Saturday, 14 April 1888
Mr. Baxter, the East Middlesex coroner, held an inquiry at the London Hospital, Whitechapel, on Saturday, touching the death of Emma Elizabeth Smith, aged 45 years, a widow lately living in George-street, Spitalfields, who is alleged to have died from injuries received at the hands of some persons unknown, who brutally assaulted her when returning home along the Whitechapel-road, on Bank Holiday night. Mary Russell, of 18 George-street, stated that that address was a common lodging-house, and the deceased had been a lodger there for some months. Witness acted as deputy. When she returned home one night she told witness that she had been thrown out of a window. When she had had drink the deceased acted like a madwoman. On Bank Holiday the deceased left the house in the evening, apparently in good health. She returned home between four and five o'clock the next morning severely injured, and she said she had been shockingly treated by some men. The witness took her at once to the hospital. Deceased further said that she was coming along Osborne-street, Whitechapel, when she was set upon and her money taken from her. On the way to the hospital deceased pointed out the spot, and said she did not know the men, nor could she describe them. Witness believed that the statements made by the deceased were to be relied upon. By the Coroner: Deceased had often come home with black eyes that men had given her. She was not so drunk as not to know what she did. Mr. George Haslip, house-surgeon, deposed that deceased was admitted suffering from severe injuries. She had been drinking, but was not intoxicated. She had a very serious rupture of a recent date, and also some bruises on her head. The right ear was torn and bleeding. She told witness that at half-past one that morning she was going by Whitechapel Church when she saw some men coming. She crossed the road to get out of their way, but they followed her. They assaulted her, robbed her of all the money she had, and then commenced to outrage her. She could not say if they used a knife. She could not describe them, except that one looked about 19. After her admission she slowly sank, and died at nine o'clock on Wednesday morning. The deceased stated that she had not seen any of her friends for 10 years. The Coroner said that from the medical evidence it was clear that the woman had been barbarously murdered. Such a dastardly assault he had never heard of, and it was impossible to imagine a more brutal case. - The jury returned a verdict of wilful murder against some person or persons unknown.