On Trial

His trial at the Old Bailey commenced on 22 June 1953, on the charge of murdering his wife.  Christie’s defence counsel decided to enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, and all the murders were brought in to support the insanity plea. The prosecution countered that his concealment of the crimes after the fact showed an appreciation of the wrongfulness of his acts, and the judge commanded the jury to consider only whether he was insane at the time at which he had killed his wife, which was the charge under consideration. The trial lasted just four days, and the jury returned a verdict of guilty, after deliberating for only an hour and twenty minutes. Christie was sentenced to death and hanged, just over two weeks later, at Pentonville Prison in London, on 15 July 1953.