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  • Hi folks - some interesting posts in the last few days.

    A particularly well argued case by Julie for the Rhyll Alibi.

    However, I still have considerable doubts. Besides its later than eleventh hour introduction by Hanratty, I find it very surprising that he was unable to supply anything at all concrete or verifiable in support of it. No signature in a guest book, no memory of breakfasting with the family in a back room, no meeting other guests on the stairs, no memory of asking directions of a cabbie who was going on a bender before moving down south, no memories of others he came across or saw in Rhyl, no receipts, etc, etc. I think it was Caz who said in a earlier post that if it wasn't for bad luck, Hanratty would have had no luck at all!

    Whilst very sceptical of Rhyl, I do though accept my concerns about Hanratty telling the truth here certainly do not prove his guilt.

    Louisa makes some interesting points although for me overstates and so weakens her argument. In particular, ''Det Acott primed Valerie Storie'' before the indentification parade. We do not know this and I'm sure Mr Acott and Miss Storie would have denied it if levelled against them earlier. Louisa's comment is speculation. There is nothing wrong with speculation in my book but it should be clearly acknowledged up front.

    Whilst those convinced of Hanratty's guilt won't like me expressing it this way, something is certain concerning the identification made:
    Every identification parade Valerie Storie attended, she picked a different man as the murderer and rapist each time.

    I remain of the view that Hanratty's guilt was not proved fairly and beyond reasonable doubt. That, of course, doesn't mean he was innocent ....

    Comment


    • One Round,
      I don;t know what guest houses you have stayed in but I have never been required to sign the visitors book and I go up and down to North Wales frequently and have stayed in lots of boarding houses.In fact you very rarely meet other guests unless you choose a popular breakfats time between 7.00 and 9.30.Not only that you rarely 'bump into ' other guests unless you stay there with full board as i did years ago in Rhyl with my grandmother a few times.
      Mrs Jones was emphatic and so was her daughter Brenda Harris.They said he would have been shown the attic bedroom when they were full as they were that week,that they would not have wanted it declared as it was not a bedroom they were supposed to let out and that he would have breakfasted in the downstairs backroom where the family ate .In fact the court testimony of Hanratty is very specific indeed about the back court yard being tiled and there being only two tables in that room.
      His visit to LIverppol and his journey to Rhyl are very clearly recorded too.The people who support mrs Jones and her daughter's testimony,and say they saw him themselves in Rhyl -such as Mrs Margaret Walker and Mrs Vincent and Mrs Betty Davies,Mr Larman and Mr Dutton can not all each and every one of them be liars--------why would they anyway?
      In any case as Judge Gorman advised the jurors: He does not have to prove his alibi .The failure or otherwise of his alibi does not make him guilty.
      In an English court the onus is on the prosecution to prove guilt beyond all reasonable doubt and that they most definitely did not do

      Comment


      • Natalie - you and I may not sign visitors' books in North Wales. Nor did Hanratty. Unfortunately for him, everyone else staying in Mrs Jones' guesthouse that fateful night did ....

        Comment


        • I totally agree. But Hanratty was not a man staying on business who had booked the room in advance or a family man who came and stayed there year after year--- he was a man trying to sell a gold watch and a diamond ring worth 350 he had stolen to any fence he could find.He arrived late to a boarding house already full and was put up in a private part of the house reserved for family or 'emegencies and not recorded because it wasnt a proper bedroom -which was why he had his breakfast in the room 'with two tables' and a view of a small square tiled court yard which he described to Swanwick and his defence before Mrs Jones had even been found,.This was 7th February 10 days into the trial and clearly Hanratty hadnt reckoned on mrs Jones being found nor had Sherrard. Very little time was given for any preparation by Michael Sherrard -and certainly not for Mrs Jones who became confused and shaken by Swanwick's aggressive examination.
          Don't forget how Hanratty said he came to go to Rhyl-he had been thwarted during a last chance to sell his stuff in the billiard room in St George's Place,Lime Street, Liverpool by Robert Kempt and sent on his way. Directly opposite was standing the Rhyl bus and about to leave for Rhyl---a bus I have used many many times which until quite recently left from Skelhorne Street directly facing St George's Place.So he hopped on that bus marked in great letters 'RHYL' hoping to find Terry Evans who he knew could put him in touch with the right people to help him!

          Comment


          • Originally posted by OneRound View Post
            Hi folks - some interesting posts in the last few days.

            A particularly well argued case by Julie for the Rhyll Alibi.

            However, I still have considerable doubts. Besides its later than eleventh hour introduction by Hanratty, I find it very surprising that he was unable to supply anything at all concrete or verifiable in support of it. No signature in a guest book, no memory of breakfasting with the family in a back room, no meeting other guests on the stairs, no memory of asking directions of a cabbie who was going on a bender before moving down south, no memories of others he came across or saw in Rhyl, no receipts, etc, etc. I think it was Caz who said in a earlier post that if it wasn't for bad luck, Hanratty would have had no luck at all!

            Whilst very sceptical of Rhyl, I do though accept my concerns about Hanratty telling the truth here certainly do not prove his guilt.

            Louisa makes some interesting points although for me overstates and so weakens her argument. In particular, ''Det Acott primed Valerie Storie'' before the indentification parade. We do not know this and I'm sure Mr Acott and Miss Storie would have denied it if levelled against them earlier. Louisa's comment is speculation. There is nothing wrong with speculation in my book but it should be clearly acknowledged up front.

            Whilst those convinced of Hanratty's guilt won't like me expressing it this way, something is certain concerning the identification made:
            Every identification parade Valerie Storie attended, she picked a different man as the murderer and rapist each time.

            I remain of the view that Hanratty's guilt was not proved fairly and beyond reasonable doubt. That, of course, doesn't mean he was innocent ....
            Hi OneRound,

            Prior to the first identification parade, Acott is said to have told Valerie something along the lines of "We believe the man responsible is definitely in the line-up".

            After she had picked Hanratty out at the second line-up, he squeezed her arm and said "Well done". This remark at least must have reinforced Valerie's belief that she had selected th right man.

            I am not a great fan of Alphon being the killer. The way that the police arrived at Alphon was based on a case that Acott had previously been involved in a few years before the A6 case.

            A man called Podola had shot and killed a policeman. He escaped police custody and was found hiding in a B&B. Despite some questionable policing methods, Acott enjoyed some glory within the police ranks following the conviction of Podola, who was hanged.

            When Acott acquired the A6 case, he must have felt sure that a good line of enquiry in such a case would be to ask B&B owners and managers to observe whether any of their resident was behaving strangely. Alphon, always strange, was thus identified. After being apprehended and questioned at a B&B in Finsbury Park, it was noted he had spent the night of the murder at the Vienna hotel. When the cartridge cases were found in a room at the Vienna three weeks after the murder, attention turned once again to Alphon.

            My own view is that Alphon's role in the events was probably (although I am not certain) only that he behaved strangely (thus drawing attention to himself) and that he stayed at the B&B in which the cartridge cases were found. I believe they were found there because someone planted them once they were certain where Hanratty had spent that night.

            It needn't have been France who planted the gun etc. He may just have told someone that it would be a good place to hide them.

            I often feel that we are looking at a gunman who got clean away and was never 'fingered' for one reason or another.

            Just a few thoughts.

            Comment


            • Hi again Julie - another fine post from yourself.

              First off, I'm no fan of how the police acted in this case. I just think we need to distinguish between what it is known they did wrongly (and, in particular, withheld) and what it is suspected they might have done.

              My point about Hanratty not signing a guest house register was merely an example. Assuming Hanratty was innocent and in Rhyl at the time of the murder, I don't see how anyone involved in any way with the committing of the murder could set out to frame him for it. They would not know that Hanratty had not signed such a register which would clearly establish his innocence. Equally, they would not know that Hanratty had not kept his Rhyl bus ticket, etc, etc. If Hanratty had been able to produce one item or one verifiable memory, he would have been off the hook immediately.

              In my view, the only people who could have ''rigged'' things at all (if anyone did) would have been the police and that would clearly have been after the murder. As far as any such actions did occur, they might of course have been to gild the lily and ensure a guilty man did not get way with it rather than to frame an innocent person. However, regardless of their intentions and the extent of their actions, any such conduct at all - including the withholding of information to the defence - was unfair and unacceptable. This is why I am so uncomfortable with the guilty verdict in this case although I remain far from convinced about Hanratty's innocence. I think there is a parallel here with the Bentley case.

              When considering Derek Bentley's murder conviction at the end of the 1990s, the Court of Appeal followed a similar path to the one I'm taking above. Although not particularly critical of the police in their judgment, the Court concluded that, due essentially to the judge's failings, Bentley's trial was ''unfair'' and his conviction was quashed ''even though a properly directed jury would have been entitled to convict''.

              Although the judge in Hanratty's case was impartial and cannot be criticised, the trial was nonetheless ''unfair'' due, amongst other matters, to the details withheld.

              The DNA in Hanratty's case most obviously does not establish his innocence as had been hoped by his family and supporters. However, it does not prove his guilt nearly so strongly as the Court of Appeal stated in their naive and shoddy judgment. I've touched on this before but will try and cover it fully in the near future.

              As for Alphon, another mystery within this whole mystery. I'll try and give a comment or two (certainly no answers, I'm afraid) later this week.

              In your words, Julie, just a few thoughts. Interested if you agree or disagree with any of the above.

              Best wishes,

              OneRound

              Comment


              • Hi OneRound,

                You argue the case against Hanratty well and i will reply to a few points. Some of the people who knew Hanratty was going to Liverpool thought he was going to see his aunt. Others knew he was going to sell some loot from one of his robberies. They would know, therefore, that securing an alibi might be difficult for Hanratty because he would be trying to keep a low profile. What they could not have known (and did not know) was that Hanratty would end up in Rhyl. The reason for Hanratty not signing the B&B register in Rhyl has been explained - he should not have been given that room at all. As for keeping bus tickets, well I travel on buses quite frequently, not being a driver, and when I do, I do what I have done since childhood - I pop my used ticket in the little container marked 'used tickets' as I get off the bus. There is no reason to retain a bus ticket.

                I quite agree about the similarities in the Bently case. Of course, things were kept back from the jury concerning Bentley's mental incapacities that would certainly have made a difference to their verdict. The real villain in the Bentley case was the Home Secretary, who could have saved him from the gallows. Every time I think about the Bently case the anger rises in my gullet. However, perhaps I would feel differently if I was the wife of the policeman who died, or one of his other relatives.

                Julie

                Comment


                • Thanks for your response, Julie.

                  Particularly appreciated your comments about my reference to the Bentley case. There, the Court of Appeal considered it appropriate for a murder conviction to be quashed even though they were far from supportive of any innocence on Bentley's part (''a properly directly jury would have been entitled to convict''.)

                  I think that in very difficult circumstances the Court of Appeal came to the right decision for the right reasons (essentially an ''unfair'' trial) in respect of Bentley. Particularly interested to know if Caz shares my view here?

                  Although the background to the case is obviously very different, I do believe similar arguments can be put forward for quashing Hanratty's conviction. That is especially so once the Court's acceptance of the DNA ''evidence'' is shown to have been over eager and simplistic. More on that before too long ....

                  Best wishes,

                  OneRound

                  Comment


                  • I also get angry whenever I think of the shabby way that Derek Bentley was treated by the British justice system. The public and the police wanted retribution for the killing of one of their own and as Christopher Craig was too young they picked the next best person - somebody who was actually under arrest at the time of the shooting!

                    Never has the British justice system sunk so low. Then along came the Hanratty case.

                    It could have happened again. If you recall the way that Colin Stagg was fitted up for the murder of Rachel Nickel then it becomes frightening clear that when the police want to pin a murder on somebody, they will do so regardless of facts pointing to his/her innocence. Luckily hanging had been abolished by then, otherwise Colin Stagg would have swung, no doubt about it.

                    The real culprit turned out to be somebody who looked very much like Stagg - and had a similar psychological profile. I must admit that for a long time I thought Stagg was guilty, mainly because I could not believe that two such odd and very similar people had been in that tiny area of Wimbledon common at exactly the same time.
                    This is simply my opinion

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by OneRound View Post
                      .

                      My point about Hanratty not signing a guest house register was merely an example. Assuming Hanratty was innocent and in Rhyl at the time of the murder, I don't see how anyone involved in any way with the committing of the murder could set out to frame him for it. They would not know that Hanratty had not signed such a register which would clearly establish his innocence. Equally, they would not know that Hanratty had not kept his Rhyl bus ticket, etc, etc. If Hanratty had been able to produce one item or one verifiable memory, he would have been off the hook immediately.
                      Can you elaborate a bit here.I am not clear what you are saying.Why couldn't someone involved in the murder frame him if he was in Rhyl?
                      If it was France for example it could have suited him down to the ground as he could have assumed Hanratty would have been able to show he was not in London and would have been able to establish an alibi....

                      Comment


                      • Assuming, just assuming that Hanratty didn't go to Rhyl.......explain this:

                        How the heck could Hanratty be in Liverpool (sweet shop) at 5pm and then get down south to Slough by 9pm? Even Acott couldn't work that one out - he even made enquiries as to whether Hanratty could have taken an aeroplane!

                        Remember....Hanratty would have had to walk from the nearest station to the Slough cornfield - one heck of a long way by my estimation. Bear in mind that nobody had ever seen or heard of Hanratty ever being in the Slough area before - north London was his 'manor'.

                        Then to locate Gregsten's car and start to behave very bizarrely thereafter, ending with a rape, a killing and an attempted murder, none of which was Hanratty's normal modus operandi

                        None of it makes sense.
                        Last edited by louisa; 12-12-2011, 09:14 PM.
                        This is simply my opinion

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by louisa View Post
                          Assuming, just assuming that Hanratty didn't go to Rhyl.......explain this:

                          How the heck could Hanratty be in Liverpool (sweet shop) at 5pm and then get down south to Slough by 9pm? Even Acott couldn't work that one out - he even made enquiries as to whether Hanratty could have taken an aeroplane!

                          Remember....Hanratty would have had to walk from the nearest station to the Slough cornfield - one heck of a long way by my estimation. Bear in mind that nobody had ever seen or heard of Hanratty ever being in the Slough area before - north London was his 'manor'.

                          Then to locate Gregsten's car and start to behave very bizarrely thereafter, ending with a rape, a killing and an attempted murder, none of which was Hanratty's normal modus operandi

                          None of it makes sense.
                          And according to Valerie's testimony the gunman couldnt locate the gears and had to be shown twice or more how to operate them as well as needing to have the engine started by Valerie.Now Hanratty was a car thief---and a man with a sophisticated knowledge of how to quickly get a match for the key ,late at night from a Soho 'key matcher' he knew of in order to drive off a jaguar he had stolen from near Oxford Circus in order to head up North on 7th October.......it certainly makes no sense, Louisa!
                          On top of that Mr Swanwick suggested he had simply been bluffing---trying to pull a blind-but if that was so then why did he pump 7 or 8 bullets into the girl after all this bluffing and foxing and leave her for dead? Why bother to bluff about not being able to drive the MM if he thought he had silenced her?
                          Last edited by Natalie Severn; 12-12-2011, 10:02 PM.

                          Comment


                          • Hi Natalie ,

                            Anyone attempting to frame Hanratty would not have known exactly where he was or who he might have been with around the time of the murder. For all the framer(s) knew, Hanratty might easily have been able to produce just one certain witness or verifiable item / receipt to clearly establish his innocence. For all the other careful planning that must have gone on for a frame up, it seems a massive gamble to assume he wouldn't have been able to do so.

                            That's all on that.

                            Again, this doesn't prove guilt but it's one of the reasons that I doubt his innocence.

                            Best wishes,

                            OneRound

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Natalie Severn View Post
                              And according to Valerie's testimony the gunman couldnt locate the gears and had to be shown twice or more how to operate them as well as needing to have the engine started by Valerie.Now Hanratty was a car thief---and a man with a sophisticated knowledge of how to quickly get a match for the key ,late at night from a Soho 'key matcher' he knew of in order to drive off a jaguar he had stolen from near Oxford Circus in order to head up North on 7th October.......it certainly makes no sense, Louisa!
                              On top of that Mr Swanwick suggested he had simply been bluffing---trying to pull a blind-but if that was so then why did he pump 7 or 8 bullets into the girl after all this bluffing and foxing and leave her for dead? Why bother to bluff about not being able to drive the MM if he thought he had silenced her?
                              Hi again Natalie,

                              Your comments here and those from Louisa again raise legitimate doubts and concerns.

                              However, as ever in this enigmatic case, nothing is clear cut.

                              The date of ''the sweetshop alibi'' was contradicted by the shopkeeper. I know Hanratty defenders can make a decent fist of it not being possible for him to have been there on any other date. However, any doubt still raises the possibility of a ''bought alibi'' and weakens his case.

                              Yes, Hanratty was a proven car thief and experienced driver. However, on the other side of the same coin, he had never passed a driving test, his driving was described by some as ''reckless'' and he generally drove far more upmarket vehicles than the humble Morris Minor.

                              My comments do not by any means shoot your arguments down in flames and nor am I particularly trying to do so. I just feel clear innocence is in as much danger of being overstated as reasonably proven guilt.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by OneRound View Post
                                Hi Natalie ,

                                Anyone attempting to frame Hanratty would not have known exactly where he was or who he might have been with around the time of the murder. For all the framer(s) knew, Hanratty might easily have been able to produce just one certain witness or verifiable item / receipt to clearly establish his innocence. For all the other careful planning that must have gone on for a frame up, it seems a massive gamble to assume he wouldn't have been able to do so.

                                That's all on that.

                                Again, this doesn't prove guilt but it's one of the reasons that I doubt his innocence.

                                Best wishes,

                                OneRound
                                It all went wrong.Just a week after the murder Ewer was flying round Swiss Cottage after Hanratty[sept 1st 1961] shouting to the roof tops that he was Gregsten's killer-see the Sunday Times of 1971 May 16th.---and letting Scotland Yard know that Hanratty was Ryan through the dry cleaners and Cater's flower shop clues.But Scotland Yard didn't pick it up! They were solely concentrated on Alphon!It was another month before Hanratty got into 'their' frame[September 25th] and it was on September 25th-just after Alphon was dropped from police inquiries- that Charles France went to the police station and told them that his friend had told him the back seat of a bus was where he hid his rubbish.
                                Now if Hanratty had been 'hired' do you honestly think Ewer and Janet Gregsten would tell anyone?Ofcourse not!Hence the initial decoy with Mrs France talking daft in late August about the dark eyed identikits 'looking like the light blue eyed Hanratty!'All decoy-all smoke and mirrors!

                                Comment

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