Alan Croxton Close (Milk Boy) – Full Statements & Trial Testimony

The statement of Alan Close, whose sighting of Julia Wallace is critical in this case. Supplied by John Gannon.

Statements of other delivery boys/girls (etc) corroborating times and conversations with the boy, as well as generalities about that evening can be found here.

First Statement:

Allan Croxton CLOSE, 13 years, says:-

I am a schoolboy and live with my parents at 51, Sedley Street. My father is a dairyman – I deliver milk for him at our customers. Mrs.Wallace of 29, Wolverton Street, was one of our customers and I used to deliver her milk in the evening. I knew her well. Between 6.30 and 6.45p.m. on Tuesday the 20th January 1931 I took Mrs.Wallace’s milk. I was late starting my round that night and I hurried.

I knocked at the knocker of her front door [door closed presumably] and put the milk in a can on the doorstep. I went to No.31, which is next door and put their milk in a jug just inside the lobby. The front door was open and after putting the milk in the jug I pulled the door to. I went to No. 29. and the milk can had been taken in, the front door was open. In a minute or two Mrs. Wallace came to the door and gave me the empty can. She told me to hurry home out of the cold and I said “Good night” and went away.

As far as I could see there was no light in the parlour. There was a light in the kitchen. I did not see or hear anyone else in the house. I then went along Wolverton Street to Richmond Park and then to Redford Street and then went home. When I got to Redford Street I looked at my watch and it was then a quarter to seven. My watch is a minute or two fast.

I have since timed myself in company with the Police and find that it took me six and a half minutes to do my milk round from Holy Trinity Church to 29, Wolverton Street. I timed myself again on Tuesday the 19th inst. and found it took me 5 minutes.

(Signed) Allan C.Close.

Second Statement:

Evidence taken 20th. February 1931.


I am 14 years of age and live at 51 Sedley Street, Anfield, Liverpool. I live with my father who is a Dairyman at those premises. I take out milk in the evening between 5-30 and 6-30. Up to two weeks ago I delivered milk in Wolverton Street. 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.

The last occasion was the 20th. January last at 6-30 p.m. I passed Holy Trinity Church, Breck Road, at 6-25 p.m. I noticed the Church Clock. I then went to the Dairy in Sedley Street and on to 29 Wolverton Street. I then gave the milk to Mrs. Wallace at the front door.

[In Margin: Mrs W “You’d better hurry up
you’ve got a bad cough
so have I.”

His round ___ to Elsie Wright
in Collect__ at dairy, ___
Lethchworth St Richmond Pk Wolverton St
Passed Elsie Letchworth St.
Wildman 20 to 7
21 __ _____ __]



Is your name Alan Croxton Close? Yes.

You live at 51, Sedley Street, Anfield? Yes.

You are 14 years of age? Yes.

Do you live with your father who is a dairyman? Yes.

Do you take out milk? Yes.

Between half past 5 and half past 6? Yes.

Did you deliver milk at 29, Wolverton Street? Yes.

Did you know Mr Wallace and Mrs Wallace? Yes.

How long have you delivered milk at their house? About 2 years.

Do you remember the day that Mrs Wallace was murdered? Yes.

Did you deliver milk there that night? Yes.

What time? Half past 6.

How do you know that time? When I passed Holy Trinity Church, it was 25 minutes past 6 and it takes me 5 minutes to get to Mrs Wallace.

Can you say why you noticed the time 25 past 6? I generally glance at the clock when I pass.

When you delivered the milk who took it in? Mrs Wallace.

You’re sure about that? Yes.


Just a little more detail about this. When you saw the Church clock, were you walking? Yes.

Your cycle we are told was broken? Yes.

So you had to walk? Yes.

When you said it usually takes you 5 minutes to get to Wolverton Street was that when you got a bicycle? No.

You generally have a bicycle, do you not? Yes.

How often do you have to walk? When it is raining or when the bike is out of order.

When you passed the Church clock – we have been told where it is. It is just at the corner of Breck Road and Richmond Park – were you on your way to the dairy in Sedley Street? Yes.

MR ROLAND OLIVER: Your Lordship sees now why I had this scaled off.
MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: Yes, how did you go down the Richmond Road?
MR ROLAND OLIVER: Down Breck Road?
THE WITNESS: Go along Sedley Street and through the opening.

Where is your shop? In Sedley Street.

I want to take you carefully because this is very vital, absolutely vital.

MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: Your shop is in Sedley Street, you say? THE WITNESS: Yes, my Lord.

MR ROLAND OLIVER: May I take it at 6.25 when you pass the clock you walk down Breck Road, turn into Sedley Street and go into your shop? Yes.

Do you there get some fresh cans of milk? Yes.

And you would then start on a fresh round? Yes.

Along Sedley Street up Letchworth Street where you have got customers? Yes.

Turn to the left at the top of Letchworth Street into Richmond Park? Yes.

How many customers have you in Letchworth Street? One.

And how many in Richmond Park? One.

I suppose you have to ring at the bell? No, knock on the door.

And someone comes and opens it and takes the milk in? Yes.

Then you walk along into Richmond Park? Yes. There you deliver the milk and go through the same process again I suppose? No, put two bottles in the garden.

MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: You go up Letchworth and turn to the left to Richmond Park? Yes.

MR ROLAND OLIVER: And up the entry to Wolverton Street? Yes.

There is a narrow entry which turns to the right and goes up like that? Yes. Let us see what you have done since you passed the clock at 6.25. You have covered a distance of 500 yards and you have been to the shop. Do you put away your empty cans? Yes.

Where do you put them? Leave them on the counter. Then pick up fresh cans, walk down this street and make the delivery in Wolverton Street? Yes.

Do you really say you did that in 5 minutes? Yes, I have been over the ground with two detectives and it took me five minutes.

Doing all the same things? Yes. When did you do that? Just after.

MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: Last January, do you mean? After January, my Lord.

You passed the Church and you were going down Breck Road and then you turned into Sedley Street and you go to your shop. Where about is that? About the middle.

You do not make any delivery in Sedley Street? No.

Then you go to Letchworth Street and deliver some there? Yes.

Then you go into Richmond Park, that is turning to the left? Yes.

Then you go back, I suppose and go up to Wolverton Street? Yes.

Do you deliver to the front or the back? The front.

Then you go up to Wolverton Street by a little back passage. Is that it? Yes.

So you traverse that ground and make two deliveries on the way, one in Letchworth Street and the other in Richmond Park. Whereabouts in Richmond Park is your customer? Just at the corner by the entry when you are passing Letchworth Street at the entry.

You pass by a little back passage which takes you up to Wolverton Street? Yes.

And in passing up that, you deliver the milk at this house? Yes.

MR ROLAND OLIVER: When you are doing your round in the ordinary way do you always walk as fast as you can? Not always.

If you see any friends in the street, do you sometimes have a chat with them? Not often.

MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: Did you meet anybody that day? I met a girl and said: “Hullo”’ that is all.

MR ROLAND OLIVER: You met Elsie Wright in Letchworth Street? Yes.

Did you pass the time of day with her? No, only just said: “Hullo”.

MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: You did not stop? Yes.

MR ROLAND OLIVER: It was Elsie Wright? Yes.

If Elsie Wright says that the time was then something like 20 to 7 you would not agree with her. Is that right? No sir.

Do you know the Belmont Institute? Yes.

Do you know the bells of it when they ring? Yes.

Did you hear them ring that night? No.

What time do they ring? Well, 5 to 6 I think.

Was there any half past 6 service that evening? I did not hear any.

Do you know a boy named Wildman? No.

Do you remember this, that as you stood on Mrs Wallace’s doorstep was there a paperboy delivering papers at the next house? I do not remember.

Do you go to the Collegiate School? Yes.

Would you have your Collegiate School cap on that evening? Yes.

When Mrs Wallace spoke to you when you gave her the milk – I suppose she took the milk in at the door? Yes.

Did she go into the house leaving you standing there? No. I knocked at the door and left it and went to Mrs Johnston and when I came back, she had taken it in.

MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: You never saw her then? I saw her when she came back.

You say you knocked at the door and left it on the step and went somewhere else, that was next door? Yes.

And then you say you came back to pick up the can? Yes.

MR ROLAND OLIVER: You leave it in the cans? Yes.

She takes it in, empties the can and either hands you the can back or puts it down outside? She gave it to me back.

Into your hands? Yes.

That is what I thought? Yes.

MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: Then you saw her when she gave it to you back? Yes, my Lord.

Did she tell you to hurry up home because you had a cough? Yes.

And did she not say she had one too? I do not remember.

She might have? She might have.

I suppose the next day your heard of the murder, did you not? Yes.

You did not go at once to the Police, did you? No.

We have got now to the 21st. On the evening of the 21st, did you have a conversation with the girl, Elsie Wright? Yes.

Were there also there another boy named Metcalf? Yes. And someone called Caird? Yes.

MR ROLAND OLIVER: Yes, my Lord. That is right, is it not, he is a boy? Yes.

I want you to try and remember, if you will, a conversation that took place then. Did the boy Metcalf when you went up to the group say: “You ought to go and tell the Police you were at Wallace’s”. Yes.

Did he ask you this: “What time were you there”? I do not remember.

Just try and remember, will you? Perhaps this next thing will bring it back to your mind. Did you say: “At a quarter to 7”? No, sir.

Think. I suggest to you, in the presence of Kenneth Caird, Elsie Wright and this boy Metcalf, you said that you were there at a quarter to 7? No, between half past 6 and a quarter to 7.

Did you say that? I think so.

You were there between half past 6 and a quarter to 7. That was true, was it? Yes.

Why have you sworn today you were there at half past 6? Well, I was not sure then.

Why are you sure now? Because I have been over the ground and it has taken 5 minutes to cover that ground and that added to 25 past 6 makes it half past.

When did you think that? Later on.

But when? The following Sunday.

Since you gave evidence before? No.

MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: No, the following Sunday, the Sunday after the 22nd or the 23rd. That is what he says.
MR ROLAND OLIVER: I cannot catch everything he says because he is so indistinct.
MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: Yes, it is a difficulty to everybody.

Did Metcalf come and persuade you to go to the Police? One of them did.

Did Elsie Wright or Metcalf go with you to the police at the house? Yes.

MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: Where was that? MR ROLAND OLIVER: At the house in Wolverton Street. I think you had been there before that afternoon with Elsie Wright to see if they wanted any milk there? Yes.

And when you got to the house did the policeman say to you: “What, you again?”? No, he said he did not want any.

That was the first time but when you went back with Elsie Wright and Metcalf was the door opened by a policeman? Yes.

Did he say to you: “What, you again?” No, I do not think so.

Never mind; it does not matter very much. I must put this to you quite seriously as I may be allowed to call evidence about it: that you in the presence of those other boys and that girl that evening said that it was a quarter to 7 when you were at Mr Wallace’s. Now you think hard. Is not that right? (A pause).

MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: What do you say about it? Do not shake your head. Perhaps he is tired.
MR ROLAND OLIVER: I do not want to distress or bully him. Are you feeling all right? Yes.

Will you just apply your mind to what I put to you? Did you not say to those other boys and girls that night that you took the milk to Mrs Wallace at quarter to 7? No, between half past 6 and a quarter to 7.

It has taken you a long time to answer. You were not feeling ill, were you? No.

MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: He shook his head several times and could not bring himself to speak.
MR ROLAND OLIVER: Do you remember, still on the question of the quarter to 7, the boy Metcalf saying this to you: “The Police ought to know because in the papers it said Mr Wallace went out at a quarter past 6 and if you saw her at a quarter to 7 the people could not think Mr Wallace had done it”. No.

Do you say you cannot remember or he did not say it? I am sure he did not say it.

Nothing like it? You see what I am putting to you. He said: “It is important you should tell that the police because it is said in the papers Mr Wallace went out at 6.15 and if that is so people could not say he had done it”? No.

Are you prepared to swear he did not say that? No.

He did not say it? No.

Nothing like it? He persuaded me to go to the police.

Yes, but do not you remember the newspapers had said quite wrongly Mr Wallace went out at 6.15? No.

You do not remember that? No.

Are you sure then that nothing of that sort was said? I cannot swear to it.

That is quite honest. You may have forgotten. Can you remember you put your thumbs in your waistcoat like that? (Illustrating) and said: “Well, I’m the missing link”? No.

Nothing like that? No, sir.

You have said they were present and persuaded you to go to the Police. What I am putting to you is this, that you were rather reluctant to go to the Police? Well, naturally.

And you said you were the missing link? No.

MR JUSTICE WRIGHT: You say you were reluctant to go? No.

MR ROLAND OLIVER: He said naturally he was reluctant? No, naturally I was not reluctant.

If they were to say, you used that expression that is quite wrong is it? Yes, sir.

Have you ever used such an expression? I do not think so.

“The missing link”? No.

It is a funny thing to invent, do not you think? Yes.

Do not answer carelessly. Just think if during that evening you did not use that expression? No, sir.

Nobody is saying it is very wicked if you did. I am only trying to find out what you did say. Well, I did not say it.

You swear you did not? Yes, sir.


Did you know that it was said in the papers that the prisoner had left at 6.15? Yes.

You knew that? Yes.

I suppose you know whether it was 6.30 or 6.45. That was after 6.15? Yes.

Are you quite clear you remember seeing the clock 6.25 before you went to the dairy on your way there? Yes.

When you went to the Police, I think you said you went over the ground again with them? Yes.

To see how long it took you? Yes.

Did you do that more than once? Yes.

Do you remember giving evidence at the Police Court on the 20th February this year? Yes.

Do you remember how long before it was that you went with them, I think for the second time? Not long. I think it was about two days before.

I think you may take it from me it was the day before. Who did you go with then? Inspector Gold and Sergeant Bailey.

Had you previously been over the ground with another officer? Yes.

And another gentleman? Yes.

Was it about the same time you took? One-minute difference.

What were the two times you took? Six minutes and five minutes.

When you go back to the dairy and put in your old cans, are the fresh cans ready for you? They were that evening.

You remember them being so that evening? Yes.

In going over the ground, have you tried to do similar things, taking cans in, getting fresh cans and calling at the same houses? Yes.

And trying to stop the same time at each house? Yes.

And as far as you can gather from those two tests, one was 5 minutes and the other was 6 minutes? Yes.

Which one was 6 minutes? The first one.

And the second time you did it a bit quicker? Yes.

Until you had timed it in this way had you any idea how long it took you? About 7 or 8 minutes.

You thought so. How often do you walk the ground? Every time it rains or the bike is out of order.

Was there anything in particular that made you notice the clock that night? No, sir.

Were you early or late that evening? Late.

What time do you generally finish your work? I should finish about half past 6.

How late did you finish that night? About 20 to 25 minutes late.

So you were anxious being late? Yes.

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