Tuesday, May 09, 2006

St Mary's

The Altab Ali Park stands on Whitechapel Road opposite the entrance to Osborn Street. This was the site of the St. Mary Matfelon Church, the original White Chapel which gave the district it's name, until it was destroyed during the blitz in World War II.

The canonical victims of Jack the Ripper number five. These are the victims which are generally accepted (although not always) as having been murdered by one single hand, and they seem to have been decided upon as a result of a memo from Sir Melville McNaughton, who took over the case as Chief Constable of the CID in 1890. In the memo he stated that "the Whitechapel murderer had five victims, and five victims only."

However, the Metropolitan Police files regarding "The Whitechapel Murders" include several other victims, of which Martha Tabram was one. But the first victim included in the file runs back even further.

Emma Elizabeth Smith fits a very similar profile to most of the other victims. 45 years old at the time of her death, she had fallen on hard times and wound up, as so many in her situation did, living in the lodging houses of Whitechapel and scraping a living by selling her body on the streets.

At about half past one on the morning of Tuesday 2nd April, 1888, the previous day having been Easter Monday, Smith was returning to her lodging at 18 George Street, via the Whitechapel Road, and it was outside St Mary's Church that she became aware of being followed by a group of men. Nervous of the situation she crossed the road and turned in to Osborn Street. The men followed and she took to her heels. To her horror they chased her, finally catching up with her outside a mustard factory on the corner of Wentworth Street.


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