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  #3931  
Old 02-20-2017, 09:12 AM
cobalt cobalt is offline
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If Mr Lee of Matlock wrote down the car registration on the back of his work papers (which he presumably had with him at the time in his van) and this detail was verified at the time, then it is a very strong piece of identification evidence indeed. Is there any police record of this piece of paper being taken into evidence? Or do we just have his statement?

If Mr Lee's sighting was a valid one, which given the bobble hat detail I suspect it was, then it opens up more questions than it solves. What on earth was the murder car doing so far north, only to return south later? And how did the hottest car in Britain manage to park in a London residential street without anyone spotting it?
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  #3932  
Old 02-20-2017, 09:58 AM
Graham Graham is offline
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Quote:
And how did the hottest car in Britain manage to park in a London residential street without anyone spotting it?
The car was spotted by a Mr Alan Medwar in Avondale Crescent at about 6.45pm that evening, and he reported it to the police. This strongly suggests (to me, at any rate) that the car wasn't parked there until shortly before Mr Medwar identified it. If this is the case, then the morning sightings by Trower & Co are unlikely to have happened. There was in addition another grey Morris Minor, owned by a lady, that was regularly parked in Avondale Crescent, so maybe residents and passers-by thought that the murder car was hers.

Can someone please remind me of the circumstances of Mr Lee's claimed sighting in Matlock? This is not mentioned in Woofinden, Foot or Miller, but I know I've read about.

There were other claimed sightings of the car during the early morning following the murder.

Graham
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  #3933  
Old 02-20-2017, 10:56 AM
ansonman ansonman is offline
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Originally Posted by Graham View Post
The car was spotted by a Mr Alan Medwar in Avondale Crescent at about 6.45pm that evening, and he reported it to the police. This strongly suggests (to me, at any rate) that the car wasn't parked there until shortly before Mr Medwar identified it. If this is the case, then the morning sightings by Trower & Co are unlikely to have happened. There was in addition another grey Morris Minor, owned by a lady, that was regularly parked in Avondale Crescent, so maybe residents and passers-by thought that the murder car was hers.

Can someone please remind me of the circumstances of Mr Lee's claimed sighting in Matlock? This is not mentioned in Woofinden, Foot or Miller, but I know I've read about.

There were other claimed sightings of the car during the early morning following the murder.

Graham
Graham,

Following was posted by Natalie Severn in August 2012:

On Wednesday 18th February 1997 a couple who have refused to be named came forward,after seeing a play about the case entitled,'The Hanging of Hanratty'-a play incidentally that received some excellent reviews at the time.
The couple told that on the night of the murder, they actually spoke to the man in the Morris Minor near the village of Clophill [Beds].
They claim he was struggling to control his car and was very rude and abusive when they stopped to ask him if he needed any help.
The incident took place in the early hours of the following morning and the couple who did not wish to be identified -swear it was NOT Hanratty. They claimed they had reported it to the police as soon as they read of the crime but were dismissed curtly and the statement was never made public.Apparently the incident has overshadowed their lives ever since.
There is the similar statement of William Lee who saw the car 100 miles north of Bedford later in the morning, at 6.30 am and almost collided with it.So livid was he about the driver's behaviour he took its registration number and reported it to the police.The CCRC discovered this statement in 1998 and interviewed him.If it was the Moris Minor it could not have been in Avondale Crescent in East London at 7 am that morning and therefore was not the car seen by witnesses Skillett and Trower-explaining why Blackhall, the man seated nearest the driver of the Moris Minor both men saw, also insisted , like the couple above ,that the driver of that Moris Minor looked 'nothing like Hanratty'.

Regarding the above siting by William Lee:When Mr Lee was re-interviewed by the CCRC in 1998 he repeated verbatim what he had said in his original statement including the fact that the driver of the Morris Minor had been wearing a green woollen hat with a pom pom on it.Later in their investigations the CCRC obtained a file containing photographs which included coloured images of the interior of the car and the boot.When those photographs were enhanced and enlarged ,a green woollen hat with a pom pom on it,exactly as described in mr Lee's statement to the Derbyshire police in 1961 could be seen in the boot of the car.

Rgds,

Ansonman
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  #3934  
Old 02-20-2017, 12:29 PM
Graham Graham is offline
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Thank you for this, Ansonman, but the claimed sighting of the Morris on Deadman's Hill shortly after the murder is well-known. I do not recall reading that the couple said it was NOT Hanratty, but as Natalie Severn posted it then she wasn't going to say it WAS Hanratty, was she? (The play 'Hanging Hanratty' was unfortunately wishful thinking and if it ever did receive a good review then I never saw it. It actually stated that the gate to the cornfield was visible from the Old Station Inn, which is rubbish, and that Mrs Gregsten and Ewer sat and watched the abduction as they sipped their G&T's. Artistic licence maybe; Trotskyist nonsense definitely).

Are you getting the Lee 'sighting' confused with the claimed sighting by a Mr Charles Drayton, a milkman who said he had been in a near-collision with the Morris at Bedford at 5.30am and claimed to have made a note of the registration? He too reported it to the police and apparently got the number half right. Bedford is certainly north of Deadman's Hill, but not very far north.

I do remember that reference the Lee claimed sighting the driver wore a green bobble-hat, and that such a hat was found in the boot of the car and was photographed (in colour, apparently). However, I have never seen such a photo, nor have I heard any mention elsewhere of a green bobble-hat in the car. Was the photo ever published?

There is also the claimed sighting by traffic census-taker John Smith (doing the same job as John Kerr), who was based just south of Silsoe on the A6, in turn about 10 miles south of Deadman's Hill. Smith said that at about 4.00am a car he 'thought' was a Morris Minor drove past him at speed. As Valerie said she thought the killer departed at about 3.45am, then it could well have been the Morris.

Graham
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  #3935  
Old 02-20-2017, 01:53 PM
Graham Graham is offline
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One thing bothers me about Lee's claimed sighting. He says he saw the Morris at about 6.30am. Valerie said she thought the Morris left the crime-scene at 4.00am or a little earlier. Checking with AA Route Planner, Deadman's Hill to Matlock is approx. 130 miles, and the AA say that by keeping to the A6 (direct route) this will, in 2017, take you 2 hr 50 mins. That might mean that you'd be in Matlock at about 6.30am if you left Deadman's Hill at 4.00am and put your foot down.

However, as the one-time proud (?) possessor of a 1952 Morris Minor with a 948cc (I think) engine, foot down on the flat this fine vehicle could just about hit 60 mph. I've no reason to think that Gregsten's 1956 Minor would have gone much quicker. Taking into account hills (which would slow down any Minor), traffic-lights, junctions, town centres, and also the early-morning rush-hour would just be starting, I don't see how anyone could make it to Matlock from Deadman's Hill between the times mentioned by Valerie and Lee. If Lee really did have the number written down on some paperwork, then I'd suggest he got this from BBC Radio News maybe later that morning (assuming that the Beeb broadcast the car's description and number - I really don't know if this was the case).

One thing - I do agree with Woffinden who said the Morris was left in Avondale Crescent shortly before Mr Medwar spotted it.

Graham
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  #3936  
Old 02-20-2017, 02:30 PM
cobalt cobalt is offline
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The evidence by Mr. Lee is crucial, and could have been confirmed at the time. (i.e a biro pen scribble of the car registration on the back of some work papers.) If it now relies merely on his statement to the police, then obviously his testimony is not so strong.

Neither for that matter is Valerie Storie's evidence regarding times. I would have thought that judging time in her unfortunate situation would have been very difficult indeed.
If the murderer left at 4.00am that would have meant he was in the car for over 6 hours. What about the need for fluids, or more pressingly, toilet breaks?
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  #3937  
Old 02-20-2017, 02:40 PM
Spitfire Spitfire is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cobalt View Post
What about the need for fluids, or more pressingly, toilet breaks?
And don't forget that he was wearing a plastic suit with rubber buttons.
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  #3938  
Old 02-20-2017, 03:40 PM
NickB NickB is offline
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The evidence in support of the car’s arrival in Avondale Crescent in the morning should not be rejected out of hand.

Contemporary newspaper reports say that is when it appeared, and this would have been from local people telling that to reporters. Two of them we know to be Doris Athoe and Mr S Lawrence who lived in the crescent.

There is also the evidence of Skillet, Blackhall, Trower and Hogan. Even if you reject their identification of Hanratty, the latter two saw a Morris Minor turn into the crescent and park. They also saw that car later in the day still parked there and confirmed that it was the same car the police were buzzing around in the evening – thereby not confusing it with the Morris Minor that Doreen Milne had also parked.

It appears there was only one resident, Margaret Thompson, who claimed that the car arrived in the evening. She said that at around 5.30pm she left home with her 3 year old son to go shopping and on her return at 5.45pm she found the footpath obstructed by a Morris Minor car parked on it, forcing her and her young son to walk into the roadway. But if you look at photos of the parked car it was not obstructing the pavement in such a way.
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  #3939  
Old 02-20-2017, 03:43 PM
OneRound OneRound is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham View Post
...

One thing - I do agree with Woffinden who said the Morris was left in Avondale Crescent shortly before Mr Medwar spotted it.

Graham
Hi Graham - that one thing would appear to remove from the mix the identifications of Hanratty by Skillett and Trower, important supporting planks upon which the prosecution case was originally built.

Once more this does not establish that Hanratty ''did not do it'' but it does seem to take you further in the direction of my view that his guilt was not reasonably and fairly proven.

Best regards,

OneRound
PS: prepared and submitted before seeing Nick's post (somewhat) in support of Skillett and Trower's identification evidence.

Last edited by OneRound : 02-20-2017 at 03:48 PM. Reason: As per PS.
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  #3940  
Old 02-21-2017, 02:08 AM
ansonman ansonman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham View Post
One thing bothers me about Lee's claimed sighting. He says he saw the Morris at about 6.30am. Valerie said she thought the Morris left the crime-scene at 4.00am or a little earlier. Checking with AA Route Planner, Deadman's Hill to Matlock is approx. 130 miles, and the AA say that by keeping to the A6 (direct route) this will, in 2017, take you 2 hr 50 mins. That might mean that you'd be in Matlock at about 6.30am if you left Deadman's Hill at 4.00am and put your foot down.

However, as the one-time proud (?) possessor of a 1952 Morris Minor with a 948cc (I think) engine, foot down on the flat this fine vehicle could just about hit 60 mph. I've no reason to think that Gregsten's 1956 Minor would have gone much quicker. Taking into account hills (which would slow down any Minor), traffic-lights, junctions, town centres, and also the early-morning rush-hour would just be starting, I don't see how anyone could make it to Matlock from Deadman's Hill between the times mentioned by Valerie and Lee. If Lee really did have the number written down on some paperwork, then I'd suggest he got this from BBC Radio News maybe later that morning (assuming that the Beeb broadcast the car's description and number - I really don't know if this was the case).

One thing - I do agree with Woffinden who said the Morris was left in Avondale Crescent shortly before Mr Medwar spotted it.

Graham
In December 2016, Sherlock Houses, in reply to a Spitfire post, reminded us that:

"You and the "much to be desired of" 2002 Court of Appeal are in error yet again. Derrick has pointed out to you more than once on this forum that William Lee's sighting was at 8.30 am. Yes, 8.30 am not 6.30am".

Ansonman
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