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Natalie Severn
09-10-2010, 11:12 PM
On February 11th 1962, The Sunday Newspapers carried large pictures of Mrs Jones,the landlady from Ingledene who said Hanratty had stayed at her B&B.
These pictures attracted the attention of a taxi driver Mr Larman,who had moved to Staines and was lodging with Mr and Mrs Dyos of Beehive Road Staines.Paul Foot,investigative journalist, in his book,"Who Killed Hanratty?" tells of when he interviewed Mr and Mrs Jack Dyos.They recalled Mr Larman immediately starting to talk about the picture in the Sunday Times of Mrs Jones and how the young man now standing trial may well have been the young man he met in Rhyl the previous August.He became worried about it and the very next day went to Staines Police Sttion and made astatement to Detective Inspector Robert Fields,then Chief of Staines C,.I.D.Mr Fields granted Mr Foot an interview on 25th September 1968.He told Foot,"I realized the urgency of the matter because the trial was on,so the following day I sent a message by telephone to Superintendent Acott at Bedford saying the statement had been made to me."
However, at about 11 am that Tuesday, Mr Sherrard rose to sum up the case for the defence. he was followed by Mr Swanwick,the long summing up by the judge and finally the verdict.There is nothing in the defence papers to indicate when Mr Acott or his representative gave Mr Larman"s name to the defence,or whether there was time,even at that late stage,to consider bending the trial rules to call Mr Larman to the witness box.The only reference to Larman is the signed statement he made to Mr Michael Oliver of Smellie and Co. a firm of inquiry agents in London employed by the defence after the trial to follow up information which came to their attention.Larman"s statement to Oliver isdated February 21st--the Wednesday after the trial ended.

Natalie Severn
09-10-2010, 11:27 PM
On Sunday,18th February,1962,I saw photographs of James Hanratty,and I immediately remembered that I had seen him before and also the occasion where and when I had.
It was on the 22nd August 1961,at the junction of Kinmel Street,Rhyl and Bodford Street,Rhyl, atabout 7.30 pm,that this man stopped me and asked me where he could obtain bedand breakfast.I took him by the arm,and turned him round and directed him to the Windsor Hotel,which we could see from where we were standing,telling him that a guest house right opposite to this hotel would be able to help.It was in fact the guest house owned and run by Mrs Jones of Kinmel Street Rhyl.
He left me and went off in the direction I had pointed.I particularly remember this man because of his hair which was most outstanding being bronze and dark in parts.He was a shade taller than me,about 5ft 7 ins,dressed in a dark suit,neat and tidy.He spoke with a London accent.

Mr Larman was interviewed by Paul Foot on September 21st 1968,he told him he was summoned to the Strand offices of Smellie and Co. where he was shown a sheaf of a dozen photographs,from which he immediately picked out one of Hanratty.[Mr Foot points out here that Hanratty"s picture had by then been sprinkled all over the press though he also comments that when Mr Larman saw the photographs he was all the more certain it was the same man as he had seen in Rhyl the night before he left ie 22nd August 1961.Mr Larman was able to identify the date of this encounter as 22nd August,1961, for on that evening he was on a round of Rhyl public houses bidding goodbye to friends in Rhyl before leaving town the following day.The previous day,he remembered,he had drawn money from aa Post Office savings bank for the purpose of the pub crawl,and the Post Office savings book with the relevant entry was made available to Mr Oliver.

NickB
09-11-2010, 12:32 AM
Sherrard did not produce Larman (or Walker) at the appeal because their statements "did not match Hanratty’s evidence" and "did not find support from Hanratty himself".

I don't know how you interpret this, but I take it to mean that Hanratty told Sherrard that this was not someone he had encountered in Rhyl. Bear in mind that they would not have turned down lightly any late evidence in their favour.

Natalie Severn
09-11-2010, 12:42 AM
Is Mr Larman or his evidence mentioned in the Nimmo Report to the Home Secretary? Mr Jenkins,Home Secretary at the time ,responded to the written question in the House of Commons on the "alibi"question from MP Mrs Joan Lester thus:The only witness from Rhyl who now appears to give direct confirmation of the alibi[to Mrs Jones"s claim of Hanratty staying at Ingledene ] is a lady..." and "None of the other[Rhyl witnesses [apart from Mrs Walker] claims a positive identification relating to a particular date"


Paul Foot states:Both these statements were inaccurate.Mr Larman"s statement gave"direct confirmation of an alibi" and claimed a Positive identification relating to a particular date."

So what happened? Well Mr Nimmo had tried to trace Mr Larman and got as far as Ranelagh Road Southall only to discover from his brother in law there that he had gone to Australia.In fact nobody contacted Mr Larman about his evidence between making his statement to the Inquiry Agent for the defence, Mr Oliver,in 1962 and speaking to Jean Justice and Paul Foot in Southall in September 1968.All Mr Larman received was a letter in Australia from his brother in law telling him about Mr Nimmo"s visit but that was the end of it.He wasnt told to do anything about it.
So Mr Jenkin"s assurances in the House of Commons that "Detective Nimmo....has made detailed and exhaustive investigations covering all possible lines of inquiry into the alibi" is in doubt.[---Mr Dutton,another Rhyl witness had also been dismissed or ignored ,by Mr Jenkins, this time though on the grounds that Hanratty did not give evidence at his trial that included a reference to an attempt to sell a gold watch on Rhyl High Street---which Mr Dutton had said the young man he had seen on August 23rd had done.]
Norma

Natalie Severn
09-11-2010, 12:52 AM
Sherrard did not produce Larman (or Walker) at the appeal because their statements "did not match Hanratty’s evidence" and "did not find support from Hanratty himself".

I don't know how you interpret this, but I take it to mean that Hanratty told Sherrard that this was not someone he had encountered in Rhyl. Bear in mind that they would not have turned down lightly any late evidence in their favour.

This is what puzzles me Nick.Personally I suspect that Mrs Jones had given a poor impression to the defence as well as the prosecution---especially as she had been seen talking to Terry Evans during the break.But Christopher Larman had been down South in Staines since 23rd August so he could hardly be accused of being cahoots with Mrs Jones or Terry Evans surely?

NickB
09-11-2010, 01:09 AM
Norma

According to the Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/3294140/Inside-story-scene-of-a-dubious-alibi.html) Larman, on the eve of Hanratty's execution, frantically telephoned Fleet Street begging the newspapers to halt the hanging and telling them: "I'm sure it was that boy who asked me for lodgings in Rhyl."

Nick

Natalie Severn
09-11-2010, 01:29 AM
Thanks for that link Nick.Its the best newspaper account I have read so far!

Derrick
09-12-2010, 07:47 PM
Norma
It could not have helped James Hanratty personally but it was a complete disgrace that Douglas Nimmo, after given the remit of fully investigating the Rhyl abili did not interview either Trefor Dutton or Christopher Larman.

I understand that Mr Larman was in Australia. But it is not acceptible as an excuse for not at least sending an agent to talk to Mr Larman on behalf of DS Nimmo and under his instructions.

Mr Larman's testimony was of tantamount importance as far as Hanratty's alibi was concerned.

Therefore I cannot see how DS Nimmo's report can considered to be a full and thorough investigation into this most important aspect of the case.

As I have said b4 I am completely at a loss to try to fathom what could be lost by calling all known Rhyl witnesses at the first appeal. Sherrard only had to show that their testimony would have influenced the trial jury enough to order a retrial at worst. The appeal judges of 2002 found nothing to undermine the Rhyl alibi, nor could they. The judges fudged the issue by relying on the fact that the witnesses were not called at the first appeal and Mr Kleinmann's excuses, in 1968, over exact timings not fitting.

Derrick

Natalie Severn
09-13-2010, 12:23 AM
Derrick,
I have no reason to doubt what you say here---up to a certain point.But the point I want to make is that unfortunately the Rhyl witnesses that had actually given evidence at the trial were made mincemeat of by Swanwick.The truth is they were notstrong witnesses---for whatever reason,and Terry Evans,however much he genuinely did not want to see Hanratty hang and believed Hanratty was not a man to have committed the A6 murder,Evans was a wide boy.So were some of the others from Rhyl.Its well known.
But Larman and Dutton? Well strictly speaking they came too late--the trial was all but over.
But I completely agree that during the appeal, particularly one such as this, surely Larman should have been properly interviewed? He went to the police in Staines just as the judge was summing up, so it seems to me that its a scandal that he wasnt called regarding the appeal---unless ----unless, his honesty, was in some way in question,---- like one or two of the other Rhyl witnesses and Sherrard was afraid of his evidence being demolished and therefore counter-productive? I must say it doesnt look like this but we were"nt around at the time to know who was straight and who not.
Best
Norma

Victor
09-13-2010, 11:44 AM
According to the Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/3294140/Inside-story-scene-of-a-dubious-alibi.html) Larman, on the eve of Hanratty's execution, frantically telephoned Fleet Street begging the newspapers to halt the hanging and telling them: "I'm sure it was that boy who asked me for lodgings in Rhyl."

Hi Nick,

It's interesting to note..."Mrs Jones was thrown by the production of Ingledene's lamentably incomplete visitors' book, and flustered when she dropped it in the witness box, causing loose pages to spill out." which contrasts markedly with Foot and Woffinden's 'Michael Hanratty will always rememeber that Swanwick dropped it'.

KR,
Vic.

NickB
09-13-2010, 01:11 PM
Sherrard was afraid of his evidence being demolished and therefore counter-productive?

He was.

There was no point having Hanratty say he was directed by someone to Ingledene when it was dark, and Larman saying it was him when the sun was shining.

Natalie Severn
09-13-2010, 02:40 PM
He was.

There was no point having Hanratty say he was directed by someone to Ingledene when it was dark, and Larman saying it was him when the sun was shining.

Nick,lets get this quite straight :It was not dark you are wrong and Hanratty was correct here.I am in Rhyl at the moment and I posted on Friday last at 7 pm [Sept.10th].The sun had just begun to set here and the whole town was very brightly illuminated because of the reflections from the huge bay that stretches from Prestatyn to Llandudno.I researched carefully the sunset situation for 23rd August for Rhyl and it is at 8.25 pm.
Now if you have ever watched sunset over a wide bay such as this,yes,the sun will often rapidly drop below the horizon as scheduled ,but the town will then stay light for a good half to three quarter of an hour, after this .On Friday,the sun was supposed to have set around 7 though it s[I]hone a strong bright light for 10 minutes beyond that and then stayed very light until 7.30 and it was still"dusk" at 7.50 and certainly not "dark" and this is on 10th September, never mind 23rd August!
Best,
Norma

Natalie Severn
09-13-2010, 02:47 PM
Hi Nick,

It's interesting to note..."Mrs Jones was thrown by the production of Ingledene's lamentably incomplete visitors' book, and flustered when she dropped it in the witness box, causing loose pages to spill out." which contrasts markedly with Foot and Woffinden's 'Michael Hanratty will always rememeber that Swanwick dropped it'.

KR,
Vic.

This though, is a completely different matter as to whether or not Mr Larman and Mrs Walker were describing the effect of sunlight on Hanrtty"s hair at the time.
Norma

NickB
09-13-2010, 04:41 PM
Nick,lets get this quite straight :It was not dark you are wrong and Hanratty was correct here.

When did Hanratty say it was light when he arrived at Ingledene?

Although the bus was scheduled to arrive at 8.19, Hanratty spent some time looking for accommodation and said it was dark by the time he ended up there.

Also it is possible the bus was delayed. Hanratty said he thought the bus left Liverpool at around 7.30, making it about 90 minutes late. (Thanks to Derrick for alerting me to that.)


This though, is a completely different matter as to whether or not Mr Larman and Mrs Walker were describing the effect of sunlight on Hanrtty"s hair at the time.
Norma

Walker said she saw the man “when it was dark”, and this was supposed to be before Larman saw him.


Moreover ...

Timing was not the only reason Hanratty rejected these people as witnesses. Sherrard said: “the statements in other respects did not find support from Hanratty”.

Natalie Severn
09-16-2010, 01:07 AM
Hi Nick,
When did Hanratty say it was light when he arrived at Ingledene?

He said "It was getting dark"----not "it was dark"

Also it is possible the bus was delayed. Hanratty said he thought the bus left Liverpool at around 7.30, making it about 90 minutes late. (Thanks to Derrick for alerting me to that.)
I doubt very much that the bus was delayed by an hour and a half Nick.Nor did Hanratty mention that it was delayed .I would like to see your source showing where Hanratty said he thought the bus left at about 7.30.because my reference says that he thought it left in the evening or late evening -which is not a specific time except for it being after the close of day.
Walker said she saw the man “when it was dark”, and this was supposed to be before Larman saw him.
The following contradiction needs to be considered in the light of all this : Mr Larman saw him "just as it was getting dark".Mr Larman said this was about 7.30.Well Nick it simply could not have been 7.30 ---so he appears to be mistaken about the time he saw Hanratty----if it was "just getting dark" because on 23rd August in Rhyl it would not have been "getting dark" until after sunset which was at 8.25 pm. And it would have been dusk between then and until well after 9pm.This would be the time which most people refer to as "getting dark" and the time Mr Larman must have seen Hanratty -Larman was in the process of buying the rounds at the local pubs on 22nd August before leaving Rhyl for Staines .He showed police officers in Staines his post office savings book to prove the day and time he had drawn out enough money to cover buying them rounds of drinks.

Where does it say Margaret Walker saw Hanratty before Christopher Larman saw him?

timing was not the only reason Hanratty rejected these people as witnesses. Sherrard said: “the statements in other respects did not find support from Hanratty”.
Can you also point me to where it says Hanratty rejected their statements Nick? Do you mean to say he rejected all the statements because there were quite a few in total?
Thanks,
Norma

RonIpstone
09-16-2010, 08:31 AM
On Sunday,18th February,1962,I saw photographs of James Hanratty,and I immediately remembered that I had seen him before and also the occasion where and when I had.
It was on the 22nd August 1961,at the junction of Kinmel Street,Rhyl and Bodford (Sic) Street,Rhyl, atabout 7.30 pm,that this man stopped me and asked me where he could obtain bedand breakfast.I took him by the arm,and turned him round and directed him to the Windsor Hotel,which we could see from where we were standing,telling him that a guest house right opposite to this hotel would be able to help.It was in fact the guest house owned and run by Mrs Jones of Kinmel Street Rhyl.
He left me and went off in the direction I had pointed.I particularly remember this man because of his hair which was most outstanding being bronze and dark in parts.He was a shade taller than me,about 5ft 7 ins,dressed in a dark suit,neat and tidy.He spoke with a London accent.

This is another example of a 'helpful' Rhyl witness whose statement is not corroborated by Hanratty's version of events. Jim did not say that he eventually found digs after having been given directions by a cabbie on a pub crawl. According to Jim, after some trouble and having made 5 or 6 inquiries, he came to a private house with a bed and breakfast sign. No mention is made of any assistance from any passer-by giving him directions.

Larman's timing is also wrong. The bus arrived at 8.19 pm and for Jim to have made 5 or 6 inquiries would have taken some time, yet Larman is saying that at about 7.30 pm (the same approximate time as that given by Mrs Walker), only a few yards from Rhyl bus depot, he is giving Hanratty directions to Ingledene.

If Larman had been called to give evidence, then he would have been cross examined on the pubs he had visited and the times he visited them, which would then have given us a better idea as to when he could have been at the junction of Bodfor St and Kinmel St, and whether this could have coincided with Hanratty's claimed itinerary.

Is it likely that Hanratty would ask a passer-by in the street as to where he could find accommodation? I do not think it is. The problem for the visitor to Rhyl on the evening of 22 August 1961 was not finding the location of guest houses which offered B&B but finding one which had 'vacancies'. This entailed knocking on guest house doors and making enquiries of the proprietors and could not be short circuited by asking strangers in the street. How or why should Mr Larman have been expected to know which guest houses had vacant accommodation?

So the defence discounted this evidence and having been bitten once with Mrs Jones's performance in the box, they were unlikely to go there again with Larman or the other oddballs who claimed to support Hanratty's case.

Natalie Severn
09-16-2010, 11:35 AM
Hi Ron,
Before I reply to any specific point, I want to make a few things clear about Mr Larman.His statement was taken perfectly seriously by Staines police but neither Hanratty nor his defence,knew anything about him as far as can be ascertained .Christopher Larman"s statement was, as I understand,never discovered until 1968 and forms part of the undisclosed evidence that could have helped Hanratty.In his own words he was never contacted by any police officer,after submitting his statement .Now at this moment I am in Rhyl,having taken back the book by Paul Foot so I need to check out who it was who discovered Christopher Larman.I know for definite that the police officer he gave his statement to in Staines Police Station in 1962 took it seriously and passed it on because we have him confirming his meeting with Mr Larman in 1968 to Paul Foot , and this POlice Officer,then working as a Security Officer recalled its contents and his absolute certainty that he passed it on but never heard any more about it from anyone. Mr Larman simply said, when he gave his statement in February, after he saw Hanratty"s photo just after the trial ended , ie 6 months later, that it was about 7.30.Now when you think about it that was a full six months later so to be out by an hour or even two is very easy.

Larman's timing is also wrong. The bus arrived at 8.19 pm and for Jim to have made 5 or 6 inquiries would have taken some time, yet Larman is saying that at about 7.30 pm (the same approximate time as that given by Mrs Walker), only a few yards from Rhyl bus depot, he is giving Hanratty directions to Ingledene.

I have replied regarding the timing.Your assumption that a]it would take a lengthy period of time to knock on several doors and ask about accomodation is questionable.It could have taken him less than 15 minutes---how long does it take anyone to say-sorry no vacancies? b] we don"t know that he started looking that end of Kinmel Street.He could have turned right by the bridge ,not left ,as he came from the bus station and asked at other guest houses in the other end of Kinmel Street arriving at its junction with Bodford Street 15 minutes after arriving at the bus station.

s it likely that Hanratty would ask a passer-by in the street as to where he could find accommodation?
Why on earth not? Surely most of the population would ask local people if shops were closed and all the B& B"s had "No Vacancy " signs up.
BTW, Mr Larman did not usually go on pub crawls.I pointed out in my previous post that this was only because he wanted to treat his friends in Rhyl and had been to the post office to withdraw some of his savings to do so.Also ,he had been a building worker in Rhyl,after moving to Staines he took up as a Taxi driver before his move to Australia .
Best,
Norma

RonIpstone
09-16-2010, 01:24 PM
.Christopher Larman"s statement was, as I understand,never discovered until 1968 and forms part of the undisclosed evidence that could have helped Hanratty[/U].

Hello Norma

Read the judgement of the Court of Appeal at paragraph 197 where it is made clear that by 21 February 1962 the Defence was in possession of its own statement from Mr Larman which broadly confirmed his earlier statement given to the Police on 16 February. The former statement (i.e. the one given to the Defence) was not used for the purposes of the first appeal and Mr Larman was not called to give evidence.

Ron

NickB
09-16-2010, 03:04 PM
Where does it say Margaret Walker saw Hanratty before Christopher Larman saw him?

Nowhere, it was my reasoning. Walker says she directed the man to Mrs Vincent’s, whereas Larman says he directed the man to Ingledene. Therefore if both witnesses are correct and it is the same man and he ended up at Ingledene, then Walker must have preceded Larman.


Can you also point me to where it says Hanratty rejected their statements Nick? Do you mean to say he rejected all the statements because there were quite a few in total?

Sherrard's letter to the Sunday Times dated 30 September 1968. The statements concerned are those of Larman, Walker and Vincent.

Natalie Severn
09-16-2010, 03:32 PM
You are quite right Ron and thanks for the Times link Nick.
So Mr Larman was known about by the defence !Interesting.
Perhaps Hanratty saw in advance Mr Swanwick cross questioning all three about time? Mr Larman ,Mrs Walker and Mrs Vincent saying they had seen him at about 7.30, when it must have been at least 8.30. It has to be remembered that everybody was talking here about an event that had happened 6 months before in late evening on August 22nd in Rhyl.It would still have been quite light in Rhyl at 8.30 but they would have been aware it was "getting dark" ,that time of day is called "entre chien et loup " in France-it being a most treacherous hour to determine what is visible and what is not [and possibly know what exact hour it is?]---hence dangerous particularly for drivers.Hanratty was on such shaky ground having just changed part of his alibi that he was probably over bothered about people coming in the witness box and being interrogated about a time that he had earlier tied to when the coach had left LIverpool---when in fact it left at 6.00 pm.Not everybody has a good idea of the time during the day or night let alone as day is changing into night!
Cheers,
Norma

NickB
09-19-2010, 02:10 PM
Hanratty's evidence was "that he found it very hard to find accommodation, that he had travelled in and out through other streets and it was dark at the time when he came upon a small private house with the ‘Bed and Breakfast’ sign."

Larman's evidence was that he directed a man the short distance to Ingledene when "the sun was shining”.

Natalie Severn
09-19-2010, 06:18 PM
Hanratty's evidence was "that he found it very hard to find accommodation, that he had travelled in and out through other streets and it was dark at the time when he came upon a small private house with the ‘Bed and Breakfast’ sign."

Larman's evidence was that he directed a man the short distance to Ingledene when "the sun was shining”.
Ron,

What Mr Larman recalled was that he pointed out Ingledene to a young man asking about where he could get accomodation -a man who resembled Hanratty.He doesn"t claim that he saw Hanratty arriving on Mrs Jones"s door step,just that he had pointed Ingledene out to him.
Now if Hanratty took the only coach to Rhyl in the evening he would have arrived at Rhyl Bus station at 8.15 and sunset was 8.25 so it was fully light when he arrived just about a 2 minute walk from the junction of Bodfor Street and Kinmel Street.Therefore unless he walked up and down the streets of Rhyl immediately before meeting Mr Larman ,he could still have met Mr Larman during the course of his initial inquiries close to the bus station as the sun was setting.We dont know whether or not he immediately followed Mr Larman"s directions---but it would appear he did not on seeing that all the B&B"s in Mrs Jones road, hers included, had No Vacancy signs in all their windows---as did Mrs Davies"s house too which was immediately next door to Ingledene.
What Mrs Davies says is that Margaret Walker from South Kinmel Street dropped in to see her during the time Hanratty was looking round and knocking on doors.Mrs Walker"s street was parallel to Kinmel Street -it has a communal entry at the back meaning those who lived there on friendly enough terms could just drop into each others houses via their back doors as Mrs Walker appears to have done since Mrs Davies said she was visited by Mrs Walker as she was sitting in her house [next door to Mrs Jones] who told her a man had been looking for digs and she had had to turn him away.Mrs Davies"s daughter in law also arrived [through the back door] and told them that a young man had called on them wanting to know where he could get digs and she had told him to try further down the road.
So to me it looks like Hanratty wandered around for longer than this first lot of enquiries [happening between 8.20 and 9.15 or so ] until it would have started to be dark in the streets.At this point he must have come back on himself---easy enough to do due to the odd layout of small streets fanning out on all sides of Kinmel street.

jimornot?
09-29-2010, 11:03 PM
Thanks for that link Nick.Its the best newspaper account I have read so far!

hi Nick

I agree, just caught up on this - an excellent article and one that should be
wider known on the main thread methinks

ATB

Viv