Thursday, 24 April 2014

Notorious Plymouth Brethren

John George Haigh
Photograph of John George Haigh
Born24 July 1909
Stamford, Lincolnshire, England
Died10 August 1949 (aged 40)
Wandsworth Prison,Wandsworth, England
Cause of death
Execution by hanging
Other namesThe Acid Bath Murderer
Criminal penalty
Span of killings
Date apprehended

John George Haigh (24 July 1909 – 10 August 1949), commonly known as the "Acid Bath Murderer", was an English serial killerduring the 1940s. He was convicted of the murders of six people, although he claimed to have killed nine. He used acid not to kill his victims, but in what he believed to be a foolproof method of body disposal: he would dissolve their bodies in concentratedsulphuric acid before forging papers in order to sell their possessions and collect substantial sums of money. During the investigation, it became apparent that Haigh was using the acid to destroy victims' bodies because he misunderstood the term corpus delicti, thinking that if victims' bodies could not be found, then a murder conviction would not be possible. The substantial forensic evidence, notwithstanding the absence of his victims' bodies, was sufficient for him to be convicted for the murders and subsequently executed.[1]

Early lifeEdit

John George Haigh was born in Stamford,Lincolnshire,[2][3] and grew up in the village ofOutwoodWest Riding of Yorkshire. His parents, John Robert, an engineer, and Emily, née Hudson, were members of the Plymouth Brethren, a conservative Protestant sect who advocated austere lifestyles. He was confined to living within a 10 ft (3 m) fence that his father put up around their garden to lock out the outside world. Haigh would later claim he suffered from recurring religious nightmares in his childhood. Despite these limitations, Haigh developed great proficiency in the piano, which he learned at home.

Haigh won a scholarship to Queen Elizabeth Grammar SchoolWakefield. He then won another scholarship to Wakefield Cathedral, where he became a choirboy.

After school he was apprenticed to a firm of motor engineers. After a year he left that job, and took jobs in insurance and advertising. At age 21, he was sacked after being suspected of stealing from a cash box.


  1. Leonardo J Octavanius is busy tonight (local reading) so I have been asked to cover for him.

    Not sure where you are going with this, Laurie. Notorious? I don't think so! You should look at some of our current leaders - makes our much respected brother John Haigh look like a purring pussy cat!


    1. For a while, John Haigh was a serious contender for the EB leadership. However, it was decided that killing 6-9 victims was a pretty cowardly act for a leader who was to become one of 'these great men', so he was dropped. It was explained to him that the hallmarks of a brethren leader were to cause members to suicide, as opposed to murdering them, and also to cause misery to thousands of members by destroying their families, as opposed to putting a few of them out of their misery quickly, by murder. So JT and JTJr carried on the line and it developed from there. I wonder if those great men ever imagined in their wildest dreams that 60-70 years later they would still have 44,000 members who hadn't suicided and were parading as a Christian Church?


    2. Fancying themselves as a "mainstream" Christian Church, even. Not that Hales Excl Breth would have a clue what that is, given that they're not allowed to join other churches because of said churches' oh-so-mainstream failure to separate from anyone who isn't them... oops, there's that stupid circular Brethrenistic argument again, doh.

      Nasty, nasty divisive group of people, the EB. No wonder Haigh said he had nightmares from his childhood. So do I. Luckily it so far hasn't caused me to take up acid-bathing people as a hobby...

  2. BDH: Education at a grammar school and chorister at a Cathedral ....See, it was the exposure to the world that brought this on.... see.. see... if he had been "educated" at a Focus group School, then gone straight into the family's cardboard box business, none of this would have happened; see, this is what happens when you allow the world in...see... it can lead to acid baths, binge drinking, night clubs and pornography, in the reverse order. I think there is something in this for all of us. Would you like to come in here Leonardo?
    LJO: I think the PBCC Ltd are the bestest people not in the world, as it were, and I concur with everything that has been said, or not.

    BDH (Stow-on-the-Wold, Preston North End and Aberdeen 2011) Vol. 96

    1. Ah .... awesome ministry!


  3. Still doesn't solve the mystery of who strangled PBCC member Mrs Esther Soper in Plymouth does it? The killer is still at large. Could be in a meeting near you?!