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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 defense put forward an appeal, but this was dismissed on March 9, despite a petition signed by more than 90,000 people. Hanratty was hanged at Bedford Prison on April 4, 1962.
When Hanratty had claimed that he had been to Liverpool he revealed that he had lost his suitcase, which had been handed in to Lime Street Police Station by a man with a withered or turned hand.
A man by the name of Usher, who had two fingers missing from one hand was found of that description and admitted to remembering Hanratty or the name Ratty . Oddly enough Usher was never called as a witness.
Another anomaly, this time relating to Valerie Storie herself, was when during he first identity line up she picked out an innocent sailor instead of the police suspect Alphon. Then in the second line up she picked Hanratty despite admitting she only ever saw the face of the man for a second or two in the lights of a car headlamp while she was being raped.
Despite a John Silkett identifying Hanratty as the driver of the Morris Minor as it sped down Eastern Avenue, his companion who had a closer view of the driver did not agree.
Though the cartridge cases were found in the Hotel Vienna, no one ever adequately explained how they came to be there the day before the murder. No witnesses were able to place Hanratty in the vicinity of Dorney Reach near the murder scene.
Mary Lanz of the Old Station Inn, Taplow, where Michael Gregsten and Valerie Storie had last been before they parked in the cornfield, was later able to identify Peter Alphon, the original suspect, as having also been there.
A group of people called the A6 Defense Committee was set up to assist Hanratty in his posthumous defense. Twelve years after the execution, the A6 Committee found the original statement made by Valerie Storie, which was not referred to during the trial or the appeal. Storie had originally stated that the man who abducted her was in his thirties. In her second statement she changed this to mid-twenties. Hanratty was 25, but Alphon was 31.
In 1968, the A6 Committee found six substantial witnesses to show that the defendant had in fact been to the north Wales coast town of Rhyl. A fairground worker named Terry Evans also admitted to letting Hanratty stay at his house early in 1961, and to fencing a stolen watch for Hanratty.
Another man, Trevor Dutton, had just made a payment into his bank account and consequently his bank book was stamped with the correct date, August 23, when minutes later he was approached by a man with a "cockney accent" in a smart suit, trying to sell a gold watch.
Charlie France, a friend of Hanratty's, testified that Hanratty had said to him once that "the back seat of a bus was a good place to hide something." Another prosecution witness, Roy Langdale, claimed that Hanratty had confessed his involvement in the murder while he was serving time in prison. However, this claim was countered by two other people that Hanratty exercised with, who said that the defendant consistently denied any involvement.
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