Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

31 erthygl ar y dudalen hon

Innocent of Complicity.


Innocent of Complicity. Judge's Favourable Summing-up. CrUPPEN'S TALKOF A DIVORCE. On Tuesday at the Old Bailey Ethel Clara Le Neve was acquitted of being an accessory after the fact in connection with the murder of Mrs Crippen, for which crime Hawley Harvey Crippen was sentenced to death on Saturday. The case was taken by the Lord Chief Justice. The Crown was represented by Mr Ii. D. Muir. Mr Travers Humphreys, and Mr lngleby Oddie, whilst Mr F. E. Smith, K.C., M.P., and Mr Barrington Ward defended. The public interest in the case was quite as keen as in the trial of Crippen. There was again an enormous application for admission, and, as last week, the same ticket-holders were not allowed in court the whole of the day. As soon as the Lord Chief Justice had taken his seat on the bench, the prisoner was con- ducted into the spacious dock by a couple of wardresses. She walked without assistance, and appeared to be quite composed as, advanc- ing to the front rail. she stood on the very spot occupied last week by Crippen. A flat, dark, cloth hat was held down on the head by means of a blue motor veil, which framed a pallid face. The prisoner wore a dark dress, and her hands were neatly gloved. Soon the voice of the Clerk of Arraigns was heard addressing the accused. He said :— Ethel Clara Le Neve, the indictment against you alleges that on 1st February, 1910, Hawley Harvey Crippen did feloniously, wilfully and with malice aforethought mur- der Cora Crippen and that you well know- ing he had committed the felony did on that day and on divers days thereafter feloniously receive, comfort, harbour and assist and maintain him. Are you guilty or not guilty ? Prisoner, in a firm tone—" Not guilty." Before Mr Muir commenced his opening statement for the Crown, the prisoner was accorded permission to seat herself in the dock. With eyes almost closed and with hands clasped tightly together, she sat motionless ■while Mr Muir set forth his case, appearing oblivious to all that was going on around her. Case for the Crown. Mr Muir said that the accused was given an opportunity before the police magistrate of going into the witness box or of giving any explanation, but she made no answer. The jury would have to ask themselves what that meant. Was there any explanation she could offer except that contained in the indictment. If there was any explanation to account for the ( elaborate precaution to prevent pursuit, why had it not been put forth ? Crippen flew from justice for the crime of murder. The motive for the crime was the prisoner. He was ac- companied by the prisoner, and she assisted him to evade pursuit by disguising herself. She assisted him to evade justice by not re- maining behind and telling what she knrw. Unleas and until the Court got from her or eomeone else some explanation the only inter- pretation the jury could put upon the fact was that she knew of Crippen's crime and was assisting him to escape. Mr F. E. Smith's Cross-examination The evidence given covered much the same ground as in the case against Dr. Crippen, and Inspector Dew repeated his interviews with Le Neve, described the Hilldrop-crescent search And the chase to Canada. After her arrest pris- oner said, I know nothing about jt. If I had seen anything in the paper I would have communicated at once." Later Le N eve said I assure you, Mr Dew, A know nothing about it. I intended to write to my sister when I got to Quebec. Cross-examined by Mr Smith: Have you, since you became connected with this case, made inquiries about the prisoner's past life ? —I have made some inquiries. And discovered, I think,that for 10 years she has been working as a shorthand typist ?—Yes. She has not been living with her father and mother ?—I understand not for some years. You recollect the occasion of which you told us, on July 8th, when you called at the house in Hilldrop-crescent. Did prisoner offer to show you all over the house ?—She did, sir. She volunteered the suggestion that we should go over the house 1—Yes, to see if Dr. Crippen was there. Now tell me this—the statement which she made at Albion. House was made, as I under ctand it, in the presence of yourself and Ser- gent Mitchell ?—Yes. How was it taken?—I asked some questions, and some part of it was volunteered. You framed your questions, and her answers were incorporated with her voluntary state- ment in a consecutive and narrative form ?— Yes. She gave a very lucid statement. On some points you asked her questions ?— Yes, my object being to flnd Mrs Crippen. Did Crippen say anything at the time of her arrest ?—Yes. He asked how she was. I said, She is agitated, but I am doing all I can for 1 her." He said. It is-only fair to say that the knows nothing about it. I have told her nothing." Story of Le Neve's Landlady. Miss Emily Jackson.a former landlady of the prisoner was next called. She gave an address < at Camberwell,and said until the 19th of March of the present year she was residing at No. 80, Constantine-road, Hampstead. In September 1908, Miss Le Neve, she said, rentad a room from her, going to her business in the day and sleeping there every night. With the exception of a short period ending August. 1909. prisoner stayed with the witness until J March 12,1910. Witness was in the habit of going to prisoner's room. Mr Humphreys Did you at any time notice anything strange in her manner -something different from what she ordinarily had been ?— During January she appeared strange. On one < occasion I spoke to her about it. On what occasion was that ?—One night towards the latter part of January. I cannot fix the date. What did you notice about her on that par- ticular Occasion ?—She came home feeling very tired. She was strange and very agitated. The Lord Chief Justice: Did she have supper with you ?—N early always, unless she had some out. Proceeding, witness said I felt generally hurt at her manners, and followed her into her room and spoke to her. I forget what I said, but she scarcely answered me. She began to undress and finally got into bed. Bedroom Scene. She sat up to do her hair, witness pro- eeeded, but her whole body was trembling. I saw that she was in a terrible state, and asked her to tell me what was the matter. She did not speak. This went on for some time. I asked her several times to tell me. but she said. You go to bed. I shall be all right in the morning. She stared right across the room. and tried to do her hair. Afterwards she laid down in bed, and I sat beside her. It was nearly 2 o'clock in the morn- ine before she was asleep. Next morning (continued witness) she saw prisoner at nine o'clock, when she came down dressed and with her hat on. Prisoner tried to eat some breakfast, but she could not. Prisoner was so agitated and upset that witness said to her, If you don't relieve your mind you will go absolutely mad." Mr Humphreys What did she say then ?— A little while afterwards she said, Would you be surprised if it was the Doctor ?" Later on she burst into tears again, and said., It is Miss Elmore." Talk of a Divorce. Up to what time had you ev er heard the name Miss Elmore ?—Never in my life. I wondered what she meant, and I asked her. She said, She is his wife, you know. When I «ee them go away together it makes me realise my position, what she is and what I am." I said, What is the use of worrying about another woman's husband ?" She said, She has been threatening to go away with another man. That is all we are waiting for. As soon as she does that he will divorce her." Next day did she speak to you again when she mentioned about realising her position ?— I said why don't you tell him what you have told me. She said she would tell him. Landlady Cross-Examined. Mr F. E. Smith (cross-examining): She be- came very intimate indeed with you, on quite different terms to those of any ordinary lodger ? —Yes. She called you mum and mother "?— Yes. Would you say that she seemed to you to be of a gentle, retiring, and sympathetic nature ? —She was always most loveable and affectionate towards me. I understand you to say that when you gave us any dates it js more or less a matter of guess work ?—I could not make sure of the exact date. I When the police came to see you in July, of course, you began to think about these matters?—Yes. You had, of course, read about the Crippen case ?—I had not. I could not read it. It was simply horrible. When the police came you tried to recall what you could of your conversation with Miss Le Neve ?—Yes. At the beginning of February, when you say she came back more pleasant than you had ever seen her, you mean she was in high spirits with no traces of anxiety, depression, or ill- health about her ?—They had all gone. You, by way of a joke, said Have you come to some money?" and did she reply that somebody had gone to America ?—Yes. Had you any doubt; as to whom she meant ? No, because she had told me previously. I think you said that Crippen had told Le Neve that his wife had threatented to go away, eo that did not surprise you very much ?—No. No Witness for Defence. After luncheon, the case for the Crown having been concluded. Mr Muir, stating that be understood Mr Smith would call no wit- nesses, again addressed the jury. He urged that nothing but the knowledge of the murder of Mrs Crippen could account for the accused's silence. Mr F. E. Smith's Speech. Mr F. E. Smith said :—I think it very essen- öa4 that you ehould clearly understand what is the nature of the charge here, and what is I the proposition to which the prosecution in I this case stands committed. It is that in this murder committed by Crippen-a murder callous, calculated, cold-blooded, which would be hard to match in the whole annals of crime I —the prisoner was privy to the a ffair, and that she became privy to it after its commission. That and that alone is the issue which you have to try. Was the prisoner, before she went away with Crippen, aware that he had committed this murder ? Ten or eleven years ago, at the age of 16 or 17 years, accused was left to make her own living. Speaking in a low voice, which was inaudible throughout the greater part of the court, Mr Smith pointed out the temptations of Miss Le Neve's early position. It was a supreme misfortune to this girl," he proceeded, that when she was little more than a girl and when it had become necessary for her to earn her own living, to have come across her path, at the age of 17, one of the most remarkable men of the centiuy. Carry your minds back ten years. There were two people one a deter- mined, unscrupulous, insinuating man the other a schoolgirl, age 17-an age when most of you would be shielding your daughters from the world. I submit that the intrigue between them lasted three years. There is no reason to suppose that she was other than chaste for the first seven years." Mr Smith went on to describe the doctor as the really important figure looming large in Le Neve's life. He was the Doctor," she the tyag-writer. It was suggested that the man who had killed Belle Elmore with a fiendish and detailed calculation of which there were few illustrations in the annals of crime, told the prisoner, a young and nervous woman, that he had committed the crime, although she was a woman who did not belong to the criminal class and would have received the news with revulsion and disgust. That would be a possibility which Crippen would have borne in ipind. Crippen, how- ever, must have told her something, and it was for the jury to ask what he did tell her. From first to last not a single in- acc uracy of the slightest importance had been found in her statement. If there could be one circumstance which suggested innocence more than another it was the way in which prisoner dealt wirh the clothes and jewellery. Motive of Disguise. What did they suppose Crippen told Le Neve before she went away. Mr Muir asked them to draw the inference that if she bad not been told of the murder she must have been told something before she went away with Crippen in disguise. He (Mr Smith) submitted that not only had the prosecution failed to prove prisoner that knew of the murder, but it had been shown as a fact she was not told before, that she did not know anything of it. Before they could draw, the tremendous inference that she must have known of the murder, they had clearly to de- cide that there was nothing else that Crippsn could have told her to induce her to go away with him in disguise. They must consider that he was the dominating influence. Prisoner was required to decide whether she would stay in England, penniless, or, as Crippen's mis- tress, leave with him and save him the risk of being detained on suspicion. JUDGE'S SUMMING UP. His Lordship, in summing up, said the only point was—" Did Ethel Lo Neve know when she went away with Crippen that Crippen had murdered his wife ?" You are not to judge Ethel Le Neve," continued the Lord Chief Justice, because she has been this man's mistress. This is not a court of morals, but a court of law. It is a Court of Justice, and no one ought to judge a woman, particularly in such circum- stances, because she has fallen. Proceeding, his Lordship said they were able to fix upon the 2nd February as the day upon which tne prisoner could have first known, and that Belle Elmore (undoubtedly her rival) had gone away. It was to be said in favour of the girl that it was at this early date in Febru- ary that she made the statement that Belle Ellmore. had gone to America. What the jury would have to consider was whether the agitation witnessed by Mrs Jackson occurred on or after the 2nd of Pebuary. If it occurred before that date it could have nothing whatever to do with the murder. She might have had twinges of conscience at the time when she realised that she was in the horrible position of being mistress of a married man. That she had a deep affection for him there seems to be no doubt. Was there any reason to suppose that Crippen would tell the woman be wanted to make his wife a different story from that which he had circulated throughout the preced- ing six months ? This Scoundrel." The prosecution was bound up in the evi- dence of Mrs Jackson, and he was bound to Say that it was entirely for the jury to con- sider what waA the probability of this scoundrel having told the prisoner. As to the statement of Crippen at his arrest that Le Neve knew nothing about it. that was a most serious statement for Crippen to make as it was against his own interests. They might or might not lieve it from such a man as Crippen. but the jury must look at it so far as this poor girl was concerned. Had he told her that his wife had gone to America it was an ex- planation of Le Neve's conduct which in our wicked world was a ready and seasonable one, although it could not be one of which they thought very highly. The Jury's Verdict. The jury found the prisoner NOT GUILTY." The Lord Chief Justice merely said to the accused—" Discharged "—and prisoner, who had remained in court during the absence of the jury for 18 minutes, left the dock. Within a moment after the verdict had been delivered the public were leaving the court. There was little trace of excitement, the de- cision appearing to take no one by surprise. As Miss Le Neve went down the dock stairs she did not appear to display any emotion. Many lingered in the hope of catching a glimpse of the acquitted woman, but in this the majority were not successful, the authori- ties, after waiting a short time, taking her out of the side door without attracting much attention.



Minister's Warning.




. Mr and Mrs R. McKenna. .








New Swansea '"I t







Back From Canada. ..




----Problem of Village Youth.…

Llanelly Tersonalities. .