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

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  • cobalt
    replied
    Moste,

    Like you, I feel the Liverpool/Rhyl alibi has been exhausted by both sides. I would be happy to be corrected if a photo of Hanratty reading the daily paper in Rhyl was unearthed from a family album in the attic. Or a photo of Hanratty reading the Sporting Post of 22 August at Slough race track appeared.

    You raise the interesting question of why more resistance was not shown to the kidnapping, but as armchair experts we can all see opportunities that may have existed. There was a horrific multiple murder of three generations of a family carried out in the mid 1970s by an escaped prisoner called Billy Hughes, in Derbyshire I think, which is very rarely discussed, probably because the family members had so many opportunities (it would seem to us) to raise the alarm. It makes uncomfortable reading. The mother tried to protect her daughter, her husband and her two elderly parents, and ended up losing them all in an ordeal that lasted around two days. She was unaware of the enormity of what had taken place until Hughes was, mercifully, removed from his useless life by police marksmen.

    We can only guess at the psychology of being held at gunpoint, but I would imagine it is much easier to resist when only your life is on the line. When another person, dear to you, is at risk then the landscape must be different.

    However I share your skepticism regarding the cornfield pick up, the apparently random car journey, and what was said in the course of it. There is obviously something missing here.

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  • moste
    replied
    On the issue of the assailant requesting instruction on the operation of the gears from Valerie, and having her start the car for him , It's more than likely that it was required for her to operate the choke ,since the engine was now cooled down.The reason that the engine cut out was that the engine reached full heat therefor was running too rich and consequently stalled.
    This got me thinking , Gregsten could easily have used this means to flood the engine at an opportune moment, possibly passing through a town like St. Albans, he would need to distract the guy in the back ,or have Valerie distract him (since apparently they could talk lowly to one another without him minding)
    They did know quite early on that this bloke was nothing of a driver, And Gregsten strikes me as the kind of motorist who would know that that ploy would likely work. Makes more sense to me that crashing into a petrol station pump as suggested by Lord Russell. All purely academic of course , but to the suspicious ,it begs the question If you have the means at hand ,to disable the car in a relatively built up area, why head out into the country at dead of night,with a gun at your head? It seams Gregsten was either too frightened to react in any way over the hours of confinement, or there was a plan involved that was reassuring to him. We will likely never know of course, but with all the questions involved , from statements by Valerie,and the known anomalies presented by the likes of Master Kerr, the police themselves, road research employees the likes of Mr. Black and company,who were mysteriously moved from dead mans hill ,for the graveyard shift.And obviously the after the fact witnesses,some more reliable sounding than others.Its hard to stop digging, so to speak, Of course that's why half of us are here,others unfortunately prefer to beat on about Tarleton street/road, or Talbot or whatever. way less important to my mind than say, blue eyes over brown eyes!
    Last edited by moste; 06-02-2016, 09:52 AM.

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  • caz
    replied
    Originally posted by Derrick View Post
    Actually, in the evidence Mrs D gave at the trial, she said that the man asked for Tarleton Road!
    I wasn't disputing it, Del.

    But section 54 of the 2002 Appeal judgement provides us with this version of Hanratty's evidence:

    Although there was an issue about whether James Hanratty had mentioned his Liverpool alibi to the police on the telephone (which was an important detail because he explained his late change of alibi on the fact that he felt that he had already committed himself), on 13 October 1961, his solicitor, Mr Kleinman, certainly wrote and notified the police of the details of that alibi. It was explained that James Hanratty had gone to Liverpool on 22 August 1961, had then visited a sweet shop on Scotland Road and asked for directions to Carlton or Talbot Road and had stayed in Liverpool until 25 August; he provided details of a visit to the cinema and a visit to New Brighton on the Wirral.

    And later, in section 188, we have another:

    Thus, in the 75 minutes between the arrival of the train and the departure of the bus, his evidence was that he has left the train, had a wash in the station, deposited property in the left-luggage office, made enquiries outside the station about Carleton, Tarleton or Talbot Road, got on and off a bus, gone to the sweet shop in Scotland Road, walked back to Lime Street, looked for but been unable to find the road, gone for a meal, discussed the sale of a watch, decided to go to Rhyl, presumably collected what he had left at the left luggage office, found the bus station and got on the bus. It was his evidence, of course, that he only left Liverpool at 7.30pm.

    If he actually specified only Carlton or Tarleton, where did the Talbot come from?

    And if he did only specify Carlton or Tarleton, my point stands because he ought to have been surer of his ground than Mrs D, which sounds another bum note on top of all the other discrepancies between the various Liverpool/Rhyl witness accounts and his own.

    Tarleton Street (not Road actually) is a very short distance from Lime Street station, so does it make sense to you that a streetwise operator like Hanratty would have gone all the way up to Liverpool in search of this street only to a) give up after being unable to locate it with anyone's help - not even a city centre taxi driver's - and b) not remember the name of it later, despite the time and trouble he had gone to in looking for it and asking for it by name?

    I submit that he was clutching at straws and must have learned that such an enquiry had been made, but the details of date and time, and which street name was involved, got blurred by the time he used it as his own story. If he had never heard of a Tarleton Street (although coincidentally there is also one in Rhyl, just off the seafront, if his reading ability was up to it), it is understandable that he might have questioned it in his mind (not having heard the enquiry in person or been the one to make it) and hedged his bets with the Talbot and Carlton possibilities.

    Unless he disguised his London accent for some strange reason, Hanratty could not have been the man who spoke to Mrs D and asked for Tarleton Road.

    Love,

    Caz
    X
    Last edited by caz; 06-02-2016, 07:21 AM.

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  • Derrick
    replied
    Originally posted by caz View Post
    ...Actually, he said he asked for a Carlton or Talbot Road...
    Actually, in the evidence Mrs D gave at the trial, she said that the man asked for Tarleton Road!

    Then in his evidence on 7thFebruary 1962 Hanratty said that;
    ...he left the left luggage office and asked the way to Carlton Road or Tarleton Road in a sweetshop in Scotland Road...
    Del
    Last edited by Derrick; 06-02-2016, 05:24 AM.

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  • caz
    replied
    Originally posted by Derrick View Post
    The key points of Mrs D's evidence at trial where;
    • she identified Hanratty in the dock as the man that she picked out from the photos that she had been shown as resembling the man who had come into the shop.
    • she said that the man had asked for a Tarleton Road which was not a street she knew.
    • she could only be sure of the actual day of the man coming in because her granddaughter was serving with her.
    And that is all.

    The first point comes directly from Mrs D's own identification. The second two corroborate Hanratty's own account of the encounter.
    Not quite, Del.

    Hanratty said that he asked for Tarleton Road...
    Actually, he said he asked for a Carlton or Talbot Road.

    Now I would be more inclined to believe there was something in this seeming 'coincidence' if it had been Mrs D who was unsure or had forgotten exactly which road the man had asked for, and Hanratty who had remembered it was Tarleton, as there is one such road in the city centre and he was the one apparently in need of directions to it, not Mrs D.

    Love,

    Caz
    X

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  • Graham
    replied
    Can't be sure, Moste, but possibly a Sprite or Midget.

    How times have changed - people happily guzzling pints and then gaily driving home.....not that I ever got up to such tricks, oh no!

    Speaking of the Old Station Inn, not sure if I've mentioned this before, but there is a company called The Lanz Group trading in Slough - transport, skip hire, etc. I would assume, as it's an unusual name, that Mary Lanz who ran the Inn at the time of the A6, was related.

    Graham

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  • moste
    replied
    old station inn 1960s

    better photo of old station inn than some
    Attached Files

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  • moste
    replied
    Live 6 second film of Old Station Inn around 1960

    Found accidentally while checking documentaries on the demise of steam.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tViwGMqmbVk

    British Rail documentary50s,

    Do not need to watch whole thing, as the Old station inn is at approximately 40 seconds. Notice how sparse the shrubbery on rail embankment is and lack of trees.
    The car the couple are standing by is a Sunbeam Talbot 90, 1955.
    can't decide on the sports job, Graham will probably know.

    I thought this fascinating as it is exactly as it would have been during Mike and Valerie's visits. Like briefly being there, however fleeting.

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  • moste
    replied
    Originally posted by NickB View Post
    I have had a go at mapping the car journey here:
    http://gb.mapometer.com/running/route_4327270

    This is based on the Sunday Times map and any bits of Valerie's description I could find. If you can see any errors, please let me know.

    If correct, one thing it proves is that they did not stop at the Shell garage as Kingsbury Circle is not on the route.
    Looks about right as Valerie outlined it.
    The Kingsbury circle and the Hirons witness was I would have thought something of an embarrassment to Acott. Valerie explaining her
    reasoning for remembering the Regent petrol station ' (Mike not liking that brand)

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  • NickB
    replied
    I have had a go at mapping the car journey here:
    http://gb.mapometer.com/running/route_4327270

    This is based on the Sunday Times map and any bits of Valerie's description I could find. If you can see any errors, please let me know.

    If correct, one thing it proves is that they did not stop at the Shell garage as Kingsbury Circle is not on the route.

    Leave a comment:


  • NickB
    replied
    Dr Rennie said of Michael Clark:
    "As far as I remember he had rather fairish hair and blueish eyes".

    Sherrard must have regarded Rennie as a reliable witness in this regard because he referred more than once to the “fairish hair” bit. But the “blueish eyes” bit must have worried him, and it appears that he thought it was too risky to call for Michael Clark or a photograph of him.

    A colour photo of Clark must exist somewhere, and I look forward to seeing one posted on this forum one day! In 1961/2 it would have been much easier to obtain, had Sherrard wanted to do so.

    When I read accounts of the trial proceedings I am extremely impressed with Sherrard’s performance, given the hand he had been dealt by Hanratty. In fact it is Swanwick’s performance that seems below par.

    Swanwick agreed to be interviewed by Woffinden and I would like to know what he said. It is a pity the most detailed book on the subject was not written by someone who was prepared to present both sides of the case, it would have been far more interesting.

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  • moste
    replied
    Originally posted by uncle_adolph View Post
    The jury didn't, however, have the advantage of seeing the person Valerie chose at the first ID parade.....and coming to their own conclusion about the quality of her visual evidence. Acott's written notes were hardly a suitable substitute.
    Sherrards fault. Actually if I recall, Acott didn't have his notes on Michael Clarks description available in court, he gave Sherrard his memory of what he recalled of the falsely identified witness by Storie, sounded absolutely nothing like Hanratty. At this cross road Sherrard I believe showed his incompetence in not grinding the whole proceedings to a halt, he should have insisted on seeing what the falsely identified man looked like, and then when and if he was comfortable with what he saw ,should have introduced that person to the jury.
    Sherrard I believe was out of his depth.It was most unusual for a capital case of this magnitude to be defended by anyone other than a QC. Victor Durrand was one of the best and was asked for by Kleinman,Hanrattys solicitor. Subsequently Durrand serving a one year suspension , Sherrard took the job, Hanratty was happy enough as apparently Sherrard had impressed him at the pre trial in Ampthill.
    The above is paraphrasing from The Final Verdict,Bob Woffinden. This area of the book makes good reading if your interested in how dirty the tricks can get.
    Last edited by moste; 05-25-2016, 05:21 PM.

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  • uncle_adolph
    replied
    Originally posted by Spitfire View Post
    The sweetshop alibi and Valerie's defective first identification were extensively debated before the jury, which had the undoubted advantage of seeing and hearing the witnesses give their evidence. The jury resolved the question of identification against Hanrattty.
    The jury didn't, however, have the advantage of seeing the person Valerie chose at the first ID parade.....and coming to their own conclusion about the quality of her visual evidence. Acott's written notes were hardly a suitable substitute.

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  • Spitfire
    replied
    Originally posted by Derrick View Post

    Hanratty said that he asked for Tarleton Road and a young girl was serving. Together, Mrs D and Miss Ford corroborate this. It could not have been the Monday because the prosecution themselves proved he was in London.
    Or to look at it another way, it could not have been Hanratty as the incident occurred on the Monday as recalled by the Defence's own witness, Mrs Dinwoodie.

    The sweetshop alibi and Valerie's defective first identification were extensively debated before the jury, which had the undoubted advantage of seeing and hearing the witnesses give their evidence. The jury resolved the question of identification against Hanrattty.

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  • uncle_adolph
    replied
    Originally posted by caz View Post
    So if Mrs D had given way after Kleinman's frustrated observation, and conceded it might have been the Tuesday after all, because she didn't want a hanged man on her conscience, it would have tainted her evidence anyway.
    Naturally, a witness picking completely the wrong person at an identification parade shouldn't taint their evidence, should it?

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