Tuesday, 23 June 2009


RhylOn Tuesday, 22 August 1961, Michael J. Gregsten and Valerie Storie were sitting in a car in a cornfield in Berkshire when someone tapped on the car window. It was a man with a gun, and subsequent events led to the murder of Mr. Gregsten and the rape and attempted murder of Ms. Storie.

A petty crook named James Hanratty (pictured above) was tried for the murder. He claimed that he was in Liverpool at the time; then he changed his tune and said he was in Rhyl.

The evidence against James Hanratty was not all convincing. Nevertheless in 1962 he was convicted and hanged while police cheerfully disregarded a confession by a likelier suspect. After it was too late, six witnesses emerged to confirm that he was in Rhyl.

Forty years after his execution a DNA test indicated that Hanratty was indeed the guilty man – and yet the doubts remain.

Photograph from The Times newspaper.