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** The Murder of Julia Wallace **

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  • I am re-reading Jonathan Goodman's book on the Wallace case, and something jumped out at me that I don't rememember considering before.

    One of the pivotal elements of the case was the time that the milkboy Alan Close spoke to Julia Wallace at the door of 29 Wolverton Street.

    Friends of Close said that he had told them that he spoke Julia at 6.45pm on the evening of the murder, at the trial however it is clear that Close was in no mood to be browbeaten by Wallace's defence barrister Roland Oliver.

    The trial transcript shows that 14 year old Close was subjected to some pretty aggressive questions from Oliver, and some searching questions from the judge, but through it all he stuck to his guns that it could have been as early as 6.30pm.

    Oliver:" Did you not say that you took the milk to Mrs Wallace at a quarter to seven?"

    Close: " No, between half past six and a quarter to seven."


    It is striking that young Close refused to be intimidated by his surroundings and by the men in gowns and wigs.

    Perhaps he stuck to his guns because he knew without doubt that it could have been as early as half past six.

    He may indeed have told his friends that he saw Julia at a quarter to seven, but when he considered the events of the that evening, he realised that it could have been as early as half past six.

    Perhaps what we are seeing here is a young boy who was determined to tell the truth, and did so.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by barnflatwyngarde View Post
      I am re-reading Jonathan Goodman's book on the Wallace case, and something jumped out at me that I don't rememember considering before.

      One of the pivotal elements of the case was the time that the milkboy Alan Close spoke to Julia Wallace at the door of 29 Wolverton Street.

      Friends of Close said that he had told them that he spoke Julia at 6.45pm on the evening of the murder, at the trial however it is clear that Close was in no mood to be browbeaten by Wallace's defence barrister Roland Oliver.

      The trial transcript shows that 14 year old Close was subjected to some pretty aggressive questions from Oliver, and some searching questions from the judge, but through it all he stuck to his guns that it could have been as early as 6.30pm.

      Oliver:" Did you not say that you took the milk to Mrs Wallace at a quarter to seven?"

      Close: " No, between half past six and a quarter to seven."


      It is striking that young Close refused to be intimidated by his surroundings and by the men in gowns and wigs.

      Perhaps he stuck to his guns because he knew without doubt that it could have been as early as half past six.

      He may indeed have told his friends that he saw Julia at a quarter to seven, but when he considered the events of the that evening, he realised that it could have been as early as half past six.

      Perhaps what we are seeing here is a young boy who was determined to tell the truth, and did so.
      Hi Barn,

      On the night of the murder Close said that he’d passed the Holy Trinity Church (with clock) in Breck Road at 6.25. He timed the walk with the police from the clock to number 29 at 6.5 minutes. He then did it later on his own in 5 minutes. So I think we can at least say that he could have gotten to number 29 easily by 6.35 and possibly slightly before. It looks possible that he walked away around 6.37-6.38.

      A huge point against Wallace has been the lack of time between 6.45 and the latest time that he would have had to have left the house to reach his trams stop (from memory around 6.49) This is 4 minutes including a supposed clean up operation. Whereas it was probably more like 14 minutes with a serious possibility of no clean up required. This was always the biggest point against a guilty Wallace. We can now dismiss this.
      Regards

      Sir Herlock Sholmes



      “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 about their wingnut delusions.”

      “If you argue with a madman, it is extremely probable that you will get the worst of it; for in many ways his mind moves all the quicker for not being delayed by the things that go with good judgment.”

      Comment


      • Originally posted by barnflatwyngarde View Post
        I am re-reading Jonathan Goodman's book on the Wallace case, and something jumped out at me that I don't rememember considering before.

        One of the pivotal elements of the case was the time that the milkboy Alan Close spoke to Julia Wallace at the door of 29 Wolverton Street.

        Friends of Close said that he had told them that he spoke Julia at 6.45pm on the evening of the murder, at the trial however it is clear that Close was in no mood to be browbeaten by Wallace's defence barrister Roland Oliver.

        The trial transcript shows that 14 year old Close was subjected to some pretty aggressive questions from Oliver, and some searching questions from the judge, but through it all he stuck to his guns that it could have been as early as 6.30pm.

        Oliver:" Did you not say that you took the milk to Mrs Wallace at a quarter to seven?"

        Close: " No, between half past six and a quarter to seven."


        It is striking that young Close refused to be intimidated by his surroundings and by the men in gowns and wigs.

        Perhaps he stuck to his guns because he knew without doubt that it could have been as early as half past six.

        He may indeed have told his friends that he saw Julia at a quarter to seven, but when he considered the events of the that evening, he realised that it could have been as early as half past six.

        Perhaps what we are seeing here is a young boy who was determined to tell the truth, and did so.
        HI Barn, it is possible Alan Close stuck to his guns because (a) he now believed he was telling the truth; or (b) because he was pressurised by police and did not want to change his story.

        You also need to weigh-in the following evidence:
        a) Close said he was in Redford Street at 6:45pm. This was his last stop (via one drop-off in Richmond Park). It would have taken Close about 4 minutes to get to Redford Street from Wolverton Street (incl. the one drop-off). Therefore, he left after 6:40pm.
        b) Florence Johnston said that milk could be delivered between anytime 6:10pm to 7pm, but recently it had been delivered late, suggesting a time nearer to 7pm than 6:30pm.

        I provide a full analysis in Exhibit 7 in my book.
        Author of Cold Case Jury books: Move To Murder (2nd Edition) (2021), 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. Author of Crime & Mystery Hour - short fictional crime stories. And for something completely different - I'm the co-founder of Wow-Vinyl - celebrating the Golden Years of the British Single (1977-85)

        Comment


        • Originally posted by ColdCaseJury View Post

          HI Barn, it is possible Alan Close stuck to his guns because (a) he now believed he was telling the truth; or (b) because he was pressurised by police and did not want to change his story.

          You also need to weigh-in the following evidence:
          a) Close said he was in Redford Street at 6:45pm. This was his last stop (via one drop-off in Richmond Park). It would have taken Close about 4 minutes to get to Redford Street from Wolverton Street (incl. the one drop-off). Therefore, he left after 6:40pm.
          b) Florence Johnston said that milk could be delivered between anytime 6:10pm to 7pm, but recently it had been delivered late, suggesting a time nearer to 7pm than 6:30pm.

          I provide a full analysis in Exhibit 7 in my book.
          Hi CCJ, Thanks for this.

          Yeah we have to acknowledge that there are so many possible scenarios relating to the timing of Close's visit to number 29 Wolverton Street, as there are for tram timings, how long it took Wallace to walk from A-B, or B-C, or C-D, ad infinatum.

          The whole demeanor of Close in the witness box is quite striking.
          There were times when he see​​​​med just to clam up in the face of questions from Oliver and the judge, but he stuck to his guns and resisted all attempts to browbeat him into revising his timings.

          I just think that this is an important point which seems to have been overlooked by most, if not all chroniclers of the case.

          Good luck with the new book by the way.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by barnflatwyngarde View Post

            The whole demeanor of Close in the witness box is quite striking.
            There were times when he see​​​​med just to clam up in the face of questions from Oliver and the judge, but he stuck to his guns and resisted all attempts to browbeat him into revising his timings.

            I just think that this is an important point which seems to have been overlooked by most, if not all chroniclers of the case.

            Good luck with the new book by the way.
            Hi Barn, thanks for the msg about the book. Actually, I think you can argue Close did not stick to his guns. He told Hemmerde (Q#437) that he delivered the milk at 6:30pm and then told Oliver (Q#520 and Q#536) between 6:30pm and 6:45pm. Had Close survived WWII, I'm sure he would have spoken about the trial to Goodman in the 1960s.
            Author of Cold Case Jury books: Move To Murder (2nd Edition) (2021), 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. Author of Crime & Mystery Hour - short fictional crime stories. And for something completely different - I'm the co-founder of Wow-Vinyl - celebrating the Golden Years of the British Single (1977-85)

            Comment


            • Originally posted by ColdCaseJury View Post

              Hi Barn, thanks for the msg about the book. Actually, I think you can argue Close did not stick to his guns. He told Hemmerde (Q#437) that he delivered the milk at 6:30pm and then told Oliver (Q#520 and Q#536) between 6:30pm and 6:45pm. Had Close survived WWII, I'm sure he would have spoken about the trial to Goodman in the 1960s.
              The evidence given by Close in the witness box is well covered on pages 110-113 of Roger Wilkes book "Wallace the Final Verdict". Close certainly did not stick to his guns, was very uneasy and evasive. The defence team was convinced that Close was pressed by the police into changing his original timing and his performance in court supports this.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by ansonman View Post

                The evidence given by Close in the witness box is well covered on pages 110-113 of Roger Wilkes book "Wallace the Final Verdict". Close certainly did not stick to his guns, was very uneasy and evasive. The defence team was convinced that Close was pressed by the police into changing his original timing and his performance in court supports this.
                That is my view, too. And I think it is clear that the police realised immediately that timing would be a problem to their case and "leaned" on Close. I would also point out that even if Close genuinely had greater doubt after talking to detectives, it did not change what he told his friends, yet he denied telling them "6:45pm" in the witness box. So, I think he was under duress.
                Author of Cold Case Jury books: Move To Murder (2nd Edition) (2021), 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. Author of Crime & Mystery Hour - short fictional crime stories. And for something completely different - I'm the co-founder of Wow-Vinyl - celebrating the Golden Years of the British Single (1977-85)

                Comment


                • Are we suggesting that he lied about seeing the clock at 6.25?
                  Regards

                  Sir Herlock Sholmes



                  “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 about their wingnut delusions.”

                  “If you argue with a madman, it is extremely probable that you will get the worst of it; for in many ways his mind moves all the quicker for not being delayed by the things that go with good judgment.”

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post
                    Are we suggesting that he lied about seeing the clock at 6.25?
                    Wilkes P 60:

                    "Elsie Wright and the three boys, Metcalf, Jones and Caird, followed as Close strutted across the road, down the entry leading into Wolverton Street. At Wallace's house, Close marched up the little steps and knocked. A policemen came to the door. "What, you back again?".
                    Close looked back to where the others were grouped on the pavement, nodding encouragement. "My name is Alan Close and I've come to tell you that Mrs Wallace answered the door last night when I called with the milk at a quarter to seven".
                    By now a second policemen had come to the door and was peering over the shoulder of the first. Alan Close stood on the step, fidgeting.
                    The first policemen looked at Close, then at his friends standing wide-eyed on the pavement. "Right", he said, fixing Close with a meaningful look. "You'd better come inside".

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post
                      Are we suggesting that he lied about seeing the clock at 6.25?
                      Or he lied about seeing his wristwatch at 6:45pm in Redford Street. They both cannot be true, given the relative timings.

                      To be fair to Close, I prefer "mistaken" to "lied". I think the door closed around 6:40pm, giving Wallace 9 minutes; too little for some Wallace scenarios (i.e. Prosecution and Murphy).

                      Author of Cold Case Jury books: Move To Murder (2nd Edition) (2021), 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. Author of Crime & Mystery Hour - short fictional crime stories. And for something completely different - I'm the co-founder of Wow-Vinyl - celebrating the Golden Years of the British Single (1977-85)

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by ColdCaseJury View Post

                        Or he lied about seeing his wristwatch at 6:45pm in Redford Street. They both cannot be true, given the relative timings.

                        To be fair to Close, I prefer "mistaken" to "lied". I think the door closed around 6:40pm, giving Wallace 9 minutes; too little for some Wallace scenarios (i.e. Prosecution and Murphy).
                        If he was correct about 6.25 then it could easily have been earlier than 6.35. He had 3 things to do which would have taken no time at all. Obviously there’s talk of police pressure but Close made his statement something like 8 days before Wallace was arrested and he was saying between 6.30 and 6.45 then. I think he could have got there just before 6.35 or just after 6.35 but, as you know, it matters little to me because I think that 5 minutes is all that Wallace would have needed.

                        Regards

                        Sir Herlock Sholmes



                        “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 about their wingnut delusions.”

                        “If you argue with a madman, it is extremely probable that you will get the worst of it; for in many ways his mind moves all the quicker for not being delayed by the things that go with good judgment.”

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post

                          If he was correct about 6.25 then it could easily have been earlier than 6.35. He had 3 things to do which would have taken no time at all. Obviously there’s talk of police pressure but Close made his statement something like 8 days before Wallace was arrested and he was saying between 6.30 and 6.45 then. I think he could have got there just before 6.35 or just after 6.35 but, as you know, it matters little to me because I think that 5 minutes is all that Wallace would have needed.
                          I tend to agree with you Herlock.

                          If Wallace planned it meticulously, he would have factored in a time frame that he was confident with.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by barnflatwyngarde View Post

                            I tend to agree with you Herlock.

                            If Wallace planned it meticulously, he would have factored in a time frame that he was confident with.
                            I believe that he used to mackintosh to protect himself but the alternative suggestion is that Julia wore the mackintosh over her shoulders to keep (even though she’d gone outside to the gate with William without feeling the need to put a coat around her shoulders. Was it colder indoors that out? Why is this so easily believed? Her own coat would have been on the same hooks. She didn’t own a mackintosh so she couldn’t have mistaken it for her own coat. And William hadn’t worn it when he went out a few minutes earlier as it was on the hook drying after getting wet that afternoon in the rain so why, to keep warm, would she have chosen what was likely to have been a damp coat. Would a wet coat have dried out in less than 2 hours in a cold, damp hallway? Surely not? Apart from the fact that it’s close to impossible to see how the coat got from Julia’s shoulders to being bunched up beneath her nothing about this explanation rings true to me.


                            Regards

                            Sir Herlock Sholmes



                            “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 about their wingnut delusions.”

                            “If you argue with a madman, it is extremely probable that you will get the worst of it; for in many ways his mind moves all the quicker for not being delayed by the things that go with good judgment.”

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post

                              I believe that he used to mackintosh to protect himself but the alternative suggestion is that Julia wore the mackintosh over her shoulders to keep (even though she’d gone outside to the gate with William without feeling the need to put a coat around her shoulders. Was it colder indoors that out? Why is this so easily believed? Her own coat would have been on the same hooks. She didn’t own a mackintosh so she couldn’t have mistaken it for her own coat. And William hadn’t worn it when he went out a few minutes earlier as it was on the hook drying after getting wet that afternoon in the rain so why, to keep warm, would she have chosen what was likely to have been a damp coat. Would a wet coat have dried out in less than 2 hours in a cold, damp hallway? Surely not? Apart from the fact that it’s close to impossible to see how the coat got from Julia’s shoulders to being bunched up beneath her nothing about this explanation rings true to me.

                              I do address this in my book. The coat stand is in the hall - Julia might not have wanted to get the coat when she was just going out into the yard from the kitchen for a few moments. Then she is back in the warm kitchen. If an unexpected visitor called, she is going into a stone cold room for quite a few minutes. Wallace's mackintosh would have been uppermost on the coat stand, so naturally this was closest to hand. She puts it around her shoulders for extra warmth; this was suggested by Florence Johnston presumably because this was a natural thing to do. This rings true to me.

                              Now Wallace uses the mackintosh as a shield. Quite plausible. But the most natural thing for him to do was place it over her head - no chance of blood spatter. Yet, he did not do this.
                              Author of Cold Case Jury books: Move To Murder (2nd Edition) (2021), 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. Author of Crime & Mystery Hour - short fictional crime stories. And for something completely different - I'm the co-founder of Wow-Vinyl - celebrating the Golden Years of the British Single (1977-85)

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by ColdCaseJury View Post

                                I do address this in my book. The coat stand is in the hall - Julia might not have wanted to get the coat when she was just going out into the yard from the kitchen for a few moments. Then she is back in the warm kitchen. If an unexpected visitor called, she is going into a stone cold room for quite a few minutes. Wallace's mackintosh would have been uppermost on the coat stand, so naturally this was closest to hand. She puts it around her shoulders for extra warmth; this was suggested by Florence Johnston presumably because this was a natural thing to do. This rings true to me.

                                Now Wallace uses the mackintosh as a shield. Quite plausible. But the most natural thing for him to do was place it over her head - no chance of blood spatter. Yet, he did not do this.
                                I just don’t think it was natural for her to have put on William’s coat. I think that the natural thing would have been for her to have put her own coat on. It wasn’t as if it would have taken any time to choose. And as it had been raining during the day how could Wallace’s mackintosh have dried in a cold hallway in less than 2 hours? At the very least it would have been damp. So why would she choose a damp coat to keep warm? It makes no sense.

                                If he’d have put the coat over her head then there would have been the possibility of the police being able tell that this is what had happened. Between weapon and bone the material might have been cut for example. A precaution like this would suggest deliberate murder and point only to Wallace. By using it as a shield all he had to do was to try and smear any blood spatter so it didn’t look like blood spatter which he could do by bunching up beneath her body. Added to the possibility of smearing he would have had the blood pooling as well.
                                Regards

                                Sir Herlock Sholmes



                                “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 about their wingnut delusions.”

                                “If you argue with a madman, it is extremely probable that you will get the worst of it; for in many ways his mind moves all the quicker for not being delayed by the things that go with good judgment.”

                                Comment

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