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James Hanratty was hanged in 1962 after being convicted of shooting a couple near London, but his guilt is still disputed.
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The gunman then shot at her five times in the darkness hitting her legs. Storie fell to the ground next to the body of Gregsten and pretended to be dead. The car raced off.
Storie lay on the ground, terrified and in shock for three hours until she was discovered by a farm laborer at 6:45 a.m. The laborer ran for help and came across a student, John Kerr,
who was undertaking a road census. Kerr flagged down two cars shouting at them to get an ambulance. Later that evening Gregsten's 1956 Morris Minor was found abandoned behind Redbridge Tube station in London.
Valerie Storie was rushed into hospital to undergo emergency surgery. Before she went in she had managed to make a brief statement about the events. The first aspect that did not seem to add up, apart from the crime appearing to be motiveless, was that despite the gunman saying he had been on the run for months, he was well dressed and not in the least unkempt.
On the August 24, the gun was recovered under the back seat of a 36A London bus, still fully loaded, but with any fingerprints erased.
After the police put out a request to hotel managers to look out for anyone suspicious, there were a few false starts with innocent people being put forward as suspects by an over eager public.
By the August 29 it was tragically discovered that Valerie Storie's shooting had resulted in her paralyzation from the waist down. Although a witness who had allegedly seen the gunman driving the Morris Minor compiled apicture of the felon, Storie later gave a totally different description.
One hotel owner contacted the police and informed them that a guest had stayed in his bedroom for five days after the shooting. The police went to the hotel and interviewed a Peter Alphon who had used the alias Frederick Durrant. Alphon was interrogated by the police for hours. Eventually they believed his story that on August 22, the day of the murders, he had been with his mother and then the next day had stayed at a low rent hotel called The Vienna, in Maida Vale. The story checked out.
There were no further developments until September 11, when the actual owner of the Vienna Hotel, William Nudds contacted the police to inform them that he had found two cartridge cases in the basement guest room. The cartridge cases matched the bullets that killed Michael Gregston and also the ones found in the gun on the 36A bus. Nudds told the police that the last occupant of the room was a James Ryan and that he had also asked for directions for the 36A bus.
Alphon had stayed in the hotel as claimed earlier, but Nudds insisted that the man had been in guest room number six all night. Later, Nudds then changed his story, perhaps realizing that the two men had swapped rooms during the night? Now it transpired that Peter Alphon had stayed in the basement room.
Despite Alphon being the main suspect Valerie Storie failed to pick him out of an identity lineup. He was then released. Hanratty was charged with the murder.
On January 22, 1962, the trial began in Bedfordshire, having been changed from original plans to stage it at the Old Bailey courthouse in London.
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