When he was in confession mode in the TV interview, it was put to Alphon that the murderer said he was called Jim. Alphon replied that he would have been crazy to give his real name – and this sounded very reasonable.
But he was looking at it from Hanratty’s point of view. Indeed it would have been wise for Hanratty to say he was called anything other than Jim. (Although there is a precedent for blurting out his real name under stress; when the Liverpool jeweller asked him to sign for what he had sold.)
But looking at it from Alphon’s point of view, he would only have said Jim in order to frame Hanratty. If he was choosing at random a false name, what are the chances that - of all the names in the world - he would have come up with Jim?
If the gunman had already decided to murder Valerie (most likely), he'd have believed he could say anything with impunity.
It’s an interesting question about why Alphon was not called as a witness at the trial, and intriguing to think how he might have performed if he had been.
I assume Sherrard had decided against calling Alphon since his line of questioning would likely have been to suggest Alphon was the murderer. This is understandably seen by juries as a desperate kind of defence, one that also indicates the police force is spectacularly incompetent. It certainly did Timothy Evans no good in 1949.
However given the significance of the rooms in the Vienna Hotel you would have expected the prosecution to call Alphon to substantiate the prosecution case, as Alfie said. Alphon’s evidence could hardly have carried less weight than Nudds’ who was a self-confessed liar. From what we know, there seems little doubt that Alphon would have been only too happy to bask in the limelight by appearing as a witness in a major murder trial. He did attend the trial every day, I think.
Perhaps the prosecution were aware of his general unreliability and judged he might do their case more harm than good, especially under cross-examination. Alphon seems to have been a persuasive speaker but under duress might have veered off into Paris hotel mode and started banging on about immorality and the incompetence of British justice.
When I read the related posts I thought of the same possibility, cobalt - that semen might have survived the most recent washing process in those days. If so that would mean Valerie chose to wear the same pair of undies on each occasion - which would make sense if they were perhaps a favourite pair she kept for romantic evenings with her lover.
But it's equally plausible that the couple did have sex shortly before the gunman surprised them, which would not be hushed up if it happened these days, but might well have been in the early 1960s, for fear of prejudicing the public and the jury against the victim in the case, and possibly creating false sympathy for the man she was effectively accusing of rape.
One point that may or may not yet have been addressed is that in 1961, with no DNA to match semen conclusively to a specific male, it was arguably considered enough [or the best they could do?] to attribute the minor AB staining to Gregsten and the major O group staining to the rapist. By the time of the 2002 appeal, I agree with OneRound's point, that the surviving AB semen should ideally have been tested again for a DNA match to Gregsten, but would that have been possible or practicable? How would they have done this and what permissions would they have needed? Was there a body to exhume in Gregsten's case, or would they have had to use the DNA of a close relative?
The other problem, of course, is that if people strongly believe there was a deliberate cover up over the DNA results, so they would indicate Hanratty's guilt no matter what, you have to wonder what good it would have done to go the extra mile to tie up Gregsten's loose end [if you'll pardon the expression] even assuming it could have been done.
As usual, good and practical points there.
I suppose my main gripe is not that the surviving AB semen* went untested but that the Court of Appeal were so ready to regard the DNA evidence as conclusive without such testing.
I do not subscribe at all to there having been a deliberate cover up over the DNA results. Just unease as to the short shrift given to there being any doubt as to the findings.
* I note Del's post but need to see a copy of Dr Nickolls' notes before I can consider the absence of AB semen.