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  • #31
    Hello Paul

    Bavaria is a long way from Berlin, and much closer to Austria, which is of course where Herr Pichler came from originally, and why he named the hotel in which Hanratty stayed, and Alphon too on the night of the murder, Hotel Vienna after the country's capital city .

    We are not off-topic at all!

    I visit Germany several times each year on business, Koln, Munchen, Berlin, Sinsheim, Heidelberg & Stuttgart are the main places I come to. As well as Berlin I really enjoy visiting Heidelberg, especially the fantastic Schloss with its stunning views of the Neckar valley. I must have been there a dozen times, and nowadays I take my camera and have some beautiful photos as a result

    Like you, I think living in a Bavarian mountain village could be a perfect place to spend one's retirement.

    Kind regards,
    Steve

    Comment


    • #32
      Hi Steve,

      You mentioned Köln Heidelberg and Sinsheim, I lived as a child in Bad Godesberg (near Bonn and not far from Köln) and I enjoyed to visit Köln very much! The huge Dom - very impressive! To Heidelberg I've been only once - 1982 - and remember I did like to stroll through the Altstadt - a wonderful town indeed! I've never been to Sinsheim, but I know the name because early in the year there is a large exhibition of live steam models!
      Back to the A6 murder - Peter Alphon is a mystery for me - he is the only other (known) suspect in the case, his behaviour is quite strange, isn't it?
      Did Peter and James stay at Herr Pichlers Hotel Vienna before or after the murder? Any relation between them known?

      kind regards and good night
      Paul O'Henry
      ___________________________

      For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.

      Nelson Mandela

      Comment


      • #33
        Hanratty, Alphon, Hotel Vienna & Sinsheim

        Hello Paul

        Peter Alphon was the first serious suspect for the A6 murder. The police made a major public appeal for him to be found, and it seems that the chief police officer in the case, Mr Acott, was determined to interview Alphon in connection with the murder. He later repudiated (changed his mind, if you are unfamiliar with the English word) the police’s view of Alphon’s involvement in the crime.

        Jim Hanratty was a guest at The Vienna the night before the murder, and certainly spent that night in the room where the cartridge cases were later found, whilst Alphon spent the night of the murder in a different room. It has to be said that this part of the story was considerably muddied by the three conflicting statements of Nudds and his female companion who were both working at the hotel at the time of the murder, and apparently on duty on both occasions when Hanratty and Alphon checked in.

        Yes, Alphon’s behaviour was very strange at the time, which is why he became implicated in the enquiry, and no there has never been any proof (to my knowledge) of any connection or relationship between the two of them.

        Speaking personally, I am not certain that there was no direct or indirect connection between these two people, and I am fairly certain that there was a degree of third-party outside involvement in the aftermath of the murder.

        Back to Germany, yes there is an annual model exhibition at the Messe Sinsheim early each year, along with many other interesting exhibitions. I visit the town later in the year. In the same street as Messe Sinsheim is the Technik Museum which is amongst the most amazing places I have ever visited. They have fantastic exhibits of motor cars, and locomotives, and aeroplanes. There are Rolls Royces from every decade, Mercedes, Maybach and many others. Even Hitler's staff car delivered to him in 1933, complete with the original Rechnung, is there on public view. For several years there has been a Tupolev (Russian Concorde) on the roof with public access to the plane’s cabin from the museum. For the last couple of years there has been an actual Air France Concorde on the roof along side the Tupelov! As you drive along the autobahn towards Heilbronn it is there right in front of you, a stunning sight!

        http://www.technik-museum.de/uk/sinsheim/

        Kind regards
        Steve
        Last edited by Steve; 03-13-2008, 01:20 AM.

        Comment


        • #34
          The old thread - rediscovered

          Hello Steve,

          Thanks for the Technik-Museum Sinsheim Link; it's well worth a visit!
          By pure chance I googled a bit after "James Hanratty" and found this website: http://boardreader.com/t/Shades_of_W...ilty_2045.html - it contains all the posts of the old the thread!!

          kind regards
          Paul O'Henry
          ___________________________

          For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.

          Nelson Mandela

          Comment


          • #35
            Hello Paul

            I was aware of Boardreader and before the server crash the links took you to the actual page with the posting here on Casebook. Now, sadly, you just get the first few lines of text from the posting. My guess is that will disappear soon, too!

            Kind regards,
            Steve

            Comment


            • #36
              It's a pity this forum seems to have gone into hibernation. The old forum had some great and thought provoking postings which sadly seem to be lost forever somewhere in cyber space. Perhaps we're all a bit reluctant to post anything, lest it goes the same way as it's predecessor.

              Comment


              • #37
                Kingsbury

                Hi jimarilyn

                It’s a bit of a coincidence that you’ve posted on this thread today. I was thinking about the A6 murder earlier today - I’ve just got back to the office after a trip to London and earlier this afternoon I drove along Kingsbury Road, which is very close to the Hanratty family home. There is a playing field on the north side of the road, Roe Green Park, and almost certainly the Hanratty brothers would have played there as youngsters

                Yes, I agree, it is a pity that this forum seems to have gone into hibernation.

                I have to admit it was a bit of a shock losing all the old postings.

                Kind regards,
                Steve

                Comment


                • #38
                  Hi Steve,

                  Although I strongly believe in James Hanratty's innocence ( for many and various reasons ) I do retain an open mind on the subject. Too much doesn't add up especially the fact that the two prime suspects stayed at the Vienna Hotel, Hanratty on the 21st/22nd of August and then Alphon on the 22nd/23rd of August. I wonder what the odds are on that, particularly as it would seem that neither knew each other.

                  Re. the DNA findings from 2002 I do not question the integrity of the scientists performing those tests. What I do question is the means by which the materials used in the tests were obtained. Who knows how many people had access to those materials in the near 40 years they were stored away. If the police (for whatever reason) had some hidden agenda in wanting to maintain Hanratty's guilt, I'm convinced they would have the know-how to ensure that these scientific tests would lead to one conclusion, namely that Hanratty's sperm would be found on a portion of Valerie Storie's knickers.

                  James Hanratty's family were at the A6 murder trial. They observed his demeanour, attitude and behaviour in all those many hours he spent in the dock. They knew him inside out and were utterly convinced of his innocence, which he pleaded to the last. The catholic priests who were with him in his final days in prison were convinced of his innocence. His poignant and moving letters to his family during his stay in Bedford Prison confirm this. Was he fooling them all and leading them on a merry dance ? I don't think so. How many convicted murderers go to their graves pleading their innocence ? I can think of only one.

                  James Hanratty wasn't a clever crook. His IQ by all accounts was well below average. The person who murdered Michael Gregsten and who raped his lover Valerie Storie was a cold, ruthless and very calculating person. He held them both captive in a Morris Minor for between 5 and 6 hours and played a deadly cat and mouse game with them. He had brown eyes, was about 30 years old, his hair was slicked back and he was a very bad driver. None of these descriptions fitted Hanratty. Not one hair, fibre, fingerprint or anything else belonging to James Hanratty was ever found in that car.

                  Peter Alphon, by his own admission, said that the police in their many dealings with him, acted as if they knew he was guilty of the A 6 murder but were never prepared to do anything about it. Alphon, it would appear is still alive and living in London and is now in his 78th year. He has confessed to ( and retracted) the murder lots of times in the intervening years. He toyed with Detective Chief Superintendent Basil Acott during his interrogation. I wonder if ( before he sheds this mortal coil ) he has something to reveal about the A6 murder which only the real murderer and Valerie Storie would know. Valerie was in that car for more than 5 hours, that's a long time. There must have been a lot more said and done in that Morris Minor than has so far been revealed to the public.

                  Cheers

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Hi jimarilyn

                    I too keep an open mind, but I feel strongly that Hanratty was guilty. Yes, both Alphon and Hanratty spent a night at the Vienna just before the murder. But your point about the odds can be looked at differently. It WAS a coincidence, whichever of the too was guilty.

                    I cannot share your doubt over the DNA testing. There were some authoritative posts on the old thread casting doubt on the process of the DNA testing, but I don’t believe that anyone in the police force of year 2000 would have had a hidden agenda to maintain evidence proving Hanratty’s guilt. By that time all the officers involved in the original investigation had either retired or died.

                    Certainly you are correct that the Hanratty family remained convinced of James’ guilt. It does appear that he was fooling them all as you say, even the priests who were with him until his execution.

                    You are also correct about the total lack of evidence linking Hanratty to the Morris Minor, but the same can also be said about Alphon. There was nothing to link him to the car either. The early description of the gunman having brown eyes now seems to have been a red herring and Valerie Storie maintains that she never described her attacker as having brown eyes. Sadly, the very first notes taken at the crime scene and including a rudimentary description of the killer seem to have been lost for ever.

                    Yes, Peter Alphon is still alive and living in sheltered accommodation in London. He refuses to discuss the case.

                    Kind regards,
                    Steve

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Hi Steve,

                      This murder has many similarities to the George Kelly murder trial. Kelly was executed in 1950 and many people believed passionately in his innocence. My Aunt Doris remembers the trial very well. I don't know much about the trial except that many people believe he was stitched up and framed by a bent copper who apparently was determined to pin the crime on him. Below is a link relating to this murder mystery.

                      Cheers



                      http://www.stephen-stratford.co.uk/george_kelly.htm
                      Last edited by jimarilyn; 04-03-2008, 08:14 PM. Reason: to add last sentence

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Hi jimarilyn

                        I’ve read about the George Kelly trial and it seemed to me that he was innocent of the Cameo murders.

                        What do you believe are the similarities with the A6 murder case? Do you believe that Acott and Oxford effectively made sure that Hanratty stood trial for the murder regardless of innocence or guilt?

                        KR
                        Steve

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Hi Steve,

                          As I said I know relatively little about the Cameo Cinema murder but the similarities between this murder and the A6 murder are :

                          1) The brutality of the crime shocked the nation.
                          2) Strong possibility that an innocent man was hanged.
                          3) Sheer determination of detectives involved to obtain a conviction.
                          4) Roy Langdale, a prisoner on remand with James Hanratty, claimed that Hanratty confessed to him the A6 murder. Robert Graham, a prisoner on remand with George Kelly, claimed that Kelly confessed to him the Cameo Cinema murder.
                          5) Peter Alphon, a suspect in the A6 murder, later confessed to the crime.
                          Donald Johnson, a suspect in the Cameo Cinema murder, later confessed to the crime.
                          6) Both Hanratty and Kelly strenuously pleaded their innocence at every turn.
                          7) Both were convicted entirely on circumstantial evidence.
                          8) Both Hanratty and Kelly were petty criminals.
                          9) Crucial evidence was withheld from the defence until it was too late.

                          Cheers


                          PS: You mentioned in a previous post that Peter Alphon currentlly refuses to discuss the case. Have you perchance met up with him ?

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            For many years I believed completely in Hanratty's innocence. Given the evidence presented at the trial, I could not understand how they had ever managed to reach a guilty verdict and made it stick. Even when the DNA evidence seemed to point conclusively to Hanratty's guilt, I was more than half convinced that the garments used to extract the DNA had somehow been contaminated by accident or design.

                            The, through discussion on this forum, I started to change my mind slightly. This is for two or three reasons. The first is that various posters have described how Valerie Storey was completely sure that Hanratty was the killer. As one onf you pointed out, she was in the car with him for hours and must have had a good knowledge of his general built, dialect, pitch of voice etc as well as his general profile.

                            Secondly and perhaps more importantly, Hanratty changed his allibi. Why? Now, I do have a theory there that I have expressed before. Perhaps he was acting on behalf of a third party and was relying on them for an allibi. When they failed to provide one, he fell back on a half-truth allibi built on the description of a boarding house he HAD visited, but not at the time of the murder.

                            Now, back to the DNA. There was, apparently, DNA evidence linking Hanratty to the crime, found on Storey's underclothes - but absolutely nothing, not a drop of anything, in the car. How does that happen? Pardon the rather vulgar hypothesis, but are we to believe that Hanratty was so precise in his 'delivery' that he left deposits ONLY on the panties and nowhere in the car? In the course of RAPE?

                            That to me really is a mystery. Did the forensic team checking the car really do its job properly?

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Hi jimarilyn

                              I see what mean about the similarities between the two cases. Quite surprising, really.

                              KR
                              Steve

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Hi Limehouse

                                I think many people believed that Hanratty was innocent for a long time because of the high profile campaign, and because of the books by Foot and Woffinden which were very plausible. Also, it is human nature to favour the underdog, which of course Hanratty seemed to be during the campaign and before the DNA evidence.

                                I agree with your point about Valerie Storie’s total conviction that Hanratty was her attacker. It is this more than anything else that convinces me of his guilt.

                                Your final point about the thoroughness of the forensic team is a very good one. We could be charitable to them and say that forensic science was in its relative infancy in 1961, but the truth is that they probably limited the examination of the car to a fingerprint search, and if the killer wore gloves for most of the time as was claimed none would have been found.

                                Though of course this is yet another mystery; Hanratty was notorious for NOT wearing gloves whilst committing his crimes and if he took gloves with him on that particular day it would certainly suggest a degree of premeditation in the crime.

                                Kind regards,
                                Steve

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