9 April 1888
Mr. Wynne Baxter held on Saturday morning, at the London Hospital, an inquiry into the circumstances attending the death of an unfortunate, named Emma Eliza Smith, who was assaulted in the most brutal manner early on Tuesday morning in the neighbourhood of Osborn-street, Whitechapel. - Mary Russell, the deputy-keeper of a common lodging-house in George- street, Spitalfields, stated that the deceased, who had lived eighteen months in the house, left home on Monday evening in her usual health and returned between four and five next morning, suffering from horrible injuries. The woman told witness that she had been shockingly ill-treated by some men and robbed of her money. Her face was bleeding and her ear cut. Witness took her at once to the London Hospital, passing through Osborn-street on the way, near a spot close to a cocoa factory, which Smith pointed out as the place where the outrage had been committed. Smith, who seemed unwilling to go into details, did not describe the men nor give any further account of the occurrence to witness. - Dr. G.H. Hillier, the house surgeon in attendance on Tuesday morning, when the deceased was brought in, said the injuries which the woman had received were horrible. A portion of the right ear was torn, and there was a rupture of the peritoneum and other internal organs, caused by some blunt instrument. The account given of the occurrence, by the unfortunate woman to the doctor, was that about half-past one o'clock on Tuesday morning, when near Whitechapel Church, she crossed over the road to avoid some men, who followed, assaulted her, robbed her of all the money she had, and then committed the outrage. There were two or three men, one of them looking like a youth of about nineteen. The patient died on Wednesday, about nine a.m., of peritonitis. In reply to questions from the coroner and the jury, the doctor said he had no doubt whatever that death had been caused by the wounds. He had found the other organs generally in a normal condition. The deceased stated that she came from the country, but had not seen any of her friends for ten years. - Another woman subsequently examined as a witness deposed to seeing Smith about a quarter-past twelve on Tuesday morning, near the Burdett-road, talking to a man dressed in dark clothes with a white neckerchief round his neck. She had been assaulted a few minutes before seeing Smith, and was getting away from the neighbourhood, where there had been some rough work that night. Two fellows had come up to her, one asking the time and the other striking her on the mouth, and both running away. She did not think the man talking to Smith was one of her assailants. - Mr. John West, chief inspector of police of the H division, said he had no official information of the occurrence. He had questioned the constables on duty in the Whitechapel-road at the time, but none of them had either seen or heard any such disturbance as that indicated in the evidence, nor had seen anyone taken to the hospital. He would make inquiries as to Osborn-street in consequence of what had transpired at the inquest. - The Coroner, in summing up, said that from the medical evidence, which must be true, it was perfectly clear that the poor woman had been murdered, but by whom there was no evidence to show. - After a short consultation, a verdict of "Wilful murder" against some person or persons unknown was returned by the jury.