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In the history of True Crime some murders have deservedly won a lasting place and some of them continue to be written about, studied and analysed by lawyers, students of crime, crime buffs and such others in many parts of the world. One such case which can be classified as an eternal favourite of them all is the Crippen Murder Case. Though it happened in 1910 in Pre-World War I -London, England, its fascination has not withered even a wee bit even after nearly a century . Perhaps it is the only murder case about which books have been written more than many times during the last nearly one hundred long years. Indeed almost every decade a book appears about this case attracting the same undivided attention like the case did when it stirred sensation and more in the United Kingdom, Europe and the American continent.

Briefly put, it is perhaps a familiar tale of a respectable man, getting rid of his unwanted overbearing adulterous wife to have a permanent association and perhaps marriage with his young mistress. This situation has been witnessed and continues to be witnessed in every part of the world. And yet the Crippen Murder Case has created history, because of its many interesting and unusual features at many levels including Forensic Science , Crime Investigation and others.

A few years ago a book was written by an American writer who raised doubts about this case as it unfolded in the criminal courts of London and also the investigation conducted by the famous Scotland Yard. His book seems to suggest that the execution of Crippen for the murder of his wife was in all probability a miscarriage of justice. Critics on this side of the Atlantic in England described the book as at best one man’s opinion!

Who on earth for heaven’s sake was Crippen? Hawley Harvey Crippen was born in Michigan, USA in 1862 and when he turned 21 he came to England ‘to pick up some medical knowledge,’ as a writer put it. He did undertake a course in Homeopathy back in America at Homeopathic Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio and also managed to get the diploma endorsed by the Faculty of the Medical College of Philadelphia. In 1885 he obtained another diploma as an ear and eye specialist from the Ophthalmic Hospital, New York. Whether these diplomas and qualifications were something big or great –or even valid by today’s standards- no one really knew, but as the celebrated British forensic science genius Sir Bernard Spilsbury put it, “the little doctor had an obscure American degree doubtless obtained through the post.” Though in America Crippen could describe himself as Dr. Crippen, legally he could not practice medicine in the United Kingdom. While in the States he married and his wife died leaving a boy of three whom he sent to live with the grandmother in California. He married again and his second wife was known as Cora Turner, age 17. Her real name was Kunigunde Mackamotski and she was half American Jew and half Polish Jew. According to Crippen before he married her she was the mistress of a stove manufacturer and soon after the marriage the couple lived in many places in the United States and also Canada. Later he was employed by Munyon Company dealing in patent medicines and this company sent him to England to manage their London office.

Cora who mistakenly believed that she had the making of an opera singer and also dancer was keen to make way in the world of fine arts. A flamboyant woman with her own stimulating share attractions but lacking in talent she loved the arty atmosphere in London and involved herself in theatrical activity becoming a member of an association. Soon she became popular expectedly with men and surprisingly even with women and couples. With her larger than life outlook she easily dominated her meek, small made husband who allowed her to hold his purse-strings and also buy his wardrobe. More interestingly he did much of the domestic work while his wife was away at some theatrical meeting or entertaining male guests at home. In London they lived at 39 Hilldrop Crescent, Camden Town . This gloomy looking house in a gloomy neighbourhood would create history in True Crime. This famous -or notorious- house became a tourist spot soon after the murder case was over. However it was destroyed during the bombing of the Second World War (1939-1945) and vanished from the landscape of London. However many true crime buffs still visit the new neighbourhood and gape at the area where this house was situated, taking a trip down memory lane indulging in nostalgia.

When the patent medicine business of Munyon began to decline Crippen went into partnership with another firm dealing in dentistry requirements. In this new business office he employed a typist Ethel le Neve, a soft pliable rather plain-looking young woman and yet attractive enough to draw the attention and amour of Crippen. Soon she became his more than-willing mistress, and they met- and mated-in cheap hotel rooms which could be booked on hourly basis with no questions asked and no raised eye-brows…!

As the Crippens found it difficult to live on the limited income, Cora suggested that they should take in boarders and the meek husband had no option than to agree. The boarders were of course men, young and good looking with roving eyes and hands. One day while Crippen came back from his office earlier than usual he found Cora in bed with one of the boarders, both of them appropriately unclothed! The wife of course laughed it all off when the husband raised