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George Joseph Smith


Brides in the Bath


11 January 1872
Kill Total: 4 +

Kill date:

1912 - 1914

Kill Place:







Bessie Mundy

Alice Burnham

Margaret Lofty















Born in Bethnal Green, East London , he was hanged in Maidstone prison on Friday 13th August 1915, at age 43.

Smith was a stereotypical cockney, full of charm and wit, with a wicked sense of humour. But this cockney had a darker side, a distain for women that led him to drown three women in as many years. It is not known if Smith did kill anymore than the three, but it is certain that he would have killed again if he had not been caught. Smith had been a petty criminal in his youth, and after marrying his first, and only legal, wife 19 year old Barbara Thornhill in 1898, he discovered that women were easy prey. Several years and several beatings later in 1910 he met 33 year old Beatrice (Bessie) Mundy. He married Bessie, who was intelligent, attractive, and had a bank balance of 2,500, at Weymouth in the name of Henry Williams.
They settled in Herne Bay, Kent, and after Bessie had made a will leaving everything to her supposed husband, Smith visited the local ironmongers to buy a bath. He the took Bessie to a doctor stating that she suffered from fits.

On the 13th July 1912 the doctor was called to the house. He found Bessie dead, she was in the bath naked, but with her head under the water, Smith claimed that she must have had a fit. All her assets went to Smith after an inquest recorded a verdict of death by misadventure. Smith moved on, this time to Southsea, there he met 25 year old Alice Burnham, they married on 4th November 1913.
The "Happy" couple moved to Blackpool, after finding accommodation, with a bath. Smith took his new bride to the doctors, claiming she suffered from fits. On 12th December, just a month after the wedding, Alice was found dead in the bath. Smith quickly collected the 500 life insurance policy and moved on.
Next Smith married wealthy Clergyman's daughter Margaret Lofty, his seventh bigamous marriage, once she had taken out a life insurance policy for 700. They were married in, Bath! on 17th December 1914, and settled in a dwelling, with a bath, in Highgate, London. On this occasion Smith used the name of Mr. & Mrs. Lloyd, he had used many name for his many marriages, including, Lloyd, Love, Rose & Williams The next day followed the trip to the doctors, but the doctor could find nothing wrong. Once they got home Lloyd (Smith) suggested she have a nice warm bath> He got the landlady to fill the bath and then sat and played the harmonium, the landlady later recalled that the tune he had been playing was "Nearer My God to Thee". Fifteen minutes later there was a knock at the front door, it Was Smith, "Just popped out to get some tomatoes for Mrs. Lloyd's supper" Smith claimed. Smith asked if his wife was yet out of the bath, the landlady said she had heard nothing, the two of them went upstairs and found Margaret Lloyd dead in the bath. Again a verdict of death by misadventure was recorded at the inquest.
The case received huge publicity, and even made the "News of the world". Reading the Article was the father of Alice Burnham who thought the case was remarkably similar to that of the death of his daughter. The police were informed and after a lengthy investigation into George Joseph Smith and his various aliases the death of Bessie Mundy was also discovered. On 22nd June 1915 Smith stood trial at the Old Bailey in London charged with the murder of Bessie Mundy at Herne Bay.

Although not charged with the other murders, they were given as evidence, the jury took just 22 minutes on 1st July 1915 to find George Joseph Smith guilty of murder. On Friday 13th July 1915 he was hanged in Maidstone prison by hangman John Ellis. The other four wives having given a huge sigh of relief.



George Joseph Smith


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