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  #4311  
Old 01-04-2018, 11:16 AM
ansonman ansonman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OneRound View Post
Hi Anson,

If ''France was indeed an associate in a very filthy act:the framing of Hanratty'', he presumably was a willing participant. It strikes me as odd that such a hideous individual would then have a belated attack of conscience and do himself in as a result.

Foot saw France's written notes (not sure if it was all of them?) and commented along the lines that France slated Hanratty rather than sympathised with him.


PS Cobalt - meant to say this before, many thanks for your generous feedback on my ''concerns about the DNA'' post.

Best regards,

OneRound
OR

France's first attack of belated conscience occurred earlier than his successful suicide attempt. Three days before the start of the trial, at which he had been listed to give evidence, he was found in a gas filled room in Holland Park. A few hours after arriving at the hospital to which he was then taken, he had to be restrained from jumping out of a high level window.

He attempted suicide twice, and tried to jump from a window to his death because he felt shame at having allowed Hanratty into the family home?

Ansonman
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  #4312  
Old 01-04-2018, 01:13 PM
OneRound OneRound is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ansonman View Post
OR

France's first attack of belated conscience occurred earlier than his successful suicide attempt. Three days before the start of the trial, at which he had been listed to give evidence, he was found in a gas filled room in Holland Park. A few hours after arriving at the hospital to which he was then taken, he had to be restrained from jumping out of a high level window.

He attempted suicide twice, and tried to jump from a window to his death because he felt shame at having allowed Hanratty into the family home?

Ansonman
Hi again anson - Pure speculation on my part but, as you ask, I suspect it would be most to do with fear of the law catching up with how Hanratty obtained the gun plus an element of shame.

I do not believe that an innocent Hanratty was framed by France and so that's not a reason for the suicide attempts in my opinion. Foot's reading of France's notes do appear to support that view.

It also needs to be kept in mind that sadly there isn't always a logical cause underlying suicide.

Best regards,

OneRound

Last edited by OneRound : 01-04-2018 at 01:15 PM.
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  #4313  
Old 01-04-2018, 01:50 PM
cobalt cobalt is offline
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I hadn’t realised that France’s suicide attempts were closely associated, in terms of time at least, with the developments in the case. To use that rather grand term from the JFK assassination, it may be that Dixie France is the Rosetta Stone of the A6 Case. His actions clearly suggest some kind of personal knowledge or involvement, from whichever perspective we interpret them.

I cannot imagine France was ever a willing participant in helping the police make a case against Hanratty, be he innocent or guilty. As a man who operated in the criminal milieu, France would no doubt have had to drop the odd name and tidbit of information to the police over the years in order to protect his interests. There seem to have been a number of ‘steers’ in this case: the police becoming aware of Alphon at the Alexandra Hotel; the bullets turning up weeks later at the Vienna Hotel; the police apparently conducting enquiries in the Swiss Cottage shopping arcade where Hanratty had left a suit to be cleaned.

However, to actually testify for the prosecution, even in a case that both the police and criminal fraternities would have wanted resolved as quickly as possible, was surely a breach of the criminal code. It’s one thing to let the police know about Hanratty’s favourite hiding place; quite another I would think to testify to that in public.

As far as the Rosetta Stone analogy goes, the general feeling on this site seems to be that France was in some way connected to the weapon used in the murder. I did ask earlier what was known about the actual history of the weapon since normally the police are very thorough in tracking ownership and activity concerning a firearm used in a capital crime. So far as I am aware we seem to have little information in this area.
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  #4314  
Old 01-05-2018, 06:04 AM
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caz caz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ansonman View Post
I cannot believe that France committed suicide, in part, because of any disgrace associated with having let Hanratty into his home.

The appeal was dismissed on the Tuesday, reported on the Wednesday and on the Thursday France checked into a boarding house bedsit. Before gassing himself he wrote about 100 pages of writing paper, all of which were taken by the police and most of which have never been disclosed.

I find it impossible to believe that France killed himself because of the "shame" his association with Hanratty had brought to his family, or that it would take 100 or so pages of writing to express that shame and justify an act that would devastate his (France's) family. What makes far more sense to me is Woffinden's assertion that France was indeed an associate in a very filthy act: the framing of Hanratty.

For my money, France held the key to what really happened and was the central player in this case. He killed himself because he knew an innocent man was about to be hanged and that his evidence had been crucial to the guilty verdict.

Ansonman
I'm sorry, Ansonman, but it makes no sense to me at all that anyone who could deliberately set up an innocent man for a capital crime would suddenly suffer such a crisis of conscience - after the unsuccessful appeal - that he would top himself. If France had really framed an innocent Hanratty and been that sorry about it he could have come clean before facing his maker.

Love,

Caz
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  #4315  
Old 01-05-2018, 06:28 AM
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caz caz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ansonman View Post
OR

France's first attack of belated conscience occurred earlier than his successful suicide attempt. Three days before the start of the trial, at which he had been listed to give evidence, he was found in a gas filled room in Holland Park. A few hours after arriving at the hospital to which he was then taken, he had to be restrained from jumping out of a high level window.

He attempted suicide twice, and tried to jump from a window to his death because he felt shame at having allowed Hanratty into the family home?

Ansonman
In part, yes, I think France would have felt shame to find himself associated in any way with such a horrendous crime. And he was associated, regardless of whether you think Hanratty was guilty or not, if only due to his known connections with the convicted man. There were probably other, more deeply personal factors, as there are with most suicides, so I don't buy that he took an active part in the crime, or knew who did, then framed Hanratty for it and became suicidal as a result. If he supplied the gun to Hanratty, never imagining what it would actually be used for, I can well understand how that might have played on his mind afterwards. He may have thought that by doing the right thing, and telling the police about Hanratty's hiding place, he'd feel better about himself, but the enormity of the whole thing and the final outcome evidently proved too much to bear.

Love,

Caz
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Last edited by caz : 01-05-2018 at 06:44 AM.
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  #4316  
Old 01-05-2018, 09:39 AM
NickB NickB is offline
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A more likely source for the gun was Slack.

Hanratty admitted asking Slack to get a gun (I “asked him to get a shooter to do some stick-ups”) but later claimed “it was only a matter of conversation”. From prison he wrote a letter to Slack setting out this as the explanation.

Had Slack been allowed to receive the letter he would have been able to concur that ‘it was only a matter of conversation’ and support Hanratty’s line of defence. Instead he denied the discussion had happened at all.
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  #4317  
Old 01-05-2018, 09:45 AM
ansonman ansonman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caz View Post
In part, yes, I think France would have felt shame to find himself associated in any way with such a horrendous crime. And he was associated, regardless of whether you think Hanratty was guilty or not, if only due to his known connections with the convicted man. There were probably other, more deeply personal factors, as there are with most suicides, so I don't buy that he took an active part in the crime, or knew who did, then framed Hanratty for it and became suicidal as a result. If he supplied the gun to Hanratty, never imagining what it would actually be used for, I can well understand how that might have played on his mind afterwards. He may have thought that by doing the right thing, and telling the police about Hanratty's hiding place, he'd feel better about himself, but the enormity of the whole thing and the final outcome evidently proved too much to bear.

Love,

Caz
X
The facts, as we know them, don't square with France having thought that by "doing the right thing" he would feel better about himself. On the contrary.

On the afternoon he was called to give evidence, he was said to be too ill to go into the witness box and his wife appeared instead. He returned to court the following week, attended by two nurses. According to the reports at the time, France gave evidence only with intense reluctance and did not give any indication that he felt shame at having allowed Hanratty into his house. Indeed, France told the court "I give his character the highest praise".

If France felt so ashamed about his relationship with Hanratty, why on earth was he so reluctant to give evidence against him? If he felt better about himself for giving evidence against him, why did he subsequently commit suicide the day after the unsuccessful appeal was announced? And why on earth would he check into a bedsit and write 100 pages immediately prior to gassing himself? The facts to not rest comfortably with the notion that France was ashamed of Hanratty and was therefore keen to give evidence against him.

In one of the letters that Charlotte France made available to the Sunday Times, her husband, writing on the night of his suicide, says:

"One day you will understand that what I have done this night I have done for you and the children. They are going to crucify us all".

Make of that what you will. It it hardly squares with remorse for having let Hanratty into the house, or of feeling better for testifying against Hanratty, whose character France praised highly.

Ansonman
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  #4318  
Old 01-05-2018, 10:52 AM
NickB NickB is offline
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France's “highest praise” comment about Hanratty's character was at the committal and related to Jim’s behaviour towards his daughter. Apparently he was unaware that Jim had done any more than drive her to work once.

Parts of his letter to the Coroner were read out by the Coroner who said: "This is a letter written in great bitterness and with great feeling against the man Hanratty".

Two Sunday Times reporters were allowed to read the other letters. They recorded the letters said France committed suicide because of the shame he brought his family by introducing a ‘monster’ like Hanratty into the household. One reporter accepted the letters at face value, the other thought they implied feelings of guilt.

According to his wife his first suicide attempt was in January and he had been intensely depressed for some time. His brother was killed in a nasty car accident a fortnight before his own death.
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  #4319  
Old 01-05-2018, 01:12 PM
cobalt cobalt is offline
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Ansonman’s description presents a picture of Dixie France being a very reluctant witness indeed. As he indicated, any feelings of guilt France might have had would surely have been assuaged somewhat by his doing the decent thing and testifying against Hanratty, the monster who he allowed into his family home.

Even in his suicide notes France could have unburdened himself more fully and not just savagely attacked Hanratty, but actually declared he was guilty of the A6 crimes. Yet he did not do this, even after a jury and appeal court had made their judgment.

France was coerced into testifying for a reason and for me the likeliest reason is that the police had made a potential link between France and the murder weapon. The deal would have been for France to take the witness stand in return for police not pursuing their enquiries about the gun. Incidentally this is a gun we seem to know less about than the handkerchief in which it was wrapped, an unusual situation in a capital crime. In fact, it appears we seem to have as little evidence regarding the history of the gun as we have of forensic evidence inside the car where the crime was committed.

Once Hanratty’s appeal was dismissed, France may well have been fearful that Hanratty would have a bit more to say about guns and Dixie France. Having got their verdict, the police might then have proceeded further into the provenance of the gun and, as France saw it, crucified him and his family.

None of the above assumes either guilt or innocence on Hanratty’s part.
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  #4320  
Old 01-06-2018, 04:51 AM
Derrick Derrick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cobalt View Post
...I did ask earlier what was known about the actual history of the weapon since normally the police are very thorough in tracking ownership and activity concerning a firearm used in a capital crime. So far as I am aware we seem to have little information in this area.
On 3rd September 1961, the police released details of the black Enfield revolver to the press.

It was made in 1943 for armed services use and had the serial number 8839. The police had contacted the War Office and they were checking their records to ascertain who the weapon had originally been issued to.

I can find no other information as to the findings of the War Office in this exercise.

HTH
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