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  • Originally posted by cobalt View Post
    The driving ability of the killer has always been one of the weaker planks in the prosecution case. We don’t know how many cars Hanratty stole in his short life, but surely enough to familiarise himself with the basics of gears and clutch. He may well have been a poor driver- his impulsive nature and disregard for others supports that line of argument- but there is a marked difference between being poor at something and being clueless. The reluctance of the killer to take control of events by commandeering the car earlier in the evening suggests to me a person who was not confident about driving the vehicle.

    SH, one frustrating feature of the A6 Case is the duality of evidence we have available. For example, the notorious Nudds stated the room found with cartridge cases was occupied by Ryan (Hanratty), then later decided it was in fact occupied by Alphon before reverting to his original story. By the way, several characters in this story operate under dual names as well. Valerie Storie originally picked out an innocent man on the first ID parade before fixing upon Hanratty the second time round. Not to be outdone, Hanratty originally came up with an alibi that he was in Liverpool, before deciding he had instead been in Rhyl. Even the original descriptions of the killer offered up immediately after the crime seem to have indicated different hair and eye colours. Valerie Storie also supplied two accounts of how they met the killer, whilst the car itself was dumped in the early morning, or then again perhaps the early evening. I wish you the best of Briti

    Police corruption? No more than the normal trimming of evidence so far as I can make out, which was standard for the time. Political dimension? I think our security services employ more reliable employees than the killer, even if Gregsten had stumbled on some dodgy scientific data concerning a multinational company’s tyres or braking system. Besides, in the UK we normally deal with potential whistle blowers by promoting them, not executing them in lay bys.

    Yet this is a murder which seems to stand alone in the annals of British murder. There is no convincing explanation for the killer being in a cornfield, deciding not to drive away himself but to stay in the car for a number of hours, not to be driven near his home but to wander aimlessly across the edge of London, then deciding he wants to go to sleep. After this, the prosecution version of events is that he kills Gregsten in a moment of panic, but applies a second shot nonetheless. The sexual assault on Ms. Storie and the eventual murder attempt might make sense to a psychiatrist. None of the killer’s actions from his appearance in the cornfield seem to make much sense despite attempts to shoehorn Hanratty, a man of limited intelligence and morality no doubt but sharp enough in his instincts, into the frame. A random, motiveless murder where culprit and victims met by chance? Just about possible, but there has not been one like it in the UK since so far as I can recall. More likely we have a shortage of information and cannot see the full picture.
    To be fair, cobalt, whoever took Hanratty's hankie along with the murder weapon, and put both on that London bus, must have been one of the first to try and 'shoehorn' him into the frame. But how on earth did they think the hankie would help, back in 1961?

    Love,

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


    Comment


    • When Acott & Co descended upon The Vienna Hotel, it was because this place was already in their A6 file courtesy of Peter Louis Alphon. He was the man they instantly placed in the frame as the A6 killer. When Nudds failed in his first statement to place sufficient emphasis upon Alphon a.k.a. Durrant as the occupant of Room 6, Acott put a little pressure on him, hence Nudds' altered statements in Alphon's 'favour', so to speak. Only when Valerie failed to pick out Alphon on the i.d. parade did Acott's attention turn to the mysterious Ryan.

      It's odd how France's ultimate suicide seems to have been glossed over on these boards. He killed himself for a good reason, and I have sometimes considered that his reason may have been fear of being charged as an accessory to murder.

      A random, motiveless murder where culprit and victims met by chance? Just about possible, but there has not been one like it in the UK since so far as I can recall
      .

      Have a read-up on the Janice Weston murder of 1983.

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

      Comment


      • Originally posted by cobalt View Post
        I cannot follow the reasoning which links adrenalin to you and some friends nodding off in a car. An adrenalin rush has the opposite effect, otherwise marathon runners, footballers playing in extra time, women in labour or soldiers on the battlefield would all be lying down for a kip. This has never been recorded in human history. Tiredness comes after the race has been run, not during it; the brain makes sure of that.

        Which was pretty much my point in regard to the killer claiming he was tired. He was no more likely to have felt the need to sleep than Gregsten, who had after all actually being driving the car under bizarre navigation for some hours. In a tense situation the mind and body will stay alert until the event has reached its conclusion. Whatever Hanratty’s mental shortcomings, he was as capable of living by his wits as most it would seem, and he would have been aware that this particular situation was far from complete. Sleep was not an option. The same would apply to any person in the car that night.
        Hi cobalt,

        Sleep was not an option, I agree. And yet, the gunman said he wanted a kip! So it's reasonable to assume he was fighting tiredness when he said it. And the very fact that he could admit to feeling sleepy is suggestive of a lessening of tension after any initial 'rush', and his brain no longer being on full alert.

        We do not know if the killer drove the car back to London or not. The car was driven back for sure, although we cannot be certain when or by whom. All we know is that the killer drove away from the scene of the crime.

        I have never been in favour of Alphon swinging from the end of a rope for two reasons. Firstly. I am not in favour of capital punishment. Secondly, I have only pointed out that his involvement in the crime is as likely as Hanratty’s which admittedly may amount to not very much. I can understand that if Ms. Storie’s second ID is given full weight this is not the case, but I reserve the right to question the accuracy of her second opinion. The forensics I will be happy to argue on another occasion.
        I have never been in favour of Hanratty or Alphon, or anyone else, swinging from the end of a rope. It was barbaric. But there is a difference between believing the evidence proves someone innocent, and believing the case against that person wasn't/isn't as strong as it should have been.

        If anyone still believes Hanratty was either in Liverpool or Rhyl when Gregsten was shot dead, despite not being able to prove it, they'll have one hell of a job to put Alphon in that car. And there is nobody else as far as suspects go. One of the first hurdles would be to explain why a man who had never learned to drive would have set out with a loaded gun to hold up this couple in a car and then make them drive all that way north! Why would Alphon, if he had half a brain, have done that in the first place, never mind go on to shoot the two people who could drive, leaving himself stranded with his victims and an unexpected need to learn to drive fast, simply to get away? That makes far less sense to me than Hanratty driving off - badly as usual - in an unfamiliar car, in a state of growing panic at how a new criminal venture had taken such a bad turn.

        Love,

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


        Comment


        • Originally posted by caz View Post

          Hi Herlock,

          That might point to someone who wasn't in a frame of mind at the time to think things through properly and just resorted to his usual method of disposing of unwanted crime-related stuff.

          Alternatively, if he was starting to think of the consequences, and the vital need for an alibi, he may have decided to leave the gun where he knew it would be found within hours, in London, by which time he could be 200 miles away in Liverpool, establishing a false alibi by sending the telegram to Dixie France and later trying to give the impression he had been "oop north" all week.

          The sticking point for anyone else putting the gun on the bus is why they would have left Hanratty's hankie with it. It couldn't have framed him at the time, because it would be many decades before it was proved that he had used it when his DNA - and only his - was found to be present. None of the conspiracy theorists has yet come up with a reasonable, no-nonsense explanation for this, and I presume this is why they tend to get snotty [sorry] whenever I bring up the snotty thing.

          Love,

          Caz
          X


          That's because they can't believe you don't get the fact that the hanky probably came from Mrs Fance's laundry basket.she used to do his wash remember? Remember also when asked in court "Is this your handkerchief" his answer was "yes it is".Without speculating we can't know how he knew it was his, but France probably knew it was his also.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by moste View Post
            Remember also when asked in court "Is this your handkerchief" his answer was "yes it is".Without speculating we can't know how he knew it was his, but France probably knew it was his also.
            That exchange did not take place in court. It was the invention of a poster on here who specialised in 'imagine what would have happened if ...' scenarios using made up dialogue.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by NickB View Post

              That exchange did not take place in court. It was the invention of a poster on here who specialised in 'imagine what would have happened if ...' scenarios using made up dialogue.
              Oh! Ok apologies. So the handkerchief wasn't necessarily Hanratty's, I was lead into a false memory that It was proven to have been his.

              Comment


              • Perhaps Caz would care to rethink the obsession with 'snotty hankies',since nobody had any proof of whom it belong to ,let alone who put it there.

                Comment


                • 'One of the first hurdles would be to explain why a man who had never learned to drive would have set out with a
                  loaded
                  gun to hold up this couple
                  in a car
                  and then make them drive all that way north!'


                  Caz,

                  You are certainly asking some relevant questions here; it’s just that I think most of the reservations you apply to Alphon would apply to Hanratty or on fact any criminal whether they were able to drive or not. One problem of claiming Hanratty was acting with growing panic is that in other situations he seems to have been rather cool indeed. It’s the Lee Harvey Oswald paradox, whereby a man shoots the POTUS then pops downstairs for a coke and scarcely blinks when a policeman barges into the rest room, before sauntering off to catch a bus. Yet within half an hour Oswald apparently panics when stopped by a routine patrol policeman miles from the scene of the crime. Back at the cop shop he speaks calmly with the international media. Yet we are asked to believe that both his calmness and also his panic are clear indicators to his guilt, as no doubt his sleeping in the cinema would have been too, had he fancied a nap. I don’t think there is much mileage in psychological assessments since Hanratty can be stupid or cunning, psychopathically cold or in a blind panic, whenever it suits.

                  As promised I will argue the forensic evidence since I know you are very convinced by the handkerchief on the bus. In fact there are four forensic areas which could have provided evidence:


                  1.The murder car

                  2.The gun and handkerchief on the bus

                  3.The cartridge cases in the hotel

                  4.The clothing of Valerie Storie

                  The first of these- the murder car- should have been a treasure trove of forensic evidence. The car was found within the golden period of 24 hours and we know that the murderer must have sat in the vehicle for at least six hours. In that car he shot a man dead and sexually assaulted a woman. Traces of sweat, saliva and possibly semen would have been expected somewhere in the vehicle. Fabric from his clothing could be retrieved by the old fashioned sellotape method from the seats, whilst if the investigators were lucky they might find fingerprints. The real prize in this case would have been hair follicles, which we all shed regularly, but were apparently quite distinctive in the case of James Hanratty, who had dyed his hair black. Here surely was the basis of the case against James Hanratty when he went to trial, which would dovetail with Ms Storie’s identification and the cartridge cases in the Vienna Hotel.

                  However, as we know, there was no forensic evidence offered against James Hanratty. It is a gaping hole in the prosecution case glossed over by handkerchiefs found under back seats. How on earth did this happen?


                  Some have claimed, wrongly, that forensic knowledge was not up to the task in 1961. It was. Not to the modern DNA standards of course, but matching fibres to a suit identical to that worn by James Hanratty was well within the scope of forensics at that time and had been for at least 30 years. Ditto for hair follicles, which should really have been the clincher in this case.

                  Others have claimed Hanratty must have been lucky. Well, that would have been a first. When I discussed the case with an experienced SOCCO she assured me that no human being alive could fail to leave traces of some sort. Leaving aside DNA, she said you would expect to find fibres on the seating given the activities, some fibre transfer on to Mr. Gregsten from either suit or socks, possibly fragments of fingernail and most definitely hair follicles, with a possibility of pubic hair.

                  So was the car cleaned? We do not seem to know, yet experienced SOCCOs can usually tell if there has been an attempt to do so. If surfaces had been wiped, the interior hoovered and a damp sponge taken over the seating then maybe, just then, luck could have played a part. If this happened then we have to adjust some of the timings in the prosecution case and consider the likelihood of an accomplice.

                  I don’t have the luxury of waving a handkerchief as Caz can do, for the murder car has long since been sent to the crusher, whilst the handkerchief seems to have been retained. In that respect I am not fighting on a level playing field, since neither the handkerchief nor the car were apparently used in evidence against James Hanratty and now only one of these can be. So I will argue with what I have: there was not a scintilla of evidence found inside the car itself which linked James Hanratty to the crime. I will deal with the other forensic points in future posts.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by cobalt View Post
                    ... there was not a scintilla of evidence found inside the car itself which linked James Hanratty to the crime.
                    Nor was there any evidence that could be linked to Alphon. Was there anything found in the car that wasn't left by Storie or Gregsten, or by Gregsten's mother or aunt?

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Alfie View Post

                      Nor was there any evidence that could be linked to Alphon. Was there anything found in the car that wasn't left by Storie or Gregsten, or by Gregsten's mother or aunt?
                      A green Toque(bobble hat) possibly.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by NickB View Post

                        That exchange did not take place in court. It was the invention of a poster on here who specialised in 'imagine what would have happened if ...' scenarios using made up dialogue.
                        Hang on a sec here though. If the hanky was an exhibit , are you saying Hanratty definately wasn't asked ' is this yours'?

                        Comment


                        • Cartridge cases on bedside chair, of course , the other incriminating 'frame him' ingredient.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by moste View Post
                            Hang on a sec here though. If the hanky was an exhibit , are you saying Hanratty definately wasn't asked ' is this yours'?
                            I have not seen the court transcript so do not know if he was asked. I expect it would only have been worth asking that question if there were any distinguishing marks on the handkerchief.

                            I have read detailed newspaper reports of his evidence and it is not mentioned. If he had been asked to identify the handkerchief and replied in the positive it would have been a very significant part of his evidence and thereby included in these reports.

                            Also it would have been mentioned in the 2002 Appeal. Instead they explain how the DNA profile recovered from the mucus staining on the handkerchief came from him, presenting the connection between him and the hanky as new information – not something which corroborated what he had said.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by moste View Post

                              A green Toque(bobble hat) possibly.
                              Somebody more knowledgeable than me about such matters [Graham?] has posted that it was quite common at this time for people taking part in motor rallies - particularly those run at night - to wear a bobble hat.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Alfie View Post

                                Somebody more knowledgeable than me about such matters [Graham?] has posted that it was quite common at this time for people taking part in motor rallies - particularly those run at night - to wear a bobble hat.
                                Bobble-hats were very popular all-round in those days. I got caught by a prefect for wearing one instead of my school cap on the bus on the way to school, and got detention. Regarding the green bobble-hat in the boot of the Morris, has anyone seen the photo that I believe was taken of the contents of the boot? And if so, was there a bobble-hat visible?

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

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