On February 20, 1949 Mrs. Henrietta Helen Olivia Roberts Durand-Deacon, a sixty-nine-year-old wealthy widow, disappeared from the Onslow Court Hotel located in South Kensington, London. The police interviewed the residents and soon forty year-old John George Haigh became a suspect, as he was the last person to have seen the woman alive and was known already to the police for crimes of fraud and thievery. He led the police to an old storeroom on Leopold Road in Sussex, where they discovered strange and suspicious tools – a revolver, some rubber protective clothing and three containers filled with sulphuric acid.
“Mrs. Durand-Deacon no longer exists. She has disappeared completely, and no trace of her can ever be found again. I have destroyed her with acid. You will find the sludge which remains on Leopold Road. But you can’t prove murder without a body.” Fortunately Haigh did ignore one important fact in his euphoria – that the law doesn’t require a body to incriminate him – it requires a corpus delicti- the evidence that a murder happened – as for example a strange pebble.
CHESELDEN, W. (1733): Osteographia, or The anatomy of the bones. – Fig.1.Frontispiece