The North London Cellar Murder: The Man Who Should Not Have Run

Nov 29, 2010 - by Mark Pulham

Hawley Harvey Crippen

Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen

Dr. Hawley Crippen was small, balding, and meek, with large watery eyes that peered from behind gold-rimmed spectacles.  When he fled England for Quebec in the summer of 1910 with his mistress aboard the S.S. Montrose, he was wanted for the murder of his wife. Scotland Yard Chief Inspector Walter Dew was in pursuit aboard the speedier steamer, Laurentic. 

by Mark Pulham

One hundred years ago, in the summer of 1910, the world became enthralled by a transatlantic chase between two steamers. One was the White Star liner Laurentic, the other, the Canadian Pacific S.S. Montrose. Both were heading for Quebec. The world waited with excitement as each day the newspapers reported the progress of the two ships. The public’s interest was not about the ships themselves, but about who was aboard. On the Laurentic was Scotland Yards Chief Inspector Walter Dew. On the Montrose, fleeing with his lover Ethel Le Neve, was suspected wife murderer Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen.

The famous barrister Frederick Edwin Smith would later describe Crippen as “one of the most dangerous and remarkable men who have lived in this century…A compelling and masterful personality who feared neither God nor man.”

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