A serial killer thought he could commit the perfect murder by disposing of victims’ bodies in an acid bath, but was undone by clever forensic work.

The notorious case of John Haigh is one of those being explored at the Museum of London’s new Crime Museum Uncovered exhibition, which opens this Friday.

It will feature many exhibits previously only seen by police professionals and special guests at the Met Police’s Crime Museum in Scotland Yard.

Often morbid and macabre but fascinating Items related to Jack the Ripper, the Great Train Robbery, Dr Crippen and Ruth Ellis will go on show for the first time.

Ahead of the exhibition, we are profiling some of the most infamous ever London crimes – today’s case file is the Acid Bath Murderer.

Who was involved?

John Haigh and well-to-do widow Olive Durand-Deacon.

Where and when did it happen?

Both John Haigh and Olive Durand-Deacon were residents at a hotel in South Kensington, although the murder was committed at Haigh’s workshop in Crawley, Sussex, in 1949.

What happened?

On February 18, 1949, Mrs Durand-Deacon and Haigh drove to his workshop in Crawley to discuss her idea for manufacturing artificial fingernails. What she did not know was that Haigh, a gambler and fraudster, had already murdered five people.

Haigh had devised what he thought of as the perfect way of getting away with murder: dissolving the body in sulphuric acid.

He shot Mrs Durand-Deacon, removed anything of value and put her body in a drum of acid. Returning to London, he reported her missing.

Police suspicions were raised and the workshop was searched. Haigh was questioned and eventually stated: “I’ve destroyed her with acid. You’ll find the sludge that remains at Leopold Road. Every trace has gone. How can you prove murder if there’s no body?”

How was the case solved, what was the outcome?

In his plan to get away with murder, Haigh had not foreseen how thorough the investigations of the Home Office pathologist, Professor Keith Simpson, would be – the recovery of Mrs Durand-Deacon’s false teeth and other items enabled her to be identified.

Haigh was convicted of her murder at Lewes Assizes and hanged at Wandsworth Prison on August 10, 1949.

What made it such an infamous case?

Haigh became known as the Acid Bath Murderer. He claimed he was insane and that he drank his victims’ blood, leading to him also being called the Vampire Killer in the press. He also claimed to have killed three others, in addition to the five he had killed prior to Mrs Durand-Deacon. These claims of insanity were dismissed.

Which exhibits from the case will be on display at Crime Museum Uncovered?

Exhibits on display include plaster casts of Olive Durand-Deacon’s gallstones and foot bones, her red plastic handbag, Haigh’s diary and his gas mask, rubber gloves and rubber apron, which he wore when dissolving the bodies.

The Crime Museum Uncovered runs from October 9 to April 10. Click here for ticket information and more details