Either late in the evening of Thursday, 12th January, 1899, or early on the Friday morning of 13th January, 1899, a lady named Emily Wood was, supposedly, attacked as she made her way along Commercial Road in Whitechapel.
She claimed that her attacker had, in fact, been a policeman, and, in consequence of her claim, the local police launched an investigation in order to track down a possible murderous officer.
Inevitably, given that the location of the attack was in the area where the majority of the Whitechapel murders had occurred, eleven years before, there was a good deal of speculation that this attack might have been another attempted murder by Jack the Ripper.
The Illustrated Police Budget reported the story of the attack on Saturday, 14th January, 1899:-
IS JACK THE RIPPER BACK?
EAST END WOMAN TELLS A REMARKABLE STORY
“A very strange affair is occupying the attention of the police in the East End of London.
It appears that late on Thursday night or early on Friday morning, a woman by the name of Wood, who is described as a “Widow”, complained to the police of having been stabbed in a delicate portion of the body.
As she was evidently in a weak and prostrate condition, she was speedily conveyed to Arbour Square Police Station, where she was examined by the divisional police surgeon, who found a serious injury as stated.
SHE WAS ATTACKED BY A POLICEMAN
The woman declares that, while she was walking along the Commercial Road, she was accosted by a police officer n uniform, and they walked towards a street corner.
Then the policeman, she alleged, stabbed her. Several large pools of blood were found some distance away from the spot indicated.
UNABLE TO PICK HIM OUT
The whole of the night duty men were afterwards paraded, but the woman failed to pick out any one of them, and it is felt certain that the man wanted could not have been a member of the Metropolitan POlice force.
The woman now lies in an infirmary and is in a very serious condition.
NOT TREATED AS A SCARE
A reporter who investigated this somewhat remarkable story, says that the police do not treat it as a “scare” at all.
Mainly, the facts of the case are as reported above, but the woman’s story is contradictory in several points.
THE VICTIM’S IDENTITY
Her name is Emily Wood, and she lives at 11, Hungerford Street, Commercial Road.
The woman was taken to the police station and examined, as reported, by the divisional surgeon. He found a cutaneous cut, about two inches long, which had been bleeding freely.
He ordered the woman’s removal to the London Hospital, where she was treated, and then on to St George’s Infirmary, where she still remains.
UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DRINK
Although she has lost a quantity of blood, the wound is not a serious one.
She was under the influence of drink when the doctor first saw her.
NO POLICEMAN ANSWERED HER DESCRIPTION
There is no policeman in the division that answers the description of that given by the woman.
Every man who was on night duty at the time has been most carefully examined, and has been able to give a good account of himself.”