DNA clue in Hanratty murder case

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The Independent Online
NEW DNA evidence could finally prove beyond doubt that James Hanratty was guilty of the notorious 1961 A6 murder.

The 36-years campaign by Hanratty's family to posthumously clear his name has become a cause celebre and the Criminal Cases Review Commission is currently investigating the case. But it was reported last night that new tests carried out on genetic samples found on the underwear of one of the victims, closely resemble DNA taken from Hanratty's relatives.

To be conclusive, Hanratty's body may have to be exhumed so that further DNA tests can be carried out on his remains.

Hanratty was hanged in 1962 after being found guilty of the murder of government scientist Michael Gregsten and the rape and shooting of his mistress Valerie Storie at Deadman's Hill in Bedfordshire. Ms Storie survived and although she later picked Hanratty from an identity parade, she admitted in 1995 - shortly before she died - that she was no longer convinced he was the guilty man.

The day before Hanratty was hanged in April 1962 he told his family in a letter: "I'm dying tomorrow but I am innocent. Clear my name." His late father was famous for his efforts on his son's behalf and he was famously photographed with a placard claiming that his son had been 200 miles away at the time.

If the claims - that tests carried out by the Government's forensic science service have linked Hanratty's DNA to the scene - prove true, it will be a tremendous blow to his family. It was reported last night that Hanratty's brother Michael said he still thought him to be innocent. He said that the family would have to consider very carefully any request to exhume the body.

The Home Office last night declined to comment. The Criminal Cases Review Commission was unavailable.