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** The Murder of Julia Wallace **

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  • ** The Murder of Julia Wallace **

    Notice: This is 4th or 5th topic on the Julia Wallace murder. All previous discussions have been closed due to incendiary comments. Having spoken to Admin, they are allowing this new topic to proceed, but ad hominen attacks, personal insults and abusive behaviour will not be tolerated in any post. If you believe this rule has been violated at any time and by anyone then contact me and I will pass on to Admin – or, even better, contact Admin directly; they will deal with any infractions according to their policies, but I would imagine with the history of this topic a zero-tolerance approach will be adopted. This may lead to violators being banned from the entire casebook forum.

    I will be making a post later – perhaps tomorrow. However, I understand that Admin wish to comment, so let’s give them an opportunity to do so before we start our discussions. A new thread is especially pertinent as a new book has been published on the case, and I hope the author will contribute to this forum in due course.

    AMB
    Author of Move To Murder (2018)
    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)

  • #2
    As Stated in the Infraction System thread, in the Read This First forum that hardly anyone actually reads: "We rely on our members to assist us in policing the boards. We cannot be everywhere and we cannot read every post. Also, we presume to some extent that if no one is complaining, then there are no problems. If you see a post that violates one of the rules, please use the Report Post button." At this time we are encouraging all posters to read through the very extensive rule system we have set up and refresh yourselves before posting on this thread.


    As Stated in the email discussing opening this thread: "You may post at the top of your thread that you expect all people to behave according to the rules and you will report anyone who violates said rules to Admin. We will then post a support of your statement. However, we reserve the right to decide based always on OUR determination, not any individual poster's. You will be responsible for monitoring and reporting posts you find objectionable on your thread. However, what you deem "disrespectful" may well differ from ours. Ad Hominem is of course, usually self-evident. But no, we will not agree to you making a blanket statement that we will ban anyone who is disrespectful on the thread. We will follow the rules, and the infraction penalties as laid out in our policies."


    Posters are being told upfront that this thread will be monitored more closely than the usual melees that ensue on most threads. Keep that in mind when you are posting. As it will apparently be a venue for authors to discuss their books, posters should pay special attention to how we differentiate between "personal attacks" on posters and on authors and their work. Criticisms of work, author style, author theory are all perfectly acceptable and would not fall into ad hominem, if written like an adult.

    Valid Criticism (generalized, and not taken from opinion on the particular work being discussed, I haven't read it): "I found the author's writing style pedantic, and ponderous. In addition, I thought his theory had substantial holes in it and ignored key evidence in favor of promoting his suspect. Overall, I found it a bit ridiculous and not a recommended read."

    Not Valid: "The author is a bloviating blowhard who is a blatant charlatan. He's a complete fraud and a conman trying to bilk people out of their money. He's a ridiculous, pompous moron whose theory is as insubstantial as his intellect and as full of holes.

    It is fine to point out facts of disagreement and dislike. Try to keep the sneer out, on this thread, as the OP has requested heightened moderation, you are far more likely to get infracted.
    Last edited by Admin; 01-22-2021, 11:46 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Welcome to the new – and hopefully definitive thread – on the fascinating case of Julia Wallace’s murder in 1931. In the last few years, no less than three books have been published on the case:

      Checkmate by Mark Russell (2021)

      Move To Murder by myself (2018)

      The Killing Of Julia Wallace by John Gannon (2012)

      I have not yet read the Mark’s book, but I hope to in due course. I understand that he concludes that Wallace murdered his wife. My own view is that I think Wallace is probably innocent. John believes that Wallace orchestrated the murder although he did not make the infamous call nor actually perpetrate the brutal killing. So, three books and three different conclusions. That’s the Wallace case for you!

      In my Cold Case Jury books, I invite readers to deliver their own verdicts online. At the time of writing, the collective verdict of over 500 people is the following:

      Accomplice (a theory first published in my book*)…. 36%
      Wallace (supported by Murphy and now Russell)… 29%
      Parry (endorsed by Roger Wilkes and the late Jonathan Goodman)… 25%
      Conspiracy (Gannon’s theory)… 9%
      Prank (the theory of the late P.D. James)… 1%

      * The theory is not my own but that of Rod Stringer.

      In 2019, Wallace was the overall verdict – by a narrow margin – but this changed in 2020 and Accomplice is now the favoured opinion of the Cold Case Jury, but not by much. One fact that has remained unchanged since publication is that more people believe Wallace innocent than guilty, and by roughly the same margin, 61% to 39%. Perhaps the surprise is the support for Parry (i.e. Gordon Parry made the call and killed Julia) is so high given his alibi. I would welcome views of any Parry theorists and why they doubt Mrs Brine’s statement – although I admit it is brief and lacking on detail. One of the foundation stones for Wallace’s innocence is the statement of John Parkes. A reader has provided some information about Parkes which I will share in another post (probably next week - sorry for the tease!). But again views on his statement are welcome.

      Finally, for this inaugural post, I know Mark Russell does not post that frequently now, but I hope he will share some of his thoughts on the case. I’m particularly interested to understand the evidence and arguments that made him change his mind (some years ago) from Wallace’s innocence to guilt. And by the way, I do not view a change of mind as intellectual weakness. In fact, in many cases, it is just the opposite. Like any belief, the more important aspect is not what you believe but how you come to believe it.

      One housekeeping point: as with all other topics, you are welcome to post anything about the case at any time. This is not a guided thread but, given its turbulent history, I just wanted to kick it off so that no one can be in any doubt about the rules and what is expected of us all.
      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


      • #4
        I have received Mark's book although not yet read it, but can echo Sherlock's favourable first impressions of its appearance - at least in the hardback version I ordered.

        I would also be interested to know from Mark why he changed his mind.

        Looking at the percentage breakdowns in the thread above I feel honoured that my previous posts put me in an elite 1%! However I think there are many of us who feel somewhat 50/50 about the case (which is its attraction) and when we resolve this by coming down on one side or the other it does not mean that we are for that position 100%.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by NickB View Post
          Looking at the percentage breakdowns in the thread above I feel honoured that my previous posts put me in an elite 1%! However I think there are many of us who feel somewhat 50/50 about the case (which is its attraction) and when we resolve this by coming down on one side or the other it does not mean that we are for that position 100%.
          You are indeed a rare breed, Nick, but that does not mean you're wrong! I think doubt over the verdict is also correct. As I wrote in my book, certitude is surely wrong in this case: the evidence does not point to Wallace beyond a reasonable doubt (the appeal judges were surely correct), but it does not point to any other suspect beyond reasonable doubt either. So we are working in the realm of the most likely solution.

          BTW, your verdict implies you doubt that Wallace was in the phone box, not that he was the killer. Presumably, you think it more likely that Parry made the call?

          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


          • #6
            Yes I think it was more likely to have been Parry who made the call, but my main point was to suggest that there was not necessarily a connection between the call and the crime - which you challenged with points that were very good but, in my opinion, not conclusive.

            On the crime itself (and before reading Mark's book!) I come down on the 'Wallace is innocent' side. One difficulty is that 'unknown intruder' probably gets a raw deal in the 'innocent until proven guilty' protection.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by NickB View Post
              Yes I think it was more likely to have been Parry who made the call, but my main point was to suggest that there was not necessarily a connection between the call and the crime - which you challenged with points that were very good but, in my opinion, not conclusive.
              This is really interesting start to the new thread. The call is surely at the heart of this case. Let's introduce some terminology:

              Causalist - someone who believes there is a causal (i.e. purposeful and intentional) connection between the call and the subsequent murder.
              Non-causalist - someone who does not hold the above.

              Now, 99% of CCJ voters are causalists because the only non-causal theory is Prank. If you entertain non-causalism for a moment, however, it does open up widely the pool of perpetrators. The interesting one is - sharp intake of breath - the Johnston theory, one I did not cover in my book. Perhaps we will leave that aside for a moment. The key question: is there any evidence or argument that leads you be a non-causalist or is this more intuition?

              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


              • #8
                My issue with that is mainly down to time. From what we know of Wallace he was a very meticulous man so it’s difficult for me to see him taking this message and then killing his wife less than 23 hours later. I just can’t see Wallace acting so precipitously on something with such grave consequences. Surely he’d have wanted time to mull it over; to consider what might go wrong?

                Also wouldn’t someone perpetrating a prank want to see the end result? If someone plays a practical joke on someone they want to see the victim get the bucket of water over him or watch her reaction when she sees the fake spider. What would have been the point of Parry sending Wallace off to the non-existent Menlove Gardens East if he wasn’t there to see him angrily trudging back along Wolverton Street?
                Regards

                Herlock




                “...A yellow fog swirls past the window-pane
                As night descends upon this fabled street:
                A lonely hansom splashes through the rain,
                The ghostly gas lamps fail at twenty feet.
                Here, though the world explode, these two survive,
                And it is always eighteen ninety-five.”

                Comment


                • #9
                  It is more a reaction against intuition. I could feel myself wanting there to be a causal link because it makes the case more interesting, one might even say it is the main attraction of the story, rather than because the evidence requires it.

                  All the books seem to take it for granted there is a connection. I think at the very least it needs to be established.

                  And Herlock, I don't think pranksters always want to personally witness the result.
                  Last edited by NickB; 01-22-2021, 11:34 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Herlock,

                    Your first paragraph confused me, but I presume you are talking about a Wallace-did-it prank theory as opposed to my Wallace didn't-do-it one. I agree that time is tight, but it is possible that Wallace had been preparing the murder for some time and this was the catalyst that made him do it at that particular time.

                    Under a Wallace-did-it prank theory (a la PD James) the telephone call is difficult to categorise as causal or non-causal, because without it Wallace may still have murdered her at some time.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I’d never say that anything’s impossible Nick but I just think that it’s unlikely in the extreme for there not to have been a connection.

                      I nothing about statistics btw but I’d say.... Wallace only ever went out in the evenings without Julia went he went to chess. What would be the chances that, on possibly the only night that Wallace had been out on his own on a Tuesday evening, his wife gets murdered? And it’s on the very night that he gets this very strange message calling him to an address that didn’t exist?
                      Regards

                      Herlock




                      “...A yellow fog swirls past the window-pane
                      As night descends upon this fabled street:
                      A lonely hansom splashes through the rain,
                      The ghostly gas lamps fail at twenty feet.
                      Here, though the world explode, these two survive,
                      And it is always eighteen ninety-five.”

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by NickB View Post
                        Herlock,

                        Your first paragraph confused me, but I presume you are talking about a Wallace-did-it prank theory as opposed to my Wallace didn't-do-it one. I agree that time is tight, but it is possible that Wallace had been preparing the murder for some time and this was the catalyst that made him do it at that particular time.

                        Under a Wallace-did-it prank theory (a la PD James) the telephone call is difficult to categorise as causal or non-causal, because without it Wallace may still have murdered her at some time.
                        Our posts crossed Nick.

                        Do you mean....Parry makes a prank call then someone unconnected killed Julia?


                        Regards

                        Herlock




                        “...A yellow fog swirls past the window-pane
                        As night descends upon this fabled street:
                        A lonely hansom splashes through the rain,
                        The ghostly gas lamps fail at twenty feet.
                        Here, though the world explode, these two survive,
                        And it is always eighteen ninety-five.”

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Has anyone established a motive for the murder?
                          My name is Dave. You cannot reach me through Debs email account

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post

                            Do you mean....Parry makes a prank call then someone unconnected killed Julia?
                            Yes, although it doesn't need to be Parry. I think the phone call has all the hallmarks of being made by a prankster. Someone who didn't care if a curtain-twitcher or passer-by had seen him go to, be in, or come from the phone box. Someone who didn't care if Wallace acted upon, or even received, the message. It was only a prank!

                            It is difficult to assess the degree to which an unconnected murder is unlikely. Every theory I've seen has an unlikely element - it seems to be that sort of case!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by NickB View Post

                              Yes, although it doesn't need to be Parry. I think the phone call has all the hallmarks of being made by a prankster. Someone who didn't care if a curtain-twitcher or passer-by had seen him go to, be in, or come from the phone box. Someone who didn't care if Wallace acted upon, or even received, the message. It was only a prank!

                              It is difficult to assess the degree to which an unconnected murder is unlikely. Every theory I've seen has an unlikely element - it seems to be that sort of case!
                              Get your thinking, but what are the hallmarks of the call that suggest a prank to you? Also, it is hard to see beyond Parry (if it was not Wallace) because someone had to know about Wallace and the chess club etc, especially as we believe Parry was prone to making prank calls and was a "con man" (this last point was confirmed by Leslie Williamson and others on the Radio City phone-ins in 1981).
                              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)

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