What a lot of people may not realise is that these two witnesses, Fenton and Camacchio, both confirmed that Lucky Gordon had assaulted her. So Christine went to prison because she denied that the two witnesses were at the scene of crime, two witnesses who would have supported her story anyway.
Take an extreme example. You are attacked in the street then thankfully a stranger comes to help and the attacker runs away. The stranger, for whatever reason, doesn’t want to get involved. So when the police arrive you tell them what happened but you also say, “It was just me and nobody else was here.” Six months later you are the one in prison.
My mother used to tell me, “I was the first person to go to prison for not saying there was a witness who saw a crime,” and I bet she was the only person.
Once a week he would get his state payment and he would spend it all on a small amount of luxury food like smoked salmon, olives and taramasalata and sometimes he would visit us and we would eat. I think that made him happy.
Then one day Merid was watching a TV show, it was a show about Ethiopia and man came on claiming to be Merid Beyene, the grandson of Haile Selassie the last emperor of Ethiopia, claiming to be him.
Christine told me Merid asked for help, for somebody to confirm he was the real Merid Beyene but nobody would help, because that was all secret: “We can’t tell anyone we rescued an Ethiopian prince”
Then in 1991, not long after, Merid died of a heart attack. Christine seemed to think the pressure of losing his identity, of not being believed, was probably too much.
All these years later and thanks to the internet, with a little research I found some newspaper articles that covered his death but tell a different story:
“He escaped the persecution of the royal family in the 1974 coup because by chance he was out of the country at the time.
I can’t tell you which story is true, the one Merid told Christine, or the one in the papers. It occurs to me what if this isn't Merid’s story anyway? What if it’s the imposter’s story!
So remember the next time you are at the deli counter of your supermarket and there’s slight man in cheap shoes buying olives, he could be a down on his luck prince.
In 1976 Chris and I went to Brazil. Chris was always more comfortable bringing me everywhere with her and that meant I went with her to see a famous healer who had ‘magic hands’, he could reach into somebody’s body and pull out whatever poisons were making them sick and not leave a scar or even a mark on their body. It was all really exciting, there was lots of noise and flashing colours all around and a thick sweet smell in the air. It was nighttime and there was a crowd of people in a circle watching the man with the magic hands, he was wearing white. I remember Christine holding me tight.
Somebody was lying on a table in front of the man with the magic hands who was standing above them. Then with all the noise and the thick smell in the air he seemed to reach into their stomach and rummage about. There was a small pool of blood around his fingers as he was working and then he pulled out a piece of grisly flesh, lifted it up and showed everyone. It was disgusting. That night left me with a strong and vivid memory that I could never forget.
Chris would often tell friends the story and when I was still very young. I asked her what she thought about that night. “It was all rubbish, he had some giblets or something in his hand before be started - I could see them,’ and then she said, “Wish you had seen it.”
There was a pause, everything slowed down, I remember thinking through what she had said. “I was there,” I told Chris. I was there. I remember the smells, the colours, the little pool of blood around the wound, there not being a wound after he had wiped away the blood, but she told me how she couldn’t take me, and how there was no way they would let children go to that sort of thing.
“Then where was I?” I said.
“Don't know where you were, but you can’t have been there?” She said.
It doesn't change the story if I was there or not, one of us just forgot a little detail, and I was only five.
Anyway, I was there and I always won at Scrabble.
I have spent the last week going through the October 1963 press cuttings about Christine Keeler’s preliminary hearing for her trial for perjury, reading the differing stories the men connected to the trial told either the police, the press or the court. In truth I am left feeling a bit unsettled by all the mendacity and malice.
I don't want to upset anyone when I write this blog, but Christine’s life involved rape and sexual violence.
Growing up with Christine Keeler as my mother was mostly normal, getting up in the morning, sitting around watching television in the evening, but sometimes even just sitting around watching television could unlock something important about Chris and the person she was and hold a mirror up to what she went through. One night watching a TV movie in 1986 is still with me today.
It’s a film called Easy Prey and it stared Gerald McRaney who I recognised from detective show I liked called Simon & Simon, he played the part of Christopher Wilder, a serial killer known to have raped 12 women and murdered eight but there were probably many more.
The film focused on one of his victims, Tina Marie Risico, who was 16. Wilder posed as a photographer looking for models and tricked the young Tina into his van, abducting and raping her. Tina’s response to the situation saved her life, she didn’t fight, she remained calm. It was so unlike the other women who had screamed, cried or fought, the women Wilder had gone on to murder. There was something about young Tina and Wilder decided to take her with him, to keep her alive.
Either the film or Christine explained how this young girl had already been a victim of abuse.
The blurb on IMDb says of the story, “A young girl with Stockholm Syndrome becomes a companion of a dangerous man posing as a photographer to pick up his victims”
That wasn't the film we watched, that wasn't the film Christine watched, the film she so passionately identified with.
Wilder goes on to abduct another young girl, Dawnette Wilt. In the film young Tina tries to tell her not to fight, let him do what he wants: “You need to survive”.
I don't remember this being a story of a girl with Stockholm Syndrome, it was the story of a girl who wanted to survive. As the film come to an end, the police are closing in and catch their man, at an airport or train station and Tina survives.
That was when Chris started her lecture. I had heard it before, but this time we had watched a film as an example I could follow.
“Seymour, that girl was clever, she’s alive. Seems, - She used to call me Seems - if some man takes you and throws you into to the back of his car, just survive. If he is going to rape you, let him, don’t get murdered, it’s just sex...’ She laughed as she said it, but it was one of those strange laughs that people use when they are sad or afraid.
“If someone is going to put their dickie in you and you can’t stop them, then survive, you only have one life, and there are people who say ... men who say fight until you are dead, and Seems, that’s bullshit.”
I was a 14 year old boy, becoming a man, and found it difficult to identify with her words.
At the time we were living at the Worlds End Estate and there was a neighbour across the way, he had always made Chris feel a little uneasy. He always appeared at his front door when Christine was coming or going with plenty of small talk: “Morning, nice day, do you think it will rain?” Then one morning when I was at school and Christine was on her own, there was a knock on the door, it was the neighbour, and as Christine opened the door he tried to force his way in.
Chris told me “He was going to rape me and I knew it, but I shouted, OH MY BOYFRIEND!”
“It stopped him just a second, and he looked over my shoulder down the hall, and I pushed him back and slammed the door in his face”
Within a few months he was in prison for another sexual assault, and we would never see him again. It was only then she told me about what had happened.
I asked her if she had called the police. “No, you wouldn’t understand”
As for the film we watched, I’m not sure how close it was to the real story of Christopher Wilder and young Tina Marie Risico, and I haven’t seen that film since I was 14 with Christine and I’m sure I won’t watch it again. I did a little reading on the story and 16 year old Tina gets a bad press about helping Wilder abduct his next victim, but can you imagine what that was like for her, being that young girl afraid for her life who doesn't have the power to change the road she found herself on. Are we still blaming the victim for surviving? Because that wasn’t the film Christine and I watched.
I can’t be sure how many times Christine found herself in the situation where she just needed to survive. I know Lucky Gordon raped her on two occasions and I have a memory from when I was very young of a boyfriend pinning her down beating her while she begged, “Not in front of my son.”
Today I have a daughter, Christine’s granddaughter, what do I tell her?
Contributor “DC” poses the question - was this picture of Christine Keeler taken by Stephen Ward just as she was getting ready to meet Profumo?
The blogger behind the “Wimpole Mews blogspot“ claims to be the person Christian is looking at.
There are lots of conspiracy theories around the profumo story, it is one of the reasons why the story is still talked about today:
Why are Lord Denning’s papers on the Profumo scandal still secret and closed until 2048?
Who was the Man in the mask at the feast of the peacocks orgy? - Mandy Rice-Davies said it was Dr Savundra. Mandy wasn't even there, but Christine was.
Chief Inspector Samuel Herbert and his mystery £30,000 a number that sloshes through the story - was this really MI5 hush money?
The deaths of woman connected to the affair?
Like Christine used to tell me “There is only one way to keep a secret, tell no one”
The campaign to get my mother a pardon rumbles on and I hope to report progress soon. Again I would like to thank everyone for their continued support.
I found an old notebook of mine from sometime in the mid 1990’s. I had decided that I was going to help Chris write her book. Chris had been working on the story again as she wasn't happy with the previous versions.
There was the 1983 Nothing But... that she had worked on with respected journalist Sandy Fawkes. Now I only vaguely remember Sandy, but when I was ten she became the most interesting person I had ever met. It was one of those nights when the adults were all talking and I would sit and just listen.
When Sandy was travelling around America, she had met a good looking guy in a bar, "a cross between Robert Redford and Ryan O'Neal." They had had sex and then traveled together for the next few nights. Days after they parted company she saw the same man on the news and watched in horror as the story of serial killer Paul John Knowles (The Casanova Killer) unfolded. After his arrest he confessed to 35 murders, 20 of which were eventually linked to him. Sandy went on to write about her experience in Killing Time and again in Natural Born Killer.
At ten I just thought it was so cool. “What was it like?”
“The sex?” she said
And everyone laughed, because I was ten.
I have Chris’s copy of Nothing But... and she has scribbled, underlined and made notes all the way through. She wasn’t happy with it, but she didn't have a lot of choices back then, she was broke.
Then there was Scandal! the book that came out at the same time as the movie in 1989. I don't know if it was rushed, but it flies through the story, ends abruptly and Christine still wasn't happy. It wasn't right, bits were missing, people were missing, it just wasn't right. It didn't matter as the publishers went into receivership soon after its release and the book vanished.
Sometimes it’s hard telling a story that nobody wanted to be connected with - you would always be afraid you would be sued, and indeed the publishers were sued or court cases threatened for mentioning names.
In 2001 she went to print again with The Truth at Last, this time writing with Douglas Thompson, and she was much happier. Older, wiser, less easy to railroad. I remember we waited up all night for the papers to come out the next day so we could read the reviews.
In 2012, after John Profumo died, they updated it and called it Secrets and Lies. The definitive and final version came out at the end of 2019. with more on Lucky Gordon's criminal record and a foreword from me.
It has been said that Christine wrote four or five versions of the story, but that’s not true. It was always the same story, different only in small details.
I have missed out the best one, the version that Christine and I worked in the mid 1990’s. I was going to write her story but I was clear with Chris, “This book shouldn’t focus on the past because, that’s all boring.”
So I started taking notes:
“Seems, [she used to call me Seems] I wake up 8am, working on film and on the book,” she said. I don't know what film this was.
“I pop out to buy papers, have a coffee, read and bathe, and then I feed the birds. I like to pop out and do a bit of shopping, do a crossword in the evening and watch a true life film. I used to be a night owl, but in older age I’m buggered by 11pm”
“Chris, you hate going to bed early!” I said.
That’s as far as we got, I think we both gave up.