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

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  • NickB
    replied
    I thought Gillbanks came across Ingledene on the morning of 6-Feb-62, the day after he had been asked to go to Rhyl.

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  • Graham
    replied
    Originally posted by NickB View Post
    I believe the fairground was just to the north of Marine Lake.

    Hanratty was repeatedly asked to provide some specific detail of the guesthouse location. Finally he said: “The boarding-house is at the back of Dixie's facing toward a railway.”

    But if that is where Dixie's was located, Ingledene could not be described as being at the back of it.
    Don't forget that Hanratty never mentioned Ingledene or Kinmel Street or Mrs Jones, or anything else that might have supported his claim, by name to his defence. These names were put to him after the place was 'found' by Joe Gillbanks and his pal, traipsing all around Rhyl toting the single photo of Hanratty and bits of disjointed information from Hanratty, and getting nowhere until Mrs Jones of Ingledene 'thought she recognised' the man in the photo. There was then an effort to match Hanratty's 'recollections' of the boarding-house he claimed to have stayed in on 22 August and a subsequent night. The jury did not believe him (neither, I am certain, did Michael Sherrard).

    Graham

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  • NickB
    replied
    By the way, the Daily Mail report on Valerie Storie’s death has a photo of Hanratty showing lots of freckles.

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  • NickB
    replied
    I believe the fairground was just to the north of Marine Lake.

    Hanratty was repeatedly asked to provide some specific detail of the guesthouse location. Finally he said: “The boarding-house is at the back of Dixie's facing toward a railway.”

    But if that is where Dixie's was located, Ingledene could not be described as being at the back of it.

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  • Graham
    replied
    Originally posted by NickB View Post
    Hanratty remembered with impressive accuracy the names of the houses he burgled and the roads they were in, so I would have expected him to remember the names of the guesthouse and its road. Failing that there must have been some landmarks that guided him back there on the second night.

    Of course he did mention Dixie’s cafe. Do you know the address of where this was?
    Nick,

    Dixie's Cafe (also known as the Donald Duck Cafe) was run by a Mr Ernie Gordon and as far as I'm able to discover was on a corner of Sandringham Avenue and Wellington Road and opposite another cafe called The Westbourne. According to Foot the cafe wasn't far from the fairground, which I think is/was in the vicinity of Marine Lake. Kinmel Street actually runs off Wellington Road but in the opposite direction to the fairground.

    Graham

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  • NickB
    replied
    Hanratty remembered with impressive accuracy the names of the houses he burgled and the roads they were in, so I would have expected him to remember the names of the guesthouse and its road. Failing that there must have been some landmarks that guided him back there on the second night.

    Of course he did mention Dixie’s cafe. Do you know the address of where this was?

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  • Graham
    replied
    In any event why should Hanratty recall, months later, a small betting shop that he never entered ?
    Hanratty couldn't remember anything from his "trip to Rhyl" on and after 22 August, for the simple reason he was never there at that time. However, he did recall events and places from his earlier visit to Rhyl during the second week of July, and tried without success to transpose these events onto his imagined later "visit". He was unable to recall the betting shop sign from when he was in Rhyl in July either because the shop wasn't yet open or he went nowhere near Kinmel Street.

    Graham

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  • Sherlock Houses
    replied
    Setting the record straight.......

    Just for the record, this particular betting shop was opened in mid-July. Betting shops were then in their infancy, the first ever one in the UK having only opened a couple of months earlier. The manager's son, Raymond Corbett, told Paul Foot that he took over from his father in the shop on August 4th and that the sign was not erected until several weeks later. He could not determine whether the sign was up on August 22nd/23rd or not.

    This stands in clear contrast to what the very suggestive Swanwick told the Bedford Court. He showed no hesitation in telling the jury that the illuminated jockey and whip sign had been put up by that date.

    In any event why should Hanratty recall, months later, a small betting shop that he never entered ? He hadn't travelled from Liverpool to Rhyl to use a betting shop. Guests were obliged to vacate the guest house shortly after breakfast time until early evening time so he would scarcely have been lingering in the vicinity of Ingledene for hours until early afternoon waiting for a betting shop to open it's doors.

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  • cobalt
    replied
    Back in the early 1960s it was not so common for shops to keep their lights on after hours. Maybe in London this was done, but in smaller towns like Rhyl lights went off when the business shut up shop. Electricity was considered expensive.
    The fact that the early bookmaking shops, or turf accountants as they sometimes styled themselves, were being merely tolerated and perhaps had restrictions about making themselves visible may have added to this habit.

    I notice that in April 1960 a corpse was found in a house at 35 West Kinmel street, Rhyl, albeit totally unconnected with the A6 murder. The landlady, who only lived round the corner from the guest house at 19 Kinmel Street, supposed billet of James Hanratty, had hidden a dead tenant in the property since 1940.
    Whether the elderly lady had died of natural causes on the premises or the landlady had helped the aged lady on her way, was never determined. The landlady had for 20 years collected the old lady's pension. The victim was found with a ligature round the neck which seems pretty damning, but in the event the landlady only served an 18 month sentence for fraud.

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  • NickB
    replied
    He would have seen the sign lit up at night if was kept shining, even after the shop had closed, for advertising purposes. I believe this was usually the case.

    Incidentally, I see there is a programme about the A6 murder coming up on the ‘London Live’ TV channel at 9pm on Friday 6th May.
    http://www.londonlive.co.uk/programmes/the-a6-murderer

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  • cobalt
    replied
    NickB,

    An interesting point about the betting shop, one I had not picked up on before. I agree that Hanratty, a man who enjoyed a punt, could hardly have been expected to miss such a landmark.

    However in these more enlightened times workers actually had some rights, which meant that 24/7 businesses did not exist. I would guess that a betting shop in these days would have closed at 5.30pm along with all the other commercial businesses, so that Hanratty may not have seen the light advertising the premises. But he could scarcely have missed it during daylight hours.

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  • Graham
    replied
    Louisa's post simply trots out many of the old, tired arguments that Hanratty's supporters have resorted to almost from the outset. No point in going over all of what she says here, but I'll make a couple of brief comments:

    1] if JH really had stayed at Ingledene, than why was he not able to give his defence a clear description of where it was located? Had he really been there, he must have seen the betting-shop sign and the pub. Gillbanks was obliged to scurry all over Rhyl before landing on Ingledene and a compliant and helpful Mrs Jones. JH was definitely in Rhyl in the July, but absolutely nowhere near the place on August 22.

    2] Trevor Dutton said he was approached by a man answering, or so he claimed, JH's description, who was selling a watch. Unfortunately JH never mentioned this incident to his defence, which wasn't known about until Mr Dutton himself contacted the police. Whoever tried to see him a watch, it wasn't James Hanratty.

    3] Valerie described a man who looked exactly like Peter Alphon? There are numerous photos of Alphon on the internet, and examining these gives one the eerie impression that no two photos of Alphon showed precisely the same man; as if he had the ability to change his facial features at will. This is not fanciful on my part, and in fact has been mentioned before on these boards. If you don't believe me, get Googling! And then tell me which of all these photos depicts the Peter Alphon described by Valerie!

    Graham

    PS: good to see the A6 discussion starting up again.
    Last edited by Graham; 04-14-2016, 10:12 AM.

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  • NickB
    replied
    Also ...

    If he was in Ingledene, in which room did Hanratty stay on 22-Aug-61? All the legitimate rooms were taken by other guests.

    The landlady Grace Jones told the trial he stayed in room 4. Swanwick called for Joe Sayle to be brought into court. Sayle testified that he had occupied room 4 from 21-Aug to 24-Aug. Then Jones was asked who she now thought was the single man in Room 4. She looked towards Hanratty and said “I recognised him to be that gentleman there.”

    The jury had a straight choice of whom to believe: Jones or Sayle.

    Joe Sayle was a communist party activist who worked as a British Railways guard. He was in Rhyl on business as secretary of the Liverpool and North Wales District Council of the NUR. Not exactly a member of the Establishment.

    Grace Jones kept up the ‘room 4’ story on the 1966 Panorama programme. The following year, in the Nimmo enquiry, someone must have finally persuaded her (perhaps Nimmo himself) that this was contradicted by Sayle’s evidence. Then she said if Hanratty had stayed at Ingledene that week it must have been in the green bathroom. However this was also untenable because Hanratty said his bedroom was at the back of the guest house, whereas the green bathroom was at the front.

    Woffinden’s solution was that Hanratty stayed in the green bathroom on the first night and then a back room which became available on the second night.

    But look at what Hanratty said about his room in the context of his arrival at the guest house:
    “I went up a flight of stairs and it was on the second floor and it was a back room.”
    And again ...
    “Well it was dark when I eventually entered the house and I did not draw the curtains because it was a back room.”
    He did not just say he stayed in a back room, but in a back room on the first night.

    So the question remains: if Hanratty was in Ingledene, in which room could he have possibly stayed on 22-Aug?

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  • NickB
    replied
    Hanratty came up with the Rhyl alibi on 29-Jan-62 when Sherrard got him to sign the disclaimer letter asking his defence to “try to find the landlady in the house there”. A full week went by before they started doing this. Did they spend this time trying to persuade him out of it?

    Three doors down from Ingeldene was a betting shop. Betting shops were a novelty in the summer of 1961 as they had only been allowed since May. The one in Kiinmel Street had a sign outside showing a jockey’s cap and a whip. The sign was lit up at night and would have been seen by Hanratty when he arrived at Ingledene and provided a guide for him when he returned on the second night.

    The 1966 Panorama narrator says: ‘Near the railway station, a few doors from a betting shop, he said, there was a boarding house where he found a room.’ But the part of Hanratty’s evidence where he describes the guest house location was reported in the newspapers and does not include anything as specific as it being a few doors from a betting shop.

    In fact it was Ingeldene’s landlady Grace Jones who told the court about the betting shop. Swanwick asked her to specify what a visitor to Ingledene would have seen. The point of him doing this was to demonstrate to the jury that Hanratty had not mentioned the two most obvious landmarks - the Windsor Hotel directly opposite and the betting shop three doors down.

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  • caz
    replied
    Originally posted by louisa View Post
    The wrong man was hanged. Hanratty could NOT have been guilty of these crimes because the timeline doesn't add up. He couldn't have been in two places at once.
    Hi Louisa,

    Well he couldn't have been in Liverpool and Rhyl, and somewhere between the two, at the same time, I'll grant you that.

    As we now know from plentiful research - eye witness accounts are the least reliable evidence.
    Which would of course explain why the timings and fine details given by the Rhyl 'witnesses' were incompatible with Hanratty's own account. This is presumably why his own defence chose not to use their 'evidence' in 2002 to try and establish he was indeed in Rhyl on the crucial night.

    If the Rhyl witnesses were only shown a photo of Hanratty and were asked if this was the man they saw, it would only have made matters worse. At least Valerie had the dubious advantage (!?) of spending several hours in the car with the gunman, up close and personal, listening to him rabbiting on before being forced into the most intimate physical contact with him. Then not too long afterwards she saw and heard Hanratty in the flesh and declared herself certain this was the same man who had raped her. There is no comparison between this and any of those well-meaning, but unreliable and ultimately impotent folk from Rhyl. The mere fact that Hanratty himself had so little faith in anyone being able to put him in Rhyl, that he initially plumped for a fictional overnight stay in Liverpool, tells its own story.

    She originally described a man who looked exactly like Peter Alphon...
    But Valerie failed to recognise Alphon and picked out someone else, whose photo has never to my knowledge been published. It would be puzzling indeed if the two men were dead ringers for each other. Did the police never think this could cause the witness confusion at best, and lose them their prime suspect at worst?

    Far from having courage - Storie went with the 'plot' and the truth became buried forever.

    Everyone will feel sorry for a person who is crippled - but her description of that night and of her attacker became the most crippled part of this horrendous miscarriage of justice.
    Poor Valerie. Didn't she suffer enough at the time, without her name being dragged through the mud, fourteen years after the appeal process examined her identification of Hanratty and found it sound beyond reasonable doubt? If just one of the supposed Rhyl sightings had been sound, why did Hanratty's defence team fail him so miserably by not bringing the evidence to the table for the appeal?

    Love,

    Caz
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