John Reginald Halliday Christie

John Christie Nickname: The Whispering Strangler

Reign of terror: 1943 - March 1953

Motive: The motive is uncertain. It is possible there was no motive. Christie pleaded insanity as a defence. However, the motive could also have been sex. It is theorised that he killed his wife so that he would be alone in the house to entertain and kill prostitutes.


Date Victim Crime Body found
1943 Ruth Fuerst Murder In the garden
1944 Muriel Eady Murder In the garden
14/12/52 Ethel Christie Murder Under the floorboards of the front room
2/1/53 Rita Nelson Murder At the back of the kitchen cupboard
1953 Kathleen Maloney Murder In the middle of the kitchen cupboard
1953 Hectorina Maclennan Murder At the front of the kitchen cupboard

There is speculation as to whether there were two more victims. The bodies of Beryl Evans and her baby were also found in 10, Rillington Place,(London) Christie's house, in the wash-house. They had been killed in November 1949. However, her husband Timothy Evans admitted to the crime and was hanged for it. He did at various times, though, say that Christie was the murderer.

Method: The victims were first rendered unconscious using carbon monoxide gas. They were then strangled whilst Christie had sex with them.

Sentence: Christie was found guilty of the murder of his wife and was sentenced to death. He was hanged on 15th July 1953.

Interesting facts: The kitchen cupboard was naturally maintained at a temperature of 5 degrees fahrenheit, giving the effect of a fridge. When the three bodies in there were found, they had been perfectly preserved.

During a police search of 10, Rillington Place, a tobacco tin containing four locks of pubic hair was found. The hair did not match any of the bodies in the cupboard. It is possible two of the locks belonged to the two women buried in the garden, but this is unknown. They could also have been mementos of prostitutes he had been in the habit of photographing.

Christie's first story of what happened to the victims was different to what forensic evidence tells us is the truth. Christie explained that they came and pestered him for sex. They then started a fight, and he accidentally killed them, or they fell and hit their heads. After the post mortem showed they had been gassed, he changed his story.