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

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  #1  
Old 11-19-2014, 12:18 PM
Sherlock Houses Sherlock Houses is offline
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Default The attack on Swedish housewife Mrs Meike Dalal on Thursday, September 7th 1961

The attack on Mrs Dalal around lunchtime on September 7th 1961 I find quite intriguing. It was a callous and violent attack and Mrs Dalal was very lucky to have survived it especially considering the fact that she was struck viciously by some hard object which might possibly have been a gun. This initial blow was to her left temple and was followed by two further blows to the head. Her assailant tied her hands behind her back, gagged her mouth and also tied her ankles together. He claimed to be the A6 murderer and demanded money from her. He may also have been intending to rape her when he turned her over onto her back and lifted up her skirt. He didn't do too good a job at binding her hands as Mrs Dalal was able to free them and fend off what would have been a fourth serious blow to her head. If his claim to have been the A6 murderer was merely an idle and boastful one it is more than a little uncanny that the attack should have closely resembled certain aspects of the A6 murder which had occurred just a fortnight before. Details which were known to very few people at the time.

The similarities were as follows :-

a. The unsuccessful binding of the women's hands.
b. Mrs Dalal's attacker hit her over the head with a hard object and according to Valerie Storie the A6 killer was considering hitting her over the head before deciding to shoot her.
c. The apparently token demand for money.
d. The likelihood of Mrs Dalal's attacker sexually assaulting her.

Just over a fortnight later, on the afternoon of September 23rd, Mrs Dalal attended an identity parade at Scotland Yard. On that parade was one certain Peter Louis Alphon [the darned man just won't go away no matter how much some people might will him away]. It was Alphon's second identity parade that day. Mrs Dalal felt too afraid to tap Alphon on the shoulder on the actual parade but told the police that she thought it was him [the second man from the left] who had been her attacker. The inspector who led the parade said she was "distressed and trembling".
Mrs Dalal's description of her attacker fitted Alphon in several respects. She said he had an oval face and dark brown hair which was plastered back. He was wearing a new coat, a light-coloured three-quarter-length mackintosh and had on a clean, white shirt without a tie.
It's rather interesting to note here that Alphon, who was very fond of wearing three-quarter-length raincoats, had bought a brand new raincoat less than a fortnight earlier on Friday, August 25th.

I've attached with this post a collage of 5 different Newspaper accounts of Mrs Dalal's trial evidence.

Amongst these reports there is a short 7 word sentence which might just be a pointer as to whether or not Alphon was Mrs Dalal's assailant.
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  #2  
Old 11-20-2014, 04:28 AM
Ed James Ed James is offline
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Hi Sherlock

A brilliantly written and researched post.

Is the 7 word sentence 'He had dark brown hair plastered back'? I was also taken by the reference to the assailant talking all the time.

I have always thought that the alibi provided by the almanac folk was weak and mistaken , perhaps given because the persuasive Alphon said he was in a hole.

I never understood why Alphon disposed of his old three quarter length coat and bought a new one in summer.

regards

Ed
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  #3  
Old 11-20-2014, 08:32 AM
Sherlock Houses Sherlock Houses is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed James View Post
Hi Sherlock

A brilliantly written and researched post.

Is the 7 word sentence 'He had dark brown hair plastered back'? I was also taken by the reference to the assailant talking all the time.

I have always thought that the alibi provided by the almanac folk was weak and mistaken , perhaps given because the persuasive Alphon said he was in a hole.

I never understood why Alphon disposed of his old three quarter length coat and bought a new one in summer.

regards
Ed
Thank you for the kind comments Ed. I'd already submitted the post before realising that I'd omitted that reference to her attacker talking all the time. This was another characteristic he had in common with the A6 gunman.

The 7 word sentence I was musing about was "He kept his hands in his pockets". I'd completely overlooked this remark until fairly recently when I came upon several photographs of a certain party taken in 1962. I've attached them to this post, along with a 1991/92 still of the same person taken from Bob Woffinden's 1992 documentary about the A6 murder.
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  #4  
Old 11-20-2014, 09:45 AM
NickB NickB is offline
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I do not think that Alphon was the A6 murderer.

Apart from all the usual reasons given, Alphon had the speech characteristic of making the ‘w’ sound when trying to make the ‘r’ sound. I believe it is called rhotacism. After listening to the murderer for 6 hours or so, Valerie would have noticed if he had this characteristic which is not one you can disguise.

I think Alphon should have only been in an id parade for Dalal if Storie had already picked him out at her one because, as far as I am aware, he was only a suspect for the Dalal attack as a by-product of being the A6 suspect.
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Old 11-20-2014, 10:20 AM
Graham Graham is offline
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Originally Posted by NickB View Post
I do not think that Alphon was the A6 murderer.

Apart from all the usual reasons given, Alphon had the speech characteristic of making the w sound when trying to make the r sound. I believe it is called rhotacism. After listening to the murderer for 6 hours or so, Valerie would have noticed if he had this characteristic which is not one you can disguise.

I think Alphon should have only been in an id parade for Dalal if Storie had already picked him out at her one because, as far as I am aware, he was only a suspect for the Dalal attack as a by-product of being the A6 suspect.
Quite correct on both counts, Nick. Alphon was an obvious choice as No 1 suspect for the A6, but as far as I'm concerned he proved his innocence by surrendering himself to Acott at Scotland Yard (after ensuring the morning papers the next day would run this story), and subsequently being placed on three i.d. parades. He said afterwards that the experience of being grilled by Acott and Oxford was awful.

Of course, once he'd been cleared following the i.d. parade before Valerie Storie, he was no longer an A6 suspect as far as the police were concerned, but they were still interested in him as a Dalal Assault suspect, and he was placed on a fourth parade where the two Almanac supply shop identified him and confirmed that he was with them at the time Mrs Dalal said she was attacked. He was bailed, and received a compensation payment from the magistrates.

As Mrs Dalal made a positive i.d. of Alphon as her attacker, it's difficult to understand why, even when he had an alibi from the Almanac suppliers, he wasn't charged.

We all know that Alphon went on to make the most of his 'association' with the A6, aided and very much abetted by Jean Justice. Alphon was an unstable character, right enough, but at the same time he was intelligent and manipulative. Whatever money he made as a result of the A6 was soon spent, and he returned to his strange demi-monde existence.

Graham
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  #6  
Old 11-20-2014, 10:47 AM
Ed James Ed James is offline
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Hi Sherlock
Good stuff on hands in pockets - not something I had spotted.

Hi Nick

I am a don't know all round ! It seems to have become the orthodox view among those interested in the case (including Paul Foot) that Alphon did not know as much as he suggested.

However, there are some intriguing similarities to the gunman in Alphon's characteristics and behaviours, a range of evidence that might point to him, and some sightings that are not fully explained plus a lack of an alibi. Some have speculated as to some involvement (short of being the murderer ).

Personally , I think it is arguable that he did not have the expertise the gunman displayed , even if it was a botched job. I do believe he was responsible for menacing phone calls to Dixie France. And his attitude when he discovered Jean Justice had contacted William Ewer behind his back was strange.

I was unaware that Alphon had a speech characteristic , not having seen any reference to this before. Was it revealed in the Paris interview? Is there any other source ? It was never commented upon by Lord Russell of Liverpool who was subject to scores of abusive calls from Alphon. Or Justice?
I would be surprised if VS did not spot it. The killer didn't warn of Woad Works ahead !

regards

Ed
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  #7  
Old 11-20-2014, 11:44 AM
NickB NickB is offline
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Yes you can see it in the Paris interview. I would have liked to hear him say: “Hanratty really was in Rhyl”.

There is an interesting contemporary report about Alphon here from the Sydney Morning Herald.
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  #8  
Old 11-20-2014, 01:19 PM
Sherlock Houses Sherlock Houses is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed James View Post
However, there are some intriguing similarities to the gunman in Alphon's characteristics and behaviours, a range of evidence that might point to him, and some sightings that are not fully explained plus a lack of an alibi. Some have speculated as to some involvement (short of being the murderer ).
Carrying on along these lines Ed, the first couple of paragraphs which appear on page 155 of Bob Woffinden's book make intriguing reading.
I have copied them verbatim as follows.......



On the opening day of the magistrates' court hearing, when the attention of almost the entire nation was directed towards Ampthill, two interesting developments in the case occurred elsewhere. The defence was contacted by a lady who said that she was Mrs Rouch (by no means a common name), and that she was telephoning from Marble Arch. She was calling, she said, because "I know who the real killer is. And the real killer knows Alphon. I went to Scotland Yard with this information but was turned away."

The woman said that she was living with a man whose baby she had just had, but that he had warned her not to get involved. She added that if she went to work the next day, she would go to Wembley Park underground and try to phone again from there, to make arrangements to meet someone from the defence. She did not phone again.


This very much appears to have been a genuine call to the defence team. As Woffinden says Rouch is not a common name. A certain unmarried Ms Rouch gave birth to a baby son called Anthony a couple or so months earlier, the only such birth in London in 1961 where the mother's name was given as Rouch. The boy took the father's name which was just as uncommon, if not more so. Ms Rouch married the father a couple of years later in 1963.
If Ms Rouch was being truthful about the vital information she had re. the A6 murder it would seem as though she was pressurised in some way into keeping mum about it, hence no further calls to Hanratty's defence team.

Last edited by Sherlock Houses : 11-20-2014 at 01:21 PM.
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  #9  
Old 11-20-2014, 02:21 PM
NickB NickB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherlock Houses View Post
A certain unmarried Ms Rouch gave birth to a baby son called Anthony a couple or so months earlier, the only such birth in London in 1961 where the mother's name was given as Rouch.
If that is true the defence team could have got her address from the registry of births at Somerset House.
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Old 11-20-2014, 09:07 PM
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Its interesting that Ms. Rouch who obviously knew something; was turned away from Scotland Yard, though a week later on 30th of Nov. later Roy Langdale was brought in by Acott to make a statement, about something a prison officer had overheard.
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