Ballad Of Tim Evans

Album: Distant Shore (1968)
  • Tim Evans was a prisoner,
    Fast in his prison cell
    And those who read about his crimes,
    They damned his soul to hell,
    Sayin', "Go down, you murderer, go down."

    For the murder of his own dear wife
    And the killing of his own child
    The jury found him guilty
    And the hangin' judge, he smiled.
    Sayin', "Go down, you murderer, go down."

    Tim Evans pleaded innocent
    And he swore by Him on high,
    That he never killed his own dear wife
    Nor caused his child to die.
    Sayin', "Go down, you murderer, go down."

    The governor came in one day
    And the chaplain by his side,
    Said, "Your appeal has been turned down,
    Prepare yourself to die."
    Sayin', "Go down, you murderer, go down."

    They moved him out of C-block
    To his final flowery dell,
    And day and night two screws were there
    And they never left his cell.
    Sayin', "Go down, you murderer, go down."

    Sometimes they played draughts with him
    And solo and pontoon,
    To stop him brooding on the rope
    That was to be his doom.
    Sayin', "Go down, you murderer, go down."

    They brought his grub in on a tray,
    There was eggs and meat and ham,
    And all the snout that he could smoke
    Was there at his command.
    Sayin', "Go down, you murderer, go down."

    Tim Evans walked in the prison yard
    And the screws, they walked behind;
    And he saw the sky above the wall
    But he knew no peace of mind.
    Sayin', "Go down, you murderer, go down."

    They came for him at eight o'clock
    And the chaplain read a prayer
    And then they marched him to that place
    Where the hangman did prepare.
    Sayin', "Go down, you murderer, go down."

    The rope was fixed around his neck
    And a washer behind his ear.
    The prison bell was tolling
    But Tim Evans did not hear.
    Sayin', "Go down, you murderer, go down."

    A thousand lags were cursing
    And a-banging on the doors;
    But Evans couldn't hear them,
    He was deaf for ever more.
    Sayin', "Go down, you murderer, go down."

    They sent Tim Evans to the drop
    For a crime he did not do.
    It was Christy was the murderer
    And the judge and jury too.
    Sayin', "Go down, you murderers, go down."

Comments: 8

  • Alexander from London, United KingdomThis is my final response as I have more important things to research. You might by the way check out my songfact for "Keep A Workin' Big Jim" which covers the Kennedy assassination.

    I am, believe me, the wrong person to challenge about the veracity or lack thereof of the police because I have not only seen the results of their duplicity but been on the receiving end of it. They are liars of the first order, although their lies are persistent rather than consistent.

    Unlike you I have spent many hours researching the original files at Kew; your "knowledge" comes entirely from Ludovic Kennedy, who dogmatically refused to entertain even the slightest suggestion that Evans was guilty. This smugness derived only in part from his desire to abolish capital punishment, the rest came from the arrogance so many people of his ilk have; they think a university education makes them better, certainly smarter, than the rest of us. The truth is that many people without much formal education can run rings around soft science graduates; I am living proof of that.

    It has yet to be shown that the police did anything wrong in this case; they did not doctor the time sheets - that is Kennedy's and if I recall Michael Eddowes' suggestion. Indeed, they were very clever when they investigated it. They lured Christie to the police station on the pretext of taking a statement, and questioned his wife seperately. And they searched his flat. The only thing they found was a syringe, which Ethel used for women's issues.

    Many good judges formed the opinion that Evans had committed both murders, including the pathologist Keith Simpson. Far from being a pro-police dogmatist, he was a firm believer in the innocence of Dr Bodkin Adams - who is still maligned by the police as a serial killer to this day. Simpson also makes the point that Beryl had been beaten up, not in Christie's modus operandi.

    And Evans' reaction was not that of an innocent party; he comes home, finds his wife dead - doesn't notice she'd been strangled - and agrees to cover it up and dump her body for fear of implicating his wonderful neighbour? Get real. Evans was a consumate liar, and a plausible one, but not plausible enough in this case, thankfully.

    Look at the evidence against Evans; he sold his property, bought a new flash coat, stole the wedding ring off his dead wife's finger, showed not a flicker of remorse over her death, then when his money and luck were running out, he came out with one cock and bull story after another. It was only when he was confronted with the evidence that he confessed freely and voluntarily, and he did it so fast that they couldn't shut him up. Afterwards he shook hands with the arresting officer. Later he told him, after I murdered my wife I stole her wedding ring; he told them where he disposed of it, and it was recovered. Altogether he confessed on at least five occasions including to Beryl's brother; it was only when he'd had time to think that he changed his tune.

    John Eddowes makes a very strong case, both against Evans and against his own father. I have actually just heard from an academic who is writing another book on the case; he too said he was amazed at some of the guff that is parotted about it, and shares my view of Kennedy.

    The views of John Eddowes were undoubtedly coloured by other events in his life. Most people would not write about the affliction of a parent in such fashion, and would prefer to bury his mistakes with him. His book is very courageous in that respect.

    As I have said before, if you allow for the coincidence of two murderers living under the same roof, there is not a lot to be said for the innocence of Evans.
  • Andrew from London, United KingdomIn response to Alexander, you have not provided a convincing argument that Evans murdered his wife and daughter. All you do is make snide attacks by referring to Kennedy's seminal book as 'self serving'. Also, your attack on Michael Eddowes relies on vindictive opinions expressed by his son, who may well have had a private axe to grind against his father, which are irrelevant to the facts of the murders at 10 Rillington Place. So what, if Eddowes' theory on the remains of Lee Harvey Oswald were disproved. It doesn't mean that he was mad, there are plenty of people who (mistakenly in my opinion) believe the Kennedy assassination was a cover-up. I would also like to add that the fact Christie was not the landlord is a highly significant fact and not a minor detail. The landlord had sent the workmen around to repair the outhouse during the time that Evans was in Wales, and it was where, after the plastering was carried out, Christie disposed of the bodies of Beryl and the baby. The workmen were put under by the police to falsify the dates that the work was carried out, so as to close the case against Evans. Kennedy's book and the outstanding film portrayal of the events bear out the truth of what happened. The rest of your review is meaningless anecdotes and non-sequitirs. Your supposed 'legal' contacts and references are pure sophistry. I didn't say that the people who condemned Evans were 'puerile and dishonest'. They were certainly gullible, but they belonged to an era when noone dared question the fallibility of the police and were taken in by the dishonesty of a charlatan like Christie. Their attempts to cover up their mistakes were particularly craven and are well pointed out in Kennedy's 'self serving' book. I find it rather sad that you hang on to a rather sad and contrarian view on a shameful case that happened 60 years ago. This little forum is probably one of the few spaces for you to express your unconvincing and bogus arguments.
  • Denise from Edmonton, AbSo, wait, you consider it literally impossible that a drunkard and wife-beater (citation needed) could not be involved with some sort of murder? By that logic, all drunks and wife-beaters are guilty of murder, and my, but we'd have a slim population if that were the case.

    There was a murder down the street the other day and my roommate was with me at the time, getting drunk. Should I turn him in?
  • Alexander from London, EnglandThis is a response to Andrew and Peter and their quite vacuous attacks on my SongFact for "Ballad Of Tim Evans". You don't appear either of you to have actually taken in what is written in this review, and have relied on the distortions of the recently deceased Ludovic Kennedy.

    The one point one of you has half right is about the film and the reference to Christie as the landlord. I saw this film many years ago, and found a reference to it in a movie database in which it said Christie was portrayed in the film as the landlord. It was on TV again recently and I watched a snippet of it, in which Christie let the room to Tim and Beryl; you can argue that he was subletting but whether or not he had the right to do it he was portrayed as the de facto landlord, so this is not worth arguing about.

    My SongFact contains a lot of facts, facts that were gleaned not from Kennedy's self-serving book but from other books and from the original files at the Public Record Office.

    Evans was not hung for the murder of his wife and child. Read the review. He was tried for the murder of the baby only. Part of the basis of his appeal was that much of the evidence related to the murder of Beryl, for which he had not been tried, and that there should have been severence. This was at best an attempt to exploit a technicality, but the Court of Appeal would have none of it.

    Evans was pardoned in 1966 because Brabin concluded that he had probably not murdered the baby, but he also concluded that he had probably murdered his wife.

    The Brabin Inquiry opened November 22, 1965 with a preliminary hearing on October 18 and concluded on January 22, 1966 after thirty-two days, so it was hardly a rush job. Ludovic Kennedy was given a rough time in his so-called evidence.

    Evans was not illiterate and he was not simple. He read the "Daily Mirror", and in those days the "Daily Mirror" was a proper newspaper, not a tabloid comic. Evans was also a driver, and you couldn't drive even in 1949 if you were functionally illiterate. His apparent slowness was due to a childhood impairment which left him educationally backward. Lots of people succeed in business with no great formal education; Evans was street smart, and he was sly.

    If he was so incapable of manipulation, how did he come up with a sophisticated story of procuring an abortificant? At first he blamed his wife, then he blamed Christie, then when he realised the game was up he confessed freely and voluntarily, not once, but five times.

    The police did not take Christie at face value, in fact they were very clever. When Evans implicated Christie, they split him and his wife up, luring him to the police station on the pretext of making a statement, and searching his flat. All they found was a syringe which Mrs Christie said she used for women's issues.

    Michael Eddowes was not a barrister but a solicitor; he was branded mad by his son John, who wrote an excellent rebuttal. Michael Eddowes also believed that Lee Harvey Oswald was an imposter and foisted his delusion on the American state. When the body was exhumed, tests confirmed it was indeed Oswald.

    Leaving aside the madness of Michael Eddowes, both he and Kennedy had an agenda, and they were not interested in facts that stood in its way.

    File CAB 143/22 is headed

    "DOCUMENTS SUPPLIED
    BY D.P.P.
    1. EVANS FILE PAPERS
    2. CHRISTIE FILE PAPERS"

    It contains a list of witness statements, etc. The file includes also what appears to be a draft of "FURTHER GROUNDS OF APPEAL" in "Rex V. TIMOTHY JOHN EVANS".

    The ten grounds all appear to be very weak.

    The file contains also an amusing document, a letter dated December 21, 1965 to F.N. Charlton from Maurice Crump of the Treasury Solicitor's office concerning a conversation the latter had with Ludovic Kennedy. Crump says: "I regret to have to record that I found Mr. Kennedy interested in things which could somehow or another be construed as consistent with Evans's innocence to the exclusion of anything tending to prove his guilt."

    The inference of necrophilia is not sustained. Beryl Evans had not been violated after death, but she had been beaten up prior to death. This was not in Christie's modus operandi, but it was in Evans'; on one occasion he nearly defenestrated the poor woman; I believe that scene made its way into the film.

    So with the confessions, all five of them, all that remains is the coincidence of two murderers living in the same house. Is that such an enormous, unbelievable coincidence? One day in 1998 I was at Inner London Crown Court where I ran into a barrister from my chess club. When I went to the toilet I passed the jury room where unbeknown to the barrister I ran into the secretary of my chess club, who was doing jury service. When I left the building and walked up to London Bridge Station - getting lost on the way - I ran into another barrister and sort of friend, who was on his way to a magistrates court. What are the chances of that?

    In her book, "Murdered By Mumia", Maureen Faulkner reproduces a photograph taken of her mother with three other people in a restaurant called "The Cove" at 1234 Locust Street. This was taken December 9, 1942, fourteen years before she was born. On December 9, 1981, 39 years to the day, her husband was murdered by Mumia Abu-Jamal in that very street. Some coincidence, huh?

    Your e-mail has demolished nothing, rather you have used the ad hominem and innuendo you wrongly accuse me of employing. My songfact is based on research conducted in the original files; yours is based on the revealed truth of one campaigner. If my review is puerile and dishonest so too were the pathologists and countless others familiar with all the facts of the case that affirm Evans' guilt, not the least of which is the inconvenient fact pointed out by John Eddowes that Christie had a cast iron alibi for the murder of Mrs Evans.

    A Baron
    Independent Researcher and Author
  • Andrew from London, United KingdomI would just like to inform you of my incredulity at the appalling, infantile and dishonest information in the review of Ewan MacColl's 'The Ballad of Tim Evans,' which contains barely a single fact. This abysmal review accuses Timothy Evans of being guilty of murder. If you don't know about this case, Evans was hung in 1950 for the murder of his wife and child. The real murderer was Evans's downstairs neighbour at 10 Rillington Place, London, John Reginald Christie. Christie had murdered two women previously during the second world war and kept them buried in his back garden. After Evans's execution, Christie went on to kill four more women at the same address, including his wife, before being arrested and hung in 1953. Evans was eventually pardoned in 1966.

    In Britain this was a heinous miscarriage of justice. Christie had previous criminal convictions and lied to get into the police force during the Blitz. In July 1943, he murdered Ruth Fuerst, a young Austrian woman, who he buried in his back garden. The overwhelming guilt and fear of being found out by fellow policemen led him to quit the force not long after. Christie was to use his previous employment with the police as proof of good character during the trial of Evans, a performance which the police and establishment swallowed hook. line and sinker.

    Poor Timothy Evans was illiterate and had the mental age of a 10 year old child. He was a fantasist, not a sophisticated liar like Christie. This terrible case is an example of the naivety of the period when nobody ever questioned that the police could make wrong judgements. In the review, Evans is portrayed as a devious liar; in reality Evans was not capable of manipulation: he was too simple minded. It would also be a staggering coincidence for there to have been two necrophiliac murderers living at the same address with one trying to frame the other one, who already had two dead women buried in his back garden.

    The review of this song contains no 'facts' at all, but infantile supposition which has long been disproved. I think this puerile and dishonest 'review' should be removed or replaced. Some of the language in the review is comical, particularly when he describes the barrister Michael Eddowes' succesful campaign to pardon Evans as being achieved through 'clever propaganda'. If Evans really was guilty, why would an experienced and established legal professional deliberately want to overturn a verdict that was more than 10 years old? What would Eddowes have to gain? Perhaps, the ridicule that your stupid review invites.

    Alas, my question is why are there people using the internet just to be contrarian to appear intellectually superior (ha, ha, ha!)? I have just demolished in this email any pretensions of intellectual superiority that your reviewer might have. I recommend he reads Ludovic Kennedy's '10 Rillington Place' and get his facts straight.

  • Andrew from London, United KingdomOh, dear. You really have got your facts wrong. The film does not portray Christie as the landlord. When the workmen come to plaster and clean up the outhouse, they tell Christie (Richard Attenborough) that they have been sent there by the landlord. Although he was a tenant, Christie did behave like a landlord in that he advertised vacant rooms and bossed the other tenants around, but at no point in the film is he ever referred to as the landlord. Ironically (in the context of your poor review), it was the dates of the work carried out on the outhouse that established Evans's innocence beyond any reasonable doubt, and which the authorities refused to allow as evidence in the trial - evidence that could have saved Evan's life. It's also worth noting that Evans had a mental age of a 10 year old child and would not have been smart enough or capable enough to 'pass the buck' on to Christie: he simply would not have had that level of self-awareness. The conviction of Evans was a tragic travesty and it's quite sad that 60 years later a few sad conspiracy theorists believe that Evans could in any way have been responsible for murder. Also, what a staggering coincidence it would have been to have had two necrophiliac murderers of opposite poles of intelligence living at the same address.
  • Andrew from London, United KingdomI quote: 'Because both men were habitual liars, the entire truth will never be known, but the idea that Evans - a drunkard and a wife-beater to boot - was totally innocent is simply not tenable.' The weak and pathetic insinuation of Evans being guilty is tired, old prattle. It was proved beyond any reasonable doubt that Christie was the murderer, and the most significant distinction between Christie and Evans is the one of a liar and a fantasist. Christie was a liar who concealed the truth of his horrific murders; Evans was a harmless fantasist who hurt noone. The comment that Evans 'was not totally innocent is not tenable' protests too much, and if you believe Evans was guilty of murder then you're a bigger fantasist than he ever was. By making stupid assertions that you can't prove you undermine the integrity of this site.
  • Peter from Worthing, United Kingdombut the idea that Evans - a drunkard and a wife-beater to boot - was totally innocent is simply not tenable.
    Rubbish ! It was beryl that used to beat up Tim !
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