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  #421  
Old 10-21-2016, 04:51 AM
louisa louisa is offline
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I've always believed Wallace to be innocent, but now I am not so sure.

As far as I can tell Julia had no known enemies, and certainly no one who would hate her enough to kill her in such a brutal manner.

That it was personal is evidenced by the degree of overkill, a classic sign of a crime of passion. A burglar would have no cause to batter Julia around the head so ferociously and for so long; eleven blows in all. It was only really Wallace who knew her well enough to have developed such an antipathy.

Wallace would probably not have known that hitting somebody so many times was the sign of familiarity and a bit of a give-away. He may have thought that it was the modus operandii of robbers who decide to kill when they are disturbed by the householder.

And Wallace had to make certain Julie was dead. It wouldn't have been good for him if she had recovered.

Julia still had cash in her handbag, which was lying on the table nearby.

The coincidences and components of the puzzle played so well into Wallace's hands didn't they? Almost as though he had plotted the moves in a chess game.

And when he arrived home and found his door was locked. Would he have asked his neighbours "Have you heard anything unusual tonight?". Why would they? Just because the doors were locked? It might have been a normal thing for him to enquire whether they had seen Julia leave the house.

From a murderer's point of view it's always a good idea if somebody else discovers the body, but Wallace realised the Johnstons were not very forthcoming in looking around the house, so Wallace himself found it necessary to 'discover' the body.

And then this..."Oh come and see, she's been killed"

I'm surprised he didn't add "Would you like a cup of tea?"

Hmmmmmm
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Last edited by louisa : 10-21-2016 at 04:54 AM.
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  #422  
Old 10-21-2016, 04:52 AM
AmericanSherlock AmericanSherlock is offline
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please excuse spelling errors, posting from phoen

Caz, I find myself agreeing almost completely with your posts. Yes, if wallace was guilty he would hope to achieve everything as quickly as possible after Close left, but this "alibi" wouldn't be the main point. the main point would be to have the milk boy out of the way, which was absolutely necessary to not risk being interrupted. as you point out, there would be reasonable doubt that someone else could have committed it in all that time, and I agree with your observations about time of death.

I agree wallace should have been acquitted and the right decision was made in the end to overturn the verdict, but like you I also think it far more probable he was guilty.

I see just too many problems and issues with another killer. what would their motive be? They would have to wait and see wallace leave, how did they know where he was going or when he would return? did they watch the milk boy come too, what a crazy scheme and risk to take. you could argue that they were going with less sinister motivations, perhaps it was parry there just to rob? but what of the mackintosh then that seems to hint at pre-meditation? and how could a robbery be expected to have been pulled off when wallace would return later and it would be obvious to julia he was lured out of the house at the exact time parry (or any other suspect one might think of) came to visit and then money went missing after? you could argue a sociopath like parry might not care, I would argue this was a sophisticated plot that didn't match his history of petty crime. also this was 18 months after he was sacked from the pru, so also a bizarre time for a revenge plot.

To me, there is an obvious chain of events linking wallace to the crime (in theory). Like you I don't accept a conspiracy or the PD James prank theory (that parry lured wallace out as a mean spirited practical joke) and wallace who had already been planning to murder his wife seized the opportunity. But even these make more sense than wallace not being involved at all. Because the key to me is the phone call which to me was obviously either with the goal of murder (and who else but wallace would have that in mind, you would have a difficult time convincing me parry premeditated the murder and also hoped to frame wallace), or was totally unconnected (the prank theory.) I don't buy the prank theory because it's too fanciful and unlikely and coincidental but I give it a slight possibility. Similarly wallace enlisting others(parry et al) to help I find unlikely because of reasons you've stated--just too difficult to keep a conspiracy quiet, and also it would take an immense amount of trust. Also...wallace named parry, marsden, and another guy named stan young as possible suspects from the Pru. what i see as bordering on impossible is wallace being totally innocent...it just does not jibe with the facts of the case, the phone call, the nature of the crime, and wallaces strange and contrived alibi.

I still think the most likely scenario by far is wallace acting alone. Because there are too many problems with other scenarios, And I dont think that the "timing problem" mitigates that in a significant way the way some others do. In fact, as I've said before I think it's rather suspicious that in both the case of the phone call and the murder. wallace seemingly sort of, maybe, kinda, debatably had just enough time to do both, but barely. Very unlucky for him that would be the case if he wasn't involved at all. again, I agree he should have gotten off--no hard evidence and no murder weapon definitively found. But I also think it's quite likely he was the killer and acted alone. And I believe modern forensics would have nailed him if he had committed the crime in 2016.
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  #423  
Old 10-21-2016, 06:33 AM
ColdCaseJury ColdCaseJury is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmericanSherlock View Post
I still think the most likely scenario by far is wallace acting alone. Because there are too many problems with other scenarios.
Hi AS and everyone.

Well, let's take another view of this. Which theory leaves the corpus of evidence with the least changes, i.e. which one has the least explaining away to do relative to the evidence?

For example, for Wallace acting alone, you must at least reject/explain away:

- Lily Hall's statement
- The sounds heard by Mrs Johnston
- Parkes' statement
- The police could not find any trace evidence on him or at his house
- That the murder could not be found at his house or along his route
- That the original time of death was 8pm (until the police case took shape)

And so on. The will be a different set to explain away with each theory. The one that requires the least change (and not all evidence is necessarily of equal value) is the one most consistent with the evidence we have.
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  #424  
Old 10-21-2016, 12:12 PM
John G John G is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by louisa View Post
I've always believed Wallace to be innocent, but now I am not so sure.

As far as I can tell Julia had no known enemies, and certainly no one who would hate her enough to kill her in such a brutal manner.

That it was personal is evidenced by the degree of overkill, a classic sign of a crime of passion. A burglar would have no cause to batter Julia around the head so ferociously and for so long; eleven blows in all. It was only really Wallace who knew her well enough to have developed such an antipathy.

Wallace would probably not have known that hitting somebody so many times was the sign of familiarity and a bit of a give-away. He may have thought that it was the modus operandii of robbers who decide to kill when they are disturbed by the householder.

And Wallace had to make certain Julie was dead. It wouldn't have been good for him if she had recovered.

Julia still had cash in her handbag, which was lying on the table nearby.

The coincidences and components of the puzzle played so well into Wallace's hands didn't they? Almost as though he had plotted the moves in a chess game.

And when he arrived home and found his door was locked. Would he have asked his neighbours "Have you heard anything unusual tonight?". Why would they? Just because the doors were locked? It might have been a normal thing for him to enquire whether they had seen Julia leave the house.

From a murderer's point of view it's always a good idea if somebody else discovers the body, but Wallace realised the Johnstons were not very forthcoming in looking around the house, so Wallace himself found it necessary to 'discover' the body.

And then this..."Oh come and see, she's been killed"

I'm surprised he didn't add "Would you like a cup of tea?"

Hmmmmmm
I actually think the overkill makes it even less likely that he was the killer. Not only is it inconsistent with his controlled, stoical personality-the police were clearly shocked at his lack of outpouring of grief following the discovery of Julia's body-but it is also inconsistent with a planned murder.

Thus, such a frenzied attack was bound to result in unpredictable outcomes: the killer was certain to be covered in blood; the victim may have had the opportunity to resist or cry out, alerting neighbours; the victim may have, say, staggered backwards, crashing into Furniture, and alerting neighbours.

I've quoted Keppel before, but it's worth quoting again, as it highlights many of the problems. Keppel et al (2005) argued that JtR murdered Tabram-a murder very similar to Julia's-but then learned from his mistakes in the latter C5 crimes:

"Because of the stabbing frenzy, this assault [Tabram] would have left the killer literally soaked in the victim's blood, increasing the likelihood of being discovered. He learned quickly and adapted his MO to attack the victims from behind and slash their throats...so as to incapacitate the victim , to diminish the amount of blood on his apparel, and/or decrease the chances of discovery."

And, of course, Wallace had many alternative, more controlled, less risky options: he could have poisoned Julia (Wallace had a long-standing interest in chemistry); he could have grabbed her from behind, quickly incapacitating her, and then either strangled or suffocated the victim; he could have used the same technique applied in the C5 JtR murders.
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  #425  
Old 10-21-2016, 12:15 PM
John G John G is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColdCaseJury View Post
Hi AS and everyone.

Well, let's take another view of this. Which theory leaves the corpus of evidence with the least changes, i.e. which one has the least explaining away to do relative to the evidence?

For example, for Wallace acting alone, you must at least reject/explain away:

- Lily Hall's statement
- The sounds heard by Mrs Johnston
- Parkes' statement
- The police could not find any trace evidence on him or at his house
- That the murder could not be found at his house or along his route
- That the original time of death was 8pm (until the police case took shape)

And so on. The will be a different set to explain away with each theory. The one that requires the least change (and not all evidence is necessarily of equal value) is the one most consistent with the evidence we have.
Thanks CCJ. I assume your referring to a conspiracy involving Wallace. I will give it some thought, however, there are obviously two main problems: who would Walllace trust as a co-conspirator; and what would be their motive?
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  #426  
Old 10-21-2016, 12:18 PM
louisa louisa is offline
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John - Yes, it's possible. I've always thought Parry to the more likely suspect but I'm not ruling Wallace out either.

I'm hedging my bets.

I don't know if anyone has seen the Julian Fellowes drama 'The Man From the Pru' but it was suggested that Wallace was having an affair. I think that's doubtful. And if he was it wouldn't have been with anyone as attractive as Susannah York!

That's the trouble with those Julian Fellowes dramas - he never let the truth get in the way of a good story.
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  #427  
Old 10-21-2016, 12:44 PM
ColdCaseJury ColdCaseJury is offline
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Originally Posted by John G View Post
Thanks CCJ. I assume your referring to a conspiracy involving Wallace. I will give it some thought, however, there are obviously two main problems: who would Walllace trust as a co-conspirator; and what would be their motive?
No, I'm not pushing a theory. My own views are tentatively held. I'm genuinely interested in hearing what others think.

I agree with your problems for a conspiracy, and although they need to considered, they are not evidential. In fact, one could say they are important unknowns. But - just for the moment - I'm asking everyone to look at the knowns - which is the theory most consistent with the body of evidence?
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  #428  
Old 10-21-2016, 02:28 PM
louisa louisa is offline
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Originally Posted by ColdCaseJury View Post
No, I'm not pushing a theory. My own views are tentatively held. I'm genuinely interested in hearing what others think.

I agree with your problems for a conspiracy, and although they need to considered, they are not evidential. In fact, one could say they are important unknowns. But - just for the moment - I'm asking everyone to look at the knowns - which is the theory most consistent with the body of evidence?
That is, of course, the most sensible way to solve a crime.

It's the kind of crime that should be easy to solve, because there aren't that many 'players', and I've always felt that with enough thought, the pieces will suddenly fall into place. I'm still waiting for that to happen.
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  #429  
Old 10-22-2016, 03:08 AM
ColdCaseJury ColdCaseJury is offline
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Originally Posted by louisa View Post
That is, of course, the most sensible way to solve a crime.

It's the kind of crime that should be easy to solve, because there aren't that many 'players', and I've always felt that with enough thought, the pieces will suddenly fall into place. I'm still waiting for that to happen.
Louisa, I think people have believed that for the last 80 years! I think we're missing a piece, rather than enough thought, but that must not stop us trying!
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  #430  
Old 10-24-2016, 12:16 PM
John G John G is offline
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Originally Posted by ColdCaseJury View Post
No, I'm not pushing a theory. My own views are tentatively held. I'm genuinely interested in hearing what others think.

I agree with your problems for a conspiracy, and although they need to considered, they are not evidential. In fact, one could say they are important unknowns. But - just for the moment - I'm asking everyone to look at the knowns - which is the theory most consistent with the body of evidence?
Regarding a conspiracy, the evidence for this theory, it seems to me, largely depends on the uncorroborated testimony of one witness, Lily Hall, who of course stated that she saw Wallace in conversation with another man shortly before he arrived home.

The first question then is how reliable is she as a witness? She claimed to have known the accused for several years, although they never spoke, and, as your book points out lived just 100 yards from the Wallace residence. Crucially, William Wallace was very distinctive looking so, taking everything into consideration, I think a case of misidentification is very unlikely.

Could she have misidentified him on the night of the murder? Your book points out that it was a fairly dark night, although there was a street lamp near by. Moreover, the man she believed to me Wallace was also facing her. The time of the alleged sighting is also highly relevant, as Wallace was in the vicinity of where you would expect him to be after returning from the failed. Qualtrough appointment.

Overall, it would be a massive coincidence if another man, closely matching Wallace's distinctive appearance, was present at that particular location at that particular time. And, of course, no one came forward for elimination purposes.

Could Hall have got the days mixed up? This is possible as she didn't come forward with her evidence until several days later-her father gave the police a letter from her four days after the murder.

However, if this was the case Wallace could simply have said something like, "oh I remember speaking to someone at that location, and around that time, but it was the day before. The girl must have got the dates mixed up."

But he didn't. He simply denied the conversation had ever took place.

Does the fact that Hall came forward several days after the event undermine her evidence? Personally, I don't think so. According to her father she was ill in bed. And she couldn't have anticipated how crucial her evidence would be, as she simply saw two men in conversation; it is, of course, Wallace's subsequent denial of the conversation which creates problems, giving rise to the obvious suspicion that the man was a co-conspirator. In fact, assuming Hall wasn't mistaken, that would be the obvious conclusion.

I'm not aware of any other evidence for a conspiracy, apart from Wallace's strange comment to Florence Johnston: "They've finished her." How could he know there was more than one assailant? Of course, this could have been a simple slip of the tongue, especially as he might well have been in shock at the time.

The major difficulty for me, however, is that there is no obvious motive for a conspiracy. And who would Wallace have trusted as a co-conspirator? It's also been argued that Julia may have been having an affair with Parry-Parry admitted to visiting Julia on a number of occasions for "musical interludes", but these visits were not recorded in Wallace's diary-promoting Wallace to hire a hit man; this seems somewhat far fetched to me.

I believe it's also been speculated Wallace may have been involved in relationships with other men-Parry described him as "sexually odd"-and that Julia may have threatened to expose them: such conduct would, at the time, ave been a crime punishable by imprisonment. However, there's absolutely no evidence for this.
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