Fresh call to review Hanratty case

The family of James Hanratty, who was hanged for the A6 murder nearly 50 years ago, are calling for the case to be reviewed again.

Hanratty, a small-time thief, was found guilty in 1962 of murdering scientist Michael Gregsten and shooting his mistress Valerie Storie.

The 25-year-old was hanged two months later for the crime but his family have always protested his innocence.

An appeal eight years ago linked Hanratty's DNA to evidence taken from the scene of the 1961 murder in Dorney Reach, Buckinghamshire. But his family say it could have been contaminated and want the Criminal Cases Review Commission to order a fresh review of the evidence.

Hanratty's brother Michael told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We are talking about a crime scene sample being in the same folder as all Jimmy's fibres, blood samples, hairs - all in the same folder."

Mr Hanratty's brother added: "Jimmy didn't do that (murder Mr Gregsten). I can assure you that, 100%, 120%. He never hurt a soul.

"The day before the execution, his last words were 'Mick, I am completely innocent. Look after mum and dad. Keep an eye on the newspapers, this in years to come will come out'.

"Now he would never have said that. It would have been easier to say nothing and just go."

The case is being supported by former Private Eye editor Richard Ingrams, who investigated the case with journalist Paul Foot.

Mr Ingrams, now at the helm at The Oldie magazine, was this morning's guest editor of Today. He said he thought it was a "basic case of injustice".

Mr Ingrams said: "It is one of those murder stories that is rather fascinating because it is such an improbable story but I lived with it for many years at Private Eye."

Sir Geoffrey Bindman, the family's solicitor, said DNA testing was not always reliable.

He said: "There's a difference between whether DNA is infallible and reliable and what the evidence is that the particular substance from which the DNA was taken is linked to the crime.

"That's where the doubts arise and they can arise from different ways if the DNA isn't tested properly - the tests maybe defective, there may be contamination. There are a number of ways you can undermine DNA evidence."

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