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Who Killed Martha Tabram ?

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  • Without getting into another Lechmere debate, I don't think "flowing" is to be taken pedantically in a tense sense.
    Thanks for your time,
    dusty miller

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    • Originally posted by Dusty Miller View Post
      Without getting into another Lechmere debate, I don't think "flowing" is to be taken pedantically in a tense sense.
      Neither do I. But you might like to keep it in your pocket for the next flowing=present tense debate.😉

      A question that occurs to me is whether Francis Hewitt would have known that the ‘great wound’ was to Martha’s heart without overhearing the fact from Killeen.

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      • My guess would be not Killeen, but the position of the wound determined Hewitt's claim.

        He would have been there before Killen, I would imagine, given it happened just outside his door.
        Thanks for your time,
        dusty miller

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        • Originally posted by Dusty Miller View Post
          My guess would be not Killeen, but the position of the wound determined Hewitt's claim.

          He would have been there before Killen, I would imagine, given it happened just outside his door.
          If I saw a body covered with stab wounds, one of which had punched through the victim’s sternum, I’m not sure I would know whether the woman’s heart had been pierced. Hewitt hadn’t heard the attack itself, so who knows whether he heard the presumably brief exchange between Barrett and Crow before Killeen was fetched. On the afternoon of the murder the press interviewed Hewitt and by then the story of the soldiers had spread abroad. Where had that come from? Pearly Poll hadn’t yet plucked up the courage to call at Commercial Street, so I suspect that may also have been mentioned as Martha was being examined by Killeen and Barrett on the landing of GYB.

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          • Killeen’s inquest testimony, as reported in the Times, the ELO snd ELA is somewhat vague about the instrument that caused the 38 wounds:

            Times: ‘a knife.’

            ELO: ‘an ordinary knife.’

            ELA: ‘a knife, or some such instrument’.

            And the same is true of weapon which caused the heart wound:

            Times: ‘some kind of dagger.’

            ELO: ‘some form of dagger.’

            ELA: ‘a sword bayonet or dagger.’

            Other papers speak of a penknife and pick up the sword bayonet idea and run with it, suggesting all the wounds were caused by ‘a bayonet’.

            If Killeen did actually mention a sword bayonet, I wonder why? Why not just say a ‘dagger-like’ instrument? Wouldn’t a wound from a sword bayonet have had a very similar appearance to that of a dagger?

            I suspect Killeen was picking up on the the soldier story and fashioning his evidence to coincide with that. Possibly, he was responding to questions put to him by the coroner or Reid that have not come down to us. That is assuming he even mentioned the word bayonet.

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            • Killeen speaks of 39 punctured wounds, but the only wound he describes in any detail, the one to Martha’s lower body - three inches long and one inch deep - is not a punctured wound, it’s an incised wound. So what should we understand from that: that the 39 were all punctured wounds and in addition there was one or more incised wounds? Or that there were only 38 punctured wounds and one incised wound?

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                • >>Killeen speaks of 39 punctured wounds, but the only wound he describes in any detail, the one to Martha’s lower body ...<<

                  I'd very much doubt that was the case. More likely, only one wound was reported by the journo covering the case. Killeen would have to have done a full written report on the autopsy findings.

                  Anyway, thanks for the Killeen threads, Gary, I'm learning new stuff, which is always great.
                  Thanks for your time,
                  dusty miller

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Dusty Miller View Post
                    >>Killeen speaks of 39 punctured wounds, but the only wound he describes in any detail, the one to Martha’s lower body ...<<

                    I'd very much doubt that was the case. More likely, only one wound was reported by the journo covering the case. Killeen would have to have done a full written report on the autopsy findings.

                    Anyway, thanks for the Killeen threads, Gary, I'm learning new stuff, which is always great.
                    Indeed, but all that has come down to us is what was reported in the press and what appeared in the police reports. Punctured wounds are mentioned, but not incised wounds. It’s possible that the police and every journalist present missed the reference to incised wounds. It was certainly noted that Reid took no notes during the inquest.

                    Killeen also stated that all the wounds were inflicted while the victim was alive, but I read in an 1886 pathology text recently that recent experiments on dogs had shown that wounds inflicted immediately after death were virtually indistinguishable from those inflicted in life.

                    The other thing that is missing from Killeen’s testimony, as reported, is the location of some of the wounds. When he lists their locations, he doesn’t reach a
                    total of 39. Because all the wounds he did mention, with one exception, the wound to her ‘lower body’, were above her waist, it has been suggested that the killer lifted her skirts to inflict that one wound. And that ‘focus’ on her genitalia makes him JTR in the eyes of some.

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                    • The other problem is that a single coup de gras to the heart suggests precision and perhaps expertise, whilst the other wounds suggest sheer rage.
                      Thanks for your time,
                      dusty miller

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