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    Posted on Oct 30, 2015

    20 Creepily Fascinating Things From Scotland Yard's Hidden Museum Of Crime

    The trunk used to conceal a body, the spade used to bury a wife.

    The Crime Museum Uncovered has opened at the Museum of London, which means you now get to nose around some of the grim stuff that has been hidden from the public for decades.

    Museum of London

    The stuff used to murder people, or hide bodies, or burn bodies, that previously only detectives and their special guests were given access to when it was housed at Scotland Yard.

    Now the murder bags, the ropes that hanged convicted criminals, and the acid bath kits are all on show.

    Here are some more:

    1. The trunk used by John Robinson to conceal the body of Minnie Bonati, 1927.

    Museum of London

    John Robinson murdered 36-year-old prostitute Minnie Bonati and hid her dismembered body in this trunk. He then dumped it at Charing Cross Station in the left-luggage office.

    A few days later attendants noticed a smell coming from the trunk and called the police. Inside, police found five brown paper parcels tied with string. Each contained a piece of Minnie Bonati.

    She had been dead for about a week.

    On 13 July 1927 Robinson was sentenced to death, and hanged at Pentonville Prison a month later.

    2. Spade used by Dr Crippen to bury his wife, Cora, 1910.

    Museum of London

    Police first heard of Cora's disappearance from her friend, a strongwoman called Vulcana.

    Her husband, Dr Crippen, claimed that she had returned to the USA, died, and been cremated, but he changed his story in a later police interview. He said that he'd made up the whole thing up because he was embarrassed: She'd actually run off with some other guy. The house was searched and nothing was found, and the police would have bought the story had Crippen not swiftly fled the country.

    When the house (39 Hilldrop Crescent, Camden Road, Holloway, now demolished) was searched again, police found the remains of a body buried under the basement floor. It wasn't a whole body, though: The head, limbs, and skeleton were never found.

    Crippen was arrested in Quebec after fleeing to Canada with his mistress, Ethel Le Neve, and executed at Pentonville Prison on 23 November 1910.

    3. Booklet on the Dr Crippen case, c. 1910.

    Museum of London

    The Crippen case fascinated the public, and even now there are doubts as to his guilt. New DNA evidence suggests the body under the bricks was not Cora's, or even female.

    4. Death mask of murderer Frederick Deeming, Australia's first serial killer.

    Museum of London

    Frederick Deeming is mostly remembered for being a suspect in the Jack the Ripper murders. But that's not what he was hanged for.

    He murdered his first wife and four children in July 1891 in Rainhill, England, and his second wife six months later in Melbourne, Australia.

    The body of his second wife was found in March 1892 when the new tenant complained about the smell in one of the bedrooms. She had been cemented under the hearthstone, her skull fractured by several blows, but the cause of death was most likely a slit throat.

    At the time of his arrest for the second murder, news of the bodies of his previously undiscovered first murders (his children and their mother, who died in the same manner and whose bodies were concealed in the same way) reached Australia.

    Three months after the discovery of his second wife's body, he was hanged at the Old Melbourne Gaol on 23 May 1892 at the age of 38. The swift execution was mostly due to the media frenzy surrounding the story. The press connected the suburban Melbourne murder to the Whitechapel murders four years earlier.

    5. Handcuffs reputedly worn by notorious thief Jack Sheppard, early 18th century.

    Museum of London

    In 1724 Sheppard was imprisoned for charges of theft five times but escaped four times, making him a notorious public figure and working-class hero. He was the guy who actually lowered himself out jail cell windows with tied-together bedsheets like in cartoons.

    He didn't escape a fifth time and was hanged instead, on 16 November 1724, in front of a crowd of 200,000 people.

    After hanging for the standard 15 seconds his body was cut down and the crowd surged forward, hoping to stop the body being removed for dissection. What they actually did was inadvertently prevent Sheppard's pals from stealing the body to try and revive him.

    He was buried later that evening, considerably more mauled than he was when he was alive.

    6. Medicine case belonging to poisoner and (another) Jack the Ripper suspect, Dr Neill Cream, 1892.

    Museum of London

    Also known as the Lambeth Poisoner, Dr Cream was in prison at the time of the Ripper murders so it's unlikely to have been him (even if there's an unsubstantiated rumour that his final words were "I am Jack the...").

    He killed women in botched abortions, and murdered several prostitutes with strychnine.

    He was executed after attempting to frame and blackmail other people, namely WFD Smith, owner of WH Smith, for his crimes.

    7. Shoe prints recovered by police from murder scene of Ruby Keen, 1937.

    Museum of London

    Ruby Keen, 23, was raped and murdered by her ex-boyfriend, Leslie Stone, in Leighton Buzzard. She had been strangled with her own black scarf.

    These plaster casts were taken from beside Keen's body. Police inferred that whoever committed the murder had knelt astride her as he strangled her.

    These casts, and the fact that Stone's new trousers had been worn away and exhibited soil from the scene, helped identify him as the killer.

    He was sentenced to death and hanged at Pentonville Prison on 13 August 1937, aged 24.

    8. The Smith & Wesson .38 revolver used by Ruth Ellis to murder David Blakely, 1955.

    Museum of London

    Ruth Ellis was a nude model, a hostess in a nightclub, a prostitute, and the last woman to be hanged in England.

    This was the gun she used to murder her abusive, hard-drinking, racecar-driving lover David Blakely on 10 April 1955, outside the Magdala pub on South Hill Park in Hampstead.

    She was arrested immediately and gave a detailed confession to the police, never denying the murder. In court, when the counsel for the prosecution asked her what she intended to do when she fired the gun at Blakely, she said: "It's obvious when I shot him I intended to kill him."

    She was hanged on 13 July 1955. Her execution led to widespread public appeal for mercy and ultimately the abolition of capital punishment 10 years later.

    9. Charred chair used by Samuel Furnace to fake his own death, 1933.

    Museum of London

    Samuel Furnace was a builder who tried to escape a bad financial situation by faking his own suicide. He shot another guy, 25-year-old Walter Spatchett, propped him up in this chair in his shed in Hawley Crescent, Camden Town, and then burned the shed down. He left a suicide note: "Goodbye all. No work. No money. Sam J Furnace."

    Furnace was never tried for the murder of Spatchett. He ended up committing suicide that first night in jail for real, with a bottle of hydrochloric acid he had secreted inside his overcoat.

    10. Replica Millennium Star diamond used in Operation Magician to foil Millennium Dome robbery, 2000.

    Museum of London

    In 2000, the Flying Squad foiled a plan to rob a De Beers diamond exhibition at the Millennium Dome. If the gang had succeeded, they would have made away with £350 million worth of diamonds.

    While the suspected criminals were being monitored, the Flying Squad replaced the actual diamonds, including the Millennium Star — a flawless 203.04 carats (40.608g) gem estimated to be worth £200 million — with this replica.

    11. Mask from the murder case of PC George Gutteridge by Frederick Browne and William Kennedy, 1927.

    Museum of London

    Police Constable George Gutteridge, 36, was shot in the face by two men travelling in a stolen car through Essex. The two men, Frederick Browne and William Kennedy, were hanged for murder on 31 May 1928 at the same time but in separate prisons.

    This homemade mask was found in their possession during the investigation.

    12. William Hartley courtroom illustration of Amelia Sachs and Annie Walters on trial for baby farming, 1903.

    Museum of London

    Better known as the "Finchley baby farmers", Amelia Sachs and Annie Walters ran a business in East Finchley around the year 1900 whereby women who couldn't keep their babies could give them to Sachs and Walters, who would ostensibly organise their adoption. The pair took money for adoptions, as well as money as a gift for the future parents of the child.

    Instead of rehoming the babies, Walters would kill them with a poison called chlorodyne. There's no official number of victims, but the discarded baby clothes in the house suggest it was in the dozens.

    They became the first women to be hanged at Holloway, on 3 February 1903. It was the only double hanging of women in modern times.

    13. Knuckleduster used in an assault, c. late 19th or early 20th century.

    Museum of London

    14. Electrical generator used to administer electric shocks by the Richardson Gang, 1960s.

    Museum of London

    The 1960s Richardson Gang was based in south London and earned their nickname "Torture Gang" by allegedly pulling teeth with pliers, cutting off toes with bolt cutters, and nailing victims to the floor with 6" nails. They were involved in drug dealing, pornography, fraud, racketeering, usury, and theft.

    This was one of their torture devices, used to electrocute the victim until they passed out. It would be attached to the victims' nipples and genitalia before the gang lowered the victim into a cold bath to enhance the electrical charge.

    15. Miniature furniture used to reconstruct the murder scene of Emily Kaye, 1924.

    Museum of London

    Emily Kaye was a pregnant woman who was murdered in 1924 by Patrick Mahon, her married boyfriend. The police found four large sections of her body, plus 37 smaller fragments and various internal organs, but were never able to determine an official cause of death.

    Mahon was hanged for his crime at Wandsworth Prison in London, later that year.

    16. Mather's Arsenical Flypaper, exhibit in the Seddons' trial for the poisoning of Eliza Barrow, 1912.

    Museum of London

    Frederick Seddon poisoned his lodger Eliza Barrow at 63 Tollington Park, Finsbury Park, shortly after he persuaded her to give him financial control of all of her savings and annuities. His end of the deal was that he was to look after her for the rest of her life.

    It was suggested in court by the prosecution that Seddon obtained the arsenic that killed Barrow by soaking these sheets of flypaper in water.

    Seddon was hanged at Pentonville Prison on 18 April 1912.

    17. Death mask of Franz Muller, a German tailor who committed the first British railway murder, 1864.

    Museum of London

    Franz Muller was a German tailor who robbed and assaulted Thomas Briggs, a 69-year-old City banker, before throwing his body from the train. Briggs was found by a driver coming from the opposite direction, between the old Bow and Victoria Park & Hackney Wick stations, and later died of his injuries.

    It was the first British railway murder and highlighted fears about railway travel. A few years later, it led to the introduction of the communication cord to stop the train in case of emergency.

    Muller was hanged at Newgate Prison on 14 November 1864.

    18. Handwritten criminal record card for Arthur James Woodbine, aged 12, 1896.

    Museum of London

    19. Gun used by Edward Oxford in an assassination attempt on Queen Victoria, 1840.

    Museum of London

    Edward Oxford was the first of eight people who tried to assassinate Queen Victoria.

    It happened at Constitution Hill, near Buckingham Palace, when the Queen was four months pregnant with her first child. Oxford missed, confessed immediately, and was charged with treason (although later no one could prove the gun was loaded, and Oxford himself claimed it was merely gunpowder).

    He was acquitted, declared "not guilty by reason of insanity" and spent the next 24 years in Bedlam.

    20. Postcard from the Siege of Sidney Street, the first armed siege to be recorded on film, 1911.

    Museum of London

    Otherwise known as the "Battle of Stepney" this was a notorious gunfight in London's East End, preceded by the deaths of three police officers and one gang member the month before in a robbery gone bad.

    The siege was between armed police officers and the Scots Guard, and a gang of international anarchists hiding in a flat in Stepney. Not only was it the first time a siege was recorded on film, it was also the first time that police in London requested military assistance to deal with one.

    The Crime Museum Uncovered runs until 10 April 2016.

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