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** The Murder of Julia Wallace **

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  • #76
    Originally posted by caz View Post

    Is the order of events known, concerning when Wallace was first told where the call was made from, and when he first described the route he took? I'm a little uneasy about the coincidence here, if he took an unusual route, without a clue that someone was going to make the Qualtrough call from that particular box [let alone that it would later be traced to that box], while he was innocently making his way to the club. It seems like a very fortuitous decision, all things considered, and yet he was never able to prove it. The contrast with the Tuesday evening, when he made his presence felt throughout his journey to MGE, is striking.
    (1) Wallace's first statement never mentions the phone call (taken in the early hours of Wednesday morning); it mentions he had an appointment to keep, and gives details.
    (2) In his second statement, he mentions his route to the chess club - clearly he was asked the question by police but it is unclear if Wallace knew that the police had located the phone box. I suggest the police would not have told him at this point.
    (3) Wallace said might have taken that route to post a letter - we do not know if it was unusual for him to take that route in any case.
    (4) Apologies for being pedantic, but Wallace did not make his presence felt throughout his journey to MGE. I will explain below.

    If Wallace was using his trip to MGE as a defence to cause reasonable doubt about his guilt (it was never an alibi in the true sense of the word) then his presence in MGE was sufficient i.e talking to different people and the PC etc. He did not need to make his presence known in the tram (particularly Smithdown Lane to Penny Lane) unless he wanted it known when he left the house to cause greater doubt because of timing. But here's the thing. As Hussey pointed out 50 years ago, the critical factor in establishing the timeline was the first tram journey from Belmont Road, not the second. Indeed, I suggest he should have fallen over or caused some fuss as soon as he arrived at the tram stop - easily done. Yet, he is as quiet on this first journey as the one on Monday night. Why? Again, I do not want to attribute genius-level criminality on the part of Wallace, but if his plan is to create a time-based defence, he rather bungled it.
    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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    • #77
      Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post
      A point that I’d like to raise.

      Wallace returns and is surprised/concerned that he cant get in first via the front door then the back then the front again then the back again. On his second visit to the back door he meets the Johnston’s and tells them that he can’t get in. Mr Johnston offers to fetch his own key but when Wallace tries again and the door opens.

      Wallace is quite clear that whenever he returned to the house after dark he returned via the front door. So Julia would obviously have known this and so, knowing that the back door wouldn’t be used again that evening and that she was in the house alone, she would have bolted the back door. So why was Wallace surprised that he couldn’t get in? Surely he should have fully expected it to have been locked and bolted?
      That's the bit I don't understand myself, Herlock. If Wallace assumed Julia was indoors, would he not have expected to find the back door bolted from the inside? When he couldn't get in via the front door, I could see him trying the back door on the off-chance, but with no luck there either, the natural reaction would surely have been to knock very loudly and shout to Julia to let him in, thinking she had bolted both doors and then forgotten or fallen asleep. The unthinkable, that she was unable to let him in because she was lying dead in the parlour, should have been - well - unthinkable, while other options remained.

      If he'd found the back door unlocked and unbolted, he'd have had more reason to worry that something was not right.

      Love,

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


      Comment


      • #78
        Originally posted by ColdCaseJury View Post

        (1) Wallace's first statement never mentions the phone call (taken in the early hours of Wednesday morning); it mentions he had an appointment to keep, and gives details.
        (2) In his second statement, he mentions his route to the chess club - clearly he was asked the question by police but it is unclear if Wallace knew that the police had located the phone box. I suggest the police would not have told him at this point.
        (3) Wallace said might have taken that route to post a letter - we do not know if it was unusual for him to take that route in any case.
        (4) Apologies for being pedantic, but Wallace did not make his presence felt throughout his journey to MGE. I will explain below.

        If Wallace was using his trip to MGE as a defence to cause reasonable doubt about his guilt (it was never an alibi in the true sense of the word) then his presence in MGE was sufficient i.e talking to different people and the PC etc. He did not need to make his presence known in the tram (particularly Smithdown Lane to Penny Lane) unless he wanted it known when he left the house to cause greater doubt because of timing. But here's the thing. As Hussey pointed out 50 years ago, the critical factor in establishing the timeline was the first tram journey from Belmont Road, not the second. Indeed, I suggest he should have fallen over or caused some fuss as soon as he arrived at the tram stop - easily done. Yet, he is as quiet on this first journey as the one on Monday night. Why? Again, I do not want to attribute genius-level criminality on the part of Wallace, but if his plan is to create a time-based defence, he rather bungled it.
        Thanks for this, CCJ. I'm always ready to read and learn.

        I wonder what Wallace thought, when asked about his route on the Monday night. Did he suppose the police were merely trying to establish his movements at the time the call was made? Or did he worry that they may also have had an idea where it was made?

        As soon as Wallace became aware that the call had been traced to that box, did he sigh with relief that he had not chosen to go that way? Or did he sigh with relief that he had lied about the route, just in case? I still can't make up my mind on this one, because while Wallace didn't need to prove he had an alibi for the call or the murder, he'd have been cleared so easily if there had been any way to confirm his stated route to the chess club. It seems so cruel that nobody could help him in this regard, unlike the witnesses to his search for MGE the following evening, who only served to make the jury believe he was trying too hard.

        Love,

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


        Comment


        • #79
          Originally posted by caz View Post

          As soon as Wallace became aware that the call had been traced to that box, did he sigh with relief that he had not chosen to go that way? Or did he sigh with relief that he had lied about the route, just in case? I still can't make up my mind on this one, because while Wallace didn't need to prove he had an alibi for the call or the murder, he'd have been cleared so easily if there had been any way to confirm his stated route to the chess club. It seems so cruel that nobody could help him in this regard, unlike the witnesses to his search for MGE the following evening, who only served to make the jury believe he was trying too hard.
          The comparison between the two nights is striking, as you say, not least in terms of the police investigation. I cannot believe the police failed to question people about Monday night tram - if they did, their negligence was off the chart. Assuming, they did question tram drivers, it is telling that there is no extant record of detectives having done so. It is possible that the tram driver said, "Dunno. Can't remember," and they decided not to bother recording it. However, it is also possible that the tram driver might have said "Yeah, I think he got on at the stop just past Belmont Road". "You're not sure?" "I'm not certain, no," and they kept this potentially exculpatory evidence from the file. In 1931, there was no statutory obligation to notify the defence of such evidence. In fact, the law was only changed in 1996.
          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


          • #80
            Originally posted by ColdCaseJury View Post

            (1) Wallace's first statement never mentions the phone call (taken in the early hours of Wednesday morning); it mentions he had an appointment to keep, and gives details.
            (2) In his second statement, he mentions his route to the chess club - clearly he was asked the question by police but it is unclear if Wallace knew that the police had located the phone box. I suggest the police would not have told him at this point.
            (3) Wallace said might have taken that route to post a letter - we do not know if it was unusual for him to take that route in any case.
            (4) Apologies for being pedantic, but Wallace did not make his presence felt throughout his journey to MGE. I will explain below.

            If Wallace was using his trip to MGE as a defence to cause reasonable doubt about his guilt (it was never an alibi in the true sense of the word) then his presence in MGE was sufficient i.e talking to different people and the PC etc. He did not need to make his presence known in the tram (particularly Smithdown Lane to Penny Lane) unless he wanted it known when he left the house to cause greater doubt because of timing. But here's the thing. As Hussey pointed out 50 years ago, the critical factor in establishing the timeline was the first tram journey from Belmont Road, not the second. Indeed, I suggest he should have fallen over or caused some fuss as soon as he arrived at the tram stop - easily done. Yet, he is as quiet on this first journey as the one on Monday night. Why? Again, I do not want to attribute genius-level criminality on the part of Wallace, but if his plan is to create a time-based defence, he rather bungled it.
            Ok, I’ll accept the accusation that I might being looking at things from a Wallace was guilty point of view, but....

            What if, on the first tram, circumstances only allowed him to ask the conductor once? Perhaps the conductor was talking to other customers then spent time upstairs? Maybe he did mention it a second time but it was only a brief: “you won’t forget my stop will you?” Then when the police asked for people to come forward the Conductor just didn’t recall the meeting? Perhaps he went on holiday to Scotland and didn’t see the police’s request for witnesses?

            I do take your point though of course Antony.
            Last edited by Herlock Sholmes; 01-26-2021, 03:02 PM.
            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


            • #81
              I'm more surprised at the detailed recollections of the 2nd and 3rd tram conductors.

              This is the radio programme that Katie Mather was listening to at 25 Menlove Gardens West:

              https://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/page/d68d0661a89d4eeabfad88e2b9d11e1d
              Last edited by NickB; 01-26-2021, 03:15 PM.

              Comment


              • #82
                Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post

                Ok, I’ll accept the accusation that I might being looking at things from a Wallace was guilty point of view, but....

                What if, on the first tram, circumstances only allowed him to ask the conductor once? Perhaps the conductor was talking to other customers then spent time upstairs? Maybe he did mention it a second time but it was only a brief: “you won’t forget my stop will you?” Then when the police asked for people to come forward the Conductor just didn’t recall the meeting? Perhaps he went on holiday to Scotland and didn’t see the police’s request for witnesses?

                I do take your point though of course Antony.
                Ah, perhaps the tram driver was on holiday with Phyllis Plant, Savona Brine, Mrs Williamson, the staff at Hignetts... it all makes sense now!
                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


                • #83
                  Originally posted by NickB View Post
                  Yes Caz, a really clever plan would have been to lure Julia away too. That would still involve breaking in, or using the key, but the house would then be empty.

                  Herlock, How about this ....?

                  Wallace cannot unlock the front door. While he is trying one thought, among many, that occurs to him is that when he arrived back there was an intruder in the house who - while Wallace has been attempting to get in the front the first time - escaped out the back. He then goes round to try the back.

                  So when the police arrive that thought is still fresh in his mind and he readily agrees that he thought there might have been an intruder in the house when he got back. But the idea that there was an intruder was not part of a carefully thought out murder plan, it was just a passing thought. So by the time of the trial he had forgotten it when first asked but, when prompted, remembered.
                  Hi Nick,

                  For me the problem is that within a few sentences Wallace goes from not remembering it to saying that he didn’t think that that was what he’d thought at the time to saying that he might have believed it to saying that he did believe it.

                  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


                  • #84
                    Originally posted by ColdCaseJury View Post

                    Ah, perhaps the tram driver was on holiday with Phyllis Plant, Savona Brine, Mrs Williamson, the staff at Hignetts... it all makes sense now!
                    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


                    • #85
                      Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post
                      For me the problem is that within a few sentences Wallace goes from not remembering it to saying that he didnt think that that was what hed thought at the time to saying that he might have believed it to saying that he did believe it.
                      Once Wallace got inside the house he would have realised the murder had been committed some time ago and abandoned the idea that he had disturbed an intruder. So I do not find it problematic that a fleeting thought would fade until he was reminded.

                      Comment


                      • #86
                        Originally posted by NickB View Post
                        This is the radio programme that Katie Mather was listening to at 25 Menlove Gardens West...
                        I note, however, this is the London edition, so it could be that Liverpool were listening to something different (?) However, when I write the second edition of Move to Murder, I'll see if I can include this detail when Wallace talks to Mather! (p. 38).

                        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


                        • #87
                          It is the Southern edition of Radio Times but the same programme was being broadcast up north.

                          Mark's book says: "Katie Ellen Mather was listening to 'The Geisha' on the radio when Wallace called". You will see that this was an item on the programme.

                          Comment


                          • #88
                            Originally posted by NickB View Post
                            I'm more surprised at the detailed recollections of the 2nd and 3rd tram conductors.

                            This is the radio programme that Katie Mather was listening to at 25 Menlove Gardens West:

                            https://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/page/d68d0661a89d4eeabfad88e2b9d11e1d
                            Thanks for posting that Nick

                            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


                            • #89
                              Originally posted by NickB View Post

                              Once Wallace got inside the house he would have realised the murder had been committed some time ago and abandoned the idea that he had disturbed an intruder. So I do not find it problematic that a fleeting thought would fade until he was reminded.
                              No problem Nick. My point though is that he didn’t forget it over time. He went from saying that he couldn’t remember to saying that he didn’t think that he’d thought it at the time to saying that he might have believed it to saying that he had believed it all in the space of half a dozen sentences.
                              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


                              • #90
                                When the call was made the caller, before mentioning MGE, asked Samuel Beattie for Wallace’s home address. Whilst it difficult to see any benefit for the caller (whoever he was) we might ask who was least likely to ask for this information? Was anyone taking an unnecessary risk in asking it? I’d say that it would be anyone who wasn’t Wallace. I’ll name Parry as he’s the other person named as a potential caller.

                                Parry is trying to get Wallace to leave his house on the Tuesday night to facilitate a robbery so he needs the call to be as believable as possible. He wants it to work. After all wouldn't Wallace have been just a little suspicious to gave been called at his chess club by Qualtrough (how would some random bloke from a different area know that he’d be at his club that night let alone the fact that he was even a member in the first place?) Why would Qualtrough have specifically wanted Wallace (a man that he’d never met?) What was so special about Agent Wallace? Why hadnt Qualtrough simply contacted The Pru and asked them to send an agent round? So even as it stands this call should have appeared mighty suspicious to Wallace. Obviously Wallace doesn’t think so. But the caller began by asking for his address. So on top of it all why ask for a persons address when you are about to request that the person comes to your house?

                                Parry had absolutely no way of knowing that neither Beattie or any other club member didn’t know Wallace’s address and so if Beattie had said “yes, he lives at.....” how much more suspicious would this call have been if the caller had then gone on to ask Wallace to go to his house.

                                Wallace however knew very well that Samuel Beattie didn’t know his address (Beattie didn’t even know what work Wallace did either) The only member who knew Wallace’s address was his friend James Caird and Caird only got to the club after he’d shut up his shop for the night. Therefore Wallace would have known very well that at 7.15/7.20 there was no one in the club that knew his address.


                                If the call was by Parry he was taking a completely pointless, unnecessary risk of putting Wallace off from going in search of MGE by making the call seem even more suspicious.


                                If the call was made by Wallace the question made no difference whatsoever as he’d intended to go to MGE all along
                                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

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