January 29, 2023
In December of 1949, Timothy Evans, an illiterate man who drove a truck for a living and lived with his wife in London, was charged with the murder of both his wife and their young daughter. Despite the defense’s claim that the murders had been committed by his downstairs neighbor, John Christie, Evans was convicted in January of 1950 and, just two months later, was hanged.
Three years later, Christie left his apartment in that building, and a subsequent tenant discovered the bodies of three women hidden in the walls. A subsequent search of Christie’s old digs uncovered three more bodies, including that of Christie’s wife. In the course of the police interrogation that followed, Christies confessed to killing Evans’ wife as well.
In the words of Roy Jenkins, who served in Parliament and as Chancellor of the Exchequer and Home Secretary in the 1960’s and 1970’s, describing his opposition to the death penalty, “The frailty of human judgment is too great for the finality of the punishment.”