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  #4391  
Old 01-18-2018, 01:39 AM
OneRound OneRound is offline
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Originally Posted by moste View Post
‘Now if only Alphon had been able to drive’ I can’t believe you just said that Dude!
It’s statements like this, and people in the legal fraternity coming up with what can only be described as outlandish utterances such as ‘well It couldn’t have been Alphon , because he didn’t have a driving licence, and wasn’t capable of driving a motor car that make me smile . Come on let’s get real.
I myself ,at 17 yrs. of age set off happily , (if illegally)down the street in my mates car having only watched people drive on a few occasions. Crashed the gears a few times and kangaroo’d when the car seemed to insist on it, but never the less I could have got from A to B if it was imperative to do so.
So let’s have no more ’Alphon couldn’t drive’ (I know it’s a different machine but he knew the clutch control and operation of a motor cycle no problem) feel free to sit him back behind the wheel of a moggy minor if you’ve a mind to.
Moste - if you had noticed the dots that followed the words in bold above and the 'what we apparently know' which came immediately before those words, you might have picked up that any conclusion on my part was purposely left open and not automatically the one that you attribute to me.

Do not assume that every wooden item is a stick to beat those doubting the views of the legal fraternity. Sometimes it may be an olive branch.

OneRound
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  #4392  
Old 01-18-2018, 04:27 AM
Graham Graham is offline
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Moste - if you had noticed the dots that followed the words in bold above and the 'what we apparently know' which came immediately before those words, you might have picked up that any conclusion on my part was purposely left open and not automatically the one that you attribute to me.

Do not assume that every wooden item is a stick to beat those doubting the views of the legal fraternity. Sometimes it may be an olive branch.

OneRound
Well said, OR! Especially your last sentence. It seems increasingly that the Hanratty supporters doubt, with varying logic, every possible suggestion that their boy gone done it, yet in all the years I've been posting here I have never once seen any suggestion as to who their alternative killer might be - if indeed they have an alternative whose initials are not PLA.

Cobalt,

about 25 years ago I walked from Taplow Station to the cornfield on a blazing hot summer's day. It took me less than half an hour, and I'm not what you might call super-fit. It was dark when Hanratty arrived at the car, so if he had arrived at Taplow by train, as has been suggested before, it would certainly have been deep dusk when he got off and started walking.
City boy he may have been, but from what I've read about him he was anything but unfit - ref: his ability to out-run the police in Shrewsbury.

There are houses in the vicinity, and further down Marsh Lane is Dorney Court, which then was a very grand private dwelling. I believe that there had been reports of burglaries in the area prior to 22 August 1961. It has to be a matter of conjecture what Hanratty had in mind that evening, but I don't believe that hi-jack, murder, rape and attempted murder were in his schedule. Rather, maybe, to 'do' a house, or as it seemed he tried with Gregsten and Storie, 'stick up' a car. After all, he'd mentioned to France that he wished to become a 'stick up artist' or whatever the phrase is. I very strongly suspect that the whole grisly episode that evening was unplanned - that it 'went wrong'.

Trouble is, all this speculation regarding Hanratty's presence at Dorney Reach that night began way back in 1963 when an early commentator on the A6 Case - Blom-Cooper, I believe - asked the rhetorical question: was Hanratty sent to the cornfield? No proof has ever been adduced that he had been sent, but, in view of the puzzling lack of an overall motive for an exceedingly vicious crime, it was a I feel a justified question waiting to be asked.

Graham
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  #4393  
Old 01-18-2018, 02:40 PM
cobalt cobalt is offline
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Hi Graham,

Despite the sterling efforts on this site regarding photographs, there is no substitute for walking the scene of the crime as you and others have been able to do. So I defer to your knowledge of Taplow railway station and Marsh Lane.

The lack of a motive proportionate to the crime has always lain at the root of the A6 Case, along of course with the coincidences regarding Alphon’s possible involvement. I think those who support the prosecution case want to have their cake and eat it regarding Hanratty’s motivation, as I shall outline.

I can readily believe that a compulsive burglar like Hanratty might well turn up in the Taplow area with a view to stealing from a large house. He might have been a city boy but from what I can gather he was no respecter of geography when it came to a spot of thieving. So yes, Hanratty might have been there, based on tip-offs and chit-chat from the criminal underworld.

I can also just about believe that Hanratty wanted to go ‘up market’ and turn to robbery rather than housebreaking. I assume the rewards are greater and the currency is usually cash, so no need for commission to the fences. It hardly fits with what we know of his character but Hanratty never denied voicing this ambition to France, so he must at least have considered it as a career option.

The problem for me is, the prosecution want to conflate these two types of crime. If he is doing some burgling, then he does not need to be wearing a suit and packing a gun or boxes of ammunition when slipping through doors or windows. He needs to be quick on his toes and get back to the railway station before the burglary is discovered. Even if he is just ‘casing a joint’ why run the risk of carrying guns and ammunition?

If he is going down the route of armed robbery then the suit is still a strange choice, as is a handkerchief to cover his face. No one had been using handkerchiefs since The Blue Lamp, nylon stockings being the disguise of choice; a young man like Hanratty certainly had access to those. (The neatness of the handkerchief over the killer’s face and the handkerchief wrapped round the gun under the bus seat has always seemed suspicious to me.) Anyhow, if Hanratty is bent on armed robbery he is obviously not going to end up in a cornfield. A burglar might have done, but not an armed robber.

It’s as simple as that. The armed robber is simply in the wrong place. He is not where he should be, robbing a small, family-owned petrol station before he graduates to bank robbery and wages heists. With a getaway car running in the forecourt as well. Everyone has to start somewhere, but no armed robber is going to hold up a Morris Minor in a cornfield as part of his apprenticeship.

The prosecution cannot have it both ways. Hanratty was either going out equipped for burglary in a rural backwater or he had decided to embark on armed robbery, which means he would have been nowhere near a cornfield. He cannot have been doing both.
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  #4394  
Old 01-19-2018, 04:28 AM
Graham Graham is offline
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Hi Cobalt,

Good points!

Re: JH's dress, the code in those days amongst young men was to dress 'sharp', that is largely Italian fashion, and this JH did and to good effect, it would seem. With regard to his burgling, he apparently preferred well-to-do areas such as Stanmore and Finchley, and I would suggest that to avoid standing out like a sore thumb, even at night, in such areas, he went out attired in suit, collar and tie. The days of burglars wearing a striped jersey, a beret and mask, and carrying a bag marked 'swag' were long gone....

I think regarding your comment about a cornfield being the wrong place to begin his career as a stick-up artist, it's worth reflecting that as, presumably, he'd never done it before, making a start with courting couples, whose attention is obviously elsewhere, makes sense. Was it just money and valuables he was after? He'd nicked cars before, and pinching one from a couple who may well not be in quite the right, er, position to defend their property would I feel have occurred to him. But we don't know, when all is said and done.

Not far from where I live is a long-established, remote and semi-rural spot for what were once known euphemistically as 'courting couples', and years ago there was a spate of violent robberies there. Basically, the same as happened to Gregsten and Storie - money, jewellery, any other valuables, and I believe on more than one occasion the car itself. Literally, they were caught with their pants down. It's all quiet there now; maybe the sophisticated security systems of modern cars has made it harder to commit an automotive 'smash and grab'.

Even in those days petrol stations in built-up areas were equipped with all manner of audible and visible alarm-systems, plus in many cases a direct line to the police. I know - I worked in one for a very short time in the later 1960's. I think the way that petrol-stations (preferable all-night ones) were successfully robbed was for a team to go in mob-handed and empty the place and scarper before the staff knew what had hit them! JH's criminal record was mainly vehicle-related, along with IIRC two sentences for housebreaking. His brother Michael said that James was always on the look-out for something, searching for adventure and some elusive dream, so maybe getting into armed robbery was his way of moving a rung up the criminal ladder and achieving his dream.

Just musing, but I'm beginning to sound like a practised villain, so I'll end now.

Graham
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  #4395  
Old 01-19-2018, 08:20 AM
cobalt cobalt is offline
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I had overlooked the once fashionable crime of ‘car-jacking’ courting couples, which flourished in the USA in the 1950s I think. And of course the infamous ‘Zodiac’ killer in the late 1960s often picked on courting couples although, like the A6 attacker, robbery was not his motive. For all that, I’m not aware of a case where the car-jacker went for a four hour, meaningless jaunt before shooting the occupants of the car.

If Hanratty was cutting his teeth as an armed robber then I still have a problem as to why he would be in the Taplow area; there must have been courting couple sites in the London environs which he knew from personal experience, places he could have made an easier getaway from if things went wrong.

As it turns out the cornfield was actually a rather good spot for a car-jacking since the culprit could have been 10 minutes on the way back to London (presumably) before the police were alerted. So why then all the self-pitying ‘I am a desperate man on the run.’ and ‘I was locked up as a child’ psycho-babble reported by Valerie Storie? The attacker has a gun, takes valuables and scoots off with the car. Even a novice would have acted along these lines, not hung around inside the cornfield for some time making small talk before visiting petrol stations for milk and cigarettes. He is supposed to be an armed robber but does not really steal anything.
This is not inexperience in my opinion, more an indication of confusion and maybe even guilt.
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  #4396  
Old 01-20-2018, 07:44 AM
Graham Graham is offline
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Quote:
If Hanratty was cutting his teeth as an armed robber then I still have a problem as to why he would be in the Taplow area; there must have been courting couple sites in the London environs which he knew from personal experience, places he could have made an easier getaway from if things went wrong.
I would guess he wanted somewhere relatively quiet in which to begin his hoped-for career as a stick-up man. Many of his burglaries were committed in the quiet and posher suburbs of West London. It's interesting that his claimed 'mistake' in going to Paddington rather than Euston suggests to me that as Paddington is the station for trains to Slough, Maidenhead, etc., (and also Taplow) then this is the station from which he left London. Quite what he was doing in the daylight hours between leaving London and arriving at the cornfield will doubtless never be known. Maybe he popped in to see his pal Donald Slack who lived at Ealing, on the same line from Paddington as Slough and Maidenhead.

Graham
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  #4397  
Old 01-20-2018, 08:56 AM
NickB NickB is offline
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Louise Anderson testified that he visited her that morning. She lived near Paddington. Natalie thought this might be why he walked in that direction.

If he wanted to get a train from Euston, around which there were many guest houses, why did he try to get into the Broadway House Hotel? It is not particularly near Euston, and actually looks nearer Paddington.

And if he was in that area anyway, he could have stayed the night with Anderson or France. But of course then he wouldn’t have been able to try out the mechanisms of his gun in privacy.

Woffinden says Jim would have got to Euston about 10.45, and explains how the only train that is compatible with his evidence (long wait at Euston, train stopped at Crewe) is the one that arrived in Liverpool at 4.54. The Appeal Court questions how Hanratty could then do all the things he said he did before the bus left at 6. Just one of the many things any revised edition of his book would have to address.
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  #4398  
Old 01-20-2018, 10:49 AM
Graham Graham is offline
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Quote:
Louise Anderson testified that he visited her that morning. She lived near Paddington. Natalie thought this might be why he walked in that direction.
Do Foot and Woffinden mention this, Nick, as I can't recall reading it?

Looking at the street map, Greek Street (assuming that's where LA lived at the time) is actually closer to Euston than Paddington, by a good way. The Vienna Hotel, however, is much nearer Paddington than Euston.

Incidentally, I just happen to have an old 1972 hardback London road map, showing The Vienna Hotel on Sutherland Avenue, which rather suggests to me that it wasn't quite the down-market dive that it's often described.

Graham
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  #4399  
Old 01-20-2018, 12:18 PM
NickB NickB is offline
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Woffinden page 201:

Swanwick: "Do you remember the last occasion you had seen him before?"

Anderson: "Yes, it was on the 22nd, on the Tuesday morning."

Justice Gorman: "One moment - "

Anderson: "He said he was going to Liverpool."

Swanwick: "In the morning?"

Anderson: "Yes. That was early in the morning, but he had not stayed at my flat that night."

I take it she is referring to him visiting her flat near Paddington. He had stayed there on the Saturday night and the Sunday night, which is why she says he had not stayed there on the Monday night.
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  #4400  
Old 01-20-2018, 02:54 PM
Spitfire Spitfire is offline
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I think that it is fair to say that Woffinden states that Louise Anderson is lying on the point of Hanratty coming to her flat on Tuesday morning, 22nd August and that she is also lying on several other parts of her evidence.

Yet, Hanratty's first choice of hotel was the Broadway House Hotel in Portman Square which (according to a modern-day Google Maps direction planner) was only 0.6 mile from Louise Anderson's flat in Cambridge Court, Sussex Gardens.

The Broadway House Hotel was about 1 mile from Paddington and about 1.7 miles away from Euston.

The Broadway was more convenient for Louise Anderson's flat and Paddington Station than it was for Euston Station.
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