Tuesday 25 November 2008

The Crippen Debate

One of the joys of blogging – maybe the greatest joy - is that it can put you in touch with interesting people whom you would never encounter otherwise. Andrew Rose is a case in point. He’s a barrister and true crime writer, but we’ve never met. He got in touch with me having read an earlier post on this blog about the role played in the Crippen trial by the renowned pathologist, Bernard Spilsbury. And last year, Andrew published a new biography of Spilsbury called Lethal Witness, which casts new light on the man, and on the quality of the damning evidence that he so often gave in capital cases.

It turns out that Andrew and I have a couple of friends in common – another reminder that it’s a very small world – and as one more coincidence, I have a copy of another book written by Andrew, back in the 90s. It’s a study of the Fahmy case, Scandal at the Savoy, which is both very readable and carefully researched.

I have to confess that I haven’t read Lethal Witness yet, but I shall repair the omission very soon. In the meantime, it’s been fascinating to debate some aspects of the Crippen case with Andrew. He appeared on the Channel 5 programme in which it was suggested that the flesh found in Crippen’s cellar didn’t belong to Mrs Crippen – a theory I find intriguing but unlikely – and his professional expertise in criminal law gives his views extra weight. Some people think that because I’m a crime writer and a lawyer, I must specialise in criminal law. But the truth is, I’m an employment lawyer and I’ve never conducted a criminal case in my life.

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