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Point To Ponder : Was Emma Smith Killed Indoors ?

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  • Point To Ponder : Was Emma Smith Killed Indoors ?

    From Tom Wescott's "The Bank Holiday Murders"...on page 25.

    "...we're left no choice but to ponder the notion that the attack upon Smith occurred at a completely different location, possibly indoors."

    Reasons why I think a reasonable alternative to the accepted explanation of what happened to Smith and more importantly, where, may lay in the possibility she was killed indoors.....in 18 George Street.

    Consider the following problems with her death.

    1. The issue of time. Time from her initial assault to reaching the hospital.
    2. The absence of blood at the alleged crime site.
    3. Why no policemen saw her. No policemen on the beat...on a Bank Holiday night....?
    4. The story of Smith approaching the Lodging House on 18 George Street while bleeding profusely instead of going directly to the Hospital.
    5. Why a lodging house deputy, who described Smith in unflattering terms, didn't tell Smith to piss off or go to the Hospital.
    6. Why would any woman accompany Smith to the hospital if there was indeed a gang of brutal men in the vicinity, instead of a man taking her ?

    Allow me to present the following hypothetical scenario and give me your views.

    Inside 18 George Street, Emma Smith is assaulted. By whom, we don't know nor at this juncture, care.
    We know that assaults of this sort occurred in the lodging houses ( 1887-Emily Horsnell, 1901-Annie Austin ).
    Could this sort of thing be kept quiet ? We know Austin's assault was kept quiet for a brief period of time..and no one was ever tried for the unsolved murder....and the ends of justice regarding Horsnell's murder in late 1887 were successfully thwarted.

    This situation requires quick thinking on the part of the lodging house deputy and eventually the owner. The deputy would ask the owner what to do before anyone went to the police.

    The deputy and owner decide to take Smith to the hospital, not out some altruistic sentimentality or kindness....but out of a need to cover their ass. The lodging houses had enough to deal with anyway, they didn't need any heat from the police or anyone snooping around.

    A deal was made....They would take Smith to the LH, but the location of the assault would be hushed up. Invent a situation. A gang of youths attacked Smith. Just so it was committed outdoors. As soon as you recover, you come on back to the house, everything will be ironed out.

    Smith probably felt she would survive the assault and likewise, the management of the lodging house did themselves.

    1. The issue of time ? It is likely that the time of the assault occurred closer to 4:00 than 1:30....the missing hours are accounted for...a problem since day one in the study of Smith's murder.

    2. The absence of blood at the alleged crime scene is self explanatory. The crime scene was indoors.

    3. The absence of any police presence from the time of the alleged street assault to the time she made it to the hospital is another of the major mysteries in the case. The fact that the assault occurred on a Bank Holiday, when police presence would be anything but diminished militates against a mass case of the 'blue flu' ( a term used when police fail to show up for duty in the USA in a show of defiance) at that point in time. Its untenable.

    4. Smith didn't approach the lodging house, she was already there, so skip this point.

    5-6. Imagine going up to a business which is in operation and not on down time....in the shape Smith was in....and expecting people to stop what they're doing to walk you to the hospital....through an area with a gang of vicious men who had already assaulted one woman that night ?

    All of these ideas come from reading the wonderful Bank Holiday Murders....Tom's work was the first to put all the elements of the Smith story together. I believe that the scenario I've presented is at least as good as the accepted version of events.

    I'd like and appreciate any criticism or constructive help you can muster.

    Tom might not have believed me when I told him a month ago that I read his book every other night. Well, I do. I still do.
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  • #2
    That is a plausible scenario and looks better than the traditional story regarding the Smith affair.

    My own suspicion was that Smith was attacked by someone she knew or was a family member of someone she knew and that she came up with the gang story to protect them from prison or even hanging. That person or someone close to him might have delivered Smith to or near to her destination. In this case, there would have also been a good chance that the attack took place indoors. The question is then; was the attacker Jack or not?

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    • #3
      Thanks for the reply, Stan. Credit Tom Wescott for putting all these elements of the Smith murder in his book...in one spot. Emma Smith is like the Michael Ostrog of victims....sort of like the red headed stepchild of the Whitechapel victims.

      Its also striking that the legendary 'Christmas 1887', Fairy Fay murder was said to have occurred outdoors ( Osborne Street, I believe ).
      Well...unless I'm mistaken, Debra Arif found her in the figure of Emily Horsnell, who of course was not murdered outdoors.
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      • #4
        By the way, if you think this idea stinks like week old fish, say so.
        Thanks !
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        • #5
          How,

          I think it's a perfectly plausible theory. The received version just doesn't ring true.

          One thought, though, the story of the attack with the 19 year old being the most violent member of the gang has the ring of truth about it because of that detail. Why would someone make that up?

          Curiously it's reminiscent of the attack on a Margaret Sullivan in the City Road in 1882. There were two attackers and again the youngest, just 16, was apparently the worst.

          Gary.

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          • #6
            It's perfectly feasible How...sadly there's not an ounce of evidence...but it's great to see some out of the box thinking...

            All the best

            Dave

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            • #7
              Gary:

              I can only guess why Smith came up with the 19 year old being the most brutal....possibly because it was all she could up with ( that is, if you go along with the killed indoors theory ) at the time.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
                Gary:

                I can only guess why Smith came up with the 19 year old being the most brutal....possibly because it was all she could up with ( that is, if you go along with the killed indoors theory ) at the time.
                How,

                In this scenario I think the story would probably have been fed to her by those who were trying to manage the situation, don't you think? She would have been in considerable distress and probably not in a position to construct plausible stories herself.

                I have to say, I'm liking this theory.

                Gary

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                • #9
                  Gary:

                  In order to convince whoever they were going to run into ( neither Russell or the other woman could know if they'd run into a constable who would naturally inquire as to what was wrong with Smith ), I feel that the 'story' had to cover all sides of the assault.
                  1. What happened ? She's been assaulted
                  2. Who did it ? Three vicious knobs...the ringleader was 19 or the mean one was 19.
                  3. Where did it happen ? Down the road apiece.
                  4. When did it happen ? Oh about 2 hours ago.
                  I find it very unlikely that she wouldn't have passed out from blood loss ...and in addition, no blood found at the alleged spot.

                  As fate would have it, the police knew nothing about it, regardless of where it occurred, until two days after her death.
                  I'll bet Smith believed she'd survive the assault...

                  I like the theory too, Gary. I'm going back to the book to hone up on something.
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                  • #10
                    Hi Howard,

                    Good topic for discussion. I considered 18 George Street as a possibility, or some similar house in the area. For the record we don't know that Horsnell was attacked indoors at her lodging house. We just know that's where she languished for days before dying. Obviously in Horsnell's case it was decided they'd 'manage' the situation by hiding it (i.e. hiding Horsnell). But then she died. In Smith's case it was decided not to let a second woman attacked in the same way die in the house again (well, the house next door to Horsnell's, but already connected as far as authorities were concerned).
                    Regarding the police, they must have seen Smith and her cronies as they walked to London Hospital, but still denied as much when asked.
                    In any event, explaining away the problems in the Smith murder requires concluding that either the landlords were crooked (which some feel is impossible) or that the police were on the landlord payroll (a blasphemy to some). I think it's a bit of both.

                    Dave says there's not a lick of evidence, but there's no less evidence than there is to support the old-school version of what happened to Smith. The version I present in my book is actually more adaptable to the actual facts so is probably closer to the truth. I don't pretend to suggest it's the whole truth. But Emma Smith would have absolutely gone along with anything her landlord said, just as Horsnell did. They really didn't have a choice in the matter.

                    Regarding the idea that Smith was murdered at 18 George Street, I shied away from that because it would mean more people would have been aware of the truth than I think might actually have been the case.

                    Yours truly,

                    Tom Wescott

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                    • #11
                      Hi How

                      I'm in the process of listening to Tom's podcast now. I found the indoors attack plausible in general, but I do have one objection : poor Emma must have screamed like hell. So why did the deputy and the other residents allow the attacker to escape? Even if they didn't hand him over to the police because the landlords wanted their premises kept out of it, why didn't they kick the shit out of this guy? Maybe they did, and somewhere there's a record of a badly beaten man being admitted to a hospital or infirmary.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Robert Linford View Post
                        Hi How

                        I'm in the process of listening to Tom's podcast now. I found the indoors attack plausible in general, but I do have one objection : poor Emma must have screamed like hell. So why did the deputy and the other residents allow the attacker to escape? Even if they didn't hand him over to the police because the landlords wanted their premises kept out of it, why didn't they kick the shit out of this guy? Maybe they did, and somewhere there's a record of a badly beaten man being admitted to a hospital or infirmary.
                        Hi Robert. That was an objection I had as well, which is why I only allude to an indoor murder in my book. Of course, it may have been done indoors but at a more private locale. Just as likely it was done outdoor at a location other than the one given by Emma.

                        However, remember the Annie Farmer attack? Farmer was screaming her head off and the man got away without a problem. Emma Smith was mot likely unconscious throughout her attack.

                        Yours truly,

                        Tom Wescott

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                        • #13
                          I may be missing something, but I don't see a significant difference between How's theory and what happened to Mary Austin.

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                          • #14
                            Emma Smith told the doctor essentially the same version of events as the deputy related.
                            I'm not convinced she told the whole truth, but why protect the lodging house? Was there a shortage of lodging houses that she could stay in? If she was attacked in that one or an allied one, why would she want to go back?
                            As for the blood, the place where she said she was attacked was only inspected several days later so would presumably have been cleaned.
                            I don't think it's particularly remarkable that she didn't draw attention to herself with the police. Between Brick Lane and George Street and back to the London Hospital would potentially take in several beats. Where they all in on it?
                            It's all very well suggesting 'lodging house keepers' were 'at it'. This one was Satchell who despite being at the Chapel boxing match had no known criminal associations and he died in a work house.

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                            • #15
                              consistent

                              Hello Howard. This is internally consistent and so offers no particular disadvantages--so far as I can see.

                              Wish ALL theories were consistent.

                              Cheers.
                              LC

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