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GRUESOME ACID BATH MURDERS

John George Haigh was a British serial killer active in the late 40's. He used to dispose of his victims' bodies by burning them in sulfuric acid, according to Forensic magazine. Haigh was convinced he was getting away with murder, literally, because he mistakenly thought that without a body there was no crime.





Haigh was freed from prison in 1943 and became an accountant with an engineering firm. Soon after, by chance, he bumped into his former employer William McSwan in The Goat pub in Kensington. McSwan introduced Haigh to his parents, Donald and Amy. McSwan worked for them by collecting rents on their London properties, and Haigh became envious of his lifestyle. On 6 September 1944, McSwan disappeared. Haigh later admitted hitting him over the head after luring him into a basement at 79 Gloucester Road, London SW7. He then put McSwan's body into a 40-gallon drum and tipped concentrated sulphuric acid onto it. Two days later he returned to find that the body had become sludge, which he poured down a manhole.





He told McSwan's parents that their son had gone into hiding in Scotland to avoid being called up for military service. Haigh then took over McSwan's house and began collecting the rents for his parents, but he wanted the money from the properties. Donald and Amy became curious as to why their son had not returned as the war was coming to an end. On 2 July 1945, he lured them to Gloucester Road by telling them their son was back from Scotland for a surprise visit. He murdered them in his basement with blows to the head and disposed of them.Haigh then stole William McSwan's pension cheques and sold their properties, stealing about £8,000, then moved into the Onslow Court Hotel in Kensington.

Haigh was a gambler and by 1947 he was running short of money. To solve his financial troubles, he found another couple to kill and rob: Dr. Archibald Henderson and his wife Rose. After feigning interest in a house that they were selling, he was invited to the Hendersons' flat by Rose to play the piano for their housewarming party.

While at the flat Haigh stole Archibald Henderson's revolver, planning to use it in his next crime. Renting a small workshop at 2 Leopold Road, Crawley, Sussex, he moved acid and drums there from Gloucester Road. (Haigh was also known to have stayed at Crawley's George Hotel on several occasions.) On 12 February 1948, he drove Henderson to his workshop on the pretext of showing him an invention. When they arrived, Haigh shot Henderson in the head with the stolen revolver. He then lured Mrs. Henderson to the workshop, claiming that her husband had fallen ill, and shot her also.





After disposing of the Hendersons' bodies in oil drums filled with acid, he forged a letter from them and sold all of their possessions for £8,000, except for their car and dog, which he kept.

His arrogance is what ultimately got him caught when he led police to the remains of his sixth and final victim, 69-year-old Olive Durand-Deacon.

While on trial, Haigh pleaded insanity and insisted to the court that he drank the blood of his victims. He was found guilty in 1949 and hanged a few months later.  

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