My Sketches, Scrawlings, and Random Notes

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Although not related you may wish to first read the milk boy timings and evidence to get an idea of the scene and time window.

Very rough, NOT TO SCALE:

Body positioned as it was originally found: “She was lying with her right arm underneath and the left arm was across her breast.”

Sketch by solicitor Hector Munro showing the position of Julia and the mackintosh before they were moved, as according to testimony from the Johnstons.

Munro has the positioning of Julia wrong, her feet are far more into the corner, by the sofa almost touching the fireplace hearth.

  • British carpeted home: Guests probably expected to remove outdoor shoes upon entry? ESPECIALLY when entering the “best room” AKA “parlour”. Hence no bloody shoeprints?
  • Three/four separate blood pools (the largest appears to be perhaps two combined into one bigger pool). Julia moved two significant times into the final resting position?
  • Original body position: Julia rolled onto side to shove jacket under her shoulders giving the appearance she had it round her shoulders when attacked? (Suggested by Florence Johnston)
  • Holmes family in living kitchen, 3 walls away from the Wallace parlour and kitchen. Johnston home shares a thin party wall.
  • Doors marked with Xs in the corner have bolts fitted which may or may not be on.
  • If there is a noise in the kitchen at the bookshelf, if this sound is loud enough for Julia to hear it from the bay window chaise in the parlour, the JOHNSTONS in the room adjacent (their living kitchen) should also hear it? The women are all home during the day and John was home since 18:45 the time William claims to have left home.
  • Wallace stated that outdoors there was a lavatory which was “never used”. May have meant by he and Julia. However the back door is faulty and a person might get stuck outside. Hence very likely Julia would take them out even if they asked to use the bathroom and were offered the outhouse.
  • It is said that when Julia admitted business-related people into the house she would often let them write letters in the parlour. In the parlour there appears to be no space cleared for paper or pads to be placed, and no sign of stationary.
  • Because of warmth factors, it is likely that each door in the house would be kept shut. Therefore if a person tried to go into the kitchen without Julia knowing, would she not hear the kitchen door?
  • Would Julia from the parlour hear a key turn in the door leading from the yard into the back kitchen? Or the door open from the back kitchen into the middle kitchen?
  • Street and entries do not appear to have many street lamps as seen by police photographs (none are visible in photographs):

  • Note the back entry has the front door numbers marked on a plate beside the yard door.
  • If the back door is unbolted which apparently was the practice, a neighbour would be able to use their key to effect entry into the home this way. The yard door could also be unbolted but this need not be the case as the walls were easy to jump (as seen by window cleaners etc. earlier in the day). If Julia had gone out the back to check the entries for Puss as per Johnston’s alleged confession, both the yard and back kitchen door would be unbolted.
  • If Gordon Parry (G.) has an accomplice he is likely to want to quickly go over the plan with his accomplice before he goes off to do the deed: Therefore look at Brine family members: William Samuel Albert Denison.
  • Just to note, G. would not need to ensure an alibi if an accomplice goes in and robs the home. Julia if she had not been murdered would know the thief is NOT Gordon.
  • If G. also has a key that would fit the back door (skeleton keys were common) there is no need for the call plan. He can simple distract Julia at the front door while his friend hops the back yard and enters the home.
  • If a man pretending to be “Qualtrough” arrived at 7.30 (the apparent business appointment time), William would not be expected home for another 35 minutes roughly. Julia may therefore be unlikely to admit him into the home and instead request he just let her take a message. Although we can see she sometimes let clients into the parlour to write letters.
  • The cushions on the sofa suggest Julia had reclined in it. This suggests expectation of a longer visit with a guest. NOT necessarily then just a man who has entered to write a note for William.
  • If the man came he might want to arrive more around 7.50 to 8.00 PM when Julia could expect her husband to return soon, as she would then be more likely willing to entertain him for that 10 minutes or so.
  • On some occasions Julia conducted business for William while he was ill. Consider the possibility she attempted to do so and this is how the individual came to know the cash box location.
  • Johnstons are “intimately” friendly with Julia, have cat-sat while the couple were in Anglesey. Consider possibility they know the house better than they let on.
  • Missing black cat “Puss” who “belonged” to Julia was actually originally a neighbour’s cat. WHICH NEIGHBOUR(S)?
  • Johnstons are planning to move in the coming days/weeks, may therefore wish to settle matters. Was the cat previously theirs? This should be checked.
  • Julia reclining on sofa = no expectation of musical evening.
  • Reason for parlour use other than not knowing the person very well: Kitchen clutter (sewing equipment, tea things, etc)? Space (more than one visitor entered the home)? Loss of trust/diminished strength of friendship for some reason?
  • Money in Julia’s corsets: William controlling with money? Does not like her spending so she keeps some hidden?
  • By scene, consider neighbours entering to settle a matter with Julia prior to their move. This turns nasty, Julia refuses some request and goes to turn off the fire for them to leave and is instead attacked. Robbery staged?
  • If Wallace has no involement, there’s no reason to doubt his belief someone was in the house on his return. If so, why did the Johnston’s not hear or see the individual(s) escape?
  • If someone was still in the house and the robbery IS in fact staged, consider staging was interrupted by William’s return.
  • If the Johnston’s are innocent would like to know more about the two thumps around 8.30 PM that Florence claimed to hear from the Wallace parlour. Never mentioned again.
  • Lily Hall is good friends with the Johnstons. Lily Hall’s parents are friends with Julia from church. If Lily’s parents went to beg for money (etc.) would the Johnstons pretend to not hear sound etc? And could this scenario cause Lily to invent a sighting of William with another man?

  • Could Julia owe money?
  • Could someone else owe JULIA money? William seems unlikely to lend money as seen by possible stingyness with wife’s spending, Julia maybe more lenient in this way?
  • Johnstons may need money due to impending move.
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3 Responses to My Sketches, Scrawlings, and Random Notes

  1. Robert Pender says:

    Were the pennies in the telephone cash box checked for fingerprints? When was it last emptied after the murder?
    Was there a lot of cash in the box and was the amount recorded?
    Would there have been a chance that prints could have been lifted from the pennies?
    Police could has asked for anyone who used the telephone, over a certain period, to contact them to match any prints found and eliminate them.
    Was the telephone box and telephone checked for prints?
    Imagine police, the morning after the murder, getting the cash box opened and seeing only two coins there. Copper coin surface would be perfect for a fingerprint to remain especially if in a locked container.
    Just a thought but the caller probably wore gloves it being winter.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Yep that is a good thought but was not done as far as I know, albeit the police case files over the years have been wittled down to save space in their offices. There are probably a number of things which will never see light of day.

  2. Ged says:

    Great contribution Robert. Knowing how the police handled this case and even how long i’ve been interested in it but i’ve never even thought of that.

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