I used to have Michael Hanratty's phone number and we spoke on some occasions and this was a point I brought up with him.
This was his reply: "When I went to see Jimmy in prison I mentioned about hiding stuff under the back seat of the bus." Jimmy said: "Look Mick I know I am not the brightest in the world but do you or anyone else seriously think I would shoot and kill someone and then leave the murder weapon on a public service vehicle where it was bound to found. I would have chucked it in the river somewhere. Yes I admit I did used to hide unwanted or worthless jewellery under the back seat but that is all."
I can confirm what you say as Michael has spoken about this with me on a couple or so occasions. Jimmy Hanratty might have had some learning difficulties academically speaking but he was certainly no-ones fool.
************************************* "A body of men, HOLDING THEMSELVES ACCOUNTABLE TO NOBODY, ought not to be trusted by anybody." --Thomas Paine ["Rights of Man"]
"Justice is an ideal which transcends the expedience of the State, or the sensitivities of Government officials, or private individuals. IT HAS TO BE PURSUED WHATEVER THE COST IN PEACE OF MIND TO THOSE CONCERNED." --'Justice of the Peace' [July 12th 1975]
Sherrard when cross-examining Valerie at the trial, and after checking with the judge that he might "mention names in open court that may have nothing whatever to do with the case", asked Valerie if she knew a Ronald or Ronnie Lofthouse, to which she replied "No."
Purely from memory gleaned from this site, I think Ronald Lofthouse was a former boyfriend of Valerie Storie.
I can only assume that Sherrard was expoliting an obvious loophole in the prosecution case- motive. However it seems a weak line of questioning, unless you can provide supporting evidence to the effect that a (jilted) Ronald Lofthouse had the capacity to arrange a 'frightener' which went wrong for his ex-girlfriend.