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  • I just discovered that there's another Deadmans Hill, in Yorkshire, hence the error in the mileage in my original post - I've been using RAC Route Planner, and it seems that it doesn't always give the opportunity to differentiate between similar names. My original post, by the way, was really just me thinking aloud, nothing more.

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

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    • Talking Forensics 3: The cartridge cases in the Vienna Hotel

      As with the gun and bullets on the bus, there was a link established with Hanratty: in this case the link was undeniable, for it is accepted that James Hanratty stayed in Room 24 of the Vienna Hotel the night before the A6 murder. However there was no handkerchief or the like, much further down the line, to make a stronger link with Hanratty.

      There are therefore a number of problems with this evidence. The fact the cartridge cases only turned up three weeks after the murder is obviously unsatisfactory given that hotel rooms are invariably cleaned after a guest leaves. The shell casings were found quite easily, at the back of a chair, by the hotel owner on a routine visit.

      The suggestion by the prosecution was that these had come loose and fallen there when the weapon was being emptied. Why the cartridge cases had not been emptied outside, during what must have been practice shooting, was not made clear. It would be remarkably careless of a prospective gunman to leave such obvious and avoidable evidence behind.

      There were no fingerprints collected from the cartridge cases used in evidence. Fingerprints might have been expected given the finer finger skills required to place bullets in a revolver, especially since the killer was intending to empty the chambers and dispose of the shells in any case.

      As far as I am aware, not all the shell casings from the 9 shots fired were recovered from the scene. This could be because the killer did not empty the gun at the scene of the crime, although he clearly did at some point since the weapon was found fully loaded when retrieved on the bus. It might also be that the shell casings found in the Vienna Hotel came from the actual murder scene, and if this is the case then that would effectively exonerate James Hanratty.


      In conclusion, the definite link between room 24 and Hanratty counts against him. However the gap in time between the crime and the casings being found makes it possible they were planted in the room after he had left and may have been the casings from the final shots at Ms. Storie as she lay on the ground. As free-standing forensic evidence, the hotel room link is actually weaker than the evidence from the bus; the two have generally been combined to make the case against James Hanratty stronger.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by cobalt View Post
        The fact the cartridge cases only turned up three weeks after the murder is obviously unsatisfactory given that hotel rooms are invariably cleaned after a guest leaves.
        Foot (p.136): At trial, Juliana Galves told the court "that because of understaffing and the slackness which prevailed in the Vienna Hotel, empty rooms were in general not attended to. She said that Mrs Snell had not cleaned room 24 after it had been vacated by Hanratty, but that she, Mrs Galves, had cleaned it without Hoovering or dusting and without moving the chairs. (Mr Crocker also gave evidence to say that the hotel was badly understaffed.) Mrs Galves explained that the Indian gentleman who stayed in room 24 on August 30th, a week after the murder, had occupied the double bed in the middle of the room, and that the cleaning of the room afterwards had not therefore involved moving the chair at the end of the bed occupied by Hanratty."
        Last edited by Alfie; Today, 09:05 AM.

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        • The Glasgow Herald (Feb 14 1962), reported on Sherrard's closing address to the jury at Bedford: "Durrant alias Alphon, was the one man who could have cleared up the whole mystery as to which room he stayed in, 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.'"

          I think I asked about this previously but I can't recall getting a satisfactory answer. A bit of googling tells me there's such a thing as a witness summons which can be used to bring a reluctant witness to court to give evidence. So what, if anything, was stopping the defence calling upon Alphon to testify? Was this another case of a missed opportunity by the defence? Or was Sherrard, perhaps, happy to leave the jury in some doubt about the time Alphon reached the Vienna and the room he occupied, rather than risk having him take the stand and confirm under oath the accuracy of Nudds' third statement?

          Thoughts?

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Alfie View Post
            The Glasgow Herald (Feb 14 1962), reported on Sherrard's closing address to the jury at Bedford: "Durrant alias Alphon, was the one man who could have cleared up the whole mystery as to which room he stayed in, 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.'"

            I think I asked about this previously but I can't recall getting a satisfactory answer. A bit of googling tells me there's such a thing as a witness summons which can be used to bring a reluctant witness to court to give evidence. So what, if anything, was stopping the defence calling upon Alphon to testify? Was this another case of a missed opportunity by the defence? Or was Sherrard, perhaps, happy to leave the jury in some doubt about the time Alphon reached the Vienna and the room he occupied, rather than risk having him take the stand and confirm under oath the accuracy of Nudds' third statement?

            Thoughts?
            There was nothing stopping the defence calling Alphon to give evidence, but had they done so Alphon would have become a defence witness. This would mean that Sherrard could not cross-examine Alphon whereas Swanwick could. Sherrard would not be allowed to ask leading questions, whereas Swanwick could. Alphon would be able to say pretty much what he wanted to say, and Sherrard would be in no position to contradict.

            Therefore calling Alphon by the defence would have been a very dangerous tactic indeed. Sherrard was on much safer ground by suggesting to the jury that Alphon's absence was due to something he might say which might implicate him, Alphon, and exonerate Hanratty.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by cobalt View Post
              [SIZE=16px][FONT=times new roman]

              There are therefore a number of problems with this evidence. The fact the cartridge cases only turned up three weeks after the murder is obviously unsatisfactory given that hotel rooms are invariably cleaned after a guest leaves. The shell casings were found quite easily, at the back of a chair, by the hotel owner on a routine visit."
              The visit by the manager of the Vienna Hotel, Robert Crocker, wasn't quite a routine visit, Cobalt. Crocker was working at the Vienna's sister hotel, [the major one of the two] The Broadway House Hotel, when he was alerted to go to the Vienna early on the morning of September 11th because of the theft of 5 [about 100 in today's money] by William Nudds.


              Originally posted by cobalt View Post
              In conclusion, the definite link between room 24 and Hanratty counts against him. However the gap in time between the crime and the casings being found makes it possible they were planted in the room after he had left and may have been the casings from the final shots at Ms. Storie as she lay on the ground. As free-standing forensic evidence, the hotel room link is actually weaker than the evidence from the bus; the two have generally been combined to make the case against James Hanratty stronger."
              In his very detailed second statement of September 21st 1961, Nudds made it quite clear that Alphon was allotted room 24, accessed room 24 and was given the key to room 24 when he turned up in person around 1.00pm on Tuesday, August 22nd. It's intriguing to note that Robert Crocker in his statement of September 11th commented that the cartridge cases found on the chair in room 24 might have some connection with Alphon. This is quite revealing, coming as it did a full 10 days before Nudds's second statement. So here we have the situation of two independent witnesses [and far from being the best of friends, haha,] connecting Alphon with room 24.

              *************************************
              "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 Spitfire View Post

                There was nothing stopping the defence calling Alphon to give evidence, but had they done so Alphon would have become a defence witness. This would mean that Sherrard could not cross-examine Alphon whereas Swanwick could. Sherrard would not be allowed to ask leading questions, whereas Swanwick could. Alphon would be able to say pretty much what he wanted to say, and Sherrard would be in no position to contradict.

                Therefore calling Alphon by the defence would have been a very dangerous tactic indeed. Sherrard was on much safer ground by suggesting to the jury that Alphon's absence was due to something he might say which might implicate him, Alphon, and exonerate Hanratty.
                That makes sense. Cheers, Spitfire.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Sherlock Houses View Post






                  In his very detailed second statement of September 21st 1961, Nudds made it quite clear that Alphon was allotted room 24, accessed room 24 and was given the key to room 24 when he turned up in person around 1.00pm on Tuesday, August 22nd. It's intriguing to note that Robert Crocker in his statement of September 11th commented that the cartridge cases found on the chair in room 24 might have some connection with Alphon. This is quite revealing, coming as it did a full 10 days before Nudds's second statement. So here we have the situation of two independent witnesses [and far from being the best of friends, haha,] connecting Alphon with room 24.
                  Nudds also said he saw Alphon in Room 6 of the Vienna at about 9.50am. If the murder car (847 BHN) was being driven by the murderer wearing a bobble hat hee hee he at 8.30am near Matlock as seen by Mr Lee, then Alphon could not be the murderer as there is no way he could have got from Matlock to Maida Vale in one hour and twenty minutes.

                  Hanratty's Rhyl alibi was demolished at the trial, he could easily have been in or near Matlock at 8.30am in the morning of 23 August 1961.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Sherlock Houses View Post
                    The visit by the manager of the Vienna Hotel, Robert Crocker, wasn't quite a routine visit, Cobalt. Crocker was working at the Vienna's sister hotel, [the major one of the two] The Broadway House Hotel, when he was alerted to go to the Vienna early on the morning of September 11th because of the theft of 5 [about 100 in today's money] by William Nudds.
                    Crocker visited the Vienna every Monday, so it was a routine visit.

                    Nudds told the committal that he left employment at the Vienna at midday on 5-Sep-61. Reported in the Evening Times [https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=GOVAAAAAIBAJ&sjid=CqcMAAAAIBAJ&pg=61 58%2C3573261] and in other newspapers like the Telegraph, which says he took up his job at the mosque on 9-Sep-61.

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