13 May 1921
INVESTIGATOR OF CRIME.
We regret to announce that Sir Melville Leslie Macnaghten, Kt., C.B., formerly Chief of the Criminal Investigation Department, died yesterday at Queen Anne's-mansions, Westminster.
The son of the late Elliot Macnaghten, at one time chairman of the East India Company, he was born in 1853, and was educated at Eton, where he played in the Eleven. Shortly after leaving school he went to India to manage the family estates, but in 1889 he was appointed Chief Constable of the Criminal Investigation Department at New Scotland Yard. He served on Mr. Asquith's Committee to inquire into the identification of criminals, which resulted in the adoption of Sir Edward Henry's famous finger-print system, which has now been introduced into nearly every civilized country. On the promotion of Sir Edward Henry to be Commissioner, Sir Melville Macnaghten became Chief of the Criminal Investigation Department, a post which he held from 1908 to 1913.
Many famous criminals were brought to justice under his administration, the most famous cases not always being those that required the greatest ingenuity. Perhaps the best known was the Crippen murder. In 1913 ill-health compelled him to retire prematurely from his position. He was equipped for his duties with a marvelous memory, which his colleagues often tried vainly to catch tripping. He never forgot a face or a name connected with any of his cases, and he knew the characteristics and histories of practically every man in the department, which numbered some 700. He was a Knight Commander of the White Military Order of Spain and a Commander of the Order of Dannebrog.
He married, in 1878, Dora, daughter of Canon Sanderson, of Chichester, and leaves two sons and two daughters.