A ho house of hor­ror

We ex­am­ine the shock­ing real-life crimes given the Hol­ly­wood treat­ment

Chat - - True-Life -

ohn Christie grew up in ru­ral York­shire as the sixth of seven chil­dren.

With five dom­i­nat­ing older sis­ters, and a fa­ther who liked to dish out beat­ings, the boy’s per­son­al­ity never had the chance to fully develop.

But John Christie’s in­tel­li­gence did.

He ex­celled at school, with an as­ton­ish­ingly high IQ and a tal­ent for Maths, and he worked his way up to the top rank of the Boy Scouts.

Nev­er­the­less, Christie was a loner.

When he hit his teenage years, and be­came in­ter­ested in girls, he soon be­came even more so­cially iso­lated.

He suf­fered with erec­tile dys­func­tion, and ru­mours quickly spread – with other school kids nick­nam­ing him ‘Can’t-do-it-christie’.

It wasn’t an is­sue he would grow out of, and it trig­gered a feel­ing of dread around women.

Nev­er­the­less, in 1920 at the age of 21, he mar­ried Ethel Simp­son in a sim­ple

Jser­vice at a regis­ter of­fice in Hal­i­fax, West York­shire.

But the mar­riage was any­thing but happy.

Christie dis­cov­ered he could only per­form sex­u­ally with pros­ti­tutes – when he was in com­plete con­trol.

‘All my life I’ve had this fear of ap­pear­ing ridicu­lous as a lover,’ he later said.

So, he reg­u­larly cheated on his wife, be­came vi­o­lent with her.

Four years later, the cou­ple separated, and Christie moved to Lon­don. Over the next decade, he turned to a life of crime and was con­victed of theft, larceny and as­sault.

In 1933, after do­ing time be­hind bars for steal­ing a car from a priest, Christie got back to­gether with Ethel, and they moved in to 10 Rilling­ton Place.

It was a small gar­den flat in the then-im­pov­er­ished and run-down area of Not­ting Hill in Lon­don.

But the cou­ple’s ad­dress would later be­come in­fa­mous.

How­ever, their sec­ond at­tempt at a happy mar­riage was also a dis­as­ter.

Ethel suf­fered a mis­car­riage and Christie con­tin­ued to cheat.

Over the next decade, his vi­o­lent ten­den­cies grew more and more out of con­trol.

Of­ten, it was Ethel who took the brunt of his abuse, but he also took out his rage on the pros­ti­tutes he hired.

In 1943, things went a step too far when Christie in­vited pros­ti­tute Ruth Fuerst to his house, and ended up stran­gling her to death.

In­stead of be­ing hor­ri­fied by what he’d done, Christie rev­elled in it – and, once he got a taste for mur­der, he couldn’t stop.

Soon after Ruth’s mur­der, he in­vited a woman named Muriel Eady, his sec­ond vic­tim, to the home he shared with Ethel, telling Muriel that

He hired pros­ti­tutes, took out his rage on them, too

he could cure her bron­chi­tis.

Christie per­suaded her to in­hale gas from a jar. But, far from cur­ing her, it was poi­sonous car­bon monox­ide and she passed out.

Sick­en­ingly, he then raped her un­con­scious body while stran­gling her un­til she died.

Over the next nine years, Christie killed at least an­other six women us­ing the same tech­niques.

One of them was his up­stairs neigh­bour Beryl Evans. She was preg­nant, and with a 1-year-old daugh­ter al­ready, she wanted a ter­mi­na­tion.

Christie con­vinced her – and her hus­band Ti­mothy – that he had the skills to safely carry out the pro­ce­dure.

In­stead, he stran­gled and raped Beryl. He then also stran­gled her baby daugh­ter.

Ti­mothy Evans was wrongly charged with the mur­ders and ex­e­cuted in 1950.

It seemed that John Christie was un­stop­pable – and even his long-suf­fer­ing wife Ethel wasn’t safe.

In De­cem­ber 1952, he stran­gled her to death and hid her body un­der the floor­boards.

He tried to cover up what he’d done by telling friends and fam­ily that Ethel was un­well or away. In the mean­time, he pawned her jew­ellery and emp­tied her bank ac­count.

It was more than two years be­fore the po­lice fi­nally caught up with Christie, after he’d moved out and the new ten­ants be­gan discovering body parts.

And, when the po­lice searched the prop­erty, it wasn’t just Ethel’s body they dis­cov­ered.

They also found bod­ies buried in the gar­den and stashed be­hind a makeshift wall in the kitchen.

Christie claimed the lives of at least eight women. He con­fessed, but was only put on trial for Ethel’s mur­der.

He was found guilty, hanged at Pen­tonville Prison in 1953.

The homes on Rilling­ton Place be­came tainted by the hor­rors of Num­ber 10, and they were later de­mol­ished.

The land where the house stood has since been turned into a gar­den for the com­mu­nity, in a bid to erase the past – al­though no-one in the area has ever for­got­ten the hor­rific crimes of John Christie.

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