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  #3731  
Old 11-21-2016, 01:33 AM
Limehouse Limehouse is offline
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Originally Posted by Spitfire View Post
The facts as we know them point to James Hanratty being the murderer of Michael Gregsten and the person who raped and attempted to murder Valerie Storie.

The gun under the back seat of the bus, a favourite Hanratty hiding place for unwanted loot; the spent gun cartridge cases in Room 24 of the Vienna, a room in which Hanratty had slept the night before the crime and in which no one else had occupied between Hanratty's stay and the discovery of the cartridge cases; the identification evidence (even allowing for it being open to challenge);the undoubted lying over the alibi and the late disclosure of the Rhyl alibi; the results of the DNA tests which the Hanratty team had initially requested and finally the exhoneration of Peter Alphon (the suspect favoured by Foot and Woffinden) by Hanratty's counsel at the appeal, all the foregoing point to Hanratty being the murderer. The only real question being whether this amounts to proof beyond reasonable doubt. Anyone living in the real world would regard that summary of evidence as laying a case against Hanratty.

Yet for the pro-Hanratty lobby this will not do. It is almost an article of faith that Hanratty did not do it. Therefore there must be facts which exculpate Hanratty, and if these cannot be found then they must be invented and invent them , the pro-Hanratty lobby will.
1. The gun under the back seat. True, Hanratty did admit to disposing of unwanted loot from burglaries in this hiding place. Unwanted loot. I repeat. Unwanted loot. Not a gun. Nobody would be that stupid.
2. The cartridge cases in room 24. If Hanratty had left them there, why didn't the cleaners find them the following day when they changed the bed AND MOVED THE CHAIR? The manager apparently spotted them as soon as he entered the room on the day they were found !
3. Identification evidence? I think that has been very skillfully discussed in recent days by other posters.
4. Lying about his alibi? Even the judge said that did not make him guilty of murder.
5. DNA evidence? I don't care who asked for it. The method used was completely unreliable scientifically and there was a very REAL possibility of cross-contamination.

I am not blind to Hanratty's faults as a man. I am not blind to the problems that this complex case throw up. I am not blind to the terrible events that night that had long-standing consequences for the victims. However, I have never invented a fact concerning this case - I have only ever questioned the evidence. I would even admit to having little, nagging doubts about his innocence at various times - because I am only human - only a humble woman with, what my husband calls 'a vastly over-blown sense of what-is-right-and-wrong'. So, there it is. I believe Hanratty was almost certainly innocent. I am guilty as charged.
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  #3732  
Old 11-21-2016, 06:18 AM
Sherlock Houses Sherlock Houses is offline
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This is utter tosh. I repeat, the fact that she failed to identify Alphon is the major result of that ID parade. Her 'identity' of an innocent man means nothing. The fact that her attacker was not on that particular ID parade means that she could not identify him. But when she did see him, she knew who he was.
This is complete crappushka. Valerie Storie knew full well that she was under no obligation to select anyone from that line-up unless she was sure in her own mind that he was infact the gunman. All she had to say to Acott was something along the lines "I'm sorry Mr Acott but I don't see the A6 murderer amongst these 10 men"

The fact that she picked out the innocent R.A.F clerk Michael Clark demonstrates that she had very little inkling as to what the gunman looked like because Michael Clark was the almost complete opposite to James Hanratty in physical appearance.

When cross-examined at the Bedford Trial by Michael Sherrard this is what Acott had to say regarding Clark's physical appearance.......

Acott :- "I can give you a full description of the man who was picked out on that parade.

Sherrard:- "Would you tell me whether he was, as Dr Rennie has told us , a fair-haired man ?"

Acott :- "No, he was not. I have his full description. I have had this man physically examined....I can tell you from my own knowledge : 5 feet 9 inches, dark short-cropped hair, about 27 years of age, and he was heavily built. Anything else, sir ? "

Sherrard :- " Is the man available, by any chance ?"

Acott :- "He was sometime ago, but I cannot say off-hand."



You will notice how deceitful and cunning Acott was in describing Michael Clark. He was ultra careful to hide from the jury and court something which he obviously regarded as vitally significant. The fact that Michael Clark had DARK EYES !! He'd even underlined it on page 174 of his notebook. Can you imagine what the reaction of the court would have been to this sensational information ?? Valerie Storie had allegedly maintained, from August 28th 1961 until her trial evidence in late January 1962, that the murderer had icy-blue, saucer like, staring eyes. So why, for Goodness sake, would she pick out a dark-eyed man on September 24th 1961 ?
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Last edited by Sherlock Houses : 11-21-2016 at 06:23 AM.
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  #3733  
Old 11-21-2016, 06:51 AM
louisa louisa is offline
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A nice bit of sleuthing, Sherlock!
.
.
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  #3734  
Old 11-21-2016, 07:01 AM
Sherlock Houses Sherlock Houses is offline
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I have always been of the opinion that Sherrard was out of his depth with this case.
The much more experienced QC that was supposed to have taken this case, I feel would have completely destroyed Storie as a witness with all due respect, and in the nicest possible way. Sherrard I believe had neither the aptitude, nor stomach for it .
I share your opinion, Moste. Michael Sherrard was only 33 when he defended James Hanratty at the Bedford Trial. It was his first capital case and his inexperience told markedly. By all accounts he did a decent enough job but he was remiss in some important matters and was up against a very wily and experienced opponent in the 55 year old Swanwick whose trickery was to prove no match in the final analysis for the young Sherrard.
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"A body of men, HOLDING THEMSELVES ACCOUNTABLE TO NOBODY, ought not to be trusted by anybody." --Thomas Paine ["Rights of Man"]

"Justice is an ideal which transcends the expedience of the State, or the sensitivities of Government officials, or private individuals. IT HAS TO BE PURSUED WHATEVER THE COST IN PEACE OF MIND TO THOSE CONCERNED." --'Justice of the Peace' [July 12th 1975]
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  #3735  
Old 11-21-2016, 07:36 AM
Graham Graham is offline
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Sherlock, I've seen everything on your post 3732 before, mate. I don't argue with a single word of it. What I've been trying to get across is that if JH's defence seriously felt that Valerie's "identification" of Michael Clark genuinely and irreparably undermined the chances of their client getting a fair trial, then their objection to it would have been put in far stronger terms than it actually was. Indeed, I rather suspect that some QC's would have petitioned the judge for a mis-trial. Do you see what I'm getting at? Sherrard noted his concern, but carried on. Whether he was correct or not to do so - well, he did, and we can't turn back the clock.

With regard to the choice of Sherrard, he was in fact chosen by Emanuel Kleinmann, who evidently thought highly of him even though he had not previously defended a capital case. If I recall, the initial choice was not Sherrard, but whoever it was (and I can't remember) was unable to accept. A more experienced QC may well have attended to matters differently.

Anyone who'd like to see how a defence QC from a few years previously defended his client against a murder charge, and got his client acquitted against all the odds, should read up about the Tony Mancini Case, defended by Norman Birkett. Years later, Mancini confessed to the murder and also described how Birkett, a great actor himself by all accounts, coached Mancini with how he should perform in the witness box. Although I hate to say so, as Michael Sherrard was quite obviously a very human and approachable man, but I think Birkett would have got JH off, as well........

Graham
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  #3736  
Old 11-21-2016, 10:08 AM
Spitfire Spitfire is offline
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Sherlock, I've seen everything on your post 3732 before, mate. I don't argue with a single word of it. What I've been trying to get across is that if JH's defence seriously felt that Valerie's "identification" of Michael Clark genuinely and irreparably undermined the chances of their client getting a fair trial, then their objection to it would have been put in far stronger terms than it actually was. Indeed, I rather suspect that some QC's would have petitioned the judge for a mis-trial. Do you see what I'm getting at? Sherrard noted his concern, but carried on. Whether he was correct or not to do so - well, he did, and we can't turn back the clock.

With regard to the choice of Sherrard, he was in fact chosen by Emanuel Kleinmann, who evidently thought highly of him even though he had not previously defended a capital case. If I recall, the initial choice was not Sherrard, but whoever it was (and I can't remember) was unable to accept. A more experienced QC may well have attended to matters differently.

Anyone who'd like to see how a defence QC from a few years previously defended his client against a murder charge, and got his client acquitted against all the odds, should read up about the Tony Mancini Case, defended by Norman Birkett. Years later, Mancini confessed to the murder and also described how Birkett, a great actor himself by all accounts, coached Mancini with how he should perform in the witness box. Although I hate to say so, as Michael Sherrard was quite obviously a very human and approachable man, but I think Birkett would have got JH off, as well........

Graham
It was the great Victor Durand QC who was initially given the brief to defend Unlucky Jim. Unfortunately for all concerned the Bar Council had felt obliged to suspend Durand from practice for his professional misconduct in defending a police officer accused of battery and false arrest. The officer in question had been demoted for misconduct on another occasion between the alleged wrongful arrest and trial from chief inspector to station sergeant. Durand QC kept up the pretence that the officer still had the rank of chief inspector.

The case was Meek v Fleming. There's a bit in Hansard here.

Woffinden's comments on Durand are to be found a pp 168-9. He writes (wrongly) that Durand had been suspended for over zealously defending a libel action, then with no intentional irony writes as follows:

"At that time, when police evidence tended to be unquestioningly accepted, he (Durand) was one of the few barristers who had no hesitation in saying the police were lying, if that's what he thought."


Well not always, and not when he was party to the deception.

As to Birkett, his defence of Mancini is regarded as being brilliant and against the odds. He died, however, on 10 February 1962 at which time Jim was one week away from being sentenced. So if Birkett's status as a retired Law Lord had not disqualified him from accepting the brief to defend Hanratty and he had acted for Jim, then I feel pretty sure that Jim's change of alibi would have finished Norman off a few days earlier than when he eventually shuffled off this mortal coil.
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  #3737  
Old 11-21-2016, 10:59 AM
Alfie Alfie is offline
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2. The cartridge cases in room 24. If Hanratty had left them there, why didn't the cleaners find them the following day when they changed the bed AND MOVED THE CHAIR? The manager apparently spotted them as soon as he entered the room on the day they were found !
Snell said she and Galves thoroughly cleaned the room after Hanratty vacated it and the chair was moved. Galves said she alone cleaned it without hoovering or dusting and the chair wasn't moved. I know who I'd believe.

The manager didn't spot the cases as soon as he entered the room. Foot and Woffinden both have him dislodging them when he saw a strip of material hanging from the chair and either tried to tear it off (Foot) or moved the chair to disguise the need for repair (Woffinden).

On balance, I'd say it's quite feasible that the cases could have lain there undisturbed for three weeks.
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  #3738  
Old 11-21-2016, 11:18 AM
Graham Graham is offline
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As to Birkett, his defence of Mancini is regarded as being brilliant and against the odds. He died, however, on 10 February 1962 at which time Jim was one week away from being sentenced. So if Birkett's status as a retired Law Lord had not disqualified him from accepting the brief to defend Hanratty and he had acted for Jim, then I feel pretty sure that Jim's change of alibi would have finished Norman off a few days earlier than when he eventually shuffled off this mortal coil.
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It's said that Birkett's handling of Mancini's defence effectively demolished the career of Sir Bernard Spilsbury, not a man to cross by all accounts. Mancini was something else, an enforcer for a gang whose favourite method of 'persuasion' was to stick some poor sod's hand into a meat-grinder and slowly turn the handle..........

Frankly, I find it highly unlikely that Birkett would have permitted Hanratty to change his alibi, never mind what the judge's comment was about alibis. I still find it hard to believe that Sherrard allowed it to go ahead.

Birkett also unsuccessfully prosecuted Ronald Light in the Green Bicycle Case - the death of Bella Wright, currently under discussion elsewhere on these boards.

Graham
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  #3739  
Old 11-21-2016, 12:10 PM
moste moste is online now
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Originally Posted by Alfie View Post
Snell said she and Galves thoroughly cleaned the room after Hanratty vacated it and the chair was moved. Galves said she alone cleaned it without hoovering or dusting and the chair wasn't moved. I know who I'd believe.

The manager didn't spot the cases as soon as he entered the room. Foot and Woffinden both have him dislodging them when he saw a strip of material hanging from the chair and either tried to tear it off (Foot) or moved the chair to disguise the need for repair (Woffinden).

On balance, I'd say it's quite feasible that the cases could have lain there undisturbed for three weeks.
I think what is being overlooked by people with regards to the rooms long period of being vacant, and supposed delay in finding the spent shells.
This hotel as with the head hotel at Broadway was busy. I posted recently, the reason the likes of Hanratty were staying there was because the broadway was full but they could fix him up at the satellite hotel, The Vienna. Remember Alphon being told 'we don't have a single room available, only the larger room (24),pay for the more expensive room, and if one becomes available this evening we will move you into that and refund the difference later'. Also the statement, 'everyone had been down for breakfast except Durrant' indicating a reasonable mornings cooking. I would suggest that the Vienna was ticking over as a business quite well, and the 3 weeks to find the cartridges ,was bogus. They were planted.
As for the gun plant, Limehouse, under the bus seat . laughable!

Last edited by moste : 11-21-2016 at 12:14 PM.
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  #3740  
Old 11-21-2016, 12:31 PM
OneRound OneRound is offline
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Originally Posted by Limehouse View Post
1. The gun under the back seat. True, Hanratty did admit to disposing of unwanted loot from burglaries in this hiding place. Unwanted loot. I repeat. Unwanted loot. Not a gun. Nobody would be that stupid.
2. The cartridge cases in room 24. If Hanratty had left them there, why didn't the cleaners find them the following day when they changed the bed AND MOVED THE CHAIR? The manager apparently spotted them as soon as he entered the room on the day they were found !
3. Identification evidence? I think that has been very skillfully discussed in recent days by other posters.
4. Lying about his alibi? Even the judge said that did not make him guilty of murder.
5. DNA evidence? I don't care who asked for it. The method used was completely unreliable scientifically and there was a very REAL possibility of cross-contamination.

I am not blind to Hanratty's faults as a man. I am not blind to the problems that this complex case throw up. I am not blind to the terrible events that night that had long-standing consequences for the victims. However, I have never invented a fact concerning this case - I have only ever questioned the evidence. I would even admit to having little, nagging doubts about his innocence at various times - because I am only human - only a humble woman with, what my husband calls 'a vastly over-blown sense of what-is-right-and-wrong'. So, there it is. I believe Hanratty was almost certainly innocent. I am guilty as charged.
Hi Julie - good post. Not because I agree with all the points (I don't!) but because of how you present them - fairly and with a clear acknowledgement of where those who believe in Hanratty's guilt are coming from. Thanks also to Spitfire for his earlier post very much putting the case for the prosecution.

A reply to your post now also enables me to try and set out my own views, as promised recently to Ansonman (apologies for the delay, Anson).

To confirm, my own conclusion is that Hanratty 'did it' but the evidence was not sufficiently strong and/or was not presented sufficiently fairly for Hanratty to be found guilty at court. If you don't like that and consider it contradictory, I'll blame - at least, in part - you and Spitfire or rather your posts . As Spitfire shows, there are several factors counting against Hanratty. One of those factors in particular plus the combined weight of all of them satisfies me as to Hanratty being responsible. However, as you suggest, none of those factors on its own is a slam dunk and some concern can be raised as to each.

Arising from this, my views now on your 5 points above:

1. You are correct about 'unwanted loot' but couldn't that be extended to 'unwanted items'? You also write, 'Nobody would be that stupid'. However, unless you consider that Hanratty was framed and I don't, somebody had to be 'that stupid'.

2. The fact that Hanratty was the last to stay in the room in which the cartridge cases were found undoubtedly counts against him. However, that by itself does not prove it was him who left them there. Many doubts have rightly been expressed about the integrity of certain of the Vienna's staff. I further doubt such an establishment would have had watertight arrangements concerning the security of unused rooms.

3. Recently much discussed as you say. I don't claim that Valerie Storie's earlier incorrect identification totally invalidated her subsequent identification of Hanratty. However, if I had been a juror it would have made me very
doubtful and unwilling to rely upon it. Without that reliance, the case against Hanratty becomes much weaker. I would add that I also consider Hanratty was badly let known by Kleinmann not objecting to voice identification on his parade. Imo and as Mansfield said at the 2002 Appeal, that was 'incurably unfair'. If voice identification was to play a part, all on the parade should have had Cockney type accents.

4. As you say and as the judge emphasised to the jury, lying about an alibi does not legally prove guilt. However, and this is the real clincher for me, I cannot accept that an innocent man would lie (Liverpool), persist with that lie (Liverpool) and then finally in its place substitute another lie (Rhyl).

5. Although queries have been raised about the DNA evidence since the 2002 Appeal, I feel it's over egging the pudding to say it was 'completely unreliable'. Rather than establishing Hanratty's innocence as his supporters hoped, it now needs to be categorically discredited. Personally, I always felt it was inappropriate that modern scientific methods were used to confirm guilt when the safeguards which are considered so essential to the use of that science could not be applied.

Arising from 5. above, I'll also mention that Hanratty's supporters were unfortunate as to when his final appeal (in 2002) was held. A few years later and the DNA evidence might have been better able to be probed and doubted. A few years earlier and no DNA evidence would have been available. Also, if a few years earlier, Acott would have still been alive and required to explain to the Court of Appeal certain non-disclosures rather than being given the benefit of the doubt.

For me, the non-disclosures were important and only increases my conclusion. Whilst point 4. above in particular leaves little doubt in my mind that Hanratty 'did it', I remain unconvinced that his guilt was reasonably and fairly proven at any time.

Best regards,

OneRound
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