Header Image Sources:
Photo by Unseen Histories on Unsplash
Photo by Viktor Talashuk on Unsplash
Kate Winkler Dawson's book Death in the Air (via Kate Winkler Dawson’s Website)
Kathleen Maloney, victim (via FlashBak)
John Reginald Christie (via Wikipedia)
“During the first decade of his marriage to Ethel, Christie was convicted of several criminal offences. He began working as a postman on 10 January 1921 in Halifax, and his first conviction was for stealing postal orders on 20 February and 26 March, for which he received three months' imprisonment on 12 April 1921. He served his sentence in HM Prison Manchester and was released on 27 June. Christie was then convicted on 15 January 1923 of obtaining money on false pretences and of violent conduct, for which, respectively, he was bound over and placed on probation for 12 months. He committed two further crimes of larceny during 1924, and received consecutive sentences of three and six months' imprisonment on 22 September 1924 in HM Prison Wandsworth. On 13 May 1929, after working for over two years as a lorry driver, Christie was convicted of assaulting Maud Cole, with whom he was living at 6 Almeric Road in Battersea, and was sentenced to six months' hard labour; He had hit Cole over the head with a cricket bat, which the magistrate described as a "murderous attack" for which he was again sent to HM Prison Wandsworth. Finally, Christie was convicted of stealing a car and was re-imprisoned in HM Prison Wandsworth for three months on 1 November 1933.
Christie and Ethel were reconciled in 1934 after he was released from prison, but continued to visit prostitutes. He ended his recourse to petty crime. In 1937, Christie and his wife moved into the top-floor flat of 10 Rillington Place in Notting Hill, then a rather run-down area of London. They moved into the ground-floor flat in December 1938. The house was a three-storey brick end-terrace, built in the 1870s during a period of intensive speculative building in the area resulting in much jerry-built property which declined into poorly-maintained and unimproved multi-occupancy rentals. Number 10 was of a common design: the ground and first floors each contained a bedroom and living room, with a kitchen/scullery in the adjacent extension but the second-floor flat had two rooms only: a kitchen/living room and a bedroom. Living conditions were "squalid"—the building's occupants shared one outside lavatory, and none of the flats had a bathroom. The street was close to an above-ground section of the Metropolitan line (now the Hammersmith & City and Circle lines), and the train noise would have been "deafening" for the occupants of 10 Rillington Place.
After three years of working as a foreman at the Commodore Cinema in King Street, Hammersmith, at the beginning of the Second World War Christie applied to join the War Reserve Police and was accepted; the authorities failed to check for the existence of a criminal record. He was assigned to the Harrow Road police station, where he met a woman called Gladys Jones with whom he began an affair. Their relationship lasted until mid-1943, when the woman's husband, a serving soldier, returned from the war. After learning of the affair, he went to the house where his wife was living, discovered Christie there, and assaulted him.
Christie committed his murders over a 10-year period between 1943 and 1953, usually by strangling his victims after he had rendered them unconscious with domestic gas…”