On Tuesday 3 April 1888, following the Easter Monday bank holiday, prostitute Emma Elizabeth Smith was assaulted and robbed at the junction of Osborn Street and Brick Lane, Whitechapel, in the early hours of the morning. Although injured, she survived the attack and managed to walk back to her lodging house at 18 George Street, Spitalfields. She told the deputy keeper, Mary Russell, that she had been attacked by two or three men, one of them a youth. Mrs Russell took Smith to the London Hospital, where medical examination revealed that a blunt object had been inserted into her vagina, rupturing her peritoneum. She developed peritonitis and died at 9 a.m. 4 April 1888. The inquest was conducted on 7 April by the coroner for East Middlesex, Wynne Edwin Baxter, who also conducted inquests on six of the later victims. The local inspector of the Metropolitan Police Service, Edmund Reid of H Division Whitechapel, investigated the attack but the culprits were never caught. Walter Dew, a detective constable stationed with H Division, later wrote that he thought Smith was the first victim of Jack the Ripper, but his colleagues suspected it was the work of a criminal gang. Smith claimed that she was attacked by a group of men, but either refused to or could not describe them. Prostitutes were often managed by gangs, and Smith could have been attacked by her pimps as a punishment for disobeying them, or as part of their intimidation. She may not have identified her attackers because she feared reprisal, and her murder is unlikely to be connected with the later killings.
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