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John George Haigh
Transcript of John George Haigh
Early Life (cont.)
Didn't want to work for anyone else - made a living forging vehicle documents
Married Beatrice Hammer in 1934 - the marriage ended four months later when he was sent to prison for fraud
On his release, he started a dry-cleaning business with a partner
Successful until the partner died in a car crash
Moved to London in 1936, worked as a chauffeur to the McSwann family
Maintained a relationship with Barbara Stephen
In and out of jail consistently until 1944, when he re-encountered William McSwann
The Perfect Crime
During his repeated prison stints, he becomes fascinated with "corpus delicti," which he misinterprets to mean "no body, no crime".
Experimented with sulfuric acid from the prison's tin shop on mice - the acid left little trace of the body after 30 minutes
Deciding that he'd rather get rich quick than work for a living, he comes up with the perfect crime
On the premise of a business venture, Haigh convinces William McSwann to accompany him to his "workshop," beginning a sequence of murders for profit
Amy McSwann, the Henderson's, and Olive Durand-Deacon
Officer wearing the homemade equipment Haigh used during acid disposal
Investigators searching for remains
Born July 24th, 1909 to John and Emily Haigh
Brought up in Yorkshire in a middle-class, fanatic religious family
Parents believed world was evil and they must keep themselves separate (surrounded property with 10-foot fence to keep out "prying eyes")
Bible stories only form of entertainment, even sports forbidden
With his final victim, he raised suspicion by seeming too interested in Durand-Deacon's whereabouts.
Her friend supposedly reported her missing at the encouragement of Haigh, but when police discovered his record, they investigated him and searched the workshop.
There they found documents and receipts from each of the victims, along with plenty of forensic evidence from the sludge left behind.
He was arrested and held for trial
Haigh was convinced he could escape conviction for two reasons: there was no body, and he plead insanity.
Claimed a mad bloodlust drove him to murder
Said his fanatic religious upbringing was to blame
Insisted to have drank the blood of his victims
Thought he was a martyr, compared himself to both Jesus and Hitler
However, just prior to his trial, he was found to have researched sentencing for criminally insane, and how to escape the mental institution they were sent to
William McSwann - 1944 - lured into "workshop," bashed in back of head and throat slit
Donald and Amy McSwann - 1945 - lured into same "workshop," killed same way
Dr. Archibald and Rosalie Henderson - 1948 - lured into new "workshop," shot with .38 revolver
Mrs. Olive Durand-Deacon - 1949 - same as Henderson's
After each murder, Haigh dissolved the bodies in a barrel of sulfuric acid. He claims to have consumed a cup of each victim's blood, and then disposed of the sludge either down a drain or in the backyard of the apartment building.
The Blue Blemish
Haigh's father had a blue mark on his forehead, which he used as a fear tactic against his son. He was told from a young age that the mark was the result of "sins from his youth," and that if John were to misbehave or sin, the "sign of the devil" would mark him too. His mother had no mark, he was told, because she was an angel.
When no mark appeared despite his lies or other misbehavior, John interpreted this as invincibility.
In total, Haigh made the equivalent of around $6000 by selling the property and investments of the McSwann's
Around $13,000 by doing the same to the Henderson's
Only able to pawn Mrs. Durand-Deacon's jewelry and furs before suspicion arose
"The Acid Bath Killer"
Despite the lack of a body, forensic evidence found included:
28 pounds of human body fat
Part of a left foot
18 human bone fragments
The handle of a red plastic bag
A lipstick container
The jury convicted him in under 15 minutes, and he was hanged on August 6th, 1949
"John George Haigh." Murderpedia: The Encyclopedia of Murderers. Web. 12 May 2015. <http://murderpedia.org/male.H/h/haigh-john.htm>.
"John Haigh Biography." The Biography Channel. Web. 12 May 2015. <http://www.thebiographychannel.co.uk/biographies/john-haigh.html>.
"True Grue: John George Haigh, A/k/a The Acid Bath Murderer." Fangoria. Web. 13 May 2015. <http://www.fangoria.com/new/true-grue-john-george-haigh-aka-the-acid-bath-murderer/>.