One thing that I love about having a web site that tells the stories about the Empresses, that it bring people together from all over the planet to share new stories and update the site with new and interesting information.  The Hawley Crippen Case was brought to my attention on November 13th, 2013 by a wonderful lady called Janis and this is what she shared with me.

 

"I love your site about the empress but I thought I would write and update you on the most recent info on the case of Dr Crippen. In the last decade it has been determined that the human flesh found in Crippens basement (it was never a complete dismembered body but a small pile of flesh buried in the floor of the basement). They assumed it was all that was left of his wife. He was then tried and found guilty and hung. They have recently in the last decade tested the remains and found out that it belonged to a man not a woman at all. So either the mousy little Dr. Crippen was simply running away from his marriage, or Cora ran away to America as some friends thought or he killed her and disposed of her somewhere else and she was never found. Interesting huh!"

 

Thanks, Janis!

 

So I did a little searching myself and I came up with this interesting article from The Guardian 2007, by Martin Hudgson. Remember this was the same Dr. Crippen that Captain Henry George Kendall informed Scotland Yard by the wireless aboard his ship the S.S. Montrose, slowed his ship down and allowed the RMS Laurentic with Inspector Dew to pass the S.S. Montrose on the Atlantic and arrest Dr. Crippen and his Mistress Le Neve at Rimouski, Quebcec, Canada.

 

Dr Hawley Crippen

 

It is one of the most notorious cases in British legal history, the story of an apparently mild-mannered doctor who poisoned and dismembered his showgirl wife, then fled across the Atlantic with his young lover - only to be caught after a sharp-eyed Captain Henry George Kendall who recognised him from the newspapers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

time described Crippen as "one of the most dangerous and remarkable men who have lived this century".

The results were conclusive, said Dr. David Foran, the head of forensic science programme at Michigan State University. "That body cannot be Cora Crippen, we're certain of that," he said.  "Police found the mutilated remains with no head and no bones." Newspapers at the time described Crippen as "one of the most dangerous and remarkable men who have lived this century".

 

But according to John Trestrail, the toxicologist who led the new research, poisoners rarely inflict external damage on their victims. "It is so unusual that a poisoner would dismember the victim, because a poisoner attempts to get away with murder without leaving any trace. In my database of 1,100 poisoning cases, this is the only one which involves dismemberment," said Mr Trestrail, who heads the regional poison centre in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

 

The discrepancy prompted him to re-examine the evidence in the Crippen case. Working with a genealogist, Beth Wills, he set about finding Mrs Crippen's surviving family. After seven years, the team tracked down three distant relatives in California and Puerto Rico.

The challenge then was to find viable DNA from samples presented at the trial. At the archives of the Royal London Hospital, in Whitechapel, researchers found the microscope slide which helped hang Crippen. In court, a pathologist, Bernard Spilsbury, identified it as an abdominal scar consistent with Cora's medical history.

 

Mitochondrial DNA is passed down in the egg from mother to daughter and remains relatively unchanged through generations, but the DNA in the sample was different from the known relatives of Mrs Crippen. "We took a lot of precautions when doing this testing," Dr Foran said. "We just didn't stop. We went back and started from scratch and tested it again."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Are Belle Rose and Cora Crippen one and the same?" asked Mr Trestrail. "We can't prove any of that - that is another investigation".

Mr Trestrail believes Crippen should be given a posthumous pardon.

The evidence offers no suggestion of who may have been buried in the coal cellar at 39 Hilldrop Crescent, Holloway, north London. But, according to Mr Trestrail, Crippen is innocent of the crime for which he was hanged. "Two weeks before he was hanged he wrote 'I am innocent and some day evidence will be found to prove it'. When I read that the hairs stood up on my arms. I think he was right."

The team concede that they may never discover what happened to Mrs Crippen, but several intriguing clues emerged during the research. Cora sang on the British stage under the name of Belle Elmore. Ten years after the trial, a singer with a similar name was registered as living with Cora's sister in New York. Records show that the same woman entered the US through Ellis Island from Bermuda in 1910 shortly after Mrs Crippen disappeared.

 

"Are Belle Rose and Cora Crippen one and the same?" asked Mr Trestrail. "We can't prove any of that - that is another investigation".

Mr Trestrail believes Crippen should be given a posthumous pardon.

 

Last night J Patrick Crippen, his closest living relative, told the Guardian: "Those of us in the family who have ever taken the time to explore the circumstances surrounding the trial, conviction and hanging of Dr Crippen have never been convinced that this was the finest example of English justice."

 

CREDIT FROM: The Guardian, by Martin Hudgson, Wednesday 17 October 2007

Source: Public Domain
Dr. Hawley Crippen at the Old Bailey

Dr Hawley Crippen was hanged in 1910, after an Old Bailey jury took just 27 minutes to find him guilty of murdering his wife, Cora, who had vanished earlier that year.

 

Nearly a century later, research appears to show that the evidence which sent Crippen to the gallows was mistaken: the human remains discovered under his London house could not be those of Cora.

 

Working from a sample kept at the museum of the Royal London Hospital Archives, a team of American forensic scientists compared mitochondrial DNA from the remains presented at the trial with samples taken from Cora Crippen's surviving relatives.

The results were conclusive, said Dr. David Foran, the head of forensic science programme at Michigan State University. "That body cannot be Cora Crippen, we're certain of that," he said.  "Police found the mutilated remains with no head and no bones." Newspapers at the  

Source: Public Domain
Cora Crippen went by the stage name of Belle Elmore

The evidence offers no suggestion of who may have been buried in the coal cellar at 39 Hilldrop Crescent, Holloway, north London. But, according to Mr Trestrail, Crippen is innocent of the crime for which he was hanged. "Two weeks before he was hanged he wrote 'I am innocent and some day evidence will be found to prove it'. When I read that the hairs stood up on my arms. I think he was right."

The team concede that they may never discover what happened to Mrs Crippen, but several intriguing clues emerged during the research. Cora sang on the British stage under the name of Belle Elmore. Ten years after the trial, a singer with a similar name was registered as living with Cora's sister in New York. Records show that the same woman entered the US through Ellis Island from Bermuda in 1910 shortly after Mrs Crippen disappeared.

THE R.M.S. EMPRESS OF IRELAND COMMUNITY

DNA Casts Doubt on 100 Year Old Crippen Case