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10

The Brides’ Bath Murderer

George Joseph Smith was not a wholesome character. Born in England in 1872, he did his first stint in a reformatory when he was nine years old, and never managed to straighten his act out.

He showed a knack for convincing weak minded women to do things they shouldn’t have. He had them steal for him, lie for him, and he was able to bribe them for money.

He had married a total of six women (some sources claim he had seven wives). Three of his wives turned up dead. He had also seduced a married woman, eloped with her, and when he was through with the adventure, he tied her down to the floor and kept her there for several days.

Among other crimes, he was present when three of his wives died, each one drowning in a bathtub, each death coming soon after they had signed life insurance policies. You have to wonder why it took three murders before Smith drew suspicion, but his life was more complicated than that. The women that drowned were wives number three, five, and six. At least three other women escaped his clutches, possibly because of a lack of money or insurance ...or maybe he really loved them. Read an account of the Brides' Bath Murders at Strange Ago. -via Strange Company


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I ran across this topic in my Jack the Ripper days, concerning how the murders were actually committed.

The article referenced is wrong - he did NOT simply hold their heads underwater. Tests proved that could not be accomplished if the woman was unwilling. What he did was to get her in the bath, put her at ease by tenderly talking to her, playfully teasing and touching her naked body, and ending up at her feet, which he would then grasp, playfully, and suddenly pull, yanking her head underwater and also forcing water up her nose, which caused her to black out. THEN he merely held her head underwater until she drowned.

The detective in charge of the case, before doctors and other witnesses, did the same thing to a (dressed) policewoman who had volunteered for the job, although he was careful not to tell her what he was going to do. She blacked out as had the actual victims and the doctors were able to resuscitate her. The recreation was good enough for a jury.
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