IN JUNE 1878, Donald McSwan was born at the Glenochil Cottages near Menstrie.

By 1901 he worked at Glenochil Distillery as a clerk and, hoping to improve himself, he took an evening class in shorthand typing and in 1908 moved to England.

While at Tunbridge Well Spa Hotel in Kent, he met Amy Paige, known as Sarah, whom he married in October 1910.

On May 12, 1911, Sarah gave birth to their only child William Donald.

The family would become victims of the Acid Bath Murderer.

Following the First World War, the family moved to London where Donald learned advanced shorthand and by 1929 worked as a shorthand typist at the Shoreditch Technical Institute.

During this time the family bought several properties, but chose to rent them out and rent the houses where they lived.

The couple's son William moved out of the family home in 1932, setting up numerous businesses, including a pin table business in 1934 trading as ‘Automatics’.

In 1938 he had an amusement arcade as well as a sweet shop which he sold the following year and wound up the pin table business.

In 1941, he began working for the Henderson Tank Company as a salesman then worked for Art Magazine Engineers. He also rented premises and set up a welding company, where he did the clerical work.

Less than a year after war broke out in 1939, William registered as a conscientious objector.

Nonetheless, in 1941, he received his call-up papers, so called for a six-month deferment.

He was terrified of being sent to war. To facilitate this, he moved around constantly to evade the authorities.

In 1937, John George Haigh contacted the family following a four-year stint in prison for fraud.

William liked Haigh who he once called ‘charming,’ but Haigh’s intentions were far from honourable.

At this point the McSwans were comfortably off and Haigh was employed as William’s chauffeur and collected rents from the McSwan properties.

In 1944, Haigh arranged to hire three basement rooms at 79 Gloucester Road, Kensington, and moved in on September 6. That same day, he forced William McSwan to write a postcard in shorthand to Barbara, a workmate, who Haigh claimed he had feelings for.

On Saturday, September 9, McSwan told work colleague Mr Woodsman that he was going away for the weekend. Mr Woodsman later stated McSwan was adamant that he would only be away for that short time.

Haigh and McSwan then met at The Goat, a pub on Kensington High Street, then went back to Haigh’s basement.

William McSwan was never heard from again.

In February 1949, John Haigh admitted to police he hit William McSwan ‘on the head with a cosh…and he was dead within five minutes or so’.

He was "appalled" by the body, but felt "no remorse", and simply went off to bed.

The following day he placed McSwan in a drum, poured sulphuric acid over him and dissolved the body apart from the teeth. He then poured the ‘sludge down the drain’.

He stripped McSwan of his watch and other valuables and travelled to Glasgow and Edinburgh from where he purported to be him, writing letters to his parents explaining he was trying to avoid call-up and was dealing in property.

In fact, Haigh was emptying his bank account in monthly instalments.

Suspicion arose when Donald McSwan told Woodsman he was hoping for a call from his son as it was unusual not to hear from him.

In 1945, Haigh prepared to benefit further from the McSwans although he was hastened into it when his landlord gave him notice to quit by July 6.

Leading them separately to the basement, he murdered Donald and Sarah, presumably on the last day Donald was seen alive, July 2.

Haigh was running out of money and with the war at an end, the excuse William was evading call-up would no longer wash with the McSwans.

The old man’s murder turned into a bloody affair. The police later assumed an axe was used, but Haigh insisted it was the cosh again.

He disposed of the bodies ‘in exactly the same way as the son’s’ he later confirmed.

On July 18, Haigh travelled to Glasgow, impersonating William McSwan, where he arranged power of attorney. He produced identity cards and went on to sell the McSwan properties.

Haigh made over £5000 from the murders. He spent the next two years living on, and gambling away, the money.

Early the following year, he shot and killed Dr Archibald Henderson and his wife Rosalie in a workshop he rented in Crawley in West Sussex, then forged letters so he could take their assets.

Just six days later, on February 18, 1949, he shot and killed Olive Durand-Deacon, a wealthy solicitor’s widow.

Like his other victims, she was dissolved in a barrel of acid. On February 28, he was questioned by police who made a gruesome discovery at the Crawley site. Two days later he was charged with the murder of Durand-Deacon.

Found guilty of all the murders Haigh was hanged on Wednesday, August 10, at Wandsworth Prison. He was 40 years old.