Was It Emily Barker

On the 10th of September, 1889, the headless torso of a female was found under a railway arch in Pinchin Street, just a few streets from Berner Street, where Elizabeth Stride had been murdered the previous year.

Illustrations showing scenes from the finding of the torso in Pinchin Street.
The Pinchin Street Discovery. From The Illustrated Police News, 21st September, 1889. Copyright, The British Library Board.


Although the victim would, ultimately, not be identified, towards the end of the month, a Mr and Mrs Barker, of Northampton came forward to say that they thought that the body might be that of their daughter, Emily, who had left home after an argument, and who, it seemed, had gravitated to the East End of London:-

The St James’s Gazette took up the story in its edition of Monday, 30th September 1889:-


The father and mother of a girl named Emily Barker, of Northampton, feel convinced that she was the victim of the latest Whitechapel murder.

The girl it is said, had led a wild life, and the last that was heard of her was that she was picked up off a London doorstep in a destitute state by a London missionary. She escaped suddenly from his charge two days before the murder was discovered.

The mother says she is convinced of the identity, and that she made the chemise which was found by the police. Her suspicions are, she said, confirmed by a mark on the finger.

The Northampton police are in communication with the police in London on the subject.


With regard to the statement of Mrs. Barker, the police point out that the chemise in question was handstitched in a very indifferent manner.

The opinion of the medical men, moreover, is that the remains found are those of a woman between thirty and forty, and the missing girl from Northampton is much younger.

There seems to be no doubt, however, about the fact that the girl Emily Barker did find her way to Whitechapel; that she was friendless there; and that she endured some terrible privations after she left home.


The Rev. Mr. Winter, curate of St. John’s Church, Bethnal-green, who had some knowledge of Miss Barker, says: It was about six o’clock on the first Friday evening in this month that I was told that a young girl wanted to see me.

I asked her what she wanted, and she told me that she wanted to know if I could assist her get back to Northampton. She wanted me to pay her fare, as she said she wanted to go back home to her father.

I was very short with her, and I told her that I had no funds for any such a purpose.

She told me that she came to London on the previous Monday, and, as she did not know where to go, she went and procured a nights lodging at the Salvation Army’s shelter in Whitechapel.

I have no home for girls, and as so many are given to lying, I preferred not to have much to say to her; but I got one of my female helps to interview her.

Women In a slavation army shelter on Hanbury Street.
The Salvation Army Shelter On Hanbury Street.


She said that on the first night she had to pay for her night’s lodging at the Salvation Army; but when she went the second night she had no money, and they would not take her in. They told her that if she was a fallen girl, and if she would admit it, they would send her to one of their homes.

She, however, persistently refused to make such an admission.

As she did not possess any money, she said that the next night she had walked about Whitechapel, and at last got into Hanbury Street, where one of the murders was committed. She walked about in that dark street all one night.

As I had no place to send her, I gave her the addresses of several places for girls. She, however, elected to go back to the Salvation Army, and I gave her three pence.


I telegraphed to her father, and he replied that he could not have her back, as it would only cause another row in his house.

She did not return to me the following morning, and what became of her I do not know.

In appearance she was rather short, dark, and plump.”