the morning of August 9th a chauffeur arrived at Noel
Road to take Orton to Shepperton studios to discuss filming
‘Up Against It’. There was no answer and on
looking through the letterbox he saw the naked body of
Halliwell on the floor. Contacting Peggy Ramsey, she said
‘Call the Police’.
On breaking down the door the police found a grisly scene.
Orton was dead on the bed, killed by nine hammer blows
to the head. Halliwell lay dead on the floor having taken
an overdose of 22 Nembutal tablets. He had removed his
blood soaked pyjama top and folded it neatly over the
back of the desk chair. Police found a four line note
resting on top of Orton’s diary. It simply read
If you read his diary all will be explained
P.S. Especially the latter part
In a final Ortonesque twist to the horrific scene it was
found that Halliwell had died first. Though unconscious,
Orton had taken many hours to die. Rigor mortis had set
into Halliwell's body yet Orton’s sheets were still
Halliwell’s funeral was held in Enfield, the only
mourners were three relatives, who he had not seen for
years and Peggy Ramsey, who had organised the funeral.
Orton’s funeral was the next day, attended by his
family, the cast of Loot, Ramsey and some friends and
colleagues from the theatrical profession. As the coffin
was brought in Orton’s favourite Beatles song, A
Day in the Life, was played with the psychedelic passages
At the suggestion of one of Halliwell’s relatives,
Ramsey arranged for Orton's and Halliwell’s ashes
to be mixed together. Leonie mixed the ashes and commented ‘I think I’m putting in more of Joe
than I am of Kenneth’, to which Ramsey
replied ‘It’s a gesture dear,
not a recipe’.
Orton’s brother Douglas agreed to the mixing of
the ashes, ‘As long as nobody hears
about this in Leicester’.