Reginald Christie

[1899-1953]



John Reginald Halliday Christie was an infamous mass-murderer.

He was born on 8th April 1899 at Black Boy House, Claremount, son of Mary Hannah Halliday and Ernest Christie. His parents were said to have been stern and unloving.

He left school at 15. He worked as a police clerk but was fired for petty theft.

During World War I, he was wounded and gassed and blinded for 5 months, and suffered hysterical aphonia for 3 years.

In 1919, he started work at the Theatre de Luxe, Northgate.

He then became a postman, but he was imprisoned for stealing postal orders and cheques, and he was later placed on probation for other charges of fraud.

It is said that he was disowned by his family when he was caught stealing from the carpet factory where his father worked.

In 1920, he married Ethel Simpson in Halifax.

In 1923, he was sentenced to 12 months' probation for attempting to avoid paying for bed and breakfast at a Halifax guest house.

He moved to London in 1923 to escape the shame of his criminal record. Ethel followed her husband in 1934.

In 1924 he suffered head injuries in a car accident.

In 1937, he and his wife moved to 10 Rillington Place, Notting Hill, London. They lived in the ground floor flat. The top floor was occupied by Timothy John Evans – an illiterate lorry-driver – his wife Beryl, and their baby Geraldine.

During a supposed abortion carried out by Christie, he murdered Beryl. Evans went away whilst Christie disposed of the body, although Evans later went to the Police and confessed to having killed his wife. The bodies of Beryl and the baby were found in the house.

In 1939 he joined the War Reserve Police.

In 1950, Christie gave evidence which helped to convict Evans, who was hanged for the murders.

Around 12th December 1952, Christie murdered Ethel and buried her beneath the floorboards, possibly because she was in the way, or because she suspected him of the other murders.

A new tenant moved into the house in 1953 and subsequently found several women's bodies under the floorboards, in the pantry, buried in the garden and walled up in cupboards.

The hunt for Christie began on 25th March 1953, and on 31st March, he was arrested on the Thames Embankment at Putney, and charged with murdering his wife.

On 18th May 1953, the bodies of Beryl Evans and her baby were exhumed and Evans's innocence was suspected.

Evans's family asked for a review of his case in June 1953.

Christie was tried and hanged at Pentonville Prison on 15th July 1953. It was reported that he would gas his female victims (with carbon monoxide) claiming it had some health benefits and then have sex with the dead corpse. Forensic evidence included a link to a tooth crown which belonged to one of the victims.

Timothy Evans was given a posthumous pardon in 1966




© Malcolm Bull 2020
Revised 16:05 /16th February 2020 / mmc106 / 5445

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