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

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  #21  
Old 05-16-2014, 04:06 PM
Natalie Severn Natalie Severn is offline
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Caz-the difference being neither you nor I have seen Roger Matthews confidential report on which he bases his conclusions--neither has anyone other than Scotland Yard and the Home Office who commissioned it -since it has not been allowed to be published and is still under lock and key…a years work as one of Scotland Yard's leading detectives in charge of a team of 20 detectives for 12 months seeing files and reports the public has never had access too…libel laws?
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  #22  
Old 05-19-2014, 09:45 AM
Derrick Derrick is offline
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Originally Posted by Natalie Severn View Post
Caz-the difference being neither you nor I have seen Roger Matthews confidential report on which he bases his conclusions--neither has anyone other than Scotland Yard and the Home Office who commissioned it -since it has not been allowed to be published and is still under lock and key…a years work as one of Scotland Yard's leading detectives in charge of a team of 20 detectives for 12 months seeing files and reports the public has never had access too…libel laws?
Norma

I find that hard to believe. The CCRC's powers are as great as the Crown itself...they even have the right to grant a Royal Pardon. If they haven't seen the Matthews report then I'm a monkey's mother's brother.

Besides, as Matthews said himself:
Quote:
In truth, there was little in my confidential report that would not have been available to a committed investigator at any time during the past thirty-seven years.
There is nothing more in the police files to incriminate Hanratty or Alphon. And as the evidence against Hanratty, LCN included, is weak at best, this case will, eventually, go down as another great unsolved crime.

It has nothing to do with libel laws. France and Ewer are dead. As for another perp then well, good luck. The A6 Murderer was not Hanratty and it wasn't Alphon either.

Del
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  #23  
Old 02-02-2015, 02:56 AM
Spitfire Spitfire is offline
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I have struggled through this book and cannot recommend that anyone else does the same.

I should have been forewarned that Harriman's forte was not accuracy, as fairly early on in the book he informs us that Timothy Evans was hanged for the murder of his wife and child. In fact, Evans was only tried for the murder of his young child, Geraldine, as the legal practice of the time (1949) was that there should only be one charge on a murder indictment. This quaint practice was still in force in 1961 when James Hanratty was charged with murder, and again there was only one charge on the indictment, to wit the murder contrary to common law of Michael Gregsten. There was no charge relating to the rape and attempted murder of Valerie Storie, although undoubtedly whoever murdered Gregsten had raped and attempted to murder Valerie Storie. This was similar to the Evans case, in that whoever had murdered Geraldine Evans had also murdered Beryl Evans.

Harriman does not see this as a long established legal practice in the Hanratty case but rather an ad hoc attempted by the prosecuting authorities to pull a fast one on the hapless Hanratty and his defence team, although Harriman cannot quite work out why the authorities should want to pull such a stunt.

The next surprising thing about this book is that Harriman does not think that the A6 murder was a murder case at all. In his considered view it was an accident not murder as there was not sufficient mens rea for murder.

I confess I found this part of Harriman's argument a heady mixture of plain bonkers and unintended comedy, as Harriman takes Sherrard to task for not running the defence that the gun might have gone off accidentally, and ergo there was not the mens rea for murder.

As to the DNA part of the book, Harriman confesses that he is not a DNA scientist, but this does not prevent him from taking to task those that are. Harriman makes various points in commenting on the evidence of the prosecution expert witnesses, and some of these may have validity, but he is hampered in my view because he has not seen all of the material placed before the court. Most importantly he does not seem to have been given access to the prosecution expert's reports upon which the witnesses were examined and cross examined.

The book does have the transcripts (ending rather abruptly) for the three days in the Court of Criminal Appeal when the DNA evidence was considered. Having read these I can see why the Court came to the conclusion it did in allowing the admission of the evidence and determining that it provided conclusive proof of Hanratty's guilt. Even the defence's expert, Dr Evison, was forced to agree that at least the prosecution theory was reasonable and that it was more likely than not that the DNA discovered on the knickers fragment was deposited by Hanratty during the commission of the crime.

No travesty of justice here.
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  #24  
Old 04-13-2015, 08:44 AM
Penhalion Penhalion is offline
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I'm pretty new to the case so all I have are a lot of questions. Some question I have are:

The DNA from the nasal mucus on the handkerchief is one of the things which held up the conviction on the last appeal. The DNA clearly came from Hanratty and was found with the murder weapon. So far so good. Many people seem to feel that the handkerchief was planted with the gun by a second or third party to implicate Hanratty. Okay. So if someone is going to plant a snotty hanky with a gun to implicate someone.....doesn't that imply that they understand that the mucus can be directly linked to that person via DNA? Otherwise, the hanky could be from anyone since I'm thinking Hanratty didn't have his specially monogramed. The DNA in the mucus is the significant tie.

But.....in 1961 DNA was barely known and tests to find and identify it were 20-30 years in the future. Why would someone plant a type of evidence that not only couldn't be detected at the time, it wasn't even commonly understood to exist?

If THEY (whoever that might be) wanted to maintain the conviction by planting evidence just before the items were to be tested (and that would be one seriously long lived conspiracy!), then where would the DNA come from? A bit of old dried semen on a trouser fly would hardly serve to contaminate both the mucus stained hanky AND the knickers.

If the items were kept in less than pristine conditions (which I totally believe) that allowed a more happenstance contamination, why wasn't there contamination shown from other random people such as police officers, techs, and lawyers who all undoubtedly handled the items without gloves?
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  #25  
Old 04-13-2015, 11:22 AM
Dupplin Muir Dupplin Muir is offline
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No, I suspect that Hanratty didn't have his handkerchief specially monogrammed, but it was quite common at the time to buy handkerchiefs with your first initial already on them. Nowadays if we want handkerchiefs we just go in to Primark (say) and throw a pack into a basket, but in those days you would go to a proper shop with shirts, sweaters, etc, in cabinets with a salesman to take them out to show to you.

If Hanratty identified the handkerchief found on the bus, I suspect that this is how he did it. Having the initial 'J' wouldn't help the prosecution much since so many men have names beginning with that letter, but Hanratty might have been able to identify it by the style and colour in which the initial was embroidered.

Additionally, I believe that it is possible to determine blood-group from mucus, and together with France's convenient testimony about JH's proclivity for dumping unwanted swag under a bus seat, would probably be enough to link him to the gun.

Thus there is no need to assume that whoever planted the gun knew about DNA.

Last edited by Dupplin Muir : 04-13-2015 at 11:25 AM.
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  #26  
Old 04-15-2015, 04:00 AM
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caz caz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penhalion View Post
I'm pretty new to the case so all I have are a lot of questions. Some question I have are:

The DNA from the nasal mucus on the handkerchief is one of the things which held up the conviction on the last appeal. The DNA clearly came from Hanratty and was found with the murder weapon. So far so good. Many people seem to feel that the handkerchief was planted with the gun by a second or third party to implicate Hanratty. Okay. So if someone is going to plant a snotty hanky with a gun to implicate someone.....doesn't that imply that they understand that the mucus can be directly linked to that person via DNA? Otherwise, the hanky could be from anyone since I'm thinking Hanratty didn't have his specially monogramed. The DNA in the mucus is the significant tie.

But.....in 1961 DNA was barely known and tests to find and identify it were 20-30 years in the future. Why would someone plant a type of evidence that not only couldn't be detected at the time, it wasn't even commonly understood to exist?

If THEY (whoever that might be) wanted to maintain the conviction by planting evidence just before the items were to be tested (and that would be one seriously long lived conspiracy!), then where would the DNA come from? A bit of old dried semen on a trouser fly would hardly serve to contaminate both the mucus stained hanky AND the knickers.

If the items were kept in less than pristine conditions (which I totally believe) that allowed a more happenstance contamination, why wasn't there contamination shown from other random people such as police officers, techs, and lawyers who all undoubtedly handled the items without gloves?
Hi Penhalion and welcome!

All your observations are spot on, and to date I have not received any satisfactory explanations when I have brought up similar concerns.

Love,

Caz
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  #27  
Old 04-15-2015, 04:42 AM
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caz caz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dupplin Muir View Post
No, I suspect that Hanratty didn't have his handkerchief specially monogrammed, but it was quite common at the time to buy handkerchiefs with your first initial already on them. Nowadays if we want handkerchiefs we just go in to Primark (say) and throw a pack into a basket, but in those days you would go to a proper shop with shirts, sweaters, etc, in cabinets with a salesman to take them out to show to you.

If Hanratty identified the handkerchief found on the bus, I suspect that this is how he did it. Having the initial 'J' wouldn't help the prosecution much since so many men have names beginning with that letter, but Hanratty might have been able to identify it by the style and colour in which the initial was embroidered.

Additionally, I believe that it is possible to determine blood-group from mucus, and together with France's convenient testimony about JH's proclivity for dumping unwanted swag under a bus seat, would probably be enough to link him to the gun.

Thus there is no need to assume that whoever planted the gun knew about DNA.
Hi DM,

I can hardly believe it would not have come down to us today if Hanratty had really identified his own snotty hanky during the trial by reference to an initial or the style or colour. If the hanky itself was plain white with no distinguishing features (as seems most likely) he wouldn't have been able to identify it positively as his, therefore he wouldn't be obliged to claim it, even if he guessed it was his and had no way to deny it.

I suppose if it had been distinctive enough, and especially if several identical hankies (bought together) were sitting somewhere with his other belongings, he may have thought a denial would be futile, but it would still have been one heck of an admission to make, no matter what the hanky looked like, and there seems to be no evidence that this was resolved at the trial. Certainly his best bet, if he believed the hanky was his, was just to maintain his denial of hiding anything found on the bus. He'd have surely twigged that France was stitching him up if what appeared to be his hanky had been used by someone else in the disposal of the murder weapon.

I very much doubt France would have known Hanratty's blood group, much less that it was the same as the A6 rapist's, or that anyone would have 'planted' Hanratty's snotty hanky with that in mind. As common as group O is, there are more people with a blood group other than O.

Love,

Caz
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Last edited by caz : 04-15-2015 at 04:54 AM.
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  #28  
Old 06-18-2017, 09:59 AM
Derrick Derrick is offline
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Originally Posted by Spitfire View Post
I have struggled....
Having just reviewed the Amazon opinions on this book I spotted that your post here was the same as Dave the Gadgetman.

If you aren't the aforementioned DTG then apologies and perhaps you could, in future, quote up as is usually required and post references.

If you are then seeing as it is so hot here in England at the mo, I wondered if you had any views on how cheap it would be to install air-con in a bungalow.

Del
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  #29  
Old 06-18-2017, 02:37 PM
Spitfire Spitfire is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derrick View Post
Having just reviewed the Amazon opinions on this book I spotted that your post here was the same as Dave the Gadgetman.

If you aren't the aforementioned DTG then apologies and perhaps you could, in future, quote up as is usually required and post references.

If you are then seeing as it is so hot here in England at the mo, I wondered if you had any views on how cheap it would be to install air-con in a bungalow.

Del
How can I "quote up and post references" to a 2017 Amazon review in a post of 2015 on the Casebook forum?
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  #30  
Old 01-20-2018, 08:26 AM
Derrick Derrick is offline
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Default Harriman has vanished

I was seeing if Harriman had updated his book recently but have found that almost every trace of him and his book has vanished from the web.

Strange?!
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