< Back to Files

James Hanratty: The A6 Murder

More

John Kerr: “Are you alright?”
Valerie Storie: “No. I’ve been shot.”

At 6:45am a farm labourer sees Valerie and alerts John Kerr, an Oxford student carrying out a road census.
He finds Valerie. She’s not only still alive, she’s talking. Valerie asks John to tell her parents he’s found her. She’s worried they’ll be concerned that she didn’t return home.
He flags down a car that rings for an ambulance and returns to her:

“...it seemed to me the right thing to do was to ask her questions straight away, and find out what had happened, just in case...she didn’t last.”
John Kerr

Valerie tells John everything from the .38 gun the man used to a description of the killer:

“She said that he was a bit taller than she was, and she said, ‘I’m 5’ 3’, and he had large, staring eyes, and light, fairish hair.”

Hanratty’s hair at that time was dyed black. John took notes of everything she told him on the back of the census forms on his clipboard.
When the police arrive a man with a peaked cap approaches John:

“He said, ‘What did you do?, and I said, ‘Well, I talked to her, and made some notes.’ ‘Oh’, he said, ‘have you got them?’; I said, ‘Yes, they’re here.’ He said, ‘Well, you’d better let me have them.’ So I unpinned them from the clipboard...and gave them to him.”

The notes are never presented as evidence in the subsequent trial. Their whereabouts are still a mystery.

Valerie’s transferred to an intensive care ward. Her blood stained clothes are given to a police exhibits officer. A piece of her underwear is marked as Exhibit 26.

Valerie survives. But she is paralysed from the waist down.
Michael Gregsten’s mother has to identify her son in situ at the crime scene.
His face has ‘been blown off’.

The Morris Minor used as a getaway vehicle is seen later that day:

“It was seen by two gentlemen...being driven at speed and erratically and very badly...when the car cut them up...they pulled up next to it at the traffic lights, and got a good look at the driver. I think they shouted a fair bit of abuse at him as well!”
John Eddleston

And later that evening Michael’s Gregsten’s 1956 Morris Minor was found abandoned behind Redbridge Tube station in London.

“The police had also discovered a gun wrapped in a soiled handkerchief in the back seat of a bus...the gun was loaded...(the) ammunition matched the type of bullet that had been used in the A6 murder. So within 48 hours, the police have got the Morris Minor, and they’ve also the murder weapon.”
David Wilson

But both the car and the .38 Enfield revolver have been wiped clean of prints.

“The police put out an appeal, through the newspapers mainly, to ask hotel keepers, boarding house keepers, people who do bed and breakfast, if they’ve had anyone staying with them about this time who’s been behaving suspiciously. A gentleman comes forward to say he’s had someone staying at his hotel who fits the vague description that’s been published, and hasn’t been out of his hotel room for five days. The police call on this gentleman, and find out that he is Peter Louis Alphon.”
John Eddleston