Sunday, 8 April 1888
Mr. Wynne Baxter held an inquiry yesterday morning at the London Hospital into the terrible circumstances attending the death of an unfortunate, named Emma E. Smith, who was assaulted in the most brutal manner early on Tuesday morning last in the neighbourhood of Osborn-street, Whitechapel, bv several men. The first witness, Mary Russell, the deputy-keeper of a lodging-house in George-street, Spitalfields, deposed to the statement made by the deceased on the way to the London Hospital, to which she was taken between four and five o'clock on Tuesday morning. The deceased told her she had been shockingly maltreated by a number of men and robbed of all the money she had. Her face was bleeding, and her ear was cut. She did not describe the men, but said one was a young man of about 19. She also pointed out where the outrage occurred, as they passed the spot, which was near the cocoa factory. The house-surgeon on duty, Dr. Hellier, described the internal injuries which had been caused, and which must have been inflicted by a blunt instrument. It had even penetrated the peritoneum, producing peritonitis, which was undoubtedly the cause of death, in his opinion. The woman appeared to know what she was about, but she had probably had some drink. Her statement to the surgeon as to the circum- stances was similar to that already given in evidence. He had made a post- mortem examination, and described the organs as generally normal. He had no doubt that death was caused by the injuries to the perineum, the abdomen, and the peritoneum. Great force must have been used. The injuries had set up peritonitis, which resulted in death on the following day after admission. Another woman gave evidence that she had last seen Emma Smith between 12 and one on Tuesday moming, talking to a man in a black dress, wearing a white neckerchief. It was near Farrant-street, Burdett-road. She was hurrying away from the neighbourhood, as she had herself been struck in the mouth a few minutes before by some young men. She did not believe that the man talking to Smith was one of them. The quarter was a fearfully rough one. Just before Christmas last she had been injured by men under circumstances of a similar nature, and was a fortnight in the infirmary.* - Mr. Chief Inspector West, H division, said he had made inquiries of all the constables on duty on the night of the 2nd and 3rd April in the Whitechapel-road, the place indicated. - The jury returned a verdict of "Wilful murder against some person or persons unknown."
* This reference to an attack "before Christmas last" is most likely the origin of the 'Fairy Fay' myth, which seems to have been a misremembering of the Emma Smith case.