The Brides in the Bath Case: Serial Murder in Wartime England.

Roy Brown
3 min readJan 9, 2021

During the first World War, England was on the front lines on the European Continent, the western front became a stalemate. But in mainland England, A serial killer was on the loose.

On July 13th, 1912, Bessie Mundy was found in her bathtub at 80 High Street, Herne bay. This was a strange death since the victim was found in her bathtub, but there is a twist, Williams had made a will five days before her death, leaving a sizeable amount of money to her husband; Henry Williams.

but his name wasn’t Henry Williams, His real name was George Joseph Smith. but this was not any ordinary case, as the will could provide a motive for murder.

George Joseph Smith (Source:

This “Henry Williams” was façade, Smith was Wed to Bessie Williams in August of 1910. However this was only the beginning.

Before Lofty’s Murder, the killer struck again, Alice Burham would be found in the same conditions, similar to the Bessie Williams Case. Alice was found dead on December 12th, 1913. Alice’s Father had some reasonable doubts about his future son in law.

Margaret Elizabeth Lofty, Aged 38 (Source:

Another woman would fall prey to this killer, in 1914, just weeks before Christmas, Margaret Elizabeth Lofty was found under the same conditions, in Highgate.

She had married a man named John Lloyd and had adopted this man’s last name. Margaret Lloyd was found in the same circumstances. Dead in the Bathtub and her husband inheriting her money.

An Inquest was done to determine the death of accidental or premediated, in the inquest, the matter of death was determined to be accidental.

This Verdict had some unanswered questions; for example, how Margaret Lloyd Accidently drown if she was laying down in the Bathtub?

On January 3rd, 1915, A letter was delivered to the metropolitan police, this letter was from a man named Joseph Crossley, he had revealed what the police suspected, this was murder, plain and simple. Crossley examined both cases of Lloyd and Burham and deduced that both deaths were strikingly similar.

George Joseph Smith’s Days were numbered. The Police began to dig details from his life, such as that Smith was a serial Bigamist, being married to his first wife from 1898. George Joseph Smith was born on January 11th, 1872 and that Edith Peglar was still alive when Smith Married Bessie Mundy. From then on, George Joseph Smith descended into a dark world of greed and murder.

After these details were revealed, George Joseph Smith was eventually captured on February 1st, 1915 by divisional inspector Arthur Neil.

The Story of George Joseph Smith’s trial was sensational when it was reported to the press, the public was intrigued with his crimes. Pathologist Bernard Spilsbury also concluded that the victims were drowned when Smith lifted their legs allowing them to drown while laying down.

George Joseph Smith was a condemned man, sentenced to death by hanging. George Joseph Smith, the Brides in the Bath Killer, was hanged on August 13th, 1915.


Juan Blanco, George Joseph Smith, Accessed January 7th, 2021

History by the Editors, Brides in Bath, Accessed January 7th, 2021