17th June 1924

Serial killer Archibald Hall is born

Archibald Hall was born in Glasgow and found work as a butler for members of the aristocracy under the name Roy Fontaine. His first brush with the law occurred when he was imprisoned for theft, after which he found work on the estate of a wealthy widow who was unaware of his past. This position came under threat when one of his former fellow inmates, David Wright, found work on the same estate and threatened to expose him.

Fearing that he would lose his job, Hall killed Wright and buried his remains on the estate.

Hall dismissed

Wright’s death was in vain: Hall’s past came to light and he was dismissed from the role, but that didn’t stop him finding another position, this time in the home of a wealthy former Labour MP, Walter Scott-Elliot, and his wife.

They were to be Hall’s second and third victims, after the wife, Dorothy, overheard Hall and an accomplice discussing plans to rob them. Hall, and accomplice Michael Kitto, killed her in the house, but had other plans for her husband. The Aberdeen Evening Express of 2 May 1978 reported that “he was drugged and taken from London by car in a bizarre trip north, unaware that his butler, Archibald Hall, was plotting his death… [he] was throttled with a scarf and then beaten over the head with a spade in a lonely Inverness-shire forest”.

An accomplice

Hall was aided by the victims’ housekeeper, Mary Coggle, but following their deaths she took to wearing Dorothy’s expensive clothes and jewellery, which risked raising suspicion. She became Hall’s fourth victim.

His fifth and last victim was his own half-brother, who had recently been released from prison. Hall drugged him and, once he was incapacitated, drowned him in the bath. Hall, and his accomplice Michael Kitto, who had been involved in all but the first killing, put the body in the boot of their car and headed for Scotland to dispose of it. However, bad weather forced them to stop at the border for the night, where police discovered that the registration plate on the car didn’t match that on the tax disc. When they investigated further, they found the body in the boot and the men were arrested.

This led to the discovery of blood at the Scott-Elliot home, and the killing of Mary Coggle, whose body they had disposed of in a stream. It was soon discovered.

Hall and Kitto on trial

Hall and Kitto were tried twice: in Scotland and England. They admitted the killings during their Scottish trial before being sent to England to be tried for the second time. Hall was sent to prison for the remainder of his life and died in custody in 2002, aged 78.

Upon being sent to prison, the Daily Mirror of 2 November 1978 reported that he was “guarding an explosive sex secret. It was the identity of three MPs with whom the mass murderer claimed to have had homosexual affairs…” and “the possibility that there may be a sixth victim”. The paper continued, “in a letter, conman Hall says he himself was conned – by a helicopter pilot who took money to ‘lift’ a friend from jail and then backed out. Hall wrote: ‘We got him blind drunk and drove him to a quiet forest… by now he is well gone’.”



Other events that occured in June

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