John Reginald Halliday Christie1

#70774, b. June 1899, d. 1953

Individual's Timeline

1939John Reginald Halliday Christie
Birth RegJune 1899John Reginald Halliday Christie1
Marr RegJune 1920John Reginald Halliday Christie2
Death of FatherFebruary 1928Ernest John Christie3
Death1953John Reginald Halliday Christie

Primary events

  • Birth Reg: John's birth was registered in the quarter ended in June 1899 in the Halifax registration district.1
  • Marr Reg: The marriage of John and Ethel Simpson was registered in the quarter ended June 1920 in the Halifax registration district. In the Registry Office.2
  • Death of Father: His father Ernest John Christie died in February 1928.3
  • Death: John died in 1953 in England, Hung (Aged 53 years, worked back from recorded birth date).

Secondary circumstances

  • Occupation: John was Odd Job Man, convicted petty criminal, Special Constable for the wartime London Police Force, Motor Driver (1939 civil registration).

Census details

Some aspects of John Reginald Halliday Christie's life. Partial transcription of a story in the Yorkshire Evening Post 26 June 1953:

John Reginald Halliday CHRISTIE was named after his grandfather, who was a first cousin of Empress Eugenia of France. John, the grandfather, was world famous for his carpet designs, especial in USA. He was the first designer to incorporate flowers into his designs.

Queen Victoria commission John to design the carpet laid in Westminster Abby for the marriage of The Prince of Wales to Princess Alexandria.
Brushes with the LAW

John murdered 7 women, in most cases keeping the bodies close by.

A report of the trial says that he was first committed for trail for the murder of 3 other women, whose bodies were discovered in an alcove of the kitchen at 10 Rillington Place. However this trial was only for murdering his wife.

CHRISTIE gave evidence that he 'thought' he had strangled 2 other women (neither of them were amongst the 3 he was originally committed for) and buried them in the garden. Bones that made up 2 skeletons were removed from the garden.

He also said he must have strangled Beryl EVANS, 19, (whose husband had already been executed for murder of their baby daughter, with CHRISTIE appearing as a witness at the Old Bailey trial).

The jury did not have to work out of CHRISTUE had murdered his wife, as he admitted it, and to the other killings. The jury had to decide if he was insane at the time. The judge noted that having a sexual aberration, or indulged in perverted, unpleasant and thankfully unusual practices does not make one 'insane' in the eyes of the law.

One issue with the prosecution case was that there was never a clear motive for any of the killings (note from Shirley - other than the aberrations hinted at by the Judge earlier). The defence were hoping that the jury would find him guilty but insane BECAUSE of those aberrations. However, (in Shirley's layman's terms) at the time 'insane' meant he did not know that murdering people was wrong.

The Judge indicated that covering up the murders (shoving bodies under the floorboards, into cupboards, in the garden) would clearly show he knew his deeds were, indeed, wrong.

The McNaughton's insanity test was the law at the time, and the defence - fatally Shirley would say - claimed that Christie's behaviour 'almost' fell within the McNaughton's rules.
His life was recorded thus ~~ Partial transcription and retelling of a story in the Yorkshire Evening Post 26 June 1953:

J R H CHIRSTIE (55) who confessed that he 'must have' strangles seven women, was sentenced to death at the Old Bailey yesterday, for the murder of his wife, Ethel, at 10 Rillington Place, Notting Hill.

He was born in Chester Road. This address meant money and social position. Ernest (John R H's father) was a pillar of the community, involved in the largest local mill; Halifax Conservative Association; the Primrose League and the St John's Ambulance.

After a troubled childhood, seemingly at odds with his father most of the time, John turned down the offer of a job at his father's Mill. He did 'odd jobs' mostly out of town. (I assume he was still living at home at the time?)

He served in WW1, he returned to Halifax, where he met Ethel SIMPSON. They married at the Registry Office in March 1928. They had lodgings in Halifax. John was working as a temporary postman.

John's first brush with the law came some 12 months after he married. He had been stealing postal packages from the GPO. He was sentenced to 6 months.

John's second brush with the law came 18 months after his release, when he was charged with obtaining money by false pretences. His got probation for 12 months.

He was now in Uxbridge, where he was later arrested for theft from the cinema where he worked. Jailed for 9 months. There are further instances of petty crime.

In 1938 the CHRISTIEs took lodgings at the top end of Rillington Place, and later moved to a flat at number 10.

Now comes the bit that's really hard to believe - he applied for and was accepted into the War Reserve Police Force. He was promoted within the service and was attached to the CID, where he was twice commended for his work on detecting crime (she types with a wry smile).

He left the force at the end of the war, and took work as a clerk.
Background information on 10 Rillington Place, Kensington, Greater London, England, - A flat at this address was the resting place of at least 5 bodies in the early 1950s. The house is long gone, so in an effort to get a fell for the property, I looked up the 1901 census. Then it had 3 families in residence, living in 3, 3 and 3 rooms each. (a) a married woman with 3 children, (b) a marriede couple (a greengrocer employing others) with 2 babies, and (c) a married couple (a carman) with 2 chidlren.

In 1939 there were still 3 'families' living at the address. (a, Schedule 225) Mr and Mrs CHRISTIE, (b, Schedule 226) 1 person, record hidden, and (c, Schedule 227) Mrs Mary COLINS living on her own.

Photos of the old house show that the property was 3 stories, so I assume the flats were 1 to a floor. Web sites say the CHRISTIES were on the ground floor. The floor plan at http://www.gettyimages.com.au show just a front room (with bay window) a back room and a kitchen of sorts. Therre is a garden and a yard, the yard being half the width of the block, the kitchen taking up the other half. The garden is at the very back, taking up the full width. The house is L shaped. The back garden was about 15 feet by 15 feet, and the back end appears to be open to a laneway.

Family of John Reginald Halliday Christie and Ethel Simpson

Citations

  1. Find my past web sites, online http://www.findmypast.com or http://www.findmypast.com.au, First name(s)      JOHN REGINALD H
    Last name      CHRISTIE
    Birth year      1899
    Birth quarter      2
    Registration month      -
    Mother's last name      -
    District      HALIFAX
    County      Yorkshire
    Country      England
    Volume      9A
    Page      495
    Record set      England & Wales births 1837-2006
    Category      Life Events (BDMs)
    Subcategory      Births & baptisms
    Collections from      United Kingdom.
  2. Find my past web sites, online http://www.findmypast.com or http://www.findmypast.com.au, First name(s)      JOHN R H
    Last name      CHRISTIE
    Marriage quarter      2
    Marriage year      1920
    Registration month      -
    MarriageFinder™      JOHN R H CHRISTIE married
    ETHEL SIMPSON
    Spouse's last name      SIMPSON
    District      HALIFAX
    District number      -
    County      Yorkshire
    Country      England
    Volume      9A
    Page      1400
    Record set      England & Wales marriages 1837-2008
    Category      Life Events (BDMs)
    Subcategory      Marriages & divorces
    Collections from      United Kingdom.
  3. Find my past web sites, online http://www.findmypast.com or http://www.findmypast.com.au, Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer 26 June 1953.
  4. Find my past web sites, online http://www.findmypast.com or http://www.findmypast.com.au, 1911 England, Wales & Scotland Census Transcription
    30 Chester Road Halifax, Halifax, Yorkshire, England

    Household Members
    First name(s)      Last name      Relationship      Marital status      Sex      Occupation      Age      Birth year      Birth place      
    Ernest John      Christie      Head      Married      Male      Carpet Designer      49      1862      Worcestershire Kidderminster      
    Transcription
    Mary Hannah      Christie      Wife      Married      Female      -      48      1863      Yorkshire Queensbury      
    Transcription
    Florence Halliday      Christie      Daughter      Single      Female      School Teacher      26      1885      Yorkshire Halifax      
    Transcription
    Effie Halliday      Christie      Daughter      Single      Female      -      24      1887      Yorkshire Halifax      
    Transcription
    Winifred Halliday      Christie      Daughter      -      Female      School      14      1897      Yorkshire Halifax      
    Transcription
    John Reginald Halliday      Christie      Son      -      Male      School      11      1900      Yorkshire Halifax      
    Transcription
    Phyllis Halliday      Christie      Daughter      -      Female      School      9      1902      Yorkshire Halifax.