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  • Alphon not called as a witness at the trial.

    The Glasgow Herald, reporting on Sherrard's summing up at the trial, said: "Durrant alias Alphon, was the one man who could have cleared up the whole mystery as to which room he stayed in [at the Vienna], but he was not called, the prosecution preferring to rely on Nudds. Mr Sherrard went on: 'I confess it, I would have welcomed the opportunity of cross-examining Mr Alphon about certain matters.'"

    Was there anything stopping Sherrard from calling Alphon as a witness (besides an understandable fear that he'd affirm that Nudds' third statement was true)?

    And wouldn't it have helped the prosecution's case to put Alphon on the stand under oath to back up Nudds' account?

    Comment


    • Originally posted by cobalt View Post
      One possibility might be that the AB sample belonged to Gregsten and had survived the underwear being washed.
      In 1961 not all households had a washing machine, so that either meant a copper boiler (highly efficient as I vaguely recall) or handwashing in a sink, followed by a wringer. The trace would not be visible to the naked eye but could have shown up under analysis.
      Trying to catch up with this thread...

      When I read the related posts I thought of the same possibility, cobalt - that semen might have survived the most recent washing process in those days. If so that would mean Valerie chose to wear the same pair of undies on each occasion - which would make sense if they were perhaps a favourite pair she kept for romantic evenings with her lover.

      But it's equally plausible that the couple did have sex shortly before the gunman surprised them, which would not be hushed up if it happened these days, but might well have been in the early 1960s, for fear of prejudicing the public and the jury against the victim in the case, and possibly creating false sympathy for the man she was effectively accusing of rape.

      One point that may or may not yet have been addressed is that in 1961, with no DNA to match semen conclusively to a specific male, it was arguably considered enough [or the best they could do?] to attribute the minor AB staining to Gregsten and the major O group staining to the rapist. By the time of the 2002 appeal, I agree with OneRound's point, that the surviving AB semen should ideally have been tested again for a DNA match to Gregsten, but would that have been possible or practicable? How would they have done this and what permissions would they have needed? Was there a body to exhume in Gregsten's case, or would they have had to use the DNA of a close relative?

      The other problem, of course, is that if people strongly believe there was a deliberate cover up over the DNA results, so they would indicate Hanratty's guilt no matter what, you have to wonder what good it would have done to go the extra mile to tie up Gregsten's loose end [if you'll pardon the expression] even assuming it could have been done.

      Love,

      Caz
      X
      "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


      Comment


      • Originally posted by Alfie View Post
        The Glasgow Herald, reporting on Sherrard's summing up at the trial, said: "Durrant alias Alphon, was the one man who could have cleared up the whole mystery as to which room he stayed in [at the Vienna], but he was not called, the prosecution preferring to rely on Nudds. Mr Sherrard went on: 'I confess it, I would have welcomed the opportunity of cross-examining Mr Alphon about certain matters.'"

        Was there anything stopping Sherrard from calling Alphon as a witness (besides an understandable fear that he'd affirm that Nudds' third statement was true)?

        And wouldn't it have helped the prosecution's case to put Alphon on the stand under oath to back up Nudds' account?
        Alfie, a lawyer I am not, but as Alphon had been a suspect in the A6 Case, questioned regarding it, and the case against him eventually dropped on October 3 1961, could it be that any testimony he might have given at Hanratty's trial be considered to be biased? Or even unreliable?

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

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Graham View Post
          Alfie, a lawyer I am not, but as Alphon had been a suspect in the A6 Case, questioned regarding it, and the case against him eventually dropped on October 3 1961, could it be that any testimony he might have given at Hanratty's trial be considered to be biased? Or even unreliable?

          Graham
          By the jury? If his testimony largely corroborated Nudds's first and third statements, I don't think so.

          Reading the trial reports again I was struck by how often Sherrard injected into Hanratty's defence the implication that Alphon was the more fitting suspect for the A6 crimes.

          One thing Alphon didn't lack, it seems, was persuasiveness. If the jury could have seen and heard him explaining his alibi it might have largely nullified this part of Sherrard's strategy.

          And who knows, it may also have meant Alphon wasn't left with the grievance against the British legal system that Justice exploited to set in train the whole 'Hanratty wuz innocent' movement.

          But then where would that leave us A6 obsessives?

          Comment


          • When he was in confession mode in the TV interview, it was put to Alphon that the murderer said he was called Jim. Alphon replied that he would have been crazy to give his real name – and this sounded very reasonable.

            But he was looking at it from Hanratty’s point of view. Indeed it would have been wise for Hanratty to say he was called anything other than Jim. (Although there is a precedent for blurting out his real name under stress; when the Liverpool jeweller asked him to sign for what he had sold.)

            But looking at it from Alphon’s point of view, he would only have said Jim in order to frame Hanratty. If he was choosing at random a false name, what are the chances that - of all the names in the world - he would have come up with Jim?

            Comment


            • Originally posted by NickB View Post
              When he was in confession mode in the TV interview, it was put to Alphon that the murderer said he was called Jim. Alphon replied that he would have been crazy to give his real name – and this sounded very reasonable.

              But he was looking at it from Hanratty’s point of view. Indeed it would have been wise for Hanratty to say he was called anything other than Jim. (Although there is a precedent for blurting out his real name under stress; when the Liverpool jeweller asked him to sign for what he had sold.)

              But looking at it from Alphon’s point of view, he would only have said Jim in order to frame Hanratty. If he was choosing at random a false name, what are the chances that - of all the names in the world - he would have come up with Jim?
              If the gunman had already decided to murder Valerie (most likely), he'd have believed he could say anything with impunity.

              Comment


              • He would have been worried that she could have identified him - by sight and sound - but I am not sure at what point he decided to shoot her. Perhaps having let slip his real name was the clincher.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by NickB View Post
                  He would have been worried that she could have identified him - by sight and sound - but I am not sure at what point he decided to shoot her. Perhaps having let slip his real name was the clincher.
                  My guess is, when he worked out that killing Valerie was the only sure way he had of avoiding the noose. He wasn't the quickest of wits, but it was likely to be soon after he shot Gregsten.

                  Comment


                  • It’s an interesting question about why Alphon was not called as a witness at the trial, and intriguing to think how he might have performed if he had been.

                    I assume Sherrard had decided against calling Alphon since his line of questioning would likely have been to suggest Alphon was the murderer. This is understandably seen by juries as a desperate kind of defence, one that also indicates the police force is spectacularly incompetent. It certainly did Timothy Evans no good in 1949.

                    However given the significance of the rooms in the Vienna Hotel you would have expected the prosecution to call Alphon to substantiate the prosecution case, as Alfie said. Alphon’s evidence could hardly have carried less weight than Nudds’ who was a self-confessed liar. From what we know, there seems little doubt that Alphon would have been only too happy to bask in the limelight by appearing as a witness in a major murder trial. He did attend the trial every day, I think.

                    Perhaps the prosecution were aware of his general unreliability and judged he might do their case more harm than good, especially under cross-examination. Alphon seems to have been a persuasive speaker but under duress might have veered off into Paris hotel mode and started banging on about immorality and the incompetence of British justice.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by caz View Post
                      ...I thought of the same possibility, cobalt - that semen might have survived the most recent washing process in those days...

                      Hi Caz

                      Leaving out the fact that no AB group anything was found by Dr Nickolls in his examinations, heat is the enemy of DNA persistence.

                      Why do you think that DNA samples have to be frozen for ultimate preservation?

                      Del

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by caz View Post
                        Trying to catch up with this thread...

                        When I read the related posts I thought of the same possibility, cobalt - that semen might have survived the most recent washing process in those days. If so that would mean Valerie chose to wear the same pair of undies on each occasion - which would make sense if they were perhaps a favourite pair she kept for romantic evenings with her lover.

                        But it's equally plausible that the couple did have sex shortly before the gunman surprised them, which would not be hushed up if it happened these days, but might well have been in the early 1960s, for fear of prejudicing the public and the jury against the victim in the case, and possibly creating false sympathy for the man she was effectively accusing of rape.

                        One point that may or may not yet have been addressed is that in 1961, with no DNA to match semen conclusively to a specific male, it was arguably considered enough [or the best they could do?] to attribute the minor AB staining to Gregsten and the major O group staining to the rapist. By the time of the 2002 appeal, I agree with OneRound's point, that the surviving AB semen should ideally have been tested again for a DNA match to Gregsten, but would that have been possible or practicable? How would they have done this and what permissions would they have needed? Was there a body to exhume in Gregsten's case, or would they have had to use the DNA of a close relative?

                        The other problem, of course, is that if people strongly believe there was a deliberate cover up over the DNA results, so they would indicate Hanratty's guilt no matter what, you have to wonder what good it would have done to go the extra mile to tie up Gregsten's loose end [if you'll pardon the expression] even assuming it could have been done.

                        Love,

                        Caz
                        X
                        Hi Caz,

                        As usual, good and practical points there.

                        I suppose my main gripe is not that the surviving AB semen* went untested but that the Court of Appeal were so ready to regard the DNA evidence as conclusive without such testing.

                        I do not subscribe at all to there having been a deliberate cover up over the DNA results. Just unease as to the short shrift given to there being any doubt as to the findings.

                        * I note Del's post but need to see a copy of Dr Nickolls' notes before I can consider the absence of AB semen.

                        Best regards,
                        OneRound

                        Comment


                        • New Banning

                          American Sherlock has been dropped from the forum, he was posting on the Herbert Wallace thread,and I guess went Ott.
                          Which is a pity because the thread has now frozen , it seems.
                          Since it was quiet over here , I nipped over there just to mention the interesting fact, (IMO anyway) that the name Qualtrough is the most prevalent by a country mile in the north west Lancashire area near where Wallace was born and grew up. As well as directly across the water in the Isle of Man .
                          Last edited by moste; 11-26-2018, 09:19 PM.

                          Comment


                          • Posters who come and go

                            Since this thread has cooled, I have been 10 years back on the old A6 murder casebook thread.
                            There was a guy posting as 'JP56 ,'Feb of 2011. He seemed to be a breath of fresh air, and though he was introducing possible scenarios of a speculative nature, he gave food for thought.
                            After six posts, over a three day period he vanished without so much as a toodle bye, even though a couple of regulars welcomed him and invited him to stick around. Strange, something or someone scared him off ?

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by moste View Post
                              American Sherlock has been dropped from the forum, he was posting on the Herbert Wallace thread,and I guess went Ott.
                              Which is a pity because the thread has now frozen , it seems.
                              Since it was quiet over here , I nipped over there just to mention the interesting fact, (IMO anyway) that the name Qualtrough is the most prevalent by a country mile in the north west Lancashire area near where Wallace was born and grew up. As well as directly across the water in the Isle of Man .

                              The Julia Wallace case is an intriguing one, Moste. As you will no doubt be aware there was no such thoroughfare as Menlove Gardens East but there were Menlove Gardens West, North and South forming an unusual triangular shape. A stone's throw away from there is a large park on Menlove Avenue where I take my dog most days for his constitutional. There were about 25 to 30 Qualtroughs listed in the Liverpool Electoral Register between 1930 and 1935.
                              I hope you you won't mind me pointing out that William and Julia were both born, raised and married in the West Riding of Yorkshire, they moved to Liverpool a few years after their marriage.
                              *************************************
                              "A body of men, HOLDING THEMSELVES ACCOUNTABLE TO NOBODY, ought not to be trusted by anybody." --Thomas Paine ["Rights of Man"]

                              "Justice is an ideal which transcends the expedience of the State, or the sensitivities of Government officials, or private individuals. IT HAS TO BE PURSUED WHATEVER THE COST IN PEACE OF MIND TO THOSE CONCERNED." --'Justice of the Peace' [July 12th 1975]

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Sherlock Houses View Post
                                I hope you you won't mind me pointing out that William and Julia were both born, raised and married in the West Riding of Yorkshire, they moved to Liverpool a few years after their marriage.
                                Not sure what this has to do with the A6 Murder case, but I hope you wont mind me pointing out that William Herbert Wallace was born and raised in Cumberland. He was born in Bootle, Millom Cumberland in 1878 and was living in Dalton-in Furness according to the 1901 Census. He spent some time in India and China circa 1903-1907 where he became ill and had one kidney removed on his return to the UK.

                                The 1911 Census has him living in Harrogate with his parents who for one reason or another had moved from Cumberland. There he met the ill-fated Julia Dennis whom he married in 1914. The following year they set up home in Liverpool.

                                Hanratty's alleged excursions in Liverpool could only be investigated after 6 weeks or so after they were claimed to have occurred, whereas Wallace's journey to the non-existent 25 Menlove Gardens East was investigated almost immediately. It would be unfair to compare the alibi evidence of the two, to show either that Hanratty was not in Liverpool on 22 August 1961 or that Wallace, who undoubtedly went towards the Menlove Gardens triangle, did so in an ostentatious fashion so that he would have had alibi witnesses.

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