Dr. Crippen


Stuart Kelly

Just wondering why there wasn't any mention on here of the Laurentic's famous intervention in a notorious 1910 murder case: the case of Dr Crippen.

The Laurentic played a part in the case when Dr Crippen, suspected of having murdered his wife, fled to Canada on the SS Montrose. Crippen's fate was sealed when the captain recognised him in his rather flimsy disguise and sent a wireless message to the police ashore. It was the first time wireless was used in the capture of a criminal.

On receiving this news, Chief Inspector Walter Dew, who was heading the inquiry, got on the Laurentic at Liverpool two days after the Montrose left Antwerp. The Laurentic being the ocean greyhound it was, got to the other side of the Atlantic before the Montrose and Crippen and his mistress were arrested when they landed at Montreal.

Had it not been for the availability of the Laurentic, Crippen would have likely disappeared into the wilderness of Canada. He was put on trial for murder in October 1910 and continued protesting his innocence despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The case has gone down as one where the evidence was so near conlusive that that the defence lawyer's job was practically futile.

More info from the Metropolitan Police:
Shelley Dziedzic

Shelley Dziedzic

Hello Stuart- yes indeed-we have had simply ripping posts here on ET about this case. In fact, I doubt over the years if we have neglected anything really juicy here on the board. Peter Lovesey has written The False Inspector Dew, maybe 15 years ago-which is a fabulous account of Ethel and the good Doctor. Madame Tussaud's has a brilliant wax tribute to the odious pair in their chamber of horrors as well. Another good link: http://www.titanic-whitestarships.com/The%20Dr.%20Crippen%20Story.htm Just go to Searching at the top of the page here and type in Crippen to see the discussion entries-there are quite a few over the years.
Shelley Dziedzic

Shelley Dziedzic

The wax figure of Crippen was modelled by Madame Tussaud's own grandson, Jack, who was thrilled with the trial and actually sneaked in a camera under his bowler hat during the trial to get an image. The figure has been on display ever since the hanging in 1910. It is a remarkable likeness.
Shelley Dziedzic

Shelley Dziedzic

Every once in awhile, late at night, the 1963 docudrama made in the UK shows up on cable. It stars Donald Pleasence and Samantha Eggar as the diabolic duo. You can also read the text to the melodramatic play in seven acts online at the Crime Library called, fittingly enough, OF PASSION AND POISON. http://www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murders/family/crippen/1.html?sect=1The Ocean Liner Society has also published their bit on the case.http://www.oceanliner.org/murderer.htm
Now there's a nice bedtime story.

Mark Baber

Staff member
For those not familiar with the Crippen case, here's a thumbnail history of the steamship-related portion of that story:

20 July 1910: Canadian Pacific's Montrose, under the command of Capt. Kendall, departs from Antwerp for Québec. Two of the passengers on board, registered as John Robinson and his son, are Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen and his companion Ethel le Neve. Dr. Crippen is wanted in England for the murder of his wife, Belle Elmore.

22 July 1910: Montrose's Capt. Kendall sends a wireless message to Chief Inspector Walter Dew of Scotland Yard, advising him that Dr. Crippen and Ms. Le Neve are on board. Inspector Dew is leading the investigation into Ms. Elmore's murder.

23 July 1910: Laurentic I, with Capt. Bertram Hayes in command, leaves Liverpool for Montréal. Inspector Dew is on board, in pursuit of Dr. Crippen.

29 July 1910: Laurentic I (Capt. Hayes) arrives off Father Point and Inspector Dew, travelling under the name "Dewhurst," is taken off the ship by the pilot tender to await the arrival of Montrose, which is expected to arrive on 31 July.

31 July 1910: Montrose arrives at Father Point. There, Inspector Dew boards with the pilot and takes Dr. Crippen and Ms. LeNeve into custody. They are then jailed in Québec.

20 August 1910: Inspector Dew leaves Québec on Megantic, with Dr. Crippen and Ms. LeNeve in his custody. After they return to England, Dr. Crippen will be tried on a charge of murdering Ms. Elmore; he will be convicted on 21 October and executed on 23 November. Ms LeNeve will be tried on a charge of being an accessory after the fact, but she will be acquitted and freed on 25 October.

Sources: Filson Young's The Trial of Hawley Harvey Crippen; Haws' Merchant Fleets; Hayes' Hull Down, The New York Times, various dates in July and August 1910
Paul Rogers

Paul Rogers

And, of course, Capt. Kendall went on to become the Master of Empress of Ireland, sunk off Father Point in 1914. According to Fourteen Minutes by James Croall (a book relating to the Empress disaster) Kendall received a police reward of £250 for his role in the capture of Crippen. Rather than cash the cheque, he had it framed and hung on his stateroom bulkhead aboard the Empress.

Mark Baber

Staff member
That amount would have been quite a fair portion of a master's annual salary in those days. A very expensive souvenir.
Shelley Dziedzic

Shelley Dziedzic

Kendall had a charmed life though, and lived to be 91, spending his days at the end in a London nursing home after making it through the Empress, Crippen and being torpedoed in WWI. He lived until the 27th of November, 1965. I would loved to have met him-and the maddening thing is to find out that I could have. How we took for granted back then that all of these historical people were around, never thinking how very soon the numbers of those amazing few who witnessed such events would dwindle down.

Mark Baber

Staff member
I looked up his obit in the New York Times last night. It's devoted almost entirely to his role in the Crippen matter and makes no reference at all to the Empress.

George L. Lorton

I poem for Crippen and Co. They have been in the news recently when the remains in the cellar were tested. inspired me to write a poem.

I call it "Hilldrop Crescent Murder Tour"

(Sing it to Camp Town Races)

Mr and Mrs Crippen moved to Hilldrop Crescent,

London Town.


Supposedly Mrs Crippen liked to sing and sleep around


Mrs Crippen then fell for a man who was a one man band


Mr Crippen then got real sad,


Mr Crippen met a typist named Le Neve


Miss Le Neve was as sweet as pie


So Mrs Crippen had to die


Crippen gave his wife a bitter brew


dropped her flat half past 2


Slapped Mrs Crippen in Cellar


Crippen and Le Neve went about the town, Le Neve in Mrs Crippen's gowns


Mrs Crippen's stage friends felt real down


They went to the Coppers with a frown


Because Mrs Crippen wasn't around


There was a cop name of Dew


There was was not much that he knew


So Inspector Dew paid a visit to Crippen at Hilldrop Crescent London Town, the murder house

Murder- Murder

Crippen fobbed Dew off with a fibb or two


Poor Inspector Dew, he wasn't through.


Crippen and Le Neve got real scared


So they up ran


The cops found out


swore that Crippen and Le Neve would pay


Sea Capt Kendall got a tip


about a man and son on his ship


That is how the man and son, found out they were done

Crippen-Le Neve

Both met up with Inspector Dew, in Canada


Ahoy Ship Is In, You Naughty Boy,


Crippen and Le Neve then knew, that they were through...


Now Crippen would pay


they up hung him practically the very next day...


What a way to pay..Still he was immortalized in Wax at Tussauds,

Can anybody say faux pax

Now the Poem is done

kinda hokey but fun..

I saw something about Crippen recently that stated that it wasn't Cora his wife's remains in the cellar. Or so the DNA tests stated. Now I have already discussed this on JTR so I really don't have much to add except that I think it was a very strong possibility that it was Cora's remains. I thought I would get all of your opinions on this see as a ship and the wireless had to do with Crippen's capture. If nothing else I hope you all enjoyed the poem. I wrote it at work one night 'casue I was bored.

[Moderator's note: This message, originally a separate thread in a different topic, has been moved to this pre-existing thread devoted to Dr. Crippen. MAB]

Jim Kalafus

LeNeve was the local whack. Doo dah doo dah. Whiny hypochondiac. Oh doo dah day.

Crippen quickly knocked her up. Doo dah doo dah.
But down the john her kid was flushed. Oh, doo dah day.

If Belle found out, it didn't thrill her. Doo dah. doo dah.
This happened 'FORE she met Bruce Miller. Oh, doo dah day.

No evidence Belle slept around, doo dah. doo dah.
While LeNeve serviced half the town. Oh, doo dah day.

Miller stopped with just a kiss. Doo dah. Doo dah.
Written evidence of this, oh doo dah day.

Many have tried, but no one can doo dah doo dah
place Belle with another man. Oh doo dah day.

Belle's A-list friends, they quickly missed her, doo dah, doo dah.
LeNeve? Folks easily resist her. Oh, doo dah day.

The house it stank of rotting flesh. Doo dah. Doo dah.
Her brother said it reeked of death. Oh, doo dah day.

In spite of what she later said. Doo dah doo dah.
She had to know that Belle was dead. Oh doo dah day.

Didn't even know if Belle had fled? Doo dah doo dah
But in TWO DAYS, occupied her bed? Oh, doo dah day.

She could have slipped and hurt her hip. Doo dah doo dah.
While on a London shopping trip, oh doo dah day.

and would have been a bit irate, doo dah doo dah.
when she came home some three days late, oh doo dah day.

To find the two caught out like fools. Doo dah doo dah
LeNeve clad in HER gowns and jewels. Oh, doo dah day.

Ethel really should have hung. Doo dah doo dah.
But played the virgin and got sprung. Oh, doo dah day.

George L. Lorton

Howdy Jim~

Le Neve went to the bank
Said She was Cora Crippen,
had Cora's check book
Got all Cora'a Cash
Crippen and Le Neve had quite a bash
With Cora's Cash
For you see, Cora had all the money in her name
Cause Cora wore pants
Some researchers say
that La Neve Helped Crippen, Bury Cora
Cellar-Quick Lime

That is all I have to say,
for now
So many thanks,
for all your facts
please stay tuned,
because I'm coming back,
with more fun,
yet grizzly facts

George L. Lorton

Actually all singing aside I really don't think any of them were innocent. All three of them had secrets and issues like most people. I heard Cora took off and left Crippen and wasn't murdered and even wrote a letter to Crippen while he was in prison but from what I heard it was a hoax letter by a crack pot.

As for Cora sleeping around well I think she got the same posthumous treatment Virginia Rappe got from Rosco Arbuckle Scandal and Elizabeth Short got too in that folks probably assumed she was a bit of a hussy, which is a pity.

However I think the evidence you are talking of is Miller testimony in court so that "evidence" should be taken with a grain of salt.

As for Cora's death, the cops supposedly found a bit of her hair and the roller it was in under the floor of the cellar so it was probably her down there.

Le Neve was a mystery but I never heard she had an abortion but I do know she worked for a chemist and that is how she met her Mr Crippen so I could believe that. No evidence that I have heard that she slept around although she did get all the Crippen money, Hawley's as well as Cora's out of the bank by claiming to be Cora. So there you have it. A tangled mess.

George L. Lorton

Also I think given our last weeks posts Jim that if I had painted Cora as a saint you would of responded that she was loose living woman and probably came up with the proof as well.

Well, I have better things to do with my time. I'm done trying to talk with you if everything I say you are going to rebuttal. It's semper eadem here, always the same.

all, Sorry if the poem upset anybody as that wasn't my intent. As I said I was just bored at work and wrote it out and thought I would share it for a harmless laugh.