Gangs of East London

In the early days of the Whitechapel Murders the police were following a line of investigation that wondered if the crimes could be gang related.

This was influenced, to an extent, by the fact that Emma Smith, the first Whitechapel Murders victim, who had been attacked on 3rd April 1888, has told the doctor who treated her at the London hospital that she had been attacked by a gang of youths.

Gangs of youths were a serious problem in the late-1800’s, not just in London but throughout the whole of the country.

One of England’s most notorious Victorian gangs was based in Liverpool and was known as the High Rip gang.

Their name was adopted by several other gangs around the country and founds its way into the East End.

When Emma Smith died of the injuries it was suggested that she had been the victim of one of these East End High Rip gangs, and this belief certainly influenced not only the early police investigation but also the general belief of the population in general as to who was responsible for the murders of Emma Smith, Martha Tabram and Mary Nichols.

It was following the murder of Annie Chapman that the idea of a gang being responsible began to fade in favour of the perpetrator of the crimes being a lone criminal.