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73 Responses to Comments

  1. Some guy says:

    Hey, I just wanted to ask if it is okay if I use some of the information from this website to make a documentary about this case. Thanks in advance for your response.

  2. Ged says:

    Also looking forward to seeing it, this site is a fantastic resource. Well done to RMQ.

  3. Tilly Mint says:

    Hey Just wanted to ask if it’s ok to use info and images from your website for my YouTube channel? Ta!

  4. Michael Fitton says:

    Discussion of the weapon used to kill Mrs Wallace has concentrated on an iron bar, poker, or spanner. A secondary question is what happened to it?
    Could one possibility be that a wooden club was used? Obviously one cannot be specific but something substantial like the leg of a table. This would give some distance between the killer and his victim, reducing risk of blood spatter on his clothing, but more importantly it facilitates disposal of the weapon.
    It could have been, wrapped in newspaper to avoid blood dripping, dropped into the stove in the kitchen. Bu the time Wallace returned from MGE, it would be reduced to ashes.
    Just a thought.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Wallace says it was a spanner that whacked Julia. It would provide a match for the markings found on her skull, whereas various other proposed items like bog standard iron bars would not leave the tramline wounds.

      • Michael Fitton says:

        Assuming Wallace is innocent I can’t see that his opinion on what weapon was used is any more valid than mine. However if we include heavy Stillson wrenches under the umbrella term “spanner” he might be right. This of course implies a planned murder.
        I agree that a straight smooth iron bar would not explain the tramlines. Wood originally in furniture of that era was often ornate with channeled-out grooves etc which might explain it but, like Wallace’s spanner, this is pure speculation.

  5. Tilly Mint says:

    I am intrigued by the fact that in his first statement WHE said there used to be a dog whip in the hallway with a wooden handle with measurements matching those of the supposed murder weapon. Why have a dog whip if you do not have a dog? Unless maybe to ward off savage dogs when he did his insurance rounds?
    No further mention of this in any record?
    If this was the weapon it could have been burned in the fire in the kitchen and brings WHW back to prime suspect

    • Michael Fitton says:

      Hi Tilly,
      Wallace described the dog whip as having a wooden handle some 12 inches long and one inch in diameter. A cast iron bar of this size would be adequate for the job but a twelve inch length of wood only an inch thick might not have enough “heft.” That said, Wallace clearly thought it might have been a potential weapon although we have only his word that it ever existed. It was, he says, last seen over twelve months ago. As you imply, Tilly, what conceivable use would the Wallaces have for such a thing? A pity Mrs Draper, the cleaner, wasn’t questioned about it.
      Another possibility is the use of a length of lead pipe, very common in plumbing installations in the 1930s. The temperature of burning coal is 700 to 1300 degrees C. Lead melts at 327 degrees C. Who would look for discoloured drops of molten lead among the ashes of the stove?
      Lord Lucan killed nanny Sandra Rivett with a length of lead pipe used as a club. Nobody in the same house heard anything amiss.

  6. Ged says:

    Hi Mike. Blood spattered onto the walls and ceiling, apparently better seen in blown up photographs of the crime scene according to one of the panel on the 1981 Radio City anniversary broadcast who was in possession of one and better seen in a glossy magazine photo which came out later which I have, Therefore the type of weapon itself isn’t really a factor in keeping blood loss or spatter down. A man who did this was not afraid of getting blood on him and that can only be because he wasn’t planning on going out on trams and meeting people that evening.

    I find the missing poker story an anomaly as a photo of the crime scene highlighted on here by RMQ clearly shows that on the brass fender/hearth of the fire. The bar (Which the cleaner, Sarah Draper says was always by the fire yet WHW says he has no knowledge of) well that’s very interesting because it would be strange him having no knowledge of it by why say that and drop himself in it, just say oh yes, it’s missing? Also this bar, it could not have been found by workmen years later renovating the property if the police had taken the fire out and we suspect that was to thoroughly search the area of the fire or why else take it out?

    Why does Parkes make this story up of the bar being disposed of down a grid that he had no knowledge of being there, yet it is there this grid, in fact one outside each of the 2 drs that existed in Priory Road. Why make himself a target of Parry and his friend/accomplice? Why put himself in the firing line.

    Tilly Mint. Nice to see a different contribution and take on it. However, if the dog whip was going to drop WHW in it, then why mention it at all?

    • Michael Fitton says:

      Hi Ged,
      Whereas the type of weapon used has little effect on the amount of blood spatter it does play a role in the amount of blood ending up on the assailant’s clothing. To give an extreme example: using a cosh type weapon would place the attacker close to the victim. Using a iron bar over 4 feet long places the attacker further away with less risk of blood ending up on him.

      Re Parkes’ tale, it is a reasonable assumption that in Priory Road there will be grids, as in every urban environment. Parkes may have been a patient of one of the doctors in Priory Road. It is safe to assume that a grid will be found within a short distance of any house. And…why didn’t Parkes, having received such precise directions, go to Priory Road, verify that the weapon was in the grid, and call the police? It would vindicate his story and make him a hero.

      By mentioning the dog whip Wallace is playing the role of the innocent husband saying anything which might help the police find his wife’s killer. I don’t think the dog whip particularly incriminates Wallace; it could have been grabbed by an intruder.

  7. Ged says:

    Hi Mike. Not sure how Parkes actually going to the grid (and there are 2 outside of Drs surgeries there) would verify it actually being down there as i’ve been and you can’t see. Also, a 4ft iron bar would have to be like a scaffolding pole, harder to dispose of and bring in/have lying around the house in wait for the moment without it being seen by someone including Julia, Amy or Edwin etc. The only thing in favour of a wooden club is it could be burnt but even then an india club type weapon had a bulky bulbous end and might not burnt through in the time required if at all, I have one and they are solid.

    • Michael Fitton says:

      Hi Ged,
      You found out that an iron bar dropped down the grid on Priory Road would be hard to see from the pavement. But Parkes didn’t know this and after hearing Parry’s story I would have thought natural curiosity would have led him to Priory Road to check it out. Even if he came back empty-handed, as it were, the fact he had gone there would add credence to his account of Parry’s visit.

      I mentioned the 4 foot iron bar just as an extreme example of distancing the attacker from the victim, not as a serious possibility for the murder weapon.

      I too wondered whether there would be enough time for the club to burn completely. Maybe not ashes but enough to hide it’s original identity?

      I don’t want to know why you have an India club at home!

  8. Tilly Mint says:

    Further to my suggestion that the dog whip may have been the murder weapon, I have been researching what vintage dog whips looked like.
    To my surprise some are club shaped with a narrow end of about 1” where the whip is attached and a broader end at the handle.
    Some are loaded i.e weighted with lead.
    Some are made of turned wood or have striations for decoration.
    Obviously only WHW knew what it looked like if it even existed at all, but these added factors lend further credence to a whip being the weapon.
    It is not recorded if the fire in the kitchen was cleaned out for analysis but as the police forensic investigation seems some what lacking, I doubt it was. Especially as the weapon has always been assumed to be a metal bar.

    As for why WHW mentioned the whip in the first place, it is very clear that this crime was well thought out. By describing the whip to the police in his statement he knew he was in control as he knew they would never find it.

    WHW showed classic signs of having a narcissistic personality- he was better than everyone else. I can explain my theory in another post should anyone wish to indulge me with their attention.

  9. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi Tilly,
    I will certainly indulge you with my attention. I think a survey of Wallace’s personality is a neglected aspect of the case and would be of interest to many on here.
    You raise several good points in favour of the dog whip being the weapon. Wallace mentioning it spontaneously was pure braggadocio just like the article he [ghost-] wrote about how he thought it had been done.

  10. Ged says:

    Hi Mike and Tilly Mint. Yes, I would certainly like to read of your WHW profiling.

    Mike you mention Parkes Dr may well have been on Priory Road, Anfield. This is a distance of some 2 miles so whilst not impossible, i’ve found that there were 4 Drs just yards away from where he lived. These were at 15 Green Lane and 31-33 & 37-39 and 4 Derby Lane. Whilst working at Atkinsons Garage on Moscow Drive, he lived in Tynwald Hill just yards away and in 1981, fifty years later he was living in Guernsey Road just a few streets away so this non driver doesn’t seem to have strayed far from his immediate area. The 2 streets he lived in link Green Lane to Derby Lane.

    I still think there is no need for WHW to volunteer possible murder weapons unless of course he is just genuinely trying to help the police solve this heinous crime on his beloved wife. Tilly suggests the crime is well thought out but if so WHW would surely have made better excuses about his attempts to get into the house which i’ve mentioned before as this would be a severe line of questioning that he knew would be forthcoming. Therefore not so well thought out at all, specially if he used a phone box near his house here he could have been seen by anyone. Then the alibi, no time stamp on he first tram (the reason being he knew where he as going at that stage, but if his time stamps were purely to form an alibi that he was out of his house by 10 to 7 then he would surely do something that would make him remembered on that tram, he only has to di this on the first and last tram in actual fact. Also, the timing of the murder. He was home from 6.05, he could have done it straight away and when Alan Close calls and gets no answer, WHW merely says he went to Menlove straight from work or left the house before Alan obviously called, why leave it all to a rushed 10-15 minute window?

    • Michael Fitton says:

      I am unfamiliar with Liverpool’s geography so I take your point that it is unlikely that Parkes knew Priory Road or had been a patient of a doctor living there. Is Priory Road anywhere near the home of Lily Lloyd in Missouri Road? If Parry was given the iron bar after he left the Lloyds he would want to be rid of it asap.

  11. Tilly Mint says:

    Apologies for this long post –

    My theory regarding WHW arises from the incredible similarities in the behaviour of someone I knew very well. We shall call this person Frank.
    Frank worked abroad but had to return to the UK on health grounds.
    He was unable to continue his career which he enjoyed and was well paid. He then had to take up alternative employment at a lower scale he had previously been used to.
    He met a financially independent woman with a good income and close family ties.
    He charmed this woman and separated her from her family, marrying her and going to live in a different city where she had no contacts.
    Once he had separated her from her previous life and friends he started to act coercively controlling who she met, what she said and how she behaved in public and took over her finances.
    After sometime she did not resist his behaviour towards her because he was always right and she was wrong. This led to indifference to each other within the home. She still
    cooked and cleaned and looked after him and he would tell outsiders of the complete idyllic lives they had. On the few occasions they left the house together everyone thought them the perfect couple.
    He indulged in his own interests and hobbies and criticised his wife for her inferior intellect. He denied her financial freedom although she was still working and prevented her from buying personal items as they were a waste of money.
    The stress caused her to lose her job and her health to suffer. She finally decided to break away but could not leave as Frank became terminally ill. As his illness progressed he became less demanding but this did not stop him from physically attacking his wife
    because he knew he was losing his power over her.
    Sound a bit like anyone we know?

    OK it is not a full psychological profile – I am not qualified to make such a claim.
    But WHW did display the same tendencies as Frank.
    Both were dismayed by the cards life dealt them and made no real efforts to improve their lot – choosing to blame others for their inadequacies. Mostly their wives.
    But WHW really seemed to have it in for Parry too. Was it because he was young, handsome, charming, had the gift of the gab and a bit of a rogue. Everything WHW was not. This maybe why he gave such a damming statement about him to the police to deflect suspicion from himself.

    I believe WHW to be a vulnerable narcissist just like Frank.
    This type of narcissism displays itself by the person having low self esteem and an introverted personality. WHW showed this with his stoic nature.
    They avoid social situations unless they are in control- WHW worked in a working class neighbourhood where he felt superior, he enjoyed intellectual pursuits which he felt set him apart from others.
    They blame others for their problems.
    They display coercive behaviour.
    They are envious of others achievements – I believe WHW was jealous of not only Parry but also his brother Joseph who had a successful career abroad, was married to an attractive woman with a son at university.
    They are manipulative with relationships.

    WHW probably did believe he loved Julia provided she did as she was told. I fear in her last few months she may have become less manageable. There is a possibility that she may have shown signs of dementia. I think it was Douglas Metcalfe the paper boy who mentioned in a statement that he found she had left the key in the front door sometimes and that Julia went shopping with her bag and purse open. Also her ungainly underwear and hiding money in her corset is indicative that something was amiss. It is also quite strange that she chose to visit Southport in the middle of December although no
    reason was given except WHW feared she may not return or was involved in an accident. Could he have abandoned her in Southport earlier in the day hoping something untoward would happen – hence his visit to the police station to report her missing.
    Imagine his surprise when she turned up at 1am!
    I think this is when he started to plan the murder.

    All supposition of course – no evidence. But at the end of the day we will never know..
    Look forward to your responses

    Tilly Mint

  12. Michael Fitton says:

    Most of our exchanges on this forum deal with the weapon, the bloodstains, the (lack of) alibis, the crime scene etc and this certainly has it’s place. So it is a pleasure and something of a relief to read Tilly’s analysis of Wallace’s personality, especially as it is enriched by knowing Frank who was, I agree, very similar to Wallace.

    To add my two cents worth:
    Wallace clearly thought of himself as an intellectual by reading the writings of Marcus Aurelius, listening to Ibsen plays ( e.g. “The Master Builder”) on the radio, playing the cerebral game of chess and doing scientific experiments in his “laboratory”. He also for a time supervised a Chemistry evening course at a local college.
    The reality was that his formal education ended at age fourteen; he went to work as a draper’s assistant. He had been playing chess for over 10 years, joining the club in 1923, but his level of skill was still mediocre. He had no qualifications in Chemistry and was supervising a class at a very basic level (I write as a retired chemist.) And he complained in his diary that the fine points of “The Master Builder” were beyond Julia’s comprehension.
    His intellectualism was a self-constructed paper-thin facade to boost his self image and narcissism.

    However much Wallace tried to rule the roost at home, the harsh realities of life were just outside his front door. His prospects of promotion were zero and he was doing a boring job normally given to an entry-level employee much younger than himself. And increasingly Julia may have reminded him that they lived in rented housing in an Anfield back street – what a come down for her with memories of Harrogate. Tilly covers all the main points in her excellent coverage of their relationship.

    Ken Dodd was in pantomime in Liverpool. He said “Next week we’re going to Southport. We haven’t done anything wrong – its arranged by the agent.”
    Julia Wallace’s mid winter trip to Southport clearly had a purpose but what? Whether it triggered the murder plan is open to debate. This aspect – at least giving a reason (possibly innocent) for the trip – has never been investigated fully.

    I agree that we are not psychiatrists but we are intelligent people who, based on our reading and our own experience of the vagaries of human nature (e.g. Frank), can often arrive at conclusions which compare favourably with those of the professionals.

  13. Michael Fitton says:

    Some random points which occurred to me overnight:

    Julia apparently never sought employment after arriving in Liverpool. They were childless and the extra income would have been welcome. Did Wallace forbid it to isolate Julia further?

    I had always thought that Julia must have ruffled the feathers of her siblings at some point for them to be so estranged from her. But Tilly’s explanation of deliberate estrangement desired by Wallace seems very plausible. He told his landlady in the Lake District after the appeal that Julia was of French origin and had no relatives in the UK. Both lies.

    Wallace shares several characteristics with Dr Shipman. Both were narcissists, working in a working class community, and Shipman’s wife too was completely estranged from her family who disliked Shipman and he them. Shipman, who murdered my Aunt Hilda Fitton in 1985, thought the police were ignorant plods. Carrying out so many killings undetected gave Shipman much-needed regular confirmation of how clever he was. I think Wallace also regarded the police as easily fooled by someone of his intellect. Hence the Qualtrough plan which is of course full of holes but I believe Wallace being intellectually arrogant couldn’t see the inherent faults in it.

  14. Tilly Mint says:

    Thank you Michael for your response.

    I know little is known about Julia ‘per se’ but I have attempted to study her extended family and it’s history. We do know she was a farmer’s daughter who lost both parents at an early age. Her paternal aunt Sarah Taylor, paternal uncle John Dennis and his mother Ann made great efforts to keep the family together for as long as possible. This indicates their caring side. After Julia’s father’s death John Dennis and Sarah Taylor’s second husband tried to keep the pub he had bought running to provide support for the 7 children left as orphans. John Dennis even employed Sarah’s surviving son John Taylor and Julia’s younger brother also called John on his farm.

    John Dennis died childless and left a considerable personal estate to his relatives. John Taylor continued to run the farm with Julia’s brother but both died young and unmarried. The proceeds of the farm business were added to the family fortune.

    At this stage Julia and her sisters were working as governesses but certainly Rhoda branched out from teaching to run a guest house and Amy may have run a recruitment agency in Brighton for domestic servants and governesses. I am not positive about this last point as there was another Miss A Dennis at the same address. Regardless, both sisters lived in very comfortable circumstances in their own accommodation. This was probably not owned out right but rented as was usual at that time.

    Coincidentally Sarah Taylor’s family were now fully grown. Her daughter Jane had married a pharmacist William B Mason. He wanted to start his own business and it was decided that the family lend him the funds to do so. This investment paid off, as Mason was a canny business man. He ended up owning and running the largest pharmaceutical wholesale and retail chemist in the North of England, calling it Taylor’s Drug Company Limited.
    In the early years he employed family in the concern including Jane’s younger sisters as medical representatives, Julia’s brothers George and Herbert as managers. In fact it is amazing how many female relatives ended up marrying pharmacists!
    The firm became so big it was eventually merged with Timothy White’s which in turn to was incorporated into Boots the Chemist which is now the Walgreens Boots Alliance.
    It is therefore possible that family members were minor shareholders and this provided them with some return on their initial investments.
    The caring and supportive nature of the family had extended to the next generation. Even when Julia’s eldest sister died, it was at the home of Jane and William Mason where she spent her final months.

    Julia’s brother George was married with a family. It has been said that his eldest daughter Annie Teresa was very fond of Julia and went to stay with her in Harrogate about 1908 – 1910. Douglas Birch (Annie Teresa’s son) even said his mother told him that Julia was her favourite aunt and Julia doted on her. With this information it seems that up until 1910 the family were all in good terms.

    1910 coincides with the time that WHW turned up in Harrogate to take up his post as Liberal Agent for the area. Part of his job was to study the town records to find suitable persons to convert to the political party he represented. He would therefore know of Julia’s marital status and her address which was very close to where he lived. Which was not 157 Belmont Road in Harrogate as WHW stated in his police statement and incidentally does not exist, there only ever being about 30 houses in the whole street!

    But I digress, my point being that WHW may have seen Julia as a potential target from day one. A quiet, financially independent woman , living on her own except for the occasional guests who stayed in apartment rooms in her house at 11 St Mary’s Avenue. Julia would regularly advertise in the local press of the availability of rooms at reasonable rates in the local press. These adverts appeared less regularly after WHW was on the scene.

    Therefore by 1914 when Julia and WHW married there apparently none of Julia’s relatives in attendance- not even the favourite niece Annie Theresa. WHW quickly moved himself and his elderly father into Julia’s house. It could not be foretold that World War 1 would bring WHW’s career as political agent to an abrupt end but could there have been another reason why they needed to leave affluent and gentile Harrogate?
    Surely alternative employment could have been found in Yorkshire and with regards WHW’s interest in Chemistry, a job with Taylor’s Chemist was not out of the question!

    Much emphasis has been put on Julia telling lies about her age and family. I do not think this was the case. Having studied my own family history my female relatives frequently reduced their age by 5-15 years on official documents such as marriage certificates and census records. The question of lies all come from when WHW came into Julia’s life.
    Hence my theory and belief he was responsible for her cruel death.

    • Michael Fitton says:

      Hi Tilly,
      I found your account of Julia’s family relationships absorbing and relevant to the tragedy of Wolverton street. It is only by starting at the beginning as you have done then working forward chronologically to the crime that any sense of cause and effect can be gleaned from this complex story.

      My “take away” from your extensive research is that there was a sharp change for the worse in Julia’s fortunes after meeting Wallace. He must have had a smooth line of patter about Marcus Aurelius, otherwise I can’t see why Julia aged ~52, financially comfortable and settled into life as a spinster would consider marriage to Wallace with his financial problems and dependant father and sister.

      With marriage on the horizon, did Julia at this point lie about her age to make herself a more attractive prospect? This also seems to be the point where her relations with her siblings become strained leading to estrangement.

      The inescapable conclusion is that, for whatever reason, Wallace had found a comfortable billet for himself and his relatives by marrying Julia – he brought along his ailing father and his sister Jessie to live with the newly weds.

      According to author Isault Bridges, Wallace’s job as Liberal Agent did not suddenly disappear on the outbreak of war in 1914 – he was replaced by another man. Was he sacked?
      As you say, if Julia’s family relationships were still harmonious at that time why wasn’t a sinecure found for him in her family’s pharmaceutical business?

      I too have wondered why Wallace advertised so widely the love he felt for Julia. I have been fortunate in marriage but I never spoke of it outside the house. It reminds me of serial killer John Christie who described his wife to neighbours as “one in a million” only weeks before her body was found under the floor of his living room.

      A great contribution Tilly. I hope we can look forward your continued interest in the case on this forum.


  15. Ged says:

    Great work and effort Tilly Mint, well done and great contributions too as ever Mike.

    It could of course be all true but it could also all be unfounded conjecture.

    If Julia is submissive to WHW and goes along with him then the relationship has a status quo and no need for such drastic action as murder for no gain and of course not all narcissistic husbands kill their wives. Julia had a sizable bank account, something not normally afforded to partners of men who control them. That would be transferred across prompto with the pretence of ‘I’m the man of the house and i’ll look after all financial matters’. Her position in the Wallace marriage might easily have been Wallace being old fashioned and thinking the lady of the house need not work but attend to domestic matters only which was pretty normal even into the 1970s where I lived.

    If Julia is rebelling against Wallace’s alleged coercive control then you would expect to see escalatory behaviour such as domestic violence, emotional control and this being noticed by or mentioned to people Julia would see outside of Wallace’s prying eyes whether this be Amy, Edwin or even casual acquaintances such as the Johnston’s or the shopkeepers Julia frequented on Breck Rd or maybe her Doctor or even Parry during their trysts (though Parry does mention WHW being sexually odd and Julia is seeing him without Wallace’s knowledge)

    As I say it is merely an option and an opinion though Diary entries also allude to a loving caring relationship, the frost on the flowers, encouraging Julia to go on walks with him, him mentioning Julia would have loved the bungalow in Bromborough and there were testimonies from people who knew them both too. There was certainly no mention by Amy or Edwin as to dementia affecting Julia, she may just have been a bit dizzy and careless. Her whole recreating a new background to herself is strange and maybe Wallace himself was not even aware that her mother was not French or of her real age? Maybe she had low self esteem and it is indeed the other way round, she now has a husband who will not ask too much of her by way of earning money and she can now relax.

    If none of the money from the aforementioned business were to the benefit of Julia and she was not a shareholder or part of it, then it is irrelevant. If by leaving Harrogate was of no monetary loss to her and Wallace’s dad got him a job in Liverpool, then why not go. Did she own the house in Harrogate – no. Therefore not owning a house in Liverpool is of no consequence or detriment.

    I mooted this initial post on the Wallace facebook site and crime author Antony Brown is responsible for most of what I have replied above which only reinforced my thoughts on the subject.

    We also have Julia as only ever having known the good life. A governess of course was just a live in nanny and Julia spent some of her time living and working in the grimy, smog filled big smoke.

  16. Tilly Mint says:

    Thanks for your perspective Ged – I have read your other posts with interest and your unfaltering belief that WHW was innocent.

    I have clearly stated that I have no concrete evidence for my theory and it is merely trying to join the dots from the facts at hand. However, I do strongly feel that Julia did not comply with WHW’s coercive tactics, merely as an old fashioned sort who having married later in life she came to accept that maybe she had made the wrong choice. She had made her bed and had to live with it. I do not wish to infer Julia had become rebellious toward WHW only that she may have let her guard down by not showing unequivocal devotion towards him that only WHW picked up on and saw as betrayal.

    WHW seemed to be constantly displaying his affection for her to friends, work colleagues and clients alike – anyone who would listen. This is a classic narcissistic trait. Why talk about your personal and domestic life so openly if everything is so wonderful? Only someone who was hiding behind a facade of lies.

    I cannot believe the suggestion that Parry would have any sexual interest in
    Julia. A woman old enough to be his grandmother, with repeated chest infections so probably coughing a lot and maybe incontinent? It is not an attractive proposition.
    There is no evidence to suggest Parry was involved in any way. The conjecture is reliant on testimony given years after. Parry himself was a narcissist but unlike WHW he was overt in his actions. Yes – Parry was a lying rogue and a thief but I do not believe he had the capacity to plan a crime effectively, after all he got caught red handed so many times.
    Parry obviously enjoyed being in the limelight both physically and metaphorically speaking and probably dined out for years with tales of his association with the Wallaces.

    He had no need to rob Wallace as he now had a job in insurance himself and to all accounts was capable of persuading friends and family to buy policies that they did not really want or need. I refer to first hand account from Leslie Williamson on Radio City phone line.

    The failed robbery tactic was instigated by WHW himself by drawing the Johnston’s attention to the broken cabinet door. Who does that when you have just found your dear loved wife battered to death in the next room?

    Thanks for letting me vent my ramblings on this fascinating case. I think the crime scene has been done to death (forgive the pun) so will not be offering any insight on that matter.

    Tilly Mint

  17. Ged says:

    Hi Tilly Mint. It is always good to hear other opinions. I’m aghast that James Murphy’s book and Mark Russell’s book pretty much for 9 tenths of the text seem to be creating a case for the defence only for a tv drama style change around right near the end which leaves me perplexed.

    You say Parry had no need to rob Wallace as he now had a job in insurance himself but he had a job in insurance himself as he was robbing the Pru during his paying in of Wallace’s rounds, which was on more than one occasion too. He seemed always short of money, hence his phone box robberies and car taking.

    Parry’s connection is by no means reliant on testimonies years later as he is fingered by Wallace in his second statement and is mentioned in 1930s books on the killing. We also have his false alibi, possibly 2 false alibis and him having the motive and means for this killing. He admits to being in the area, he has a car, he is also fingered by Parkes, he has the capability to change his voice, he used phones to make prank calls, he wants revenge, he has the means via a car to dispose of the weapon, he has the time (or his accomplice does) to not have to worry about getting blood on himself, he kept himself in the loop as to what was happening with all the cast even decades later.

    Wallace, well in the first instance he just doesn’t have the time frame in which to do it, the police proved that using the ill fated Anfield Harriers. He doesn’t have a motive we know of, he is ill versed in answering questions fired at him so any premeditated planning of how to answer them is not forthcoming. He has other means of killing her and other ways of carrying this out a lot better.

    • Michael Fitton says:

      Hi Ged,
      If, as you say, the police proved beyond doubt that Wallace did not have sufficient time to murder his wife, clean up, and be on the Lodge Lane by 7.06 pm, why did they go ahead and charge him with the murder?

  18. Ged says:

    They were wrong to Mike and Justice Wright should have thrown this case out. Right from the committal proceedings they loaded inaccuracies against Wallace (why have to do that?) and with reporting restrictions not in place it was a free for all including for the Jury to have a pre-conceived outlook. Justice Wright also got it wrong in applauding the police for their work imho, Justice was done though with the appeal judges who came to the correct conclusion that no case was ever proven and the Jury got it wrong and no need for any new evidence and thus creating history so it was not a decision taken lightly.

  19. ged says:

    We also have to consider other factors.
    The local media were pushing for answers regarding this most heinous of crimes. Hubert Moore had already made the error of stating the caller was the murderer. He had put out an APB though that railways stations, boarding houses etc to be checked for a heavily bloodstained person – yet later we are to believe the killer would have no blood on him. Moore’s secretary is related to Parry so what’s been said there. What’s being said by Ada Pritchard – does that get swept away too as well as Parkes? No, Moore has his man and must make the situation fit, not the facts, the situation. The Harriers run the route but that doesn’t put him off. Alan Croxton Close, Elsie Wright and James Alison Wildman, even Mr Holmes next door state why the Milk delivery isn’t 6.30pm but Moore makes this fit by getting Alan to change his time. All Wallace’s clients say he was normal that day, Rothwell the police office gives two contradictory accounts. Nothing is set in stone here against Wallace.

  20. Michael Fitton says:

    I agree that Justice Wright should have dismissed the case against Wallace at the outset based on insufficient evidence. Wallace’s defence were afraid to ask for this option reasoning that if the judge disagreed it would look as if there was enough evidence and this would favour the prosecution. The appeal judges criticised this decision of Wallace’s defence.
    TV documentaries have highlighted the amount and quality of evidence needed today for the CPS to allow any case to go to court. Based on all we know now about Wallace and Parry I do not believe the CPS would agree the case against either of them should go to court. There simply isn’t enough evidence to give reasonable expectation of a conviction of either of them.

  21. Ged says:

    I totally agree with that Mike. The defence abandoned their duty to their client in not arguing forcefully that there was no case to answer given only circumstantial evidence was apparent and could have stated that if it is allowed to go ahead, I am sure we will see the holes I can make in any arguing put against my client. That i’m sure would have made the Judge, prosecution and Jury more wary of what was to come if indeed the Judge was still to allow it to go ahead.

  22. Michael Fitton says:

    Why had Wallace, seventeen years with the Pru, never achieved promotion? He was after all, at age 52, doing a job usually given to much younger entry-level employees, tramping the streets of Clubmoor day in / day out collecting premiums and paying benefits.
    This might have been due to his personality. While he always behaved in a gentlemanly fashion and was not averse to accepting the odd cup of tea he seems to have been “strictly business” with little time for gossip or small talk.

    Prudential agents were expected, in addition to their collection/payment duties, to be active salesmen and promotors of the various Prudential policies. They were encouraged and trained to present themselves as a trusted family friend in order to obtain new business. This may have been a criterion for promotion and Wallace with his reserved personality and Stoic demeanour was totally unsuited for it taking little initiative in this direction.

    What a contract therefore with his response to the Qualtrough message. He set off in mid winter to meet a man he didn’t know, at an address he didn’t know on the other side of town to discuss new business which was still not guaranteed – Qualtrough may have found the premiums too steep or in the interim made a deal with another company.

    This contrast between Wallace’s lack of initiative in his day job and his enthusiastic response to new business potentially offered by Qualtrough is telling. I think his expressed doubts that he would go to MGE were a bluff.

  23. Tilly Mint says:

    I agree that his reaction to the telephone message at the chess club completely over the top and out of character. We are to believe that he was a quiet, stoic introvert but here he is almost shouting look at me, I am going to meet Mr Qualtrough at MGE tomorrow night, does anybody else know him or where MGE is located? He knows that everyone will say no because he was the person who invented the name and address.

    If this was an innocent man and true to character I believe WHW would have thanked Beattie for taking the message, apologised to his opponent for interrupting the game and then carried on playing. He did not seem to think why am I being contacted about business at my chess club? How does Mr Qualtrough know I would be here tonight? The message did not upset his train of thought or play. In fact he won which was an unusual feat in itself. This was because he was probably relaxing – knowing that the start of his plan was working.

    Even when travelling home later he continued to prattle on about the message and ask Caird for possible directions. It is interesting that he did not heed any advice from fellow chess players because he already knew his route and how long it would take to travel there by all modes of available transport.

  24. Ged says:

    Ha ha Mike, I have to give you credit for your continued digging for a reason why Wallace was the killer, but not only is what you say all conjecture but just like the case itself, it can offer an alternative slant to the other extreme.

    In Q3002 of the trial, Wallace states he has around 560 calls per week. Now that is some visiting wouldn’t you say, given he didn’t even work a full week on his rounds. When you add up the amounts he pays in, according to the trial, he is surely a valued agent and given the longevity of his beat (17 years you admit) you’d have to say a majority of these clients might well be of his making or extra policies taken out within the same families as newer members or circumstances (newborns, birthdays, weddings etc) come along. He may well have been comfortable in this role, just as Alan Shearer or Matt Le Tissier were probably better players than their club life suggests.

    If he is taking tea with some of his clients as you admit and is said at the trial, who knows what small talk or idle gossip is discussed. He may have had clients outside of his normal rounds, friends, neighbours, Technical college colleagues, chess acquaintances etc and as it was said at the trial it was not against the rules nor unusual for an agent in any district to take other work of this nature from another district, there we have it that Wallace was always hungry to be adding to his portfolio which we see during the trial can bring him a sizable personal bounty.

    He was a trusted hard worker who was loyal to his employers, he had called out some short payments made in by one of these younger entry level employees, in fact Marsden was another found to be less than honest. No, Wallace in that role was the model employee, the Pru wanted and needed more like him and they were happy in what he was doing and his wage was abundant as he was able to go about his hobbies and still have £152 (£12,300 today) in his bank account and even his unemployed wife could have around the equivalent of £7500. No need therefore for the extra responsibilities and stress a promotion might bring in his delicate position with his health and age.

  25. Ged says:

    Hi Tilly. The message is of course one of the many things our little troop of enthusiasts have discussed at length during our atmospheric meetings around the districts where this all happened. We have to take ourselves out of 2024 and imagine what it was like in 1931. Word of mouth was a big thing, it still can be in certain circles today. It only takes someone to say ‘oh why don’t you ask so and so, I’m not sure where he lives but he plays at the chess club every Monday or he drinks in the Brook house every Friday etc.

    Also, giving a Menlove Gardens East non existent address to people who could have known the area very well would be a big risk. The area was still being built up and might not appear in the most recent ordnance survey maps anyway and even the tram drivers and inspectors who traipse up and down there daily did not know it didn’t exists and witnesses Wallace asked up in the very area said ‘you might want to try up there’ or ‘it could be the continuation of there’.

    His familiarity of the area was not on the route of the last tram he took. To go to Amy’s in Ullet Road would not require him to get the Penny Lane terminus connection and to get to Crewe’s house in Green Lane would see him go on a different route altogether along Allerton Road, some walking distance away.

    Regarding the message itself. We still have to overcome that he was going to be speaking to Beattie in person in a very short time from allegedly speaking to him on the phone asking questions and for him not to be found out. And then the next day after the murder is all over the city, we are to believe that Beattie wouldn’t be thinking, you know what, that sounded a bit like Wallace on the phone last night. No, i’m not having that. Then the call ending approx 7.27 and him being in the club approx 7.45 with the diversions on Dale st to contend with and who knows what congestion caused by it.

  26. Ged says:

    Another thing regarding Julia’s (false) age. The 1921 census form was completed and signed by William. It doesn’t prove anything of course as although Julia did not provide the information directly to the taker, she may well have supplied it on the day to William or William was aware of the date he provided prior.

    Mike, I can’t remember if I answered you on a previous post about you not being too familiar with the areas of Liverpool concerned in this case. It was whilst we were discussing Priory Road and the grid outside the Drs, you asked where this was in relation to everything. Well as I say – a good 2 miles according to google from Parkes house. However, just across the road from where the call box was which is also very close to where Anne Parsons saw two people running down Hanwell st towards Lower Breck Road which leads onto Priory Road.

  27. Michael Fitton says:

    I hesitate to ask but what is a dog whip’s intended purpose? Surely not for whipping dogs for heaven’s sake.

    Tilly, I too looked up vintage dog whips. Some of them look like substantial coshes, probably made of hardwood. Wallace mentioning it could have been a tease or an innocent remark trying to help the enquiry.
    I agree totally with your assessment of Wallace receiving the Qualtrough message at the chess club. He made as much fuss as possible and was not a bit apologetic about this business call for him disturbing the players. From start to finish it was all about drawing in as many witnesses as possible: at the club, with Mr Caird, on the trams, at Menlove Gardens, with the Johnstons etc.

    Ged, I agree that at this juncture we cannot know Wallace’s attitude his job or how he was regarded by his supervisor at the Pru. He never expresses any enthusiasm for it. Julia remarked to a visitor when Wallace was “ill” in bed that he “doesn’t want to go to work’ implying that he was malingering.
    His job must have been physically demanding, tramping the streets of Clubmoor in all weathers, especially for a man 52 but prematurely “old,” and in poor health. Its surprising that the Prudential hadn’t found a desk job for him well before the tragedy.

    The author Mark Russell’s great aunt was one of Wallace’s clients and she said that he was always polite but it was strictly business with no small talk on each of his visits.

    I would like to return to our much earlier discussion of Wallace’s phantom briefcase. Why is it not mentioned anywhere in the written record? If he took it to MGE to meet Qualtrough why is it not mentioned as having been examined? And if he didn’t take it with him why not? It would have contained policies and attractive brochures to tempt Qualtrough and those under his roof to do business with the Pru. Did he know he wouldn’t need it?

  28. Tilly Mint says:

    Hi Michael
    I understand your concern regarding the use of dog whips. They were not used to beat the dogs, rather to imitate the sound of gun shots for working dogs. I believe they are now used to train dogs to a particular standard and is now a sport.
    This beggars the question why WHW had one?

    • Michael Fitton says:

      Thanks very much for this info Tilly which has put my mind at rest. Its a funny thing for Wallace to mention especially as he claimed he hadn’t seen it in the past ten years!

  29. Tilly Mint says:

    I think you mean 12 months not 10 years.

    • Michael Fitton says:

      Hi Tilly,
      Yes, you’re right, its 12 months. Pity Mrs Draper wasn’t questioned about it. A reliable objective opinion from someone who, unlike Wallace, had no particular axe to grind.

  30. Ged says:

    Question 3092 of the trial.

    3092. What did you do?

    After I had had my tea I got a number of papers ready, forms,
    which I thought I might require, and everything finished then I went upstairs and washed my hands and face.

    • Michael Fitton says:

      This would suggest that an innocent Wallace prepared his papers for possible business with Qualtrough. As the Pru agent’s briefcase was inseperable from him while on business I assume Wallace put his papers in it and set off with it for MGE. On his return and eventually entering the house with the Johnstons as witnesses he would surely drop the case onto the floor or first available surface and after making the terrible discovery it would be the last thing on his mind. So it would be in full view when the police arrived and one of the first things they would want to examine in view of their suspicions. But Wallace’s briefcase and its examination are not to be found anywhere in accounts of the affair.
      This is strange and may be just simple human error – they felt it was irrelevant. Or, a more sinister interpretation is that Wallace did not take it to MGE, even for added versimilitude because he knew he wouldn’t be meeting Qualtrough.
      Out of sight. Out of mind. The police never thought to ask him about it.

  31. Dave Metcalf says:

    Hi Everyone,
    Hope you’re all keeping well.Not been on here for a while for various reasons, but I just wanted to say something in response to what Mike said a while back about how an attempted robbery could have been carried out in the morning or afternoon.Please excuse my use of upper case words, I’m just aiming for emphasis, not shouting at anyone…honest!! Sorry Mike, but I think this particular plan of Parry’s(and I’m convinced it was his plan) can only be successful if it’s carried out in the evening.That’s because William was at home most evenings, and during the mornings and afternoons was out on his collection rounds.The key part of the plan is for Qualtrough, whoever he was, to make Julia believe that he was EXPECTING William to be there when he knocks at 7.30pm on that Tuesday night.Of course, he’s secretly hoping that William ISN’T going to be there.But that’s not what he wants Julia to think.
    Imagine the scenario if Qualtrough calls at 11.15 in the morning.Julia answers the door and Qualtrough explains he’s there to see William about an insurance policy.Now Julia wasn’t stupid…she’s bound to wonder why her husband has agreed to some sort of business meeting at a time of day when he’s not normally in the house!! And she’ll be even MORE suspicious if William hasn’t even told her anything about this meeting.This scenario would also apply if Qualtrough called at 3.15 in the afternoon.Under these circumstances, I think it’s almost certain that Julia is NOT going to allow Qualtrough to enter the house.That’s why this particular plan must be carried out in the evening, for the reasons I’ve stated, hence the importance of Julia believing Qualtrough expecting to meet William when he knocks.
    As I’ve said on numerous occasions, this was NOT some kind of criminal master plan, not at all!! It’s not even a burglary.It’s a distraction robbery based simply on deception, sneak thievery, and the minimum of fuss.And distraction robberies are as old as the hills.Indeed, they’re still being carried out today.
    When Qualtrough knocks at 29 Wolverton Street that night, there are only four possible outcomes…

    1.The knock on the door goes unanswered.Under these circumstances, it’s probable that Qualtrough and a possible accomplice will simply leave.They’re unlikely to attempt a break in, as they can’t be certain that the house is empty.The knock on the door may just not have been heard.

    2.Qualtrough knocks, and William answers the door.The plan is immediately dead in the water, as William clearly hasn’t taken the Menlove Gardens bait.

    3.Qualtrough knocks, and Julia answers the door.Qualtrough explains why he’s there.Ah, says Julia, my husband has mentioned this to me.Wait a moment Mr.Qualtrough, I’ll just go and fetch him for you.He’s upstairs/in the kitchen/in the living room etc.Doesn’t matter where he is…because again, as in the second case, he HASN’T taken the Menlove Gardens bait.By the time he comes to the front door, Qualtrough will have disappeared into the darkness.

    4.Qualtrough knocks, and Julia answers the door.Qualtrough explains why he’s there.Oh, says Julia, he mentioned this to me.But I’m afraid he’s gone to the Menlove Avenue district looking for your house.Ah,replies Qualtrough,there’s obviously been some sort of misunderstanding regarding the message I left at the Chess Club.I was meant to call HERE and meet HIM, not the other way round!! Now, under these circumstances, I think there’s a FAR greater chance of Julia granting Qualtrough access to the house than in either the morning or afternoon.After all, she knew all about the possibility of William going out on business that night, something that was confirmed by her sister Amy, who’d visited Wolverton Street earlier that day.This is EXACTLY what Qualtrough and a possible accomplice(William Denison?) want.As, of course, does our old friend Parry, whose idea it was in the first place!!

    I think Parry has got the idea for his plan after seeing William on numerous occasions in the City Cafe.And there’s another very important question to be asked here too…how likely is it that Parry is going to know the telephone number of anywhere else that Wallace frequents??…very, very UNLIKELY, I’d suggest!! But knowing the telephone number of a place he knows for certain that Wallace visits gives him the ideal opportunity to leave a very plausible message there that Wallace may well act upon.And as I’ve also said before, checking to see if Wallace left his house on a Monday evening to attend his chess club, and then making the bogus call really WOULD have been incredibly easy!!

    Cheers everybody, and thanks for reading.


  32. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi David,
    Good to have you back.
    I did not suggest that a better plan would be for Qualtrough, identifying himself as such, to call on Julia during the day with Wallace absent. As you point out, this wouldn’t work.

    I suggested that the elaborate Qualtrough ruse would not be necessary for a simple distraction robbery during the day.

    There are many variants of this trick. This would be a robbery focussed only on the Pru cash box and it could be done in under a minute. Returning the box to the shelf would delay discovery of the theft. To use your words David, a distraction robbery involves “deception, sneak thievery, and the minimum of fuss.” The risky Qualtrough arrangement with it’s inherent uncertainties is an unnecessary complication.

    The official “paying in day” was Wednesday but Wallace often did it on Thursdays.

    With Wallace as the killer the Qualtrough ruse provides him with witnesses from start to finish. And this is the only scenario which guarantees Wallace will take the bait and go to Menlove Gardens.

    I know you favour Parry as the caller David so why didn’t he disguise his voice and speak to Wallace directly at the chess club thereby removing uncertainty that Wallace would take the bait. Wallace spoke to hundreds of clients and several colleagues each week. Would he recognise Parry’s disguised voice in those circumstances at the club on the lo-fi telephones of that era? I think not.


  33. Ged says:

    Parry may have actually thought Wallace might be there to speak directly to at 7.20pm and was flummoxed when he wasn’t which caused him to make 2 mistakes as he faltered his lines. He says do you have Wallace’s address and then changes it to no he must visit me at MGE. He also mentions the 21st Birthday event as in the insurance policy for his ‘girl’, something which is fresh in his mind IE. The Williamson’s birthday event and again something the police didn’t add together. This only reinforces the notion it was Parry. Wallace speaking to Harley and Beattie directly who he would see only half an hour later is by far too much of a risk, especially with what would follow. The phone box call is a risk in itself. Eye witnesses may be asked did they see a man matching Wallace’s ungainly description, a local man, known about the area but would not be asked did the see a man matching Parry’s description which would be harder to describe.

  34. Ged says:

    Re: Wallace’s statements. You’d think if he was procuring all these witnesses and fixed on blaming Parry from the planning stage that he’d mention them all at once in his first statement but he doesn’t. He only mentions going to MGW, seeing the bobby and going to both shops. Those in themselves would be good enough. It’s only later the stories come from the tram drivers/inspectors not Wallace and Parry is only mentioned during the second statement after Wallace has had time to think about the question of who would have been allowed into the house.

  35. Michael Fitton says:

    Some points about the Qualtrough call:

    There was a fault in the mechanism of this call box. Leslie Heaton, telephone engineer, visited the box and rectified it. There was no attempt to scam a free call. So Parry’s dishonesty, often cited as evidence that he was Qualtrough is irrelevant.

    Qualtrough mentioning the 21st birthday of “my girl” was the excuse he gave for being unable to call back later. It was not to do with his potential business with Wallace. It was Wallace who inferred that it might be but this was by no means certain.

    The caller asking for Wallace’s address wasn’t a mistake. It was to distance Qualtrough from being Wallace himself. A positive reply would have produced : “ Oh, on second thoughts its better if he calls on me tomorrow, I’m too busy etc……”

    Voice recognition by Ms Harley or Mr Beattie is all to do with context. This fellow wants to speak to Wallace. The notion that it is in fact Wallace himself who is calling never occurs to either of them. It is much less of a risk than it first appears. Even so Ms Harley described the voice as that of “an elderly gentleman.”

    People bustling home on a cold winter’s evening cannot be expected to clock details of a man in a telephone box, a man waiting at a bus stop across the street, or a man posting a letter, or leaning on a lamppost reading a newspaper. These are everyday mundane events and would so to speak go in one eye and out of the other.

    Mr Beattie claimed he knew Wallace’s voice very well. I cannot agree. They met only at the chess club and they had I assume never spoken on the telephone.
    The implication is that Beattie would be able to pick out Wallace’s voice from say ten random males, disguised voices allowed, calling him on the phone anonymously under test conditions. With of course, no guarantee that Wallace was one of the test callers. It is a pity that such a test was never done.

  36. Ged says:

    Morning Mike. Do you have a copy of Leslie Heaton’s statement or it’s whereabouts please?

    Regardless of how Q mentioning his girls 21st Birthday came about, it is still a huge coincidence you must agree that the very following night Parry is at the Williamson’s discussing a 21st Birthday. I think it was a freudian slip when Parry had to speak for longer than intended during that call. A call that lasted so long, with two people and then Harley having to go to a chess table and raise Beattie and he take down a long name letter by letter and read it back. A call that lasted so long that W could then not make it to the club, encountering a tram diversion and be sat down playing a game 10 minutes before Beattie came over to him according to W’s statement.

    If I am not used to putting voices on, and i’m not, and I call my Pool captain in my absence saying is Ged there i’m pretty sure he would start laughing, immediately know it was me and say ‘What do you want Ged’.

    Don’t forget, the next day a murder happens, if W is guilty he knows this murder is going to happen and now he depends on Beattie coming down on his side so strongly that it basically eliminates him from being the caller, he can’t know that security measure will happen as B might be racking his brain to think, do you know what, it did sound a bit like him and now this murder has happened it puts it all into context.

    Beattie had no need to say he knew Wallace’s voice well enough to know it wasn’t him. What does Beattie get out of saying that? Harley does describe the voice as that of an elderly gentleman but that seems to be a changed voice from those that the telephone operators encountered going off their descriptions of it.

    People bustling home on a cold winters night indeed cannot be expected to clock details of a man in a phone box but that man had to walk to it and walk away from it, and if W, then get onto a tram (at an unfamiliar stop as usual to him) As mentioned on previous posts, there was a Cinema, there were 2 pubs yards away, there were trams and buses going up and down. Wallace cannot know for certain he hasn’t been seen by one of his many of hundreds of clients or will be noted by a tram driver or inspector. Was he even asked to produce his ticket by the police?

    • Michael Fitton says:

      Hi Ged,
      “As soon as Miss Kelly had obtained the number required by the caller she made an official note that at 7.15 pm a defect had been reported from public call box Anfield 1672 and accordingly next morning Leslie Heaton a telephone mechanic was sent to inspect the instrument, subsequently reporting that he had found “a fault in the mechanism” which he had corrected.”
      Two studies in murder
      Yseult Bridges 1959
      page 168.

      So it is clear that Annie Robertson creates the docket giving N.R (“No reply”) and the box number for transmission to the engineer so that he can investigate. Otherwise, why create the docket?

      Mr Heaton does not mention this visit to repair the defect either in his statement or in his trial testimony. both available on this forum. At the trial he was questioned only about the lighting in the call box starting by a firm opinion that there was none and ending by admitting he didn’t know. Not surprising if he was there during daylight hours. He was clearly familiar with this box describing it as “more public” i.e. free-standing and not in enclosed premises like a library.

      Also I question whether the account of his cross examination at the trial is complete. Yseult Bridges writes that no verbatim record of the complete trial was available in 1959.

      Nobody at the time advanced the idea that Qualtrough tried to scam a free call. This seems to have been part of the “Parry as Qualtrough” version which snowballed later.

      Is it credible that just by telling the operator you had paid for your call but hadn’t been connected, you would be put through for free?
      Would Qualtrough on this night of all nights try the scam leading to a longer conversation with the operators and the possibility that some record might be made?

      Both Parry and Wallace can be seen as potential scammers. The dishonest Parry and the abstemious penny-pinching Wallace with Parry being the best bet. But the above evidence convinces me that there was no attempt at fraud; it was just Qualtrough’s bad luck that the phone box he chose was on the blink.

      I will address your other points later.


  37. Michael Fitton says:

    I agree completely that Qualtrough mentioning the 21st birthday and Parry about to be invited to the Williamson 21st is either pure coincidence or, as you say, a slip of the tongue by Parry as Qualtrough.
    I think it was part of a clever plan to introduce information into the call which distances Wallace from Qualtrough:
    1. The false name itself
    2. Wanting to speak with Wallace.
    3. “Not knowing” Wallace’s address
    4. Having a 21 year old daughter, Wallace being childless.
    5. Being “too busy” later to ring back. Wallace was expected at the chess club
    6. Giving an address in the Menlove Avenue area. Beattie may not have known Wallace’s exact address but knew he was friendly with Mr Caird who lived near him in Anfield.

    Seen like this the 21st becomes an element in a careful plan to dismiss any fleeting idea in Beattie’s subconscious mind that Qualtrough could be Wallace himself.

  38. Michael Fitton says:

    At several stages in this saga Wallace, as you say Ged, cannot be sure that he has not been seen by one of his neighbours or Prudential clients. But being seen is quite different from being remembered. Wallace, to coin a phrase, was part of the Anfield / Clubmoor furniture. A very distinctive and familiar figure over six feet tall and with outmoded clothes. He must have tipped his hat to many people on the street every day.
    It was this very familiarity which enabled him to “hide in plain sight.” People saw him around so often that a single sighting would not be recalled as anything special. Nobody came forward claiming to have seen him on the first tram to Menlove Gardens, a tram he boarded in his own neighbourhood. Nobody recalled his arrival at the chess club etc.
    It was only when he drew attention to himself that he was remembered and this was not by people he knew but by tram conductors and residents/police in the Menlove area.

  39. Tilly Mint says:

    I find it amusing that because WHW was not reported as being seen in the telephone call box, it is said he couldn’t have made the call to the Chess Club on Monday night.
    But when Lily Hall saw him in Richmond Park on Tuesday night in conversation with the mystery man – it is said it wasn’t him!

  40. Michael Fitton says:

    “As I was going up the stair,
    I saw a man who wasn’t here,
    He wasn’t there again today.
    How I wish he’d go away.”
    Taking into account Ged’s description of the area around the phone box: tram stop, two pubs, a cinema etc. I would not be surprised if Wallace had indeed been seen and even identified by someone passing by, if indeed it was he was Qualtrough. But he was such a familiar figure and one who admitted using that phone box regularly that it would just be a fleeting impression with no reason whatsoever for it to register as remarkable in anyone’s memory. At least three days went by before the police canvassed for anyone who might have seen anything – enough time for a momentary glimpse of Wallace to have been entirely forgotten.

  41. Ged says:

    Morning Mike and Tilly.

    Always nice to log on and see an account of what may or may not have happened. Yes, except on this occasion, possibly Liverpool’s biggest murder hunt is on and Wallace is in the frame and the local newspaper is reporting it. If W was seen that night, there is no doubt in my mind that it would have been remembered because you often think to yourself what YOU were doing that night which brings about the remembrance.

    Tilly, can you tell me then what W had to hide by saying, yes I remember now, I did speak to someone for all of 5 seconds, he asked me for a street name (Can be replaced with*, a pub name, a persons name, a cinema name I did not recognise. Mr Greenlees and Lily Hall both put themselves exactly at the same time in Richmond Park yet neither of them see each other. Hall, who in the end mentioned the wrong time and the wrong day had her evidence dismissed by the Judge, it was so unreliable and it took her dad a week to come forward with the evidence as she was in bed sick.

    Regarding the call box. Unless the author Bridges was there in the courtroom and taking notes, I don’t then know how that conclusion is reached but under evidence Lilian Martha Kelly says ‘The telephone box is a modern one, I know when the money is in, I observed a light on my board which indicated the money had been returned to the subscriber. She also told Wilkes in 1980 ‘The subscriber obviously pressed the wrong button B instead of button A and cut himself off. Kelly heard W speak at the trial and said I could not have sworn that it was the same man. Like i’ve said before, it is a pity that during the investigations, the police did not write down a sentence with the word Cafe in it and ask the suspects or witnesses helping the police with their enquiries to read it out.

  42. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi Ged,
    I do get your point about people casting their mind back in retrospect: “I passed that phone box on the Monday evening. Did I notice anything?” I’m sure many people racked their brains on this but the significance of the phone call only became evident on the Thursday when, to Inspector Moore’s delight, the call had been traced. So people having routine lives, passing the box on their way home every single night, might not be certain as to what they saw and on what date.

    And this was not the search for Lobby Lud (younger readers – look it up!). It was a murder investigation and any uncertainty about the sighting of Qualtrough might provoke “I’m not getting involved.”

    I do believe that in spite of being a poor witness, Lily Hall did see Wallace talking to a stranger and it is a mystery, as you say Ged, why Wallace denied it unless it appeared to negate his statement that he “hurried” home.

    The author Ronald Barthe (“The telephone murder”) says that Yseult Bridges was quoting from “the official report” when describing Mr Heaton finding and rectifying a fault in the phone mechanism. This doesn’t help us at all.

    I emphasise that nobody – defence, prosecution, phone operator, or any of the authors which I have read – mentions the possibility of a potential scam to get a free call. This notion was introduced later to bolster the case in favour of Parry being the caller.

    A strong indicator that the payment mechanism in the box was faulty comes from the operator who put the call through manually for free. Phone companies do not make money by giving away free calls. Qualtrough was unable to confirm the connection by pressing Button A so the connection had to be made manually at the exchange by the operator.
    If the box had been operating normally this manual connection by the operator would not be needed.

    By saying that Button B had returned the coins to the caller Operator Kelly is confirming what anyone would do after pressing button A and not getting the connection. Pressing B was not a mistake. I am old enough to have used this type of phone and operation of it is child’s play (when its working correctly.)

    The police not recognising the significance of Qualtrough’s pronunciation of “café”
    – sufficiently unusual to evoke a comment by the operator, was a major blunder. A test, along the lines you describe would have been very useful.


  43. Ged says:

    Hi Mike, regarding witnesses casting their minds back a few days. What I mean is, people used to seeing Wallace might say (when all this came out) well I saw him one day last week near the phone box, now let me see. I didn’t go out on Wednesday so it wasn’t then. I was out on Tuesday but I was on the bus going to town and got on by the Library so it must have been Monday, yes it was Monday when I was going to buy tickets at the cinema. This thinking aloud are how these remembrances tend to ding the lightbulb in the brain as i’ve done it myself. My missus might say, Neil next door has been bad and i’ll say well I saw him on Saturday by the park and she’ll say, you weren’t near the park on Saturday as we went to my mums, do you mean friday and i’d say ah yes of course, it was friday. It only took a nosy neighbour, a passer by etc to do this but the important thing is this!!!! Wallace could not have known who might have seen him and even if nobody did, he couldn’t know that. And of course, after the murder, the investigation will be involving this phone call and Wallace should at least suspect that the call will be looked into, the time, the voice and even the police making investigations into tracing it and they did and they struck gold.

  44. Michael Fitton says:

    If the call had not been traced it could have come from anywhere in Liverpool and beyond. I don’t think Qualtrough ever dreamed that it would be traced to that particular call box so he wasn’t particularly concerned about being seen. Once the police suspected that Wallace had made the call they might ask for witnesses around any of the public phones near his home but he could have called from anywhere and delayed his arrival at the chess club so they would be looking for a needle in a haystack.
    I agree with the points you raise about narrowing down when he might have been seen. But even if he was actually seen in that phone box at the relevant time it is such a mundane everyday thing among hundreds of mundane everyday things which happened to you in the three days since the sighting. Could you, hand on heart, be absolutely sure of it? Unless the answer is an unequivocal “YES”, better keep quiet.

  45. Ged says:

    The police only traced the call/phone box because they actively tried and it came up trumps. It’s like these days if you were making a call, you’d know it could be traced and there might be no reason to think it wouldn’t be back then, especially as everything had to go through the local exchange nearest the phone box.

    Nobody on that day would be saying ‘Ah there’s Wallace in a phone box’, because as you say, nobody knows they are going to need to remember it, however if your mate said to you so and so died today, you might say, ‘Oh I only saw him at the local chippy the other week’. Now if you only go that chippy every other Friday then you might be able to narrow it down. Things like this can and do happen and in the buzz of excitement this case was causing locally, people would be switched on and tuned in, maybe even to be part of the mystery solving.

  46. Tilly Mint says:

    On the night of the phone call – nobody reported seeing WHW leave his home, travel to town or even arrive at the Chess Club. Why would they notice him in the call box?
    Similarly on the night of the murder, nobody saw him on the bus home, walking from the bus stop to his home at teatime, leaving the house, walking to the tram stop, getting on the tram to Smithdown Road.
    No – the only people reported as noticing WHW were the people he selected to speak to with his constant blabbering about Qualtrough and MGE. He wanted them to notice him.
    Imagine his surprise when Lily Hall pops up as seeing him on Richmond Park .This didn’t fit in with his plan and so of course he denied it.
    By the way, nothing has been said about the Halls and the Cairds only living 2 doors apart on Letchworth Street. Surely gossip in the area would have been rife in the days after Julia’s death. So maybe Caird encouraged the Halls to take Lily’s testament seriously and report it to the police. After all Caird was supposed to be WHW’s closest friend and was present on Thursday night when WHW questioned Beattie about the phone call when WHW claimed he wasn’t a suspect.

  47. Michael Fitton says:

    In my view there was only a small chance that Mr Beattie would recognise Wallace’s voice. But even this, and possible recognition while making the call, could have been avoided with a different plan: sending a note in the post from Mr Q to Mr Wallace care of Club Captain Beattie with the MGE address and appointment details. Mail deliveries were super reliable in those days. Wallace, on receipt of the note at the chess club, could react just as he did with the phone message, drawing attention to it. After the murder, asked where the note was now, Wallace could say quite plausibly that he had thrown it away in disgust on being deceived about MGE.
    No questions on recognition, timing etc so why didn’t he do it?

  48. Ged says:

    Hi Tilly Mint. Nobody was asked if they saw W on his journey to the chess club though but I presume the police did ask for witnesses as to was anyone seen by the phone box, if they weren’t then why not as you would do these days. Wallace did not timestamp the most important tram, the first one on Belmont Road which cements the time he left his house on the murder night. It’s like if a murder happens today, they don’t ask for witnesses as to what the suspect was doing 2 weeks ago when it doesn’t matter what he was doing.

    We have to remember, the police obviously asked for witnesses up at MGE as W couldn’t have known those people’s names to give to the police in his statements so the police must have been actively requesting for witnesses. Just the tram drivers, Katie Mather, the bobby and shops would have done, why go through a charade with 3 other people (one of whom didn’t come forward)

    Again, we have to ask why W wouldn’t just admit to talking to a stranger on his way home, no guilt in that? Whether Caird and the Hall’s conversed on the matter is conjecture but even so it proves nothing. W explained why he thought he was no longer a suspect by just having been told by the police the phone box call was 7pm and so he knew it couldn’t have been himself as he only left the house at 7.15pm.

    Hi Mike. I think what sways it that W wouldn’t chance his voice being recognised by Beattie is the fact he (if guilty) knew he would be speaking to him at length in about 20 minutes time, that is just to soon for comfort. Maybe if he wasn’t seeing him and we don’t know how distinctive Wallace’s voice was, maybe that’s why Beattie was so sure it could not have been him but we have to believe Beattie under oath. However, we do have an amateur dramatics enthusiast in our midst who was in the middle of rehearsals that week and was used to calling people on phones and putting voices on don’t we 😉

  49. Tilly Mint says:

    Please accept my advance apologies for the length of this post, but as I have said previously, I am trying to come at this case from an entirely different angle – the state of WHW’s mind.

    Ged correctly points out that we have no knowledge of the Police’s requests for witnesses to WHW’s movements over the 19th – 20th January. If witnesses had come forward, would their testaments even be recorded? We do not know.
    So much of the Police investigation is a complete anathema compared to today’s standards, which are now mainly based on CCTV and scientific techniques unimaginable in the 1930s. The timings are a critical factor in this case but as people were looking at clock or watch faces – not digital displays as we have now – nobody can guarantee it was the correct time, only an approximation. On numerous occasions, I have myself glanced at a clock and mistaken the time. I am sure we all have. Based on this, I do not wish to consider any timings from witnesses as they are likely to be inaccurate.

    I agree that the evidence presented was not sufficient to hang WHW, however it did not point to anyone else.

    As I have said previously it was WHW who put Parry in the frame in the first place when he not only included him as a potential visitor to the house that Julia would admit – but placed him at the top of the list and with so much detail of Parry’s personal circumstances it suggests some obsession with him. Why not provide the same level of detail for the others? It is WHW who mentions Parry’s interest in Amateur Dramatics and eludes to his ability to act out characters, putting on voices.

    So much emphasis has been put on Parry doing the insurance collections when WHW was ill over a period of a couple of weeks in December 1928. Such a short period and so long before the murder. Also implicating Marsden seems a bit odd. According to the diaries, WHW had been warned by Bamber that Parry needed watching. So why would WHW allow Parry to suggest another ex-Prudential agent who had also been suspected of financial irregularities to help him do the rounds? It wasn’t WHW’s call to make that decision and he should have sought the agreement of his superiors before allowing it. There is no mention of this anywhere.

    Another glaring omission is who covered for WHW during June-July 1930 when he was in hospital? Who arranged this? Why wasn’t this event recorded in WHW’s diaries?

    Talking of which, the diaries start in 1928 and up to November of that year, the entries are mainly to do with the illnesses and complaints WHW and Julia suffered and religious matters. It is a catalogue of disappointment and misfortune, nothing regarding his happy marriage. There is no mention of thinking of starting a hobby that involves Julia?

    The entries I quote have come straight from the transcriptions given on this forum.

    In November 1928 we have WHW’s visits to Mr Crewe for violin lessons, which would give him some familiarity with the surrounding area which he later admits to a certain extent. Menlove Gardens would still be under construction at this time and the newspapers of the day record adverts of new homes for sale in the area. There may have been builder’s advertising hoardings on the streets to the same effect. So, there is a possibility that WHW was aware that Menlove Gardens existed and where it was situated.

    Tuesday December 19th – Bamber alerts WHW to Parry’s need for close supervision relating to company business. WHW then appears to be absent from work with bronchitis up to 31st December, where the entry says that Parry has done the work (no mention of Marsden!) and was not methodical enough.

    Early 1929 is a repeat of 1928 – constant references to illness and religion. Then in March, Julia is finally mentioned in the diary but in quite a derogatory fashion.

    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.

    For those not familiar with Ibsen’s work, this play is not the easiest to understand. But WHW states it is ‘curious’ that Julia does not appreciate it or grasp the inner significance suggesting it is blatantly obvious why she should.

    The protagonist is a man who is a builder who starts with a modest business. He succeeds in life through the misfortunes of his wife’s family. She came from wealthy stock and after the death of her parents. they inherit and go to live in her ancestral home, where they start a family. Shortly after the birth of twin boys, a fire breaks out in the house which destroys it completely. The shock of the fire affected his wife’s ability to breastfeed and as a result the babies died. They had no more children and although he has not caused his wife pain intentionally, he feels that her inability to produce any more children has made their life intolerable and he feels he owes her a debt by staying married to her and building a hew home.

    His wife confesses that the loss of the twins and her family home, sealed the end of their relationship. and she forces herself to be obedient to her husband because that was in their wedding vows – it is her duty to obey him.

    Although not a professionally trained architect, the man concentrated on his building business and constructed on the site of his wife’s family estate, a number of houses which would bring him wealth and kudos. As the years go by, the business expands, and he becomes the ‘Master Builder’ of the title and ruthless of any other competition that he considers may stand in his way. He spends all his time ruminating about the past and is paranoid that the younger generation is going to ruin him, his reputation, and his years of hard work.

    His wife is reasonably concerned with this and discusses the matter with the family doctor. However, when the doctor comes to call, the builder accuses his wife and doctor of plotting against him and suggesting he is going mad.

    I won’t go any further in case I spoil the plot for anyone who wants to know what happens in the end. However, although Julia could not seem to see a significance, there are some similarities to WHW’s life.

    This is not just my interpretation – it has been reported as;
    Conclusion Ibsen‟s The Master Builder touches upon many issues that weigh on a career person who finds himself in a rut. Life around him progresses very fast while he grows older and feels he cannot keep pace with the vigor of the young. Solness feels threatened and while he is busy combatting his insecurities, he brings about his ruin. He thinks that playing blind and deaf along with stubbornness can save his name and prolong his already fading career.

    What I find interesting is this suggestion of madness. One of the tip-off letters makes this suggestion about Wallace. It states the writer is aware that Mrs Wallace tried to have WHW committed as insane. Also, the letter was handwritten on paper headed with the address of the Liverpool Cotton Exchange which was situated on Edmund Street in the same street where Beattie worked as a cotton broker’s manager. I am not suggesting Beattie wrote the letter, but you must admit it does seem coincidental.

    In the summer of 1929, Amy Wallace returned to England. She stayed 2 weeks at Wolverton Street and went on holiday with them. But this is not mentioned in the diary – why? You would think that WHW would be happy to see his sister-in-law after such a long time but it does not seem to be worth a single word in his writings. He only records visits to her flat in Ullet Road in the November.

    1930 continues with the illness theme. In May WHW makes several references regarding Mr Crewe, this may have had something to do with his upcoming surgery and need to have cover provided during his absence. But again mysteriously, there is no mention of his illness, surgery or convalescence. Julia apparently looked after him at home, but he negates any word of thanks or gratitude towards her.

    By October 1930 , there is mention of mental trouble but does not refer to whom it applies.Two days later WHW makes a statement regarding immortality, suggesting that it is he who has the problem.

    This negativity continues in November when the chess tournament is announced.
    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.

    In December, WHW records his concern when Julia failed to return home until the early hours of the morning after a trip to Southport. I have already given my views on this in a previous post.
    However, in January 1931, WHW sheds light on the inner workings of his mind when he records his interest in a book he had recently 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)).

    This is the premise of the story – it is about a young man called Alec Lindsay who has a rich uncle who wants him to join his business with a view of taking it over in the future. However the young man wants to become a lawyer so refuses the offer and goes to university to train. Three years later the uncle is in very bad health and his doctor tells the uncle’s cousin and carer that he is end of life. He advises her to prepare the uncle for his soon death and to put his affairs in order. After receiving the news -his nephew Alec calls on him.

    The uncle is jealous of the nephew for his youth and good health. He asks the nephew to help him write a letter to a Scottish Church Minister to inform him of his situation. The Minister goes to see the uncle who tells him he doesn’t know what to do with his estate and who to leave it to. He suggests that if he leaves his wealth to the Church he may get a better chance of redemption for his sins in Heaven. The Minister advises that a legal trust is set up and offers to be the Trust secretary. The Trust specifies money to be left to nearest relatives but the bulk of the wealth to the Church. The relatives to inherit any residue are names as the uncle’s two nephews – Alec Lindsay and James Semple. The uncle tells Alec his intentions in the will and asks Alec to oversee it. However, the other nephew James Semple finds out what is in the will and feels that he has been done out of his true inheritance and sets about a plan to change the content of the will to his advantage. He does this by burning the original will and replacing it with a forgery. When the uncle dies the will is read. The Church only received a small legacy whilst the bulk of the wealth goes to the 2 nephews. As Alec Lindsay supposedly drew up the will and was the major beneficiary he is accused of fraud and imprisoned and sent for trial. He was found not guilty and acquitted. Shortly after his acquittal Alec Lindsay was diagnosed with consumption. His love interest in the story went to live in Brighton as a nurse/governess. Two years later they met again and all lived happily ever after.

    There is no particular evidence of why WHW found this book so interesting but again the similarities with Wallace’s circumstances are remarkable! And all this before the crime is committed.

    I rest my case – comments welcomed but please don’t write off simply as conjecture of a would-be Miss Marple!

    Tilly Mint

  50. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi Tilly Mint,
    No need to apologise for the length of your thought-provoking posting.! Some points which I would raise:
    I agree with your comments on reported times of events. They have to be taken as approximate. Everyday events remembered days later with extreme precision on timing – I don’t believe it.

    It was indeed Wallace who introduced Parry into the story. This, in my view, was a reaction to Wallace being told on the Thursday evening that the call had been traced to a box near his home. He had not foreseen this so in spite of saying earlier “I have no suspicion of anybody” he goes into some detail about Parry to divert suspicion about his own involvement. On this evening too, still reeling from news of the call being traced, he quizzes Beattie at the tram stop about the time of the call.

    Wallace had one remaining kidney and this was failing fast. Kidney failure is not like heart disease or liver failure etc, it is almost unique in that key symptoms are mood changes and specifically expressions of anger which make life very trying for relatives and carers. This alone wouldn’t make him kill his wife but it has to be factored in to any consideration of motive and the state of Wallace’s mind at the time.

    With respect, I do not think it was Wallace who highlighted Parry’s supposed ability to change his voice and his proclivity for making spoof phone calls – this information came from John Parkes. And only John Parkes. Is this a reliable source?

    Re “The master builder” Wallace’s diary entry shows that he considered himself intellectually superior to Julia.

    In his diary entries there is not a single hint of humour or irony. He comes across as a depressive and as you say it is always about himself with little about Julia. Except when he describes his bungalow in Bromborough as “the kind of house that Julia (note “Julia” not “We’) always wanted.” I wonder how often she reminded him of it!


  51. Ged says:

    A great piece Tilly Mint and good response Mike.

    We must remember that there were few blank pages in the diary and what we must remember is that the snippets published here are only those used in court…..

    Text from this site –

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

    So, now you have listed what the prosecution used, likewise we can see that:-
    W is concerned by Julia’s ill health, coughing in bed etc
    They are out together in Settle on 9.9.29
    On 25.3.30 W records that we are pleased and contented with life as much as anyone.
    15.12.30 W is anxious and worried about Julia going missing in Southport, worried enough to go to the police. This is just a month before her murder.
    7.1.31 I persuaded Julia to go to Stanley Park to see the frost on the leaves etc, she was equally charmed. This is less than 2 weeks before her murder.
    Then of course, the talk about how Julia would have loved the bungalow.

    If Wallace thought there was anything of detriment in those diaries he could well have destroyed them on their burner at any time previous to the murder. Likewise, he could have entered very loving entries including what they would both be doing in the summer – just to prove they had plans. He could even drop those plans into conversations with Caird, The Johnston’s, Amy or Edwin etc.

    Regarding the timings, I disagree with some of that and here’s why.
    The Holy Trinity church clock was set weekly (the trial made a big mention of this) and the Workhouse church bells were rung religiously at 6.30pm. No fewer than 4 of the witnesses use these set times as gospel (pardon these puns) as to how long their foot journey would have taken them to various addresses in the locality.

    also the trams are set to a timetable and on these routes trams had to physically punch a timestamp.

    Parry is mentioned by W on Thurs 22/1 on the same day as he is confronted with the phone box location. I can’t find which came first. W though was simply answering a question put to him as to who might be allowed into the house. For all we know W might well have cottoned onto Parry’s ‘musical’ evenings with Julia and was suspicious of him and of course of Julia too. Imagine W IS innocent for a minute. Why wouldn’t he think of Parry, knowing what he knows about having blown up his financial irregularities. Also, why would W not speak to Beattie on the Thurs 22/1 now W is aware of the (false 7pm) call box time. He is bound to want to get it more accurate, I would if I were innocent. Also, here we have again, W talking to Beattie. This man he doesn’t talk to very often supposedly. What if during all these conversations Beattie twigs the caller was indeed W.

    Parry and Marsden being Pru employees (and at this point no irregularities were present) so why wouldn’t W be ok with them doing his rounds. We do not know he didn’t get the ok from his superiors but they were not just 2 scallies off the street, they were employees.

    I have been to Crewe’s house on Green Lane, and on a pitch black January evening during our group walk of the area. Approached from Allerton Road as W says was usual, you would not have any reason to know the other end of this road up at Menlove Gardens.

    And there rests my case for the defence 🙂

  52. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi Ged,
    Wallace gave Parry’s name as someone who Julia would have admitted to No 29. If I recall correctly the list comprised some 14 names including neighbours, friends, and several Prudential colleagues (much to the chagrin of the latter!). But Parry is the only one who gets the full treatment with remarks on his dubious character, his engagement to Lily Lloyd, his address etc. Wallace is singling him out apart from the others as “a person of interest.”

    Wallace’s diaries can be taken either at face value with expressions of domestic content and harmony or as a cynical record preparing the ground for the crime knowing that they would be read after his death. In particular I found his post-appeal entries about how much he missed Julia rather over the top and unconvincing. He also says his “sole remaining mission in life” is to unmask Parry as the killer and bring him to justice. All hot air because he did nothing.

    As you say Ged he could have dropped references to future plans into conversations with others. He didn’t, but he did tell several of his Pru clients how happily married he was which has always struck me as odd.

    The tram stop conversation with Beattie: Wallace had been told by the police that the call had been logged at ~ 7.00 pm. This time was confirmed In Beattie’s first answer to Wallace’s question. At this point Wallace has been given the same time by two independent sources who are best placed to know the time. An innocent Wallace would not know that ~ 7.00 pm was about 20 minutes too early. An innocent Wallace would accept ~7.00 pm as definitive. But he didn’t – he continued to question Beattie to the point where Beattie advised Wallace to stop “as it might be misconstrued.”

    I take your point on the timings determined with reference the church clock or workhouse bells but when people live routine lives passing the same point at about the same time each evening there is always the possibility of confusing one day with another. But its a good point.

    Have a good weekend,


  53. Ged says:

    Hi Mike. Confusing one day with another like Lily Hall you mean who a week later couldn’t seem to remember the correct time or day or does confusion only count for those where it fingers Wallace 😉

    Yes, I know all about Wallace fingering Parry quite badly but my reply was in response to this you said below:-

    ”It was indeed Wallace who introduced Parry into the story. This, in my view, was a reaction to Wallace being told on the Thursday evening that the call had been traced to a box near his home. He had not foreseen this so in spite of saying earlier “I have no suspicion of anybody” he goes into some detail about Parry to divert suspicion about his own involvement. On this evening too, still reeling from news of the call being traced, he quizzes Beattie at the tram stop about the time of the call.”

    You make it look like Wallace only fingered Parry after learning about the location of the phone box but there is no record of whether he gave this statement before or after learning of the phone box location as both were on Thurs 22/1. I read somewhere that Wallace only learnt of the location not long before he left to see Beattie on the corner and therefore it was still fresh in his mind so it’s likely he had already given that Parry fingering statement earlier on that day.

    I also believe he fingered Parry the most was because he was hardly likely to think other friends who might be let into the house such as Caird, the Johnston’s etc would do it. He knew Parry had tried to rob the Pru, he knew of him as a wide boy (probably after he’d allowed him his round whilst ill) and he’d fingered him again there so revenge could be a motive.

    According to the prosecution, the diaries hardly present themselves in his favour so why didn’t he just get rid of them?

    Have a good weekend too. Looking forward to the next round of too-ing and fro-ing lol.

  54. Tilly Mint says:

    Thanks for your responses.

    I am still of the mind that WHW killed Julia for whatever reason.
    Yes – he could have chosen another modus operandi- poison, strangulation, pushing her downstairs, etc but as Julia seldom left the house the murder would have to be indoors and when he wasn’t present. He was silly enough to try and create the RMQ alibi and pass the crime as a bungled burgalry but the actual attack was perfect.

    His question to the Johnstons of had they heard anything unusual does not make sense. If I came home and found my doors locked and knowing my partner was inside I would be banging on the doors and windows to let them know I was trying to get in. If nobody answered I would then think they had popped out on an errand and would wait for their return. If my neighbours came out while I was waiting I would simply ask if they had seen my partner leave and when – if they said they hadn’t I would not ask them to hang on while I attempted to open the doors again! It just doesn’t make sense.
    Similarly when he finds the body – he is the one who suggests a robbery by pointing out the broken cabinet door.

    The murder had to occur in the parlour so as to confirm the murderer was a visitor not a resident – the bogus RMQ fitted this description perfectly.
    WHW assumed that the crime would be accepted as attempted robbery and that would be that. The reason there was no blood or weapon found was to ensure that he could not be implicated in any way.
    The Police would waste time looking for RMQ, forensics, weapons to no avail and he would play the grieving husband.
    He didn’t expect to be a suspect he thought his plan was watertight. He did not have the foresight to think that switching the gas and lights off was odd or replacing the money box on its high shelf after removing £4 would be the acts of a burglar.
    WHW probably placed the money in the jar upstairs earlier in the evening.

    Even his supposed influenza the previous weekend was probably put on. If you have flu you are in bed for days afterwards, especially with his renal problems his recovery would probably take longer. You certainly wouldn’t be entertaining your relatives on Sunday night and playing chess on Monday! The pretend illness ensured he had an excuse to not to do his collections so that there would be a deficiency in money in the house. That way there would be no or little inconvenience to himself or his employers.

    It was only when he discovered that the Police would not accept his version of his events he gave additional details of Parry, the discovery of the call coming from the local call box must have terrified him. Hence his weird conversation with Beattie.

    Even after his acquittal he continued with his nonsensical claims that Julia had no relatives – he told this to the landlady of the guest house in the Lakes where he stayed after his acquittal. It must have been WHW who gave the police Amy Dennis’ contact details. Although Edwin Wallace stated they met Amy Dennis at the railway station, WHW does not acknowledge it. He didn’t have the guts to face Amy Dennis when she had travelled up from Brighton. Instead of meeting with her at Amy Wallace’s flat, even if there was no space to stay, he purposely asked to return to Wolverton Street. This is suspicious behaviour don’t you think.

    Obviously no love lost between them as Amy Dennis returned home the next day leaving a note for Wallace ( re Julia’s fur coat) and a communication to the police. There is no record of either of these notes so we will never know what she said.

    I remain convinced he did it- don’t know how but that is the mystery that has kept us talking for nearly 100 years and why he was acquitted on appeal.

  55. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi Ged,
    At 10.45 am on the 22nd january Wallace reported to Dale Street police station telling Inspector Gold that he had important information. He went on to give Parry’s name and details along with other names.
    It was that evening (Thursday 22 January 1931) at 7.45 pm that Superintendent Thomas told Wallace that the call had been traced and logged at around 7.00 pm.

    So you are quite right Ged. This shows that it wasn’t the shock of the call being traced which led to Wallace pointing out Parry – he had already decided to do that on arrival at Dale Street.
    Source” “Checkmate” by Mark Russell

  56. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi Tilly,
    “Have you heard anything unusual?” is, as you say, a strange question in the circumstances. He may have been seeking confirmation that the Johnstons had not heard sounds of any commotion earlier that evening when Julia was killed.
    Surely one’s first thought is that Julia, not being well, had gone to bed early and was sound asleep upstairs.

  57. Ged says:

    Good Day Tilly Mint and Mike.

    Thanks Mike, I thought that was the case regarding the timings on Thurs 22/1.

    Tilly. So we have the master planner making sure the murder was in the parlour so as to give off the impression it was a caller, yet this master planner overlooked quite a few other simpler things like just saying The bolt was on from the very beginning. (It was very obvious the Police would be quizzing quite strongly as to why he couldn’t gain access) There are a whole host of other things he could have done or said if he was the killer acting out scenes of innocence. It looks to me like the no risk phone call to get him out of the way actually worked.

    It would not be so impossible for the murder to happen in the kitchen when the caller is caught in the act of robbery by Julia. As for W suggesting robbery by pointing to the broken cupboard door on the floor, what else would you think it is lying there for? Why wouldn’t one draw attention to it?

  58. Michael Fitton says:

    It is clear that Wallace, if guilty, was not a “Master Planner.” There are many points in the case where he could have said something to his advantage or done something in a better way. But none of this contributes to the case for his innocence; it just shows he was, like all of us, a flawed human being who didn’t think of everything.

    In particular he was unable to see that Qualtrough, planning either a murder or a robbery, would be unlikely to leave the chess club message due to it’s many potential failure points, any one of which would have scuppered his plan completely. Only Wallace knew with absolute certainty that he, W H Wallace, would go in search of Menlove Gardens East as instructed. Qualtrough would have had a better plan; Wallace didn’t need one.
    This was a “one shot” plan which had to work first time; there would be no possibility of repeating it without raising suspicion. In fact it has many features of something conceived and executed at short notice. As if there was a triggering event which pushed Wallace over the edge into action.
    This could have been Wallace’s consultation with Dr Curwen in December at which it is fairly sure he would be told of the state of his remaining kidney, with possibly an estimate of the time he had left.
    Much has been made of the Wallaces’ apparent financial security, but with Wallace gone Julia would have been reduced to poverty without any help from her estranged family. Maybe Wallace’s expressions of affection for Julia were quite genuine and this was a mercy killing to spare her from a further decline into inevitable penury. This however doesn’t fit with the sustained ferocity of the attack which may indicate the venting of long-held frustration and resentment.
    It is worth remarking that compared to most killers, Wallace had little to lose whether found guilty or innocent. Obviously “Innocent” is better than “Guilty” so that he can die in a hospital bed but either way he was a dead man walking and he knew it.

  59. Michael Fitton says:

    Those who believe Wallace to be guilty see his difficulty in gaining access to his home as a charade intended to attract witnesses to his eventual discovery of Julia’s body. I have always had doubts about this because if the Johnstons had not emerged at 8.45 pm he would have had to alert a neighbour himself after trying the front and back doors without any witnesses and without success.
    If Wallace had told Julia that he would not go to Menlove Gardens and that a musical evening was planned she might bolt the front door after speaking with Alan Close as no further use of that door was expected that evening. Wallace would not know this and he left by the back door. He was initially unsure about the bolt but at his trial definitely said that the front door was bolted so he could not get in.
    Which leaves the back door lock: anyone reading the locksmith’s report can see that this was in a terrible condition and erratic in operation. Didn’t Mrs Draper once lock herself out and had to be admitted by Julia? So this is consistent with Wallace failing at first to unlock the back door then on his return with the Johnstons, it unexpectedly worked. Also we have only Wallace’s word that he couldn’t get the back door to open on his first try.
    So this business with the doors may have an “innocent” explanation and Wallace’s surprise at being unable to open the front door may have been genuine.

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