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16,678. Dr Crippen killed Belle Elmore
Ran away from Miss le Neve
Right across the ocean blue
Followed by Inspector Dew
Ship’s ahoy, naughty boy! (Miscarriages of Justice & Epigram) Popular children’s song
16,679. I came across what seemed to be human remains. Chief Inspector Dew, court evidence
16,680. Poisoning by Hyoscine. Dr Wilcox, Home Office Chief Scientific Officer, court evidence
16,681. Forensic detectives have re-examined one of the most famous crimes of all time. A murder shocking in its brutality. It was the first trial by media. The first trial dominated by forensic evidence. It was the trial of Dr Crippen. Now a new investigation using DNA and previously confidential documents will cast serious doubt on Crippen’s conviction. Was Dr Crippen Innocent?
16,682. This murder was as horrific as anything the Ripper carried out. Still more alarming, the prime suspect seemed such a gentleman. A doctor living in suburbia. Yet it seemed he was capable of poisoning his wife and then slicing her body into small pieces: Dr Hawley Harvey Crippen. ibid.
16,683. His wax figure still stands in London’s Chamber of Horrors. ibid.
16,684. Now she was in her thirties, an aspiring actress; he was middle aged and serious. And they had nothing in common. ibid.
16,685. Above all, were the body parts in the cellar really Cora Crippen? ibid.
16,686. The forty-seven-year-old doctor, outwardly respectable, was sleeping with his twenty-six-year-old secretary Ethel ‘le Neve’. ibid.
16,687. Dr David Foran’s work on the Crippen case ... made headlines around the world ... ‘The tissue on that slide is male in origin’ ... Michigan State University’s work confirms that Crippen was executed for a crime he didn’t commit. It was a miscarriage of justice. ibid.
16,688. Only Dew and one other officer were present when the remains were found. ibid.
16,689. Recent research in America has turned up tantalising clues that Cora Crippen may have travelled there by ship in 1910. ibid.
16,691. The dismemberment of the body: it does not make sense to dismember one’s victim. This is the only case I know of where the victim was dismembered. A poisoner attempts to get a natural death certificate signed and then walk away from the crime. Dr John Trestrail, forensic toxicologist
16,692. Cora was drinking heavily. She’d been known to have an affair. He went to work. He came home and she was gone. That’s what he claimed in court. They had a fight. She says, ‘I’m leaving you. I’ll never be back. You’ll never find me.’ Dr John Trestrail
16,693. This is the only hyoscine murder case I’m familiar with ... It was used in obstetrics – an abortion [is] an obstetrical procedure. Dr John Trestrail
16,694. Here we have a report to the Metropolitan police saying that a woman of Cora’s age, of her stature, asked a carriage man to remove five trunks from 39 Hilldrop Crescent to another location. Dr John Trestrail
16,695. I think they’re [the evidence] planted. And I think it was planted by the police authorities. (Miscarriages of Justice: Crippen & Police) Dr John Trestrail
16,696. I make a last appeal to the world not to think the worst of me. Face to face with God I believe that facts will be forthcoming to prove my innocence. Hawley Harvey Crippen, letter from prison cell to Miss le Neve
16,697. The Captain compared the couple to photographs printed in the newspapers, and was soon convinced they were Crippen and Le Neve ... Daily reports appeared in the newspapers. Great Crimes & Trials: Dr Crippen
16,698. Crippen was unfortunate in his choice of solicitor. The notoriously dishonest Arthur Newton, who was later to be struck off. ibid.
16,699. Dr Hawley Harvey Crippen is remembered as one of the most sinister murderers of the twentieth century. In 1910 he was hanged for poisoning his wife and mutilating her body. The story of his capture became the very first international tabloid event ... It was a story that had everything ... They were foiled by the new miracle technology of wireless. The Real Doctor Crippen & The Last Secret of Doctor Crippen
16,700. With opinion stacked heavily against him facts became hidden and pieces of evidence were strung together to become the rope around his neck ... Hawley Harvey Crippen should never have hanged. ibid.
16,701. Dew spent the first day of his investigation interviewing Crippen. Crippen painted a dark picture of his life with Cora. ibid.
16,702. Crippen had married her when she was just nineteen, but she had already been the mistress of a wealthy manufacturer. ibid.
16,703. Dew heard that earlier in the marriage Cora had had an affair with an American musical artist from Chicago. ibid.
16,704. He struggled to pay for his wife’s excesses. ibid.
16,705. Dew learned that Cora had been threatening to leave for years. ibid.
16,706. When Dew suggested they search his house at Hilldrop Crescent Crippen readily agreed. ibid.
16,707. New clues suggested Cora had been planning her departure. ibid.
16,708. They were travelling under the name of Robinson as father and son ... Dew and Mitchell gave chase. ibid.
16,709. Now the press themselves would stage-manage the final act – the trial ... For the press the story was more important than the law. ibid.
16,710. There was no head, limbs or sexual parts. ibid.
16,711. This single piece of skin was to prove pivotal to the case. ibid.
16,712. The final banal nail in Crippen’s jacket was a pyjama jacket found in Cora’s remains. ibid.
16,713. He still proclaimed his innocence. Alone in Pentonville Prison Crippen had just four weeks before his execution. ibid.
16,714. At the same time that Cora tried to remove £600 from their Deposit Account she had hired a removal firm to take six chairs away from Hilldrop Crescent to the home of an American music teacher. ibid.
16,715. They had contaminated the murder scene. ibid.
16,716. I don’t want to be responsible for your demise if I can save you in the way, but I will never come forward personally as I am happy now. Belle Elmore Crippen, letter to Crippen in prison, sent from Chicago
16,717. The letter [from the apparently murdered wife of Dr Crippen, post-dated Chicago] itself had been passed to the Home Secretary – Winston Churchill – who slipped it into his pocket and maybe forgot all about it because it was certainly never given to the defence as it should be. (Miscarriages of Justice: Crippen & Winston Churchill) Julian Duffus, historian