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  #4331  
Old 01-12-2018, 03:51 PM
Spitfire Spitfire is offline
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And where in Liverpool and with whom did Hanratty stay for the nights of 22 and 23 August?
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  #4332  
Old 01-13-2018, 05:28 AM
cobalt cobalt is offline
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Bert Balmer had no direct involvement in the A6 case of course but Merseyside was his fiefdom. The discovery that that a low life like Hanratty was trying to establish an alibi on Balmer’s patch, in a high profile national crime, would have aroused his ire for sure.

Balmer was not a man with a great respect for criminal alibis. He led the Cameo Cinema Murder case which resulted in the execution of George Kelly in 1950, even although witnesses placed Kelly in local bars at the time of the crime, and his alleged accomplice was at a dance with his wife. By withholding such statements from the defence and wheeling out a prison yard ‘confession’ Balmer got a result, albeit a result overturned by the Court of Appeal in 2003.

He used similar tactics in 1951 when Burns and Devlin were executed, both men claiming they were actually in Manchester at the time of the murder in Liverpool. The original suspect had been a Liverpool policeman but Balmer stopped that line of enquiry when he took control of the case.

[Not that Balmer did not have a compassionate side. When four Scousers set about a couple of coloured men in 1952, one of the victims was kicked to death. Balmer spoke up on the accused’s behalf for their cooperation with the police and the two attackers convicted received 9 months imprisonment and a 20GBP fine.]

My point is that Balmer had a track record of demolishing alibis, be they true or false, and he would hardly have stood by and watched Hanratty escape the gallows on the word of some local villains such as McNally. There would have been repercussions had that happened, something that scarcely needed pointing out to either McNally or Gillbanks. Gillbanks had been a Liverpool policeman at the time of the controversial executions so would have had an intimate knowledge of how Balmer exercised his authority. As a private investigator working in Liverpool it would not have been in his interests to upset the big chief of the local constabulary.

McNally stated that he had not seen Hanratty for four years. This is hard to believe, since Hanrratty was known to visit Merseyside with stolen goods and a former cell mate would be an obvious contact. McNally claimed he was going straight, but a former criminal is never likely to make a statement to the contrary. McNally claimed he had no contact with the Bull Ring area, but why would Hanratty link him to this specific place rather than say, Scotland Road?

In answer to the question- where was Hanratty on the night of the murder- the most likely answer is the alibi he presented in court. He has a witness from a sweet shop who saw him in broad daylight and a landlady from Rhyl who also saw him in broad daylight, although there are problems with timings. Timing is not a problem with the ID given by Valerie Storie although she only saw her attacker’s face briefly in car headlights. Both prosecution and defence IDs contain weaknesses in the manner of how the identification was secured.

Let us remember that Hanratty was not obliged to provide an alibi in the first place. The onus was on the prosecution to establish that he found his way from London to a corn field in Dorney Reach carrying a gun and a bag of ammunition. By car? Impossible if he was alone, since no abandoned car was later found. By train? No witnesses. By taxi? No witness. He walked to the corn field? No witnesses. Not one.

The evidence that Hanratty was in Merseyside at the time of the crime can be questioned of course. But at least there is something amounting to evidence. In contrast, there is actually NO evidence whatsoever of how he came to be in a corn field to carry out this horrific crime. This was a puzzle to people back in 1961/2, it remains a puzzle to this day.
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  #4333  
Old 01-13-2018, 05:31 AM
Graham Graham is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spitfire View Post
And where in Liverpool and with whom did Hanratty stay for the nights of 22 and 23 August?

I don't think that was ever disclosed - certainly I can't recall reading anything about where JH stayed. He certainly did have friends in Liverpool, and contacted them easily enough when he was up there is September just prior to his arrest in Blackpool. Strange he couldn't find those friends somewhat earlier....

Graham
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  #4334  
Old 01-13-2018, 05:41 AM
Graham Graham is offline
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Cobalt,

you've written about Balmer before, and I hear what you say, having also read one or two independent assessments of his character in other sources. However, he was not untypical of his day - witness the massive Metropolitan Police corruption scandals around the same time. The thing is, if he played as you claim such an important part in assuring that Hanratty couldn't prove his alibi, how is it that I have never, as far as I recall, seen the name of Bert Balmer in any book or article - other than here - on the A6 Case?

Re: McNally, I don't think the police or the defence had any option but to accept what he said, as it's highly doubtful they could prove he was lying.

With regard to Hanratty's innocence being proven by the famous Liverpool Sweet Shop Story, I can only say that if you accept it, I don't; it's been debated on these boards for years and years, and has now I think become a matter of faith, as have other aspects of the case, on both sides, perhaps.

Best,

Graham
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  #4335  
Old 01-13-2018, 06:08 AM
NickB NickB is offline
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There lingers this perception that the Rhyl alibi is an extension of the Liverpool one. This may be encouraged by Hanratty’s evidence that when he went on the run he intended to get the 3 friends to “stand by their alibi”.

But it is clear from what I have reproduced of Hanratty’s evidence that when he changed alibi the 3 friends in Liverpool were no longer featured. He point blank admitted that he had lied about staying with them. The Rhyl alibi was that he stayed for 2 nights in Rhyl,1 night at a guest house in New Brighton and then came back on the overnight train.

The France family gave evidence that he returned one day later than he claimed. I can see no reason why they would lie about this, and it would be easy to remember as the day after they had received the telegram - rather than him and the telegram arriving around the same time. The advantage from Hanratty’s point of view of saying he arrived back one day earlier is that there is one less night for him to account for.

Although we are often asked to judge Acott’s failure to release information by today’s standards (as in the 2002 grounds of appeal) we are never asked to judge the ambush alibi by today’s standard. Without any notice Swanwick was able to expose several areas of weakness in the Rhyl alibi, but he also showed signs of floundering. Had Swanwick been given a day or two’s notice I believe he would have been able to completely nail the alibi as false.
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  #4336  
Old 01-13-2018, 06:20 AM
Spitfire Spitfire is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cobalt View Post

My point is that Balmer had a track record of demolishing alibis, be they true or false, and he would hardly have stood by and watched Hanratty escape the gallows on the word of some local villains such as McNally. There would have been repercussions had that happened, something that scarcely needed pointing out to either McNally or Gillbanks. Gillbanks had been a Liverpool policeman at the time of the controversial executions so would have had an intimate knowledge of how Balmer exercised his authority. As a private investigator working in Liverpool it would not have been in his interests to upset the big chief of the local constabulary.

McNally stated that he had not seen Hanratty for four years. This is hard to believe, since Hanrratty was known to visit Merseyside with stolen goods and a former cell mate would be an obvious contact. McNally claimed he was going straight, but a former criminal is never likely to make a statement to the contrary. McNally claimed he had no contact with the Bull Ring area, but why would Hanratty link him to this specific place rather than say, Scotland Road?

In answer to the question- where was Hanratty on the night of the murder- the most likely answer is the alibi he presented in court. He has a witness from a sweet shop who saw him in broad daylight and a landlady from Rhyl who also saw him in broad daylight, although there are problems with timings. Timing is not a problem with the ID given by Valerie Storie although she only saw her attacker’s face briefly in car headlights. Both prosecution and defence IDs contain weaknesses in the manner of how the identification was secured.

Let us remember that Hanratty was not obliged to provide an alibi in the first place. The onus was on the prosecution to establish that he found his way from London to a corn field in Dorney Reach carrying a gun and a bag of ammunition. By car? Impossible if he was alone, since no abandoned car was later found. By train? No witnesses. By taxi? No witness. He walked to the corn field? No witnesses. Not one.

The evidence that Hanratty was in Merseyside at the time of the crime can be questioned of course. But at least there is something amounting to evidence. In contrast, there is actually NO evidence whatsoever of how he came to be in a corn field to carry out this horrific crime. This was a puzzle to people back in 1961/2, it remains a puzzle to this day.
So if we are saying that Hanratty could not get the Liverpool criminals to support his false Liverpool alibi because they lived in fear of Balmer then that is fair enough.

So if Hanratty was in Rhyl, is it the case that he was a resident of Ingledene? And if so, what room did he stay in for the nights of 22 and 23 August?

It is true that Hanratty was under no obligation to substantiate any alibi. The burden was on the prosecution to prove that he was where the murder took place and that it was he that did it, however, once Hanratty went into the witness box and the jury determined that he was lying, then this would inevitably weigh against him.
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  #4337  
Old 01-13-2018, 07:48 AM
Graham Graham is offline
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Re: Post 3113, I should have written 'I can't recall reading anything about where JH claimed to have stayed in Liverpool.

Graham
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  #4338  
Old 01-13-2018, 08:46 AM
NickB NickB is offline
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Poster Steve describes the location of the Liverpool alibi in three posts starting here:

http://forum.casebook.org/showthread...3968#post33968

I presume that the flower shop pictured in the third post is the one that Hanratty visited when he was on the run.
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  #4339  
Old 01-13-2018, 09:14 AM
Graham Graham is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickB View Post
Poster Steve describes the location of the Liverpool alibi in three posts starting here:

http://forum.casebook.org/showthread...3968#post33968

I presume that the flower shop pictured in the third post is the one that Hanratty visited when he was on the run.
It's been so long since I read any of my A6 books that I'd stone forgotten what Hanratty had said about where he claimed to have stayed in Liverpool. I was trying to think of McNally's name, but it wouldn't come. Steve took some superb photos of many of the places associated with the A6.

Graham
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  #4340  
Old 01-13-2018, 11:05 AM
Spitfire Spitfire is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickB View Post
The Rhyl alibi was that he stayed for 2 nights in Rhyl,1 night at a guest house in New Brighton and then came back on the overnight train.
I think that Jim said he went to the funfair in New Brighton, I don't think that he ever claimed to have spent a night there.

So as regards our Jim, it was Monday 21 August in the Vienna, Tuesday and Wednesday night of 22 and 23 August in Rhyl and then the overnight train leaving Liverpool on Thursday 24 August.
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