MRS. S. F Smith

A definition of witness.


First To See The Body Of Alice McKenzie

Mrs. S. F. Smith lived at the Whitechapel baths and washhouses in Castle Alley. Her husband, a retired police officer, was, in fact, the superintendent of the washhouses.

Despite the fact she and her husband awake in her bedroom, which overlooked the murder site, they had heard nothing and were not aware that anything had happened until Police Constable Andrews knocked on their door to inform them of the murder.

The Scotsman, published her recollection of the events of that morning in its edition of Thursday, 18th July, 1889:-

One of the first persons to see her corpse was Mrs Smith, wife of the caretaker at the baths.

She and her husband had not retired for the night, and their residence was within a few feet of the scene of the murder; but although wide awake and so near, neither heard the slightest sound to indicate that a frightful crime was being committed at their very door.

Had the victim cried for help these people must have heard it.

This fact would seem to bear testimony to the identity of the murderer.

The "Whitechapel fiend" has now done to death no fewer than eight women. Every murder was committed within hearing and reach of human beings, but in not a single instance was the victim suffered to utter a cry.

...Mrs Smith heard the policeman's whistle, and almost immediately Police Constable Andrews knocked at her door.

She went out and looked at the body, which she at once identified as that of a woman who occasionally made use of their wash-house.

She sometimes used the name of Kelly, sometimes that of Murrell - a proceeding quite usual in Whitechapel among women of the class to which the deceased belonged."

Source: The Scotsman, Thursday, 18th July, 1889.