Introducing new audio blog extra!!
This week has been both exciting and exhausting with The Times reporting how Felicity Gerry QC has been engaged to help to get Christine a pardon. I am so delighted Felicity accepted this brief and she comes with a wealth of expertise. Felicity has taken this project on pro bono as well as James Harbridge, a lawyer based in Dubai with 25 years dispute resolution experience.
James had contacted me through the website at the end of August asking to help, and for me he has been the real breakthrough. Hundreds of emails, WhatsApps and Zoom calls later we find ourselves able to tell people why Christine, both morally and legally, should not have gone to prison in 1963. I am so incredibly grateful to them both.
I cannot forget Desmond Banks, Christine’s friend and solicitor who has helped and guided me through this whole story. Desmond has been a great mentor to me since Christine passed away and has even taken on the burden of spell checking each of these blogs before they are posted, not an easy job.
It’s been a strange week and I have been talking to the press about what we are doing. I can’t lie - I was upset that The Times article referred to Lucky Gordon as an ‘ex-boyfriend’. Christine would have been incandescent with rage: “He was never a boyfriend,” she would say.
I don’t know where that started, the first reference to Christine and Gordon being in a relationship. I have been doing lots of research and I think it may have come from an interview Lucky Gordon gave to the Jamaican Observer (1989) where he claimed to be Christine’s boyfriend. That is the first time I see it mentioned and I don't need to tell anyone reading this that he wouldn't be the first stalker or rapist to say they were in a relationship with their victim.
I have so many questions for Chris that she can’t answer anymore.
This week Peter Sutcliffe, The Yorkshire Ripper, died and an old memory came back to me. We were living on The Worlds End Estate in London and I was still very young. One day coming back from school there were two men in suits who introduced themselves as police officers, for me it was all very exciting but sadly they left almost immediately after I arrived. I can’t remember if Christine was angry or upset but she definitely hadn’t liked the conversation she had with the police.
It was little later that day, when a friend of hers came round, and she was talking about how the police had seen her and warned her that she may be a target because this serial killer was killing prostitutes.
I was young and can’t quite remember all of the details about that day, Christine and I talked about it because I think I was a bit worried. The police still hadn’t caught him and it was on the television all the time. I do remember that she did say the police thought she would be a ‘trophy’ for this killer because of who she was.
Of course I was young and my memory isn’t clear and the police may not have been there because of the Yorkshire Ripper - it could have been some other threat who thought Christine would be a ‘trophy’.
I would love to ask her, along with a hundred other questions too, but most of all I would love to ask her if she wants a cup of tea and a chat.
If you would like to help I would be delighted to hear from you. Now I have to get the word out and drum up the publicity we need for Chris.
Don’t worry this is not about the American elections!
In 1989 I was about seventeen and I had a Saturday job working in an electronics shop on Tottenham Court Road. I got the job because two friends were already working there on a Saturday and they managed to get me in too. We would earn £20 for the day but as I was new I was started behind a counter where they sold a small selection of videos. While my friends were on the shop floor helping customers buy TV’s, microwaves or any other electrical gizmos and chatting during downs times, I was mostly bored and stuck behind the video counter with Taz.
Taz ran the video counter and some of the customers that came in only Taz was allowed to serve, that was one of the rules. There was also a box under the counter that I wasn’t allowed to look in, that was another rule. Taz was a bit over weight, unkempt and smelled a bit of spilt milk, so I didn't even want to look in any boxes he had under his counter.
My job was to clean, go get Taz’s lunch, clean again and deal with customers that Taz wasn’t interested in and then do some more cleaning. Amazing to think that back In 1989 a new release movie was really expensive, up to £50 or £60 which was a lot of money back then. Taz was making good money in his little department not to mention whatever went on from the box under the counter.
Then the film Scandal hit the cinemas and Taz immediately took a very different interest in me. The next Saturday came around and shortly after our shift had started my friends came over saying there was a big problem. The manager of the whole shop and Taz had pulled them aside because they had a problem with me! The Saturday before some Videos had gone missing, it added up to a lot of money maybe even a few hundred pounds, and they had seen me take them!
I was in shock, I didn't take any video’s...We didn’t even have a video player!
Then Taz was over “The manager is going to call the police”.
I was now in a panic.
“We might have a way out” Taz said with a long pause before he went on “Your Mum’s film... if you get us ten copies, we won’t call the police and you can even keep your job”
I tried to explain, I couldn’t get copies of the film, but Taz said “you need to speak to your mum then or we get the police involved, make her understand”
I hurried home and told Chris about my imminent arrest. At first she laughed but quickly became furious. She felt this was her all her fault “Don’t go back there, let them call the police...do they owe you wages?”
Suddenly Chris had me under firm orders to go back to get my days wages, and not forget to tell them “My mum says, How #¢$$#$#$#$ dare they try this ££#$##£## on my boy”
I asked Chris if she would come with me but she made herself more comfortable on the couch with a “No, you go”
I returned to ask for my days pay, but there were more threats of the police and lots of shouting. Taz was angry and I was fired, and everyone who worked there had never been so insulted by this family!. So I left without the days pay and never went back. When I got home Chris asked how it all went and I lied and said they paid me. I didn’t want her to know I had failed or to feel bad about it anymore.
There has sometimes been a price to being Christine Keeler son. An ex girlfriend who told me how disgusting she thought my mother was for selling ‘sex stories’ (I think what upset me the most was she felt it was acceptable to even tell me) Or after a particular wave of press interest in Christine I had a company director who just stopped talking to me for three months. I found it so difficult to do the job that I had to hand in my notice.
Recently there was a article in the Mail about my fight to clear Christine’s name, I made the mistake of reading the comments section, and that was all a bit painful. Of course being Christine’s son has had some wonderful advantages too: I have met interesting people, had some great adventures because of it and of course I had my mothers love.
I hope everyone is well and for anyone stuck in a lockdown I hope it is not too isolating. I live in Ireland and we are going through our own lockdown but I have found this lockdown much harder than the first, as the days are much shorter and the novelty has well and truly worn off. It helps me to remember that one day this will all be behind us.
A podcast I am in came out on Tuesday called ‘So, I quit my day job’ where I talked to Cathrine Mahoney about Christine, the website and all the work that is being done. Its such a complicated story, I enjoyed the time that podcast gave me, so it is a long ramble but there are lots of stories and hopefully, it is entertaining, maybe even funny in places too.
I have also updated the campaign page a little - here. I wanted to make it a little clearer. There is a lot more research that has been done that allows me to be much more sure about the events around that night and the court cases afterwards. With more research, any police culpability seems less important to Christine’s eventual imprisonment.
I read Johnny Edgecombe’s book ‘Black Scandal’. As a principal in the story, Johnny’s contribution is important and Johnny’s account does paint a vivid picture of Christine’s fear for Lucky Gordon and he supports Christine’s account of rape and harassment at the hand of Lucky Gordon.
Johnny makes a few claims that I find hard to tie in with a timeline, but interestingly he does mention the taxi that took him to Wimpole Mews on the day he fired the gun at Stephens flat. When the BBC drama aired in January a lot of people commented on why the taxi driver just waited while watching a man shoot at the flat, but according to Johnny the taxi driver did wait and after firing the shots Johnny jumped back into the taxi and told the driver to “drive anywhere”. I wish I could find the Cabbies account from that day.
Its not a long blog post this week, but there is a two hour extra to listen to, but one last thing that came to mind this week.
After being coerced, Christine denied two witnesses were at a scene of a crime. The witnesses would later, on oath, support Christine’s version of events, but Christine went to prison.
Whereas, for implying he had relations with Christine Keeler, John Profumo sued the English distributors of Tempo Illustrato, an Italian Magazine, and also brought a case against Paris Match. A legal lie that benefited his reputation and to a small extent benefited him financially, but there was no call for his conviction.
“I could not believe a man would be so foolish, even it so wicked, as to sue for a libel he knew to be true.” - Prime Minister, Harold McMillan concerning John Profumo.
This week has been very busy in furthering Christine’s story, her truth. The support that I continue to receive has been quite amazing and there is now new help and guidance that is truly inspirational. This week I found this journey even more emotional than at any time before, in a zoom call I felt the first wave of vindication for my mother and I won't lie, it brought a tear to my eye. Now for the hard part.
It’s been another very busy week with lots happening, some of which may even have made Christine’s story a little clearer. Work is continuing on Christine’s Application for Mercy and my continued thanks go out to everyone who is helping, if you have your own stories about Chris or even want to help, I would be delighted to hear from you.
It surprises me sometimes quite how much information is out there that covers those events in 1963, and sometimes it’s about getting events in the right order and at the right time, because when events happen sometimes tells its own story.
With so much in the news about the upcoming elections in America, I wanted to mention Christine and her politics. I must start by saying I do not wish to push any personal agenda, I would call myself a wishy-washy metropolitan liberal but Christine politics were her own and transcended any particular label, her politics were...complicated.
Christine was a life long Conservative voter. Christine, who brought down a Conservative government, voted for Thatcher, John Major any conservative when she could vote, I found this infuriating because if you sat down and talked to Christine about her views she would say, “You shouldn't have rich people We should distribute wealth amongst everybody. It is just not fair these rich people with their wars sending children to die...,” and then she would go to the ballot box and vote Conservative. I'm not saying that Conservatives want to send children to wars but they don't tend to campaign for a redistribution of wealth!
Christine's short marriage to my father didn't have any influence on her thinking, my father whose politics were a few steps to the right of Margaret Thatcher, but I have wondered if Stephen Ward influenced her politics having read his police interviews and Christine’s notes.
Through her life, Christine found it very difficult to find work away from the scandal, when she did find a job she would be let go as soon as they found out she was Christine Keeler and that happened more times than she made public. It was a different time and I think Christine would have found it impossible working in a shop or facing the public every day. You would need to be made of steel with what some people said to her but unfortunately, she was only made of flesh and blood. So Christine and I struggled on child allowance and the occasional piece of work she would get. Christine never claimed unemployment, she had her reasons, they were complex but it made us poorer than most.
”I think you have free food for the poor, even Marie Antoinette would give cake to the poor” she would say.
Christine was the most communist leaning Conservative you could ever meet.
I recently read a blog post about Christine from a publisher who workedwith her, Richard Glyn Jones; he talked about Christine being a life long Conservative. He said he asked her why and she replied, “Because people like me do better under the Conservatives.” I don't doubt she said it.
I was thinking this week about how very hard it must have been for Christine to tell her story because some of her story must have been so hard to re-live. I have been reading through Christine’s personal manuscript and some notes she left, in her own words. I was reading through her account of first meeting Lucky Gordon in October 1961: Lucky Gordon tricking her back to his flat in St Stephen’s Gardens to see some jewellery he claimed he had stolen. They had walked up lots and lots of steps before arriving at his flat, where he shut the door and pulled out a knife.
It’s a very raw piece of writing, Christine was clearly in shock, still asking about the jewellery. Of the actual rape she says this, “With the knife in one hand, he had it off with me”, “After 19 hours I managed to persuade him to let me go”.
It is difficult to read, but how hard was it to write?
She was relying on memory and I have found in her story that although she tends to be right about an event, sometimes she might get a date wrong, not often, but sometimes. Now we have tools available like the internet and freedom of information they help take these events and put them in the right place, and sometimes that can changes story just a tiny bit.
When I was going through Christine’s manuscript I also found a few pages of research by Christine, talking about the Labour party through 1963 and how they regularly used Christine and the scandal to discredit the then ruling Conservative party. I realised that Christine had been politisised for that year, a weapon to hit the Macmillan government with until they lost the next election.
So maybe what Christine felt about politics was also a little more personal and not at all political.