The Personal Diary Entries of William Herbert Wallace

Personal diary entries written by Wallace, courtesy of Ronald Bartle, John Gannon and Roger Wilkes.

These diaries were not written to be read or published, but they were made use of in court and after his death. At court the police had four diaries from 1928 to 1931, presumably one for each year. In each diary Wallace had written his height, weight and age, as well as his glove, hat, and coat size.

Few pages were left blank, and yet few pages have been made public. Sadly I believe these diaries are now lost.

Entried enclosed in square brackets are summaries by the police, the actual text is unknown.


[Jan 7 Saturday: Fell out with Julia]

(He was upset with her for buying too many newspapers).

[Jan 8 Sunday: Feeling of depression. Cannot settle.]

[Jan 12 Thursday: Another headache today.]

[Jan 16 Monday: Nerves and temperament.]

[Jan 18 Wednesday: Bad headache.]

[Jan 19 Thursday: Headache continues and pain left eye.]

[Jan 21 Saturday: Julia out of sorts.]

[Jan 23 Monday: Reminded of my days in Shanghai.]

[Jan 27 Friday: Headache very bad again. Julia had a touch of Flue. (sic)]

[Feb 2 Thursday: Julia off colour with Flue. Had headache all day.]

[Feb 4 Saturday: Julia not too well.]

[Feb 5 Sunday: Experimenting in colour photography.]

[Feb 6 Monday: Sends for Doctor for Julia.]

[Feb 7 Tuesday: Doctor says Julia has gastritis.]

[Feb 8 Wednesday: Julia much improved. I had headache and pain behind left eye.]

[Feb 13 Monday: Religious views.]

[Mar 14 Sunday: Terrific headache all day]

[Mar 19 Monday: Had a day of deep depression, cold on kidney.]

[Mar 29 Thursday: Invalid for years a great worry and care.]

[Apr 10 Tuesday: Dislike of work job uncongenial.]

[Apr 27 Friday: Browne & Kennedy murder case.]

[May 1st Monday: Very tired, Kidney trouble again.]

[May 17 Thursday: Christian service-what is it all about.]

[June 5 Tuesday: Where are the dead. Newspaper feature.]

[June 8 Friday: Where are the dead. Scientists views.]

[June 23 Monday: Julia laid up with Bronchitis this weekend.]

[Aug 5 Sunday: Went to Woolton Woods together.]

[Aug 17 Monday: 51st Birthday, little to show for 50 odd years.]

[Sept 10 Monday: Cutting from Paper Dailey News. Sir Oliver Lodge on Hereafter.]

[Sept 12 Wednesday: Cutting. Science on side of Creation.]

[Sept 20 Thursday: Volunteers for Psychical Research experiments.]

[Sept 21 Friday: Headache from previous day.]

[Nov 28 Wednesday: Went to Mr. Crewe for first violin lesson.]

[Dec 5 Wednesday: Had my lesson with Mr. Crewe, then we went into the Plaza together, got home 11 p.m.]

[Dec 12 Wednesday: Had lesson at Mr. Crewe’s]

[Dec 16 Sunday: In bed all day. Lumbago.]

[Dec 19 Tuesday: Bamber points out how Parry wants watching in insurance work.]

Interval to Dec.31 off with Bronchitis. Parry does work for a fortnight but is not methodical enough.

End of 1928.


[January 1st: Wallace ill with Bronchitis.]

[January 16th: Cutting from the “Listener” referring to Evolution, Intelligence and Consciousness.]

[January 24th: Julia Wallace in bed with Flue.]

[January 27th: Julia not well.]

[January 29th: Julia coughing very much.]

[February 2nd: Julia downstairs improving.]

[February 9th: Julia ill and confined to bed.]

13 February 1929: On the way home with — had a discussion on religion. I find he is, like myself, indifferent to the dogmas and rituals of the churches and chapels, and agree that if there is a hereafter the man without any so called religious beliefs, and a non-church attender, but who lives a decent life, and who abstains from telling lies, or cheating, or acts of meanness, and who honestly tries to do good, has as much chance of getting there as the professed Christian who attends his place of worship regularly.

[March 3rd: Wallace ill and feeling depressed.]

20 March 1929: Listened to ‘The Master Builder’ by Ibsen. This is a fine thing, and shows clearly how a man may build up a fine career, and as the world has it, be a great success, and yet in his own mind feels that he has been an utter failure, and how ghastly a mistake he has made to sacrifice love, and the deeper comforts of life in order to achieve success. Curious that Julia did not seem to appreciate this play! I feel sure she did not grasp the inner significance and real meaning of the play.

[April 17th: Wallace has Nephritic Attacks.]

[May 22nd: Wallace went to Calderstones.]

[August 30th: Wallace went to Calderstones. Description of Spider killing Bee.]

9 September 1929: At four o’clock Julia and I left for home, but getting lost we had to return to Settle, so that it was five o’clock before we really got away. The roads were crowded with cars, and at Clitheroe all cars were being held up for inspection of licences. Probably the police were trying to comb out in order to get some line on the motorist who ran down a police constable on the previous Thursday leaving him to die in the road. If they get him, I hope he gets ten years hard labour for his callousness.

[November 3rd: Visit to Ullet Road.]

[November 13th: Visit to Ullet Road.]


[Jan. 8-9-10th: Slight illness of Wallace.]

[Jan 31st: Reference to Mr. Crewe.]

[Feb. 9 & 12th: Julia Wallace ill.]

[Feb. 13 & 22nd: Julia Wallace ill.]

[March 1st: Reference to Mr. Crewe.]

25 March 1930: Julia reminds me today it was fifteen years ago yesterday since we were married. Well, I don’t think either of us regrets the step. We seem to have pulled well together, and I think we both get as much pleasure and contentment out of life as most people. Our only trouble is that of millions more, shortage of £ s d.

[April 2nd: Illness of Wallace.]

[April 9th: Illness of Wallace.]

[April 12th: Reference to Mr. Crewe.]

[April 19th: Illness of Wallace.]

[April 20th: Visit to Ullet Road.]

[April 22nd: Comments on his own illness.]

[April 25th to July 19th: Illness of Wallace.]

[May 1st: Reference to Mr. Crewe.]

[May 9th: Reference to Mr. Crewe.]

[May 18th: Reference to Mr. Crewe.]

[July 13th: Visit to Ullet Road.]

[Sept 11th: Reference to Mr. Crewe.]

[Oct. 2nd: Julia Wallace ill.]

[Oct. 24th: Reference to Mental trouble.]

26 October 1930: No one has had any knowledge of a previous existence. If I previously existed as a thinking organism I probably argued much as I do now, and now that I am here, I recognise clearly that immortality means absolutely nothing to me. Any individuality I possessed formerly has gone. So, too, when I pass out of this existence, individual mortality is meaningless, unless I am able to retain something of my present, and that fact that my previous existence is now meaningless argues that the next existence also has no meaning for me. So why worry about a life hereafter which has no meaning for me.

6 November 1930: The tournaments (chess) are now up, and I see I am in class three. This about represents my strength of play. I suppose I could play better, but I feel it is too much like hard work to go in for chess whole heartedly, hence my lack of practice keeps me in a state of mediocrity. Good enough for a nice game, but no good really for first class play.

[Nov. 16th: Visit to Ullet Road.]

[Dec. 2nd to 5th: Wallace had Flue.]

15 December 1930: On arriving home, found that Julia had not returned. I waited until nearly 1 a.m., then thinking something surely must have happened, went off to the Anfield Road police station to see if there was any report of any accident to hand. None. So went back home and found that she had just turned up. It seems a laundry van had been smashed up on the railway line, the train derailed, and the line blocked. Julia waited at Southport Station until after ten o’clock and she had apparently no hope of getting a train she decided to take a bus. She arrived in Liverpool at 12.30 and reached home at 1. It was a relief to know she was safe and sound, for I was getting apprehensive, feeling she might have been run over by a motor car or something.

(This diary entry was corroborated. On that evening Wallace had gone to the police station and was concerned about her. Albert Wood – a prudential colleague of Wallace – as well as neighbour Amy Johnston had been told of the story by Julia when he visited their home shortly after).

[Dec. 17th: Complaint of ache in eye.]


[Jan. 1st Thursday: Developed severe headache.]

[Jan. 2nd Friday: Had lesson on violin with Mr. Davies.]

4 January 1931: Work out some definite scheme of study of properly planned and rigorously adhered to each particular difficulty consistently tackled and overcome.

(I believe it to mean: “Work out some definite scheme of study, properly planned and rigorously adhered to, with each particular difficulty consistently tackled and overcome.”)

7 January 1931: A night of keen frost. The heavy fog caused a wonderful appearance on all the plants and trees. Every twig and leaf was most beautifully bordered and outlined with a white rim of frost. Holly leaves, owing to their wavy edges, presented a most charming appearance, and I cannot recollect an occasion on which the hoar had produced such wonderful effects. After dinner I persuaded Julia to go into Stanley Park, and she was equally charmed. A gradual thaw seems to be setting in now.

(According to newspaper reports, despite having remained unemotional throughout most of the trial, Wallace wept in court as this entry was read).

[Jan.14 Wednesday: Reading very interesting book. by J Lays published in 1889.]

(Wallace has made a mistake, the author’s name is J Leys (John Kirkwood Leys)).

17 January 1931: Had a slight attack of flu all day and did not do my usual collection. Prevention is better than cure. Steeped my feet in mustard and hot water followed by a cupful of whisky and hot water.

18 January 1931: Have not touched fiddle all day. It is unusual to let Sunday go by without some practice.

(During the trial, police also refer to a statement on this day that mustard worked wonderfully for his flu.)

19 January 1931: The fateful day on which I received the telephone message.

20 January 1931: Returned home from the Menlove Gardens East journey to find Julia brutally murdered in the front room. How can I ever write in these pages the agony of mind, that sense of loneliness and darkness which followed? Even now, as I am making this entry on June 15th – nearly five months after – my desolation and depression are as great as ever. To forget is impossible, and I can only hope time may soothe and calm the anguish and poignancy of our separation.

TIMELINE EVENT: [ Also on Tuesday 20 January 1931: Julia Wallace is murdered in her home at 29 Wolverton Street. ]

2 February 1931: Arrested and charged with the ‘wilful murder of my wife’. And yet I would not willingly have hurt a single hair on her dear head. Julia, if you can now know what is happening, you know this is very truth, and if it should be that you and I meet in the great beyond, we can meet each other knowing no wrong has been done between us. More and more do I now realise how much you loved me, and that I, too, loved you. Too often are our secret thoughts overridden by the cares and worries of the daily life, and yet I feel that you did know you were dearly loved, and found your happiness and contentment in loving and being loved. All I have left is the memory of your loving affection for me, and of the joy and happiness we shared together.

16 May 1931: Left Walton for Pentonville guarded by officers. Had to submit to handcuffs which were not taken off until I was safely in Pentonville. A taxi took me up the Lime Street platform, I had only a few yards to cross to the reserved carriage with drawn blinds. Even so it had obviously leaked out, as there were a number of railway officials and some of the public present. Strange how this morbid curiosity draws people, who, if they only reflect must know it is a torture to the person under observation. Going down in the train I was greatly impressed by the green and wonderful beauty of the country. I had seen little but high walls and iron barred windows for about sixteen weeks, and it was something to cheer me, and take my mind off the grim horrors of my position. The officers did their best to make me comfortable.

Entering Pentonville was a melancholy ordeal The prison is grim and forbidding and I felt despondent and depressed beyond measure. Here again was that never ending jingling of keys — symbols of despair had they become. I was searched, and then re-clothed and marched off to the condemned cell. I was a prey to the deepest dejection. I had little hope that my appeal would succeed. I knew if my appeal was dismissed my chance of a reprieve was slight.

18 May 1931: Day of my appeal, Off to court at 10.30. Handcuffed but in my own clothes. At 11 am I was called to appear, and once again I faced the court. This time my position was undeniably grave. After five hours the court adjourned and I was taken back to Pentonville.

19 May 1931: After the close of counsels’ speeches the Lord Chief Justice said their Lordships would retire for a short while to consider their decision. I was taken out of court into the corridor behind and there for about an hour I paced two and fro, alternately hopeful and depressed. It was a terrible strain. Freedom or death awaited me, and I had become insensible to all other considerations. Minute after minute passed by and I now began to think that the long wait was in my favour, in contrast to the long wait at the Assizes when I felt the delay was against me.

At last their lordships returned and I was again taken into the dock. The court was hushed to an almost uncanny silence. No one moved nor a paper rustled. The very breathing of all there seemed suspended. After what seemed an eternity of time the Lord Chief Justice began to deliver judgement. I could not follow all he said, my mind lost all receptiveness and all I remember is that my obsession to betray no emotion was as strong as ever. Tensely I waited, oblivious to all but that slow, dreadfully slow utterance of the Lord Chief Justice. I could not grasp all he said, my brain refused to function. It was as if I was suspended in space and detached from everything. Slowly, slowly went on the voice, miles away as it were, and then I heard the Lord Chief Justice end by saying: The Court allows the appeal and the conviction of the court below is quashed?

Was it true or were my ears mocking me? Immediately there began a buzz, and the beginning of a cheer, instantly suppressed. Then I realised I had won, and that I was free.

TIMELINE EVENT: [ William Herbert Wallace is acquitted and released as a free man. ]

6 June 1931: My dear Julia is seldom out of my thoughts, and now I am on my own I realize the fight I am going to have in this battle against loneliness and desolation. Julia, Julia, how can I do without you! The anguish in my soul rises up and distils itself in tears which not all my resolution can hold back. Little did I ever think that grief and sorrow would so utterly unman me, and, yet, I must fight it down. Nothing can bring her back, nothing can undo the past. Even if he who did that foul deed is caught it cannot bring consolation to me. The only consolation I can find is in the thought of our happy Life, and the realization that she at any rate did find a large measure of happiness and content in her life.

June 1931: After tea had an enjoyable ramble through the park to the woodland. I could not keep my mind off Julia, thinking how she would have enjoyed it. I am afraid these lovely walks will depress me for some time. My heart is in tears as I go along, and all the real pleasure of the walk vanishes. If I could only believe in existence after death, then I could be more content. If, as the spiritualists assert, this is true, then mydear Julia will know that she is seldom out of my thoughts.

15 June 1931: I think I must definitely abandon the idea of returning to a Liverpool agency as the ill-feeling against me is evidently stronger than I expected.

16 June 1931: Find all the neighbours up against me. They are the rottenest crowd I ever struck. Mean and paltry brained. I feel it a wicked insult to Julia. How she would have scorned the whole thing!

25 June 1931 (Wallace considers moving to a bungalow in Bromborough): My dear Julia would have absolutely revelled in this house and garden, and it hurts me to realize that this is her long wanted house, and now she is not here to enjoy its peace and beauty. A thousand times more than ever do I wish she could share it with me. What joy she would have had in that lovely garden! What wonderful happiness and content would have been hers! And now all is gone, and if I take this house as I feel I must, my happiness and peace in it will ever be tinged with sadness and regret.

[ Wallace did take this house. ]

28 June 1931: Met old ——. The pompous old ass evidently did not want to speak to me, and after passing the time of day drew into gaze in a shop window. Shallow but common artifice… I suppose this feeling against me will probably persist for some time and I may never really live it down. Well, after all, so long as I know I am innocent why should I worry?

25 August 1931: Quite a fine experience this morning. As I was going to catch my train I passed a man, and to my great surprise he said – ‘Good morning Mr Wallace,’ and introduced himself as a Mr ——. He had heard of my coming to live in Bromborough, and, believing me to be an innocent man, desired to be friends. It was a kind action for which I am immensely grateful. To know that I am not an object of scorn and suspicion to everyone is something. And to go about feeling that one is shunned by nearly everyone is a terrible ordeal, and though I try to fight it down and ignore it, the whole business depressed me beyond words. Perhaps, after a while I may get immersed in some new hobbies to take my mind off the terrible tragedy. What I fear is the long nights. But, perhaps the wireless will help me to overcome the desperate loneliness I feel.

8 September 1931: The last few days I have been depressed thinking of my dear Julia. I’m afraid this will be a very lonely winter for me. I seem to miss her more and more, and cannot drive the thought of her cruel end out of my mind.

14 September 1931: Just as I was going to dinner, Parry stopped me, and said he wanted to talk to me for a few minutes. It was a desperately awkward position. Eventually, I decided not to hear what he had to say. I told him I would talk to him someday and give him something to think about. He must realize that I suspect him of the terrible crime. I fear I let him see clearly, what I thought, and it may unfortunately put him on his guard. I wonder if it is any good putting a private detective on to his track in the hope of something coming to light. I am more than half persuaded to try it.

6 October 1931: I cannot disguise from myself that I am dreadfully nervous about entering the house after dark. I suppose it is because my nerves are all so shattered after the ordeal, and this, together with the recurring fits of grief and anguish over my dear Julia’s end make me horribly depressed and apprehensive … Left to myself I am for ever trying to visualize what really did happen. Although I am convinced Parry killed her, yet it is difficult to get proof. It would be a great relief if he could only be caught, and the foul murder brought home to him.

25 November 1931: Julia is never far out of my thoughts. The sadness and sorrow at her absence is still very real with me, but I suppose I am now accepting the inevitable. Nothing can ever bring her back, and however much I want her, or however much I miss her loving smiles and aimless chatter, I realise that life is insistent and demands first attention…

I seem unable to concentrate on the violin. I think it is because it carries too many poignant memories of those happy hours we spent together. Every time I handle the pieces of music she loved and played so delightfully, memories crowd in upon me until I am compelled to put the fiddle down. Music has its delights, but it also brings great oceans of sadness, which sometimes overwhelms, and brings up torrents of tears for utterly hopeless longings. So I must carry on to the end in sadness and sorrow.

20 March 1932: There are now several daffodils in bloom, and lots of tulips coming along. How delighted dear Julia would have been, and I can only too sadly picture how lovingly she would have tended the garden. Today I have been very much depressed, full of grief and tears. Julia, Julia, my dear, why were you taken from me? Why, why should this have been so? It is a question to which I can get no answer, and I must fight this dread feeling of utter loneliness as best I can. Black despair! When shall I be able to find peace!

31 March 1932: Got —— book on ——. I see I am included in the list of great criminals. The thing is too hideous to think about. I, who could not have hurt any living thing, I am supposed to have most brutally murdered Julia – Julia who was the whole world to me, my only companion with whom I could have trusted my life. If there is a God in Heaven, why, oh, why! Has she solved the great mystery of the beyond, or is it utter extinction? Does she know how I grieve for her, or is it the end? I am tortured by doubts.

12th April 1932: A reference to the garden.

(Actual text unknown).

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25 Responses to The Personal Diary Entries of William Herbert Wallace

  1. GED says:

    Doesn’t seem like the utterings of a guilty man does it.

  2. michael fitton says:

    Hi GED,
    No, these diary entries do not seem like those of a guilty man. We can add the accounts of his clients to whom he was “always a perfect gentleman,” “very fond of his wife,” and “he was joking with me.”
    Dr Shipman murdered my Aunt Hilda along with ~200 others. He was regarded as the best doctor in the small town of Hyde, Greater Manchester. Married with 4 children, he always had time for home visits, a chat, and a kind word for your dog, cat, or canary. He was worshipped by his mostly elderly female patients. His diagnostic skills were legendary.
    John Christie, a WW1 veteran who had been gassed while in service, was married and served as a Reserve Policeman during WW2. He was softly spoken, mild-mannered, and virtually an invalid with fibrositis etc. He was well-regarded by his neighbours. It was unthinkable to the jury at the Evans trial that he (as the alternative suspect) could have murdered Evans’ daughter (and by implication, his wife). Opinions changed when 6 bodies of women were found in his house in 1953.
    So I am quite leery of the “he wasn’t the type” argument. We see only the mask of respectabililty and not the ferment in the brain behind it.
    On reading and re-reading these diary entries over the years I now see them as over the top. A bit of “Thou dost protest too much.” They were intended to be discovered after his death.
    Wallace suggested Parry as a suspect to the police after initially stating that he had no suspicions of anyone. He was told by the police that Parry had been investigated and had a cast-iron alibi for the time of the murder, and that the police had ruled him out as a suspect. In spite of this Wallace continues to believe in his diaries that Parry did it. Surely an innocent man would reluctantly abandon suspicion of Parry and look elsewhere.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      That has never happened before in genuine cases. When people are falsely arrested they lose faith in the ability of the police force, definitely would not just take their word that a certain guy you heavily suspect is innocent of the crime.

  3. Michael Fitton says:

    I agree that when people are falsely accused of a crime their opinion of the police takes a dive. But it was on Thursday 22nd January when Wallace had neither been arrested or even accused of his wife’s murder that he made a statement indicating Parry as a possible suspect.
    His only basis for this accusation was Parry’s casual attitude to the Pru’s cash three years previously, and his knowledge of Wallace’s cash storage routine, also gained three years earlier and which for all Parry knew, may have been changed in the interim. Wallace had no idea whether Parry had solid alibis for the phone call or murder evenings but feeling himself under suspicion he made this wild unsubstantiated allegation of brutal murder against a man who was in fact little more than an acquaintance.
    Wallace, faced with police confirmation of Parry’s alibis, still affected to believe Parry did it. Even after the ordeal of the trial and appeal were over he continued to bluster “I know the murderer” and “I’ve thought of putting a private detective on the case.” But what did he do about it? Nothing.
    If he truly believed Parry murdered his wife he would leave no stone unturned to expose him as the killer and incidentally to rehabilitate his own reputation.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Gordon was a member of the drama club which had rehearsed at the City Cafe, that was the main basis for accusation, as he is apparently the only man who knew he attended that cafe and also knew where the box was etc.

      I’m not sure they were merely acquaintances, as the two had seen each other twice recently. Gordon mentioned a sighting on a bus, William discussed seeing Gordon in his car when Gordon gave him a calendar as a Christmas gift… Unless Gordon carried around trivial things like that to give out as Christmas gifts, it may have been a planned meeting. Something to consider.

  4. Michael Fitton says:

    “(Gordon) was the only man who knew he attended that cafe..”
    In fact Wallace’s attendance at the chess club was erratic. His previous visit had been two months earlier in November. Even Mr Beattie, in his reply to Qualtrough, could not be sure Wallace would be there that particular evening. Neither could Parry.
    “…and also knew where the box was..”
    Parry knew where the box had been almost three years earlier when he helped Wallace with his collections. Since then Wallace may have changed the location of the box for extra security with the Anfield burglar about. Wallace may have bought or made a new box…Parry couldn’t be sure.

    We can choose our friends but not our work colleagues. It is difficult to imagine two characters more different than Wallace and Parry. Thirty years separated them, Parry the wide boy ladies man, well dressed, a “good time Charlie.” Wallace the amateur scientist, the shabby dresser with the patched mac, always “the perfect gentleman,” enjoying Ibsen’s play on the radio… They had absolutely nothing in common and following the financial irregularities Wallace was wary of Parry. However the civilities were maintained with Parry giving Wallace the publicity calendar from his employer, hardly a Christmas gift. They would acknowledge each other if they met by chance on the street. They were not friends.

  5. GED says:

    Despite all this, the fact WHW couldn’t have done it due to the timings seems to have been lost. He couldn’t have known that Closes’ statement would throw a spanner into the police works and make the timings almost impossible so in fact Wallace wasn’t setting out an alibi at all and didn’t even say Close will confirm Julia was alive at 6.35 (at least). What if he’d killed Julia at 6.20 then had to answer the door to Close and so putting himself directly into the time frame. Everything about the previous and subsequent manner of Wallace (and even the Trial judge and appeal judge) points to Wallace innocence and every thing about the manner of Parry both before and after January 1931 points to a possibility, maybe even a probability of his guilt. Bear in mind that it wasn’t known back then that his phone call night alibi was completely false and his murder night alibi possibly suspect.

  6. GED says:

    I would also add the following. Murderers think they will get away with it, they think they’ve thought of everything to cover their tracks and think they are cleverer than the police. However, once their homes are searched things are often found. Whether it be a murder weapon in the loft, a trophy of their killing spree in the garden shed or an items of clothing or shred of dna in their car. Shipment made the mistake of forging a will on his brother typewriter at home. Christie of course had bodies hidden in the family home. I expect that even after his squashed conviction, Wallace if he was so cunning and delighted in having got away with the perfectly planned murder could not have resisted mentioning it in his final diary entry before his death.

  7. Michael Fitton says:

    I had a newspaper round when I was 14. At one house I would stand at the garden gate, whistle, and their dog would come out and take the Manchester Evening News in his jaws. If the police had found the dog owner murdered and the soggy paper on the kitchen table I would be unable to give an accurate time of my visit the previous evening to within plus or minus ten minutes at the very best.This explains my scepticism when people, going about their daily lives, recall to the minute the precise time that some unremarkable event (at the time) occurred.
    There was no reason at all why Alan Close should remember precisely the time he spoke with Mrs Wallace on her doorstep and yet he quoted 6.45 to his friends, later amended (possibly with encouragement) to an earlier time. His performance on the stand at Wallace’s trial was unconvincing.

    If Wallace had killed Julia at 6.20 he would not have opened the door to Alan but would by then have turned out all lights to simulate an empty house.

    I agree that Wallace’s calm manner throughout his ordeal is consistent with his innocence and that Parry’s record of criminality before and after the murder makes him a likely suspect. These facts alone have played a big part in forming opinions on the case one way or the other.
    The trial judge and the appeal judges did not state a belief that Wallace was innocent. They indicated something quite different: that a guilty verdict could not be sustained by the evidence presented in court and therefore “Not Guilty” was the only possible alternative under English law. This advice was ignored by the Liverpool jury but adhered to by the Appeal Court judges.
    Two quotations:
    Mr Justice Wright at the trial: ”We are not talking here of suspicion, no matter how grave…… suspicion is not enough.”
    George Carman defending Jeremy Thorpe in 1975 on conspiracy to murder charges: “A verdict of ’not guilty’ is not a Certificate of Innocence.”

    But if Parry is guilty it was “a robbery gone wrong” rather than the planned murder of Mrs Wallace. Assuming everything went as planned and he got away with the cash, how did he hope to get away with the crime? Mrs Wallace knew Parry and could identify him as the visitor during Wallace’s absence.

    Parry’s alibis are troubling. He lied about his telephone evening alibi and when asked by Lily Lloyd on the murder evening where he had been he didn’t mention spending three hours with Mrs Brine, Phyllis Plant, &Co. We can speculate that it was only later that Mrs Brine was “leaned on” to give Parry an alibi but I consider this to be unlikely in a case of brutal murder. I believe Parry, although engaged to Lily Lloyd, was seeing another woman and didn’t want Lily to find out about it, hence his prevarication on the alibis.

    After doing everything possible to avoid detection and maintaining his innocence until the day he died I don’t see what could be gained by a guilty Wallace confessing to the murder in his diary. It would destroy what remained of his reputation and give two fingers to all who had stood by him.
    As R M Qualtrough wrote here on 23/9/2022, an innocent Wallace would definitely not just take the word of the police that Parry had been checked out and was innocent of the crime. He would, in my view, after his successful appeal, move Heaven and Earth to find out if his suspicion of Parry was justified. Not only to find who killed his wife but to remove the stain of suspicion which still lingered around himself. Apart from bluster about Parry’s supposed guilt in the diary, he did precisely nothing.

  8. GED says:

    Thank you for your replies Michael, a truly fascinating case with many books on the topic and with a number of suspects. I’ve never believed somehow in Wallace’s guilt even though the first book I read on the subject was James Murphy’s which although seemed to point to his innocence all through the book, then largely confused me by saying he was guilty. Pretty much can be said the same about my friends Mark Russell’s book. I know he’s done a lot of research, like 15 years worth and again, a lot of his footnotes seem to point to Wallace’s innocence yet his final verdict is guilty. For my part, I now don’t think Parry was the killer any more, since reading more in depth about the housebreakers but do feel he’d put them onto it and maybe played a part in keeping Julia occupied until something went wrong. He could probably have hoped to get away with the haul by keeping in Julia’s company until the deed was done and then when the money was found to be missing, it could hardly have been him could it. Also she could hardly have told William he was in the house as these were clandestine meetings that Parry later admitted to.

    Regarding Close’s timings. There were good reasons for these being near accurate. Elsie Wright heard the 6.30 bells of the workhouse calling for evening service and Wildman had glanced at Holy Trinity clock – both of these before Close was seen at the Wallace’s door.

    Regarding motive. Wallace had none (that we know of) Shipman’s was greed/money. Christie’s was sexual pleasure. Parry was at worst a wide boy, living beyond his means and always in need of money to furnish his lifestyle including that of keeping a motor car running. Mark in his book mentions there were some loonies even admitting to this murder and cites Parkes story as the fanciful ramblings of an old man in his 80s but surprisingly failed to mention that it is known that he told the Atkinson’s all this back on the day after the murder when he came back on shift. Oh to be a fly on the wall in that parlour that evening.

  9. GED says:

    Sorry. I keep thinking of other things are leaving a reply.

    There are also a couple of accounts of witnesses seeing 2 men running down a nearby street just around the time before Wallace tries to gain entry to his house. Not sure if these have been given the credence they may deserve and not sure if those witness statement are on here or even exist as I can’t remember seeing them. How about the girl who overheard her parents being asked to spirit Parry away onto a ship somewhere (I think that revelation appears in John Gannon’s book) I also wonder if Parry’s dad did have any influence on the powers that be, having had to bail him out at least once before. Parry’s dad had already given mis-information about his son having a flat battery on Breck Road (But could have mistaken Parry’s accumulator battery visit at Hignett’s on West Derby Road)

  10. David Metcalf says:

    Hi Ged!!
    I also think not enough credence has been given to the sighting of the two men racing down Hanwell Street towards Lower Breck Road.Anne Parsons, who witnessed this, said it happened sometime between 8 and 8.15pm.I’m actually starting to believe that these men were “Qualtrough”, whose real name we’ll almost certainly never find out now, and 19 year old William Denison….the Denison who was Parry’s friend, Olivia Brine’s nephew, and who she mentions in her statement.Brine says that Parry started calling at her house in Knoclaid Road before Christmas with William Denison.Yet on the night of the murder, when Parry called at Brine’s house at 5.30, William Denison wasn’t with him.So where was he? We have absolutely no idea of his whereabouts, and there is nothing in the police files to suggest he was ever interviewed, or asked to provide a statement…why? And notice how Parry himself makes no mention of William in his own statement….I find that a bit odd.This may sound a bit crazy, but could it actually be possible that the police got the Denison brothers mixed up?…After initially mentioning WILLIAM in her statement, Olivia Brine then states that HAROLD called at her house at 6pm, and was still there when Parry left at 8.30.Did an investigating detective see the name Denison, and mistakenly assume William and Harold were one and the same person? This could be why William Denison has gone completely under the radar in this case.Admittedly, this scenario is unlikely, but it’s well worth remembering that the police made numerous errors in their investigation of this case…errors that should have been avoided even in 1931.And don’t forget either that William Denison DID end up with a criminal record.Whether he was known to the police in 1931, I’ve no idea, but the fact he was even a friend of a petty thief and chancer like Parry doesn’t make him look good.
    I’m convinced that this was a planned distraction robbery that went badly wrong.I think “Qualtrough” was the distractor, knocking on the door at 7.30, asking for Wallace.When Julia tells him Wallace has gone to HIS address in Menlove Gardens, “Qualtrough” feigns confusion, saying there’s obviously been a misunderstanding in the relaying of his message to the Chess Club the previous evening, and he said he’d call at Wolverton Street.At this point, Julia is likely to allow him in…as Wallace himself said she would probably would do, as she “knew all about the business”, and where he was going.This was confirmed by Julia’s sister.Upon seeing “ Qualtrough” gain entry to the house from a darkened nearby alley or entry, the person actually tasked with stealing the money from the cash box, makes his way to the back of the house and prepares to gain access via the back door.I could be miles from the truth, but I think this person might well have been William Denison.His job is to get the cash whilst “Qualtrough” keeps Julia talking.But at some point at between roughly 7.35 and 7.50, something goes wrong…namely that Julia hears the thief dropping coins, or more likely, accidentally knocking the door off the cupboard.What happens after this, that leads to her death, is pure speculation.But that’s why I also mention the time of 7.50.The pathologist MacFall made errors himself in his investigation, as we all know.But he arrived at the scene at 9.50pm, and he gave his initial time of death at approximately two hours before his arrival….7.50pm.He later changed this to 6pm.No-one knows why, but either time means Wallace couldn’t have been the killer.What’s also interesting is something mentioned in John Gannon’s book in regard to the autopsy.The contents of Julia’s stomach also suggested a time of death of about 90 to 120 minutes after her last meal.And we know she’d eaten scones with William not long after 6pm.My point here is that despite his errors, notably not taking Julia’s body temperature, could MacFall’s initial, gut reaction of a time of death at approximately 7.50 have been right??
    As I say, I’m still convinced this was a robbery gone wrong.And that those two men seen racing down Hanwell Street by Anne Parsons shortly after 8pm were quite possibly the man pretending to be “Qualtrough”….and William Denison.Both of whom had been attempting to carry out this robbery with the information and knowledge provided by Parry, for whom this could have been a very profitable exercise had it been successful.And also a risk free exercise for him…don’t forget that.After all, he wasn’t “Qualtrough”, and neither was he the actual thief.This,combined with his Brine alibi, meant that even if the finger of suspicion was pointed at him in the event of the robbery actually going to plan, he could honestly say he was nowhere near Wolverton Street that night…and Julia, having no idea who “Qualtrough” was, or not having heard or seen Denison actually steal from the cash box, would have no reason to suspect Parry.Anyway, I’m still sticking to this theory…for now, lol!!?

  11. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi GED,
    You raise several good points; its a pleasure to discuss the case with someone who has read Murphy and Russell as I have.

    If Parry and an accomplice planned and carried out a distraction robbery, and if there had been previous clandestine meetings (Julia + Parry) in the afternoons, Julia would not, as you say Ged, mention Parry’s visit on William’s return from Menlove Gardens.
    But why would Parry, knowing that it all went wrong leaving him as at least an accessory to murder, mention these furtive meetings with Julia to Jonathan Goodman in the 1960’s?
    Instead of being just a colleague of Wallace three years before the murder he’s admitting (quite needlessly) to a closer relationship with Julia. This draws him into the net and also provides Wallace with his motive for murder. I just don’t see why a guilty Parry would volunteer this damaging information.
    The only explanation, assuming these meetings took place, is that they were social rather than sexual, but even that was not liked by Wallace. If he had told Julia never to admit Parry to the house and she disobeyed……..Julia gets murdered and Parry gets framed. Just a thought!

    Yes there is corroboration for Close’s timing of his visit as between ~6.30 and ~6.45. But again it is people remembering mundane details with apparent precision: hearing the church bells, checking the time on the church clock which, being (at the time) unimportant, would not register and be remembered with any accuracy several days later. I’m not saying they were wrong but their power of recall should have been tested at the trial. It wasn’t:
    “What time did you pass the church on the Monday evening?”
    “What time did you deliver milk to 24 Breck Road Mr Close?”

    Regarding Wallace’s motive one can only speculate but I see Julia as an unhappy wife who had come down in the world. Married to a stingy plodder like William and living in rented house in an Anfield back street as she would see it. Interesting that once he moved to the Wirral he wrote: “this is the house that Julia always wanted, with a garden etc. ” Note: not “the house that we always wanted..” I think she blamed Wallace for his lack of ambition and his frugality with constant reminders. He was a dying man with little to lose who wanted peace in the short time left to him. Add to this her possible friendship with Parry…..

    The story told by John Parkes is literally unbelievable. That Parry, fresh from witnessing/taking part in a murder would behave in this way and admit involvement just beggars belief. But Parkes was seen as a trusted and reliable employee at Atkinson’s garage. So why didn’t they phone the police immediately they heard his story the following morning?

    The only way to reconcile these aspects is to suggest that Parry, having heard of the murder, played a sick practical joke on the gullible Parkes. The more outlandish aspects of the tale – Parry wearing a fisherman’s cape and arriving in Wolverton Street like Captain Birdseye – were taken up by Parkes from local gossip etc and woven into his story thus confirming his gullibility. The Atkinsons must have had doubts about Parkes’s tale so they decided to do nothing and (incredibly) await the outcome of Wallace’s trial before picking up the phone!
    The alternative is that Parkes made the whole thing up because he didn’t like Parry to say the least. Parkes says Parry tipped him 5 shillings for washing the car. That is ~£20 in today’s money and “The Atkinsons told me to keep it.” Unbelievable!

  12. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi David,
    My reasons for not favouring a distraction burglary are:
    1. Julia, suspecting a robbery by Q’s partner would investigate the noise in the dining kitchen. The confrontation would take place there and not in the parlour.
    2. Two chancers, barely out of their teens, would not be convincing as Mr Q who wanted to take out a policy with the Pru for his 21 year old daughter.
    3. The mac was most likely used as a shield against blood spray. In a sudden confrontation scenario the assailant would have no time to grab it from the hall stand even if he knew it was there.
    4. If Julia didn’t know the visitors there was no need at all to react to discovery by attacking her. They had the cash at this point and could quickly leave her behind before the alarm was raised. It was a dark mid-winter night with few people about.
    5. There is no indication that the house was ransacked after the murder: cash in the jar upstairs, in Julia’s handbag, and Wallace’s valuable microscope (certainly pawnable) on the same shelf as the cash box – all untouched even after the robbers discovered their paltry haul (£4).
    6. The location of the cash box had been on the high shelf when Parry helped Wallace some 3 years earlier but there was no guarantee that W had not changed its location, bought/made a new box, or even installed a safe in the interim bearing in mind that the Anfield burglar was about. And the box was replaced on the shelf. Something according to the police, a robber would not do.
    7. The savagery of the murder – 11 blows – indicates more than silencing a witness. It was deliberate.
    8. Access via the back door while Q is in the parlour suggests a duplicate key. Also the gate into the entry was supposedly locked by Julia after parting with Wallace. If they could overcome these obstacles why not, on seeing Wallace leave on his errand, call at the back door 5 minutes later:
    “Are you Mrs Wallace? Come quickly, your husband has collapsed in Lower Breck Road. He’s asking for you.” During her absence….
    9. Would Q and his pal run in Hanwell street thereby attracting attention? A stroll until well away would be better.
    10. Things having gone so badly wrong, or even if they had not, wouldn’t a meeting with Parry have been planned? At 9 pm he’s at the Lloyds, unruffled and behaving normally.

  13. David Metcalf says:

    Hi Mike!!
    Before I talk about the case, let me just say I hope you had a very good Christmas and New Year.Now comes the bit where I’m going to disagree with you on some points…sorry!! But in reference to your previous post, here goes:

    1.The confrontation has taken place in the parlour because Qualtrough has prevented her from getting to the kitchen, possibly by dragging her back into the parlour when she’s gone into the hallway.And at some point, he’s grabbed the mackintosh from the coat stand, which was just outside the parlour door.I believe Qualtrough, or whatever his real name was, was the killer.I’ll suggest a possible reason why he killed Julia shortly.

    2.Regarding your comment about two chancers barely out of their teens:I don’t think Qualtrough was in his teens….I think he was a much older man, maybe in his 40’s or even 50’s.The phone call the previous evening to the Chess Club indicates a father trying to arrange something for his daughter, so the person pretending to be Qualtrough had to be of an appropriate age.Sorry if my previous comments suggested it was two teenagers carrying out this robbery.I’ll try to be clearer from now on!!

    3.I think it’s quite possible Qualtrough COULD have grabbed the mackintosh from the coat stand.If Julia has got up and opened the parlour door, but Qualtrough grabs her before she can get to the kitchen, grabbing the mackintosh and putting it over her head before dragging her back into the parlour wouldn’t have been difficult, particularly for a man who who was likely a lot bigger and stronger than Julia.And he quite possibly DID know it was there anyway…he could have spotted it hanging on the coat stand when Julia admitted him into the house, and showed him into the parlour, which was her usual custom with guests or strangers.

    4.If this robbery is successful, then obviously Julia doesn’t get killed.But it isn’t…the actual thief, maybe William Denison makes a mistake, and knocks the loose door off cabinet, or drops coins from the cash box.Julia hears this, and gets up.At this point, Qualtrough maybe panics…possibly because he’s already got a criminal record, or has already spent time in prison, maybe both.This means the police will have his mugshot and fingerprints on file.As far as he’s concerned, he may feel he can’t allow Julia to give his description to the police….he knows he’ll be in the frame, particularly if he’s got “previous” for this type of thing.He has to silence her.

    5.Under the circumstances, I feel it’s highly unlikely Qualtrough and Denison will want to hang around to ransack the rest of the house.The planned robbery has gone horribly wrong in the space of barely a minute or two.This has turned into a totally unexpected murder in a very short space of time…Qualtrough and Denison (if he’s witnessed the killing) will be shocked, panicking.No, far better to get the hell out of there as quickly as they can.

    6.The issue of the cash box and it’s location is very important.I agree with you Mike that Parry cannot possibly know whether Wallace keeps it in the same place he did when he, Parry, worked for the Prudential a couple of years earlier.Unless Wallace had inadvertently told him on one of their meetings prior to Christmas.Don’t forget, they’d bumped into each other three times a few weeks before the murder.But that seems unlikely.But as I said in an earlier post, Parry is a chancer, an opportunist…he can’t know for certain Wallace still keeps the cash box in the same place, but knowing Wallace is generally a creature of habit, Parry is taking a punt that he DOES keep it in the same place.And I also think that a thief may well have put it back after the robbery.If this robbery is successful, Wallace comes home frustrated about a wasted trip, but everything at home is as it should be…including the cash box being in it’s rightful place, thus reducing suspicion.Wallace used to take the cash box upstairs with him when going to bed…usually at about midnight.So if he follows his normal procedure, it may not have been until midnight that Wallace realises the money has been stolen from it.

    7.Admittedly, the savagery of the attack is odd. This does suggest maybe something “personal”.But as we have no idea who Qualtrough actually was, we don’t what his personality was like.Was he violent? Did he panic when he realised Julia had heard the robbery taking place in the kitchen, because of the reasons I’ve mentioned, jail police record etc.He could have been an edgy, violent man who committed nasty acts later in life.We don’t know, because we have no idea what his real name actually was.

    8.I think there is a real possibility a duplicate key could have been used to access the back kitchen door.But the door that led into the entry wasn’t bolted when Wallace came home, although it should have been.That’s why he initially went to his front door.So if it was unbolted at 7.30pm, then that’s one less barrier for the thief to negotiate.But trust me Mike, actually climbing over those walls wouldn’t have been difficult anyway, especially for a young man…far from it.I’ve stood at the back of the house numerous times, and you soon realise you’d hardly need to be an Everest mountaineer to climb that wall!!

    9.As regards the running down Hanwell Street, yes, in hindsight it would make much more sense to just calmly walk away….but things always seem easier in hindsight.Did they hear something or someone when leaving the house that spooked them into running? Once they got out of the house, did they just panic and take to their heels? These were two men who’d have been very seriously agitated and worried by what had just occurred…. it wouldn’t have taken a great deal to get them racing away from Wolverton Street as quickly as possible.

    10.Parry did NOT arrive Lily Lloyd’s house at 9pm as he claimed.And as she claimed herself at the time.In 1933, Lily split up with Parry.She then approached Hector Munro, Wallace’s solicitor, and admitted that part of her statement for the night of the murder wasn’t true.Namely, that Parry did NOT arrive at her house at 9pm…it was some time after that.Munro said that there was nothing he could do about this, as Wallace was now dead, meaning he was no longer Munro’s client.Plus Wallace had won his appeal anyway.People studying the case have suggested Lily did this as an act of spite against Parry for ending their relationship.But it’s also been suggested that it was Lily herself who ended it.No-one knows for sure.People who doubted Lily did this also ask why she never went to the police.Maybe because she thought she’d get into trouble for lying? It sounded strange, but then in the early 1980’s, Lily herself admitted to a radio reporter from Liverpool that she did indeed call upon Hector Munro in 1933.A local station here in Liverpool, Radio City, were doing a 50th Anniversary broadcast about the murder, and managed to trace Lily down, although they weren’t permitted to say where.She refused to appear on the show, or conduct a face to face interview.But she DID confirm over the telephone her visit to Munro, and also the fact that Parry did not arrive her house until some time after 9pm, although she couldn’t give the exact time.Which begs a couple of very obvious questions…if Parry WASN’T at Lily’s at 9pm as he claimed, where was he? And why has Parry apparently asked Lily, and possibly her mother, to lie to the police on his behalf?

    Anyway Mike, I’m sticking to my robbery theory!!?
    By the way, some of the blokes who talk about the case on a Facebook site are having a get together on Friday the 20th of January, the 92nd anniversary of the murder.We usually meet outside the house, to get a sense of atmosphere lol!!? Then have a wander around the neighbourhood, and put forward our theories.Scotland Yard have got nothing on us!! We then usually take the discussion into a nearby pub!!?? Be great if you could come over and meet us!!

    Cheers Mike.

  14. Michael Fitton says:

    Even if Qualtrough was Parry, he left several weak links in his plan to lure Wallace away:
    Wallace may have had another engagement on the Tuesday evening.
    Julia being in delicate health, he decides not to leave her alone.
    He’s suspicious of the unusual enquiry out of business hours and in a phone call to his chess club of all things. He ignores it.
    Wallace himself may not feel up to a cross-town trek on a winter’s night.

    Taken at face value Qualtrough appears to be a solid citizen in middle age, a family man and sufficiently affluent to be taking out a policy with the Prudential for his daughter. Just the type who would be first in the queue to have a phone installed at home. Although this was not common in 1931, it was a possibility.

    So why didn’t Wallace ask Mr Beattie if Mr Q had left a phone number?

    Wallace could…
    Cconfirm he had received the message and would see Mr Q the following evening.
    Ask Q’s advice on the best way to reach Menlove Gardens from Anfield.
    Enquire about the prospective policy so he could bring along the right forms/documents etc
    Remove any suspicion he may have had about the call being genuine and not from a time-waster.

    The Qualtrough call was made by someone who knew with certainty that Wallace would go to Menlove Gardens. Someone who knew that Mr Q was not ringing from home.

    That someone can only be Wallace himself.

  15. GED says:

    I know Mark Russell personally, a little, i’ve been to Wallace ‘events’ with him and I know how much research and hard work he’s put into his book which is almost 20 years in the making on and off. I’m just about to put a counter option on his last chapter, his conclusion. We have a facebook group dedicated to the murder and in fact are meeting up in Wolverton st on Friday 20th on the anniversary.

    In brief, Q would only need to keep an eye on Wolverton st from the corner of Richmond Park by Letchworth st so see if WHW takes the bait, if not, nothing lost, he tried something else another time, but he does take the bait.

    It could also be said that on the face of it Wallace is the type who would have a phone at home given his job too. All the things that WHW seemed to do are suspicious according to his distractors and yet all the other things such as a witness seeing people running on this cold winter night with not many people about you say? Is improbable.
    The savagery fits with how the housebreakers were dealing with confrontation of the elderly if you read this site? Parry’s incorrect phone call night statement simply becomes a mistake. The fact Parry was an amateur actor and Beattie didn’t recognise the voice as Wallace’s even though he was going to hear it again 30 minutes later is also a mistake. Parry was done quite a few times for theft of other peoples cars, money and from phone boxes but these are swept away. Too much conveniently looking in one direction for me ;).

  16. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi GED,
    During the several years that the Wallace case has fascinated me I have moved from Parry being the culprit, then Johnston the neighbour after reading Tom Sleman, then Wallace and back to Parry again but currently Wallace is my man for reasons given earlier. However I have not closed the book on the other suspects who do have several points in their favour.

    If we concentrate on the phone call and its consequences I agree that Mr Q could see Wallace “take the bait” from a suitable vantage point as he set off for Menlove Gardens. But if we rewind to Wallace’s decision to attend the chess club for the first time in 2 months I don’t see how Mr Q could have known this unless he hung around the tram stop each Monday evening hoping to see Wallace on his way. Even Mr Beattie wasn’t certain that Wallace would attend on that night.

    I think the Qualtrough call had to work first time; if Wallace didn’t bite then it couldn’t be repeated without raising suspicion. As a plan it had several potential failure points; they disappear only if Qualtrough was Wallace.

    Yes, one might expect Wallace to have a home telephone except that he was a chap who watched every penny. As a business phone the Pru might help with the cost but they’d have to do the same for all their agents.

    I think too much has been made of Parry’s ability to disguise his voice. Mr Q could anticipate a waitress picking up the phone and then passing the call to Mr Beattie. Parry may have spoken briefly with Ms Hartley when at his rehearsals but there’s no reason she should be able to recognise his voice among the many people she dealt with as a waitress. Similarly Mr Beattie: is it likely that Parry had ever spoken to him? I think not. So Parry, in spite of his voice-changing skill didn’t need it for this call. Also, voice recognition is more difficult over the phone.

    As you say, Wallace did speak with Beattie only ~30 minutes after the call but he arrived furtively, not greeting Beattie or wishing him a belated Happy New Year, just quietly getting down to his game. Prior to this it had been two months since they had spoken to each other; was this deliberate on Wallace’s part?
    When Mr Q wanted to speak with Wallace the last person Beattie would think of as the caller would be Wallace himself. I’m sure this fed into his “non-recognition” of the voice.

    A point in favour of Parry being the caller is his mentioning the 21st birthday. Not only was he expecting an invitation to the Williamson 21st, but the 21st of Lily Lloyd was in September. But would a guilty Parry have left a clue to his identity with this gratuitous information?
    Another pointer to Parry is his initial false alibi for the time of the phone call. I think he had another woman behind Lily’s back and was protecting her. Pure speculation, I know.

    Meeting with other Wallace case students on the anniversary is a great idea. Ideally one would like to look around the house but I can well imagine the current residents being fed up with the occasional caller with this in mind. Anyway I’m sure you’ll have an enjoyable exchange of views on the case with Mark Russell and the others.

    Finally, would I vote for Wallace’s conviction as a member of a jury today and knowing all that has been revealed in the intervening years?

    No, I would not. There is too much “reasonable doubt.”

    Best regards,


  17. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi David,
    I hope you too had a great Christmas with a Happy New Year in prospect.

    Thanks for your comprehensive reply to the points I raised.

    An older Qualtrough accompanied by a younger man (“my son”?) would indeed be admitted to the parlour claiming a misunderstanding about the appointment. However, a noisy and violent confrontation when Julia realised a robbery was underway would surely have been heard by the next door neighbours. By all accounts the party walls were thin and the goings-on next door could often be heard. The only thing heard was two “bumps” by the Johnstons at around 8.15.

    An older Qualtrough, a seasoned criminal with his prints/photo possibly on file made me think about fingerprints. Did Mr Q anticipating a non-lethal robbery wear gloves while chatting with Julia in the parlour? If memory serves there were no “foreign” prints found in the house.

    In any consideration of the robbery theme we should remember that £1 in 1931 corresponds to £80 in today’s purchasing power.

    If indeed Parry met Julia for afternoon music sessions unknown to Wallace he had every chance to spot that the cash box was in its usual place just as when he had helped Wallace some years earlier.

    The brutality of the murder does as you say suggest a personal motive and, in my view, indicates Wallace as the killer. But I take your point that there are some very nasty people out there who would do anything, including “overkill”, to avoid being caught.

    Lily Lloyd did say she had lied by saying Parry arrived at her house at 9 pm and that it was in fact later. But we have her mother’s statement which also gives 9 pm for Parry’s arrival. So did these women both lie in their statements or was Lily lying to Hector Munro to stir up trouble for Parry? He (HW) incidentally had no memory of Lily recanting but by then, when asked about it, he was an old man. Parry’s alibi for the murder period was in any case with Mrs Brine & Co.

    So, as you can see David, as long as there is no slam dunk golden bullet solution to the Wallace case I can agree that the robbery gone wrong approach has some points in its favour. On balance however I do feel that Wallace himself is the guilty one.

    I’m sure you will enjoy your Wallace anniversary reunion with other students of the case. And as you stand outside 29 Wolverton Street in the evening gloom thinking of events long ago you may see a tall seedy-looking fellow in a patched mac and bowler hat chuckling to himself on the other side of the street and muttering “Wouldn’t you like to know……?”

    Best regards,


  18. Aranel says:

    good evening
    I just came close to this strange and intricate murder.
    I started reading the books on the subject, especially the one by Mark Russell.
    I have a question: if Wallace deemed guilty what is the motive for the murder of his wife?
    After the loss he lived in solitude, isolated from everyone, fell ill and died a few years later.
    Why kill her premeditatedly?
    Thanks to anyone who wants to give me some opinion

  19. David Metcalf says:

    Hi Mike,
    Sorry for another late reply!! I must admit, I’m having one or two doubts at the moment in regard to my “distraction robbery gone wrong” theory!! ? This is due to the meeting between Greenlees and a man who sounded as though he looked very similar to the man who Lily Hall claimed she saw talking to Wallace near the entry on Richmond Park.Greenlees said a man approached him just before he reached his house, number 95, and asked him where 54 Richmond Park was.Greenlees informed him that there was no such address.The numbers on the even numbers side only went up to about 30, I think.Greenlees then entered his house.He said this would have been 8.40pm.If what he’s saying is accurate, this means that this conversation with this man must have taken place only about two minutes after Lilly Hall said she saw Wallace talking to a man she didn’t recognise…one of whom walked up the entry where she saw them.Greenlees stated that he knew both Wallace and Lilly Hall, but neither of them were present when he told this man the address he was asking for didn’t exist.I had a stroll around there yesterday, trying to imagine the scene (I know, I’m sad!!☹️) but when you’ve got a free bus pass, you can do things like this!!
    It has to be said, this sighting by Greenlees does appear to corroborate what Lilly Hall said, to some extent. Did the man she see walking up the entry reappear a couple of minutes later at the bottom of Letchworth Street, which leads directly onto Richmond Park? Richmond Park sounds quite grand, but it isn’t…it’s just an ordinary road or street!!The entry itself also links the two streets.You could walk up the entry where Hall said she saw the men talking, emerge onto Letchworth Street, and walk back down onto Richmond Park in less than a minute. Greenlees claimed that this man emerged from Letchworth Street before approaching him.The statements of Greenlees and Hall on this site are well worth looking at again, Mike.
    These sightings also provide ammunition for those people who think Wallace paid to have his wife killed.I’m not convinced by this personally, but these two sightings of what could be the same man within minutes of each other don’t look great for Wallace, whatever way you look at it.Especially if you believe he did indeed pay someone to kill his wife…was this man confirming the job was done? Just seems very odd…especially when you add to the mix the phone call the previous evening that I’m 100% convinced was made by Parry.He’s definitely involved in this whole scenario somehow, but maybe not as someone arranging a distraction robbery as I’ve previously suggested.Something very strange or dangerous has possibly led to Julia being killed in the manner she was.
    If you get the chance Mike, join the Facebook group.One of the guys who helps run this site is on it, and was telling us he’s got access to letters from various people about the case that were written to Goodman when he was investigating it, and writing his book back in the 60’s. Including a letter from an investigating office in 1931!! I’ll need to look at this!! He also believes Wallace paid to have Julia murdered!!
    Like your comments about our meeting on the 20th of this month, the 92nd anniversary….I bet you’d all love to know indeed!!? Your head does race a bit though Mike, when you’re standing there in the dark at about 6.40pm, trying to cast your mind back and picture the scene!! When we were there last year, Ged said at about 6.37 “Alan Close the milk boy would have been knocking at the door now 91 years ago!!? Sadly though, I can’t make it next Friday…my brother-in-law’s Mum has just passed away, and the funeral is on the 20th.She was a lovely woman, and I’ll obviously be attending.But I’m disappointed I can’t make our get together.☹️ It’s great chatting about the case and comparing our own theories…especially in the pub over a few beers!!
    Anyway Mike, look after yourself and stay in touch…always great chatting to you about the case and reading your posts.


  20. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi David,

    I was sorry to read of your family bereavement. I hope you’re bearing up O.K.

    I don’t consider it at all “sad” to take a stroll around the Wolverton street area. The whole case is an intellectual challenge which keeps our grey cells sparking, maybe not as brightly as in our younger days but it for sure beats a discussion of “Strictly Come Dancing” !

    Counter arguments to a “paid killer” scenario might include:
    Wallace’s well-documented stinginess,
    The absence of any large payments coming out of his bank account,
    The difficulty and risk of finding someone to do it,
    Wallace would have chosen a night when he had a particularly large sum of money in his cash box to pay the killer, not just the £4 which was missing.

    The encounter of Mr Greenlees with the mystery man is certainly strange but why would a killer speak to anyone as he made his getaway, and with such a strange question? It may have been the same man who Lily Hall saw talking to Wallace (although W denied meeting anyone); he may have collared Wallace to ask the same question. Weird that a bogus address should be part of the story twice on the same night!
    Also the relative lateness of these sightings/encounters (~ 8.40 pm). A non-Wallace killer would have struck quite soon after Wallace left home at ~ 6.45 pm.

    Parry is an extremely credible candidate for the role of Qualtrough: his ability to role -play, the attempt to get a free call, his familiarity with – and misuse of phones to ring up complete strangers (according to Parkes), his confidence and fluency. But again the sticking point to any non-Wallace Qualtrough is “How did he know that Wallace would attend the chess club on that night after an eight week absence?”
    Also Wallace habitually boarded his tram into town at Belmont Road, so why would a non-Wallace Qualtrough be hanging around the stop at Breck Road near the phone box?

    Although you cannot attend the March 20th anniversary David, I’m sure GED will be happy to give forum members a run-down of the event. It would be especially interesting to have an overview of the opinions being expressed at the moment.

    Best regards,


  21. GED says:

    Hi Mike, Hope you are well. Just to go over a couple of points you’ve made. Q wouldn’t need to hang around each Monday, just from about 7pm on Mon 19th and he, and possibly his accomplice could see the route to both trams stops from (maybe his car) in the Cabbage Hall car park or thereabouts. You don’t normally walk back on your route when there are the choice of 2 stops you can use that are of a similar distance from your house, for one, the one further back might cost the miserly Wallace more money and in fact we know he walked past Castlewood Road request stop on 20th as no tram was coming and boarded it at the next stop by St. Mary’s Church. Also, it might not be known by Q that Wallace had not been in attendance at the Chess club for some time, we are assuming he could or would read the history of his attendance record or even understand what it meant.

  22. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi Jed,
    Maybe I’m missing something here so please bear with me.
    Wallace’s attendance the chess club was erratic. There was no way to be sure he would attend on a given club night. The 19 January was his first attendance in over 2 months. The match schedule notice in the cafe was flexible with members missing scheduled matches and catching up later so it was no guide to future attendance. As you say Qualtrough may or may not have known of W’s erratic attendance but it was a fact which made planning the Qualtrough call for a specific club night impossible. In that case Qualtrough being on the spot just when Wallace was going to the club on 19 January was pure chance which is hard to credit. The Qualtrough ruse was the result of long planning, not a spur of the moment decision.
    I agree that from a suitable vantage point one could see which tram stop Wallace was headed for.
    By the way Jed. If you did attend the gathering in Wolverton Street on the anniversary of the murder I’m surely not the only forum reader who would like to hear how it went and particularly how the various opinions of the case stack up now.
    Best regards,

  23. GED says:

    Hi Mike. Thanks again for your reply. The anniversary night meet up was great. Sadly as we knew David Metcalfe couldn’t make it and I only had a 90 minute window before I had to be somewhere else and another friend of mine John couldn’t make it either but there were 6 of us and by chance the alley gate was open so we went right up to the back yard gate and had a little discussion there in the atmospheric setting, stood on the very cobbles that all the players in this sorry saga had used in January 1931. CJ who operates this site and his friend Josh have also joined our facebook group (The Murder of Julia Wallace) as has another great poster called Theo, taking the membership up into the near 70 mark which includes the local author of Checkmate Mark Russell. If you are on facebook why not join.

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