Saturday, 11 May 2013

The Murder of Olive Balchin PT4

When the Court of Appeal rejected the application on behalf of condemned man Walter Graham Rowland, he was there in person and predictably he reacted with anger and despair.  So much it took a number of warders to remove him from the dock, and take him to the holding cell.  He protested his innocence all the way to the cells.  The Home Office ordered a thorough investigaton into the claim made by David Ware, at that time, incarcerated in Walton Jail, in Liverpool.  The investigation was conducted by a leading Barrister, John Jolly.

    Now Ware retracted his confession, claiming that he made it for fame and publicity purposes.  He denied meeting and killing Olive Balchin.  John Jolly, in his report, believed that Ware obtained details of the crime from newspaper reports, and that he had signed in at a lodging house, and was alibied as being in his room and asleep at midnight.  He decided that Ware altered the time of the murder to 10.00pm, to fit in with his story.  The midnight time slot was the sighting by Mercer, a pub landlord, of a man & woman arguing close to the murder scene, and his subsequent positive identification of a man in total darkness.  Another point Mr Jolly made was that Ware referred to Olive Balchin, as Olive Balshaw, a mistake made in newspapers right after the discovery of the body.

    Rowlands` defence team discovered a good number of factual errors in his report.  Ware did reveal some details that were never released by Police, including the fact that Olive wore a double breasted coat.  This piece of information was not published in any newspaper, and for some reason, the lodging house register proved he could not have been there but the lodging house register that Rowland signed, was an obvious falsification!  Rowlands` only hope now lay with a plea for clemency to the Home Secretary.  He turned it down, and Rowland was executed on 27th February 1947.  In 1951, David Ware went on trial at Bristol for the attempted murder of a woman.  He tried to batter her with a hammer, and was found guilty but insane.  Whilst being questioned by Police, he repeatedly said that he murdered Olive Balchin in Manchester.

    ANALYSIS - The verballing by two detectives put Rowland in the frame.  Witnesses described a dark haired man, one said thin faced.  Rowland was blonde and chubby faced.  The salesman could not state the hammer was the one he sold, later he was positive.  The landlord positively identified Rowland as the man arguing with a woman despite the darkness.  Elizabeth Copley positively identified Rowland as being with Olive and another woman in the cafe at 5.00pm.  Rowland said he was in Stockport and was alibied by the man he sold cigarettes to, the two Policemen saying they did exactly as Rowland described when entering the Wellington pub, the crowds around the cinema at a time confirmed by the cinema manager, and that he signed in at a lodging house at 11.00pm.  How did Rowland manage to get dust particles in just his trouser turn-ups?  And as for his comments as to catching a disease from her, is any man who uses prostitutes going to say "Oh dear, I`ve caught a dose.  It`s my own fault!"

    A couple of questions:  What was the description given by Mercer of the woman he saw arguing with a man, in his original statement?  What were the descriptions of the trio in the cafe, given by Elizabeth Copley?  Was the other woman traced and interviewed?  My belief is that the Police had decided that Rowland had escaped the noose once, so he was not getting away with it a second time.  To get the witnesses to be "correct" it would not have taken much to let them know his past, this dastardly child murderer.