Without access to modern forensic science, Victorian crime fighters were often stuck when it came to murder by poison. A good example of this kind of crime were the proven murders committed by Stanislaws Kosloski, a.k.a John Chapman, one of the chief suspects in the Ripper investigation. Chapman murdered three wives and did it with slow poison over time. The chief objection to Chapman as JTR is the idea that killers never change their modus operarandi. However, Philip Sugden tells us in the “Complete History of Jack the Ripper,” that John Douglas of the FBI says this: “Some criminologists and behavioural scientists have written that perpetrators maintain their modus operandi, and that this is what links so-called signature crimes. This conclusion is incorrect. Subjects will change their modus operandi as they gain experience. This is learned behaviour.” Also, an important similarity between JTR and Chapman is that he (or they) killed people, he or they, were actually willing and ready to do the terrible deed. Detective Abberline thought Chapman the most likely Ripper out of all the suspects in the case. So much so that when Chapman was hung at Wandsworth Prison for the murder of his three wives, Abberline told Ike Godley, the arresting officer, “You’ve got Jack the Ripper at last.” Chapman also had the basic medical knowledge to perform the mutilations done by the Ripper. Godley, who spent years investigating the Ripper crimes never wavered in his conviction that Chapman and the Ripper were one and the same.
However, the conviction of Chapman for the murders of his wives might have eluded detection if not for the persistence of the doctors who investigated the deaths. The doctor who treated Chapman’s last wife, called in others to consult with him, including a Home Office Analyst, who proved that antimony, a metallic irritant, was the drug that did the deed.
Also on the theme of Victorian poisonings was the case in Edinburgh that Dr. Bell himself investigated. Eugene Chantel was a wealthy French linguist. His wife woke one morning to find herself weak and with vomit stains on her pillow. Her husband mentioned a coal gas leak in her room. However, when the woman died, Dr. Bell did a post mortem and found that her blood was of a normal color, rather than the bright red it should have been if the death were caused by coal gas (which has carbon monoxide in it and turns blood bright red). Thanks to Bell, Chantel was convicted. Altogether, Dr. Bell worked on seven mysterious deaths and got convictions in five of them. If you’d like to know even more about Dr. Bell don’t miss this video:http://www.documentary-log.com/d220-sherlock-holmes-the-true-story-of-dr-joseph-bell