British doctor, Dr Crippen, was hanged on 23rd November 1910 in Pentonville Gaol, London, for murdering his wife. He has gone down in history as the first alleged criminal to be captured with the aid of wireless communication. His wife's dismembered body was found underneath his house.

But new DNA evidence has suggested that Dr Crippen, one of the world's most notorious murderers, may actually have been innocent and that the mutilated body may NOT have been his wife....

Doctor Crippen may have been innocent, say DNA experts

Mutilated body in his cellar was NOT his wife after all, say experts

17th October 2007
Daily Mail

One of the most notorious murderers of the 20th century may have been innocent, according to new DNA evidence.

Dr Hawley Crippen was hanged for the poisoning and dismembering of his wife, Cora Turner, in 1910, following a trial that transfixed the nation.

He was accused after a body - with no head, bones nor genitals - was found under his London home.

Dr Crippen and his mistress, Ethel Le Neve, fled Britain on the transatlantic liner SS Montrose, but were caught in Canadian waters.

The ship's captain recognised Crippen from a newspaper picture, and famously used the newly-invented wireless telegraph to alert the British police.

The doctor protested his innocence until the end - and even suggested evidence would one day be found to prove it.

Killer and victim? Dr Crippen and his wife Cora

Now, one hundred years later, American forensic scientists have found DNA evidence that says Dr Crippen was telling the truth - and that the body found under the house in Holloway was not Cora's.

The scientists compared mitochondrial DNA from the corpse, kept in the archives of the Royal London Hospital, with samples from three of Cora's living female descendants.

David Foran, head of forensic science at Michigan University, who carried out the research, said: "That body cannot be Cora Crippen, we're certain of that. We don't know who that body was or how it got there."

In the dock: Dr Crippen and his mistress Ethel Le Neve on trial at the Old Bailey, London, in 1910

The American research team said that a scar on the abdomen of the body, which convinced the jury that the remains were Mrs Crippen's, was incorrectly claimed to be so.

They added that other evidence showed the body was moved into the house while Dr Crippen and his wife were both living there.

One hypothesis is that Crippen was performing illegal abortions and that the body could have been the victim of a botched procedure.

Dr John Trestrail, a member of the American team who is an expert on poisoning, said the fact Cora's body had been mutilated suggested that she had not been poisoned.

"The thing about the Crippen case is the mutilation, which is contradictory to what poisoners do," he said.

"They want a 'natural death' certificate, and to walk away."

Crippen maintained throughout his trial that he was innocent and that the remains found were not his wife's.

But his defence was undermined because of his conflicting accounts of why he left England.