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Dr Bond versus

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  • Dr Bond versus

    As I mentioned on Casebook recently I have collected a few copies of CRIM 1 murder case files where Dr Bond was used to jointly perform a post mortem or brought in as an expert witness.

    There was discussion about the Reginald Saunderson murder of Augusta Dawes in 1894 on Casebook recently and I mentioned that Dr Bond's statement showed him to be much more definite in his conclusions compared to the other doctor at the post mortem.

    Here are the two statements for comparison. Dr Bond is much bolder in making a firm conclusion, although there is no real disagreement like I have come across in other cases he was involved with.

    Meredith Townsend on oath as follows

    I am Divisional surgeon of police of the 7 division and a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of 24 Upper Phillimore Place W.
    At 12.15 am on the 26th November last I was called by a police constable and went with him to Holland Park Road. There I saw the dead body of a woman lying across the pavement outside No 1 Mr Prinsep's house. Her head was on the kerb. She was dead and had been dead under an hour.
    I saw no signs of any struggle. Her clothing was not disarranged. She had a fur boa round her neck. I found a deep wound on the left side of the neck from which blood had run.
    There was a quantity of congealed blood about the place.
    The body was taken to the mortuary and on 27th November in conjunction with Dr Bond I made a post mortem examination.
    It was the body of a woman aged from 28 to 30 years+ I was of the opinion she had borne a child or children.
    The wound on the neck commenced 3/4 of an inch on the right of the middle line of the body and an inch from the point of the chin extending outwards- towards the left ear- about four inches and ending near the lobe of the left ear and two inches below it. It commenced as a skin incision and went deeply down. The deepest part of it was at the end under the ear , it was 2 1/4 inches deep at that point. It was a clean cut wound without jags. The external jugular vein was divided -also the external cartoid artery and the facial artery were divided.
    In my opinion it is not possible to say at which end it commenced. At the deepest end it went down to the vertebrea and there was a distinct notch in the bone. This would rather point to the wound having been commenced with a stab at that end.
    The wound must have been caused by another person.It was not suicidal. If it had been I should have at least have expected to find the weapon in her hand or close by her body. There was a discolouration 3/4 of an inch long a third of an inch wide - rather depressed on the right side of the neck and an inch beyond the cut.
    Exactly underneath the cut on the right hand side is a similar mark and about the centre of the cut and divided by the incision is another similar mark. None of these are deeply bruised showing that the pressure was not continued long. In my opinion they are finger marks. Without knowing the position of the person causing them I cannot say with which hand they were caused or if one of them is the mark of a thumb. It must have been a momentary pressure to have caused the marks produced. There are stains on the knife which look like blood. In my judgement the wound was the cause of the woman's death.

    *There were old eruptions on the skin of the woman indicating she had suffered from syphillis.
    [*This sentence was written then struck through]

    The body was much covered with copper coloured pigmentation which in my opinion are indicative of old syphilitic disease
    Meredith Townsend [signature]

    Thomas Bond on oath as follows

    I am one of the senior surgeons at Westminster Hospital + Lecturer on Forensic Medicine- of 7 The Sanctuary Westminster.I assisted Mr Townsend in making the post mortem examination on the body of Augusta Dawes. I noticed the blood which had flowed from the wound. It was principally on the right side and had clotted on the hair + face. There were only a few splashes on her dress.I formed the opinion that the woman was probably lying on the ground at the time the wound was inflicted with her face turned towards the right side. The cut was made with the sweep of the knife commencing first on the right side of the larynx and extended to the left just underneath the left ear and 2 inches below it.
    The cut was caused by a right handed person and was much deeper on the left hand side than on the right and divided all the large vessels and notched the cervical vertebrae. The blood in my opinion would spurt out at first for a moment. I should expect the sleeve and hand and front of the coat of the assailant to be marked with blood. I should not expect to find so much blood on the assailant if the woman was down as if she was standing up. The marks of pressure on the throat were caused before the wound. On the left side was a thumb mark. I have seen the knife produced. It is just the sort of knife which would produce such a sweeping wound. The marks on the knife are those of mammalian blood and are comparatively recent. I examined the knife on 6th + 7th December
    Thos. Bond [signature]

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  • #2
    Thanks Debs ! Thank you for posting this.


    • #3
      Very interesting, Debs.


      • #4
        Like the Old Bailey report of the assault on Alice Graham in early 1895 by William Grant Grainger, the OB transcript pertaining to the murder committed by Saunderson upon Dawes are one paragraph entries. Fortunately, Bond's report has been made available by Debs.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
          Like the Old Bailey report of the assault on Alice Graham in early 1895 by William Grant Grainger, the OB transcript pertaining to the murder committed by Saunderson upon Dawes are one paragraph entries. Fortunately, Bond's report has been made available by Debs.
          Thanks, How and Gary.
          Saunderson, like Cutbush, was found unfit to plead before an Old Bailey trial got underway so there was nothing to report on.
          Bond's statement and others in the Crim file are from the West End Police court proceedings prior to the case being sent to the Old Bailey.
          In Grainger's case the OB details are brief because of the nature of the crime and the fact that the victim had survived it.

          I find it interesting to read how Dr Bond's conclusions and opinions on cases he's involved with compare to the other doctors (usually divisional surgeons) he is working alongside.


          • #6
            The murder of Maria Clarke/Chipperfield

            The British Executions website summarises the case of Albert Chipperfield for the murder of his wife Maria nee Clarke:

            "Alfred Chipperfield was a young clerk who met up with a barmaid at Islington and persuaded her to elope with him. They went to Cork, and within a fortnight they had married. They returned to Islington, and while travelling together in a taxi, he cut her throat and then his own. He was tried at the Old Bailey and his defence claimed that she had committed suicide while of unsound mind. Evidence suggested otherwise and he was convicted. He was hanged by James Billington & William Warbrick in Newgate on the 25th February 1896."

            Thomas Bond was brought in to this case and asked to review the evidence and medical testimony and give his opinion on whether or not Maria had died as a result of suicide, as proposed by one doctor, or was murdered by her new husband, Alfred Chipperfield, while riding in a cab with him. Bond concluded it was murder.


            • #7
              Thanks for sharing Debra, here's what Bond said at the trial.
              Attached Files
              Thanks for your time,
              dusty miller


              • #8
                And to put it in context, here's what the doctor whose work he was reviewing said,
                Attached Files
                Thanks for your time,
                dusty miller


                • #9
                  Thanks Dusty.
                  To put it further in to context it was actually Dr Gray who concluded it was suicide in his witness statements. He was present at the post mortem with Robinson and did not think it was homicide. I have his statement. I was going to post it but as there wasn't much interest I didn't bother.


                  • #10
                    Dr Gray

                    Dr Gray performed the post mortem alongside Dr Robinson and he concluded that the wound on Maria Chipperfield's throat was self inflicted using her left hand. Alfred Chipperfield's defence was that he and Maria had both tried to commit suicide. Chipperfield had a wound to his own throat. Dr Bond looked over the evidence given at the magistrate and coroners court before the Old Bailey hearing.


                    • #11
                      Interesting that Gray was still insisting he was right a month later at the trial, particularly as Chipperfield virtually admitted he did it!
                      Although he does make a good point about the finger cut not being consistent with a defensive wound.
                      Thanks for your time,
                      dusty miller


                      • #12
                        Yes. Gray certainly stuck with his initial conclusion and wasn't swayed by the other two doctors' opinions. I wonder how many cases like this Bond had to get involved with when there was a difference of opinion, or no definite opinion between the doctors who did the post mortem.


                        • #13
                          I've been reading some biographies of Victorian doctors the past few weeks, just to just an idea of how they thought and what they knew. A common thread is arrogance, sometimes deserved sometimes not.

                          It was a time of unprecedented medical discoveries and doctors either wanted in on the new or status quo on the old. Strong disagreements were par for the course.

                          All that said, I'd love to see a bio on Bond. He has all the makings of a fascinating tale.
                          Thanks for your time,
                          dusty miller


                          • #14
                            Disagreements between medical witnesses happen even now. Conclusions were based on observations and experience, also a fair amount of assumption in those days, I'd guess. Bond had a large amount of experience of observing different homicidal deaths thanks to the police calling on him frequently, more experience than the average divisional surgeon anyway, but his opinion didn't always sway other people, as we see with Rose Mylett's case.


                            • #15
                              I came across Bond mentioning the Chipperfield case in the Westminster Hospital Report 1897, perhaps of interest because the autopsy notes from the case are included.
                              (on page 26 of the Report, we also learn that Dr. Bond was fond of stag-hunting on horseback!)

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