July 15

This Day in History

Crime

Jul 15, 1953:

A notorious English killer is executed

John Christie, one of England's most notorious killers, is executed. Four months earlier, on March 25, the police and a tenant at 10 Rillington Place in West London made an awful discovery: the bodies of four women in an empty apartment, three in a hidden cupboard and one more beneath the floorboards. Christie, who used to live at the house, was apprehended a week later and confessed to the murders.

Since one of the dead women had been identified as Christie's wife, Ethel, police knew where to begin their search for the killer. The three other victims were young women, all of whom had been sexually assaulted. Detectives soon found additional bodies buried in the yard behind the house. Strangely enough, two of the women had not been murdered by Christie, but had died as the result of botched, illegal abortions conducted by another man.

Christie had been plagued his whole life with impotence, which caused the rage that eventually sparked his murder spree. Stories of the grisly discoveries at the soon-to-be infamous house at 10 Rillington Place filled the London tabloids for weeks and fueled the call for Christie's quick execution.

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