Well it is unlikely that we will see similar graffiti over the east end but forensic scientists are now suggesting that Doctor Crippen may be the victim of a miscarriage of justice....
Doctor Crippen was convicted and executed for the murder of his wife Cora Turner. The case (a relatively mundane case in itself imho) is remarkable for the use of wireless telegraphy in his capture. Following the apparent murder and dismemberment of his wife, Crippen and his lover Ethel le Neve had boarded the SS Montrose, posing as father and son. A suspicious captain recognised Crippen and alerted the police. An officer taking a faster vessel was able to arrest Crippen as the Montrose entered the St Lawrence River.
Nearly a century later a team of American forensic scientists have compared mitochondrial DNA from the remains presented at the trial with samples taken from Cora Crippen's surviving relatives. The results show that the exhumed body could not have been Cora Turner’s.
Police had found mutilated remains at Crippen’s house. The head and bones had been removed. According to toxicologist John Trestrail, poisoners rarely inflict external damage on their victims. "It is so unusual that a poisoner would dismember the victim, because a poisoner attempts to get away with murder without leaving any trace. In my database of 1,100 poisoning cases, this is the only one which involves dismemberment," he said. The discrepancy prompted him to re-examine the evidence in the Crippen case. Working with a genealogist, Beth Wills, he set about finding Mrs Crippen's surviving family. The team tracked down three distant relatives in California and Puerto Rico and compared their DNA with some obtained from samples presented at Crippen’s trial.
If the body did not belong to Cora Turner then who is it? One of Dr Trestrail's hypotheses is that Crippen was performing illegal abortions and that the body could have resulted from a botched procedure. So what happened to Turner? Was she actually murdered by Crippen but her body remains undiscovered somewhere? Or could she have returned to the US and lived under an assumed name? Ten years after the trial, a singer with the name Belle Rose (similar to Turner’s stage name of Belle Elmore) name was registered as living with Cora's sister in New York. Records show that the same woman entered the US through Ellis Island from Bermuda in 1910 shortly after Mrs Crippen disappeared. Of course this could well be a coincidence.
I have no idea whether this is sufficient to exonerate Crippen. I wouldn’t hold my breath for a posthumous pardon. It’s still an interesting twist in this case, albeit nearly a century too late to save him from a date with the hangman.