East London Observer
Saturday, 28 September 1889.
The Doctor Gives Some Important Evidence
At the Resumed Inquest.
At the resumed inquest held at the Vestry Hall, in St. George’s East, on Tuesday, on the trunk found under the railway arch in Pinchin-street, on the 10th inst., Dr. Phillips, police-surgeon, of the H division, said: I first examined the body at six o’ clock on the day the remains were found. I confirm, so far as I have observed, the evidence given by my colleague, Mr. Clarke, who was present with me when I first examined the body. Decomposition of the body had been fairly established. There was an oozing of blood from the cut surface of the neck. The cut surfaces where the thighs had been removed were nearly dry. The cut surface at the neck was not so dry, but it impressed me greatly with its general even surface. The skin was beginning to peel, and the decomposition of the trunk was greater about the upper than the lower part of it. There was not a head, and the thighs had been removed from the body. Next morning, in the presence of Dr. Gordon Brown and Mr. Hibberd, I further examined the body. Decomposition had extended greatly. The cut surface of the neck was much dryer at the ends of the muscles, but more moist underneath. The neck had been severed by a clean incision commencing a little to the right side of the middle line of the neck behind, leaving a flap of skin at the end of the incision. It had severed the whole of the structures of the neck, dividing the cartilage of the neck in front, and separating the bone of the spine behind. The walls of the belly were divided from just below the cartilage of the ribs. The two small cuts appear on the forearm appear to me as likely to have been caused when the sweep of the knife divided the muscles covering the upper part of the thigh. Both thighs were excised by the extensive circular sweep of the knife, or some sharp instrument, penetrating the joint from below and separating the thighs from the hip joint, but the cartilages within the joint and those which deepen the joint and surround it had not been injured. The marks upon the fingers had fairly healed, and had evidently been in the process of healing for some time previous to death. I think the pallor of the hands and nails is an important element in enabling me to draw a conclusion as to the cause of death. I agree especially with the remarks made by Mr. Clarke as to the date. I found the length of the trunk to be 2ft. 2in., and the measure went round the nipple 34in., and below the breast 31 ¾ in. Dr. Phillips having given further measurements, said that the deceased was about 5ft. 3in. There was throughout the body an absence of blood in the vessels. The heart was empty; it was fatty, and the vessels coated with fat, but the bowels were healthy. The right lung was adherent, except at the base, the left lung free, and taking them both together, fairly competent, and especially considering the decomposition of the remains. The stomach was the seat of considerable post-mortem change, and contained only a small quantity of fruit, like a plum. In my opinion the woman had never been pregnant. I believe her to have been under 40 years of age. There was an absence of any particular disease or poison. I believe that death arose from loss of blood. I believe the whole of the mutilations to have been subsequent to death; that the mutilations were effected by someone accustomed to cut up animals or to see them cut up; and that the incisions were effected by a strong knife, 8in. or more long. The supposition - (and only a supposition) - which presents itself to my mind is that there had been a former incision of the neck, the signs of which had disappeared on the subsequent separation of the head. The loss of blood could not have come from the stomach, and I could not trace it coming from the lungs. I have a strong opinion that it did not.
By a Juryman: I cannot say whether the person who severed the head from the body was a butcher or not. I merely wish to say it was a person accustomed either to see or use a knife, or some sharp instrument in cutting up animals. I have no reason for believing that he had human anatomical knowledge. In fact, it probably is known to you, and most people, that the spine is not the part to be disarticulated by a medical man.
A verdict of murder against some person unknown was returned.