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On the morning of Thursday 12th February 1948, two years after the triple murder of the McSwan family, with John George Haigh having blossomed into a respected businessman with enough money to last a lifetime and had no plans to kill ever again, he lured his new pal - a wealthy man of dubious morals Archie Henderson - to his workshop at 2 Leopold Road, where he murdered him and dissolved his body in acid. But why did Johnny return to a life of crime?
As many photos of the case are copyright protected by greedy news organisations, to view them, take a peek at my entirely legal social media accounts - Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
I've added the location of 22 Ladbroke Square with a blue dot, where The Henderson's first met John George Haigh. To use the map, click it. If you want to see the other murder maps, such as Soho, King's Cross, Paddington or the Reg Christie locations, you access them by clicking here.
Left to right: Archibald Henderson (Captain), 22 Ladbroke Square (home where the Henderson's first met John George Haigh), Rosalie Henderson and 14 Dawes Road, the "Doll's Hospital" toy shop with their flat above where Johnny stole the revolver (used to kill Archie) and the gas mask.
This is the original plan of the two-storey storeroom at 2 Leopold Road in Crawley, where Archie was murdered, as made by the Police for the investigation and trial.
Credits: The Murder Mile UK True-Crime Podcast was researched, written and recorded by Michael J Buchanan-Dunne, with the sounds recorded on location (where possible), and the music written and performed by Erik Stein & Jon Boux of Cult With No Name. Additional music was written and performed as used under the Creative Common Agreement 4.0.
SOURCES: This series was researched using the original declassified police files held at the National Archives, the Metropolitan Archives, the Wellcome Collection, the Crime Museum, etc.
TRANSCRIPT OF THE EPISODE: PART FOUR OF SULPHURIC.
“William, Donald & Amy McSwan have gone to Scotland… or Ireland… or was it America? It was one or the other. I mean, does it really matter?” Johnny’s ruse was simple; a shy reclusive family - who were never reckless, impulsive and rarely went out – had unexpectedly fled to the country, in the dead of night, leaving behind everything that they had ever owned; from their homes, businesses, stocks and savings, to their teacups on the table, their bread in the basket and their clothes in the cupboard…
…but somehow it worked. The McSwan’s were an intensely private, tightly-knit and deeply-loyal family who kept-to-themselves, so with no close friends or concerned family, no-one reported them missing.
And why would they? Armed with a set of keys, a forged letter and a Power of Attorney, over the next few months, Johnny paid the remaining rent on their top-floor flat, settled any bills, collected the post, tipped the milkman, topped-up the gas-metre with coins and even paid Mac’s monthly subscription to the Amusement Caterer’s Association. On paper, the McSwan’s still existed, just not in person.
But as clever and calculated as Johnny was, being so uncaring and eager to fritter-away the family’s fortune, he was also brazen and callous; and having let himself in, rifled through drawers and flogged-off the dour clothes and sparse furnishing of the recently deceased, Johnny sold everything. Every item, asset or account; whether their wallets, purses, ration-cards or chequebooks, and – before he sold all four of their houses in Beckenham, Wimbledon and Raynes Park – cocky in his confidence, he even collected the monthly rents, in person, having signing the rent-book himself. And yet, as for the McSwan’s pitiful pensions of a piffling 22 shillings per week? He left that. It wasn’t worth his time.
Within a few months, having stolen the equivalent of £210,000, Johnny had dissolved every single asset of the McSwan family, until – just like their corpses – nothing existed. And as no-one had noticed, with the law of Corpus Delicti still valid and stating that “with no body, there can be no crime”, even if he was arrested and gave the Police a full confession, with no evidence, he could never be convicted.
By August 1945, having made enough money to last a lifetime, the killing spree of John George Haigh, one of Britain’s most infamous serial-killers should have come to an end… but it didn’t. (Interstitial*)
Johnny Haigh was jubilant. Yes, 1944 had been a right dog’s dinner, but with 45 going great-guns, 46 being a real pip and – although Britain was in the grip of post-war austerity with millions either jobless, penniless or homeless, blah-de-blah-de-blah - for Johnny, 1947 was looking to be a bit of a doozy.
One month after he had casually flushed the whole McSwan family down the sewer – a laborious deed which severely ate into his social schedule and soiled his trench coat, leather gloves and his once shiny shoes – billowing with bank notes - Johnny permanently moved into the rather upmarket Onslow Court Hotel at 108 Queen’s Gate in South Kensington, one street up from the acid-stained basement.
Room 404 was his man-pad; an exclusive serviced room with Indian-linen sheets on the soft sprung mattress, an armchair for entertaining his chums, a wardrobe full of his tailored suits, drawers for his dress-shirts, silks shorts, ties and hankies - so Johnny the entrepreneur always looked dapper - and at his desk; a fountain pen, a diary, a waste bin, several books on mechanics and an Imperial typewriter.
Catering to his every whim; the bellboy polished his shoes, the maid cleaned his room, the concierge collected his dry-cleaning and the night-porter emptied his waste-bin, so with nothing to do but to choose between breakfast, luncheon, tiffin, high-tea, drinkies, din-dins or a little late supper, he busied himself by mingling in the dining room with the wealthy, the cultured, the respected and the widowed.
Ah yes, this was the life alright – civilised, urbane, stylish - and it had all been worth his struggle.
That said, as much as South Kensington’s most eligible bachelor loved to tootle about town in his dark green Armstrong Siddeley saloon - the bright glint of its waxed body, the subtle squeak of leather seats, the luxurious whiff of walnut dash and the solid rumble of its 20hp engine really turned some heads - but he felt it was a bit fuddy-duddy for a real go-getter, so his new wheels would have to go.
But it wasn’t all play you know.
Johnny’s company - Union Group Engineering – was up-and-running. Established to give legitimacy to his purchase of large quantities of lethal acids, now as a legitimate businessman, he used his money to develop ideas with inventors. Okay, he’d lied a little bit; his business address was a hotel room, his title of Technical Liaison Officer was self-appointed, the BSC initials after his name related to a phony degree and he had no training as an engineer, but then again, half of success is confidence, right?
In 1945, he invested in a needle-threader. In 1946, he dabbled in toy rocking horses made from tubular steel, and in 1947, having invested £225 in Hurstlea Products Ltd to develop a silent jack-hammer and a battery powered fan, the boss Edward Jones appointed Johnny as nominal director. Eager to make-a-go of it, Johnny didn’t take a wage, but instead relished the role’s credibility, the extra petrol rations (vital in post-war Britain) and – keen to develop his own inventions – having purchased it off Allan Stephens, Edward gave Johnny access to a small storeroom in Crawley, based at 2 Leopold Road.
So had the sadistic serial-killer stopped his killing-spree to become a serial-investor? Well, yes, he had.
Ex-con Johnny was gone, as having realised his full potential and blossomed into a respected company director who lived well, dressed fine and spoke properly, moving in middle-class circles, this gave him the perfect opportunity to meet likeminded people… like Archibald & Rosalie Henderson.
(Haigh) “I met the Henderson’s by answering an advertisement for the sale of their property at 22 Ladbroke Square. They were staying at the Metropole Hotel in Brighton. I took Dr Henderson to the storeroom at Leopold Road, disposed of him by shooting him in the head and put him in a tank of acid. I brought up Mrs Henderson, shot her too and put her in another tank of acid”. Simple.
Of course, the Henderson’s were not part of his original plan. Johnny wasn’t a cold-blooded killer, he was a cool-headed businessman, but sometimes, try-as-you-might, life has other ideas. (Interstitial*)
Johnny liked Archie, they were so similar, but where-as Mac was the little boy Johnny once was, Archie was the older brother he aspired to be; rich, flashy and confident, heartless, selfish and cruel.
Archibald Henderson was born in Glasgow on 20th July 1897, eleven years before Johnny, and although identical in many ways, Archie’s upbringing was a blue-print of how Johnny wished his life had been.
Raised in the prosperous Scottish suburb of Partick to a housewife mother and a banker father, unlike Johnny, Archie was proper middle-class, not an uppity coal-miner’s son with lofty aspirations. As part-time Presbyterians who embraced a faith when it suited them, Archie’s early years weren’t silent and stuffy like the Plymouth Brethren, but bright and joyous affairs, full of music, colour, laughter and life, and as intensely social people, they were liked, trusted and welcomed.
Educated at the affluent High School of Glasgow, one of Britain’s oldest grammar schools and the seat of learning for two Prime Ministers, just like Johnny, Archie was gifted a great education but as a day-dreamer who wasn’t academically blessed, although he loved science and mechanics, he struggled.
Conversely, where-as the quiet undersized boy in bow-tie with no siblings and no friends saw school as a very solitary experience; being tall, sporty and a big personality, Archie loved school, had oodles of chums and (unlike this only child) he would never be lonely, as by his side was his big sister – Ethel.
Archie had everything that Johnny did not; money, style, class and status. And as a strapping six-footer with chiselled features, an athletic physique and a very manly moustache, although unconventionally handsome with sticky-out ears, pursed lips and a stern stare that glared over the dark bags of his world weary eyes, being a real man, Archie was someone that little Johnny Haigh literally looked-up to.
And yet, as two frustrated men who hated hard graft for little reward, they struggled to find their full potential, but where-as Johnny was always patient, sober and distant - as a deeply unhappy man with unfulfilled dreams of living a kept life to a wealthy wife - Archie was often angry, violent and drunk.
As a conscript, Private Henderson served in World War One, unlike Johnny he didn’t dodge the draft, but being a lowly-squaddie with little respect for rank, routine or regiment, he was never promoted, and yet, he held onto his medals, his gas-mask and his Enfield Mark 1 service revolver as souvenirs.
Demobbed in 1919, ten years and several tries later, he qualified as a doctor from Glasgow University, but being superior, stubborn and self-important, with a dreadful bedside manner and style other doctor’s described as “clumsy and inept”, instead of patients, he preferred golf, gambling and girls.
Archie was unpredictable, being crippled by Spondylitis (a stiffness of the back), Kyphosis (a curvature of the spine) and intermittent spasms in his shoulder, as a debilitating and degenerative illness, his moody demeanour was made worse as he was forced to temper it with drink and prescription drugs.
Just like Johnny, Archie hated hard-work. (Haigh) “When I first discovered there were easier ways to make a living, I did not ask myself whether I was doing right or wrong. That seemed to be irrelevant. I merely said ‘this is what I wish to do’. Go after women; rich old women who like a bit of flattery. That’s your market”. And although Johnny was yet to bag himself a biggie, Archie was way ahead of him.
On 18th January 1930, 33 year old Archie married 29 year old Frances Dorothy Orr; a wealthy socialite with several lavish pads in Mayfair, Knightsbridge and Kensington, who spoiled him with shirts from Harrods, suits from Saville Row and a bright red Lagonda sports car, as well as many expensive trinkets including an 18 carat gold cigarette box and lighter engraved with her name ‘Dorothy’.
Squandering his wife’s wealth, Archie quit work to live a truly hedonistic life of drinking, gambling and womanising; a heartless cheat who spent wildly, racked-up debts and shagged copiously, as to Archie - who only loved her money - she wasn’t his wife, she was his meal-ticket. So disgusted were his family, that just weeks after the wedding, Archie cut all ties with them… except with his beloved sister Ethel.
As heavy-drinkers and unhappily-married, their South Kensington suite at 3 Grenville Place echoed to her volatile screams, as always cursing, fighting and living in fear of his fists, Dorothy sunk into a deep depression. And for the last few months of their marriage, being drugged-up and drunk, crying and catatonic, she lay there (bedbound and broken) cuddling Pat - her Red Setter puppy.
Not that Archie really gave a rat’s ass, as with his wife wasted on scotch and sleeping pills (which he had prescribed), he openly flaunted his torrid affair with their friend and neighbour Rosalie Errens.
On 20th April 1937, simply to escape his abuse, Dorothy moved into a private suite in The Bailey Hotel at 140 Gloucester Road. Three days later she died. And although her family suspected foul-play at the hands of Dr Henderson her money-grabbing husband, her death was declared natural causes, her body was cremated and Archie inherited her entire estate, a total of £20,000 (almost £800,000 today).
Johnny liked, admired and respected Archie. He was the older brother he never had, the only pal he ever wanted and the affluent business man he aspired to be. So it must have been a real bummer to have to bump-off Archie? But hey-ho, that’s the way it goes. (Interstitial*)
By August 1947, two years had passed since Johnny had slopped the hot melted mess of the McSwan’s down the festering manhole. He was a new man now – respectable, honest and successful - with a company to run, a full life to lead and enough money to last a lifetime… or so he had thought.
During the post-war austerity, although he’d invested in several inventions with Edward Jones - a silent jack-hammer, a battery powered fan, a needle-threader and had dabbled in the mass–production of a toy rocking horse made of tubular steel – nothing came of them. It was nobody’s fault, it happens.
But being shamefully shy on his rent at Onslow Court, forced to sell his dark green Armstrong Siddeley, (which left just two cars in his rented garage, a sporty Alvis and a sedate Saloon 12) and with his good name sullied owing £353 to five bookies having placed a few bad bets on the doggies and gee-gee’s, so with every last penny shaken out of the McSwan’s and flatly refusing to turn – with tail-tucked between his leg - back to Wakefield, once again, Johnny was one month away from being broke.
So… somebody had to die.
He knew Edward Jones, of course, but why should he murder Edward? Yes, he liked him, and yes he had some assets; a tidy house, a small engineering firm called Hurstlea Products and a storeroom at 2 Leopold Road, which (as co-director) Johnny the enthusiastic but painfully unskilled inventor would turn into a little workshop, but – just like his old pal Allan Stephens - his small income didn’t amount to much, so setting aside their friendship, yes he could kill Edward, but what would be the point?
No, Johnny needed money, a lot of money… so he had to murder Archie.
The day he met Dr Archibald Henderson, having bungled the first three (supposedly) perfect murders, Johnny started making a mental checklist to ensure that the fourth would be just that - perfect.
(Haigh) “I found The Henderson’s interesting and amusing, we went about a good deal together, and they liked me to play to them, I sat at their piano interpreting the classics. The Henderson’s talked a lot about themselves, and from many conversations I learned a great deal about them. But I never had any great affection for any of my victims. None”.
On 6th October 1938, one year after his wife’s abrupt death, Archie married his mistress Rosalie Errens. Logistically, this was a tad inconvenient as with the silly cow legally his next-of-kin, she had unwittingly volunteered to be Johnny’s fifth victim. Which was a bit of a waste of his time to be honest, but having done a double-drum murder before, and as a nervous lady who was often drunk, drugged and bed-bound in a style strangely similar to the first wife, should she die too, the Police would probably blame Archie. And with their closest relatives being his sister Ethel Norman in Jersey and her brother Arnold Burlin in Manchester, they couldn’t affect the Power of Attorney, so legally it would be a breeze.
Asset-wise. Archie had frittered away his dead wife’s estate, but as an impulsive investor who had recently sold his doctor’s practice in Upminster, a 20 bedroomed guest house at 22 Ladbroke Square in Holland Park and still owned a flat and toy shop called The Doll’s Hospital, all worth £600,000 today, so including a sizable military pension, a bright red 20hp Lagonda sports car and a half-blind elderly Red Setter called Pat (who Johnny was rather fond of), they would – most definitely - be worth killing.
Medically; Rosalie was a depressed neurotic with drink and drug issues, a history of secret affairs, wild spending sprees and a suspicion of sadomasochistic sex; Archie was a crippled pill-popping alcoholic with a violent temper, a succession of mistresses and a string of bad debts, so (although a very social couple) their impromptu vanishing wouldn’t be unexpected, with it attributed either to suicide, stress, self-abuse or starting a new life together (as they had discussed) in the South African city of Durban.
Luring the Henderson’s to their deaths would be a piece-of-cake; as a budding entrepreneur eager to make-a-mint without lifting a finger, who was crippled by a bad back and wore a monocle to read, Archie’s bait was obvious. And as for Rosalie? A bed-bound chronically-depressed drunk? Ha! He had easily pried the reclusive McSwan’s out of their little hidey-hole, so how hard could she be?
No, as far as Johnny was concerned, boxes were ticked, plans were made and (with his overdraft fit to burst) he set-about preparing their deaths. His one major ball-ache was he never thought he’d be back here again, murdering for money, it was so vulgar, and besides everything was gone; the drums (gone), the acid (gone), the cosh (gone), the drain (gone) and the basement (gone). Urgh! So, again, for the second time in two and half years, he would have to rebuild his murder basement from scratch.
Thankfully, luck (or maybe God) was smiling on little Johnny Haigh, so this time it all sought-of fell into his lap, which was rather nice, and having turned his back on the old boy for a bit, Johnny did consider going back to Church once-in-a-while… but maybe not to confession… obviously.
As co-director of Hurstlea Products, Edward Jones had given Johnny access to 2 Leopold Road; it wasn’t much, but as a small isolated storeroom thirty yards from a remote side-road in an industrial part of Crawley, with thick brick walls, no immediate neighbours, a messy yard chock full of indecipherable scrap and hidden behind a six foot high fence – even though it had no drain - it was private and perfect.
Sadly, the two steel drums he’d shipped to Allan’s had been scrapped, as a caustic mix of rain and acid had caused them to irreparably rust, but having spied two in a nearby yard, he blagged both for just an ounce of tobacco and called in a freebie from his welder pal Thomas Davies to fix any holes and fit both with a lid to limit the leakage of toxic gases, so actually, they were better than the old drums.
With a black mark against his company’s name, which slightly sullied his business terms with Canning & Co, he ordered a Winchester of hydrochloric and three 10 gallon carboys of sulphuric from chemical wholesaler - A White & Sons – at the cheaper price of £4 pounds 8 shillings and 7 pence. Money saved.
As for the rest? The previous occupier had left behind a stirrup-pump, so instead of slopping out 535lbs of highly corrosive acid by bucket, Johnny could safely full up the drums without any risk to himself. Also being gifted a thick rubber apron and pair of rubber gauntlets – from neck to knees and fingers to forearm - Johnny was now fully protected from any acrid splashes, and all at no extra cost.
And as a frequent visitor to the Henderson’s flat over their ‘Doll’s Hospital’ toy shop at 16 Dawes Road, when the sticky-beaked manageress (Daisy Roundtree) wasn’t being so bloody nosey, Johnny swiped Archie’s old Army-issue respirator (so it was goodbye to the old gas mask made from cardboard and string) and (saying farewell to the pinball table leg, the length of lead-pipe and the old rusty hand-axe) he pilfered Archie’s Enfield Mark 1 service revolver and an envelope of eleven .38 calibre bullets.
So, to be honest, starting from scratch was all pretty simple actually.
Admittedly, with the tiny storeroom still in use until 1st January 1948, and unwilling to split it – with one side for storing engine-parts and the other side for a spot of serial-killing – Johnny put his deathly deed on hold. So being broke, his Christmas was a present-free affair and his New Year’s Eve with the Henderson’s was all on their coin, but (as patience is a virtue) it did bring him some unexpected treats.
Two Christmas cards sent by Archie and Rosalie to his sister Ethel and her brother Arnold, stating they were fine, well, selling-up and maybe moving to South Africa. Which was rather sporting, as it did irk Johnny somewhat to chug to-and-from Scotland to post a few forged postcards from the McSwan’s dead son, so how bothersome would it have been to do likewise… in Durban? Lucky Johnny eh?
And as for the rest, it was child’s play.
On Friday 5th February 1948, in the workshop of Thomas Davies, Johnny dangled a tasty morsel – a rocking horse made of tubular steel. As a toy-shop owner, Archie loved it; being short-sighted, he popped on his monocle to inspect it and with his back aching, he winced as he bent over the bench, but with no sale made, Archie left empty-handed, Thomas was annoyed, but – for Johnny – it was fine.
On Saturday 6th, with Rosalie unwell and eager to recuperate, the Henderson’s packed three suitcases, a holdall and two bags (all exquisitely marked with a monogrammed ‘H’) into their red Lagonda and accompanied by Pat, their elderly Red Setter, they drove from their flat to the more-isolated Kingsgate Hotel in Broadstairs (Kent). Away from their social life, routine and anyone who knew them.
On Tuesday 10th, with the Kingsgate being too-quiet, they moved to the Metropole Hotel in Brighton, just twenty-one miles from Leopold Road. Having checked in for six nights, with Rosalie unwell, the housekeeper brought her a hot-water bottle and a portable radiator, the maid delivered her meals to her bed and asked to walk her elderly dog, the night porter noticed a vast array of medicines on the side table, as in the evenings, the waiter served Archie and a small boyish man with a little moustache.
As a busy hotel which catered to their every whim, they saw nothing suspicious. And why would they?
On the morning of Thursday 12th, with Rosalie still very-much bed-bound, Archie left for a business meeting. No-one was concerned, no-one reported him missing and he was never seen alive ever again.
(Haigh) “The Henderson’s were staying at the Metropole Hotel in Brighton. I took Dr Henderson to the storeroom at Leopold Road, I disposed of him by shooting him in the head with his own revolver and I put him in a tank of acid”. But was it really that simple? Well, yes, it was.
Miraculously, no longer being a murder virgin, but instead a seasoned serial-killer with three dead, one due, and a fifth he was planning to pop-off a little later, Johnny Haigh had learned his lessons.
Convinced to leave behind his rather ostentatious red Lagonda sports car, as planned, Archie caught a train from Brighton, he was picked-up at Crawley station by an unidentified man in his slightly drab Saloon 12 and sedately driven to an industrial part of town, down a remote road and into a secluded yard, hidden behind a six-foot high fence and the closed double-gates of 2 Leopold Road. If this is true, at no–point from the hotel to the storeroom were Archie and Johnny seen together?
Being mid-morning and mid-week, of the few neighbours whose premises surrounded this street, with their own busy lives to lead and money to make, neither the laundress, the metal-presser or a stable yard owner saw, heard and smelled anything out-of-the-ordinary from this engineer’s workshop.
As per usual, as Johnny pulled-in and parked-up his car inside the private yard, his new pal Archie got out. It was an odd little place; around the fences was a scruffy sea of tangled trash; tyres, boxes and mechanical bits-and-bobs, and dead-centre was a laughably tiny box-like storeroom barely the size of Archie’s bathroom, with one door, two windows and a reassuring sign which read ‘Hurstlea Products’.
It was just as Johnny had described; small, simple but suitable for an ambitious entrepreneur. So led in by his pal and potential business partner, having toasted at Christmas, New Year and (hopefully) many more celebrations beyond, although Archie’s bad back made his walk slow and laborious, Johnny took his time. He was in no rush, as death comes to us all eventually… and to some, sooner than most.
Unlocking the only door with the only key to the storeroom only Johnny had access to, Archie sensed no danger, no threat and no suspicion, as (in broad daylight) he entered the small brick-lined room of a keen inventor who dabbled in plastics. As expected, hung on a hook on the white-washed walls was a thick rubber apron and two rubber gauntlets, nearby were three carboys of unidentified liquid, two steel-drums and flush to the walls was a waist-high bench, on which, something which drew his attention. Perhaps the designs for a needle-threader, a silent jack-hammer or a battery-powered fan?
Popping on his monocle to his dark-circled eye to inspect an invention his pal had placed before him, as six-foot Archie craned over the three-foot bench, he winced a little as a familiar sharp pain shot up his stiff spine causing his movements to slow to a crawl. But again, Johnny was in no rush, this was all part of his superior plan, as with his victim being short-sighted and partially-crippled, facing away, this gave Johnny ample time, as from behind, he took aim with Archie’s own revolver. (BANG).
In a single shot, his head exploded, as at close range, the 38 calibre bullet ripped through his skull, brain and face, as a fine mist of mucus and blood spattered down the white-washed wall, causing his monocle to crack as his half-mangled head thumped against the bench, and the lifeless (and almost faceless) body of 50 year old Archibald Henderson slumped in a heap on the dusty floor, dead. It was brazen to shoot a man dead, in broad daylight, between two windows… but Johnny was unfazed.
With one down and one to go; pockets were emptied, limbs were hog-tied and the body was slid into the drum, but before the acid, the disposal and the death of Rosalie - which (as a mere formality) really was a huge waste of his time - before all that, he had lunch. Tea, toast and scrambled egg. Yummy.
Johnny liked, admired and respected Archie. He was the older brother he never had, the only pal he ever wanted and the affluent businessman he aspired to be. And although it should have been a real bummer to bump-off his buddy? Actually it wasn’t all that bad. So, with his body dissolved, his assets legally swiped and the man himself having vanished completely, Johnny would literally become Archie.
Everything would now be his; from his home, his bank, his bags and his business; to his shirts from Harrods, his suits from Saville Row and his 18 carat gold cigarette box engraved with his dead wife’s name. He took everything, right down to his cuffs, collars, shoelaces and slippers, even his blue silk dressing-gown exquisitely marked (as everything was) with a monogrammed ‘H’. Everything he liked, wanted or was fond of was taken; even Pat, his elderly Red Setter. And as Johnny drove the corpse’s bright-red Lagonda through the West End, although the open-top sports-car ruffled his immaculately parted hair, the throaty roar of its 30hp engine and the high-pitched squeal of its racing wheels announced to the city that Johnny Haigh has arrived. The colour even matched his red tie and socks.
In his diary, Johnny marked the occasion (Haigh) “I wrote an A for Archie and the sign of the cross. He came to his end before midday”. Unlike the McSwan’s, his death had been a doddle. Everything had gone swimmingly; Archie was dead, Rosalie was next, his tools worked well, the storeroom was secure, the body was hidden, the assets would soon be legally his and the scrambled eggs were smashing.
So why should the rest of it be anything but simple?
As a cocky little man, high on arrogance and stupefied by his own superiority, having overlooked a small detail, Johnny would be faced with a big problem, and although the fourth of his six (supposedly) perfect murders was exactly that – it was perfect – his fifth was not. The murder of Rosalie Henderson should have been easy-peasy… but something would go horribly wrong. (Interstitial*)
OUTRO: Friends. Thank you so much for listening to Murder Mile. That was part four of Sulphuric; the true story of John George Haigh, with the penultimate part of six continuing next week.
A big thank you to my new Patreon supporters who are Steff Thomas, Jim Hendry and Paxoman, with a special thank you (as always) to everyone who has liked, shared, commented and reviewed this small independent podcast.
Murder Mile was researched, written & performed by myself, with the main musical themes written and performed by Erik Stein & Jon Boux of Cult With No Name.
Thank you for listening and sleep well.
Michael J Buchanan-Dunne is a writer, crime historian, podcaster and tour-guide who runs Murder Mile Walks, a guided tour of Soho’s most notorious murder cases, hailed as “one of the top ten curious, quirky, unusual and different things to do in London”, nominated "one of the best true-crime podcasts at the British Podcast Awards 2018", one of The Telegraph's top five true-crime podcasts and featuring 12 murderers, including 3 serial killers, across 15 locations, totaling 50 deaths, over just a one mile walk
Michael J Buchanan-Dunne is a crime writer, podcaster & tour guide of Murder Mile Walks, hailed as one of the best "quirky curious & unusual things to do in London".
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