there was no evidence as to the identity of the deceased; but that the statements of the medical gentlemen clearly demonstrated that the woman had died a violent death. It was a matter of congratulation that the present case did not appear to have any necessary connection with the previous murders in the immediate neighbourhood.
The jury immediately returned a verdict of "Wilful murder" against some person or persons unknown.

Source: Lloyd's Weekly London Newspaper, September 29, 1889, Page 8

Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"

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