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  • Green Bicycle Case?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Bicycle_Case

    The Green Bicycle Case was a murder investigation and trial over the shooting of a young woman named Bella Wright in Little Stretton, near Leicester, England on 5 July 1919. Wright was killed by a bullet wound to the head. Earlier that evening she had been seen with a man on a green bicycle. Ronald Vivian Light was tried for her death but acquitted.

    Ronald Light, 34 years old at the time, was a World War I veteran who had returned from the war with shell shock. He did not voluntarily come forth in response to wanted posters for the man on the green bicycle who had been riding with Wright on the evening she was killed, and he made an attempt to dispose of the bicycle. Once arrested he admitted to being with her shortly before her death, but denied killing her. He was successfully defended in court by Sir Edward Marshall-Hall KC.
    How on earth was Light ever cleared of this murder? He was the only person seen with the victim shortly before their death, he had tried to dispose of the bicycle, and admitted to owning the gun holster which was found in the canal (along with bullets matching the one which killed the victim), and yet they were able to get him off on some technicality about ballistics and because he was calm and well-spoken in the witness box?

  • #2
    I agree that Light was most likely guilty. There is a theory that the shooting was actually an accident and that the gunman may not have even known that he hit Bella. I'm not sure how I would have voted had I been on the jury.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.

    Stan Reid

    Comment


    • #3
      Juries do some strange things, though I have never hunted out the transcript which may make it clearer.
      G U T

      There are two ways to be fooled, one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe that which is true.

      Comment


      • #4
        I'd not heard of the case until 1981 and then it was just a name on a list. It was 1990 before I actually read an account.
        This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.

        Stan Reid

        Comment


        • #5
          And of course having Marshall-Hall as your brief doesn't hurt your chances of walking either.
          G U T

          There are two ways to be fooled, one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe that which is true.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by sdreid View Post
            I'd not heard of the case until 1981 and then it was just a name on a list. It was 1990 before I actually read an account.
            The "Green Bicycle Case" was one of the last major courtroom victories of the famous barrister Sir Edward Marshall-Hall. Many commentators (including Jonathan Goodman) feel (as has appeared on this thread) Light definitely was guilty, but was found not guilty due to Marshall-Hall's spirited defense, and a sense of sympathy with Light - a war veteran who was recovering from shell-shock.

            The theory about the accidental shooting is traced to some article in a magazine (a fiction article) about how a private detective is challenged to find out who killed Bella, and does so by organizing a hunt near the scene of the crime, where he offers a large prize for the winner of the shoot. At a key moment one of the would-be hunters is aiming at a wall when a woman on a bicycle appears to be passing. The hunter collapses, and when he is revived confesses he accidentally shot Belle while she was on the bike and it appeared just as he aimed at a bird on the stone wall.

            Jeff

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Mayerling View Post
              The "Green Bicycle Case" was one of the last major courtroom victories of the famous barrister Sir Edward Marshall-Hall. Many commentators (including Jonathan Goodman) feel (as has appeared on this thread) Light definitely was guilty, but was found not guilty due to Marshall-Hall's spirited defense, and a sense of sympathy with Light - a war veteran who was recovering from shell-shock.

              The theory about the accidental shooting is traced to some article in a magazine (a fiction article) about how a private detective is challenged to find out who killed Bella, and does so by organizing a hunt near the scene of the crime, where he offers a large prize for the winner of the shoot. At a key moment one of the would-be hunters is aiming at a wall when a woman on a bicycle appears to be passing. The hunter collapses, and when he is revived confesses he accidentally shot Belle while she was on the bike and it appeared just as he aimed at a bird on the stone wall.

              Jeff

              Didn't a prison guard say Light had told him he shot her accidentally?
              G U T

              There are two ways to be fooled, one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe that which is true.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by GUT View Post
                Didn't a prison guard say Light had told him he shot her accidentally?
                Possibly. I tend to think this was an accidental killing, not a premeditated one.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I seem to recall that Marshall-Hall cross examined an expert and got a concession that the shot may have come from a rifle rather than a pistol and then submitted that it may have been an accidental rifle shot from the distance.

                  A dear friend of mine was once Junior to M-H when appeals from Australia could still go to England. The friend himself became a brilliant QC but spoke in awe of M-H's prowess.
                  G U T

                  There are two ways to be fooled, one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe that which is true.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by GUT View Post
                    I seem to recall that Marshall-Hall cross examined an expert and got a concession that the shot may have come from a rifle rather than a pistol and then submitted that it may have been an accidental rifle shot from the distance.

                    A dear friend of mine was once Junior to M-H when appeals from Australia could still go to England. The friend himself became a brilliant QC but spoke in awe of M-H's prowess.
                    A .455 is a rather large caliber for rifles which tend to have longer but smaller diameter bullets. It's not unheard of though, in fact, I have a .450 caliber Marlin lever action rifle.
                    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.

                    Stan Reid

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by sdreid View Post
                      A .455 is a rather large caliber for rifles which tend to have longer but smaller diameter bullets. It's not unheard of though, in fact, I have a .450 caliber Marlin lever action rifle.
                      I was a bit surprised when I read that the Balistics man sad a .455 could have come from a rifle, Winchester also used to make a .45 rifle, if my memory serves.
                      G U T

                      There are two ways to be fooled, one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe that which is true.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by GUT View Post
                        Didn't a prison guard say Light had told him he shot her accidentally?
                        Yes (actually it was a police superintendent):
                        http://billdonahue.net/2007/12/01/th...icycle-murder/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Chris View Post
                          Yes (actually it was a police superintendent):
                          http://billdonahue.net/2007/12/01/th...icycle-murder/
                          Thanks I thought it was something like that.
                          G U T

                          There are two ways to be fooled, one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe that which is true.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Light was certainly a rather peculiar character. What was he doing arming himself for a gentle summer bike ride in the Leicestershire countryside for, anyway? His actions after Bella's death don't exactly scream innocence either.

                            I'm inclined to think that class came into it too. Light was from the middle classes, supposedly an ex officer and gentleman, a teacher at a reasonably good boys school. He was as cool as a cucumber giving his testimony, never deviated, a bit odd considering all the panic he was supposedly in when, as an innocent man, he disposed of his bike etc.

                            The jury in those days, just after the First War, were probably impressed by Light's style, even if he did have a very squeaky voice, apparently. M-H would have entranced the jury in his usual barnstorming style, with huge dramatic gestures, and so Light got off. I believe he shot Bella and I'd love to know why. He later married and lived to a ripe old age, I believe.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Yes, I think he died in 1975. Too bad 60 Minutes or some program like that didn't interview him in the early 70s.
                              This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.

                              Stan Reid

                              Comment

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