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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Social Chat > Shades of Whitechapel

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  #11  
Old 07-26-2008, 08:54 PM
apricot apricot is offline
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Originally Posted by Sherlock View Post
Hello Apricot

I do indeed have the book on the Christie case written by Edward Marston, which is a good introduction for anyone interested in the case.

I also have the following books on the case available for reference:-

10 Rillington Place by Ludovic Kennedy
The Two Stranglers of Rillington Place by Rupert Furneaux
Medical and Scientific Investigations in the Christie Case by Francis Camps
Trials of Evans and Christie by F. Tennyson Jesse
The Two Killers of Rillington Place by John Eddowes
The Crimes at Rillington Place - A Novelist's Reconstruction by John Newton Chance
Rillington Place published by The Stationary Office, which is the text of the findings of the Brabin report on Timothy Evans
The Man On Your Conscience by Michael Eddowes, which is chiefly concerned with the Evans murders

In addition, I also have copies of Murder With a Difference by Molly Lefebure, and Murderer's Moon by Conrad Phillips, both of which have substantial material on the Christie case.

A book I have not yet seen is The Christie Case by Ronald Maxwell, a reporter who was present at the trial. There are a couple of copies listed for sale on the Abebooks website, but they are both selling at nearly 100!!!

As well as the film starring Richard Attenborough and John Hurt, the case also inspired a play by Howard Brenton entitled Christie In Love!!! Also, the Australian artist Brett Whiteley produced a series of avant-garde paintings based on the crimes - I believe he lived in the Notting Hill area near Rillington Place in the early 1960s.

SHERLOCK
Hi Sherlock,

Goodness, I had no idea there was such a huge amount of literature about the case, plenty of food for thought for you then! Coincidently I bought the Ruth Rendell book this very afternoon!
P.S Don't you think Ethel must have had an inkling, especially re: Beryl Evans?

KR Angie
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  #12  
Old 07-27-2008, 02:16 AM
Sherlock Sherlock is offline
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Hello Apricot

Yes, I have often wondered if Ethel Christie ever had some inkling of her husband's activities. As I said in an earlier posting, she could hardly have been unaware that her husband had been named as co-respondent in a divorce case as a result of his affair with the young woman at Harrow Road Police Station; she must therefore have known that he had had sexual liasions with other women, and may have had suspicions about his crimes. In spite of this, she chose to stay with him.

Rupert Furneaux states on page 102 of The Two Stranglers of Rillington Place that in 1951 a white girl rented a room on the first floor of the house and became friendly with Mrs Christie, who showed her photographs of Beryl and Geraldine and told her that she suspected that her husband had been involved in the murders. The girl then suggested that she ought to leave her husband befor he killed her too, but Ethel said that she had lived with him too long to do so, and was still in love with him. At that point Christie himself walked into the room and ordered his wife to put the photographs away. Ludovic Kennedy also states in 10 Rillington Place that Ethel always seemed to be dominated by her husband.

Furneaux goes on to state that Christie asked the girl to pose for nude photographs and also threatened to "do her in." Ludovic Kennedy also states that Christie was in the habit of taking indecent photographs of women.

Unfortunately, Furneaux does not say where he obtained his information, but it may well be true.

It may well be the case that Christie obtained his samples of pubic hair on the same occasions that he took his photographs, or possibly he visited other women for this purpose.

As far as his deckchair is concerned, it may well be the case that he utilised it for practical purposes due to the smallness of the kitchen. Apparently he was friendly with a second-hand furniture dealer named Mr Robert Hookway who had a shop in the Portobello Road. Christie may have advised Evans to sell his furniture to him before his departure for Wales in 1949, and sold his own furniture to him before he committed his last three murders in 1953Possibly the infamous deckchair was obtained from him.

Ludovic Kennedy also states in 10 Rillington Place that Mr Hookway found that an old chest of drawers he obtained from Christie was stuffed full of papers which appeared to be written in Christie's hand; he glanced casually at one or two of them and noticed that they included "a lot of scientific stuff" and "descriptions of women that Christie had followed while in the police." Apparently Mr Hookway consigned the whole lot to the dustbin without looking at any more of them. Kennedy wonders whether these papers might have included a true description of Christie's involvement in the Evans murders.

SHERLOCK
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  #13  
Old 07-27-2008, 11:11 AM
Limehouse Limehouse is offline
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Hi Sherlock,

I believe that shortly after Christie's involvement with the woman at the police station (possibly as a result), Christie's wife left and they lived apart for several years. I think it may have been as long as ten years. They were reunited but Ethel sometimes went to visit her sister and they may have been when he invoted women back to the house (and possibly killed them).
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  #14  
Old 07-27-2008, 05:50 PM
apricot apricot is offline
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Originally Posted by Limehouse View Post
Hi Sherlock,

I believe that shortly after Christie's involvement with the woman at the police station (possibly as a result), Christie's wife left and they lived apart for several years. I think it may have been as long as ten years. They were reunited but Ethel sometimes went to visit her sister and they may have been when he invoted women back to the house (and possibly killed them).
Hi Limehouse,

Ethel left Christie after 3 years of marriage in 1923, he had ,after less than a year of marriage, been sent to prison for stealing postal orders (he was working as a postman) Ethel forgave him, then in 1923 he was convicted of obtaining money by deception and violent conduct, his family had disowned him and his criminal record made it difficult to find work in Halifax, so Ethel wanted a new start in Sheffield but the marriage fell apart and Christie went to London. between 1924 and 1929 he served 2 more prison terms for larceny,
by he was living with and presumably off a prostitute, during a row he hit her on the head with a cricket bat, he was sentenced to 6 months with hard labour, it was when he was released from this he wrote to Ethel and asked her to come and live with him again, why she agreed to it, who knows, this was 1933 so they were apart for 10 years.

KR Angie
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  #15  
Old 07-27-2008, 06:05 PM
apricot apricot is offline
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Hello Sherlock,

The dynamics of the Christie marriage is certainly intriguing, isn't it? On one hand Ethel taunts him about the lack of sex and his impotence, but as you say she must have known about the affair with the married woman and his "friendship" with a number of prostitutes.
Sorry if I've mssed it somewhere , but was the married woman ever named,or spoken to by any author?

KR Angie
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  #16  
Old 07-27-2008, 06:56 PM
Sherlock Sherlock is offline
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Hello Apricot

The name of the young woman who worked at Harrow Road Police Station with whom Christie had the affair hasn't been named in any account of the case I have read. One wonders if she is still alive today! However, if she is, she probably wouldn't want her involvement with Christie to become public knowledge even today!!!

In one article on the case I read, the woman with whom Christie was living in the 1930s and whom he assaulted with the cricket bat was named as a Maud Cole.

Interestingly, the Brabin inquiry in 1965 was unable to trace Mr Robert Hookway, to whom Christie had sold his furniture in 1952 and had also bought Evans' furniture in 1949. Apparently, Ludovic Kennedy had been able to interview him for his book in the late 1950s or early 1960s. There appears to be some doubt as to when Christie and Mr Hookway actually met, although it seemed to be in 1949. It is uncertain whether Christie actually recommended that Evans should sell his furniture to Mr Hookway, or whether Evans found out about him for himself, although Christie was certainly on friendly terms with him after this. Possibly Mr Hookway could have shed some light on Christie's habits had he been available to the Brabin inquiry in 1965; indeed, one wonders whether he is still alive today, although I suppose this is highly unlikely.

Another person in the case about whom not much seems to be known is Mr Charles Kitchener, who lived in the flat above Christie, but was in hospital at the time of the Evans' murders. It has been said that he was a retired railwayman and had lived alone at 10 Rillington Place since he had parted from his wife in the 1920s. He reportedly disliked both Evans and Christie, and considered that both of them were thieves, as he was always missing small items from his flat. As Christie had previous convictions for theft, perhaps he was responsible. Apparently, Mr Kicthener's eyesight became so bad that he was obliged to move out of 10 Rillington Place shortly aftet the Evans trial, although it seems that Ludovic Kennedy was also able tospeak to him in tha late 1950s or early 1960s. It is unknown if he was still alive at the time of the Brabin inquiry in 1965.

SHERLOCK
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  #17  
Old 07-27-2008, 07:40 PM
apricot apricot is offline
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Hello Sherlock,

Seems amazing, doesn't it, that the lady's name is still unknown, you're absolutely right, of course, it wouldn't have been something you would want common knowledge, It's possible she's still alive, I suppose and if she is, she must always worry that her secret will come out in to the open, even now. In this day and age I don't believe anyone would be able to keep their anonimity, there would always be somebody ready to sell your soul for the filthy lucre from the press!
Re: Mr Kitchener, have I got this right? Isn't it assumed that Christie put Beryl's body in his flat ovenight?


KR Angie
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  #18  
Old 07-27-2008, 11:43 PM
Sherlock Sherlock is offline
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Hello Apricot


Yes, it is generally assumed that either Christie or Evans placed the bodies of Beryl and Geraldine in Mr Kitchener's flat prior to concealing them in the wash house.

In the film version of 10 Rillington Place Christie is shown concealing the bodies there while his wife sits in the bedroom trying to blot out of her mind what her husband is doing. In actual fact, it has never been determined exactly what she did or did not know about her husband's activities at the time of the Evans murders, although it is at least possible that she did know or suspect something.

Ethel Christie seems to be another character in the case about whom not all that much is known. As I mentioned earlier, a collection letters from her were found several years ago in a house in Sheffield which was once occupied by her sister, Lily Bartle. However, I think that these merely contained trivial items of day-to-day news and did not really bring any new information to light on the case.

Interestingly, there was a televison programme on British serial killers several years ago which mentioned the Christie case. I can't remember the title of the programme, but a related book was published, written by Martin Fido; I think I borrowed this from a library some time ago. In the book, Fido actually quoted a couple of other neighbours who lived in Rillington Place at the time of the murders and who remembered Ethel and Reg Christie; I think they regarded them as a quiet couple who kept themselves to themselves. One of the neighbours was interviewed on the tv programme; I remember that she had a photograph in her front room of a group of Rillington Place residents standing in front of the brick wall at the foot of the street, beside number 10.
This might have been taken before the Christies came to live in the street.

On a trivial but interesting issue, I believe that Rillington Place was named after the village of Rillington in North Yorkshire; apparently a family called St Quinten owned the land on which the street was built back in the 1860s, and came originally from the village of Rillington. After the trial, the street was renamed Ruston Close after the village of Ruston Parva which is also in North Yorkshire. It was finally demolished in 1971, immediately after it had been used as a location for the feature film.

I believe that there is still a street in Notting Hill named after the St Quinten family; it might be St Quinten Avenue.

On eBay in recent years I have seen several possibly-spurious artifacts from the case on sale. One of these was a manhole cover from the top of the street, apparently not the one in front of number 10 where Christie claimed to have put the bodies of Beryl and Geraldine. The seller claimed to have obtained it shortly before the street was demolished; apparently it had been manufactured in the iron foundry whose chimney can be seen above the brick wall in photographs of Rillington Place, so it could possibly have been authentic.

Another seller claimed to have the knob from the kitchen coal cupboard or alcove where Christie concealed the three bodies, while another claimed to have the actual front door key of the house; this may or may not have been the one in use when Christie lived there!!!


SHERLOCK
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  #19  
Old 07-28-2008, 12:29 AM
sdreid sdreid is offline
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Who actually owned the #10 building? In the film, Christie seems to be acting as some sort of manager at the premises since they depict him showing the upper flat to the Evans family.
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  #20  
Old 07-28-2008, 01:37 AM
apricot apricot is offline
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Hello Sherlock,

Good Grief, some people have an eye for the main chance, don't they? Ebay, indeed!
I remember going to Ruston Close, my brother used to live in a flat in St Mark's Road, he told me that when no 10 was demolished, it was cordoned off and hoardings put up just in case anything else nasty was found.
When you think of al the people involved in a high profile, or not so high profile, murder case, like Mr Kitchener, makes you wonder how they coped with the aftermath,I mean, how could he bear to live in that house knowng what he did? No stress councelling then.
Going back to he demolition, I don't think I've imagined it, but think my brother also said that the bricks were taken away by lorry to be ground up to stop people keeping ghoulish soveniers, obviously didn't do the same with the door!! (Supposedly!)

KR Angie
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