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  • Sherlock Houses
    replied
    Originally posted by moste View Post

    So , just checking back in our posting history, I found the crux of the matter that you were alluding to Sherlock, regarding Acott and his notebook info .Page 200, back in 2015. Indicates Sherrards reluctance to Pursue further details on Stories wrong I D. Though Acott offered to read aloud what he had in his notes ,the judge intervened and had Acott read out only that which he had noted at the time from his own description of Clark. So some of Acotts notes thus were as others had stated of Clarks appearance , why Sherrard did not use all of these notes fully to the advantage of his client is a complete mystery to me. And then as recently criticized, made no effort to have Clark tracked down, when as it seems obvious now , and should at the time , Clark clearly looked absolutely nothing like Hanratty at all.
    Hi Moste, re.Michael Clark, I was able, through some research on the Ancestry.co.uk website, to trace a relative of his by the name of Sarah. Back in late April 2020 I sent her a brief, speculative message, hoping she would notice it and reply to it. Almost 10 months passed by without any response from Sarah so you can imagine my great surprise when I received a notification on February 19th 2021 that Sarah had replied to my message. I thought I would share that message exchange as it helps to add some further information about Michael to the precious little we've gleaned over the years.........

    April 29th 2020....

    Hi Sarah,
    I hope you will excuse me taking the liberty of contacting you this way but I was hoping if you could possibly furnish me with some information regarding Michael. I have been researching the A6 murder case of 1961 for several years now and Michael's name features in it, not at all in any sinister way I must add. You see there was an Identification Parade held on September 24th 1961 in which a totally innocent RAF Airman and volunteer was picked out mistakenly. That person was Michael Clark. I don't know if you or anyone within your family circle were aware of this. Apparently Michael emigrated around 1965'ish and I wonder if you know to which country he emigrated ?
    Your sincerely, James.


    February 19th 2021....


    Hi James
    Thank you for contacting me, and I am very sorry I haven't replied sooner. My family only found out about Michael maybe 5 years ago - my Nanna, Gladys Keast - who died in2000 -had never mentioned him, and although we have since found out that two of the older people in the family did know about Michael's existence, they would not/could not reveal the circumstances of why Gladys left him, if indeed that is what happened. The two relatives, who have also now died, would've been very young at the time, so may not have known much anyway, although it seemed they had been sworn to secrecy and would not break the confidence.

    We found out about Michael through a friend of my Mum's doing an ancestry search. This was quite a shock, particularly as my Nanna had been an integral part of our family - having lived in an annex to my parent's house for over 20 years. She had a very close relationship with my Mum, and with me too - it is so sad that she carried this with her and could never tell us.

    My parents were contacted by an 'heir hunter' after Michael's death, previously we had not had anyway of finding Michael - he had left a very small amount of money, most of which was spent on the funeral arrangements. He died in a Care Home in London - he had told them he had no family and had not talked to the carers about his life at all. My parents and my Aunt and Uncle went up to the funeral - just them and representatives from the home. The carers said he was a contented man, but quiet.

    It is sad that I don't have any further information for you - we are pretty sure that he is the Michael who was identified, wrongly, in the line up, but we only know this through my Mum's friend's ancestry search, rather than a personal account. My Mum was not aware that Michael had then emigrated. Can I ask how Michael fits in with your family, and if you have any further information about him?
    Kind regards Sarah.

    There was a fairly long reply to Sarah's message in early April 2021, which Paul Foot's very good friend, Malachy, was largely responsiible for drafting, outlining the case in some detail and how Michael featured in it. Since then, however, there has been no further word from Sarah.









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  • moste
    replied
    Originally posted by moste View Post

    Hi Sherlock, I too would like to know the origins of the full identification of Mr. Clark. That, plus the handling of the line of questioning presented by Sherrard ‘Is Mr. Clark available now? , and after Acotts answer, Well ,he was a while ago but not sure about right now.
    or words to that effect. Then the attitude taken of the defence ,’oh well anyway, moving on . Smacks of someone going through the motions.Any clear thinking ,reasonable person has to see there is something seriously wrong here .
    So , just checking back in our posting history, I found the crux of the matter that you were alluding to Sherlock, regarding Acott and his notebook info .Page 200, back in 2015. Indicates Sherrards reluctance to Pursue further details on Stories wrong I D. Though Acott offered to read aloud what he had in his notes ,the judge intervened and had Acott read out only that which he had noted at the time from his own description of Clark. So some of Acotts notes thus were as others had stated of Clark’s appearance , why Sherrard did not use all of these notes fully to the advantage of his client is a complete mystery to me. And then as recently criticized, made no effort to have Clark tracked down, when as it seems obvious now , and should at the time , Clark clearly looked absolutely nothing like Hanratty at all.

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  • ansonman
    replied
    Originally posted by moste View Post
    Imagine sending someone to the gallows on the basis that they sounded just like the man You heard in the car.

    On the hanky , since Hanratty paid to have Mrs France do his wash, and also Hanratty had explained to Mr.France the hiding place for stashing unwanted Items, what a surprise ,the gun and hanky are found together under the bus seat.special sleuthing required here me thinks.
    Prior to the dismissal of Hanratty's appeal Mr. France had twice attempted suicide. The appeal was dismissed on the Tuesday, it was reported on the Wednesday and France finally managed a successful suicide attempt on the Thursday. "Yet another perplexing feature to an already tortuous case" says Woffinden. Hardly perplexing if France was complicit in the stitch up of Hanratty. More special sleuthing required here.

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  • moste
    replied
    Imagine sending someone to the gallows on the basis that they sounded just like the man You heard in the car.

    On the hanky , since Hanratty paid to have Mrs France do his wash, and also Hanratty had explained to Mr.France the hiding place for stashing unwanted Items, what a surprise ,the gun and hanky are found together under the bus seat.special sleuthing required here me thinks.

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  • cobalt
    replied
    ‘As such, I see very little to be gained from comparing facial descriptions of Alphon, Clark and Hanratty with each other, or with the photofit.’

    In which case there was no reason to have an ID line up at all. It was a total waste of time. All that was needed was for Valerie Storie to listen to taped extracts of persons reading out some prepared statement and she could have made her ID on that basis. No need to look into Hanratty’s eyes and see his guilt, as she claimed.

    The magic appearance of the handkerchief- which handkerchief - was indeed none of Valerie Storie’s making. As I often point out, anything that emerges from the basement of the police basement always seems to confirm guilt rather than innocence. The other stuff seems to have disappeared. A level playing field would help.

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  • caz
    replied
    Originally posted by ansonman View Post
    If Acott was able to convince Storie that this time the guilty man was without a doubt in the line up, she might have been able to convince herself that whoever sounded most like the murderer was the murderer. After all, she barely saw his face at all on the murder night.
    This was one of my original points, which got ignored in the rush by moste to ridicule my observation about the photofit, which clearly Valerie didn't relate to Alphon's physical appearance at the first ID parade - unsurprisingly if she was making bricks without straw, trying to reproduce a face she had barely seen.

    As such, I see very little to be gained from comparing facial descriptions of Alphon, Clark and Hanratty with each other, or with the photofit. In the end, it was Hanratty's voice at the second ID parade, which Valerie was so sure she recognised from the night she was confined in that car with the chatty man who raped and shot her.

    If she simply got it wrong, it was incredibly bad luck for Hanratty that the hanky found with the murder weapon was eventually proved to have been used by him. Valerie could never have predicted that such strong evidence for his involvement would one day support her identification.

    Love,

    Caz
    X

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  • moste
    replied
    Originally posted by Sherlock Houses View Post

    But Acott didn't give the court Michael Clark's full description. Not only did he avoid mentioning Clark's pale complexion, long round face and square chin he also was careful to omit his most important and significant feature, Michael Clark's 'dark eyes' which he had perceptively underlined in his notebook.

    For the record Michael Clark sadly passed away in a Southgate care home on April 27th 2018. Apparently he had told the carers that he had no family but had not spoken with them at all about his life.
    Hi Sherlock, I too would like to know the origins of the full identification of Mr. Clark. That, plus the handling of the line of questioning presented by Sherrard ‘Is Mr. Clark available now? , and after Acotts answer, Well ,he was a while ago but not sure about right now.
    or words to that effect. Then the attitude taken of the defence ,’oh well anyway, moving on . Smacks of someone going through the motions.Any clear thinking ,reasonable person has to see there is something seriously wrong here .

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  • OneRound
    replied
    Originally posted by Sherlock Houses View Post

    But Acott didn't give the court Michael Clark's full description. Not only did he avoid mentioning Clark's pale complexion, long round face and square chin he also was careful to omit his most important and significant feature, Michael Clark's 'dark eyes' which he had perceptively underlined in his notebook.

    For the record Michael Clark sadly passed away in a Southgate care home on April 27th 2018. Apparently he had told the carers that he had no family but had not spoken with them at all about his life.
    Hi Sherlock and all - apologies if I've been asleep behind the wheel on the A6 but I didn't know that. Where does this info come from please?

    Thanks,
    OneRound

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  • Sherlock Houses
    replied
    Originally posted by moste View Post
    .

    Sherrard: Would you tell me whether he was ,as Dr. Rennie has told us, a fair- haired man?

    Acott : No, he was not.I have his full description.I have had this man physically examined I can tell you this from my own knowledge:

    5 feet nine inches tall, dark short cropped hair,about 27 years of age, and heavily built
    But Acott didn't give the court Michael Clark's full description. Not only did he avoid mentioning Clark's pale complexion, long round face and square chin he also was careful to omit his most important and significant feature, Michael Clark's 'dark eyes' which he had perceptively underlined in his notebook.

    For the record Michael Clark sadly passed away in a Southgate care home on April 27th 2018. Apparently he had told the carers that he had no family but had not spoken with them at all about his life.

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  • NickB
    replied
    Originally posted by moste View Post
    I did locate his closest surviving relative, an aunt living on the Welsh borders. She recollected his hair as being of a general mousey colour, which appears to corroborate Dr. Rennies description and not Acotts.
    A more pertinent difference between the two descriptions of Clark was that Rennie said he had 'blueish eyes'. So the first question I would have expected Woffinden to ask was about the eye colour.

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  • moste
    replied
    Interesting story. My only experience in court was as a witness to a burglary, but yeah ,that’s cool.

    Acott for me is something of a mystery man . He clearly uses a method of evasion,which naturally tends to thwart Sherrards attempts to make progress for his client ( something I think that would not work had a more senior Barrister been locking horns ) and yet ,rather than say ‘I’m sorry I don’t have information on Mr. Clark.’He goes ahead and gives the reasonably accurate description of someone that could hardly have been Hanratty! And the jury made nothing of this.

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  • cobalt
    replied
    I was a volunteer in an ID parade when I was sixteen, a minor housebreaking charge. To my alarm it turned out, by ludicrous coincidence, that the offence had taken place in my street. I was nervous in case the neighbours vaguely recognised me and put me in the frame! A local ne’er do well, known to us and with a nasty reputation, was the collared candidate but pretty cocky since I think he was probably innocent this time. There were 6 of us standing in front of numbered police lockers and we had left the middle spot vacant which didn’t seem to bother him one bit. Twice the police asked if he wanted to change position and twice he refused. No witnesses picked anyone out. I have to say it seemed a pretty fair process, especially as we got around 6/- for our troubles.

    But they did take our names, ages and addresses. I suppose now they could take a photo of the line up to show it was a balanced band of teenagers. I rather suspect the term ‘medically examined’ is pompous nonsense. Give the seriousness of the crime I assume Acott wrote down a brief description of the volunteers’ appearance in the event of the ID parade being questioned.


    What I don’t quite understand is any advantage in Acott’s description of Clark. He seems to be describing someone rather like Alphon rather than Hanratty.

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  • moste
    replied
    I know some posters have been involved in volunteer ID. Line ups . Could anyone explained Acott having Michael Clark medically examined?
    Also, even Judge Gorman must have seen the importance of Sherrards question . Why did he not instruct Acott to have Clark tracked down.
    Last edited by moste; 11-29-2021, 11:18 PM. Reason: Adding sentence

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  • moste
    replied
    Just to make reference to the courtroom action ,re, questioning of Acott by Sherrard. when asked what Michael Clark looked like.

    Acott: I can give a full description of the man picked out on that parade.

    Sherrard: Would you tell me whether he was ,as Dr. Rennie has told us, a fair- haired man?

    Acott : No, he was not.I have his full description.I have had this man physically examined… I can tell you this from my own knowledge:

    5 feet nine inches tall, dark short cropped hair,about 27 years of age, and heavily built

    Sherrard: Is the man available by any chance?

    Acott: He was some time ago, but I cannot say off-hand.

    Above, as per Bob Woffinden ‘The final verdict’ page 247.

    This line of questioning by Sherrard petered out frustratingly inadequate. In fact if Sherrard wasn’t going to take any issue with Acotts final words on the matter , it’s amazing that Hanratty’s solicitor didn’t jump into the fray. In fact ,if Hanratty himself had been a little more intelligent , he would have insisted on continuing the line of enquiry to have Michael Clark produced in court ,as an exhibit.
    This farce has been discussed on these boards before I know, but then reading further on the next page of the book
    ‘Thirty years later ,Clark proved infuriatingly impossible to trace.He left the country in 1965 and emigrated.However,I did locate his closest Surviving relative,an aunt living on the Welsh borders. She recollected his hair as being of a general mousey colour, which appears to corroborate Dr.Rennies description and not Acotts.’




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  • NickB
    replied
    Acott did make a special visit to Valerie after putting out an appeal for Alphon and I think it is reasonable to presume that he said to her what you suggest. However I would think 'once bitten twice shy' would apply to the Hanratty parade and she would be less inclined to accept the same assurance from him again.

    Originally posted by moste View Post
    I guess in this regard we (including Sherrard) would seriously need to see Michael the RAF man photo.
    Colour photos of him must exist and this is one piece of 'new' evidence in this case which I still expect to come to light. Surely any professional investigator would be able to obtain a photo from a relation or the RAF.

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