Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Rose Mylett

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #46
    Hi Howard,

    Thanks. Perhaps Bond decided to check the stomach again as there was testimony about Mylett's being drunk. I don't know how easy or difficult it would be to miss a spoonful of hooch as I know nothing about how stomach analysis worked. I haven't had a chance to look at what sounds like an interesting find by Debra but will do so shortly (I have got to run for tonight).

    Dave

    Comment


    • #47
      Hi Dave,
      Boring! Not in the least. This is great. The careful “reading” of sources is essential and all too infrequent in Ripperology, so it's a real pleasure to see somebody else's analysis, especially when it is relevant and clearly expressed.

      Overall, I don't think that we are too far apart in our assessment of The Times, although I would seem less inclined than you to draw conclusions about Wynne Baxter's personal opinions from a summary, especially when we have the Advertiser and Anderson, whatever their worth may be, stating that Wynne Baxter's personal opinion differed from the impression given by the summary.

      Otherwise the summary suggests that Wynne Baxter's summing up was a fair and well-balanced setting forth of first the case for death from natural causes and then the counter argument favouring murder. However, this arrangement maybe makes it appear that Baxter is favouring the counter-case of murder. You see, all that really matters as far as a summary is concerned is that all the arguments favouring death from natural causes don't have any merit if the attack was sudden and fast and if Mylett was drunk and incapable of effectively defending herself. But I wonder if Wynne Baxter drew attention to Dr. Brownfield finding no alcohol in Mylett's stomach. It wouldn't have mattered to the summarist because there was plenty of eye-witness testimony that Mylett was drunk, but it makes me - and I wonder if it made Baxter - wonder how carefully considered Dr. Brownfield's conclusion really was. Likewise, Dr. Bond's expectation of finding more damage done to the neck if Mylett was murdered is countered by recourse to the evidence of doctors who had examined the bodies of people killed by Thug bandits. Again, that's all that would have mattered as far as a summary went, but I wonder if Wynne Baxter didn't have something to say about the probability or improbability of Mylett running into someone with the necessary knowledge and experience.

      Given that we have the Advertiser and Anderson with the impression that Wynne Baxter did not share the opinion of the jury, and given that the murder hypothesis depends to a great extent on Mylett being helplessly drunk and being attacked quickly, suddenly, and by someone with the knowledge and experience of a Thug, I do wonder whether the impression of Baxter's opinion derived from The Times is right.

      As far as your observations about the breach of protocol is concerned and wondering why people weren't communicating, I do not dispute that the police contravened proper practice, but they clearly did so in ignorance, and how that ignorance reflects on them, if it reflects on them at all, remains to be seen. It may be thought that the police should have had the common courtesy to have communicated with Wynne Baxter and maybe they should have done, but they manifestly didn't, perhaps because they mistakenly believed that Wynne Baxter had no authority over their actions (see the final two paragraphs of Anderson's report to Monro of 11 January 1889), which seems to me to be a reasonable and satisfactorily explanation of why the police weren't communicating with Wynne Baxter. Why Dr. Brownfield didn't communicate with the police is an altogether more difficult question and one to which he appeared distinctly evasive, as, initially at least, he was about the supposed interview he gave to The Star. It may simply be that he didn't have the opportunity or the time or didn't appreciate the importance of doing so (or all three). Whatever the reason, it placed the police in an awkward position leading in ignorance to a breach or protocol which poor communication exacerbated. But the important thing is that whilst the police sought to answer concerns which Dr. Brownfield's failure to communicate with them had left unanswered and in so doing put them in contravention of proper practice (and, indeed, the law), it is quite clear that their concerns were justifiable, their actions otherwise acceptable and that doctor after doctor visiting the mortuary was not an attempt by the police to overturn Dr. Brownfield's evidence.

      Once again, many thanks for your thoughtful observations. Let's hope there's more info 'out there'.

      Comment


      • #48
        Originally posted by How Brown View Post
        Thanks so much Dave O for this excellent post on the Baxter snafu.

        Allow me to ask you this:

        If,as Debra Arif has provided, newspapers commented on Bond extricating alcohol from Mylett's stomach ,there appears to be a problem, at least to me.

        FIVE days after the death...the 25th, Bond, in total disregard to a simple stomach analysis & determination by Brownfield, finds alcohol. WHY does he look there? HOW does he find what Brownfield should have found and didn't?

        Stomach analysis is hardly the same as testing for a rare,non-indigenous rash or signs of a disease which may be very similar to another and requires more than one expert opinion. A stomach analysis is a slam dunk,simple test which for the life of me I cannot understand why Bond decided to check for himself....five days after the death.

        Furthermore,if this scenario did NOT occur...which has crossed my mind...in that the articles Debs found are in error....why would they be in error? Did an attempt at spin doctoring this re-examination occur and if so, by whom? I have to admit and I hope I do not sound too much of an alarmist or conspiracy-theorist here...but could this information have come from solely and squarely from Bond,without the knowledge of the other doctors ?
        Hi Howard,
        I assume that following his examination of Mylett's neck and discovery of less damage having been done than he'd have expected in a case of murder, Bond sought an alternative explanation and knew from previous experience that a person could be strangled by a tight dress or a collar. For this to have happened, Mylett would have had to have fallen into a position making it possible, and a likely explanation was that Mylett fell or passed out when drunk, strangling when unconscious. Dr. Bond would obviously have had to have established that Mylett had been drunk, and whilst there was witness testimony to that effect, Dr. Brownfield had apparently found no alcohol in Mylett's stomach, so I suppose Bond took what remained of the stomach contents and had them analysed.Thus, according to The Times, Dr. Bond was able to give it as his opinion that Mylett “in a state of drunkenness, fell down and the larynx was compressed against the neck of the jacket...”

        It's interesting, perhaps, and should be observed, that Dr. Bond did NOT think that Mylett had been strangled by the collar of her jacket. In fact, questioned on that very point by a juryman he said he “did not think the collar of deceased's jacket was stiff enough to strangle her.” What he thought was that the mark on Mylett's neck “must have been produced by the rim of the collar, either while she was dying or while she was dead in the interval between the finding of the body and its being undressed.”

        Dr Harris did not observe the mark when he examined Mylett's body at the scene and it is often overlooked that Constable Barrett said he looked for a mark on the neck when he took the body to the mortuary and did not find one. Bond's suggestion that the mark on the throat was caused by the collar of Mylett's jacket after death at least explains the absence of a mark when Harris and Barrett sought one. Harris, of course, said that when he examined the body “the head was lying over the jacket, but he did not think it was in such a position as to cause strangulation," but I'm not sure what he was thinking about because he went on to say that the collar was quite loose (but, of course, Dr. Bond didn't suggest the collar had stragled Mylett.)

        This possible confusion about what caused Mylett to be strangled is maybe what the journalist for the Advertiser meant when he said that "It is impossible for the lay reader to accurately estimate the value of the medical testimony for and against the theory of murder." I'm frankly somewhat bemused by it too! And it's perhaps no surprise that the journalist felt that the jury's verdict was based on the overwhelming medical opinion that Mylett had been murdered, and evidence other than "expert opinion", viz that Mylett was a prostitute, was found dead in a place used by prostitutes, and a prostitute killer being on the loose. Against basic facts ikethose I suspect that arguments about alocohol, no alcohol, jackets and collars all paled into insignificance.

        Comment


        • #49
          Hi Paul,

          Just to clarify one point, I am not saying that section 21 forbad the police from examining a victim (it doesn't address the police at all, but simply outlines the powers of coroners and juries). For practical purposes, I think I am right to say that once he received the case, the coroner was in legal possession of the body as there was a requirement to view the body that was necessary to the validity of the inquest, the body is the central piece of evidence in the inquest, and the coroner would be the one to release the body for burial. This is not in the law. My purpose in bringing up the law at all is to point out that it provides for secondary examinations within the framework of the inquest, and that Anderson and Monro should have been aware of this--if not through knowledge of the law through internal legal advice, then through direct communication with the coroner.

          In my opinion, their failure at such a high level to understand how the inquest operated and their decision to operate outside the court represents a blunder on their part that carried with it potentially severe public criticism. But I do not mean that to say that the law itself addresses police procedure at all, because it doesn't.

          Comment


          • #50
            Not to divert the repartee between Dave and Mr. B...but what are we to make of Brownfield here? I can understand why Bond stuck his head into the affair ( the original determination by the two policemen (and Hibbert) that no violence appeared to have occurred, hence no murder, and that Brownfield countered that in the afternoon of the 20th or Friday the 21st)...but Brownfield does puzzle me a little bit. Maybe the two of you can figure this thing out:

            He finds no alcohol in her system...he makes the judgment that she never gave birth...and yet,Bond finds alcohol and Mom Millett tells one and all of the daughter Mylett had.... Something stinks, guys...

            Back to you and I'll go off to the sidelines...
            To Join JTR Forums :
            Contact [email protected]

            Comment


            • #51
              Originally posted by Dave O View Post
              Hi Paul,

              Just to clarify one point, I am not saying that section 21 forbad the police from examining a victim (it doesn't address the police at all, but simply outlines the powers of coroners and juries). For practical purposes, I think I am right to say that once he received the case, the coroner was in legal possession of the body as there was a requirement to view the body that was necessary to the validity of the inquest, the body is the central piece of evidence in the inquest, and the coroner would be the one to release the body for burial. This is not in the law. My purpose in bringing up the law at all is to point out that it provides for secondary examinations within the framework of the inquest, and that Anderson and Monro should have been aware of this--if not through knowledge of the law through internal legal advice, then through direct communication with the coroner.

              In my opinion, their failure at such a high level to understand how the inquest operated and their decision to operate outside the court represents a blunder on their part that carried with it potentially severe public criticism. But I do not mean that to say that the law itself addresses police procedure at all, because it doesn't.
              Dave,
              Many thanks for the clarification. I don't think there is any dispute that in asking Dr. Bond to make a second examination of the body the police appear to have contravened required and accepted practice, be it law or otherwise, and committed a blunder which, as you say, could have – and among some modern commentators has – rained criticism on their heads. As said, though, in mitigation it is clear that they were reacting to the unusual circumstance of Dr. Brownfield having given evidence at the inquest before the police had the customary opportunity to express their professional concerns and questions. It seems clear that in asking Dr.Bond to make a second examination of the body the police were seeking ansers to those concerns, not nefariously attempting to overturn Dr. Brownfield's conclusion, and it is abundantly clear that the police did not send a succession of doctors to examine that body with that or any other intent.

              Howard,
              Dr. Brownfield seems to have escaped public criticism and his behaviour and deficiencies seem to have been largely ignored by commentators old and new: he didn't tell the police about his conclusions before the inquest; he was attributed with giving an interview to The Star which sems to have a breach of accepted practice; he was evasive when questioned about both; he thought a drunken Mylett could have been overcome and killed quickly and without a struggle, but found no alcohol in her stomach; and he thought she'd never had children when we know she had a daughter.

              One might question both the care he took over the autopsy and his competency, although he was a divisional surgeon of mature years and long service, so I suspect the latter isn't really an issue - and his ultimate conclusion was supported by other medical opinion - but the former in this specific case might have concerned the police.

              Comment


              • #52
                Brownfield

                Hi Paul,

                I don't think Brownfield had time to consult anyone--he must have come to the inquest straight from making his postmortem. He made his examination the morning of the 21st, which is when the inquest began. He told MacKellar that he asked which officer was going to attend the inquest, and was informed "an Inspector", not very helpfully, I guess.

                Perhaps this is a problem with how inquests operated back then, they were always having to begin quickly because of the requirement for the coroner and jury to view the body, without which no inquest was valid. And in London, they were likely holding several inquests in a day (particularly in Baxter's and Macdonald's districts). So, a lot of rushing about, I would imagine. In the 5th edition of Jervis, Rudolph Melsheimer gives a time frame of 2-5 days as a reasonable period between death and the commencement of the inquest, with more than five days as a possible cause of complaint. Most of the Victorian accounts of inquests that I have read seem to adhere to that. Winner of the 'race to the inquest' sweepstakes has got to be Alice Mackenzie, found dead on July 17, inquest beginning . . . July 17!

                I know you are familiar with Rowland Adams Williams' criticism of Wynne Baxter's not having Dr. Phillips give his full testimony on the first day of the Chapman inquest; perhaps the Rose Mylett case suggests that it was not always beneficial to have your surgeon in on the first day to give his full testimony.

                You are right that the police did not send down 'doctor after doctor'--there was some confusion, a comedy of errors, if you will, which I suspect could have been averted had they simply worked through the coroner and jury to get a second opinion, with the coroner issuing a warrant for Bond. The police were, after all, interested parties to the inquest. I think you're right that it didn't occur to them to do that, but they should have (imo).

                Cheers,
                Dave

                Comment


                • #53
                  Hi Dave,
                  I’m sure you’re right and that it should have occurred to the police to contact Wynne Baxter, even if only as a matter of professional courtesy, and Dr. Brownfield would have indeed been pressed for time, having begun his post-mortem at 9.00 a.m. and with the inquest set to open at 11.00 a.m., but, I wonder, were there any requirement on him to inform the police of his conclusions before he gave evidence?

                  It seems to me that if Dr. Brownfield knew the police were treating Mylett’s death as natural causes, as presumably he must have done if he'd spoken with Dr. Harris and/or read his notes, and being an experienced divisional surgeon he would have understood how important it was for him to convey his conclusion to them at the earliest possible opportunity. Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be a hint anywhere that he spoke to the police at any time that day. Maybe he thought was unnecessary to do so once he'd given his testimony.

                  I wonder why Dr. MacKellar, Dr. Bond and Dr. Hebbert, all experienced men, all presumably well-aware of protocol, willingly trooped of and examined the body at the request of the police without one of them questioning whether Wynne Baxter had been informed and given his permission for them to do so.
                  All rather curious.

                  By the way, what it the status of the verdict of a coroner’s jury?

                  Cheers
                  Paul

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    The verdict is only preliminary and not binding upon any other court. But it's also made by "good and lawful men" living in the community, organized and advised by someone they have elected. It's the community's own investigation that is supposed to be assisted by the police, open inquiries made in the interest of preventing future deaths. And, as we know, often its verdicts were the only ones that were ever made, as is the case here. I personally would not want to live in a community where my neighbors were finding verdicts of murder and the police weren't following up on them.

                    But if the preliminary nature of the verdict is a reason for Robert Anderson to ignore it, as well as the evidence presented during the inquest in favor of his own judgment, and this is what he said he did, then you may as well not have any inquests at all. The problem is that there was no process in what Anderson did in this case.

                    Your point about the other surgeons is a fair one, and I don't know enough about divisional surgeons to really comment. I suppose they followed their orders. As far as Hebbert and Bond, a warrant would have ensured their payment, but I suppose the police paid them in this case (Bond would receive a guinea from Baxter for his testimony, but not for his examination as he didn't order it).

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Many thanks for your imput.

                      Originally posted by Dave O View Post
                      The verdict is only preliminary and not binding upon any other court. But it's also made by "good and lawful men" living in the community, organized and advised by someone they have elected. It's the community's own investigation that is supposed to be assisted by the police, open inquiries made in the interest of preventing future deaths. And, as we know, often its verdicts were the only ones that were ever made, as is the case here. I personally would not want to live in a community where my neighbors were finding verdicts of murder and the police weren't following up on them.
                      Neither would I, but I wonder if and when and why the police do decide not to follow up when the verdict of the inquest jury is one of murder.

                      Originally posted by Dave O View Post
                      But if the preliminary nature of the verdict is a reason for Robert Anderson to ignore it, as well as the evidence presented during the inquest in favor of his own judgment, and this is what he said he did, then you may as well not have any inquests at all. The problem is that there was no process in what Anderson did in this case.
                      I think one has to seriously question whether Robert Anderson did ignore the verdict of the inquest jury. The implications and ramifications of not investigating what four qualified medical men and an inquest jury had decided was a case of murder would have stretched up to government level and probably beyond, especially when a prostitute murderer was on the loose! So how likely is it that Anderson would have been allowed to make such a decision off his own bat? I suggest that we are either misreading or misunderstanding the source on this point, or Anderson was merely reflecting a decision reached by others at more senior levels.

                      Originally posted by Dave O View Post
                      Your point about the other surgeons is a fair one, and I don't know enough about divisional surgeons to really comment. I suppose they followed their orders. As far as Hebbert and Bond, a warrant would have ensured their payment, but I suppose the police paid them in this case (Bond would receive a guinea from Baxter for his testimony, but not for his examination as he didn't order it).
                      I, too, can only suppose that they followed orders, but from what you say the orders they followed should have come from the coroner, and that Hebbert, Bond and - one would have thought particularly - MacKellar, would all have been very familiar with the rules and that at least one of them would have asked if Wynne Baxter had given his permission.

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Dear Mr. B & Dave O :

                        Neither would I, but I wonder if and when and why the police do decide not to follow up when the verdict of the inquest jury is one of murder. -Mr.B

                        Inspectors Swanson and Wildey( spelling?) & C.I.D. officers...according to two Scotland Yard file snippets... contain the newspaper accounts found in the Daily Chronicle from Dec. 28th and Dec. 29th.......8 days after the actual murder.... and were, to quote, "working energetically" to elucidate the mystery.

                        One was titled, " A Clue To the Poplar Murder" and the other, "The Poplar Murder". I'm sure both of you have the "Ultimate"...and this can be found on pages 472-473.
                        To Join JTR Forums :
                        Contact [email protected]

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Hi Howard,
                          Yes, but the police had been trying to establish the identity of Mylett, her friends and associates and her final movements. But you'll also find newspaper reports of extra policemen being drafted into Whitechapel and of inquiries at the docks and so on, all indicative of a murder investigation and suggestive, perhaps, that Anderson's comments to Supt. Steed have been misunderstood or misinterpreted.

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Hi Paul,

                            Thanks.
                            You also wrote: I think one has to seriously question whether Robert Anderson did ignore the verdict of the inquest jury. Well, I will quote what he wrote to Monro:

                            The Supt. has come to this Office to ask instructions in view of this verdict. I have thought it only fair to him and his officers to tell him plainly that neither the evidence given at the inquest, nor the verdict arrived at, affects the judgment I formed when I personally investigated the case on the 22nd ult:, and that I did not intend to take any further action in the matter.

                            I am not sure how else to interpret that statement--it's very clear that he had previously come to a conclusion before a verdict had been delivered, and that he told the Superintendent to stand down, I presume with Monro's support. I take your point about proper police activities during the inquest, but what are we to make of what Anderson says here about pursuing the case further? It seems to me that he ultimately also must have had some support at Treasury--otherwise I think it's right to say that his direction above would not have stood.

                            You also wrote, I wonder if and when and why the police do decide not to follow up when the verdict of the inquest jury is one of murder. Judging from what Robert Anderson wrote, they go to the Assistant Commissioner and ask for direction. But I don't really know either; one would hope that a publicly funded proceeding would carry some weight. But in the end, an inquest can only publicize an issue and deliver its verdict. It has no power to order another entity to follow up on the verdict, though according to procedure the depositions of the Mylett inquest would have been delivered to the criminal court. There to just sit, I guess.

                            So, perhaps they were on safe ground--the inquest was over and it was in their hands. But how have they served the people in Poplar? Their failure to pursue the case could have been no more satisfactory to them than the follow up to Terry Lloyd's inquest is to modern readers.

                            Hi Howard,

                            Just saw your post--what about after the verdict?

                            Cheers,
                            Dave

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Dave O View Post
                              Hi Paul,

                              Thanks.
                              You also wrote: I think one has to seriously question whether Robert Anderson did ignore the verdict of the inquest jury. Well, I will quote what he wrote to Monro:

                              The Supt. has come to this Office to ask instructions in view of this verdict. I have thought it only fair to him and his officers to tell him plainly that neither the evidence given at the inquest, nor the verdict arrived at, affects the judgment I formed when I personally investigated the case on the 22nd ult:, and that I did not intend to take any further action in the matter.

                              I am not sure how else to interpret that statement--it's very clear that he had previously come to a conclusion before a verdict had been delivered, and that he told the Superintendent to stand down, I presume with Monro's support. I take your point about proper police activities during the inquest, but what are we to make of what Anderson says here about pursuing the case further? It seems to me that he ultimately also must have had some support at Treasury--otherwise I think it's right to say that his direction above would not have stood.
                              Well, pending some supportive evidence that Anderson alone had the authority to do what we think he's saying he did, or that he would have been allowed to do it even if he imagined that he did have the authority, we are forced to consider other interpretations of his words, for example, that by “I did not intend to take any further action in the matter” he did not mean that he was curtailing or stopping the investigation, but that he didn't intend to do more than was already being done.

                              Originally posted by Dave O View Post
                              You also wrote, I wonder if and when and why the police do decide not to follow up when the verdict of the inquest jury is one of murder. Judging from what Robert Anderson wrote, they go to the Assistant Commissioner and ask for direction..
                              Indeed. And in other cases...?

                              Originally posted by Dave O View Post
                              But I don't really know either; one would hope that a publicly funded proceeding would carry some weight. But in the end, an inquest can only publicize an issue and deliver its verdict. It has no power to order another entity to follow up on the verdict, though according to procedure the depositions of the Mylett inquest would have been delivered to the criminal court. There to just sit, I guess.

                              So, perhaps they were on safe ground--the inquest was over and it was in their hands. But how have they served the people in Poplar? Their failure to pursue the case could have been no more satisfactory to them than the follow up to Terry Lloyd's inquest is to modern readers...
                              Well, if the police turned out to be correct in their belief that Mylett died from natural causes then they weren't doing the people of Poplar a disservice and were doing the right thing for the population of the Metropolis by not diverting manpower and energy and money from other areas. And if it turned out that they were wrong then I assume the people of Poplar were not being served at all and the police were putting their heads on the guillotine of public, press and probably governmental criticism that could have cost both men their jobs..

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Hi Paul,

                                Well, if the police turned out to be correct in their belief that Mylett died from natural causes then they weren't doing the people of Poplar a disservice and were doing the right thing for the population of the Metropolis by not diverting manpower and energy and money from other areas.

                                If they were right. Do you think they were?

                                I think the potential danger was a further erosion of public confidence in the police, and that is a danger for everyone, not just the police.

                                Cheers,
                                Dave

                                Comment

                                Working...
                                X