ETHEL CLARA LE NEVE.
11th October 1910
Reference Numbert19101011-75
VerdictNot Guilty > unknown

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LE NEVE, Ethel Clara (27, typist) was indicted , "That, on February 1, 1910, Hawley Harvey Crippen having feloniously and unlawfully and of his malice aforethought murdered Cora Crippen, she, Ethel Clara Le Neve, well knowing the said Hawley Harvey Crippen to have committed the said felony, did on that day and on divers days there-after feloniously receive, comfort, harbour, assist, and maintain him."

(Refer to trial of Crippen, last reported.)

Mr. Muir, Mr. Travers Humphreys, and Mr. Oddie prosecuted; Mr. F. E. Smith, K.C., M.P., and Mr. Barrington Ward defended.

Mr. Muir, in opening the case, said that the facts were for the most part undisputed. He understood that Mr. F. E. Smith would not rest any part of his case upon there having been no murder committed, or upon any question with regard to Crippen having committed the murder, or as to the murdered person being Crippen's wife. The issue to which! the evidence for the prosecution and the explanations of the accused would be directed would be, what was the state of her knowledge, and what was her intention with regard to the acts which she undoubtedly did. Guilty knowledge and guilty intention were the issues in the present case.

FREDERICK LOWN , and Dr. J. H. BURROUGHS repeated the evidence given by them in the Crippen trial. The deposition of Mrs. MARTINETTI (substantially that given by her in the Crippen trial) was read, after medical evidence that she was not in a condition to attend this day. Miss MELINDA MAY also repeated her evidence.

Chief Inspector WALTER DEW repeated certain portions of his evidence. On July 8, after taking a statement from Crippen, he took a statement from Le Neve (Exhibit 40), Crippen not being present. In this statement prisoner said that she was a single woman, 27 years of age, and a shorthand-typist. Since the latter end of February she had been living at Hilldrop-crescent with Crippen as his wife. Before then she lived at Hampstead. She had been on intimate terms with Crippen for between two and three years, and had known him for ten years. She knew Mrs. Crippen, and had visited Hilldrop-crescent. Mrs. Crippen treated her as a friend. "In the early part of February, the statement continued, "I received a note from Crippen saving Mrs. Crippen had gone to America and asking me to hand over a packet he enclosed to Miss May, an official of the Music Hall Ladies' Guild. About 4 p.m. on the same day he came to our business place, Albion House, and told me his wife had gone to America. He said she had packed up and gone. I had been in the habit for the past two or three years of going about with him, and continued to do so. About a week after he told me she had gone to America I went to Hilldropcrescent, put the place straight, as there were no servants, but at night I went to my lodgings, and I did this for about a fortnight. The place appeared to be all right; quite as usual. He took me to the Benevolent Fund dinner, and lent me a diamond brooch to wear, and

later he told me I could keep it. After this he told me she had caught a chill on board the ship and had got pneumonia, and afterwards he told me she was dead. He told me he could not go to the funeral as it was too far, and she would be buried before he could get there. Before he ever told me this I had been away with him for five or six days at Dieppe, and stayed at an hotel with him as Mr. and Mrs. Crippen, but cannot remember the name of the place. When we came back he took me to Hilldrop-crescent, and I remained there with, him, occupying the same bedroom. The same night, or the night before, he told me that Belle was dead. That would be about March 30. I was very much astonished, but I do not think I said anything to him about it. I have not had any conversation with him about it since. He gave me some furs of his wife's to wear, and I have been living with him ever since as his wife. I have given up my lodgings and taken up my abode at Hilldrop-crescent. My father and mother do not know what I am doing, and think I am housekeeper at Hilldropcrescent. When Crippen told me his wife had gone to America I do not remember if he told me that she was coming back or not. I cannot remember if he went into mourning."

Chief Inspector Dew continued. On July 16 a warrant was placed in my hands for the arrest of Crippen and Le Neve on the charge of murdering Cora Crippen, and immediately afterwards there were particulars in the Press of the discovery of the remains, and descriptions and portraits of the two accused. On July 31 I boarded the "Montrose" at Father Point. I first arrested Crippen; he had then no moustache and was not wearing glasses (when I had seen him in London he had a moustache and wore gold-rimmed glasses). I then went into a cabin where I saw Le Neve; she was dressed in a brown suit of boy's clothes (suit produced and identified as that bought by Long at Crippen's directions; see page 723). Her hair was cut short I said, "Miss Le Neve"; she said, "Yes." I said, "I am Chief Inspector Dew, and you will be arrested for being concerned with Dr. Crippen in the murder and mutilation of Mrs. Crippen in London on or about February 2 last." She made no reply, but became agitated and faint. The cabin she was in was the one also occupied by Crippen. (Witness spoke to finding on Crippen the cards, Exhibits 2 and 3, and various articles of jewellery.) Later I was present when the captain of the "Montrose" asked her if she had not seen in the papers a letter from her father; she said, "No, I have not seen any papers since I left London, and know nothing about it; if I had seen anything in the papers I should have communicated at once." Later she said, "I assure you, Mr. Dew, I know nothing about it; I intended to write to my sister when I got to Quebec." On the voyage back to England I read the warrant to her (setting out the charge in the present indictment); she said, "Yes." On the formal charge at Bow Street she made no reply.

Cross-examined. I have made some inquiries about prisoner's past life; for about ten years she has been working as a shorthand typist; for some years she has not been living with her parents. Her father is a canvasser for coals, and I think he sings at concerts; he is of the

lower middle class of life. He wrote in a paper called "Answers" some articles affecting to tell all about his daughter; that was after her arrest. When I called at 39, Hilldrop Crescent on July 8, prisoner offered to show me all over the house to see if Crippen was there. The statement, Exhibit 40, was made in the presence only of myself and Sergeant Mitchell; some parts she volunteered; sometimes I asked questions, and her replies were embodied in hex own words. It was a very lucid statement, I thought. Shortly after Crippen's. arrest on the "Montrose" Crippen said to me, "It is only fair to say that she (Le Neve) knows nothing about it; I never told her anything." At the time I circulated a description of Mrs. Crippen as "missing," Crippen had made his statement to me, and I know that she had taken away with her very little clothing; Crippen had told me that she had taken with her a great part of her jewellery. The description I circulated of Mrs. Crippen I got by inquiries, among her friends, not from Crippen.

To the Court. The "Montrose" left Antwerp on July 20:

Mr. PEPPER, Dr. WILCOX, and Mr. KIRBY repeated portions of their evidence in the Crippen trial; they were not cross-examined. Mrs. EMILY JACKSON. Up to March 19 of this year I lived at 80, Constantine-road, Hampstead. I was living there in September, 1908, when prisoner rented a bed-sitting room from me and occupied it until March 12, 1910, with the exception of an interval from March to August in 1909. She always addressed me as "mum" or "ma." During January of this year I noticed that she was very miserable and depressed. On one particular evening at the latter end of the month she came home looking pale and agitated, and went straight to her bedroom without supper. As I felt rather hurt at her manner and she had been rather strange of late, I went after her to her room and spoke to her; she scarcely answered me; finally she got into bed and sat up to do her front hair, but her whole body was trembling with suppressed agitation, and her fingers trembled so that she did not know how to do it. I asked her several times to say what was the matter, and at last she said, "Oh, go to bed; I shall be all right in the morning." She then lay down and I sat beside the bed until I thought her to be asleep, leaving her at about two o'clock. Next morning she appeared very ill and was unable to eat any breakfast. I took up a cup of tea, and her hand trembled so that she could not put it down again. I told her I could not let her go out of the house like that, and would telephone to Albion House to say he was not fit to go to business. She said, "You will ask for the doctor, won't you?" I went and telephoned, and on returning to her I said, "My dear girl, you must tell me what is the matter with you; there is something dreadful the matter; I am sure you must have something on your mind, and if you don't relieve your mind you all go absolutely mad." She replied, "I will tell you the whole story presently." I little later she said, "Would you be surprised if I told you it was the doctor?" I asked, "Do you mean he was the cause of your trouble when I first knew you?" She said, "Yes."

I said, "Why worry about that? It is past and gone." She burst into tears and said, "Oh, it's Miss Elmore." I asked whom she meant, not having heard the name before, and she replied, "She is his wife, you know; when I see them go away together it makes me realise my position—what she is and what I am." I said, "My dear girl, what is the use of worrying about another woman's husband." She said, "She has been threatening to go away with another man, and that is all we are waiting for. As soon as she does that the doctor is going to divorce her and marry me." I said, "Are you sure he will marry you? It seems to me he is asking a great deal of you at your age; it is most unfair." She said she would tell him what I had said. She never gave me any other explanation of the cause of her agitation and worry. From about the second week in February this year she began to stay away at night, first one night, then two nights together, and finally altogether, coming back home in the mornings. About a week after the night when I had found her so agitated she came home quite happy, and I asked her if someone had died and left her all their money—what was the matter, that she looked so pleased and delighted over something. She said, "Somebody has gone away at last." When she began to stay out at night she told me when she came back in the morning that she had been to Hilldrop-crescent putting the place straight and searching the house looking for a bank-book; she said that they had discovered a bank balance of £200 and also a diamond tiara and two or three valuable rings, and that the doctor had raised £175 on them to put into his business to put it on a firmer footing. At that time I noticed she was wearing two diamond solitaire rings and one diamond ring with a ruby in it which she had not had before. From February till the time she left she brought clothing to the house and gave it to me. Crippen came with her on one of these occasions, and the clothes were in a dress basket. I produce a list of the articles she gave me. She brought them in cardboard boxes. She told me she had also given things to relatives and to a lady friend. When she left me I visited her at Hilldrop-crescent once before we left Hampstead and twice since.

Cross-examined. When she left me for a short time in March, 1909, she presumably visited her aunt in Brighton. I was very much attached to her, and I was on more intimate terms with her than I would be with an ordinary lodger; nearly every night I would go up to her bedroom and have a chat with her. At first she came in regularly at 6 p.m., and we would have supper together about 9 or 9.30. When she got to know me better she generally spent her evenings with me. She was always most lovable and affectionate towards me; as far as I could see she was gentle, retiring, and sympathetic. I should not call her robust; she suffered from neuralgia and anaemia. Before she left me for the first time she had a lot of teeth out. I do not remember her having neuralgia after she had the teeth out. Both before and after that, on several occasions she was prevented from going to business for a day or so through ill health. On one occasion when she was at home for three weeks she had a miscarriage; that was

what I referred to when I spoke to her about her previous "trouble." That was the only time I ever telephoned to the office saying she could not come. She always suffered severely at the time of her menstrual periods, and sometimes had to stay in bed. I cannot fix any of the dates I have given definitely; I did not attach any importance to them ac the time. When the police came to me in July I then began to try and think of them. I had at that time read scarcely anything of the Crippen case; I was not able to do so as the shock was so over-whelming. I had hardly finished reading an account of it when the police came; it was either the "Daily Mail" or "Daily Mirror" that I read. I had got as far as knowing that there had been a disappearance, that remains had been found, and that Mrs. Crippen had not been seen alive since January 31. When Sergeant Cornish came I tried to recall my conversations with prisoner. He asked me if I had noticed anything strange in her manner; he may have asked me that with reference to a particular date, but I cannot remember. I do not think she commenced to be strange until the early part of January she began about the 5th, 6th, or 7th to be very miserable and unhappy about something. It made her look very ill. Throughout the whole of January she was depressed, and she looked very ill; her eyes looked very strange and very haggard. I can hardly say that she had the same kind of look as she had when she was very ill. Frequently before the conversation which I have spoken of with her I asked her what was the matter with her—quite a dozen times. This was through January. She said she was worried with accounts in the office; I do not think she gave any other reason. Her courses were very irregular; you could not depend at all on the time. The time when she was very agitated may have been as early as January 25; I cannot fix the date. About a week or so after that occasion, or perhaps a little more, she said, "Somebody has gone to America." She was in high spirits and did not bear a trace of anxiety; all her depression had disappeared. I had no doubt whom she meant had gone to America, because she had told me previously that that was all they were waiting for her to do, and Crippen had told her that she had been threatening for a long time to go away. It did not surprise me very much when she told me. She seemed relieved and happy at the idea. That may have been February 2, 3, or 4, or any one of those days. When she was so ill she seemed not so much in bodily agony as mental agony; a more acute paroxysm of the same kind of anxiety that she had been suffering from all through January. After I had had the conversation with her that morning she did not go to the office at all that day. She was better the next morning, and did then go to the office, returning in very good spirits. If I said before that she did not go to the office for two or three days, it was a mistake.

ERNEST WILLIAM STUART , manager to Attenboroughs, repeated his evidence as to the pawning of certain jewellery by Crippen for £80 and £115 on February 2 and 9.

FREDERICK PEDGRIFT repeated his evidence as to the advertisement in the "Era."

WILLIAM LONG repeated his evidence as to the purchase of a boy's suit at Crippen's directions, etc.

Cross-examined. I had known prisoner for eight or nine years; she was practically that time in the same employment as myself. I got to know her fairly well; I agree that she might be described as a gentle inoffensive girl.

The defence called no evidence.

Verdict, Not guilty.


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