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Dr Phillips in a new light

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  • Dr Phillips in a new light

    In this Old Bailey case, Dr Phillips moves from a self-inflicted suicide to a murder in about half an hour flat.
    My opinion?
    Don't disturb your doctor on Boxing Day, or after midnight, or he just might let you die for the trouble.

    GEORGE NOTT (Inspectw H). About 8.30 on Boxing-day, the deceased was brought to the station; she had a slight cut on her left wrist—I sent for Dr. Philips; he came and examined her—she was placed in a cell, and about 9.20 my attention was called to the cell, and I found her unconscious, and I sent for Dr. Philips again.
    Cross-examined. She gave her name and address when I first saw her at the station; I said to her, "How did you get that cut on the wrist?"—she said, "I done it myself?"—the doctor and the matron saw her after that.
    ELLEN ANDREWS . I am matron at Commercial Street Police Station—on December 26th, about twenty-five minutes to nine, Ellen Collins was brought to the station, and placed in my care; she was very drunk—I searched her, but did not find anything upon her.
    Cross-examined. I had a conversation with her; she said she had not had a fall or a fight—I saw her before the doctor did—she had a wound on the wrist, and another on the chest; I was looking for that wound on seeing the blood; I took off her clothes to see where the blood came from—there was a quantity of blood on her chemise; I could see a wound underneath—I asked her how the wound was caused, and she said, "I did it myself."
    Re-examined. The wound on the wrist was probably caused by putting up her hand to avoid the blow; it was when I was finding the other wound she said, "I did it mysel?"—the wound on the wrist was a mere scratch, only skin-deep—it was when I found the wound in the chest I said, "Where did you get this?" and she said, "I did it myself."
    GEORGE BAXTER PHILIPS , M.R.C.S. I am a registered medical prac-titioner and surgeon to the H Division of Police—on Boxing-day I was

    See original
    called to the Police-station, and saw the deceased there; she was in a semi conscious state, on a stretcher, and the matron was attending to her—I examined her carefully; I was with her about a quarter of an hour—I found that she was wounded at the back of the wrist, about an inch long; it merely divided the skin, nothing more—I then saw the wound in the chest, between the second and third rib—she was certainly under the influence of drink—I failed at that time to see whether it went in the direction of the heart, and I left her, and went into the officer's room—I saw her again about three minutes after—I thought her better—she seemed to have rallied a little, and I consented to her being put into a cell, and I left—I was called to see her again in about half an hour—she was then dead—I afterwards made a post-mortem examination, and then discovered the nature of that wound—it took a downward direction, and then a lateral direction, and ended in a wound in the left ventricle of the heart—the heart was full of blood, and the wound was fatal—that wound must have been caused by some sharp, narrow instrument, such as the keen, narrow blade of a pocket-knife—the penetration of the heart was less than one-third of an inch—the external wound was about half an inch; that would be about the width of a pocket-knife—if she was in an erect position at the time, it would be between two and three inches from the outside to the ventricle—at the post-mortem I noticed that the stomach contained alcohol, and there was a small quantity of solid food partly digested.
    Cross-examined. The wound on the wrist merely divided the skin—the matron was with the deceased when I first saw her; at the end of my visit she was more conscious than at first—when I saw the second wound, I said, "How do you account for this??"—she said, "I did it myself; I was very drunk?"—it is perfectly possible that both wounds might have been self-inflicted; it would all depend on how she held the knife, if she did hold it—I said before the Coroner that there were no signs of a recent struggle—I don't think I saw the prisoner—I have a recollection of having seen a woman about five years ago, who was brought to my house one Sunday afternoon, who had attempted her life—I can't say it was the deceased; my impression is, that it was some other woman; but I cannot tell, and I cannot say how I disposed of that case.
    Re-examined. The wound that caused death in this case was from left to right, and downward for about an inch, and then glanced off to the right—when I first saw it I had a very strong suspicion that it was self-inflicted; it was very similar to what I had seen in similar cases—after one p.m. I was of opinion that it was more likely to have been in-flicted by somebody else; that was the balance of my mind, and that the wound on the wrist was in attempting to avoid it, as an instinctive act.