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Thursday, 31 October, 2002, 14:29 GMT
'Mad Butler' dies in prison
Archibald Hall
Archibald Hall was born in Glasgow
A former butler who was at the centre of a notorious killing spree has died in prison.

Archibald Hall, who was jailed in the 1970s for life for the murder of four people, died at Kingston Prison, Portsmouth, on 16 September.

A spokesman for the coroner's office said that Hall, dubbed The Mad Butler by the press, died of natural causes aged 78.

Hall, who also went by the name of Roy Fontaine, was born in Glasgow in 1924, and his adolescence and early adult years were filled with petty crimes.

Kingston Prison
Archibald Hall died in Kingston Prison

He then became a con artist, often posing as an aristocrat, for which he served several prison terms.

But in 1975, Hall's crimes became more serious as he served as butler to Lady Margaret Hudson.

Hall, who was bisexual, had intended to burgle her Dumfriesshire estate, which was packed with valuable antiques but his plans were disrupted when a former homosexual lover turned up.

After inviting David Wright to stay at the mansion, Hall found that he had stolen a diamond ring from Lady Hudson.

After an argument in which Mr Wright shot at Hall, the butler invited him on a shooting trip in nearby woods during which he shot him in the back of the head.

Panicked

Hall soon left the employment of Lady Hudson and moved to London where in 1977 he was employed by former Labour MP and minister Walter Scott-Elliott and his wife Dorothy.

Then in December 1977 Hall went drinking with a former girlfriend, Irish barmaid and prostitute Mary Coggle, who introduced him to small-time crook Michael Kitto.

Hall said he was going to burgle the Kensington flat of his 82-year-old employer, but as he gave his friends a tour of the apartment, showing off the goods he was going to steal, they were disturbed by Mrs Scott-Elliott.

The two men are believed to have panicked and killed Mrs Scott-Elliott by smothering her, although Hall has claimed it was Kitto who did this alone.

Covering his tracks, Hall plied Mr Scott-Elliott with drugged whisky and put the body of his wife in the boot of his car.

Poker

Coggle was dressed up in a wig and mink coat to look like Mrs Scott-Elliott as they visited banks to access the couple's money.

The group, with Mr Scott-Elliott still drugged and Coggle dressed as his wife, then drove to Scotland to dispose of the body.

After reaching a desolate spot in Perthshire, the wife's body was buried and Mr Scott-Elliott was killed a couple of days later by strangulation and buried in a shallow grave in the Highlands.

The killing spree continued as Coggle began to brag to friends about her new-found wealth gained from the murders.

Angered at her indiscretion, Hall killed her by hitting her over the head with a poker while Kitto held her arms.

Chloroform

Hall's final victim was his half-brother Donald Hall, who the butler hated because he suspected he was a sex offender.

Again with the help of Kitto, he subdued Donald with chloroform before drowning him in a bath.

The murderous duo were finally caught as they stopped at a hotel in North Berwick on their way to dispose of the body.

In the summer of 1978, Hall was given two life sentences for the murders of Mr Wright and Walter Scott-Elliott.

He denied murdering Mrs Scott-Elliott and the file was left open.

He was later given two more life sentences for the murders of Coggle and Donald Hall. Kitto also received four life sentences.

Links to more Scotland stories are at the foot of the page.


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