Doctor hanged for the murder and alleged dismemberment of his second wife

November 23, 1910
Pentonville Prison, London, England
Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen is hanged for the murder of his second wife Corrine “Cora” Turner

Cora had been partial to open extra-marital affairs and when the couple moved from the US to England, and the doctoral credentials Hawley carried were insufficient to practice medicine in England adding further strain to the marriage.

After a party, Cora disappeared and soon after Hawley’s mistress Le Neve began wearing Cora’s clothing and jewelry in public. At first, Hawley claimed she had traveled back to the US and died but later changed this story when questioned by police stating he was embarrassed to tell the truth, that she had fled to the US with one of her lovers. Police were satisfied with this explanation, though Hawley and Le Neve were unaware and fled the country with Le Neve disguising herself as a boy.

After a fourth search of Hawley’s house, prompted by the lovers fleeing the country, a human torso was discovered partially buried in the basement. The two were quickly apprehended in Brussels with the aid of wireless telegraph and tried separately. Hawley was found guilty and hanged, his last public statement was regarding his mistress: “My last prayer will be that God will protect her and keep her safe from harm and allow her to join me in eternity.” Le Neve was found not guilty.

The murder has been disputed even as recently as 2007 when Michigan State University ran DNA tests on blood recovered from the torso which suggested it belonged to a male victim, though this conclusion has not been widely accepted.

Dr. Crippen and Le Neve on trial

Dr. Crippen

Corrine “Cora” Crippen (née Turner)

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