My Solution

The Victim: Julia Wallace

My old writeup is still on the site here. I moved it because I am not satisfied with the work, it’s not streamlined enough and too editorialized. It is better that I write from fresh and keep the old page elsewhere.

This is a confusing case with the possibility to present several coherent and logically-argued cases. It will be important to “trim the fat”.

I will be writing from scratch or may not even propose a solution.

Case discussion in comments 🙂

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242 Responses to My Solution

  1. That’s a very detailed and well-thought theory – unfortunately I think that we will never know who definitively killed Julia Wallace.

    I am a keen chess player, so I have always been interested in this case. I am hopeful that the score of some of Wallace’s games will appear, as it would be interesting to play through them to determine his strength and playing style.

    • R M Qualtrough says:


      From what I have read from those who played against him, he was a very “by the book” type of chess player, much like what I have heard of his character in general.

      In terms of skill it seems he was mediocre yet consistent.

  2. Your theory may be a good one, but we need a little more detail to be in a position to fully evaluate it. For example:

    – How did the accomplice gain admittance? Wallace was adamant that Julia would not allow strangers into her house after dark. I know Amy Wallace might have suggested otherwise, but Wallace’s view surely has to be given priority here (it was even in is interests to say otherwise).

    – Why was Julia killed? And how exactly? Details are important here. Was she sitting in the armchair (blood spatter evidence said yes) and the accomplice on the chaise longue, some 8ft away?

    – Why did the men turn off the gas lamps in the parlour and the kitchen?

    – Why did they bolt the front door? *

    – Why did the neighbours not hear anybody call between 6:40pm and 8:40pm?

    – Why did they fold the mackintosh and tuck it under Julia’s shoulder?

    * Wallace repeatedly asserted that the front door was bolted when he returned, and that he unbolted it when he opened the door to PC Williams. He cannot have been mistaken, but he might have lied. Either the killer bolted it, or the killer was Wallace.

    The reason I introduced the reconstruction narratives in my book is to show the reader how the murder might have happened according to the different theories. It would be great if you could write one for your theory. I’m very happy to also post on my website.

    Antony M. Brown, author Move to Murder

    P.S. I have assumed you wish to remain anonymous and have respected that.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Hi Antony,

      1. There’s evidence both ways, several people (not only Wallace) have said she wouldn’t admit strangers.

      There is this statement from an ex-Prudential agent as one of many examples which corroborates the idea of her not admitting strangers:

      “Julia was a proud and peculiar woman who thought she had lowered herself by marrying an insurance agent. She hated the business and would not give assistance to her husband. She would keep clients standing at the door when they called to see him on business, and she would not take premiums which clients brought during her husband’s absence.”

      (The above is at least partly untrue, because we know Julia did insurance work for Wallace while he was ill).

      On trial Oliver suggested said he thought Julia would admit someone who came to the door saying they’re “Qualtrough”, to which Wallace agreed. I know you have mentioned the use of the “Qualtrough” name to get in… But I think the name was selected with the intention that it would be recognized by Wallace, since it was a real Prudential client. If he recognized the name and came to that conclusion, he’d be less likely to dig into the details and thus go on the trip.

      I don’t think it was used as a password to gain entrance into the home, because they can’t rely on William telling his wife the name of the client.

      It might well be that it happened that way anyway, since I can imagine someone calling and pretending they had a business appointment with Wallace and there’d been a mix-up – but I don’t think they would expect her to actually know the name “Qualtrough” or even believe it’s essential for the plan to work that she does. The fact she did was not essential.

      For the reader’s benefit I will post the fuller interview given by Amy here as to whether Julia would admit a stranger (she opines that Julia would):

      Nottingham Evening Post, January 21st, 1931

      2. I think she was killed because she knew one of the individuals (e.g. Parry/Marsden) and had rumbled that it was a burglary.

      As for the position of Julia when she was hit, it is confusing. It is suggested she was on the chair by McFall, and furthermore the gas tap is on the RIGHT side of the fireplace – meaning she was not down there fiddling with the gas tap or anything of that nature… Both McFall and my own forensic experts have placed her most definitely on that left side of the room.

      It could also be that she was initially attacked in such a way that did not immediately kill her (there’s evidence for example, that she might have been shoved into the fireplace), and there was some form of a struggle. McFall could not be certain as to the amount of blows delivered to the large open wound at the front side of her head which is thought to have been the cause of death.

      3. This question and question 4 deserve more elaboration which I will do in a second… But the short answer is that it probably something to do with detection.

      This man, if not Wallace, is running the streets of Liverpool soaked in blood. He needs time to get away and clean himself up, dispose of the weapon, etc. this is why the bolt is thrown on the front door. It’s to delay discovery of the crime.

      The lights in the kitchen may also have been shut off so the men could peer out of the curtains without being seen.

      If Wallace did this alone I would expect the parlour lights to never have gone on, which I’ll explain shortly.

      4. I find this obvious. The very last thing they would want is for someone to open the door while they’re inside or before they’ve got away from the scene of the crime and cleaned themselves up, etc. Say Wallace came home early or some other relative with a key came by (of course if the killer is not Wallace, they have no idea whether any relatives are due to drop by, or have keys etc.)? Would you take the chance of leaving the door unbolted when it’s so trivial to go throw the catch? It’s the natural thing to do.

      Elaborating on 3 and 4 first before moving on: If Wallace himself killed Julia I don’t believe he ever would have turned the lights up in the parlour, because if anyone outside noticed the lights go on in there (and there were still delivery boys etc. walking the streets at this time you understand), then it would show a blatant timestamp of when Julia had gone into the parlour. It couldn’t get much worse for him than that surely, than a delivery boy saying he saw lights in the parlour window before 18:50 or whatever…

      If Wallace killed Julia I think the lights in that room were never turned on at all… Moreso the case would be that he asks her to light the fire while he pretends he’s going to light the gas lamp, but hits her on the back of the head as she’s going to put on the fire instead (we know forensically that this was not the case). He might then stay there using matches to see the damage he has done and ensure she’s dead.

      They do have thick curtains and it could be argued that light would not escape. But then that in and of itself completely defeats the entire argument as to why Wallace would ever turn the lights out himself.

      5. I think this is one of the most intuitive point in favour of guilt, and therefore worthy of the most discussion.

      We must remember, neighbours also didn’t hear Wallace leave the house for his trip to Menlove Gardens, or him repeatedly hitting Julia with a weapon, or stomping out flames, or the sound of him yanking Julia’s body out of the fire and around the room… None of the neighbours heard Julia talking to Alan Close at the front door though we know a conversation between the two took place.

      The only report of sound we have is from the Johnstons, who said they heard thuds at 20:25 to 20:30:

      “I did not hear any unusual noise in Wallace’s house until about 8.25–8.30 p.m. I was then in my kitchen and I heard two thumps which I thought was my father in my front parlour taking off his boots.”

      The Holmes family on the opposite side (27 Wolverton Street) said they heard thuds and what they thought was a body falling to the floor after the front door of the Wallace home had been opened on Alan Close, but before it shut again. Because Alan says it was on her return to the door to give the empty jugs back that she had spoken to him, what they heard could not possibly be Julia’s murder.

      So it seems nobody heard Julia being killed unless it was the sounds the Johnstons heard.

      As for knocking, unless they were in the front room themselves I’m not positive they would hear it. The evidence for this can be proven actually… When Wallace returned Florence Johnston heard him knocking on the back door of his house (she and John were at the back of their own house at the time), but she didn’t hear him knock on the front door. Wallace also seems to have not heard Alan Close knocking on the front door when delivering the milk.

      There are another few scenarios aside from Wallace killing her himself. First of all would be if Julia had gone in there of her own accord to play the piano or lounge on the comfy sofa and intruders had gained entry unbeknownst to her encountered her in there – but I don’t see this as very likely when assessed as a prior probability.

      The other possibility is that Wallace let someone in the back door as he himself went out to catch the tram to Menlove Gardens. He would tell Julia it’s a guest and to set up the parlour for him. Again there would be no knocking on the door in this scenario.

      6. It wasn’t necessarily shoved under her. Consider the possibility that the mackintosh was thrown down, stamped out, and then at some stage while Julia’s body was being moved, it ends up on top of the mackintosh which is already on the ground.

      In other words it’s the opposite way round. The mackintosh wasn’t placed under Julia, Julia was placed on top of it.

      My grandpa suggested it might be something that was done in the heat of the moment as a quick-thinking way to hopefully make it look like the husband did it. I had the same thought before, actually, but I know nobody is keen on that one.

      The forensic experts I spoke to have said the mackintosh was not worn or used as a blood shield – and that it seems more likely it had been on her in some way as suggested by Roland Oliver.

  3. Stephen Chippendale says:

    Hi, DC-based lawyer here. I was born in Leeds and most of my family still lives there. So, I’ve long been interested in English crime, including the Wallace case.
    I’m glad to find this website–absolutely A-plus quality.
    So, with permission, I’d like to float two points/questions about the Johnstons and the mysterious phone call. (Please excuse types, I’m posting in a hurry before a phone call.)
    A. The Johnstons
    1. In Murders of Merseyside, Tom Slemen writes: “Stan said that days before Johnston died, he confessed to killing Julia Wallace.” Legally, this is important because deathbed confession can be admissible evidence under the right circumstances.
    2. Besides its timing, what is is remarkable about the purported confession (which is new to me) is its minutiae about the cat, its name, and its reappearance after the murder. So, I went looking for confirmation of these details—and found them here.
    3. Importantly, Slemen—whom I hold no brief, pro or con—makes other points re the Johnstons that do not rest on the purported confession. For example, he says “curious postcards” (dated 1926 and 1928) from the Wallaces to the Johnstons “came to light in the 1940s.” “These postcards are of interest because they completely contradicted the testimony of the Johnstons that they did not known the Wallaces well.” Indeed, the second postcard thanks Florence for feeding Puss—so they knew its name, which is something I don’t known about my own neighbors’ pets. Also, during this fortnight, the Johnston’s seemingly had free reign of the Wallace house to bring in the mail and raise/lower the curtains.….Is any of this verified?
    4. More importantly, what is known about the accuracy of these additional detailed assertions by Slemen: “John Johnston had just washed and . . . changed his clothes. So has his wife Florence, for they both admitted to this at the ensuing court rial. Their excuse is that they washed and dressed because they were about to visit their daughter in West Derby—and were ready to embark on the tram journey at 8:45 pm. Phyllis, the daughter of the Johnstons however, admitted she was not expected her parents to call that night, and when the did call, it was usually between 6pm and 7pm. John Sharp Johnston and his wife were not in the habit of calling upon their daughter or anyone else at such a later hour as almost 9pm, because Mr. Johnston had to be up early to travel on an arduous route by tram and ferry boat . . . and was often in bed by eleven at the latest and up at 4am.”
    B. Telephone Call
    1. I recently read about of Jeremy Bamber and the White House Farm murders. A key point is that Bamber called police at around 3:30 am on August 7, 1985, saying that he had just received a troubling call from his dad at the house. But, as I was surprised to learn, the police could not track such calls at the time.
    2. So, now we go back thirty years, and the the Wallace case occurred when call tracking was even more limited. That it occurred all all due to an singular development. As Slemen reports: “There was a technical hitch, so the operator recorded the number of the caller’s telephone box.”
    3. This vague reference to a “hitch” is common in the literature. So I read your detailed explanation of what occurred with interest. As you write: “The operators noted the time the call was put through to Gladys Harley as 19:20. A note of this was made since the caller had reported that he had pressed button ‘A’ (to deposit his coins and patch the call through) and not received his correspondent. According to the switchboard lights he had actually pressed button ‘B’ to return his coins, so was seemingly attempting to fiddle a free call.”
    4. Now, just think about this for a moment. Who would be so cheap on such an important call? Moreover, if Wallace placed the call, it did him no good to point the police to the phone near his house. Much better for him to make a seamless call that left open the possibility of a a call far from his home.
    5. Indeed, just what kind of person, making a clandestine call, would worry about “fiddling for a free call?” Well, I am struck by the information on this website (new to me) that Parry Gordon was so deep in debt shortly after the murder that “he was unable to afford a measly tram ticket” and therefore he “had to ‘borrow’ (hijack) cars . . . just to get around the city.” You known, maybe–just maybe–such a man is precisely who would would try to game a free call even when when sending a fake message.
    Keep up the good work! Steve

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Hello there,

      My friend who I usually consort with about ideas and such is also in America, from New York. I’ll address your points one by one:

      A: The Johnstons

      1. Indeed, that was the claim that was made by a man giving the name “Stan”. Neither Slemen nor Keith Andrews the criminologist he worked with seem to be contactable. In fact they have totally dropped off the grid. I have attempted to contact them to no avail although I have managed to get in touch with Roger Wilkes who broadcast the Radio City documentary. He can be found on LinkedIn.

      2. I was also struck by the bizarre specificness of the cat. It was almost not reported at all, it appears as a mere footnote in a couple of newspaper reports, and as a throwaway comment in Goodman’s book. To my knowledge the name of the cat has never been mentioned in any publication outside of “Stan’s” relay of Johnston’s alleged confession. There were postcards in the Johnston’s home from Julia from when her and Wallace had been on holiday. Evidently the Johnstons had been entrusted to care for the cat during this period and one of the postcards is an apology from J Wallace (Julia) that she has not paid yet. I can produce these postcards if needed, I think at least one of the two is in Goodman’s book which I own.

      To me the person who told this tale about the cat must have been very, very intimately familiar with the case because the detail is so obscure.

      You will notice Johnston’s confession claims the use of a jemmy bar. Currently my forensic experts are looking for weapons with prongs or patterns of some kind, like the jemmy bars which were around at the time, because the tram track patterning is very distinctive and the expert I am talking to right now does not believe a regular iron bar or poker could cause this injury. There would need to be some pattern like the prongs of a jemmy bar or something along the lines of a threaded pipe.

      3. I cannot verify this as of yet although I have attempted to contact Tom Slemen and Keith Andrews. Their listed email addresses are defunct, it seems they simply vanished. Most important to me would be if they truly had been tasked with opening and closing the curtains in the home there, as that would definitely contradict the claim they had only ever been into the parlour.

      4. They said they had just washed and changed their clothes, allegedly to visit Phyllis Johnston (who they then moved in with). Phyllis apparently told police she was not expecting them etc. as you quoted. I cannot verify the part about the time Johnston had to get up for work. I do know he worked as an engineer at Cammell Laid shipyard. The shipyard is in Birkenhead on the other side of the Mersey river, and as seen by Wallace’s trip to the Chess Club which seems to have taken about 30 minutes, to also then cross the river would add time and I don’t know if the tunnel existed then. If it did not then he would indeed need to get on a ferry. The start and end time of his shift I’m not sure… By pure memory without checking I think I read he usually got home at either 18:00 or 18:30 I forget. It’s buried in a book somewhere.

      B: The Telephone Call

      Yes I agree with your points about the call. I think though, if I was a criminal, I might simply assume the police can interview operators and I might be a bit careful regardless of whether I know for sure or not that it could be traced.

      However, worrying about two pennies is a bit ridiculous for – allegedly – a man who is placing a call so he can kill his wife the next day. Even more ridiculous because Wallace was quite well-to-do and would hardly be so strapped for cash as to attempt to steal two pennies from the kiosk.

      To be clear about the events: Caller inserts 2 pennies -> requests the city café (the pronunciation of “kaffay” was remembered by the operators, Gordon was well educated and “toffee-nosed” by all reports) -> Gets through and presses ‘B’ disconnecting the call and refunding his two pennies. The caller now has his two pennies back. He re-inserts them, and complains to the operator he has pressed button ‘A’ (AKA paid his two pennies and they are unrecoverable) and not had his correspondent.

      He’s trying to give the impression he’s already paid for the call to get a freebie. By the account of the operator the first attempt to patch the call through WAS successful:


      Q: Did anyone from Bank 3681 [the City Café] come on the line?
      A: Yes.

      It would be at this point after this successful connection that the caller refunded his coins cutting the call off.

      After this, he put his coins back in, and spoke to Louisa’s colleague Lillian Martha Kelly, claiming he had deposited his coins and paid for the call and not got through, while by the lights on her switchboard she could see he had pressed button ‘B’ and returned his coins.

      If you go to the full trial text here and scroll down it has all the operators giving testimony:

      By the sounds of it there was no technical hitch at all, if Louisa Alfreds actually heard a person pick up at the City Café (I guess whoever that person was, was not Gladys Harley) then the “technical hitch” isn’t a hitch at all, it’s the caller pressing ‘B’ cutting it off.

      You have messaged me at a time where ironically I am thinking the Johnstons did this. I don’t think they made the telephone call, I think Gordon Parry made the telephone call. I think it might be a prank call. Simply put if I were to completely separate the two events – so a call with no murder or robbery after, or a murder/robbery with no call… Then I would think Gordon has placed a prank call. He was well known for making prank calls from the Atkinsons garage. The call box is by the cinema Lily worked at, he might have gone to the cinema thinking Lily was there and killed some time with a funny prank… And from the crime alone, knowing that Wallace could not have done it forensically, I would think the Johnstons did it. They discover the body (with Wallace who can be ruled out with forensics), have prints over the crime scene including on the body, not to mention escape and entry is easy for them. They have a key that opens the door to the house and “escape” is a matter of walking a few steps into their own yard…

      You will also notice that while Wallace had his wife follow him down the yard to bolt it after him, the Johnstons were going out and were not followed by anyone coming to bolt it after them. Evidently if innocent they did not care about the safety of their yard. These yard doors can only be bolted from inside and not locked etc. from outside.

      As for the supposed confession, I think John has a vested interest to keep his wife out of it, plus it is many years ago and he has dementia on top of that. So I factor that in… In Goodman’s book he says Julia wasn’t her usual self that night (when Wallace got back from chess) because her black cat had gone missing. He doesn’t say how long it’d been missing. Papers on the day of the murder also say it had been missing for about “24 hours”… So possibly at the time Wallace went out to chess the Johnstons had snatched the cat up. The actual events that took place I am not sure…

      If the call and crime are definitely linked and the killer isn’t a relative of the Brines, then I would hope to find some sort of way Parry could know any of the Johnstons. Aside from that, Caird would be a good fit which I can justify if needed.

      I’ve been in contact with Hill Dickinson for the solicitor files (as have my forensic experts) and have been invited to view the police files in Liverpool. I am having my experts look over some shipyard jemmy tools that were around at the time, because my forensic expert claims one wound looks like a hammer. Crate openers from the time intended to open the wooden crates that came off of ships were sort of like multi-tools usually, something like this:

      Crate opener

      It has the pronged end that is necessary for the “tram track” parallel injuries and against the tape measure a hammer for the injury that resembles the strike of a hammer.

      P.S. Lily Hall was friends with Robert and Amy Johnston who lived at #31 Wolverton Street at the time. She’s the one who testified she saw Wallace talking to another man on Richmond Park.

  4. Steve Chippendale says:

    Thank you for the message; I look forward to following your investigation. Just a few quick points/questions:

    1. Your separation of the call and crime finds support with P.D. James who said Parry called, Wallace killed.

    2. There is an interesting YouTube channel about classic British crimes called They Got Away With Murder. Like James, it posits that Wallace was, in fact, guilty. While it overlooks certain facts, it does pay special attention to Wallace’s diary. It suggests the self-serving journal was part of a long game by Wallace.

    3. Julia’s July 1928 postcard shows she was worried about her cat while on holiday. So, consistent with the purported confession of John Johnston, I would expect her to go looking for it. In fact, knowing my mom and grandmother, I would be surprised if she did not. Also, it explains the mackintosh.

    4. If Wallace did it, what was his plan upon returning? He could hardly expect the Johnstons to emerge from their backyard door with perfect timing.

    5. Your point about the Johnstons emerging together is interesting. I wonder about the habits of people at that time. To that end, I note that, per Tom Slemen and Keith Andrews, “John Johnston had surmised that Julia had gone to Menlove Gardens with her husband when he saw them go out the backyard together.”

    6. I wonder what weight, if any, should be given this other observation by Slemen and Andrews: “The police thought the Anfield murder had connections with a burglary that had taken place four doors away from the Wallace’s home. Samuel Shotton, a retired postman, had returned from holiday to find his house burgled, yet there had been no forced entry. A duplicate key had been used. It seemed as if such a key had been used to gain access to Wallace’s home. Who had such a duplicate key? John Sharp Johnston, the next-door neighbour of William Wallace did.”

    7. You may have luck contacting Slemen through his Facebook page Haunted Liverpool. He posted today. The quotes above are from his post on December 20, 2019. See


    • R M Qualtrough says:

      1. Yes that is what I currently support except by the forensic evidence I have had analyzed by professionals, Wallace is not actually possible as the murderer and can be discarded unless Alan Close is lying about having seen her. The prosecutors and McFall all believe Alan was tricked by Wallace dressed in one of Julia’s dresses, no professional believes the timeframe. And no professional including McFall believes a raincoat would protect an assailant from all blood spatter.

      2. I think it’s dramatically more likely, if he was guilty, that he truly did love his wife and murdered her over an affair of some sort. Even OJ Simpson in his “hypothetical” confessional book wrote about the good times with Nicole Brown and stuff he liked about her etc. I don’t think William is faking these love stories, and his extreme concern for his wife around the Christmas period (less than a month earlier) is corroborated by multiple witnesses who were told the story by Julia herself: Albert Wood (Prudential employee) and Amy Johnston (neighbour). Wallace had gone to the police station worried about why she was home so late. When she finally returned, Julia told Amy Johnston, they sat up for a long time having tea and talking – that was 1 AM when she arrived home, there’d been a problem on the railway lines…

      I think it would be very bizarre to claim this was ALSO part of the plan… At that point the person making the claim is clearly willing to turn everything into a “plan” using “chess” as the excuse… Every blunder secretly a clever chess move. It’s not right. They have their man and they will bend anything they want using the assumption he’s planned it like chess. It should be ignored.

      3. I think especially when combined with the timing of the milk delivery, she would be reminded of the cat and be moved to search for it. I know she was very fond of and attached to the cat, and I think I heard she believed it was magical in some way (i.e. subscribed to the whole “black cat luck” thing).

      4. Depends who you ask. Apparently his plan was to either keep doing it until someone emerged OR his gentle door knock pantomime was an act “just in case” anyone was watching/listening and then I guess he’d go to knock for a neighbour.

      5. Detective Fred Williams (first to arrive on the scene) did say Wallace claimed Julia had gone down the entry a bit with him but he denied this quite firmly and stated that she had stopped at the back yard gate. Therefore I don’t think they would have seen them go out together with Julia in the raincoat. Perhaps Florence had urged Julia into going out searching after they heard Wallace go out by claiming she just saw the cat down the alley (in the confession they have the cat – I think John would want to minimize his wife’s involvement so I might expect some twisting of events to keep her in the clear)… I am not sure… But I think they saw Julia go out down the back looking for the cat, and they never saw her return because she came back in by the front door. Or some other family member had seen Julia wandering about in the raincoat… But something along the lines of her going out looking round in the jacket and coming back in the front.

      Many of Julia’s clothes were handmade, the mackintosh might have been the warmest or most suitable jacket available to her. It would be quite long on her (it was 50 inches) and provide good cover as a result. If it was the only available waterproof she might have put it on in case it started raining again as it had earlier, as she wouldn’t want to be out in the rain getting soaked with bronchitis.

      6. According to the file the house is actually 17 Wolverton Street. It is on the same side as 29 and 19 Wolverton Street but further down. Even 19 is five doors away (… 27… 25… 23… 21… 19). The robbery took place exactly one month to the day: 20th of December 1930, in the evening as opposed to day or late at night (AKA the same time as the Wallace murder), at 17 Wolverton Street, which is on the same side of the road and shares the same back entry system.

      I cannot confirm the details claimed about the crime without Slemen providing a source.

      7. I did just that and got through to someone who runs his page who said they would forward my message. Thanks for the link.

  5. Philip Skalla says:

    I commend you for an outstanding investigation and analysis of this case.
    You have certainly proven beyond any doubt that Wallace was innocent and that the murder was carried out by Parry and a close associate of his.

    I think your work is all the more important because Wallace is still being accused by people who should know better.

    The thing about the case that aggravates me especially is that Parkes’ evidence was suppressed. I do not know whether he mentioned the iron bar to the police; if they had lifted the grid outside Dr Bogle’s surgery, they could have found the murder weapon, and, even if it bore no bloodstains, the pattern on it could have been matched
    to that on Julia’s skull.

    Is it possible that the grid is still there and the weapon could yet be found?
    It would, presumably, be less arduous to have its lifting authorised than, say, an exhumation.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      I think if anything had been there down the grids it would be long gone (it’ll be 90 years in about a week)… I imagine in nearly a century the roads and such will have been changed.

      I have more forensic opinions on the blood staining, which allows William – or anyone else – to hypothetically have done it without any jacket shields and without being noticeably stained. I haven’t been able to upload this right now as the document is copyrighted and I haven’t received a response regarding permission to publish yet (I also had a few followup questions). This analysis was performed by a lecturer in Blood Pattern Analysis.

      If William had done it himself, there is not only one, but three pieces of evidence (given by Parry, Parkes, and Lily Hall) which stack up against it… So it will never fit “just right”, it will always have that looming over. The idea of William and Gordon in tandem (Gordon ringing, William killing his wife) could match evidence, as could Gannon’s idea if a person values all witness testimony as sound. A book was written on the former idea by a Mr. Waterhouse. I think the book is called “The Insurance Man”.

      There is a new book out by Mark Russell which I have pre-ordered, which I believe posits William as the killer of his wife. I will be seeing if that contains any new evidence or if it is a re-do of James Murphy’s book which the new author was a fan of.

      • Philip Skalla says:

        I have only just seen your reply, for which I am grateful.
        Just after I posted my previous comment, I came across some correspondence on another forum, in which a local resident said that both grids were still in existence at the time of writing, a few years ago.

        How about that?

        • R M Qualtrough says:

          Oh that’s interesting, which forum was that? I do suppose anything down any of these grids would be well and truly gone by now after nearly a century, but you never know 🙂

          • ged says:

            As sods law would have it, there were 2 Doctors surgeries in Priory Road in 1931 and both happened to have grids outside them. One of course was the Wallace’s own Dr Kirwan, near to the Breck Road end and the more likely to have been used as it is nearer to the crime scene. Priory road has not been widened since 1931, only re-surfaced. Being an iron bar, it may still be in situ as its weight may prevent it being taken from its resting position even with the flow of rain or residence water/waste. I did write to Liverpool City Council with the back story with a view to gaining access to these grids but sadly with no reply.

          • R M Qualtrough says:

            The weapon may well be a spanner rather than an iron bar. Wallace mentions a spanner as the weapon in John Bull, and Dr. Schmunk who consulted on this, said a spanner could account for the train track pattern lacerations on Julia’s skull. If Wallace is involved, then I’d take his John Bull articles as a semi-confession (i.e. contains factual tidbits) and would conclude a spanner was the primary weapon… When that couldn’t finish the job, something heavier was grabbed.

            I could expand on Julia’s actual death. I suspect the spanner did not dispatch her as quickly as the murderer had expected.

          • Philip Skalla says:

            I do apologise for not replying until now.

            I see that ged pre-empted my reply and I am very glad that he did.

            The comment to which I referred was:

            ‘It was 1981 when Radio City’s Roger Wilkes made a broadcast about the case. He and Goodman planned to visit Parry and confront him after discovering his last address was near Colwyn Bay, alas he’d just died 7 months earlier, an alcoholic and heavy smoker.

            However, the broadcast did entice a number of people still connected with the case to call including an old John Parkes who went on to say Parry and another chap visited him again at the garage, Parry remarking that an iron bar had been deposited down a grid outside a doctors on Priory Road. There were two doctors practising in Priory Road in 1931, one of which was actually Wallace’s own. There are grids outside both of them.’



            Dec 30, 2009


  6. Neil Owen says:

    I have been constantly re-assessing the facts of this case since it captured my interest 18 months ago and each time I do I realise there are aspects which I had not fully considered.

    Whilst I am certain as far as I can be, there is no evidence that William was the murderer, and a great deal of evidence suggesting that Parry was, I have the feeling that William was implicated directly or indirectly.

    If it is true that William and Parry were having a homosexual relationship which Julia was aware of and was threatening to reveal, they both had good reason to wish her dead. Although William would probably have had qualms, Parry would I am sure have had none and therefore could have been the driving force behind the murder.

    This hypothesis is not inconsistent with the fact that the Coroners report suggested that Julia had probably not been involved in any sexual activity for some time and possibly throughout the duration of the marriage, together with Williams’ constant reference after the murder, to how much he missed her. Was he a weak man coerced by Parry to condone or demur in the unspeakable – quite possibly

    Since there has been uncorroborated evidence of sexual misconduct between William and Parry and perhaps others, I think this aspect of the case requires further investigation.

    Neil Owen

    • ged says:

      We have to remember that Parry was a ‘Ladies man’, he had also assaulted a lady in 1935 whom he drove to Rainhill. He later married twice and had a daughter so I’m not sure of any evidence of homosexuality though Bi-sexuality would be more likely of the two, though there is no evidence of that either.

      • Philip Skalla says:

        I am replying here because there is no option to reply directly to the comment you posted three minutes earlier.

        I have only just noticed it.

        Is it not possible to approach a friendly councillor – if one exists – and ask him to take up the matter on your behalf?

        I believe the murder weapon was an iron bar and that it is still down one of those grids.

        The case is one of historic importance and solving it would be a great achievement.

        Why not fire off letters to several Liverpool councillors and see what happens?

        Another possibility would be to find a local newspaper interested in what you are trying to do.

        Some media interest might do the trick.

    • ged says:

      Parry was evidently a ‘ladies man’, he also assaulted a woman in 1935 whom he drove to Rainhill. He later married twice and had a daughter. There is therefore no evidence of any sexual deviance on his part though he does mention Wallaces.

      • R M Qualtrough says:

        Of note, I have Goodman’s research notes and originally while writing about Parry’s interview with him, he specifies that Parry had said Wallace was a sexual sadist… There are rumours spread by an MP at the time that Amy Wallace “whipped black boys in Malaya” for sexual satisfaction (in Colin Wilson’s book).

        Wallace owned a dog whip, but no dog…

  7. Ven says:

    Hi Neil.
    Why would Julia expose a homosexual relationship? She was in a safe marriage that gave her a roof over her head. Exposing a homosexual gave her no advantage.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Julia was a very religious woman. I largely think however, that the actual murder room itself is not very supportive of a planned murder (it is also very poorly conceived for a hit job).

      It is difficult to square away certain elements of the scene. If someone is going in with the intention of murdering the woman, it is unusual that they would actually wait for her to light the lamps, light the fire, and sit with her long enough for the radiants to have warmed up before attacking her. I would expect her to have been bashed over the back of the head quite quickly.

      Alan Close was asked about lighting in the house, and when he delivered claimed there was no light in the parlour.

      Further to this – though the kitchen photograph was taken days after and potentially therefore disturbed, there is a mug of tea on the fireplace which was lit at the time, as if to keep warm to answer a knock at the door, and the recently delivered newspaper opened on Julia’s side of the table at the centre pages as though she had been reading it.

      If you were to just let go of all suppositions entirely, on the absolute surface of things, it looks like she was in the kitchen sipping tea reading the paper (or sewing). There was a knock at the door. She put the mug on the top of the fireplace. In the parlour one of the inner curtains is drawn (there are two layers of curtains, I would suppose to help keep the room warm), possibly she had peered out to see who was at the door as she sometimes did. The curtain that is drawn is on the correct side to have done this… She has then gone to the door and allowed the person inside… The person has gone with her into the parlour.

      The person has stayed in there with Julia who lit the gas jets and fireplace using her box of matches. She has then placed the box over on the table in the bay window, before lounging on the chaise lounge where she sat when visitors called (Gordon Parry, Empire News). You can see the cushions there set up in such a position. The positioning of her feet also shows this to have been likely where she was in the room.

      Somehow Julia has to go into the fireplace skirt-first in order to cause the burning found. So she has got up from the couch rather than being attacked while still on it, it would seem. The radiants of the Sunbeam fireplace are hot by now. This is when she was attacked and sent into the fireplace.

      Because of the coins on the floor in the kitchen, as well as the broken cabinet, potentially it was a sound out back which alerted her that someone was in the home she was not aware of, or just that there was something that happened out there in general.

      That is just what the scene looks like… If she was struck down while in the process of lighting the fire or in the doorway, or something more along those lines, it might look more like an assassination. Although it is hard to actually dismiss that possibility on the sole basis of Lily Hall’s testimony, as well as the sighting report by Mr. Greenlees of a man who asked a fake address minutes within minutes before the body’s discover on Richmond Park (so, seconds from the murder house)… There are many problems logically with the idea but the statements are there. The door-knocking (allegedly unable to enter the home) could then perhaps have been to allow time for the killer to get away from the scene before the body was “discovered”.

  8. Neil Owen says:

    I entirely agree that murder has all the hallmarks of a planned assassination, not a robbery, something I have believed from the outset, and had the police seriously investigated the Parry connection this would not been a notorious unsolved case.

    As for William’s involvement that is merely speculation on my part, but in response to Ven’s comment, whilst I agree that Julia had much to lose by “outing” her husband she may have said it in the heat of the moment and it was passed on to Parry by a seriously worried William. Thus the dye was cast.

    I cannot help thinking that if the police had conducted a proper professional investigation, not jumped to conclusions or been influenced by external pressures – the Freemasons to name one – we would not be having this debate.

    Neil Owen

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      It’s a smart idea but I do not believe Gordon would get a fake alibi unless a Brine or relative of theirs is directly involved. I don’t believe Gordon would commit murder over a rumour that could not even be substantiated if Julia came out and said it. I also do not know if she even knew anyone else but William who knew him; hence her rumour might ultimately have less impact on him.

      And regarding the scene I do not think it looks like an assassination. Ultimately, I think an assassin who entered would have struck her dead long before she had a chance to set the fireplace, put her box of matches on the table in the window, lounge on the chaise lounge, etc., all for the duration it would take at least for the radiants to become hot enough to set a jacket on fire. If William had been the killer then even moreso because we know he has to, to some degree, “beat the clock” and make his appointment on time and therefore wouldn’t be likely to dawdle.

      But the same applies to any killer. I cannot see a person being admitted into the home having premeditated her murder, and then spend so much time before acting. I think a person going in with intention would be in and do the job fast, and get out quite fast too. If the person had argued with her prior to the attack, I believe the neighbours would have heard something. Even if one set of neighbours are involved, with an argument I think the neighbours on the other side should have heard something (albeit the Johnstons are the ones with the shared party wall).

      This also really includes the time leading up to the murder itself, as seemingly if William had involvement there was a trigger of some sort: the diary entry concerned about her wellbeing is very solidly corroborated by multiple witnesses having heard so from Julia herself (hence isn’t a faked entry about something that never happened). If there was some disharmony since that entry there would have been arguing recent to the murder, as that event was recent within weeks of the crime, which again neighbours should have been aware of. The only really plausible motive I think I can conceive of with absence of argument, is an affair by WILLIAM that Julia did not know about. In such a situation he might want to get her out of the picture so he can be with the other woman. At the time this was a popular idea among the locals: “Willy had a mistress, Willy had a wife, Willy only wanted one so Willy took a life.”

  9. Neil Owen says:

    I cannot really disagree with anything you have said particularly regarding the question of premeditation, although the plausibility of an affair does not seem to fit with what we know about William’s character or general conduct and his relationship with Julia.

    The only thing I cannot reconcile with his personality is his very strange demeanour during the trip to Menlove Gardens; it’s out of character and hardly believable were it not for the eye witness accounts which I have no doubt were honest and accurate. Since he was well thought of by his employers, a missed appointment would hardly create the obvious panic manifested. This is the only aspect of the entire case which seems to have absolutely no answer and is bizarre to say the least.

    That being said, if he had killed Julia prior to leaving home his subsequent behaviour
    might be explained but since I do not believe he was responsible we are still in the dark.

    Neil Owen
    04/02 2021

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Hey Neil,

      Just for the record, Prudential agents were expected to be action-takers when it came to securing business. For example, if a new neighbour moved in on a street where you collected, it was “expected” that you would introduce yourself to that person and ask if you could be of any assistance. The Prudential agent was expected to be both your insurance premiums collector and confidante. There is a great book about this which does not (as far as I remember) mention this case whatsoever, but is written by an ex-Prudential agent. It intimately details his time working the job, the expectations and behaviours of a Pru agent, and all the crazy stories he has.

      It is titled “The Man from the Pru” by Brian Holdich.

  10. says:

    can’t enlarge notes on Abridged version?

  11. You’ve misunderstood the mean wait times in my mathematical model. You say: “It is a little odd, in that the apparent probabilities have been worked out by using the wrong mean average tram wait times (which should average 4 and a half minutes regardless of who the caller is since they ran at intervals of 8 and 9 minutes; the identity of the caller doesn’t change this).”

    They are derived mean times – not assumed. For example, if Wallace can get to the chess club precisely by 7:45pm in two ways (e.g. he left his house at 7.15 or 7.16, then there would be two different wait times, which I averaged).

  12. Peter Dutton says:

    This solution, like the rest of your website, is absolutely fascinating.

    I have read most of the main books on the case, and after being a Wallace Alone subscriber for many years (it’s the simplest, neatest solution), I’m now quite agnostic. All we do know for certain is that Parry didn’t strike the fatal blows, although of course he may well have been involved.

    My very amateur psychological reading of Wallace would be that he wouldn’t have had the imagination to come up with the scheme involving the phone call and wild goose chase. I think he was very much a pseudo-intellectual, who had read a lot of books but not really taken much on board, especially in terms of philosophy. He definitely wasn’t as clever as he considered himself. Had he wished to kill Julia, I think he would have tried slow poisoning, and probably messed it up in some way.

    A few points interest me:

    1) What happened to J C Marsden? He seems to have vanished from history after his wedding in 1932. Assuming he was born in about 1903, he could have lived into the 80s or even 90s. Had he had children in the late 30s, there is a good chance they could still be alive. Is there even a photo of him?

    2) Do we know what accent Wallace had? In ‘The man from the Pru’, he is portrayed with an RP accent, which I think is unlikely. Assuming he had a Cumbria accent, that would not have struck the telephonist (presumably a Liverpudlian) as ‘common’ or ‘cultured’. There’s nothing to suggest that Wallace had any skill with voices, even over the telephone. I also think that using a phone booth, and scamming a free call, would very much have been a young man’s thing to do at that time. I’m guessing that public phone booths had not been around very long in the early 30s.

    3) I’m sure I read somewhere that Jonathan Goodman ultimately came to believe that Wallace was involved. However, I can’t find the link for this anymore. Have you heard anything to this effect?

    Keep up the good work, and thank you for enlivening a couple of my evenings!

    • R M Qualtrough says:


      1) I do not really know much about Marsden and Gannon who is very much into geneology was not able to find much either. I also do not have a photo unfortunately, though it is probable that he would have some living relatives. Marsden apparently would have (and I think did?) marry “Sylvia Taylor”, who presumably would have become “Sylvia Marsden”. I have a link of that wedding listed here:

      2) He was from Cumbria, but Munro said that William did not have a regional accent to the best of his recollection.

      3) No Goodman did not change his mind, quite a few other writers did.

      Currently I am quite interested in the timeline offered by this sighting:

      Since we have “two thumps” from the Wallace parlour allegedly heard by Mrs. Johnston around 20.25 to 20.30. Then two sightings of a man in a hat loitering the street seconds from the murder house, seen around 20.35 importantly asking for a non-existent address and around that same time by Lily Hall, who says she saw the man talking to William in the entry off of Richmond Park which is again moments from the murder house. Then William gets back to the murder house around 20.40 and his neighbours are out and he enters at 20.45, the body discovery around 20.50-ish. The description of the man was that he wore a dark overcoat, and had a hat (one witness says cap, one says felt hat), around 5’8 and stocky. This is the description William gave of Marsden.

    • Philip Skalla says:

      Joseph Caleb Marsden was born in 1900.

      In 1932, he married Sylvia Alberta Taylor (1904-1986) and himself died at the age of 66 in 1967.

      • Philip Skalla says:

        He had two children:

        Naomi (born in 1935)


        Roy (born in 1939)

        • Philip Skalla says:

          Naomi Marsden married a man by the name of McEwan in 1965.

          They had there children:

          Grant (born in 1966)

          Sharon Naomi (born in 1968)

          Gregoe (born in 1970)

  13. Antony Matthews says:

    I’m a firm believer that Herbert Wallace murdered Julia, always have been. It just “clicks” for me. But to play Devils Advocate for a minute, Here’s a thought – If Richard Gordon Parry did murder Julia out of revenge, why on earth didn’t he murder Herbert Wallace instead? .Has anyone ever questioned that theory here? Makes perfect sense to me.

  14. Puss The Cat says:

    Not sure how you can be a ‘firm believer’ that Wallace was the murderer when there is not a scrap of evidence to support it. Thankfully the Appeal Court judges (including Richard Branson’s grandfather by the way), came to the correct decision.

  15. Puss The Cat says:

    I’ve never believed Wallace to be guilty. A point I haven’t seen mentioned before but forgive me if it has, is in the statement by one of his insurance clients who said that Wallace ‘was always asking the time.’ In view of the prosecution making a big play of his confirming the time with the policeman he met during his fruitless wanderings around Menlove Gardens, I think think it is a point in Wallace’s favour.

    Also, though it has no real bearing on the case, I discovered that one of the 3 judges who heard Wallace’s successful appeal was Richard Branson’s grandfather.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Hey, thanks for commenting. I did include that in the statements on the site somewhere, it does seem he liked to keep on top of the time.

      As far as evidence against him, there are a few things which could be focused on. That would be automatically writing down “West” instead of East when Beattie relayed the message. Correctly spelling “Qualtrough” (Beattie is not completely clear as to whether he had handed the envelope over to William or not, he says he did in court). The front door lock issue. And most importantly Lily Hall’s sighting, as the presence of a “stocky man in a hat” was corroborated by another witness Mr. Greenlees, who was evidently loitering around the streets seconds from the murder house, asking for a fake address, and allegedly speaking to William. He denied this encounter. Mr. Greenlees who had given his evidence to the defence was not called as a witness.

      Many facets of the case can be interpreted equally in two ways, and are best discounted. The Holmes’ (the other neighbours) statement is impossible based on their newspaper delivery time however, and can be discarded as a definite mistake.

    • Philip Skalla says:

      In cases in which innocent persons have been accused, their actions are invariably interpreted in such a way that they will look guilty.

  16. Puss The Cat says:

    Lily Hall’s statement has always bothered me insofar as timings. She states she saw Wallace at 8.35 pm on the night of the murder, yet was he not shown to have been still around Menlove Avenue 25 minutes earlier. I’m not familiar with the Liverpool public transport of 1931 but is it likely he could have made that journey in 25 minutes?

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Given Mr. Greenlees did not see Lily and, presumably vice versa, they can’t both be right about their stated timing. There is no definite time that William left the Menlove area as no tram conductors on the way back noticed him. However, him being back at around 8:40 PM is about right. So it’s splitting hairs for around 5 minutes which, without an actual recorded time as taken at the telephone kiosk, is probably flexible.

      Sadly as I recall she never said if she went to the movie at the local cinema that night, or made it there on time if she did.

  17. Superb website!
    I have some questions regarding Parry’s car please, thanks a lot.
    Was it possible for more than 2 people to be seated in it?
    Did Parry drive to Olivia’s home in it, and leave in it afterwards?
    Also, please can you tell me where exactly in the car the blood stained mitten was discovered by John Parkes? (Something about it being in a box, somewhere.)
    Plus, when Parry spoke to Parkes at the garage that night, did he mention anything about where the iron bar was, in regards to its location in the car? (Did Parry specifically ask Parkes to wash specific parts of the inside of the vehicle?)
    Thanks a lot.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Hi there! Parry owned a Swift, I’ve seen some with 2 seats and some with more. John Parkes mentions it on the Radio City call. Nobody mentioned whether Gordon had driven to or from the Brine’s from what I can remember (all statements are up on this site). The mitten was in the glove compartment, which is traditionally going to be a little compartment in front of where a passenger’s knees would be in line with… On the Radio City call which is on this site, Parkes goes through how Parry was directing him to hose certain parts of the car. He didn’t mention where the bar had been.

  18. Some questions please –

    Regarding someone called Stan talking to a criminologist in 1990 (was it then?), about a confession from the demented Mr Johnston, where can I find out more about this please? Thanks a lot.

    Regarding the so called “party wall” between numbers 29 and 31, is its type of construction known? For instance, was it a “single skin” brick wall (using imperial bricks), with 2 coats of plaster on it, 1 for either side?

    Regarding Parry’s car, what were car licences, and also insurance, like in those days? Was he registered as the only person who could drive it? I wonder if there was a chance that he may have allowed other people to use it, either legally or illegally?

    Is there any chance/evidence that the parlour could have seated 2 guests on that night?

    Do you think it might be worthwhile trying to track down any surviving people (eg grand children) whose grand parents were Parry’s next door neighbours? (Overhearing Parry’s father giving Gordon the telling off of his life.) Perhaps it was Parry’s father who told Gordon to wash the car, concerned about a blood test on it?

    Was Parry’s father a free mason?

    Thanks a lot for any comments.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Everything about “Stan” is in Tom Slemen’s book, the title of which is something along the lines of Murders of Merseyside as I recall. I do not know specific details on the construction of that wall, but the neighbours said they were able to hear when Amy visited – the wall was very thin. It stands to reason the wall would be the same today. Back in those days, I’m not sure about insurance but car ownership was rare, and as such, very few people even knew how to drive.

      The parlour could have seated many guests hypothetically, albeit it would have been very crowded with more than 2 or 3! I do know that on occasion Amy Wallace would visit with Edwin, and they would listen to Julia and William play music. So that is 4 people in there regularly.

      It would be worth tracking people down yes. I don’t know anything about freemasonry.

  19. Please can you tell me if you have any forensics regarding the burnt skirt, as this specific topic is currently (as of 14/03/2022) being discussed on the CaseBook org website, on the only non-closed thread regarding the murder case. Thanks a lot.

  20. Michael Fitton says:

    The statements of Mrs Brine and her nephew H Dennison clearly state that Parry was at the Brine house from 5.30pm to 8.30 pm on the murder evening 20/1/31.
    The statements of Lilly Lloyd (Parry’s girlfriend) and Josephine Lloyd (her mother) say that Parry arrived at their home at around 9.00 pm. When asked why he was late he said he had been to see Mrs Williamson (a friend of Lilly’s) and received an invitation to a 21st birthday party. Josephine said he also mentioned calling at Hignett’s for his accumulator battery.
    Parry’s statement states he was at the Brine’s until 8.30., went out for cigs/newspaper, called at Hignett’s and spent 10 minutes with Mrs Williamson.
    My points:
    1. Parry made no mention of being with Mrs Brine in his reply to Lilly Lloyd’s question, only saying he had visited Mrs Williamson and called for his battery. He had, he claimed in his statement, spent 3 hours with Mrs Brine & Co that evening, leaving her only 30 minutes before arriving at the Lloyd’s yet he didn’t tell them about it at all. Why not?
    2. In his ghost-written Empire News article “Wallace accused me” Parry had a golden opportunity to set the record straight once and for all by mentioning his alibi with “a friend of my family.” He didn’t need to name Mrs Brine, only to say that it had been checked out by the police who were satisfied. Instead, he didn’t mention his alibi at all. Why not?
    3. Thanks to Mr Metcalf for raising this one on this forum: Parry could have mentioned his alibi with Mrs Brine & Co to Jonathan Goodman and Richard Whittington- Egan during their doorstep interview with him in the 1960’s. But he didn’t. Why not?
    A cast-iron alibi proves innocence but the absence of one does not prove guilt. If everything was above board with his Brine alibi Parry would surely want it to be widely known to quell any residual suspicions about him. Its almost as if he didn’t want any further investigation of it…..

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Yeah it’s a bit sketchy, although the phone call alibi is worse since it’s definitely fabricated. I’ve seen some people speculate he was having an affair with the other woman there, Miss Plant, hence failing to mention it to his girlfriend.

    • Philip Skalla says:

      Mentioning a girl’s twenty-first birthday party was the mistake that gave Parry away.

      According to Beattie, the man calling himself Qualtrough also mentioned a girl’s twenty-first birthday party.

      • Michael Fitton says:

        Parry is the ideal candidate for the role of Qualtrough for obvious reasons. For many the 21st birthday reference is almost a “clincher”: Parry was expecting an invitation to the Williamson 21st and indeed received it the following evening.
        However I do not consider this to be a mistake. It was a gratuitous and unnecessary piece of information to justify Q’s inability to call back later. He could have just said “I’m busy.” Parry would not be so careless in leaving such a potential identifier clue behind.
        I believe that Mr Q was Wallace. His “21st” reference was quite deliberate, identifying himself as the father of a 21 year old daughter thereby distancing himself from from his true identity as a childless man.

  21. David Metcalf says:

    The more I think about Parry’s alibis for both the night of the phone call (19th) and the night of the murder (20th) the more dubious and suspicious they become!! What I find particularly intriguing is the fact that Parry doesn’t begin his statement to the police until late on Friday the 23rd, and doesn’t end it until Saturday the 24th, if the dates are correct.This suggests it was taken overnight.Olivia Brine and Harold Denison don’t provide their statements to the police until Monday the 26th. This means Parry, or someone close to him, has had almost THREE days after the murder, and possibly up to TWO days after giving his statement to “persuade” Brine and Denison to provide him with an alibi. If Parry HAD been conducting an illicit relationship with Brine, and knowing he may be questioned, could he have co-erced her into helping him out, telling her that if she didn’t, her husband, away at sea, would discover their relationship?…Faced with that choice, and the ensuing shame and possible divorce, she may well have felt she had no option but to go along with it. How Denison would have been co-erced into making his statement, I just don’t know. But the fact is that according to these dates, Brine and Denison do NOT give their statements to the police until SIX days after Julia has been killed. I think those three days after the murder, and BEFORE Parry gives his statement are vital. What about Parry’s father? Could he have been involved in helping his son out? After all, he seems to have had influential friends. Also, remember how Ada Pritchard claimed Parry’s parents pleaded with her seagoing father to get Gordon on a ship out of Liverpool? And why exactly did Parry’s father get his son to promise to never, ever speak about the case, as Parry admitted himself to Goodman and Whittington-Egan in 1966? If Gordon genuinely had nothing whatsoever to do with this crime, and his visit to Brine’s house DID take place as he claimed, then why is his father pleading with him to stay silent? Is something being hidden here? Something like Gordon’s alleged visit to Olivia Brine’s house on the murder night not actually taking place? Or at least not taking place in the way suggested, or at the times they said. As Michael Fitton correctly states, Parry had an excellent opportunity in that Empire News article to quash suspicion of him, yet he refuses point blank to mention his alibi.Same thing with Goodman and Whittington-Egan in 1966.Surely any totally innocent individual would take every chance he could get to prove this innocence? So why isn’t Parry doing this? At the time of the Goodman and Whittington-Egan meeting, Olivia Brine, Harold Denison and Parry’s father we’re all still alive, so if what Gordon said about his visit to Brine’s house was 100% true and above board, why didn’t he tell Goodman and Whittington-Egan about it, and even tell them to go and verify it with them personally? Both Brine and Denison corroborating his alibi would have been perfect for him.Surely that’s what someone with nothing to hide would have done, to remove that lingering suspicion. Yet Parry doesn’t do this…even 35 after the murder!! I honestly think that the reason he doesn’t tell Lilly Lloyd or her mother he was at Brine’s house for three hours is because he actually wasn’t, and in some way, shape or form, something very dubious has gone on to protect him. Whether that something dubious originated from Parry, his father, or even the police is something we’ll never know. But Parry’s determination to prevent people quizzing his Brine alibi is astonishing. I don’t believe Parry is the killer by the way, I think this was a robbery gone very badly wrong. But I’m convinced he was deeply involved, hence his blatant lies over the telephone call to the City Cafe, and his evasiveness over his alibi, that continued until he actually died in April 1980.

    • Michael Fitton says:

      Hi David,
      The possible intervention of Parry’s well-connected father in arranging an alibi for his errant son is countered by Parry’s known criminal record. He appeared in court on charges ranging from car theft, rifling phone boxes, and assault. He served at least one prison sentence. If his father was capable through his connections, Masonic or otherwise, of getting these matters swept under the carpet why didn’t he do so? Much easier in these relatively minor cases than in a murder case. But he didn’t do it.
      Law-abiding people may not be law-abiding all the time in small matters but asking one of them to provide a false alibi in a capital murder case would have 99% of them going to the police. If only on the basis that “He might do me in next to shut me up.”

  22. Ged says:

    Why WHW didn’t do it. Why the elaborate alibi to put him somewhere else when he and others knew he’d be at the cafe playing Chess Monday night, just killer her then saying it was advertised on the notice board i’d be here. If he was going to fake an alibi use a real address somewhere even further out than Allerton. He could still ask the conductors and a person on the street as well as probably getting an answer at this wrong address. Regarding Lily Hall’s statement. How long did she say both men were talking. Could it be she glanced at them just as they neared each other, WHW going up the entry to home to find Julia dead as the stocky man headed along the street eventually speaking with Mr Greenlees. Possibly she thought they were parting having just spoken to each other. If we are going to give Lily Hall’s statement such credence then why do we dismiss what Parkes said, after all he stood nothing to gain but only something to fear as he was dubious of Parry. Would Parkes tell the whole Atkinson family this fairy tale and stick to the same story 50 years later as an elderly man.
    Soooo much the police have to answer for in all of this from the botched crime scene investigation to the closed minds about having their man for a quick and easy result to the lack of in depth investigation into Parkes story assuming he told them about the oil skins story too. It’s a pity the 1966 meeting didn’t get more out of Parry, JG admitting they didn’t ask him outright if he was the murderer but rather seemed a bit wary of him and approached it by saying WHW thought it was you etc. He should have been pressed by the WHW was sexually deviant and the playing of sweet music with Julia – behind Wallace’s back. I just can’t reconcile WHW in collusion with either Parry or Marsden or anyone.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Part of the problem is that Goodman did not have access to case files. He did not know Parry’s alibi was with the brines, or that his call night alibi was fabricated. If he did, he could have pressed Gordon on the fake alibi for the call.

      It is possible Lily saw the men just passing or something. However Wallace claimed he did not see anyone on his way home. If he had seen this random man near his house just before finding his wife dead, he would probably have mentioned this person, in case that was the killer.

  23. Ged says:

    Ref Lily Hall as a ‘witness’

    This witness gave his evidence to Hector Munro (the defence) who never called this witness at all. Very likely because it proves Lily Hall’s sighting is credible.

    Wouldn’t she have been better off offering this to the prosecution. No wonder the defence didn’t take her up on it.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Certainly, if Mr. Greenlees had given a statement to the police, I am sure the prosecution would have called him. I would have liked to get more information out of him regarding this encounter…

  24. Marcel Fastier says:

    An interesting case indeed.
    I do feel Julia must have had two “visitors” (Parry and Marsden) that evening, one to socialize with her in the parlour and keep her occupied there while the other one tried to take the money. But how did he maneuver his way into the living room? Maybe he made the excuse to visit the toilet? Or, if the back door was habitually left unlocked, he could have come in that way, unknown to Julia, while his partner was the one who Julia admitted through the front door. Julia heard strange noises in the next room and she got up to investigate ….so she had to be silenced. But it seems like a poor excuse for killing the poor woman over a lousy £4 even if they thought the cash box would contain the usual £40 or more.
    But like Jack the Ripper, we will never know the truth.

    • Michael Fitton says:

      Hi Marcel,
      Using UK government figures I checked out the current (2022) value of £1 in 1931. It is £75 in terms of purchasing power! So the £4 in the cash box translates into £300.
      If the expected haul was £40 or more ….
      I find it amazing that the Prudential allowed their agents to keep such substantial sums of money in their private homes. In Wallace’s case, in a home-made box. In a street, surely not unique, where duplicate keys to back doors were to be found. One wonders whether they changed this practice after the Wallace case.

  25. Marcel Fastier says:

    But the problem I have with Parry and/or Marsden as miscreants is this – let’s say they were successful in taking the money, and Julia was not killed, when the money was discovered missing later that night when William goes to move the cash box from the living room to the bedroom (which apparently was his custom every night before going to sleep) who will be the one and only suspects? Parry and/or Marsden. They can’t be that dumb surely.

  26. Michael Fitton says:

    Further thoughts on Parry’s ‘alibi’ at the Brines:
    1. Wallace in Menlove Gardens anxiously asked a policeman the time because he wanted to consult a directory at the local newsagents before they closed at 8 pm which seems to have been widely known as the time newsagents closed their doors. If this is true, how did Parry manage to buy cigarettes and newspaper if he was at the Brines’ continuously from 5.30 to 8.30?
    2. In Parry’s statement he says he “went out” for his cigs/paper which not a phrase one would use if one had left the Brines for the evening. Did he in fact leave the Brines using the cigs/paper excuse at some point in the evening? How long was he away?
    3. The Brine house is only a 2 or 3 minute drive from Wolverton Street.

    I agree with David Metcalf’s opinion on the lack of substance of the Brine alibi. Mrs Brine’s confirmatory statement takes just a few lines to say essentially “he was at my house.” Of course by that Monday the police had convinced themselves that Wallace had done it and their visit to Mrs Brine was a mere formality to confirm the alibi that Parry had given them. Mrs B duly obliged which was exactly what they wanted and expected. No need to muddy the waters further by asking awkward questions about husbands away at sea, and relationships….

  27. Michael Fitton says:

    RG Parry: would you buy a second hand car from him? And yet his remarks to J Goodman and RW-E are taken as Holy Writ and give rise to wild theories of rent boys, Wallace having an affair with his brother’s wife etc. But in one way it doesn’t matter whether Wallace was “sexually odd” or that there were clandestine musical afternoons with Julia behind Wallace’s back. Parry wanted this to be believed and in doing so tied himself much closer to the Wallaces than being just the lad who helped William out with his collections three years before the murder. This does not fit with Parry as the killer who would want clear blue water between himself and the Wallace couple.
    Parry said he was forbidden by his father to ever talk about the case and yet here he is voluntarily doing exactly that with his two visitors. Again, a guilty Parry would slam the door in their faces.
    I do think Parry’s alibis are dubious but I think that he, engaged to Lily Lloyd, was playing away and wanted to hide it.
    I agree with Ged that the story of Parkes should not be dismissed as fantasy. It is important to separate his account of the car wash from the extraneous details concerning the fisherman’s waterproof cape etc. I think Parkes was honest but gullible. Parry, on hearing of the murder on the bush telegraph played a prank on Parkes and he fell for it. The details of the borrowed cape etc were hearsay picked up later and believed by Parkes who wove them into his account. It is inconceivable that Parry, only hours after killing Julia Wallace would behave in this way.

  28. Michael Fitton says:

    I live in Brussels; my brother in Greater Manchester. We speak regularly on the phone in the evenings when our calls are free. I recently heard from his wife that he had been having dizzy spells. I was concerned so for the first time I rang his mobile during the day. The conversation went like this:
    Me: “Hello Kevin. Its Mike. How are you doing?”
    K: (sounding puzzled) “Oh. I’m not too bad….
    Me: “I heard about the dizzy spells. I think you should get that checked out you know.”
    K: “Er..Um…Yes, I will…
    Me: “You don’t know who you’re talking to, do you?”
    K: “Its Mike from the garage isn’t it?
    Me: “No. Its Mike your brother…….
    We have now arrived at the point of this rambling tale: although Kevin knows my voice very well he just didn’t consider for a second that it was me phoning him on his mobile, and during the daytime. Even after I said it was “Mike.”
    Mr Beattie didn’t in fact know Wallace very well at all. It had been two months since Wallace had attended the chess club. The possibility that Qualtrough was Wallace never occurred to Beattie for the same reason that Kevin didn’t spot that it was me on the phone. It was unthinkable that I would ring his daytime mobile. It was unthinkable to Beattie that Mr Q, asking for Wallace, was Wallace himself. The “expected behaviour” factor far outweighed, and effectively erased voice recognition in both these cases.
    The dizzy spells were a false alarm.

    • Philip Skalla says:

      Beattie’s opinion that the caller was not Wallace was one he held after hearing the caller’s accent and after having had considerably longer to think about the call than your brother had.

      It was quite obvious to Beattie that the caller was someone else.

      • Michael Fitton says:

        Voice identification is immediate if one is familiar with the caller and no other factors are involved. It does not need a period of reflection. It is an on the spot conclusion based on tone, timbre, manner of speaking, accent – all of which the recipient knows well from familiarity with the caller’s voice.
        Beattie did not know Wallace well at all. They had not I suppose ever phoned each other. It had been 3 months since Wallace visited the club and they may not have spoken to each other then. Conclusion: Beattie was a very poor prospect for identifying Wallace’s telephone voice by voice alone.

        Other non-voice factors: You are quite right in mentioning Beattie having a long time to think about it before reaching a conclusion. While on the phone it never occurred to Beattie that the caller was Wallace. Calling himself Qualtrough and asking to speak to himself? Utter nonsense. And on further reflection based the little he knew of Wallace’s character- serious, old-fashioned, ailing – the notion becomes even more far-fetched.
        So I would even say that had Q’s voice sounded vaguely like that of Wallace to Beattie, this would be completely swamped by the circumstances: common sense prevailed.
        I find it interesting that Beattie said at the trial “It would be a great stretch of my imagination for me to say it was Wallace’s voice” (I paraphrase). This to me indicates that Beattie would have to turn his perception of human nature upside down before he would agree that Q was Wallace.
        In other words, the non-voice factors outweighed the actual voice when Beattie reached his decision.

        • Michael Fittton says:

          I consider it likely that with hindsight especially after hearing all the evidence at the trial Mr Beattie may have shifted his position to put it no stronger. But he was asked whether at he time of speaking to Qualtrough, he thought it was Wallace’s voice and he answered truthfully that he didn’t.
          A post-appeal letter which Beattie is supposed to have written to Wallace, presumably one of support, was mentioned elsewhere on this forum but requests for the source of this information or a print out of this letter have produced no result to date.

          • GED says:

            Don’t forget also that at the time of the call, Beattie wouldn’t know what is about to unfold and doesn’t think it is W. After the murder and this call becoming paramount, should the call have even sounded 1 iota like Wallace then Beattie would surely have had flashbacks to it to question whether it really COULD have been W and obviously had time to rule it out.

          • R M Qualtrough says:

            I have seen and read that letter, and thought I had photographed it. If not, it will be somewhere within the files. I’m not sure which ones. The letter to my recollection never said anything like “I always knew it wasn’t you!” but congratulations on winning the appeal, and offered to meet up in a social manner, which many wouldn’t do if they had any doubts that a man might be a murderer.

        • R M Qualtrough says:

          That isn’t correct, the quote is regarding the voice specifically:

          “Q: Does it occur to you now it was anything like his voice?
          A: It would be a great stretch of the imagination for me to say it was anything like that.”

      • R M Qualtrough says:

        Wallace did not have an unusual accent, Munro was asked this years after. It’s in Munro’s files.

        • Michael Fitton says:

          Hi RMQ,
          From your recollections about the letter it seems Beattie was convinced of Wallace’s innocence and never wavered in his opinion.
          Thanks for the correction re the trial question put to Beattie. “Does it occur to you NOW…”is almost like asking for Beattie’s opinion now that he has heard all the details of the crime and read the newspapers. This is leaving the door open for Beattie to change his opinion based on evidence unrelated to the phone call. In my view this was improper but Beattie didn’t bite.
          I do however think his opinion was based more on the (to him) nonsensical notion that it was Wallace on the phone and his limited knowledge of Wallace’s upright, staid, serious character rather than just the voice alone.

  29. David Metcalf says:

    Something else about Parry’s Brine alibi has been bugging me, as I find it extremely suspicious.It concerns Parry’s friend, William Denison, who was a couple of years younger than Parry.Think he’d have been 19 at the time.Where was he on the night of the murder? He certainly wasn’t with Parry at 43 Knoclaid Road, despite the fact Olivia Brine was actually his Aunt. In her statement, Brine says Parry had been calling at her house with her nephew, William Denison for about a year, if I’m remembering her statement properly…I’ll check after typing this!! Anyway, on the 20th of January, the murder night, Parry called at Brine’s house on his own…why? Seriously, have a think about this…a 22 year old man finishes work at 5.30, maybe earlier according to Brine’s statement, yet instead of going home for his evening meal as most people would, he decides to call at his friend’s Aunties house and spend the next three hours there…despite the fact his friend isn’t even there!! What’s that all about? And more importantly, just where WAS his friend? The three statements provided in regard to this alibi from Brine, Harold Denison and Parry himself shed no light whatsoever on where William Denison was, or why he wasn’t with Parry when Parry called at Knoclaid Road, as he usually always was. A woman called Anne Parsons saw two men racing down Hanwell Street towards Lower Breck Road at about 8.15pm on the murder night.Anyone familiar with the area would know that Hanwell Street is probably only about 80 yards from Wolverton Street as the crow flies. It’s literally about a minute’s walk from the back door of Wallace’s house. Could one of these men charging away from the area actually have been William Denison? Anne Parsons told the police that both men had looked fairly young, despite not knowing who they were.Had he been involved in what I believe to have been a robbery gone seriously wrong? His involvement with a n’eer do well juvenile delinquent such as Parry is suspicious in itself.Had Parry set up this robbery with the phone call, and got Denison involved?And I’m sure I read somewhere that William Denison did indeed end up with a criminal record. If Parry DID spend those three hours at Brine’s house as he claimed, could it have been to cover himself, as even if the robbery had gone according to plan, he’d STILL have been questioned by the police, as Wallace would have mentioned his name as someone whom Julia would have let in the house.And as a former Prudential employee, Parry would almost certainly have known this…hence his Brine alibi. And he certainly wouldn’t have told Lilly Lloyd or her mother that he’d been sitting in Brine’s house while his mates were carrying out a robbery that he’d set up via his knowledge of Wallace’s working habits and arrangements.What does anyone else think?

  30. Michael Fitton says:

    Harold English DENNISON, 29, Marlborough Road says:-

    I have known R.G.Parry for two years. I called at 43 Knocklaid Road on Tuesday 20th inst. about 6p.m. My aunt Mrs.Brine lives there. When I called Mr.Parry was there. He remained till about 8.30p.m. when he left.

    (Signed) H.E.Denison.
    Harold Dennison’s statement (above) indicates, as you say, that Parry arrived before he did. It also shows that HD was there until 8.30 on the murder night. Taken at face value this seems to settle the matter of Dennison’s alibi. If however, there was collusion with Mrs Brine to provide false alibis for Parry/Dennison, something I find hard to believe in a murder case, it would open a whole new can of worms. I do share your curiosity about 22 year old ladies man Parry. Instead of going home for his tea etc he spends 3 hours with Mrs Brine & Co. Personally I would like to know more about Miss Phyllis Plant: why she was there, for how long, and why no statement was taken from her. At least it isn’t in the police files….
    The account of Anne Parsons is worrying. I still have an open mind about the time of death, the pathologists having proved themselves incompetent (no thermometer!). The body was suspiciously warm to the touch (Mrs Johnston, Inspector Moore) even after it had been lying supposedly in that frigid parlour for three hours when Moore felt Julia’s hand (the coldest part of a body) and pronounced it to be “slightly warm.”
    Lots to ponder….

  31. David Metcalf says:

    Hi Michael, thanks for your response. Harold Denison was NOT Parry’s friend….his friend was actually WILLIAM Denison, who was Harold’s older brother. Harold was only 15 at the time of the murder.Olivia Brine stated that when William called at her house, Parry was usually with him.But on the 20th, the murder night, Parry called on his own.Harold Denison turned up at 6pm, but the whereabouts of 19 year old William Denison are completely unknown.

  32. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi David,
    My mistake: I had never heard of William. I’m not doubting your info but the only thing from Mrs Brine that I have seen is her short statement which is on this forum. If there’s more from her e.g. about William/Parry I’d like to know where I can find it. Also while I’m at it, Mrs Brine mentions only Miss Plant. How do we know her name was Phyllis? If there’s more on this somewhere I’d like to know. Interesting too that Parry in his statement doesn’t mention Miss Plant. Dark waters.

  33. David Metcalf says:

    No worries Mike.If you look at Olivia Brine’s statement, you can see that she says about knowing Parry for two years, and how he “began calling before last Christmas with my nephew William Denison”.Yet William Denison was NOT with Parry when he visited Brine’s house on the murder night…which begs two obvious questions…firstly, where was he? And secondly, why is Parry spending three hours at the house of his friend’s Auntie, despite his friend not even being there? William Denison seems to have gone under the radar in this case.I also think there’s a potential connection with the fact they began calling at Brine’s house shortly before Christmas, as I’m sure Parry says in his statement that it was only a couple of months earlier, October or November, that he discovered the fact that Wallace was a member of the Central Chess Club that met in the City Cafe in North John Street.Wallace says he saw Parry here one night, and said good evening to him.This place was,of course, the very same venue that the amateur dramatics group that Parry was involved with held it’s rehearsals.Indeed, on Thursday evenings, both the chess club and the amateur dramatics group used the building.Could it be that Parry got the idea for the robbery at around this time? Which is about the same time he began calling with his friend William Denison at Denison’s aunt’s house in Knoclaid Road? Is it possible they were using her house to discuss plans for a possible robbery at 29 Wolverton Street? Parry knew both Wallace’s working arrangements, and also his domestic arrangements…including where he kept the cash box, and on what day that cash box would be likely to have the most money in it…a Tuesday. As Anthony Brown says in Move to Murder, Parry couldn’t carry out this robbery himself…Julia obviously knew him.He needed a “Trojan Horse” to get access to the house….hence the Qualtrough call.Someone calls at the house, pretending to be Qualtrough, saying there’s been a mix up with the message telephoned to the Chess club, and he was meant to meet Wallace there instead.If Julia lets him in, they’re in business. “Qualtrough” keeps her talking in the parlour whilst his accomplice, possibly William Denison, carries out the robbery in the kitchen…the perfect distraction robbery if it all goes to plan. But it obviously didn’t!! Something obviously went very badly wrong, but what that was we’ll never likely know. There are all kinds of stories and speculation about this case, but I honestly think it’s ultimately a lot more simple than that. This was a robbery that has ended up going seriously pear shaped, and has ended with Julia’s murder. Sorry for another long post, by the way!!

  34. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi David,
    You paint a plausible scenario of the crime and with a new suspect. Wallace said he discussed the trip to Menlove Gardens and the likely commission on new business with Julia. Julia told Amy about it when she visited. W Dennison was 19 and although we don’t know, his accomplice might be of a similar age. A young man would surely find it hard to pass himself off as the potential Prudential client Qualtrough on Julia’s doorstep. That said, mentioning his unusual name which Julia possibly remembered from her chat with William would go a long way to establish his bona fides.
    Certainly, the phone call seems to reflect Parry’s known character: confident, scamming etc but why mention the 21st birthday? Parry was expecting an invitation to the Williamson 21st, and that of his intended, Lily Lloyd, was later that year so these potential identifiers were best avoided by just saying “I’m busy.”
    The plan, with the many points at which it could collapse (Wallace having a prior engagement, deciding not to go, finding that MG East didn’t exist etc.), strikes me as unnecessarily complex for a planned robbery. With Wallace on his rounds during the day and Julia out shopping or visiting Dr Curwen, the back door could be forced in that secluded yard and the money taken.
    But none of this negates the scenario you have described which incidentally clears Mrs Brine of providing a false alibi for Parry. Her statement was made in good faith. I, like you, would like to know what in blazes they talked about for three hours! This ill-matched group: 22 year old Parry, 37 year old married lady Mrs Brine, 15 year old Harold, and the mystery woman Miss Phyllis Plant.
    Its always the case in these true crimes. One says “I wouldn’t have done it like that” assuming that nobody else would either. But they would.
    I hope our contributions inject some life into this forum and encourage others to chip in with their views.

  35. David Metcalf says:

    Hi Mike,
    Sorry for not replying sooner.Yes, you’re right…if what I suggested actually DID happen, then that means Parry’s alibi was genuine…he DID spend those three hours at Olivia Brine’s house.Although I’m still far from convinced he did!! So much about that alibi is just so vague and sketchy, and this vagueness and lack of any detail has simply been added to by the unknown whereabouts of Parry’s sidekick, William Denison. It was only when I was looking at the statements again the other week, it just suddenly dawned on me…”Where was William Denison when all this was going on?”. It was the part in Olivia Brine’s statement where she said that Parry began calling on her just before Christmas WITH her nephew William Denison that set me thinking…if this was genuinely the case, then why wasn’t William Denison with Parry when he called at Brine’s house at 5.30 on Tuesday the 20th of January, the murder night?? After all, according to Brine’s own statement, they were always together when they called on her….but not on this night.Why? That’s why I suggested the possibility that William Denison might have been one of the two men spotted running away from the area at approximately 8.15 that night. Of course, who these two men actually were we just don’t know. I’m only speculating that one of them could have been Denison.Maybe the other man was the one who pretended to be Qualtrough, in order to get Julia to allow him access to her house? The thing is though, despite all my speculation and lack of belief in Parry’s alibi, one thing IS certain…the whereabouts of his mate William Denison on the night of the murder are still completely unknown.

  36. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi David,

    That was my first reaction too when I read the thin statements of Mrs Brine and Harold; they seem almost rehearsed or rubber stamps of each other so like you I thought they had been persuaded to provide Parry with an alibi. However this is very unlikely in a murder case. Their brevity reflects the police attitude by that Monday that Wallace was their man. Mrs Brine could have written: “He was at my home.” and they would have been happy.

    Wallace said he “had no suspicions of anyone” in his first statement but by the Thursday and feeling under suspicion he provided the names of people who Julia would have admitted to the house. In particular he indicated his suspicion of Parry. This is what led to the police visiting Mrs Brine: to confirm Parry’s claimed alibi. At this point and to put pressure on him I’m sure the police told Wallace that Parry was in the clear.

    An innocent man, genuinely wondering who had killed Julia, would take the police at their word, face facts, and reluctantly abandon all suspicion of Parry. Wallace did the opposite. He strongly hinted that he knew the murderer in his “John Bull” article and maintained this attitude, naming Parry, in his diary entries. He even met Parry by chance in the street and accused him. This prompted Parry’s Empire News article “Wallace accused me!”

    Of course all this collapses like a house of cards if the alibi was rigged but I don’t think it was bogus. I think Parry was keeping company with other women (Brine/ Plant?) – this would explain his reluctance to mention his alibi later. He was going steady with Lily Lloyd at the time. Brine/Parry/Plant may even have come clean about this embarrassing situation to the police who agreed, as it was irrelevant to the enquiry, to keep it under wraps. And of course Parry’s engagement to Lily didn’t last long.

    You will gather from this that my current belief is that Wallace did it. “Current” because I always leave a space for any new information to change my mind. It was a planned deliberate murder. A robbery could have been done without the Qualtrough business and its potential weak links.

    There are those who say Wallace was a gentleman and “not the type.” My late aunt Hilda felt exactly the same about her doctor, Harold Frederick Shipman.



  37. David Metcalf says:

    Hi Mike,
    Sorry for another late reply. Wow…that’s certainly an amazing fact regarding your Aunt Hilda…not a lot to say there really. As you know, my belief is still that this was a robbery gone wrong.I just don’t see what Wallace actually gains from the death of his wife.Indeed, financially, he gained very little at all.But it’s not just the financial aspect of it.Wallace apparently knew he didn’t have many years left to live.In fact, he died himself just a couple of years later.Would he have really gone to all this planning and deception, together with all the stress it was likely to bring, simply to live the last couple of years of his life without Julia? Some people speculated that their relationship wasn’t great, yet plenty of other people said they were a pretty normal couple.Even if the relationship wasn’t great, I just don’t see William hating her THAT much to genuinely want to murder her.William’s last couple of years were actually pretty miserable.He had to stop doing his regular collections for the Prudential because of the abuse he was receiving as he walked his round, and in many cases his customers just wouldn’t open the door to him when he knocked.As a result, he was forced to take a desk job in the head office in Liverpool city centre.But even here, he still often received hate mail. He also had to move house to Bromborough, on the Wirral.A nice house by all accounts, but he wouldn’t have had much time to appreciate that before his own death.He actually died a rather sad, lonely, broken man.As I say, Julia’s death just doesn’t appear to have benefitted him in any way at all.Even at the outset of his trial, the prosecution had to admit had to admit that this was a crime without any obvious motive.Which if William wasn’t the killer, as I don’t think he was, there wouldn’t have been a motive.
    Another very interesting area of this case involves the pathologist Professor MacFall.He’s been criticised by numerous people studying this case for his perceived failings and mistakes, most notably his failure to conduct a temperature test on Julia’s body, for not making any written notes, and most damning of all, for changing the time he said Julia died.He arrived at the scene at 9.45pm, and after using the advance of rigor mortis as his guide, concluded that Julia had died at 8pm or thereabouts.He later changed this to 6pm.This test is very erratic, and he should have carried out a temperature test too.To this day, it seems nobody knows why he didn’t.Yet for all his errors, the autopsy report on the contents of Julia’s stomach suggest that his initial estimate of 8pm may well have been right.Upon death,the digestive process stops almost immediately.Yet the autopsy showed that in Julia’s case,the digestive process was well underway.She and William had eaten scones for tea shortly after 6pm, and the digestive state of these scones in Julia’s stomach suggested a time of death of between 7.30 and 8.30pm…as MacFall, despite his failings, had originally suggested.And we know William wasn’t in Wolverton Street between those times.Why MacFall then changed his time of death estimate to 6pm is another mystery.But even then, William can’t be blamed.Julia was definitely seen alive by the milk boy at 6.30pm at the earliest, and very possibly as late as 6.40pm according to other witnesses.Considering he couldn’t have left the house to catch the trams he caught that night any later than 6.49pm, this gives him a window of nine minutes maximum to murder his wife, make certain there’s not a single drop of blood on his body, deal with the murder weapon, and stage a robbery.In fact, if he left his house at 6.45pm as he said he believed he had done, he may have only had a window of 5 or 6 minutes to have done all this.Ensuring there was no blood on his body before leaving the house would have been a monumental task in itself, considering the amount of blood sprayed all over the parlour.And he most certainly WOULD have had to ensure that there was no blood on him before leaving the house to go to Menlove Avenue.
    As I say Mike, I just don’t think William did it.Not because of his character, but because of the combination of the lack of motive, the lack of time, and also the scientific evidence of the autopsy report which suggested a possible time of death when William was in a different part of the city. But like you, this is my “current” belief!! One day, something may well turn up to prove me totally wrong, and I’ll be on this site eating humble pie!!? Anyway, sorry for yet another long winded post Mike!!


  38. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi Ged,
    Yes, I agree that when the importance of the call became apparent Beattie must have had doubts about his initial opinion. But at the trial he was asked whether it occurred to him during the call that it was Wallace’s VOICE he heard. And although his initial opinion may have shifted between the call and the trial, Beattie was determined not to let any evidence of Wallace’s guilt change his original opinion. During the call he never for a second imagined he was was speaking to Wallace, so in spite of his current doubts brought about by the evidence, he stuck to his opinion that the VOICE sounded nothing like Wallace.
    As I posted, Beattie was not at all familiar with Wallace’s telephone voice and I think his opinion on this at the time of the call was strongly influenced by the sheer craziness of Wallace pretending to be Mr Qualtrough. His answer at the trial has been taken as based on the voice alone but I think it was strongly influenced by his belief at the time that Mr Q was genuine and certainly was not W H Wallace.
    Always good to hear from you

  39. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi Ged,
    I agree that when the importance of the call became apparent Beattie must have had doubts about his initial opinion. But at the trial he was asked whether it occurred to him during the call that it was Wallace’s VOICE he heard. And although his initial opinion may have shifted between the call and the trial, Beattie was determined not to let any evidence of Wallace’s guilt change his original opinion. During the call he never for a second imagined he was was speaking to Wallace, so in spite of his current doubts brought about by the evidence, he stuck to his opinion that the VOICE sounded nothing like Wallace.
    As I posted, Beattie was not at all familiar with Wallace’s telephone voice and I think his opinion on this at the time of the call was strongly influenced by the sheer craziness of Wallace pretending to be Mr Qualtrough. His answer at the trial has been taken as based on the voice alone but I think it was strongly influenced by his belief at the time that Mr Q was genuine and certainly was not W H Wallace.
    Always good to hear from you

  40. Michael Fitton says:

    Sorry about the duplicate posting. My mistake.
    If Beattie had been completely honest with himself he should ,when asked about Qualtrough’s voice, have said: “I barely know Mr Wallace who is an irregular attender at the chess club. Our interactions have consisted mainly of polite greetings etc. I have never spoken with Mr Wallace on the phone. I am not sufficiently familiar with his voice that I can offer an opinion one way or the other comparing his voice with that of Mr Qualtrough.”

  41. GED says:

    So from what we can gather from the evidence before us. Wallace was not guilty and the Prudential Union and the original judge and the appeal judges got it right.
    This is to say Alan Close did see Julia and Beattie didn’t recognise the Q voice as being W. The prosecution made an incorrect assumption from the start as did the police, that Q had to be the murderer.
    If we start saying Close lied about seeing Julia and Beattie was mistaken and it could have been W’s voice then where do we stop with the lies…. The Parry murder night alibi? Lily Hall? Lily Lloyd. We can only go of what is documented.

  42. Josh Levin says:

    Hello Ged I agree, even though I think Wallace was involved , I don’t know if it’s beyond a reasonable doubt.

    However, in either case, the theory the Prosecution presented at trial was wrong. Clearly Wallace did not kill Julia himself after making the call himself.

  43. Michael Fitton says:

    My current belief is that Wallace was both caller and killer.
    In spite of precautions, he could not be sure that his clothing was free from blood after the attack. The charade with the locked doors on his return was to substantiate his initial and short-lived claim that there was someone still in the house. His encounter with the Johnstons was helpful. If they had not emerged he would have knocked on their door or that of the Holmes’s for help (duplicate key?).
    On reflection wasn’t it strange and unfeeling that he invited Mrs Johnston into the parlour to view the grisly scene? Most men, especially dealing with a woman in that era would have said “Don’t go in there . Its simpy too horrible. Blood etc.” Instead Wallace made sure that Mrs Johnston witnessed him checking for a pulse and generally fussing over the body of his wife. He even said to her “Look at the brains.” Again this total detachment from accepted behaviour. But now Wallace had his witness just in case some blood from the attack was found on him. He could say “I’m not surprised there’s blood. I was checking for signs of life. Whether I got blood on me didn’t matter. Ask Mrs Johnston.”

  44. Josh Levin says:

    Hi Mike I agree his behavior very suspicious however it also matches up with a hired job.

    I think Gordon Parry just has too many marks against him to not be the caller.

  45. GED says:

    Hi Mike, you said ”In spite of precautions, he could not be sure that his clothing was free from blood after the attack” This surely points at his innocence rather than his guilt. He could also not be sure he had not been seen in the phone box, walking to and from it nor getting on a tram that he said he didn’t – all in his local area where he had neighbours, clients and there was a pub and cinema. Then there was the time frame that the ‘Anfield Harriers’ had to fix to make it fit.
    We have W admitting to having used that phone box in the past when he didn’t need to and have him knocking gently on the door when he could have made a loud scene, knocking frenziedly. Then we have Parry’s mon night statement, the fact he was a phone box robber and put voices on at Atkinsons garage and was a member of a dramatics society. I can’t see W as the murderer or in collaboration with P imho.

  46. Josh Levin says:

    Hi Ged,

    We don’t really know what the scene was like there in terms of, how contrived Wallace acted re knocking etc. It seemed to work to make the Johnstons appear…

    Also admitting to using it in past doesn’t mean much imo. Might think it looks bad to say he never used it. Plus if he’s put Parry up to the call he would just think it would be as simple as Beattie saying the voice wasn’t his.

    I think you’re right about the reasons why W likely wasn’t the caller/killer but I don’t see anything in these reasons you’re listing now that speaks against Wallace’s involvement.

  47. GED says:

    Hi Josh. The Johnston’s appearance is coincidental by everyone’s account. They were simply on their way out to visit their daughter and not stirred by any noises from W trying to get in. W says he didn’t knock loudly. Causing a scene and banging furiously, worried out of his mind now he was getting no answer and both doors unusually locked against him would be a much more believable way to go about it if he wanted to rouse the neighbours. Like as previously said. If there’s a second party involved, W can take himself to Menlove without even coming home which rules him out completely. Always good to bounce ideas off each other though. However, if I were doing this murder I wouldn’t be putting myself in the firing line which W and the Johnston’s seem to be doing.

  48. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi Ged, Josh,

    Great to read your postings.

    Ged: Wallace’s freedom from blood stains does support his innocence. My point about his contriving to have Mrs Johnston witness him checking Julia “for signs of life” was that this was his fall back position, insurance against any blood being found on him. As it turned out he was blood-free and didn’t need to use it.

    Josh: I don’t think the Johnstons emerged in response to Wallace’s knocking at his own door. This was a lucky break for Wallace; otherwise he would have to alert a neighbour and ask for their presence as he entered the house.

    I would like to concentrate on the phone call. Parry, with his bad character, dishonesty, and ability to change his voice is the perfect candidate for Qualtrough. It is when we come to consider probabilities on that evening that I have problems with Parry or any non-Wallace Qualtrough:
    1. How did Parry know Wallace would go to the club that evening when he hadn’t attended since the previous November?
    2. Why was Parry using a phone near a tram stop that Wallace didn’t habitually use when headed downtown?
    3. Would Parry have been careless enough to offer the gratuitous remark about the 21st birthday?
    4. Parry was small-time crook (car theft, phone cash boxes etc.). His crimes were impersonal. The robbery would be upping his game into unfamiliar territory involving his accomplice(s) actually meeting the victim.
    5. Timing. Mr Caird claimed Wallace arrived at the club at 7.45. Did he also clock the arrival times of other members? I doubt it. In reality we don’t know when Wallace arrived at the club. The theoretical time limit of 7.45 could not be rigidly enforced at a time when public transport delays were common due to construction of the Mersey Tunnel.

    Yes, Parry lied initially about his alibi for the call night. But if he really was Qualtrough he had only to leave space in any story for him to make a 10 minute phone call. I think he was playing away and this also feeds into his caginess about his Brine alibi on the Tuesday.

    Finally, why didn’t Parry as Qualtrough wait until he could speak to Wallace directly?
    Sheer madness, I hear you say. But is it? 90% of so-called voice recognition on the phone is based not on voice but on the context of the call. If Boris Johnson rang you at home one evening you would tell him to go away using words beginning with f and o.
    The voice sounds just like Boris but it simply cannot be him. Why would he call you? etc. This is why Mr Beattie never considered for a moment that it was Wallace on the line.
    Parry had last spoken briefly to Wallace before the previous Christmas when they met by chance in Knockaid Road. Since Parry had left the Pru their interactions had been little more than exchanging greetings on their infrequent chance meetings. Wallace spoke with literally hundreds of people each month on his rounds. In the context of an unexpected business call reaching him at his chess club he would take it at face value as genuine. Factor in Parry’s acting ability and success would be almost guaranteed.
    The advantage for Parry would be absolute certainty that Wallace would take the bait and the plan for the Tuesday could go ahead.

    Using Beattie as interlocutor introduces doubt that Wallace will receive the message, he might have a prior engagement, he may decide not to go if its raining, he may investigate and find the address bogus, etc. etc. Doubts which will remain until Wallace actually sets off on his journey. All this could be avoided. It wasn’t.

    In summary, with Wallace as Qualtrough all the weak links and doubts disappear. With anyone else in the role the plot is weak with many potential failure points.

    Best regards,


  49. Josh Levin says:

    Hi Mike,

    Good points against Parry working alone (or with a non Wallace accomplice) to rob the place. Many of the points you made show the difficulty of this so called “distraction robber” theory favored by Hussey, Rod Stringer, Antony Brown, among others. All imo of course.

    However, I would argue these points are resolved neatly if Wallace put Parry up to the call.


    I agree with most of what you wrote. Wallace could have taken himself completely out of the picture for both nights if he was hiring it done. The fact he did not does not rule this theory out imo (indeed the Conspiracy is what I’ve settled on knowing everything possible about the case), but I do admit it’s the strongest point against my current theory. Again, perhaps Wallace was confident Beattie testifying the voice wasn’t his to be enough.

    GED and Mike, I hear you about the Johnstons but the timing is very odd. I don’t think we have a ton of info to definitively conclude why exactly they came out right then. Coincidence? Eh I don’t know. Let’s say it was for a minute, the locks business remains odd for me. It fails in such an odd manner that night for the first time?

  50. GED says:

    Hi Mike and Josh. I’ll do my best to give my opinion on the questions raised.
    1) Parry might not know W hadn’t attended unless he thought to study the notice board or even knew how to decipher it.
    2) It was still the nearest phone box to the tram stop W did use as the one in Library would be closed. The significance of the phone box being local to Wolverton st holds no water with me anyway as I don’t think it was used to point the finger at W and the tracing of it was merely due to the fudging of the call after P tried to swindle the money back. I don’t think the fudging was to have the call traced as i’m not sure anyone would know it could be or was thinking that cleverly.
    3) P may have been drawn into that conversation and not even think it would need to come out later. Also how would W know about that birthday?
    4) P not doing the robbery himself still makes it sort of impersonal. He would not know W had been off ill and this booty was too good an opportunity to pass up.
    5) Again, we can only go on the evidence put before us and Caird said he was there. If Caird had been asked when Beattie arrived for instance i’m sure he could have said ‘He was already in when I got there’ etc.
    6) P wouldn’t risk speaking to W directly just in case he got onto him. If W called he couldn’t know if Gladys Hartley would put him through to Beattie, Caird or anyone else who might know him more personally. Much better to have the message passed on and wait in the comfort of your car perhaps in the Cabbage Hall car park to watch W either emerge onto Lower Breck Road or Breck Road to take his tram. This also accounts for P’s missing time in his ‘alibi’ for the Monday.

  51. Dave Metcalf says:

    Hi Everyone!!
    Some great discussions on here as usual!! As I’ve said before, I’m 100% convinced Parry made the call.Mike asks how would Parry know that Wallace was going to attend his Chess Club on that particular evening, Monday the 19th? Trust me Mike, it really wouldn’t have been difficult at all to see if Wallace had left his house and headed for Breck Road, where he’d catch the number 14 tram into Liverpool city centre, which took the tram approximately twenty minutes.You wouldn’t even have needed to loiter around in the vicinity of Wallace’s house, although that wouldn’t have been difficult either.I’m sure Ged will agree with me on this.Remember when we stood outside The Cabbage Hall pub on Breck Road earlier this year Ged?….and how easy it was to see Richmond Park, next to the church, where Wallace said he exited from onto Breck Road, before turning left and walking the short distance to the junction of Breck Road and Belmont Road, where he said he boarded the tram.Not only this, but from outside this pub, you could also very easily have seen if Wallace emerged in the other direction, towards the junction of Breck Road, Lower Breck Road, Priory Road and Townsend Lane, where he could also have boarded a number 14 tram.The number 14 bus still runs this route today….I get it sometimes to my doctors on Townsend!! It’s also well worth pointing out that the telephone box would also have been full view of anyone loitering in this area.Honestly Mike, it really would have been pretty simple to spot someone as distinctive as Wallace heading towards either of the tram stops closest to his house that would take him to the city centre.As I say, you wouldn’t need to watch his house.And if Parry had an accomplice when looking out for Wallace, (William Denison?) then it might have been even easier.I think it’s entirely plausible that Parry and a potential accomplice have been watching for several weeks to see if Wallace left his house on either a Monday or Thursday evening to go to the Chess Club.And on Monday the 19th of January, they got lucky.Think about it….on that particular Monday night, at about 7.20pm, from somewhere in that neighbourhood, Parry and his accomplice observe Wallace emerging from Richmond Park and heading up Breck Road.Parry knows Wallace sometimes attends his Chess Club on Monday evenings, so plays the percentages and assumes (correctly) that’s where he must be going tonight, although he can’t know this for certain just yet.He can at least now start the ball rolling though. He makes the “Qualtrough”call, before heading to Lily Lloyd’s house, arriving there at 7.35.But within ten minutes or so, he leaves Lily’s house without even seeing or speaking to her, not returning until between 8.30pm and 9.Where did he go and why? Personally, I think it’s quite possible he’s driven to somewhere in Liverpool city centre to meet his accomplice who may well have followed Wallace onto the tram.This accomplice can now confirm to Parry that Wallace has indeed gone to his Chess Club tonight….meaning there’s every chance he’s also received the telephone message. Parry and his accomplice may also have met with a second accomplice, the man who is going to pretend to be Qualtrough the following night, when he knocks at 29 Wolverton Street at 7.30.As Ged also says, Parry is still involved in this robbery, but only on an indirect, impersonal level.He obviously can’t pretend to be Qualtrough and act as the distraction, and he can’t take a chance of being the actual thief either, just in case Julia or someone else in the neighbourhood recognised him.He’d been to Wolverton Street on numerous occasions, so this would have been too risky.I think the actual thief was William Denison, and that it was Denison and Qualtrough (whoever Qualtrough really was) that Anne Parsons saw racing down Hanwell Street towards Lower Breck Road at between 8 and 8.15pm.
    I’ve said most of this before, but I suppose the point I’m attempting to get across here is to say that it really wouldn’t have been hard at all to see if Wallace attended his Chess Club on either a Monday or Thursday evening.Unless you actually spoke to him, you couldn’t have known whether he’d go or not.But if you were prepared to take a bit of time watching and waiting in the area on a Monday or Thursday evening, especially with an accomplice, you’d have eventually have seen him making his way there on one of these Chess Club evenings.Parry and a possible accomplice just happened to see him on Monday the 19th, and the rest is history.

    Cheers everyone….Dave.

  52. Michael Fitton says:

    The fascinating thing about the Wallace case is that most theories of the crime are not impossible. So we have to compare the theories based on probability. The danger here, and I’m as guilty as anyone, is giving extra credibility to ways in which I would have done it and assuming others would too. This is a difficult bias to avoid.

    For example it is quite possible, as Dave suggests, that by regular monitoring of Wallace’s movements (if any) around 7.00 to 7.30 on Monday/Thursday evenings Wallace would eventually be spotted going to his chess club. I just can’t see myself doing this week after week in the middle of winter hoping Wallace will appear and the plan can go ahead. Possible? Certainly. But quite unlikely. The other option is that Q relied on Wallace going in for the Championship match which was scheduled on the notice board and he got lucky.

    Wallace in collusion with someone else. How to find an utterly reliable accomplice? How to reward them? : Wallace’s finances were in perfect order and the haul from the “robbery” was only £4 which Wallace would know about beforehand. He would have chosen a time when the box was full of the Pru’s cash as payment.

    Josh suggests that Wallace may have put Parry up to making the call. This clearly is not done with just robbery in mind; it can only be murder. Parry was a petty criminal but I don’t see him as a participant in a murder plot. Also Wallace would have arranged the timing of Parry’s call to exclude any suspicion that it was himself calling.

    If Wallace was the caller I don’t think there was much chance of him being recognised while making the call. The phone box was unlit. Wallace would have his back to any passers-by. And the actual tram stop itself was some distance away so crowds hurrying home on a winter’s evening would disperse in all directions, some of them passing the phone box. It is possible the actual call took place between trams with less people about. How long was the call? Five minutes or so? Nobody saw Wallace on the tram to the chess club. In spite of his unusual appearance – old-fashioned garb and over 6 feet tall – it seems Wallace was only remembered when he made sure of it by pestering tram conductors.

    “How would Wallace know about the 21st birthday? (Ged) I don’t think he did. The remark was introduced to support his pose as a middle aged man (Mr Q) who had a 21 year old daughter, further distancing himself from Wallace as a childless man and supporting his intention to take out a policy for his daughter with the Pru. A 21st birthday was often the time when assurance policies were taken out as Wallace explained to the police.
    Gladys Harley, the waitress described the caller as an “elderly gentleman.”

    William Denison’s involvement (Dave) is possible but we know so little about him other than he wasn’t with Parry at the Brines’, and he subsequently had a criminal record. We don’t know where he was at the crucial time. He was Mrs Brine’s nephew. Not enough to move him from “possible” to “probable” in my view.

    I do think Wallace’s terminal kidney disease deserves more attention. Quite apart from the physical symptoms this is well known for inducing anger attacks which, according to articles on the Internet, “can make life extremely difficult for the patient’s close relatives and carers.”

  53. GED says:

    I can’t disagree with anything you say there Michael, except to say that i’d assume Parry was unaware about W’s bad attendance record regarding the notice board sheet and having seen W in the club on occasions would just take it that he would be there – even if he’d not seen the notice board in fact. Therefore he and a.n.other would not really have to stake out every Monday evening, just this one and perhaps didn’t even do that if he thought he’d just be there anyway. It was a no lose situation. If he didn’t bite, just call the robbery off until another time. The only thing he had to be pretty sure of was the probability that he got the message (hence, where P may have been between calling on Lily on Monday evening) The possible stake out could have even been the Tues to make sure W left for Menlove. I’ve even wondered if Julia could have told P that W would be away from home on Tues but I don’t think she would have had time to.

  54. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi Ged,
    I agree that any non-Wallace Qualtrough (nWQ) might avoid weekly Monday evening stake outs by trusting the notification of the Championship match as detailed on the notice board. An n-WQ might not know but even this was unreliable: Wallace’s scheduled opponent didn’t turn up do he played against someone else. It could have been Wallace who was absent.
    I do not however think that n-WQ would make the call then trust to luck that Wallace would take the bait. This is in fact what he did and is a strong point in favour of Qualtrough being Wallace himself. If Wallace ignored the call then the plan was dead in the water. Calling again the following week or later would definitely cause suspicion.

    One of the cornerstones of the Parry as Qualtrough argument is Parry’s supposed ability to change his voice. The only source of this is John Parkes – hardly reliable. Parry was in an amateur dramatic society but had no formal training as an actor. There is no believable evidence that Parry was particularly skilled in voice disguise. We can all do poor imitations of public figures and I don’t believe Parry was any better at it than we are.

    Best regards,


  55. GED says:

    I always wonder what makes Parkes unreliable when it is known that he alerted the Atkinsons to the goings on in the early hours after the murder? He also didn’t even volunteer his story in 1981, he had to be sought out, he wasn’t even aware of the Radio City 50th year anniversary programme. It sounds to me like he stood steadfast in his story.

    If W was Q and he’s sending himself to Menlove…….
    1) If he is the murderer he cannot send himself there straight from work as he has to be there to commit the murder
    2) If he is the caller but not the murderer he could send himself straight there from work.

    However. If he is the murderer and leaving himself 40 mins from 6.05 to 6.45 on the Monday (or an even shorter timescale if he’s using the Alan Close calling) then why not just commit the murder on the Monday when his alibi will be him being out at the Chess club (The money in the cash box is obviously not a factor as it’d be low on the mon or the tues as he’ll know)

    We are only assuming the murderer, if it isn’t W used the tuesday due to the money haul being potentially larger but if it’s W himself, this isn’t a factor.

  56. GED says:

    The more I think about it, whenever i’ve asked a family member or friend who did this and I mention the alibi etc. They all say why didn’t they just kill her whilst W was at the chess club on mon. My answer has always been well the booty was better for the robber/killer on the tues. So you see that argument only works if it ISN’T W. If it is W then his elaborate alibi isn’t required at all because he has the same timeframe on the mon to do this as he does on the mon without the risk of anyone sussing his Q voice. If W was stupid enough to plan all this for the tues just so he could point the finger at 1 or 2 people who might well have had cast iron alibis then that doesn’t figure at all and is hardly in keeping with this clever chess master.

  57. GED says:

    I have presented this case impartially (as best I can) not only on my website but in person now to about half a dozen people who had not heard of the case before (yes, Philistines 🙂 ) In doing this, I have no presented assumptions but only what we know from statements etc.
    All of them have said without exception, what is the big mystery here. It is Parry or at least he had something very much to do with it. Whilst we could list quite a good few reasons why it wouldn’t be Wallace (no motive, other means and times to have been able to do it and with no need for an elaborate hoax red herring alibi) and why we can list why for instance it wouldn’t be the Johnston’s (commit the robbery any other time – even when both are out at Calderstones or even on Holiday in Anglesey etc, putting themselves in the centre of it all when they could just have stayed in) We can pin a lie on Parry for the Q call night, his means of knowing where the cash box was, Wallace’s finances and movements and him having the use of a car, his fishy comments to Goodman & Egan, Parkes story, subsequent dodgy criminality etc. So going on what’s known, it points only one way. Maybe Harold Denison’s involvement with/or A. N. other. (where was he on the murder night – certainly not at the Brine’s with P as he usually was (Olivia Brine says in her statement. P commenced calling at mine with my nephew Harold Denison about Christmas 1930) Was this a robbery gone wrong resulting in a murder of which P was none the wiser until he picked up his accomplice sometime around 8.45/9pm. Any thoughts on why this theory could be wrong. Now to try and discover once and for all why the murder took place in that room as it did.

  58. Josh Levin says:

    Saw the recent pics at the latest pub meet up… sure looks like a few of you felloes like your frothy brews…

    Couple thoughts about the Hussey theory… what sense does this make as a plan when a much much easier plan could involve some other less convoluted pretense to gain entrance the Tuesday night (apparently these types of scams were not uncommon as Rod et al keeps reminding us).
    The 2 day Qualtrough “hope Wallace gets the message and actualy goes so Julia is alone to be easiserly dealt with as a sneak robbery victims is really convoluted guys. I mam come on, try to look at this not under a haze of Guinness.

    To be perfectly honest, I would favor Parry being a prankster who decided to go the next night to revel in his prank/ see if Wallace went and something goes wrong. Perhaps he asks Julia for cash from the box, maybe giving it away that he is “Qutrough” who pranked her husband. Unable to stifle his giggle/duping glee. Yoy could imagine what could go wrong from there. Obviously this assumes Brine alibi isn’t correct.

    Not saying I really favor this theory overall, it is a few holes on it overall but it’s better than the Hussey/Rod Stringer nonsense you guys are buying into over pints of cheap beer. This case deserves better than this nonsense.

    I still favor Wallace as mastermind because only he knows he’ll get the message? Go on the journey, and because it explains the Greenlees man he lied about (similar physical description to Marsden, as well as much of his odd behavior both nights and strange relationship with Gordon Parry (who made suggestive comments about WHW over the years) But clearly it seems unlikely WHW the crime with his own hands. So obv a set up is the best solution

  59. GED says:

    OK let’s take it bit by bit. You obviously have your personal gripes with Rod but it’s a cheap shot to bring cheap drinks and the rest of us into it as I don’t thoroughly buy into Rod’s assumption that Julia caught the thief at the cashbox and he somehow bundled her all the way along the hallway and into the lounge. For the record, all of our opinions on the case have been acquired by reading a lot of books on the case, your great site too and were made stone cold sober, just as we were on those meet ups as we only had 3 drinks, some of the lads on coca cola too as we were driving, but anyhow…
    Yes, my initial thoughts for years was that Parry did the call and the murder, however, like I said in my last post, I was working on the statements and what is recorded, we have to assume an Olivia Brine/Parry coerced lie for it to be Parry alone and that of course is not out of the question. It also fits with Parkes – just as a Parry with an accomplice does.

    In my mind Wallace is not involved. He could not rely on approaching Parry, they are not friends, they are chalk and cheese and move in different life circles. Wallace even fingers Parry as a possible suspect. Wallace would make sure he arrives at the Cafe 5 or 10 minutes after Beattie received the phone call, so as to rule himself out of having made it. Likewise he could have gone straight to Menlove from work, ruling himself out of the killing. Wallace would have made sure his pay off to Parry was a full insurance cash box, not a measly £4. It’s pretty ludicrous to think anything differently from the above and you surprise me. Also do you think W and Marsden/Greenlees or whoever would hang around by an entry off Wolverton street talking about the ‘perfect’ murder they’ve just committed. Not likely. Come on, i’m expecting better from you. It’s Parry as Q absolutely. It’s just a matter now of if Parry/Brine lied and P was the murderer or if he really was at Brines just whiling away a few hours until he picked up his accomplice, whether that be Harold Denison or someone else – and there he is presented with the horror that a murder had been committed and the Parkes story unfolds later that night.

  60. Michael Fitton says:

    This case deserves better than this nonsense.

    • Josh Levin says:

      Yes I would agree it’s a serious case so I would hope people would come with actual reasoned arguments and fair discussions.

      Not books written in soap opera bedaide “5 minute mystery” style to make a cheap buck where the conclusion is changed when the publisher asks for a novel solution.

      I would hope real discussions could be fairly had about the case and interesting differing plausible scenarios, not in group pub get togethers that include a grandson of the Johnstons (noticed no one dare mentioned their odd behavior once he showed up in the group).

      What has happened to Mark R BTW? His book wasn’t the best but it seems he was excised. Even by his dear buddy Ged. He rightly pointed out RS was a maniac severely on the spectrum who couldn’t handle even the slightest bit of criticism about his theory he claims to have “abduced” in 2008, even though R F Hussey wrote essentially the same thing in 1972.

      This is an important and interesting case where various ideas should be considered and intelligently discussed, not a case reduced to a special needs “in group of local drunks” pub get together while an unserious author fosters circular discussions trying to boost sales of his bedside books.

  61. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi Josh,
    With respect, but my one line posting above was intended as a criticism of your August 16 posting.
    1. You say you favour Parry as Qualtrough who turns up at 29 Wolverton Street the following evening to reveal his deception to Julia, and possibly Wallace. But things go wrong and he kills Julia. All this without a shred of supporting evidence and your final remark is that you don’t really favour this theory overall!
    2. A group of Wallace case enthusiasts gather together in a pub to discuss the case (IN A PUB!! Shock! Horror!) . I wasn’t there but your description of the gathering as “a group of local drunks” reaching their conclusions through a “haze of Guinness” is quite frankly unacceptable.
    It is clear that you disagree with the Hussey/Rod Stringer theory but instead of presenting a cogent argument to refute it you belittle those who allegedly support it.

    I agree that this is a case where “ideas should be considered and intelligently discussed.” This goal has not been achieved in your recent postings.

  62. Josh Levin says:

    Hi Mike the theory I recounted isn’t the theory I “favor” it is Antony M Browns “Parry scenario”. The Olivia Brine alibi is a problem for it so I don’t think it’s correct but I would say it’s the best “Parry alone” scenario.

    As you know, I currently favor the Wallace hiring it done theory but am open to other possibilities.

    I stand by my statement about the Wallace case enthusiasts on average. Most seem to be drunks/overweight/severely autistic etc. and it is a shame.

  63. GED says:

    Hi Josh. You have a great site here but obviously you have only gleaned information from other books and from the statements just like anybody else has, as that is all everybody here has to go on.

    As for your rant about drunks etc i find it quite comical. We needed a place to meet up so hey ho, there’s the pub right facing Richmond Park also within site of the Cabbage Hall triangle where the phone box was and even the shops that Julia used where some of the youngsters central to the case worked so we chose the pub to meet, that’s all. As has been mentioned before, 2 of the lads don’t even drink and were on coca cola 9look at the photos again) and 2 of the other people, myself included were also driving so had 2 shandies so it’s not a booze up and I really shouldn’t have to explain ourselves to you as it’s becoming a circus side issue and as Michael says, this case deserves more.

    As for other authors books, everybody deserves to put the case and ultimately their opinions into print if they want, nobody has to buy them if they don’t want to and it is ultimately an opinoned conclusion in the end as nobody knows for sure.

    I’m not sure where you think i’ve excised Mark Russell whom I know has put a lot of work and over 15 years of research into his book even if I don’t agree with his outcome. On Yo Liverpool many years ago he favoured a Wallace innocent verdict but like you yourself have done on a number of different solutions on your site here, he is entitled to change that opinion if he wants to.

    I’m also not sure why you think the Johnston’s grandson was in this group of people at the meet up as nobody has ever mentioned such a thing? I can of course confirm he is not and the only mention of him was that he was present at a Wallace Talk that Mark Russell and myself attended many years ago at Prenton Cricket club on the Wirral on Merseyside.

    Getting back to the case, you say you still ‘currently’ favour Wallace having hired someone.

    Below I have copy and pasted an excerpt from my last posting above on Aug 16th which is why I think this scenario is unlikely. I think another way of looking at this case is to make a list of why you think why certain persons ‘Wouldn’t have done it’ rather than why they ‘Would have done it’ and quite possibly you’ll find it a bit easier to reach a conclusion.

    ”In my mind Wallace is not involved. He could not rely on approaching Parry, they are not friends, they are chalk and cheese and move in different life circles. Wallace even fingers Parry as a possible suspect. Wallace would make sure he arrives at the Cafe 5 or 10 minutes after Beattie received the phone call, so as to rule himself out of having made it. Likewise he could have gone straight to Menlove from work, ruling himself out of the killing. Wallace would have made sure his pay off to Parry was a full insurance cash box, not a measly £4. It’s pretty ludicrous to think anything differently from the above and you surprise me. Also do you think W and Marsden/Greenlees or whoever would hang around by an entry off Wolverton street talking about the ‘perfect’ murder they’ve just committed. Not likely.”

    Looking forward to getting off the pub meet up subject and back onto the Murder Case. 🙂

  64. Dave Metcalf says:

    Hi Mike,
    Thanks for your support.In response to Josh,I’d just like to say I’m not a drunk or severely autistic.I could with losing a few pounds though…I’ll admit to that, lol!! But I’m 61 now and suffer with arthritis in my knees, so my days of playing football twice a week and regular jogging are pretty much over, unfortunately!! But as far as I’m aware, none of the others who attend our gatherings are raging drunks or severely autistic either, lol!! I won’t comment on their weight…that’s up to them!! I will say though that two of the lads don’t even drink…seriously. I’ve only met them through the Facebook site, and although I wouldn’t say we know each other really well, they’re a very decent group of guys judging by the three occasions we’ve met up.And we don’t spend the entire evening talking about the case either!! Football, music, Brexit, Liverpool architecture and history…they’ve all been debated!!
    But thanks again Mike for what you said…I really appreciate it.Just wish you were on the Facebook site.I think you’d like it.Antony M.Brown is on there, who’s written a very good book about the case.Indeed, it’s just been republished with new material.I’ve chatted on there a couple of times to him, and he seems a really nice bloke.He’s written several unsolved murder books. And he likes his music too!!

    Anyway, thanks again Mike…cheers, and hope you’re keeping well.

  65. Josh Levin says:

    Hi Dave, how can you expect to solve a case of this magnitude at a merely average bodyfat percentage?

  66. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi Dave,
    I contribute to a true crime forum based in the USA and I have on several occasions been dismayed when people with different views/theories quickly descend to giving personal opinions on their opponent’s character and motivation. “Nerdy” “Mentally challenged” “Having no other life outside the forum” are some of the more polite slurs.

    For me if you have to use this tactic to defend your position you have already lost the argument. So I had to throw in my “two bits worth.”

    I’m glad that your evening with these overweight autistic drunkards was enjoyable!


  67. Josh Levin says:

    Hi Mike it is not a matter of opinion that Rod Stringer has severe mental disorders, that Antony M Brown changed his books conclusions based on the fact that his published demanded it, nor that Stringer’s “new theory” is a cheap knock off of R F Husseys.

    Nor is it a matter of opinion that Rod seemed to abuse Mark R who has disappeared without word or support from his buddy Ged.

    There are all what we call facts. Opinions would be pointing out the general drunken appearance of most of the people at the get togtethers.

  68. GED says:

    Hi Josh. It may not surprise you that Rod has his own opinions on yourself and CJ which he has shared with us all but they are not my fights so I stay out of whatever you all think of each other and just concentrate on the case.

    I can therefore only comment on the part you include me in. I cannot see where Rod has abused Mark (in fact Mark was nearly at the meet up last time as we have a mutual friend in George who was with us) Maybe you could link me to this alleged abuse.
    Mark always has my support as I know the research, enthusiasm and effort he has put into his book so he is not a Johnny come lately. However, we don’t all have to agree with each others findings, that would simply be boring 🙂

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      I legit don’t know Rod at all. I think I’ve exchanged about 2 sentences with him in total. He simply doesn’t speak to me at all because he is convinced I’m Josh (according to Antony). I literally have pics of myself w Josh when he visited England so obviously Rod is a bit special needs mentally, no offense intended lol… But it does call into question the reliability of his theories for sure.

  69. Josh Levin says:

    Listen Ged, I am not into playing games. Mark has made a very public statement about Rod and the abuse he suffered at his hands. Same with John Gannon. I am sure you are aware and can find them yourselves. Rods behavior was so poor, arrogant, and intentionally trollish on casebook that I received numerous emails and PMs begging me not to leave from both Antony Brown ( who told me I’ve displayed the best logic and open mind he has has ever seen on the case) and another long time po poster, Herlock Sholmes (who like Mark R had opinions you disagree with, I did as well not fully have the savie views ar Herlock who thoufht Wallace onviously guilty) but who we both had issues with Rod’s obviously degenerate behavior for several hundred pages.

    The reason why this was the first forum I was banned from rather than Rod was
    The repeated lack of change of mocking behavior
    Perhaps, because the chances of actual meeting up IRL are low for an American (although I was in London in 2021 for 4 months) and plan to visit again soon, I had less tolerance for this one long trolling nonsense debacle, at least nonsense thst would likely remain online. Rod has been kicked off of about 10 or 15 sites, including sites where he has espoused extremely far right political views that you might find comical (David Icke) type views.

    I consider myself a free thinker so I do not necessarily this reflects the veracity of his viewpoint on the Wallace case or how valid his theory is. But he is a tin foil nut for sure overall. (BYW personally I would consider myself a right leaning libertarian and haven’t patience for PC nonsense so this is not some personal battle.)

    What I did find surprising was Antony Brown flat out changing his “on balance most likely theory) from his version 1 to version 2 and admitting to me it was at the publishers behest for a “fresh theory). Rod spending pages and pages bragging thst he had solved the case “abduced it over a pipe” did also not help matters while Anntony stayed mum. It rather killed the convo on casebook.

    Whats more, I have repeatedly stated I viewed the theory as clever (whereas as Rod said I am so stupid the wind would wisely thru my head) for pointing out Justice Wright probably thought Wallace guilty based on quotes made that Rod twisted. Again, none of this “proves” Wallace’s guilt and I have repeatedly stated I would vote innocent on a jury. This was not enough of a concession for Rod who repeated filled hundreds of pages of insults to anyone who didn’t agree exactly gooled line and sinker with his “abduced solution.” He even argued with Mr
    Brown about exactly prescriptive details about his theory and demanded they be reflected just so in the chapter reconstruction which Rod claims “proves” he solved the case.

    I have always said the theory is a very clever one, although IMO, a bit too similar to R F Hussey’s for any sort of “novel” credit.

    Almost all users im1 the early casebook threads found it very difficult to engage respectfully with Rod and “agree to disagree” even over minor points which is perhaps what has left to some of my admittedly over the top annoyance at this time. Again, ao much so, that I have pages and pages of emails from A M Brown praising the fairness, open mindedness, willingness, to change my mind and strength of my logic. That is why his behavior in defense of Rod has been particularly surprising to me.

    Again, because I figured a real life meet up would be unlikely perhaps I took some unfair liberties in my abusive reactive tone here. I’m an easygoing guy in real life and would be glad to discuss the case over a point if I’m ever in Liverpool.

    Again, as a final note; you are dealing with a person that has been kicked off tens of sites indluging WIKIq, espoused hideous views (including flat out genocidal denial etc) and seems to enjoy mocking people online with a long history of this including a real life incident where he was beaten up badly for trying to intervene when alcohol was being served at a social club he belonged to. This is not a good/reasonable/socially normal person and his theory is simply was too similar to Husseys”s to warrant the “I solved it credit,” he feels he deserves.

    As a non particularly politically correct person “whias heard it all”, I wouldn’t mind meeting up and letting bygones be bygones but I doubt he would have the courage to do so…

    • Josh Levin says:

      Just a note, I’m traveling on the road now and obviously posting on mobile but will in the future make a stronger effort to avoid typos.

  70. GED says:

    Hi Josh. I can’t be bothered searching out where all this in-fighting and abuse is as i’d rather concentrate on the known facts of the case than tittle tattle and keyboard warriors. The only row i’ve ever seen was between someone called WallaceWackedHer and Herlock Sholmes on casebook whereby one of them put something on their site that the other didn’t approve of. If I remember correctly I only remember Mark and Rod Crosby being on Yo Liverpool as that’s the only forum I was on when I’d not long finished reading James Murphy’s book.

  71. Josh Levin says:

    Edited: for typos on lasst post, because I just arrived home

    Great Gerard, but then “just sticking to the facts of the case”, you absolutely absent of Mark R appeared to switch it up after a 20 year website you had with Mark R to switch to a theory (R F Hussey) that we all knew anyway. With little explanation and picturw of you drinking with Rod like fishes.

    I have absolutely no surprise in that Mark had disappeared and he is not the first modern author to refuse to engage with Rod in any right. So nice try but I do remember Mark R discussing this. He said Stringer went out of he way to be a jerk to him due to different conclusions and Gannon has said the same things as well about Stringer.

    With all that said I’d still be glad to drink a vodka and seltzer with you guys and treat you with respect but I doubt you would be amenable to this 😉

  72. GED says:

    The 20 year website I had with Mark R is simply because we both pooled our information together and didn’t have any agenda or solution but left the facts there for others to ponder upon to come to their own conclusions. That is what people have told me they enjoy about the site, that it is not really swayed one way or the other as there are things that can point one way or the other.

    I don’t understand your line ”you absolutely absent of Mark R appeared to switch it up after a 20 year website you had with Mark R to switch to a theory (R F Hussey) that we all knew anyway. With little explanation and picture of you drinking with Rod like fishes.”

    Firstly, I ‘ve never read Hussey’s book so any conclusions i’ve come to are gleaned most certainly by other means. I mean there are only a number of main characters to this story so it can only be one of a few outcomes can’t it. My website with Mark had no conclusions and does not mean that Mark and I have to think exactly the same or have the same conclusions. You yourself have changed your outcomes a number of times. I can honestly say hand on heart that i’ve never had W as guilty and the only thing i’ve ever swayed between was whether Parry actually did the murder (making Brine’s statement false) or whether P had an accomplice and who that may have been.

    I will say again I find it hard to believe Rod’s outcome that Julia was bundled all the way along the hallway and back into the lounge before being struck.

    From what I can gather from one forum where you were called ‘WallaceWhackedHer’ with a picture of John Johnston as your profile pic, I see abuse given out in exchanges with yourself and posters called ‘Herlock Sholmes’ and ‘Moste’. I cannot find anything on the Casebook between yourself and Rod Stringer.

    I can only say of Rod Stringer (whom i’ve only met two or three times at these meet ups) is that I found him articulate, interesting, informative and into real life crime mysteries in general. I am all for live and let live, I understand and appreciate that my outcome may differ from other peoples including Mark’s (though he too has changed his from Yo Liverpool) and that is what makes for further interesting discussion.

  73. Josh Levin says:

    Ged? For the tenth time, I never posted under the username “WallacewackedHer”, that was Calum. This has been explained many times.

  74. GED says:

    It’s the first time i’ve mentioned it so I don’t know where you tenth time comes from and I don’t see where on here you’ve had to explain it many times as your stops seem to have only started since you saw a photograph of 6 like minded people out together and one of them was your nemesis Rod Stringer who I had no idea about having any history with you or CJ. Anyway, all this talk about personality clashes is taking away from your brilliant site. Why don’t you instead answer my statements about why I don’t think W would be in collusion with any accomplice.

    • Josh Levin says:


      You have alluded to this many times and it has been explained to you many times. This isnt my site either, it is Calum’s, although he did use a lot of my input and I introduced him to the case. But it is his site alone.

      You seem like a reasonable fellow so let’s drop this and get onto the meat of the case:

      Here are the points I admittedly see against Wallace working with someone else:

      1. He cannot fully rely on anyone but himself and conspiracies of this sort are often rare. He names the likely accomplices as possible suspects to the police. (This is very common though in hit jobs.)

      2. If he had the help of someone else, you would expect he could create a better alibi for himself both for the night of the murder and also for the night of the call. The fact he, if he has someone else to kill Julia/call the chess club does not create a more foolproof alibi does raise an eyebrow.

      3. A planned murder is a serious crime which carries hanging for anyone involved. So a plan of this sort raises the amount of people willing to take this risk from 0 (in the even of planned robbery) to 3.

      Here are the reasons why I still think Wallace being behind the commissioning of the crime as the most likely reality of what happened.

      1. Julia appears to have been assassinated. She was hit from behind in the parlor near the fireplace, not by a cash box.

      2. The strange and confusing nature of the case ( a call the night before for a crime commissioned the following night), the fact Wallace himself had not frequently attended the club recently and was from certain to receive the message let alone even go the following night. The fact that even with Wallace out of the house, there would still be Julia to contend with etc etc….all of these things are reconciled with a planned hit job scenario.

      3. Because Wallace, IF he was involved in masterminding the crime enlisted someone else (probably Parry) as the caller, this might be enough of an “insurance policy” so to speak in his mind. Most everyone assumed the caller was the killer. Wallace clearly was not the caller. He should not have been found guilty. Maybe for him this was enough of a alibi. The stupid jury and MacFall screwed him out of (in my mind) getting away with a cleverly contrived domestic homicide. But luckily for him he won his freedom (correctly by the law imo) on appeal.

      4. The business with the locks and the man Greenlees and Lily Hall saw has been discussed ad nauseam so we will have to agree to disagree, but it is plain to me that Wallace is not being entirely honest about his encounter with that man for whatever reason. It does not seem probable to me the locks malfunctioned randomly that one night. I believe Wallace wanted the Johnstons to see him arrive, which is in fact t what happened.

      5. While theorizing on motive tends to cause a lot of arguing, there has been more than an insignificant amount of suggestion of homoaexual behavior on the parts of both Wallace and other pru members/Parry. Somsthing like this and/or an affair with Amy being found out would not be an insignificant motive. Dismissing even suggestions of stuff like this as a “malicious gossip” or whatever does nobody any good. There is no evidence to point to any of these possibilities in particular, but for example, Julia finding out Herbert was carrying on with Parry/Marsden as an elaborate blog post suggested a long time ago would have significant explanatory power and suggest why those involved may be willing to take significant risks they otherwise may not. Again please do not tell me there is no “evidence” for this, I am merely presenting it as an example of the SORT of thing that could have precluded a hit job (and would explain some sloppy aspects of the plan.)

      Back to generalities:

      This is a strange case. It is very unusual. Whatever happened was therefore probably what most would on the face of it find “unusual” or “unlikely.” But someone did bash Julia Wallace’s head in 11 times from behind like an assassin.

      To me of these 2 scenarios:

      1. Gordon Parry enlists a mate to go along with an elaborate 2 day plan that involves a call to a chess club Wallace attends somewhere between rarely and infrequently for a plan the following night where again the hope has to be Wallace sinply decides to go to a not even real address (we cant use the fsct he did in fact go as an argument because this is is circular as we disagree about WHWs involvement) The friend is to use an elaborate ruse pretending to be a client Parry named on the phone the night before ij a confusing 5 minute exchange which hopefully was relayed correctly along with the nonexistent address. All goes according to plan except Julia hears the cash box smash, and Parry’s buddy “M” smashes her, the last thing she ever sees is his gaudy ring. For some reason this occurs with Julia near the fireplace in the parlor attacked from behind like an assassination and not right next to the cashbox..

      2. William Herbert Wallace for some reason, perhaps something that occurred recently and unexpectedly has to get rid of his elderly wife. The reason may involve/implicate others and explain their willing or perhaps even necessary involvement. We at also, as others have pointed out in the dead of the winter in the midst of depression era Liverpool.

      He devises a confusing, slightly clever, but also full of holes plan and believes the voice on the other end of the line to Beattie not being his puts him in the clear.

      To me theory 2 is far superior and has significantly more explanatory power for this strange case.

  75. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi Josh,
    Glad to see this discussion getting back to the meat of the case.

    Regarding motive I was intrigued by your remark that maybe something that happened recently led to the murder. I too, without any evidence to support it, feel there was a “final feather” which triggered the tragedy.

    Parry made two off the cuff claims to J Goodman and R Whittington-Egan in the 1960s: 1. that he visited Julia, unknown to Wallace, for musical afternoons.
    2. that Wallace was “sexually odd.”
    These can be dismissed as outright lies designed to confuse and set hares running (as they have done). Or Parry is telling the truth which places him much closer to the Wallace menage than just the lad who helped Wallace with his collections in 1928. If Parry had anything to do with the murder he would surely want, even in the 1960s, to keep quiet about any involvement however innocent with the Wallaces.

    Then we have a lady on Wallace’s rounds asking him about the murder (I paraphrase):
    “Who do you think did it Mr Wallace?”
    “Someone who knew my routine”
    “A friend of yours?”
    “NO, a friend of my wife”
    I take this as a reference to Parry. Maybe “musical afternoons” was an exaggeration but ladies man Parry may have called round for a chat and a cup of tea. I think we can rule out bedroom frolics. Julia, even at her age, may have appreciated Parry’s banter as a relief from her serious husband. If Julia told Wallace of the visit(s) it is likely he would forbid their continuation. But maybe she didn’t tell him, and he had recently discovered…
    This “betrayal,” even though in my view quite innocent, would enrage any man, particularly one whose masculinity was doubtful. Add to this the well-documented anger attacks which often occur with kidney disease and you have a toxic brew.

    By killing his wife and naming Parry as a likely suspect Wallace was trying to kill two birds with one stone. In spite of Parry’s Brine alibi being checked out by the police and found to be solid, Wallace maintained Parry had done it until his (W’s) death. However he took no practical steps, e.g. by hiring a private detective to back his claims.


  76. Josh Levin says:

    Michael, I don’t fully agree with your conclusion however I am in agreement that there was something odd about the relationship between William/Julia and Gordon and that that is at the heart of this crime. I think in this sense we are on the same page and both seem to agree William was in one way or another involved in his wife’s murder.

  77. Michael Fitton says:

    Its interesting that in all his subsequent accusations against Parry – in his diary, and to the police – Wallace never mentions this “friendship” between Julia and Parry other than to include him in a list of several people, friends and work colleagues, who Julia would have admitted to the house. Wallace would not want to suggest any discord in his relationship with his wife.
    And if Julia nagged Wallace about their humble circumstances – living in a rented house in an Anfield back street – it isn’t difficult to imagine Wallace hatching a plan to kill his wife and to try to implicate Parry.

  78. GED says:

    Or the simple reason he doesn’t mention this friendship is because, as is suggested by Parry to JG & WE, he does not know about it. So again, going by what is documented and not theory/possibilities/hearsay – it is more simplistic that W is not involved. It takes elaboration and speculation to have him involved.

  79. Josh Levin says:

    GED , you are taking grains of truth and then making them incorrectly into absolutely unquestionable realities that have vinary issues.

    You say : It takes elaboration and speculation to have him involved.

    So why discus it then? Also I would disagree with you characterization.

    There is a difference between Michael’s somewhat fantastic theories and the fact of the matter that Parry and Wallace had an odd relationship and there have been 3 or more allusions to some strange sexual stuff going on.

    Again, if you wsmt to just claim this is all “prejudice and fancy” as Rod has then why even discuss it? I would admit what Michaael is specifically positing seems unlikely (wallace trying to frame Parry) but to juat completely dismiss other theories going by “what is documented” and “not hearsay/theories/possibilities” makes conversations impossible.

    Just fo the pub meetups then and have everyone agree with you.

  80. Michael Fitton says:

    Ged and Josh,
    Wallace mentioned Julia’s friendship with Parry to a client on his insurance rounds in 1931. This is not theory/possibility, or hearsay.
    Parry, in 1966, told JG/RW-E that Wallace didn’t know of his (P’s) supposedly secret afternoon visits but the evidence from 1931 indicates that Wallace, unknown to Parry, was well aware of Julia’s friendly relations (I’m not suggesting more than that) with Parry. So he knew of it but chose not to mention it to the police.

    Wallace trying to frame Parry is not “unlikely” as Josh puts it. It is established fact starting with the detailed description of Parry which Wallace gave to the police on 22 January 1931 leading to them investigating his movements etc thoroughly and eliminating him as a suspect. In spite of this Wallace continued to blame Parry not only in his diaries but on one occasion when they met by chance in the street.

    Theory, possibility and hearsay are the underpinnings of “strange sexual stuff going on” between Wallace and Parry for which there is no factual support whatsoever. That really is one for the “fantastic theories” file.


  81. Josh Levin says:

    Hi Mike,

    If Wallace tried to set Parry up, then how could he know that Parry would not have an alibi for the following night (Tuesday.) Which, in fact, he did.

    The fact that a guilty Wallace may have tried to, after the fact, point the finger at Parry or have thought of him as a possible fall guy is very different than a planned frame job.

    Sorry, but that theory is illogical.

  82. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi Josh,
    We agree more than you think! Of course Wallace could have no idea whether Parry had an alibi. His accusing Parry was a shot in the dark, a wild idea intended to direct suspicion away from himself. Even when Parry’s alibi was established Wallace still clung to this crazy belief.
    However he was careful not to mention the friendly relations between Julia and Parry as this might be taken as his motive for murdering his wife.
    It wasn’t a plan to frame Parry which would have been much more complex.
    After saying on the 20 January that he (W) had no suspicion of anybody he changed tack on the 22nd suggesting Parry (in some detail) to the police. This was in desperation when he found himself under suspicion. That same evening he questioned Beattie closely about the time of the phone call so I think he was in quite a state as he left the police station and heard the hounds gaining on him.

  83. GED says:

    Morning Michael and Josh.

    OK so if W was careful not to mention any P & J friendship to the police why did he mention it to a client who could have come forward with that information, In fact she must have at some point if we are all aware of it. There is nothing in his diaries to confirm this friendship is there and if W did confront P on the street, why do that if they are in any collusion with each other or is that part of the charade still – even after being cleared on appeal – so that doesn’t make any sense to have need to have happened.

    You say the police investigated P thoroughly but did they? They didn’t follow up the statement lie on P’s Mon night statement nor ask the witnesses (Brine/Denison etc) to elaborate on their 1 paragraph very similar statements.

    I am not supporting my claims by grains of truth but what is agreed on statements and in court. Why does Parkes ‘lie’ and put himself at risk of this wide boy P and his claims are backed up by Dolly Atkinson and are we to believe that suave womaniser P who thinks he could have any woman he wanted really be gay or wanting a sexual liaison with an elderly lady who wears a nappy?

    Don’t forget to have W do the murder himself there is still the no blood on him and tram time issue. To have him hire a hit man there is the simple fact that he doesn’t have to be anywhere near his house that evening at all and thus putting him out of the picture altogether and he’d make sure the insurance bounty was his payment.

    Let’s look at this more rationally as to how would you do it.

  84. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi Ged,
    Wallace mentioning “a friend of my wife” as the killer was after his appeal as he tried unsuccessfully to resume his rounds. By now he was in the clear legally and whatever he said couldn’t be used against him. It was in response to the lady’s query “A friend of yours?” Wallace replied “No! A friend of my wife.” It is quite possible that Wallace was mistaken and that Parry in 1966 was lying about the musical afternoons. There’s no proof either way.
    The street encounter between W and P is mentioned in W’s diary and in P’s Empire News article “Wallace accused me!” so its fairly certain something of the sort took place.

    I do not believe there was any collusion between W and P in any shape or form.

    While it is true that Wallace was in the frame right from the get-go, I cannot believe the police didn’t investigate Parry until they were satisfied. Not everything finds its way into the printed record and I too have found the rubber stamp short alibi statements of Ms Brine and the young Dennison to be worrying.The Liverpool police didn’t hesitate to prosecute Parry for his minor crimes before and after the murder so I can’t see them holding back if they suspected him.

    Wallace himself remains my chief suspect. The case against him is not watertight – the timings, the absence of blood and of an obvious motive – but this has always been a case of doubt. All the theories have weak points; we have to choose the least worst among them.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Choosing the “least worst” is quite removed from reality isn’t it. It’s approaching a true historical event like a fictitious mystery puzzle from a novel. It would never be an acceptable solution… Real life events don’t tend to actually play out in that manner… Rarely are explanations for X or Y action so convoluted in real life. Reality is incredibly un-chesslike.

      • Michael Fitton says:

        I agree that anyone’s “lease worst” theory would never be acceptable for the vast majority of people or beyond reasonable doubt.
        This is precisely why the case continues to be debated after almost a century with, according to AM Brown’s poll, opinions still fairly evenly divided between the various theories.
        I agree too that in real life things are rarely so convoluted and complex but this case with its Qualtrough call, a murder without obvious motive, and various suspects is factually complicated right from the “off.”

        • R M Qualtrough says:

          The lack of obvious motive is actually not that rare, mostly when something was investigated poorly. The pressure at the time was probably extremely high to make an arrest and they didn’t take the time they ought to, to fill in these blanks.

          At the time, a call being logged to a location probably excited them too much. Nowadays a call NOT being GPS tracked would be odd. Back then a lightning stroke of luck…

          By the way if the “no! A friend of my wife!” comment is after the murder, then it does make sense he would be quite sharp ahout calling the man he thinks killed his wife a friend.

  85. Michael Fitton says:

    Gallows humour
    Parry is charged with the murder of Julia Wallace, found guilty and hanged.
    Wallace writes in his diary: “Parry has been executed for the murder of my dear wife Julia.
    I do miss him.”

  86. GED says:

    Yes Michael, if we believe those encounters which are recorded by both W and P then they are far from friends, though of course, as with the rest of this case and where evidence can point in both directions, believers in their collusion could say this was to put you off believing they were in collusion. I of course don’t think they were.

    However, were the police so ready to thoroughly prosecute P for his other misdemeanours as he had one case dismissed on 24/7/36 as unproven (Argument with a woman then failing to provide his address) and the Rainhill assault dismissed. In fact, when prosecuted down in Aldershot didn’t the judge sentence him and remark how he’d been getting away with it in Liverpool. We also have to wonder why Parkes’ statement was dismissed (Dolly Atkinson and her sons back it up)

    For me, if you did the murder yourself, you don’t point the finger at a suspect in the hope he hasn’t got an alibi. I could also mention that this red herring alibi up at Menlove isn’t even an alibi because W doesn’t know about Close calling at 6.35 provides the alibi.

  87. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi Ged,
    You raise several good points.
    Re Parry’s “minor” crimes: to have a case dismissed means it went to court so the police had done their part.

    Re the Parkes story, the Atkinson’s said they believed Parkes. But if this is true, why didn’t they alert the police right away? If true, Parkes’s story was the closest we will ever get to a smoking gun in a case of brutal murder of a harmless old lady. Yet the Atkinson’s allegedly did nothing until Wallace was found guilty. Only then was Inspector Moore contacted. I don’t know, but to me it seems the Atkinson’s humoured Parkes rather than call him a liar or fantasist. Parkes should have been marched down to the police station and thoroughly grilled until the truth came out.

    Wallace fingering Parry who may have had an alibi was I think done in desperation. On that Thursday evening Wallace was told his call had been traced and timed, something he never expected. It was then, for the first time, that he mentioned Parry as a potential suspect. He deliberately encountered Beattie et al at the tram stop, but was not happy with Beattie’s “shortly after 7 pm” and persisted. I think the news of the call being traced temporarily threw him off guard and he flailed about to support his claim of innocence.
    Wallace was vague about whether the milk had been delivered before he left home saying “I believe it had been delivered before I left. I cannot be sure.”

  88. GED says:

    Ref Parkes. I think it is well documented that being wary of him as a wide boy (he knew him and his ways from school – P even demolishing a wall every night as a kid) Atkinson told him it was best he say nothing, he may even have been worrying about his garage – having had to tell the others he (P) wasn’t welcome after his attempted sneak robbery from he lockers and using the phone upstairs. Parkes was told to come to work a different way than the alley way. It was Parkes himself who said to the Atkinsons that we must go to the police if W is convicted of the murder though (if he wasn’t – no harm done in their mind) I know David Metcalfe on this forum mentions he read that P and ‘a friend’ goes back to Atkinson’s garage next day to lean on Parkes to say nothing. I cannot find reference to this now, perhaps it’s on Parkes statement on the 1981 phone in programme, I can’t remember. If so, this friend could be the murderer/accomplice.

    I think W asking Beattie to be more specific does not point any guilt at himself. Having found the call is now timed it would be natural even if innocent that you’d want the specifics dealt with to clear you once and for all.

    Regarding the police prosecution of P for his other offences, they did not do an ideal job in bringing the case before the judge if they were so easily dismissed. Back then there was no CPS but a DPP who advised on only important or difficult cases.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      There’s absolutely no record within the police files or even in Goodman’s research papers (from when he wrote his book) that Parkes had ever made any statements or been told anything by the police about using certain entries. His name appears absolutely nowhere.

      He just randomly came forward 50 years after the fact or whatever, with this tale.

      Tom Slemen was also similarly told an elaborate story about what John Johnston had allegedly told him about the murder.

      How heavy is it to be weighted do you think?

      • Michael Fitton says:

        The story of how Parkes was tracked down is in the book by Roger Wilkes well after J Goodman’s book was published. It was the Atkinson’s who advised Parkes to be vigilant and use different entries on his way to work (and they still didn’t report it!!)
        Without supporting evidence the alleged confession of Mr Johnston can be given zero weight. We don’t even know who Stan (who relayed the story years later) is.

        • R M Qualtrough says:

          Yes, right, Goodman did very intensive research prior to Wilkes and found absolutely zero mention of Parkes or Atkinsons’ garage in any records, and also received zero letters at all, mentioning this garage story. Is it true?

          There are other cases where people randomly come forward 30+ years later with “insane” stories about how X person was the murderer and visited their house covered in blood minutes after the killing. I could list some of those.

          They seem to miraculously materialize out of thin air many years later. Not a single word of the killer having turned up somewhere confessing to killing the victim having made the rounds enough in the grapevine to be widely known.

          • Michael Fitton says:

            I cannot believe that in 1931 Parkes kept quiet about the Parry encounter. Such a story would spread like wildfire and put Parry under pressure to account for his movements. Yet, as you say, prior to Wilkes it is nowhere to be found in any of the books.
            And if Parkes’s tale was widely known at the time how could a Liverpool jury convict Wallace?
            Wilkes accepted this fantasy uncritically, still I suppose it helped the sales of his book: “Wallace:the final solution.” Without Parkes he wouldn’t have a book at all.

    • Michael Fitton says:

      The Atkinsons deserve the strongest criticism if they put their own interests (the garage, Parkes’s reputation) above their moral duty to report this apparently crucial evidence in a brutal murder case.

      The visit of Parry with a friend to the garage is mentioned in the book by Roger Wilkes. Both identity of friend and purpose of visit are not given.

      Yes, Wallace’s insistence of getting Beattie’s recollection of the time of the call is consistent with both innocence and guilt.

      Wallace’s vague memory (if that’s what it was) of the milk being delivered before he left for Menlove does support his innocence. Surely a guilty Wallace would claim to remember clearly that the milk had not yet been delivered when he left the house.

  89. GED says:

    Morning All.

    RMQ you twice mention Parkes came forward. He didn’t. I thought you’d read the Wilkes book where he had to be sought out. If he hadn’t been, this story wouldn’t even exist.

    If Parkes is correct, only he and the Atkinson’s knew of the story so why would it spread like wildfire, in fact the Atkinson’s said to say nothing to anybody – it was their secret and theirs alone. I agree this is bad, so why then would they admit to this to thousands of potential listeners in the 1981 Radio City programme – best to still keep schtum.

    On the contrary Mike, surely it would help Wallace’s case to say I definitely left after the milk was delivered – thereby only giving him this short time to do the murder, clean himself up and make it to the tram stop – otherwise if he’d claimed to have left before the milk was delivered, that would mean he could have left anytime after arriving home at 6.05pm. Surely he knows the milk is delivered each evening and roughly what time. Close was running late as we know. If W was still in the house gone 6.35pm he would be sure to make sure he could corroborate this by saying he was still there after the milk arrived. The fact seems to be though that the late milk delivery is a happy coincidence helping to clear W as being the murderer as Julia answered the door. It is only speculation to say Close lied about seeing J.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      I read the book yes. This encounter I would have thought would have been in the police statements or, it not, at least in Hector Munro’s file (like the Greenlees statement is) since it essentially exonerates his client based on the case brought forward by the prosecution. The second prime suspect showing up to a garage hours after the murder, proclaiming how he just committed a murder and where he disposed of the murder weapon, with a blood soaked glove too.

      How much stock should be put into that?

      The guy was almost hanged. Parkes has, essentially, proof that someone else did it including the location of the murder weapon. How did it not at least get to the appeal courts?

    • Michael Fitton says:

      Hi GED,
      If the Atkinson’s had believed Parkes’s story, taken him to the police, and Parry had been interrogated until he confessed then Parkes and his employers would be seen as solid citizens who provided crucial evidence in a case of brutal murder. Instead Parkes was told to keep quiet about it. A policeman, Ken Wallace, visited the garage regularly on his rounds and told Parkes about the borrowed cape and waders (says Parkes). So at least one cat was out of the bag. Was KW sworn to secrecy too? Parkes used this to embellish his story which implies a planned murder of Julia Wallace by Parry! Roger Wilkes heard the tale from someone who had heard it from someone else. It is bound to have reached the ears of the police but they discounted it quite correctly as fantasy, especially after obtaining the Brine alibi. Dolly Atkinson (1981) recalled hearing the story but that doesn’t mean she believed it. The whole tale is too ridiculous for words.

      • R M Qualtrough says:

        And with Wallace facing a murder trial then being sentenced to death, Parkes etc allegedly having proof that Wallace is innocent and having the real murderer confess to the slaying (in so many words) AND even give up the location of the murder weapon, this information was not given to Wallace’s solicitors.

        Found absolutely nowhere. In no file. Even the garage is not mentioned in any file. No mention in any court proceeding including the appeal trial where the man was fighting for his life.

        Is it reliable information? Probably it’s nonsense if we’re being honest. Lol.

        • Michael Fitton says:

          Hi RMQ,
          Your phrase “probably its nonsense” says it all. And the implication of Parkes’s tale that Parry, intent on bloody murder, equipped himself with a Captain Haddock fisherman’s cape and waders…. it beggars belief. Plus blood stains hours old aren’t red. They are dark and could be dirt, oil, or paint. But Parkes immediately thinks of blood. Enough said.

          • R M Qualtrough says:

            Regarding the waders (etc) at least, I think it’s probably the case that there were rumours about Parry having done it, and people were saying things like “Mrs. XYZ says Parry borrowed her fishing gear a few weeks before the killing and never gave it back! That must be how he avoided the blood!”

            Regarding recognizing the markings on a glove as blood, it’s apparently in the dead of night this is all happening. Did the Atkinson’s garage have electric lighting I wonder?

  90. Michael Fitton says:

    Good point about the lighting. I assume they would need electricity to charge batteries and operate the high pressure pump for car washing etc. Maybe from a petrol-operated generator.
    Parkes claimed Parry gave him 5 shillings (20 pounds in today’s money) for the car wash. On a night when Parry was supposed to be particularly short of money! And the Atkinson’s told him to keep it!

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Yes though presumably if he’d just looted £4 from the Wallace house, 5 shillings of that as a hush money bribe after admitting you just killed someone (and telling them where you put the weapon too) would not be surprising.

  91. GED says:

    This would only be in Munro’s files if Parkes or the Atkinson’s told Munro but if this story is true, they didn’t, even W didn’t know about it. How Parkes puts it over is that his story was pooh poohed because Moore, under pressure for a result ‘Had his man’ and this whole new can of worms was something he didn’t need. For instance we know that P’s Monday night alibi doesn’t add up yet there’s nothing to say it was investigated any further? His Tuesday night alibi isn’t even investigated thoroughly. Did the police quiz Brine and Williamson any?

  92. GED says:

    Answer me this:

    If W is the killer, why the over elaborate Q alibi anyway (And only the unsuspecting Alan Close makes it an alibi at all, without Close it isn’t even an alibi at all) If W’s plan was just going to kill her after getting home at 6.05 then head to Allerton at 6.45, why not just do it on the Monday and head to the chess club and there’s his alibi as the amount of money in the cash box doesn’t matter to him so no need to wait until Tuesday when it will have possibly the most money in it.

    If you are going to say it was done on the Tuesday to make it look like a robbery then why have only a small amount in it? Or why not be seen heading to anywhere on the Tuesday without the need for the Q call by just going to Amy’s or be seen on a tram going anywhere and there’s his alibi. Why not do it then go and sit in the Drs waiting room feigning needing seeing to (we know the Drs were open in the evenings as J went to see hers (possibly to pay him) on the Monday night. The Tuesday only fits as a contrived plan if it is someone who suspects via previous knowledge, that this is the day a large bounty is expected.

    • Michael Fitton says:

      If Wallace was the killer then the Qualtrough/Menlove Gardens business was far from perfect as an alibi. He could do it between 6.05 and 6.45 but may have to take in the milk from A Close himself which would not help his case.

      I think he wanted to create the idea of a planned robbery which went wrong. It is possible that he left the gas fire in the parlour on a low flame to delay cooling of the body. He expected a competent pathologist to attend who would take a rectal temperature and estimate a later time of death than it actually was. He turned the gas fire off completely on his first visit to the parlour. Julia’s hand (the coldest part of the body) was still slightly warm to the touch when Inspector Moore arrived at ~10 pm. In this way the Menlove trip could have provided him with a possible alibi, but of course the body temperature was not taken. McFall’s first estimated time of death (from rigor) was 8 pm, later changed to between 4.00 and 8.00 pm.

      We can all think of “better” ways to have done the deed but only the people on the ground in 1931 knew all the facts and circumstances whereas our knowledge while extensive can be only partial.

      The Qualtrough ruse was a cumbersome and to many implausible way to get Wallace away from home but it was totally unnecessary for any culprit other than Wallace:

      Its Wednesday morning. Mrs Wallace answers the door to a young man in a dark uniform, peaked cap and carrying a clip board. He’s from the water board. Pipes have burst in a house further down Wolverton Street. There’s been a pressure surge. Can Mrs Wallace kindly go to the bathroom and turn on one tap. “Turn it off when I give the word while I check the kitchen.” Need I continue?
      The cash box is replaced to delay discovery of the theft. The uniform comes from Parry’a amateur dramatics society. Although Wednesday was the paying-in day, Wallace usually paid in on Thursdays.

      No Qualtrough. No Menlove Gardens. No message left at the chess club. Anybody could have pulled it off….except Wallace himself.

      • R M Qualtrough says:

        Your idea of the fire being left on is an intelligent one. Not something I have considered before myself, or seen proposed.

        However, the timings given about rigor mortis etc are 100% unreliable and scientifically inaccurate. Please read my dialogues with forensic professionals who commented on the findings. Fact is, even with modern techniques, the window of time provided by Allan Close and then Wallace/Johnstons later on, is tighter than can be determined from forensics.

        • Michael Fitton says:

          Thanks. I agree that the real “window of opportunity” is book-ended by the Close encounter and W’s arrival back home witnessed by the Johnstons. If Wallace was guilty he can never prove categorically that he’s innocent. The best he can hope for is to seed the case with several elements of doubt and it is possible (I put it no higher) that he left the gas fire on with this in mind.

  93. GED says:

    The Q ruse is even totally unnecessary for W too though. He only has to do the murder, stage the robbery and head to the Chess club on the Monday night. Doing this on the Monday also does away with the cash box contents ‘inside knowledge’ too thus widening the suspects pool from a couple of disgruntled ex employees of the Pru who might well have cast iron alibis. That makes more sense. We can’t on one hand say he was clever enough to take into account forensics and timing how long to leave the gas fire on but then to make more sillier errors. For instance, He was first to open the door to the police, he could just have said from the beginning ‘Oh look, the bolt was on which is why I couldn’t get in’ instead of all this about the locks, even dropping himself in it by saying’ It wasn’t like that this morning’. Surely he’d have thought of that if he’s thinking about body temperatures. Also leaving the body too warm could mean he went in, committed the murder and then came back out to engage with the Johnston’s before going back in again. As with lots of points in this case, there are as many againsts as there are fors.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      “As with lots of points in this case, there are as many againsts as there are fors.”

      They are pretty much all useless white noise. Humans to some extent can’t help but fall into schizophrenic-type thinking (schizophrenia is linked with creativity, which would have benefited us evolutionarily I read about it a long time ago)… Noticing something ancillary can lead to a snowball of apparent “clues” ending in a conclusion which is inaccurate.

      There are several solid clues within the case.

      Dissecting elements of planning and what it was MEANT to achieve is often just noise. Please look up pretty much any solved true crime case and see if you can’t come up with better ways to have done something. Pretty much ANY solved murder, see how real world cases and real people do not work with perfect logic… Now if that call box was never logged, maybe the caller would seem like a genius. The circumstances can change downstream – as in what might have initially been overlooked by the culprit becomes uncovered somehow (say unplanned logging of the precise telephone call time AND box), and suddenly it seems insane that they could not have simply done X, Y, Z to avoid the mistake they never foresaw.

      Careful not to fall into schizophrenia alley.

      This is why I ought to remove almost 100% of my “solution” page because it’s just white noise surrounding the real important facts.

    • Michael Fitton says:

      Wallace knew in advance that he would be the chief suspect in his wife’s murder. A distraction robber would expect to get away with the theft without being identified, and of course without the murder.
      I agree that Wallace had many alternatives to the Qualtrough plan which is inherently cumbersome and had several points of potential failure. It does however allow Wallace to draw in witnesses for every stage of his plan:
      1. Instead of quickly writing Beattie’s message in his notebook and apologising for the interruption to Beattie’s game (and his own) he makes a meal of it by mis-writing West instead of East, asking around if anyone knows Menlove Gardens, and interrupting the game of Mr Deyes with the query. This urgent need to find out about MG East evaporates overnight and he does nothing on the Tuesday to locate it.
      2. He pesters tram conductors on his trip to MG East, even on parts of the line he is familiar with.
      3. He is told within minutes of arriving at MG that MG East does not exist but he continues to collar everyone he meets with his questions,
      4. Had the Johnstons not been leaving their home at 8.45 Wallace would have gone to their house or to the Holmes house to get witnesses to his “difficulty” entering his home.
      So he has no less than four deliberately-created pools of potential witnesses as to the “authenticity” of the Qualtrough call, his consequent journey, and the discovery of Julia’s body.
      The Qualtrough business provides no real alibi for Wallace but it does provide a host of (mostly) manufactured witnesses to support his story. It could have been done differently but it wasn’t.
      All this assumes Wallace is guilty which is far from certain. As you say Ged, he misses several opportunities to distance himself from the murder e.g by saying the front door was bolted, by saying he left the house before the milk delivery etc. etc. but instead of being firm on these points, he was vague as if he genuinely didn’t remember such detail.
      I enjoyed reading of your trip to Parry’s patch in North Wales. He seems to have been a nasty piece of work right up to his dying day: “incredibly arrogant manner,” “used to get peoples’ backs up” etc.

  94. GED says:

    The solved cases are solved because we can come up with better ways of doing the crime than the perpetrator otherwise it may remain unsolved.

    As for the logged call: Some may say the faffing about was so that it was purposely logged. Some will say it’s just P trying to get the call for nothing (he was a phone box thief) Some will say why would W keep himself late for a 7.45 start be messing about like this and why not give himself plenty of time to make the call. Why make the call there at all, just make it in Lord st then toddle into the Chess club 5 minutes later. Personally I don’t think the caller was clever enough to know the faffing about would result in it being logged. That was just a happy coincident for P as it shone more light on W but then as above, would W sh1t on his own doorstep.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      They aren’t solved because we sat around asking about better ways they could have committed the crime, but because they themselves failed to do those things – which is the case in practically all criminal cases. In real world situations people overlook critical errors in what they believe is a good plan. Which leads to them being caught in a compromising position, i.e. caught in a lie or placed near the crime scene at the time of the crime and so on… What I mean is, their “master plan” had glaring holes but they thought it was good at the time they came up with it, and carried it out in spite of the various glaring holes, blissfully unaware of how easily they were about to be rumbled.

      I also doubt the caller had knowledge that messing with the box would cause the call to be logged to the minute in a logbook. In 1931, I really think that unless someone worked for a telephone exchange or knew someome who did, they wouldn’t be aware at all.

      As for the box used, the other possible location for a box is near the cafe which is actually a main town street, and unlike the box used, would be GENUINELY busy with a lot of foot traffic, and better lighting with streetlamps and such. I think there was a box at the south end of that town strip. The box used to place the call is more discreet and there is little in the way of lighting.

      Now, saw Wallace used the box near the cafe. Well, he exits the box and what you’re suggesting is that he loiters around the street there for a while before entering the chess club? So he would be seen by people (main town strip) just wandering aimlessly killing time? If that’s the suggestion I don’t think it’s much better for him to do that.

      If it was not common knowledge that the location of where a call was made from could be logged, then in the mind of the caller they are going to believe it’s completely anonymous whichever box they use. With the only concern being how busy the box and area surrounding it is, how private it is in visivility terms, etc.

    • Michael Fitton says:

      I too think the tracing and logging of the call was fortuitous and could not have been foreseen.
      Beattie stated that the 7.45 starting time was a “club rule” but he also stated that you could not be penalised if you didn’t start by 7.45. So there was a degree of flexibility about the starting time. Wallace seems to have arrived at the club like a ghost; nobody saw him arrive, he seems not to have greeted anyone although not wishing to distract their attention from the game this is understandable. One would think however that if he wanted to time stamp his arrival giving him a tight window in which to make the trip from Anfield he would have asked someone the time immediately on arrival “not wanting to be late for my match.” As usual, the facts point both ways.
      He could have made the call from a box closer to the club but this would give a shorter time interval between Beattie speaking to Wallace/Qualtrough on the phone and Beattie speaking to Wallace in person. From a guilty Wallace’s perspective, the longer this interval, the less likely his voice might be recognised.

      • R M Qualtrough says:

        “he also stated that you could not be penalised if you didn’t start by 7.45.”

        Where did you get this from please?

        Wallace’s first statement to Munro, he tells Munro he turned up at around 7.50 just so you know.

  95. Michael Fitton says:

    Line 278: Mr Beattie’s reply to Roland Oliver during Wallace’s trial.
    Thanks, I hadn’t known that Wallace had said 7.50.
    Incidentally, Wallace arriving at the club discreetly may have been deliberate: to prolong the time before he, inevitably, had to speak with Beattie.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Oh right yes, I misread you. Did he ever say anything about how you might not be penalized if you turned up after 7.45 (pm), in other words does turning up after 7.45 always ensure a penalty is applied?

  96. Michael Fitton says:

    Q You say it is a club rule that they have to start matches by a quarter to eight?
    A Yes. that is the club rule.
    Q What time are you supposed to start, at half past seven?
    A No, not later than a quarter to eight. They could start earlier by arrangement but you cannot penalise anyone if they do not start before a quarter to eight.

    So, “club rule” it may be, but liberally interpreted by the members which makes sense. Imagine arriving at 10 to 8 only to be told you can’t play!

  97. Josh Levin says:

    Sounds to me the “rule” was liberally (it at all) applied.

    However, I would argue the key point would be if the tradition was that matches started at 7:45 or before, anyone planning a murder would not want to risk showing up later than 7:45.

    (Not saying that Wallace is the killer or that this issue was considered, just discussing its possibly signficance.)

  98. Michael Fitton says:

    Yes, one would expect a guilty Wallace to arrive before 7.45 and to draw attention to his arrival. He was upset by the police telling him the call had been traced and logged at around 7.00 pm which may have been a deliberate deception or a genuine mistake. This time (“shortly after 7.00 pm”) was confirmed by Mr Beattie at the tram stop – a genuine mistake on Beattie’s part. Wallace persisted asking if Beattie could “get it any closer than that” which, in my opinion, an innocent man would not do. Beattie also seemed to think this behaviour was doing Wallace no good and advised him to say no more as “it might be misconstrued.”
    A point supporting his innocence is his telling Hector Munro that he had arrived at the club at ~7.50. Surely a guilty Wallace, since nobody logged the time of his arrival, would have given an earlier time making it a tight time window since the end of the Qualtrough call.

  99. Josh Levin says:

    Hi Micael,
    Interesting convo.

    Could the opposite point not be made perhaps however that if Wallace was erroneously lead to believe as early as 7 pm ish was being floated by the police, a later arrival might seem to reduce the risk he was the caller?

    In any event I think this is more of a minor point than a major one, it’s hard to glean much from it at least to my way of thinking.

  100. Josh Levin says:

    Hi Michael,

    Interesting convo we’re having here:

    If Wallace was erroneously led to believe the call time was around 7 pm by the police, perhaps he felt the claimed later arrival time made it seem less like he was a caller who went on a direct route from the box to the club.

    In amy event, I think it is hard to glean much from this either way.

    The one thing I would say is with confidence is that I definitely think it appears that the 7:45 rule was not often applied so it may be less likely to have been factored in or considered at all by the caller.

  101. David Metcalf says:

    Hello Everyone,
    Not posted on here for a while, but thought I’d share a theory that I’ve recently mentioned on the Facebook site.It’ll be interesting to see what anyone thinks!! Please excuse my use of upper case letters…I’m just aiming for a bit of emphasis…hope nobody minds.

    As most of us know, there actually WAS a Prudential customer with the surname of Qualtrough…Richard James Qualtrough, to be exact.Born in 1872, he’d have been 58/59 years old at the time of the murder.Qualtrough was a very religious man, and was caretaker of the Zion Primitive Methodist Church in Northumberland Terrace, Everton.He lived in number 8 Northumberland Terrace, which adjoined the church and was owned by it.This was standard procedure.In fact, it was at this address that he was questioned by Sergeant Harry Bailey, when Bailey was speaking to people in Liverpool with the surname of Qualtrough.Prior to getting the caretakers job, Qualtrough had been a trustee of the Jubilee Drive Primitive Methodist Church.Indeed, all of his family, and his father’s family had been, or still were, members of the Primitive Methodist Church.But this is where I believe it gets intriguing…because another very religious, and extremely enthusiastic member of the Primitive Methodist Church in Liverpool was none other than William John Parry…Gordon’s father.He attended the Hilberry Avenue Primitive Methodist Church in Tuebrook, as did his wife.Parry Senior was actually a lay preacher, a trustee, a circuit steward, helped arrange choir duties and later became treasurer.

    Now, I think it’s highly likely William John Parry and Richard James Qualtrough would have known each other through their church connections. I’m reliably informed that Primitive Methodists were pretty big on what’s known as “Shared Fellowship”, meaning that members would sometimes attend gatherings, meetings and services at churches other than their own. And as a circuit steward and lay preacher, Parry’s father would almost certainly have visited other churches of the same denomination.Indeed, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Gordon himself knew Richard James Qualtrough.As a young boy, he’d have had little choice but to attend church every Sunday with his parents, and could well have had some kind of contact then.The more I think about this, the more I’m convinced that Parry’s family was well acquainted with Qualtrough and his family…they’d have been moving in the same religious circles.

    And this is why I think Gordon has used the name Qualtrough when he made the telephone call…which I’m even MORE convinced he did than I already was!! He’s either known the name himself from his own church going days, or he’s heard his parents mention it.Indeed, three or four years earlier when Gordon was still employed himself by the Prudential, either of his parents may have casually mentioned to him that Qualtrough was actually a customer of the company he was working for.Gordon was a hardly a master criminal…far from it!! But in his mind, using the name of someone he knew to be an actual Prudential customer may have made him believe he was adding some authenticity to his bogus call.

    But there are a couple of other interesting things here too.Firstly, if the Parry and Qualtrough families WERE known to each other as I believe they probably were, then it means that Joseph Marsden, who used to be Qualtrough’s agent, is not the only person who could have provided Gordon with this unusual name.And secondly, it could also be the reason Gordon’s father told him to promise to never, ever speak about the case.As the details of the case emerged in 1931, and the name of Qualtrough has cropped up, Parry Senior has probably realised to his horror that his son has been involved, even if he wasn’t the actual killer. And it could also have been the reason for the alleged visit to the house of Sidney McCulloch Pritchard by Parry’s parents very soon after the murder to ask Pritchard, a seaman, to get Gordon on a ship out of Liverpool.And have a guess what religion Pritchard followed….??…Primitive Methodist!! His family also attended the same church as the Parrys.

    Anyway, as I said, I’ll be interested to see what other people’s reactions are to what I’ve said..


    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Just to check in with you. Did they actually attend the same church, or were they just both church goers? A lot of people were church people in 1931.

    • Josh Levin says:

      Hi Dave thanks for the interesting comment; it piques the research part of my mind. My question would be what utility does this really have to help distinguish between many of the different theories? I suppose you could argue it suggests that the caller was likely Parry/Marsden therefore a Wallace alone solution seems more unlikely, although, because this Qualtrough was in fact an actual client, I would argue this is a tenuous conclusion.

      Of the 2 differing possible theories that are currently frequently discussed (Conspiracy involving Wallace plus Parry and/or another (possibly Marsden) and part of a murder plot or a robbery-gone-wrong set up by Parry with the actual sneak-thief/murderer being “M”, in both cases Parry would likely be the caller. There is also other evidence to suggest Parry likely was the caller.

      I would also wonder how important the fact that this R. J. Qualtrough shared such a religious background with the Parry’s/Pritchard’s etc really matters because if the end result is still the same; the caller is Gordon Parry, what difference does it make?

      Here’s what I would say however: John Gannon posits the name was used because R. J Qualtrough was a known and difficult customer. This has always seemed counterintuitive to me, it seems a dangerous and unnecessary name for any one of the 3 suspects to use to draw attention to themselves without much benefit. I always supposed it could be chalked up to Parry just being a silly lad, which again I think is unlikely in the commissioning of such a serious crime (even if you believe it is a planned robbery and not murder taking place.) I would also add that there is no evidence to show that R. J. Qualtrough was a difficult customer; Gannon seems to have made it up. It pains me to have to say this as I liked interacting with him personally.

      Your explanation; just using the name of an older and established known family man type person from the past who Parry probably would know (who happened just incidentally to be associated with the Pru at one point) seems to my mind a better and more likely possibility.

      • R M Qualtrough says:

        Gannon is guessing Qualtrough is a “difficult client” or whatever, there is very literally zero evidence to support or dismiss that claim. It’s just plucked out of absolutely nowhere at all.

    • Michael Fitton says:

      The Wallace case is kept alive by the differing interpretations of existing evidence. It is rare indeed that new information is discovered. So Dave, it was a breath of fresh air to read about your recent research into Qualtrough. Well done!

      I agree that given the close-knit nature of these religious splinter groups (Plymouth Bretheren, Quakers, Primitive Methodists etc), it is possible that Gordon Parry had heard the unusual name Qualtrough. But I cannot see any advantage to Parry using it as part of his plan to lure Wallace away from home. Likewise, as Ged says, there’s nothing gained by the bogus address. The guts of the call to the chess club was a Mr X wanting Wallace to go to address Y. And Wallace would be tempted irrespective of MrX’s name or his address. “Qualtrough” and “Menlove Gardens East” had no more “pull” than “Rigby” and “132 Oakleaf Grove.”

      Incidentally, Parry would not be the first son of deeply religious parents to go off the rails. The parents of John George Haigh (The acid bath serial killer) were Plymouth Bretheren.

      In my opinion a guilty Wallace wanted to attach many unusual (and therefore memorable) features to his plan:
      a business call to his chess club
      the unusual name Qualtrough
      the imaginary address
      the feigned difficulty of entering his home etc.

      If indeed a Mr Qualtrough was an awkward customer at the Prudential this would be the subject of general gossip among the agents and Wallace may have heard the name in this way.

  102. GED says:

    To me, the police telling W that the call was made at 7pm would indeed trigger W to question Beattie because it would mean that the caller then couldn’t have been W if he only left his house at 7.15 for the Chess club on the Monday. So that action by him is natural.

    Regarding using the Q name. I think it was used because it is memorable. I doubt his name would be used because he is a known awkward customer as that alone if he was a known difficult customer could put W off wanting to meet him and he’d say ‘bugger that, he is hard work so I think i’ll give that one a miss’.

    • Michael Fitton says:

      Wallace could have nipped out to make the call at 7.00 pm before briefly returning home, then at 7.15 pm heading in the opposite direction to the tram stop he claimed he used. For this reason he was clearly unhappy with the 7.00 pm given by the police and Mr Beattie. As well he might be if he knew for sure it was ~7.20 giving him a much tighter time window to get to the club.It would explain why he pressed Beattie asking “Can you can get it any closer than that?” Beattie, seeing where this was leading, advised him to stop this line of questioning.

      I agree completely that the name Qualtrough was used because it is memorable. But how does this help a non-Wallace Qualtrough e.g. Parry? The name doesn’t have to be committed to memory – it will be written down and passed to Wallace.
      If Qualtrough was Wallace however, it was part of his plan to fix details in the memories of potential witnesses – he knew he would be the chief suspect. As I’ve said previously there was a lot of theatre and performance by Wallace at each stage of the plan. All designed to impress clear recollections in the minds of witnesses. Hence “Qualtrough.”

      • R M Qualtrough says:

        This is not related but I don’t know where to write such a comment. Is it a usual practice for the milk boy to open the front door of some homes with a porch (as the Wallaces had) and leave the milk there? So a scenario where the empty jugs are already in the porch and the door is open, Alan knocks then opens the dolr and leaves the milk in the porch, collects the empty jugs already in the porch, and waits for Julia/Wallace to come answer the door and take in the fresh milk. But nobody comes to the door so he just closes the front door and leaves.

        After the killing he brags to friends he’s the missing link in high profile murder case, making out that he was the last to see Julia alive. But his friends then pressure him into going to the police with this “crucial information” and he becomes trapped in the lie.

        I have checked all of Wallace’s writings about his wife, as well as quotes people claim Wallace said in regards to Julia, he does not mention the word “love” once… Julia was an older lady with money (landlord, big house), they sold her big house in Harrogate to move to a rubbish Liverpool district (their first Liverpool house was in a tragic area of poor people). Where is all the money? Wallace wears quality clothing, Julia is dressed in rags she has to fashion for herself. She keeps money hidden inside her skirt – perhaps so Wallace doesn’t know about it. Wallace goes out to chess club, has a home in their house turned into a laboratory with expensive equipment like microscopes etc. He has photographic equipment. Julia does not even have friends, Wallace claims they preferred it that way, though she had an active social life in Harrogate, particularly in regards to her music.

        Zero mention of love, mentions of Julia are largely mentions of superficial accomplishments that might be impressive to others (speaks French, artist, pianist). Marriage of convenience for financial gain. The woman was becoming very old and ill, and thus becoming a burden, perhaps even financially?

        Someone must contact the Prudential because life insurance was mentioned but a small figure, I don’t think it was investigated enough considering the man is an insurance agent. I would like to see all the policies he owned including terms of any policies relating to being burgled, and of course all the figures. It has been almost 100 years since Wallace died, will they not give such information? Imagine he took out a policy on her life a week before she died or something lol.

        • Michael Fitton says:

          Hi RMQ,

          My sentiments exactly!

          The Close encounter
          Alan Close would want to complete his milk round as fast as possible so it would be his preferred method of delivering the milk, in agreement with the customer, for the customer’s jugs to be left behind the slightly open door. Alan would fill them from his cans then close the door without seeing the occupant. Or he left his full cans behind the door, these were emptied into the customer’s jugs by the customer while he was at his next call doing the same thing. He then returns for his empty cans and closed the door. This is what happened at the Johnston’s. Why not at the Wallace’s?
          His sighting by Allison Wildman standing “waiting” on the Wallaces’ doorstep has in my view been given too much importance. It was a momentary sidelong glance by the observant Wildman; he saw Alan at the Wallace’s door – this is not disputed.
          Yes, i consider it to be a possibility, putting it no higher, that Alan Close became trapped in his own lie about seeing Julia.
          Even Judge Wright seems to have had his doubts with his pointed question ”You did see Mrs Wallace, didn’t you?

          The Wallace marriage
          Yes, there’s no doubt that Julia had come down in the world by marrying the unambitious William. And I’d bet a pound to a penny that she reminded him of it. If in addition Parry had been dropping in for an afternoon chat (I discount anything more) and Wallace found out about it….


          I’m pretty much convinced this aspect was examined thoroughly. Wallace, being in the business, would be careful not to leave such an obvious motive to be discovered.

          • R M Qualtrough says:

            And the benzidine testing I was promised via Radio City’s narrated re-telling fo the crime had been done on the pipes, is this true or what? Because searching now, I cannot find it.

            Antony claims Roberts did benzidine testing. I have all of Roberts’ statements here (some are blurry, Gannon took those photos for his book research). I cannot see benzidine testing mentioned. The blood pattern expert I hired a couple of years ago suggested the blood upstairs should NOT be disregarded as it often is.

            Are you saying it could just genuinely be the case that Allan made up his sighting for clout with his young friends (which forced him into sticking to the lie when they pressured him to see the police), and that Wallace killed his wife using a spanner as he claimed the weapon to be in his John Bull articles (causing the repeated tram-line laceration marks on her skull), took money from the cash box and stuffed it into the vase upstairs (hence the blood smear across the £4 notes – the same value as the claimed burgled amount), then washed in the bathroom, depositing the spot of blood, then got dressed and left by the back door of his house? And that John Parkes used local mythology about iron bars (which looks to be PRESENT in the crime scene photo which is weird) and grids, etc, as was common legend in the area seen in statements made by others, to make up a fabricated tabloid tier story – none of which is recorded in ANY file, neither police NOR Wallace defence solicitor, even though the man was sentenced to death and Parkes had absolute proof of his innocence, being brushed off by the police he didn’t go to Wallace’s solicitor or spread the legend around enough that it did get to Munro.

            Is that sort of what you are getting at?

  103. Josh Levin says:

    Seems we are in agreement the caller didn’t use the name because of the pru customer and that Mike’s theory as to how the caller might have thought of the name seems quite possible (if not probable).

    Ultimately thought, as stated before, all this really does is re-iterate the fact that the caller was most likely Gordon Parry which we mostly all seem to agree on at this point.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      I think the name is because of the Pru client, to help further make it look like an insurance-business-related targeted robbery. He’s been called out for a meeting to discuss insurance work (already, caller suggests knowledge of Wallace’s insurance work). The insurance round collection money has been looted with nothing else touched, suggesting familiarity further (as well as intimate familiarity with the Wallace home). And the client name chosen happens to match closley the name of a Prudential client.

      There isn’t really any incoherence in the suggestion of it all. E.g. it’s not seeming insurance targeted but then the name is like an ex chess club member’s name. It all aligns with the insurance work in each facet.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Hang on I need to investigate this.

  104. GED says:

    Ref why Q was chosen. Yes I agree it was because it was a name P knew of as a genuine Pru customer, otherwise it’s far too coincidental. Yes I agree it was chosen because it was memorable instead of a customer called Smith, Jones, Taylor, Murphy but I don’t think him being difficult or awkward had anything to do with it as that is off putting.

    Why the Tuesday for the murder: The more I think about it, it’s nothing to do with that is when the most money will be in the cash box. The call has to be on the Monday as the call will be made to the chess club and that’s when W goes there. So it automatically follows that the Tues is the night for the murder. Giving W only from about 8pm until the following night to try to find if the address actually exists and is also a short enough time. For instance the caller on the Monday did not say please call on me on thurs or fri as that would give W more time to think about not going or find out for sure the address did not exist. Wallace making the call would not shorten his suspect pool to just 1 or 2 by making this all about someone knowing about the cash box, I think this could just be yet another fortuitous coincidence.

    Was MGE used because it doesn’t exist?: I’m not too sure because although it did keep W up there a good while longer, would P or Another know it didn’t exist. Even sending him to MGW would be long enough to keep him out for a robbery and he probably still would have tried MGN, S & E if Katie Mather at 25 MGW would have been where he was sent in the first place. At least sending him to a proper address could not have spoiled the plan.

    Anyway, keep up the thinking. We also have to work out why the murder took place in the parlour, from what direction (definitively) and what part the fire played in it. Had it just been lit causing the whoosh or had it been lit for a good while to provide the clays effect.

    • Michael Fitton says:

      As you say, the lack of flexibility in the appointment, with time, date, and meeting place being rigidly defined is most unusual. It should have raised suspicion in an innocent Wallace. If Q said “I’m at home every evening this week between 7pm and 8 pm” it would give Wallace some wiggle room to meet him.
      Wallace did not ask Beattie the most obvious question: “Did Mr Q leave his phone number?” He had every reason to ask this question: confirmation of the meeting, what type of “business” was envisaged by Q?, the best way to get to MGE, and simply to confirm that Q was serious and not a crank given the unusual mode of communication out of office hours. But he didn’t. Was that because he knew the call was from a public phone box?

      • Josh Levin says:

        Hi Michael: I think you succinctly raise a crucial point here. This aspect of the case is probably why it is so hard for sk many to believe in Wallace”s total innocence: I am in total agreement.

        “As you say, the lack of flexibility in the appointment, with time, date, and meeting place being rigidly defined is most unusual. It should have raised suspicion in an innocent Wallace. If Q said “I’m at home every evening this week between 7pm and 8 pm” it would give Wallace some wiggle room to meet him.
        Wallace did not ask Beattie the most obvious question: “Did Mr Q leave his phone number?” He had every reason to ask this question: confirmation of the meeting, what type of “business” was envisaged by Q?, the best way to get to MGE, and simply to confirm that Q was serious and not a crank given the unusual mode of communication out of office hours. But he didn’t. Was that because he knew the call was from a public phone box?”.

        To at least not admit the preceding is “odd behavior” from Wallace is to not being honest.

  105. Josh Levin says:

    Hi Ged, to my thinking, it seems more that the fake address is unneccessary (and perhaps even arguably counterproductive) for the caller, whoever he is and whoever he may or may nor be working for/with. Could it have been misheard? I would argue west and east do not sound similar, but who knows.

    I do not think the fake address helps a genuine “sneak theft” robbery attempt in any way.

  106. Michael Fitton says:

    Hi RMQ,
    Reply to your posting today 14.9.23
    Yes, we can quibble about the details but your description does reflect the murder as I see it. We don’t know that the 4 pounds in the jar upstairs was the same as the 4 pounds taken from the cash box. Wallace himself shed no light on this. Why keep this cash in a bedroom jar? Also I cannot speculate on who deposited blood on the notes or the toilet pan. Surely a killer other than Wallace would have taken these notes. I think the simulated robbery evidence was arranged before the murder to save time.
    As to the murder weapon and Wallace’s belief that it was a spanner. I have always found Wallace’s John Bull article in which he speculates in some detail as to how his wife was killed, to be in extremely bad taste. If someone asked me how I thought my wife had been murdered I’d say “I have no idea. Your opinion is as good as mine or anyone else’s.” and I would refuse to put my name to such speculative tripe. Its almost as if Wallace is taunting the reader: “This is how I did it but you haven’t proved it.” Remember what he said to Hector Munro: “Well, we won Sonny, didn’t we!”

    I think that it was indeed gaining “clout with his friends” which initially prompted Alan Close to say he saw Mrs Wallace. He hadn’t mentioned it to the police on his first visit to No 29, and had to be pressured by his pals to report it at all. After that point there was no going back. But I can’t prove it. I do however think that the answer lay with the girl Elsie Wright who at one point said she didn’t question Close about it “because it was nothing to do with me.” Which sounds very much like advice Elsie may have been given by her parents.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Okay great, thanks. What would you think of something like this?:

      Here are Allan’s statements:

      There is more in the trial which is uploaded. Can skip to Allan Close with CTRL + F on the PDF… I know Elsie had seen Julia the evening prior, so it was not an arrangement of theirs to do with the milk what they did for the Johnstons? What do you think?

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Wallace was taking some German medication for his kidneys, prior to the NHS being founded, he would have to pay for this medication (and also pay for any related medical care/appointments). Caird asked him about it the evening prior, it is in his statement as found on this site, and Wallace said he had stopped taking it because his kidneys weren’t a bother. What if he instead stopped taking his medicine because of financial pressures, and he’s trying to cut costs? This causes him to build resentment towards Julia because he blames her for the financial difficulty, considering she doesn’t work and is elderly (69 at the time of her death, Wallace only 52) and ill a lot, paying her own medical bills. Wallace grows resentful because he is walking around on insurance rounds earning money but the money is going out on expenses for Julia’s medical bills.

      Julia has fallen ill yet again recent to the murder. She had to go to Curwen’s the evening before her death to pay a medical bill. This bill must have been expected as she had to go in to pay it. Similar incidents regarding sickness and the resulting costs, while Wallace is suffering working in a never-promoted career with one diseased kidney he can’t afford to treat, walking all over Clubmoor and Liverpool to pay in collection fees (Wallace is an ill man, an insurance collection agent is an active job requiring a lot of travel), brings the resentment to a head.

      Julia hides money in her clothing out of secrecy, to hide it from Wallace, because arguments relating to money are becoming more prominent and the family financial situation looking bleeker recent to the murder. She does not work and brings in no money to the household, but her age and ailments (tuberculosis I THINK was a year prior, this can be checked, Dr. Coope mentions it as well as I think Curwen) prevents her from effectively carrying out any household duties, and also requires payment. The Wallaces are struggling with medical ailments and resulting bills yet Julia cannot be bothered to, or is too ill to, clean (several statements: the woman is dirty [see Mather], stinks [Parry in his newspaper article], I believe there are more) so they have to pay out for a maid too, further taking from the family pot. Wallace resents that his wife takes the money for her medical bills, but cannot even be bothered to clean and perform basic wifely duties.

      And that would be a suggested motive.

      How it happened:

      On the day Julia is murdered, Wallace suggests to her they have a musical evening. Please check Wallace’s statements: The last time he played the violin was in the kitchen. Here is the statement:

      “On Monday the 19th I left the house at 10 a.m. rose at 8.45, and my wife got breakfast. I collected all morning, and arrived home at 2.50. I had dinner and did not leave the house that afternoon. My work was so arranged that every other Monday afternoon was free. I spent the afternoon doing my books and generally getting my papers straight. We had tea about 5 p.m., and at about 5.30 I then had about an hour and a half on my violin in the kitchen (unaccompanied). My wife was reading.”

      The violin however is seen over the armchair in the parlour in the murder room:

      He has asked Julia to accompany him on piano in the parlor. She’s bent and lit the fire and he smashed her over the head with a wrench many times, leaving the tram-line markings on her skull as seen in example:

      The events play out precisely as per the John Bull article, she is bludgeoned to death with a wrench.

      • Michael Fitton says:

        I’m old enough to remember those pre-NHS times. In my family you had to be at death’s door before a doctor was called, due to the cost! The Wallaces seem to have been regular patients of Dr Curwen. Wallace himself said they did not regard Julia’s slight cold as serious so her Monday evening visit to Dr Curwen was mainly to pay an outstanding bill for treatment. Was Dr Curwen pressing for payment? Had the Wallaces run up quite a tab with him? Going out on a cold mid-winter night only to pay a bill does have some urgency about it.

        The reason Wallace gave for changing into his “fawn coat” for the MGE trip was that the weather had improved so he left his mac hanging on the hall stand. Having grown up in Cheshire I know that the winter weather is unpredictable and after all, his mac was good enough to be worn while on Pru business during the day. There’s no sign that he took an umbrella so this change of coat, while it may be an innocent coincidence, was convenient for the killer who, I am convinced, used it as a shield against blood spatter. It also suggests a planned murder rather than the brutal over-reaction of a thief seeking to avoid identification.

        • R M Qualtrough says:

          Going there just to pay a bill, when she is ill herself, is odd. Would Wallace not run it round there instead of making her go walking through the winter night alone and sick? Unless she was going for an appointment.

          Wallace says he told her to go to Curwen’s on the chess evening for the doctor to attend to her, give her medicine for her illness etc, but Joseph wrote a note to Munro that Crewe had stated she came to pay a bill.

          Regarding the jacket, I believe Wallace had already worn the trip-jacket earlier in the day. The Mackintosh had also been worn by him earlier in the day. He left it hanging up to dry he says, since it had gotten wet.

  107. GED says:

    It is only speculation to make it fit an agenda of a guilty Wallace to say Alan close is fabricating anything. Here is what his statement says

    ”I know the accused and his wife who lived at 29 Wolverton Street. I delivered milk there for about two years. Mrs Wallace took in the milk from me between 6 and 6-30 each day”.

    So by this, it is the norm for Julia to take the milk in and it would indeed be not only out of the ordinary but extremely extraordinary for Julia not to have been seen and given the murder what has just happened, Alan’s story (even of not seeing Julia) would still be pivotal to the case as it could mean she had been killed and that William had put the empty cans by the door for Alan to collect and pull the door to (as he does with the Johnston’s) but would be unusual for him to do at the Wallace’s. You see another example of how any slight action in this case can sway just as easily for an innocent W as it does for a guilty W.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Are you able to find the information relating to the benzidine testing, as in information actually in the case files and not gossip on Radio City before the case files were actually available (at that time: the truncated trial transcript was widely available).

      Has such a test ever been used to detect blood in plumbing pipes? I have largely seen it done on surfaces like floors, walls, clothing etc. Not anywhere waterlogged.

      Is this case merely junk-science created from idle gossip rumors? Is it not the case that Gannon presents a “forensic” interpretation which involves Julia having sex with Marsden on the chaise then rolling around the floor entwined in battle? Does Goodman not simply state the blood upstairs is left by cops as if it’s an established fact which has now been accepted, even though 2023 forensic experts seem puzzled as to why the upstairs blood should be disregarded as contamination?… Is it true that idle gossip not found anywhere in any case file whatsoever (not even Goodman’s initial research files which contain tonnes of rumors he unearthed and letters written in to him) is accepted as though it was in the actual case files?

      I have not bothered with the case for a long while, I used to know every tiny detail like the back of my hand, and the detachment is surprisingly helpful. Clearly this is a poisoned case. If you accept as given evidence something which outright didn’t happen or is just outright BS of course it will be “unsolved” for all eternity. Like imagine some hack just made up some BS that the drains were definitely not used for a cleanup job, with literally zero evidence whatsoever (and zero investigation further to that by the way – e.g. not actually bothering to get in touch with a forensic professional and present the evidence, see how reliable the tests even are), and it turned out they were and it was just made up lies LOL.

      I think I have every single file on this site. And I think on Facebook or SOMEWHERE I even did put Goodman’s papers a while back if you recall. And NOBODY in the UK has ever retrieved those as they were in Kansas (USA). I cannot find “benzidine” with a CTRL + F anywhere except claims by authors who don’t provide the source?????

    • Michael Fitton says:

      Hi GED,
      I make no apology for doubting the veracity of Allan Close. His initial reluctance to go to the police (which he denied on the stand), his denial on the stand that he said he was the”missing link”, his failure to mention seeing Mrs Wallace on his first visit to the house that evening, and his hesitant, unconvincing performance at the trial – all this suggests deception.
      It is vital that crucial evidence from an uncorroborated source be examined thoroughly.
      However the available evidence does indicate that Mrs Wallace habitually took in the milk after a face to face meeting with Allan Close.

      • R M Qualtrough says:

        I don’t think he factored it in honestly. A scenario where Allan did not see Julia, I moreso envision Julia lying dead in the parlour and Wallace combing his hair and whatever else, then there’s a knock on the front door. That’s when he realizes what’s happening. Allan is at the Johnstons now delivering milk. Wallace goes and grabs the empty jugs and shoves them out into the porch and closes the door.

        Allan returns to the doorstep, and waits because he is used to Mrs. Wallace coming to the door. After waiting a while, he realizes she isn’t coming and closes the Wallace front door to.

        Something for people to keep in mind because it is easy to forget, is that the Wallaces have a porch, which factors into the viability of such a scenario.

        Allan goes from bragging in sing-song schoolboy manner (“I’m the missing link!” thumbing his suspenders), to the sudden gravitas of friends telling him it’s not a funny thing, but a really serious incident, and they better go to the police. Naturally he is reluctant now… He delivered milk to the police at the murder house already, before giving his statement, and did not mention anything to them at the time, although the reported time of Julia’s murder was in the papers already.

        • Michael Fitton says:

          And of course the only “evidence” we have that Julia regularly took in the milk from Alan Close is from Close himself, the guy who never said “missing link” and who “wasn’t reluctant to go to the police”
          To quote Mandy Rice-Davies: “Well, he would say that wouldn’t he?”
          Elsie Wright says she saw Julia the previous evening so at least Julia showed up sometimes. Its still a puzzle.

  108. GED says:

    I agree that we have to deal with the case files and statements as are and if they are false, provide evidence. We can provide evidence that P fabricated his Monday night statement at the times where it mattered (even if the Police didn’t for some unknown reason). IF the police did notice it and pull him, we should see an amended statement but we don’t. We cannot find any evidence that Alan Close did not see/speak to Julia. In fact as stated above it was very natural and routine for him to do so as she always took the milk in and presented the empties to Alan in person. The Benzidine and drains tests? Well we have an expert to say the Holy Trinity clock was correct and that the body was slain between such and such a time and yet no trams tests for Monday nor expert statements for those who took out the fire or checked the bath and drains for blood.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Are you sure there isn’t anything about the fire, bath, or drains, or benzidine testing? I looked myself but perhaps you can find it, I easily might have missed something since there is a lot of case files. I haven’t checked the police detective statements for the mention yet, I have a feeling Moore or someone might have mentioned it.

      If that whole thing is fabricated tabloid rumor mill stuff and there was no such testing – or just simply that such testing is impossible to get a result from when used inside water pipes, it would mean that ANY assailant could easily have washed at least part of themselves clean (e.g. hands, forearms, face, neck, hair) before leaving the property.

    • Josh Levin says:

      Please provide a source for the benzidine test that was specifically done in the Wallace case by Professsor Macfall in January 1931, a summation of what it means, and a general analysis of benzidine tests in general; their efficacy and accuracy etc.

      This is a tremendously important part of the case.

      Rod Stringer and Antony M. Brown claim to be worldwide experts on this case that know each aspect of the case in and out. This should be a breeze for them to provide the very little bit I have asked.

      I am going to start taking an inability to do so as admittance that they do not have what I am asking for and are therefore dishonest/bad faith actors.

  109. Josh Levin says:

    Listen, there has to be a source for the benzidine test. I wanna see it. Someone, show it to me. Antony M. Brown claims to have it. I want to see it. Rod quotes it as verbatim, so does Gannon.

    I think the benzidine test is either made up and/or there is something critical about its accuracy/reliability (not talking the nitpicky stuff aspies argue over about) that is being obfuscated here.

    Someone prove me wrong.

    Also Goodman’s assertion that the spot of blood on the pan (this is what supposedly caused McFall to insist on conducting the benzidine test) was “almost certainly accidentally deposited by the police” is a hilarious and outrageously unwarranted assumption in my humble estimation.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      I have researched this. I cannot find any reference to the use of benzidine. However, perhaps more importantly, I have found that benzidine testing down drain systems would not be effective anyway, even if it WAS done. This whole time I have been confusing benzidine with luminol.

      I also until now forgot that the NHS was not existent back then. In the UK you just kind of assume it has always been that way. I noticed when reading the statement that Julia had been to Dr. Curwen’s to pay a BILL. The Wallace’s are paying for healthcare. This is very significant.

      She was previously like a sugar momma basically, Wallace had her stately home sold to move into squalor, bought all sorts of expensive lab equipment, clothing, lived it up attending clubs etc. Julia had lots of friends in Harrogate. She has no social life in Liverpool, she has to HIDE money in her clothes it looks like? Why else might she keep money down her skirt? Because it’s OBVIOUSLY and VERY CLEARLY not for the sex games Gannon claims where Marsden lifts her skirt to take the money as prostitution payment to have sex with her. OBVIOUSLY. So it does seem to be a good shout that she’s hiding money from Scrooge tier husband.

      Now she’s not only outstayed her usefulness as a rich woman, now she’s old, and sickly. She was coughing up blood at some point prior (was it a year prior? – Tuberculosis is suggested by the doctor). She’s an ill old lady who may be incontinent (the material in her dress?) and is a FINANCIAL BURDEN spending out on doctors bills. See the diary entries, every year looks like ill, ill, ill, Wallace depressed, ill, ill, complaining about money, ill, ill. Every “ill” is a financial drain.

      Makes sense now doesn’t it? Wallace wrote in a prior diary entry, that he has problems with money, so it is at least sometimes a concern for him. He’s also a 10 year+ insurance agent with zero promotion ever.

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

      Note she had to remind him, note that he speaks of it as a “step”, discussing marriage with Julia almost like a business deal, very cold, very formal.

      • Michael Fitton says:

        I agree, and the points you raise cannot be interpreted both ways i.e. indicating Wallace’s guilt or innocence. Taken together they suggest a marriage which had gone sour. Appearances had to be maintained however and the Wallaces appeared to be a devoted couple to outsiders.
        A potential reason that the benzidine test for blood cannot be used in drains is that it gives a false positive result in an oxidative environment – where ever bleach (Sodium hypochlorite) may have been used. I used to be an industrial chemist.

  110. Michael Fitton says:

    To return to the “Parry as Qualtrough” debate: Parry was a disorganised petty criminal. His crimes were opportunistic for immediate gain: rifling cash boxes in public phone booths, stealing cars, or short-changing his employers. Even the alleged indecent assault business was, if it happened as the girl described, a spontaneous affair.

    The Qualtrough ruse, although far from perfect, was planned and organised with the gain later and uncertain as to the amount. It may have involved collaboration with others – another departure from his known m.o.

    Only the testimony of John Parkes (and nobody else) states that Parry could change his voice. He was an amateur actor with no formal training in acting techniques such as voice change in different roles. Why should he change his voice when making random hoax calls from the Atkinson’s office? He was an anonymous mischief caller.

    Making these hoax calls does sound like something Parry would do and it has been taken as true by “Parry as Qualtrough” supporters but again the only source is the unreliable Parkes.

    Parry gave a false alibi for the Monday evening. If this was deliberate he was crazy to do so. The Q call took 10 minutes tops so in common with hundreds of other people he probably couldn’t account for where he was at 7.20.

    Good for thought….

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      It’s quite reasonable to assume that Gordon would be able to speak in a different voice. Even most ordinary people can speak different to a degree if they try, for an actor it is probably a fair bit more trivial. People often do fake voices for hoax calls because it’s funnier.

      I considered the idea of a mistake on Parry’s part quite extensively before, but I don’t think it’s reasonable as a mistake. One of the main reasons, really, being that the alibi he gave is for a Monday, so start of the work week. It would be difficult to mistake a Monday for a Sunday or even Saturday as a result. Tuesday he gave the account of his day coherently without error. I think he was being purposefully deceitful when giving his “alibi” to the police, perhaps for some other reason (perhaps he simply didn’t have a good alibi, because maybe he was just driving around in his car aimlessly, perhaps he even USED a telephone box at some point).

      • Michael Fitton says:

        Good points. This just occurred to me: why would Parry (Qualtrough) need to change his voice when, although he may have spoken previously with waitress Gladys Harley (“One coffee, please”), he almost certainly had never spoken with Mr Beattie. So even his natural voice would do the job.
        Yes, when people try to deceive (Parry’s false alibi) it doesn’t automatically indicate guilt. I do think Parry, from an alibi perspective, could have made the call, but for me there’s no other reliable indication that he did.

  111. Josh Levin says:

    This site is clearly patrolled and viewed frequently (I would guess daily) by Rod Stringer and Antony M. Brown, so at this point I conclude there is no benzidine test results that are reliable.

    I have to say I am extremely disappointed by how this case (which is for sure a classic) has been treated by authors/”connosieurs” over the years. As a true crime buff, I do not feel this way with any other similar (50+) cases, so I would argue probabilistically the problem is not with me.

    For whatever reason, this case seems to attract a disproportionae amount of bad faith actors/people on the spectrum.

    Anyways, it appears to me the killer washed and that there is no reason to think that the blood clot on the pan was not deposited by the killer (Jonathan Goodman arguing otherwise is hilarious to me).

    Because of this, I would argue that the killer is most likely to be William Herbert Wallace himself and I regret being dragged down convoluted theories by dishonest authors/lying case “experts.”

    The only part of the case that I think still is interesting is I would concede Parry still seems suspect as the caller, but it’s not enough of a point to overcome the rest.

    • Michael Fitton says:

      Hi Josh,
      I can understand your frustration at the absence of reliable information on the benzidine test. I suppose you have checked out Mark Russell’s book on the case which for me is the most detailed treatment of it to date. I will check my copy when I can find it!
      I looked on the internet and besides oxidising agents (bleach) giving a false positive reaction the test also gives false positives with a whole range of plant-based food residues e.g. grapes etc etc. The reagent benzidine itself is highly carcinogenic and full protective clothing must be worn when using it. The thought of a bumbler like McFall using it gives me the shivers, not only for him but for others. I hope this helps.
      If Parry had been the caller by arrangement with Wallace then the latter would be sure to be at the club in person to receive the call.
      Best regards,

      • R M Qualtrough says:

        It would give false positives but not negatives. If the test said there was no blood present somewhere, then it’s neither blood NOR is it the elements which would cause false positives.

        However, applying the test down a drainage system with running water would be a tragic butchering of its use case scenario. I don’t think it would actually work at all but I would need to check further.

        Benzidine testing is mentioned in Goodman’s book in regards to the clothes only. Goodman wrote his book long before the case files were publicly available, so probably another “rumor mill” type claim in any case, if there is not further supporting evidence in case files.

  112. GED says:

    Good Morning all. Firstly I have asked on the Wallace facebook site if Rod or Antony can come up with any specific evidence for the tests you enquire about CJ/Josh. I think it is not constructive in finding new/hidden evidence if we are all against each other in an aggressive manner. We all have different opinions on the case and I respect others and it doesn’t make the others wrong, just a different take on events and it is what makes the case so special isn’t it.

    It was 1928 before Luminol was discovered to be of any use in detecting iron in Hemoglobin where it gives off a temporary blue glow which can then be recorded by photography before it disappears. It was 1937 before it was first used in police forensics so is no use in this case. Benzidine as described by Mike is not a fool proof method due to acting against other cleaning agents used within plumping pipework after washing or wanting to rid the drainage system of blood traces.

    So what do we have to work with that is known and not just speculation:

    The police found no evidence of a towel having been recently used for drying someone who’d taken a bath or a wash in the bath and who would do that anyway with a bloodied body lying downstairs and a murder weapon to dispose of, especially if having to leave hastily to catch a few trams on a phony alibi trip – surely not Wallace. They found a damp nail brush, Wallace does claim to have washed before leaving for MGE.

    Is Parry involved in the phone call or even involved at any point at all as is now somehow being claimed in the above weekend’s posts. Well according to RWE and JG on confronting P at his London flat, P does know more about the case than he will disclose but he promised his Father that not even for £1000 would he speak about it. He also goes on to state that may change in the future for monetary gain but only if done properly as he was let down once before about being paid to provide his story. So, again going off what is recorded by first hand knowledge and not discounting this ‘evidence’ to suit a different agenda, what does P know that is so damaging that his Father has told him never to speak about it? If RWE and JG are making this up, why be so vague, just go the whole hog and say Mr X has admitted to the murder – or had admitted to the call and claim to have solved the case once and for all.

    Who says P changed his voice to make the Q call if it was indeed him? He may not have. One description of it is as an ‘ordinary voice’ (Was Wallace’s voice Lancastrian -Cumbria was then Lancashire) What is an ordinary voice? – a Liverpool voice? Another description of it was an older mans voice. This fits with W but could fit with P or another putting on a voice (not to mimic W especially) but in case their own voice was distinctive enough to be remembered afterwards. We must remember that if murder was not the intention and the tracing of the call box was never even taken into consideration then it may not be too important to disguise the voice unless to make it more funnier, in that a person may just put a voice on anyway.

    Mike, you mention that if P was in collaboration with W as in an arranged call to the chess club, that W would be sure to be at the club to receive the call. It would be no use W actually taking the call from Gladys Hartley as the whole alibi thing getting off the ground requires Beattie or Hartley or whoever to be invested in the call and writing down details of Q and why the need for the visit so that it would be remembered. If W takes the call, how does anybody else get to know what was said during the conversation?

    It is said above ‘We only have Parkes word’ well we only have lots of people’s word on certain aspects of the case. We only have Beattie’s word for what was said during the phone call, the phone operators word (some even disagreeing with each other about how the voice sounded) Elsie Wrights word about hearing the church bells at 6.30 whilst Alan Close was still a while away from Wolverton st. We have to take the word of the people pivotal in the case or what do we have. We even have to take the word of the clock setter that it was accurate, he could have sat up there reading the echo for all we know so we have to take what is recorded as fact.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      There’s actually reason to disbelieve Parkes since he claims to have gone and given a statement to the police but there is no mention of him, or of his garage. Not in the police files but ALSO not in Munro’s files and not mentioned anywhere in the appeal trial after many weeks had passed for new testimony to float up to the surface.

      There’s actual reason to disbelieve Allan because he had already seen the police at the doorstep when he gave them milk and said nothing, and was bragging to friends about seeing Julia but then did not want to go to the police. He was pressured to do so. And on trial, well he is only a young boy so we can’t be too critical of that aspect.

      There’s reason to distrust Gordon Parry because he falsified an alibi to police and has a record of crime, and if you’ve read the trial of the rape incident, it sounds a lot like he is actually guilty of that violent crime against a woman, and he got off thanks to McFall (would you believe it!) The woman had half her ear ripped off by her earring.

      Hugh Moore says to distrust Crewe and the Johnstons if that’s of any help to you. So that was his own idea about who was being deceptive.

      On the other hand, there is reason to believe Lily Hall because she correctly described in her statement the outfit Wallace had been wearing on his trip, and described the appearance of another man who seems to be the same man described as being present around the area around the time of her sighting.

      There probably really was such a man who was inquiring about the fake address 54 Richmond Park to people including Wallace. If he was innocent, the coincidence of this is so unfortunate that he might be too afraid to come forward. If Wallace is involved in killing his wife, such an event wouldn’t cause him to see this man as a suspect (because he KNOWS who killed his wife) despite the oddity of his search, so might not bother to note him. Only bothering to take note of those who can fortify his alibi that he had gone out looking for Qualtrough at Menlove Gardens East.

      Wallace says he washed? Then the dry towel is a red herring. If he washed, whether innocent or guilty, he would have used the towel. Its state of dryness becomes irrelevant, except to say he didn’t have a full on bath. When was it checked for dryness by the way? Because Gold took it on the 23rd (after Wallace had spent the night at the house already) and didn’t hand over items to the analyst until the 24th. And even later for the monetary items including the stained dollar bills.

      • Michael Fitton says:

        Hi RMQ,
        I fully agree with the reasons you give for disbelieving both Parkes and Allan Close. I do think Parry was a criminal from childhood and a nasty character all-round. The indecent assault case depended, as so many do, on “he said / she said” but I know who I believe and it isn’t him. I don’t know what Parry was hoping to achieve by initially (and foolishly) giving a false alibi for the Monday in a brutal murder case. But that alone doesn’t make him Qualtrough.

        I didn’t know that Inspector Moore distrusted Mr Crewe (I assume you mean Wallace’s supervisor) and the Johnstons.

        Re Crewe: he made quite a point at the trial of the police still retaining some of the Pru’s money so maybe this public airing of a disagreement has something to do with it.

        Re the Johnstons: it would be very interesting in light of the suspicion about them to know the basis of Moore’s opinion.


    • Michael Fitton says:

      HI Ged,
      I think the advice of Parry senior to Gordon not to speak about the case could be to avoid of self-incrimination. Bearing in mind that Parry was questioned, and briefly suspected, at the time and the notoriety the case stirred up, it may have been just “least said, soonest mended”. If Parry said anything it might be twisted and amplified by a journalist/author. Best let sleeping dogs lie (as in “lie down”!)

      I agree that Parry, if it was he, didn’t need to change his voice for the Qualtrough call.

      We do have only one person’s word on certain aspects of the case but I distinguish between those neutral parties with no particular axe to grind (Beattie, Elsie Wright, the clock winder) and those like Alan Close and John Parkes who, the evidence shows, either lied (“Missing link / not reluctant”) or embellished (“fisherman’s cape, waders, iron bar was dropped in a grid”) when telling their stories.

      I hadn’t thought of your valid point that if Wallace himself received the Qualtrough call, we’d have only Wallace’s version of what was said.

      Finally, I too feel that accusations and intemperate language are to be discouraged and avoided. I sometimes feel I’m being a bit over-sensitive on this point but on balance I don’t think so.


  113. Josh Levin says:

    Okay thanks Ged , I appreciate it.

  114. Josh Levin says:

    Hi Ged:

    You wrote:

    “Mike, you mention that if P was in collaboration with W as in an arranged call to the chess club, that W would be sure to be at the club to receive the call. It would be no use W actually taking the call from Gladys Hartley as the whole alibi thing getting off the ground requires Beattie or Hartley or whoever to be invested in the call and writing down details of Q and why the need for the visit so that it would be remembered. If W takes the call, how does anybody else get to know what was said during the conversation?”

    Ged, the point is, if Wallace is at the club he cannot be the caller himself. I agree with the rest of the points you made, but it doesn’t matter. The first sentence is the key.

  115. GED says:

    Great discussion chaps.
    Ref Parkes: I’m not sure without listening to the Radio City broadcast again if Parkes says he actually made a statement or if Moore let it get that far and just poo pooed him and waved him away as such. Mr & Mrs Atkinson are his alibi to this, the story also obviously being passed to their sons too who verified it. I’m also not sure of the full conversation about the waders etc as he mentions a delivery driver and the name of a shop (which could be verified) Let’s not forget that Parkes DID NOT come forward. He was sought out. Also Mrs Atkinson in verifying they kept quiet about what they ‘knew’ back in 1931 was a brave and perhaps foolish and family staining admission when she could just have kept as quiet in 1981 too. There was simply no need for Parkes and Dolly Atkinson to re-involve themselves. Funny how Lily Lloyd wanted to remain distanced from it.

    The towel. I supposed one used to dry your hands and face after a cats lick before going out would not be as wet as one used for a full on bath or body wash to rid yourself of blood was what I was getting at. Nothing suspicious was found in that matter.

    Ref- Alan Close. When he delivered the milk on the Wednesday, the night after the murder, he may not have known the significance of the timeframe and know at that point he would have been possibly the last person to have seen Julia alive. Even the papers had the death time incorrect. It was only during the discussion with the other kids that this became apparent so I wouldn’t put much importance into this and the barristers, police and court didn’t either.

    Ref – Moore on Crewe and Johnston. I would be interested to have more information on this distrust too.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Parkes: Another one forced to come forward like Allan? Remember Parkes was friendly with a policeman, Ken Wallace, he could have brought up such an encounter to him if he dropped by. He could have gone directly to the solicitors when brushed off. Parkes makes up more nonsense, I have been told, by Wilkes, about how cops told him not to go by the alley to the garage in case Parry is lurking there. If you believe all of these things you might enjoy buying a timeshare somewhere. Even Goodman didn’t pick up any hint of this or the existence of the garage when he communicated with many local Liverpool residents for his book.

      Allan: Please quote the local Liverpool newspapers about when she was last seen, my subscription to the newspaper archives is up. On the surface from the testimony of the other kids, it sounds like Allan was gloating to friends about being the last to see Julia alive, in typical schoolyard fashion. Allan’s parents and employer also would have been aware, I would have thought anyway, that their son/employee delivers milk to the Wallace house. I am certain that it then would have AT LEAST been mentioned. I can’t imagine him going out delivering on Wednesday without being aware of what was going on.

      Towel: Ascertain WHEN it was felt and how it was found to be dry. This is from McFall:

      “1968. MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: Was that towel dry? It had not the appearance of a person having recently taken a bath. There was no suggestion to me of anyone having recently taken a bath.
      1969. It did not appear so to you? No, not within the last hour or so, my Lord.
      1970. MR ROLAND OLIVER: The person who did it got himself washed somehow as far as you could see? I cannot say. It was a long time, 4 hours.”

      You have to be careful here. The towel was not actually made note of at the time, and it was observed around 4 hours after alleged use, and judged only by appearance not touch. It is very difficult to determine if a towel is damp by appearance, and especially in a dim room if they were working by gas lamp. It’s only really easy to determine “soaking” and “bone dry” visually. You can check this in your own bathroom now, have a bath/shower (preferably bath, because it’s more substantial), dry off well, and put the towel up and come back in 4 hours. Leave heating elements off. Unless William had gone into the parlour nude, he probably wouldn’t require a bath because his own clothing would have taken the brunt of any spatter, and could largely wash himself off with a damp rag. Though the blood spatter expert I contacted said that in the scenario she would not expect very much if any blood spatter on the attacker.

      Crewe & Johnston: It’s regarding their statements, he suspects manipulation by the defence team. Quote follows:

      “All the witnesses adhered to their original statements, with the exception of John Sharpe Johnston, Florence Sarah Johnston and Joseph Crewe. The Johnstons in their first statements which were taken on the night of the muder, say that when they saw Wallace in the entry, he asked them to wait while he went into his house to see if everything was alright. In the witness box they stated that it was Mr. Johnston who said he would wait and that Wallace did not ask them to.

      Joseph Crewe in his original statement to me said that Wallace had visited him at his house 24 Green Lane, Mossley Hill, on many occasions during the past 3 and a half years and that for a period of two months he had visited him once a week. Great importance was attached to this evidence because if true it proved that Wallace was well acquainted with the district, as Crewe’s house is only about 300 yards​ from Menlove Gardens. In the witness box, however, Crewe said that Wallace had visited him on four or five occasions only.

      It is significant that these three witnesses were interviewed by the Defending Solicitors,Messrs. H.J.Davis,Berthen & Munro, before the committal proceedings commenced.”

  116. Michael Fitton says:

    Regarding the Atkinson’s not coming forward immediately with Parkes’s story: To me it is inconceivable that hearing this tale within 12 hours of the murder they did not feel it necessary to contact the police. I mean, they didn’t even like Parry! So the only thing I can think of is they didn’t believe Parkes and didn’t want to go to the police with it. Accordingly, they didn’t think they had done anything wrong or shameful by keeping quiet. Its a pity Dolly was not asked whether she believed the tale .
    A good point about Alan Close: he may not have heard/read about the timing of the murder/W’s departure when he first went to deliver milk on the Wednesday evening.
    But isn’t it likely that any policeman worth his badge would, on answering the door to the milk boy around 6.30, immediately ask if Alan had seen anything unusual on the previous evening? One might also expect Alan who doesn’t seem to be short of confidence to mention he saw Mrs Wallace just to make conversation and without realising it’s significance.
    Maybe Alan did see Mrs Wallace before she was killed. It is his lies under oath on the stand which worry me: on “missing link” and “not being reluctant.” All his pals said the opposite and I know who I believe.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      I believe either Dolly or someone else said that Parkes isn’t the sort of man to make up stories like that. How young was he at the time? He didn’t say about Gordon coming in wearing waders, someone else in the local area said Parry had borrowed waders and never gave them back, and they “put 2 and 2 together” so to speak. It’s all on the Radio City show which is uploaded on this site.

      Ken Wallace knew Parkes and visited that garage. Neither Parkes, nor the Atkinsons, nor the garage in fact, are mentioned whatsoever in any files.

      I also wonder if you have read through the appeal trial? Anything you notice there?

      • Michael Fitton says:

        The Parkes tale has two elements: 1. the car wash, bloody mitten, iron bar which Parkes himself experienced, he says. And 2. the local gossip whether from Wallace the police officer or others: the cape, the waders. etc. Parkes wove all this together telling Wilkes about it showing how naive he was in believing it,

        • Michael Fitton says:

          Maybe the Atkinsons, on hearing of Parkes’s conversations with PC Wallace felt the police had been informed and no further action on their part was needed.

  117. GED says:

    When I get time I will be listening to and transcribing what John Parkes, Dolly Atkinson, The Cinema manager and Mr Williamson actually say on the Radio City broadcast so that we have it down once and for all. I can’t remember if it’s in Wilkes book, may check there first.

  118. GED says:

    In the meantime: If you are Wallace committing this murder:
    You must know the milk boy calls every night between 6 and 6.30 (Close says this is his regular slot) and you must know it is the norm for him to see/speak with Julia to exchange the milk and empties – Alan Close says it was. Wallace must know if he’s been or not by 6.30 so he must be saying to himself ‘Hurry up you pesky boy as I need to be out the house for 10 to 7, you are normally here by now’. Of course, sods law for poor Wallace, the master planner is that Alan is running late. Wallace must be thinking, why didn’t I give myself more time and arrange the meeting at MGE for 8pm (All a bit of a close call isn’t it – pardon the pun)

    So at around 27 or 28 minutes to 8 he hears the door close on Alan and Julia brings the milk in. The robbery scene can’t be set up as yet or Julia will notice it……(unless W says ‘Here Julia, give it to me, i’ll put it away and you go into the parlour where it is now nice and warm and we’ll do this music evening instead of me going out)
    So we now have this magic 12 minutes or so where the ailing Wallace has it all to do (I mean, he is ailing, he does actually die in just over 2 years from now)

    Does he: Go upstairs, strip off into just his mac (He can’t have it on already as he’s told J he’s not going out and J would see his bare legs anyway), he then does the deed, rush back upstairs, wash any blood spatter from him – he can’t be sure there isn’t even just one teeny bit that would hang him (after depositing some on the toilet pan first) and dry himself (towel is wet is claimed earlier above ^ ), dress again – all in this 12 minutes then head out – with the murder weapon he still has to dispose of within the vicinity being careful that the police will be all over the area in a few hours time looking for it. Then he has to walk to the first tram, that the police had to run to in order to make it in time or in fact they even had to get onto one at the wrong stop, the request stop at Castlewood road. Then instead of making a fuss on later trams where he didn’t have to make a fuss, why doesn’t he just timestamp his first tram time by making a fuss on this one such as dropping all his coins so he could be ‘remembered’

    All seems a bit bizarre don’t you think. Not a master plan at all and in fact he doesn’t even use Alan Close as his alibi, (which turns into his lifeline) that is just fortuitous for him, very accidental in his favour. Then we have to assume some other things: The 2 people seen running away from the area by 2 or 3 different people at around 7.15/7.20pm have nothing to do with this and that Wallace must have been Q

    We also have to assume that the master planner didn’t plan for the police questioning him about why he couldn’t get into the house. All he had to say was when HE answered the door to the first officer was ‘oh look, the bolt was on’ – not all this about his key wouldn’t turn. If he did it, it was no master plan and very shoddy and amateurish. Very unlike W.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      He tells you how it was done in his tabloid piece for John Bull. Sort of an OJ Simpson “If I Did It” reconstruction.

      Julia is first hit with a spanner, nobody is wearing any mackintosh, and THEN the person steps two strides into the hallway and grabs the jacket to help protect himself from blood while laying waste to her with the further strikes. You will notice that a spanner is one of very few household items which actually match the tramline laceration patterning on her skull, and is what William names as the murder weapon.

      As I recall, Lizzie Borden didn’t actually dispose of the hatchet? It was still in their house?

      Milk deliveries are probably not even accounted for. The rest of the alibi attempt is pathetic so it would make sense that was not even factored in.

      Two people running is not even as weird as the man who took the cab near the murder scene saying weird things to the cab driver “you won’t kill me will you?!” It also doesn’t even work with Gordon and pal, because Gordon is at Olivia Brine’s until 20.30 you think? You’re more on three people or something now. Or Gordon sneaking in the back of the house with his pal in front of the house (i.e., Brine alibi is fiction).

  119. GED says:

    If Alan Close isn’t factored into it there is no alibi. He is his alibi for J still being alive after half 6. If W is doing the murder without Alan Close factored in, he has from 6.05 to commit the murder – therefore no alibi.

    The John Bull article was ghost written. Perhaps the author did the murder if he knows so much about it 🙂

    I would say people witnessing 2 people running from the vicinity of the murders scene ‘running like mad’ is very pertinent to the case. Who were they, why were they running. It makes more sense than W talking to Marsden cool as a cucumber a few yards from where his wife lay dead – apparently witnessed by a lady who then struggled under oath to remember exactly the time or the day and who only came forward some time later after she took to her sick bed.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      His alibi is that someone other than him had called him with a bogus call, he had fallen for it, and his wife had been killed while he was out hunting for the fake person and fake address the real perpetrator had given over the phone. As long as people believe there is an insidious caller who lured him away from his house to a false address, then that apparent individual will be the suspect and not Wallace, who appears to have been tricked according to many witnesses who can attest that he was in fact hunting for this person.

      The John Bull articles are Wallace. Are you believing tales from rubbish books trying to downplay that he was involved in them? Every claim not contained within any of the files is probably BS or a local rumour. Every book is filled with false information, doesn’t James Murphy make insane claims about the killer being determined to have been a certain handedness? The books on this case are low quality, one calls Gordon “Reginald Parry”.

      People running is less odd than the man hunting a fake address a few seconds from the house where this murder happened. There was a creepy man who got a cab nearby and said weird things about being killed to the driver. There is a man called Daniel O’Mara in the next district a couple of hours later waving an iron bar around threatening people, then setting his baby on fire with parafin, throwing it out the window, then leaping after it. Did you know that?

      Lily gave testimony days after the killing and correctly described Wallace’s outfit, and described the presence of another man corroborated to have really been on the street around that time.

  120. Michael Fitton says:

    HI GED and RMQ,

    By using the expression “I’m the missing link” Alan Close showed that by claiming to have spoken with Mrs Wallace at 6.45 he can exonerate Wallace as the murderer. Why? Because his pals had seen the erroneous report in the newspaper that Wallace had left the house at 6.15. It gave him kudos among his friends. At the trial he denied under oath that he ever used this expression in spite of all his pals saying he did.

    He also denied under oath that he was reluctant to tell the police i.e. that he did not have to be encouraged and persuaded by his pals. Again, all his friends say the opposite. One of them even mentioned the possibility of a reward . “You’d be a fool not to tell the police Alan.” Admitting reluctance to tell the police would make one wonder if the tale was true. A joke with the lads is one thing but telling fibs to the bobbies?….

    So I hope my scepticism is understood when Alan Close claims it was Mrs Wallace’s habit always to take the milk in from him each evening. . He has to say that to support his tale of seeing her. Was this habit a guaranteed thing or did Mrs Wallace sometimes leave a jug in the vestibule? Alan implies this never happened.

    Even proven liars sometimes tell the truth, so none of this is conclusive.

    About the “ailing” Wallace. Yes, he had only a single remaining kidney but he told Mr Caird when asked about the German medicine that “my kidney doesn’t bother me, so I won’t bother it.”
    Wallace spent hours on his feet every day walking the streets of Clubmoor. After the appeal he holidayed in Cumbria with his brother. They spent their time, according to his landlady, hill walking in the Cumbrian fells!
    So his kidney was on the blink but there was nothing wrong with his stamina at the age of 52.

    Wallace would be able to explain blood found on his clothing by saying he must have picked it up when examining his wife’s body for signs of life.

    Wallace, as you say Ged, did not greet the first policeman at the front door by saying the door was bolted but he claimed that it was bolted at his trial.

    Broadly I think the murder was committed as described by RMQ based on Wallace’s “John Bull” article.

    Regarding the dry towel RMQ, has anyone considered Wallace washing his hands using the toilet flush, drying them on the newspaper nearby? Flushing all away?

    The whole plan was not the work of a master planner. It could never be water-tight if Wallace was the killer. The best he could hope for is that sufficient doubt would exonerate him, as it eventually did.

    Phew! I’ll try to keep it shorter next time.


    • R M Qualtrough says:

      No I didn’t consider newspaper being used to dry off, but would explain the presence of the blood on the toilet rim. He may have washed in the sink, it would be no problem, and then wiped his hands and such on newspaper and flushed the evidence. That would be the intelligent thing to do… Some would go a step further and wipe off with the newspaper without wetting themselves, but the crime doesn’t seem to have enough foresight involved for that.

  121. GED says:

    Good Morning All.

    I’m still in the middle of re-listening to the Radio City broadcast as well as reminding myself of the contents of Wilkes book having just finished Goodman’s. Still got Antony M. Browns new edition to go as well. I finished Mark Russell’s last Christmas.

    Hector Munro is interviewed in 1981 confirming Lily Lloyd came to him in 1933 to say she had lied. As we know, her timestamp didn’t matter anyway but WHY did she lie and WHO got her to – Parry!
    Lily Lloyd is also contacted in 1981, then living in the Isle of Man. Whilst she doesn’t think P killed J, she did say ‘I have made that part of my life a closed book and to re-open it would cause me great distress. The episode is closed and it belongs to me alone’.
    In 1966 P tells JG and RWE he was in Breck Road fixing his car at the time of the murder. This is different to his statement saying he was at Olivia Brines. If indeed he was at Olivia Brines, why didn’t he just tell the journalists this and job done? Is it because he knew they were still alive and didn’t want any digging going on? We know he knew about the death of Edwin Wallace, the nephew of William which does not seem to have been reported in the UK. We also know he knew Lily Lloyd was living in Wales at that time. He seems to have kept tabs on what was going on and where people he was interested in were living.

    Regarding the alibi. Yes, I know all that RMQ but don’t you see what I mean. As far as Moore knew, Wallace had from 6.05 until 6.50 to commit this murder, so the getting him out the house up to Allerton wouldn’t save him from the noose as that was just something to get him out so that a robbery could take place. It is only Alan Close putting a spanner in the works saying he saw J alive at 6.45 (later manipulated by the police upon questioning him to 6.35) that gets W off with it. As such W being Q and making the call to get himself out of the house doesn’t save him at all.

    As much as you say there is no evidence that W did not write the JB articles, there is also no evidence that he did. It is reported in books that it was ghost written and he was paid just to put his name to them and didn’t even know what was in them until they came out in print. A lot is reported that cannot be verified such as the new owners workmen finding the iron bar down a gap at the back of the fireplace in Wolverton st or the conversations with Ada Pritchard etc but unless someone comes up and says that is not true, can we believe anything?

    Perhaps the real murderer was the creepy man in the taxi or Daniel O’Mara – both of which i’d somehow heard about before but never took any interest in (can you elaborate on these stories please?) just as in the pest who kept saying he saw William and Amy in Scotland Road at about 7.30pm on the murder night.

    Keep up the good thinking.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      1. This is after he broke up with her. She later denied that this happened, so clearly does not stand by this disavowment of her statement. If we are going to alibis being lies, it’s more sensical that Gordon simply murdered her himself, and beyond that is overthinking.

      I suspect Gordon didn’t want digging going on but not necessarily because he’s involved in the crime whatsoever. Perhaps he doesn’t want a failed actor turned author hunting down people he knew in the past and showing up at their doorsteps bothering them. By the way Olivia Brine wasn’t even that old, her husband is off at sea, is that a chaste friendship?

      2. That isn’t relevant, for one thing if someone actually kills a person, they CAN’T possibly have an alibi for the time it happened, because they did it. But moreover, the purpose would be as explained. The rest is 20/20 hindsight type stuff that would only happen after being caught.

      3. The idea Wallace had nothing to do with the John Bull articles is nonsense, that’s not even how ghost writing works (ghost writing usually involves a person giving the story and the writer merely writes it into a more reader friendly format). There are new photos of Wallace specifically shot for the articles, and story-irrelevant things about his personal life a tabloid shark is unlikely to bother finding out.

      There are many falsehoods included in the hack-author books on this case and then these falsehoods propogate even near a century later because people start accepting fictions and rumours as established case facts.

      4. I think the stories are on this site. I included the full newspaper article about O’Mara because he was waving an iron bar at people. The cab man came forward and was supposedly determined to be unrelated to the crime by the detectives on the case.

  122. GED says:

    Thank you for your prompt reply RMQ.

    Without evidence that authors have fabricated things then what do we have?

    So this master plan of W’s consists of him phoning as Q to send himself on a red herring message but doesn’t account for where he’ll be between 6.05 and 6.50 except in the house with J. Some plan that! Why doesn’t he say he only got home at 6.30 then to give himself less time to do it. Why doesn’t he say Julia spoke with the milk boy gone twenty five to seven. Why is it left to chance that kids encourage Close to go to the police.

    If W is Q – what is P’s part in all this then – nothing?
    As they sure as hell ain’t in this together. W fingers him. P calls him sexually deviant in 1966. We know also that P used to meet secretly with J.
    As much as you say W is dropping us hints in the John Bull articles, is P doing likewise in 1966. ‘I could say a lot more about the W case but I promised my father not to, not for £1000’

    • Michael Fitton says:

      I agree with RMQ that the Qualtrough hoax was never intended to supply an alibi for Wallace which, if Wallace was the killer would be impossible anyway. It was simply the core of the myth that Wallace was lured from home by A N Other who then robbed the cash and murdered Mrs Wallace. Wallace made sure at each juncture that each part was well-witnessed: at the chess club, on the trams, at Menlove Gardens and finally back at No 29 with the Johnstons.

  123. R M Qualtrough says:

    The milk boy isn’t a planned alibi. I really doubt it for several reasons. The alibi is very simply that someone who isn’t him tricked him out of his house, he fell for it, then his home is robbed and his wife killed in his absence. That is literally it, as simple as that. He has established with many many people on both days that he indeed received such a call with these details, and then that he was indeed out searching for the person as per the message.

    You don’t *know* that Parry secretly met with Julia. That’s a random claim among many made by Parry while talking to Goodman, that and claiming Wallace is a sexual sadist. It’s possible but some elements of his claim were inaccurate if I recall he said Julia played violin which is untrue (or Goodman simply made poor notes).

    Wallace names a potential murder weapon and the weapon is one of few objects which could actually be a forensic match for the tramline lacerations on her skull (unlike the “iron bar” rumour mill BS – actually quite unusual to randomly pick a different weapon when it was apparently “established” on trial that it must have been an iron bar or poker). This is in conversations with forensics which I have published. Also more evidence that Parkes is a fantasist, that in likelihood no iron bar was used for Gordon to come in ranting he did it with a bar and dropped it down a grid. He’s just repeating local rumours. The man should be charged with perverting the course of justice just lol.

  124. GED says:

    We don’t ‘know’ anything except for what is in the police files or in books – if the author’s research is sound.

    OK so if W is Q what is the benefit of the alibi when the police can just say, there is no alibi because you had from 6.05 until 6.50 by our estimation to have committed this murder and McFall concurs – job done.

    Goodman says on the Radio City broadcast that P says he sang while J played piano – not violin.

    Nobody but you are your recent forensics ‘expert’ mentions these tramlines and if they were so, then who says the iron bar is perfect and could not have ridges or threads on it?

    Parkes says to Goodman who questions Parkes on his claims ‘I am as sure as i’m talking to you’ and ‘I remember it as clear as daylight’

    Parkes was 74 when he gave this interview. He had no need back then to tell the Atkinsons and had no need in 1981 to repeat the claims, in fact back in 1931 he claims to have feared P and daren’t no do what he says.

    Btw the thigh boots and oil skin mac story is not his, he claims this is what The Ellis’s grocery fella and a policeman told him later on. This part does sound strange but are not his words.

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Did he say piano not violin? Gannon quotes it as “piano or violin”. I deleted the book tab from the menu because the books on this case deserve incineration. In his book:

      “Parry said that he used to sing as a young man, and would often go to tea at Wallace’s where Julia would accompany his singing on the piano or the violin”.

      You’re not understanding the alibi at all by the way, just pure hindsight. Obviously if the call was believed to have come from a real existent third party criminal, as would be intended, then obviously that “third party” would be the prime suspect.

      John Parkes made up some BS using local rumours, and was tracked down because someone he told the lies to gave the story to Wilkes. Parkes claims that Parry came to his garage confessing to murder and explaining where he disposed of the murder weapon, with blood stained clothing items (gloves).

      Except there is no record of it not in any files not even the defence team, and not even unearthed by Goodman who just stuck basically any unverified unvetted rumour into his book. The only similar tale being another local rumour about an iron bar being dropped down a grid outside the cinema where Lily Lloyd worked. There are two similar local rumours revolving around iron bars down grids, but two different grids. These rumours are the seed out of which John Parkes weaved his ghost story.

  125. R M Qualtrough says:

    “And in addition to that tram track, there appear to be repeating injuries along each abrasion perpendicular to the tram track. This makes me think of a surface such as a threaded pipe. However, not quite, as a threaded pipe would not cause tram track abrasions.”

    Think something like this:

    “I have yet to read Wallace’s theory, but a spanner idea is very interesting. Such a weapon could cause the patterned injury like that to the right of the red dot.”

    – Dr. Greg Schmunk

    Except the lines are perpendicular like Greg’s example wrench. I imagine something like this:

    You get the general idea.

  126. GED says:

    Up to now I am told we can’t believe Parkes who says HE witnessed (not rumoured) yet verified statements by McFall (Iron bar) is being weaved into a tram tracked spanner and Alan Close seeing Julia being weaved into he never is acceptable 🙂

    Parkes repeats over and over about P standing over him, making sure he hosed the car inside and out. He says how he daren’t not do it as he feared P. Listen to it again, he has nothing to gain in keeping up some charade for 50 years and his story is borne out by Dolly Atkinson, one of 6 Atkinson’s Parkes says he told, Dolly and Gordon Atkinson are both interviewed on Pt 3 of the broadcast.

    Question to all:

    Who made the call? I thought we’d all agreed P

    If it is not W then W is not the killer as I cannot believe he and P are together in this.

    If it is P then either P or his friend is the killer.

    So what do we have for sure:

    1)A false statement by P for the Monday night.
    2)A weak statement for the Tuesday night that was never reiterated to JG & REW in 1966, in fact 3) another version of mending his car in Breck Road was forwarded.
    4) The offer to withdraw a coerced statement by Lily Lloyd in 1933 which she admits to as does Hector Munro on the broadcast.

    When Lily Lloyd was approached in the Isle of Man for the broadcast she says. If I am the last person still alive who knows the truth then the truth will never be told.

    I am beginning to wonder what the mystery is?

    • R M Qualtrough says:

      Of course it’s way more likely Allan saw Julia than Parkes seeing Gordon turn up and decide to confess to murder and reveal the location of the murder weapon. Don’t get involved! not unless Wallace is arrested. Well Wallace is sat on death row and there is no statement anywhere in any police file, defence file, newspaper, and not even any rumours drifting around the streets for any of the relevant parties (e.g. Munro, Joseph/Amy/Edwin, Wallace’s friends) to pick up, regarding the garage’s existence or any of these events.

      Parkes used local rumours (e.g. the local rumour that an iron bar was put down a grid – stated by others to be dropped down a grid outside Lily’s cinema because of course it is) to create his own ghost story about the Wallace murder. He is absolutely a fraud. Even if Gordon and another person set up a robbery, Parkes is STILL just fraud.

      Mark R sounds angry about this in his own book. I can quote him if you want, I have his book on Kindle.

    • Michael Fitton says:

      Hi GED,
      I completely agree with you: Parkes tells his story on the tape in detail, with apparent sincerity and some passion. It sounds very much like an honest man telling of a dramatic experience. He may be old and ailing but he is articulate and precise in recounting his tale fluently and without hesitation. He was also regarded by the Atkinsons as honest and reliable.
      A further point which lends credibility to his story is the description of the “blood-stained glove” as a mitten. Surely a liar would not add this detail which doesn’t add anything to the gist of his story. It doesn’t matter whether it was a mitten or a normal glove; the important bit is the “blood stain.”
      A mitten restricts dexterity. It is difficult to pick things up and is certainly not the type of glove a killer would wear while wielding any blunt instrument, iron bar or otherwise.

      The Parkes story has been widely rejected in it’s entirety because it is literally unbelievable that Parry, fresh from the kill, would behave in this way.
      It implies that Parry, fresh from direct or indirect involvement in the brutal murder of Julia Wallace arrived, cool as a cucumber, at the Lloyd house at ~9pm and stayed there until ~11 pm without anyone noticing any change in his usual manner or behaviour. Then he went, now agitated, to have his car washed. Hard to believe.

      So, how to reconcile these points? Consider:
      Parry arrives at Atkinson’s to have his car washed. During the job Parkes takes a stained mitten from the glove compartment. Having already heard of the murder and knowing of Parry’s bad character he concludes the dark stains are blood. Parry, playing a sick joke on the gullible Parkes, goes along with it saying “That could get me hung!’ and incredibly reveals where the murder weapon is (down a drain.)

      The Atkinson’s, hearing Parkes’ story, interpret it much as above: Parkes has been tricked. So they don’t want to go to the police with it. Of course, they should have, whatever their opinion was. I also don’t think it was kept secret for 50 years. But it was viewed very much as serial confessors are seen and didn’t find it’s way into any written record.

      Short of branding Parkes as an out and out liar, which is still possible, that’s the only way I can reconcile the facts surrounding this aspect of the case.

  127. Josh Levin says:

    I think Mark R went to a pub meet up, saw the jokers there, left promptly and hasn’t returned since!

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