Serial Killer Car Series: John Haigh (Acid Bath Murders)

Apart from adoring cars, I also love to write and read horror fiction. The psychology behind serial killers’ motives really interests me, so what better way to merge these passions into one big bloody pot than a series about killers’ cars?

John George Haigh is one of my favourite serial killers because of his audacious acts of fraud, impersonation and his ability to lead a lavish lifestyle. He befriended rich people, murdered them and disposed of their bodies in barrels of sulphuric acid. Because the remaining sludge was poured away down a drain, he thought, “No body, no conviction.” When he was eventually arrested after body fat and teeth were discovered in the drain, Haigh simply implied he was a vampire to try for the insanity plea. It didn’t work, and on 6 August 1949, Haigh was hanged at Wandsworth Prison for the murder of six people. This all took place in Sussex, not too far from where I live.

Haigh loved cars and took a job as an apprentice in a firm of motor engineers after he left school. He eventually found success as an underwriter for advertising and insurance. Here he learned about high finance and even managed to buy an expensive car – a red Alfa Romeo, similar to the one pictured below.

After a few more murders and cashing in their belongings, Haigh drove about town in a lovely Alvis – this one was driven by the actor Martin Clunes in the movie A Is For Acid, so is most likely quite accurate.

Unlike most serial killers, Haigh was a bit of a cad, a well-dressed chap driving about town in a sporty car.

Next up… Charles Manson.

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