March 9, 1950
Timothy Evans is hanged for the murder of his 14-month-old daughter
Timothy (25, pictured), who was illiterate and possibly intellectually disabled, was married to Beryl (19), and together the pair had a 14-month-old daughter named Geraldine. The Evanses often had arguments over finances, Timothy’s habit of spending money on liquor, his infidelities, and others.
In November of 1949, the couple got into another fight after Timothy brought another woman home which Beryl objected to. Timothy’s mother, Mrs. Percy Probert, broke up the argument by ordering the other woman to leave and Timothy followed. He next day, Timothy told neighbors Beryl had left him and had taken their baby. Considering the loud argument the night before, the neighbors were not surprised. Timothy then hastily sold his furniture and left to live with his aunt in Wales.
The following month, Probert decided to bring Christmas presents to the family. Before she visited, she sent a telegram to Beryl’s family out of town, asking if she and Geraldine were still visiting. The family replied they had never arrived. Probert investigated the Evans’ home and discovered the bodies of her daughter-in-law and granddaughter buried under a pile of wood. Timothy was found and arrested.
During questioning, Timothy stated Beryl informed her husband she was pregnant with their second child. As the couple had a difficult time financially with only one child, Beryl told Timothy her intention to abort the fetus. He claimed a stranger sold him pills to allow Beryl to “abort herself” and when he came home, Beryl was dead. He then disposed her body out of fear.
Timothy’s later changed his statement, claiming he sought the help of his downstairs neighbor, John Christie, to perform the abortion on Beryl. When he returned, Beryl was dead. Christie recommended Timothy sell his furniture and leave town, and offered to place Geraldine with another family. Timothy changed his story once more, however, claiming he strangled Beryl during a fight, then killed Geraldine in the same fashion.
Christie testified against his neighbor, which helped secure Timothy’s conviction. After 35 minutes of deliberation, the jury found Timothy guilty of murder and sentenced him to hang. The sentence was carried out three months later on March 9, 1950. During the trial, Probert claimed in the court hallways that Christie was the real murderer. Christie’s wife Ethel, unsurprisingly, came to his defense.
Two years later, in December of 1952, Christie claimed his wife went on a trip. In her absence, Christie entertained several female callers before quitting his job, selling his furniture, and moving out. In March of 1953, another tenant of the building investigated the Christies’ kitchen, hoping to fix it up to share with a future renter. He tapped on a wall under the sink, and finding it to be hollow, removed the wallpaper and wooden boards. Behind the wall were three semi-nude bodies of women. Each had been strangled. Further investigation revealed the body of Ethel Christie buried in the dirt beneath the living room floor boards, and the skeletal remains of two more women were found in the garden. Though Christie attempted to assume a false identity in another town, he was apprehended and questioned.
One of the questions that arose during the interrogation was in regards to Beryl and Geraldine Evans. Christie admitted to strangling Beryl — claiming she had been suicidal — though he never admitted to killing Geraldine. Christie was convicted of only his wife’s murder and hanged on July 15, 1953. In the 1960s, Evans was given a posthumous pardon and his body was exhumed and reburied on consecrated grounds.
Storey, Neil R. The Little Book of Murder. The History Press, 2013
Boseley, Sarah. “Wrongs which cannot be righted.” The Guardian [London, England]. December 15, 1999
Reynolds, Ruth. “The Strangler Gets the Noose.” Detroit Free Press. August 16, 1953
Reynolds, Ruth. “The Strangler of Notting Hill.” Detroit Free Press. August 9, 1953
“Arrival Of Present For Christmas Leads To Arrest In Murder.” Times Colonist [Victoria, British Colombia]. December 3, 1949