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True crime. Casually done.

The Acid Bath Murderer: No Body, No Crime (Not Quite)

Legal loopholes can be a godsend when you find yourself on the wrong side of the law. Rather than go to all the trouble of proving your innocence, you can simply swagger out of court on a technicality, and get on with your life. 

Maybe you got out of an arrest because the officer forgot to read you your rights as he slammed your face onto the car bonnet; or dodged a traffic ticket by declaring yourself a sovereign citizen, outside the reach of the law. The only problem with loopholes though, is that more often than not, they turn out to be total bullshit (as in both of the examples above). 

So if a criminal were to, for some reason, base his whole strategy on one of these legal old wives’ tales, he’d be in for a rude awakening before the judge. Such was the case with John George Haigh: a serial killer who attempted to beat the law at its own game, only to have the smirk slapped off his face in spectacular fashion. 


A Man of Many Faces

Let’s jump right midway. It’s 1937 — we’re in the offices of solicitor William Cato Adamson, on London’s Chancery Lane. Adamson is a picture of professionalism, sporting a tailored suit, neatly slicked-back hair, and an unfortunate Hitlery mustache which would remain in vogue for a few years yet.

Business is booming for the high-flying solicitor, so much so that he can afford to also keep offices in Guildford and Hastings as well. Aside from his regular legal business, he makes a good chunk of income from stocks and shares inherited from his grateful clients, which he sells on at cut rates. 

One of Adamson’s prospective customers received a letter from him that year offering another batch of shares, at prices which seemed too good to be true… because they were. This eagle-eyed investor noticed that Adamson had made a spelling mistake on the letterhead, leaving the D out of Guildford. 

So of course, they do what we all do whenever we spot a spelling error and… called the police. This would prove to be one of the few times a grammar Nazi has made a positive contribution to the world, because Adamson’s letters were in fact part of an elaborate scam.

These were the 1930s equivalent of a Nigerian prince email, meaning the stocks, and even the lawyer himself, were completely fraudulent.When the police raided his premises, they discovered that there never were any other offices, and his name wasn’t even Adamson. 

It was John George Haigh, a convicted fraudster whose rap sheet reads like a scrapped first draft for Catch Me If You Can.


Early Days

Stamford, Lincolnshire
Stamford, Lincolnshire by Roland Turner is licensed under CC-BY-SA

Born in 1909 in Stamford, Lincolnshire, John was raised in a fundamentalist Christian sect named the Plymouth Brethren. Think Amish, but less hardcore. Nowadays their followers shun computers, TV, radio, university, political elections, and basically any live entertainment beyond singing hymns with your grandparents. That kind of ultra-strict religious upbringing basically seems like a prerequisite for serial killers, so please take a moment to check that one off your bingo cards now.

Haigh grew up with the fire and brimstone preaching of his fundamentalist father, who he inherited his name from. John Senior claimed that the blue birthmark on his own head was the ‘sign of the Devil’, which God had cursed him with for sinning as a young man. 

Young John was terrified of one day looking in the mirror to find a similar mark of his own, but as the years went on and his holy misdemeanors piled up, none ever appeared. To the impressionable young bible basher, this proved that he was exempt from morality — he could sin as he pleased, safe from the judgement of God and the eyes of his father.

And anyway, John Senior was far more concerned with the sinners outside his household. He built a high fence all the way around the family home to keep out the wickedness of the world, meaning his son only had his pets for company throughout his early years. 

According to him, his isolation and paralyzing fear of damnation led to recurring nightmares throughout his childhood, featuring surreal religious imagery. He later described a reawakening of these dreams after a car crash in 1944: 

“I saw before me a forest of crucifixes which gradually turned into trees. At first, there appeared to be dew or rain, dripping from the branches, but as I approached I realized it was blood. The whole forest began to writhe and the trees, dark and erect, to ooze blood…A man went from each tree catching the blood[…]. When the cup was full, he approached me. ‘Drink,’ he said, but I was unable to move.”

But despite being plagued by Black Sabbath album covers each night, the young man became a relatively successful student. He landed scholarships at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School and Wakefield Cathedral, where he served as a choirboy. 

Since his sheltered upbringing made him something of an outcast, John dedicated thousands of hours to mastering the piano throughout his school years, and developed a prodigious knowledge of classical music. 


His First Few Cons

Despite his miserable, troubled childhood, John remained a pious member of the Brethren throughout his teens and early twenties. His rebellious phase had been repressed until then, so it was about to burst forth in spectacular fashion.

At 21, when he was suspected of stealing cash from the motor engineering firm where he worked, and fired. It was basically all downhill from there. In 1934, John met his wife-to-be, Beatrice Hamer, and stopped attending church with his parents. He married Beatrice that same year, despite barely even knowing her. 

To fund their new life together, he decided to put his knowledge of cars to a different use: forging tax and ownership documentation for vehicles. He was caught in the act later that year, and sentenced to fifteen months for fraud. 

John’s new bride gave birth to his daughter while he was in prison, but he never got the chance to meet her; Beatrice had already filed for divorce. She decided to give her newborn up for adoption rather than face the stigma of raising her as a single mother back in the days when they were largely shunned by society. 

And predictably, imprisonment, adoption, and divorce typically didn’t fly too well with fundamentalist Christians back then either, so John was excommunicated from his faith and family from then on. After serving his 15 months, he set about trying to rebuild his shattered life, with mixed success.

John started a dry-cleaning business with a long-time friend. No, it wasn’t a clever scam to switch out Prada dresses for cheap knock-offs — this business was actually completely legit. But unfortunately it fell apart when his partner died in a car crash. 

That’s when John decided to up sticks for London. At first he worked as a driver and maintenance man to millionaire William McSwan, who made his money running amusement arcades. Then came the fake solicitor episode we started with, for which he served four years, and a further conviction for fraud less than a year after his release

William Donald McSwan
William Donald McSwan


Graduating to Murder

Although the mark of the devil had yet to appear on the young fraudster’s head, he had more than few blemishes on his impressive criminal record. But it’s worth pointing out that John was by no means stupid. His schemes were sophisticated operations, backed up by a natural charm which made him well-suited to life as a conman. 

The only problem was that sooner or later, his marks would wise up. If he could only somehow remove them from the equation altogether…Defrauding the living was clearly far too much hassle, and things would go a lot more smoothly if he could simply kill his victims as he went along. But how to do that without landing back in jail for murder? 

He thought long and hard on that question during his latest prison stint, delving into the prison library to figure out how he could best protect himself. He skimmed through legal textbooks day after day, eventually finding the golden ticket he needed: Corpus Delicti

John became so obsessed with the idea, it became his unofficial catchphrase in prison. Whenever John — or Ol’ Corpus Delicti, as he became known — got a chance, he would rant to his fellow inmates about his little Latin legal loophole: that under British law, if no body is found, then no murder conviction can take place.

No body, no crime. And how better to get rid of a body than a good old fashioned bath of acid? In this, he was inspired by the murders of French killer George-Alexandre Sarret. But unlike George-Alexandre, John was no chemist. Then again he was no lawyer either, and that never stopped him giving it a go. 

He landed a job in the prison metalwork shop, giving him access to sulphuric acid, which he tested on the corpses of mice killed around the prison. John discovered that, as we all know, it takes around 30 minutes to dissolve a whole mouse carcass in a tub of acid. By extrapolation, he figured a human body might take a night or two at most. 

As he poured the liquified mouse down a drain, John smiled to himself — if he could replicate this psychotic little science project on a larger scale, he’d surely become one of the greatest criminals who had ever lived.


The Death and Liquefaction of William McSwan…

Upon his release in 1940, John found London very different from how he had left it. World War 2 was in full swing, and the English capital had been divested by the bombing raids of the Blitz. That’s the kind of chaotic environment a budding murderer can really thrive in.

So John started renting out a small basement workshop on Gloucester Road, and stockpiling acid for his first attempt at making human stew. Four years would pass before he got a chance to try his recipe. It was then that he went for a drink at a pub called The Goat Tavern in Kensington — one of the oldest watering holes in London.

There he bumped into an old acquaintance — William McSwann, the wealthy Scottish-born Londoner who he had once driven for. The two men spent the evening getting reacquainted, but being in the company of wealth didn’t sit too well with Johnny boy. He himself was a near destitute ex-con living paycheck to paycheck. So he presumably spent much of the night wondering whether or not his old employer could fit comfortably in a 40 gallon water barrel or not.

The two men continued to meet up over the next few weeks, and McSwann even introduced Haigh to his elderly parents Donald and Amy. The couple were moneyed, and had recently invested a hefty chunk of their fortune in some London properties which were managed by their son. The opportunity seemed too good to be true. 

On the 9th of September 1944, Haigh invited McSwann out for a drink at The Goat, getting his friend loaded up on wine before luring him to his workshop nearby. As McSwann turned his back to look around, John smashed the back of his skull with the leg of a pinball table, and beat him until he was dead. As it turned out, McSwann fit very comfortably inside the barrel which John had set aside for the occasion.

After getting suited up in a rubber apron and gloves, he began pouring in enough acid to fully cover the body. Once it was submerged, the fumes of the disintegrating flesh were too much to handle, and his killer had to run outside. Pulling his shirt over his mouth and nose, Haigh was able to go back in long enough to fasten the cover onto the barrel of bubbling blood and acid, then went home. But he couldn’t quite shake the image from his mind. The sight of that swirling, bloody broth revived his old childhood nightmares, and his dreams were once again filled with rivers of blood.

When he awoke from that surrealist horror show, he felt like a new man. Believing he had committed the perfect crime, he went to visit McSwann’s parents to tie up the loose ends. He told them that their son — who was currently about 75% disintegrated — had been called up to join the war, but chose a life on the run as a draft dodger instead. 

Their AWOL offspring even sent them postcards from his Scottish highlands hideout over the following months (of course all penned by Haigh). In them, he confirmed that he wanted John to take over collection of the rent from the London properties until his return. Also, it was fine if his mate wanted to crash at his swanky city center apartment while he was gone as well.

Haigh was a sly enough liar that the McSwann’s bought the story from the outset, trusting him to take care of their affairs until their son returned. Unbeknownst to them, shortly after leaving them, he poured the slop formerly known as William McSwann down a drain in the floor. 


…and His Parents…

The con had gone off without a hitch, and Haigh was able to maintain the ruse for almost an entire year. All that time, he enjoyed a luxury lifestyle on the money skimmed off the rental income, treating himself to a brand new car and a wardrobe of dapper suits. . 

His good fortune would have lasted longer, but annoyingly World War 2 was coming to a close, and the McSwanns started to inquire why their William wasn’t coming home, seeing as the military wasn’t in need of him any more.

With his house of cards starting to wobble, John knew he only had a few weeks at most before his marks started to suspect something was up. So in July 1945, he gave the elderly McSwanns exactly what they wanted: their son was coming back from Scotland, and he couldn’t wait to be reunited with them… at a workshop on Gloucester Road…

When the couple descended into the dingy, damp little room, William was nowhere to be seen. This was a strange place for a family reunion, but their son was technically still a fugitive, after all. Haigh assured them that he would be along shortly — they should head on inside and make themselves comfortable. 

Mr McSwann was the first to go, struck on the back of the head. His wife barely had time to scream before she too was bludgeoned to the floor. Haigh beat his elderly victims repeatedly, until both had stopped moving. We can only hope that he had properly finished the job, because if not, the acid certainly would have. 

According to Haigh’s own testimony, it was then that he decided to act on the demands from his crucifix dreams. “Drink” said the creepy guy with the cup of blood, and that’s exactly what John did. Rather than toss the pair of pensioners into an acid bath right away, he first drained a cup of the red stuff from each, and drank them down. And when you’ve already gone past killing and dissolving people, you might as well. I’m not condoning vampirism, just pointing out that the leap between acid baths and vampirism isn’t that big.

After the couple’s remains were safely disposed of down the same drain as their son, Haigh took control of their affairs. This meant telling their landlady that they had suddenly decided to move to the US, and having their pension cheques forwarded to his new suite at the Onslow Court Hotel, Kensington.

After forging William McSwann’s signature to gain power of attorney over their estate, he disposed of their London properties, various securities, and the contents of their home in his name, netting near £4000 in total (about £170,000 in today’s money).

Haigh was moving up in the world. It turned out that the only thing needed to turn a failing conman career around was 10 gallons of acid and a can-do attitude. 


…and the Hendersons

There was one more problem though: John Haigh wasn’t quite as good at holding onto money, as he was at swindling people out of it. Alongside his fancy new hotel home, he splashed the cash impressing a new girlfriend named Barbara, and blew the rest on a crippling gambling addiction.

By 1947, his funds were already running low. A few minor scams topped up his reserves, but what he really needed was another big windfall. He began scoping out potential marks among London’s high society. 

He eventually found the right fit in Rose and Archibald Henderson, a wealthy middle-aged couple who were selling a house in the city. Haigh went for a viewing of the property, introducing himself as an engineer who had recently moved to the city. He managed to charm the couple with his knowledge of classical music while he was there.

The Hendersons were so impressed that they invited him to play piano at the housewarming for their new place at the Metropole Hotel, sealing a friendship which would ultimately be the death of them: they had unwittingly invited Dracula into their home. It was at this party that Haigh got his hands on his new weapon of choice, snatching Archibald’s revolver from a chest in the bedroom.

Over the following year, the Acid Bath Murderer managed to worm his way into the couple’s affairs, learning about their various properties and investments in detail, and winning the trust of their social circle with his charming facade. Meanwhile, he set up a new workshop on Crawley Road, Sussex — much nearer the Henderson home in Brighton — and stocked it with two large barrels, and three jugs of sulphuric acid.

On the 12th of February 1948, he ferried his new best friends there one by one. Dr Henderson was first, lured down on the pretense of getting a sneak peek at Haigh’s new invention. When he drove Mrs Henderson down, he told her husband had taken ill and was asking for her. Really, his body was lying dead in the store room — Haigh had shot him in the back of the head with his own gun. Mrs Henderson met the same end the second she stepped inside.

With the couple dead, Haigh cut an incision into each of them with his pen knife, and drained their blood into a glass. After enjoying a nice fresh draught, he heaved the Hendersons into separate barrels, and left them dissolving overnight. 

When he returned the next day, Haigh discovered that the process hadn’t been quite as successful as before. Apparently his new supplier had been cheaping out on the acid, because a few chunks of human remained in the deep red broth (including the better part of one of Mrs Henderson’s feet). Haigh thought himself pretty much invulnerable at this point though, so he decided to just dispose of the barrels are previously planned — the neighborhood cats would surely take care of the rest.

While the Hendersons were busy soaking into the soil on a patch of waste ground near the workshop, Haigh put his forgery skills to use once again to take control of their estate. He began with a letter to Rose’s brother Burlin, explaining that she and her husband would have to leave the country, leaving their good friend John to settle their affairs in the UK.

Understandably, Burlin wasn’t convinced, but the silver-tongued vampire had cooked up a convincing story to throw him off. He explained that Dr Henderson had been caught performing an illegal abortion, so he and his wife had decided to flee to South Africa. 

With the brother placated for the moment, Haigh managed to net a cool £8000 (£335,000) disposing of  the couple’s assets, and even kept their dog as a souvenir. 


His Final Victim

Once again, you’d think that’d be enough money for Haigh to retire overseas and leave his bloodsucking ways behind. But his gambling habits got the better of him once again. He burned through the bulk of the Henderson fortune in about 14 months, once again falling back on petty schemes to make up the deficit in his spending.

In June 1948, one of his cars was found at the bottom of a cliff after he reported it stolen. He took his now fiancé Barbara to the cliff shortly after, and explained how he had rolled the vehicle off the precipice himself in order to collect the insurance money.

That probably got him a few more hands of blackjack, but shortly after he once again found himself in dire need of cash. Over the next year John dug himself deeper and deeper into debt, taking out loans just to pay off other loans. His fiancé was growing suspicious, and the image he had cultivated of a worldly, successful modern gentleman was starting to slip.

By this point Haigh was a familiar face at the Onslow Court Hotel, and had integrated with the little community of other long-term residents there. Among them was 69-year-old widow Olive Henrietta Olivia Roberts Durand-Deacon (but we’ll just call her DD, for short). DD, like all the other residents, was under the impression that her neighbor was a successful inventor, so she came to him with a proposal on the 14th of February 1948.

She had come up with a prototype for artificial fingernails, and wanted to know if he could develop them into a fully-fledged product. A few days later, on the 18th, Haigh told her he had done some tinkering at his workshop, and wanted to show her the results. The two hopped in his car and drove to Crawley, where he pointed the old dear towards a stack of bogus patent documents on the workbench. You basically already know what happened when she leaned over to inspect them: gunshot, cup of blood, acid bath, bed. 

When DD’s absence was noted at breakfast the next morning, Haigh told the other residents that she had never shown up for their meeting at all. The day after, he even offered to go down to the police station with a close friend Olive, named Constance Lane.


At the station, they were met by Sergeant Lambourne, who quizzed Haigh on the meeting he had arranged with the missing woman. The sergeant was suspicious of his dodgy alibi from the start, so she took a dive into his file after the pair had left. She discovered the so-called inventor’s history of fraud, and began an investigation into the true circumstances of that mysterious meeting. 

The next morning, the fraudster returned to the scene of the crime to pour out the remains and arrange the sale of Olive’s personal effects. It was a meagre haul compared to his previous jackpots. The items included a fur coat (good condition, somewhat bloodstained), a bit of loose change, and a handful of jewelry pieces. All in all, John only got around £110 for the lot.

To make matters worse, that dastardly Burlin Henderson was stirring up trouble again, asking the police to track down his sister so she could claim a family inheritance. When he mentioned the name John Haigh to the cops, they quickly made the link to the recent disappearance. This meddling put Burlin right at the top of the Acid Bath Vampire’s kill list — if he could stay free long enough to pull it off, that was.

By the following Saturday, the police had gained permission to break open the door of the workshop. Inside they found an empty barrel with a hat pin at the bottom; a rubber apron; gas mask; several glass vessels with a little acid left in the bottoms; a 38 caliber Enfield revolver (recently-fired); and a dry cleaning receipt for a black Persian lamb coat (of the exact kind the missing woman used to wear). Was it bravado, stupidity, or plain laziness that led him to leave such a treasure trove for the detectives? Probably a mix of all three.

On Monday the 28th of February, the police were once again waiting at Haigh’s hotel. On the pretense of another routine inquiry, they brought him in for questioning. At first he was aloof and uninterested, taking his time to smoke a cigarette, read the newspaper, and take a nap while the investigators prepared their strategy.

When they finally got around to questioning him, the Vampire sensed from their questions that they knew more than they were letting on. But at the end of the day, even if they knew every single little detail, there was nothing they could do — he had the Corpus Delicti trump card. 

When left alone with Detective Inspector Albert Webb, John asked him: “Tell me, frankly, what are the chances of anybody being released from Broadmoor” (Broadmoor being one of England’s most notorious maximum security psychiatric hospitals). Webb refused to discuss the matter, and John replied, “Well, if I told you the truth, you would not believe me. It sounds too fantastic to believe.”

Haigh pondered for a moment, before deciding to lay all his cards on the table. Like a cheesy superhero villain, he confessed his master plan in one extended monologue, intoxicated with the power of his own genius. Starting with that poor prison mouse, and ending with Mrs Durand-Deacon, he gleefully gave the detective a full timeline of his murderous spree, the highlight of which has to be:

“I will tell you about it. Mrs. Durand-Deacon no longer exists. She has disappeared completely and no trace of her can ever be found again. I have destroyed her with acid.  You will find the sludge, which remains at Leopold Road. Every trace has gone. How can you prove murder without a body?”

Well John…


A Flaw in the Plan

As it turns out, Haigh would have done far better brushing up on his Latin before hitting those legal textbooks, because then he might have understood what his favorite catchphrase actually meant. Corpus Delicti doesn’t mean ‘no body, no crime’ at all. It literally translates to “the body of the crime” but shouldn’t be taken at face value.

What the term relates to is the need to prove that a crime actually occurred before anyone can be charged with it. For example, to charge someone with grand theft auto, you have to prove that a car has gone missing. Consider it the most basic building block of a prosecution’s case.

In the same vein, before someone can be tried for murder, it has to be proven that a murder has taken place. Note: that does not mean a literal body is required, just that some proof of a killing has to be available to present to a jury. That’s enough to satisfy the ‘body of the crime’ requirement, even without the presence of a literal body.

Just imagine John’s face when this was explained to him by someone with a proper understanding of the law. After all, he had just that minute admitted to all five of the murders we’ve witnessed, along with three more which were never proven: two women and a young man. He even pointed the cops towards the sludged remains of the last three!

On the 1st of March, forensic pathologists moved in to scoop and scrape all this evidence together. Wearing thick rubber gloves to protect themselves from the residual acid, the team sifted through the dirt in the vacant lot, which was peppered with various fragments of human remains. You may want to pause the episode now if you’re eating meat.

On the topsoil they found a gallstone, which marked the position he had dumped the bodies. Digging deeper revealed two more of those, along with 12kg of human body fat, a chunk of a left foot, 18 bone fragments, a lipstick container, a bag handle, and a pair of fully-intact dentures. Poor Olive’s dentist later matched these up to her dental records, and pathologists were able to reconstruct her foot to perfectly fit inside one of her shoes (like a gritty noir reboot of Cinderella).

As you might have guessed, a puddle of human is more than enough to satisfy the requirements of Corpus Delicti, rendering John’s ‘get out of jail free’ card absolutely worthless. Rather than slipping the net as he expected, this fish had thrown himself right into the fisherman’s boat.


Trial and Death by Hanging

But Haigh didn’t his own idiotic blunder get him down. When he was dragged before the magistrates in Sussex County on April 1st 1949, he was in a cheery mood, cracking jokes throughout the initial hearing. Even though his first stroke of genius fell flat, he had cooked up another which he thought would save him from the hangman: he was to plead insanity, and land that nice, warm padded cell at Broadmoor. 

Over the lead-up to the proceedings, Haigh had prepared his defense by speaking to prison psychiatrists, and regaling them with stories of the surreal dreams which he claimed had plagued him from childhood. He talked again and again about drinking the blood of his victims, and explained that he was acting on the perverse urges from his nightmares, which had spilled over into his waking mind. 

But the psychiatrists saw right through this new plot. His ranting sounded suspiciously like someone who had skimmed through a psychoanalysis textbook, rather than the genuine troubles of a madman, so they refused to give him the diagnosis he needed. With that in mind, it’s possible that he never even had those dreams or drank any blood at all — these might have just been little white lies to paint himself as a lunatic, rather than a plain old murderer and thief. 

It was later revealed that Haigh had befriended a worker at Sussex psychiatric hospital, and spent hours quizzing them on the details of various mental illnesses. He was probably just preparing for the latest performance in his long line of cons. Really, his crimes were committed purely for profit, or perhaps partly just for the thrill of the deceptions.

The judge and jury saw right through this latest one. Acting for the prosecution, Sir Hartley Shawcross convinced the jury to reject the insanity plea, as Haigh’s crimes were very clearly premeditated, with the goal of material gains. Just minutes into deliberation, the jury returned their verdict: guilty as hell (to use the official legal term). 

And so the Acid Bath Vampire was sentenced to death by hanging. There was no way he could con himself out of this one. On August 10th 1949 —the day he was due to die — one of the jailers offered the Vampire a glass of his second-favorite beverage, brandy. Haigh replied, “Make it a large one, old boy.” 

Minutes later, he dropped to the end of a rope, and his neck snapped. The Acid Bath Murderer was dead. 



This was the inevitable outcome of Haigh’s superhuman bravado (and sketchy understanding of the finer points of Latin legal terminology). The killer who thought himself cleverer than the law had been well and truly screwed by his own assumed invulnerability. Because realistically, if he had just known how to manage his money and his pride, there’s every chance he might have gotten away with it much, much longer.

While plenty of criminals in history have been able to get off on technicalities — like our German robber twins Hassan and Abbas O from a previous episode — I think this one proves it’s better to keep loopholes as a backup, rather than building your whole plan around them. 

The Acid Bath Vampire lived a hundred different lives throughout his time on earth: lawyer, inventor, chemist, and more. But behind it all was an egotistical, mean-spirited killer, happy exploiting the trust of others before erasing them from the world entirely. It goes to show that you can never really be sure that you truly know someone, so if your mate ever invites you down to his basement workshop to show you something cool he made, be on guard. 

Worst case, you might end up chained up in the dark, writing for an online docu-series. 

Send help. 

Dismembered Appendices

1. Burlin Henderson wasn’t the only person to get a lucky escape from the Acid Bath Murderer. Not long after killing the Hendersons, John noticed the obituary of one of his old schoolmates in the paper. He planned on visiting the man’s grieving mother, and utilizing her grief to rob and kill her. Unfortunately for Haigh, his elderly mark died of natural causes before he could darken her doorstep. 

2. The John Haigh case was one of the most sensational news stories of mid-century Britain, giving the papers plenty of candid details to shock their readers with. Silvester Bolam, who was serving as the editor of the Daily Mirror at the time, even ended up serving three months in prison on contempt of court — his punishment for calling Haigh a “murderer” before the trial had concluded.

3. Ever the egotist, one of John Haigh’s last acts on earth was to send a package to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum on the evening before his execution. He knew he would be featuring in their Chamber of Horrors installation — a rogues’ gallery of killers and psychopaths — and gifted them his favorite green suit and red tie. They obliged his final wish, and Haigh’s wax dummy was dressed in those clothes right until the entire exhibition was discontinued in 2016.



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