I don’t know where this idea comes from that overall Hanratty was ‘unlucky’, except in the sense that Caz was using the word – that an innocent Hanratty would have been incredibly unlucky to have so many things pointing towards his guilt.
On 23-Sep-61 Alphon said to Acott: “It’s quite clear to me that you’ll never catch him now. It’s over a month old now and if you haven’t caught him now, you never will.” I expect similar thoughts were running though Hanratty’s mind later that day as he drove Gladys to Bedford. He must have felt very lucky that he had got away with it.
I accept that if Crocker only reported the cartridge cases because of the Alphon linkeage, then this was indeed unlucky for Hanratty. But after this had been reported, by continuing to use the ‘Ryan’ alias and the ‘Wood Lane, Kingsbury’ address he was leaving a trail that, I feel, inexorably would have lead to him.