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Possible Ripper Victim Gives 10 Page Statement

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Possible Ripper Victim Gives 10 Page Statement

Post by Karen on Thu 9 Jun 2011 - 19:14



LONDON, November 25.

The strange story of a hairbreadth escape from assassination in Whitechapel, told to the police on Tuesday last, by a girl named Emily Edith Smith, differs little in its main details from the scores - nay hundreds - of deftly contrived yarns which have been brought to the authorities by mendacious or over-imaginative women from time to time ever since the Jack-the-Ripper scare alarmed East End London. Usually ten minutes' cross-examination reveals even to the densest police inspector the flagrant falseness of the narrative, and eventually the woman generally admits she invented the story in the hope of making her notorious and gaining her financial aid. Occasionally, however, these attempted assassinations have seemed to have some foundation, and then the delighted victim is sent on to Scotland Yard to have her statement fully inquired into. This was the case with Emily Smith, whose story was most carefully sifted by two skilled detective inspectors. Three things incline the latter to place credence in the girl's story. (1.) She sticks firmly to main details, (2.) the dress she wore corroborates in various small ways her statement, and (3.) the description Smith gives of her assailant tallies accurately with the police portrait of the individual the authorities believe to be Jack the Ripper.


It was on Guy Fawkes' night that the outrage was attempted, according to the circumstantial statement made to the police by the young woman who was assailed, and which is reproduced in the "Morning." The girl's name is Emily Edith Smith, alias Norton, of 3, Bingfield-street, Caledonian-road, but recently living at 30, Fitzroy-street, and described as eighteen years of age, of good education, quietly dressed, and respectably connected. She was walking down Cheapside towards St. Paul's about 5 p.m. It was raining, and there was a slight fog. When opposite No. 41, which is Lockhart's coffee-house, a tall man accosted her with the words, "Good night, Nellie." She did not reply, but he followed her and asked her to have a cup of tea. After some hesitation she accepted the invitation, and he took her through Bucklersbury into Lombard-street and thence to Fenchurch-street, where he turned into a narrow passage to a low coffee-house. Here the man suggested that Smith should accompany him to his offices at Upton Park. They went out and entered an omnibus at Aldgate, alighting at the corner of Commercial-road. She was unacquainted with the locality, and asked "Where they were now?" The man replied, "This is Whitechapel." The girl answered, "Oh!, then, this is where the girls were murdered." "Pshaw, not girls!" said the man deprecatingly, "old women, you mean. They were better out of the way." This was said in so quiet a manner that but little attention was paid to it by the girl. At the corner of Commercial-road East, they entered a tram-car and drove to the George IV. tavern, and alighting there turned down Sutton-street, E., and visited a beerhouse, which is but a few yards down the street on the left-hand side. In the beerhouse, where the man asked for a small soda for himself, because, as he stated, he never drank anything stronger, the girl, for the first time, closely observed her companion.


He was tall and thin, looking like a consumptive, with high cheek bones, his face being pale. He stood over 5ft. 9in., wore a hard bowler hat, had very dark hair, though his moustache, which was curled at either end, was of a sandy tint. He had very peculiar eyebrows, meeting over the nose, and the ends turning up toward the temples. She would seem to have taken particular notice of his eyes. These she described as odd and light, almost to squinting, one being a lightish brown, and the other a bluey grey. He had a strange habit of blinking them, but they sparkled and were piercing. His face, excepting the upper lip, was closely shaven. Both the "dog" teeth showed decay cavities, but only when he laughed. His forehead seemed rather square, and, though speaking English well, he struck her as being a foreigner. She did not notice either his collar or necktie, but took a close look at his clothes. He wore a short, single-breasted jacket coat of a black, roughish material, and grey trousers with a stripe pattern in blue running through them. He had a very uncommon sort of watch-chain, consisting of a number of small squares strung on to a centre connecting plain chain; but she did not see his watch. He wore no rings, and the girl observed no peculiarity about either his hands or boots. He walked with a military gait, treading firmly; spoke like an educated person, and carried neither cane or umbrella. His cuffs were white.


After leaving the beerhouse, the man conducted his companion to a long, narrow passage known as Station-place, where a hoarding has been built round some railway works. The girl said she would not venture further, but the man urged that his offices were at the end of the passage. They were standing at an angle of the hoarding, and they could not be seen even in clear weather. A street lamp some few feet away, projecting from the opposite wall, shed but the faintest glimmer of light. Let us go on a bit further," said the man. "I will not," replied the girl. "Then I'll settle you now," answered the man quietly. He caught the girl by the back of the collar of her dress and dragged her into the dark angle of the hoarding. They were face to face. He made to twist her round so that her back might be to him, and at that moment the girl saw a knife in his hand. Where he got it she cannot say, nor can she explain how he opened it. But she has described, and drawn, as well as she can, the blade of the knife. It was, she said at Scotland Yard, about nine inches long, and curved to a point, but not a sharp point. The authorities have put it down as something like a gardener's pruning knife. She furnishes this description from the momentary glance she obtained of it as the man tried to swing her round. The girl gave "one big scream," and, raising her right knee with all the power she could command, dealt the man a violent blow in the lower part of the abdomen. The man released his hold, and agonisingly exclaimed, "Oh, my God!" then made a dive at the girl with the knife, but, missing her, stumbled forward. The girl, screaming loudly, rushed into Sutton-street, where two women endeavoured to ascertain from her what had happened. The man was not seen again.


This eventful story was, says our contemporary, told to Inspector Frank Froest and Sergeant Freeman at Scotland Yard last Thursday evening, when they had the girl under examination three hours. The girl's statement, covering ten foolscap pages, was placed before Sir Edward Bradford on Saturday last, and yesterday the girl went over the ground again with Sergeant Bradshaw and pointed out all the places to which she had been conducted by her assailant.

Source: Auckland Star, Volume XXIV, Issue 3, 5 January 1893, Page 5

A few points to ponder:

1. Even as late at 1893, the police were still seriously considering any attempted outrages as being possible Ripper attacks.

2. Obviously, George Hutchinson's statement was still considered important as to descriptions given of this particular woman's assailant. Considering her responses, she was clearly enquired as to his hands (if he wore gloves), his boots (if they had button-up gaiters) and his peculiar watch-chain (a la Hutchy's "Astrachan man.") It seems like, contrary to the police officials' assertion, that Hutchinson's statement was still of extreme importance even in 1893.

3. Just where, praytell, is Miss Emily Edith Smith's 10 page statement? Another "document" missing during the "Blitz?"

Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"

Posts : 4907

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