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Do you think William Herbert Wallace was guilty?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Ginger View Post
    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.
    Two really strong points. Timing is crucial to this case. On your second point, neighbour Jack Johnston even offered to try his key in case it fitted Wallace's back door lock. In which case, the possibilities of the murderer expand to someone in Wolverton Street or a burglar... but these possibilities were never entertained by the police.

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    • #32
      I have to say right away that I'm not as well-read on the Wallace Case as many people on these boards, but the bit I have read doesn't exactly paint Wallace as your typical domestic murderer. I believe he was once described as someone 'who was born middle-aged'. I also believe that he was a devotee of the works of Marcus Aurelius, who philosophy was, basically, Stoicism; in other words, don't kid yourself that you're going to be any great shakes in life, but rather bend yourself to working hard and also to practicising self-discipline. Which to me seems to put Wallace in the proverbial nut-shell.

      I was surprised to learn that he pulled stumps and went to India and later to China, in some kind of low-key quest for adventure, but didn't find it in either country, and came back to England. (I can personally empathise with this, as I did much the same myself about 40 years ago. It doesn't work - if you're bored in the country of your birth and up-bringing, then you'll be bored in any country you care to go to....)

      I have read that Julia was much better educated than Wallace, but this didn't seem to bother him, and he lived a quiet life with her, played chess, and kind of pottered about. This doesn't sound like the recipe for a brutal domestic murder to me. He was probably as bored with Julia as he was with life in general, but that was no reason to kill her. They'd been together for nearly 20 years, and if it didn't 'seem a day too much', then they at least seem to have learned to survive with their differences.

      Frankly, I have never been able to view Wallace as a cold-blooded and violent killer, under any circumstances. He seems to me to be have been the kind of bloke who, rather than lowering himself to having a bloody good row with his wife, would have sat down with her quietly discussed whatever the problem might have been.

      Anyway, my thoughts and no more than that.

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

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Graham View Post
        Frankly, I have never been able to view Wallace as a cold-blooded and violent killer, under any circumstances.
        Graham
        I don't think anyone can contradict this view. Proponents of the Wallace Theory might argue that the motive for someone else (e.g. Parry) is even less. Of course, what lies beneath a marriage may bubble up without warning with violent results. so your "under any circumstances" rider might be too strong. My own view is that there is something about the Wallace case we do not know. I do not think we have the whole picture, and this is why it will always remain unsolved.

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        • #34
          I would suppose that Wallace was tired of Julia and wanted to rid himself of her without having to give up half his assets in a divorce. As a bonus, he also gained Julia's rather meager property and life insurance benefit.
          This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.

          Stan Reid

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          • #35
            BTW-I don't want to come off as overly critical of Close. He was simply a kid who got caught up in something much bigger than himself and through no fault of his own. The fact that he was killed in WWII makes it all the more tragic.
            This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.

            Stan Reid

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            • #36
              Originally posted by sdreid View Post
              I would suppose that Wallace was tired of Julia and wanted to rid himself of her without having to give up half his assets in a divorce. As a bonus, he also gained Julia's rather meager property and life insurance benefit.
              But is there any evidence that Wallace WAS tired of Julia? There is certainly no evidence he was considering divorce (if there is, this would be important evidence). I think this is Graham's point (above).

              My view is that looking for motive is futile. The innocence or guilt of Wallace (as far as we can tell today) depends on the circumstantial evidence.
              Last edited by ColdCaseJury; 06-08-2016, 01:05 PM.

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              • #37
                My own view is that there is something about the Wallace case we do not know. I do not think we have the whole picture, and this is why it will always remain unsolved.
                I agree with you 100%. The whole thing seems utterly illogical to me. Do you think that someone, somewhere, alive or not, knows or knew something about this case that hasn't come down to us? This is how it seems to me. I've sometimes wondered that had William Wallace not died so soon after his trial and its aftermath, he might have added something to the flimsy details we know. After all, he'd been cleared, and couldn't be tried again. He had no motive to murder, as far as I can tell. Would a smart-arse like Parry really batter a woman to death for the few quid that was in an insurance collection-box? Was it some unknown who just walked into the Wallaces' house and killed Julia because she was there? Domestic murders are not all that rare, but the vast majority of those that do occur usually have some kind of motive, and I can see none in the Wallace Case. There is something missing.

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

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by Graham View Post
                  Was it some unknown who just walked into the Wallaces' house and killed Julia because she was there?
                  Possibly, except then the telephone call would have been a terrible coincidence. And the killer appears to have known about the collection box in advance.

                  We know nothing of Julia's life from (approx) 1875 to 1905. Could it have been someone from her past? Other than speculate, all we can do is to look at the evidence and say from what we do know, what most likely happened? This is all I ask of the Cold Case Jury. But in this case, even this is no easy ask.

                  The Wallace case is like a jigsaw puzzle with a few pieces missing. Even if it was Wallace all along, we don't know why he did it, or where he hid the weapon, for instance.

                  Some key facts have been lost to history.

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                  • #39
                    Being tired of being married is a common thing whether there is evidence that can be pointed to or not. Also as a contributing factor, if Julia was so much older and William just found out, he could have been angered that she had cheated him out of family.
                    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.

                    Stan Reid

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by sdreid View Post
                      Being tired of being married is a common thing whether there is evidence that can be pointed to or not. Also as a contributing factor, if Julia was so much older and William just found out, he could have been angered that she had cheated him out of family.
                      Hi Stan and Graham,

                      Being of a stoic philosophical bent, Wallace probably would have just accepted Julia's inability to give him children - the marriage was apparently for love and companionship. Besides, what if they had a child or more, and the offspring brought unexpected problems to Wallace. Then we'd wonder if he blew up at Julia for giving him such offspring.

                      While on the whole I feel he might have mentioned more regarding any of those untold enemies of his had he lived longer, if he were guilty and was aware he could no longer be convicted of Julia's murder due to his verdict being quashed, that means nothing. Several killers in the past got away with it in one or another, and some by double jeapardy, only to be marked men or women in a second round (on another crime, if they were defendants again). Emmanuel Bartholemy in the 1850s was acquitted for fighting the last duel in England at Eglinton, and killing Lt. Cournet his opponent. England banned dueling at the time. The case was in 1852. In 1855, having killed two men in what was an extortion scheme and an attempt at escape, Bartholemy was found guilty and executed. Robert Butler was able to escape the gallows for killing a husband and wife and child in New Zealand in 1882, though he was charged and convicted of a burglary. In 1904 he was tried for a murder during a robbery, convicted and hanged. Henry Seymour, a contemporary of Wallace, was arrested for killing a woman, and made a confession which was used in court, but while on trial he said the confession was a lie. It included mistakes that had been overlooked so he had to be released with the double jeapardy rule protecting him. A few years later Seymour was to try the same trick again, but the police recalling the earlier business purposely dug deeper, and simply ignored the confession - and got a conviction. Seymour hanged as a result.

                      Jeff

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                      • #41
                        Sorry, my message got repeated.
                        Jeff
                        Last edited by Mayerling; 06-08-2016, 03:00 PM.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by sdreid View Post
                          Being tired of being married is a common thing whether there is evidence that can be pointed to or not. Also as a contributing factor, if Julia was so much older and William just found out, he could have been angered that she had cheated him out of family.
                          If there is strong circumstantial evidence that Wallace was most likely the killer, then I agree that marriage is a good a motive as any to murder. BUT the evidence fits equally well other scenarios other than Wallace acting alone.

                          Or put another way, many millions of spouses throughout history could be described "as tired" but do not become calculating murderers.

                          Personally, I am sceptical that it tales 16 years of MARRIAGE to discover that your spouse is 17 YEARS older than you. Nevertheless, the age difference might have been an aggravating factor. BUT first we need to find out if the timings, facts and witness statements point more strongly to Wallace than anyone else.

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                          • #43
                            If the address didn't exist,how would Wallace know where to start looking,so why did he take a certain direction on leaving home?

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by harry View Post
                              If the address didn't exist,how would Wallace know where to start looking,so why did he take a certain direction on leaving home?
                              Although Menlove Gardens East (per the phone message) didn't exist, Menlove Gardens North and Menlove Gardens West did exist, which would have given Wallace a starting-point. One thing that puzzles me, though, is that as a long-term resident of Liverpool, and also an insurance collector who travelled his rounds via public transport and on foot, he ought to have had a very good knowledge of the locality and its streets, and perhaps should have known that the street named in the phone call didn't exist. This to me is one little fly in the ointment with regard to his innocence.

                              Is it true, does anyone know, that after his acquittal Wallace received anonymous letters accusing him of being guilty all along?

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

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Graham View Post
                                One thing that puzzles me, though, is that as a long-term resident of Liverpool, and also an insurance collector who travelled his rounds via public transport and on foot, he ought to have had a very good knowledge of the locality and its streets, and perhaps should have known that the street named in the phone call didn't exist. This to me is one little fly in the ointment with regard to his innocence.Graham
                                I agree - Wallace's behaviour on the night of the murder IS suspicious, although it is far from a conclusive indicator of guilt. It has to be balanced against other evidence, e.g. timings and witness statements.

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