Doctor of Death Thomas Neill Cream Part 2

About the doctor of death Thomas Neill Cream who murdered a number of women in the late 19th century in Chicago, his arrest and trial.

THE PROLIFIC THOMAS NEILL CREAM

(active 1878 to 1892)

The Hunt: Cream did himself in. He tried to blackmail drug firms. Posing as "A. O'Brien," he wrote a letter to the Lambeth coroner, offering to deliver Ellen Donworth's murderer for pound 3,000 reward. He even went so far as to print up 500 circulars reading:

...TO THE GUESTS OF THE METROPOLE HOTEL. I HEREBY CERTIFY TO YOU THAT THE PERSON WHO POISONED ELLEN DONWORTH ON THE 13TH DAY OF LAST OCTOBER IS TODAY IN THE EMPLOY OF THE METROPOLE HOTEL, AND YOUR LIVES ARE IN DANGER AS LONG AS YOU REMAIN IN THIS HOTEL. [signed] W. H. MURRAY

He tried to pin the crimes on a Dr. Harper, to whom he wrote threatening letters. The police identified his handwriting.

When he discovered that the police were watching him, he charged into Scotland Yard to lodge an indignant complaint. The complaint was denied. He was arrested on June 3.

The Accused: Born in Glasgow, Cream moved with his family to Canada in 1863. He was cross-eyed (particularly when excited), bald, and wore a pair of gold pince-nez. Though he acquired a degree in medicine, he made his way as a young man committing insurance company fraud, and performing as an arsonist, a petty thief, and an abortionist. In London, after serving his jail term for his U.S. and Canadian murders, he hung around with prostitutes. He affected a costume when he did so--a tall silk hat, a velvet cloak over evening clothes, a carnation, and a gold-topped walking stick. Maybe he was trying to emulate Jack the Ripper, who had won his fame 2 years before by killing prostitutes. Whatever his inspiration, he killed them too.

The Trial: One of the witnesses at Cream's trial was Lou Harvey, a prostitute to whom Cream had given some pills. She had been too smart to take them. There were other witnesses, also--people to whom Cream had bragged about his activities. The jury was out only 10 minutes before they came back with a verdict of Guilty.

The End: Thomas Neill Cream was hanged for the murder of Matilda Clover on November 5, 1892. He went to the gallows claiming alternately that he was innocent and that he was Jack the Ripper.

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