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Do you think William Herbert Wallace was guilty?

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  • Originally posted by Graham View Post
    I think it was Sir James Paget who, after Victorian suspected husband-poisoner Adelaide Bartlett was found not guilty of the murder of her husband (when everyone and his dog was convinced that she did do it), said that, "Now that she has been found not guilty, perhaps in the interests of science she should tell us how she did it". Wallace, who surely knew that his days were numbered, could have done the same had he been guilty, but he never did. I'm not saying for one instant that he was actually guilty, just that if he had been, he had nothing to lose after his acquittal by owning up.

    Graham
    Hi Graham,

    Well, if he did do it, Wallace (a good chess player) might have enjoyed leaving an intellectual conundrum for the rest of the world to long puzzle over. After all, Fermat, the mathematician, left that cryptic message regarding that theorem he had for quickly solving a math puzzle, but "ran out of space in the book" he was jotting the comment down in, leaving it unsolved until 2014. He never wrote it down that solution of his in any other book he owned.

    Side issue that can be ignored on this thread - Sir James Paget was a leading surgeon of the late 19th Century in Britain, and lived in London. We know he was interested enough in prominent crime to comment on the Bartlett/Pimlico Poisoning Case of 1886 (two years before the Whitechapel Murders). With all the fascination and theorizing about Sir William Gull (who had been in ill health from a stroke) as involved in the Whitechapel Murders, why hasn't anybody ever taken a serious look at Paget? Paget would live, a fairly active life, until 1899. Gull died in 1890.

    Jeff

    Comment


    • In looking at photos of the crime,there is the one of the bathroom/toilet.On the floor next to the toilet are a few pieces of newspaper.Seems the Wallaces were pretty ordinary in some respects.Tried to improve the photos with a photo editor,but the photos were of too poor a quality.in all the bathroom/toilet appears quite small,crowded and grotty.
      Downloaded and watched the film'Man from the Pru'yesterday.Excellent acting by the man who played Wallace.

      Comment


      • Yes, he was excellent, if a bit too young. He was dark, too, and Wallace, before he went grey, was a ginger.

        Strange angle the writers put in about Wallace and Amy his sister in law having some sort of understanding, as distinct from Julia who supposedly was cold and judgemental! Also a funny scene where the police warned Wallace not to touch anything. Considering the Liverpool police's handling of this case, quite hysterical really!

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        • Not to muddy the waters any further, but I've just read a suggestion that the Wallace's neighbour John Johnston may have been responsible for the murder of Julia. Is it true the couple moved out the day after?

          Comment


          • The Johnstons are a bit of an added complication. They were friendly with the Wallaces, fed their cat when they were away etc. However, I have read several accounts in the past (articles on the Internet and so on) which stated that John Johnston was suspected of being 'the Anfield burglar'.

            There had been a number of burglaries in the district and even in Wolverton St itself. There had also been a number of recent suicides in the street (probably connected with the economic times; the Depression was really biting,) so it was a rather sad place in which to live.

            'Toffee' Johnston was an engineer at big shipyards at Birkenhead. He and his wife had planned to move to a married daughter's house in early February and were virtually packed up ready to go. So, even if they did leave prematurely, it wasn't unexpected. The Johnstons' testimony was favourable towards Wallace at his trial.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Joshua Rogan View Post
              Not to muddy the waters any further, but I've just read a suggestion that the Wallace's neighbour John Johnston may have been responsible for the murder of Julia. Is it true the couple moved out the day after?
              In this case, I think you could speculate that X was the murderer, where X is virtually any person in Wolverton Street (remember most houses in the street used the same front door key) or even Liverpool. The police failed to TIE (Trace and Eliminate or Incriminate) a pool of suspects, including Parry and Marsden, focusing their entire efforts in confirming that Wallace was guilty.

              Comment


              • The Murder Weapon

                There are many factors that make the Wallace case one of the most fascinating cold cases of all time. One is the murder weapon - or lack of one.

                The police suspected that it was an iron bar (used to clean the parlour fireplace). This was because Sarah Draper, the cleaner, told the police that it was one of two items missing - the other being a kitchen poker (for the range stove). Yet, it was never positively established what it was. Certainly, no bar or poker was ever found.

                IF Wallace was guilty then he (a) hid the weapon in his house (in the reconstruction in my book I conjecture how he might have done this) or (b) removed it from the house and disposed of it. He had to do (b) WITHOUT people noticing - not as easy as you might think. He could ONLY dispose of it near his house or in Menlove Gardens area, which were both searched by police (and remember the police were trying hard to find any evidence against their man).

                Does the lack of a weapon raise the probability of Wallace's innocence?

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                • By the way, something I forgot to put into a previous post. An explanation for the Johnstons not hearing anything untoward next door on the evening of the murder may have been that Mrs Johnston's elderly and incapacitated father, Arthur Mills, was living and sleeping in the parlour of their home. The Johnstons were living in the kitchen towards the back of the house, according to Gannon. Mrs Johnston heard two thumps later in the evening and thought it was a her father taking his boots off. So the noise must have come from the front.

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                  • Hi All,

                    Here's an interesting case of a domestic killing that is currently in the news:

                    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/...er-crown-court

                    Note the age difference for one thing.

                    If Wallace was innocent, I presume he must have shown terrible grief (and if guilty he'd have needed to put on a credible act) - and also guilt, for falling for the wild goose chase he was sent on by the likely killer, so he would be away from home when Julia needed him most.

                    In the above case the killer instantly showed remorse and grief for what he appears to have done on the spur of the moment and, like many such killers before him, owned up. Obviously a planned domestic murder is very different, and would include a determined attempt to act like the bereaved spouse and get the finger pointed at other suspects or motives for the crime.

                    So does anyone know how Wallace did react to the awful discovery, what emotions he showed - then and over the next few weeks - and if he ever suggested any lines of enquiry that he felt the police should be following?

                    Love,

                    Caz
                    X
                    "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by caz View Post
                      Hi All,

                      Here's an interesting case of a domestic killing that is currently in the news:

                      https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/...er-crown-court

                      Note the age difference for one thing.

                      If Wallace was innocent, I presume he must have shown terrible grief (and if guilty he'd have needed to put on a credible act) - and also guilt, for falling for the wild goose chase he was sent on by the likely killer, so he would be away from home when Julia needed him most.

                      In the above case the killer instantly showed remorse and grief for what he appears to have done on the spur of the moment and, like many such killers before him, owned up. Obviously a planned domestic murder is very different, and would include a determined attempt to act like the bereaved spouse and get the finger pointed at other suspects or motives for the crime.

                      So does anyone know how Wallace did react to the awful discovery, what emotions he showed - then and over the next few weeks - and if he ever suggested any lines of enquiry that he felt the police should be following?

                      Love,

                      Caz
                      X
                      Hi Caz,

                      I seem to recall that Wallace was a believer in the philosophy of "stoicism", and that is a key to his control over the tragic results of his "wild goose chase" (if it was such). As a stoic he would barely reveal any feelings, even of loss for the dead (and horribly mangled) Julia. As a stoic he would not reveal any panic or fear (or supposedly wouldn't). I have seen a photo of Wallace smiling a "toothy" grin when the high court quashed the death verdict, which is unusual, as most pictures show little emotion in the man. Most people meeting him got turned off by this coolness. The police may have latched on it from the start as a reason to condemn him as the killer.

                      Jeff

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by ColdCaseJury View Post
                        There are many factors that make the Wallace case one of the most fascinating cold cases of all time. One is the murder weapon - or lack of one.

                        The police suspected that it was an iron bar (used to clean the parlour fireplace). This was because Sarah Draper, the cleaner, told the police that it was one of two items missing - the other being a kitchen poker (for the range stove). Yet, it was never positively established what it was. Certainly, no bar or poker was ever found.

                        IF Wallace was guilty then he (a) hid the weapon in his house (in the reconstruction in my book I conjecture how he might have done this) or (b) removed it from the house and disposed of it. He had to do (b) WITHOUT people noticing - not as easy as you might think. He could ONLY dispose of it near his house or in Menlove Gardens area, which were both searched by police (and remember the police were trying hard to find any evidence against their man).

                        Does the lack of a weapon raise the probability of Wallace's innocence?
                        Hi CCF,

                        I happen to think that the missing weapon does help Wallace's defense quite a bit. In fact it reminds me of how, forty odd years earlier, the lack of the finding of the axe or hatchet used in the Borden Case (although an old axe head was found, without anything to hold it aloft or down) helped in the defense of Lizzie Borden.

                        Jeff

                        Comment


                        • Caz: I remember reading somewhere that on the day of the killing, Wallace was supposedly seen walking quickly from his house, apparently quite agitated and weeping. Not that stoic, perhaps. Note-- this was before Julia was found murdered.

                          CCJ: This article: http://gizmodo.com/the-story-of-the-...rly-1732706999
                          says the iron bar was found later at the back of the fireplace during a remodel, but lacked bloodstains. Does that mean it was the poker, then?
                          Last edited by Pcdunn; 06-22-2016, 11:37 AM. Reason: adding clarification above
                          Pat D. https://forum.casebook.org/core/imag...rt/reading.gif
                          ---------------
                          Von Konigswald: Jack the Ripper plays shuffleboard. -- Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Kurt Vonnegut, c.1970.
                          ---------------

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Pcdunn View Post
                            CCJ: This article says the iron bar was found later at the back of the fireplace during a remodel, but lacked bloodstains. Does that mean it was the poker, then?
                            No, I suggest we cannot infer that.

                            The iron bar under the fireplace plays a big role in one reconstruction in my book (the one in which it is assumed Wallace is guilty). Lack of bloodstains may mean (a) it was a different iron bar that was found, or (b) it had been well cleaned.

                            If we assume (a) we cannot then infer the weapon was the poker, which may have been lost innocently. I state in my book, however, that losing both a poker and a iron bar in the space of two weeks is careless. Or suspicious.

                            We do not know what the murder weapon was, or what became of it. Like much in this case, it is open to speculation and different interpretations.

                            Comment


                            • Yes, losing them is suspicious. I think the iron bar had rolled under the parlour heater and wasn't found for years and years.

                              As Mayerling says, Wallace admired stoicism. However, Mrs Johnston stated that on the murder night as they were waiting for the police in the kitchen, Wallace sat weeping. He didn't cry or show emotion in front of the police though, which made them suspicious.

                              The response of modern day police detectives to a spouse or other close relative displaying little emotion is that nobody reacts the same to the murder of a spouse or family member, and you can't draw conclusions from it. I've heard police say that many times.

                              A policeman on the beat saw Wallace walking on his rounds before the murder and later reported that he (Wallace) had wet eyes that he had dabbed at with his coat sleeve. Well, it was an extremely cold January, and in icy weather my eyes and nose run. Wallace seemed to be susceptible to these conditions. One of his customers noted that he seemed to have a perpetual cold.

                              Look, I'm a bore about this, I know, but the Azaria Chamberlain trial had a profound effect on me. Among many other things the Northern Territory police were surprised at the Chamberlains' reaction to their baby's disappearance. The parents knew Azaria was dead because a dingo took her, but in their view, although both wept profusely in private, they believed she had gone to a better place, therefore there were few tears for public consumption. That sort of religiosity and calm acceptance of their child's fate was interpreted by the public and police as 'Well this weird couple obviously did it'.

                              Obviously it was very different in Wallace's case. He was an agnostic and an admirer of Stoicism. However, he wasn't an idiot. Surely, if he had wanted to show terrible grief and anguish (and thus fool the police that he was a grieving innocent widower) in order to get away with murder, he would have done so. Instead he behaved true to his nature.

                              Comment


                              • Interesting thought about the cold weather affecting Wallace.

                                What do you think of his supposed comment "They've killed her..." -- why did he use the plural?

                                I suppose there might have been two burglars turned murderers, and the fact that both an iron bar and a fireplace pocker went missing could suggest they weren't prepared with their own weapons and seized anything they could find... Still, it seems like overkill, just a bit, for slaying an ailing old lady.
                                Pat D. https://forum.casebook.org/core/imag...rt/reading.gif
                                ---------------
                                Von Konigswald: Jack the Ripper plays shuffleboard. -- Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Kurt Vonnegut, c.1970.
                                ---------------

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