Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

** The Murder of Julia Wallace **

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

  • #46
    I remember the tapping era. In case anyone is wondering, if there was a zero in the number you could dial that in the normal way and it was still free!

    Comment


    • #47
      Originally posted by Gordon View Post

      Well, outsiders undoubtedly had different opinions of the Wallaces’ marriage. I gather that most who knew them believed they were happy together. I wonder how many authors, seeking to prove a pet theory, cherry-picked from a small minority like Dr. Curwen who saw the couple, not so much ‘when their guard was down,” but when they were in a foul mood because they were ill!

      Anyway they both had their health problems, and my impression is that they generally looked after one another, and needed one another for that reason alone. Although “Julia was Peculia” and certainly neurotic, going by Wallace’s own diary the couple had virtually no quarrels, and Julia fussed over him spending time in his back room, not because he was neglecting her but because it was damp and cold compared with the other rooms and she was afraid it would worsen his health. He would call the doctor if Julia seemed particularly sick, so it’s hard to see how Curwen thought the two were indifferent to each other’s illnesses. Perhaps they took each other’s illnesses for granted to a certain extent because they were both used to them?

      However, there’s another question I’m very curious about. I imagine it must have been discussed on some other Wallace thread, but I don’t know where. Namely, was Julia in fact “old enough to be his mother”?

      I admit when I first came across this claim I wondered about their marriage, whether Wallace, reportedly with a certain shy reserve, was looking for a mother figure. But now I’m questioning it. This is from Wikipedia’s article on Wallace, not always renowned for being an unimpeachable source:

      During his time in Harrogate, he met Julia Dennis (28 April 1861 – 20 January 1931), and they were married there in March 1914. All early sources suggested that Julia was approximately the same age as Wallace, but in 2001 James Murphy demonstrated from her original birth certificate that she was actually seventeen years older than he was. Julia's father was a ruined alcoholic farmer from near Northallerton.



      If that’s true about her birth date, since Wallace was born on 29 August 1878, she would be seventeen years older: 69 when she died, against Wallace’s 52. But is it true?

      I’ve no doubt Wikipedia’s statement is true as it stands! It seems to be true that “early sources” placed Julia’s age about the same as Wallace’s. For instance, Jonathan Goodman (revised edition 1987) states that Julia was 33 when Wallace met her in the summer of 1911. That puts her birth year the same as Wallace’s, or late the year before. But did James Murphy get it right?

      Claims of Julia’s age are frustratingly variable. I’m sure I’ve read somewhere on the Web that her marriage certificate gave her age as 37. Since that was less than three years later, on 24 March 1914, that would put her birth date a year earlier than Goodman’s claim.

      However, that’s only a slight discrepancy. Meanwhile I read in the Liverpool Echo that she was 60 when she was killed--which agrees with nobody, and is in flagrant contradiction to a photograph appearing in the very same article. (See below.) Well, maybe somebody hit the wrong key. The zero is next to the 9!

      If she was really born in 1861, she would be 52 going on 53 when they married, against Wallace’s 35. If her marriage certificate really said she was 37, did she truly lie so outrageously to Wallace about her age? And did he believe it? Did he see no difference between a woman in her thirties and one in her fifties?--and presumably postmenopausal at that. I find that very hard to swallow.

      And there are other sources of data. One was Professor MacFall, who performed the autopsy on her, and described her as a “woman of about 55 years of age.” Admittedly this was only an estimate, and MacFall was an incompetent bungler anyway. But I’m sure a skilled pathologist could have told the difference between a woman of 69 and one of 55. If she was 53 when she died, MacFall’s estimate would be close enough.

      Meanwhile, a photograph of her gravestone states she was 52 when she died! This is from the same Liverpool Echo article I mentioned above:



      That makes her the same age as Wallace. Did whatever family member was responsible for this memorial not know how old she was?

      Most of all though, the claim that Julia was born in 1861 describes her father as a “ruined alcoholic farmer from near Northallerton.” Meanwhile, Goodman described her as “the daughter of William Dennis, a veterinary surgeon, and his French-born wife, Aimee.” These sound like totally different people. Julia was a cultured woman with a living sister Amy, and they owned a house together, which Julia lived in before her marriage, while Amy lived elsewhere. They don’t sound like the daughters of a “ruined alcoholic farmer.”

      Anyway how many women called “Julia Dennis” could there be? More than one, I’ll bet. So taking all the evidence together, I seriously have to question whether James Murphy got the right Julia Dennis when he claimed she was born in 1861.
      Antony may know more on this subject Gordon but Murphy was the first to really look into Julia’s background and her family going back to her grandparents. He said that Julia was born at Bruntcliffe House Farm on 28th April 1861 and was christened at St Oswald’s on 26th May. Maybe he saw the records at St Oswald’s? I can’t recall any preceding writers/researchers suggesting that he falsified this.

      .......

      I don’t think that mentioning Curwen, Wilson and Mather etc is cherry-picking Gordon. I’ve often heard it said, to the effect of, “everyone said that they seemed happy.” Fine, but whenever ive asked for a list of those who were asked none are given. The Johnston’s didn’t know them well and James Johnston (at least) didn’t know Julia’s Christian name. Florence had been inside the house, I believe, three times but when William wasn’t there. The cleaner Sarah Jane Draper came one morning a week so predominantly when William was out at work. James Caird had visited occasionally. It’s difficult then to come up with more than a very occasional visitor or people who may have seem them in the street or on one of their occasional visits to Calderstone’s Park.

      Im not trying to say that it’s proven or obvious that the Wallace’s weren’t happy Graham but there’s at least enough to hint that things might not have been as contented as it appeared on the surface. Who at the time would have expected Crippen to have done what he did? (of course his motive was discovered later)

      ....

      Julia did tell provable lies about herself which adds to an air of mystery about her. None of her family were at the funeral Graham so they would have had no say on what was on the gravestone. Her sister Amy arrived during the investigation but didn’t stay for the funeral. She then sent William a letter asking to send her Julia’s fur coat. Her brother only got in touch to ask about Julia’s money. Not a close family.
      Regards

      Herlock



      “All conspiracy theories are the product of the subconscious attempt of an ignorant yet creative mind to counteract the fear of the unknown with the tales of fantasy.” Abhijit Naskar.

      “Conspiracy theorists, she knew, were paranoid by definition, and usually with good reason - they were indeed being watched, largely because they were standing on an upturned bucket, haranguing the sheeple with their wingnut delusions.” Mick Herron.

      ”The most confused you will ever get is when you try to convince your heart and spirit of something your mind knows is a lie.” Shannon L. Alder.

      Comment


      • #48
        Originally posted by etenguy View Post
        (if that is

        Hi Herlock and Nick

        I believe it unlikely that the call was a prank, but have to agree with Nick that it is not impossible. The reason I believe the call was not a prank and was related to the murder are the number of coincidences required if it was a prank.

        If this was solely a prank call, all the following coincidences must have occurred:
        a) the call happened to be made from a phone box very close to Wallace's home
        b) it happened on the night Wallace actually attended the Chess club
        c) it happened at a time which is around the time Wallace must have left his home to travel to the Chess club
        (a, b and c combined (together with having the chess club number to hand) suggest to me it was a planned prank, if prank is what is was, and not a spur of the moment prank)
        d) it happened on the night before poor Julia Wallace was murdered - and set the scene for her murder (which if it was a prank was presumably unintentional)
        e) the murder occurred at a time which was aligned to the prank call (if that is what is was) timing.
        Hi etenguy,

        I like your reasoning on this one, particularly e).

        A prankster, who didn't care if Wallace fell for it or not, and had no idea if he would even get the message, could of course have had no inkling that a murder might be committed at Wallace's address during a rare absence for a Tuesday evening, while trying to make the bogus 7.30 appointment in MGE. That's one hell of a coincidence, made even more striking if Julia's killer had no inkling of the prank phone call, and therefore no expectation that Wallace would be going out at all, let alone for long enough to allow him to do the crime and leave before Wallace returned from his fruitless journey.

        In that scenario, could the killer have watched the house on the Tuesday evening, on the off-chance that Wallace might go out, and just struck lucky? If that's unlikely, I can't help thinking that the Monday evening phone call was designed to lure Wallace out of the house for sufficient time on the Tuesday evening, for whatever cunning plan the killer had in mind. He'd have still needed to watch the house to make sure Wallace took the bait, but at least he'd have known about the bait and would have had some reason to hope he would fall for it.

        Love,

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


        Comment


        • #49
          Originally posted by Dupin View Post
          @Gordon
          The public telephone box in 1931 would be the Giles Gilbert Scott variety: officially retired in 1936 but replaced by thousands of red boxes much like we used to see on the streets, and in some places they are still there.
          They did have dials. They had a large black box, still in use in the 50s as I recall. On the front was a large silver button, labelled A, with a large circle around it. On the right hand side was a button B. (When a child this was a source of amusement. You put in 4d and dialled your doctor. On an answer you pressed button B and got your pennies back for another go. No not often: it wears.) In the case of this caller, they dialled the operator (0 in those days) and said they had pressed A but not got through and there must be a fault. It later transpired there was no fault, and the caller must have pressed B and bluffed the operator. Of course, if a chess player wanted to have a record of a call being made this was a good ply. If a prankster, a good way of making a fool of someone at absolutely zero cost. But why Wallace would wish a record of the all important call being made not from Menlove anything but from a box yards from his home is imponderable. This is probably why James thought it a prankster, but which provided Wallace with a ready made scenario for an alibi.

          Personally I dont see Wallace as a violent, cold bloodied murderer. He himself later said if he wanted to kill Julia he would have poisoned her. He was an expert chemist. And to answer DJA'a question: nobody has put forward any reasonable motive for murder, including the prosecution. Among the suggestions:
          - he was gay and Julia was about to out him (no evidence apart from an off remark that he was sexually odd - more likely into whipping)
          - Julia was declining and becoming an embarrasment
          - he wanted to live with someone else (but when he could, he didnt)
          - he wanted freedom to grow roses (sorry that is his joke)

          And as an insurance salesman, he didnt have a large policy on Julia. Madness.

          I sit afence on this. If Wallace was involved it was with an accomplice. If he wasnt I would look at Parry, Cairns, or possibly the Johnsons.
          HTH
          Hi Dupin,

          But was there method in that madness? If an insurance salesman had personal reasons for doing in the missus, and his finances were in reasonable shape, I would personally call it madness if he did have a large policy on her. It would provide a very obvious motive.

          Having said that, if lack of money had been an issue for Wallace, he could have taken out a large policy on Julia and just waited for her to die of old age - assuming he knew about the large age gap.

          Love,

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


          Comment


          • #50
            Originally posted by caz View Post
            could the killer have watched the house on the Tuesday evening, on the off-chance that Wallace might go out
            No, obviously there would be no reason for the killer to do that. But if a burglar was roaming the streets looking for likely opportunities, seeing Wallace go out would present itself as such. If you look at it this way the idea that it would be too much of a coincidence is significantly reduced.

            Comment


            • #51
              Originally posted by etenguy View Post
              If Parry, or someone else who expected Wallace to attend the club, wanted to be sure Wallace was going to the cafe, they could have watched for Wallace to leave home from close to the phone box and then made the call ensuring both he was on his way but had not yet arrived and also timed the call so that Wallace could possibly have made it..
              Didn't Wallace claim to have used a route to the chess club which would not have taken him near or past the phone box? If he was telling the truth because he was innocent and had no reason to lie, then the caller would have been in the wrong place to ensure anything about Wallace's movements that evening. While I agree that using that particular phone box may have been a deliberate ploy to try and drop Wallace in it, it would not have worked if Wallace could prove he took a different route. As it was, he had no alibi for the call, which was most unfortunate if he didn't go near the box. If he did make the call himself, he had little choice but to lie about his route and hope it would be accepted.

              Love,

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


              Comment


              • #52
                When Wallace left home on the Monday evening he went from the rear of his house via an alleyway into Richmond Park which runs parallel to Wolverton Street. He then turned left into Breck Road and walked down to where Breck Road and Belmont Road cross and caught his tram there. What’s strange is that to get there he walked straight past two tram stops.
                Regards

                Herlock



                “All conspiracy theories are the product of the subconscious attempt of an ignorant yet creative mind to counteract the fear of the unknown with the tales of fantasy.” Abhijit Naskar.

                “Conspiracy theorists, she knew, were paranoid by definition, and usually with good reason - they were indeed being watched, largely because they were standing on an upturned bucket, haranguing the sheeple with their wingnut delusions.” Mick Herron.

                ”The most confused you will ever get is when you try to convince your heart and spirit of something your mind knows is a lie.” Shannon L. Alder.

                Comment


                • #53
                  Originally posted by NickB View Post
                  No, obviously there would be no reason for the killer to do that. But if a burglar was roaming the streets looking for likely opportunities, seeing Wallace go out would present itself as such. If you look at it this way the idea that it would be too much of a coincidence is significantly reduced.
                  When you put it that way, Nick, then yes, I can see how the coincidence of Wallace going out that evening, giving an opportunist burglar a break, would be lessened. But in that scenario, the burglar presumably wouldn't know that the house was otherwise empty, apart from one woman who was significantly older than the man he'd just seen leaving. Another coincidence, that no other family member was there, possibly upstairs, who would be straight down to investigate the moment this burglar managed to get past the front door?

                  I still suspect the killer had to know something about the Wallaces and their circumstances before he went for that cash box, whether it was before or after Julia was beaten to death.

                  Love,

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


                  Comment


                  • #54
                    . If Parry, or someone else who expected Wallace to attend the club, wanted to be sure Wallace was going to the cafe, they could have watched for Wallace to leave home from close to the phone box and then made the call ensuring both he was on his way but had not yet arrived and also timed the call so that Wallace could possibly have made it..
                    Hi Eten,

                    If you look on Instant Street View you’ll see that there’s a considerable distance between the site of the call box and the Richmond Park turn off. It would have been impossible for anyone to have seen Wallace turning into Breck Road from anywhere near the phone box especially at night with 1930’s lighting. Those proposing the theory usually suggest the car park of the Cabbage Hall pub (which is still there on the left)
                    Regards

                    Herlock



                    “All conspiracy theories are the product of the subconscious attempt of an ignorant yet creative mind to counteract the fear of the unknown with the tales of fantasy.” Abhijit Naskar.

                    “Conspiracy theorists, she knew, were paranoid by definition, and usually with good reason - they were indeed being watched, largely because they were standing on an upturned bucket, haranguing the sheeple with their wingnut delusions.” Mick Herron.

                    ”The most confused you will ever get is when you try to convince your heart and spirit of something your mind knows is a lie.” Shannon L. Alder.

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Originally posted by caz View Post

                      When you put it that way, Nick, then yes, I can see how the coincidence of Wallace going out that evening, giving an opportunist burglar a break, would be lessened. But in that scenario, the burglar presumably wouldn't know that the house was otherwise empty, apart from one woman who was significantly older than the man he'd just seen leaving. Another coincidence, that no other family member was there, possibly upstairs, who would be straight down to investigate the moment this burglar managed to get past the front door?

                      I still suspect the killer had to know something about the Wallaces and their circumstances before he went for that cash box, whether it was before or after Julia was beaten to death.

                      Love,

                      Caz
                      X
                      Hi Caz,

                      Another point is that Wallace left via the backdoor into the alley way. If he’d have seen someone lurking in the alley then he’d surely have mentioned it to the police and so it’s far more likely that a random burglar would have seen him in Richmond Park. So unless our random burglar actually knew Wallace how could he have known which house he’d come from?
                      Regards

                      Herlock



                      “All conspiracy theories are the product of the subconscious attempt of an ignorant yet creative mind to counteract the fear of the unknown with the tales of fantasy.” Abhijit Naskar.

                      “Conspiracy theorists, she knew, were paranoid by definition, and usually with good reason - they were indeed being watched, largely because they were standing on an upturned bucket, haranguing the sheeple with their wingnut delusions.” Mick Herron.

                      ”The most confused you will ever get is when you try to convince your heart and spirit of something your mind knows is a lie.” Shannon L. Alder.

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Originally posted by etenguy View Post

                        Hi ColdCaseJury

                        I tend to favour that it is more likely that Wallace murdered Julia than someone else and therefore was most likely the caller. Your quoted observation is one piece of evidence that throws doubt on Wallace being the caller and is difficult to reconcile. It may have been a mistake in the dark, but I find that suggestion a little weak as he would have heard the coins being returned.

                        Could it be, if it was Wallace, that he deliberately scammed to point towards someone like Parry? I'm not sure I'm convinced by that explanation either.

                        Could it be he wanted the time recorded to provide himself with an alibi? Possibly, but then Beattie would confirm the time of the call in any case, so it seems it is more about location of the originating call. Just possibly it was to back up Beattie's memory of the call time.
                        If Wallace was the caller, his problem would not be having an alibi, so instead he'd have wanted a couple of decent reasons for people to believe it was someone else. So you may be right about the phone box scam being designed to point towards a known petty criminal such as Parry, while Wallace's claim to have used a different route to the chess club that night would have been his insurance - ha ha.

                        Love,

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


                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Originally posted by caz View Post

                          Didn't Wallace claim to have used a route to the chess club which would not have taken him near or past the phone box? If he was telling the truth because he was innocent and had no reason to lie, then the caller would have been in the wrong place to ensure anything about Wallace's movements that evening. While I agree that using that particular phone box may have been a deliberate ploy to try and drop Wallace in it, it would not have worked if Wallace could prove he took a different route. As it was, he had no alibi for the call, which was most unfortunate if he didn't go near the box. If he did make the call himself, he had little choice but to lie about his route and hope it would be accepted.

                          Love,

                          Caz
                          X
                          Hi Caz

                          That is indeed true, but my understanding is that not far from that phone box was a vantage point from where Wallace's movements could have been watched.

                          You are also correct concerning the route, if Wallace could prove he was no where near the phone box at the time the call was made - Wallace would be exonerated and no harm befalls Mr Qualtrough - possibly seen as a reasonable risk by whoever Mr Qualtrough was - and of course, if it was Wallace, he could not prove he was somewhere else at the time.

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post

                            Hi Eten,

                            If you look on Instant Street View you’ll see that there’s a considerable distance between the site of the call box and the Richmond Park turn off. It would have been impossible for anyone to have seen Wallace turning into Breck Road from anywhere near the phone box especially at night with 1930’s lighting. Those proposing the theory usually suggest the car park of the Cabbage Hall pub (which is still there on the left)
                            Thanks Herlock - lazy language by me.

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post
                              Another point is that Wallace left via the backdoor into the alley way.
                              Yes I am looking at the map of his route in Mark's book. It would be useful to have a larger scale one for the house area, but I would have thought that alleyways were a prime hunting ground for burglars and they were skilled at concealing themselves.

                              On the question of not knowing who was left in the house, that is an occupational hazard of opportunistic burglary.

                              Which raises an interesting point. If you were planning a burglary surely it would be better to pick a house you knew would be empty rather than one you knew would still be occupied.

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Originally posted by caz View Post

                                If Wallace was the caller, his problem would not be having an alibi, so instead he'd have wanted a couple of decent reasons for people to believe it was someone else. So you may be right about the phone box scam being designed to point towards a known petty criminal such as Parry, while Wallace's claim to have used a different route to the chess club that night would have been his insurance - ha ha.

                                Love,

                                Caz
                                X
                                Hi Caz, great to see you back on this topic!

                                I think the issue with your point is that for Wallace to make it look like a scam he had to report a no-reply (i.e. make the second call to the operator). Either Wallace knew a no-reply would be logged or he did not.

                                If he did know, then he knew he was logging that the phone call was made just 400 yards from his house. Not the smartest move - rather than point away from him, it means he is now the prime suspect. And, as it happened, it was this fact above all else that to his arrest. By contrast the call not being traced to Anfield 1627 meant that the suspect pool was a large as all the men in Liverpool - anyone could have made the call. Surely, that would have been his plan?

                                If he did not know, then there was no way anyone (including him) could suggest it was a scam - the call would not have been logged for starters and we would know nothing about it. And, I should point out, that no one in 1931 suggested it was a scam - at least at the trial.

                                Either way, I think this might be over finessing the case in hindsight and attributing near-genius level criminality to Wallace!
                                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