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Doctor Crippen
(Roud 18472)
Martin Howley
Fanore, north west Clare
Recorded in singer’s home, July 1975

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

Martin Howley

Ye sons of old Erin, from memory loyal,
Pray stand for a minute and listen a while.
The lines I have written will call for your pity,
Concerning the murder in London brave city

A victim, a lady was just in her prime,
Who lived with her husband, that committed the crime.
It’s little she dreamt that it would be her sad end;
She had every comfort and plenty to spend.

Her husband, a slave, a man of great fame;
He was called Doctor Crippen, not a blot on his name.
He gave his wife poison and sent her to sleep,
And cut up her body and buried it deep.

LeNeve was his mistress, on her he did fawn,
He took all the jewels and put them in pawns,
And disguised her, he bought her a boy’s suit of clothes,
And they both were arrested on the board of Montrose.

Both were brought back their trial for to stand.
The news of the murder spread all through the land.
He said, “I am innocent”, but the jury then rang.
“Oh then, Crippen, you are guilty and you now must be hanged.”

The crime he committed made all the people rave,
As poor Belle Elmore’s body lay cold in her grave.
The blood cried for vengeance to heaven on high,
And Crippen was condemned on the gallows to die.


"Doctor Hawley Harvey Crippen was hanged in London in 1910 for the murder of his wife, (Cora Turner, not Belle Elmore, as given here) having been found guilty of poisoning her, cutting up her body and hiding it in the cellar of their home. The capture of Crippen and his lover, Ethel le Neve, on board the SS Montrose en-route for Canada, was the first time radio had been used in connection with a murder case."

The above commentary, lyrics and recording are taken from ‘Around the Hills of Clare: Songs and Recitations from the Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie Collection’ (2004) Musical Traditions Records MTCD331-2/Góilín Records 005-6.

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