Hagg*r One Name Study

Harold Hagger

Harold is probably the most infamous Hagger we have so far investigated.  He was not only a bigamist, but also found guilty of murder and hung.

Harold was descended from Henry Hagger.  He was one of the thirteen children of William Hagger and Annie Bullard, both born in Therfield.  William was a son of Alfred and Eliza Anderson.  Alfred’s parents were Henry and Eliza Gilby.  The full tree of Harold’s ancestors can be viewed at www.hagger.org.

Harold Hagger was born 1901 in Upper Holloway and on 2nd August 1917 enlisted in the Army.  It appears from his army records that his father then informed the army that he was underage and sent his birth certificate to the MOD.  So, on the 4th October 1917, Harold was discharged from the Army, and despite only serving two months he was charged with a string of misdemeanours.  Perhaps the Army was quite pleased to see the back of Harold.

In 1927, at St Anne’s Church, Islington, Harold married for the first time and his bride was Sophia Cotton.  The records show that in 1926 in Islington Sophia had a son, Ronald, and registered him as Ronald Arthur Catton.  However, when Ronald married in 1950 he declared himself as Ronald Hagger.  So it is probable that Harold was his father.

Harold married for a second time, before Sophia died, and there is no record of a divorce.  This may explain when Harold married this time he did so as Sidney Sinclair.  His bride was Daisy Lindsell a widow (born as Oakley) and they were married at Cambridge Registry Office in 1940.

It was not until 1946 that Harold again turns up when a lady was hitchhiking at Malling in Kent and she was murdered.  Through some really good detective work and probably some luck Sidney Sinclair was charged with the murder.  Subsequently, he was found guilty and hung at Wandsworth prison in 1947.  It turns out Harold, or Sidney, had a string of previous convictions and was known in the Kings Cross area of London (when he was Harold) as ‘Basher Hagger’.

At the time of the offence, Sidney was living in Little Abingdon, Cambs and working as a lorry driver.

The only known picture of Harold (in the flat cap) arriving at Malling Magistrates Court.

In researching Harold we found it fascinating that the case was investigated by Fabian - who we only thought he was a fictional detective on the TV but at this time he was  a leading Scotland Yard detective.  When we visited the National Archives at Kew and we were able to not only handle the original police file but also photograph pages from it including Sidney’s statements to the police.

Since 1947 there have been a number of magazine articles on this case and books also featuring it.  More recently Martin Hagger has assisted an author – Diana Souhami who has now published a book on the Sidney case - Murder at Wrotham Hill.

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