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  #21  
Old 10-03-2018, 07:20 AM
Graham Graham is offline
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I found a reconstruction of the Janice Weston case on youtube last night, one of the early Crimewatch episodes.

The investigating officer was clearly leaning towards the idea that Janice was accompanied in the car prior to her unfortunate death.

The actor asking for the new registration plates was not shown very clearly, but in general terms resembled a well dressed ‘yuppie’ rather than the mythical ‘Charlie Fowler’ character di Stefano probably plucked from an Alf Tupper story in the Victor comic he read in his childhood. The suggestion was that this case revolved around money and shady business dealings. Significantly, Mr.Weston did not appear either in person nor was he represented in the reconstruction.
Yes, it was actually the Crimewatch programme that first alerted me to this case. I watched the YouTube again, first time in years, but frankly am still none the wiser. I would say that the possibility of Janice having a passenger in her car was more of a suggestion than a 'clear leaning'. I would suspect that her killer was the person who drove the car back to London, which if so would strongly and perhaps obviously suggest a London connection to her killer, rather than someone local to where she was killed.

Indeed, rather odd that Tony Weston didn't appear in the programme - could be that he didn't wish to or, a year after the crime, was still under suspicion.

I can't say I picked up any strong suggestion of a motive on the programme.
Shady deals, money, drugs, love-affair, pure chance.....Janice had obviously seriously annoyed someone.

Re: 'Charles Fowler', well, maybe you're correct and he is a product of di Stefano's over-active imagination, but I feel sure I heard this name in connection with another murder around the same time as Janice's. It was never actually suggested by me or anyone else that 'Charles Fowler' was the name of the man who bought the number-plates.

I knew the car spares shop by sight quite well, as I had a customer in Royston very close to the place. Also out of curiosity I once had a look at Clopton Manor when I was in the area - very plush.

The fact that Cambridgeshire police have re-opened case may or may not suggest that they are in possession of new evidence, but when police do re-open a 'dormant' case after this length of time the chances are that they do have new information. I hope so.

Graham
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  #22  
Old 10-03-2018, 04:29 PM
Spitfire Spitfire is offline
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There is a podcast of the Janice Weston murder here which someone has produced this year. The narrator gives her own tentative theory.

There is some other newspaper cuttings etc. here with another link to the same podcast.
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  #23  
Old 10-04-2018, 07:55 AM
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caz caz is offline
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Interesting case. Many thanks to all who have posted info and links.

I just listened to the podcast and watched the Crimewatch prog from October 1984 on You Tube and jotted down a few observations - for what they are worth.

Firstly, I'm not at all sure it was a coincidence that Tony Weston was abroad on business when Janice left her London home suddenly, on the run-up to her murder, seemingly bound for the couple's country home, which was at that time unoccupied and due to be renovated and turned into luxury apartments.

She was seen earlier in the day, looking out of her office window every so often, as if she was waiting for someone, who presumably never showed up. If there is no evidence of a missed client appointment, we may already have a potential mystery person to eliminate. Who was she expecting and why? Why did they not turn up? Was this a disappointment for her or a relief?

Then we have the meal she prepared for herself later at home, but abandoned after having drunk some wine, which could suggest she was not expecting to drive anywhere that night. But something happened and she seems to have left in a hurry, taking a purse with £37 in cash, but leaving behind her handbag which contained her cheque book and credit cards. This would normally be considered highly unusual for a professional woman leaving home voluntarily, but if she was going against her will, how do we explain the overnight bag she took with her? Was this already packed, ready to go at a moment's notice, along with the keys to the empty and unfurnished country home?

To me, this has some of the hallmarks of a married woman with a secret lover:

Husband is safely in Paris on business.

Wife waits expectantly at her office window for her lover to turn up. She's unlikely to want him calling for her at her home address.

When he fails to arrive, wife assumes she has been stood up and goes home, resigned to spending the evening alone with a meal for one.

Lover man then calls [probably by phone if wife has made it clear he is not to call in person], apologises and gives some excuse for being unable to meet her earlier. Alternatively, lover man does arrive at the marital home, causing wife to think on her feet. Is she angry with him at first? Anxious? Excited? A combination of all three?

Either way, wife appears to drop everything, with the plan being to take the Alfa Romeo to the country house, where there are sleeping bags and the lovers can spend the night in secret, with no chance of unwelcome interruptions. She won't be needing her handbag, nor anything in it that would identify her immediately as Janice Weston, a married woman whose hubby happens to be away.

Obviously something goes badly wrong before the destination is reached. I suspect a row, over a combination of issues, ranging from lover man's unreliability earlier that day, to that of the car. Does she see a man who is a potential liability and freeloader? With her emotions already on edge and tempers flared, is it the last straw when the car needs a new tyre? Does he lose it with the woman and the situation, realising she is not going to be the pushover he was hoping for?

But then, at what point had lover man and wife met up? Had they left her flat together, with her driving the car? Or did she pick him up somewhere en route? Had they known each other long, or was it in the early, heady days, when they may have known very little about one another? Did he even know where they were heading?

The crime certainly smacks to me of someone with a vicious temper who knows Janice Weston personally - but maybe not that well - and kills her in a fit of rage.

The reason nobody has been identified as her killer may simply be that she had only recently met and fallen for him, and had all the usual reasons for telling nobody about any such relationship. I doubt she knew him well enough to know he had such a violent streak.

Love,

Caz
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  #24  
Old 10-04-2018, 08:15 AM
Graham Graham is offline
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Hi Caz,

where you been these however many weeks?

Everything you say, Caz, is perfectly feasible. But unfortunately not provable. And how do you explain the new number plates? Why on earth did whoever bought them, buy them? What had he got in mind? And why drive the Alfa all the way back to London to dump it? And if the killer had the presence of mind to dump Janice's body in the undergrowth, so it couldn't be seen from the road, along with the car-jack, why should he leave the changed wheel in full view of any passing motorist who rather fancied it? That, too, would have gone into the field, I think.

I still feel that the long police interrogation of Tony Weston very possibly contains the key to this case. To keep anyone at a police station for 55 hours, then show him to the press with a blanket over his head and handcuffs on his wrists suggests just one thing, as Tony himself said: Guilty. But they let him go basically because he was able to prove beyond doubt that he was in Paris at the crucial time...and he also had his lawyer with him. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he was grilled about his business dealings, his wife's wealth, and a few other matters that the police might have seen as the fuse for killing Janice. I would like to know if he was ever interviewed again, in the years prior to his death.

As I've said, when police re-open a 35 year-old unsolved murder the chances are that they're in receipt of new evidence. Maybe if we're patient the new evidence - if it exists, obviously - will be revealed.

Best,

Graham
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  #25  
Old 10-04-2018, 11:52 AM
Limehouse Limehouse is offline
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Some really interesting debate here folks.

I am loving Caz's idea of the 'secret lover'.

What if he was not so 'secret' after all? What if he was hired by Tony Weston to 'woo' his wife - unbeknown to Janice?

So, lover is paid to kill Janice in a secluded spot when husband is away. Everything goes as described by Caz - but a reason for the lover to drive the car back to London?

Not sure how the number plates fit in though.

I wonder if they were actually going to Clopton Manor though - or a comfy hotel further up the A1? It would not have been very comfortable sleeping on the floor of a dusty apartment in the process of renovation?

I hope for Janice's sake some progress is made in identifying her killer. She deserves some justice.
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  #26  
Old 10-04-2018, 12:55 PM
cobalt cobalt is offline
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Caz’s secret lover hypothesis offers a convincing explanation for one of the conundrums, namely why Janice Weston took an overnight bag but not her handbag.

That still leaves the problem with the missing tyre and the new registration plates. I agree with Graham, that an attacker would surely have flung the spare tyre away into the undergrowth rather than leave it lying in a lay-by where it might attract unwanted attention.

According to the podcast, the police were satisfied that the separate sightings of the man spotted in the lay-by, the man buying the new plates and the man seen leaving the parked car were one and the same person, despite a marked difference in estimated height. He was described as wearing ‘a brown sweater and mustard coloured shirt’ which may have been significant to the police, who were also pointedly reported as ‘not accepting much’ of what was said by Tony Weston. His 55 hour grilling by police took place in December, almost two months after the crime and after his allegedly watertight alibi had been confirmed.

Possibly not an important point, but although the sighting in the lay-by (another report claimed there were six sightings by passing motorists) was at 12.15am Janice Weston’s watch did not stop until 1.29 (presumably a.m., or it may have been a digital watch.)
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  #27  
Old 10-05-2018, 09:00 AM
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Caz’s secret lover hypothesis offers a convincing explanation for one of the conundrums, namely why Janice Weston took an overnight bag but not her handbag.
Thanks, cobalt. Janice was a bright woman. She must have had her own plans for that night, or she would not have packed that overnight bag, and taken the keys to the country house with her, but left her handbag [with the identifying cheque book and credit cards] at home. It's a woman thing, trust me. That was all deliberate. For some reason, she didn't need - or more likely didn't want - her handbag, and figured she had enough cash for her purposes.

Quote:
That still leaves the problem with the missing tyre and the new registration plates. I agree with Graham, that an attacker would surely have flung the spare tyre away into the undergrowth rather than leave it lying in a lay-by where it might attract unwanted attention.
But of course, that would apply to whoever had just battered Janice to death so savagely. That is why I see this as more likely a totally unplanned outcome, with the killer now in a state of panic, needing to get away fast; needing the car to drive himself back to London; not thinking straight; possibly not too bright; arguably not wired quite right and behaving irrationally, imagining that new registration plates - with the same number? - will somehow help his situation. The registration required was handed over on a scrap of paper, which might suggest the man didn't know it off by heart, but had copied it down before abandoning the vehicle.

His immediate problem was if he was seen in the Westons' car, but at least if we assume the car itself and the abandoned/missing spare tyre did not belong to him, they couldn't be connected back to him without a positive eye witness account putting him behind the wheel or, earlier, in the passenger seat.

The lengthy grilling of Tony Weston, which ultimately led nowhere, smacks to me of desperation on the part of the police in the absence of other known persons of interest or any better leads. The husband is inevitably going to be subjected to tougher and tougher questioning in such circumstances, so if he was involved, his planning must have been meticulous in the extreme to prevent the police from cracking the case. If Weston and Wallace were both guilty of murdering the missus, Weston makes Wallace look like an amateur! The latter nearly hanged after all.

If Weston was involved, his seemingly perfect alibi indicates that he was either genuinely in Paris when his wife was being murdered by a trustworthy hit man, or he sent a trustworthy impersonator to Paris and did the deed himself, never leaving England. In either case, we'd have a very carefully planned crime, by someone who would surely have chosen his accomplice with equal care, and yet the facts would suggest otherwise, and that whoever murdered Janice did not have a carefully thought through plan of action before he launched his attack or, if he did, it all went a bit pear-shaped in the event. If this had been anyone with known ties to Janice or Tony Weston, I would not have expected him to get away with it. But I don't see how he could have been a stranger to Janice either, in all the circumstances.

Love,

Caz
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Last edited by caz : 10-05-2018 at 09:13 AM.
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  #28  
Old 10-05-2018, 12:09 PM
cobalt cobalt is offline
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I know that the relationship between women and handbags (they normally own at least a dozen) is a very intimate one, so your explanation certainly offers a good explanation for Janice Weston’s actions when leaving the flat.

I agree that the murder does not seem to have been pre-arranged given the location (a murderer might dump a body in a lay-by but is unlikely carry out the attack there) and the use of a makeshift weapon. Which rather rules out the ‘hitman’ theory as you said.

The new registration plates remain hard to explain. They were obtained, if my geography is correct, fairly near to the crime scene but on the Sunday morning, suggesting the murderer had stayed in the area overnight. He must have formulated some sort of plan following his frenzied attack, but it is hard to see where the registration plates come in. It would have made more apparent sense to buy and fit plates with a different registration before driving back to London and dumping the car, where it might have taken longer to be identified.

That leaves me with the plates being needed for another, perhaps similar vehicle, so that it could be passed off as Janice Weston’s car. Or the actual car was already back in Camden, and asking for plates was merely a device to place the murderer nearer to the location of the crime after he had dumped it.
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  #29  
Old 10-05-2018, 12:46 PM
Graham Graham is offline
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The problem with this case is the more you think about, the more perplexing it becomes. Very roughly, I think it can be split into two possibilties:

1] I don't believe Janice's killer was a hitch-hiker, even though she evidently used to pick them up from time to time. The murder took place on what I think was the last lay-by before the turn-off from the A1 onto the A604, these days the new A14. She was obviously heading north. Witnesses stated that they had seen a man changing a wheel in the lay-by that night. After the crime, her assailant headed back south in her car. (To my thinking, this effectively eliminates her killer being a hitch-hiker travelling north; otherwise he must surely have carried on northwards). I think it's fair to say that she was killed at some time after midnight.

As she left her London flat at around 5.00 pm (although this time is questionable), and the drive to Brampton Hut on the A1 would take perhaps 90 minutes at the most, what was she doing between when she left her flat and when she stopped in the lay-by? To me, this rather suggests that she met someone in London at the start of her journey, or at some point north of London at some time later, and this person was a passenger in her car for all, or at least part of, her drive north. So who was he, and what happened? I'm afraid we don't know, and almost certainly we'll never know, unless some new evidence and facts about this case are revealed. Was he a lover? Was he a business associate either of hers or Tony's? For reasons I note above, I don't think he was a hitch-hiker.

It's plain that if Clopton Manor was the planned destination of Janice and whoever her passenger was, they never reached it. Had they done so, then I believe there was someone, an employee of the Westons, living there full time - maybe a caretaker - and if so, he would almost certainly have seen them and later would have been contacted by the police

2] When her killer left the lay-by in her car, at some point he made a U-turn and headed back south on the A1 towards London. However, he moved off the A1 towards Royston. (Here, I must assume that Janice's killer was the man who bought the number-plates at the Royston car-spares shop. If it wasn't, then this must be the biggest coincidence in the annals of crime). He was in the car-spares shop around 11.00am on the Sunday - so where was he between leaving the lay-by and arriving in the shop? Parked up somewhere? It's only perhaps 20 minutes, if that, on a Sunday morning, from the lay-by to Royston. Did he stop off for a snooze somewhere? Or did he go somewhere else in the meantime? Clopton Manor, for instance?
Whatever, after buying the number-plates he disappeared, and the car was discovered in Camden Square, London, on the Tuesday, its interior smeared with blood, (but no fingerprints), and a parking-ticket on its windscreen issued the previous day. So I think it's fair to assume that the car was back in London some time on Sunday - and another thing, Camden Square is less than 3 miles from where the Westons lived.

I have absolutely no idea, nor can I even come up with a sensible guess, as to why 'a man' should, only about 12 hours after murdering Janice, openly purchase a set of number-plates the same registration-number as her car, which was presumably the same car he drove to Royston. To put on another car? Why? And what about the missing wheel? Why did it disappear? For any good reason? Maybe it was seen by a passing motorist and picked up; in which case, why would it have been left in full view of the road and not chucked into the undergrowth along with Janice's body and the car's jack?

3] Janice made her will about a month after her marriage to Tony Weston. (Incidentally, for professional purposes, she still used her maiden name, Janice Wright). Her total estate was a little over £300K. Of this, she left £100K to her sister, and £10K to her mother. The rest of her estate was left to provide income for her husband for life, and in the event of her death the capital was to be shared between his children by a previous marriage, and to her surviving relations. Note that she did not will her entire capital to be left in toto to her husband.

4] I see absolutely no reason to doubt that Tony Weston was in France at the time of Janice's death. The police accepted this.

I have no idea if Janice 'played around' with other men. Somehow, I rather doubt it, but of course one never knows. It could well have been a 'secret lover' she drove north with; they could well have had a puncture and then an almightly argument as they changed the wheel. But to brutally bludgeon her to death? Can't accept it, unless her 'secret lover' was some kind of nutter. In which case, I rather doubt if a professional woman of Janice's standing would have been in the least bit interested in such a person.

5] Because of the terms of her will (a bit odd, in my opinion, but I've never had, nor likely to have, £300K to leave to anyone) it seems that Tony Weston would not be left her entire capital. In fact, as I read it - and I'm no lawyer - he would receive only an income from it, and not a lump sum. Therefore, if he desperately needed money at the time of Janice's death, he could not rely on her wealth to provide him with very much, unless she freely and willingly gave money to him whilst alive. To my mind, this removes one possible motive for Tony Weston to plot the death of his wife Janice Weston.

6] So why was he interviewed by the police for so long? Did they suspect that he had had her killed by a paid hit-man? For what reason? Was she really seeing someone else after just a year's marriage? Was she really heading off to Clopton Manor for a weekend of nookie with her new lover? If so, why did she take with her the draft of a book she was writing on computer law? To make a few amendments to as she and he tried to get comfy on their sleeping-bags? Or were they also interrogating him about other matters that had nothing to do with Janice's murder?

I suppose we'll have to wait and see what the police come up with in the fullness of time.

Apologies for the length of this post.

Graham
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  #30  
Old 10-05-2018, 04:04 PM
cobalt cobalt is offline
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I’ve tracked down an ITV Playhouse production from 1969 which has some uncanny parallels with the Jane Weston case. It’s called ‘Suspicion’ and if my link does not work it is easily available on Youtube under Armchair Cinema 2 Suspicion.

A wealthy woman living in a country house from the Home Counties, with a slightly unreliable husband who never appears on screen, starts to suspect he is connected with the disappearance of a schoolgirl who went missing the very Thursday he went off on a business trip to Stockholm. She by chance discovers he is probably in London and has been lying to her.

The police show an interest in her expensive estate car, similar to one seen near where the girl disappeared, and in which she found a girl’s shoe. After the girl’s body is discovered, the police confirm the wife had, on the Thursday, picked their car up from a garage where her husband left it to be serviced. However a day after collecting it, the car had developed a puncture and she discovered the spare tyre had been removed.

I’ll stop there so as not to put in any spoilers. The spare tyre does turn out to have significance however. The quality of acting and overall production are very impressive, as indeed is the final twist to the storyline. Highly recommended.

https://youtu.be/_gbP7u_6XHA

Last edited by cobalt : 10-05-2018 at 04:11 PM.
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