About The Episode:
Thirty years after the controversial hanging of James Hanratty for the A6 murder case, new evidence and witnesses have emerged which suggests he was innocent.
[This title from 1992 compliments the later (1995) updated programme from the Channel 4 series True Stories (broadcast on 10 August 1995), and which is also available: http://thebox.bz/details.php?id=56555]
James Hanratty (4 October 1936, Bromley, Kent – 4 April 1962, Bedford Prison, Bedford) was the eighth-to-last person in Britain to be hanged for murder after being convicted of carrying out the 1961 "A6 murder" committed on the main path at Maulden Wood. The guilt of the later convicts was never in doubt, but Hanratty's guilt has been disputed. Hanratty, a professional car thief, was convicted of the murder of Michael Gregsten at Deadman's Hill on the A6, near the village of Clophill, Bedfordshire, England, on 22 August 1961. Further, Gregsten's companion Valerie Storie was raped and shot non-fatally during the incident. Charges on these additional crimes were kept in reserve. (In his 1997 book, Hanratty: The Final Verdict, Macmillan ISBN 0-333-71015-0, Bob Woffinden incorrectly states that Hanratty's full name was James Francis Hanratty. This was the name of his father, Hanratty himself having no middle name.)
The case was a cause célèbre for opponents of capital punishment in the United Kingdom, who maintained that Hanratty was innocent and sought to draw attention to evidence that would cast doubt on the validity of his conviction. However, following an appeal by his family, modern testing of DNA from his exhumed corpse and members of his family convinced Court of Appeal judges in 2002 that his guilt was proved "beyond doubt". However, Paul Foot and other campaigners continued to believe in Hanratty's innocence and believed that the DNA evidence was contaminated, noting that the small DNA samples from items of clothing that had been kept, "in conditions that do not satisfy modern evidential standards", in a police laboratory for over 40 years had had to be subjected to very new amplification techniques in order to yield any genetic profile. The judge at the appeal did, however, note that no other DNA except Hanratty's as would be expected had contamination occured was found on the evidence tested.
Bob Woffinden is an author and journalist who specialises in miscarriages of justice. One of his films (for Channel 4’s True Stories) was "Hanratty–The Mystery of Deadman’s Hill". This led to the reopening of the A6 Murder case by the Home Office, and a fresh legal battle over a case that was already thirty years old. In 1997, he published Hanratty–The Final Verdict (MacMillan).
Woffinden tracked down surviving exhibits in the case and asked for these to be tested by DNA methods. After some considerable delay, the new testing was carried out. The Forensic Science Service argued that the new tests conclusively proved Hanratty’s guilt, and an appeal in 2002 was thus rejected. However, the controversy continues, especially as the DNA testing methods used (LCN - Low Copy Number) are not recognised by forensic scientists outside the UK, with the exception of The Netherlands and New Zealand
Stage One: VHSRip (composite video, PAL_B) using ION VCR2PC saved as MPEG-4 AVI file
Stage Two: VHS editing with Pinnacle Studio Plus 11, edited media saved as large AVI file (Full Screen DV, 720 x 576, 28800 kbps, 25fps) – approx 10.5Gb
Stage Three: Large AVI file (10.5Gb) reduced in size with Ashampoo Movie Shrink & Burn 3, media saved as MPEG-4 AVI file (reducing 10.5Gb to 376Mb – 70% Compression – 528 x 400, 895 kbps, 25 fps)
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