The Murder Of Emma Jackson

Although it is mostly Whitechapel that is today thought of as being the most crime-ridden part of Victorian London, there were other parts of the metropolis that had equally bad, if not worse, reputations.

The district of St Giles, for example, also saw its fair share of crime, destitution, as well as murders, such as that of Mary Brothers in 1845.

The Stirling Observer, on Thursday the 16th of April 1863, carried details of yet another murder in the enclave:-


Some time on Thursday, probably about midday, an atrocious murder was perpetrated in George Street, St Giles’s, one of the worst neighbourhoods in the metropolis.

It became notorious about eighteen months ago in consequence of an attempt by a cab driver to get a young woman who had been his fare into one of the brothels there, after hocussing her and robbing her of her clothes and the property she had about her person.

In consequence of the resistance offered by the person who was in charge of the house the cabman was prevented from carrying out the worst of his design, and in consequence of the disturbance which ensued he was captured, tried, and convicted.


The circumstances connected with the murder are not very fully known, but it seems that about 7 o’clock on Thursday morning man and young woman, whose name is Emma Jackson, and whose friends live in the neighbourhood of Berwick Street, Soho, went to No. 4, George Street, the door which was opened to them by a servant, who had been aroused from her sleep by the knocking at the door.

The man asked for a room, and they were shown up to the back room on the first floor, but the servant being sleepy failed to notice their appearance, and can give no account of them.


As there was perfect quietness in the room during the day no suspicions of any kind were aroused, hut at about half-past five o’clock in the evening the servant girl went upstairs, and, finding the door unfastened entered.

On the bed she found lying the woman she had let in the same morning, with her throat frightfully cut. The bed was saturated and the walls were spattered with blood.


She immediately ran down and gave an alarm to the police, and a medical man was called in.

He found that in addition to the windpipe having been severed enough of itself to cause death, there was another wound severing the carotid artery, and on the back of the neck two large stabs running obliquely towards each other.

All the wounds had been inflicted with great force, and it is very certain that the girl struggled desperately for her life.


No noise, however, was heard, a circumstance which is all the more singular on account of there being little coach traffic through the street.

Moreover, the landlord, whose practice it was to sit up during the night, was sleeping all day in the back parlour, immediately under the room in which the murder took place. The murderer .escaped, but by what means or when nobody knows.


When the body of the murdered woman was discovered, life had been extinct, in the opinion of the surgeon, for at least four or five hours.

No instrument was found the room, and the man, prior to his departure, appears to have carefully collected everything belonging to him.


The deceased, Emma Jackson, lived with her father, mother, and brother, in a little house immediately behind and connected with No. 10 Berwick Street, a butcher’s shop in the possession of Mr Andrew Osborn.

Her father is a clerk out of employment, and her mother shirtmaker.

The deceased is described those who knew her in the neighbourhood as a quiet, peaceable girl, but as being occasionally given to excesses.

She would remain at home for weeks working hard, and conducting herself reputably, but at times she would, to use the language of her friends, “break out” and absent herself from home, for days together, and go with anybody.

She was a shirtmaker, and in pursuit of that business could earn a decent livelihood.


After one of her periodical fits of irregularity, she returned to her home about three weeks ago and again prosecuted her ordinary calling until Tuesday last when she again left home.

She was last at her mother’s house in Berwick Street at 8 o’clock on Wednesday evening.


About one o’clock on Friday morning, long after they had retired to rest, Mr Osborn’s family were aroused by a violent knocking and ringing at the door.

Osborn on going down stairs found two girls at the door, who communicated to him some of the particulars of the murder of his lodger.


They told him that she had had her throat cut, and requested him to accompany them to George Street where the murder had been committed.

He did not adopt that course, but went and communicated to Emma Jackson’s mother the information had received.

The father and brother were then called, and immediately proceeded with the police, who had by this time arrived, to George Street, where they identified the body of the unfortunate woman, who, they stated, was 28 years of age.


The girls who had thus communicated the intelligence said that they were intimately acquainted with the unfortunate deceased.

One of these girls said she had seen Emma Jackson on Thursday morning in the company of foreigner, who was having his boots cleaned at the corner of Greek Street and Crompton Street, and that he had the appearance of a German baker, or sugar baker, with which class of people the neighbourhood abounds.


That the murderer lived in the same neighbourhood as the deceased seems to be pretty clear, and the police are making anxious inquiries in that direction.

The murder took place in the first floor back room, and the landlord, David George, occupies the back parlour, and has been laid up nine or ten weeks with palpitation of the heart, which will somewhat account for his not having heard the screams, if there had been any.


The Connor murder, committed ten years ago, took place at No. 11 in the same street.

Although every exertion had been made by the police authorities to discover the perpetrator of the murder, up till yesterday they had not succeeded in doing so.