Parry + Accomplice Theory Backup

If Parkes’ Statement is True…

This statement by Parkes given in later years, combined with Lily Lloyd admitting she partially falsified Parry’s whereabouts on the night of the murder by saying he arrived earlier than he did, led many to believe that Gordon must have been the killer.

But Gordon’s alibi did not rely on Lily Lloyd… It relied on Mrs. Olivia Brine, her nephew Harold Denison, and Phyllis Plant, who he claims to have been with from 17:30 to 20:30 PM.

This alibi is often accepted by authors as being concrete. We will come back to this particular alibi (but for different reasons than coercion) later.

Through Lily’s statement to Wilkes we have evidence that alibi coercion is possible – and also through statements made by a caller on Roger Wilkes’ radio broadcast who claims to have overheard Parry’s parents begging their own parents to help smuggle Gordon out of the country. Apparently after Parry’s parents left there was a blazing row about what they should do, with one of the caller’s parents shouting they “would be helping a murderer”…

Given the details of the earlier portion of the conversation between these two sets of parents is unknown, it’s unclear as to whether they had simply jumped to the conclusion that Gordon is a murderer, or if Parry’s own parents had suggested as much.

But alas – without proof this alibi was coerced it would seem Parry could not possibly be the killer, and then there are a few things to consider…

Getting into the house:

According to Wallace, his wife would only admit people into the home if she knew them well. If we take Wallace at his word, then whoever knocked on the door of Wolverton Street was either:

  1. Someone known to Julia.
  2. A man posing as the business client Wallace had gone out to meet.

But is he right? Maybe, maybe not. Several ex-Prudential workers supported his claim, as did an anonymous tip-off received by Wallace’s solicitor Hector Munro:

“I do not know them [the Wallaces], but from friends of theirs I understand that Mrs W was always nervous about having money in the house and seldom opened the door for anyone without first going into the sitting-room and looking through the window.”

However, Wallace’s sister-in-law Amy Wallace said quite the opposite. According to Amy, it was Julia’s kind nature that meant she would probably admit strangers into the home, and that Wallace had many times reminded her not to do so.

Furthermore, if this really was a rule Julia stuck to, we cannot expect that whoever had planned to commit this crime would certainly have known this fact.

Nor can we expect that she would not be tricked by someone saying they’re from the council (or something of that nature), which still catches out the elderly to this very day, or any other sort of ruse.

But on the surface of things, a distinct issue with the man being a stranger remains, if he had entered the house alone that is… Mainly that if Julia did not know who he was, then there is much less reason to have murdered her had he been caught. On the flip side, someone known to Julia could easily be reported to the police giving them much more reason to silence her.

I will say I might be giving this potential criminal too much credit. I have read a lot on recent housebreakings, and in some cases they appear to just randomly beat up the homeowner for no reason at all. In other cases they use particularly brazen methods of simply saying they need to get water, robbing the place, then leaving.

Of Note: Two men had called on the Holme’s earlier that day and had been invited into the house. They said they were with “Electrolux” and there to see to a faulty appliance. The Holme’s noticed that in the car they arrived in, a woman was in the back seat. There had also been two apparent salesmen knocking on the doors on Wolverton Street on that day.

The Mystery of Puss the Cat…

A very obscure and little-known fact about this case is that Julia’s black cat, “Puss”, had been missing for at least 24 hours prior to her death, and Julia had been very upset about it. It then turned up again after her death, walking in with the detectives who had arrived at the scene.

The cat was not actually Julia’s, but given to her by a neighbour after she had catsat for them while they were away on holiday. Given the average lifespan of a cat is 14 years and the Wallaces had been at Wolverton Street for 15 years, it is very likely that this neighbour was someone on the street. Because the Wallaces did not speak to many people and seemed friendly with only one set of neighbours (the Johnstons); and because we know from postcards that the Johnstons had catsat/housesat for the Wallaces while they (the Wallaces) were away on holiday, I believe the cat might have originally been theirs.

It would make sense given the size of the Johnston household and the fact that not many members of the household were employed, they might have lacked the space and funds to keep a cat so allowed Julia to keep it next door.

Postcard from Julia to Mrs. Johnston: “So sorry at last-minute forgot to give you some money for Puss.”

This might seem mundane; but this was not tomcatting season, this was a cold rainy January. More importantly it featured in a purported confession by neighbour John Sharpe Johnston – relayed to author Tom Slemen by a man giving the name “Stan”:

“…Stan said that days before Johnston died [suffering from dementia], he confessed to killing Julia Wallace. He admitted it was he who had made the Breck Road telephone call to the chess club to get Wallace out the house. Florence had Julia’s cat ‘Puss’ and was supposed to lure Julia next door to get it…”

The mention of the cat is just so very specific and rarely known that in my view it could only have been said by someone extremely well acquainted with the case or the Wallaces.

So it makes me consider:

  1. Perhaps this “Stan” fellow contacted Slemen – who had specifically asked to hear from people who had known Johnston – and knew or heard rumours that the cat had been taken as a means to gain admittance to the home, and simply said it was Johnston’s words so nobody would chase him (“Stan”) up for details or questioning.
  2. Perhaps John Sharpe Johnston knew exactly what happened, and knew the cat was taken and used in some way, and in the throws of dementia believed he himself had done it and killed Julia.
  3. Maybe John remembered the cat coming back and conflated it into the tale.
  4. John really did kill Julia, which I will go into later.

The testimony given cannot be entirely accurate to what happened, but it is possible elements of it are, which we will delve into later.

Why Not Rob the Home on Monday?

It is often suggested that it seems like a risk to wait the extra day if the criminals can verify he’s out at chess for hours, all for one measly extra day of collection money.

However keep in mind that this box would be expected to contain a very large amount of money, from at least £1,372.65 in modern currency, up to around a massive possible £6,863.25 – in cash!

Second of all remember that Wallace did not collect every day of the week and that pay-ins were on Wednesday. He would skip Sunday as was the traditional day off, and generally skip Fridays, instead staying home to work on his accounts. That means after an expected pay-in on Wednesday, he would collect on Thursday, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday, before paying in again on the Wednesday. In other words, an extra day means an extra QUARTER of the bounty (equivalent today to over £500 more).

This difference in potential loot by waiting an extra day would be a sizeable chunk for anyone – least of all to someone like Gordon who was seemingly suffering from immense money problems and so deep in debt he couldn’t even afford a tram fare… Indeed, it was only a year later that due to being unable to afford a measly tram ticket, he instead had to “borrow” (hijack) cars and leave them in the streets just to get around the city.

A newspaper report from the British Newspaper Archives showing just how bad Gordon Parry’s financial situation was.

One other thing to consider is that it’s a no-lose scenario. If the plan doesn’t work the box isn’t going anywhere, and Wallace will go out to the chess club on another Monday as seen by the chart so they could do it then on that Monday (in fact Wallace could go to the club on either Mondays or Thursdays, and potentially every week, since he did not only turn up for scheduled games), or try some other scheme etc… This play at the jackpot does not risk anything but wasted time, yet the potential gain considering the amount of money Wallace collected each day during his rounds would be substantial…

But the reason I think this was done if NOT a prank call… is because it set the stage for a stranger to gain admittance into the home the following day by pretending he was there for the business appointment, telling Julia there must have been a mixup with the telephone message. According to Wallace in response to his counsel Roland Oliver, if such a man had called at his home, Julia would have admitted him and taken him into the parlour. It was not necessary for Julia to have been told of the name, nor could they expect she would know it. But she would very probably know that her husband had gone out on business when this person arrived.

There is also another more mundane plausible explanation for why the home was not robbed on the Monday: It could literally just be a case that an individual(s) involved in the scheme had other plans on that day.

The Connection to the Call

Richard James (R. J.) Qualtrough with his wife Ellen.

Assuming the call is indeed connected to the murder, and R. M. Qualtrough indeed meant to be the real Prudential client “R. J. Qualtrough”, then it strikes as being quite obvious that Joseph Caleb Marsden has some connection to this crime.

When we remember that Marsden is also a petty crook, it seems plausible on the surface that it was Marsden himself who suggested the use of that name to Parry, who patched the call through.

I will say that the evidence against Marsden is weak (which may simply be because so much of the police files have been pruned over the years), but his involvement has some merit due to the fake name of the client, and because his motive in the crime would be two-fold like Parry… Not only are they in need of money, but both have a potential grudge against the Pru – the actual target of their theft – having been fired. Parry “leaving to better his position” (cough cough) shortly after being caught cooking the books, and Marsden apparently outright fired for financial irregularities.

Author Gannon claims that Marsden’s alibi for the night of the murder is that he was “in bed with flu”. This is actually not a certainty. Here is the thing he bases this assumption on:

Police notes made during the investigation.

If you see on the left margin, it is scrawled “In bed with flu 20th”, and it DOES seem to be in line with the information Wallace was giving on Marsden. It’s easy to see why this assumption was made, and it seems true in fact.

However, if you look below this there is another note made, much like the one for Marsden, but this note covers multiple names without being specific as to who it refers to. Therefore there is some plausibility that we cannot tell by the notes in the margin precisely who the police refer to when making them.

Who Is Marsden?

Because there is such a distinct lack of information on Marsden it is not easy to write too much about him. But what we do know is this:

  1. While working for the Pru prior to his firing, Marsden had a client named R. J. Qualtrough.
  2. Marsden was a good friend of Gordon Parry, it was through Parry’s recommendation that Wallace had allowed Marsden to help do insurance work for him.
  3. Marsden – like Gordon – indulged in theft, and appears to have been fired from the Pru for stealing collection money (the same thing Gordon had done).
  4. Both Gordon and Marsden arguably have a grudge against the Pru. Although Parry officially “left of his own accord”, to me it seems like the higher ups kindly “suggested” that he decide to leave, lest they fire him.
  5. Both Parry and Marsden had been into Wallace’s home on several occasions while he acted as their supervisor.
  6. Both Parry and Marsden knew the location of the Pru insurance collection box that Wallace kept.
  7. Having worked for the Prudential – and specifically having called at Wallace’s home while conducting business, both Parry and Marsden would know how much money Wallace should have in that box – that amount being very large.
  8. Parry and Marsden knew the Prudential pay-in days were Wednesday as a rule (agents would pay in usually on Wednesdays, but sometimes on Thursdays), and therefore choose Tuesday evening as the best day to attempt the robbery – the same time Julia was killed.

  9. Both Parry and Marsden were known to Julia and would have been admitted by her without hesitation.
  10. Parry and Marsden were named by Wallace as his prime suspects.
  11. His aunt’s husband was a very well-respected Liverpool police officer: Robert Duckworth.

When added up together, it does seem to be a decent probability that Parry and Marsden could have conspired together to rob the Prudential money from Wallace’s home.

Is Marsden Necessary? Well… Not really… Parry and Marsden were both good friends and had both worked for the Prudential, and we can assume that from time to time they would discuss work as friends in such a position probably would. The name Qualtrough having cropped up and sticking in Parry’s mind is quite possible, and, moreso because I have heard a rumour that Qualtrough was known in the Pru as being a “problem client”.

We also do not know much about Parry’s collection district or work while with the Pru, if he filled in for Wallace, he could have filled in for Marsden. It’s an assumption but we simply don’t have that information.

Then What Exactly DID Happen?

In the 1980s, garagehand John Parkes claimed that Parry had visited him shortly after the murder in an anxious state, and that he had found a blood-soaked mitten in the glove compartment of Parry’s car (and that Parry told him he had disposed of a bar of iron outside a doctor’s house on Priory Road).

According to Parkes, Parry all but admitted he was involved in a murder, saying “if the police got a hold of that – it would hang me” in reference to the bloodied mitten.

In Parkes’ mind this meant that Parry himself was the man who had murdered Julia Wallace… But seemingly nobody including Parkes or Gordon’s girlfriend Lily Lloyd ever knew that he had an alibi corroborated with Olivia Brine for 17.30 to 20.30 on the night of the killing. An alibi that would never be known until the police case files became publicly viewable.

Parry probably saw Parkes as a friend. According to Parkes, Parry would often stay late at the garage chatting, but on this particular night left early. Although Parkes apparently did not trust Parry, the two had gone to school together and it seems Parry liked Parkes to some degree for him to be staying around for a chatter on his regular visits.

I think another man who was in on this crime with Gordon murdered Julia.

The Solution (if Parkes is Truthful):

Although a lot of the links to the housebreaking gang I mentioned in a prior theory seem suggestive, the more people involved in a scheme the trickier it becomes to coordinate and get away with. Still assuming that the statement by Parkes is accurate and not embellished (etc) then it seems Gordon has to be definitively involved in the murder.

Following is a suggestion by my grandfather which is better than my own (he was unaware of my own theory when giving his, so it is completely his creation) – and having himself lived around that era has a better understanding than myself of how hard-up people would carry out robberies. I think this is THE answer to the case…

He told me that insurance men and anyone like that were very common targets for burglars, because they knew they have money.

He believes it’s not so convoluted: It is simply Parry and an accomplice, and Julia was killed in a robbery gone wrong.

Regarding Parry’s alibi, it is admittedly curious that when confronted by Jonathan Goodman about the murder (some time in the 60s), he made no mention of this apparent golden ticket to freedom, instead claiming his alibi was “arranging a birthday party with friends” – which was NOT his alibi as that was after 20.30 and he had stopped off for a mere ten minutes. Parry’s father said Parry’s alibi was that he was mending his car in Breck Road – which again is NOT his alibi and is also false.

Parry had visited Lily Lloyd that night, and upon being questioned about the case in the 80s she simply said she does not believe he did this murder even though he turned up at her home later than she told police. Wouldn’t Parry have told her about this alibi? Why did she make no mention of it and clear the name of this man she had kept in touch with and been on friendly terms with ’til his dying day?

If the murder had caused him so much misery and he had reporters knocking on his door accusing him of murder, why did he not just tell them about his visit to Olivia Brine which entirely absolved him of responsibility? Was he afraid of someone digging a little too deeply into this alibi?

Gannon in his book notes this little oddity, but presumes that Parry never mentioned this tidbit because he was sleeping with Phyllis Plant who was also at the Brine’s that evening. No statement from her can be found in the files. However the visit was not just with Phyllis (who was married by the way), and furthermore, at the time Goodman interviewed Parry and Parry replied that his alibi was “arranging a birthday party with friends”, he and Lily Lloyd were long broken up making such subterfuge unnecessary…

Gordon used to visit the house to call on William Samuel Albert Denison, who he was friends with. That was how he was known to Olivia Brine.

Parry and the Brine Alibi…

The first question is “why”. Beyond why he neglected to ever mention it, the question is why was he there in the first place? Well, unless the alibi was fully coerced (maybe by his parents, like how they begged Ada Cook’s mother to sneak Gordon out of the country), it seems that his accomplice was there at that house.

If Parry has an accomplice and his accomplice is just about to go commit this robbery (even alone), wouldn’t Parry at least want to go over everything with him again before he heads out on this trip? Make doubly-sure he knows exactly what to say and do, where the money is kept, and so on… So what I think is that the killer was someone who had been at Olivia Brine’s house and was known to Olivia, OR that they were never actually there and Olivia Brine and her relatives have covered for Gordon to protect the accomplice who is someone very close to them.

We know Harold Denison was apparently there at the house the whole time (and being so young, it’s hard to imagine him posing as the business client), but it was William Samuel Albert Denison who was Parry’s friend, and the two had known each other for over a year. He was three years younger than Parry, born in 1912, making him 18 or 19 at the time of the murder. Though you might wonder how this man could pose as someone who apparently had a daughter who was turning 21, the caller had actually said it was “his girl’s” 21st and Beattie/Wallace just assumed it meant daughter. Gordon Parry is known to have used the term “my girl” when referring to his girlfriend as seen by later newspaper reports of crimes he had committed where he refers to her as such.

William Denison would later gain a criminal record for money-related offenses. Where he was at the time of the murder is unknown and he was never questioned.

Olivia Brine’s house is very close to Wolverton Street, in fact it is just 1.5 miles from the Brine’s front door to Wallace’s. Someone on foot or bicycle could have taken a more “as the crow flies” route (the distance as the crow flies being 0.78 miles), owing to the huge mass of fields and unused land in between the two homes.

Circle = Wallace’s House; Star = Olivia Brine’s House at 43 Knoclaid Road. Note the mass of empty land one could use to move between the two with minimal risk of detection. Though with use of a car, in a simple burglary scheme, I should imagine they would drive.

It is also very close to William Denison’s house (29, Marlborough Road), so why Parry decided to visit Olivia Brine for hours instead of his friend William is peculiar. And if Harold Denison (William’s brother) is at Olivia’s house, then where was William?

I do see the possibility that Gordon, innocent of involvement on the murder day, had knocked at William Denison’s house, got no answer, then went to Brine’s thinking he might find William there. It wasn’t mentioned in his statement but it’s possible someone would neglect to mention going to a house and getting no answer… He could also simply be close to the family and gone to Brine’s – but still, neglecting to call on his friend who lives so close to hang out with his aunt feels off.

Olivia Brine’s home to William and Harold Denison’s home. Why Parry went to Olivia’s instead of calling on his nearby friend is a little peculiar.

Interestingly, I have seen it mentioned by authors that the statements given by those at the Brine’s house that night are the shortest and most lacking in detail out of all statements given by anyone in the police files. There is no statement in the files by Phyllis Plant or Savonna Brine.

We can show with extremely high likelihood that Gordon Parry made the call. So much so that any theories I initially thought were strong but do NOT have him as the caller I have to rank lower than any which do.

We can also show he was financially troubled, knew Wallace went to the chess club there, would be able to see the dates Wallace was due at the club, knew of the Prudential’s workings (including their pay-in schedule – hence knowing when the most money could be expected to be in the home), was close friends with Marsden who had previously had a client named “R. J. Qualtrough”, knew precisely where Wallace kept his cash box, and likely had a decent idea as to how much money he could expect to find in there.

Being financially broke, it would be very tempting for Gordon to make a play at that very vast sum of money which was within such easy grasp.

Based on everything we know, we might suppose that the crime goes a little like this:

  1. Parry sees Wallace leaving for chess and slips into the phone box and places the fateful telephone call. He wants to use the name of a real Pru client in hopes Wallace recognizes it and assumes it’s a real business call as a result – but he doesn’t want to use any of his OWN clients as it’s a risk to himself in any subsequent investigation, so he uses the name of a client he remembers his good friend Marsden discussing while the two worked for the Pru.
  2. Wallace falls for the ploy, the appointment is set for Tuesday evening. This extra day of collection takings would mean a very sizeably larger amount of takings in the insurance box.

    The call is also important to set up a way for a stranger to get into the home. Even asking for the address on the telephone to Beattie makes it seem the caller was trying to give the impression he is practically a stranger to Wallace, and whoever turned up to the Wallace’s home, Julia (had she survived) would not know who this person was.

    Goodman suggested the odd name was used as a “password”, but I doubt this. The stranger would not need Julia to know the name, simply stating he is there for business would be enough. Relying on Wallace to tell his wife the name of the client is even less likely than him taking the bait of the fake trip… Especially in the minds of the criminals as I’m sure “R. M. Qualtrough” is a mistake (meant to be R. J. like the real Prudential client), and see a decent chance Menlove Gardens “East” was unintentionally fake too.

    Regarding the use of “East”, a point should be made that to know there is definitely NOT a Menlove Gardens East would require a lot of familiarity with the area and the Gardens in particular. At the time there was no Google Maps, streets were being built fairly regularly, and maps which did exist were not updated automatically via the power of the internet…

    When we look at the individuals who were asked if they knew where the address was, Deyes from the chess club lived opposite Menlove Gardens and was not able to point out “there’s no such place”. A woman Wallace asked during his trip who actually lived ON one of the Menlove Gardens streets was ALSO unable to tell him there was “no such place”. Only Sydney Green and the police officer walking the beat there were able to tell him this. We can therefore see the level of knowledge/familiarity with the Gardens someone would need to actively know for sure that no such place existed…

    Even if Wallace had passed Menlove Gardens North and West during a trip to Calderstone’s and knew of their existence, he would not see any South or East – though we know Menlove Gardens South existed. How could he be expected to actively know East didn’t exist unless he’d walked those specific streets a number of times before?

  3. The following evening, Parry goes over to either Brine (43 Knoclaid Road) or Denison’s home (29 Marlborough Road) where his accomplice is – Olivia Brine’s nephew and Parry’s friend: William Samuel Albert Denison. At a time we might assume to be a bit before 19.30, Parry and Denison leave, and Parry drives him down to a road near Wolverton Street. He would not park on Wolverton Street or too close because cars were extremely uncommon and it would be conspicuous, so he has parked at a road nearby.

    Regarding the time of arrival, this robbery is stupid-simple and should only take a mere matter of minutes to complete, and Wallace’s tram round trip alone means he is certainly out of the home for at the very least 62 minutes – that’s if he moves like Jack Flash, has no wait time for the trams, and doesn’t even go to the house but just steps off and straight back on the tram once he gets to the area… If the appointment address is fake on purpose they might expect him to be out for over an hour. If it’s meant to be Menlove Gardens West however, then they might expect him to be gone for a good hour after he leaves his back door.

    They’ve set the business appointment for 19:30, so if Wallace turns up at the Gardens at that time (which they might assume), then they can expect to have up to 20:00 comfortably before he returns.

    There is no need to “stake him out” on the day of the robbery. If they knock at the door at around 19:20 (for example) and ask if Wallace is home/when he’ll be back etc., they’ll get their answer right there and then. If he is in, they can make up something bogus and leave. No crime has been committed at all.

  4. The men turn up at 29 Wolverton Street. William Denison knocks on the front door, Julia lets him in when he tells her he’s the business client (Roland Oliver mentioned this possibility on trial, and Wallace said Julia would have admitted such a person).

    On the fireplace in the kitchen you notice a cup of tea on top. Julia has been sitting there with a cup of tea doing sewing work on the sheet you see on the kitchen table (likely one from the “front bedroom” – the “spare room” where Julia kept her hats and coats) when the man knocked. She did not expect a visitor and did not know who it was so she’s put the cup on top of the fireplace so it keeps warm – though due to extreme police incompetence and contamination of the crime scene, the cup may have belonged to an officer or the photographer, as the kitchen was photographed some days after the night of the murder.

    She’s then grabbed Wallace’s jacket and thrown it round her shoulders to answer the door because she was poorly (of note, one caller at the home earlier had said Julia had had a bit of material round her neck when she answered the door to him). I have two different forensic experts who have told me this jacket would not work as a blood shield.

    Alternatively to claiming to be there on business, “Stan’s” bizarrely obscure statement about the missing cat could hold some truth, and the cat was used by someone as a means of affecting entry which also would have worked.

    Note the cup of tea placed atop the fireplace, presumably to keep it warm while she goes to do something else. In higher resolution photos you can see the handle of this cup.

  6. Denison tells Julia he needs to use the toilet. She leads him out to the back door to unlock the door for him, then returns to the parlour to set it up for the visitor. While Denison is out in the yard, the outhouse being right by the yard door, he has unbolted it so Gordon can get in the back (Gordon also could have jumped this wall).

    Considering it was almost 19:00, it would seem likely Julia would have thrown both bolts after William left, as she would probably not anticipate using it again that night. The practice of the Wallaces was to use the back door for exit and entry into the home during the day, and the front door late at night

    On the left you see a little bit of the dustbin, and further to the left out of sight is the outhouse.

  8. After using the bathroom and unbolting the back yard gate, Denison has come back in and left the back kitchen door off bolt so Gordon can get in – himself returning to the parlour where Julia is.

    View from the yard leading to the back door into the scullery (back kitchen). The window looks into the “living kitchen” where the cash box is.

  10. Gordon then comes in through the unbolted door into the back kitchen and goes into the next room (the living kitchen). He knows where the cash box is (and what it looks like, even if it has been moved). With an accomplice, he hypothetically has time to search the room while Julia is distracted if needed, possibly even search for more money.

    Because Julia knows Gordon, if she finds him out there the police will catch them because Julia knows him well, so Gordon has told Denison to make sure Julia doesn’t leave the parlour at all costs.

    The outhouse is labelled 20 in the blueprint above. The parlour is the room labelled 2. The “living kitchen” where the cash box was kept and thieved from is the room labelled 9.

  12. While Gordon is stealing the money in the living kitchen, he makes a sound – either by dropping the cash box or coins (three were found on the floor), or the shoddily-mended lid on Wallace’s photography equipment cabinet comes loose as he goes to search it for more money.
  13. Julia notices this sound, and the accomplice notices that she notices. She goes to get up and investigate but he attacks her to stop her from going out there and finding Gordon by attacking her, maybe pushing her into the fireplace. During this shove Julia has hit her head and been knocked unconscious or died – not necessarily with severe wounding or bleeding, this is also where the burning of the skirt and jacket occurs. What exactly she was attacked with is unknown.

    Denison pulls Julia by her hair and jumper out of the fireplace. Julia’s hair was ripped away from the back of her head and a bit of her jumper (a cardigan type thing) was torn.
  14. At some point Denison goes out to the kitchen and tells Gordon what has happened.

    The men bolt the front door so Wallace can’t walk in on them in there, they turn out the lights so people do not believe the house to be occupied (and Wallace does not think his wife is in the front room entertaining guests when he returns). They would want to delay the discovery of the crime for as long as possible to give them time to escape… One of the men is covered in blood and they have a weapon to get rid of.

    The lights in the living kitchen might also have been turned out so the men are able to peer out of the window and have a quick glance to ensure the coast is clear, or simply so they are not highlighted by lights from the kitchen when escaping out the back.

    They might have wiped the gas jets as they turned them out, and also any handles they touch to remove fingerprint evidence… However, with the extreme tampering by investigators at the crime scene, it’s likely fingerprints would have been removed in any case. As an example, the cash box (one of the most impotant sources of potential fingerprint evidence), was riddled in the fingerprints of the police officers at the scene. Many other fingerprints at the scene had been smudged beyond useability.
  15. Parry and Denison are seen running away towards Lower Breck Road by Anne Parsons, and witnessed by Jane Smith at her house near Cabbage Hall cinema (see the diagram below).
  16. Figure 3 is at the bottom of Priory Road and right near where the phone box was.

    Anne Parsons:

    “On Tuesday the 20th January 1931. I was walking up Hanwell Street about 8 o’clock in the evening; I think it was nearer 8.15. I was going to a meeting. I noticed a man running down Hanwell Street towards Lower Breck Road. He was followed by another man close behind him who was also running. They were running very fast. I cannot say what they were like. I did not take much notice of them. They only aroused my attention from the fact that they were running so fast.”

    Mrs. (Jane) Smith:

    Police Note: ‘Seen: Mrs Smith, next door to Dr Dunlop saw one of the men.’

  17. The men dump the murder weapon down a grid outside Dr. Bogle’s house which is close to where Jane Smith saw one of the men and where Anne Parsons saw the men running towards. Corroborated by John Parkes who said Parry told him he dropped an iron bar down a grid outside a doctor’s house on Priory Road (Dr. Curwen’s house was at 111 Priory Road, Dr. Dunlop’s house was at figure 3 just under Priory Road, and there was a Dr. Bogle at 9 Priory Road, closer to the cinema and Breck Road than Curwen).

    Also corroborated by Ada Cook – whose parents were apparently begged by Gordon’s parents to sneak him out of the country – when she phoned into Wilkes’ Radio City show on the case. Both locations are possible but Dr. Bogle’s house seems the most plausible.
    Ada Cook:

    “I heard, I don’t know where from, that the murder implement was dropped down a grid near the Clubmoor [cinema] where Lily worked.”

  19. The men jump into Parry’s car, the stained mitten is thrown into the glove compartment by Denison – possibly forgotten about or unnoticed by Gordon, and they drive off.
  20. According to Parry, it’s after 20.30 that he goes to Maiden Lane Post Office to buy a pack of cigarettes. But it would be very rare for such a place to be open at this time of night unless it was a mixed kind of shop (hence Wallace checking his watch at quarter to 8 to see if the Post Office at Allerton Road would be open) – so it is likely this “Post Office” doubled up as some sort of Off-License or, as was common at the time, there was a kiosk selling such goods at that location which he had used.

    He says he then went down to Hignett’s Bicycle Shop to get an accumulator battery for his car (Lily Lloyd’s mother says he claimed he had picked up a battery for his wireless radio) – again, shops in those days were very rarely open late at night but Hignett’s “shop” is actually his house. Walter Hignett advertised merchandise in local newspaper ads and people would come to his house to purchase them.

    He visits Lily Lloyd at around 21.00, although in the ’80s when talking to Roger Wilkes, despite saying she does not believe Gordon killed Julia, she admits she lied to police and that he in fact turned up later than she had told them.

    Importantly, his statement ends after his visit to Lily: “I went to 7 Missouri Road, and remained there till about 11pm to 11:30pm, when I went home”. This is the last of it. There is no mention of any outings to a garage, so regardless of whether he said anything incriminating to Parkes that night or not, if he even turned up at that garage he never said so in his statement.
  21. Later that evening or early in the A.M. he goes to see Parkes and has his car hosed down extensively in an agitated state, according to Parkes there was a mitten in the glove box Parry claimed would “hang him” if found by the police, and he had blurted out something about dropping an iron bar down the grid outside the doctor’s house on Priory Road. He pays Parkes 5 shillings and leaves (5 shillings being over a third of the rent Wallace paid for his home each week, for perspective).

    [ My forensic experts do not believe a regular bar was used to commit this crime, due to the noticeable patterning of wounds in parallel lines on Julia’s skull. Paired with the fact seemingly neither the parlour’s iron bar nor the kitchen poker was even missing from the home, it calls this statement’s full accuracy into question. Dolly Atkinson confirmed Parkes told her in the morning about the car, but never mentioned being told about a mitten or iron bar. ]

    He takes his car into the garage at this time because it’s the night shift and nobody is about, he would not want his car hosed down when there are still people about.
  22. Some unknown number of days later while Parkes is not there, Parry shows up to the garage with Denison, they are checking to see if anything has been said. Parkes is not there because he works the night shifts. It seems neither man ever returns to that garage again, including Gordon who was a regular there.
  23. William Denison is never questioned, and with Wallace acquitted the police don’t want to go digging around the case again, so the rest is history…

Even if the man supposed to pose as “Qualtrough” who was unknown to Julia went into the house alone, I still would expect that it was someone who had been at Olivia Brine’s house or with Gordon in some way just before the crime took place. For a burglarly without murderous intent, it is very likely Gordon would want to speak to his accomplice just before they go to carry out the crime.

Door Problems…

There is a problem with the back door in this scenario… Because of the fault with the back door where it tended to simply fail to open, it’s possible a second man would be unable to effect entry through the back. As per Sarah Jane Draper the charwoman:

“As far as I know, there was nothing the matter with the lock on the front door of 29 Wolverton Street. The catch on the back kitchen door was defective. When the knob was turned either from the inside or the outside, it would not bring the bolt back from the lock socket. This happened pretty regularly and on many occasions, I have had to ask Mrs Wallace to open the door for me and she used to do it by gripping the spindle close to the door. There did not seem to be any spring in the lock.”

Therefore there is another possibility that the plan failed as a result of this. Either the second person was unable to gain entry, or a single man entered expecting Julia to stay in the parlour while he “went to the bathroom”, but instead found her following him out to the back door and awaiting his return due to the faulty door (lest the guest be accidentally shut out). On his return he would go back to the parlour with her, and the only way to get the money at this point would be to attack her and take it.

Or in a single-person sneak-theft scenario as per Antony M. Brown’s “Move to Murder”, I think it is very unlikely Julia walked in on the intruder stealing, since her next move is then very unlikely to be to silently maneuver back into the parlour and cozy up by the fireplace. More likely I would think, is that the intruder made noise (e.g. dropping the box, or coins, or the door breaking off) and went back into the parlour and pre-empted Julia before she could actually go see what had happened.

At the base of it… We know that there are only a few named people who would probably have known where that cash box was (if a burglar had ascertained its location from coins being at the bottom of the shelving unit, it seems odd they would not pick these up – their presence seems more likely if the box was dropped and the coins spilled out, or the perpetrator dropped them). These known people are:

Julia Wallace, William Herbert Wallace, Richard Gordon Parry, Joseph Caleb Marsden, Amy Wallace, James Caird, and Sarah Jane Draper. If Tom Slemen is right that the Johnstons had housesat for Wallace while he and his wife holidayed in Anglesey (being tasked with opening and closing the curtains in the home), they too could have learned of its location.

It looks as though whoever robbed the home knew where this box was kept. Either Julia had told them, or they already knew where to look without being told. Considering the likelihood of Gordon Parry as the caller, then if he has nothing to do with the murder the coincidence is quite large… But P. D. James’s idea of a prank call is a good one.

To my mind, the weapon’s removal (if an implement from the home) signifies that whoever carried out the attack may have feared there would be fingerprints upon it – hence he had touched it with bare hands at some point. To remove the weapon would be a substantial risk, both to the criminal and perhaps even moreso to a guilty Wallace who is attempting to establish an alibi while a murder weapon is upon him the entire time… If Wallace’s fingerprints are on something in his own home it is quite easy to explain, so there is slim-to-no reason why he would take such a monumental risk in supposedly going out on his trip to Menlove Gardens with the implement of murder he just battered his wife to death with hidden up his sleeve (as suggested in later years by prosecution counsel Mr. Hemmerde).

If this is a man Wallace hired to kill his wife, they would be expecting to be going there to commit a murder and would undoubtedly bring their own weapon rather than relying on grabbing something in the home. Not only that, but we would not expect to find her beaten to death while sitting in the armchair or facing her attacker… Why would any assassin, Wallace or a hired-gun, stand there and let the target light the gas lamps, bend down to turn on the gas valve, then strike another match and light the fireplace – all with her back to him, without striking the blow?

Why has a man with a murder motive hesitated so long, had he lost his nerve?

These facts combined make it seem like an unplanned attack.

One of the forensic experts I consulted stated the following, the bolded part being especially important in regards to the idea of a premeditated and complex murder setup:

“Even if the Mackintosh was worn, there would still be spatter on the attackers face and neck (and hands unless wearing gloves). And on the lower pant legs and shoes, since a mac does not drag on the floor. And I can’t accept it being used as a “shield”. You simply can’t hold up a coat like that and protect your entire body. We know from the spatter at the scene that it was not placed over the head for all blows (if any). And if it was over the head for “some” of the blows the lab should have been able to detect defects – most likely true tears – in the material. Absent that, unless we think the lab was incompetent too, I do not think the mac was ever over the head when it was being hit. As I think it was accepted that Julia was alive when the milk boy arrived, the concept of Wallace being naked is simply absurd to me. Not enough time for all that and still make it to the tram. And I actually have a lot of trouble believing that anyone involved in this murder was that calculating. It seems to be either a crime of passion or an offender who panicked. With “overkill”. In my opinion offenders like that are not nearly so neat nor do they plan so well.”

Now – based on the testimony of the Johnstons (Florence heard two thuds at 20:25 to 20:30, 15 minutes before Wallace’s arrival home), and Wallace’s own difficulty in gaining entry into the home, it is possible the criminal was still in the house when Wallace knocked. Wallace’s key would not turn at all when he first attempted to open the front door. If the attacker was in the process of doing something such as any purposeful incineration for example, it would have to be immediately aborted. Because the accomplice has let Gordon in through the back, the yard door is naturally unbolted… The statement of Anne Parsons, if at all related to the crime, has the men sighted at around 20.15.

These two thuds were from the direction of the Wallace parlour, and we can assume that if it was the sound of the strikes with the weapon, they were strikes to the back of Julia’s skull, as we know that the first strike was not likely followed up in quick succession, but rather there is a gap between the first strike and the follow-up shots which occur when the body is at or near the position it was found in. These particular strikes would have involved a heavy instrument hitting a semi-hard object (a skull) with floorboards beneath in terraced housing, making them especially noticeable.

This was 20.25 at night and the parlour of the Johnston’s home had been converted into a bedroom for Arthur Mills. He would not be in bed at this time and it was not said he had just got in from a trip out, so the sound is unlikely to have been him “taking off his boots” as Florence had initially suspected.

Is John Parkes’ Statement True?

Did Gordon Parry REALLY turn up on the night of the murder and blurt our facts about the murder weapon and a blood soaked glove still in his car?

On Roger Wilkes’ radio show, one person living at the time (Dolly Atkinson) and another (Gordon Atkinson) who had heard stories relayed through his father and uncles spoke towards the end of the “Conspiracy of Silence” segment of the show.

Both are surprisingly vague about their statement although Dolly Atkinson gives Parkes a good character report. Neither claim any specifics about what they were told, just that Gordon had his car washed down. The fact Gordon had his car washed seems true and corroborated but the rest (the bar and blood-soaked glove) is sketchy and not mentioned by the others…

The mention of an “iron bar” is sketchy in itself because the iron bar was found down the back of the fireplace by the next set of owners who’d moved into the home, in a crevice which the police may therefore have missed; and the steel poker in the crime scene photographs appears to be present in the parlour, ostensibly used by Julia as a substitute for the iron bar which had gone “missing” having rolled down the back there.

Further to this, there are some elements of John Parkes’ story as relayed by Roger Wilkes, that I cannot find any evidence for. One of these, which I believe did not feature on the radio broadcast, is a claim that police had “staked out” the garage after Parkes told them his story. There is no mention of John Parkes or of the garage, or of any stake-outs, in the case files including those written by Superintendent Moore to the chief of police with updates on the case. The police had also interviewed both Gordon Parry and the Brines very shortly after the murder, making them aware of his alibi for the night in question. In contrast, Wallace was shadowed from early on and elements relating to him are mentioned in detail in reports.

Dolly Atkinson:

“I remember that Mr. Parkes told me that and my husband that he had to wash the car, and that he said well you should go to the police, so he said oh no he said you’ve got to wash that car, I insist you wash that car you see. I hadn’t seen the car but I know that he told me that. It was the morning yes, the morning after… yes, before he went home from work. I saw Pukka [John Parkes] every morning, like, he was just like a friend to us all. And then he told Wilf as well that it had happened. He wouldn’t make up such a story as that, we had known him for years… He [Gordon Parry] must have done it because he wouldn’t have come and asked a car to be washed to a friend, and make him wash it, and wash everything that got the blood on. No. And I say that it was him [Gordon] that did it.”

Gordon Atkinson:

“This particular account of the Wallace case was told me by not only my father, but my uncles, and anyone who was associated with him in that time, and it was discussed quite openly. as far as I’m concerned everybody knew about it… Unfortunately my father died 18 months ago, and as far as I’m concerned he definitely wouldn’t have made that sort of a story up, it would be fact, as far as I’m concerned.”

Gordon Artkinson takes the radio presenter to the garage (Atkinsons Garage) and shows him the hose where he was told the car was supposedly washed out in.

If the story given by John Parkes is false, Parry is no longer certainly directly involved in the murder, raising the odds it had been a practical joke.

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121 Responses to Parry + Accomplice Theory Backup

  1. GED says:

    Hi JC/Josh. Are there any actual statements available from Ann Jane Parsons, James S. Wood, Mrs Jane Smith or Ada Cook (nee Pritchard) Where does this ‘evidence’ come from?

  2. GED says:

    It says on this page………..
    Through Lily’s statement to Wilkes we have evidence that alibi coercion is possible – and also through statements made by a caller on Roger Wilkes’ radio broadcast who claims to have overheard Parry’s parents begging their own parents to help smuggle Gordon out of the country. Apparently after Parry’s parents left there was a blazing row about what they should do, with one of the caller’s parents shouting they “would be helping a murderer”…
    This wasn’t on the Radio City broadcast?

    It also says on this page…………..
    ‘No statement from her can be found in the files. However the visit was not just with Phyllis (who was married by the way),’
    Olivia Brine say Miss Plant called, not Mrs? Can you please elaborate.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Please check the page title, I only leave this page up as a backup, it’s not linked anywhere from my site I think you can only find it with the search bar.

      I wouldn’t take any facts from here.

      These will be tidbits I picked up in various books etc. Gannon is the one who said about Ada and the smuggling right? And the fish and chip shop encounter where he tried to hit on her and she rebuffed him.

      I can completely delete the page but I don’t really want to erase all the thoughts and potentially some facts which may be on this page which I omitted elsewhere.

  3. Michael Fitton says:

    Excellent points GED. I too do not recall anyone calling the Radio City programme about Parry being “smuggled out of the country.” In fact if Parry was involved, fleeing when Wallace had named him as a suspect, would be the worst hing he could do. It was the mistake Crippen made; if he had stayed put we would probably never have heard of him.
    The brief statement of Olivia Brine clearly mentions Miss Plant as you say. This statement would have been typed then handed to Mrs Brine to check for mistakes/corrections and for her signature. So we can take the “Miss” as correct. We know next to nothing about Miss Plant so I too would like to know where this information came from and anything else about this mystery woman.

  4. Michael Fitton says:

    Dear R M Qualtrough,
    I remember reading that you checked out as far as possible certain aspects of Tom Slemen’s suspicions about Mr Johnston, the Wallace’s neighbour. As I recall, you confirmed that Johnston did indeed have a friend from work who he visited at his home in Menlove Gardens. I think Tom Slemen made a mistake in the North, South, or West compared to what you found.
    No matter. The sheer coincidence of Wallace’s next door neighbour being familiar with this area of Liverpool miles from his home has always intrigued me especially when taken alongside other suspicions of Johnston, not least his “confession.”
    If you have any more details of your research on this aspect I am surely not the only one who would be interested to see them. Especially intriguing would be confirmation that Johnston actually did visit Mr X (Name?) at his home and therefore would most likely know there was no “East.”
    Best regards,
    Mike Fitton

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      I’ve tried to get in touch with Slemen many times, but no response. I don’t think his sources are very reliable. I do think the Stan tale is genuine but Mr. Johnston at that time the story is from was very ill and I think had dementia?

  5. Michael Fitton says:

    Tom Slemen’s books on the paranormal/ghosts etc don’t inspire confidence but I too believe his report of Stan’s tale. Many have rejected the whole thing on learning about Mr Johnston’s dementia but this can be an intermittent condition with periods of lucidity. His account is so detailed with knowledge of the cat’s name etc., and the Anfield burglar’s activities topped when Johnston moved house. And if indeed he had a friend in Menlove Gardens as well…..
    Thanks for your prompt reply.
    Mike Fitton

  6. GED says:

    Thanks for the clarification RMQ. I’m not trying to catch you out or anything but just looking for genuine sources so please don’t think you have to delete anything as it’s all brilliant in my book. I was at a Wallace talk/event in Prenton some years back with my friend Mark Russell and Russell Johnston was in attendance and we spoke with him. He claims that a member of their family was always at Mr Johnston’s bedside during those last days/weeks and this Stan story was a total fabrication but then we would say he would say that wouldn’t he. I di wish TS would put reliable sources up such as surnames that could and should be verified when such important information as this is put forward as fact.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Slemen has a Facebook group, I tried messaging but I didn’t get a reply. You might be luckier, worth giving it a shot. I would like to have sources for everything he has said.

  7. GED says:

    I was too once dragged in by the possibility of the Johnston’s being involved, for all of a day or so really as I pondered it. If you were the Johnston’s and had just committed this murder, possibly even rushed out the back of Wallace’s as William was trying to get into the front as has been mentioned. Then he must have got changed quickly and why bother going back out at all and putting yourself right in the middle of the picture, just stay in and wait for the mayhem to ensue in the street and act all innocent.

  8. Dave Metcalf says:

    Hi Folks,
    I’ve got to say after our meeting the other week, I’m actually more convinced than ever that this was a robbery gone wrong.I was swayed slightly towards the theory of Wallace paying for his wife to be killed, especially in view of the Lilly Hall and Greenlees sightings.But the more I think about it, and after listening to the comments by certain people, I now believe that Wallace paying for his wife to be killed is very, very unlikely.If the person who spoke to Greenlees truly had anything at all to do with this murder, why on earth would he attract unnecessary attention to himself by asking questions about non-existent house numbers? Surely he’d be looking to get out of the neighbourhood as quickly and quietly as possible, and with the minimum of fuss? Asking a question like that is not only likely to be remembered by someone when the police commence door to door enquiries, but also when they ask people to come forward if they saw or heard anything suspicious.And on top of this, it also enables Greenlees or anyone else to provide the police with a description.So why would anyone involved in this murder, particularly if they were the actual killer themselves, run such a stupid risk? Had this man emerged from the bottom of Letchworth Street, and just walked down Richmond Park in a perfectly normal manner without saying a word to Greenlees, then I doubt Greenlees would even have come forward.
    There are a couple of other things that convince me that Wallace did not pay to have his wife murdered.Firstly, how costly would this have been for Wallace financially …extremely costly, I should imagine!! Yet apparently, there was no evidence whatsoever of large, sudden withdrawals of cash from Wallace’s bank account.Secondly, as Theo pointed out at our meeting, would a hired killer seriously want to discuss the murder in full view, and in a location that was only about 50 yards from the back of Wallace’s house?….Again, it just appears incredibly unlikely.If this man Greenlees and Hall saw WAS a paid killer, then surely he’d have picked a far more discreet location to discuss the situation with Wallace.The third reason I find it so unlikely is that as Theo also pointed out, ordinary people hiring hitmen to kill someone on their behalf was an incredibly rare thing back then…and probably still is, when you think about it.No,I think the man, or more likely men that Hall and Greenlees saw had nothing to do with the murder.And I say men, because I think it’s possible they both saw a different man, and that neither of the men Hall saw was Wallace.
    So anyway, I’m definitely sticking with my robbery gone wrong theory!! Hopefully some people on here will give their own opinions, which is great for the debate.Be nice to hear from Mike again especially, I always enjoy chatting with him about the case.

    Cheers everyone….Dave.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      I don’t think you can really go by woulds or shoulds. It’s kind of a fiction writer’s M.O. where they would have been trying to write a clever riddle into a book, which their protag can solve with a dramatic dialogue at the end as they challenge each person in the room. I know Rod and actually a few people on forums idolise Sherlock Holmes but that is fiction isn’t it lol.

      There’s a lot in it regarding timing. Witness statements. And also largely the state of the locks.

      Remember it begins with the two thumps at 8.25 to 8.30 reported by Mrs. Johnston. The attacker is then still in the home and at the parlor. Next are the sightings of the strange individual… Keep in mind, that around this same time, shortly after 8.25 to 8.30, the attacker has left by the back door (NOT the front, remember the bolt), and hence most probably out onto Richmond Park where the sightings took place. Right? But nobody seems to have seen any other suspicious character at this time (nor did the peculiar man, who did not come forward to identify himself or discuss any bizarre sightings while he was loitering up and down Richmond Park looking for fictitious 54 – though understandable).

      Now, Wallace is also getting home around this time, and taking the route that leads out from the little church entry. This is where Lily claims to have seen him. Please check the witness statements, she correctly described the exact outfit he had been wearing that night.

      After this there are the locks where the key failed to turn in the front door. This is extremely bizarre and coincidental as the mechanism is independent of the bolt. I considered that only a key on the interior would possibly prevent the key from turning at all (but even that may not be the case). If there’s a key on the inside which would potentially explain this key failure, someone was indeed inside the house as far as I can tell, but if anyone who REALLY knows locks can advise further that would be great. I tried to hire a locksmith but Antony did it for me and apparently this is inexplicable and I took that word for it…

      Anyway, so failing the front Wallace goes to the back, the door won’t open. He goes back to the front, the key turns but the bolt is on. The problem is, while Wallace is doing this, now is when the Johnstons are in the back of their home, and they come out of their house. They don’t hear or see anything. This would be the time the killer opened the back door and left (closing it behind him gentle despite panic, because no sound of slamming). This is why I figure the Johnstons as good suspects also, because the attacker would have left at a time they ought to have seen him or heard something if he was still in the house as the front door key (and to some extent the back door failure) suggests.

      Please also see the locksmith’s witness testimony regarding the lock.

  9. Josh Levin says:

    Thats great Dave that you all get together and that you can be so easily swayed by Rod Stringer who’s heavily on the spectrum and has a creepy obsession with the case. The guy is a tinfoil wearing loser that has been kicked off politic sites for the most insane conspiracy theory nonsense. He’s at about make a wish level of functioning.

    Ged you absolutely are trynna catch people out who are you kidding? This is about the 10th challenge in a row you’ve given. It’s a joke…Jesus…

    Not to say the Parry with unknown accomplice theory is a bad one. It isn’t, and as first posited by Hussey in 1972 it is a good one. I just happen to currently think Wallace conspiracy is better atm. I would welcome back and forth good faith debates over this. Not random “I just totally changed my mind and tone with no new info” because some inbred pariah bought me a pint of cheap beer at the local pub and made me listen to his spiel.

    Hard to compete with your guys “little get togethers” though…Chrissakes…

  10. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi David,

    I agree that the “paid killer” option can almost be eliminated as a possibility. Such people cannot be found in the Yellow Pages, and enquiry would be risky. Wallace was a skinflint but he could have waited until his cash box contained a good chunk of the Pru’s cash for the “robbery.” He didn’t.

    As for Mr Greenleese, his encounter with the stranger would be unremarkable at any other time. A simple enquiry from a stranger to the district which happened to be on the murder night. As you say, why would a killer making his escape pause to chat to a local man about a bogus address?

    As for the robbery gone wrong, I have my doubts. Chief among them is the robbery taking place with a householder present with consequent risk of discovery in the act.

    Assuming the robber(s) knew Wallace’s routine and the location of the box, the actual removal of the cash would take say 2-3 minutes, if that. Having got Wallace out of the way the robber(s) could lure Julia out of the house via the back door by claiming Wallace had collapsed in Breck Road and was asking for her. As Julia rushes to get her coat from the hall stand a robber sneaks into the dining kitchen and waits until she leaves with his accomplice.…..

    Although the official “paying in day” was Wednesday, Wallace usually paid his accumulated cash to the Prudential on Thursdays. So during Wednesday Julia would be alone in the house with the cash and could be lured away with a similar tale while Wallace was on his rounds. No need for Qualtrough at all!

    I make no claim to be a criminal genius so if I can come up with these far less risky ways to pull it off I’m sure the robber(s) could as well.

    In comparison to these simple strategies the Qualtrough ruse is over-elaborate and full of potential failure points, any of which could abort the plan at a stroke. Far too risky and for what? An unknown amount of money.

    In my view Julia Wallace was a refined lady (warercolours/music) who had been brought down in the world by marrying Wallace, a conceited plodder. She had left the clean air of Harrogate behind and now lived in an Anfield back street wearing shabby clothes and in her quiet way she let Wallace know it. Drip, drip, drip. Finally Wallace knowing his days were numbered after his visit to Dr Curwen in December decided to put an end to it and secure a period of peace before he died.
    Best regards,

  11. GED says:

    Hi CJ and Josh. Nice to hear from you both. I honestly have no agenda with or against anyone. I haven’t put 10 challenges to your site, I think I asked for the source on 3 things having read the whole site of yours which is brilliant by the way in case i’ve not mentioned it before. 😉
    I don’t fully agree with Rod’s outcome of Julia finding the robbery taking place out in the middle kitchen yet somehow finding her way or dragged back into the parlour and into the fire and nor do I agree that Wallace did it as he could have made it so much easier for himself if he’d planned it. As for the Johnston’s, they’d been in the house before so fingerprints (none of theirs was found) would have been quite acceptable anyway and where was the blood on Johnston in the alley way (He couldn’t have known Wallace wouldn’t spot any and McFall and others have said he would have been soaked. We know Parry lied about the phone call night so that somewhere puts him in the frame as at least the phone caller. I am currently compiling a list none agenda whys and why nots which is why I was quite innocently asking for the sources of some of the writings on here that’s all Josh. Yes we are lucky to all live within a near enough distance to just have a little meet up now and then. There would have been more of us but for the fact it’s difficult to get so many together all at once with other things that need doing. Keep up the good work.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Please check:

      In regards to blood spray. That individual specializes in blood specifically.

      Of course feel absolutely free to challenge anything to any degree. I just am not as up on thr case anymore since I felt I have done all the things I can for the case, so I don’t have everything at the front of my mind like I did before. Minus an actual analysis written down by the locksmith Antony M Brown spoke to, which would help which I would like to add here.

      I linked the entire Goodman files on the FB group I was hoping someone would go through those. Lots of unseen testimony in there.

      I’m pretty content with the critical timelines (milk boy element, and from the Johnston thuds until body discovery) and also the reconstruction of the actual crime itself.

  12. Josh Levin says:

    Ged, I meant on the fb group as well but I accept what you are saying. There is a long history with Rod as I’m sure Mark R told you. Nothing personal against you but it was just surprising to see him there all of a sudden under a fake name and at the pub get together.

    He has an insidious style of posting and arguing that has basically shut down 3 or 4 threads and forums eventually. I have a friend from an old forum of the case who refuses to interwcr with Rod and discuss anything with him because of how he acts. You might have a different opinion having met him in person. Maybe he was on his meds that day…

    Anyways back to the case, I’m discussing it with Antony Brown and we are debating the Parry Accomplice and Wallace Parry and Marsden conspiracy theory. These are the 2 we both feel are most likely. For me the elements that go unexplained in the Parry Accomplice theory currently outweigh the problems with Wallace Conspiracy so thats why I lean to Wallace Conspiracy.

    There are about 5 or 6 theories on the case broadly speaking that run the gamut and cover virtually every permutation. All seem to have problems yet 1 has to be right.

  13. GED says:

    RMQ/CJ. Thanks for uploading those Goodman files and your work is not unappreciated as the more that can be out there on this the better of course and you wouldn’t expect to be finding anything new this far down the line so I will go through them. Regarding how much blood spatter on the killer: There is of course yet another it could have been this or equally it could have been that as to how much he got on him but surely Wallace couldn’t know a little spot on him somewhere he couldn’t see wouldn’t be picked up upon a full examination which he’d surely expect to be imminent. I didn’t know who Rod was when he joined as Theo so when he turned up at the meet up that the rest of us had done before it was just another enthusiast as far as I knew until I recognised the name from the old Yo Liverpool forum on the case. Mark R on that YoLiverpool forum has Wallace as innocent by the way, unlike his book. Regarding the meet ups, these are open to anyway and we don’t just talk about the case although and especially when new members turn up, it covers the lions share of the night. Where are you two based and how did you get interested in the case and you have both put a lot of work into it obviously.
    JOSH. I haven’t spoken to Mark for a good while and I only knew of the Rod connection recently like i’ve mentioned above. There are all manner of pseudonyms like on the casebook forum Herlock Sholmes / Wallace whacked her etc who somebody had a run in with over allegedly using their material or something, might even have been CJ or you, can’t remember now. Anyway, yes you are right in that 1 of those permutations must be correct – unless it’s just Parry having got in with the one of the recent Anfield Housebreakers or of course Q was William Denison and Murder was never in Parry’s thoughts – but he knew who did it.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Josh is in New York, I’m North London. I was under the impression from Gannon’s book that Marsden matches the descriptions. I just went through all the statements again and I don’t find evidence for this claim. It may well be someone other than Marsden, which makes it a better plan to be using the call alias etc. Especially since Marsden was fired for stealing from the Prudential, so a good suspect to set up. Especially if Parry did know him to know he was bedbound with flu in the days prior and thus wouldn’t have any alibi.

      However, the timeline is sound from the sound of thuds at 8.25 to 8.30. Then both Greenlees and Hall see the St Margaret’s church clock time as 8.35. Aggressive (“accosted” Greenlees) stocky man in a hat asking fake addresses just 5 to 10 minutes after parlour thuds, asking in the adjacent street in the direction the attacker fled (front door bolted). Also accurate to the sort of time Wallace arrives back. Sighting of Wallace is at the entry Wallace used on his way back and the description of what he was wearing is accurate and matches other witness testimony of his clothing.

      Key fail not affected by the door bolt on the front. Key turns on second visit to the front. This is when the attacker would be leaving out the back then (if Wallace was honest) but Johnstons are out back at this time and did not hear anything at all. Door shut behind the attacker.

      It is difficult to contend with.

      Your Denison may be a good pick. Parry ensured an alibi by the family.

  14. GED says:

    I just don’t think the murderer or even a robber would be loitering around the district, asking questions, especially dodgy ones about an address that doesn’t exists and striking up a conversation with the planner of the attack 9If it’s Wallace), they’d have to be mad. Remember that one said a felt hat (trilby) and the other a cap (about the stocky man)
    Didn’t the judge direct the jury to lay the Lily Hall siting to one side, she even said it was 9.15 during questioning and when Justice Wright said 9.15 she said yes. Obviously confused. The 2 men running down Hanwell st by Ann Parsons and 2 others around 8.15 is more likelier a scenario. But still I have a (sort of) open mind if I can be convinced. If Parry did call on William Denison and he was out so he went to Brines, perhaps he was there then they went to Wolverton st, Brine isn’t going to say anything is she (in fact she said the bare minimum on her statement as did Harold Denison) and why did Parry never mention that’s where he really was for 3 hours to Goodman and Egan (whilst the case notes were still under lock and key) He could have just shut any investigative journalist up with saying he was at Brines if it were true.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      A trilby is only one type of hat. By cap, in those days I doubt it was a baseball cap, it will be something like this:

      Lily was clearly quite nervous on the stand. It’s important that she gave the same description of Wallace’s outfit that night that other witnesses who he had spoken to had given. Wallace is weird looking, stands out, hard to mistake him for other people. Just see pictures of him after appeal etc around other people.

      Anne Parsons mentioned 2 people running up the street nearby. There’s not much in that alone. On the other hand the man Greenlees saw did ask for a fake address in the adjoining street minutes after the thuds from the parlour and that alone, even in isolation, is suggestive due to not only the coincidence of requesting a fake address (where did he get “54 Richmond” given to him even) but also the timing… So that even if Lily Hall’s sighting is inaccurate, that man is VERY suspicious.

  15. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi JED,
    I heartily agree that Parry had many opportunities to clear any suspicion lingering about him by giving his Brine alibi especially to Wallace who accused him face to face of being the killer according to both Wallace’s diary and Parry’s magazine article “Wallace accused me!” Also his not mentioning it to Lily Lloyd around 9 pm on the murder evening just after spending 3 hours at the Brine house! It could be sinister but I think he didn’t want folks digging around and discovering “the other woman” even years later when after all, by then he was home and dry.

    Mark Russell’s opinion on the Yo Liverpool forum, that Wallace was innocent, must have been some years ago during the writing of “Checkmate” as he pondered the various possibilities. As you say, his book strongly supports Wallace’s guilt.

    As I see it, the weak link in any Wallace/Parry/Marsden conspiracy is the question of payment. Apart from the risk of petty criminals (P and M) gaining kudos with the police by reporting Wallace’s proposal, Wallace would have ensured that a full weekly or monthly collection preceded the murder leaving a stack of cash in his box as payment. This could be £100 or more (£~8,000 in today’s money). He did no such thing so how were these co-conspirators to be paid?

    Just a few random thoughts,



  16. GED says:

    RMQ. What I was getting at by felt hat vs cap is that they are both quite different.

    I do think Lily Hall should have been pressed more on her 9.20 ‘mistake’ whilst on the stand, certainly by the defence. She also claimed she didn’t give the statement to the police for so long because she was ill then said she only got ill on the thursday, two days afterwards. There’s nothing like striking while the iron is hot as she was clearly confused as time went on.

    As for the false Richmond Park address man. I still can’t see why anyone involved in this murder wouldn’t be making a hasty getaway. Perhaps if no murder happened this night, someone asking for that address which didn’t exist would be quickly forgotten as someone who wrote down the wrong address (again 😉 )

    Mike. I totally agree with everything you say. The very short Brine/ Denison statements (None off Phyliss Plant or Savona Brine) or asked about what they did or discussed in all that time. I don’t trust it one bit.

    Clearly the police were inventing things such as the 18 mis statements of ‘fact’ at the comital proceedings and the witholding of evidence from the defence throughout. They even had Wallace going to Crewe’s house 3 days a week at one point due to Crewe’s ‘illness’ which was news to him, resulting in him having to say no he didn’t, I ‘ve not been ill a day in my life. Then Metcalf, Wright and Jones saying Close told them all separately it was 7.45 (which fitted in with their own reckoned timings) and had this changed by the police and then Parkes statement poo pooed.

    I’ve ran all this by people I know in their 20s and 30s who’ve never heard of this case and they all say what’s the great mystery? Parry clearly had a hand in it and Wallace didn’t.

  17. GED says:

    I don’t think Lily Hall is lying, why would she. I don’t go with one theory of her knowing the Johnston’s who were the culprits so pointed the finger at Wallace – too far fetched. I think she is probably mistaken. Ask yourself why would Wallace lie about this, he’s done nothing wrong to be talking to someone on his way back to Wolverton st whether he’s the murderer or not. In fact doesn’t it help his alibi, yet another person seeing him out and confirming the time that he arrived home. It’s funny how one minute he’s being berated for overdoing the being seen and then when he is seen which could help his case he says it isn’t him 🙂 If he knows he was seen talking to someone on the way back home he knows he would have to declare it. He could say it was someone trying to sell neck ties or asking for directions to the pub or cinema – anything (there were salesmen in the Wolverton st that day wasn’t there, though he possibly wouldn’t know about that)

    His visits to Crewe were mainly in 1929 weren’t they, i’ll check. He would alight the tram at Allerton Road not Menlove Avenue. Like i’ve said before i’ve attended football matches at Everton hundreds of times and at Anfield many times but I could not profess to know many of side streets in and around the grounds so would I be told I should know.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Her first statement describes the outfit Wallace had been wearing which was a perfect match. She also gave the later timing I thought you rejected. Wallace looks like Nosferatu compared to everyone else he is pictured with, the opposite of “generic”, he towers above everyone with distinctive Crippen-esque facial features and big Harry Potter glasses. You would have a hard time mistaking him for someone else.

      For sure if he had spoken to the man who killed his wife he would not admit he had spoken to such a person. Perhaps also the reason for the door knocking, as it helped give the guy a headstart to get away if they had just spoken beside the entry.

  18. GED says:

    Then it still begs the question as to why he would deny talking to anyone. If she saw him then he saw her and who else maybe peering through the net curtains. Wallace, a creature of habit wore practically the same outfit of sorts every day, possibly only a different type of overcoat. I think that both 1) He’d have to be mad not to declare he was talking to someone if he was – and he could easily pass this person off as a stranger asking for anything and 2) Even madder to be hanging around the neighbourhood with the possible murderer or his accomplice. I’d put far more emphasis on the 2 men seen racing down Hanwell st (seen by 3 people) whose statements don’t seem to be in the police files anymore.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      He wouldn’t include details of a man he had spoken to if he knew the man was the killer of his wife.

      • Philip Skalla says:

        Can you please help?

        I first posted a comment on this website on January 11, 2021 in the thread

        and received replies from you and at least one other contributor, who had tried unsuccessfully to get the authorities to look at the possibility of lifting the grid down which it has been suspected that the murder weapon was thrown.

        I cannot find that correspondence.

        I get no result when using that address, nor when typing ‘grid’ nor ‘Bogle’ in the search engine.

        I would appreciate it if you could help me navigate my way to that thread.

  19. Michael Fitton says:

    And why would the killer hang around and strike at ~8.15 pm when the two thumps were heard by Mrs Johnston? Wallace left No 29 at ~6.45pm so he had been away for an hour and a half and might be back at any time. The killer had no way of knowing how long Wallace would spend on his fruitless search of Menlove Gardens.
    Lily Hall’s sighting of Wallace talking to a stranger may have been Wallace talking with Mr Caird on their way home from the chess club on the previous evening. Her statement came late and she seems to be very confused so is this a possibility?

  20. Josh Levin says:

    Mike I’m sorry not sure I follow, your points about a killer not wanting to hang around…the risk of Wallace coming back unexpectedly etc only apply if the killer isn’t working with Wallace.

    But we think he was. You think he wasnt

    So seems a bit circular, no?

    In fact one could say perhaps you are making our point for us?

    As far as Lily she described what Wallace was wearing and the location and physical description is similar to Greenlees description from right then that night of the man. We don’t know if it matches Caird or not. Odds seem overwhelming it was on January 20th…

  21. GED says:

    RMQ/Josh. Wallace wouldn’t have to include details of the man he was talking to even if he knew he was the killer of his wife. Let’s supposing for some mad reason Wallace is seen talking to the killer whom he has used to kill his wife. Wallace sees Lily Hall coming along, surely Wallace says to the killer, here’s someone, let’s go, you go that way i’ll go this, not wait right up until she can identify him, they would be on red alert. Once seen, he knows she may come forward to identify him so he has to then volunteer the information that just before trying to get into his home he was stopped by a stranger at the top of the entry asking for directions to Windermere st (insert own street locally) so I told him to go that way, I didn’t take much notice of what he looked like, why would I, he spoke with a Liverpool accent and was smaller than me (as were most) – Job done.

    The problems I have with Wallace being in collusion with somebody else are:
    Finding someone he could trust not to go straight to the police or play along with it with the police watching. Outright rejection of the idea, then await the knock at the door from the police. Payment – There was no suspicious inactivity on his bank account. Why not wait until the monthly premiums were in the cash box and there’s the accomplice’s payment. Say the accomplice is somehow caught and then spills the beans. Motive? Actions after murder – He carried on his usual diary entries – missing Julia etc, there was the double jeopardy law, he could have made a deathbed confession boasting about how he got away with the perfect murder – after all, many have him down at the master chess player – three steps ahead of those who think they are above him.

    On another note CJ/Josh. I cannot find the link to those other articles you wanted me to look through, I think you may have posted them on the facebook page?

    And also, I am very interested how you both got into this case as you have obviously put a lot of good effort and work into it.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Those aren’t objections really lol. Those are kinda weak explanations. The Johnston thuds need to be studied moreso and then the timeline from then forward.

      I don’t remember mentioning articles, was that me mentioning the Goodman files? If so I posted them on the Facebook group indeed, when I first joined-ish I think?

      I know the case via Josh and I know that he studied it in school or something. Josh used to link me to Casebook posts with Rod, Banks and such (and also used to link to Rod’s political posts where Rod was denying the holocaust lmao)… actually mentioned the case and the posters a lot before I actually bothered to take an interest.

      I put up all the research here because I’m in London area, so it was actually feasible for me to go to Kew Gardens etc which I did.

  22. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi Josh,
    Yes, you are right in that the risk of Wallace’s early return to No 29 applies only if he (W) wasn’t in league with the killer. The two main reasons why I believe it wasn’t a hired hit man who did it are:
    1. the extreme risk and difficulty of finding someone willing to do it.
    2. Payment. Skinflint Wallace would have ensured there was a good amount of the Pru’s cash in that box before giving the go-ahead. He didn’t.

    The testimony of Lily Hall at the trial was so confused that the Judge advised the jury to lay it aside. However I do think she saw Wallace at some point but I wouldn’t bet the ranch on it being the 20th January. As GED has stated, why would Wallace deny speaking briefly to anyone on his way home; any excuse would serve.

    Finally, I think there is a risk of our making too much of these “two thumps” heard by Florence Johnston around 8.15 pm. She thought these sounds came from an elderly relative in her parlour taking off his boots. As a long term neighbour of the Wallaces it is likely she was able to distinguish familiar sounds from next door (e.g Wallace’s usual knock at the door) from sounds within her own home (boots falling on the floor). Mrs Johnston thought no more about the “two thumps” until the murder was revealed.


  23. Josh Levin says:

    Yes, Rod is a conspiracy nut unfortunately lol. He has been kicked off many sites. He thinks the holocaust never happened (and lectured a woman who had relatives who died in it telling her shes delusional), and other tin foil nonsense.

    the crazy thing is im not PC myself, not liberal by any stretch of the imagination, more on the liberatarian/right of center side but Rod accused me of being a liberal on casebook LOL. He is like some insane asperger guy with weird theories.

    The Wallace case theory he has is not bad but it is just a rip off of Hussey so what new does it bring to the table? As I have said it is a decent backwards rationalization but IMO cant explain what looks like assasination, Wallace’s weird behavior, and Lily Hall siting.

  24. Michael Fitton says:

    If we study the map of the Wolverton Street area we can see that Lily Hall’s sighting of Wallace talking to another man corresponds precisely with the point at which Wallace parted with Mr Caird after their chess evening (19 Jan). At the trial Miss Hall was asked by Roland Oliver when she had seen these two men and she replied “The 19 January.” He queried this answer by saying “The Monday?” Ms Hall replied “No, the Tuesday.” This was the start of a confused testimony which the judge advised the jury to ignore, quite rightly in my view.

  25. Josh Levin says:

    Her sighting matches Greenlees siting. Clearly it was the 20th.

    As the infamous Mark R would say “but it wasn’t the 19th”

  26. David Metcalf says:

    Hi Mike….hope it’s all good with you.Not been on here for a few weeks, but just decided to have a browse!! I think you make a very valid point about Lilly Hall’s sighting of Wallace when you say that that’s roughly the same spot that Wallace and Caird might have been loitering at the previous evening on their return from the Chess Club.Very interesting.As for the Greenlees sighting? That is strange, and does appear to back up what Lilly Hall said.But for the life of me, I just can’t see why someone involved in a murder would run such a stupid risk of drawing unnecessary attention to himself by asking for a house number on Richmond Park that didn’t exist!! Why would he do that? That would be something odd that’s likely to be remembered by Greenlees when the police begin making enquiries.Not only that, but this man must have been standing very close to Greenlees when he asked where number 54 was, so he’s also allowing him to see what he looks like, meaning Greenlees can give his description of him to the police.If you’d just been involved in a murder, would you do such a crazy, risky thing? No doubt what Greenlees saw and said happened definitely did happen, but does this automatically mean he was involved? I’m far from convinced!!
    Anyway Mike, thanks again for your observation about Wallace and Caird!!


  27. GED says:

    I thought Wallace and Caird only left the chess club after 10pm on the Monday?
    The stocky man if the killer would be hyped and full of blood (soaked in it according to McFall) and he certainly wouldn’t be hanging around. Lily Hall gave a good description but was hazy about the date and the time at the trial but I think so much time had passed by then that her original details need to be the ones used. However the trial details were rendered pretty useless. Wallace would have no reason not to say oh yes, a man asked me the time or for directions – that’s no skin off his nose. I think it’s all a bit of a side issue. what is important is the timings.
    Alan Close – 6.38 ish
    Wallace must leave no later than 6.50 ish
    On the 2nd tram at 7.06
    Meets the Johnston’s at 8.45
    Anything in between doesn’t allow him to be the murderer really but he could still have set it up regarding of Lily Hall’s sighting but why, how and who?

  28. Michael Fitton says:

    Lily Hall’s report of sighting the two men is so full of inconsistencies and confusion that instead of homing in on her unreliable details a helicopter view is preferred. As GED says, Wallace and Caird left the Chess Club much later than Miss Hall’s reported sighting of the two men. Also Mr Caird and Lily Hall were near neighbours on Letchworth Street so she would have recognised him as well as Wallace, even though he (Mr X) had his back to her. These facts alone would appear to destroy the Wallace + Caird solution.

    But from Lily Hall’s confused and changing account of times and dates we don’t know precisely the where? and the when? of this encounter. She may even be a publicity-seeker who didn’t see the two men at all! However, assuming that she did I think Wallace + Caird should remain on the table as a possibility among others.

    Incidentally, I completely agree that the Hall sighting is an unimportant distraction from the main narrative of the case.

  29. Michael Fitton says:

    As regards the Greenlees encounter I find it incredible on several points:
    1. The stranger is in Richmond Park searching for No 54 which doesn’t exist on the same night as Wallace allegedly searched for 25 Menlove Gardens East which also didn’t exist. Wallace’s search had been widely reported in the press by the time Mr Greenlees made his statement.
    2. The stranger didn’t give the name of the occupant of No 54 to see if Mr G recognised the name.
    3. What was the stranger’s response to being told No 54 didn’t exist? Mr G doesn’t tell us.
    4. Even if it happened as described, and I doubt it, it is a completely innocuous encounter; killers don’t hang around drawing attention to themselves.

    Truth or fiction, it is irrelevant in my view to the Wallace case.

  30. GED says:

    Good points Michael. It’s almost as bizarre as the bloke who pestered the authorities claiming to have seen Wallace and Amy on Scotland road (he was absolutely convinced) or the number of people who actually admitted to the murder.

  31. Michael Fitton says:

    Many of those who believed Wallace to be guilty at the time had met him, conversed with him or were his professional associates at the Pru. Although opinion was divided, many of his clients believed in his guilt and they subsequently snubbed him. He lunched alone in Cottle’s cafe, abandoned by most of his Prudential colleagues.
    The Liverpool jury were not impressed by his cool calm demeanour at his trial. It was as if he was a spectator at someone else’s trial.
    Wallace bore a superficial resemblance to H H Crippen: the pseudo-scientific background (Crippen being a homeopathic “doctor”), the wire-framed glasses, the mild-mannered personality, the claimed innocence and the supposedly fault-free marriage. I wonder whether the Liverpool jury were influenced by this similarity.
    I too find it curious that there does not seem to have been a widespread belief at the time among those who knew him that Parry was to blame. Parry only took centre stage after J Goodman’s book was published even though he wasn’t named in it. The statements by Mrs Brine and the boy Dennison are indeed suspiciously brief and almost identical but this may be because the police were satisfied they were true and they just needed a signed statement for the files. I can’t believe that the Parkes story was hermetically sealed within the Parkes/Atkinson circle. It must have spread like wildfire and become known to the police quite quickly. In spite of this it was dismissed and Parry cleared.
    In conclusion, those who had met Wallace largely believed him guilty, whereas Parry’s potential guilty involvement only gains traction some decades later when his subsequent crimes are used to bolster the case against him by authors who, Goodman being the exception, never met him.

  32. GED says:

    Well it’s a good job we didn’t hang people on their looks alone then isn’t it. His looks did go against him and it is said people on buses reading the Echo were saying yes, look at him, he did it alright and words to that effect. In fact with reporting restrictions not in place back then and the jury coming from the wider area, it is no surprise that joe public had their minds already made up despite no evidence able to convict him and luckily, that’s what we go on.

    Before the case there was easily as many, if not most people on his side. Never before, or since as far as I know has Liverpool Cathedral said Holy Prayers on behalf of somebody in the condemned cell. His Pru colleagues were right with him and voted him innocent in a mock trial no less, resulting in his defence being paid for.

    Some of his clients testified in his defence that he was normal during his rounds that day, even calling in for a chat and a cuppa with one.

    Regarding his demeanour, Flo Sharp testified that W did weep uncontrollably but seemed to try to pull himself together in the presence of people including the police, maybe his stoic influences and the feeling of being weak and unmanly to show ones feelings as was often the case in my own father’s generation.

    If Parkes was not believed by the police and it was only W’s own account that it could well have been Parry, then according to P himself, the police went through very tough measures regarding his clothing and car so it’s not true to say P was never in the frame.

    • Michael Fitton says:

      I didn’t mean to suggest that Parry was never in the frame. Wallace’s suspicions of him were given to the police on Thursday 22 January as one of many people Julia would have admitted to the house. The police checked him out as you say GED (clothing / car etc.) and obtained his alibi from Mrs Brine and H Dennison. This satisfied the police and their investigation of Parry was over. Only Wallace, in spite of this, continued to maintain that Parry had done it. My point is that he does not seem, at the time, to have convinced anyone else. No group gathers around Wallace in the post-appeal period to insist that Parry be re-investigated. Wallace soldiered on alone giving his suspicions an airing in various articles in the press but without naming Parry. Why didn’t Wallace himself, knowing he didn’t have much time left, initiate an investigation with a private detective agency? He now had money from settlement of various libel actions but he did absolutely nothing. Was he afraid or did he know that a new investigation would confirm Parry’s innocence beyond any doubt?

  33. Ged says:

    Hi Michael, or of course there is the theory that influences such as the Parry Family standing in Liverpool at the time might we have ‘satisfied’ the Police of his innocence.

    Are we forgetting how high up his father and uncle were in the Liverpool scene, we hear enough about eg. Joe Anderson ex Liverpool city council leader taking ‘brown envelopes’ to give certain housing developers lucrative contracts and his sons firm a contract regarding the expensive demolition of the flyovers.

    In central government, Boris Johnson giving PPE contracts to companies who had Tory MPs as directors etc – all shady, as yet unproved stuff. Could this have gone on back in January 1931.

    Hubert Moore’s PA being a Parry. Ada Cook/Pritchard recounting the conversation between her parents and the Parry’s. Parry suddenly getting out of the city to Aldershot and joining the Army – and yet still up to his capers down there. Then afterwards hiding himself away in the middle of nowhere in North Wales.

    Parry himself doesn’t help his cause by winding JG and RWE up in London in 1966. ‘I could tell you a lot more about the W case if I chose to’ Why did his Father say not for £2000 should you elaborate on the case to anyone.

    W apparently installed lighting to protect himself afterwards and it is known and reported by both W and P that they had an encounter afterwards where W accused him. A guilty W who had got off with the case needn’t do this with the double jeopardy law on his side. Parry also kept up to date with the state of play on the characters in this story, even on the death of W’s nephew Edwin which was not widely reported.

    There are plenty of current murder cases where due to technicalities, a suspected person or persons do not have the case taken any further against them and yet the victims family does not seek a private investigator to close the case, so W not doing this, does not to me mean he is guilty.

    If W was guilty and having already fingered Parry, he had run a very real risk of all his eggs in one basket if Parry had a watertight alibi such as being in another city or hospital or anything that night. As such, what we do know is from the evidence provided. W had money as did Julia. They had a reasonably loving relationship based on his diaries, musical evenings and those that knew them best such as Crewe, Amy and the Johnston’s. Parry had motives and the means including the use of a car which he was out and about in locally that night.

  34. ged says:

    I would further add that there is no doubt that Hubert Moore was under pressure to solve and close this case, the most high profile in decades and certainly since the 50% new police force uptake since the 1919 strike dismissals.

    Moore had it pretty much sewn up on the usual premise that with murdered wives it was usually the husband and he was after all the last person to see her alive. Then came the bombshell from Alan Close. Moore’s reaction to his junior officer. ‘The lad must be mistaken about the time, question him. He was then coerced and the testimonies of the other kids backing up Alan’s story of a 6.45pm sighting were ignored and not passed onto the defence to help them, I mean, why would they be, the police were not concerned with the truth here and they were not obligated to pass on that information, they were only interested in a conviction to close the case and get a gold star.

  35. Ged says:

    Mike. I copied your post to the Julia Wallace Case facebook site and got this reply.

    Someone wrote to Munro fingering Parry.

    Early writer also knew about Parry as the alternative suspect.

    Hargrave Lee Adam (1932) ‘Mr P and another’

    Winifred Duke (1934)

  36. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi GED,
    Yes there was suspicion of Parry in the 1930’s. One writer referred to him as “Harris” which apparently is a derivation of “Parry.” Prior to the appeal there were many who believed Wallace to be innocent – the prayers of intercession at Liverpool cathedral, the Prudential bearing the cost of his defence etc. But , apart from Wallace sounding off in articles etc there does not seem to have been a parallel campaign e.g in the press, especially after the appeal, to insist on a re-investigation of Parry who, far from being shunned as Wallace was, continued on his way through life unmolested. And of course the attitude of the police was “Case closed” : Wallace, a guilty man, had escaped the gallows on a technicality.
    To those who allege a conspiracy to protect Parry, possibly involving Freemasons in the police and local government I would point out that Armstrong and Seddon, both masons, were tried and hanged for murder. No masonic protection for them.
    Parry’s guilt or innocence depends completely on his alibi with Mrs Brine and Co. This could have been confirmed or shown to be false by a re-investigation but it never was.

  37. ged says:

    There was no technicality regarding Wallace’s innocence, it was a total lack of concrete evidence and only circumstantial as in ‘he may have been able to have done it’, it was no more than that. The police could hardly admit incompetence by re-opening the case as unsolved, much better for them to say W was guilty but managed to get off with it. W probably didn’t have the time on his side with health issues and impending death or inclination to take it any further by using the money in any other way than to enjoy his last 22 months on earth.

    Merry Christmas to you Mike and to you too Calum and Josh.

    • Michael Fitton says:

      Hi Ged,
      I think the popular view was that Wallace had his conviction quashed based on a technicality. As you say, the ” technicality” was the lack of sufficient evidence to convict beyond a reasonable doubt!
      I agree that the police position was “We still think he did it” so little help could be expected from that quarter in getting to the truth.
      In view of his fragile health I’m surprised that Wallace didn’t take early retirement and move away from the area where colleagues and ex- clients shunned him. He had only himself to maintain and no dependants. A pity he didn’t use the time to write and publish his own version of the tragedy in detail. That would have been worth reading!

      A Merry Christmas to you too GED and to all contributors to this lively form.


  38. Josh says:

    Merry Christmass Ged and all

  39. Michael Fitton says:

    After the murder there were many of Wallace’s clients who believed him to be guilty. A belief shared by the Liverpool trial jury, and, according to Wallace’s diary, by many of his colleagues at the Pru. He was shunned. This judgement was made by people who either knew Wallace or, in the case of the jury, observed him at close quarters.
    The “Parry did it” view, the Parkes story apart, did not have wide support at the time and has been promoted by authors who never met or knew Parry, J Goodman being the exception. Again, at the time there was no campaign in the Press for Parry to be checked out again after Wallace’s appeal. He seems to have continued his life unmolested. He does not seem to have been shunned and remained as an insurance collector visiting housewives to collect premiums during the day. There does not seem to have been a widespread belief that he had battered Julia Wallace to death.
    There’s no doubt that Parry is superficially attractive as a suspect, hence his longevity in the role. If, via time travel, the people currently supporting his guilt had met him at the time and gained more than the two dimensional picture of him we have today, I think their view might be changed. There’s no doubt he was glib, personable, and a thoroughly “bad lot” but that doesn’t make him a murderer.

  40. Ged says:

    In lots of opinions the trial jury was prejudiced by something that doesn’t happen these day because of that very fact, reporting restrictions which can sway a juror before they even meet the accused, not helped at all by the many many errors during the committal proceedings.

    Parry’s life continuing unmolested is a strange choice of words, it appears he done the molesting 😉 Parry joined the army, it could be said got out of town or was persuaded to get out of town (perhaps by his Father, remember the Ada Cook story) He moved about, never tethered, Aldershot, London, Manchester and surrounding area then North Wales in the middle of nowhere (as even described by the current owners of his former home I visited in the summer)

    There wouldn’t be widespread belief that he battered Julia or anyone as it was never reported nor brought to the general publics notice so why would it. Parry even puts himself in the picture in 1966 with his innuendos and statements but as you say if non of this makes him a murderer then even less of a case makes the upstanding citizen William Herbert Wallace the murderer likewise.

    Happy New Year to to you all.

  41. Ged says:

    ps. I should have added. Nobody I know in particular regarding this case is calling Parry the outright murderer. His scant regard and behaviour towards people and their possessions certainly puts him ahead of Wallace in any case, but he too might only be a bit part player in all of this.

  42. Michael Fitton says:

    I can’t believe that Parkes’s story was hermetically sealed between himself and the Atkinsons and Ken Wallace the local bobbie on the beat. It would have spread quickly and just as quickly was dismissed as a fantasy. It didn’t lead to a widespread belief that Parry was somehow involved. Parry had swindled several people on insurance policies and one might think they would jump on any bandwagon to bring him down but they didn’t.

    This is why I described Parry as leading an unmolested life afterwards. There were no dark suspicions surrounding him which may have got him dismissed from his insurance job. He did move out of Liverpool but there’s no evidence that he was driven out. He moved from place to place over his lifetime but this was his choice with his broken marriage etc and wasn’t related to the Wallace case. He did end up in the middle of nowhere but it wasn’t because the hounds of fifty years ago were baying at his door.

    Wallace himself seems to have been a lone voice in promoting the notion of Parry’s guilt. But no group of like-minded people gathered around Wallace to campaign on his behalf and to prove his innocence by inculpatng Parry.

  43. GED says:

    Luckily, you don’t have to prove innocence, only guilt. Parry kept an unhealthy interest and knowledge of the case, knowing who had died, even Edwin Wallace out in Asia. He talked to JG & RWE of the case, saying there was more he could say but he promised his father not for £2000 etc. Lily lloyd didn’t want to talk about it either. There is the Ada Cook story. There is more to this murder than has obviously ever come out. Character profilers these days would have Parry over Wallace in their minds.

  44. Michael Fitton says:

    Several principals in the case, as you say Ged, chose not to discuss it when approached years later by journalists. This could be for sinister reasons, avoiding self-inculpation etc but it might simply be “Least said, soonest mended” and a belief that anything, no matter how insignificant would only fan the dying flames of the case into a fire once more and attract unwanted attention. These people probably knew more than they ever revealed at the time but whether it was a smoking gun is open to debate.
    I agree that character profilers would place Parry ahead of Wallace in the line of suspects but the statistical preponderance of husbands murdering wives would predominate. I am quite sceptical of character profiles anyway. They would never have picked up Shipman or Christie for example.
    Best regards and a very happy New Year to you for 2024.

  45. Josh Levin says:

    Ged, profiling is nonsense

    • Michael Fitton says:

      I agree that the profiling of certain personality types to identify likely offenders is unreliable and indeed dangerous. We need look no further than the conviction of poor Stefan Kiszko who served 15 years in prison but was then exonerated by DNA which convicted the real offender. Stefan’s problem was that he was the stereotypical image of a sex offender: an overweight bachelor living with his Mum. There are other examples.
      Where profiling can be useful is in predicting whether the offender is local, mapping his zone of operation, checking for evidence of specialised knowledge, etc. This led to the eventual arrest of Colin Pitchfork, and more recently Levi Belfield.
      Character profile would place Parry ahead of Wallace but in 1931 Parry had no record of violence and his crimes (car theft, phone box cash) were opportunistic rather than planned. An objective profile would suggest any number of bad ‘uns currently walking the streets of Liverpool well ahead of either Parry or Wallace.

  46. GED says:

    I never said it wasn’t nonsense, just mentioned how the profilers would see it. I bet though if I listed Parry’s misdemeanours in life against Wallace’s to any 100 everyday people in the street, I know whose character reference would come out on top. Isn’t that a trait that often what employers for instance look to, even magistrates and judges. There was even an instance here when I started working for my current firm. The boss eventually asked if there was anyone at my last place we might look to employ. I quickly dismissed thoughts of certain people from my mind due to how I knew they were, others, including one we took on was a model candidate.

  47. David Metcalf says:

    Hi Everyone,
    Hope you all had a good Christmas and New Year.First time I’ve posted for a while!! The comments on here about Parry are certainly interesting.I’ve said on numerous occasions that I’m convinced that Parry made the telephone call, and that it was his knowledge that was meant to create what he and his accomplices thought would be a straightforward distraction robbery.A criminal master plan it certainly wasn’t!! And I STILL firmly believe this. But at some point in that half hour between 7.30 and 8pm, Julia heard something that alerted her to the robbery, and it led to her death.In fact, you could probably narrow her time of death down to a smaller window than thirty minutes.And it shouldn’t be forgotten that pathologist MacFall initially stated that he believed that death had occurred two hours prior to his arrival at the house…meaning 7.50pm.
    Anyway, I’m digressing slightly here because the question I want to ask is this…just how did Parry ultimately get away with his involvement in the case not being investigated as thoroughly as it should have been? I believe there’s one particular reason for this, and it’s because Chief Inspector Hubert Moore never believed a robbery actually took place.But I think the robbery is the very crux of the case.Yet almost from the outset, Moore dismisses it as a motive.He clearly thinks Wallace faked the robbery himself.Hence his remark about finding it hard to believe a thief would go to the trouble of putting the cash box back where it was after he’d emptied it.Quite why Moore found that so hard to believe I’ve no idea!! But it DOES tend to back up the comment made in John Gannon’s book that Moore was apparently a very capable policeman, but NOT a particularly imaginative detective. As a result, the robbery angle isn’t given anything remotely like the attention it deserves.The entire focus of the investigation concentrates on the murder itself.Which would seem to make sense, but not when when another potential source of evidence and information is pretty much ignored.Just because Parry wasn’t the killer or the thief, doesn’t mean he wasn’t acquainted with the killer and the thief!! But because Moore and his colleagues don’t believe a robbery ever happened, and Parry had his Olivia Brine alibi, he didn’t get scrutinised as deeply as he should have been.And this slack, inefficient policing is obviously a huge stroke of fortune for him.If a senior detective had looked much more closely at all aspects of the robbery, then it’s possible they may have picked up on the fact that Parry was involved in some way.Of course, it’s also possible that some detectives and officers DID think a robbery took place, but were too wary to challenge Moore’s opinion, so stayed silent.Again, if this did happen, it’s a plus for Parry.
    Like Ged, I also think it’s odd just how little time Parry spent in Liverpool after the murder.Indeed, if what we know of his movements are correct, then from 1936/37, he never lived in the city again.From 1932 onwards, he probably spent a maximum of two years at his home address.I also think it’s more than a little odd he joined the army in 1932, even though he never had to.And when he presumably already still had a job with Standard Life Assurance, where he was employed at the time of the murder a year earlier.What made him give that up to join the army? Pressure from his parents maybe? His younger sister had to leave Liverpool University and complete her course in Ireland after the Parry family received hate mail, so maybe his parents DID tell him to get away from the city.Definite shades here of Ada Pritchard claiming his parents were begging her father to get Parry on a ship out of Liverpool very soon after the murder!! Or could it have been the fact that in 1932 a series of articles from Wallace appeared in the press, talking about the case and who he himself suspected of Julia’s murder? Could this refocus of attention back on the case, just as it was probably dying down, have unsettled Parry and his parents, forcing the decision to join the army? Okay, it’s not a ship overseas he’s boarding, but by going to Aldershot he’s still moving over 200 miles from Liverpool…comfortably far enough away from any awkward scenarios.The situation with his sister is also very interesting, proving that there WERE people in the city who thought he’d been involved.The anonymous letter received by Wallace’s solicitor Hector Munro also proves that people suspected Parry.There are several other things about Parry’s behaviour and movements in the decades following 1931 that make me suspicious, not least his conversation with Johnathan Goodman in London in 1966.I could write another lengthy post about that!! But I’ll just close with what Antony Brown says in his revised edition of Move to Murder…”Parry was guarded and evasive about the murder for the rest of his life, suggesting he definitely had something to hide”. I think that sums it up perfectly.
    Basically, a combination of poor policing and good fortune led to him getting away with it.And he knew it…which is why he never spoke about the case, or, far more importantly, never went into detail about his alibi.
    Think I’ll chat about this at our get together tomorrow night!!


    • Michael Fitton says:

      Hi David,
      Always good to read your thoughts on the case even if I can’t agree with your conclusions!
      Far from it being a straightforward distraction robbery (as you put it) the Qualtrough plan was needlessly complex and full of potential failure points which would have negated the whole scheme e.g Wallace not feeling well enough to go traipsing across Liverpool on a Winter’s evening, among many others. Better and more reliable to distract Mrs Wallace during the day when she was at home alone.

      I do agree with your view of Moore’s lack of imagination. If it was a robbery the cash box (empty) would be replaced on the shelf in an attempt to delay discovery of the theft. The coins on the floor and the broken cabinet suggests a noise which may have alerted Julia that something was amiss. The confrontation would then have taken place in the back kitchen/dining room and not, as it did, in the parlour.

      If. for all the reasons you have given, Parry was a prime suspect, the $ 64,000 question is as you say, “Why wasn’t he investigated more thoroughly?” Putting Masonic-style protection aside as unlikely in a murder case, my answer is that he was.
      Just as there is no written record in the files about the many dead ends which were followed up during the investigation there is little mention of Parry other than the statements by Wallace, Parry himself, Mrs Brine, Dennison, and the Lloyds (mother and daughter.) Parry himself said his car and clothing were closely examined.
      It is too easy to explain Parry being cleared by the police as due to their incompetence. In my view his alibis satisfied the police after a much more comprehensive investigation of him than the written record indicates.

      I can fully understand Parry being reluctant to discuss the case in later life. There was nothing in it for him. He didn’t want nosey journalists fanning the dying embers of the case into fire by tracking down Ms Brine who might reveal embarrassing details unrelated to the murder (Phyllis Plant??)

      If suspicion of Parry was as widespread as you suggest I would have expected his employer in the Insurance business, Gresham or Standard, to find an excuse for his dismissal. Unfair I agree but you can’t have the slightest whiff of suspicion attached to a daytime caller on housewives at home.

      Finally I’m intrigued that Parry’s sister was driven to complete her studies in Ireland by the hate mail being received at the Parry manse. Do we have a source for this info as I would like to know more?

      I would also be interested to know how much opinions on the case are divided at your planned get-together.

      Best regards and a Happy New Year,


  48. GED says:

    Good post Dave.

    Today is the 93rd anniversary of course of William’s trip to the chess club and the telephone call. Without that call to add a bit of mystery and intrigue, this just looks like a robbery gone wrong by some random person/s.

    The police made a number of howlers, not least that the caller WAS the murderer and that there definitely wasn’t an attempted robbery. In my mind the burglar stands on something to reach the cash box, possibly the open cupboard door whilst he rifles through the cashbox and so it never comes down in the first place to be put back up. The door snaps off resulting in a thud as both the burglar and the cashbox hit the floor with the coins spilling everywhere. I believe these could even be the thuds heard at the Johnston’s (if it were not Julia’s murder itself) I don’t believe Julia ever made it out of the Parlour because upon hearing the commotion and going to get up to investigate, she was struck there and then where the mac and skirt caught fire in the melee’.

    Let’s just take Parry out of the whole equation for one minute as Mike, Josh and Calum want to. With the Anfield burglar so prevalent and even in this area as we know, why would the police not suspect this could be a motive? If, as we’ve seen evidence on this site through old news cuttings, these burglars get in, lock the front door from inside and where needs must, batter elderly people to within an inch of their life, why couldn’t it be something as simple as this.

    Two things. Either Parry was involved in getting the burglars access to the house through knowing Julia, or Parry, knowing there’s money to be had wanted that money before the Anfield burglars got their grubby little hands on it and thought i’ll have a bit of that and done this with an accomplice, possibly Denison.

  49. GED says:

    Happy New Year Mike

    You say: ”The confrontation would then have taken place in the back kitchen/dining room and not, as it did, in the parlour.” Not if a second person was keeping Julia chatting as his accomplice committed the robbery and caused the noise.

    You say: ”I can fully understand Parry being reluctant to discuss the case in later life. There was nothing in it for him. ” There was though, money. Parry makes mention that once his dad had gone it seems he would not longer keep to his not mentioning anything even for £2000 if the money/payment was done right this time, indicating that he’d felt cheated out of money for talking in the past. Add Lily Lloyd’s obviously knowledge of something or other that she chose to keep schtum on.

    You say: ”If suspicion of Parry was as widespread as you suggest I would have expected his employer in the Insurance business, Gresham or Standard, to find an excuse for his dismissal” We don’t know though do we about how his leaving insurance for an Army career came about?

    Another option in all of this of course is, there was a car and some people acting suspiciously in the street that day, with other neighbours, was it a so called vacuum cleaners salesman or something??

  50. Josh Levin says:

    Hope you guys had fun tonight. Just maybe take it easy on the beers and shepherds pies, pub food can be dangerous. From what I saw looked like some of you could miss a meal or two!

    We want you guys around for the longest time to float out whimsical ideas about the case.

  51. GED says:

    Ha ha Josh you crease me up. What are your ideas about the case, they’ve changed so often on here i’ve lost count.

  52. Michael Fitton says:

    If I had to choose a single piece of evidence which most strongly supports my conviction that Wallace murdered his wife it would have to be the Qualtrough phone call. It is so full of holes that it works only if Wallace was Qualtrough. With anybody else as Mr Q it is a needlessly complex way of ensuring Mrs Wallace was alone in the house in the evening. Why? when it was widely known that she was alone in the house on most days during the daytime.
    It is true that surveillance by a non-Wallace Qualtrough could determine whether Wallace had taken the bait . But no amount of surveillance could guarantee that he would:
    he might have a previous engagement,
    he might check the directory and find the address to be false,
    he might, as a courtesy, contact the Prudential agent who covered Menlove Gardens and be told the address was bogus,
    Julia might be unwell with Wallace not wishing to leave her alone. etc. etc.

    None of these potential deal-breakers apply if Qualtrough was Wallace himself. With Wallace as Qualtrough, the plan was 100% guaranteed as far as the trip to Menlove Gardens East went. With anyone else as Qualtrough it is full of holes.

    I consider it likely that Wallace left the parlour gas fire burning on a low flame to delay cooling of the body and simulate a later time of death. He turned the fire off completely when he “discovered” the body. He was hoping a competent pathologist would attend. In that he was mistaken.

    Just another whimsical idea.

  53. Ged says:

    Hi Michael, it’s not whimsical, it is an opinion and a possibility of course.

    In my eyes, Wallace doesn’t need it to be the Tuesday he is at Menlove, if he is guilty, the robbery isn’t happening anyway so he could kill her on the Monday and go to Chess and there is his alibi. Why does he even need the phone call to be part of his plan? I know you will say to make it look like somebody was getting him out of the way but surely he would have killed her before 6.35 instead of delaying his return home by having a cup of tea at one of his clients where he was acting perfectly normal.
    by arriving home at 6.05 and not leaving the house for his first tram until 6.50/6.55 he is giving himself a very long time to commit the murder which is hardly an alibi at all is it? He isn’t to know Alan Close will put a spanner in the works – unless of course, he’s factored his arrival in.

    Then we have the possibility of him being seen on a busy road, facing a cinema and 2 pubs on a bus/tram route. He could have made the call in town then arrived at the club 10 minutes later.

    Then we have Beattie saying it was definitely not Wallace. The exchange operators saying it was a normal voice – what is normal? – did Wallace have a Lancastrian accent? What about the word Cafay’ – the Police missed a trick here.

    Qualtrough, whoever the caller is, is quite insistent in continually asking if W will be there (at the Chess club that night) W doesn’t have to be quite so insistent as he knows he will be there. If the caller is someone else, he knows within a 1 hour window if W takes the bait, it is a small price to pay for such a big windfall.

    If W is truly this master of such a scheme (that worked, and it did) then I believe he would have thought about covering his tracks a bit more securely. One simple example of this is by simply putting the front door bolt on.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Munro was asked about the accent and it isn’t a factor (in one of the letters he wrote to a curious person asking about the case). I previously looked for the same information for quite a while.

    • Michael Fitton says:

      Hi GED,
      Thanks for your prompt response.
      I agree with you that Wallace could have avoided the Qualtrough ruse by killing Julia on the Monday before creating an alibi of sorts at the chess club. In my view Wallace’s strategy throughout, knowing he would be a prime suspect, was to create witnesses by drawing people in as unwitting supporters of his story:
      He made quite a fuss when getting Mr Beattie’s message, enquiring if anyone knew Qualtrough or Menlove Gardens, not bothered about a business call for himself interrupting several chess games. He continued his queries with Mr Caird on their way home.
      He was at it again the following evening pestering the tram conductors about Menlove Gardens,
      Within 10 minutes of him getting off the tram a local resident in Menlove Gardens told him MG East did not exist but he questioned everyone he met until well past his 7.30 pm appointment with Qualtrough.
      Finally on arriving home he went through the charade of not being able to enter his house. If the Johnstons hadn’t emerged fortuitously he would have gone to them or another neighbour to witness his “discovery” of Julia’s murder.

      If he killed her on the Monday he wouldn’t have Qualtrough as an alternative suspect. I don’t think the Qualtrough plan was to provide him with an alibi . It was to provide witnesses to confirm his normal unruffled demeanor as he went to MGE and his “shock” on discovering the body. An easy pose for a practised Stoic like Wallace.

      When Mr Beattie stated that it would be a great stretch of his imagination to say that it was Wallace on the phone he spoke the literal truth. He would have to imagine that Wallace had morphed from the staid middle-aged serious chess player into a practical joker who, not content with calling himself Qualtrough, was making a business appointment to be given to Mr Wallace (himself) when he arrived to play chess. What conceivable motive would Wallace have for such tomfoolery? Therefore it is no wonder that Beattie gave a firm “No” to the idea that it was Wallace on the phone. It was the circumstances, not the voice, which influenced his verdict.

      Qualtrough was insistent with his asking if Wallace was at the chess club and if he was expected. This was done to reinforce the idea that Qualtrough was someone other than Wallace.

      I don’t think Wallace worried too much about being spotted in the phone box; he didn’t think the call would be traced.

      So yes, he could have killed Julia on the Monday, he could have phoned from a city centre call box, he could have waited until there was a chunk of money his cash box to support his robbery story. But he didn’t. Its easy to see the attraction of these alternatives in retrospect – all it shows is that he wasn’t very imaginative.

      Best regards,


  54. Josh Levin says:

    My opinions have changed because the facts we have unearthed (mainly Calum) and I have changed them. I now think Wallace acted alone as I did in my first post on casebook since the benzidine test has been shown to be rubbish. It is the simplest explanation.

    I find it interesting all 7 of you have the same opinion on the case “more or less” as you said. What are the statistical odds of that? 1 in what? Seems like one person may be imposing his will with his repetitive theories at these get-togethers which is unfortunately compounded by the haziness of beers and 7 pound shepherd pies.

  55. Ged says:

    Good Morning Mike. Put yourself in Wallace’s shoes if he is getting a message like that, in the days of not many private phones. He’s bound to be asking and making enquiries, he didn’t interrupt several chess games either – where?

    In pointing to just Parry and Marsden, he’s leaving himself open to a very small pool of suspects, why go through all the Q charade just to do that and if they have solid alibi’s – just as the police mistakenly thought Parry had – then that’s him done.

    If he was ‘pestering’ the tram staff then why not pester the most important ones, on that first tram. Reason – no need to as he knew that route. The second route – not so sure. I’ve stood at the kerbside as a bus pulls up to ask does this go along County road or Stanley road – it’s just clarification. Upon receiving the answer you either get on or not.

    As for his enquiries up at Menlove. Seven of us it did it, in the pitch black, mid winter, it would have been even darker back then with less lighting. The time he spent up there, the route, the asking isn’t as outlandish as it seems when you walk in his steps, the route becomes plain to see, they are quite long roads too.

    The charade at his front door could have been avoided if he was the murderer. Put the bolt on before you leave, even prise the back window with a crowbar if you want to make it look like the prolific Anfield housebreaker and upon returning make a bloody great noise including shouting Julia through the letterbox and banging on the door instead of light tapping.

    You see, you can’t have Wallace one minute as the master planner of this elaborate Qualtrough call, keeping the fire lit to delay the body cooling etc, and then when it suits, have him as a bumbling idiot with no real plan as to what to say when he can’t get in his own house and depending on the Johnston’s million to one appearance.

    Like i’ve said before, if he didn’t bother with a cuppa on his rounds at Clubmoor he could have been home at 17.45 – giving himself over an hour to commit this murder, wash himself of any blood, listen to Moonlight Sonata in C-sharp minor and leave for the tram in plenty of time including disposing of the weapon but instead we are led to believe he crammed all this into a 15 minute spell then composed himself for the tram staff and witnesses.

    As for the voice, the voice of someone you know is the voice of someone you know regardless of the circumstances. It doesn’t just become not the voice of someone you know. even if any slight doubt, the fact it becomes paramount in a murder enquiry the next day would concentrate the mind to say, d’you know what, that did sound a bit like Wallace now you’re asking me. It didn’t sound like Wallace because it wasn’t him.

    James Murphy in his book, Mark Russell in his book, they spend 9 tenths of the book describing how it can’t be Wallace then somehow inexplicably come to the conclusion it is, all in the last chapter like one of these TV dramas where it all becomes clear in the last 15 minutes of the last episode – with no real substance to it.

    As for my take on it Josh. It has never waivered since my posts on Yo Liverpool or on my site, both of which are over 15 years old.

    • Michael Fitton says:

      Hi Ged,
      Taking your points one by one:
      I agree that Wallace would make enquiries after getting Mr Q’s message. My point is that he quizzed Beattie, McCartney, Deyes, and Caird about MGE but made no attempt the following day to consult a directory or ring the Prudential HQ etc. Even after being told that MGE didn’t exist by a local resident he persisted with his enquiries for another 30 minutes until a policeman told him the same thing. Even this didn’t stop him gathering further witnesses by enquiring at the newsagents.

      The chess games of Beattie, McCartney, and Deyes were interrupted, not by Wallace personally, but by the consequences of Mr Q’s call for which Wallace never apologised.

      Wallace mentioned Parry and Marsden to the police, not knowing if they had alibis. it was a shot in the dark to divert suspicion away from himself.

      I agree that the “locked out” performance could have been avoided in the ways you mention Ged. This falls under the heading of “I would have done it differently” which applies to so many aspects of this case. And in many cases we’re right. It would have been possible and better in retrospect to have avoided the Qualtrough business etc. It just shows that this was not a brilliant water-tight plan whoever the killer was.

      After informing the Johnstons that he couldn’t enter his house Wallace asked them if they had heard anything unusual that evening. Surely an innocent explanation is the first thing to suggest itself. For example, Julia may have absent-mindedly bolted the front door and the rear door lock which had been playing up for ages was again proving difficult.
      To jump immediately to the possibility of something unusual happening, something which generated a sound which the Johnstons may have heard, something which may explain why he was locked out – this is very suspicious.
      Wallace didn’t depend on the Johnston’s leaving home. This was happenstance. He would have sought them out had they not emerged.

      I do not believe that Mr Beattie knew Wallace’s voice “well” as he claimed. I don’t see how he could have. They met only at long intervals at the chess club and face to face interaction is likely to have been little more than an exchange of greetings. Its likely they had never spoken on the phone to each other. By implying that he would have recognised Wallace’s voice had it been him on the phone Beattie is saying he would also be able to identify the voice of any member of the chess club bases on that short conversation. Why should Wallace be any different to the others?
      I don’t believe it.

      I have read both but I am more familiar with Mark Russell’s book than James Murphy’s, I found Mark’s treatment of the case to be balanced. So balanced in fact that I was somewhat surprised that he reached a conclusion at the end. it was only after much thought and analysis on my part that I find myself agreeing with him. It was Wallace.

      Best regards,


  56. Ged says:

    Hi Mike. In ringing the Pru to ask about the Allerton area may have alerted the local agent and therefore he’d lose out on this extra money, he said from the start ‘I’ve got a tongue in my head’. The area was still being built and the new road may not appear in any directory. To spend the time he did up in the MG area is irrelevant if he was guilty, 3 witnesses were enough, most of all Katie Mather who couldn’t deny seeing him, job done. in pinning the murder on another that is ample time – lowering his suspect pool to just 2 in insane. You also didn’t address why he didn’t commit the murder between 6.05 and 6.40? Why leave it all rushed into a 15 minute period at the end when mistakes can happen? The category of ‘I would have done if differently’ doesn’t take away from the fact though that having planned all that elaborate hoax, he would leave something as simple as not being able to explain efficiently how he couldn’t get into his own home when it was the simplest thing of all to explain. This goes the other way in making me think he was just being honest about it. It may surprise you to know that another mystery is that Mark for many years on YoLiverpool said Wallace was innocent. I don’t see what other evidence comes to light in those 15 years to make Josh or Mark flip flop.

    • Michael Fitton says:

      It wouldn’t matter if ringing the Pru alerted the local agent. If contacted directly Wallace was fully entitled to follow up business on another agent’s patch.
      MGE might indeed be too new to appear in any directory in January 1931 but Wallace wouldn’t know this. He had he claimed only a vague idea where MGE was.
      You raise a very good point about Wallace not doing it between 6.05 and 6.40. It is a mystery to me why he left it so late. But all this hinges on Alan Close telling the truth that he saw Ms Wallace alive and well at ~ 6.40. I am tempted to take this is further evidence that AC lied about it as well as (a) denying his “missing link” statement and (b) denying being reluctant to go to the police on the stand. Both (a) and (b) are lies.
      Wallace initially said he thought the killer was still in his home when he first tried the front door. After discovery of the murder this would be his explanation for the doors being “locked” against him if he had to seek a neighbour’s help.

  57. Michael Fitton says:

    In my view Wallace wanted to create the illusion of Julia being killed at around 8.00 pm when he was undeniably in Menlove Gardens. To do this he lingered in the Menlove Gardens area so he would arrive home at ~8.45 and find the doors “locked” against him. He could, as you say Ged, have left MG earlier, discovering the body earlier but he wanted as wide a margin as possible given the approximate nature of “Time of death” estimations even with the best techniques. He had, I suggest, delayed cooling of the body by leaving the gas fire on a low light.
    McFall’s initial estimate was indeed death at ~8.00 pm but this was later changed (why?) to 6.00 pm plus/minus 2 hours.

  58. Ged says:

    Hi Mike. I think you have reached a conclusion then are altering known given evidence to suit it. If you are going to say Alan Close lied, then why not say Parry lied or Parkes is telling the truth to suit?

    The fact is as we know it, Wallace had no time to do the murder and did not even set a scenario where he couldn’t have done it as he had 50 minutes – until Alan Close came forward. Elsie Wright said she waited in the street for Alan and saw him at the door waiting. If he is putting down fresh milk and picking up empties without seeing anyone, what is he waiting for?

    • Michael Fitton says:

      My questioning of Alan Close’s story is not an attempt to bend known facts to fit a pre-conceived theory. Even if he told the truth there would be in my view enough time for Wallace to kill his wife. But Alan had a problem with the truth – lying in court about his reluctance to go to the police and lying again about his “missing link” remark. Therefore it is reasonable to question his veracity on such a crucial piece of evidence.

      It was Allison Wildman, not Elsie Wright, who saw Alan Close “waiting” on Wallace’s doorstep. He said a girl, no doubt Elsie Wright, was “waiting” for Alan “in the street”. Elsie does not say she saw Alan at Wallace’s door. And she did not confirm Close’s encounter with Mrs Wallace, which if she was “waiting” for Alan, I would expect her to be able to do. Instead she said “I didn’t question him about it. It was nothing to do with me.” A cynic might say that she wasn’t going to contradict the son of her employer (as Alan’s helper.)

      What if Wallace himself returned the empty can to Alan Close? Wallace admitted he may still have been at home when the milk was delivered. It would only be incriminating if it had always been Julia who attended to the milk deliveries. Close stating it was Julia was an unexpected bonus for Wallace and he wasn’t going to query it was he? Pure speculation on my part.

      In summary we have only the word of a proven liar that Julia Wallace was alive at ~6.40 pm on that fateful night.

  59. GED says:

    The proven liar, the WWII fighter pilot killed in action years later. To me he was just embarrassed by the missing link dance so denied it. He was easily swayed, the police did some leaning on him to fit their pre-conceived plan too. What did the under pressure Moore say to his constable again. ‘The boy must be mistaken, question him’.

    Yes Wildman saw Close waiting on the step and the girl in the street. She must have been waiting too – verification that Close was waiting for the milk to be returned to him. He even says Julia spoke about her cold, no need for all the elaboration if it didn’t happen. We only have the word of a thief and liar and a couple of his friends that Parry was elsewhere on both nights don’t we.

    • Michael Fitton says:

      It gives me no pleasure to question the character of Alan Close who, nine years later, lost his life in the service of his country. The young pilot was a hero; but as a young teenager he was easily led by others and by his own “Jack the lad” swagger. I’m not saying he was wicked or evil, just an immature lad. His evidence is unreliable. Note: not untrue, just unreliable.

      Elsie Wright waiting for Alan does not verify that he was waiting for the return of his milk can. She may have been waiting since Alan delivered milk to the Johnston home; it tells us nothing about how long Alan was on Wallace’s doorstep to retrieve his milk can,

      We do indeed have only the word of a thief/liar and a couple of his friends regarding Parry’s alibi for the Tuesday . But in this case there is nothing to suggest that Mrs Brine and her nephew lied to give Parry, a suspected killer at that point, a false alibi. I’m pretty sure that Mrs Brine explained to the police how she came to know Parry and why he visited her on that evening. These details were seen as peripheral and not included in her statement. If there was any hanky panky the police were used to being discreet.

  60. GED says:

    Brine says. My nephew and his friend commenced visiting me about xmas 1930 or words to that effect yet he was there on his own that night – why? (and was he, as she’s not about to dob her nephew in is she?)

    When it was usually the case that Close would pick up empties from just inside the doorway as in the Johnston’s, there would be no need to be stood upright, waiting facing the front door as Wildman saw him. No need for Elsie to be exactly directly in front of the door as to see Julia or not, if she is to either side she sees none of this.

    Going by the evidence given, Alan Close speaks to Julia at about 6.40pm. Wallace having been home from 6.05 (it could have been sooner but for his cuppa in Clubmoor) therefore spurns over 30 minutes of time doing nothing in particular, in fact eating scones with his wife when in fact he could have been ushering her out of the kitchen to set up his fake robbery – but we are to believe that he mustered all this up with less than 15 minutes to go before having to dash for his first tram where he makes no timestamp with the driver or clippy.

    • Michael Fitton says:

      As you say Ged, Mrs Brine is not going to drop her nephew in it if he’s in any way involved. Yet she volunteers the information that he, William Dennison, usually accompanied Parry on their visits to her house but on this occasion for some reason Parry was alone. Why would she say this, drawing attention to the absent William, if she thought he was guilty in any way? It suggests he was absent for some innocent reason.

      I agree that we don’t know where Elsie Wright was standing waiting for Alan. So she may have seen/heard nothing. I wish we had a statement confirming this or even better her confirmation of Alan’s encounter with Mrs Wallace. It would end our speculation.

      I think , if guilty, Wallace’s plan was to act after the milk had been delivered. He couldn’t foresee AC being late but he had prepared the ground with his Qualtrough ruse and would follow through even if it was 7,00 pm when the milk came.
      He didn’t seem to be too concerned about being on time for his appointment. Not surprising as it didn’t exist. At 8.00 pm, half an hour after the appointed time he was still looking for MGE.
      Its likely that his original plan was to use the period after AC delivered the milk at
      ~ 6.00 pm for the murder but this was thwarted by AC being late.

      • John Greaves says:

        Because Olivia genuinely believed that William was innocent. Of course, William is hardly likely to say to Olivia, “oh by the way, I won’t be visiting this afternoon because I’ll be busy committing a murder/robbery.”

        • Michael Fitton says:

          Hi John,
          Mrs Brine’s statement was taken almost a week after the murder on 26 Jan ’31. Parry had been questioned and provided a statement on 23 January. As a friend of Parry and Mrs Brine’s nephew I’m pretty sure that William was questioned within the family as to his doings on the murder evening. He must have satisfied everyone as ro his innocence so Mrs Brine offered the gratuitous information that he wasn’t with Parrry. William doesn’t seem to have attracted any interest from the police by his absence from the conclave at the Brine manse.,
          If there had been the least whiff of his involvement she wouldn’t have brought his name into it as she did.
          It does remain a possibility, as you suggest, that William was involved and convinced everyone that he wasn’t. It will take more than his absence from his Aunt’s house to convince me.

          • John Greaves says:

            Hi Michael,
            Thanks for the reply and some good points about William, and I accept that there’s really no evidence against him apart from his absence on the evening of the murder.
            Interesting that Mrs Brine didn’t give her evidence until around a week after the murder. I really wonder how she could be sure that Parry left “about 8:30” . After all, she’s trying to recall events from days earlier, so they wouldn’t be fresh in her mind, and Parry had apparently been there some considerable time-around 3 hours. Moreover, when estimating the time of his arrival she’s only able to give a half hour window-“about 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. “Of course, if he actually left closer to 8:00 p.m. his alibi is somewhat undermined.

  61. Michael Fitton says:

    Statement of Mr Johnston:
    My wife said “Good evening Mr. Wallace”. He said “Have you heard anything unusual?” My wife said “Why what has happened?” He said he had tried the front door and couldn’t get in…..
    Isn’t an innocent explanation the first thing one thinks of to explain the locked doors? Julia may have absent-mindedly bolted the front door and the back door lock had been dodgy for ages and was playing up due to the cold weather. But No! Wallace immediately suspects something unusual has happened, something making a sound which the Johnstons may have heard. And this is before he finds Julia’s body!
    He is at this point preparing the ground for his early theory that the killer was still in the house when he arrived home from his trip to Menlove Gardens.

  62. Josh Levin says:


    I’ve read all of your quotidian posts on every site mentioned. It is your friend Mark R who randomly changed his opinion with no explanation or logic. The friend whose site you helped create BTW.

    My changes of opinion have always come due to new evidence or a differing perspective; the sign of a logical mind.

    I would also say that while you did seem to be in the “Wallace is innocent” camp, you absolutely did not argue vociferously for it and gave off more of a 50/50 vibe until big old jolly Rod “got” to you.

  63. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi John,
    I couldn’t agree more about people, in this case Olivia Brine, recalling with apparent precision events and timings which, at the time, were of no importance whatsoever. This case is plagued with examples of dubious precision. Mrs Brine can only fix Parry’s time of arrival within a half hour window yet his departure is given as the more precise “about 8.30.”
    He arrived at Lily Lloyd’s house at 9.00 pm, and when asked where he’d been, he didn’t mention his 3 hours with Mrs Brine et all. !!
    His leaving Mrs Brine at ~8.00 pm would give him time to do it but less than an hour later he arrived at the Lloyds, unruffled, calm, and behaving normally.

  64. GED says:

    Nice to have your input John and yes you are quite correct that Olivia is not only sparse in her statement per se but is unsure about when he arrived yet not when he left. Did Parry call first to William and he wasn’t in so went there thinking he might be there or did he know quite well where he was and maybe Olivia didn’t and never would. I wonder why Parry didn’t mention his 3 hours at the Brines to Lily, that in itself is suspicious, this many has something to hide.

    Mike. Wallace too in your eyes commits a murder and arrives at a number of trams and witnesses including a policeman unruffled too so there is no credence in that. He was also unruffled and seemed his normal self doing his rounds that afternoon, even taking tea at one of customers houses.

    Wallace had been to the front twice before seeing the Johnston’s, and the back, and had knocked so it was only natural now for him to be concerned, especially as he’d just come back from a run around so his mind would be racing, yours would, I know mine would. Him telling Moore that the lock was not like that this morning is hardly preparing the ground, he could just have said the bolt was on when I answered the door to the first constable on the scene. Even Mrs Johnston couldn’t open it.

    Josh, I have never been 50/50. My only query ever was who the murderer was. Was it Parry himself silencing Julia as she would now be able to identify him or there was some other fall out involving past clandestine meetings or was it a friend of Parry’s. By the way it is my site and I gave Mark a honourable mention for supplying me with some information such as photographs, and the Anfield burglary lists etc… Rod was on YoLiverpool as Rod Crosby and never once did I say I agreed with him from memory. I still don’t agree with his idea of Julia confronting the robbery underway in the kitchen and yet her body somehow ending up being battered in the parlour.

  65. Josh Levin says:

    Ged, fair enough and congrats on the site, it was informative. I may be biased but I prefer this one, although I would say until this site emerged, yours was the most informative.

    As far as not everyone being in agreement I am glad to hear it, because 7 people agreeing exactly on a complex case is suspicious. We are not living in North Korea. Perhaps this confused me from your January 19th summing up of events, “I think we all have a similar scenario about what happened even if the fine tuning is a little different.”

    A scenario involving more than one robber or someone else working in collusion with Parry (while Wallace was innocent is one you rarely if ever mentioned BTW during the entire time you posted. I have a good memory my friend.)

    Also BTW, Rod’s theory or Antony’s soap opera bedside book version of it is is hardly original; it has been done before and better by American author Robert F Hussey (when he was old and possibly senile at the time.)

  66. ged says:

    Hi Josh. This site is fabulous, there can be nothing of detriment to say about it. I just read many books on it, listened first hand in 1981 to the Radio City broadcast and again a number of times since. I then tried to lay down the case on my site with no agenda in order to leave the reader to make their own minds up. Of course the original newspaper readers and jury of 1931 do not have the benefit of knowing too much about Parry or any possible involvement even though authors writing earlier than the release of the Police files do make mention of him. In the early days of my interest in this case, I wrongly went along with the Police believing the caller must have been the killer, yet Mark will say in his book how good the police were, even the Judge, Justice Wright says this – old school closed shop syndrome because the police were terrible, even in and around the crime scene. I still think Parry could be one of the two men seen legging it down Hanwell street by at least 2, maybe 3 people. I also think he may actually be at Olivia Brine’s house waiting to pick up the thief who then hits him with the news he’s had to kill the old lady. Wallace doing this just doesn’t sit right apart from the lack of evidence against him and in some parts, the evidence in his favour such as the ridiculously tight timing and his motive of which Parry had a few.

  67. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi Ged,
    If, as John says, Parry left the Brine gathering around 8.00 pm instead of 8.30 pm he would have time to commit the murder or meet up with confederates and hear the bad news. The murder, in these circumstances, was not planned. The perpetrator(s) would be in shock at what had happened. I can’t see Parry turning up at the Lloyds less than an hour later as cool as a cucumber and behaving normally. In fact I can’t see him going there at all.
    If Wallace was the killer it was in my view a planned killing with a simulated robbery. Wallace knew what would happen; it was not unforeseen. Wallace was an adherent of Stoicism. He explained himself as feeling emotions like other people but he had disciplined himself not to show any emotion to others.*
    His lack of expressed emotion was noticed: “He didn’t look to me like a man who had just battered his wife to death” was one policeman’s comment. However shortly after the murder the tram conductor Thomas Phillips described him as “excited.”

    * These days suppression of emotions, especially anger, is seen as unhealthy and can lead to feelings “bottled up” for years being expressed in violence or worse..

    I agree that after the Menlove Gardens East experience I would be puzzled and apprehensive to find the doors of my house locked against me. But I would first consider a logical explanation rather than jump immediately to “something unusual” causing the locked doors. Something which may have produced enough sound for the Johnstons to have heard.


  68. Ged says:

    Morning Mike. Parry went to see Lily every night, it is even recorded on this site he did, to not show up on the murder night of all nights would undoubtedly raise suspicions of him. What if he didn’t see his confederates until after leaving Lily’s house, he is then confronted with the reality that I had to kill the old lady and there was only 4 pounds in the house you useless lump, here, take this metal bar and dispose of it as you have a car. In the melee’ of all this, the glove is shoved in his glovebox. Parry races along the road to Priory Road and dumps the bar down a grid then shoots to Atkinson’s garage and the rest we know. Yes, you just said yourself they would all be in shock, Parry especially having just learnt of this new unforeseen outcome. Depending on how quickly the news got to Parry’s ears of the murder either by his cohorts or another rumour/source, it may well have been after midnight which is when the garage incident is said to have happened.

    As for Wallace. You have him on one hand as a cool, calculating murder planner who will remain stoic under the most traumatic circumstances he could possibly be under and yet he forgot to think that the Police will ask him how he couldn’t get into his house and he didn’t simply say the bolt was on by whoever was inside. He didn’t simply make a timestamp on the first tram by dropping all his change and taking an age to pick it up apologising profusely to the driver and clippy so he would be remembered, he didn’t simply make a huge racket outside his front door to attract any neighbour to his plight, he could even lie about going around the front and back doors twice over. He didn’t simply do the murder at 6.20 and have time to do all he needed and when the milk boy tells the police he got no answer from the house, Wallace says I went straight to Menlove Gardens East straight from work??? When the police officer says ‘He didn’t look to me like a man who had just battered his wife to death’ don’t you see Mike, this doesn’t prove his stoicism but proves he didn’t batter his wife to death, i’d say that statement goes in his favour than against him.

  69. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi Ged,

    Wallace’s cool demeanour at the crime scene was noticed by many of those present. But at the same time as not behaving like a guilty man (“He didn’t lppk to me…”) Professor McFall thought he wasn’t behaving as an innocent man who had just found his beloved wife of 17 years battered to death on her own parlour floor. Prof McFall found it abnormal that Wallace leaned against the mantelpiece, flicking the ash from his cigarette into an ashtray while he (McFall) examined Juia’s bloody head only a few feet away. He was behaving as if he had shut out reality and he was a spectator at someone else’s drama. As a Stoic would.

    McFall can be criticised on several counts but he was a police pathologist with vast experience of seeing distressed relatives in similar circumstances. Their reactions vary but even taking this into consideration McFall found Wallace’s behaviour abnormal.

    I have never seen Wallace as a criminal mastermind who thought of everything. The Qualtrough ruse was not only faulty but unecessary. And as you say Ged, he missed many opportunities to gain more credibility.

    Even if there had been no plan to meet up shortly after Parry left the Brine house, the turn of events would make the perps seek Parry out and tell him the bad news. I don’t think the perps would hang around (where?) for more than three hours until Parry left the Lloyds. As for Parry being given the murder weapon, disposing of it, and entering the fantasy world of John Parkes – the least said the better.

    I firmly believe he would not have gone to the Lloyds, indeed could not have gone to the Lloyds and maintained his usual demeanour after being told of Julia’s murder. Regular evening visits and incrimination notwithstanding, he would have found an excuse.

    Finally, about the narrow time window available for the murder. Thomas Phillips, tram conductor at Lodge Lane first stated he saw Wallace “at about 7.10 pm.” Also that he was “ a man whom I cannot describe” and “I don’t think I would know the man again.”

    By the time he made his second statement this was amended to the the precise “7.06 pm “ awith the news that he had picked out Wallace at an identification parade!

    Admittedly the time window is short but in addition it is defined by the distinctly wobbly testimonies of Alan Close and Thomas Phillips.

    I tried to keep this short…and failed.


  70. ged says:

    Hi Mike, It is difficult to keep replies short but it’s better if it is explained more fully.
    Florence Johnston claimed that Wallace wept/sobbed in her company and yet when in the company of the police seemed to try to pull himself together. A guilty man may well charade the opposite, like we see killers do now when giving tv statements. He also wept at Julia’s funeral.

    How about my proposition that he could have told the police he went straight to Menlove from his rounds thereby dissolving him of even being in the house at all. He could commit the murder at 6.15 and be out by 6.30, I mean, you are saying 15 mins is enough right? There are lots of things a guilty Wallace could have done better, none that require a mastermind.

  71. John Greaves says:

    Many thanks Ged and Mike. I have been interested in this case for a number of years, and have to admit that every scenario I’ve considered seems somewhat flawed!

    Regarding Wallace as the killer, the argument seems to be that he had a stoical, controlled personality, and that he planed the murder with military precision. However, it seems to me that this isn’t consistent with the crime scene, which suggests Julia was murdered by a killer acting in an absolute frenzy, indicating an unplanned murder perpetrated by a disorganised killer.

    Thus, according to Dr McFall the first l blow would have been enough to kill Julia, however, the perpetrator proceeded to unleash 10 further blows-a clear indication of overkill, hence my belief that the killer was disorganised. And why would Wallace in particular, in, say, a planned murder scenario, inflict so many unessary blows? After all, by doing so he’s eating into the limited amount of time he had, increasing the risk that he’d get blood upon his person, and increasing the risk that the neighbours would overhear the commotion and come and investigate.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Overkill is EXTREMELY common with domestic homicide. It’s a crime of passion as you’d expect. The domestic homicide cases without overkill e.g. James Krauseneck are the unusual outliers.

      It is unlikely any murderer would have any more desire to be heard by neighbours.

      • John Greaves says:

        Hi Qualtrough,
        There is conflicting evidence as to whether overkill suggests a relationship between perpetrator and victim. Douglas et al., for example, stated this is the case, however, empirical studies have “demonstrated that excessive injuries were not related to offender-victim relational-categories:

        Nonetheless, if this murder was planned Wallace had plenty of time to compose himself before carrying out a clinically efficient murder. In fact, if Wallace was the killer, we’d have to assume that he was perfectly capable of exercising self-restraint for around 45 minutes, following his return from work, before losing all self-control and unleashing an unrestrained frenzied assault the moment Close departed. This doesn’t make much sense to me.

  72. Michael Fitton says:

    Ged: Viewed, as it were, in the cold light of day there are many alternative ways / timetables for Wallace to commit the murder. The one you highlight – committing the murder at 6.15 pm and being away by 6.30 pm – has many advantages and it is surprising that, if guilty (I always include this proviso), Wallace didn’t think of it. But this is the problem: just because we can conjure up many “better” alternatives does not invalidate what the evidence suggests actually happened.

    Wallace was an unemotional Stoic but its not surprising that however much he might steel himself against it, he broke down at the sheer horror of what had happened whether or not he was guilty He may indeed, as you say, have faked a complete collapse with copious tears but to all who knew him this might have seemed out of character,

    John: My interpretation of the crime scene is that this was the venting of years of bottled up frustration and anger brought on by Julia constantly reminding him of his failure to improve their circumstances. She had come down in the world and blamed William.
    It was up close and personal. The “overkill” aspect which you mention supports this. Those extra blows were superfluous – she was already dead – but they helped to release the killer’s anger. The extra time needed for those blows would be less than a minute and the added risk of clothing contamination by blood spatter would be reduced as she was on the floor.
    “Frenzy” was a word used at the trial and it caused some controversy but I think that one the killer started it was as if he couldn’t stop. It was a frenzied attack. As I said earlier, it was up close and personal. This was no stranger murder.

  73. Ged says:

    Hi Mike and John. I think when planning a murder, the ‘Wallace didn’t think of it’ is a bit lame, especially when there seems to be so many things he didn’t seem to think of and yet he thought of harassing the tram drivers and thought to gather as many witnesses up at Menlove as possible yet he didn’t expect the police to say to him to you had from 6.05 until 6.55 to commit this murder so it is clearly you and why couldn’t you get in the house??? Expected questions, nailed on.

    If he is trying to pin the robbery on someone knowing his living arrangements and the expected insurance bounty in his cash box, why not do it on the Tuesday of his monthly collection or at least in a week that he hadn’t been unwell and there would be more than £4 there. The fact it’s such a measly amount even swerves away from the someone who knew his working/living arrangements. Of course him pinpointing just a few people and lowering the suspect pool is just madness if they were to have a cast iron alibi.

    As John says, this murderer is making sure that the old dear can’t go blabbing after seeing the face of the disorganised thief who becomes a disorganised killer and blood spatter on his clothes (which it is agreed by McFall, Moore and others would be substantial) wouldn’t matter as he’d be legging it away and would change/dispose of his clothes long before Wallace or the Police discover the body.

    You say this Mike ”He may indeed, as you say, have faked a complete collapse with copious tears but to all who knew him this might have seemed out of character” So here we have a can’t win situation, if he doesn’t cry he is a cold, callous killer, if he does it’s out of character and play acting.

  74. Michael Fitton says:

    To suggest Wallace didn’t think of certain details isn’t lame, it is human nature. If he had thought of everything he would have had a watertight plan, and who among us can guarantee our plans are foolproof?
    Wallace suggesting only two names as possible suspects (Parry and Marsden) doesn’t reduce the suspect pool. Wallace isn’t in charge of determining who is seen as a suspect, the police are. He offered these names in desperation on the Thursday when he realised he was a serious suspect himself. Initially he had said “I have no suspicion of anybody.” It was a shot in the dark and they both had alibis which satisfied the police.
    Yes, the “overkill” as you say makes sure she can’t go blabbing about Whodunnit. This implies she was in a position to identify her killer.
    Yes, he could have waited until there was a Monthly collection bounty in the cash box. Or done it on the Monday. Or…………The number of alternatives is endless, many of them better than what actually seems to have happened. This applies to every crime. If Crippen had brazened it out – “My wife has run off with a lover” – he would never have been arrested. Inspector Dew admitted as much. It is a distraction to think of these better ways in which Julia Wallace could have been dispatched.
    I completely agree that whether Wallace retained his calm reaction or whether he collapsed in shock and tears would be interpreted according to one’s preconceived view of his guilt or innocence.

  75. GED says:

    RMQ. You have also put news cuttings on this site about burglars working in gangs battering old people to within an inch of their life, seemingly for the hell of it as they wouldn’t be known to their victim. You cannot legislate for someone expecting a large bounty to be angry that not only is there nothing there but now i’ve been rumbled too.

  76. John Greaves says:

    Hi Mike, see my reply to Qualtrough. Ged, I completely agree. If this murder was planned we’d have to assume that Wallace embarked on a hair-brained scheme, that succeeded because of luck, not because it was well-planned.
    You’re quite right to raise the issue of the money. Why would Wallace plan a murder for a day when he, and he alone, was in a position to know there was relatively little insurance money in the house? I mean, by doing so he’d be undermining his own plan. In fact, it’s worse than that, because we’d have to assume that he was stupid enough to further undermine the robbery gone ention to the fact that there was £5 of unbanked savings, kept in a jar, which the robber had not taken-a sum greater than the amount of money supposedly stolen! He had absolutely no reason to do this: he could have simply pocketed the money before he left for Menlove and then claimed it was stolen. In fact, he could have claimed that he had £50 worth of unbanked savings in the house that was missing-there’s bo way the police could prove he was lying. And if he was really clever he could have said something like, “you know, I remember mentioning to Parry only the other day that I really must get round to banking the £50 of savings I keep upstairs and now they’re gone…funny that!”

    However, the biggest argument against Wallace in my view is that no one has satisfactorily explained what he did with the murder weapon, which has never been found-not that a guilty Walkace needed to do anything with it all. Thus, if he’d planned the murder he could simply have used the poker and left it in full view. When his fingerprints are found on it he simply respinds”of course my fingerprints are on it-it’s my poker, I’ve used it many times! He then argues that the perpetrator must have used gloves-not unusual for a robber. In fact, with any luck Parry may have been asked to stoke the fire with the poker during one of his many visits-somethihg Wallace may have been aware of-ensuring that his prints would also be present.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Re-evaluating the case files and discarding rumour-mill type comments (some invented by authors like Gannon) it is quite clear he killed his wife, so I don’t really bother to update things or comment much anymore. There are various specifics one could unravel for sure. I think you could probably do that with any killer to be fair.

      E.g. every murderer has had a defence counsel put forth some arguments as to why they did not do it. Wife killer OJ Simpson, wife killer James Krauseneck, many more too of course. I think the Krauseneck case has a stronger alternate suspect than Parry in Ed Laraby, who confessed to the murder and lived close by.

    • Michael Fitton says:

      Disposal of the murder weapon:
      In everything I have read on the case it has been suggested that an iron bar or maybe a spanner was used. But if the weapon had been a wooden club of some kind it could, after use, have been slipped into the kitchen stove where, at the time, a fire was burning merrily.
      Incidentally, I always found Wallace’s rhetorical question to Mrs Johnston (“What have they used?”) to be inappropriate. Said as it was within minutes of the body being “discovered.” But this is probably “over analysis”; people say and do weird things when traumatised.

  77. John Greaves says:

    Whilst I remember, I’d like to make a quick comment about blood splatter analysis, particularly as an expert referred to in this site has given an opinion that the assailant would have little or no blood on them.
    Now blood splatter analysis is a controversial and highly questionable science to say the least, despite the popularity of shows like Dexter and CSI. In 2009 the American National Academy of Sciences found that, * expert analysis was a subjective conclusion, not a scientific one, and that the questions around blood spatter analysis were immense. To assume that bloodstains can tell the story behind a crime is simply misguided wishful thinking. ” see:

    So where does that leave us. Of course, from a layman’s perspective the ferocious nature of the assault would suggest the perpetrator would be covered in blood. However, given the expert’s opinion, but taking into consideration the questionable nature of blood splatter analysis as a discipline, I thinks we should take a neutral view on this issue.

    • Michael Fitton says:

      Hi John,
      I have recently thoroughly enjoyed re-reading the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories that I remember from my boyhood. Viewed now through dimmer but more mature eyes, although entertaining, the conclusions reached by Holmes are often laughable. He has only to see the murder scene before concluding that the murderer was a bald middle-aged ex-soldier who had served in India . Oh, and he had bad teeth!
      So I agree completely with your view of blood spatter analysis. To conclude that the assailant would be covered in blood is ridiculous when we don’t know:
      what the assailant was wearing
      how / if the mac was used as a shield
      the length of the murder weapon,
      was it covered with adsorbent fabric?
      the posture and location of Mrs Wallace when the first blow was struck (standing, crouched near the fire? sitting?) etc. etc.

      Also, the striking thing about the murder scene is the relative low level of spatter. We have the pooling of blood around the head on the floor but the amount on the wall etc is far from the “Grand Guignol” which some would have us believe.


  78. GED says:

    All great inputs again recently and I cannot disagree totally with any of them except RMQ’s assertion that ‘it is quite clear he killed his wife’ when in fact even the prosecution could not prove this. This even though reporting restrictions were not in play in 1931 meaning lots of people had preconceived ideas about Wallace even just due to his height or looks. The 1981 Radio City panel (‘of Experts’) go into great detail about the blood spatter but enough said about the loon who thinks Wallace dressed up as Julia to speak with Alan Close 🙂 The wall and ceiling indeed do have spatter so it is fair to say there should at least be some on the killer. Wallace manages to not even get any on himself after examining Julia’s dead body. Of course it wouldn’t matter too much to a fleeing perp if he was covered in blood and would Wallace want to frame himself by leaving his mac under the body, and how did he tuck a blood soaked mac under Julia without getting one dot of blood on him. Yes every defence councils make a case for their defendant but as we’ve seen many many times, this is of no use if it is quite obvious that the prosecution council prove their case beyond all reasonable doubt. Look at the Brianna Ghey case just last month for instance.

  79. GED says:

    Hi Michael. I’m not sure why on here the comments do not appear in order of date, I just found your comment at 08.15 today about the Murder weapon embedded between a comment on the 15th and 16th which could easily have been missed, not sure if it’s showing like that for anyone else.

    Yes, there were comments made and statements taken regarding a missing poker, yet a photo on this site highlighted by RMQ clearly shows the poker on the hearth at the crime scene. The bar used for scraping matches etc from under the gas fire is missing according to Sarah Draper yet William doesn’t seem to be aware of any bar ever having been there. Another ‘story’ is that workmen found the bar years later whilst doing renovations yet this seems unlikely because the police ‘allegedly’ had the fire taken out and if so the bar would have/should have been spotted then?

    If the bar is rough, then this accounts for any thread like marks on the skull, though I don’t necessarily see them, RMQ does. No need for a wrench or spanner in that case, only if there is thread marks and the bar was smooth would that be an anomaly.

    If Wallace is the killer and knew of the bar, then there is the weapon. Likewise if it is Parry who had visited the room in the past, he would be aware of it. If the murder is premeditated, Parry can inform the assailant about it. Even if it is a stranger acting as Q who first goes into the parlour with Julia before requesting use of the toilet in order to do the robbery, he might spy the iron bar which comes in handy for him later on.

    Regarding Wallace asking ‘Whatever have they used?’ What do you say to fill the awkward gaps and silences. He smoked, they went in and out of the room a couple of times, he even fed Puss who had returned suddenly (from the Johnston’s if we believe Tom Slemen 😉 ) to me he might be looking to see if the murder weapon is lying around, he may have been looking around for clues of something missing – who knows what you’d say whilst thinking out aloud – something he wouldn’t be doing subconsciously of course if he was the murderer.

    • Michael Fitton says:

      Hi Ged,
      I posted my (late) reply to the query raised by J Greaves in the “reply” section under his posting. I agree completely that this could easily be missed. In future I’ll post sequentially with the most recent at the bottom of the page.
      Wallace’s comment may indicate that when looking around he saw there was no obvious murder weapon in that small room. I still think a hardwood club, disposed of in the stove, is a neat possibility.

  80. Miss C H Marple says:

    To Mr R M Qualtrough
    I wish to seek permission to use some images from this website in order to produce a video I have been working on. I do not wish to fall foul of any copyright laws or upset anyone in doing so. Please advise.
    Yours faithfully
    Miss C H Marple

  81. ged says:

    Well nothing can be ruled out but I expect it could drip with blood into the kitchen, even one dot. I assume you mean this would be brought in by the murderer so it was premeditated which of course fits your Wallace theory. He could of course poison her or just push her down the stairs or maybe into the lake whilst visiting Calderstones one winter evening, very slippery alongside the lake 😉 and no need for all this blood then.

    • Michael Fitton says:

      Yes, the alternative ways which you mention – poison, the stairs, the lake – are all neater ways of doing it but with stairs/lake Wallace would be physically there and possibly suspected. Poison is better because Julia was in poor health anyway and if her true age was somehow revealed he might get away with it.

      To come back to Tom Slemen’s suspicion of Mr Johnston, he wrote that Mr J had a friend/work colleague who he visited several times at his home in Menlove Gardens, I forget which one it was. If true, and nobody seems to have tried to confirm it, this is either significant evidence or pure coincidence that Johnston, Wallace’s next door neighbour, would know from these visits that Menlove Gardens East located in a suburb some four miles from Wolverton Street did not exist. What are the chances of this having an innocent explanation? But until it is confirmed it is a straw in the wind.

      • R M Qualtrough says:

        Stairs are quite good, see Michael Peterson, albeit he got blood up his shorts from, presumably, smashing his wife’s skull into the stairs over and over again to finish her off. Tonnes of blood, so perhaps no better than Wallace’s spanner method, but Michael did half get away with it (was found guilty but then got acquitted, sort of like Wallace).

  82. ged says:

    Yes, it seems the Police had no reason to look into the Johnston’s with any great vigour and took their word for it that it happened as they said, they were just coming out at 8.45pm in the evening to visit their daughter who was not expecting them and then moved there the very next day which was all pre-planned. Then Stan the man? Slemen is famous for his tenuous namings in his haunted Liverpool books, nobody ever is traced to substantiate his claims but Puss the cat being missing or in fact it’s name wasn’t apparently a well known fact. Another little conspiracy theory all on its own. I do know his grandson Russell was not best pleased with Slemen when we spoke with him. He of course claimed his grandad was never alone in his last few weeks when he died at the Kirkdale Homes institution on Rumney Road and was suffering from dementia.

  83. Michael Fitton says:

    Maybe a family member was also privy to his “confession” but kept quiet about it. It was decades later that Stan told Tom Slemen his tale. The fact is that the police fixated on Wallace right away and until he could be eliminated as a suspect, nobody else was considered. It was Johnston’s last night as Wallace’s neighbour so his last chance to pull off the robbery then nip back next door. This explains the choice of date and why he didn’t wait for a bigger haul. But its all supposition and speculation.

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