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Valerie Storie's 3 part story as published in 'Today' magazine, June 1962

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  • That Fred Dinenage prog repeats most of the hoary old mistakes - one way and the other - that this case has become riddled with over the years, too many for me to list here.

    It also has worse-than-usual 'dramatisations', using non-actors who look absolutely nothing like the people they are supposed to be representing.

    In other words, it was crap.

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

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Graham View Post
      Hi Caz,

      as I've stated a few times before, Hanratty's defence arranged for him to be examined by a Prof Fry of the Phonetics Dept., University College, who stated:

      "In my opinion his speech is in every way typical of a man with his background and upbringing; his pronunciation is that of a boy of low educational attainment brought up in London. I could not detect any feature (in his pronunciation) which could be regarded as a personal pecularity. His mode of speech is shared by very many thousands of Londonders".

      In other words, he had a Cockney accent, which effectively shoots down Mrs Dinwoodie and Mr Dutton, who stated that the man they met had some kind of irish accent or dialect. Just as anyone would assume a man with an Irish name like Hanratty would have. The above assessment by Prof Fry was reproduced by Bob Woffinden in his book; to his credit, I must say, but of course there was and is filmed evidence of Michael Hanratty's accent which even Bob would have found difficult to worm his way around.

      Graham
      Furthermore Sherrard believed that if Mrs Dinwoodie had appeared at the magistrates court that a decision of no case to answer may have been forthcoming.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by moste View Post
        Furthermore Sherrard believed that if Mrs Dinwoodie had appeared at the magistrates court that a decision of no case to answer may have been forthcoming.
        But because she didn't we will never know if he was right or not.

        I can guarantee you that lawyers love "if only's" and war stories.
        G U T

        There are two ways to be fooled, one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe that which is true.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by moste View Post
          Furthermore Sherrard believed that if Mrs Dinwoodie had appeared at the magistrates court that a decision of no case to answer may have been forthcoming.
          I'm a tad surprised. I'd have thought her account would have been torn to shreds, considering the mix-up with the days and description of the man's voice. She was certain she saw the man on the wrong day and he had the wrong accent. How would that have helped Hanratty's case?

          Love,

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


          Comment


          • One of the more enduring myths about the case is that Mrs Dinwoodie was a crucial witness for the defence.

            When the defence interviewed Mrs D she steadfastly refused all their urgings to say the event could have happened on the Tuesday. She now knew what the defence desperately did not want her to say, that she was certain it was the Monday, and proceeded to say exactly that in court. Sherrard did not even feel confident enough to risk asking her directly if she recognised Hanratty as the visitor to the shop.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by NickB View Post
              One of the more enduring myths about the case is that Mrs Dinwoodie was a crucial witness for the defence.
              Really?

              Originally posted by NickB View Post
              When the defence interviewed Mrs D she steadfastly refused all their urgings to say the event could have happened on the Tuesday. She now knew what the defence desperately did not want her to say, that she was certain it was the Monday, and proceeded to say exactly that in court. Sherrard did not even feel confident enough to risk asking her directly if she recognised Hanratty as the visitor to the shop.
              Au contraire, the very first thing Sherrard asked Mrs D was whether she recognised anyone in the courtroom who resembled the man in the photographs she had picked out as the man who had come to the shop asking for directions.

              Mrs D looked at Hanratty and said "him".

              Both Mrs D and Miss Ford picked out James Hanratty from photographs and accordingly signed them as proof as saying so.

              Mrs D also corroborated Hanratty's recollection of asking for specific directions.

              Recollections of particular days can be confusing. And so it obviously was for Mrs D. She id'ed Hanratty...

              but he was in London all day on the Monday

              ...as proven by the prosecution themselves.

              She was mistaken about the day, it was Hanratty in the shop and it had to be the Tuesday.

              Del

              Comment


              • Sherrard arranged for Mrs D to be given the photograph of Hanratty. He then asked if she could see that person - i.e. the one in the photograph she was holding - in the courtroom. She said nothing but nodded towards Hanratty.

                She had indeed signed the photograph, but as she was shown it first this identification itself was flawed.

                Comment


                • This entire sweetshop nonsense really ought to be put to rest. All of the following has been posted before, at least once, but I think needs repeating:

                  1] JH was arrested in Blackpool on 11 October. Acott said that JH never mentioned anything about a sweetshop in his first Liverpool 'alibi' account.
                  Further, Acott said that he only heard about the sweetshop from JH's defence. As a result, he contacted Liverpool CID on 16 October and asked them to carry out a check.

                  2] JH said he was looking for a man called Aspinall who he claimed lived in Carlton or Tarlton Avenue. He said he came out of the station and asked passers-by for Carlton Avenue. Someone told him to get a bus along Scotland Road, which he did.

                  3] He said he went into a sweetshop (one of twenty nine on Scotland Road in 1961) opposite a cinema. He said there was a woman and a young girl. The woman told him there was no Carlton Road/Avenue nearby. After police inquiries up and down Scotland Road, this woman, Mrs Dinwoodie, said she remembered a man coming into the shop and asking for Carlton or Tarlton Road or somewhere like that.

                  4] The shop in question was at No 408 Scotland Road and was owned by a family called Cowley. It may or may not have been opposite a cinema. I believe that a cinema had existed nearby but had been destroyed in the Blitz. Mrs Dinwoodie helped out at the Cowleys' shop.

                  5] Mrs D said she 'thought' the man had come into the shop on Monday 21 August between 3.30 and 4.00 pm. Mrs D said that her grand-daughter Barbara Ford had helped her in the shop on the Monday, but had called in the next day, Tuesday, with her friend Linda Walton at about 4.45pm.

                  6] A major problem for Mrs D's 'evidence' was that she had been told by Mrs Cowley that the police were looking for a man who had asked for directions. Therefore Mrs D's evidence was not 'fresh'. DC Pugh had earlier spoken to Mrs Cowley at the time of a previous visit to the shop, and he
                  returned to take a statement from Mrs D. Unfortunately for him, and for JH, and for JH's supporters, he showed her just one photo - that of James Hanratty (a mistake repeated later in Rhyl). Mrs D said the photo was of the man who had come into the shop. She said that it was 'definitely the Monday, as i was on my own on Tuesday; my grand-daughter was with me on the Monday only". Mrs D knew from DC Pugh that the man had said the woman in the shop had a young girl with her.

                  7] Mrs D said the man had come in 'just after 4.00 o'clock', adding that she knew the time as the delivery of the Liverpool Echo was always at that time. JH was always obscure regarding the time of his claimed train from London to Liverpool - had he taken the 10.35am train that arrived in Liverpool at 3.25pm, and had he, as he claimed, had a wash-and-brush-up, a cup of tea at the buffet, and visited the left-luggage office at around 5.00pm (as he claimed), no way could he have arrived at the sweetshop 'as the [I]Echoes[I] were being delived at 'just after 4.00pm'. Both JH and his defence were very vague regarding the time of his claimed departure from London. (Now I suppose we'll be hearing about actors claiming to have seen him on the platform, and men with distinctive cuff-links, etc., etc)

                  8] Mrs D said 'the man' who asked re: Carlton or Tarlton Road/Street/Avenue, was 'hard to understand', and she thought he could have been Scots or Welsh. We know from a phonetics expert that JH had a normal Cockney accent, which although horrible is reasonably easy to understand.

                  9] JH mentioned a fence he identified as Aspinall. The name was not known to Liverpool CID. Either JH made this name up (you will look in vain in Foot or Woffinden for a reference to this name) or the Liverpool CID were incompetent and ill-informed. I would also add that neither Foot nor Woffinden even discuss this aspect of JH's Liverpool 'alibi'. I wonder why?

                  10] JH used taxi's. All he had to do on leaving Lime Street Station was to go to the nearest taxi-rank and ask a driver for Carlton/Tarlton, etc. But he didn't. On the advice of a passer-by, he took a bus.

                  11] Finally, on 25th July, he broke into a house near Liverpool. He stole some silver. When he got to Liverpool centre he just went straight to a jeweller's and flogged his loot for 1.5.00. If he could do that in July, why couldn't/didn't he do it in August? For the simple reason he wasn't in Liverpool on the 21/22 of August.

                  Sorry to go on a bit, but I think it's important that along with his Rhyl 'alibi', JH's Liverpool 'alibi' is equally unsupportable. His Liverpool 'alibi' was thought up by him after his arrest in Blackpool, and his Rhyl 'alibi' likewise in his cell at Bedford.

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

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by moste View Post
                    Furthermore Sherrard believed that if Mrs Dinwoodie had appeared at the magistrates court that a decision of no case to answer may have been forthcoming.
                    Really? Can you offer some hard evidence of this?

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

                    Comment


                    • A good post Graham. You make a good case for the prosecution.

                      But neither I, nor those who inhabited the demi-monde of the Liverpool criminal underworld, have your confidence in the Liverpool police force. This was a force which was known to fit up evidence to have suspects hanged. The Cameo Murder case has been acknowledged legally as a miscarriage of justice; the Devlin/Burns case must surely follow in time.

                      Bert Balmer, Head Honcho of Liverpool CID in 1961, was clearly as corrupt as any of his kindred spirits in South Yorkshire have latterly been found to be regarding Hillsborough.

                      The private detective who investigated Hanratty's alibi, and who contaminated the ID evidence, was known to Balmer and had served under him. Hanratty would have known all about the Liverpool CID and was, no doubt, very reluctant to use an alibi which involved local criminals. Kelly, the so called Cameo murderer, was but an acquaintance of the likely murderer. That was Balmer's Liverpool of the time: either cough up or you will end up in the dock yourself.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Graham View Post
                        Really? Can you offer some hard evidence of this?

                        Graham
                        I was simply alluding to a sentence in Dericks post, Number 161 , because people seem to breeze over important information when it suits them.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by cobalt View Post
                          A good post Graham. You make a good case for the prosecution.

                          But neither I, nor those who inhabited the demi-monde of the Liverpool criminal underworld, have your confidence in the Liverpool police force. This was a force which was known to fit up evidence to have suspects hanged. The Cameo Murder case has been acknowledged legally as a miscarriage of justice; the Devlin/Burns case must surely follow in time.

                          Bert Balmer, Head Honcho of Liverpool CID in 1961, was clearly as corrupt as any of his kindred spirits in South Yorkshire have latterly been found to be regarding Hillsborough.

                          The private detective who investigated Hanratty's alibi, and who contaminated the ID evidence, was known to Balmer and had served under him. Hanratty would have known all about the Liverpool CID and was, no doubt, very reluctant to use an alibi which involved local criminals. Kelly, the so called Cameo murderer, was but an acquaintance of the likely murderer. That was Balmer's Liverpool of the time: either cough up or you will end up in the dock yourself.
                          All quite correct, but at the end of the day ,all that Graham has to say is valueless when you consider that Mrs. Dinwoodie probable did have her days wrong ,probably was confused over this funny accent ,And when you consider that when asked by Sherrard ,"Do you you see someone in the court room who you think could be. That man, " she nodded at Hanratty and said"Him"
                          P S. When I was 21 I arrived at Euston on my way to Ostende on honeymoon ,I had never been to London before , when asking a local vendor where we might get a decent breakfast, was visited by a linguistic outpouring of local dialect which both confused and to some degree ,frightened me and my new bride,as we both agreed at some point we were going to need verbal help in achieving our goal of boarding the boat train at Victoria.I discovered as the years rolled by , that the chap I had entered into a conversation with was actually a local Kingscross lad, who believed these Manchester folk talked funny and were easy to take a rise out of. I had watched episodes of 'No hiding place' and 'Z cars' and the like, But in the case of the elderly Mrs. Dinwoodie on the Scotland Rd. I mean ,don't you agree with me, the 'Pro hang him crowd 'should wake up and smell the coffee? She saw him in the shop, thought he talked funny and remembered her granddaughter being with her, forgetting that she was also with her briefly next day around5 pm .simple as

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by moste View Post
                            And when you consider that when asked by Sherrard ,"Do you you see someone in the court room who you think could be. That man, " she nodded at Hanratty and said"Him"
                            That is the question that Sherrard would have asked had he considered Mrs D a friendly witness to the defence, but he didn't.

                            Instead he brought out the signed photo which the jury had already been told was discredited (because it was the only one she had been shown before signing) and asked if she had signed it and if it depicted Hanratty. She half-heartedly agreed. She could hardly have denied what everyone already knew.

                            Mrs D then effectively nullified her identification of Hanratty by saying the visitor called on the Monday. She did not do this by accident, as shown by what had happened when she had been interviewed by Kleinman.

                            She must have been curious to know why the defence were so intent on her not saying it happened on the Monday and I would be surprised if she did not seek out the answer, which was readily available in newspaper reports. So I think it is likely that by the time she testified in court it was the Monday, she knew that Hanratty was in London on that day.

                            Comment


                            • Hi Graham,

                              That's a good and helpful 11 point post. Particularly for someone like me who no longer has the books. In view of that last aspect, grateful if you could confirm (or not) something concerning the fence that Hanratty claimed he was trying to find in Liverpool.

                              Didn't Hanratty allege at some point that he knew or knew of this Aspinall chap from an earlier time in prison? If so, couldn't that be checked and followed up by both the prosecution and the defence? Depending upon what was found out, I would have thought that would have helped one side.

                              I would also be interested in some guesswork from you. Purely out of personal further interest.

                              I appreciate the purpose of your 11 pointer was to show the sweetshop ''alibi'' as ''unsupportable'' rather than to categorically state what may or may not have happened there on other days. For me, your purpose is successfully achieved.

                              I just would be interested in whether you think there was ever a visitor there asking for these particular directions or whether it was all simply a figment of Mrs Dinwoodie's imagination planted there by a mixture of Mrs Cowley and DC Pugh? Your post appears to side towards the latter. However, if Mrs D was on a journey of total make-believe she managed to take her granddaughter along with her.

                              All very confusing although nothing there indicates Hanratty's innocence. For my part, I wonder if there was some semblance of reality in what Mrs D said which Hanratty found out about and untruthfully adapted so as to try and crowbar himself and an alibi into the sweetshop at the relevant time.

                              As you suggest, Hanratty certainly tried to do similar as regards Rhyl. My own thoughts on Rhyl are that rather than him thinking it up all by himself in his cell in Bedford, someone on the outside belatedly got a message and the idea to him to use it. That ''alibi'' failed miserably and, as you have often said, Hanratty may have walked if it had not been introduced when it was. However, I suspect Hanratty was aware someone would come forward to support his Rhyl claims and so believed that would secure an acquittal, albeit wrongly.

                              Sorry to also go on a bit and veer away in part from the main thrust of your post.

                              Best regards,

                              OneRound

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by OneRound View Post
                                ...I wonder if there was some semblance of reality in what Mrs D said which Hanratty found out about and untruthfully adapted so as to try and crowbar himself and an alibi into the sweetshop at the relevant time...
                                And I suppose we have to believe that Hanratty obviously found out about the sweetshop from somebody who was his look-alike double as picked out by Mrs D.

                                Comment

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