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Hawley Crippen became the first criminal to be caught with the aid of wireless communication when police arrested him in 1910 for murdering his wife.
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The Guild social circle was paramount to Belle, where she now held the post of Guild treasurer.
By the latter part of 1909, life at Hilldrop Crescent had become intolerable, with daily arguments between Crippen and Belle, as she threatened to ruin Crippen's professional reputation by spreading gossip about his affair. Sometime over the festive season of 1909, Crippen decided to take matters into his own hands. Setting the scene for Belle's exit, he told a close colleague, Dr. John Burroughs, that he had concerns about her health.
On January 17, 1910, Crippen ordered five grains of the poison hydro-bromide of hyoscine, from a chemist who supplied medications for his dentistry practice. Hyoscine was a drug known for its sedative properties and, at the time, was used in extremely small dosages by doctors to subdue mental patients. It had no obvious dental applications
Since Crippen denied the murder of Belle, the exact chain of events were never conclusively proven, but medical experts summoned at his trial surmised that Crippen's intention was to fatally sedate Belle, and then summon his friend Dr. Burroughs, who had been previously primed with an illness story, when he 'found' her dead in their bed. Perhaps Crippen over-medicated whatever medium he used to administer the drug, but Belle became hyperactive, rather than sedated, and created a tremendous amount of noise. Crippen, in desperation, shot her with his revolver, and neighbors heard the sound, although they didn't recognize it as a gun shot at the time.
With Crippen's neat execution plan now seriously awry, he decided that Belle's body would have to be secreted in the cellar of the house. As the cellar was very small, and Belle a large woman, he dissected her corpse in the bath, removing her long bones and ribs, which he took down to the kitchen and burned in the open hearth there. He may also have used acid to dissolve her internal organs in the bath. He lifted the stone floor of the cellar, and buried her filleted torso there, before disposing of her head, and other remaining organs, in a weighted sack, in a canal near Hilldrop Crescent.
The next day he attended to patients at his dental practice as though nothing was amiss. He told Ethel that Belle had left him, and made her a gift of some of her jewelry, pawning the rest of her jewelry later that day. He also asked Ethel to deliver a note to the Ladies' Guild, in which 'Belle' resigned her post as treasurer, advising her friends that she had to travel to America to tend to a sick relative. The members of the Ladies' Guild were suspicious from the outset, Belle having never mentioned any ailing relative to them. However, it wasn't until February 20, when Crippen attended a Guild Ball accompanied by Ethel, who was wearing Belle's jewelry, that they voiced their concerns openly.
Inundated almost daily by inquiries about Belle from various Guild matrons, Crippen tried to staunch the gossip by informing them that Belle had fallen seriously ill in California.
profile name: Hawley Crippen profile occupation:
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