Michael Sherrard QC-Hanratty's trial barrister in 1962: "It is often said that Hanratty changed his alibi from LIverpool to Rhyl and that is really not quite right,the substance of the Liverpool alibi was maintained----"May 2002
The trial judge -Judge Gorman said this about Hanratty and his alibi:
"HE DOES NOT HAVE TO PROVE HIS ALIBI.THE FAILURE OR OTHERWISE OF THE ALIBI DOES NOT MAKE HIM GUILTY."
However there is no doubt that by changing his story in the middle of the trial,Hanratty gave the impression that the alibi was false.Michael Sherrard states in his 2009 biography:The huge gave the jury perfectly good direction.He was bursting himself to indicate to the jury that he did not think the case was strong enough
Here is a copy of Hanratty"s dictated letter to his solicitor of 29th january 1962:
Last edited by Natalie Severn : 04-14-2012 at 04:55 PM.
When Hanratty was first asked by Supt Acott for his alibi of the night of 22nd /23rd August 1961 it was during a telephone conversation on October 6th or 7th soon after the first suspect in the case, Peter Alphon,had been dropped from police inquiries.The murder had taken place some six weeks before in a lay-by of the A6 in Bedfordshire,Southern England on August 22/23rd 1961.
Hanratty had telephoned Scotland Yard almost immediately he had realised he was a suspect on October 6th at 11.05 am to say he had had nothing whatever to do with the crime.The policeman in charge of the case asked him to come and see him at once but Hanratty had not long been out of jail for stealing cars etc and had during the previous few days of late September 1961 been burgling houses and he explained to Acott that he knew he would get five years if he now handed himself over to the police.He also insisted to his trial barrister and others that from the beginning he thought he had nothing to fear since he was so convinced his innocence would be sufficient to clear him of being a suspect. So when asked where he was that night he hurriedly answered that he had been in Liverpool and that he had friends and 'fences' in Liverpool -that he had done 'business' with who he thought would give him an alibi without any trouble whereas he couldn't even remember the name of the landlady whose boarding house he had stayed in or the name of the street the house was in.
However for the very first time I have seen his statement of 29th January in full and will be scanning and posting a very important section of it below
---his statement finally explains two curious inconsistencies in three crucial Rhyl witness statements -two of which were received by the defence after the trial was over----although the prosecution had in their possession the one by Mr Larman on 15th February -that is two days before Hanratty was sentenced to death on 17th February 1962.
[i]The first is the mystery of the missing case----
The second mystery was which room he stayed in; Hanratty remembered the attic bedroom with the green bath and described it very clearly---he had booked a room first of all for only one night---then he later booked for another night---- but read on.....
Last edited by Natalie Severn : 04-14-2012 at 05:45 PM.
for me,this statement made several days before Mrs Jones the landlady had even been found--solves the mystery of the three women witnesses who gave statements too late for the trial- Mrs Margaret Walker , Mrs Ivy Vincent and Mrs Betty Davies who all said he came knocking on their doors at it was getting dark that night-22nd August 1961- in Rhyl- but that he was not carrying any case.Mr Larman, another late witness didn't see him with a case either.
Norma - what a great researcher you are to have come up with that statement, written by the man himself. His writing isn't too bad at all, especially at the beginning. I've seen a lot worse written by educated people.
The flow of the handwriting says quite a lot to me. It's as though he didn't pause for thought but just wrote it all down as he remembered it. I think if he'd been inventing details the writing would have had a more faltering flow to it, but I'm no expert on handwriting (as no doubt will be pointed out to me).
Thanks Louisa.This came via a friend of Bill Beadle who has done acres of research on the case in the past and sometimes looks in on casebook.The book was almost finished when I came across this 29 January 1962 statement.It actually appears to me it might have been the solicitors handwriting.I will definitely look into it as the writing here is similar to that written across the top of the Letter of Clemency which was definitely in Hanratty's hand.
Will get back to you
Last page of statement made on 29th January 1962 .It refers to hump back bridge[at far end of Kinmel St] also to Woolworths on Rhyl High Street.
[29/01/61 statement predated the discovery of any Rhyl witnesses-detectives had to go and search for these in final week of trial].
picture from page of my book-the houses at the bottom of the page are taken from Rhyl Railway and Coach Station at far end of KInmel Street.The first street with the little houses is South Kinmel Street where the witnesses Margaret Walker and Ivy Vincent lived.The larger houses seen in the background are those next-door but one to Mrs Jones and Mrs Betty Davies who was living next door to Mrs Jones at that time in 1961.
Hi Louisa, it looks exactly the same as it did then judging from the photographs.I went there with James and his friend June last April and even the sign was still up 'Ingledene'. They have removed it since and they told us the green bath had only recently been removed.