No announcement yet.

The Christie Case

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Originally posted by Sherlock View Post
    It seems that Beryl Evans also had a brother named Peter and a sister named Pat as well as her brother Basil.

    In an article in the Sunday Mirror Beryl's brother who is named Peter Mylton-Thorley has stated that he wishes the bodies of Beryl and Geraldine to be exhumed from Gunnersbury Roman Catholic cemetery and re-interrred in a Jewish cemetery as Beryl was in fact Jewish herself. He also states that he would sometimes visit Beryl at 10 Rillington Place and if she was out he would have a cup of tea and a sticky bun with the Christies until she returned. He states that he was working in New Zealand at the time Beryl was murdered and did not discover her grave until 2003.

    This is certainly interesting information as I had no idea that Beryl was Jewish. As far as I am aware this has never been mentioned previously in any book or article about the case and so it cannot have been widely known. I was also unaware that Beryl had another brother and a sister as well as her brother Basil. The article has a picture of Beryl as a child with her brothers Peter and Basil and her sister Pat, as well as as a recent picture of Basil, Peter and Pat as adults and another of Peter with his wife.

    This is all very intriguing. I would assume that Beryl was originally buried in a Catholic cemetery as her husband was Catholic and Geraldine may possibly have been given a Catholic baptism. At the same time it is difficult to understand why Peter did not discover Beryl's grave until 2003 as it's location had been mentioned in several accounts of the case previously, including Forty Years of Murder by Keith Simpson published in the 1970s. Basil also stated that it had taken many years to discover Beryl's grave when he appeared in a documentary a couple of years or so ago.

    Surely Beryl's family would have been notified of her place of burial when her funeral took place? If they were not, then why not? Why did they not make enquiries at the time of her death? This is yet another mystery arising from the cases of Christie and Evans.
    The sudden appearance of Beryl's "lost" relatives late last year was indeed a major revelation. So far, we only knew of Basil, Beryl's younger brother who was only 17 at the time, who knew Evans very well, and was totally convinced of his brother-in-law's guilt, stating such explicitely in John's Eddowes' book.

    I consider it almost unbelievable that the authorities had no idea of Beryl's background when interring her twice (1949 and 1953) in a Catholic graveyard.

    I wonder whether Lucy Endecott and Joan Vincent, close friends of Beryl who were still in their late teens at the time of the 1949 murders, are still alive.


    • Just an observation from a "cradle Catholic"-- my mother was required to take classes in Catholicism and convert from her Methodist faith, before marrying my Catholic father. This was in the early 1940s, though in California.

      I don't think Beryl could have married a Catholic man without a similar conversion, unless they did not have a church wedding. I thought among Jews the faith was through the mother's line, not the father's, anyway?
      Pat D.
      Von Konigswald: Jack the Ripper plays shuffleboard. -- Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Kurt Vonnegut, c.1970.


      • I have no idea why it would take so much time to locate Beryl, unless the family had no idea to look in Catholic cemeteries.

        If a Jew converts to Catholicism to marry a Catholic, the person is still considered Jewish, and can at at any time, even death, return to Judaism, and so can be buried in a Jewish cemetery, Geraldine would have been a more interesting case, If she asked a beit din if she were Jewish to rule on her status, when she was an adult, after having no Jewish upbringing, it is hard t say what they would rule. Recently, in the US, there has been a sort of "rule" to use the word in it's vernacular, that in a family which has turned to another religion, or simply ceased to raise their children as Jewish, four generations are required before a child loses the right to become ba'al tshuvah, and must convert.

        Under a ruling like that, Geraldine would be Jewish.


        • New R Place podcast

          Hi everyone, have stumbled across a new podcast on Itunes called 'The Other Side of Rillington Place', which looks at the lives of Christie's actual and supposed victims. No great revelations so far but quite effective nonetheless


          • I have just discovered that the Chamber of Horrors in London's Madame Tussaud's closed a couple of years ago. Apparently young children were finding it too frightening and it has been replaced by something called the Sherlock Holmes Experience.

            It is therefore no longer possible to see a waxwork effigy of Christie in Madame Tussaud's. The last one I saw was in the 1980s when he was pasting wallpaper on his kitchen table to cover up the door of the alcove where he had concealed the bodies of Rita Nelson, Kathleen Maloney and Hectorina Maclennan. This may have been his second effigy. I never saw the third one where he was about to be executed.


            • there's actually a video of that!



              • Hi folks - I've used the Lockdown to read through this thread.

                The Christie & Evans case is an intriguing one for sure. Obtaining certainty is nigh impossible as both the headline acts were inveterate liars, as is regularly and rightly pointed out in the above posts.

                Whilst (nearly) all would agree that Evans' legal guilt - founded substantially upon the evidence of Christie, a man subsequently proven to be a serial killer - can no longer be regarded as safe, opinions here and elsewhere over the years have nonetheless varied as to the extent, if any, of Evans' role in the murder of his wife and/or daughter.

                My own feeing is that Evans did not murder either and that Christie alone was responsible for both. If Evans had murdered one or both, I cannot visualise how the ever nosey Christie in that compact environment would not have become aware before the police. Furthermore, assuming that Evans had murdered at least his wife Beryl, I suspect Christie's instinct would have been to tell the police rather than murder baby Geraldine and let Evans bolt and head for the Welsh hills (there are strong suggestions that Christie was a police informer at this time).

                I say this as the only other bodies of Christie victims at the time were buried in the garden; there were none in the house. I appreciate that Christie still would not have welcomed the presence of police at 10 Rillington Place given his earlier murders. However, Christie's best bet - if Evans was solely responsible - was to alert the police as immediately as possible to what Evans had done and trust that they did not start looking around the garden. After all, for a domestic murder there was little reason for them to do so. This was demonstrated by their later inactions, albeit there was by then more reason for a fuller search in view of Evans' accusations.

                The above also appears to be supported by the testimony of the workmen who used the outhouse where the bodies of Beryl and Geraldine were found. Evans left 10 Rillington Place before their work was finished and they apparently asserted that the bodies could not have been concealed in the outhouse whilst it was in use by them.

                The above all said, I would also be very interested to read Evans' ''confessions'' as apparently dictated to the police and would want to do that before firming up on my feeling.

                Best regards,


                • Good post, OneRound. This gruesome case has always fascinated me.

                  Unless something new comes to light, I will continue to believe that Evans had no part in the murders, and was entirely manipulated by Christie, who recognised the man's weakness of character and intellect and took full advantage of both.


                  "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


                  • Originally posted by caz View Post
                    Good post, OneRound. This gruesome case has always fascinated me.

                    Unless something new comes to light, I will continue to believe that Evans had no part in the murders, and was entirely manipulated by Christie, who recognised the man's weakness of character and intellect and took full advantage of both.


                    bingo Caz. This really isnt even a mystery. to me anyway.
                    "Is all that we see or seem
                    but a dream within a dream?"

                    -Edgar Allan Poe

                    "...the man and the peaked cap he is said to have worn
                    quite tallies with the descriptions I got of him."

                    -Frederick G. Abberline


                    • I’m surprised no-one has yet mentioned the book recently published in August by Beryl’s surviving brother Peter Thorley, titled Inside Rillington Place. I saw a reference to a newspaper article about Peter earlier in this thread, but that was four years ago.

                      Peter was born on 22 August 1934, so he is now 86 years old and was only 15 when his sister and niece were murdered. Needless to say, his book is a very personal memoir, and valuable for that reason. Among other things it contains engaging reminiscences of wartime London and also of life as a childhood evacuee, along with Beryl, his elder brother Basil and his sister Pat. Later while living in London he often visited Beryl in Rillington Place, and as the earlier newspaper article mentioned, on several occasions was treated to tea and sticky buns with Reg and Ethel Christie. He saw Christie as a benign figure he called “Uncle Reg,” and naturally hadn’t the slightest clue at the time what this man had been doing.

                      Among many points of interest is the recollection of how Beryl used to swap clothes with her close friend Joan Vincent. As a result, they were sometimes mistaken for one another when seen from a distance. Two of Joan’s statements to police regarding Evans, Beryl, and Lucy Endecott are reproduced in full.

                      If Peter, like others, was unable to discern the true nature of Reginald Christie, he made no mistake about Timothy Evans. He was fully aware of how Evans treated his sister, and knew all about this man’s vile temper, his compulsive lying, his drinking and gambling, his irresponsibility, his impulsiveness and his violence: all those classic traits of what Dr. Matheson in Brixton Prison called an “inadequate psychopathic personality” that were so played down in Kennedy’s “Authorized Version” of events.

                      Peter was extremely fond of his sister and was devastated by her death. He must be excused for being thoroughly partisan by painting Evans and Beryl in black-and-white terms, with Evans the devil and Beryl the angel. We know from other sources that Beryl could be violent herself, on one occasion clonking Evans on the head with a jar of baby cream; but I’m sure she was provoked. We’ve also heard she was slovenly and a poor housekeeper who rarely gave her husband a hot meal, but we must also ask how far she was seriously suffering from depression while married to an unsympathetic, unsupportive and frequently abusive man like Evans. So we must be fair to Beryl in her predicament, of which Peter was all too keenly aware. Of course the couple had financial difficulties that caused conflict, but if Evans had stopped throwing money away on gambling, curtailed his drinking (which I’m sure did not improve his temper), and quit smoking as well, they might have been comfortable enough. As it happens, my own father drove a van for a living in those days, rather as Evans did--though he handled the sales as well--and though money was tight back then, he and my mother had no trouble getting by. Incidentally it was interesting to hear from Peter that Beryl never smoked. So much for Evans’s first statement at Merthyr Tydfil that Beryl went to get a cigarette from his coat pocket--which we all know was nonsense anyway.

                      Peter relates that he was seriously worried about Beryl’s safety, and to make matters worse, he was moved to Brighton when, following his mother’s death, his father hooked up with a new female named Marguerite, who comes across as an awful dragon. That limited his ability to visit Beryl, and he was extremely frustrated by the failure of his father and of his brother Basil to do anything definitive to protect his sister. Their father William Thorley does not seem to have been a sympathetic figure. But Peter himself was packed off to New Zealand, and ironically, Beryl was killed just three days later..

                      Like his brother Basil, Peter is adamant that Evans was responsible for the murder of his sister and of little Geraldine. He also believes that Christie played a part in covering up these murders.

                      I think this is credible enough, taken together with other good forensic evidence that it was Evans and not Christie who killed Beryl. As others have remarked, the “coincidence” of two stranglers living at the same address is not as great as some would believe. Coincidences do happen, particularly in poor districts like that, where criminals of every description abound. If it seems too much to believe that Evans should just happen to pick on a serial killer to accuse of his own crimes, that difficulty disappears if we accept that Christie did play a role together with Evans in keeping quiet and hiding the bodies.

                      In that tiny house it’s more likely than not that Christie would have discovered what Evans had done. Possibly Evans came to him in a panic and asked for help. More likely Christie stumbled across a murder scene. He was always creeping about the house in his plimsolls, spying on people. Possibly he investigated the noise of an argument that ended in murder. Possibly he went upstairs to Charles Kitchener’s flat the morning after hearing bumps at midnight, and found Beryl dead there. We shall never know. In retrospect of course his best bet would have been to call the police, as any normal person would do. But people don’t always act rationally, and if he panicked at the thought on having police anywhere on the premises, who might come across his secrets in the garden, his first instinct might well have been to cover it up at all costs, at any rate to “manage” what happened afterwards. How and when Evans got the bodies of his wife and daughter into the wash-house would have been far easier with Christie’s cooperation. The “cooperation” scenario was first explored by John Newton Chance. That doesn’t mean Chance got all the details right--it was speculation, after all--but in principle I think there’s much to be said for it.

                      We will never know for sure exactly what did happen, who did what and why, at 10 Rillington Place. It will always remain one of the most intriguing mysteries in the entire history of crime. There is no solution that perfectly fits all the evidence we know about. No matter what solution anyone proposes, there is always some obstinate fact that’s hard to explain away.

                      Still, in my mind the likely guilt of Evans rests in the main on three legs. First, his psychopathic personality. He was the kind of man who was capable of strangling his wife, and even his little baby--whether coldbloodedly or more like on an impulse of frustration, even if he was fond of her at other times. Second, the forensic evidence showing that Evans’s confession fitted the facts of Beryl’s murder, where Christie’s “confession” did not; he only “confessed” to add one more murder to his tally, “the more, the merrier.” And finally, Evans’s behavior when confronted at Notting Hill police station.

                      Two points about this. The second is what he said after making his first, brief confession: “It is a great relief to get it off my chest. I feel better already.” At his trial he never denied saying these words. He tried to claim his confession was a load of lies. He was then asked, logically enough, whether it was a relief to him to get off his chest a lot of lies. He mumbled that he was “upset,” and added, contradicting himself, that “it was no relief to me at all.” He looked like an idiot in the witness box, because he was.

                      But the first point was what he said before. Confronted by Chief Inspector Jennings that he was responsible for the deaths of his wife and daughter, what did he say?

                      One single word: “Yes.” That’s all.

                      Kennedy claimed that in Evans’s bewildered state, that one word “could have meant anything or nothing.” To me that’s the biggest load of rubbish in Kennedy’s entire book. I don’t buy his convoluted theory about Evans being “inadvertently brainwashed” by events. Here again, it’s the psychology that must be taken into account along with the forensic evidence. I don’t care what mental state Evans was in when he got to the police station. Confused or not, let me just suppose Kennedy’s theory was true, that Christie had strangled little Geraldine in Evans’s absence, while pretending to have her cared for, and all this time her father believed her still alive. Confronted with her death, where was his shock? Where was his anger? This was a man with a temper, remember. Even if Evans had killed his wife, would anybody react if they discovered they had been betrayed by a monster who strangled their baby daughter? They would be outraged! They’d want to rip the killer’s throat out with their bare hands!

                      Yet all that Evans could do was stand there like a drip and say “Yes.”

                      Of course he knew that his daughter was dead before he was brought to Notting Hill, whether he did it himself or connived at her murder. With his aunt and uncle at Merthyr Vale he was able to talk as though she were still alive because he was capable of believing his own lies.

                      He continued confessing to others as well, after his Notting Hill statements. To Inspector Black in the police car, whom he liked and trusted: “After I killed my wife...” To Dr. Matheson in Brixton Prison, who always believed him guilty “in my heart of hearts.” And allegedly to Sergeant Len Trevallion, saying he strangled Geraldine because in his stressed state after killing his wife he couldn’t stand her crying. Why did he revert to his abortion story at trial, blaming Christie? That’s probably explained by Donald Hume’s claim, questionable as it is, that he told Evans in Brixton: “Don’t stick your neck in a noose. Make up a new story and stick with it.” Evans reverted to an old story instead, but nobody was buying it. It was just like all his other lies, made up of little pieces of reality stitched together with fiction.

                      There will always be unanswered questions. If Christie did help Evans to cover up the murders, why didn’t Evans mention it in his second statement at Notting Hill, instead of taking the entire responsibility upon himself? Possibly out of gratitude to Christie for trying to help him. More likely because he was afraid of the consequences of doing so. Admittedly he tried to blame Christie for the whole thing in his second statement at Merthyr Tydfil. But a mind like Evans’s is unfathomable. His mind was disconnected from one moment to the next. He said whatever seemed expedient at any moment, regardless of what he said before or afterwards. This is typical of many psychopathic minds. If Christie did indeed help him to cover up the murders, it’s likely that Christie said something like “But don’t you ever breathe a word of this, otherwise you’re going to hang for it.” Evans was going to hang anyway, but that’s beside the point. He wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, as somebody else said on this thread. That could be why at Notting Hill he fudged over the whole business of how and when the bodies got into the wash-house--which Christie may have helped him with--and why it wasn’t consistent with the evidence of the workmen. Indeed, when confessing to Dr. Matheson at Brixton he was reluctant to continue when it came to the disposal of the bodies. That could be because it’s a matter he wanted to avoid speaking of, knowing he hadn’t told the whole truth even at Notting Hill. Perhaps he did cling to an irrational belief that if he retained Christie’s support he could somehow escape the hangman.

                      If Christie did help him, Christie’s own behavior seems similarly irrational. He should have called the police at the outset; but as I said, perhaps he panicked and tried to cover up instead. Later he would have had second thoughts. It is possible that Evans thought of using his van to dump Beryl’s body somewhere where she wouldn’t be discovered, or anyway where some unknown person would be suspected of her murder. While he sometimes had a salesman named George Williams riding with him, it seems that he often drove his van unsupervised as well, and he was supposedly scheduled to drive to Brighton on the Friday following her murder: the ideal place and opportunity to dispose of her body, since her father lived there. If so, that never came to pass, since he was fired from his job the previous day, Thursday the 10th of November.

                      But if Christie ever suspected such a plan, that’s the last thing he should have wanted. What if Beryl and the baby disappeared without trace? Where would the police come looking for them? They might very well come digging up his garden, discovering his own secrets! So on careful consideration, it was in his interest to leave the bodies where they were more readily discovered, without recourse to fork and spadework.

                      Two notable pieces of evidence suggest Christie’s involvement as an accomplice to Evans. The first is Evans’s absurd statement to police in Merthyr Tydfil that he had “put his wife down the drain.” Granted that he was given to making up wild stories, why on earth would he spout such nonsense? He knew if wasn’t true. What could he possibly hope to gain from it? Unless he believed that a body down a drain would be washed away without trace, he must have known that police would check on it and discover it to be untrue.

                      A likely explanation is that Christie did tell Evans this is what he was going to do, and that Evans, being a dim bulb, believed him. But Christie doublecrossed him. He had no intention of doing any such thing, and whether or not he carried Beryl into the wash-house with Evans’s help, Christie’s intention was to leave her there, where police would eventually find her, along with Geraldine. He certainly wasn’t going to bury her in the garden, where evidence of recent digging would betray her whereabouts. He wasn’t capable of it anyway right then, with his fibrositis bothering him. One thing Kennedy may be right about: that Christie’s acute attack of fibrositis on the weekend of Saturday the 12th could be due to helping Evans carry the evidence down to the wash-house. But that doesn’t mean Christie was the killer on that occasion.

                      The second piece of evidence suggesting Christie’s involvement came from the visit of Evans’s half-sister “Maureen” (Mary Josephine) to the Christies on Tuesday 29 November. I don’t believe Ethel was involved in any coverup, but Christie rudely silenced her when she was about to say something about Beryl that might have raised questions. After an argument, Maureen said that if they hadn’t heard where Beryl and the baby were by Friday, she was going to ask her Mam to tell the police. Christie exploded in anger. He said “Tim wouldn’t thank them” for involving the police, and “he knew more about it” than she thought he did. I have no idea what Maureen thought of this, but it was very sinister. It certainly indicates that Christie was involved, even if he wasn’t guilty of the murders himself.

                      All in all, and taking into account other sources, I’m inclined to credit Peter Thorley’s firm belief that Evans did murder his beloved sister and his baby niece, though Christie was somehow involved in the aftermath. Among other things, his book contains a tragic and moving photograph I’d never seen before of Beryl lying in the Kensington mortuary.

                      The book is not without errors. According to John Curnow at, there was a lot of interference from copywriters at Mirror Books while the book was in preparation. While I don’t doubt they polished the prose, he says they introduced errors, and reintroduced errors that had previously been corrected.

                      For instance, the book states that Evans’s aunt and uncle in Merthyr Vale had written to Beryl’s father in Brighton to ask if Beryl and the baby were with him, and received a telegram to say they were not, which was read out to Evans at the breakfast table, causing him to be agitated at being caught out in a lie. Clearly this is untrue and a conflation of two separate events. Apparently it was Evans’s sisters who contacted William Thorley and received that negative reply. Meanwhile, it was the reception of Evans’s mother’s letter by his aunt and uncle (which Peter also quotes in full), which was read out at the breakfast table, and got Evans so rattled as he saw his tissue of lies falling apart that he went to the police later that day.

                      It is also curious that Peter believes his sister was killed on Monday the 7th of November, not the Tuesday as is commonly believed, and likewise that Geraldine was killed on Wednesday the 9th, not the Thursday. These dates are possible, since nobody can be sure what happened when--little Geraldine could have been killed the same night as her mother, to explain why no-one heard her crying in the intervening two days--but it’s not clear why Peter believes what he does about these dates.

                      His book also contains questionable statements. One interesting one is that there was no electricity at 10 Rillington Place. Apparently the lighting was all gas. In all my reading about this case, I’d never heard that stated before, and would like to hear confirmation of it. I’m sure it’s possible, but Evans mentioned in his first statement at Merthyr Tydfil that he “listened to the wireless” before going to bed. Naturally the statement as a whole about “putting his wife down the drain” was a pack of lies, but that’s no reason to disbelieve that he was in the habit of listening to the wireless. How was it powered? The same goes for Beresford Brown’s wireless set that he tried to mount on the wall, only to discover the bodies Christie had left behind it.

                      Incidentally this passage exposes the deliberate fraud of Kennedy’s book, which John Eddowes tore to pieces, and even then Eddowes didn’t catch all of Kennedy’s deceptions. Kennedy quoted verbatim, almost in full, every one of Evans’s statements. For the presumed sake of completeness he included every irrelevant detail, about how Evans hung up his overcoat, put a penny in the gas meter, put the kettle on, had a cup of tea, fed the baby and so forth, even if they had no bearing on the facts of the matter. Except for two sentences, deliberately and wantonly omitted from Evans’s first statement at Merthyr Tydfil, though Kennedy did insert an inconspicuous little ellipsis like this: [...]

                      “Then I had my tea and sat down and read the papers and listened to the wireless. We went to bed at ten o’clock.”

                      Why omit those two sentences, out of all the others? Because Evans said he read the papers! He was semi-illiterate and could hardly write, but he could read road signs (otherwise how could he navigate?) and could read simple things like words in comic books and football reports in the newspaper. Kennedy didn’t want us to know that, because it poured cold water on his pretense that the news cutting about the Setty murder found in Evans’s flat must have been “planted” by Christie. On the contrary, it indicated how Donald Hume parceled up the body of his victim--the same way Beryl’s body was parceled up, and differently from the way Christie wrapped the bodies of his own victims.

                      Another, more flagrant of Kennedy’s distortions of the truth is in the words he put in Chief Inspector Jennings’s mouth when confronting Evans at Notting Hill.

                      “At 11:50 today I found the dead body of your wife Beryl Evans concealed in a wash house at 10 Rillington Place, Notting Hill, also the body of your baby daughter Geraldine concealed behind some timber in the same outbuilding...”

                      The words “concealed behind some timber” were a completely gratuitous insertion by Kennedy. They were never there in Jennings’s statement, and this point was explicitly dealt with at Evans’s trial. It was relevant to whether or not Evans was informed about the way the bodies were concealed before he made his confession, which he was not. These two points are in addition to all the other untruths John Eddowes pointed out, showing what a liar Kennedy was for the sake of his political agenda. I wouldn’t trust the man as far as I could throw him.

                      Getting back to the matter of the wireless, it is of course possible that the sets in question were battery powered. Such sets did exist back then, powered by a hefty great 90-volt DC battery about half the size of a box of Kleenex. Still, it would be interesting to receive confirmation about the lack or otherwise of electricity at 10 Rillington Place.

                      The claim I find really hard to swallow in Peter’s book is that shortly before her death, Beryl gave him her wedding ring as a keepsake, which he says he still has. Why present her brother with a symbol of a disastrous marriage? Because she was afraid Evans would only sell it for beer or gambling money? And what would Evans say if he saw it was missing from her finger? Besides, the most obvious objection is that Evans was well known to have confessed to Inspector Black that he took Beryl’s wedding ring off her finger after he killed her and sold it for six shillings in Merthyr Tydfil to a jeweler (H. Samuel, I believe) from whom police subsequently recovered it. Peter tried to deal with this point by saying that must have been some other ring that Evans sold. But how often do people pick up wedding rings off the street, as Evans previously pretended he had in Cheltenham or Gloucester or wherever, to account for the ring? I think Evans’s confession to Black on that point “rings” true just for once (if you’ll pardon the pun), and I’m not sure what to say about Peter’s claim. Was he tempted into a bit of mythmaking for the sake of dramatic license by those copywriters at Mirror Books? It’s just too bad that we can’t believe everything that everybody says.

                      At any rate it’s refreshing for once to read something in the media that challenges Kennedy’s “Authorized Version” (“Standard Version,” as John Eddowes called it, or “Politically Correct Version,” as I call it). It’s worth noting the dichotomy between serious, informed students of this case and junk in the popular media at large. Since the archives were opened to researchers in 1993, all three major books on this topic--John Eddowes’s The Two Killers of Rillington Place, Jonathan Oates’s John Christie of Rillington Place, and now Peter Thorley’s book have all asserted Evans’s guilt, on the evidence. But not everybody reads these books. Meanwhile, popular media continue to spew out the old Kennedy myth, which I find annoying.

                      Even Wikipedia’s treatment of the case is biased. leaving the reader to believe in Evans’s “innocence” without giving anywhere near due consideration to the arguments for his guilt. I read there that when his sisters “Eileen” and “Maureen” were awarded damages under a Labour government in 2004, Lord Brennan claimed ”there is no evidence to implicate Timothy Evans in the murder of his wife.” That could well be the most absurd statement I’ve ever heard in the entire history of this case. Seriously, a credible confession doesn’t count as “evidence”? Apart from everything else, circumstantial as it may be.

                      Of course, the case will always be arguable, and it’s perfectly fair to say the conviction of Evans was “unsafe,” that relatives were entitled to compensation on those grounds. But that’s a long way from pretending that the innocence of Evans is an established fact, which it most certainly is not. Yet Kennedy’s myth continues to be churned out as if it were true. I’ve read sentences in the Daily Mail stating baldly that Christie killed Beryl and Geraldine, when nobody can make such a claim. Then there was the BBC production back in 2016 regurgitating the same myths. And several “presentations” on YouTube telling the same old tale. I posted comments on two of them pointing out the evidence to the contrary. Apparently the wretched posters in question couldn’t tolerate criticism. They deleted my comments. Well, they can go on telling the same old story, and trying to shut up anyone who points out the facts, but that doesn’t make it true!


                      • [Continued. I had some weird technical problem trying to post this all in one go. Maybe it was too long for the system to handle it.]

                        The best YouTube presentation I’ve tripped over so far was by the late great Martin Fido. Apparently he too believed in the innocence of Evans, but at least the first of his presentations on the case did justice to police and other authorities who originally investigated the murders of Beryl and Geraldine and convicted Evans. What is often overlooked is that some of those who believe in Evans’s innocence, especially those prone to “conspiracy theories,” use it as an excuse to attack these authorities as though they were corrupt, which is quite unfair. So much nonsense is talked. Why didn’t they dig up the garden and find Christie’s skeletons? What reason did they have to dig up the garden when it showed no evidence of recent digging, and they’d already found the missing persons they were looking for in the wash house. Why didn’t they spot half of Muriel Eady’s thigh bone propping up the fence? Seriously, how many laymen could tell the difference between a human thigh bone and a beef bone well chewed by Christie’s dog Judy, the leg bone of a cow? Why didn’t they connect Ruth Fuerst’s skull, found in a bombed-out house where Christie had dumped it, with Christie himself? What possible basis did they have for connecting it with Christie? She was “obviously” a victim of the Blitz. As for sorting out the business of the workmen in the wash house and their time sheets, at least the police did not ignore those discrepancies and did the best they could to sort them out--resulting in many uncertainties. It was obvious to them that Evans must be guilty, and they did the best job they could, which stood out from that presentation of Martin Fido’s.

                        At any rate it’s refreshing to see an alternative picture like Peter Thorley’s in the public media. His book is worth reading, and here’s the Daily Express article promoting his book.


                        • Great posts Gordon, I didn't know anyone from the case was still alive, so it's good to know that Beryl's brother has published his memoirs of his sister.

                          I'm by no means an expert in the case, and I totally understand the point of looking at Evans as a legitimate suspect, but I don't see anything that changes the current view, Christie was the killer.

                          Away from the established facts, and keeping more in with the personal nature of the book, perhaps an element of "survivors guilt" is at play? Quite rightly, when Evans hung, the family believed they had seen justice done. They'd received closure. For it to be opened up years later, and to be told that Tim was innocent, and that a callous and proven serial killer had murdered thier loved ones, and let an innocent man hang, how did that affect them?

                          And I'm not discrediting Beryl's brother. It's remarkable that he's still wanting to be heard, and we should listen. But this is his human feelings, and we need to take that into account. Evan's family felt just as strongly about his innocence. He's got no one publishing contemporary memoirs in his benefit today, but it'd be interesting to see how they might compare. What's most important, is that after all this time, someone, somewhere, gives a thought for all the women that met their demise at the hands of others. We might never know for sure who killed them, but we know who they were.

                          I'd be interested to hear from anyone who reads the whole book, a rare opportunity to hear from someone who was there.

                          Cheers Gordon, good shout.
                          Thems the Vagaries.....


                          • Thank you, Al. I hope other Casebook members will read the book now, so that we can hear from them. There are of course all the usual reviews on and, although not all those readers were necessarily knowledgeable about the case beforehand. John Curnow is intimately familiar with it, since he’s written his own book, and his comments are at the link I mentioned earlier,

                            Undoubtedly memories of the case have caused lasting pain to both of the families involved, though unfortunately on opposite sides. Like others, I have wondered why Peter Thorley left it so late in life to make his own story more public. His wife Lea states that they have been through hundreds of documents researching the case, but the archives were opened nearly three decades ago. He didn’t explain this delay himself, but since his existence apparently surfaced for the first time in a Sunday Mirror article in December of 2016, it seems likely he was finally goaded into action by the BBC’s Rillington Place shown earlier that month, and decided, or was encouraged, to write a book.

                            This is only speculation, but he may also have been discouraged from speaking out earlier by the fact that the Evans family were still dominating public discourse in recent decades, or out of consideration for their own feelings, so opposed to his own. But apparently that’s no longer a factor, since the Daily Express article called Peter “the only surviving witness.” I suppose Evans’s sisters “Eileen” Ashby and “Maureen” Westlake must have passed away by now. Maureen (Mary Josephine) was born in 1929, and Eileen (Eleanor Veronica) in 1921, so if they were still alive they would be 91 and 99 today. Mind you, I have no idea if they had children of their own, which they very likely did.

                            Speaking of family, another thing puzzles me, though it’s a minor matter with no bearing on the case itself. After her husband Daniel Evans left her in 1924, Timothy’s mother Thomasina Agnes Evans partnered with a man named Penry Probert. Maureen was his daughter, Timothy’s half-sister. The couple subsequently married in 1933, so the former Mrs. Evans became Mrs. Probert. I imagine the reason they didn’t marry earlier was because she first had to have her husband Daniel declared legally dead, and I believe it takes seven years to do that.

                            Anyway, Timothy’s mother was “Mrs. Probert” at the time of the murders. Yet Daniel Brabin in 1966 consistently referred to her as “Mrs. Evans.” More interestingly, Scott Henderson in 1953 referred to police who in 1949 “took written statements from Mrs. Evans (Mrs. Probert as she then was)...” [My emphasis.] This seems to imply that four years later, the former Mrs. Probert had reverted to being “Mrs. Evans” again. How come?

                            I got a hint from one source that Penry Probert and his wife may not have been quite as close by 1949 as many other couples are, so they could have split or divorced by 1953. But if that happened, his wife could either have kept the name “Probert” (as many do) or reverted to her maiden name of “Lynch,” as others do. Why revert to the name of a brief former husband who apparently abandoned her decades earlier, who in her own words was “no good to himself or anybody else”?

                            It could be that she chose to revert to the name of Evans, or just preferred to be called by that name, to highlight her identity as the mother of Timothy, a son she now believed innocent.

                            And for all I know, she might have divorced Penry Probert and remarried another man named Evans! Would that be too much of a coincidence?

                            Well, coincidences do happen, which is why it’s not as unlikely as it sounds that two stranglers lived in the same house in a poor, crime-ridden area. And what look like coincidences are far more likely in Wales, where half the people seem to be named Evans and the rest of them named Jones! A Welshman, himself named Evans, once told me that half the kids in his school class seemed to be named Jones. In the Welsh rail disaster of Abermule in 1921, the drivers of both trains involved were named Jones, as was the signalman who bore much responsibility for the collision, while one of the firemen was named Evans. Similarly, when Timothy Evans first confessed to police at Merthyr Vale that he had “disposed of his wife,” the detective constable he told this to was also named Evans. So since his mother still had relatives in Wales, it’s not impossible that she subsequently reconnected with an old school friend named Evans and married him.

                            Needless to say, all that is pure conjecture with no evidence whatsoever to support it, As Sir Thomas More wrote in his History of King Richard the Third: “...of al this pointe, is there no certaintie, & whoso diuineth vppon coniectures, maye as wel shote to farre as to short.” Anyway it would be interesting to know the history of the Evans family in the years after the murders.


                            • Originally posted by caz View Post
                              Good post, OneRound. This gruesome case has always fascinated me.

                              Unless something new comes to light, I will continue to believe that Evans had no part in the murders, and was entirely manipulated by Christie, who recognised the man's weakness of character and intellect and took full advantage of both.


                              That's my take on it too, Caz. Christie was a manipulative psychopath. There are murderers in society, but thankfully they are few in number. The chances of two of them, operating independently, inhabiting different parts of the same small terraced house are vanishingly small. Evans was convicted largely on the evidence of Christie himself, a man with a history of dishonesty who was later utterly discredited.
                              "It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins twisting facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts." Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (as Sherlock Holmes).


                              • Hi everyone, this is an audio commentary on the 1971 film '10 Rillington Place' and general discussion of the case, by myself, a 'gifted amateur', and John Christie biographer Jonathan Oates. There's no video here so following along with the commentary is advisable. Hope you find it interesting. This was recorded in 2013 and we will shortly be recording a follow-up discussion which will include discussion of the BBC drama with Tim Roth and also the recent Peter Thorley book, which Jonathan collaborated on