'Dr Crippen pistol' handed to Devon and Cornwall Police

Pistol Image copyright Devon and Cornwall Police
Image caption The pistol was one of 446 weapons surrendered to police along with 15,721 items of ammunition

A pistol, claimed by its owner to have belonged to notorious poisoner Dr Crippen has been handed to police as part of a gun amnesty.

Hawley Crippen was hanged at London's Pentonville Prison in 1910 for murdering his wife Cora.

Crippen is believed to have poisoned Cora at his London home before attempting to flee to Canada.

Devon and Cornwall Police were given the pistol, but remain "unconvinced" about its purported history.


It was one of 446 weapons surrendered to police along with 15,721 items of ammunition during a two-week firearms amnesty.

Ch Insp Daniel Evans of Devon and Cornwall Police said: "As expected there were some unusual items handed in during the amnesty, including a blunderbuss, two grenades with pins removed and some antiques that are clearly of great financial value.

"Some of the weapons will be sent away for further examination to establish whether or not they have been used in the commission of criminal offences."

Image copyright Devon and Cornwall Police
Image caption A replica blunderbuss was among the items handed to police

The blunderbuss was a replica but had a vicious spring-loaded bayonet attached to the barrel.

"Other unusual items include a set of antique duelling pistols, a flare gun used in the trenches of World War One and a tiny pistol which the owner claimed to have been the possession of notorious Victorian era murderer Dr Crippen," a Devon and Cornwall Police spokesman said.

"Police remain unconvinced as to the veracity of this claim."

The firearms amnesty was held at participating stations across the force area between 3 and 17 November.

Who was Dr Crippen?

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Dr Crippen was found guilty of murder and was hanged at Pentonville Prison
  • Born 11 September 1862 in Michigan, USA.
  • In 1910, Dr Crippen murdered his wife Cora and buried her headless remains in his cellar.
  • Attempted to flee to Canada with mistress Ethel Le Neve on the SS Montrose.
  • He was caught after the ship's captain sent a telegraph message informing the vessel's owners he believed Crippen was on board.
  • Crippen was found guilty of murder and hanged at Pentonville Prison.
  • Le Neve was cleared of complicity in the killing.

Police were handed eight BB guns, 31 air pistols, 60 air rifles, 41 revolvers and 20 self-loading pistols during the amnesty.

A stun gun, 162 shotguns, 28 rifles, 28 blank firing weapons, nine replica weapons, 11 antique rifles, 20 antique pistols and 10 antique shot guns were also surrendered.

Fifteen other items were also given to police.

They will now be passed to the Army's Explosive Ordnance Disposal.

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