Books
Jonathan Oates

John George Haigh, the Acid-Bath Murderer

What motivated John George Haigh to murder at least six people, then dissolve their corpses in concentrated sulphuric acid? How did this intelligent, well-educated man from a loving, strongly religious family of Plymouth Brethren become a fraudster, a thief, then a serial killer? In the latest of his best-selling studies of criminal history, Jonathan Oates reinvestigates this sensational case of the late 1940s. He delves into Haigh's Yorkshire background, his reputation as a loner, a bully and a forger during his years at Wakefield Grammar School, and his growing appetite for the good life which his modest employment in insurance and advertising could not sustain. Then came his move to London and a rapid, apparently remorseless descent into the depths of crime, from deceit and theft to cold-blooded killing. As he follows the course of Haigh's crimes in graphic, forensic detail, Jonathan Oates gives a fascinating inside view of Haigh's attempt to carry through a series of perfect murders. For Haigh intended not only cut off his victims' lives but, by destroying their bodies with acid, literally to remove all traces that they had ever existed.
334 printed pages
Original publication
2014

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