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London, United Kingdom
Sunday, 8 April 1888

Complaints against the Police

A long discussion arose on the vote of 80,734 for the Home Office. Mr. PICKERSGILL called attention to the allegations of misconduct against the police, and complained that the Home Secretary had not taken proper steps to have them investigated. - The HOME SECRETARY replied that he had declined to grant fanciful or fishing inquiries; but whenever a prima facie case of misconduct had been made out it had been fully investigated. - Mr. PICKERSGILL said id had been complained in that House that in many cases the metropolitan police were in the habit of assaulting persons in their custody. The right hon. Gentleman declined to take any notice of the complaints. On Thursday the charge was endorsed at the Wandsworth Police Court by a magistrate, who was little likely as any man on the magisterial bench to use words of censure towards the police unless his language was well founded. The censure was passed by Mr. Montagu Williams, and he ventured to say that that learned magistrate set an example to some of his colleagues by bringing to the judgement-seat neither prejudices nor prepossessions. Mr. Montagu Williams said that an inquiry must be made into the conduct of certain constables and an inspector, and he wished now to ask what would be the character of the investigation. A private departmental inquiry conducted by Sir Charles Warren such as took place with respect to Constable Bloy, would be a pure and unadulterated farce. The only inquiry that would satisfy the public mind was a thoroughly open and public investigation. (Hear, hear). - Mr. MATTHEWS replied that, with regard to the censure delivered by Mr. Montagu Williams, he might say that that afternoon the constables implicated were suspended. (Hear, hear.) He had applied to Mr. Williams for his notes of the evidence, and as soon as he got them the matter would be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions. (Hear, hear.) The vote was agreed to, and progress was reported. - The House was counted out at twenty-five minutes past eleven.

Outrage, Robbery, and Murder.

Yesterday a case investigated at the London Hospital by the coroner for East Middlesex, Mr. Wynne E. Baxter, disclosed the most shocking details of an outrage, accompanied by robbery, and resulting in murder. - According to the evidence of Mary Russell, the deputy-keeper of a common lodging-house in George-street, Spitalfields, a woman named Emma Eliza Smith, described as "an unfortunate", who had lived 18 months in the house, left home on Monday evening in her usual health, and returned between four and five next morning suffering from terrible 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 was cut. Witness took her at once to the London Hospital, passing through Osborne-street on the way, near a spot close to the cocoa factory (Taylor's), which Smith pointed out as the place where the outrage had been committed. Smith seemed unwilling to go into details, but said she was badly injured in the region of the abdomen. She did not describe the men nor give any further account of the occurrence to witness. - In reply to the coroner, the witness declared her belief in the truth of the statement. The victim might have had some drink, but was not so drunk as not to know what she was saying. - Dr. G. H Hillier, the house surgeon in attendance on Tuesday morning, when the deceased was brought in, corroborated the evidence of the last witness as to the intoxication. She had probably been drinking, but was not intoxicated, and knew what she was about. The description of the injuries was horrible. When admitted to the hospital about five a.m. the patient was bleeding. A portion of the right ear was torn, and rupture of the peritoneum and other internal organs, recently caused, led him to believe that the injuries had been caused by some blunt instrument, which, as the peritoneum itself had been perforated, must have been used with very great force. The account given of the occurrence by the unfortunate woman to the doctor was that about half past one on Tuesday morning, when near Whitechapel Church, she saw some men approach, and she crossed over the road to avoid them, They followed, assaulted her, robbed her of all the money she had, and then committed the outrage. She was reticent with regard to the details but distinctly denied having addressed the men in solicitation. She could not tell whether it was a knife or what instrument had been used. There were two or three men, one of them looking like a youth of about 19. The patient died on Wednesday about nine a.m. of peritonitis, set up by the injuries inflicted. - 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 said had not seen any of her friends for ten years. - Another woman subsequently examined as a witness deposed to seeing Emma E. Smith about a quarter past twelve on Wednesday morning near the Burdett-road, talking to a man dressed in dark clothes with a white neckerchief round his neck. She, the witness, 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 then running away. She didnot think the man talking to Smith was one of her assailants. - The last witness, Mr. John West, chief-inspector of police of the H Division, aid 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 on their beat, nor had seen anyone taken to the hospital. He would make inquiries as to Osborne-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 how it had come about there was not the slightest evidence to show. - After a short consultation a verdict of wilful murder against some person of persons unknown was returned by the jury.

Related pages:
  Emma Smith
       Dissertations: The Importance of Fairy Fay, and Her Link to Emma Smith 
       Message Boards: Emma Smith 
       Official Documents: Emma Smith Inquest 
       Press Reports: East London Advertiser - 14 April 1888 
       Press Reports: Eastern Post - 7 April 1888 
       Press Reports: Lloyds Weekly News - 08 April 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 09 April 1888 
       Press Reports: People - 15 April 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 9 April 1888 
       Press Reports: Walthamstow and Leyton Guardian - 14 April 1888 
       Victims: Emma Smith