Friday, 10 May 2013

The Murder of Olive Balchin PT2

The murder of Olive Balchin, a prostitute, in Manchester in 1946, had the Police turn up a piece of evidence, a bank money bag, that was traced to a man but he was found to have no involvement in the crime and cleared of suspicion.  The Police received a tip about a man who did not want to leave his room during daylight.  Two detectives went to question the man whom, when confronted by the Officers, allegedly replied, "You don`t want me for the murder of that woman, do you?".  This, to overseas readers, is known in the UK as "verballing", a long adopted Police method in which Police swear in court to remarks the suspect allegedly made.  The problem is, the remarks always seem to be an admission of guilt.  Examples like this, "I did it copper, but you have to prove it!"  "OK Guv, I`ll put my hands up to it.  You`ve got me bang to rights!" and many variations, all desperately trying to put a rope around their neck or give themselves a very long spell in jail.

     The man was Walter Graham Rowland, whom was taken in for questioning.  He admitted that he had known her for about two months, and had an on-off sexual relationship with her.  He had suspected that he may have caught a sexual disease from her, and later remarked that if he had, she deserved her fate.  This was a clear indication of motive.  On an identification parade, the salesman, McDonald, picked out Rowland and so he was charged with murder.

    The trial began on December12th.  The Prosecution had a small problem in that the witnesses, in their original statements stated that the man they had seen was dark haired.  Rowland was a blonde.  To counter this, it was claimed that under certain circumstances, Rowland could appear to be dark haired but the Defence was able to bring a counter-claim to this. McDonald said that he was now positive the murder weapon was the one he had sold on the day of the murder.  Despite the fact that he originally said he could not be positive.  He then confirmed that the man was Rowland, and had picked him out of an ID parade.  Rowland, whilst blonde haired, also had a very chubby face.  McDonald originally stated that the purchaser was dark haired and thin faced.

    The pub landlord, Mercer picked Rowland out of a parade.  Yet, he was adamant it was Rowland he saw arguing with a woman at midnight on a darkened bombsite.  How he was able to see very clearly through the dark at distance, is anybodys guess!  The third witness, Liz Copley said that Rowland was the man with the two women in the cafe at five o`clock.  But Rowland had a very, very good alibi, backed up by two Police Officers!

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