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Natalie Severn
04-03-2012, 04:44 PM
The hanging of James Hanratty on April 4 1962 for the A6 murder is one of the most celebrated alleged miscarriages of justice in British Judicial history.John Lennon and Yoko Ono were among those who participated in the campaign to clear his name begun by his father immediately after the trial and continuing to this day ,fifty years later.The book began as a series of pamphlets which re-examined the evidence discovered by journalists ,authors and researchers as well as my own fresh research based on interviews with friends and neighbours of the original Rhyl witnesses whose evidence was never heard at the trial , some statements not having been brought to light until several years after the trial.The book was devised ,written and illustrated by myself with photos and drawings from or of the time and with considerable support from James Moore and Julie S Lambert with especially important contributions on the 2002 DNA evidence from William Beadle,chair of The Whitechapel Society and from Andrew Buddle who is a sociologist.
The book is available from Housmans at www.housmans.com/books.php
It costs 12 + pp

Graham
04-03-2012, 06:20 PM
Best of luck with the book, Nats, but as I've said before unless there is some new and concrete evidence to support Hanratty, the original trial verdict remains sound, at least as far as I'm concerned. And believe me, some new evidence would be more than welcome to me, to get the debate going again.

Graham

Natalie Severn
04-03-2012, 10:22 PM
Many Thanks for your good wishes Graham. I do appreciate that the DNA tests of 2002 caused lots of people to change their minds while for others it confirmed their original belief that James Hanratty was guilty as charged.
I am as certain as I can be that Hanratty was innocent and knew nothing about the crime on the A6.The research I have done showed me how it is not difficult to achieve a conviction of the innocent and over the years lawyers have repeatedly identified the contributory factors and this case is top heavy with them.For instance obtaining the cooperation of witnesses by means of attractive inducements and fear of the alternative- as with Louise Anderson" fear of being prosecuted for receiving stolen goods and Nudds admitting he was trying to please the police by changing his story to suit what they wanted at different times. Likewise Langdale who got himself let off on probation in a fraud case!
Another repeatedly identified factor is a reliance on "identification" evidence which is no such thing and is now not acceptable particularly if the witness has first positively identified an innocent man as Valerie did when she positively ( but mistakenly ) identified Michael Clark as the gunman.
Finally the provision of factual certainty by scientists where there is no proper basis for it ( a recurrent theme apparently in both the UK and US - and Italy too going on a recent famous case there )
but Graham I promise I will listen - I know your knowledge of the case is is very extensive and has always impressed me
AtB
Norma

Natalie Severn
04-04-2012, 03:11 AM
April 4 1962
Last words "keep smiling Mick!"
Jim

OneRound
04-04-2012, 03:25 AM
Many Thanks for your good wishes Graham. I do appreciate that the DNA tests of 2002 caused lots of people to change their minds while for others it confirmed their original belief that James Hanratty was guilty as charged.
I am as certain as I can be that Hanratty was innocent and knew nothing about the crime on the A6.The research I have done showed me how it is not difficult to achieve a conviction of the innocent and over the years lawyers have repeatedly identified the contributory factors and this case is top heavy with them.For instance obtaining the cooperation of witnesses by means of attractive inducements and fear of the alternative- as with Louise Anderson" fear of being prosecuted for receiving stolen goods and Nudds admitting he was trying to please the police by changing his story to suit what they wanted at different times. Likewise Langdale who got himself let off on probation in a fraud case!
Another repeatedly identified factor is a reliance on "identification" evidence which is no such thing and is now not acceptable particularly if the witness has first positively identified an innocent man as Valerie did when she positively ( but mistakenly ) identified Michael Clark as the gunman.
Finally the provision of factual certainty by scientists where there is no proper basis for it ( a recurrent theme apparently in both the UK and US - and Italy too going on a recent famous case there )
but Graham I promise I will listen - I know your knowledge of the case is is very extensive and has always impressed me
AtB
Norma

Hi Natalie - been very busy recently so haven't been posting although still looking in from time to time.

Very best wishes for the book from me too.

Can I ask - and I mean this supportively - did you choose the book title or was it imposed by the publishers? The reason I ask is that I (and possibly others) would be more likely to be persuaded and answer in the affirmative to the question ''Was Hanratty Wrongly Convicted?'' than ''Was Hanratty Innocent?''.

The instances you cite (Anderson, Nudds, Langdale and the incorrect identification of Michael Clarke) are powerful. However, I believe they're more relevant to showing a case for wrongful conviction than proving innocence. You may consider the distinction too subtle and unnecessary. After all, it's your book and, as I say, good luck with it.

Best wishes,

OneRound

Limehouse
04-04-2012, 09:30 AM
Hi Norma,

You have put such an enormous amount of research and time into this book and I am sure it will bring a whole new audience to the case.

Graham - you may well get your whole new debate!

Julie

Natalie Severn
04-04-2012, 12:14 PM
Hi One Round!
Thankyou for your good wishes-much appreciated.You make a good point about the title- I suppose that I went for a simpler concept in the title that's all really and indeed yours may have been a better title because irrespective of whether or not he was innocent his conviction in a capital case on such weak mostly circumstantial evidence, some of which, like the identification by Valerie after first identifying somebody else-would have been inadmissible on such evidence today.
AtB
Norma

Natalie Severn
04-04-2012, 12:19 PM
Thanks Julie - that would be good if it attracts a new audience
Best
Norma x

Graham
04-04-2012, 02:20 PM
I think it was Louis Blom-Cooper who said that if the A6 Case had happened in Scotland, the ensuing verdict at Hanratty's trial would have been 'not proven', and I think that that's a fair comment.

Graham

louisa
04-04-2012, 06:12 PM
I've just woken up to the fact that today is the 50th anniversary of (in my opinion and many others) one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in British history.

Natalie - I wish you every success with your book, which I shall certainly be purchasing. Judging from your posts on this forum and your fascinating and informative pamphlets on this case, your knowledge of the A6 murder is phenomenal and must have taken a great deal of time to research it.

RIP James Hanratty.

caz
04-04-2012, 07:19 PM
Good luck with the book, Nats! :kiss:

Love,

Caz
X

Graham
04-04-2012, 07:27 PM
With reference to Louisa's post (and she naturally has every right to express her opinion) I'd just like to say on the 50th anniversary of Hanratty's execution that we ought to be thinking not only of him but of the lives he ruined and affected.

Graham

Natalie Severn
04-04-2012, 08:04 PM
First thanks to both Caz and Louise for the sweet words here!:hiya: Graham you are right that others suffered horribly, Valerie in particular left paralysed for life from the age of 22 and ofcourse Michael Gregsten lost his life too. It must never be forgotten , they did not deserve any of it let alone its culmination in murder and rape.
However it is also hard for those of us who believe Hanratty was convicted and hanged for a crime which on the evidence we have today he did not commit.
I am very aware of your longterm interest in the case and your knowledge of many aspects of it most surely surpasses mine but my own research has focused also on factual statistical research which led to information about an astonishing number of wrongful convictions both here and on America many of which rested on eye witness testimony and error or DNA error.
Btw lovely piece in Richard Ingrams mag ,"The Oldie" on my book .......!!! But which also carries another article - by a wonderful doctor ,Jim Swire whose daughter - was murdered in the Lockerbie bombing and where Dr Swire maintains vehemently that Megrahi was the victim of an appalling miscarriage of justice- it's a moving upsetting article that rings of truth and the desire for justice- I would urge everyone to read it -
Kind regards
Norma

Graham
04-04-2012, 08:46 PM
Hi Nats,

I am by no means knowledgeable about DNA and would never pretend to be, but I am 100% certain that the number of rightful convictions made via DNA far outweighs the number of wrongful convictions.

And, as Caz correctly emphasises, there is evidence to point to Hanratty's guilt without the assistance of DNA.

Graham

Natalie Severn
04-04-2012, 10:18 PM
Hi Graham
There are many many aspects of the case against James Hanratty that are absolutely appalling.To take just one example -evidence in a capital case- such as this was- evidence that surely went along way to convicting Hanratty- was primarily based on the visual memory of Valerie Storie Thankfully today this would have been inadmissable as it is now recognised to be the most precarious and fragile of human attributes.Now a witnesses memory must be as safely protected from contamination as a crime scene.The first description is vital. If a witness makes a positive identification of one individual such as Michael Clark was by V'S -no subsequent identification of a second is permissible.
Equivocation and uncertainty are not enough.
In fact a series of catastrophic misidentifications leading to wrongful convictions led to this change in the law in the early 1990"s.
Best
Norma

Natalie Severn
04-11-2012, 12:36 AM
Some of you may like to read the review in the May 2012 of The Oldie,
Here is the link:http://www.exacteditions.com/exact/browse/20685/21356/30447/3/7/0/crime

louisa
04-11-2012, 02:50 PM
Hi Norma,

Thank you so much for the link, the information regarding the contamination of evidence makes very interesting reading.

I also found the part about Bristol Infirmary very informative, and sad.

Natalie Severn
04-14-2012, 03:22 PM
Housmans have now put up a new link for the book which brings together the
four part series on the A6 murder originally published as individual pamphlets.
Some people may notice the book has a different cover---simply due to the need for a reprint-----
http://www.housmans.com/books.php


I will put up a picture of the book showing the two different covers---

Cheers
Norma

Natalie Severn
04-14-2012, 03:42 PM
13622

Natalie Severn
04-14-2012, 03:43 PM
original cover:

Natalie Severn
04-15-2012, 02:51 PM
First page of magazine article The Oldie May 2012 which went to press before all four booklets were recompiled into one book :

Natalie Severn
04-15-2012, 04:21 PM
A page from my book re Hanratty's statement of 29th January i.e. before a single Rhyl witness was discovered---he refers to a hump back bridge/a picture house [both pix are taken at far end of KInmel Street,the street he said he stayed in-also pictured is Windsor Hotel -opposite Boarding house and Bodfor Street where Whynstay Hotel was that Mr Larman had just left-he would have been directing the young man towards Mrs Jones's B&B which can be discerned in middle far left of picture.

caz
04-17-2012, 03:17 PM
However it is also hard for those of us who believe Hanratty was convicted and hanged for a crime which on the evidence we have today he did not commit.

Hi Nats,

May I just pick you up on this rather crucial point?

What real 'evidence' do you have today to demonstrate that Hanratty did not commit this horrible crime? All I see are arguments for the DNA evidence to be declared invalid or the original investigation fatally flawed (which would not make Hanratty innocent); weak arguments for the Liverpool and months-after-the-event Rhyl eye witness accounts to be taken seriously (disregarding all the inconsistencies with Hanratty's versions of events, of course); and even weaker arguments for the victim's account of her own ordeal to be declared inadmissible or worse.

It's not nearly enough, even to render the 2002 appeal judgement unsound. You still lack the crucial piece of evidence that would show Hanratty was convicted for someone else's crime.

Love,

Caz
X

Natalie Severn
04-18-2012, 01:32 AM
Hi Caz,
We just seem to be going round and round in circles here.
I can't just produce the murderer-neither could the state.

There are actually very crucial differences between what was admissible then and what is completely ruled out today as being acceptable as 'evidence'.Thankfully sound new practices now exist to avoid exactly the type of thing that sent Hanratty to the gallows-namely :Valerie Storie's "identification"which damaged him more than anything.

-'there were a catastrophic number of misidentifications two decades ago -based on ' the most fragile of human attributes, visual memory'---[voice memory is considered equally fragile ]-therefore Valerie's changed description alone and the dark eyed identikit she co- produced with a policeman ,together with her visual memory itself, would all have been completely ruled out.

'The first description is now considered vital.If a witness makes a positive identification of one individual----[as Valerie Storie did of Michael Clark]----no subsequent identification of a second is permissible.Equivocation and uncertainty are not enough.'-VS took nearly 20 minutes to identify Hanratty on her second identification -even though the entire country knew the suspects hair was dyed ginger from the newspapers and tv and we know that in this identification parade his 'dyed ginger hair ''stood out like a carrot in a bunch of bananas'!
3] Valerie's original description of 23rd August of a man with dark eyes and lightish brown hair [confirmed in her identikit drawing of August 26th] -was followed on 31st August ie 5 days after she helped compose that identikit, by a completely different description of a man with icy blue eyes---this just would not get past the new rules.No way!

and this is before you begin to try to deal with the 'concocted' stuff Woffinden and Michael Sherrard refer to about the altered statements /dodgy police witnesses etc

caz
04-27-2012, 06:44 PM
Hi Nats,

I totally agree - we do seem to be going round in circles. The state did produce the murderer as far as the law is concerned, and no progress has been made to demonstrate that the state hanged an innocent man in this case.

And as for this:

'the most fragile of human attributes, visual memory'

Doesn't it rather put paid to any hope of the Rhyl witness accounts being admissible today, since they all relied on their fragile visual memory of a passing stranger they may or may not have seen on a specific night months previously, who may or may not have been Hanratty?

Love,

Caz
X

Natalie Severn
04-27-2012, 10:59 PM
Hi Nats,

I totally agree - we do seem to be going round in circles. The state did produce the murderer as far as the law is concerned, and no progress has been made to demonstrate that the state hanged an innocent man in this case.

And as for this:

'the most fragile of human attributes, visual memory'

Doesn't it rather put paid to any hope of the Rhyl witness accounts being admissible today, since they all relied on their fragile visual memory of a passing stranger they may or may not have seen on a specific night months previously, who may or may not have been Hanratty?

Love,

Caz
X

Except that they didn't change their descriptions from dark to light blue eyes
or compose an identikit that looked nothing like Hanratty ---as Valerie did with the left hand she helped compose which had dark eyes and light hair .But two of the Rhyl witnesses, did,importantly, remember his hair looking different -as though it was artificially coloured!Why did the Redbridge witnesses not notice this I wonder?
Nor did any of them wrongly identify another man......as Valerie most definitely did with the first man she 'identified'!

Graham
04-27-2012, 11:15 PM
And don't forget that Charlotte France, on seeing the Identikits on TV, remarked to Hanratty who was with her at the time that one of them could have been him!

Graham

Natalie Severn
05-20-2012, 10:39 AM
Hi Graham,
but this is what is so strange: both identikits show a man with dark eyes yet Hanratty's were light blue.
The first was compiled with the help of Valerie Storie-the main 'eye witness' who initially wrongly identified a totally innocent man ,Michael Clark.This first identikit shows a man with a very clear hair line and not as the judge pointed out in his summing up,a man with a distinctive 'widows peak' which Hanratty had and which meant his hair could not be swept back giving a clear hairline as in the photofit.This first one also shows not only a man with dark eyes but also with light coloured hair which Hanratty did not have on 22nd August as it was dyed black.
The other,2nd identikit was compiled by a police man with the help of Edward Blackhall who rolled down his window to better see and communicate with the MM driver .Blackhall was one of the three main eye witnesses but Blackhall did not recognise James Hanratty on the identification parade and later swore the man he had seen 'looked nothing like Hanrattywhich very much cancels out that of Skillett, who was driving his car and was further away than Blackhall from the MM driver. Yesm he did positively identify Hanratty 6 weeks later but the contradictions between the two mens 'eye witness' statements is very very curious.'The 2nd identikit also shows that dark eyes had been selected,[not the saucer wide , light blue eyes of the altered 31st August 2nd nation-wide police description].The man again has a clear hairline,wavy hair brushed back and an oval, staring eyes Valerie spoke of and with an oval face shape like the first identikit-whereas Hanratty had a box like shaped face.
So why, I ask, did Charlotte France suggest such a likeness when there are so many discrepancies in both identikit?
Best
Norma

Natalie Severn
08-26-2012, 09:29 AM
On Wednesday 22nd August I went with James Moore to investigate visibility levels in Rhyl at lighting up time.The lights came on at approximately 20.47 and although it was 'getting dark' just as witness Margaret Walker said in her statement to police during Hanratty's trial,[19/02/61] it was not 'about 7.30 pm' as she had guessed.Although it is understandable that Margaret Walker,six months after the event [22/08/61 ],thought it was 'about 7.30 pm' she also added that 'the street lights had come on' which gives us a far more specific time to work on.
Here is a picture of South Kinmel Street taken on 22nd August 2012 at 20.47 -the lights had just come on a few moments before.The street lights and the street are exactly as they were in 1961.The sky still gives some visibility and as James Moore walks away from what used to be Mrs Margaret Walker's house towards Mrs Ivy Vincents's [black front door next to red front door]the street lighting enables you to see the colour of his hair quite clearly-Mrs Walker described Hanratty's hair as 'having something not quite natural about it-as though it was streaky or tacky'.Hanratty started to dye his auburn hair bl;ack and on 22nd August the dye, although predominantly black/bronze had begun to fade a little giving a streaky effect.

Natalie Severn
08-26-2012, 09:40 AM
This picture is also in South Kinmel Street this times facing the door of Margaret Walker's old house.The street lights have just common at 20.47.

Natalie Severn
08-26-2012, 09:57 AM
please see previous pages re photos of lighting up time and visibility levels in South Kinmel Street on 22/8/12

The Windsor Hotel at 20.43 pm on 22/08/12 just before lighting up time-it is opposite Ingledene in Kinmel Street [-Mrs Jones's B&B] where Mr Henry Parry gave a description of Hanratty which, according to several sources, was one of the best descriptions of him of all but which has never been disclosed as Mr Parry did not want to get involved either at the time or afterwards.According to sources Mr Parry may have been standing outside the Windsor just before Hanratty called at Mrs Jones's and asked Mr Parry if he knew where he could get B&B.Another source says he went inside to ask.What is known for certain is that Mr Henry Parry made a statement to the police about the incident that has never been disclosed.

Natalie Severn
08-26-2012, 10:07 AM
21 Kinmel Street at 20.42 just before lighting up time [as it was numbered in 1961]This house is next door to Mrs Jones's at Ingledene[ then number 19 on left]and it was where Mrs Betty Davies lived who was a very important [but too late witness].She was on her own and 'it was getting dark when he knocked'

Natalie Severn
08-26-2012, 10:15 AM
Ingledene, former B&B of Mrs Grace Jones .This photo was taken at 20.56 just after 'lighting up time' on August 22nd --[image blurred but levels of visibility quite clear]


It may be worth noting that the visibility levels on 22/08/2012 may have been hampered a little by heavy cloud over setting sun whereas on 22/08/1961 it was reported that there was a good sunset at 20.31

Natalie Severn
08-26-2012, 10:21 AM
This photo of the beach at Rhyl,not far from the famous Rhyl fairground Hanratty said he headed for on 22nd August 1961 when he got off the bus and next to the then Crosville terminus .The fairground stood until recently .The sky loaded with cloud should give viewers a good idea of cloud levels throughout the hour from 20.05 to 20.56 of our photo shoot on 22nd August 2012.

Natalie Severn
08-26-2012, 10:24 AM
Please begin looking at pics on previous page to follow sequence,
Best
Norma

Archaic
08-26-2012, 04:31 PM
Hi Norma, how are you?

I've only just seen this thread, and want to congratulate you on your book and wish you great success with it!

Best regards,
Archaic

Natalie Severn
08-26-2012, 09:52 PM
Thankyou Archaic! How nice of you.I am fine----and yourself? Norma xx

Limehouse
08-27-2012, 07:10 AM
Well done Norma and James. These photographs illustrate the point so well.

Natalie Severn
08-27-2012, 10:46 PM
This is the spot where Mr Fish gave a statement to police that he had been asked by a young man for directions at the corner of Aquarium Street and River Street on 22nd August 1961.......
also an elderly woman remembered a young man who strongly resembled Hanratty knocking on her door asking about B&B and her son refused to allow her to get involved in going to court to make statements about it.

1]Windsor Hotel at 20.57 after lighting up time at 20.47 .It stands almost directly opposite Ingledene in Kinmel Street where Mr Henry Parry is believed to have given ' a very detailed description' of having seen Hanratty when he came asking about B&B's.to police on the evening of 22/08/1961

2 & 3 ]Corner of Aquarium Street and River Street at 20.05 22nd August

Natalie Severn
08-28-2012, 09:26 PM
When a young man knocked on the door of this house on 22nd August 1961 ,when it was then a Boarding house, asking if there were any vacancies,the young woman who answered the door happened to be alone in the house and it was ,she said , already getting dark.The house was next door to Ingledene in Kinmel Street where Mrs Jones the landlady said Hanratty had stayed that August.
On 22nd August 2012 James Moore and myself went to investigate the visibility levels and the photographs which we took can be seen here and on the previous pages of this thread.
Of all the Rhyl witnesses Mrs Betty Davies was one of the most important to come forward although her statement to Paul Foot was not made until 26th May 1968.Mrs Davies's statement makes clear she was visited by the same young man who visited Mrs Walker and Mrs Vincent.At the trial it was accepted that James Hanratty may well have been the young man who had knocked on the doors of Mrs Walker's and Mrs Vincent's houses in South Kinmel Street -a tiny street that lies parallel to Kinmel Street and is just behind both Ingledene and number 21 Kinmel Street .However what was not accepted by the prosecution was that this happened on 22nd August 1961 instead it was suggested it had happened on an earlier visit by James Hanratty in July [25th].
After advising the young man to try further down the street , Betty Davies had run into her mother-in -law's house,Mrs Margaret Davies's at 27 South Kinmel Street which backed onto hers and told her that a young man had come knocking and that she didn't take him in. Margaret Davies corroborated the date of this as did Noel Davies Betty's husband who had been told of the visit when he got home at 9.30 that evening.Each of these people were therefore able to corroborate each other's statements .
These meetings could not have taken place on July 25th because Mrs Davies was in Chatsworth House Nursing Home ,Prestatyn,from July 20th until July 28th.[Paul Foot-"Who Killed Hanratty?"]-photos taken of house where Betty Davies was living in 1961 at 20-43 [below] ie before lighting up time and 20.47 after lighting up time-see following page

Natalie Severn
08-28-2012, 09:36 PM
Please see previous pages regarding the visibility levels in Kinmel Street and South Kinmel Street between 20.30 and 21.00 hours on 22 August 2012

This is the level of 'darkness' after 'lighting up time ' which happens at 20.47 approx. in Rhyl on 22 August each year .

louisa
08-29-2012, 06:26 PM
Norma - you've done a great job. The evidence that points to Hanratty not being responsible for this murder is overwhelming isn't it? Paul Foot and Bob Woffindon also put forward good cases for Hanratty's innocence.

You have been challenged but you have countered and answered all points carefully and fully. As you have said, the debate now seems to be going around in circles.

I honestly believe that anyone who has read your books, plus the ones by Foot and Woffindon can surely be in no doubt now about Hanratty's innocence? Some still adhere to the dodgy and changeable eye witness accounts, none of which should have been relied upon.

I also believe that no court in the land could or would convict Hanratty on such flimsy evidence. Unfortunately the jury were not privy to most of the important facts which emerged much later.

Norma - I've enjoyed looking at the photos. Well done!

Natalie Severn
08-30-2012, 04:57 PM
Thanks Louisa.You are right.When Supt Matthews had finished the report commissioned by Scotland Yard in 1998 he said exactly that:"Hanratty' he said," should never even have been charged"

Which is why its so curious the LCN DNA-----

caz
08-31-2012, 02:12 PM
Any luck with getting the case looked at again by the powers that be, Nats?

Love,

Caz
X

Natalie Severn
09-01-2012, 09:11 AM
Hi Caz-only just seen this post-the answer is I really dont know as I am not privy to that sort of information but I think it continues yes.

Natalie Severn
09-01-2012, 09:41 AM
Just plugging my book in case there are people out there who would like to know where they can buy it:http://www.housmans.com/books.php-
on line at Housmans or from 'Bookmarks in Bloomsbury, London.

Cogidubnus
09-01-2012, 09:54 AM
Hi Nats

Not sure if it's just me but can't get the link to work

All the best

Dave

Natalie Severn
09-02-2012, 02:07 PM
Hi Nats

Not sure if it's just me but can't get the link to work

All the best

Dave

Dave,something wrong with the one above so try this one:


http://www.housmans.com/books.php

if this doesnt work the link under my last post on the Matthews report may do it!

Natalie Severn
09-02-2012, 02:09 PM
Just plugging my book in case there are people out there who would like to know where they can buy it
on line at Housmans or from 'Bookmarks in Bloomsbury, London.


http://www.housmans.com/books.php

Cogidubnus
09-02-2012, 06:04 PM
That sorts it!

Thanks - added to my (already overlong!) wants list

Dave