Hawley Harvey Crippen.

The trial of Hawley Harvey Crippen, ed. with notes and an introduction online

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again. She is being sent back, and I shall soon have what is left of her.
Of course, I am giving up the house. In fact, it drives me mad being in
it alone. I will sell out everything. I do not know what I shall do.
Probably find some business to take me travelling for a few months until
I can recover from the shock. As soon as I have a settled address I will
write again to you, as it is so terrible to me to have to write this dreadful
news. Will you please tell all the friends of our loss. With love to all.
I will write again soon, and give you my address, probably in France.
From Doctor." What scandal was there which made it necessary for
you to write that letter to Cora Crippen'a sister? Because I knew that
Mrs. Ginnette was in New York, and that she would probably go to see the
sisters, and that if she did so it was necessary for them to know why she
had gone.

By the LORD CHIEF JUSTICE I am afraid I do not understand your
answer. Who would probably go to see her sisters? Mrs. Ginnette, who
was one of the members of the Guild.

By Mr. MUIR And, for all you knew, Cora Crippen might have seen
Mrs. Ginnette? If she had I should have heard before.

Do you ask the jury to believe that you wrote that letter without the
certainty ? I do.

Listen without the certainty that Cora Crippen would never see her
sisters again? I do; it is only the matter of the sequence of lies which
I was obliged to tell.

You are 1 telling lies? I have already acknowledged it.

1 This question illustrates the acoustics of the Central Criminal Court. Obviously
Dr. Crippen heard it as "you were telling lies which you hoped would be believed."
As it stands it makes the witness confess to committing perjury in the witness-box. Ed.


Hawley Harvey Crippen.

Hawley Harvey Crippen

You are telling lies, which you hope will be believed? Yes.

And you think they will be believed? I believed they would be.

But if Cora Crippen were alive she might call at any moment on her
sisters? I did not think she would. If she went off with some other
man I did not think she would have the face to go there.

This was a very elaborate series of representations to a large number
of persons? Yes.

For whose sake were you going through this elaborate process? The
sake of both of us.

For your sake what did it matter to you? Well, I did not wish the
friends here to think that I had treated her so badly that she had gone
away and left me.

You did not wish your friends here to think that you had treated her
badly? Yes.

Is that right? Yes, so far as my part of it was concerned.

Going about, as you were, with Ethel Le Neve? That was not public,
outside the one time that I went to the ball.

And again, when she was wearing your wife's furs? Yes.

And again at Dieppe, and again taking her to live with you at Hilldrop
Crescent, your wife's house? Nobody would know the difference.

How were you saving yourself from anything by telling those lies?
I was saving myself from the scandal of my friends.

What scandal were you covering up? The scandal of the separation
from my wife.

When you were living in open adultery, according to you, with Ethel
Le Neve? It was not so open as you seem to imagine.

The LORD CHIEF JUSTICE This is comment now, Mr. Muir. The only
scandal he can suggest is that his wife had gone away; that Is what it
amounts to.

By Mr. MUIR Now, you had treated your wife well? Yes.

Given her money? Yes.

And jewels? She had them to wear.

And clothes? Clothes.

And kept up an establishment for her for four years after you ceased
to cohabit with her; and then she treated you with ingratitude, and went
away and left you for no cause at all ? Yes.

Why should you seek to cover up a scandal for such a wife as that?
I do not think I can explain it any further than I have.

A wife who had deserted you for another man why should you seek
to cover up scandal for such a wife as that?

The LORD CHIEF JUSTICE He says he can give no further explanation ;
there is no object in repeating it.

By Mr. MUIR You had been a tenant of 39 Hilldrop Crescent for five
and a half years? Yes.

Had the floor of the cellar of that house been disturbed during the
whole of that time? Not to my knowledge.

But would you know if it had been ? I was not at home ; Sundays was
the only time I was at home Sundays and holidays.

As far as you knew, it had not been disturbed? As far as I knew;
that is the only answer I can give you.


Evidence for Defence.

Hawley Harvey Crippen

When you were not at home your wife was? There were many times
that she was not at home; very often she went out in the morning, and I
did not see her till half-past one or so the next morning.

By the LORD CHIEF JUSTICE Will you listen to the question. You are
being asked with regard to the cellar being disturbed. You say that, so
far as you knew, it had never been disturbed, and you had no reason to
think that it was ever disturbed? No, I had no reason to think so.

By Mr. Mum You had no reason to think so at all? No.

Had you ever been in the cellar? Yes.

Who carried the coals upstairs for use in the house? We did not use
coal upstairs.

None at all? None at all.

Did you use coal in the house at all ? Not very much ; we had mostly
gas fires.

Did you use any at all? We used some in the kitchen range at times.

But who carried it when it was necessary to carry it? I very seldom
ever carried it ; sometimes on Sundays I carried in some coal.

So that you were familiar with the cellar; you knew where the place
was? I have not said that I was not.

You know, of course, that those remains were found in the cellar?
I was told when I returned to England by my solicitor.

So far as you know, they cannot have been put there while you were
tenants? Not that I know of, of course.

So far as you know, that is impossible? So far as I know. 1 would
not say it was impossible, because there were times when we were away;
during my absence in the daytime my wife was often away.

By the LOKD CHIEF JUSTICE Do you really ask the jury to understand
that your answer is that, without your knowledge or your wife's, at some
time during the five years, those remains could have been put there? I
say that it does not seem possible I mean, it does not seem probable, but
there is a possibility.

By Mr. Mum Now, I want you to look please at the two suits of
pyjamas. (Handed.) Are those your pyjamas? They are.

When did you get them? I think I bought these last September.

By the LORD CHIEF JUSTICE You mean September, 1909? Yes.

By Mr. Mum Did you buy them yourself? Yes, I bought them

Where? At Jones Brothers.

Had you any other suits of pyjamas at that time? There were my
worn-out ones.

Which do you mean by your worn-out ones? Well, they are not here.

Look at exhibit 48 (handed)? I usually had three pairs at a time,
and this is some of the previous three pairs that I bought before I bought
this lot.

Mr. TOBIN My lord, when he said that he bought pyjamas in Septem-
ber, 1909, I gathered he was speaking of the whole lot.

The LORD CHIEF JUSTICE No, he was speaking of the two.

The WITNESS Of the two.

The LORD CHIEF JUSTICE He said, " I had just bought the other
previous lot."


Hawley Harvey Crippen.

Hawley Harvey Crippen

The WITNESS There should be another pair belonging to this lot.

By Mr. Mum That pair of trousers how long have you had those?
That would probably be a long time previous to the time I bought these;
I could not say; this was one of three lots, and these are another the last
three lots I bought. This is the remains of the previous three lots.

You are giving a very, very important answer? Yes.

I do not want you to do it hurriedly at all? I thoroughly understand.

Think of what you have said, and look at those things again? I
thoroughly understand you. I say that these two are part of a lot of three
that I bought last September, a year ago; this is the only remains of three
that I bought previous to this. I cannot say how long previous.

Was it before or after you went to ililldrop Crescent 1 It was after.

One moment ; listen to the question ; was it before or after you went to
Hilldrop Crescent that you bought this suit of pyjamas of which the trousers
remain ? After.

Can you tell us at all how long after? I think it was shortly after,
because it was only at that time that I began to wear pyjamas.

Shortly after you went to Hilldrop Croscent? Yes.

You mean in 1905? Yes.

Are you sure that you bought those pyjamas, of which those are the
trousers, in the year 1905? I will not say I am sure it was 1905, but I

1905 or 1906?

The LORD CHIEF JUSTICE He says he bought them shortly after he
went to Hilldrop Crescent.

Mr. MUIB My lord, I am questioning him upon certain information
that I have.

The LORD CHIEF JUSTICE You must take his answer, that is all.

By Mr. Mum Were not those trousers one of the same purchase of
three sets as the other two? They were not; I am sure of it positive
of that because I wore them right straight along one pair one week
and the other pair the next week, so that they would all be nearly worn
out about together.

What became of the jacket? That I could not tell you; I could not
tell you what became of the other two pairs of trousers and the two jackets
probably worn out, as far as I remember.

Did your wife ever buy pyjamas for you? No, I bought my own.

Did not your wife buy those pyjamas for you?

The LORD CHIEF JUSTICE Which are you speaking of now?

By Mr. Mum All three? No.

Did not your wife buy those pyjamas for you at Jones Brothers' winter
sale on 5th January, 1909? I do not think so.

By the LORD CHIEF JUSTICE You must listen to that question, because
you have sworn that you bought them yourself. Now, be careful. The
question is a very specific one. Did not your wife buy them at about the
5th January, 1909? I bought some myself. I would not say that she did
not buy some ; she may have bought some of this lot ; I bought some myself
in September.

By Mr. Mum Did not your wife buy you three sets of pyjamas at

Evidence for Defence.

Hawley Harvey Crippen

Jones Brothers' winter sale on 5th January, 1909? I would not say that
she did.

By the LORD CHIEF JUSTICE Will you say that she did not? I won't
say that she did not.

By Mr. Mum Are not those articles the three suits of pyjamas bought
by your wife in January, 1909, minus the jacket? I do not think so; it
cannot be possible ; this does not show any signs of wear at all.

By the LORD CHIEF JUSTICE Never mind about signs of wear? That
is the only way I can distinguish.

By Mr. MUTR Did not your wife buy you those three suits, one of
them being now minus the jacket, on 5th January, 1909? She bought me
some, but I do not know whether these were the ones or not.

By the LORD CHIEF JUSTICE Two minutes ago you said to Mr. Muir
that your wife never bought you pyjamas, but that you always bought them
yourself ? Yes.

Now, you have said, " My wife did buy me some, but I do not know
whether these are they "? Perhaps I should not have put it so positively.

Which is true? Perhaps I should not have said so positively; I said
she may have bought some.

By Mr. Mum Now, will you take out of the jar and compare it with
the pattern of that pair of trousers (exhibits 79 and 80 handed). Is it the
same pattern ? It is similar not the same I would not say it is the same.

By the LORD CHIEF JUSTICE " Similar " is one thing ; you are asked
whether, as far as you can tell, it is the same pattern? It looks the same.
(The exhibits were handed to the jury.)

Mr. Mum My lord, may the jury have a lens to count the lines of the
pattern 1

The LORD CHIEF JUSTICE Certainly. Of course, gentlemen, you will
observe that one ia wet and the other is dry. Do not say anything, just
look at them for yourselves ; you have not heard the whole of the evidence
yet. What is suggested by Mr. Muir is that on careful examination,
having regard to the different condition, the pattern of the one is the same
as the pattern of the other. That is your point, I think, Mr. Muir?

Mr. Mum Yes, my lord.

The LORD CHIEF JUSTICE Gentlemen, you shall have them in your
room presently. I think you had better get all the evidence before you
ask any questions about them. All of you shall have an opportunity of
examining them.

(To Witness) I think this is so important, Dr. Crippen, that I had
better tell you what I have taken. You have now said that your wife
did buy some, and these may be they? Yea.

The clean pair of trousers I am speaking of. Do you wish to alter
that answer at all? I think I said she may have not that she did buy

And that those, what I will call the trousers alone, may be part of
them? These may be.

You were asked about that one? And the other one may be from the
ones that I bought in September.

You were asked about those which are being shown to the jury together
K 109

Hawley Harvey Crippen.

Havvley Harvey Crippen

with the others; you were asked whether you would swear that they are
mot part of the lot bought by your wife for you in January, 1909? I will
not swear that they are either.

Will you swear they are not? No, I would not swear they are not,
but I say I think that that pair is not a recent pair at all.

By Mr. MTJIR If those trousers were not part of what your wife
bought in 1909, when were they bought? Well, at almost every sale
that is to say, we will say September, January, and midsummer there
were pyjamas bought either by myself or her. Now, I can't say what
lot this comes from ; that would be an impossibility for me to say.

How many sets of pyjamas had you at Hilldrop Crescent? That I
ould not say.

At one time? I generally had one set and the remains of another
set the remains of a worn-out set and the other set.

Did not you tell the jury a little time ago that you generally had
three sets going? I am speaking of three sets.

i The LORD CHIEF JUSTICE I think he meant a set of three. He said,
" I always had a set of three and part of a worn-out set. "

The WITNESS I am speaking of a set of three, and parts of a worn-
out set.

The LORD CHIEF JUSTICE He is not speaking of two sets and a set of

Mr. MUIR Did you have any more? Than these two pairs?

Yes of the three? Of the three, I could not say.

Now, I am going to put this to you, so that you will have an oppor-
tunity of altering your answers if you desire to alter them, that those
three sets which are now before you, one of them incomplete, were manu-
factured in November, 1908, and the cloth of which they were made
never came into existence before November, 1 908 ? I can only say that I
do not think it is possible that that is so, of this set, for the reason that
this is so much worn and these are not.

It is quite possible to call evidence upon this point? It may be
possible, but to my mind it does not seem possible.

I want you to have that in your mind before you give your final
answer with regard to those things that the cloth of which all those
three things before you were made was made in November, 1908? 1908.

Yes, 1908 November? Yes.

And that the jacket in that jar is part of the .same cloth? I could
not say.

And that it was sold by Jones Brothers? That I could not tell you.

If that is right, that pyjama jacket must have got in beside those
remains since November, 1908?

Mr. TOBIN My lord, I do not know how far your lordship thinks my
friend should carry thia?

The LORD CHIEF JUSTICE I do not think Mr. Muir is going too far,
but I do not think it is necessary to do more than put the questions that
he has put. This is not the time for argument.

Mr. MUIR I did not desire to pursue it.

The LORD CHIEF JUSTICE You have indicated some very forcible facts

Evidence for Defence.

Hawley Harvey Crippen

to this witness quite fairly enough and given him the opportunity of
altering his answer if he liked.

By Mr. MUIR Now, do you wish to alter any answer that you have
given? No, I do not.

When did you make up your mind to go away from London? The
morning after Inspector Dew was there the 8th or 9th.

By the LORD CHIEF JUSTICE The 9th July? The 9th July.

By Mr. MUIR Are you sure about that? Yes.

Had you the day before been contemplating the possibility of your
going away? I would not like to say that I had made up my mind.
When Inspector Dew came to me and laid out all the facts that he told me,
I might have thought, well, if there is all this suspicion, and I am
likely to have to stay in jail for months and months 1 and months, perhaps
until this woman is found, I had better be out of it.

On the 8th July you thought that? After I had finished with Inspector

By the LORD CHIEF JUSTICE You must answer this question, Mr.
Crippen ; do you really mean that you thought that you would have to lie
in gaol for months 1 and months ; do you say that ? Quite so, yes.

By Mr. MUIR Upon what charge? Suspicion.

Suspicion of what? Suspicion of Inspector Dew said, " This woman
has disappeared, she must be found."

Suspicion of what? Suspicion of being concerned in her disappearance.

What crime did you understand you might be kept in gaol upon
suspicion of? I do not understand the law enough to say. From what I
have read it seems to me I have heard of people being arrested on suspicion
of being concerned in the disappearance of other people.

The disappearance of other people? Well, I am doing the best I can
to explain it to you ; I cannot put it for you in a legal phrase.

By the LORD CHIEF JUSTICE Nobody wants you to put it in a legal
phrase; the simple question is, what was the charge that you thought
might be brought against you after you had seen Inspector Dew? I could
not define the charge, except that if I could not find the woman I was
very likely to be held until she was found ; that was my idea.

By Mr. MUIR Because of what? I cannot say why; I can only say
that no other idea than that entered my head. If I could not produce
the woman

Yes, what would be the inference? Mr. Dew told me that I should
be in serious trouble; well, I could not make out what the inference
would be.

And that was why you contemplated on the afternoon of 8th July
flying from the country ? Quite so that, and the idea that I had said that
Miss Le Neve was living with me, and she had told her people she was
married to me, and it would put her in a terrible position; the only thing
I could think of was to take her away out of the country where she would
not have this scandal thrown upon her.

Had you made up your mind then, when you spoke to Miss Curnow?
No, I had not made up my mind then.


Hawley Harvey Crippen.

Hawley Harvey Crippen

" If anything should happen to me give the envelopes to Miss Le
Neve "1 I had not made up my mind then.

You had not made up your mind then? I had not made up my
mind then, no.

After that you went into the cellar? Yes.

With Inspector Dew? Yes.

And stood there in the cellar? Yea.

Was it after that that you made up your mind ? No, it was the next

Then it was after that? Oh, yea, it was after that; it was the next
morning, after I had studied the whole matter over.

By the LORD CHIEF JUSTICE What Mr. Muir asks is this, you had
thought about it on the afternoon of the 8th, but you made up your
mind on the morning of the 9th? Yes, after I had studied the matter
over, and after I had consulted with Miss Le Neve as to what she would
like to do.

By Mr. MUIR You thought you were in danger of arrest? Yes.

And so you fled the country ? Yes.

Under a false name? Yes.

Shaved oft your moustache ? Yes.

Left oft wearing your glasses in public? Yes.

Took Le Neve with you? Yes.

Under a false name? Yesi.

Posing as your son ? Yes.

Went to Antwerp? Yea.

Stayed in a hotel there? Yes.

Stayed indoors all day? Oh, no.

Practically all day? We did not; we went to the Zoological Gardens,
and walked all over the place.

Enjoying yourselves? Certainly.

Signed the register under a false name in the hotel ? I do not remem-
ber signing the register in Antwerp.

I mean in the hotel book. What name did you give at the hotel?
I know in Brussels I signed the hotel book in one place, and in another
place I did not.

By the LORD CHIEF JUSTICE What you are asked is, what name you
gave? If I gave a name anywhere it would be " Robinson."

By Mr. Mura la this a strip of paper cut from the hotel register?

The LORD CHIEF JUSTICE You need not pursue it; he says he gave the
name of Robinson. It is perhaps a little important, and I will read it as I
have it here "John Robinson, merchant, age 55; place resident at,
Canada.'* Then " Vienne." (To Witness) That, I suppose, isi the place
of origin? The place you come from.

It is put down in two places. Is the other where you are going to?

There are two " Viennes " down here? I think Canada is the place
of going to, and Vienna is the place you come from.

This must be made an exhibit now (marked 83). Is that your hand-
writing or not? Well, the bottom one is not my handwriting.

Evidence for Defence.

Hawley Harvey Crippen

You gave the information for that? I think, my lord, the bottom one
is written by the hotel-keeper.

That is highly probable, and you gave the information for it? I did.

The name is, " Robinson, John; trade, merchant; age, 55; place of
birth, Canada; place of domicile, Quebec; authority who signed the pass-
port, blank; date of passport, blank; destination indicated in passport,
blank; from where the visitors have come, Vienne (that is Vienna); Belgian
authority that has vised passport, blank; date of arrival, 10.7.10; (that is
the 10th July); date of departure, blank; place where the passengers have
said they were going to, Vienna." That is the line for John Robinson.
Then there is " Mr. Robinson" " fils " (that means son) "without pro-
fession ; sixteen years old ; born in Canada ; residing in Quebec ; no passport ;
no date of departure; place they have come from, Vienna; Belgian authority
that has vised passport, blank; same date of arrival, 10th July; place
going to, Vienna." You have no doubt you gave that information? Yes,
I have no doubt about it.

By Mr. Mum Then the second description is that of Miss Le Neve?

Disguised as a boy? Yes.

Passing as your son? Yes.

From what hotel does that come ; I think it is the Hotel des Ardennes ?

That is somewhere in Brussels, is it? Yes.

That is the hotel you stayed at? In Brussels, yes.

When you got to Quebec on board the steamer, or near Quebec,
Inspector Dew came on board? Yes.

You were much surprised to see him? I did not expect to see
Inspector Dew.

Did you recognise him at once? Yes.

Though he was disguised; he was not dressed in his inspector's dress?
Well, as soon as I saw him in the cabin I recognised him.

By the LORD CHIEF JUSTICE You are asked whether you recognised
him when he came on board? No, I did not recognise him when he came
on board.

He was dressed as a pilot? Yes, he was dressed as a pilot; I did
not recognise him until he came into the cabin.

By Mr. Muni You were quite taken by surprise that you should be
interrogated by him <or spoken to by him ? Yes, I did not expect to se

Up to that time had you thought at all of what charge would be made
against you? I had not.

He told you that you would be charged with the murder and mutila-
tion of your wife? When he read the warrant, do you mean?

Inspector Dew on board the " Montroee " told you that you would
be charged with the murder and mutilation of your wife? Do you mean
that that was in the warrant that he read to me?

No, no; that is what he said before he read the warrant? Well, I
would not pay much attention to what he told me, because I was in euch
a confusion at the time.


Hawley Harvey Crippen.

Hawley Harvey Crippen

The LORD CHIEF JUSTICE It is a little more than that. Just pay
attention. It is very important. You had better put it to him again,
Mr. Muir. Ask him, "did he not." You are making a statement to
him, and he does not accept it.

The WITNESS No, I do not accept it, because

By Mr. MUIR Did the inspector say, " Good morning, Dr. Crippen j
I am Inspector Dew " 1 Yes.

And did you say, " Good morning, Mr. Dew"? " Good morning,
Mr. Dew."

Did the inspector then say, " You will be arrested for the murder
and mutilation of your wife, Cora Crippen, in London, on or about 2nd
February last"? I would not say that I took that ip, because I was so
very much surprised and confused that I did not quite have my right

Did a Canadian officer, Mr. McCarthy, caution you? He did.

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