Transcript: 38. The Rillington Place Strangler (Part 1) | England

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On the 30th of November 1949, a man walked into Merthyr Tydfil {Merther Tid-fill} police station in Wales. The man was awkward and did not quite know what to say. When he was asked if he wanted to make a statement, he simply said:


 “I have disposed of my wife. I put her down a drain.”


The man was Timothy Evans, a local man who had recently returned after living in London for a while. At first, officers did not take Tim’s statement seriously. He was known to fabricate stories about his life, so if Tim spoke, nobody really believed him. His dad left before he was born and Tim would often boast that his mysterious father was an Italian count, when in reality he was a coal haulier who had walked out on his family.


Tim’s mother knew there was no malice when it came to Tim. Deep-down he was just very insecure and made up these tall tales to feel better about himself. He was considered to be intellectually slow with a significantly low IQ. In addition he was also hospitalised often as a child, due to illness, so he missed a lot of school.


When Tim arrived back in Wales without his wife and child three weeks before, rumours were milling around town. Police were eager to hear what he had to say and encouraged him to go on.


Tim told police that his wife, Beryl had fallen pregnant, but did not want to have a second child so soon, as their daughter, Geraldine was only 13 months old. He said that “a man” had given him a bottled substance, to end the pregnancy. Unfortunately something went wrong and Beryl lost her life. In a panic, he disposed of her body by placing it into a manhole in front of the communal terrace building, that they shared with two other tenants. 


Merthyr Tydfil police asked their counterparts in Notting Hill to inspect the manhole at 10 Rillington Place. When officers arrived at the property, they opened the manhole, but could not find anything inside. Why would Tim Evans lie about something as serious as the disposal of his wife’s body?


Police told Tim that they could not find Beryl’s body and pressed him for an explanation. and told him they could not find Beryl’s body. Tim was shocked, surprised. Then he changed his story. He said that his neighbour was the man who had assisted Beryl with her abortion. When Tim came home after work, the man said that Beryl had died during the procedure. 


Notting Hill police returned to Rillington Place and interviewed Tim’s neighbour, a man by the name of John Reginald Christie. Christie told police that Tim was an alcoholic who was often violent towards Beryl. He strongly implied that Tim was responsible for his wife’s demise. 


Two days later, police found Beryl’s body in a wash house at the back of the property. Even more chilling was the discovery of the lifeless body of little Geraldine. 


The case against Tim Evans seemed straight-forward. Horrendous, but plain to see that he was guilty. The case stirred national interest and with an amazing twist of fate, would bring about a historic change in the British judicial system.


>>Intro Music


John Reginald Halliday Christie was born in Halifax, Yorkshire in 1899. He was one of seven children (the 5th, to be exact). He was the youngest male with a bunch of older sisters. He hated the fact that his older sisters and his mother had power over him. He despised them for it. His father was not much of an ally, quite the opposite. Ernest Christie who worked as a carpet designer, often whipped Christie and made all the children take long walks in marching style. There is no further evidence of more abuse than that. Bare in mind, at the time, spanking one’s children was the ‘done’ thing. 


Christie was an active member of the Scouts and loved wearing his uniform. Looking neat and tidy was very important to him, he took a lot of pride in it. He sang in the church choir and was known to be a very obedient young man. He was extremely bright with an IQ of 128. He excelled at Math and Algebra, paying a lot of attention to detail.


In researching this case, most sources refer to him as John, but in finding some of his letters addressed to friends and family, he referred to himself as Reg. To avoid confusion, we shall refer to him only as ‘Christie’.


He wasn’t really well-liked as he was often hysterical and quite the hypochondriac. In his teens, Christie had a traumatic first sexual experience. The young lady was far more experienced than him, and in the pressure of the moment, Christie could not perform. The girl talked about it with all her friends and even Christie’s sisters. Girls started teasing him, calling him: ‘Reggie no dick’ or ‘Can’t-do-it Christie’.


His maternal grandfather was a strict and unforgiving authoritarian. When he passed away, Christie’s parents asked him if he wanted to go to the open casket to say his last farewell. The 11-year-old boy walked up to the casket, and suddenly, the man who used to frighten him and his siblings, was passive. For the first time ever, he was not scary at all. Young Christie felt a thrill at being faced with a man he used to fear, all his grandfather’s power had dissolved in death.


Christie left school at the age of 15 and found a job as an assistant movie projectionist at a local cinema.


In 1916 he quit his job, as he was called to serve in The Great War. He served with the Sherwood Foresters as a signaller. This was a high pressure position in the front lines of battle and many signallers never made it back home alive. Christie probably got this position, because he had some technical expertise after working as a cinema projectionist.


In June 1918, Christie’s regiment was in France when they were suffered a mustard gas attack. Christie lost his eyesight was suddenly mute – he did not speak for three whole years after he was discharged. On his arrival back in England, Christie was given disability pension.


People close to him said that he exaggerated blindness as an effect of the gassing. Physicians at the time felt that this was not a physical problem, but something they put down to ‘a hysterical reaction’. He was considered to have shell shock, equivalent to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. Although people felt his problems were more mental than physical, Christie never received psychological treatment.


When he was 21 he met a girl called Ethel Simpson Waddington. She was a rather beautiful young lady from a good family and was close to her brother and her sister. Ethel was a competent shorthand typist and enjoyed her job. 


They married in May 1920, despite him being unable to speak throughout their entire courtship. He claimed that he used a notebook and a pencil. Once the couple married, sex was sporadic and when Ethel fell pregnant, she had a miscarriage. In the end, they never had any children. 


Christie took a job as a postman, but he was caught stealing postal orders, and sent to prison. After his release in 1924, his voice miraculously returned. The first words he ever spoke to Ethel were used to tell her that he was leaving her. Christie wanted a fresh start and moved to London, while Ethel stayed behind in Sheffield where she found a job as a typist. There was a story going around that Ethel was having an affair with her employer, but her family always denied it and blamed Christie for starting the rumour.


The once-was choir boy had become unravelled. Christie paid women for sex and committed petty crimes to boost his income. He couldn’t hold down a job anyway and eventually went to prison a second time, again for theft.


On his release in 1928 met a married woman called Maud Cole in the seaside town of Margate. She was travelling without her husband and started an affair with Christie. On their return, they moved in together, living in her flat in Battersea, south west London. Maud worked and paid the rent. Christie hardly contributed to the household which was fine at first, but as time went on, Maud pressured him to get a job and contribute to the household. Christie refused and Maud asked him to leave. He was furious and said that if he could not have her, no one could. 


Tensions rose as he would not leave. As they were having a meal one afternoon in May 1929, he did not like the fish Maud had brought home. He left the table and returned, hitting Maud over the head with a cricket bat. Fortunately she survived with no permanent damage and Christie was sent to prison – again. He claimed that it was an accident, that he was only trying out the swing of the bat, but nobody believed him.


After a separation of almost ten years, at the end of 1933, Ethel visited him in Wandsworth Prison. He was incarcerated for car-theft at the time. During this prison-stint, Christie decided to become respectable again once he was free. Although they had separated, the couple never legally divorced. Ethel was in her mid-thirties and did not feel she had any prospects of ever finding a husband again. Besides, she was lonely and still considered Christie to be the love of her life. She told Christie that they should either divorce officially or give their marriage another go. He wanted to try again and the  matter was settled. After his release, the couple reunited. 


Christie had a clean slate and wanted to be a up and coming member of society. Well, that was the image he wanted to portray. There was still no intimacy between him and Ethel and he frequented sex workers. He lived out his violent sexual urges with multiple partners. 


Christie and Ethel moved to the Ladbroke Grove neighbourhood of Notting Hill in November 1933. Five years later, they moved into a new spot, at 10 Rillington Place. This would become one of the most notorious addresses, carved into London’s history.


Although current day Notting Hill is charming and vibrant, it was not such a great place to live at the time. Due to the Blitz attacks by German Luftwaffe, many homes in London were destroyed, leaving countless people without refuge. Overcrowding was common. Multiple tenants occupied one unit: for instance a narrow, three-level Victorian terrace house, would be divided into three apartments – one apartment per floor. 


The Christies occupied the end unit in a row of terraces with a side wall bordering a factory wall. They had a cat and a dog – an Irish terrier called Judy, which gave them exclusive use of the communal garden out the back. There was grit on the window sills and ablution facilities were close to non-existent. An out-house in the garden served all three units, which meant other tenants had to walk through the Christie’s apartment whenever they wanted to use the toilet. 


But Ethel tried her best to make the place homely and would invite neighbours around for tea and cakes. Christie was a keen photographer and took many photos of Ethel. She appeared more middle-aged and worn through than earlier photos of herself, when she was clearly fashion conscious and bubbly.


In the later-1930s, Christie applied to become a member of the police reserve. He failed to mention his criminal past and nobody checked. They were only too thankful to have a capable new member at a time when law enforcement needed all the help they could get. Christie was assigned to Harrow Road police station and kept the job for four years.


He became a special constable who was a well-known and feared man around the neighbourhood. He was a disciplinarian, called the ‘Himmler of Rillington Place’ behind his back. Essentially, a special constable’s job was to report offences – big or small. He was an authorised voyeur if you will, popping his head into neighbours’ windows to see that everything was in order. He was so good at this, he even received an award: a commendation for his ability in dealing with criminal offences between 1939-1943.


Always a man with a roving eye, Christie also started an affair with a woman who worked at the police station. Her husband was a serving soldier, away at war. When the husband arrived home unannounced, he surprised the couple in a compromising situation and beat Christie up.


Many women were left without husbands or boyfriends due to the war and the only way to earn a living was to sell sex. These women would often sleep with Christie, so he would turn a blind eye to their activities in the neighbourhood. There was a peculiar incident when colleagues from the police reserve were about to arrest a woman for soliciting, when Christie intervened, saying the woman was his wife. The other officers backed down, but were confused about Christie’s swift action to help the lady.


In war time England, there was no contraception and abortion was illegal, so unwanted pregnancies were common. It was rumoured that Christie performed illegal abortions at 10 Rillington Place. And Ethel probably went along with it, as it would have been a source of income for them.


Their kitchen was downstairs, below street level. In the corner was a string chair where abortion patients would sit down. Christie would assure them that they won’t feel pain, as they had devised a kind of anaesthetic. Christie attached a pipe from a coal gas outlet with a bulldog clip and run it through a mixture of Friar’s balsam to mask the gas smell. Then he used a homemade face mask, (well, a modified tin can) and placed it over his ‘patient’s’ mouth to render them unconscious.


After the procedure, women were taken to the living room to regain consciousness and gather themselves, before leaving. That is, the ones who made it out alive. Exactly what Ethel’s level of involvement in the backstreet abortion scheme was, is not clear. 


The murders begin

Ethel was close to her sister in Sheffield and left London for an extended visit. During this time Christie became involved with an Austrian woman, called Ruth Fuerst. She was half-Jewish and entered England as a refugee. She had hoped to become a nurse and studied part-time while she was working at a hotel in Kensington. In 1939, she worked as a student nurse in Kent, were people remembered her to be ‘intelligent and alert’. 


For reasons unknown, she returned to London where she did domestic cleaning. But that would not last. As a refugee in war-time London, life was rather tough. With the threat of German invasion, all Germans and Austrians living in Britain were sent to internment camps. Ruth was sent to Isle of Wight where she spent six months. 


On her return to London, she worked at the Mayfair Hotel. In this time, she fell pregnant and had a daughter in October 1942, who was taken to a home in Tunbridge Wells where she was later adopted. 


By the time Ruth Fuerst met Christie, she lived in Oxford Gardens, not far from Rillington Place had a job in a munitions factory. 


There was a rumour that she slept with American Air Force workers in exchange for money. Either way, Christie and Ruth slept together on more than one occasion. All their meetings took place at the Christie’s home.


When his wife Ethel sent a telegraph to say that she was coming back, Christie panicked. He was afraid that Ruth would cause a scene with Ethel and decided the only way out was to kill his lover. They had sex one last time – a violent encounter. Then he strangled her with a rope. Later he recalled killing Ruth:


“She was completely naked. I tried to put her clothes back on her. She had a leopard skin coat and I wrapped this around her. I took her from the bedroom and put her under the floorboards.”


When Ethel and her brother Henry Simpson Waddington arrived back home, Christie kept up appearances. He had a cup of tea with them in the living room, with Ruth’s body just underfoot. When Ethel’s brother left and Ethel went to her part time job at an electric light company, Christie moved Ruth’s body to the back garden. Christie was often seen outside and neighbours thought he was a keen gardener. If only they knew what he was actually doing... 


The last time anyone saw Ruth Fuerst alive was August 24th 1943. When she failed to collect her pay check an week later, she was reported missing a week later. In the chaos at the height of World War II, it would have pretty much been impossible for Ruth’s family, who had settled in New York, to find her in England. Ruth also had very little contact with them and they did not realise the seriousness of the matter until much later on.


Christie was constantly tending the garden at 10 Rillington Place, making sure Ruth’s body remained covered with soil. Months after the murder, Christie pulled up her skull from the soil and burnt it with a pile of garbage. He would later write:


“I remember as I gazed down at the still form of my first victim, experiencing a strange, peaceful thrill.”


In killing Ruth and disposing of her body, he had awoken an urge inside of him and felt compelled to murder again. 


By 1943 he had quit the police reserve and started working at the Ultra Radio Works in Acton. This is where he met 32-year-old Muriel Eady a year later. They often met in the canteen and had lunch together. Muriel had a steady boyfriend and the Christies had the both of them over for tea. Once they went to the cinemas together.


Muriel told Christie that she was suffering from Catarrh (that is build-up of mucus in the airway – constant phlegm in the nose that runs down the throat). As soon as Ethel went away again, Christie used the opportunity to lure Muriel to his home by promising her that he could cure her. Hopeful to end the discomfort caused by her Catarrh, she agreed to try it out. Christie took a week’s sick leave from work, a clear indication that he had planned to kill Muriel.


Muriel lived with an aunt in Putney at the time. On Saturday the 7th of October 1944, she had lunch with her aunt, then left around 4pm to go shopping. She did not tell anyone that she was going to Christie’s home. When Muriel arrived at 10 Rillington Place, Christie took her downstairs to the kitchen. 


He showed her the facemask attached to a pipe, which supposedly had the magic cure. An elixir that would clear her airways for good. But it was no cure… He removed the bulldog clip from the pipe, so the gas would flow stronger. It didn’t take long before Muriel was unconscious. He then took off her stockings and strangled her with it.


“My second murder was much, much cleverer than the first one. I planned it very carefully.” He boasted a decade later.


In the cover of night, he buried Muriel’s body in the communal back garden, where he had buried Ruth Fuerst’s body less than a year before.


Christie later admitted that he raped Muriel while he strangled her. It is not 100% clear if he raped the victims after they had passed, or when they were unconscious. Either way, his actions can be classified as necrophilia. Either in the act of killing, while they were unconscious or right after they had expired. 


Muriel’s family were concerned about her whereabouts. They thought she was killed by a V-Rocket attack at the Dance Hall in Putney. Muriel was missing and her trail had gone cold.


In April 1948 a young couple moved into the top floor apartment at 10 Rillington Place. 24-year-old Tim Evans and his 19-year-old wife, Beryl had only been married for a year and they were expecting their first child. 


Tim grew up in Wales. He was illiterate and what they would call simple-minded at the time. But he was a hard worker, who drove a van. He married a local girl, Beryl Forley, who had a good job working as a telephonist at the upmarket hotel, Grosvenor House in Mayfair. This was a very sought after position, so Beryl was doing well for herself. She quit her job to be with Tim. Tim’s sister, Eileen, found them the apartment in Notting Hill, as she lived close-by. 


Christie took an interest in the petite Beryl, he always stared at her. Eileen remembered a day when she was at home with Beryl. Christie suddenly appeared, as if from nowhere. He was standing right there in their apartment, holding a cup of tea. It was an uncomfortable situation and he eventually left when Tim’s sister said that they were expecting Tim home any minute. 


On the 10th of October 1948, Tim and Beryl welcomed their baby Geraldine into their lives.

Beryl and Tim were happy at first, but money was tight and the cramped living conditions At 10 Rillington Place made it hard with a baby. Remember, the wash house was out the back, in the communal garden. They had to pass through the Christie’s apartment and walk past their bedroom in order to go to the toilet. 


The Evanses also struggled financially and Beryl wasn’t much of a housekeeper or a cook. She did care for Geraldine as best she could, but she was a young woman without much support. Tim and Beryl often fought, verbally at first, but later it often ended up in physical altercations, with both of them hitting each other.


Beryl was very concerned about their financial situation and took a part-time job at a local newsagency. While she was at work, Ethel Christie looked after baby Geraldine. When Beryl told Tim that a co-worker had kissed her, he exploded with jealousy and marched down to the newsagency where he caused a scene. Beryl was subsequently fired and went back to taking care of their baby full time.


At one point, Beryl offered to help a friend of hers called Lucy Endecott. Lucy needed a place to stay and Beryl said they would squeeze her in somewhere. Lucy slept on the bed with Beryl while Tim was made to sleep on the kitchen floor. Before long, it was obvious that something romantic was stirring between Tim and Lucy and Beryl told her friend to leave.

Tim was furious and threatened to throw Beryl out the window. He left and stayed with Lucy for a couple of days, but she threw him out, allegedly because of his violent temper. He sheepishly moved back in with Beryl and their baby.


The couple’s fights continued, Tim attempted to strangle Beryl during one argument. He even told his mother about this.


When Beryl fell pregnant again in November 1949, the couple could not see how that would work out. Tim suspected that the baby was not his, but Beryl assured him that she had not slept with anyone else. 


Beryl decided not to have the child, but as abortion was illegal, she had to take matters into her own hands. At the time, the most common method to end a pregnancy involved three steps: a hot bath, a bottle of gin and a knitting needle. Beryl tried drinking pills and taking douches, but it didn’t work. 


Christie had called Tim into his flat when he arrived home one day and said that he had overheard Beryl talking about taking pills to end her pregnancy. Actually, Beryl confided in Ethel and she told Christie. He offered to help, as he had helped out other young girls before. To prove to Tim that he knew what he was talking about, he showed him some medical books. In truth, it could have been any book, as Tim was illiterate. Tim said that all he saw were diagrams of men’s and women’s nude bodies. One can speculate that it was erotic material, rather than medical journals.


At first Tim didn’t want to know anything about it. But Beryl told him that she was planning on going ahead with the abortion, with or without his blessing. He didn’t believe her and the couple had an argument that led to slapping and shoving. Tim finally conceded that it was perhaps not the best time to bring another child into their unstable world and agreed to the abortion. What Tim did not realise was he was effectively co-signing his wife’s death sentence. 


On Tuesday the 8th of November 1949, Beryl asked Christie to perform an abortion on her. Christie was only too happy to help and said that he would come upstairs for the procedure.

Christie strangled Beryl when she was at her most vulnerable. She fell into a deep sleep that she would never wake up from, while Christie used her body for his own perverse gratification.

 

When Tim returned from work that night, Christie told him that he had performed an abortion on Beryl, but she did not survive it. She passed away around 3 o’clock and Christie left her in her bed. Tim was shocked, he never realised the procedure could be life-threatening. Christie explained that it was a case of ‘septic-poison’ due to an infection Beryl picked up after her own failed attempts of ending her pregnancy.


Tim followed Christie upstairs where saw Beryl’s body with blood coming from her mouth, her nose as well as her genitals. Little Geraldine was in her cot, crying. Tim switched into auto-pilot mode and took Geraldine out of her cot and put her in a high chair where he gave her some food, while he tried to come to terms with the situation of Beryl’s death.


Remember, Tim was perhaps not the brightest person, it is said that he was like an 11-year-old. So he was highly susceptible to persuasion, especially by someone as strong-willed and dominating as John Reginald Christie. When Tim suggested they go to the police, Christie reminded him that abortions were illegal. Not only would police blame Christie, but also Tim, as he had prior knowledge of the planned procedure. Christie also reminded Tim that he had a history of violence towards Beryl and Christie threatened to tell police if necessary. 


Tim realised that he could report Beryl’s death to police. So he helped Christie hide Beryl’s body in the kitchen of the second floor apartment. The tenant was Mr Kitchener, but they knew that he was in hospital at the time, so nobody would come across Beryl’s body anytime soon. Christie tried to appease Tim and said that he would throw Beryl into a drain, down a manhole in front of the building later on.


Tim was worried about raising his daughter alone. He was barely making ends meet and could not quit his job to look after an toddler. Again, Christie had a solution. He told him about a childless family in Acton, who would take care of his daughter, no questions asked. When Tim was ready, he could take her back. Of course, these people didn’t exist, but Tim Evans did not know this. He believed his neighbour and thanked him for all the help.


Christie felt it was essential for Tim to leave London before anyone asked any questions, so Tim sold his furniture (which was actually on finance-loan), packed what he could and went to his family in Wales. But back home in Merthyr Tydfil, his and Beryl’s families wanted to know what had happened to his wife and child. After a couple of weeks, guilt got the better of him and he told them the whole story. 


That is when he went to police to make a statement. At first he said that his wife had died during an abortion and that he disposed of her body down the manhole outside of Rillington Place. He did not want to implicate Christie, as he was afraid that Christie would tell police about his involvement. When police could not find anything, Tim told them about Christie, that HE was the one who had performed the abortion.


Police went to Christie to interrogate him. Together with Ethel, they kept up appearances, shocked that Tim would point a finger at them. They turned Tim’s story against him, saying that he was the last person who saw Beryl alive. He also pointed out that Tim was known to tell lies and would surely try to conceal the truth about killing his wife. 


Ethel was clearly coached by Christie, who had experience in police interrogations and knew how to handle the situation. His interrogators still saw him as one of their own, an ally in the quest to bring the truth to light.


The Christies said that on the afternoon of the 8th of November, Beryl left the apartment in the afternoon and they did not see her return. That night, around midnight, they heard a thump from upstairs. The neighbour living on the 2nd floor, Mr Kitchener, was in hospital, so they knew it couldn’t be him. There were no further noises, so they went back to sleep. The following day, Tim had allegedly told them Beryl had left for Bristol.


Tim did in fact tell his mother that Beryl had gone to Brighton to visit her father, which was odd, as she hardly had contact with him anymore. Police did not know who to believe anymore, but looked at the facts: Beryl and her young child were missing. 


In the Evanses apartment, police found a stack of newspaper clippings about a sensational torso murder of the time, known as the Setty case. A man called Donald Hume had killed his wealthy business associate, Stanley Setty, and dumped his torso in the Essex marshes. The case received a lot of media attention. Police felt it was a smoking gun – proof that Tim had murder on his mind. They failed to realise that the newspaper must have been planted there, as Tim was illiterate. 


On December 2nd 1949, police launched a search of 10 Rillington Place, Notting Hill and went through the whole property. Inside and outside. Investigators insisted on searching the washhouse out back. The door was stuck, so Ethel Christie brought them a piece of metal so they could yank it open. Behind a wood pile, they saw something that was wrapped in a green tablecloth and tied up with a cord. When the officer pulled at the cord, a pair of feet slipped out. It was the body of Beryl Evans. 


As police officers bundled into the washhouse to process the scene, they also discovered the remains of one-year-old Geraldine behind a wood pile, behind the door. Both mother and daughter had been strangled. So Beryl did NOT die because of an abortion-gone-wrong after all. Geraldine still had a striped men’s necktie around her neck, which was used to strangle her. The autopsy revealed that Beryl and Geraldine had passed away approximately three weeks before, which would make it the day of the abortion. Christie must have taken Geraldine’s life shortly after Tim’s departure for Wales. 


Beryl had been beaten and strangled. There was no evidence that she had taken any substance that would lead to miscarriage of her three-month-old foetus. She had bruising inside her vagina, but the coroner neglected to take a swab to determine if semen was present. 


The news shocked Londoners and headlines called the case “The Washhouse Murders”. Everyone was looking at Tim Evans. Tim later claimed that it was only when police called him in for questioning that he learnt of his daughter’s death.


Shocked and confused, Tim was easily led. He signed a confession, stating that he was the one who had killed his wife and daughter, but forensic linguists would later question the validity of Tim’s statement: it was peppered with higher brow English, not the type of language someone of Tim’s background would have used. He also made more than one statement.


At first, he said that he had killed Beryl because she had run up debts and he was angry with her. He said he hit her and then strangled her with a piece of rope. Then he wrapped her body in a tablecloth and took her body to the washhouse. This would have been impossible, because he would have had to pass through the Christie’s apartment, carrying her body. Also there were carpenters repairing the outhouses of Rillington Place at the time and they would definitely have noticed her body. 


Tim said he fed his baby and left her alone when he went to work the next day. When he came home, he strangled her too and took her to where Beryl was resting. This was believed to be a guided confession, not an actual account of events. He said for instance, that he left the rope around Beryl’s neck, but there was no rope. Also, when he sold his furniture, he did not sell the pram and high chair – instead he gave it to the Christies. This supports the story that would emerge later, that Tim believed the Christies would find someone to care for Geraldine.


On the 11th of January 1950, Tim Evans went on trial at the Old Bailey in London. Tim was charged with Geraldine’s murder, as prosecution felt more secure that this would get him a conviction. 


By this time, he had retracted his earlier statements and claimed that Christie was the one who had killed his family. He felt responsible for his wife and daughter’s deaths, as he was not there to protect them. So when he was forced to confess by interrogators, after talking to them for an entire evening, he eventually relented and confessed at 5am in the morning. At his trial, he pleaded not guilty.


John Reginald Christie was the Crown’s principal witness and he testified against Tim. His testimony was the last nail in the coffin. Christie was convincing and confident. Remember, he used to be a police officer, he knew all about court procedures and legal terminology. His demeanour on the stand was quiet and pleasant. He portrayed himself as both hero and victim at times and pointed out that he was in rather bad health. He also made a point of referring to his service in the war. His eloquent delivery was in stark contrast to Tim’s testimony. For the most part, Tim was confused an bewildered and jury misread that as someone who was trying to conceal his guilt.


Crucial evidence, that could have supported Tim’s innocent plea, was not allowed to be presented in court. It was the testimony of the workers who were fixing the wash house at 10 Rillington Place. They swore that, on the day Tim Evans claimed to have disposed of his wife and child’s bodies, they were working in the washhouse and would definitely have noticed something. However, there was nothing there, which placed a question mark over Tim’s confession.


The trial lasted three days and after deliberating for only 40 minutes the jury found Tim guilty of murder. He was sentenced to death. In the courtroom, Christie burst into tears, crying loudly, when the verdict was read. 


Tim’s history of violence towards Beryl and his habit of lying counted against him in court. 

He appealed his conviction, but his request for a retrial was denied. 


He was hanged less than two months later on March 9th 1950 at Pentonville Prison. He protested his innocence to the end, but nobody would listen to him.


Thank you for listening to Part 1 of The Rillington Place Strangler. Part two will drop next week, same time, same place.


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