Legendary barber who murdered his customers, the central character of a play by George Dibdin Pitt (1799–1855) and of later plays; from the mid 1930s, Sweeney was used by rhyming slang as a name for the Flying Squad. The original Sweeney Todd was said to kill his victims by cutting their throats while they sat waiting to be shaved; the bodies were then disposed of through a trapdoor and made into sausages.
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