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Old 08-04-2012, 05:05 AM   #11
Debra Arif
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Originally Posted by Tom_Wescott View Post
Hi Debs. It's good to see you discussing 'torso' murders that were solved. What a great idea. I suppose it should be no surprise that the majority would be domestic. That's true of murder in general, so no reason it should vary here. Of course, when you have a series that bears the mark of a same hand, domestic would not be so obvious, though as I've told you before off here, I think a financial motive is most likely in the torso murders, so we're in agreeance on that.

Yours truly,

Tom Wescott
Historically the solved torso murders where the motive was discovered to be financial gain and robbery of the victim seem to have been one offs.. and in France! Financial gain and domestic murder are often linked motives too-husband killing his wife or vice versa to get control of money or property.

Thinking of Amelia Dyer and her dumping babies and children she had murdered in the Thames while still collecting their 'keep' (which is murder for financial gain too) from the parents makes me wonder if there weren't similar murder series being committed in the UK as disturbingly, there are very high numbers of babies and children found dismembered and dumped in this period and at least one was traced back to a woman paid to look after the child of a single mother when she returned to her old life and village. A lot of these crimes were committed by the mothers too, 'concealment of birth type' crimes .

Personally, I do not think the torso murders 1887-89 are connected to financial gain as a series. If we think of the one identified victim, Elizabeth Jackson, what could be gained financially from the murder of a pregnant destitute, homeless woman? The Pinchin St victim appears to have been a woman of lower class too.
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Old 08-05-2012, 11:37 PM   #12
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Part of my point was that France had its own share of murders where the bodies were cut up and disposed of. Between 1875 and 1879 the papers reported more than 10 murders in France where the victim was disposed of in this manner. The solved cases showing that it was a common method of disposal of bodies in 'one off' motive scenarios, ie domestic, of for financial gain.
Debs, could you direct me to which newspapers report torso murders in the 1870s? Are you talking French, or British newspapers?

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I haven't checked the figures after 1879 for France but I'd expect similar figures for the 80s.
LOTS. I've got my notes from the Paris morgue entry book, if you're interested.
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Old 08-06-2012, 03:36 AM   #13
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Debs, could you direct me to which newspapers report torso murders in the 1870s? Are you talking French, or British newspapers?

The British press, Maria.
I made a quick note of five reported French cases in 1878 alone.
The Illustrated Police News of Saturday, October 12, 1878 reports that one of these is the 10th such murder/dismemberment in France since the Wainright case of 1875. Of the five I noted from 1878, four were solved.

I suspected the 80s would be the same. The Paris torso of the late 80s is not such a one off then and no reason to connect it to any of the murders in London?

With this type of murder being very common, (if we also take into account the solved cases too, the numbers swell) then Trevor Marriott's suggestion that the 1887-89 London cases were not murder victims at all and have more to do with the Anatomy Act and anatomists disposing of dissected bodies without proper burial, seems highly unlikely.
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Old 08-06-2012, 04:31 AM   #14
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Debs, can the The Illustrated Police News be word-searched online and are they available at www.newspaperarchive.com? I'll subscribe to that site later on at some point.
Were the French solved ones domestics, pimp killings, serial killings?

Quote Debra Arif:
I suspected the 80s would be the same.

I'll give you my notes from the Paris morgue entry book, only if it's OK in about 2 weeks, when I'm back from a little trip and done with a deadline.
Several dozens of torsos were found in the Seine in the 1880s. Male torsos were mostly found clothed, females almost always naked. This could be interpreted as evidence for sexually motivated crimes or for domestics (removing the body's clothes to make identification more difficult, or maybe to sell and use the clothes). At any rate, it looks like the Seine as a place for dumping bodies was much more popular than the Thames. (And I'm not even counting the newborns, as in several every week.)

Quote Debra Arif:
The Paris torso of the late 80s is not such a one off then and no reason to connect it to any of the murders in London?
"Hell do I know" would be the honest answer! What strikes me is that the French torsos COMPLETELY stopped appearing during the entire period of the Whitechapel murders. Could be a coincidence, though.
I've also tried comparing them with the time Le Grand was in jail vs. out, and it also fits – NO French torsos while he was in jail.

What puzzles me considerably was the HUGE coverage of the 1886 Paris torso vs. all the other Paris torsos before and after. Maybe because it was found close to a church vs. the river?

As for Trevor Marriott's theory, the French morgue identified all torsos thrown away by anatomists. A couple of them turned up almost every year.
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Old 08-06-2012, 06:21 AM   #15
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Debs, can the The Illustrated Police News be word-searched online and are they available at www.newspaperarchive.com? I'll subscribe to that site later on at some point.
Were the French solved ones domestics, pimp killings, serial killings?
I think it is on that database, yes. The other British newspapers on there will also probably carry information on these French cases.
The four 1878 solved French cases were all one offs. In three robbery was the motive, one victim was male and the other two rich females. The fourth one involved a son murdering and dismembering his mother.

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"Hell do I know" would be the honest answer! What strikes me is that the French torsos COMPLETELY stopped appearing during the entire period of the Whitechapel murders. Could be a coincidence, though.
I've also tried comparing them with the time Le Grand was in jail vs. out, and it also fits NO French torsos while he was in jail.
So, you are saying there were no torso type murders in France during Autumn 88 when the Ripper was about in London, and none June 89-June 91 when Le Grand was in prison (Le Grand's imprisonment at this time spans almost the entire length of the rest of the Whitechapel murders post 88, including the Pinchin Street torso?) and none November 1891 to 1907 when he was in prison again and none 1908 to 1917 when he was in prison again and then deported?
That's pretty much no torso type murders in France 1889 to 1917 then, give or take a three month window in 1891?

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As for Trevor Marriott's theory, the French morgue identified all torsos thrown away by anatomists. A couple of them turned up almost every year.
Thanks Maria. That shows, at least, that discarded anatomical specimens were easily identified by medics as such then. We are even told in all four torso cases that the bodies had not been dismembered the way medical students or anatomists would dissect them. There was one case in London I recall where dismembered remains were found buried in a garden and turned out to be disgarded medical specimens, and that was also noted almost immediately too.
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Old 08-06-2012, 06:39 AM   #16
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So, you are saying there were no torso type murders in France during Autumn 88 when the Ripper was about in London, and none June 89-June 91 when Le Grand was in prison {...} and none November 1891 to 1907 when he was in prison again and none 1908 to 1917 when he was in prison again and then deported?
Yes, but I've only looked until 1891, not later. And only for Paris (in the Paris morgue register and in the press).

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We are even told in all four torso cases that the bodies had not been dismembered the way medical students or anatomists would dissect them.
I have no info about this, but I'm assuming that Victorian medical examiners used specific saws, like today's Striker saw (albeit not electrical). Of course, someone else could have bought or stolen such a saw.
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:44 AM   #17
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Yes, but I've only looked until 1891, not later. And only for Paris (in the Paris morgue register and in the press).
So, are you saying you see significance in the fact no torso type murders were committed in Paris late 88, or 89 to the end of 1891 when Le Grand was locked up in England, but no significance in the fact that one of the torso murders of the four London ones that occurred 87-89 was committed when Le Grand was in prison in September 1889 and one when he was on remand May to June 89 (eventually sent to prison in June 89)
Are you proposing a link between the 86 Paris torso and the London ones?


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I have no info about this, but I'm assuming that Victorian medical examiners used specific saws, like today's Striker saw (albeit not electrical). Of course, someone else could have bought or stolen such a saw.
I think anatomists used specific recognisable dissection methods and practiced them often. This didn't appear to be the case in any of the four London torsos.
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Old 08-06-2012, 08:08 AM   #18
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I'm not necessarily seeing any significance or proposing a link between the Paris and the London torso murders, Debs. Could very well be a coincidence. I'm not even proposing that the Paris torso murders were linked between each other, since we have so little information about them, literally no press reports apart from JUST the one in 1886.

On the other side, just playing devil's advocate, one could argue that Le Grand could have asked a minion to drop a torso while he was in jail in 1889, Bianchi/Compton-style. (I'm referring to the "hillside stranglers" here.) I'm not saying that he did!
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Old 08-06-2012, 08:44 AM   #19
Debra Arif
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I'm not necessarily seeing any significance or proposing a link between the Paris and the London torso murders, Debs. Could very well be a coincidence. I'm not even proposing that the Paris torso murders were linked between each other, since we have so little information about them, literally no press reports apart from JUST the one in 1886.
Oh, my mistake then, Maria.You seemed to find some significance in the fact Le Grand was locked up during a 'lull' in the French torso finds although the length of that lull, compared to the length of time Le Grand was actually in prison beyond 1891, doesn't seem to have been noted.

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On the other side, just playing devil's advocate, one could argue that Le Grand could have asked a minion to drop a torso while he was in jail in 1889, Bianchi/Compton-style. (I'm referring to the "hillside stranglers" here.) I'm not saying that he did!
Why do I get the feeling that's exactly what you are saying! LOL
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Old 08-06-2012, 08:59 AM   #20
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Anyone (hypothetically speaking!) writing a suspect book on Le Grand would have to at least discuss the possibility of linkage to the torso murders, in London or in Paris. What I'm seeing as potentially VERY dangerous with such a discussion is how to avoid making the suspect sound like an omnipresent boogieman, Sickert-like. Lol.
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