Required reading for all police officers, Criminal Lawyers, Judicial Officers, Forensic Medicine and Science practitioners, and especially Politicians It is , by now, historicalaccount of how all these groups contributed to the judicial murder of one of lifes unfotunates. Kafka could not have done better!
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Ludovic Kennedy's research into the 10 Rillington Place murders makes this book a 'must read' for lovers of real life crime. It was so difficult to put down once started. Kennedy has the ability of turning deep and detailed research into easy reading without reverting to fictional prose. This book is now out of print so every copy is valuable and must be preserved.
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I read this book for the first time about 10 years ago and again recently. Based on the true story of Tim Evans and John Christie it is fast paced and gripping and highlights the craziness of a legal system that would have us believe that two serial killers who used identical methods of murder lived in the same house at the same time. No one belives that now, apart from a few die hards in the legal system and (reading the reviews here) a few other people apparently too. This was the book that forced the system to eventually (many years after the event) own up to the fact that it had sent an innocent man to the gallows. Read it and cry for Tim Evans and his family.
A spine tingling account of the the murders at 10 Rillington Place. The purpose of of this book was Ludovic Kennedy's attempt to exonorate Timothy Evans of the murder of his wife Beryl and baby daughter Geraldine. Evans himself was slightly child -like in nature, was very uneducated and could barely read or write and had the misfortune to move into a house of horrors, as their were already several dead bodies lying buried witin the confines of the house and outer back garden. Evans and his wife did have a loving relationship, but like some couples had their squabbles usually over money as this was post-war London and times were hard. When Beryl became pregnant again more rows ensued and the idea of termination came up, but with no funds to organise it. Ludovic Kennedy got most of his information from the Evans' family members who knew him more than most. They insisted it was never in Timothy Evans nature to murder his family as he was totally wrapped up in his wife and daughter and loved them.
John Reginald Christie was another piece of work altogether. As we know from history Christie became one of Britains worst and most evil serial killers in modern times,(estimated from around 1944 when he was a war constable) and that was before the Evans family arrived on his door step. Evans on trial tried as he could to refute any connection with his family's deaths. However using the phrase 'I have disposed of my wife' basically put him on the gallows. When he tried to show the police the wherabouts of his wife's remains (down a drain) but to find she was not there, yet he expected her to be there, only to be found along with her dead child in a shed in the back garden. The police themselves were puzzled with Evan's own bewilderment.Read more ›
The author makes it quite plain at the outset that the purpose of the book is to demonstrate that Evans was innocent of the two murders that he was indicted for. (At trial he was only prosecuted for the murder of his daughter, of course).
There is no pretence here that this is a dispassionate and balanced 'overview' of the case, so those looking for such a thing would need to look elsewhere.
Opinion remains divided as to whether Kennedy has succeeded in his task.
The Brabin Inquiry of 1966 went only so far as saying that Evans 'probably hadn't' killed his daughter but had 'likely' killed his wife. That meant that he had been hanged for a crime that he didn't commit. A pardon was granted but the conviction was never quashed in the Court Of Appeal. (Evans' remains were taken from the confines of Pentonville prison and re-interred in a cemetery in recognition of Brabin's conclusion).
I've read this book many times - more recently in conjunction with other books on the case and the Brabin report - and I have to say that I still don't know.
Ludovic Kennedy does write very well and his arguments are very persuasive; but is he right?
This is a story of two men, Mr. Kennedy tells us at the outset, one who loses his wife and baby to murder, is falsely accused and put to death and the other, a vicious, pathetic, seedy serial killer. The labyrinths of the story are thus: Mr. Evans, his wife and baby rent rooms in a doll-size house in Notting Hill. In this house, on the ground floor are Mr. Christie and his wife. An elderly man also resides here but he is away. Before the bodies of Mrs. Evans and her baby are discovered in the wash house, Mr. Evans turns himself into the police and, although illiterate and possessing the mentality of a 10 year old, confesses twice to the murders. Later he retracts his confession and claims that Mr. Christie committed the murders and that he confessed only to protect Mr. Christie. He explains that Mr. Christie convinced Mr. Evans and his wife that he was an abortionist, that (against his wishes) his wife agreed to undergo Mr. Christie's treatment. Mr. Evans claims to arrive home to find his wife dead but his baby alive. After a couple of days, Mr. Christie tells Mr. Evans that he sent the baby to a couple in East Acton and advises him to flee London. Mr. Evans is tried, found guilty and hanged to death. Several years later, six women's bodies, including that of Mrs. Christie, are discovered at 10 Rillington Place. It becomes obvious that Mr. Evans was telling the truth and was innocent of the murders of his wife and baby. He was wrongfully put to death. His innocence has never been reinstated by the British court.
Mr. Kennedy makes it clear that the crimes are not the only issue here. The major issue is the miscarriage of justice and the further injustice that this mistake has never been officially acknowledged by the British authorities.Read more ›