Crippen heads grisly top 10 of criminal investigations

Hawley Harvey Crippen, the first criminal to be arrested because of an alert raised by a wireless message, heads a top 10 of crimes solved by British police published yesterday.

Also on the list, which spans 110 years, are Reggie and Ronnie Kray, Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper and John Christie, the serial sex killer of 10 Rillington Place, Notting Hill.

Dr Crippen was hanged in Pentonville Prison, London, convicted of murdering his wife in 1910. After killing her and hiding the remains in the cellar of his London home, the American-born doctor tried to escape to Canada with his lover, Ethel Le Neve, dressed as a boy.

But he was caught after Henry Kendall, the captain of the SS Montrose, on which Crippen and his lover were fleeing across the Atlantic, recognised him. He was arrested by a detective who made a transatlantic dash in a faster vessel.

Taking second place in the Police Review list is Colin Pitchfork, the first criminal to be arrested and charged using DNA fingerprinting.

In November 1983, a hospital porter on his way to work discovered the body of Lynda Mann, 15, who had been strangled and raped the previous evening. A semen sample was taken from her body but there were no further clues until 31 July 31 1986, when Dawn Ashworth, 15, a schoolgirl, disappeared, also in Leicestershire.

Her body was found less than a mile from where Lynda Mann met her death and tests confirmed detectives were hunting a dual killer.

A breakthrough for police came a year later after a massive operation to DNA test every local male between the ages of 16 and 34. A woman reported overhearing a pub conversation in which a man said he had been bullied by his colleague Pitchfork to take the test on his behalf. Police immediately arrested the two men and found Pitchfork's genetic barcode matched the semen samples taken from the girls.

Third place goes to Christie, a serial murderer. Police made a series of grim discoveries when they searched his home in west London. The bodies of three women were hidden in a bricked-up pantry while the corpse of his wife, Ethel, was hidden beneath the floorboards. There were also human bones in the garden. Christie's conviction in 1950 for 13 murders was secured after scientific evidence provided a link to a tooth crown belonging to one of his victims.

Sutcliffe is in fifth place. He was caught by officers in his car with Olivia Reivers, the prostitute he intended to be his 14th victim.They discovered Sutcliffe was using false plates on his Rover and took him in for questioning.

His conviction in 1981 at the Old Bailey led police to establish the Holmes database, which enables police to share information between forces.

Solved crimes

1. Dr Crippen
2. Colin Pitchfork
3. John Christie
4. Peter Sutcliffe
5. Donald Neilson
6. Ronnie and Reggie Kray
7. The Great Train Robbers
8. John Haigh
9. Edwin Bush
10. The Millennium Dome Robbers

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable