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120/02

Court of Appeal upholds Hanratty's conviction

10 May 2002

The Crown’s view that evidence against James Hanratty was overwhelming, following scientific advances in DNA, has been upheld today by the Court of Appeal

Crown Prosecution Service lawyer Richard Glenister said: “The 21st century court had the advantage of considering DNA evidence, which was unknown to the 1962 jury. The evidence pointing to Hanratty’s guilt was overwhelming.”

“With the advances in science, it meant that an analysis of DNA material belonging to Hanratty showed a match to that found on a handkerchief and underwear owned by Miss Valerie Storie.”
“Although the defence argued that the DNA had been deposited as a result of contamination, the Crown said that the reality was that Hanratty’s DNA had been found because he was the murderer.”
“It was argued on behalf of James Hanratty that he did not have a fair trial at the time. The Court of Appeal has rejected this argument. The Court accepted that even without the new DNA evidence the case against James Hanratty was very strong and that the trial had been fair.”
“This has been a very difficult case for everyone involved, not only for the family of the murder victim, Michael Gregsten, and for Miss Storie who was shot and left for dead, but also for those who have who have campaigned for it to be reheard.”

The Criminal Cases Review Commission referred the case to the Court of Appeal in 1999 and a Metropolitan Police inquiry team was set up in early 2000.

Mr Glenister said: “Reports submitted by the team were of the highest quality. They dealt with the sensitive issue of the exhumation and a crucial amount of work was undertaken dealing with the handling and continuity of exhibits going back to 1961.”

“Together with counsel – Mr Nigel Sweeney, Mr Mark Dennis and Mr David Perry - the prosecution team and the police have worked tirelessly to prepare this case to the highest standard for the Appeal Court hearing.”
“The doubts and controversies of 40 years were fully aired over 10 days and this decision should now dispel them.”
  1. James Hanratty was found guilty at Bedfordshire Assizes, Bedford, of the murder of Michael Gregsten and the rape and attempted murder of Valerie Storie in February 1962. He was hanged in April, 1962.
  2. In March 1999 the Criminal Cases Review Commission referred the Hanratty case to the Court of Appeal.
  3. The case opened at the Court of Appeal on April 15, 2002 and lasted 10 days.
  4. For further information contact CPS Press Office on 020 7796 8105.