It was the first criminal case where the murderer was captured with the help of wireless radio, a recent technological innovation of those times. The significant point pertinent to this case was that “This was the first major case that Bernard Spilsbury, the famous pathologist, was called in to investigate” (Stradford, British Military &. Criminal History in the period 1900 to 1999). However, this case again gripped the imagination of both the British and American people, almost 100 years later, when in 2007 a DNA test proved 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” (Hodgson, 100 years on, DNA casts doubt on Crippen case). This article will take a close in-depth look into this interesting case with a brief study on Dr. Crippen’s life history. It will also investigate the details that led to the capture, trial, and the subsequent hanging of Dr. Crippen. In the end, it will examine the recent DNA findings that may conclusively prove that Dr. Crippen was not guilty after all.
A brief biography of Dr. Crippen: Hawley Harvey Crippen was born in Coldwater, in the state of Michigan in the USA, in 1862 to an affluent merchant family, which was strictly Protestant in their religious leanings. His father was Myron Augustus Crippen, a dry goods merchant, and his mother was Ardesee Skinner. He completed his graduation from the Michigan School of Homeopathic Medicine in 1884 (Elmsley, 34). Earlier in 1883, he went to England where he pursued certain medical training studies. In 1892 his first wife Charlotte Bell died and Crippen leaving his two-year-old son Hawley Otto Crippen in the care of his parents in California, left his practice in Salt Lake City in Utah, and came to New York. Here two years later he met Cora Turner (stage name was Belle Elmore), a young girl of seventeen years and a new entrant in the line of show business. Though at the time of their meeting Cora was already a mistress to another man, Crippen married her and took her to St. Louis, where he worked as a consulting physician.