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  • What if ...

    It would have been difficult for Jim to deny staying at the Vienna, having signed the register and flashed around the receipt. But if he had claimed that he did not stay in room 24 it may have been difficult to prove conclusively that he did - given the unreliability of the staff and vagueness of the paperwork on that point. Of course when he admitted to it he did not know that the cartridge cases were found there, but in retrospect it may have been a very useful lie. Presumably the prosecution would have had to do an 'elimination' exercise as they did for Ingledene.
    Last edited by NickB; 05-03-2018, 08:10 AM.

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    • Reading Alphon's interview with Acott (night of Sept 22-23) he says he paid for his Vienna room at the Broadway, which would explain the lack of receipt at the Vienna. It would probably mean a copy of the receipt was held at the Broadway. I wonder if the police inquired about that.

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      • Car or motorcycle?

        Sources vary on whether Alphon's 1953 conviction was for taking away a motorcycle or a motor car.

        Hawser says motorcycle, as does Foot. Woffinden says motor car and Miller seems to have followed his lead.

        I'm inclined to trust Hawser, QC. Bearing in mind that Woffinden has distorted other facts to fit his theory, I'm inclined to think he'd happily change motorcycle to motor car the better to put Alphon behind the wheel of the Morris Minor.

        Anybody got a definitive answer on this one?
        Last edited by Alfie; 05-03-2018, 09:07 AM.

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        • I find Woffinden's 'motor car' claim suspicious, because he just says "I found the information" without elaborating on what type of information it was.

          Details of Alphon's fraud offences are now available:
          http://discovery.nationalarchives.go...ls/r/C10888300

          Going back to his claim in the second interview of paying the Broadway, this may well have been true but bear in mind that his memory was fading (to use an expression) on the detail. For example, he recalled the name 'Broadway' in the first interview and not the second.

          The questions you raise about why the police went after Alphon were put to Acott at the trial with good effect, I think, by Sherrard.
          Attached Files

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          • Up until Alphon's interview I think Acott was confident of pinning the murder on him. But during that interview I think he began to doubt he had the right man - partly because Alphon's appearance, speech and mannerisms didn't fit the killer as described by Valerie, and partly because Acott discerned that this was not a man capable of raping a woman.

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            • Originally posted by Alfie View Post
              Up until Alphon's interview I think Acott was confident of pinning the murder on him. But during that interview I think he began to doubt he had the right man - partly because Alphon's appearance, speech and mannerisms didn't fit the killer as described by Valerie, and partly because Acott discerned that this was not a man capable of raping a woman.
              I think also because Alphon voluntarily gave himself up may well have wrong-footed Acott - normally coppers don't expect murder suspects to just walk into a police-station and submit themselves to interrogation. It has always struck me that Alphon was a formidable opponent, even though after his release he admitted that he was scared out of his wits before and during the interrogation, doubtless because he was aware of the police's disconcerting habit of 'fitting up' a suspect, especially in a very high-profile case like the A6. Fully aware though I am that his life didn't depend on it, you only have to watch the film of his being interviewed in Paris to understand something of his slippery yet resourceful character - then, he ran rings around his interviewer.

              Graham
              We are suffering from a plethora of surmise, conjecture and hypothesis. - Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure Of Silver Blaze

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              • Acott and Oxford's trip to Ireland

                Woffinden has fun mocking Acott and Oxford's "wild-goose chase" to Ireland in pursuit of Hanratty, but - disregarding Woff's theory that Dixie visited the cops with an Irish postcard, which I think is disproved by the very fact that our two sleuths did go to Ireland - was there any way of Acott knowing or finding out that Hanratty had already returned to London? Wasn't going to his last known location Acott's best chance of getting on Hanratty's trail?

                Answers on a postcard, please.

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                • I don’t know what was his last known location.

                  I would have thought the police could have discovered from BA when he flew back from Ireland. But he might have come back on the ferry with the car, if the wording in the Telegraph (below) is correct.

                  The Glasgow Herald has the same wording as the Telegraph but, as Spitfire has pointed out, the Times report says instead: "The caller said, "I went to Ireland and hired a car. That's right. I went from London Airport." [my italics]
                  Attached Files

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                  • Originally posted by NickB View Post
                    I would have thought the police could have discovered from BA when he flew back from Ireland.
                    Unless they were as stupid as me - although it occurs to me that perhaps airline tickets in 1961 were issued like rail and bus tickets, ie, without the passenger's name on them. Especially on local routes like London-Dublin. Anybody old enough to remember? Graham?

                    So why did Acott and Oxford go to Ireland?

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                    • Originally posted by Alfie View Post
                      Unless they were as stupid as me - although it occurs to me that perhaps airline tickets in 1961 were issued like rail and bus tickets, ie, without the passenger's name on them. Especially on local routes like London-Dublin. Anybody old enough to remember? Graham?

                      So why did Acott and Oxford go to Ireland?
                      Er.....I was only 15 in 1961, so any travel tickets that included little me would have been handled exclusively and jealously by my old man. However, I'm pretty sure that in those distant days airline tickets would have carried the name of the passenger - they did in the early 1970's when I began flying for my work. Was a passport required to travel between the UK and Eire in 1961?

                      (BTW, back then, if you flew, you put your best duds on, had a cocktail in the bar, and tried to act like Sean Connery as Bond. Well do I remember flying to NYC via BA Club Class in my best suit, and getting three-parts sloshed in the plush bar at Heathrow prior to boarding. No scrabbling for seats a la Ryanair in those days....)

                      I've always had the impression that Acott and Oxford went to Ireland as a result of the card(s) sent by JH to France from that country. Precisely how they expected to comb the length and breadth of the Emerald Isle and successfully collar JH, I do not know. They returned only when James Hanratty Sr went to Scotland Yard with the cards he'd received from his son, posted in Ireland. Maybe Basil and Ken just fancied a bit of a jolly, who knows?

                      Graham
                      We are suffering from a plethora of surmise, conjecture and hypothesis. - Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure Of Silver Blaze

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                      • But if France had taken his card(s) to the police he would have told them Hanratty was back in London.

                        Also, Oxford testified that “on the 25th September we had in fact identified the man Ryan as possibly being Hanratty”. ‘Possibly’ indicates that they had not yet established the link with the Vienna (which they established the following day visiting Wood Lane) but if France had been their source that link would have already been established because he knew that Hanratty had stayed at the Vienna.

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                        • Originally posted by NickB View Post
                          But if France had taken his card(s) to the police he would have told them Hanratty was back in London.

                          Also, Oxford testified that “on the 25th September we had in fact identified the man Ryan as possibly being Hanratty”. ‘Possibly’ indicates that they had not yet established the link with the Vienna (which they established the following day visiting Wood Lane) but if France had been their source that link would have already been established because he knew that Hanratty had stayed at the Vienna.
                          There was also the card erroneously sent to Mr George Pratt's address, 72 Wood Lane, the address JH had written in The Vienna's register. Acott and Oxford visited that address on 26 September. (Later, Mr Pratt received another missive from Ireland, this time a receipt from the car-hire firm that JH had used in Dublin). As far as I'm aware this was the first time the police were aware that 'Ryan' was in, or had been in, Ireland. On the afternoon of the 26 September, Acott and Oxford visited JH's parents to tell them that their son was wanted for car theft; they told Acott they hadn't seen nor heard from him since July. How did the police make the link between Ryan and Hanratty?

                          Woffo legitimately asks the question: if France did take the cards to Scotland Yard, how and when did he know that the police were looking for Ryan? As far as I'm aware, he didn't know this until after JH's return from Ireland when he phoned France and blurted out to him that he was wanted for the A6 crime. For me, the entire 'Ireland episode' and how the Ryan-Hanratty link really was made, have always been very puzzling, and I don't think Acott ever fully explained it. Further views appreciated.

                          Graham
                          We are suffering from a plethora of surmise, conjecture and hypothesis. - Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure Of Silver Blaze

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                          • Might this have been the sequence of events:

                            Morning of Sept 26, Acott and Oxford visit George Pratt at 72 Wood Lane and are given the letter to J Ryan from the Irish hire car firm. Acott contacts the Irish police, whose inquiries establish that Ryan hired the car from Ryan’s in Limerick. The police start phoning hotels in the provinces seeking a J Ryan of 72 Wood Lane who might have been a guest shortly after the date of the car hire. They track down the Cork hotel where he shared a room with Leonard, contact Leonard, who tells them what he remembers of the postcards he wrote for Ryan, especially the one to Ryan’s mother, Mrs Hanratty. The Irish police relay this info to Acott, who that afternoon visits Mr and Mrs Hanratty.

                            Feasible?

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                            • It would seem that the hired car had been left at or near Dublin Docks.
                              Attached Files

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                              • The above is from Saturday 30th September's Mirror.

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