The BBC Antiques Roadshow - Dr Crippen

The CRIPPEN - CRIPPIN Connection - Contents

  The BBC Antiques Roadshow

This text has been reproduced from the BBC Online web-site, 31st May 2000.

A Dr Crippen scrapbook

A personal scrapbook of clippings from the investigation into the infamous murderer, Dr Crippen, has come to light at the Antiques Roadshow in Torquay. It had lain buried in a wardrobe for years, and was only unearthed after a chance remark to the Roadshow team by its owner Dave Gilbey.

The investigator

The scrapbook was compiled by Charles Belcher who investigated the case, and who was one of the five top inspectors at Scotland Yard at the turn of the century. Shortly before his death, he gave the scrapbook to his friend and fellow churchgoer Garfield Owen, who later passed it on to his grandson, Dave Gilbey.

This personal record of the investigation includes fake business cards used by the murderer, along with previously unpublished photographs of the case and macabre records. It is interspersed with photos of big game hunting in Africa. It was described by the Antiques Roadshow expert Paul Viney as "a one off" and "unique", and worth a considerable amount.

"Dr Crippen I presume"

Dr Horley Crippen gained criminal notoriety when he poisoned and dismembered his wife, Cora after a dinner party, and attempted a transatlantic escape with his secretary and mistress Ethel Le Neve on board the steamer, Montrose. Dr Crippen masqueraded as a Mr John Robinson of Detroit and Ethel as his son. Their disguise was uncovered however, after the captain of the ship had read a report of the case and became suspicious of the overly affectionate father and son.

An arrest by morse code

The captain was able to communicate his suspicions of their true identity to London, by the recently invented medium of Morse code. Scotland Yard sent Chief Inspector Walter Dew and Charles Belcher on the faster Laurentic to catch them up, but Belcher fell ill and was replaced. The couple were the first criminals to be arrested with the use of Morse code.

For the BBC Antiques Roadshow go to Return to Dr Crippen.

Completely revised December 2001, this page was last updated Saturday, January 05, 2002.

 © John Crippen, 2000-2002

Please send comments, enquiries, etc. to [email protected]


Family History