Inside 10 Rillington Place – Peter Thorley 2020

Everyone who wants to know the truth already does. Those who still believe the “official” story don’t want to know the truth. [Once said of the events of 9/11 in New York].

August 2020 brought with it the publication of a new book entitled Inside 10 Rillington Place. Far from being ‘just another’ book to add to the many already written upon the whole subject, this constituted a historical watershed in that the writer was none other than Beryl Evans’s youngest brother Peter Thorley.

Aged 85 years at the time of publication, it follows that Thorley was but fourteen in 1949 when the fateful events occurred that deprived him of his sister and niece, and the book provides a most credible, moving and compelling account of what really went on at that house, recounted in a way, and in such detail, that only someone who was actually present and deeply involved could ever have brought forth.

The book should be read by any and all who have an interest in the subject and by the legions of readers, and viewers, whose perceived knowledge and understanding derive from the mass of previous works, that of Ludovic Kennedy in 1961 chief among them.

Many who had delved further into the research for themselves already harboured grave misgivings about the so-called Standard Version of events – that which had Christie as the sole guilty man and Evans the hapless innocent victim, framed by a wily older man and condemned under a corrupt, incompetent and vengeful judicial system.

The advent of this book must surely now remove all reasonable doubt – it exposes Timothy John Evans as a devious, foul-tempered drunkard who boozed and gambled away the family’s meagre means of support and left his young pregnant wife frightened, lonely and in complete despair for their future and that of their infant daughter and unborn son. Beryl’s increasingly frail body already bore the marks of the physical assaults upon her and she seemed to have come to the realisation that her husband’s threats to do her extreme harm were by no means idle.

And so, just as his detailed confession made apparent, it really does seem that Evans indeed did strangle to death his young pregnant wife and his infant daughter – the latter crime for which he was tried and convicted – and for which he suffered the only penalty available under the law of the day. Painfully for her youngest brother, no conviction in respect of Beryl’s murder was ever obtained.

It is, of course, an established fact that Christie was a serial killer and this new account reinforces the belief that he was, far from being ignorant of it all, a party to dealing with the aftermath of Evans’s deeds which would have left him open to charges as an accessory under the Accessories and Abettors Act 1861, still fully in force at that time. Penalties for such offences could be as severe as those imposed upon the principal offender. However, this is of course merely academic given Christie’s subsequent fate for his own crimes little more than three years later.

The book is not without its errors, mainly as to matters of more minor detail, but a little disappointing nonetheless; it is understood that this was at least contributed to by an inordinate degree of intervention by copy editors for the publisher leading up to the final text which resulted in mistakes being introduced or indeed reintroduced despite correction in earlier drafts.

Above all, this book is a moving personal story of the enduring love a boy had, and still has, for his beloved big sister and tiny niece, both of whom he still misses and mourns to this day. As though such pain were not enough to have borne, he and his family have had also to live with the sensationalised, endlessly trawled over and almost always erroneously depicted events which are so very far from the truth as he alone knew it to be – alone, that is, until now, thanks to this belated but heartfelt and crucially valuable contribution.

No doubt there will continue to be controversy and disagreement, sometimes bitter, amongst those who understandably prefer the sanctuary of the long-held version of a story and who suspect or perceive bad faith in those who come to unsettle it even though their only real motive is to dispel falsehood with truth. Ultimately, it is for each to reconcile for themselves.

17 thoughts on “Inside 10 Rillington Place – Peter Thorley 2020”

  1. I’m almost half way through and enjoying it very much. So far I’ve found a couple of odd thing. The mention of the milk delivery at Rillington Place was randomly placed. Like someone had accidentally copy and pasted a paragraph into an irrelevant section. He also refers to the ‘blind date’ his Sister had with Tim as if he had already explained to the reader all about it? There was no mention (at least so far) of how they met at all. So it would appear a section is missing. Another observation with his denial of a peep hole. Isn’t there official footage of someone walking around the house and at one point looking through a peep hole just the same as what was shown in the 2016 BBC series?

    • Hello Chris,

      As I note in my original post about the book, it is not without its issues and, having been involved myself at the time as a sort of technical consultant cum proofreader, it was and is frustrating to see certain things make it through to the published work despite them having been flagged up during the writing stages. I know that the Thorleys were less than thrilled with the final outcome and did not feel as though their story had in all respects been best served by the publishers.

      As you may have seen, there is an edition of the book that bears the strapline: ‘The truth about serial killer John Christie and his reign of terror’ – an absurd piece of tabloid hyperbole given that all of Christie’s homicidal deeds remained entirely unknown until after his capture. Later books are modified to the more appropriate: ‘John Christie and me, the untold truth’.

      Nevertheless, the book stands as a uniquely valuable and authoritative piece given the identity of the author – Beryl’s own brother no less – and so one can but hope that any irregularities in the text do not detract greatly from the overall value of the contribution, perhaps being addressed in a revised edition should one ever be forthcoming.


  2. Warm congratulates to Peter Thorley for revealing the truth about Tim Evans who was a coward and was rightly executed. His sister was savagely beaten before she was killed and there was no sign of sexual intercourse. Christie’s modus operandi was quite different so yes there were 2 killers and no miscarriage of justice.

  3. I had been unaware of this new publication but will make a point of getting a copy. I already have a copy of Jonathan Oates book, my father having had quite a dialogue with the author ahead of it’s publication. My interest in the case arises by way of family connection, I am John Christie’s great nephew. If anyone has information which might be of interest please email me at my email address which is prefixed not by a name but by the number 5440.

  4. I have just looked at the photo I took at Timothy’s grave on the 9th/March/2020 (70th Anniversary) & the name on the card is Mary Westlake.
    We just missed here assuming she left it there on that day which is more than likely. I would have loved to have had a chat with her, We did leave a card with my phone number on it but doubt she got to see that, both cards as well as the flowers have since been removed.

    • Dear David,

      Thank you for your interesting posts to the blog.

      If I might refer you to my own humble endeavour at, you will see that there was no friend by the name of Alice – this was an invention of the 1970 film and was apparently some form of composite of two actual friends, Joan Vincent and Lucy Endicott. As contemporaries of Beryl’s they would of course both be in their nineties now if still alive.
      Mary Westlake is Timothy Evans’s half-sister, herself born in September 1929, and so was evidently still alive last March and, to her credit, paying her remembrances to Timothy even though the unsuccessful campaign for his conviction to be quashed had long-since reached an end.

      Kind regards,
      John Curnow

  5. Hi,
    My partner & I have visited
    Timothy s, Beryl’ s & Geraldine’s grave, can anyone infom me of the following:
    What happend to Beryl’ s friend Alice?
    What was her surname?
    Any information on the grave sites of anyone involved? We would like to visit them.
    When we visited Timoth’ s grave in 2020 (the 70s anniversary of his death) There was a signed card on his grave, probably left there earlier that day, I will have to look at the photo I took of it to see if I can match any of the names to his friends/relatives.
    I am very interested in buying this book, it will make for interesting reading.

    David J Harrison

  6. An odd comment triggered by Peter Thorley’s book.

    Apart from the gruesome, horrific and intrusive photograph of Beryl Evans on the post mortem room slab – clearly, Peter Thorley chose to include this distressing picture, which quite obviously shows the vicious effect of hard punches to the face, allowing the reader to judge Tim Evans’ character – another photograph is included showing the wrapped ‘bundle’ Beryl’s body was found in in the wash-house.
    It had been expertly tied, with ‘tightening’ knots, by someone well versed in this skill. Possibly Tim Evans as a driver might have done this to secure loads under tarpaulins – OR – Christie as a ‘King’s Scout’ might have learned this as a proficiency, or in one of his clerking/dispatch jobs.

    Further feedback/opinions welcome – perhaps I’m on to something significant and long overlooked here.

  7. A couple of extra points, totally unrelated to one another. Pity I couldn’t edit my post “in situ” to insert them.

    First, I should have said that if Christie did help Evans in disposing of the evidence, in retrospect his best bet would obviously have been to leave things as they were and call the police himself. But hindsight is always 20/20, and it’s understandable if his first reaction was to panic and try to “manage” the situation himself. Still, I dare say that point was clear enough.

    Second, and quite unrelated, another point that was never clear from any source was what really happened to Evans’s father Daniel. The general impression we’re left with is that he deliberately “walked out” on his family in 1924. And his wife’s remarks in her famous letter a quarter of a century later indicate that she didn’t think much of him, that he was “no good to himself or anybody else.” So maybe he did callously abandon his family. And maybe he passed some “bad genes” on to his son Timothy–which his daughter Eileen luckily seems to have escaped.

    Just the same, it is curious that Daniel Evans was never seen again, and his wife Thomasina had to wait to have him declared “legally dead” before she could marry again. Is it possible that he met with some accident, fell drunk into the river and got washed away or whatever? I’m sure we’ll never know, but it would be interesting to know the circumstances of his departure: whether for instance he took baggage with him as though he meant to leave permanently, or whether he just unaccountably vanished, like Benjamin Bathurst in 1809.

    Life is full of mysteries!

  8. I read Peter Thorley’s book with great interest, and I agree that this testimony from a first-hand witness is an important contribution to understanding the mystery of Rillington Place.

    The book is not error-free. For instance, I noticed the statement that Mr. and Mrs. Lynch had written to Beryl’s father to ask if she was staying with him, and received a telegram saying he had not seen her since the summer, which Mrs. Lynch read out at the breakfast table. This strangely reflects a similar error made in that recent travesty of “truth,” the BBC’s “Rillington Place.” In reality it was Eileen, so I understand, who telegraphed William Thorley and received a reply saying his daughter was not there, while what Mrs. Lynch read out at the breakfast table that got Evans so rattled was the letter from Evans’s mother, which Peter Thorley quoted in full earlier on. So two events have been conflated into one.

    It is interesting that Peter believes Beryl was killed on Monday the 7th, not on Tuesday the 8th, and I found it confusing that he did not highlight and explain this inconsistency between his narrative and what other more or less “established” sources have to say about Beryl being seen alive on the Tuesday. I understand his remark about Beryl and Joan Vincent being mistaken for one another because they often swapped clothes, so it might have been Joan, not Beryl, who was seen alive on the Tuesday, but I’m not sure why he believes Beryl was killed on the Monday. Here I also found John Eddowes’ comment above interesting: that it was Beryl and Maureen who were seen together on the Tuesday, though it would be nice to know a source for this. Maybe it’s in his own book. Anyway it matters less in the end which day Beryl met her death, compared with who was guilty of it.

    What disturbed me most of all was Peter’s claim to have been given Beryl’s wedding ring. I had a hard time swallowing that. Why would she do that, to begin with? As a keepsake, no doubt; but why present him with a symbol of a bad marriage? Because she feared that Evans might only sell it for beer money? If so, Peter didn’t explain that. And what would Evans do if he saw it missing from her finger? Besides, Evans told Inspector Black that he took it from her finger after he killed her, and we know he sold a wedding ring in Merthyr that police subsequently recovered. If it wasn’t Beryl’s, where did he get it? He told the Lynches he picked it up in Cheltenham or Gloucester: one of his usual lies, when he hadn’t been to either place. What’s the probability that he just happened to pick up a wedding ring lying in the street? Here for once Evans’s confession to Black did have the “ring” of truth, and Peter’s account seems questionable, unless it was some other ring his sister gave him.

    This is unfortunate, because it casts a pall of doubt over the veracity of the book as a whole. I hear that copywriters interfered a lot in the production of the book, and I wonder if Peter was lured into a piece of mythmaking for the sake of enhancing the drama.

    However, this doesn’t detract from Peter’s overall testimony, especially about the characters of the persons involved. Incidentally I hear his brother Basil, not surprisingly, also believed it was Evans who murdered his sister and niece. Christie for one stands out as a man capable of appearing normal, benign and kindly, despite his horrifying perversions. Nobody should be surprised at this deceptive ability in such a profoundly disordered man to “wear the two masks” of a Jekyll-and-Hyde personality.

    Yet it’s the personalities of Evans and Beryl that are of primary importance. I’m sure Peter was somewhat biased and partisan in presenting such a black-and-white picture of his angelic sister persecuted and murdered by the evil Evans, though as a brother who loved her he must certainly be excused for that. Other sources tell us Beryl was far from perfect as a housekeeper–John Newton Chance mistakenly used the unfortunate word “slut,” when I’m sure the word he really wanted was “slattern”–and she was possibly also a poor money manager, though that is questionable. She could also, I’m sure, be spiteful to Evans at times. However, Beryl’s behavior must be understood in the light of the environment she was living in, and if she did let her household duties slide, I don’t doubt she was suffering from depression due to living with such an unsupportive, unsympathetic, and frequently abusive husband who I’m sure blamed her for his own faults and everything that went wrong in his own life.

    It’s the character of Evans that is central to all this, and as John Newton Chance also remarked in his book, “none of the previous stories fitted the facts of who the people were.” Daniel Brabin took this factor into account when he concluded it was more likely that Christie was the murderer of little Geraldine, “a killing in cold blood which Christie would be more likely to do.”

    But what is overlooked is the nature of Evans himself, as assessed by Dr. Matheson in Brixton Prison. Here it was valuable to read Peter’s quotation of Matheson’s words more fully than I’d seen them before: “My interviews with him [Evans] suggest that he has an inadequate psychopathic personality which, with his low intelligence, makes him less able to adjust himself satisfactorily to reality, and tends to make him act impulsively with little or no foresight or consideration for others.”

    The key word here is “psychopathic.” Yes, Evans did indeed have many traits of a psychopath. We can’t know precisely on what basis Dr. Matheson assessed him over seventy years ago, long before the famous work of Dr. Robert Hare on psychopathy. But the disorder had certainly been understood in general terms for generations, and Hervey Cleckley’s seminal book The Mask of Sanity had already been published in 1941. I’m sure Dr. Matheson had a pretty good idea what he was talking about when he stuck that label on Timothy Evans.

    Evans’s behavior fits the clinical portrait of a psychopath in many ways. That didn’t make him a “serial killer” like Christie, which is the mistaken notion many people have of a “psychopath.” Among the relevant traits, he was a habitual, almost compulsive liar, Even Kennedy had to admit that. Some of Evans’s lying was to cover up for his own inadequacies, but it went far beyond that. Up to a point he was even capable of believing the lies he’d made up, the “reality” he’d constructed in his own head, which is how he was able to pretend to the Lynches that Geraldine was still alive even though she wasn’t. Then there were his addictions, to drink and gambling: also typical of psychopathy, the constant need for stimulation to compensate for inner emotional emptiness and boredom. There was the stimulation of risk-taking behavior too, seen in his gambling among other places. And to a certain degree his lust for sexual fulfillment. He did not, like some psychopaths, seduce multiple partners in a constant quest for sex, but he had made much use of prostitutes in his earlier days, and was not above making use of Lucy Endicott when the opportunity arose. He had a notoriously bad temper, and his behavior was certainly impulsive, disregarding long term consequences not only to others, but even to himself.

    This was a man who was capable of killing, not only his wife in a fit of temper, but even his own baby daughter. He might have been fond of her in other moods, but in the “wrong” mood he could very well have strangled her. Whether he did it on impulse as frustration overcame him, or coldbloodedly for his own protection, “without conscience”–the central feature of psychopathy–is hard to say, though either is possible.

    Why then did he confess at Notting Hill? Was it an act of conscience, of remorse for having killed two other innocent human beings? Possibly, but as far as he felt sorrow I suspect it was more an act of self pity for having messed up his own life by doing so, and depriving himself of two people who many times had brought him pleasure. And Kennedy was not at all wrong by supposing that confession brought “relief,” as Evans himself admitted saying at his trial. It’s just that his lies had got him into such a tangle that he must have been endlessly worried who was going to challenge him next, on what grounds, and finally decided to end the awful suspense by laying his cards on the table. While psychopaths are less susceptible to fear than others, they’re by no means insensitive to threats. Even Evans’s confessions were an “impulsive” act of sorts, suiting his mood at the time, failing to take into account the inevitable legal consequences to follow.

    That doesn’t mean for a moment that his confessions at Notting Hill were not true. And in my mind, one of the most powerful arguments for Evans’s guilt was his reaction–or rather, his non-reaction–when Inspector Jennings confronted him not only with the accusation of having killed his wife and daughter, but with the fact that his daughter had been murdered.

    And all he said was “Yes.”

    Kennedy claimed this “could have meant anything or nothing.” Rubbish! No matter what mental state Evans was in when he arrived at Notting Hill, if he didn’t already know his daughter was dead, how could anyone possibly fail to react with shock and anger? If Christie–or anyone–had betrayed him by strangling his baby daughter, any normal person would respond with outrage. They’d want to rip the killer’s throat out with their bare hands! Yet all that Evans did was to stand there like a drip and say “Yes.” Of course he knew his daughter was dead! That’s why it wasn’t a shock to him. Whether he did it himself, or connived at the act, he was certainly guilty.

    Peter Thorley’s book does everyone a service by shining a light on the character of Evans, and of course we must have sympathy for his lifelong pain at the loss of his beloved sister and niece–more so when so many people have been deliberately misled into dismissing the guilt of their killer. I found the photograph of Beryl lying in the Kensington Mortuary particularly moving, a picture I’d never seen before.

    I also found it credible that Peter believes Christie collaborated with Evans in trying to cover up the murders. Here again, John Newton Chance as far as I know was the first to suggest this theory. I’m not saying either man was right in every detail, but the general idea does resolve a number of otherwise puzzling points about the mystery of Rillington Place.

    Why would Evans go to the police with a crazy cock-and-bull story about “putting his wife down the drain”? What could he possibly hope to gain from it, knowing perfectly well he’d done no such thing, and the police were bound to check up on it and find it untrue? A likely answer is that Christie told Evans that’s what he was going to do, and Evans believed him.

    Why did Christie tell Evans’s stepsister Maureen that “Tim wouldn’t thank them for going to the police, and he knew more about it than she thought he did”? Doesn’t this show that Christie had some knowledge of what had happened at Rillington Place?–even if he hadn’t killed Beryl or the baby himself.

    In that tiny house it’s more than likely that Christie, creeping around in his plimsolls, spying on people, and certainly taking note of any noise, would have discovered if Evans had killed his wife. Perhaps he broke in upon a fight that ended in death, or investigated the sounds heard overhead at midnight and found Beryl’s body in Kitchener’s flat. Or maybe Evans came to him for help in his predicament; who knows?

    Why then should he help Evans to cover up murder? The obvious answer is that he couldn’t afford to risk police on the premises who might uncover his own murders! Kennedy may have got one thing right: that Christie’s attack of acute fibrositis at the weekend might have been due to dragging Beryl’s body around, or helping Evans to do so.

    But what happened then? It’s possible that Christie’s own plan was panicky, impulsive and not well thought out. His first thought may have been to cover it up and keep police out at any cost; but was that a good idea, and was it going to work?

    Somebody (was it Peter?) has suggested that Christie planned to bury the bodies of Beryl and Geraldine in the garden, but was prevented from doing so by lack of opportunity and his fibrositis. But was this true? Think about it for a moment. Beryl and Geraldine were “missing persons.” Where had they gone? If police came looking for them, and found evidence of recent digging in the garden, that’s one place they might well look for their bodies and find them–along with those of Christie’s own victims. Christie was just lucky that there had been no recent digging in the garden to attract police attention. As for poor Muriel Eady’s thighbone propping up the fence, with his dog Judy no doubt fond of a nice juicy bone, what layman could tell a human femur from a well chewed beef bone?

    If Christie ever did plan to bury Evans’s victims in the garden, he must surely have had second thoughts. Better to risk leaving the bodies in a place where police might find them before they went to the trouble of digging up the garden. And here’s a suggestion that’s been offered by others before, including John Eddowes, if I’m not mistaken. What if Christie and Evans got together about the problem, and Evans hoped to drive Beryl somewhere in his van and dump her body in a place where it might never be found, or if it was, police would assume someone else had killed her?

    Of course this never happened, because Evans lost his job, and the use of his van, the following Thursday. And this is a point I’d like to know about: namely, whether and how often he had the use of his van on his own, unsupervised. I know he had a salesman named George Williams who traveled with him at times, who confirmed that Evans was a good driver but an inveterate liar, but I’m not clear whether or how often Evans got to use the van on his own, though I have heard suggestions that he brought it round to Rillington Place now and again.

    Anyway if the idea of dumping Beryl elsewhere ever got to Christie’s ears, it’s the last thing he should have wanted to happen. What if her body were never discovered?–or not for a long time, anyway. Where else might the police come looking for her? In the more obvious places, naturally, which would include digging up his garden. Better to take the risk of putting her body in a place where at least it would be more quickly discovered, without going to all that trouble.

    So he might very well have doublecrossed Evans by telling him he was going to dispose of Beryl undiscoverably “down the drain,” while making sure the bodies were in the wash-house, which the police were bound to search. And Evans, with his dismal IQ of 65 to 75–anyone at that level used to be formally designated a “moron” (a real clinical term, not an epithet)–was easily outwitted by the cunning Christie with his IQ of 128, and bought the “drain” story.

    It all sounds likely enough to me. Not that it resolves every contradiction in the eternally intriguing mystery of what happened in Rillington Place, to which I’m sure we will never know the true answer. There is no perfect answer to this puzzle that fits with every known fact. If Christie did help Evans dispose of his wife’s body, it would account for Evans’s second statement at Merthyr Tydfil, where he tried to blame the whole thing on Christie. Why then did he not mention Christie’s role in his confession at Notting Hill? Possibly out of gratitude to Christie for at least trying to help him out of his predicament. More likely because he was scared of Christie. Suppose Christie had said to him: “:I’ll help you–but if you ever breathe a word of this to anyone, you’re going to hang for it.” Evans was going to hang for it anyway, but the implied threat might be enough to keep his mouth shut. And to tell lies about the time scale on which the bodies were placed in the wash house, conflicting with what we know about the activities of workmen in there. Evans lied whenever it was convenient, and often when it wasn’t.

    Who can truly figure the twisted mind of a psychopath?

    So many issues are unclear in this case, from accessible sources at least. For instance, the whole sequence and timescale of events earlier in the week before Evans’s arrest. I gather from Brabin that on Sunday the 27th, Evans’s family learned that his newspapers had not been collected, and his sister Eileen went to Rillington Place, only to find the whole family was gone. She was told Beryl had gone on a visit, and Christie said “They’ve had a row. Best leave young couples alone.”

    OK, but by the next day, Mrs. Probert had learned that the furniture man from Broderick’s had been to Rillington Place and found the furniture was gone. When did the furniture man go there? Was it on the Monday that he visited her looking for money?

    She had also learned by then that Evans had “packed up” his job. How and when did she learn that? Was it an assumption because Evans had obviously scarpered, together with his “Funichter,” as she spelled it? (How odd that she should spell it two different ways in the same letter, once correctly as “Furniture.”)

    As some point, Eileen and Maureen, or possibly Eileen alone, sent a telegram to Beryl’s father William Thorley, asking whether Beryl was still staying with him. When did that happen, and what prompted them to do it? When did they get an answer back? Did he tell them simply that Beryl wasn’t there, or that he hadn’t seen her since early November? Did this happen before, or after, their mother got the letter from Violet Lynch saying that Evans was with them in Wales?

    It seems from Brabin that Maureen confronted the Christies on Tuesday the 29th, after learning that Beryl was not in Brighton as they’d been told. But everything that happened before that, including its sequence, is unclear.

    Even that matter of Christie’s first interview with police is unclear. Sources suggest that once Evans had been to the police in Merthyr Tydfil on Wednesday the 30th, not only his mother and the Lynches were woken up for interview that night, but also Christie and his wife, as would seem natural. Other sources confuse the matter by suggesting that Christie was not interviewed until late the following evening of Thursday December 1. This may have no bearing on the solution to the mystery, but it’s annoying to have to sort this stuff out. Why can’t people be clear about times and dates, as far as they know them?

    Incidentally I found the revelations about Sergeant Len Trevallion troublesome too. Was he truly an “unimpeachable” source? If his supposed recollections about the Christies’ abortion practices are so at odds with other information, how much of what else he had to say can be trusted? Certainly we know that police searched the Christies’ flat and found nothing in the way of abortion tools, except for an old worn-out syringe of Ethel’s that hadn’t been used for years. The problem with Trevallion is that he’s one of the sources for Evans’s confessions to having murdered Geraldine. Was Trevallion in the habit of making things up? Brabin for one chose to ignore Trevallion’s testimony when he plumpted for Christie as Geraldine’s killer. Did Brabin come up with a “politically convenient” conclusion at the time? Or did he recognize something about Trevallion that we’re not able to?

    So many mysteries we’ll never know the answer to! But thank you for your book anyway, and for this site to exchange comments on.

    • I have had the privilege to hold Beryl’s wedding ring that was given to Peter. It was given for him to sell to buy food for the baby.
      ” It was more likely that Christie was the murderer of little Geraldine, “a killing in cold blood which Christie would be more likely to do.” Far from it, The Christies were very fond of Beryl and Geraldine.

    • I have just read the book. I also found it intriguing that Peter believes Beryl to have been killed on the 7th rather then the 8th, and surprising that he doesn’t set out his reasoning, since as far as I know nobody has ever suggested this before. (The matter is obviously of some significance to him since he mentions that he and his wife still mourn the anniversaries of Beryl’s and Geraldine’s deaths.) I did suspect when reading earlier in the book about Beryl frequently swapping clothes with Joan Vincent that this would foreshadow some suggestion that Joan was mistaken for Beryl when Beryl was supposedly sighted by Jones leaving the house on the 8th. Jones’ detailed recollections were unreliable anyway.

      I can only conclude that Peter thinks it most likely that Evans murdered Beryl when blind drunk, which would point to the late evening of the 7th rather than tea-time on the 8th.

      I was not convinced by Peter’s almost throwaway suggestion that Christie persuaded his wife to help cover up Evans’ murder of Beryl. I found this the most implausible speculation in the entire book. Ethel would have had no motivation to cover for Tim and, unlike her husband, no reason to fear the police coming to the house.

  9. More Christie revelations, this time from Jonathan Oates’ exhaustive biography of 2011, the first of its kind, of that I’m aware, and is essential reading as it finally clears up a lot f myths and canards about the man ‘ he stole a priest’s car’ etc which for too long were repeated as ‘fact’.
    Apparently in 1953, before his arrest, but after Ethel’s murder, Christie was, in fact, a regular client of Kathleen Mahoney, whom who often ‘saw’ in conjunction with another ‘working girl’ one Maureen Briggs. Strangely, Christie took the pair to an illicit photo studio in which both he and Mahoney stripped fully naked, whilst Briggs was paid to take the hard core pornographic photographs. Mercifully, the photos have not survive, one winces at thought of a naked, bald headed, middle aged Christie featuring in hard core delicto.
    But what puzzles me is that, as far as I know, hard core pornography, featuring actual sexual activity between men and women was all but unknown in those prurient semi Victorian times. What the Hell possessed Christie to do it?

  10. John Eddowes,

    Recently I watched a YouTube video presented by one Fred Dinenage, made a few years back it seems, for one of the Freeview TV channels.
    In it he interviews Police Sergeant Len Trevallion. Trevallion was fairly firm on the point that Ethel Christie was a well known abortionist in the neighbourhood, and that the Christies operated a clandestine abortion clinic with Ethel performing the operations and Reg providing the ‘anaesthesia’. Quite shocking from an unimpeachable source such as Trevallion, and not mentioned before, as far as I know.

    Also, PS Trevallion relates the following bizarre conversation with Reg, having been called to 10 Rillington Place somewhat after the Evans murder and before the Christie arrest to investigate a theft in the house concerning ‘new’ tenants.
    “What’s that stink your house Christie, can’t you do something about it”
    “Oh, that’s just the coloured people and their cooking”.

    Trevallion was speaking to Christie in his front room, under which Ethel was buried.

    • Thank you for the post.

      The 2011 production of Dinenage’s is a piece entitled ‘John Christie’ in the first of his three Murder Casebook series that I refer to in my book as being ‘to all intents and purposes a work of fiction’. It was one in a number of similar such programmes made for A+E Networks UK – the other 21-odd possibly being better but I am unable to speak with any authority on those.

      As you rightly say, Leonard Trevallion, by then aged 97, could certainly lay claim to having had contemporary knowledge, but described a production-line abortion business being carried on by the Christies which simply had no basis in any known fact. If I might quote from my own book:

      It is also as well to note more generally that there was never any evidence to suggest that Christie, much less Ethel, was in any way involved in performing abortions. Indeed, Detective Chief Inspector Jennings who led the Evans inquiry explicitly stated that he was not. Christie had himself expressed incomprehension and indignation at the suggestion and had vehemently denied it. In all of the voluminous archive material now available, which includes a good many witness statements from close neighbours and others, there is nowhere to be found the suggestion or accusation that Christie was an abortionist.

      Sadly, some oral history recordings of Trevallion’s held at The National Archives contain further such questionable reminiscences which also need to be treated with caution.

      The linguistics expert in the programme opined that the wording used in Evans’s confessions was that of the police rather than of a poorly-educated and illiterate man, but even so it changes nothing of the substance of the statements and Evans himself never claimed to have been coerced into making false confessions or having had words put into his mouth under duress.

      Anecdotally, I understand that David Wilson subsequently expressed the opinion that the finished programme as broadcast was dire to say the least.

      Hoping the foregoing is of some interest.

    • The story about Ethel being a known abortionist is very interesting because, if true, why didn’t she offer to perform an abortion on Beryl?

      Obviously, that raises the possibility that Ethel did, in fact, try to abort Beryl’s baby and something went wrong…

      Far fetched perhaps but not impossible?

      For the record, I was very disappointed with Thorley’s book.

  11. John Eddowes author of The Two Killers of Rillington Place:
    Brian Burden says (Blog 29 April 2019):
    To my knowledge Hume always despised Evans for being a baby killer. Evans confessed not twice, in his two statements at Notting Hill, but also to Sgt Trevallian, and in prison, saying she would not stop crying so he just had to strangle her.

    The forensic evidence from Keith Simpson, Camps with Mr Smith of the Gas Board, and Teare, is consistent with Evans strangling Beryl. The view of the prison doctor, Matheson, to whom Evans confessed in the course of his lengthy interviews, and who also interviewed Christie before he was hanged, was that Evans was guilty, and of course the police knew he was (I also discovered that Beryl was not in the house when the murders were committed, having left with Tim’s younger sister Maureen to go to the flat of the family home 300 yards away, as usual. Tuesdays were Maureen’s half day. The evidence against Tim is as large as it has been suppressed by the BBC.

    John Curnow’s and Peter Mylton-Thorley’s very welcome evidence on the guilt of Evans and the innocence of Beryl, who was a particularly nice young woman, but whose behaviour has been viciously travestied, particularly by Sir Ludovic Kennedy and the BBC. This has caused great distress to the Thorley family, particularly to her other brother Basil, whom I met several times and was a most impressive, modest, and honest man. I wish Peter the best of luck.


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