Friday, 10 May 2013

The Murder of Olive Balchin PT3

Walter Graham Rowland, facing a Capital Murder charge for the death of Olive Balchin, presented his defence.  Far from being in Manchester City Centre around the time of the murder, he stated he was many miles away in Stockport, in a pub called The Wellington. He had been in the pub for quite some time, and said that two Policemen very late, walked into the pub through one door, then exited through the other.  The Officers, one a Sergeant, confirmed that they went into the Wellington at 10.30pm, then left through the other door, as Rowland claimed.  Then Rowland took a bus to the Ardwick area of Manchester, bought some fish and chips, then entered a lodging house in Brunswick Street.  The register had him entering at 11.00pm.  This was still a few miles away from the murder scene.

    But the Prosecution came back with damning forensic evidence.  There was dust particles in the turn-ups of Rowlands` trousers that matched debris at the murder scene.  There was no explanation of how Rowland could have launched a frenzied attack in a debris-strewn area but only managed to get dust particles in his turn-ups.  Maybe he brushed his trousers but conveniently forgotten to turn down his trouser bottoms.  So fortunate for the Police.  After summing up by Mr Justice Sellers, Rowland was convicted and sentenced to death yet again.  An appeal was immediately launched.  The appeal was due to be heard on January 27th 1947, but a man suddenly appeared and what he claimed, resulted in the postponement of the appeal, until a thorough investigation had been made.  This man was named David Ware, who was now serving a short sentence at Walton Jail in Liverpool.  He was saying that he was the real killer of Olive Balchin.  Ware said that he met Olive Balchin on the day she was murdered, taking her to a cinema, but saying he murdered her at 10.00pm, not at midnight.

    Rowlands` appeal team produced new witnesses, one man said he had been in The Wellington and had bought a packet of cigarettes from a man in there.  He testified that it was Rowland, and the time was around 10.15pm.  Another witness was the manager of a cinema, situated by The Wellington.  Rowland said that when he left the pub, there were crowds that had emerged from the picture house.  The manager said that the programme finished just before 10.15pm and crowds would still have been around just after 10.30pm, again, a witness corroborating the claim of Rowland.  This still put him many miles away from the murder.  The Prosecution still leaned on the evidence of the three witnesses, and indeed, the defence witnesses, destroyed the testimony of Elizabeth Copley.  He was supposed to have been in the cafe at five o`clock, with the victim, then suddenly he is miles away in Stockport, alibied by two Policemen, a pub customer, a cinema manager, and finally entering a lodging house at 11.00pm, yet he was busy murdering Olive miles away in Manchester City Centre at midnight!  Of course his appeal was dismissed.

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