From a Foreign Exchange
Prof. Pepper is a man under the average height, and in his silk hat and fur lined coat looks more like a club man than a surgeon. When any murder case presents peculiar difficulties, or is enshrouded in mystery, Prof. pepper is the man who steps forward, and says. "This is what occurred," or "This is how it was done." He is a surgeon to at least one London hospital and is also the home office and treasury adviser. And he is, perhaps, the greatest criminal analyst, chemist, and microscopical expert of the day. That is why he has been called in in the Hilldrop Crescent case. On June 8, 1902, the dismembered body of a young woman cruelly mutilated and partially burned, was found near the Albert embankment at Lambeth. The crime was shrouded in mystery and apparently there was absolutely no clew to go upon. And yet, when the professor was called in, he was able within 48 hours to furnish evidence enabling the police to get on the track of the man who was almost certainly the criminal. When he found himself being shadowed, however, he committed suicide.
The word was spoken in a hoarse whisper, and the next instant the bolt was drawn. In itself, the man's confession bore testimony to the skill of Prof. Pepper, whose evidence hanged him.
The murderer in question was Samuel Dougal, who was hanged for the assassination of Camille Cecile Holland, at the Moat Farm, Clavering, Essex. In the solitude of a dark night this murder was committed. Unseen by any prying eyes, Dougal interred the body of his victim, and not till between three and four years later was it discovered.
With nothing to go upon but these remains, Mr. Pepper was able to reconstruct the tragedy detail by detail, and wound up with the characteristic words: "And that is how it was done."
One of the more recent causes celebres Prof. Pepper has figured in was the Druce case. It will be remembered that doubt was thrown upon the presence of a body in the coffin buried in Highgate Cemetery. The coffin was ordered to be opened, and Mr. Pepper afterwards gave evidence as to the finding of the body.
Many will remember the "borough mystery," arising out of the death of Maud Marsh, a barmaid at the Crown public house. It afforded another instance of the value of the criminal analyst; though in this case the expert was Dr. Stevenson. He was able to state definitely that the young woman had been given antimony over a considerable period in infinitesimal doses. George Chapman, the landlord of the inn - his real name was Severino Klosowski - was arrested, and the police were led to look into the deaths of two other women who had died under like suspicious circumstances.
The bodies were exhumed, and, though two years had elapsed in one case, and six in the other, since burial, Dr. Stevenson found sufficient antimony in each case to ground further capital charges against Chapman, had the case of Maud Marsh been insufficient to hang him.
In 1892 the police in South London were baffled by a clever scoundrel. A human monster, they knew, was at large, inducing girls to take capsules, "in order to beautify the complexion." The capsules contained strychnine, and the victims died in agony. But the villain worked under the cover of darkness, and the authorities were unable to get any sufficient clew as to his identity till Dr. Stevenson took the matter up.
Then, within 24 hours, the police were on the look out for a man of middle age, a doctor, and probably an American. Within a few days the notorious Neill Cream was in prison, and, in due course, hanged.