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  • caz
    replied
    Originally posted by cobalt View Post
    Had Sherrard explored this area he might have discovered a few things which emerged later in regard to disquiet regarding the affair such as complaints at the couple’s place of work and the plans Gregsten had to leave the family home. Once he was in this ‘gas meter’ territory Sherrard could then have considered that Valerie Storie’s morals might indeed have been the driving force behind the events that night. The horrific nature of the murder and rape clearly absolved the wider Gregsten family of direct involvement and may have acted as a useful smokescreen for almost 60 years.
    Hi cobalt,

    You make it sound like Valerie was viewed as the wicked home wrecker, who had got her claws into this innocent husband and father, who would never have been unfaithful, or wanted to leave the family home, if she hadn't made all the running. She was free and single; he wasn't. And they both had minds of their own. If a husband or wife goes astray, that's their decision, and it's very often a sign that all was not well with the marriage before temptation came along.

    That is a very good point, assuming they did not pick up a man at Slough. The couple were creatures of habit like most of us and were regular drinkers at a local inn, along with others around that time. Their killer could have had them pointed out to him and been driven close to the areas they favoured for their courting activities, something which would be known only to intimates.
    Thanks, cobalt. But knowing where two people regularly go to have a drink is one thing; knowing where those same two people go when they want a private canoodle is quite another. It stretches credulity to near breaking point for me to imagine close family or friends following at a distance to see where Valerie has forced poor Gregsten to drive to this time, and the binoculars peeping out from behind a hedge, to confirm that they aren't playing travel scrabble.

    If this was made into a tv drama it would have to be a black comedy, wouldn't it?

    Love,

    Caz
    X

    Leave a comment:


  • moste
    replied
    Good posts both , Cobalt , I now have a hankering for Dickens’ Pickwicks adventures in particular. I haven’t read that one in 30 years. I do seem to recall a section where Dickens goes off on a digression, where he explains in depth his perception of the workings of a murderers mind. Quite a fascinating chapter if I recall.

    Leave a comment:


  • moste
    replied
    Valerie admitting her affair after Hanratty’s death. And with her subsequent story in instalments, 3 months later, I can’t help wondering what the 11 Jury members mind set would have been at this point.

    The mention of which reminds me of another itch that can’t be scratched, to wit ,when your client is in the very grievous position of being at the mercy of 12 jurors on a capital crime , what defence lawyer would accept the reduction of one under any possible circumstance ?
    I can’t get my head around the fact that reducing the number of jurors is even an option. But for Sherrard to (presumably) discuss this request by the court with his client and then ‘go with it’ staggers the imagination. Well mine anyhow. I mean to say, Hanratty must have had it explained to him that if the case doesnt go too well, ‘law of averages ‘ would surely dictate, 12 is far better than 11 . For me, another Sherrard faux pas.

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  • moste
    replied
    Originally posted by caz View Post

    The defence had no choice but to word it that way. But what was meant by 'substance'? Surely what matters most, moste, is where Hanratty claimed to be when the rape and double shooting took place.

    To be in Liverpool overnight, or not to be in Liverpool overnight, but in Rhyl instead? That is the question.

    Love,

    Caz
    X
    . Rhyl
    is not an alibi. It’s where Hanratty claimed to have spent time after the timeframe of his actual alibi, I can’t understand why people have such a hard time getting the point , that once Hanratty had left the tobacconist around 5 o clock ,it didn’t matter a jot where the hell he went after that. Where he was when the rape and double shooting took place is of no consequence at all.The fact that he was in Liverpool at 5, means he’s innocent.

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  • cobalt
    replied
    I think it’s in Pickwick Papers that Sam Weller extols the virtue of having an alibi. In UK courts things are a little different. I once asked on here what would ever be accepted as a valid alibi for Hanratty? It was probably Graham who was honest enough to admit that nothing short of Hanratty being arrested, finger printed and banged up in a cell in Rhyl on the night of the crime was good enough. So Sherrard and later Foot were on something of a wild goose chase I fear.

    The infamous Bert Balmer of Liverpool was a well known breaker of alibis in murder cases. He offered local criminals the option: either swear a false statement which breaks the alibi of my suspect or you will be in the dock alongside him. (shades of Dixie France perhaps) George Kelly was drinking in a local bar during the Cameo Murders and had a fair few witnesses to back him up. He hanged although the conviction was later quashed I think. Devlin and Burns fared no better since their alibi of breaking into a warehouse in Manchester when a woman was being murdered in Liverpool was soon dismantled by a dodgy array of criminals. They hanged as well. This, let us not forget, is the very city where Hanratty was hoping to find an alibi of his own.
    The Birmingham Six had a reasonable alibi but, like Hanratty, lied about it initially. They claimed they were travelling back to Ireland to visit family when the bombs were laid, but in truth they were returning for the funeral of an IRA man known to them socially. The judge at trial regretted he could not sentence them to death. Their convictions were eventually overturned. The Guildford Four alibis I hardly recall, but one was certainly at a musical concert on the night of the attack with several witnesses to support him. It mattered none. And poor Stefan Kisko, his alibi was placing flowers on his father’s grave alongside his mother which was surely correct. It did him no good.

    I think Sam Weller overestimated alibis. With the intrusive CCTV which has turned the UK into a kind of Stasi state there can be the advantage of almost proving an alibi. But I fancy that might be the very evening when the system breaks down or a rookie cop accidentally erases the tape.

    Leave a comment:


  • cobalt
    replied
    I think your own understanding of the law is limited. The witness is the person whose account must be tested to the limit whether they are a victim like Valerie Storie or not. Her evidence holds no more water if she has been raped or not raped. Any mercy shown to a witness by a barrister is as misguided as showing mercy to a boxer in a boxing ring. The defendant is entitled to say nothing and offer no evidence since he is assumed to be innocent. Well, there’s always some good citizen on the jury who will say that the defendant wouldn’t be in the dock unless he’d done something wrong and I have picked up a flavour of that in some of your posts before.

    I also believe that the jury is entitled to the full story, warts and all. You clearly prefer an edited version, one that happens to favour the prosecution as I see it although you claim suppression of the truth was in the interests of the defence. Sherrard was not ahead of his time, he was behind the game in terms of experience. (I might refer you to the recent Salmond trial in Scotland which shows how weak witnesses can be discredited.) Sherrard was also defending Hanratty on grounds of contradictory eyewitness evidence, previous character and complete absence of forensics so any undermining of Valerie Storie was just one part of his case.

    Your reference to Christine Keeler will have moste online soon. I don’t know where you got the idea of anticipation from, it certainly wasn’t from my posts. I stated that if the affair had lain at the heart of this case, then however cruelly events unfolded, most humans would look not forward but back and wonder what if they had acted differently. And that’s before we consider the dialogue that would have taken place in the car, although your attempt at script writing is probably pretty close to the mark.

    Try not to put words into my mouth. I did say that Valerie Storie may have concealed the motivation to break up the affair. And I do believe it likely that an innocent man was hanged. But I have never, as your words suggested, ever claimed that Valerie Storie knowingly sent an innocent man to his death. She clearly convinced herself that Hanratty was the man in the car and the jury were prepared to accept that.

    Valerie Storie admitted the affair after Hanratty was hanged. She had been fairly open about it about it before the crime but became very coy during the trial which speaks to her character I believe. She would have been paid for the article she wrote and I don’t grudge her a penny of that given the health care she required for the rest of her life. But once Hanratty had been executed and the crazed gunman narrative accepted by the public she was in a position to make widely known what had been known locally.

    As for her quest for justice, the Gregsten family had already suffered enough. The slaughter at Deadman’s Hill was never done in the name of anybody bar the perpetrator. Proving what she suspected would have been rather difficult given the amount of police complicity viewed in their indulgent dealings with Alphon and Ewer, to take just two names out of the A6 hat. I think Valerie Storie wanted to draw a line under that time of her life and far from her life being over, from what I can gather she led a rather admirable one thereafter.

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  • cobalt
    replied
    I'd really appreciate it if you would not put words into my mouth.

    I thought you had offered an interesting explanation for the shooting, one that in my view actually strengthened the prosecution case, but it seems I read more into your words than was there. You were simply repeating the notion of Hanratty being a wannabee stick up man who, after putting in a five hour shift, decided it was time for a kip.


    Based on Valerie's account, which I'm pleased to see you treating as truthful,

    No, but I wouldn’t discount it in its entirety either. Any avenue, from whatever source, is worth exploring in this unsatisfactory case. Her account I believe is highly edited, rather like her car rally evidence in court.


    Assuming Sherrard knew the ins and outs of the victims' affair, the only 'tactic' I can see was not further increasing the jury's sympathy for Valerie by washing her dirty knickers in public, to suggest that her lack of morals may have led someone other than Hanratty to commit rape and murder.

    I’d like to think he did know but we shouldn’t really be in the business of having to ponder this after so many years. Most likely Sherrard knew the truth but recognised he did not have the capacity to undermine her as a witness without being seen as a bully by the court. A more experienced barrister would have recognised how important Valerie Storie’s evidence was and been prepared to get his hands dirty. Better his than the hangman’s.

    Had Sherrard explored this area he might have discovered a few things which emerged later in regard to disquiet regarding the affair such as complaints at the couple’s place of work and the plans Gregsten had to leave the family home. Once he was in this ‘gas meter’ territory Sherrard could then have considered that Valerie Storie’s morals might indeed have been the driving force behind the events that night. The horrific nature of the murder and rape clearly absolved the wider Gregsten family of direct involvement and may have acted as a useful smokescreen for almost 60 years.


    If she had any idea at all that this could be the case, and any reason to suspect someone of arranging it, would she not have wanted that person to pay for the devastation they had caused?

    You would think so. But I covered this in the previous post. By acknowledging publicly the motive behind splitting them up she would also be taking some guilt upon herself for the rest of her life, whether by herself or by the wider public. The crazed gunman narrative removes much of that and offers some little solace to the Gregsten family.


    Assuming the kidnapper wasn't known to them, was he given photos and a roadmap, to guide him to where he could expect to find them, so he could then follow their car to the cornfield, where they believed they would be alone, in a place that nobody knew about?

    That is a very good point, assuming they did not pick up a man at Slough. The couple were creatures of habit like most of us and were regular drinkers at a local inn, along with others around that time. Their killer could have had them pointed out to him and been driven close to the areas they favoured for their courting activities, something which would be known only to intimates.

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  • caz
    replied
    Originally posted by cobalt View Post
    Just to clarify my reason for focusing on the non disclosure of the relationship between Gregtsen and Valerie Storie. It has nothing to do with victim blaming, although I will come to that point last. A jury has the right to draw inferences from a witness’ character and delivery of testimony. In the case of Sion Jenkins, the headmaster who stood trial twice I think for the murder of his adopted daughter with no clear verdict being reached, the jury were informed that Jenkins had lied on teacher applications. Now this had sod all to do with the crime obviously, but it allows the jury to consider that a man who can lie brazenly about qualifications he does not possess might lie about other matters. It also reveals a character confident he can hoodwink professional people partly through a personable manner which I believe came across at trial.
    You seem to have trouble distinguishing between a witness, who had been raped and shot, and someone on trial for murder. The nature of the lies Jenkins told about himself and his qualifications, informed the jury that this was someone who was prepared to lie to give himself an unfair advantage in life, or to elevate other people's opinions of him. If Jenkins's adopted daughter had survived to give evidence, I doubt it would have helped him one iota if his defence had found examples of this young girl's bad behaviour at home or school, to try and discredit her as a witness.

    In the A6 Case Valerie Storie was involved in a long running affair with a married man, something which many jurors would probably think was morally wrong. The main moral obligations rested with Gregsten of course since he had a wife and two children to consider. But that does not give Valerie Storie a free pass, unless we want to see her as some swooning Victorian female at the mercy of her passions. She was out of her teens and very capable of making her own judgments and allowed the affair to continue. The fact she was later raped and very nearly executed does not alter the fact of her putting her own interests above those of another woman and family. This affair was hardly a secret and it is possible to see a certain brazenness in the way it was conducted, at least that seemed to have been the response of persons informing a landlord and the couple’s employer. Yet none of this was brought to the attention of the jury either as a way of assessing Valerie Storie’s honesty (she clearly was less comfortable with the matter being aired in public after the crime) or other possible motives for what took place.
    I really don't know what to say, cobalt, other than to repeat that Sherrard was way ahead of his time, if he realised that making the victims' behaviour public, in a bid to discredit her account of what was done to them both, and her identification of Hanratty as the stranger who did it, would very likely have been seen by the jury as beyond desperate. If Sherrard could only defend Hanratty by attacking the victim's character, what would the jury have made of that?

    I’ll finish with some cod psychology to explain why I think the affair was relevant. I cannot believe Valerie Storie had met her attacker before but that is not the same as believing her account of the five hour car trip, one where there were stops for refreshments and no one seemed to even need to go for s pee. She concealed her relationship from the jury and could equally well have concealed the reason for that strange journey from them as well. If -and I accept it can only be ‘if’ -the purpose of the journey was to broker some kind of end to their affair which they refused to accept then she would be inhuman if she did not attach some kind of responsibility to the terrible events upon herself. The version of the random stranger would not remove that feeling but at least allow herself to live the rest of her life with less public criticism. The ‘stranger killer’ version also helps remove fingers being pointed at Michael Gregsten as well, something that Valerie Storie may well have thought was the decent thing to do in respect of Mrs. Gregsten and her two sons.
    You are entitled to your opinion, cobalt, but it doesn't wash with me. Firstly, why should Valerie have taken any responsibility for what put an end to Gregsten's life and ruined hers? She didn't ask for a man with a gun to take them on this magical mystery tour to the stuff of nightmares. Secondly, if its purpose was to 'broker some kind of end to their affair', which neither of them was prepared to consider ["Mind you own effing business! Who are you anyway, to come poking your nose into our affairs? The Sodding Pope?"], how was Valerie meant to guess, in a million years, that the affair might be ended for them, in the totally OTT, not so time-honoured fashion, of rape and murder? This wasn't Profumo and Keeler, or some bad movie plot!

    Nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors, and what leads two people to start an affair. Only Valerie knew her reasons, and it's not for others to judge or justify. But I can't see any woman in Valerie's position in the early 60s thinking 'the decent thing to do' for Gregsten's widow, children or anyone else, was to lie in court about the purpose of this road trip and allow an innocent stranger to hang for it. It's not like she continued to do 'the decent thing' and never admitted to the affair afterwards, and why on earth would 'the decent thing' have included protecting the real killer, as well as whoever sent him, if Valerie was aware this was someone close to Gregsten, who knew about the affair and wanted it to stop so badly that they didn't care how it was achieved? That makes no sense. She'd have been far more likely to speak up and try to get justice for her lover's murder - regardless of any further damage to her reputation. He was dead, and her life was all but over anyway.

    Love,

    Caz
    X

    Leave a comment:


  • caz
    replied
    Originally posted by moste View Post
    QUOTE: but Hanratty didn't help himself by cancelling one alibi out with the other, and the jury ended up believing Valerie got it right,

    Well now, we all know that this simply is not true. In the words of the otherwise inept defence .”The substance of the Liverpool alibi was maintained”.
    The defence had no choice but to word it that way. But what was meant by 'substance'? Surely what matters most, moste, is where Hanratty claimed to be when the rape and double shooting took place.

    To be in Liverpool overnight, or not to be in Liverpool overnight, but in Rhyl instead? That is the question.

    Love,

    Caz
    X

    Leave a comment:


  • caz
    replied
    Originally posted by cobalt View Post
    Hi Caz,
    I have never thought that Valerie Storie knowingly identified the wrong man. I am not aware of anything in her life before and after the terrible rime which suggested she had the vindictive nature to do such a thing. For that reason I don’t believe she could have known the person who committed the crime prior to that evening.
    Right you are cobalt, so once again, how would it have been to Hanratty's advantage, to have the sordid details of the victims' adulterous love affair come out in open court? I thought the idea was to plant the seed in the jury's minds that Valerie was dishonest and immoral, and therefore her account, including her identification of the man in the dock, might not be the truth, the whole truth... and so on. If all she could reasonably have been suspected of was making an honest mistake when she identified Hanratty, then her sex life was irrelevant to the case against him.

    Your point that the kidnapper lost patience because he was NOT receiving the power he imagined he would does make more sense to me than what I have generally read- to the effect that he was enjoying directing a pointless car rally for five hours. I did warn you that I would engage in cod philosophy of my own but it was based on Valerie Storie’s account of how they reacted to the kidnapper.
    I'd really appreciate it if you would not put words into my mouth. Where did I suggest the 'kidnapper lost patience', or that this was because he was not receiving the 'power' he imagined he would? Based on Valerie's account, which I'm pleased to see you treating as truthful, the kidnapper seemed not to know what he wanted, but I doubt it was to commit cold-blooded murder. I think he was struggling just to control this situation of his own making, and it proved too much for him when Gregsten made a sudden movement and he panicked, shooting him dead before he had time to "fink" about what he was doing. From that point on, he was a killer, who would have to grow the balls he needed to do it again, to silence the only witness.

    The original point I queried remains unanswered. If Sherrard knew of the affair before trial did he consult with Hanratty about if or how that should be handled at trial? I have explained how this may have influenced (or not as you suspect) the jury and turned the verdict Hanratty’s way. Valerie Storie was the victim of violence indeed but was allowed to present a tidied up version of her activities. The whole truth was not told. James Hanratty was not afforded this luxury, since being a self-confessed thief was central to his defence, and if this was a tactic by Sherrard then I think he put his client at a disadvantage.
    The 'tidied up version of her activities'? You mean the full, uncensored version would have provided the real reason she was in that parked car with a married man when a man with a gun took them on a mystery tour, that appears to have been a mystery to all three of them? Surely what matters is what happened from the moment the three of them were together, and whether or not you are prepared to accept Valerie's version of that. There was never any suggestion that she or her lover had ever seen this third party before, or that he may have been there, not by chance, but because he knew of their affair and was tasked with ending it in whatever way he could. If she had any idea at all that this could be the case, and any reason to suspect someone of arranging it, would she not have wanted that person to pay for the devastation they had caused?

    Assuming Sherrard knew the ins and outs of the victims' affair, the only 'tactic' I can see was not further increasing the jury's sympathy for Valerie by washing her dirty knickers in public, to suggest that her lack of morals may have led someone other than Hanratty to commit rape and murder [???]. Hanratty wasn't going to magically walk away from this, even if Valerie could have been exposed as a career marriage breaker. Even if someone could have been hired to try and break up the wicked pair - someone not known to either of them - Hanratty was still the hopeless liar in the dock, identified by Valerie as the man who broke a butterfly on a wheel.

    One more thing, to go back to the crime itself, another mystery is how anyone tasked with ending an adulterous affair would have set about tracking the couple down to where they were parked. They would have been doing their best to conduct the affair away from any prying eyes, so they must have been rather careless if they allowed their intended movements that evening to be known about by whoever had it in for them. Assuming the kidnapper wasn't known to them, was he given photos and a roadmap, to guide him to where he could expect to find them, so he could then follow their car to the cornfield, where they believed they would be alone, in a place that nobody knew about?

    Love,

    Caz
    X
    Last edited by caz; 03-23-2021, 02:42 PM.

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  • cobalt
    replied
    Just to clarify my reason for focusing on the non disclosure of the relationship between Gregtsen and Valerie Storie. It has nothing to do with victim blaming, although I will come to that point last. A jury has the right to draw inferences from a witness’ character and delivery of testimony. In the case of Sion Jenkins, the headmaster who stood trial twice I think for the murder of his adopted daughter with no clear verdict being reached, the jury were informed that Jenkins had lied on teacher applications. Now this had sod all to do with the crime obviously, but it allows the jury to consider that a man who can lie brazenly about qualifications he does not possess might lie about other matters. It also reveals a character confident he can hoodwink professional people partly through a personable manner which I believe came across at trial.

    In the A6 Case Valerie Storie was involved in a long running affair with a married man, something which many jurors would probably think was morally wrong. The main moral obligations rested with Gregsten of course since he had a wife and two children to consider. But that does not give Valerie Storie a free pass, unless we want to see her as some swooning Victorian female at the mercy of her passions. She was out of her teens and very capable of making her own judgments and allowed the affair to continue. The fact she was later raped and very nearly executed does not alter the fact of her putting her own interests above those of another woman and family. This affair was hardly a secret and it is possible to see a certain brazenness in the way it was conducted, at least that seemed to have been the response of persons informing a landlord and the couple’s employer. Yet none of this was brought to the attention of the jury either as a way of assessing Valerie Storie’s honesty (she clearly was less comfortable with the matter being aired in public after the crime) or other possible motives for what took place.

    I’ll finish with some cod psychology to explain why I think the affair was relevant. I cannot believe Valerie Storie had met her attacker before but that is not the same as believing her account of the five hour car trip, one where there were stops for refreshments and no one seemed to even need to go for s pee. She concealed her relationship from the jury and could equally well have concealed the reason for that strange journey from them as well. If -and I accept it can only be ‘if’ -the purpose of the journey was to broker some kind of end to their affair which they refused to accept then she would be inhuman if she did not attach some kind of responsibility to the terrible events upon herself. The version of the random stranger would not remove that feeling but at least allow herself to live the rest of her life with less public criticism. The ‘stranger killer’ version also helps remove fingers being pointed at Michael Gregsten as well, something that Valerie Storie may well have thought was the decent thing to do in respect of Mrs. Gregsten and her two sons.

    Leave a comment:


  • moste
    replied
    QUOTE: but Hanratty didn't help himself by cancelling one alibi out with the other, and the jury ended up believing Valerie got it right,

    Well now, we all know that this simply is not true. In the words of the otherwise inept defence .”The substance of the Liverpool alibi was maintained”.

    Leave a comment:


  • cobalt
    replied
    Hi Caz,
    I have never thought that Valerie Storie knowingly identified the wrong man. I am not aware of anything in her life before and after the terrible rime which suggested she had the vindictive nature to do such a thing. For that reason I don’t believe she could have known the person who committed the crime prior to that evening.

    Your point that the kidnapper lost patience because he was NOT receiving the power he imagined he would does make more sense to me than what I have generally read- to the effect that he was enjoying directing a pointless car rally for five hours. I did warn you that I would engage in cod philosophy of my own but it was based on Valerie Storie’s account of how they reacted to the kidnapper.

    My point about Alphon was purely in respect of a criminal escalating the nature of his crime: Alphon was prone to issuing threats and on at least one account used violence towards a woman so fitted the bill better. The logic for Alphon carrying out the crime is, I am fully aware, no stronger than it being committed by Hanratty.

    The original point I queried remains unanswered. If Sherrard knew of the affair before trial did he consult with Hanratty about if or how that should be handled at trial? I have explained how this may have influenced (or not as you suspect) the jury and turned the verdict Hanratty’s way. Valerie Storie was the victim of violence indeed but was allowed to present a tidied up version of her activities. The whole truth was not told. James Hanratty was not afforded this luxury, since being a self-confessed thief was central to his defence, and if this was a tactic by Sherrard then I think he put his client at a disadvantage.

    Leave a comment:


  • caz
    replied
    Originally posted by cobalt View Post
    I agree that a harsh questioning of Valerie Storie would likely have been counter productive given her ordeal; in fact she had to be helped into court and placed in a wheelchair from memory. I also agree the jury had the right to assess her evidence accordingly in regard to her relationship, but they were not ostensibly given the opportunity. Spelling things out is exactly what barristers are paid to do.
    Thanks, cobalt. That was my point really. If it had been spelled out in open court that the victims had been having an adulterous affair [whether it had only just begun or had been going on for years] I just wonder how that would have affected the jury's opinion on whether or not Valerie had correctly identified Hanratty as the man who had spent all that time in the car, 'babbling out' his self-pitying autobiography. This was the same man who couldn't or wouldn't give a straight story about his own whereabouts at the time. What was he up to, they could be forgiven for thinking, that could have been any worse than murder, rape and attempted murder?

    Even if the jury had considered the possibility that the motive was to put an end to the couple's relationship, implying the gunman's knowledge of this and connection to his victims, they would have been left to consider how the answer to the victims' immoral behaviour could, in any sane universe, have been to rape the woman and shoot them both. The words 'sledgehammer', 'crack' and 'nut' spring to mind.

    Caz’s last paragraph is, alas, an example of the cod psychology we can be tempted into when trying to make our case for or against. The wild allegations of crimes Hanratty may have committed is really an acknowledgment that there is in fact no known crime Hanratty committed (unlike say, Alphon) which is remotely like the A6 case. Ghost crimes in other words, which exist only in the imagination.
    On that matter I will veer into some cod psychology of my own. Hanratty was a burglar but the suggestion was made in court that he had ambitions to be a robber, a ‘stick up’ man in Americanese. He’d made noises about acquiring a gun and given his acquaintance with Dixie France this might not have been much of a problem. So far, so good.
    But he seems to have hedged his bets when visiting the Taplow area for, despite carrying a weapon and spare ammunition, he reverted to type and decided on a spot of old fashioned burglary. Not so handy for shinning up drainpipes or slipping through windows but nonetheless he was able to arrive, walk down country roads in his sharp suit, and presumably ‘case’ a joint or two without ever being seen. At some point he gives up on burglary and must be itching to try his hand as an armed robber. Maybe he was on his way to a late night shop, a small garage or a pub at cashing up time when he spots a car in a cornfield. Easy money and a car home as well, so a great opportunity to begin his apprenticeship. Thus far the narrative has a few holes obviously but it can just about be sustained.
    What happens thereafter suspends disbelief a little too far. Instead of taking valuables and kicking the couple out of the car in a lonely field, he decides to sit (according to Ms Storie’s evidence for around two hours) babbling out some kind of self-pitying autobiography. The victims’ response seems to be less one of terror and more one of pity and utter boredom. At times they can barely conceal their contempt. Far from dominating them or feeling some kind of power kick he is being treated as the inadequate that he is. Surely time to cut his losses and finish the robbery? Far from it. He decides on a bizarre car rally of his own, stopping for cigarettes and petrol, before the horrific climax to a robbery which was never really a robbery in the first place. From burglar to stick-up man might be just be seen as a logical progression but our man goes way beyond his parameters in a matter of hours: kidnap, murder, rape, attempted murder. And yet at the start of the evening his ambitions could hardly have stretched beyond holding up a small shopkeeper.
    So no 'cod psychology' here then, cobalt?

    I wasn't making any 'wild allegations' of other crimes Hanratty may have committed. I was talking generally, about anyone who committed this crime. I even suggested that the rape was more about the power this 'inadequate' character had to summon after shooting Gregsten dead, possibly unintentionally. If the victims didn't see the warnings signs, perhaps that's because you have described their experience accurately, and there weren't any - up to that point.

    Whatever 'previous' Alphon and Hanratty had between them, this crime was different. What makes Alphon psychologically more likely to have held up this couple with a loaded gun and made them drive all that way, not apparently knowing what he was planning to do, or where it was all going to end? If it had been a case of scaring them into ending their affair, and sexually assaulting Valerie as a bonus, using the gun only as a threat, why not do both while the car was parked and get it over with, with a minimum of communication? From your own description, this sounds like the gunman didn't have any definite outcome in mind, but only a vague outline of what he was doing, and where he was going with this loaded gun as his sole point of reference. This smacks more of an experiment gone wrong than someone's cunning plan to teach the victims a lesson in morality.

    Where were you, cobalt, when there was all that kerfuffle about alleged rape victims having their sex lives raked over in open court, to try and make them out to be liars, who were accusing innocent men? Innocent men have been accused in this way, but it's rare, and usually involves someone known to the victim. There was no reason for Valerie to identify Hanratty, a total stranger to her, if she knew it wasn't him. Someone raped and shot her, and could still have been out there, free to do it to someone else, if she lied about any aspect of her testimony. Of course there was always the potential to be mistaken, but Hanratty didn't help himself by cancelling one alibi out with the other, and the jury ended up believing Valerie got it right, and knowing Hanratty was a liar. The DNA findings - regardless of personal opinions about how they were reached - support Valerie's account of what happened, and further undermine Hanratty's claims to have been in Liverpool or Rhyl - whichever is the less implausible.

    Love,

    Caz
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  • moste
    replied
    Originally posted by cobalt View Post
    It does seem strange that for all we have pored over the A6 case for much of our lives we don’t seem to know the answer to the two questions I asked earlier: was Sherrard actually aware of the long term affair between Gregsten and Valerie Storie; and if he was, did he consult Hanratty about how (or how not) this would feature at trial.

    Caz seems remarkably prescient about how a jury would have reacted to this information, not only in 1960 but also 1860. In fact she even seems to know that they were all aware of the relationship in any case and did not need it to be spelled out. I agree that a harsh questioning of Valerie Storie would likely have been counter productive given her ordeal; in fact she had to be helped into court and placed in a wheelchair from memory. I also agree the jury had the right to assess her evidence accordingly in regard to her relationship, but they were not ostensibly given the opportunity. Spelling things out is exactly what barristers are paid to do.

    Caz’s last paragraph is, alas, an example of the cod psychology we can be tempted into when trying to make our case for or against. The wild allegations of crimes Hanratty may have committed is really an acknowledgment that there is in fact no known crime Hanratty committed (unlike say, Alphon) which is remotely like the A6 case. Ghost crimes in other words, which exist only in the imagination.
    On that matter I will veer into some cod psychology of my own. Hanratty was a burglar but the suggestion was made in court that he had ambitions to be a robber, a ‘stick up’ man in Americanese. He’d made noises about acquiring a gun and given his acquaintance with Dixie France this might not have been much of a problem. So far, so good.
    But he seems to have hedged his bets when visiting the Taplow area for, despite carrying a weapon and spare ammunition, he reverted to type and decided on a spot of old fashioned burglary. Not so handy for shinning up drainpipes or slipping through windows but nonetheless he was able to arrive, walk down country roads in his sharp suit, and presumably ‘case’ a joint or two without ever being seen. At some point he gives up on burglary and must be itching to try his hand as an armed robber. Maybe he was on his way to a late night shop, a small garage or a pub at cashing up time when he spots a car in a cornfield. Easy money and a car home as well, so a great opportunity to begin his apprenticeship. Thus far the narrative has a few holes obviously but it can just about be sustained.
    What happens thereafter suspends disbelief a little too far. Instead of taking valuables and kicking the couple out of the car in a lonely field, he decides to sit (according to Ms Storie’s evidence for around two hours) babbling out some kind of self-pitying autobiography. The victims’ response seems to be less one of terror and more one of pity and utter boredom. At times they can barely conceal their contempt. Far from dominating them or feeling some kind of power kick he is being treated as the inadequate that he is. Surely time to cut his losses and finish the robbery? Far from it. He decides on a bizarre car rally of his own, stopping for cigarettes and petrol, before the horrific climax to a robbery which was never really a robbery in the first place. From burglar to stick-up man might be just be seen as a logical progression but our man goes way beyond his parameters in a matter of hours: kidnap, murder, rape, attempted murder. And yet at the start of the evening his ambitions could hardly have stretched beyond holding up a small shopkeeper.
    Mmh, Those final words perhaps smack of the couple knowing the person in the car with them? There are a number of incidents during the evening/night , that could possibly point to this.

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