Crimes that shocked Scotland: the Glasgow-born butler who became one of the most notorious serial killers.
Archibald Hall climbed his way up the social ladder to mingle with the rich and famous before he admitted to murdering five innocent people.
Archibald Hall was sentenced to a “natural life sentence” when he admitted to killing five innocent people (Image: Daily Mirror)
Archibald Thomson Hall shook off his humble Govan beginnings to work his way up the social ladder to swindle the rich and famous before becoming one of the most notorious Scots serial killers.
The Glaswegian spent much of his teens carrying out petty thefts in London before he was first arrested and jailed at the age of 17 in 1931.
Hall’s time in prison was dedicated to working on his character and voice to the extent that he would not look out of place within English aristocracy.
Upon his release from prison he changed his name to Roy Fontaine – which was inspired by Joan Fontaine, the star of Alfred Hitchcock’s film Rebecca.
He used his new identity to become a butler that would mix with the rich and famous of the time.
Hall was able to swindle vast sums of cash as he was able to gain entry to some of the oldest and grandest houses in the country under his new persona.
The butler was able to mingle with the rich and famous, including composer Ivor Novello, Lord Mountbatten and playwright Terence Rattigan.
As his confidence continued to grow under his new life, Hall’s ability to switch into a different identity became easier.
On one occasion he managed to convince others that he was a Shiek named Mutlak Medinah by wearing an Arab headdress.
Hall was able to make off with $300,000 worth of jewellery after he lured jewellers into his hotel room using his new identity.
How we reported on the Archibald Hall’s sentence in 1978 (Image: Daily Record)
In 1977, he became a butler at Kirtleton House in Dumfriesshire for Lady Margaret Hudson.
Then, one of Hall’s inmate friends and former lover David Wright came to visit the home.
Hall shot Wright in the head during a rabbit hunting trip over fears his ability to steal high valued goods and money would be exposed to his employer.
He fled the scene of the crime before ending up in London, where he continued his dodgy butler work.
This time he worked for ex-Labour MP Walter Scott-Elliot and his wife Dorothy, who were also wealthy antique collectors, at their posh Chelsea home.
On one occasion he invited fellow crook Michael Kitto around to their property in a bid to rob the couple.
Hall was in cahoots with fellow crook Michael Kitto (Image: Daily Record)
However, the pair were caught by Mrs Scott-Elliot before Kitto was suffocated her to death.
Another acquaintance, Mary Coggle, dressed as the dead woman – using this opportunity to loot the couple’s funds from banks in the city.
They kept Mr Scott-Elliot sedated with sleeping pills and said that his wife had gone to visit friends in Scotland, where he was to join her by road.
They all drove north with the body in the boot. When they reached Braco, in Perthshire, he was sleeping and his wife was buried by the side of a quiet road.
Scott-Elliot was then taken to a lonely spot near Glen Affric in Inverness-shire and beaten to death with a spade after Hall’s failed attempt to strangle him.
They cleared the London flat but Coggle was enjoying the trappings of wealth and refused to lower her profile.
Eventually, the two men decided to rid themselves of the problem.
Hall hit her over the head and suffocated her with a plastic bag before dumping her in a stream between Glasgow and Carlisle.
Archibald’s half-brother Donald was among the victims of his murder spree (Image: Daily Record)
The two men spent a quiet Christmas with Hall’s family, including Hall’s half-brother Donald, a child molester who Hall despised.
In January 1978 when they were in Cumbria, Donald started asking too many questions.
The only solution for the pair of now seasoned killers was to get rid of him.
A chloroformed rag was held over his face and he was drowned in a bath.
Hall and Kitto put his body in their boot and drove north but were forced to stop at a hotel in North Berwick because of a snowstorm.
The suspicious proprietor called the police and Donald’s body was found in the boot of the car.
The killing spree was over. Under questioning, Hall confessed to the five murders and led police to the bodies.
He was handed a “natural life sentence” when he was imprisoned in 1978.
Hall later died of a stroke at the age of 78 in Kingston Prison, Portsmouth, in 2002.