England · Serial Killers

The first victim of the Whitechapel Murders

April 3, 1888
London, England
Emma Elizabeth Smith is attacked by two or three men, one of whom was a teenager, becoming the first victim of the unsolved Whitechapel Murders

Smith survived her attack long enough to report the vague description of her attackers before slipping into a coma and eventually dying of her injuries on April 4. She had been sexually assaulted with a blunt object inserted into her vagina which ruptured her peritoneum, the membrane which encases most of the intra-abdominal organs.

At the time, some believed the Whitechapel Murders were the work of Jack the Ripper as the victims were female prostitutes, but as the modus operandi differed greatly from Jack’s, most modern historians disagree with this theory. It is theorized Smith gave a purposefully vague description of her attackers out of fear of reprisal; prostitutes at the time often worked for gangs and it is possible she was attacked by her pimps as some sort of punishment.

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