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The attack on Swedish housewife Mrs Meike Dalal on Thursday, September 7th 1961

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  • The attack on Swedish housewife Mrs Meike Dalal on Thursday, September 7th 1961

    The attack on Mrs Dalal around lunchtime on September 7th 1961 I find quite intriguing. It was a callous and violent attack and Mrs Dalal was very lucky to have survived it especially considering the fact that she was struck viciously by some hard object which might possibly have been a gun. This initial blow was to her left temple and was followed by two further blows to the head. Her assailant tied her hands behind her back, gagged her mouth and also tied her ankles together. He claimed to be the A6 murderer and demanded money from her. He may also have been intending to rape her when he turned her over onto her back and lifted up her skirt. He didn't do too good a job at binding her hands as Mrs Dalal was able to free them and fend off what would have been a fourth serious blow to her head. If his claim to have been the A6 murderer was merely an idle and boastful one it is more than a little uncanny that the attack should have closely resembled certain aspects of the A6 murder which had occurred just a fortnight before. Details which were known to very few people at the time.

    The similarities were as follows :-

    a. The unsuccessful binding of the women's hands.
    b. Mrs Dalal's attacker hit her over the head with a hard object and according to Valerie Storie the A6 killer was considering hitting her over the head before deciding to shoot her.
    c. The apparently token demand for money.
    d. The likelihood of Mrs Dalal's attacker sexually assaulting her.

    Just over a fortnight later, on the afternoon of September 23rd, Mrs Dalal attended an identity parade at Scotland Yard. On that parade was one certain Peter Louis Alphon [the darned man just won't go away no matter how much some people might will him away]. It was Alphon's second identity parade that day. Mrs Dalal felt too afraid to tap Alphon on the shoulder on the actual parade but told the police that she thought it was him [the second man from the left] who had been her attacker. The inspector who led the parade said she was "distressed and trembling".
    Mrs Dalal's description of her attacker fitted Alphon in several respects. She said he had an oval face and dark brown hair which was plastered back. He was wearing a new coat, a light-coloured three-quarter-length mackintosh and had on a clean, white shirt without a tie.
    It's rather interesting to note here that Alphon, who was very fond of wearing three-quarter-length raincoats, had bought a brand new raincoat less than a fortnight earlier on Friday, August 25th.

    I've attached with this post a collage of 5 different Newspaper accounts of Mrs Dalal's trial evidence.

    Amongst these reports there is a short 7 word sentence which might just be a pointer as to whether or not Alphon was Mrs Dalal's assailant.
    Attached Files
    *************************************
    "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]

  • #2
    Hi Sherlock

    A brilliantly written and researched post.

    Is the 7 word sentence 'He had dark brown hair plastered back'? I was also taken by the reference to the assailant talking all the time.

    I have always thought that the alibi provided by the almanac folk was weak and mistaken , perhaps given because the persuasive Alphon said he was in a hole.

    I never understood why Alphon disposed of his old three quarter length coat and bought a new one in summer.

    regards

    Ed

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Ed James View Post
      Hi Sherlock

      A brilliantly written and researched post.

      Is the 7 word sentence 'He had dark brown hair plastered back'? I was also taken by the reference to the assailant talking all the time.

      I have always thought that the alibi provided by the almanac folk was weak and mistaken , perhaps given because the persuasive Alphon said he was in a hole.

      I never understood why Alphon disposed of his old three quarter length coat and bought a new one in summer.

      regards
      Ed
      Thank you for the kind comments Ed. I'd already submitted the post before realising that I'd omitted that reference to her attacker talking all the time. This was another characteristic he had in common with the A6 gunman.

      The 7 word sentence I was musing about was "He kept his hands in his pockets". I'd completely overlooked this remark until fairly recently when I came upon several photographs of a certain party taken in 1962. I've attached them to this post, along with a 1991/92 still of the same person taken from Bob Woffinden's 1992 documentary about the A6 murder.
      Attached Files
      *************************************
      "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


      • #4
        I do not think that Alphon was the A6 murderer.

        Apart from all the usual reasons given, Alphon had the speech characteristic of making the ‘w’ sound when trying to make the ‘r’ sound. I believe it is called rhotacism. After listening to the murderer for 6 hours or so, Valerie would have noticed if he had this characteristic which is not one you can disguise.

        I think Alphon should have only been in an id parade for Dalal if Storie had already picked him out at her one because, as far as I am aware, he was only a suspect for the Dalal attack as a by-product of being the A6 suspect.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by NickB View Post
          I do not think that Alphon was the A6 murderer.

          Apart from all the usual reasons given, Alphon had the speech characteristic of making the w sound when trying to make the r sound. I believe it is called rhotacism. After listening to the murderer for 6 hours or so, Valerie would have noticed if he had this characteristic which is not one you can disguise.

          I think Alphon should have only been in an id parade for Dalal if Storie had already picked him out at her one because, as far as I am aware, he was only a suspect for the Dalal attack as a by-product of being the A6 suspect.
          Quite correct on both counts, Nick. Alphon was an obvious choice as No 1 suspect for the A6, but as far as I'm concerned he proved his innocence by surrendering himself to Acott at Scotland Yard (after ensuring the morning papers the next day would run this story), and subsequently being placed on three i.d. parades. He said afterwards that the experience of being grilled by Acott and Oxford was awful.

          Of course, once he'd been cleared following the i.d. parade before Valerie Storie, he was no longer an A6 suspect as far as the police were concerned, but they were still interested in him as a Dalal Assault suspect, and he was placed on a fourth parade where the two Almanac supply shop identified him and confirmed that he was with them at the time Mrs Dalal said she was attacked. He was bailed, and received a compensation payment from the magistrates.

          As Mrs Dalal made a positive i.d. of Alphon as her attacker, it's difficult to understand why, even when he had an alibi from the Almanac suppliers, he wasn't charged.

          We all know that Alphon went on to make the most of his 'association' with the A6, aided and very much abetted by Jean Justice. Alphon was an unstable character, right enough, but at the same time he was intelligent and manipulative. Whatever money he made as a result of the A6 was soon spent, and he returned to his strange demi-monde existence.

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

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Sherlock
            Good stuff on hands in pockets - not something I had spotted.

            Hi Nick

            I am a don't know all round ! It seems to have become the orthodox view among those interested in the case (including Paul Foot) that Alphon did not know as much as he suggested.

            However, there are some intriguing similarities to the gunman in Alphon's characteristics and behaviours, a range of evidence that might point to him, and some sightings that are not fully explained plus a lack of an alibi. Some have speculated as to some involvement (short of being the murderer ).

            Personally , I think it is arguable that he did not have the expertise the gunman displayed , even if it was a botched job. I do believe he was responsible for menacing phone calls to Dixie France. And his attitude when he discovered Jean Justice had contacted William Ewer behind his back was strange.

            I was unaware that Alphon had a speech characteristic , not having seen any reference to this before. Was it revealed in the Paris interview? Is there any other source ? It was never commented upon by Lord Russell of Liverpool who was subject to scores of abusive calls from Alphon. Or Justice?
            I would be surprised if VS did not spot it. The killer didn't warn of Woad Works ahead !

            regards

            Ed

            Comment


            • #7
              Yes you can see it in the Paris interview. I would have liked to hear him say: “Hanratty really was in Rhyl”.

              There is an interesting contemporary report about Alphon here from the Sydney Morning Herald.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Ed James View Post
                However, there are some intriguing similarities to the gunman in Alphon's characteristics and behaviours, a range of evidence that might point to him, and some sightings that are not fully explained plus a lack of an alibi. Some have speculated as to some involvement (short of being the murderer ).
                Carrying on along these lines Ed, the first couple of paragraphs which appear on page 155 of Bob Woffinden's book make intriguing reading.
                I have copied them verbatim as follows.......



                On the opening day of the magistrates' court hearing, when the attention of almost the entire nation was directed towards Ampthill, two interesting developments in the case occurred elsewhere. The defence was contacted by a lady who said that she was Mrs Rouch (by no means a common name), and that she was telephoning from Marble Arch. She was calling, she said, because "I know who the real killer is. And the real killer knows Alphon. I went to Scotland Yard with this information but was turned away."

                The woman said that she was living with a man whose baby she had just had, but that he had warned her not to get involved. She added that if she went to work the next day, she would go to Wembley Park underground and try to phone again from there, to make arrangements to meet someone from the defence. She did not phone again.


                This very much appears to have been a genuine call to the defence team. As Woffinden says Rouch is not a common name. A certain unmarried Ms Rouch gave birth to a baby son called Anthony a couple or so months earlier, the only such birth in London in 1961 where the mother's name was given as Rouch. The boy took the father's name which was just as uncommon, if not more so. Ms Rouch married the father a couple of years later in 1963.
                If Ms Rouch was being truthful about the vital information she had re. the A6 murder it would seem as though she was pressurised in some way into keeping mum about it, hence no further calls to Hanratty's defence team.
                Last edited by Sherlock Houses; 11-20-2014, 01:21 PM.
                *************************************
                "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


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sherlock Houses View Post
                  A certain unmarried Ms Rouch gave birth to a baby son called Anthony a couple or so months earlier, the only such birth in London in 1961 where the mother's name was given as Rouch.
                  If that is true the defence team could have got her address from the registry of births at Somerset House.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Its interesting that Ms. Rouch who obviously knew something; was turned away from Scotland Yard, though a week later on 30th of Nov. later Roy Langdale was brought in by Acott to make a statement, about something a prison officer had overheard.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by NickB View Post
                      I do not think that Alphon was the A6 murderer.

                      Apart from all the usual reasons given, Alphon had the speech characteristic of making the w sound when trying to make the r sound. I believe it is called rhotacism. After listening to the murderer for 6 hours or so, Valerie would have noticed if he had this characteristic which is not one you can disguise.

                      I think Alphon should have only been in an id parade for Dalal if Storie had already picked him out at her one because, as far as I am aware, he was only a suspect for the Dalal attack as a by-product of being the A6 suspect.
                      You are right, of course, but for those who believe that Hanratty was the A6 killer, they must surely also believe that Hanratty did not attack Mrs Dalal because she saw him very clearly in daylight and he most certainly did not fit the description of her attacker in any way, including manner of dress.

                      Mrs Dalal told the police that her killer claimed to be 'the Essex killer' (as she put it). Obviously, 'A6' and 'Essex' sound similar to some people.

                      This was a very strange event. What was the motive? Was the man trying to imitate the A6 killer out of mischief or was he laying a trap for someone?

                      And what do other contributors to this thread make of the incident of a man who threatened a young woman and her baby in their own home in Knebworth the morning after the A6 events ?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hi Julie

                        The events involving the double hold up of the Knebworth housewife are intriguing but unresolved. My initial reaction was scepticism that it was Alphon when reading about the first incident of the man holding up Audrey Willis.

                        Although her description fitted Alphon, the gun was described as small. I also found it hard to believe Alphon would go to Knebworth at that juncture to get money, but would turn to his mother for cash even at that time.

                        She later said that the Alphon tape that Woffinden played her reminded her of the man. But she thought her intruder was weaker ,more insignificant and that Alphon had more brains.

                        The timing of the second visit and the content of what he said only add to the mystery.

                        Nevertheless, I do think Alphon had the unusual, chameleon like capacity to make himself look smaller and weaker than he actually was, or make himself seem larger. He was also, I think , a good actor It could be this which meant that VS did not pick him out (even if would have been wrong to so).

                        I think the two things I am most interested about Alphon are: Did he identify any special insights to the A6 case in his conversations with Justice etc? And has anyone given a credible explanation for the new found wealth and the regular cash payments into his bank account amounting to 5,000? And I don't mean he won it on the dogs.

                        Those who think the abduction was planned may think Alphon's role, if any, could have been to shadow the couples whereabouts.

                        regards

                        Ed

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The other peculiar occurrence was when Mrs Audrey Willis of Old Knebworth, Herts, was held up in her home by a man brandishing a gun on the day after the A6 Crime. The man demanded food and money, and then left. Amazingly, Mrs Willis was attacked again, once more in her own home, by the same man on 2 April 1962, shortly before JH's execution. Again he demanded food and money, and then left. According to Woffinden, before he left, he made a remark to Mrs Willis concerning JH's execution which was schedule for 4 April, referring to them hanging 'the wrong man'.

                          Was this double attacker Alphon? I'd very much like to think that it wasn't, that it was just another weird person who referred to the A6 Crime to scare his victim; however, I wouldn't rule out Alphon as the attacker on both occasions. If it was him, then why? Where did he get a gun, if indeed it was a real gun? How did he get away from Mrs Willis' house on each occasion? Alphon did have a violent streak in him, reference his attack on Mrs Hanratty, but on these occasions the attacker harmed neither Mrs Willis nor her infant son. Was the attacker, if it was Alphon, perhaps trying to prove something to Jean Justice?

                          Regarding the attack on Mrs Dalal, this time her attacker did assault her. Mrs Dalal did indeed identify Alphon on the i.d. parade, but he later had his alibi confirmed by the two Almanac stockists. The police accepted their i.d., and not Mrs Dalal's, and as far as they were concerned she had made an erroneous i.d. and that particular case was closed. I would presume that as Alphon had shortly before been eliminated as a suspect in the A6 Case the police just lost interest in him, and turned their attentions elsewhere.

                          Does anyone have any information regarding subsequent statements or interviews concerning Mrs Willis and Mrs Dalal? Did any investigator subsequently talk to either of them in later years?

                          Yet another highly puzzling aspect of this highly puzzling case.

                          Graham

                          Ed: our posts crossed. You've answered my question regarding subsequent interviews, ref: Mrs Dalal and Woffinden, which I'd forgotten. I still don't have my books and must get them back a.s.a.p.! (I did, though, long ago photocopy Bob Woffinden's timeline of the Case, which is very useful).

                          I think the question of Alphon's finances ought to be discussed in a separate thread, Ed.
                          Last edited by Graham; 11-21-2014, 02:31 AM.
                          We are suffering from a plethora of surmise, conjecture and hypothesis. - Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure Of Silver Blaze

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hi Sherlock

                            Again ,great research re Ms Rouch.

                            She could still be alive today to give insights which the defence with limited resources didn't follow up at the time.

                            Hi Moste

                            Langdale of course provided what the police firmly believed was correct. In there view they didn't want to get sidetracked when they had a mountain of information and intense pressure to get a result.

                            regards
                            Ed

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Graham View Post
                              Alphon did have a violent streak in him, reference his attack on Mrs Hanratty
                              Alphon claimed that he was attacked by Mrs Hanratty and the magistrate said he did not know who to believe (despite, or because of, Justice's testimony) and gave Alphon the benefit of the doubt.

                              It is no doubt a coincidence (not another one!) that on the days of the Dalal/Wilis attacks the police had lengthy interviews with two A6 murder suspects. The suspect interviewed on 7th September (incorrectly described as Alphon in the Appeal) has been discussed here before, but a man was also questioned for five and a half hours on 24th August.

                              Comment

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