Hanratty to be exhumed

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The Independent Online

The Court of Appeal has approved the exhumation of James Hanratty, who was hanged for murder 38 years ago.

The Court of Appeal has approved the exhumation of James Hanratty, who was hanged for murder 38 years ago.

Lord Woolf, the Lord Chief Justice, sitting with Mrs Justice Smith and Mr Justice Richards, said the move would be "desirable" in the interests of justice.

It is hoped that DNA evidence will be able to settle the case of the infamous A6 murder case that saw the 25-year-old sent to the gallows in 1962.

He was found guilty of the murder in Bedfordshire, in which scientist Michael Gregsten was shot dead and his mistress, Valerie Storie, left for dead.

But the case has been a source of great controversy, with many people claiming the decision was a miscarriage of justice.

Hanratty's conviction was based largely on Miss Storie's recollection of the voice of her attacker.

In a statement issued today, she said: "James Hanratty was found guilty of murder on the evidence available at the time of his trial and was duly hanged according to the law of the land.

"During the intervening 39 years, knowledge and techniques in forensic science have increased beyond the wildest imagination.

"Evidence of DNA profiling given today supports my total and absolute belief that James Hanratty was guilty of the crime for which he was hanged."

Hanratty's family,had not wanted his grave to be disturbed, but Solicitor Tamsin Allen said that they "remain confident that the strength of the new evidence will show the conviction should be quashed."

The Crown Prosecution Service will apply shortly to either the Home Secretary or the coroner for the body to be exhumed.

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