George Joseph Smith

Nickname: The Brides in the Bath

Reign of terror: 1899 - 1915

Motive: Money

Crimes: Larceny, bigamy and murder.

Date Victim Crime

Monetary gain

1899 Boarding house keeper Bigamy, theft All her money -
3 / 7 / 08 Florence Wilson Bigamy, theft �30 & all her belongings -
October 1909 Sarah Freeman Bigamy, theft �260 & all her belongings George Rose
1910 - July 1912 Beatrice Mundy Bigamy, theft, murder �135 + �2500 Henry Williams
4 / 11 / 13 - 15 / 12 /13 /13 Alice Burnham Bigamy, theft, murder �500 -
September 1914 Alice Reavil Bigamy, theft �76 Charles Oliver James
17 - 18th December 1914 Margaret Lofty Bigamy, theft, murder - John Lloyd

Method: Smith would woo his victim, marry her, then convince her to give him all her savings. He would then leave her.

With the women he murdered, he married them, and then made sure they left him their money in their will. He took them to the doctor's saying they had fainted etc. He would then kill them. This was done whilst they were in the bath. He would put his hand on the top of her head, and grab her legs and pull them violently. A sudden flood of water entered the nose and throat, causing instantaneous drowning. He then called the same doctor as she had seen before, and it was recorded that she had drowned during an epileptic fit.

Sentence: Death by hanging. He was executed on 13th August 1915.

Interesting facts: Smith was caught when the father of Alice Burnham read about Margaret Lofty's murder in the newspaper, and recognised the similarities. He notified the police of his suspicions and Smith was arrested on 4th January 1915.

The only woman Smith was married to legitimately was Caroline Thornhill. She left him whilst he was in prison in 1902, when she emigrated to Canada.

Between his wives he always returned to the same woman - Edith Pegler, who he married on 30th July 1908. He did not take any money from her.

In court it was demonstrated how Smith killed his victims using a nurse in a bath. She immediately showed signs of drowning and needed to be artificially revived.