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  • cobalt
    replied
    I am sure NickB or Spitfire can correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t think Mrs. Lanz was so precise in her memory about which evenings Alphon had been in her premises. She gave a few accounts I think, to Fox and Foot some years later, and probably these were not exactly the same. Unfortunately, although Mrs. Lanz claimed to have reported her sightings to the police there is no known record of a statement having been taken from her. Maybe Matthews found out different.

    However in a case plagued by conflicting witness accounts I would place great weight on Mrs. Lanz’s ID. Bar owners by necessity have a good memory for faces. She had seen this man on a number of occasions for a reasonable period of time and presumably served him over the counter. She had no obvious motive for placing her establishment into the mix of the A6 Case.

    If we accept Mrs. Lanz’s ID, whatever the evening she believed Alphon was there, then the level of coincidence simply becomes overwhelming. When Alphon first came to police attention it was on the ‘Padola’ basis of acting oddly in a hotel. That is to say he had already attracted police attention BEFORE the police knew about cartridge cases in the Vienna Hotel where Alphon had been, or BEFORE they were alerted to his being an occasional patron of the premises where Gregsten and Ms. Storie had been on the evening of the crime.

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  • NickB
    replied
    Some chapters of the Stickler book are free to view on Google Books ...

    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=lXEyEAAAQBAJ&pg=PT1&lpg=PT1&dq

    Leave a comment:


  • moste
    replied
    Originally posted by djw View Post
    Hello, I notice a new book about this case has been released called The Long Silence: The Story of Hanratty and the A6 murder by Valerie Storie, the Woman who Lived to Tell the Tale written by Paul Stickler.
    A Freedom of Information request has also been submitted requesting the release of the Matthews report into the case here https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/reque...coming-1590935

    Finally, I have been trying to get hold of the works on the case by Norma Buddle, can anyone help me out?
    I have a copy you can have , pm me , I’ll send it to you.

    Leave a comment:


  • moste
    replied
    Alphon was in the line up with the airman when Storie picked out the wrong man. I wonder if she thought that Alphon looked familiar, after all , he was in the Station Inn the night they were abducted. Following on from previous post, Mary Lantz claimed Alphon to have been in the pub, till around 9 pm. On the night of the 22nd. Of August. and more or less followed the couple out when they left. Why would Woffinden not question Alphon on this , and report on the outcome in his book, regardless of his answer?

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  • moste
    replied
    Originally posted by NickB View Post
    I have ordered a hard copy of the book, which reminds me of a paragraph in Valerie's 2002 Daily Mail interview:

    "She even said she might return to the 'copious notes' and piles of paper that have accumulated over the years and write her own book about her nightmare."

    The non-knicker evidence is often dismissed as circumstantial, but when you put it together (cartridge cases, handkerchief, calling himself Jim etc.) it means that either Hanratty did it or he was framed. Yet the books that claim he didn't do it hardly touch on the reason why, and mechanisms for how, he was framed.
    No they don’t touch on it do they? I believe the reason to be that , investigative journalists distance themselves from the label ‘Conspiracy Theorist. I’ve never understood why, if someone believes they have seen and heard enough to conclude that there is a strong possibility that a conspiracy exists ,there is no occasion to consider that person a crack pot . Any evidence that points toward the possibility of a conspiracy to my way of thinking should be thoroughly investigated . I have mentioned before Foot and Woffinden , are disappointing in this regard
    On another note, I fail to see why, when a person highly suspected is placed on an identification line and then is not picked out, should be completely ruled out . I mean let’s face it , Alphon may have been the guilty party , Storie failed to pick him out, what else is new?

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  • NickB
    replied
    The book appears to confirm that the police interviewed George Pratt at 72 Wood Lane before 26-Sep-61, as I've always suspected they must have, and that therefore there was no miraculous discovery between visiting him in the morning and the Hanrattys in the afternoon.

    It claims the Irish police were contacted on 19th September ("Please make all enquiries at Dublin airport and elsewhere to identify and trace the man J Ryan ... ") so by then they must have got the information from Pratt about the rental car and established it had been abandoned at the airport.

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  • cobalt
    replied
    NickB,

    You might have also added the appearance of detectives at the Swiss Cottage shopping arcade shortly before the discovery of bullets at the Vienna Hotel, at a time when James Hanratty did not seem to be anywhere on the police radar as a suspect.

    I appreciate you are referring specifically to books regarding the issue of being ‘framed.’ For Paul Foot, whose politics I largely share, the system of justice in the UK was reason enough to ‘frame’ a petty criminal from the underclass. But that’s a very broad brush approach and not of much value on this particular site.

    Since published authors have evaded your questions I will give my meagre offerings. Why was Hanratty ‘framed?’ I think he was used as a red herring to drag the police away from the guilty party or parties at a time when the investigation was stalling. There was a danger that a fresh look at the case might bring about a new angle of investigation- perhaps along the lines of a ‘gas meter job’- and Hanratty was an available ‘patsy.’ I cannot believe the plan was ever for Hanratty to actually be convicted and executed and that this caused some trauma to Dixie France and Peter Alphon.

    Which kind of answers the question of ‘mechanisms.’ Hanratty did not choose his friends well in so far as most of them were criminals like himself. Even the hotel he booked into was being managed by a crook and police informer. Being pretty low down the feeding chain he was, as Alphon put it, ‘expendable.’ That meant fellow criminals, no doubt in return for money and favours, could help to put Hanratty in the ‘frame’ and take off some of the ‘heat.’ The problem for them was, as I indicated earlier, that once the police began to make a case against Hanratty they found to their alarm that they either had to save themselves from prison or Hanratty from the gallows. Maybe they clung on to the hope that British justice would not hang an innocent man, all would be forgiven and they could all return to their nefarious ways.


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  • NickB
    replied
    I have ordered a hard copy of the book, which reminds me of a paragraph in Valerie's 2002 Daily Mail interview:

    "She even said she might return to the 'copious notes' and piles of paper that have accumulated over the years and write her own book about her nightmare."

    The non-knicker evidence is often dismissed as circumstantial, but when you put it together (cartridge cases, handkerchief, calling himself Jim etc.) it means that either Hanratty did it or he was framed. Yet the books that claim he didn't do it hardly touch on the reason why, and mechanisms for how, he was framed.

    Leave a comment:


  • OneRound
    replied
    Originally posted by Spitfire View Post
    ...

    It is admitted that Val and Mike had had sex in the Moggie Minor on the Sunday immediately before the adduction but had not done so on the evening of 22 August. The much-debated thorny question as to how the mystery blood group AB DNA material was detected on the fragment of the knickers she was wearing on the 22 August is not otherwise addressed.

    ...
    Hi Spitfire,

    Thorny indeed.

    The Sunday concerned was the 20th. Thus, for the mystery DNA material to be attributable to Gregsten as the Court of Appeal was (too) willing to presume and not a consquence of contamination or Valerie Storie being raped by someone other than Hanratty, she must have been wearing three day old (or more) unwashed knickers.

    That's right, isn't it? If so, I struggle with it.

    Best regards,
    OneRound





    Leave a comment:


  • Spitfire
    replied
    I spent a pleasant few hours in the garden reading Paul Stickler's book The Long Silence. The book was authorised by Valerie Storie's estate and is written by an ex-bobby, so I am sure the tone and contents will come as no surprise.

    It is not entirely free of error despite the author taking to task those who in the past have made similar errors of spelling of names etc. For example, Carole France becomes "Carol France"; Meike Dalal was a Swedish national (she was German-born and naturalised British) and the date of the murder is wrong in this passage at p258
    Click image for larger version  Name:	Screenshot 2021-09-10 at 11.13.24.png Views:	0 Size:	50.3 KB ID:	767843
    Of course Val and Mike were abducted on the evening of 22 August and they were both shot in the early hours of 23 August 1961.

    It is admitted that Val and Mike had had sex in the Moggie Minor on the Sunday immediately before the adduction but had not done so on the evening of 22 August. The much-debated thorny question as to how the mystery blood group AB DNA material was detected on the fragment of the knickers she was wearing on the 22 August is not otherwise addressed.

    It is alleged that Hanratty's dad had on two occasions tried to knobble witnesses. This must have been discussed in other books but without much prominence.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	Screenshot 2021-09-10 at 11.22.16.png Views:	0 Size:	78.7 KB ID:	767844


    and the note at note 6

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Screenshot 2021-09-10 at 11.26.09.png Views:	0 Size:	66.5 KB ID:	767845

    The book contains photographs many of which we have seen before, however courtesy of Bedfordshire cops there are photos of the infamous bedroom/bathroom at Indledene and of Room 24 of the Vienna. There are also photos of the postcard sent by Jimmy from Ireland.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	image_21455.png Views:	5 Size:	33.6 KB ID:	767846

    The attic room at Ingledene. This photo must have been available to Woffinden but did not find its way into his work on the A6 Murder. The photo clearly demonstrates that the room described (rear room, curtains, sink etc) by Hanratty was nothing like the attic room.
    Last edited by Spitfire; 09-10-2021, 10:57 AM.

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  • ansonman
    replied
    Originally posted by gallicrow View Post
    Paul Stickler, the author of the new book about the case, is giving an online talk on the 15th September:
    https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-a...s-167271125439

    I've signed up to that and also bought the kindle version of the book. I haven't finished it yet, but haven't found any new revelations so far. It is, needless to say, very much from the "Hanratty did it" point of view. Which is fine by me!
    It's a bit more than that:

    "The Long Silence is, in essence, Valerie’s posthumous autobiography"

    Which is why I would be reading it.

    Ansonman

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  • gallicrow
    replied
    Paul Stickler, the author of the new book about the case, is giving an online talk on the 15th September:
    https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-a...s-167271125439

    I've signed up to that and also bought the kindle version of the book. I haven't finished it yet, but haven't found any new revelations so far. It is, needless to say, very much from the "Hanratty did it" point of view. Which is fine by me!

    Leave a comment:


  • cobalt
    replied
    It’s a reasonable point made by Caz: that in our haste to exculpate James Hanratty there is a danger that we end up throwing Peter Alphon under the very same bus! The dodgy Vienna Hotel testimony by Nudds was as damning to Alphon in one version as it was to Hanratty in another. We can’t have it both ways which is why I have tended to ignore Nudds’ testimony, for example, as utterly useless. Likewise the ID evidence of Mrs. Lanz placing Alphon as an occasional customer in the hotel where the victims had been drinking that night (which she claimed was given to the police soon after the murder) cannot carry more weight than the disputed ID of Valerie Storie.

    The treatment of Alphon by the police seems to support my point about a wish to close the case down. The police may have lost interest in him after his ID parade but he subsequently became an absolute nuisance to them and others. There was a serious attack on a woman in her home. There was an assault on Mrs. Hanratty. There were threatening phone calls, some recorded on tape. And of course his performance in Paris where he casually admitted guilt to the A6 murder and attempted murder. All these actions had witnesses to support legal action against Alphon but none was forthcoming so far as I am aware. You might have thought it was in the police and public interest to put a stop to his various antics but the authorities seem to have been more concerned by the prospect of a trial which would have offered Alphon a platform to make his claims.

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  • caz
    replied
    Originally posted by cobalt View Post
    The first ID parade was carried out fairly and the police suspect, Alphon, was not identified. Had the individuals been asked to speak we have no idea if Alphon, depending on what accent he favoured at the time, would have been identified by Valerie Storie or not. Maybe he would and none of us would be here.
    And if Hanratty had not been identified by Valerie at the second ID parade, the police would quite rightly have had to let him go, just as they had to let Alphon go after the first parade.

    The double standard here always troubles me. The suggestion seems to be that if only Valerie had identified Alphon, by speech if necessary, all would have been well, and if he'd hanged as a result, good riddance to bad rubbish. The smell of poor policing hanging over the investigation would somehow never have existed with Alphon firmly in the frame and friendless, despite the same lack of any forensic evidence putting him in the car, and no evidence ever connecting him to the crime itself.

    Alphon never got the chance to defend himself in court, but he doesn't apparently deserve the presumption of innocence that Hanratty had and lost.

    Love,

    Caz
    X
    Last edited by caz; 09-01-2021, 01:31 PM.

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  • cobalt
    replied
    The first ID parade was carried out fairly and the police suspect, Alphon, was not identified. Had the individuals been asked to speak we have no idea if Alphon, depending on what accent he favoured at the time, would have been identified by Valerie Storie or not. Maybe he would and none of us would be here. The speaking element was introduced at the second ID parade which makes it different from the first, and it has been reported that Hanratty’s clumsy efforts at dyeing his hair made that parade less than satisfactory.

    There is a problem inherent in all ID parades and which may have led to what happened. The victim knows for sure that the police have someone ‘in the frame’ otherwise there would be no need to have an ID parade at all. So there is pressure on the victim to pick out the likely lad that the police have spent a great deal of time putting on that parade. This is not the same as being asked to identify a suspect from a book of police photos, which the victim realises may not contain the guilty party. An ID parade is only organised when the police have a certain confidence that they actually have the specific culprit in the line up and that could explain the two identifications made by Valerie Storie. She felt duty bound to finger someone.

    The handkerchief I have never seen in as clear a light as Caz does. Police basements generally lose materials in the years after a murder case has been judged, which is only natural, but occasionally some artefact is discovered. What is remarkable is that these discovered artefacts- whether material evidence or lost statements- inevitably bolster the case as required politically at the time. The Stephen Lawrence case which caused tremendous embarrassment for the police saw a breakthrough when some evidence of fibre transfer was discovered on garments in a black bin bag down in the inevitable police basement. So two of the gang who attacked Lawrence were jailed. On the other hand the names of the Birmingham bombers from 1974 are widely known and one has effectively confessed, available on youtube. Yet given the delicacy of Northern Ireland’s politics it is fortunate that no forensic material has been discovered in the basement to establish a case that the UK government basically wants to draw a line under. The basement can reveal or conceal as required.

    The A6 Case retains a political element in respect of capital punishment and the credibility of the UK legal process including the appeals procedure. From memory I think the handkerchief disappeared for a few years and then was found in a police basement. Was it actually Hanratty’s? Probably, but the police obtained quite a few articles of his clothing at the time. Was it even the same handkerchief that the presumed murderer carelessly left while depositing the gun? I am sure it was a handkerchief and I have no doubt DNA from James Hanratty was detected on it. That’s as far as I can go with the handkerchief.

    So does that make me an advocate of corruption? I think it does, but I have distinguished previously between the police investigation and the legal system itself. The A6 investigation may have been poor, but I don’t believe it was corrupt. Vulnerable witnesses were no doubt threatened and badgered into tailoring statements but that is part and parcel of any high profile case. The police believed they had their man and maybe they did: I can’t prove otherwise. Any corruption that occurred came after the verdict when the legal system, under political pressure, fought might and main to draw a line under a case that has never really gone away. A few artefacts have emerged from the police basement and there might even be some more to follow, all damning to James Hanratty, but the case will not lie down, not even when William Ewer’s protected statements are revealed around 2053.

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