If that address sounds familiar, then like me, you are probably a fan of true crime stories. The BBC is currently airing a three part drama about one of England’s best known serial killers, John Christie. Tim Roth and Samantha Morton play the roles of John and Ethel Christie. Roth is amazing in the part. Christie is so nondescript; balding, bent, shabby and whispery voiced, you would never have thought that totally forgettable exterior cloaked a sexual predator and murderer. Samantha Morton’s Ethel is a quiet, retiring woman who’s dawning realisation of what her husband really is makes her first an unwilling accomplice and finally, a victim.
Christie murdered his wife and at least seven other women, including the baby daughter of one of his victims, and hid the bodies in the house and back yard of the tenement building he lived in at 10 Rillington Place in what is now the upmarket area of Notting Hill in London. But between 1943 and 1953, it was a grimy, run down neighbourhood and Christie’s hunting ground.
Christie was hanged in 1953 but only for the murder of his wife Ethel, something I find odd because he confessed to the other murders. Two of which the wrong man, Timothy Evans, had been accused and hanged for in 1950. Evans was posthumously pardoned in 1966 when further examination of evidence revealed how poor the police’s investigation had been and had in fact, led to the sentencing of the wrong man while giving Christie three more years to commit further murders.
10 Rillington Place airs on Tuesday nights on BBC. Final episode is next Tuesday, the 13th of December.
Black and white photos courtesy of Old London on Twitter