Casebook: Jack the Ripper - Main
   

Introduction
Victims
Suspects
Witnesses
Ripper Letters
Police Officials
Official Documents
Press Reports
Victorian London
Message Boards
Ripper Media
Authors
Dissertations
Timelines
Games & Diversions
Photo Archive
Ripper Wiki
Casebook Examiner
Ripper Podcast
About the Casebook

Most Recent Posts:
General Discussion: New claims Jack the Ripper was noted poet who studied as a priest in the North East - by Richard Patterson 31 minutes ago.
General Discussion: New claims Jack the Ripper was noted poet who studied as a priest in the North East - by jerryd 5 hours ago.
General Discussion: New claims Jack the Ripper was noted poet who studied as a priest in the North East - by Richard Patterson 5 hours ago.
Hutchinson, George: Hutchinsons statement.... - by Wickerman 6 hours ago.
General Discussion: New claims Jack the Ripper was noted poet who studied as a priest in the North East - by jerryd 6 hours ago.
Hutchinson, George: Hutchinsons statement.... - by Varqm 6 hours ago.

Most Popular Threads:
Hutchinson, George: Hutchinsons statement.... - (38 posts)
Mary Jane Kelly: Was Joe Barnett´s alibi accepted lightly? - (27 posts)
Letters and Communications: An experiment - (22 posts)
General Discussion: New claims Jack the Ripper was noted poet who studied as a priest in the North East - (9 posts)
General Discussion: "Red Terror" - (5 posts)
General Police Discussion: PC Thain's beat - (5 posts)

Wiki Updates:
Robert Sagar
Edit: Chris
May 9, 2015, 12:32 am
Online newspaper archives
Edit: Chris
Nov 26, 2014, 10:25 am
Joseph Lawende
Edit: Chris
Mar 9, 2014, 10:12 am
Miscellaneous research resources
Edit: Chris
Feb 13, 2014, 9:28 am
Charles Cross
Edit: John Bennett
Sep 4, 2013, 8:20 pm

Most Recent Blogs:
Mike Covell: A DECADE IN THE MAKING.
February 19, 2016, 11:12 am.
Chris George: RipperCon in Baltimore, April 8-10, 2016
February 10, 2016, 2:55 pm.
Mike Covell: Hull Prison Visit
October 10, 2015, 8:04 am.
Mike Covell: NEW ADVENTURES IN RESEARCH
August 9, 2015, 3:10 am.
Mike Covell: UPDDATES FOR THE PAST 11 MONTHS
November 14, 2014, 10:02 am.
Mike Covell: Mike’s Book Releases
March 17, 2014, 3:18 am.

Go Back   Casebook Forums > Social Chat > Other Mysteries > A6 Murders

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #3151  
Old 08-05-2016, 08:39 AM
Spitfire Spitfire is offline
Sergeant
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 509
Default

Another one from the Panorama programme concerns Mrs Grace Jones and her recollection of the young man who stayed for two nights in August 1961. She clearly states that Hanratty/the young man stayed in Room 4 at Ingledene, which is the small room at the front of the house. Yet the evidence given at the trial by Hanratty was that his room was at the rear. Moreover, Mr Sayle had been called to say he stayed in Room 4 for the relevant two days. Again Foot should have dealt with this problem but chose to ignore it and invent his own theory, one night in the batthroom and the second night in the room on the second floor at the rear.
Quick reply to this message Reply With Quote
  #3152  
Old 08-05-2016, 12:50 PM
Graham Graham is offline
Assistant Commissioner
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Midlands
Posts: 3,001
Default

Personally - and not that it really matters now - I always thought the "car sighting evidence" of Skillett, Trower and Blackhall to be at best irrelevant; at worst, worthless. Yet there were, and are, those who place huge importance on this piece of 'evidence'; to me it sounds like it could have been snipped out of a cheap TV script.

Foot, it has to be said, has a lot to answer for as far as the A6 is concerned. As an avid reader of 'Private Eye' from about 1963 onwards I always thought that Foot was in the top bracket of so-called investigative journalists, until the penny dropped and I realised that he was really a 'champagne socialist' who took on cases such as Hanratty's not because he necessarily cared about the people involved, more because he felt suc cases offered a poke at the 'Establishment'. That does not mean to say that I think Paul Foot was anything other than honest, but let's say he did tend to bend his thinking just a little bit to the possible benefit of the subject of his apparent benevolent sympathy - in this case, Hanratty. Towards the end of his life I did detect that he'd had a bit of a re-think about Alphon being the A6 killer employed by the Gregsten family or someone close to them.

Graham
__________________
We are suffering from a plethora of surmise, conjecture and hypothesis. - Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure Of Silver Blaze
Quick reply to this message Reply With Quote
  #3153  
Old 08-06-2016, 01:45 AM
NickB NickB is offline
Sergeant
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 716
Default

Foot did indeed initiate a rethink about Alphon, after visiting him again and talking to Mrs Gregsten.

By the time of the 2002 Appeal the 'defence' side not only agreed that Alphon was innocent, but suggested that the police tampered with evidence to frame him. (For details, see the Vienna Hotel section of the Appeal report.)
Quick reply to this message Reply With Quote
  #3154  
Old 08-06-2016, 02:46 AM
Graham Graham is offline
Assistant Commissioner
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Midlands
Posts: 3,001
Default

Foot had apparently always believed in the 'conspiracy theory' concerning the A6, that a 'Mister X', as William Ewer had to be referred to in order to avoid a libel action, hired a gunman to put the frighteners onto Gregsten and Storie so that Gregsten would get the message and go humbly back to his loving wife. Sheer rot. And of course it all went wrong - the gunman, Peter Alphon, made a mess of it, so the blame had to be shifted onto a poor, innocent working-class lad called James Hanratty. More sheer rot.

Foot, when he finally got round to meeting Janet Gregsten, found her to be a very pleasant and very 'open' person and not the vengeful harpie he had thought she was, and he was honest enough to say so. A pity he didn't meet her much earlier. He also, again very honestly, said that when he met Alphon he quickly realised that he, Alphon, didn't know anywhere near as much about the A6 Case as Alphon (and others) claimed.

Regarding the possible tampering of evidence against Alphon by the police, I always thought that words had been put into Mrs Galvez's mouth concerning time-scales and what she saw in Alphon's room. Then of course there were the 3 'statements' of Nudds, something else which to my mind rang somewhat hollow.

Graham
__________________
We are suffering from a plethora of surmise, conjecture and hypothesis. - Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure Of Silver Blaze
Quick reply to this message Reply With Quote
  #3155  
Old 08-06-2016, 10:51 AM
cobalt cobalt is offline
Detective
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 188
Default

I realised that he was really a 'champagne socialist' who took on cases such as Hanratty's not because he necessarily cared about the people involved, more because he felt suc cases offered a poke at the 'Establishment'.

Not, I think, a very fair assessment of Paul Foot’s motives. Paul Foot stayed in contact with the Hanratty family long after the case had faded from public view. He also helped to find work for Michael Hanratty, a printer, when Fleet Street was being dismantled in the 1980s. His son, the journalist Tom Foot, still keeps in touch with the Hanratty family.

Paul Foot was, I agree, a man keen to expose the workings of ‘The Establishment,’ but his track record is a creditable one: The Birmingham 6; The Carl Bridgewater Murder; al-Megrahi and the Lockerbie bombing. He also helped expose local government corruption in collusion with self-styled architect John Poulson, so he was not a man who lacked enemies across the political spectrum.

The one blot on his record might be the Hanratty case, but although he revised some of his views on the case, one thing he was adamant about up until he died: that James Hanratty was innocent of the A6 murder.
Quick reply to this message Reply With Quote
  #3156  
Old 08-06-2016, 03:02 PM
cobalt cobalt is offline
Detective
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 188
Default

As far as I am aware, Foot’s main reason for believing in Hanratty’s innocence was his alibi. That has been discussed fully on this site, and all the pros and cons fully debated.

However, we should bear in mind that Foot actually spoke to the 6 main witnesses to Hanratty’s alibi. On a face to face basis he had the (subjective) right to form an opinion as to their credibility. This is exactly the same judgment that Valerie Storie made in identifying James Hanratty as the A6 killer. No more. No less. And we agree, I think, that Ms Storie’s evidence was crucial to the prosecution case. Graham recently has acknowledged that the ‘witness’ sightings by Trower et al are pretty worthless, and they may well have been for the jury as well, to be fair.

Foot’s last words on the case were for us to examine the credibility of the DNA evidence. He was an acknowledged novice in this area, as are most who post on here I suspect. His overarching point was, is if I read him correctly, that science never provides any proof independent of itself. Science can only confirm, not actually prove. In many cases science, or forensics as it is usually called in criminal cases, will come up with an answer. But without substantive corroboration it may be a false answer to a question wrongly asked.

DNA was marketed as a forensic tool in the late 1980s as a ‘genetic fingerprint.’ That is a very powerful metaphor, given that the unique nature of fingerprints (different even between identical twins) can identify a particular individual. However DNA does not claim this, and talks in terms of ‘likelihood.’ And even with fingerprints there is the danger of misidentification.

DNA is not a fingerprint. And that is before we enter the twilight world of Low Copy DNA.
Why did Hanratty not leave fibre evidence inside the murder car?
Why did Hanratty’s clothes not leave fibre evidence on Ms Storie?
All this was possible to determine by 1960s technology.

We are told his semen was found on her underclothes, so why was there not a plethora of fibre/DNA evidence on the rest of her clothing, never mind the car seats? Oh, these were not kept for analysis we are told. But fortunately, one small area of her clothing was. This was very unfortunate for James Hanratty, after the event. After this, it becomes a matter of faith.
Quick reply to this message Reply With Quote
  #3157  
Old 08-07-2016, 01:11 AM
NickB NickB is offline
Sergeant
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 716
Default

Appeal, section 109:

“It is conceded by Mr Mansfield on behalf of the appellant that, should it transpire that all possibility of contamination can be excluded, the DNA evidence points conclusively to James Hanratty having been both the murderer and the rapist.”

So the 'possibility of contamination' is the only obstacle remaining. A fig leaf that was hurriedly put in place only after the results were announced.
Quick reply to this message Reply With Quote
  #3158  
Old 08-07-2016, 11:52 AM
Graham Graham is offline
Assistant Commissioner
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Midlands
Posts: 3,001
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by cobalt View Post
I realised that he was really a 'champagne socialist' who took on cases such as Hanratty's not because he necessarily cared about the people involved, more because he felt suc cases offered a poke at the 'Establishment'.

Not, I think, a very fair assessment of Paul Foot’s motives. Paul Foot stayed in contact with the Hanratty family long after the case had faded from public view. He also helped to find work for Michael Hanratty, a printer, when Fleet Street was being dismantled in the 1980s. His son, the journalist Tom Foot, still keeps in touch with the Hanratty family.

Paul Foot was, I agree, a man keen to expose the workings of ‘The Establishment,’ but his track record is a creditable one: The Birmingham 6; The Carl Bridgewater Murder; al-Megrahi and the Lockerbie bombing. He also helped expose local government corruption in collusion with self-styled architect John Poulson, so he was not a man who lacked enemies across the political spectrum.

The one blot on his record might be the Hanratty case, but although he revised some of his views on the case, one thing he was adamant about up until he died: that James Hanratty was innocent of the A6 murder.
Cobalt,

I don't think that my (very) brief assessment of Paul Foot and his career-motives was at all unfair. Born in a patrician family, he decided that this wasn't really for him, and eventually became a member of the Socialist Workers Party, which more or less meant that he was committed to the defence of the downtrodden proletariat against the depraved and grasping Establishment. Hanratty and other cases offered ample scope for this. He was merely following his conscience. I am quite aware that he was very kind and helpful to the Hanratty family, and good on him for being so, so long as it was done in a genuinely gracious spirit and not out of a patronising need to be seen to be doing good. In fairness to him, I think he was totally genuine in this.

Foot was sacked from Private Eye in 1972 by the-then editior Richard Ingrams because, as Foot claimed, their politics differed. This may be so. I actually stopped buying Private Eye when Foot was kicked out. Moving on a little, Foot was later employed by the Daily Mirror at a salary of £55000 a year, not bad for a committed socialist. After 14 years with the Mirror he re-joined Private Eye.

He was not the first to ask questions about the A6 Case, but I believe he was the first to actually carry out serious investigation into it. At which he worked hard. Unfortunately, he backed the wrong horse. He refused point-blank to even consider that he was mistaken about the Rhyl Alibi, which is as duff now as it was then.

I still liked the bloke, though.

Graham
__________________
We are suffering from a plethora of surmise, conjecture and hypothesis. - Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure Of Silver Blaze
Quick reply to this message Reply With Quote
  #3159  
Old 08-08-2016, 06:01 AM
OneRound OneRound is offline
Detective
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 391
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham View Post
...

Paul Foot .. was not the first to ask questions about the A6 Case, but I believe he was the first to actually carry out serious investigation into it. At which he worked hard. Unfortunately, he backed the wrong horse. He refused point-blank to even consider that he was mistaken about the Rhyl Alibi, which is as duff now as it was then.

...

Graham
Hi Graham,

After the 2002 Appeal, Foot forcefully asserted that ''if you are in Rhyl, you cannot commit a murder near Bedford'' and continued to do so.

I always thought this naive and blinkered. The opposite equally applies. If you are committing a murder near Bedford, you cannot be in Rhyl.

Best regards,

OneRound

Last edited by OneRound : 08-08-2016 at 06:03 AM. Reason: typo
Quick reply to this message Reply With Quote
  #3160  
Old 08-08-2016, 03:08 PM
cobalt cobalt is offline
Detective
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 188
Default

Three reasons why James Hanratty should not have been convicted for the A6 murder.

MMO.
Means
Motive
Opportunity.


1.MEANS:
There was no direct link between Hanratty and the gun. (Cartridges conveniently found weeks later in a hotel bedroom and handkerchief had to suffice.) He had no record previously of handling a firearm. His fingerprints were not found on the weapon. Nor was, astonishingly, any forensic material found which linked him to the murder.

2. MOTIVE:
Hanratty had no discernible motive, apart from one later constructed by the investigating officers. The desire to play the ‘big man’ with a gun could have applied to hundreds of wannabe criminals, including Alphon by the way. Hanratty knew neither Michael Gregsten nor Valerie Storie. Hanratty had no record of violence.

3.OPPORTUNITY:
Hanratty (unlike Alphon) was not observed by anyone at or near the locus of the crime- save for Valerie Storie whose identification evidence was undermined by an earlier ‘identification.’ Her earlier police description was later altered to fit Hanratty.

The later DNA? The DNA which confirmed the dodgy verdict? Pretty ambiguous at best. Mixed samples are a matter for subjective interpretation, as can be seen in the ‘assumption’ that some of the DNA indicators came from Michael Gregsten. The small samples retained, and conveniently found by the police (after having being ‘lost’) are of dubious veracity in a murder trial.

Hanratty had an alibi, which would never be good enough for many on this site even if he had hit the Cavern Club and done a filmed duet with John Lennon on ‘Love Me Do.’ (‘It’s just a Cockney who looks like him’. ‘He’s tried to buy an alibi.’) A bit like the date stamped witness who was offered a gold watch by a Cockney on 22 August, which is rather better than ‘duff.’

Unlike Valerie Storie, none of the Rhyl witnesses ever identified someone else in lieu of Hanratty.
Quick reply to this message Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 12:25 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.