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Tim Evans Was A Prisoner
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 9:59 pm    Post subject: cremation Reply with quote

But wasn't she cremated?
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 8:47 pm    Post subject: Re: horse's mouth Reply with quote

marianneh wrote:
There you have it, straight out of the horse's mouth ! Moritz is a renowned Brexiteer. I don't see the point of hanging Maggie as she is already dead.

It all depends upon what you mean by brexiteer:

bXx = votes to leave EU, that is indeed me.

Ken and Bourgeois Broadcasting Corporation define bXy = Trump loving, nigger hating, Boris loving scum, that aint me.
Liberty - Equality - Fraternity : Aux armes, Citoyens !

War is Politics by other Methods - General von Clausewitz
Politics is War by other Methods - Some guy on the Internet
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 1:16 am    Post subject: tory Reply with quote

Your'e not a Tory so why are you voting for them?

I voted Brexit because my hamster died
I voted Brexit because my girlfriend lied
I voted Brexit because I hate the rain
I voted Brexit because I have a pain.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2016 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In fact, for a rare occasion, I voted the same as most Labour voters.

Evil tory Government says "Please Brer Fox, whatever you do, don't throw me in the Briar Patch. There will be War, Plague, Famine and Death."

I guessed that the second clause was the bluff.

Europe told us to fuck off and die. Cameron begged on bended knee.
"Please, please Brer Commissioner, Brer God Emperor give me a teeny-weeny reform. Some tiny carrot that I can spin into something." And Europe gave the square root of bugger all, even cosmetic reform is too much.

We fucked off. We ain't dead yet.

Fun fact: "the square root of bugger all" sounds like less than bugger all, but mathematically it means bigger than bugger all; likewise "I never did nuffing" sounds like I did less than nothing, but mathematically it means I definitely did somefink.
Liberty - Equality - Fraternity : Aux armes, Citoyens !

War is Politics by other Methods - General von Clausewitz
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 12:46 pm    Post subject: rillington place Reply with quote

I am happy to say that a new series 'Rillington Place' has begun on Sunday mornings on BBC 1 at 11 am. Each episode will be available on BBC iplayer for weeks.

The first episode is called 'Ethel'. It is about the creepy back story of Christie seen through the uncomprehending eyes of his downtrodden wife who would be one of his last victims. Next week will introduce the Evans menage who unwittingly move into a serial killer's lair.

I don't think this series is going to take the perverse stance that Evans caught the serial killing bug from Christie without even knowing that the former had it.
You can also see on the internet 'Ten Rillington Place', a film from the early 70s.

In this, Richard Attenborough plays an excellent creepy hypocritical Christie. John Hurt is great as Tim Evans, but his Welsh accent is is bit posh for an illiterate Valleys boy. It is a bit softer than the Valleys timbre. The new series, I think, may take the line of least resistance, and give Tim the Cockney accent of the actor, on the assumption he had been in London long enough to pick it up.

The 70s film was made, I believe, at the time Britain was about to reintroduce the death penalty after a moratorium of five years. MPs had a chance to vote on it.

The film based on Ludovic Kennedy's book was shot on location in Rillington Place, Notting Hill. As the occupants would not allow them to use Number 10, the film crew used an architecturally identical house further down the street.The street has now been bull dozed to deter ghouls.

The former executioner Pierrepoint was an unacknowledged adviser on the procedure of carrying out a death sentence. The purpose of the film was to turn the public and MPs alike against restoring the death penalty.

Although capital punishment for murder was not abolished until 1969, and MPs had a chance to vote to restore it every few years until the 90s, in practice, no one was formally executed after 1964.

People may have been sentenced to death, but the sentence was always commuted. After the state grudgingly admitted its error in the Evans case in October 1966, it lost its nerve.

Timothy Evans was in a position like Savita. He provided a dire warning of what can go wrong when you have terrible laws, badly administered. Tim died for the nation.

People discuss on a message board that John Hurt as Timothy Evans is filmed on location trudging up the Aberfan Road to his uncle's house. Somebody told me that he knew Tim's uncle who still lived in the area. He was pretty shell shocked about what had happened to his nephew.

It's quite eerie that Merthyr means martyr. The place has produced more than its share of martyrs, St Tudfyl herelf, Dic Penderyn and Tim Evans, not to mention the schoolchildren at Aberfan.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An interesting and enjoyable allusion - but does " merthyr " exactly equate with " martyr " ? I understand that a " merthyr " is a place associated with a holy shrine - I understood these graves to be small squares of paving created with white quartz - but there are such places as " Merthyr Mawr " - " Big Shrine " makes more sense that " Big Martyr " - what does it say about its etymology in GPC ?
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 1:28 am    Post subject: mert Reply with quote

'Merthyr' has come to mean martyr in modern Welsh. It sounds as if it could be cognate with the English 'martyr' but it is not.

An English friend told me it originally meant a mausoleum specifically that of St Tudfil at Aberfan. I was sure he was wrong. But a little research showed that he was right. Language evolves.

Using 'merthyr' to mean martyr probably started as a mistake. But mistakes are how language evolves. We now most usually say 'bedd' for grave as in 'Dafydd y gwas yn y fedd.'

This is my hypothesis on how another word evolved. The word 'caravan' used to mean a string of tame camels moving through the desert with Arab or Bedouin or Berber riders and all their paraphernalia.

I imagine someone watched a train of Gypsies with their horses, vehicles and other gear moving through the English countryside. They pointed it out to a child, saying ''Look at the Gypsy caravan!''

The child thought they were pointing at the painted house on wheels known in Romany as a 'vardo'. So that is what it means now.

I had latterly been aware that 'merthyr' once meant a glorified tomb. But I know other Welsh words for grave, and 'merthyr' is the only one I know for martyr. I'm not going to give it up now!
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well whilst none of " The Cardiff Illuminati " qualify as saints - let us pray not to qualify as martyrs ?

I have already had plenty enough trouble with pavements ... Cardiff City Council's Demockerats need to be taught to be more publicly spirited -

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 7:42 pm    Post subject: mirallegro Reply with quote

I've had a painful impact with a Cardiff pavement too. The paving stones are cracked and uneven, at least near the station. You would imagine the Council was at fault.

I don't feel like a martyr though. To get back to that poor martyr, Tim Evans, I understand the Sunday showing of 'Rillington Place' is a repeat. It also goes out tonight Tuesday at 9.00 pm. Tonight, Tim makes his appearance.

The actor Nico Mirallegro has consulted Tim's sister Mary 'Maureen' Westlake. He is anxious to get the role right for the sake of the family.

Nico described Tim Evans as a complex character, a family man, a happy joker in public, someone who had suffered but wanted to believe life was sweet. He might have aspired to come across as a wide boy but he was always the one who would be ripped off.

He could be easily led. He tended to look up to people. In this respect, he lacked insight.

Nico sees Tim as 'an ordinary bloke', caught up in an extraordinary situation. I think that's about right.

He had cut his foot while playing in the Taff as a boy. This led to a tubercular infection.

He missed so much school that he was just about illiterate. He returned to Merthyr from Notting Hill as a youth and began to work as a miner. But the old injury to his foot kept flaring up.

Ludovic Kennedy was one of Tim's fiercest posthumous supporters.In an interview a few years before his death, Kennedy described Tim as a vulnerable man.

In the early 60s, based on his poor showing in an IQ test, Kennedy said that Timothy Evans was, in the literal if not the usual sense of the term, a half wit. He concluded that he had the mind of an eleven year old boy.

We wouldn't think now that concepts like mental age are very useful. Kennedy didn't mean to be unpleasant. People were more brutal in speech in those days.

IQ tests measure your ability to do IQ tests. They don't measure your ability to do anything else.

Ludovic Kennedy noted that both Evans' mother and his sisters were intelligent. He didn't apparently ask himself if it was surprising, in the circumstances, that Tim had apparently always been 'a very backward boy.'
Perhaps Evans just lacked education.

John Eddowes thought that Tim's alleged low intelligence and his alleged feeble physique were handy guides to his monstrous nature and to his guilt. His Timothy Evans is a cruel caricature, apparently cribbed from Shakespeare's 'Richard lll'.

Not that it matters for we can't help what we look like, but in pictures he looks nice in a quiet way, nothing out of the ordinary. He had a bit of the triangular face you sometimes see in Wales but not the sandy hair and blue eyes that usually go with it. His eyes and hair were dark.

There was nothing out of the ordinary in his appearance. He does look vacant when caught in the flash bulb in the famous picture at Paddington in the grip of two policemen. He also looks a bit like a puppet dangling helplessly between them.

He'd been having a really hard time. This was not a representative image.

It'll be interesting to see a complex and - we hope - authentic Timothy Evans based on his sister's memories. I'd be very happy if this series woke up the public and led to the formal quashing of the conviction while his sister and nephew are still alive.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey - what's this ?

I show up late and find only you writing and there are ten others gawping at your work ?


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:09 pm    Post subject: tje Reply with quote

I've just seen the second part of the series, where Tim makes his appearance at Rillington Place. It's almost like a comedy at first, but later it is very powerful but difficult to watch.

Nico as Tim doesn't come across as thick. But he's a bit of a chameleon. It's not just that he has a London accent when talking to his wife and friends, and a Valleys accent when talking to his mother and uncle. He has a number of personae.

He does really care about the cute baby Geraldine. That's probably the most important thing in his life. He puts on a bit of braggadacio in the pub, saying it's the happiest day of his life because Beryl has left, when it obviously isn't.

A lot of young couples lived with one or other set of parents after the war. Tim and Beryl had been living with his mother until they noticed a flat to let in Rillington Place.

It was a great pity they didn't stay where they were, and not just for the obvious reason that 10 Rillington Place was a house of horrors.

It might have been cramped with his mother and sisters, but Tim and Beryl both had problems with managing money partly through immaturity and then there was simple poverty.

According to the other characters, Beryl had grown up without a mother, and she had no education either. Tim does very occasionally tell a tall tale, have one pint too many or get into a loud physical confrontation with Beryl.

But it is not wickedness. It's an impulsive reaction to frustration. There is no forethought at all.

Christie is calculating to a degree. He also tells tall tales, for instance that he trained to be a doctor. They are always instrumental. He has something to gain.

Christie lies to manipulate people or to get out of trouble. Tim's fibs make him look ridiculous or get him into trouble.

It was frustrating and a bit surprising that Tim can't see through Christie and lets himself be manipulated by him even after Beryl is dead, and he knows that Christie is responsible, one way or another.

Viewers must think, ''Why aren't you angry? Why don't you go straight to the police?'' It is convincing though.

Tim did lack insight, but he was not the only one. The police, judge and jury were also taken in by Christie.

I have to say that it is not obvious from the first that Tim was so suggestible. At least, it wasn't to me.

The next episode is definitely going to be worth watching. But it will be harrowing.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am glad that you are monitoring the propaganda that is being manufactured by The BBC - but look at meeeeeeeeeee ...


... Aw - C'mon - you are A Mother in Wales ... hell ... if you can not beat them ...


Rillington Place - Three-part drama series based on the true story of serial killer John Christie.


Bringing Rillington Place to BBC One - Monday 28 November 2016, 16:20

Ed Whitmore and Tracey Malone are the writing team who researched and wrote the script for BBC One's new dramatisation of the notorious murders committed by John Christie at 10 Rillington Place. They explain how they became involved and why telling this story has become so important to them. ... We also went to visit Tim’s [Evans] sister and had a long interview with her and his nephew, and talked through who Tim was and some of the details of the case. The family still had to see Christie in Notting Hill after Tim was hanged, Beryl and Geraldine were dead, and he was a free man walking around. They had no comeback. It really brought it home to us and we were all in tears. ... Tim’s family are happy about the project. They’ve had some difficult times, and they’ve been approached by people who haven’t had the same views as us, but they’re happy that we feel that Tim was innocent, as they obviously do. His sister, and his nephew, they’ve been fighting their whole life for justice really.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 10:32 am    Post subject: lamb Reply with quote

It's touching that Nico Mirallegro sees his role as so much more than a professional engagement, that he was moved to tears when consulting Tim's sister and nephew. But it's not surprising. It's difficult not to be emotionally affected.

I was longing for the programme to be over, not because it wasn't gripping but because it was so painful to watch. But in a very retro way, I felt absurdly that I had a duty to stick it out to the end.

Apparently not all viewers had the true grit required to stick with it, but switched over. They couldn't take any more.

It wasn't always that they felt sad. It was too creepy for them. Tim Roth was even more sinister as Christie than Richard Attenborough, and you would think that would be impossible.

He looked so nondescript and he had such a quiet voice, yet he contained so much evil for lack of a better word! You wouldn't look at him twice in the street or even once, but he had the power to manipulate the judiciary even from beyond the grave.

Viewers put up Twitter messages complaining that the BBC wanted to make us miserable. I think that's missing the point.

People said that Tim's constantly changing accent was 'doing their heads in', as if this was down to poor acting skill on the part of Nico. It wasn't that of course.

It was deliberate. Tim originally had a strong Merthyr accent. He came to London at the age of eleven.

He was eager to fit in. He acquired the timbre of a London barrow boy when he was with the locals, but switched instantly back to his Valleys accent when he was with his mother and sisters.

You might think he was constantly adopting different personae for some ulterior purpose. He wasn't.

He was a people pleaser for the sake of it.

An internet site has suggested that this partly explains why he caved in during the second interview with the London police. He had no stable sense of identity. He didn't know who he was or what role he should be playing.

Poor Tim was a lamb to the slaughter. It wouldn't be right to say he was his own worst enemy when Christie was around but he didn't do himself any favours.

Indirectly Christie murdered Tim as well as his wife and daughter. While it it horrible to think what happened to Beryl and the little girl, at least they didn't have to live with the knowledge of what was going to happen to them for ages beforehand.

Tim did. It was an extra refinement of cruelty.

People I spoke to in Pontypool and Newport yesterday had much to say about this as did our new Welsh tutor Melanie Jenkins when I met her at a Plaid Cymru AM's talk on Brexit. Somebody said it was obvious in retrospect that Tim was innocent.

It sounds harsh, but to say that someone did not have a fair trial or that their conviction is unsafe is not the same thing as saying they are definitely innocent. You might have been sold short by the justice system and yet be guilty.

With certain apparent miscarriages of justice, you just can't be totally satisfied of a person's guilt. And in law, they are entitled to the benefit of the doubt.

I don't accept that this is the situation with Tim. Some people might think that his sister is splitting hairs in saying a free pardon from the queen is not the same as formally overturning the conviction, and is not good enough. But it's important to her.

The judges in 2004 refused to overturn the conviction as it would be too expensive. But they accepted that Tim was innocent.

It's not necessary to have an expensive inquiry. On the basis of what we all know now, they can overturn the conviction by simple proclamation.

To give one example, during the time that Tim was with his uncle in Merthyr, a friend of Beryl went round to Rillington Place more than once to see Beryl. She later deposed that she had been upset by the unaccountable rudeness of Christie.

He obviously wanted to drive her away. He said Beryl was sick of her coming swanking round in her posh clothes.

He obviously didn't want anyone to go poking round the premises looking for Beryl. It was not the behaviour of an innocent person who had nothing to hide.

He was similarly rude to Tim's sister on another occasion. We can expect Tim's sister to have been on his side. But the evidence of Beryl's friend is convincing, not only because it gives independent confirmation of Christie's rude and obstructive behaviour but because this witness had no dog in the fight.

Unlike Tim's sister, she could not be assumed to be a member of the Timothy Evans fan club. She didn't even like Tim. She thought he wasn't good enough for Beryl, and had said so many times.

There's no need to equivocate. Timothy Evans was innocent. We can be confident of that.

To use the overblown language of the RC Church to which he had the misfortune to belong, he was an innocent man whose blood cries from the ground for justice. He still hasn't been given it. Will this series make a difference?

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The business of The People in Fear who need to conform to what others want of them is something to consider because politics is surely about rescuing others from being coerced and restoring their relationships to consent e.g. can a person who agrees to be abused truly be consenting to be harmed ?

Listen my lovely : on the one hand Dafydd/Moritz and I/dai have been abusing each other for decades and I suppose that we consent to do so ... but I want to bring up this matter of you naming your friends again on the board : you may only irritate them by giving out their first names whilst discussing what passes between you - but fully naming them may offend them and lose you your friends ... it could even lead to complete strangers googling names and approaching your friends on Facebook etc

I will not reach into your post with " Repwblic " today - you can adjust your own posts with the " Edit " button - but why not reduce her name to " Mel " ?
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 11:26 am    Post subject: name Reply with quote

Oh, it isn't the same Melanie. I didn't think attending a meeting of a party she belongs to, would be something she wants to hide. But I could use pseudonyms in future.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 11:23 pm    Post subject: Christie Reply with quote

Some viewers complained that the sound quality in episode one of 'Rillington Place' was execrable. What they didn't appreciate is that Christie really did have a whispery little voice, possibly as a result of being gassed in the trenches.

Or it might have been part of his creepy Jekyll and Hyde character, filthy yet fastidious, a frequenter of prostitutes, yet a puritan. In the first episode, when his wife tried to lay down the law to him, the whispering little creep half strangled her. Maybe, it hasn't been established that this incident really happened at this stage, but we do know that he later did strangle her and disposed of her remains under the floor boards.

David Wilson and Fred Dinenage in a previous programme on forensics focused in part on his earlier life. He had been born in Halifax where he was the non- descript youngest of seven children.

It looks as if he was always a docile kid who dared do no other than strictly what he was told. But this did not shield him from parental violence.

What he resented most was being pushed around by his many older sisters. When he was able to join paramilitary groups such as the boy scouts or the Boys' Brigade, he suddenly had a role, and as he saw it, authority. He would wear his uniform whether it was appropriate or not.

His first attempt at sexual initiation was not successful. This is not unusual but unfortunately, the girl heartlessly told everyone in the small community that he could not perform. Depressing nicknames such as 'Can't do it Reg' and 'Reggie no dick' were shouted after him in the street.

So it became a self fulfilling prophecy. He could rarely if ever overcome his impotence - at least with live women. This didn't stop him marrying an unprepossessing wife who didn't look as if she would have much to say for herself.

They did split up after he spent time in prison for crimes of deception such as stealing postal orders while working as a postman. They became reconciled later

During the Second World War, he applied to be a special constable. He should have been rejected given his criminal past. But the police made no background checks.

Nobody in Notting Hill knew of his record. He was in his element, strutting round officiously in uniform. He enjoyed pushing people around so much that he was known without affection or humor as 'the Himmler of Rillington Place.'

A 90 year old former neighbour spoke to David Wilson. He believed that prostitutes gave Christie free samples of their wares in return for his not clamping down on them in his capacity as a special constable. You might imagine that he would have had little use for them.

Trevelyan believed that Ruth Fuerst, Christie's first known victim, had been pestering him about an encounter they had had, while Christie's wife was staying with her sister in Yorkshire.He had to get rid of her, or thought he did, before Ethel returned to London.

Ludovic Kennedy and everyone else has assumed that when Christie claimed to be able to perform backstreet abortions, he was just bull shitting. But Len Trevelyan claimed to have personal knowledge that Ethel Christie really did provide illegal abortions in Rillington Place during the war years.

Perhaps there was a demand for them because the local women could not account for conceptions that occurred while their husbands were serving overseas. Or the prostitutes Christie frequented had failed to take their usual precautions.

According to Trevelyan the girl would sit in a deck chair in the kitchen, and Christie would put her out with coal gas before Ethel got down to business. According to him, Christie only gradually came to see that he could use the gassing technique for his own sinister ends.

I have an open mind on this. We only have Trevelyan's word for it.

In the first episode of 'Rillington Place', Ethel presented as an uninteresting, down trodden and pitiable character who has no understanding of Christie's double life. I know we all have hidden depths, but Ethel comes across like the sort of person who would have a sleepless night if she forgot to put a stamp on a letter.

There were very ordinary looking women like the fictional Veronica Drake who would provide illegal abortions, in the belief that this was a necessary service. But Ethel was socially isolated in London. The programme makers obviously thought she had only the vaguest inkling of Christie's murky connections.

If she regularly performed what were then euphemistically known as 'illegal operations', at the risk of going to prison, she was almost as much of a dark horse as Christie himself. Her downtrodden air would have been something of a facade. I think we have to say that this claim has not been proved.

To me, Christie's Yorkshire accent doesn't sound at all posh. But he apparently impressed the judge and jury at Evans' trial as a middle class, comparatively well educated person.

There's no rational reason why a middle class person should get any credit for his social status but that's how it goes. Tim's nephew Dave Westlake did some research into his own family's past.

He found out that his grandmother Thomasina Probert, Tim's mother, had been born in the workhouse in Merthyr Tydful in 1901. This was the workhouse the Rebecca rioters never wanted to be built. Between the wars, the government was seriously considering moving all the plebs out of Merthyr, and closing the town down.

The Evan family couldn't pull rank. Even after the jury heard of Christie's repeated stays in prison, they must have felt that he had put all that behind him.

He had been a special constable in the war years. That was proof positive that he was a reformed character. The police would have seen him as one of themselves.

On the other side was Tim Evans. He had no criminal record but had a reputation as a ridiculous fantasist.That shouldn't have been enough to sway the jury, but it did.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 11:41 am    Post subject: appearances are everything Reply with quote

Fred Dinenage and David Wilson thought it quite possible that Christie abused his position as a special constable during the war to commit even more murders than we know of, and dispose of the bodies in locations other than 10 Rillington Place. If so, it's unlikely we'll ever know the details.

A former neighbour has now protested that Christie didn't slouch or shuffle around as the actor Tim Roth does in 'Rillington Place'. Nor did he have creased trousers or look like a shambling derelict in any way. He was a natty dresser, and everyone looked up to him. Nobody suspected he was other than an upstanding citizen in every sense.

It looks as if people were easily impressed by trivial and irrelevant things. Reg and Ethel's theory that they were a cut above the neighbours in some way didn't really stand up to scrutiny. But even the neighbours agreed with them.

Even when he was under arrest, the truth about Christie didn't immediately sink in for Tim Evans. Ridiculously, he demanded to see Christie, saying ''He's the only one who can help me now!''

At Evans' trial, it emerged that Christie had served time for crimes of deception and violence. He had attacked a woman with a cricket bat.

But his manner didn't fit with this information. His quiet and collected air may even have conveyed an impression of gentleness.

Tim had obviously not factored into the equation that Geraldine was dead in his interviews at Merthyr. It was evident that he took it for granted that she was still alive.

Even when he confessed to the London police, he could not describe the location of the bodies adequately. It was obvious he wasn't sure exactly where they were.

Somehow, this all went for nothing. If he had gone straight to the police on discovering that Beryl was dead, it is still possible that he would have been put in the frame.

The actors and script writers showed all the evidence to a former investigator from the CIA, in light of continuing mean spirited assertions that Evans was somehow implicated. The conclusion was that it was undoubtedly a tragic miscarriage of justice.

Everything was consistent with Christie's MO. For instance that the victims had all been garroted with a ligature. It was never his way to strangle a victim with his bare hands.

Alexander above thinks Evans should be blamed for selling Beryl's wedding ring. After dispatching Ethel, Christie sold her wedding ring and all the furniture. He also forged her signature and cleared out her bank account.

He told her relatives that she could not sign Christmas cards to them as she had rheumatism in her hands. He told one neighbour she was staying in Yorkshire and another that she was in Birmingham.

Only Ethel had been restraining Christie. After her death, he had an uncontrolled killing spree, which led to a hostile young man coming round in search of his girlfriend.

Christie disappeared; he must have known it was only a matter of time before he was rumbled. Carol Ann Courtney who wrote 'Morphine and Dolly Mixtures' remembered that she had been a child in London in the early 50s. Her mother had been part of a campaign to prevent the execution of Derek Bentley in early 1953.

Then when the truth about Christie emerged later that year, she had been part of the campaign to clear Evans' name. Carol naively assumed that her mother was consistent in her views.

She expressed the opinion that it was wrong that Christie himself was going to the gallows that summer. She was surprised that her mother spat out vehemently that Christie should be killed slowly and painfully. Even her revered parent was capable of blood lust!

I think most of us would sympathise with the mother. If the death penalty was to be abolished, there couldn't be any exceptions.

But that doesn't mean that Christie personally was worthy of compassion. Most of us would have found it an added provocation if he had continued to evade the hangman.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 1:42 pm    Post subject: perfection not required Reply with quote

It became obvious at Tim's trial that Christie was a consistently dishonest individual. He had a number of convictions for crimes of deception.

This wasn't held against him. Tim had no such record, but he did have a reputation for telling gloriously silly fibs in a transparent attempt to bolster his shaky self esteem. Even his mother, in a statement she must have regretted, said, ''I do know my son is a terrible liar.''

There is no evidence that Tim ever deceived anyone to their detriment, but it was held against him that he had not always told the exact truth all his life - as if anyone ever had. Alexander in denouncing Tim as a liar, confusedly gropes for a quote. Didn't someone once describe him as 'plausible'?

It was actually a prison official who described Tim as plausible. This guy held to the superstitious belief that the British justice system was incapable of error.

Yet he admitted that Evans' consistent story of his own innocence sounded quite convincing. He would have believed it if he had not known better!

The reason it sounded plausible was that it was true. Another person who worked in the prison noted how inoffensive Tim was.

He said it was impossible to imagine him doing anything violent. But he also dismissed his own perception, for it just seemed impossible that the state had got it wrong.

Whether Tim had a capacity for violence will probably never be definitively established. Although he's been criticised for drinking, the customers at his regular pubs found him harmless. He has been described as 'innocuous.'

Again it was established at Evans' trial that Christie had a conviction for making 'a murderous attack' on a woman. The jury did not read anything into this.

But a neighbour testified that she had witnessed Tiim threatening to push Beryl out of a window, although he did not do it. Beryl's friend Lucy testified that she had seen Tim punch Beryl in the face during a quarrel. An old school friend Joan recounted an episode when Tim had hit Beryl in the street, at which his mother had then hit him.

Lucy cannot be considered an entirely reliable witness as there was some bad blood between her and Tim. It was also rumoured that Tim and Lucy had had an unsuccessful one night stand which she denied.

It was recounted that Lucy had herself had had a violent encounter with Beryl. Beryl had had the best of it.

The fact is that interpersonal violence was not anathematised as it is today. People often sorted disagreements out not by verbal argument or rational debate but by wading in with their fists.

Tim, Beryl and their friends were not a strange underclass. They were people of their time.

I met a very sweet old lady in Pembrokeshire who was one of my long lost relatives. She had amusing stories to tell me about how she had pushed her sister-in-law out of a window in the 1940s. She had hit other in-laws with shovels, broomsticks and whatever was at hand.

She was very proud that she had shaken her daughter's class teacher by the throat calling her, ''You fecking old bitch!'' She was following a family tradition. Her own father had come to her defence in the 30s by shaking her headmaster by the throat.

Oddly enough, she came across as lovable and delightful and these stories just enhanced the image. None of these high spirited bits of fun resulted in court appearances.

In a TV sitcom from 1950s America, 'The Honeymooners', the male lead Ralph has ludicrous get rich quick schemes. He is ridiculed by his sensible wife Alice.

This often infuriates him so that he shakes his fist in her face, vowing, ''One of these days, Alice ...one of these days!'' He often ends, ''Bang zoom, straight to the moon!'' Alice laughs in his face.

Steven Pinker cites this in 'The Better Angels of Our Nature' as a sign of how things have changed. There is no concept that a wife beater would be contemptible. Ralph is laughable because he isn't man enough to do it.

But while there was a tendency to regard domestic violence, and violence in general, with insouciance or approval, there was an opposing trend. It was one thing to get into an altercation in a pub with another young man, and invite him to 'step outside.'

Given that the average man has perhaps double the strength in his fists that the average woman has in hers, it wouldn't be considered an appropriate challenge to make to a woman. A young brawler should pick on someone his own size.

That sounds a fair point on the face of it. But if rumour was correct in crediting Beryl with hitting Lucy and her own mother-in-law and beating up Tim himself, it would be understandable if he lashed out in self defence.

It hasn't been proved conclusively that he did. His sister does not accept it.

And it is of course a red herring. There is no reason why you can't be punched in the face by one person and later be strangled by someone else.

We can't be totally sure that Timothy Evans was a 'chevalier sans reproche.' In a culture where casual violence was normal, it would be no surprise if he sometimes dished it out.

Almost everyone did. Everyone tells lies too. We cannot infer from that that they are murderers.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 2:49 pm    Post subject: mylton Reply with quote

Mary Westlake recalled fondly how Timothy Evans and his stepbrother Penry Probert 'had us all in stitches' by clowning round the living room, using chairs as dancing partners. They were determined to learn to dance before they went out that evening.

Mary said she pitied the girls who would be their partners. But perhaps Tim made a better impression than his sister expected. It was shortly after this, that he was introduced to Beryl Susanna Thorley by a mutual friend.

You might expect that Tim would have grown up in the culture of the non conformist chapels. In fact he was brought up as a Roman Catholic.

Mary Westlake has a picture taken of them together as children at their first communion. She looks like a mini bride. Tim is in a suit.

Their mother Thomasina took Catholicism seriously at least in one respect. She was happy to take Beryl, a poor motherless girl, under her wing, and she doted on Geraldine.

But when Beryl asked her to refer her to a back street abortionist, Thomasina refused to countenance it. It was partly that she disapproved of abortion on principle.

She may also have been thinking of the danger Beryl was putting herself in. But she could not have imagined the nature of the danger in a million years.

Ludovic Kennedy, in his book, spared a thought for Beryl - poor innocent trusting young thing!- offering herself defenceless to Christie. She was another lamb to the slaughter.

Beryl's younger brother Peter Mylton-Thorley was a teenager at the time of the murders. He watched 'Rillington Place' and was thankful that the producer had some delicacy. Beryl's death was not depicted directly.

He was unhappy though, to hear for the first time that Beryl and Geraldine are buried in a Catholic cemetery. Furthermore, they are in a pauper's grave with other bodies.

A picture shows him laying flowers on the grave but he is not reconciled to this location. He wants his sister and baby niece to be disinterred.

He argues that Beryl and Geraldine were Jewish, and should be buried with appropriate rites. He hopes to lie next to them. He said ''I haven't got long left.''

This echoes the controversy over Tim's body. It was buried originally in the grounds of Pentonville Prison. In 1965, it was disinterred, released to his mother, and reburied with Catholic ritual.

I had no idea Beryl was Jewish. 'Thorley' sounds like a Norse name from the Danelaw.

But a surname is not a reliable guide to Jewish identity as we discussed before. I hope there won't be unseemly wrangling about Geraldine.

Perhaps someone will argue that matrilineal Jewish descent is cancelled in Geraldine's case by Catholic baptism. I hope there won't be any petty disputes. Beryl's brother might as well have the bodies if it means so much to him.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 11:12 pm    Post subject: gas light Reply with quote

In his perjured testimony at Evans' trial, Christie sounded confident, yet somehow modest. He appeared to be matter of fact as he spoke about how incapacitated he was by his bad back.

He had had no bad back at the relevant time, but he might have done himself a mischief dragging Beryl's body down to the wash house. He was lying but he spoke in such a collected way, that he was implicitly believed.

We can see with the crystal ball of hindsight that Evans was transparently telling the truth. But he had no joined up narrative. He didn't understand what was going on.

Tim probably also suffered from the illusion that it was as obvious to everyone else that he was telling the truth, as it was to himself. To anyone who wasn't aware of the real facts, he would have looked like an extremely poor witness.

Nobody thought it was cruel of the prosecution lawyer to sneer at him or savage him verbally, as it never occurred to them that he might not be guilty. But the judge showed sympathy for Christie, and ordered that a chair be brought out of consideration for his possibly fictitious bad back.

He was also allowed to blow his own trumpet about his service in the trenches, and his exemplary patriotic example in the last war. It wasn't Tim's fault that he was born too late to serve at Ypres, so this preening at his expense was rather uncalled for.

Tim's counsel and even his own family were at a bit of a loss. They couldn't believe he was guilty, but they couldn't really believe he was innocent either.
The counsel had no zest for his task in questioning Christie about whether he had performed an illegal abortion on Beryl.

It was well established that no attempt had been made to interfere with the pregnancy. But Beryl had a big bruise on her brow and additional bruising in other places, and she had died from strangulation.

Of course she had presented herself half naked to Christie in the belief that he would and could provide her with an abortion. But he wanted her in that state for quite other reasons. At the time, this looked like evidence that Evans not Christie was lying.

The prosecution counsel jeered that the man who had accused Christie of being a murderer and an abortionist, and of swearing his life away was a self confessed liar, who on another occasion had tried to push his wife out of a window!

The story about the window may not be very reliable. I don't think the 'self confessed liar' is an impressive gambit either.

This is the Cretan paradox. If a man shouts out ''I am a liar!'', can you believe him? We know what the jury thought.

In the third episode, Ethel is unraveling. Christie forced her to tell lie after lie on oath.If she had had the moral courage to stand up to him, what would have happened later? She would have to go back to Rillington Place.

In the third episode, if not in real life, Ethel confronts him, saying he should have been on the end of that rope. He tries gas lighting, telling her he has arranged for her to see a psychiatrist.

Ethel had conflicts with the West Indian tenants who have just moved in. Absurdly, because they came from outlandish parts, she found them threatening. But the real threat was Reg.

Ethel's fate shows that in the long run, cowardice is no safer than courage. She had shored up Christie's facade. But he strangled her anyway because she was getting to be a bit of a nuisance.

One of the most unnerving things about Christie was that he - at least in the show - did ruthless and homicidal things in such a calm business like way. If he had gone into a rage first, it would have looked more natural. But he looked calm, almost indifferent.

In a cool practical way, he removed Ethel's watch and wedding ring and put them safely aside before burying her under the floor boards. One of his police colleagues comes round to discuss a spate of burglaries in the street.

He asks what the awful smell is. Christie says it is Afro-Caribbean cookery! Later, he sprinkles dettol or the equivalent around.

Yet the 'rational' MO was deceptive. After he had disposed of three more dead bodies in an alcove, he was living on borrowed time.

In the series, the chaplain hopes for a confession or some sign of contrition just before the end. Christie's mind was on more practical things.

As he was pinioned by the hangman and his assistants, he complained his nose was itching and he now had no free hand to scratch it. Pierrepoint told him it wouldn't trouble him for long.
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