Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Who killed Bella Wright?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #16
    Originally posted by ColdCaseJury View Post
    I added "mystery" to the title because the case is technically unsolved and there are some mysterious aspects to this case.

    I'd love to know more about your views! A few questions to get us started!

    First, if the boys were in front of her, the unwitting killers would have seen her, surely?

    Second, if she was killed while racing down the hill, how come her body was found so close to her bicycle with her feet and legs on the grass verge?

    Third, in your view, was she killed by the .455 bullet found in the road? This is a large calibre bullet (found in service revolvers and elephant rifles, at the time) - and likely to inflict massive wounds.

    Fourth, what do you make of the Bowley Statement, the evidence kept in the police safe for nearly a century?

    Even though Bella's corpse was found in close proximity to her bicycle, her face was damaged enough that neither the police constable, nor the doctor who was summoned, noticed the entry nor exit wound. The constable presumably had his bull's eye lantern, and the doctor examined her by candlelight. While the lighting wasn't great, it should have been sufficient had the bullet been the only source of injury. It sounds to me as though there were enough damage that the death wound blended in with the rest, and was overlooked. Additionally, the entirety of the circumstances were such that both men initially concluded that she'd perished in an accidental crash.

    I'm going on the presumption that the .455 bullet found was the one that killed her. Light's Webley service revolver could have fired it, but I believe it was a fairly common calibre at the time. It's a big bullet, meant to kill with one shot. A fair amount of ingenuity was employed by the bullet designers to make sure that the maximum amount of kinetic energy was transferred to the target, but it's important to remember that the bullets were designed to be most effective at close range, as in combat. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.455_Webley) Had she been shot at close range, whether a murder or (as Supt. Bowley alleges) by accident, there should have been a much more prominent exit wound. It seems obvious to me (although I can't produce any cites), that had the bullet been fired from long range, then it may have been able to penetrate her head without deforming and causing massive damage. People who know more than I about firearms may be better able to speak to this.

    A plunging entry angle for the bullet supports the hypothesis of an accidental death. Either the shot was aimed high (at a bird in a tree, e.g.) and came down on her out of the blue, as it were, or else she had her head down, trying to go as rapidly as possible down the hill. In both cases, it seems plausible to me that the shooter, intent upon his target, or just plain thoughtless, simply never noticed the bicyclist until it was too late, or perhaps was never aware of her presence at all.
    - Ginger

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by Ginger View Post
      Even though Bella's corpse was found in close proximity to her bicycle, her face was damaged enough that neither the police constable, nor the doctor who was summoned, noticed the entry nor exit wound. The constable presumably had his bull's eye lantern, and the doctor examined her by candlelight. While the lighting wasn't great, it should have been sufficient had the bullet been the only source of injury. It sounds to me as though there were enough damage that the death wound blended in with the rest, and was overlooked. Additionally, the entirety of the circumstances were such that both men initially concluded that she'd perished in an accidental crash.

      I'm going on the presumption that the .455 bullet found was the one that killed her. Light's Webley service revolver could have fired it, but I believe it was a fairly common calibre at the time. It's a big bullet, meant to kill with one shot. A fair amount of ingenuity was employed by the bullet designers to make sure that the maximum amount of kinetic energy was transferred to the target, but it's important to remember that the bullets were designed to be most effective at close range, as in combat. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.455_Webley) Had she been shot at close range, whether a murder or (as Supt. Bowley alleges) by accident, there should have been a much more prominent exit wound. It seems obvious to me (although I can't produce any cites), that had the bullet been fired from long range, then it may have been able to penetrate her head without deforming and causing massive damage. People who know more than I about firearms may be better able to speak to this.

      A plunging entry angle for the bullet supports the hypothesis of an accidental death. Either the shot was aimed high (at a bird in a tree, e.g.) and came down on her out of the blue, as it were, or else she had her head down, trying to go as rapidly as possible down the hill. In both cases, it seems plausible to me that the shooter, intent upon his target, or just plain thoughtless, simply never noticed the bicyclist until it was too late, or perhaps was never aware of her presence at all.
      Ginger, thanks very much for your views. You raise three interesting points. The first - that there was more damage to Bella than just the gunshot wounds - is not borne out by the evidence. During the first examination of the body, the exit wound was covered by a mass of congealed blood in her matted hair and a hat! The entrance wound appeared to be merely an indentation and covered in blood. Other than that, as her autopsy findings show (published in my book), there were superficial injuries.

      I agree with your second point that a close-range shot by a .455 bullet would have inflicted greater damage. This was Marshall Hall's position at the trial. Yet, a .455 rifle would be an extremely powerful weapon. In fact, at the time, the .455 calibre rifle was an elephant rifle, capable of bring down large game from distance. Such weapons would not be normally expected to be found in a farming community. Also, and perhaps most importantly, the size of the entrance wound suggests a smaller calibre weapon was used (again, I go into the ballistics in some detail in my book).

      To your third point - "the plunging entry angle of the bullet". The angle through Bella's head was upwards, with the entrance wound in the cheek. I'm not sure a bullet fired high can come down, enter the cheek and then go back up. If her head where down, then the line of fire would have been even steeper suggesting the gunman was almost under Bella (or indeed standing over her) when the shot was fired. Both would be difficult if Bella was cycling.

      This does not eliminate the accidental theory, of course. However, I suggest its cogency depends on precisely how the accident is deemed to have happened. It's in the details. Or to quote the opening line from my preface:

      “It has long been an axiom of mine,” announced Sherlock Holmes in The Red-Headed League, “that the little things are infinitely the most important”.
      Author of Cold Case Jury books: The Shark Arm Mystery (2020), Poisoned at the Priory (2020), Move to Murder (2018), Death of an Actress (2018), The Green Bicycle Mystery (2017) - "Armchair detectives will be delighted" - Publishers Weekly. And for something completely different - I'm the co-founder of Wow-Vinyl - celebrating the Golden Years of the British Single (1977-85)

      Comment


      • #18
        The Bowley Statement

        One aspect of this fascinating case is the Bowley Statement (see Part Nine in my book). I welcome any views on it. Does it appear authentic? Does it carry much weight with you? Does it change your verdict?
        Author of Cold Case Jury books: The Shark Arm Mystery (2020), Poisoned at the Priory (2020), Move to Murder (2018), Death of an Actress (2018), The Green Bicycle Mystery (2017) - "Armchair detectives will be delighted" - Publishers Weekly. And for something completely different - I'm the co-founder of Wow-Vinyl - celebrating the Golden Years of the British Single (1977-85)

        Comment


        • #19
          I stand corrected, then. I'd laboured under the belief that the trajectory of the shot was downward.

          So far as the entry wound being too small, is the hole in the bone the one that's being measured? I have to think that if Light's service pistol could have been ruled out as having been the murder weapon, his counsel would have used that at the trial.

          Also, can you point me towards a citation for a .455 elephant rifle and its ammunition? I'm entirely unable to find one, and I tend to think that the bullet would be distinguishable from a pistol round, even if they were both the same calibre.

          Despite the fact that the entry angle becomes hard to explain at long range, I can't really make myself believe in any scenario that involves her being shot at close range with a large calibre weapon. I don't really see that it's necessary to posit a rifle for her to have been accidentally shot at long range. I have no cites to support the idea, but I'm pretty sure a pistol shot can carry several hundred yards and still be dangerous. If anyone who knows more about firearms would speak to this, I'd be grateful.
          - Ginger

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by Ginger View Post
            I can't really make myself believe in any scenario that involves her being shot at close range with a large calibre weapon.
            Ginger, thanks. I highlighted the key phrase in your last post (I'm not ignoring your other points and will return to them in a later post).

            What do you think of this argument:

            The large calibre bullet found in the road killed Bella Wright
            Bella Wright could not have been killed at close range by a large calibre bullet (the wounds were not serious enough)
            Therefore, she was killed at long range by a large calibre bullet.

            Of course, this argument is valid but lacks cogency because there is no evidence for the first premise. It is possible that she was killed by a small calibre bullet (at whatever range) and the bullet in the road was unconnected to the case. This last point was Marshall Hall's position. I cover this and the ballistics/medical details in my book.
            Author of Cold Case Jury books: The Shark Arm Mystery (2020), Poisoned at the Priory (2020), Move to Murder (2018), Death of an Actress (2018), The Green Bicycle Mystery (2017) - "Armchair detectives will be delighted" - Publishers Weekly. And for something completely different - I'm the co-founder of Wow-Vinyl - celebrating the Golden Years of the British Single (1977-85)

            Comment


            • #21
              Bowley Statement

              News. Leicestershire Police has given its permission for the Bowley Statement to be forsensically tested. I hope to carry out these tests at a Lab in the UK soon.

              The Bowley Statement is an important piece of evidence in this case, which was published in full for the first time in my book.
              Author of Cold Case Jury books: The Shark Arm Mystery (2020), Poisoned at the Priory (2020), Move to Murder (2018), Death of an Actress (2018), The Green Bicycle Mystery (2017) - "Armchair detectives will be delighted" - Publishers Weekly. And for something completely different - I'm the co-founder of Wow-Vinyl - celebrating the Golden Years of the British Single (1977-85)

              Comment


              • #22
                Have anyone read The Green Bicycle Murder by C. Wendy East, and if so what did you think of it?

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by kidtwist View Post
                  Have anyone read The Green Bicycle Murder by C. Wendy East, and if so what did you think of it?
                  Yes, it was one of my sources (there is a list of 11 with summaries in the Further Reading section of my book). Wendy wrote her book before the Bowley Statement came to light (forgive the pun).
                  Author of Cold Case Jury books: The Shark Arm Mystery (2020), Poisoned at the Priory (2020), Move to Murder (2018), Death of an Actress (2018), The Green Bicycle Mystery (2017) - "Armchair detectives will be delighted" - Publishers Weekly. And for something completely different - I'm the co-founder of Wow-Vinyl - celebrating the Golden Years of the British Single (1977-85)

                  Comment

                  Working...
                  X