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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Social Chat > Other Mysteries > A6 Murders

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  #4591  
Old 03-08-2018, 04:11 AM
Alfie Alfie is offline
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Default Dixie a fence?

It seems to be a generally accepted fact on these boards that Dixie was a fence, but is there actually any evidence for this? None of his numerous convictions were for receiving.

Hanratty himself says: "I met him when I was a teenager and didn't know the ropes. I had lots of dealings in bits and pieces. He was more experienced ... He learned me previous occasions when I was younger." Then he says: "I have often given him money ... " (Woffinden, p91)

I interpret that as France being an advisor - putting Hanratty on to people who would get rid of his goods - rather than being a fence himself. If he was receiving them, why would Hanratty give him money as well?

Hanratty had Anderson and Fisher to relieve him of his booty. If he had France as well, why did he need to go to Liverpool and Rhyl to find a buyer for his stolen gold watch?
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  #4592  
Old 03-08-2018, 06:29 AM
NickB NickB is offline
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After his arrest Hanratty described his fence to Acott as a man in Ealing – obviously referring to Fisher. When France and Hanratty did a burgarly together the proceeds were fenced by Fisher.

However as France was into criminal dealings I would not be surprised if he did some minor fencing.

Incidentally Woffinden says that when France went to give evidence at the trial he was accompanied by two nurses, but it the Getty photo I see no nurses ...
https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/license/170876240
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  #4593  
Old 03-08-2018, 07:12 AM
Graham Graham is offline
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That photo of France is reproduced in Foot's book. Perhaps the nurses were male.

France was a dodgy character all right, but the amazing thing is he seemed to be a good family man. His youngest daughter spoke of him with obvious love and affection in one of the TV specials - I forget which one - so it appears he wasn't all bad. It seems he kept his family largely ignorant of what he actually did for a 'living'. Maybe one of the guys who prefers to make a quid illegal rather than a fiver straight. He had something of a reputation as a good card-player.

Apart from whatever he did at The Rehearsal he was also 'mine host' at The Harmony Cafe on Archer Street, Soho, which in the fifties and sixties was known for jazz and beats. It was apparently a tough place, and Dixie kept what I've seen described as an 'arsenal' of weapons under the counter in case trouble broke out. Whether he was still there at the time of the A6 I don't know.

Graham
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  #4594  
Old 03-08-2018, 07:37 AM
NickB NickB is offline
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I am a bit sceptical about the rest of the family being ignorant of France’s activities. What did they think Hanratty did for a living – window cleaning?
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  #4595  
Old 03-08-2018, 07:38 AM
Alfie Alfie is offline
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I've also seen it maintained on here that France had been in prison, but I can't find any mention of this in Foot or Woffinden. Another board myth?
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  #4596  
Old 03-08-2018, 08:37 AM
Graham Graham is offline
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I'm sure that Charlotte France was not wholly ignorant of what Dixie actually did, but I'm fairly sure she didn't know the full extent of what he got up to. I think the same applied to Hanratty - Charlotte was kind to him and he apparently treated her with respect and gave both her and Dixie money when they needed it. He was 'Uncle Jimmy' to her daughters.

Woffinden (P 91) lists Dixie's various convictions, but doesn't say if any of these resulted in a prison sentence.

Graham
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  #4597  
Old 03-08-2018, 09:27 AM
NickB NickB is offline
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When the defence announced that Hanratty’s criminal past would be revealed all witnesses were liable to be questioned about their own criminal record. I’m sure Sherrard would not have lost the opportunity to ask France about any prison sentences.

Some posters have suggested that France was intent on revenge for his daughter’s seduction. But at the committal he claimed only to be aware that Jim had once driven her to work (see below).

At the trial Carole appeared not to want her father to know any more and also claimed that she had been in Jim’s car only once. Sherrard declared “You are just not being completely frank with the court” and dismissed her.
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  #4598  
Old 03-08-2018, 10:16 AM
Alfie Alfie is offline
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Default Hanratty's mother

Thanks, Nick. I'm sure Sherrard would have used all means at his disposal to try to lessen the impact of France's testimony, which tends to confirm that he didn't end up in prison.

Another query arising from my troll through old posts that I've copied and pasted: Somebody (I didn't make a note of who) once posted: "Superintendent Acott thought that Hanratty’s mother believed her son could have been guilty of the murder."

One or another of the shrinks that examined Hanratty hinted that his relationship with his mother wasn't especially loving - one saying that he was scared of her, iirc - but I've never seen any other reference to this from Acott. Anyone got a source for it?
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  #4599  
Old 03-09-2018, 11:04 AM
moste moste is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfie View Post
Thanks, Nick. I'm sure Sherrard would have used all means at his disposal to try to lessen the impact of France's testimony, which tends to confirm that he didn't end up in prison.

Another query arising from my troll through old posts that I've copied and pasted: Somebody (I didn't make a note of who) once posted: "Superintendent Acott thought that Hanratty’s mother believed her son could have been guilty of the murder."

One or another of the shrinks that examined Hanratty hinted that his relationship with his mother wasn't especially loving - one saying that he was scared of her, iirc - but I've never seen any other reference to this from Acott. Anyone got a source for it?
Hi Alfie.
There may be a mix up here , Mike Gregsten was more involved with shrinks it would appear than Hanratty. ( source ,Woffinden). We know very little of Mikes parents, other than ‘they divorced when Mike was five years old’James Hanratty on the other hand ,as a twenty five year old, sent his mum red roses , and was concerned always with her happiness.
Woffindens interview with the Gregstens best friends the Cattons in1995
reveals “We did know that Mikes mother and aunt sometimes caused problems.
Mike was brought up ,really, by maiden ladies -you never heard about his father- and they thought their Mike could have done a lot better for himself.To them,Janet was the silly neurotic litttle girl who’d taken away their darling Michael. I think the truth is , James worshiped his Mum and this is one of the facts that adds to the whole bitter sadness of his being wrongfully executed by the state.

Last edited by moste : 03-09-2018 at 11:11 AM. Reason: Added sentence
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  #4600  
Old 03-10-2018, 02:16 AM
Alfie Alfie is offline
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Hi Moste

Yes, Gregsten certainly appears to have been mentally fragile and more than a bit needy.

But Hanratty's mental problems seem to have been of a different order of magnitude altogether.

The incident I was referring to earlier was mentioned in Blom-Cooper (p. 64): "... when H spoke to the psychiatrists at Haywards Heath there was a suggestion ‘that his home life was very unhappy and unstable, that he was frightened of his mother and had no filial feelings towards his father, although none of this has been substantiated.’"

The Channel 4 doco, "Hanratty: The Whole Truth" (2003) reported something similar: "“He told doctors he was frightened of his mother, and had little respect for his father ..."

From what's been written about him, Hanratty seems to me to have been a man who was very worried about what his mother might think of him and very anxious to keep in her good books.

Added to this is the fact that his parents didn't see him from July 13, when he abandoned window-cleaning, until his arrest on October 12, even though he was in London for much of that time. This doesn't really speak of a loving relationship.
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