Lethal Witness: Sir Bernard Spilsbury, Honorary Pathologist

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Overview

Before there was CSI, there was one man who saw beyond the crime and into the future of forensic science, Bernard Spilsbury, who brought criminal investigation into the modern age.

Sir Bernard Spilsbury was an early-twentieth-century British forensic pathologist who gained fame by testifying in classic murder cases, beginning in 1910 with the Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen trial. His expert court testimony-he identified Crippen's victim by detailed ...

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Lethal Witness: Sir Bernard Spilsbury, Honorary Pathologist

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Overview

Before there was CSI, there was one man who saw beyond the crime and into the future of forensic science, Bernard Spilsbury, who brought criminal investigation into the modern age.

Sir Bernard Spilsbury was an early-twentieth-century British forensic pathologist who gained fame by testifying in classic murder cases, beginning in 1910 with the Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen trial. His expert court testimony-he identified Crippen's victim by detailed microscopic study of a scar-convinced the lay jury of Crippen's guilt.

Considered the father of modern forensic pathology, Spilsbury became well known after he provided crucial prosecutorial evidence in the Brides in the Bath case (where a nurse nearly drowned in a laboratory experiment designed to prove his theories), the Blazing Car and Brighton Trunk murders, and the Hay-on-Wye aresenic poisoning trial. Knighted in 1923, Spilsbury performed 20,000 postmortem examinations and became the first and only "Honorary Pathologist to the Home Office."

Controversial and dramatic, Lethal Witness charts Spilsbury's rise and fall as a media star, revealing how he put spin on the facts, embellished evidence, and played games with the truth. In some notorious cases, his "positive evidence" led to the conviction and execution of men innocent of murder-gross miscarriages of justice that now demand official pardons.

Andrew Rose examines Spilsbury's carefully nurtured image, dogmatic manner, and unbending belief in his own infallibility and exposes the fallacies of the man dubbed "the most brilliant scientific detective of all time." True crime fans, students of forensics, and law enforcement professionals will enjoy this biography of Sir BernardSpilsbury, the man who helped raise forensic science to an art.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781606350195
  • Publisher: Kent State University Press
  • Publication date: 5/22/2009
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction xv

1 An Unsentimental Education 1

2 Dr Spilsbury 9

3 Dr Crippen 21

4 Moral High Ground 31

5 Brides in the Bath 41

6 Night of the Gothas 51

7 The Button and Badge Murder 63

8 Mid-Life Crisis 77

9 'Excuse Fingers' 85

10 'Arise, Sir Bernard' 97

11 1924: Two Vintage Murders 111

12 A Martyr to Spilsburyism 125

13 Not Proven 141

14 'Do you think I've come up here for fun?' 153

15 A Disappearing Bruise 163

16 The Blazing Car Murder 185

17 Murder Parade 199

18 Ghastly Speculation 211

19 'Laugh, baby, laugh for the last time!' 221

20 Tony Mancini: The Brighton Trunk Murders 229

21 Spilsbury in Decline 241

22 Wartime 251

23 Last Years 263

Notes 271

Select Bibliography 285

Index 289

Errata 297

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    Posted April 15, 2013

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