On 18 July 1949 four thousand people crowded into the small town of Lewes hoping to get a seat in the court. Mr Justice Humphries presided.
Haigh had no money to pay for his defence so 'The News of the World' newspaper did a deal with him and offered to pay for his counsel if he would provide them with an exclusive. The 'Daily Mirror' newspaper was also found in contempt of court for emphasising Haigh being a vampire. The editor, Silvester Bolam, was sentenced to three months in prison. The paper also had to pay £10,000 in court costs.
Haigh pleaded not guilty. The prosecution rested its case of deliberate premeditated murder for gain. Haigh’s defence counsel tried to rely on the issue of the defendant’s insanity, describing for the court how his ‘mental illness’ would have affected his ability to appreciate the morality of his acts.
It was clear that Haigh was aware that what he was doing was wrong in the eyes of the law, as evidenced by his attempt to cover up his crimes. With that admission the defence collapsed.
There was only one issue to be decided, the question of the prisoner's sanity. The defence's psychiatrist failed to prove that Haigh’s judgment was impaired. Also, because Haigh had initially enquired about getting released from Broadmoor, it appeared as if he was thinking of using ‘insanity’ to get him off the hook.
The prosecution declared that Haigh was simply a man who believed he had discovered the perfect crime, committed murder for gain and then pretended he was insane when he was caught.
The jury were left to decide whether paranoia could be considered a mental disease or defect. It took them only fifteen minutes to come to a conclusion. Haigh was found guilty.
The judge asked Haigh if he had anything to say for himself. Haigh cocked his head and said, "Nothing at all". Donning a black cap, the judge sentenced him to be hung until dead.