There are some interesting pieces currently in the press regarding the story of how one of Beryl Evans’s siblings, Mr Peter Mylton-Thorley, now aged 82, has expressed the wish to have the mortal remains of his sister, Beryl (née Thorley), and her daughter Geraldine, disinterred from their current whereabouts in Gunnersbury Cemetery and reinterred with him in a Jewish cemetery as an act of reunion, once the time comes.
As usual, factual accuracy seems somewhat scarce in that Gunnersbury Cemetery is neither solely Roman Catholic nor in Chelsea (although it serves that area). Timothy Evans confessed to the killings of both wife and daughter, was charged with both, but was tried solely for the infant Geraldine’s murder and hanged in 1950. In 1965/6, a public Inquiry led to the Brabin Report which reached the rather odd conclusion that Evans had probably killed his wife but probably not his daughter – the only murder conviction – and so a royal pardon was granted by HM The Queen in 1966 at the recommendation of then Home Secretary Roy Jenkins. The conviction was never quashed and therefore still stands to this day. And, despite much opinion to the contrary, the records of Parliamentary debates from the time show that the Evans case played no significant part in the abolition of capital punishment in the UK.
John Christie was hanged in 1953 for the murder of his wife Ethel and, during the course of investigations, admitted to killing the five other victims whose remains were discovered by the police in the house and garden. Christie never confessed to having killed Geraldine and, in fact, strenuously denied having done so – his several conflicting confessions to having killed Beryl, however, were considered physically impossible by the eminent pathologist concerned with the case – Professor Francis Camps – and were more likely a futile attempt to escape the death penalty by being found insane. She had not been gassed or sexually assaulted and no evidence of attempted abortion was found at autopsy – she had been strangled with a rope as Evans had confessed.