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The attack on Emily Edith Smith - 5 Nov 1892

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  • The attack on Emily Edith Smith - 5 Nov 1892

    Illustrated Police News
    3 December 1892

    WAS IT JACK THE RIPPER?
    AN EXTRORDINARY STORY

    On the evening of Guy Fawkes Day Emily Edith Smith, shabbily dressed, and wearing an old black hat, was walking down Cheapisde towards St Paul's Churchyard. It was raining, and a slight fog hung over the street. When opposite Lockhart's Coffee House. which is No 41 in Cheapside, a tall man accosted the girl, remarking, "Good night, Nellie." She made no reply, and continued her walk, but at the corner of Friday Street the man who had addressed her was by her side again, and proffered an invitation to have a cup of tea which the girl, after some hesitation, accepted. The couple then walked up Cheapside, turning down Bucklersbury into Queen Victoria Street, and crossing over proceeded past the Mansion House into Lombard Street. It was then ten minutes past five, and in reply to an inquiry as to where the tea shop was, the strange man replied, "It's only a little way further down."
    From Lombard Street the couple passed into Fenchurch Street, and walking to the left up a narrow passage, passed through a courtyard and entered a dimly lighted coffee house, with which the man appeared to be thoroughly acquainted. The character of the place may be judged from the fact that the tea was served in thick cups without spoons, and there were but two tables in the room, which was uncarpeted. While in this place the man suggested that the girl should accompany him to his office in Upton Park. He said that it was not a great distance away, and that a bus would speedily take them there.
    When the coffee house was left behind the girl, after again traversing a number of narrow passages, found herself once more in Fenchurch Street, but near to Aldgate. The man then hailed an omnibus, and drove with the girl along High Street, Whitechapel, to the corner of Commercial Road. It was but a very short omnibus ride indeed. She was unacquainted with the locality, and asked, "Where are we 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. Still, she insisted on knowing where Upton Park was, and the man replied that they were quite close to it.
    At the corner of Commercial Road, E., they entered a tramcar and drove to the George IV Tavern, and alighting there turned down Sutton Street, E. Here they visited a beerhouse, which is but a few yards down the street on the left hand side. While passing down the Commercial Road he talked of the shops and their proprietors with the freedom of one who knew them very well, and before entering the tramcar pointed towards Leman Street, saying, "That is where Jack the Ripper is best known."
    In the beerhouse, 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. The light, she says in her statement to the authorities, was full upon him, and this is the description she furnishes:-
    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 towards 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 chain; but she did not see his watch. She has since seen in a jeweller's shop window a chain of the same pattern exactly, and can point it out. He wore no rings, and the girl observed no peculiarity about either his hands or boots. He walked with a miltary gait, spoke like an educated person, and carried neither case nor umbrella. His cuffs were white.
    Leaving the beerhouse in Sutton Street, the man and the girl walked towards the further end of it. The street, which is usually black and deserted, was, by reason of the fog, almost in darkness. One hundred yards down they passed under a railway arch, and turning to the right entered a long narrow passage, known as Station Place, which, save for a few yards at the entrance, was enveloped in complete gloom. A new railway platform to the Whitechapel line of the Metropolitan Railway was in process of construction at one part of the passage, and a hoarding had been raised round a portion of the works. The girl said she would not venture further, and that she did not like the appearance of the place. The man urged that his offices were at the end of the lane. But the young woman would not advance with him. They were standing then in the gloom opposite an angle in the hoarding, which, even had there been no fog, would have completely prevented any chance of their being seen. 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 neck, and dragged her into the dark angle of the hoarding. They were fact 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. 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 lowest 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.
    Such is the story which has been placed in the possession of the Scotland Yard authorities. It was submitted to Sir Edward Bradford the next day, and he at once placed it, with orders for full inquiry, in charge of Mr Donald Swanson, the chief inspector of the Criminal Investigation Department, who instructed Sergeant Bradshaw to accompany the girl over the route from Cheapside to the spot where the alleged murder was attempted. What gives the girl Smith's story the strongest interest is that her description of the man is almost word for word identical with that which the police authorities have always held to be the description of the appearance of the criminal for whose arrest they sought so eagerly two years ago. It ought to be added that the description of the man with which the girl's so fully corresponds, is the one that was furnished in connection with the murder of one of the women in Whitechapel by a fruit stall keeper. In this case the murdered woman purchased some grapes a short time before the murder took place, and the man who was then with her could never afterwards be traced. Some of the grapes were found in the dead woman's hand. Another point of significance is that in this case, as in all the Whitechapel outrages, the passage into which the woman was lured has both an entrance and an exit.

  • #2
    Some illustrations that accompanied the article:
    Attached Files

    Comment


    • #3
      The map that I have (OS Map 1894) does not seem to go far enough east to show Sutton Street. Does anyone have a contemporary map which shows Sutton Street, and ideally Station Place, so that we can see exactly where this attack allegedly took place?
      Many thanks
      Chris

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Chris,

        Station Place is now Shadwell Place and Sutton Street runs from Commercial Road sown to Cable Street.

        Click image for larger version

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        Rob

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        • #5
          Hi Rob
          many thanks for that - brilliant!
          Ive seen that bottom pic before but didnt connect it when I was typing up this story
          Very much appreciated
          Chris

          Comment


          • #6
            Thats a really interesting article to post ,especially with the photo's.

            It is so frustrating to know - but copy-cat does spring to mind.
            JTR ,if he killed Kelly,was on his way to melt-down,its a long way to 1892.

            Comment


            • #7
              My personal view is that the Ripper continued killing for many years after MJK and murder attempts and attacks like this strenghen my view considerably. A man matching the descriptions of JTR attacks a woman in the Whitechapel area. It seems either a copycat or the man himself and personally I think it was Jack, even though this can never be proven.

              best regards

              Adam
              Best regards,
              Adam


              "They assumed Kelly was the last... they assumed wrong" - Me

              Comment


              • #8
                Rob's photo above reminds me of somewhere else.

                Click image for larger version

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                allisvanityandvexationofspirit

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                • #9
                  Sounds unbelievable to me

                  This story is right out of a Hollywood movie. It seems WAY too far fetched to be believable. The guy had two different color eyes! Come on...Did he have a peg-leg and a monocle too?

                  Not to mention the fact that the couple seems to have stopped at several locations (where they would have been spotted by eyewitnesses). With the description that was given (especially the different color eyes) this guy surely would have been caught within a matter of days. I've personally only seen ONE person in my entire life with two different color eyes--and that would be David Bowie! And this was due to a childhood accident...
                  Jeff

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    More articles

                    Here are two more articles with a few more details. First the Pall Mall Gazette from Nov. 22, 1892.
                    Attached Files
                    Jeff

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      And then from the Hampshire Telegraph & Sussex Chronicle, dated Nov 26, 1892. I really had to chop this one up, so hopefully it won't look too bad.
                      Attached Files
                      Jeff

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hi Pinkerton
                        many thanks for the version which includes many details lacking in the first one, her age, address, to whom the statement was made etc
                        Much appreciated
                        Chris

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Do we know if she was a prostitute or not? It appears that the man was accosting her in the article.

                          Best regards

                          Adam
                          Best regards,
                          Adam


                          "They assumed Kelly was the last... they assumed wrong" - Me

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Uncle Jack View Post
                            Do we know if she was a prostitute or not? It appears that the man was accosting her in the article.

                            Best regards

                            Adam
                            A reporter from the Cardiff Western Mail seemed to be implying so in an interview with Emily on Weds Nov 23 1892

                            "On that occassion [interview with reporter on Saturday night] she was very neatly dressed, and her appearance did not at all suggest the
                            horrible profession which she follows."


                            Emily also made a Statutory declaration through solicitors as to the truth of her story, correcting some mistakes made in the press and also denying the accusations she was an unfortunate.
                            A full account of the declaration can be found in the Cardiff Western Mail of Monday, November 28, 1892 if anyone feels like posting it.

                            Debs
                            ,,`,, Debs ,,`,,

                            I am not DJA. He's called Dave.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Many thanks, Debs
                              I'll have a look at that article
                              Chris

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