Saturday, 14 May 2011

Dr Crippen's Liverpool

In 1910 an American doctor killed his wife and buried her under the cellar of his home in London, but their is a Liverpool link to the investigation and solving of the crime. 

After Crippen's wife Belle 'disappeared', Crippen claimed she had gone to visit relatives in America where she died. Friends became suspicious when his mistress Ethel Le Neve began wearing her jewellery and Crippen couldn't even remember the name of the town where his wife died. When questioned by police, Crippen said that the real reason for Belle's disappearance was that she had left him for another man but that he was too ashamed to admit this.

The police were happy to accept this investigation and it was only when Crippen fled that the cellar of his home was searched and the gruesome remains found. One of the friends of Belle who is said to have given information to the police was the theatrical performer Ma Egerton, licensee of a pub called the Eagle in Pudsey Street, Liverpool. (now known as Ma Egerton's)

In an attempt to trick his pursuers, Crippen headed to Canada via Belgium on the SS Montrose, with Ethel dressed as a boy. Captain Kendall was immediately suspicious and after inviting the 'father and son' to dinner, he radioed the White Star Line headquarters in Liverpool with his concerns.

Head of the murder investigation, Inspector Dew then headed to Liverpool to board a faster vessel, the Laurentic which was scheduled to reach Canada before the Montrose. On reaching Canada, Crippen was arrested and shipped back to Liverpool on board the Megantic. As he was led down the gangplank a large crowd that had gathered looked on. Once back on English soil he was taken by train to London and the waiting hangman's noose.

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