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John George Haigh, the Acid-Bath Murderer (ePub)

A Portrait of a Serial Killer and His Victims

True Crime Biographies

By Dr Jonathan Oates
Imprint: Pen & Sword True Crime
File Size: 9.4 MB (.epub)
Pages: 214
ISBN: 9781473841239
Published: 14th October 2014

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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.

As featured in

Ilkley Gazette

Archivist Dr Jonathan Oates offers a fascinating insight into the methods and motivations of the man who nearly pulled off a series of 'perfect murders'

Sussex Life

As featured in

True Crime Library

What Dr Jonathan Oates manages to accomplish with this book is remove the tabloid style “glamour” from the narrative and instead presents an academic yet nonetheless riveting account, appraisal and conceptually fascinating account of the events and those embroiled in them... For any analyst of the criminal mind, John George Haigh: The Acid Bath Murderer is a worthy addition to any collection.

Chris High Blog

As featured on

Investigating Crimes - Deividas Serevičius

In his book, Jonathan Oates has presented a well-researched, detailed and exciting piece of writing using original documents and testimony to examine a case as intriguing as it is horrifying.

Jonathan Oates takes you on a journey through the childhood of John George Haigh, leading you into his life of crime and through each of his murders.

The victims of John George Haigh are given the attention they deserve, exploring their histories and giving a true picture of who they were before their lives were taken. Haigh's arrest, his trial, conviction and eventual execution are dealt with chapter by chapter, allowing you to discover the full story from beginning to end.

With a writing style that is easy to understand yet detailed, Jonathan Oates writes with realism not theory and opinion. He gives descriptive accounts of the case with an analytical slant presenting quotes and anecdotes from those who knew John George Haigh at different stages of his life.

As he moves through the events that eventually led to Haigh's execution, excerpts and quotes are woven naturally within the narrative, adding to the text and bringing the story to life. As a reader you gain a real sense of understanding of how events unfolded....

.. This is not a sensationalist book, reproducing the details of a gruesome case thrown together for a sale. This is a well-researched and well-structured informative book into the life, crimes and victims of John George Haigh.

If you are looking for a detailed, accurate and in-depth look at John George Haigh and his crimes, following through to his capture, trial and execution, this is the book for you.

Crime Traveller - Fiona Guy

In the latest best-selling studies of criminal history, Jonathan Oates, reinvestigates this sensational case of the late 1940's. He delves into Haigh's Yorkshire background, his reputation as a loner, a bully and 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.

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.

London Police Pensioner

There have been a number of books published about Haigh and his murders but this one is more accurate and detailed as the author went back to primary source material. There is a considerable detail about Haigh and his criminal history building up to the murders. Much of the detail of the murders comes from Haigh's confessions though there was a deal of forensic and scientific evidence gathered by some of the most famous forensic specialists of the day.

The book also has a section considering the mental state of Haigh. This is a revealing and obviously well researched book that is of interest in particular to former and serving police officers who will recognise some of their former 'clients' the difference with Haigh being he murdered, was caught and executed.

Surrey Constabulary History Journal

'A chilling story...'

Wakefield Express

Dr Jonathan Oates has written a number of books on murder, and has produced an in-depth study of Haigh from his early childhood. Well researched, it is a thoroughly readable book.

Police History Society newsletter

This is the first book on the topic to be written with the benefit of police, prison and Home Office papers once closed to researchers.

Ealing Today

As seen in the 'Keighley News'.

Keighley News

Oates' book is an attempt to get inside the mind of this complex character. You'll have to decide for yourself whether he succeeds or not, but he certainly manages to present some fresh insights into the well-trodden ground.

Ripperologist

As seen in the Telegraph and Argus.

Telegraph & Argus (Bradford)

As seen in the South Wales Guardian.

South Wales Guardian

...reveals fresh research and previously unpublished photographs of the infamous acid-bath murderer. Dr Oates, who is also Ealing Borough Archivist and local history librarian, was granted access to New Scotland Yard's archive, where he uncovered the never-before-seen photograph of a 32-year-old Haigh.

This is Local London

As seen in the Ealing Times.

Ealing Times

As featured on BBC Radio London.

BBC Radio London

About Dr Jonathan Oates

Dr Jonathan Oates is the Ealing Borough Archivist and Local History Librarian, and he has written and lectured on aspects of the history of London, including its criminal past. His books include Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in Ealing, Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in Lewisham and Deptford, Unsolved Murders in Victorian and Edwardian London, Unsolved London Murders: The 1920s and 1930s, Unsolved London Murders: The 1940s and 1950s and Attack on London. He is also an authority on the Jacobite rebellions of 1714 and 1745 and recently published "Sweet William or The Butcher? The Duke of Cumberland and the '45".

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