Does anyone know why, after his arrest, his photograph was not published so that someone who had seen him around the time of the murder might come forward?
I don't know but my best guess is that the judge could forbid photographs of the accused to be published pre and during trial lest it influence witnesses in cases where it was considered that identification (or non-identification) was likely to play a significant part.
I take your point that if Hanratty's photo had been published, others might have come forward. However, who can say if they would have been genuine or just keen to have their few minutes of fame.
Also, would they have been for or against Hanratty?
For those coming forward who might have been against - and this is more a general point -, I feel a little uneasy that the police could charge someone on the basis of clearly weak evidence but in the hope that someone out there would respond to a published photo and so bolster the prosecution case by the time it got to trial.
For anyone who came forward in support of Hanratty, they in all likelihood would have been claiming to have seen him in Liverpool as per his original 'alibi'. However, given Hanratty's later 'alibi' of Rhyl, even his most ardent campaigners would have to accept that such witnesses would have been telling lies or, at best, mistaken.
1] it was not on 'the eve of Hanratty's execution' that Larman tried to contact Hanratty's defence, but during Sherrard's summing-up.
2] Larman quite categorically stated that he had seen a man he thought might be Hanratty at 7.30pm on 22 August. By his own account, Hanratty claimed he had caught the last bus to Rhyl from Liverpool, and that bus didn't get into Rhyl until 8.19pm. Give him a few minutes to get his bearings and walk to the junction of Kinmel and Bodfor Streets (see below) and you will see that there is no way Larman could have seen Hanratty at 7.30pm.
3] Hanratty himself never claimed to have tried to sell a gold watch to anyone in Rhyl (unlike his claim to have tried to sell one to Mr Kempt in Liverpool).
4] Hanratty liked to send postcards to his friends when he was away 'on business', as he did when he was in Ireland. When he told Charlotte France on 21 August that he was going to Liverpool, she asked him to send her a postcard. She received no postcard from either Liverpool or Rhyl.
5] Finally, Larman made a statement to police on 21st February 1962 to the effect that he had 'seen photographs of Hanratty' in national newspapers and immediately remembered that he had 'seen him before'. The man he claimed to have seen in Rhyl on 22 August at 7.30pm on the junction of Kinmel and Bodfor Streets had a London accent and hair that was 'bronze and dark in parts'. Unfortunately, Mr Larman is citing details that had already had extensive publicity in the national press. Mr Larman was not a reliable witness, unfortunately, and there is little doubt that Sherrard could not take his statement(s) any further in defence of his client.
The above represents merely one two reasons why the Rhyl 'alibi' does not stand up to scrutiny.
Yes, Larman has always struck me too as deeply unconvincing. Highly significant imo that Hanratty never claimed to have met anyone like him. Same as for attempting to sell a gold watch in Rhyl.
Good point as well about the postcards.
Going back to not publishing photos of the accused and my earlier post about the desire to prevent it potentially influencing witnesses where identification was likely to play a significant part at trial, I think the same reasoning applied to why the accused often had to have his head covered by a blanket when arriving at court.
the plain fact is that all of Hanratty's 'memories' of Rhyl and its residents come from his visit in July, the only proven visit to Rhyl he ever made. Had he not made that visit, he would never have been able to come up with the Rhyl 'alibi'.
Originally Posted by Graham
Hanratty liked to send postcards to his friends when he was away 'on business', as he did when he was in Ireland. When he told Charlotte France on 21 August that he was going to Liverpool, she asked him to send her a postcard.She received no postcard from either Liverpool or Rhyl.
Two very pertinent observations there.
If we are being asked to believe that Hanratty was innocently spending the nights of 22nd and 23rd August in a Rhyl guest house, we would also have to accept that he had to be pretty much the unluckiest career criminal in history. He comes away with no proof he has been there at all on those dates, and yet there is proof of a visit just the month previously, when he doesn't need an alibi. Funny that. Snubbing the young and lovely Charlotte's request for one of his customary postcards, which could have let her know he had moved on to savour the delights of Rhyl, and would have foiled anyone's dastardly plans to make him a scapegoat, the luckless Jim instead decides to send Charlotte's daddy a message by telegram, which finally establishes his presence in Liverpool on 24th, while announcing his imminent return down south.
The fates were already well and truly against him, without his quite inexplicable failure to mention to Charlotte, or to Dixie (or apparently to another living soul, until his very life depended on it) a single blessed word about paying Rhyl another visit while he was up north.
I'll say it again: if it wasn't for rotten bad luck, an innocent Hanratty would have had no luck at all.
PS I'm just wondering if this was the final moment of truth for Dixie, which sent him over the edge. When Hanratty suddenly came out with his Rhyl alibi, and it was the first Dixie had heard of him going there during that week in August, what must he have thought?
__________________ "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov
Last page of statement made on 29th January 1962 .It refers to hump back bridge[at far end of Kinmel St] also to Woolworths on Rhyl High Street.
[29/01/61 statement predated the discovery of any Rhyl witnesses-detectives had to go and search for these in final week of trial].
I've been having a re-read of this thread, looking at the geography of Rhyl as explained by Jim Hanratty to his legal advisors. I have overlaid what appears to be the relevant loci on a modern day map.
Natalie Severn considered that the old Odeon Cinema (now Apollo Bingo) was the "picture house" referred to in the handwritten statement. There was, however, another picture house on the High Street, the same street as Woolworths, namely the "Plaza Theatre". This could be properly described as a picture house until its closure in the 1970s. It is now a shopping arcade and snooker hall, with a postal address of 22 High Street Rhyl.
The Odeon Cinema had a postal address of 6 Brighton Road, Rhyl but was more or less next to the hump back bridge which formed Vale Road Bridge which took motor traffic over the railway.
One can see from the map how close together are the hump back bridge, the Odeon Cinema, Rhyl Railway Station and the coach or bus station, yet look where Hanratty places the coach station on his map in relation to the other features. It appears to be on the other side of Woolworths to the hump back bridge.
If Hanratty had stayed in Rhyl at Ingledene and then left by bus on Thursday, he must have realised how close to Ingledene the coach station was and how close they both were to the railway station.
With a bit of good luck, I have found the programme showing for both the Odeon and the Plaza for the week which covered Hanratty's alleged visit to Rhyl. Some good films and ones which might have interested Hanratty had he actually been in Rhyl.
I had several customers in North Wales, and took time out on one visit about 20 years ago to have a look at Rhyl. What was puzzling to me at that time was I thought Dixie's was right across the road from Ingledene, which it wasn't - I never did find it. I also missed the illuminated betting-shop sign, mainly because at the time of my visit I wasn't aware of it, and it probably wouldn't have been lit during the day.
I do recall that the Ingledene sign was still there.
We are suffering from a plethora of surmise, conjecture and hypothesis. - Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure Of Silver Blaze
I've now discovered a third cinema in the vicinity of the coach station, namely The Regal which had the postal address of 103-105 High Street Rhyl (now demolished and the site occupied by a Lloyds pharmacy) and which was showing the Guns of Navarone for six days commencing Monday 21 August 1961. This was the film that Hanratty said he saw in Liverpool after sending the telegram on Thursday, 24 August, although I have never understood why he could not have got an earlier train from Lime Street to Euston.