I was never any great fan of crime stories, nor was I a student of murder mysteries, much less serial killers. My fascination arose from an indelible childhood moment when travelling in the family car from Ealing where I was born, when my late father gestured towards the grimy terraces close to the road as it passed through North Kensington and chillingly said:
“Down there, that’s where Rillington Place was – terrible murders, so dreadful they even had to change the name of the street…”
Having studied for a law degree, I went on to qualify as a chartered surveyor, all of which equipped me with the professional need – and the personal desire – always to take a forensic approach and separate fact from fiction, truth from fantasy.
The film 10 Rillington Place starring Richard Attenborough as John Christie and John Hurt as Timothy Evans was released in the UK in January 1971. I did not see it at that time but did see it on TV a few years later which compelled me to visit this macabre childhood place for the first time. In the eighties I read Ludovic Kennedy’s book and, like most people, assumed it was all true. By the nineties I was living near the old scene of the crime and began researching in earnest.
The Murders, Myths and Reality of 10 Rillington Place is the culmination of a lifetime’s fascination, and years of research, all of which challenges the accepted views about Evans, Christie and much else concerning the whole story.