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Do you think William Herbert Wallace was guilty?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by ColdCaseJury View Post
    To be fair to Goodman, he did not focus on Parry in his 1969 book The Killing of Julia of Wallace. His aim in his book was to prove Wallace innocent, and only spent a few pages speculating on the identity of the murderer. True, he supported Roger Wilkes in the radio broadcasts in 1980, which pointed the finger at Parry.

    But did Wallace have enough time to commit the crime? If you read James Murphy's account of what Wallace did, Wallace had to do an awful lot to do in a very short time. From my book:

    If the milk boy saw Julia Wallace alive at 6:45pm, as he originally told his friends, then Wallace could never have completed everything he is alleged to have done – bludgeon his wife, wash, dry, dress, tidy the bathroom, clean and possibly hide the iron bar, and stage a robbery – in only three minutes before departing his house at 6:48pm [see Exhibit H in the Evidence File for a justification of the departure time]. This is why your view on the timing of the milk delivery is crucial: if you believe that the Alan Close spoke to Julia Wallace at 6:45pm then you cannot accept this view of the murder. If you believe that Alan Close called earlier, the maximum amount of time available to Wallace was 18 minutes. How long does it take to kill, clean up, stage the house and leave? For how long would you scrub the bath, knowing that if the police found a trace of blood you might be hanged? Did Wallace have enough time? This is a crucial question.
    Jon Goodman was a good friend and mentor of mine. The reason he did not come fully out in 1969 to name Parry was that the latter was (at the time of publication) still alive, and was capable of bringing a libel suit. Once Richard Parry died, Jon fully named him as a suspect in some of his other works.

    I tend to respect Jon's opinions, and his study of the case certainly showed serious problems with the Liverpool police department in 1931 and with the prosecution's case. However I have noted the number of (for want of a better term) "Parry defenders", so if it turns out to really be Wallace I'd accept the fact. Edgar Lustgarten was also deeply impressed by the case, and ended a discussion on the radio about it by realizing that "Qualtrough" might still be alive in the 1950s, and addressing him. But he also realized the evidence in this incredible case was quite symetrical in making both pro and anti Wallace solutions probable.

    By the way, the issue of whether or not Wallace ever really was unaware of the Melrose Garden address he got over the phone (which he used when he asked various people that night for it's location as proof that he was not near his home when the murder may have occured) is a fair one, but from a type of personal experience I can support the possibility that Wallace did not know of the non-existance of that address. I live in the borough of Queens in New York City (which happens to have five boroughs, each with a huge number of streets). Frequently I will go into Manhattan for various reasons. When I do I happen to review the streets I need to get to in a book of Manhattan streets. Everybody is aware of our main avenues in Manhattan (First to Third, Lexington, Madison, Park, Fifth to Ninth or Tenth). Madison Avenue is best known for the advertising world and for up-scale apartment houses in midtown. But it was only in the 1990s that I learned there is also a rather small "Madison Street" also in Manhattan - lower Manhattan. It dates back to before the 1840s, and the city expanded much further uptown. So, yes, one might discover similar named streets exist that you were unaware of. In the Wallace it was an attempt to find the locale of one that just did not happen to exist.

    Jeff

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    • #17
      Originally posted by sdreid View Post
      The reason I'm mostly sure that Wallace did it is the fact that the woman next door heard Close knock before Wallace left but heard no one-Parry, Marsden, Young, Johnston, the Anfield Housebreaker or whoever-knock later.
      This is a good point, for sure, but I'm not sure that it warrants your conclusion (i.e. mostly sure that Wallace is guilty). Firstly, the neighbour (Brit spelling) heard a knock at around 6:30pm - this is totally different to saying she heard Close knock. As I point out in my book, who is to say she did not hear the paper being delivered by David Jones? The timings fit. Secondly, who is to say the killer would have knocked? Parry (for example) could have opened the back door without knocking. The housebreaker would surely not have knocked. So a lack of knocking (so to speak) does not point to Wallace. Thirdly, is it not possible that someone knocked, and the neightbours did not hear it?

      Nevertheless, your point could be made stronger. The neighbours heard no knocks, no talking, no shouting. Surely this points to Wallace? I say it does not, because of what Florence Johnston DID HEAR. Just before 8:30pm she heard two thumps (these were the only suspicious noises she heard that evening). But at this time Wallace would have been still making his way home.

      Does the aural evidence really favour the Wallace theory?

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Rosella View Post
        Ooh good, another classic British murder!
        I've really never been able to figure out how Wallace had the time to kill Julia before going out, as you point out, ColdCase. On the whole I think Parry more likely to be guilty than Wallace (there is at least a slight motive for Parry to attack and kill Mrs Wallace, while with Wallace himself there's nothing at all, no quarrels, no other woman, no substantial insurance policy payout). He and Julia lived a quiet and rather dull married life with no drama. All the same, the case for Parry as murderer is by no means open and shut either!
        The one defect about Wallace having no motive to kill Julia is that we would not really be aware of what went on in their married lives together - people generally don't like to air dirty family linen about incompatibility unless some act of aggression or violence leads to third parties being aware of it. I tend to think it was a good marriage, and Wallace in his last days felt he was being targeted by the killer like Julia was (or so he wrote). However, this may have been evidence of some mental problem or even additional protection for his damaged reputation (he had been convicted, after all, but was lucky to be released by the high court). Again, remarkable symmatry in the way evidence and facts go in both directions in this case.

        Jeff

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Rosella View Post
          A conspiracy, with the aloof Wallace as a mastermind is an attractive scenario, ColdCase. However, I don't believe in conspiracies of this sort, I'm afraid.
          I LOATHE conspiracy theories, Roz. But could it be the best theory that fits the known facts? This is for you to decide!

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          • #20
            When I knew less about the case and since one witness claimed to have seen him talking to a man shortly before he returned home, I thought maybe Wallace hired Parry to do it. One theory for the reason Parry had such a good multiple person alibi for the time of the murder is that he caught wind somehow that Wallace was going to try to set him up.
            This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.

            Stan Reid

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Mayerling View Post
              By the way, the issue of whether or not Wallace ever really was unaware of the Melrose Garden address he got over the phone (which he used when he asked various people that night for it's location as proof that he was not near his home when the murder may have occurred) is a fair one, but from a type of personal experience I can support the possibility that Wallace did not know of the non-existance of that address.
              A small typo: it was Menlove Gardens East. I agree with your point: he may have been unaware of the address. I think Wallace Theorists believe he went over the top in asking questions, though.

              As to the wider point, Jeff, you must remember Jonathan Goodman wrote his book without seeing the full police file.

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              • #22
                Conspiracy to murder Andrew Borden (a very wealthy man) used to be discussed regularly on the Lizzie Borden forum I was on a few years ago. If two or three people plot to commit murder, nine times out of ten it unravels because one of them can't keep their mouth shut afterwards with a spouse, lover, sweetheart, mother, brother.

                It would take an absolute miracle for two or more people to keep mum for decades following Wallace's death. And what motivation would there be? There's no evidence that Wallace hated or loathed his wife, and even if he did why should men who had no bond with him, no allegiance to him, risk their necks to commit the deed for him? (And in those days it would have been literally a neck risking event.)
                You make an excellent point here, Rosella (which could be applied to at least one other murder being discussed on these boards). From what I've read over the years, the vast majority of domestic murders are committed by someone, be it a spouse, relative or friend, who knows the victim. I'm sure that there have been domestic murders committed by means of a conspiracy of two or more persons, but I can't think of one right off.

                One point that I picked up the last time I read anything on the Wallace Case, is that Supt Moore seemed to concentrate very hard on nailing Wallace at the expense of investigating suspicions surrounding Gordon Parry. I recall that Moore apparently didn't even interview certain persons who may have been able to help his inquiries.

                Graham
                We are suffering from a plethora of surmise, conjecture and hypothesis. - Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure Of Silver Blaze

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by sdreid View Post
                  When I knew less about the case and since one witness claimed to have seen him talking to a man shortly before he returned home, I thought maybe Wallace hired Parry to do it.
                  And now you know more, you believe it was Wallace, but how does this fit in with the Lily Hall evidence you mention above?

                  “As a mental exercise,” said noted crime writer Edgar Lustgarten, “as a challenge to one’s powers of deduction and analysis, the Wallace murder is in a class by itself.”

                  He is surely correct. So here is my challenge to the Commissioners, Inspectors and everyone else on this site. I believe I place all the key evidence before the Cold Case Jury in my book. Where does the known evidence lead?

                  I'd love to know your views, and you can compare it to my own (which I give in the online Postscript).

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Graham View Post
                    One point that I picked up the last time I read anything on the Wallace Case, is that Supt Moore seemed to concentrate very hard on nailing Wallace at the expense of investigating suspicions surrounding Gordon Parry. I recall that Moore apparently didn't even interview certain persons who may have been able to help his inquiries.Graham
                    Graham, this is correct. The police concentrated all their efforts in finding confirming evidence against Wallace, and left glaring inconsistencies in the statements of Parry and others.

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                    • #25
                      I don't think Hall's account may mean anything even if it really was Wallace she saw.


                      I also wonder if Julia was already dead when Close got there and that it was not actually her that he saw.
                      This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.

                      Stan Reid

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by sdreid View Post
                        I don't think Hall's account may mean anything even if it really was Wallace she saw. I also wonder if Julia was already dead when Close got there and that it was not actually her that he saw.
                        Hall's account has great significance. Why would Wallace deny meeting someone after he had gone to great lengths (according to the Wallace Theory) of getting noticed for the previous hour?

                        Who did Close see if Julia Wallace was dead when Close arrived? Surely it could only have been William Wallace - 6'3" tall with a mustache - who did a great job of impersonating his wife - 5ft tall and petite. Is this a mistake you would make? Close had delivered milk to the Wallaces for nearly two years. He knew the couple by sight and to speak to.

                        Close said he had spoken to Julia that night. What possible evidence is there to deny this claim? I suggest it would have to be overwhelming evidence of Wallace's guilt and that the murder was committed by 6.30pm. Unfortunately, if this were the case, there would be no mystery to solve.

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                        • #27
                          Wallace could have run into some stranger who was passing through and said something to him he later thought might be incriminating like-Have you seen police around? Of course it may not have been Wallace at all.

                          Yes, there is a theory, posited by another, that it was a crouching Wallace who made like Julia at the door. We don't know for sure how much attention Close was paying or how well he saw "her". Some of Close's testimony seemed to be what he thought but didn't exactly know. If it was Julia and Wallace did it then that was about the last minute of her life.
                          This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.

                          Stan Reid

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                          • #28
                            I don't think Wallace had the time to commit the murder, nor do I think he had any motive to do so. By all accounts, he and his wife were quietly content.

                            According to Thomas Slemen in "Murder on Merseyside" (Hale 1994), the houses in that street were all built at the same time, by a single builder, who imprudently used a single model of lock for all the doors. Mr. Slemen's source relates that he discovered this when he came home tipsy one night, and unlocked and entered the wrong house. Furthermore, Slemen reports that prior to the murder, there had been an outbreak of burglaries on the street.
                            - Ginger

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by sdreid View Post
                              We don't know for sure how much attention Close was paying or how well he saw "her". Some of Close's testimony seemed to be what he thought but didn't exactly know. If it was Julia and Wallace did it then that was about the last minute of her life.
                              But he SPOKE to Julia whom he had known her for nearly two years. This makes any impersonation/misidentification theory implausible, surely?

                              Close's testimony WAS poor, but this only undermines the police's case for the timing. Close originally said he delivered milk at 6:45pm and then changed this to 6:31pm at the trial, and appeared very uncertain about this revised time when cross-examined. But if he delivered milk at the later time, everyone agrees Wallace did not have time to commit the crime (he had three minutes to kill, wash, dress, tidy up, stage robbery, deal with the murder weapon)

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                              • #30
                                Although it's colored toward Parry did it and takes some liberies regarding the Wallaces' "affairs", I recommend The Man From the Pru.

                                This is only one of many cases I study but I do have threads on the murder over on both JTRForums and Websleuths if anyone is interested.
                                This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.

                                Stan Reid

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