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  • Graham
    replied
    Hi OR,

    back in 1961 murder by firearm had only one sentence for the accused if found guilty - death. I believe I'm correct in saying that if in such a case the person who supplied the gun to the accused, obviously only if that person could be identified, faced a stiff prison-sentence. I can't think off the top of my head of any cases in which this actually occurred. It's like if today someone commits a serious crime when high on drugs, if the supplier of those drugs can be identified then he stands a chance of being charged as an accessory. If I'm wrong, no doubt I'll be put right before too long.

    Hanratty did tell Acott of the conversation he had with Slack. He also handed to Slack a file of personal information presumably for safe-keeping; the police took possession of this file when they interviewed Slack, and it was never seen again. (It would, I think, be of some interest to discover its contents). Acott informed Hanratty that he had met Slack who told him about Hanratty's interest in obtaining a gun. However, when Hanratty (in custody) wrote to Slack presumably to get him to confirm the request for a gun, Slack absolutely denied this. Unfortunately, Slack's denial - according to Woffo - wasn't unearthed for another 30 years. And Hanratty's letter to Slack was confiscated by the Home Office.
    (Why Hanratty didn't pursue this through his solicitor, I don't know). And then, at the trial, Acott denied ever telling Hanratty that he had been to interview Slack. All a bit naughty, in my opinion. And Hanratty confirmed that he had met Slack about a gun whilst under oath during the trial. The point I'm seeking to make is, that had Acott satisfied himself that Slack had supplied a gun that was subsequently used in a murder, Slack would have been in big trouble. It is a rather unsavoury chain of events.

    Moving on, Dixie France committed suicide at the third attempt shortly before Hanratty's execution. Only two (I think) of the suicide letters he wrote were released for publication. The others were confiscated and never saw the light of day again, as far as I'm aware. We've all seen the letter he wrote to his wife, in which he effectively blamed Hanratty for the situation he, France, was now in. France basically states that he was convinced that Hanratty was guilty. Now, I've posted this before, but amongst his other 'employment', Dixie ran a cafe called The Harmony Cafe which was in Archer Street, Soho, close to The Rehearsal Club. The Harmony was a well-known meeting-place for all manner of low-life, as well as jazz musicians and beatniks. It was well-known that Dixie maintained what amounted to an armoury of weapons behind the counter, in case of trouble. If this 'armoury' included a gun, then I've never seen that confirmed, but there is no doubt that Dixie knew a whole lot of unsavoury Soho characters. As he and Hanratty appeared to be fairly close friends, I have long wondered if Dixie supplied the gun to Hanratty, and if as a result he was under suspicion and was perhaps already being questioned by the police. I have also long wondered, assuming he did supply the gun, if this triggered his suicide. He plainly had a huge animus against Hanratty, but would that be a sufficient reason for him to take his own life?

    Graham

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  • OneRound
    replied
    Originally posted by Graham View Post

    Ah well, OR - I'm nothing if not po-faced.....

    But Moste and yourself are quite right. It's doubtful if the bodies would have been discovered for some time, and so it's also very doubtful if Valerie would have survived. And yes, I do believe he panicked. Who wouldn't? And yes, I agree with NickB that he acquired the gun to move up to more lucrative crime - or so he hoped. I also believe he spoke to Slack about obtaining a gun, in which case it's hardly surprising that Slack denied it - but Jim had already told Acott of this conversation. Did Slack supply the gun? We'll never know for sure, but my suspicion is that Jim acquired the gun 'closer to home'. It's significant that the police didn't haul in Slack after the murder with a view to charging him with being an accessory - this would confirm that they were satisfied that Slack hadn't supplied the gun. And talking about guns is hardly a criminal offence, even if Slack had admitted the claimed conversation with Jim took place.

    Graham
    Hi Graham and all - I'm actually inclined to think on balance that Slack did supply the gun. I'll try to explain my reasoning. Almost needless to say, this is on the basis that Hanratty was guilty and so I'm not expecting plaudits from all quarters.

    As mentioned in other recent posts (particularly by Nick) and despite Slack's denial, it seems clear from Hanratty's various admissions that he and Slack did talk about acquiring a gun albeit Hanratty claimed this was nothing more than bravado. It would have been helpful to Acott and the prosecution case for Slack to not only confirm the conversation but also more particularly that Hanratty appeared totally serious in the request. I'm sure Acott pressured Slack in this regard. It would have been out of character for him not to do so.

    Why then didn't Slack acknowledge the conversation and Hanratty's apparent real desire to obtain a gun if he (Slack) didn't supply the gun? To be fair, there are several possible reasons (or combination thereof) - an inbred tendency not to help the police; not wanting such a conversation becoming public down the line; not wanting to be ''a grass'', etc.

    However, if Slack had emphasised he did not supply a gun whilst acknowledging he had been a party to a serious conversation about guns, this would have undoubtedly aided Acott and probably got him off his back at the time; after all, Acott was after the murderer far more than any supporting player. I feel that would have been quite an incentive for Slack. Why then not take it? One possible answer I tend to favour is that Slack did supply the gun and he feared that the more he dropped Hanratty in it, the more desperate and talkative Hanratty might become, particularly after conviction, compelling the police to further investigate Slack's role.

    I know you, Graham, favour Dixie supplying the gun and so I don't expect you to accept this but I hope you and all can see my reasoning.

    Along the lines of something said by former poster Victor, without Hanratty coming clean about his own starring role, we will never know the full story.

    Best regards,
    OneRound





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  • NickB
    replied
    I've found the post I was thinking of about the cafe at Northolt. It is post 1608 on the original thread by Steve. If the cafe was on the Western Avenue the car crossed this on the way north.

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  • caz
    replied
    Originally posted by Graham View Post
    Hi Caz,

    Regarding Rhyl, I went there once - it was closed...

    Graham
    Ha ha, same here! What a hole. I stayed in a shabby, run-down hotel there for a week, must have been ten years ago now, but luckily we were out every day, driving to some wonderful beauty spots in North Wales, so it was just a base.

    Love,

    Caz
    X

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  • Graham
    replied
    Hi Graham - if there has ever been a better opening line to an A6 post than yours here, I have yet to read it!
    Ah well, OR - I'm nothing if not po-faced.....

    But Moste and yourself are quite right. It's doubtful if the bodies would have been discovered for some time, and so it's also very doubtful if Valerie would have survived. And yes, I do believe he panicked. Who wouldn't? And yes, I agree with NickB that he acquired the gun to move up to more lucrative crime - or so he hoped. I also believe he spoke to Slack about obtaining a gun, in which case it's hardly surprising that Slack denied it - but Jim had already told Acott of this conversation. Did Slack supply the gun? We'll never know for sure, but my suspicion is that Jim acquired the gun 'closer to home'. It's significant that the police didn't haul in Slack after the murder with a view to charging him with being an accessory - this would confirm that they were satisfied that Slack hadn't supplied the gun. And talking about guns is hardly a criminal offence, even if Slack had admitted the claimed conversation with Jim took place.

    Graham

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