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He was absolutely convinced of Todd's existence by reports he found in The Newgate Calendar - "a more factual, reliable document than the penny dreadfuls of the time".
He added: "It is simply all too gruesome not to be true." By Mr Haining's account - still not widely accepted - the man was the monstrous product of his hard upbringing, an opportunist thief who was barbarous even by the standards of his contemporaries, "polishing off" at least 160 victims in a 17-year killing frenzy.
Gossip about disappearing sailors eventually led to the pair's arrest." The jury took 10 minutes to find him guilty and he was hanged, aged 45, on 25 January 1802 at Newgate Prison, in front of a crowd of one thousand.Gruesomely thrilling stuff - but complete cobblers, according to others.He survived by becoming apprentice to a vicious cutler (specialist in razors), John Crook.Two years later, he was jailed for petty theft and sentenced to five years in the notoriously harsh Newgate Prison.