LondonLife – The Old Bailey and the notorious case of Dr Crippen…


As well as being relevant to our recent focus on author Charles Dickens (as well as featuring in his works, some suggest he worked here as a court reporter), the Old Bailey (home of the Central Criminal Court) has been in the news recently for its role in the conviction of the  infamous murderer Dr Hawley Crippen. An American, Dr Crippen was tried and found guilty at the court of poisoning his first wife Cora and then of cutting her up (he was found to have hidden the body parts in the cellar of their home in Hilldrop Crescent, Holloway). He was hanged in 1910, having been arrested while fleeing on a ship to Canada with his mistress Ethel Le Neve. Now reportedly come plans to hold a posthumous retrial of the case in front of a judge at the Islington Museum. The event, which will be held later this year, is being organised by Archway-based human rights solicitor Greg Foxsmith and will see John Cooper, QC, defending Dr Crippen. The move comes follows an earlier investigation by US scientists who concluded from DNA evidence that the victim may have in fact been male. For a great read on the case of Dr Crippen – and the important role the new invention of the wireless telegraph played in his capture – have a look at Erik Larsen’s Thunderstruck.

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