A good guess nevertheless, Alfie. With no new (and positive, reliable) information forthcoming, as it hasn't been for years, little point in Woffo getting down to the tiresome task of updating his book. And to be fair, Matthews himself said that he, Matthews, was not in possession of any relevant information that other inquirers had no access to. Foot, I am fairly sure, realised very late on that he had chased the wrong rabbit, and admitted as much when he said that he wondered if Alphon had led everyone, Foot included, 'a merry dance', or words to that effect. And without any new supportive evidence, there'll be no new appeal, either.
Unless, of course, things are moving that we mere mortals are unaware of....which I genuinely doubt.
‘Enquirers’ You meant ‘ Investigators’ I believe, major diff!
On 27th August the police visited Hanratty’s parents and told them Jim was wanted for burglaries in Northwood. They would have shown the police the flowers he had sent from Caters, 15 Northways Parade, Finchley Road.
(Similarly on 26th September when Acott and Oxford visited Hanratty’s parents they were also shown some flowers received from Jim.)
I am not aware the police made any enquiries at the photographers or the dry cleaners. Ewer claims to have contacted the police from the photographer's shop, but the photographer's shop manager who attended Ewer did not verify this.
The whole Ewer story could have been built around only 2 facts:
1. On 31-Aug-61 Janet visits Ewer’s shop and together they study the identikit pictures in the paper.
2. On 1-Sep-61 Ewer thinks he sees someone resembling the man depicted enter a photographers shop and goes in to make enquiries.
Then after Hanratty’s arrest Ewer would have come across information, from police interviews and during the trial, that could be imaginatively connected to these facts in such a way as to make a scintillating story.
a) He hears that the day before the abduction Hanratty had taken a suit into the dry cleaners opposite his shop. What if after he and Janet had studied the identikit pictures they had looked out of the window and seen Hanratty go into the cleaners?
b) He hears that the police had visited the florists asking about Hanratty. What if after going into the photographers shop he had phoned the police and this had caused them to visit the florists?
As comprehensive as ever, Nick. Thanks.
So from this I'm inferring that Mrs Morrell was recollecting a visit in early Sept from cops investigating the Northwood burglaries, not from cops seeking the A6 killer?
There must have been better ways to ascertain Hanratty’s whereabouts than visiting a flower shop. What possible information of any value did the police expect to find there, given that they already knew where the flowers had been sent from.
As it turns out they did pick up a useful piece of information: that Hanratty used the alias Ryan. So maybe not a wasted journey after all. Yet when the name Ryan turned up in the Vienna Hotel register following the discovery of cartridge shells no connection seems to have been made initially with Hanratty. Why were the police exclusively pursuing Alphon when they should have been extending at least as much energy in pursuing Mr. Ryan who had occuppied the basement room?
As for the ESP powers of Mrs. Gregsten, I doubt that anyone bar Dorothy Stokes believed in them after reading the news story. There are various opinions offered as to why this story appeared in two tabloid newspapers just after the trial.
One is that William Ewer saw the opportunity to make a few quid by selling his outlandish tale.
Another is that the journalists took a few liberties with his story to make it more sensational.
The one I favour is that Ewer was in something of a pickle, for he was indeed the man who had tipped off the police to visit Swiss Cottage. The smokescreen of the ‘vision’ was on the surface a piece of harmless nonsense but served to deflect the source of Ewer’s prior knowledge onto Mrs. Gregsten. This meant that Ewer need never be called to account for his decision to call the police himself.
I did of course mean DORIS Stokes, that well known medium from around the time of the A6 Case. Perhaps you have had more recent contact with her for insights into the A6 Case.
I should remind everyone that that the ESP/Mrs. Gregsten/Hanratty version of events lies entirely within the prosecution version of events, although it was never voiced at the trial itself. William Ewer believed that James Hanratty was justly executed and also believed that Mrs. Gregsten had a vision of the culprit. No one from the defence side ever viewed the ‘vision’ with anything less than contempt. Those who believe Hanratty was guilty have spent many years trying to explain it away.
But for the prosecution it has been more than useful in that it acts as a distraction for why the police were at Swiss Cottage in early September 1961. Ewer claimed he called the police and actually met them in the arcade, none of which was ever denied by the police themselves. He was known to have been asking questions about a stranger from fellow shopkeepers, none of which related to ‘Northwood Robberies.’ The most likely explanation for the police being in the Swiss Cottage arcade is that Ewer summoned them. Had the police acted the way he anticipated, then things would have taken a swifter course.
And my initial question still remains, the one perhaps obliterated by the Ewer smokescreen: why did the police not initially pursue the last known guest from the basement in the Vienna Hotel when the cartridge cases were found? His name was Ryan. Well, according to Nudds it was.
Anyhow, off to contact Doris Stokes and see if she can conjure up a witness from Taplow. That would be a first.
And my initial question still remains, the one perhaps obliterated by the Ewer smokescreen: why did the police not initially pursue the last known guest from the basement in the Vienna Hotel when the cartridge cases were found? His name was Ryan.
They certainly did search for the elusive Ryan but only after Alphon was cleared - it's getting late, so I'll expand on this maybe tomorrow.
We are suffering from a plethora of surmise, conjecture and hypothesis. - Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure Of Silver Blaze
There is nothing to back up Ewer phoning the police. He claimed to have called them from the photographer’s shop, but the Sunday Times tracked down the man serving in the shop – Edmund King – who recounted Ewer’s visit to the shop and did not mention a phone call.
The Sunday Times said that 9 of Ewer’s ‘15 points’ were demonstrably inaccurate or contradicted what he had said elsewhere. He even admitted some of it was untrue in a subsequent interview with them.
Ewar’s original sighting claim should be considered in the context of the high hopes for the new identikit toy. Incredible as it may seem now, when the police issued the identikit pictures on 29-Aug they went round asking people in the street if they had seen that person.
Here you can see a policeman doing that on 31st August.
Here you can see the A6 incident room on the same date. What are they doing – plotting sightings?
I expect the police made extensive enquiries to try and find out who Ryan was. The mystery is why they latched on to Alphon so strongly rather than (as Acott claimed in retrospect he was doing) going through a normal process of eliminating him from their enquiries. The corruption of evidence from Nudds and the “we got him” visit to Valerie jeopardised the whole enquiry.