Unsolved Murders

Julia Wallace

Age: 52

Sex: female

Date: 22 Jun 1931

Place: 29 Wolverton Street, Anfield

Source: en.wikipedia.org

Julia Wallace was murdered in her house while her husband was out following a business enquiry on the evening of 20 January 1931.

Her husband was tried for her murder and convicted and sentenced to death. However, his conviction was appealed on the grounds that it was unreasonable and he was acquitted. However, he died about two years later on 25 February 1933 from kidney failure.

Julia Wallace's husband was 52 years old and lived with his wife Julia Wallace at 29 Wolverton Street in Liverpool. He was an insurance salesman for the Prudential insurance company. The house the lived in was a terrace and they used the kitchen as the livingroom. They had a sitting room which had a piano in it that they sometimes used for music and for the reception of visitors. They had no children and seemed to have lived quietly together. They were both said to have been fond of music and Julia Wallace's husband spent much of his leisure time playing chess and reading scientific material. It was noted that there was nothing known in their relationship that would suggest that Julia Wallace's husband was likely to have murdered her.

On the evening of Monday 19 January 1931, Julia Wallace's husband left his house at 7.15pm and went to a Chess Club at the City Cafe which was about half-an-hour away from his house. On the evening, he was due to play a tie off in a chess tournament which he won. During the game, the captain of the Chess Club told him that shortly after 7pm a telephone message had come through for him at the cafe. He was told that the message had come from a man giving the name of Qualtrough and had asked Julia Wallace's husband to meet him at 25 Menlove Gardens East at 7.30pm the next evening saying that it was a matter of business. It was said that Julia Wallace's husband seemed surprised and had said that he didn't know anyone of the name Qualtrough and nor did he know where Menlove Gardens East was.

After finishing his game, he walked home with two friends during which he mentioned the telephone message and noted his uncertainty about Qualtrough and Monlove Gardens East.

The police reports note that as a matter of fact there was a Menlove Gardens North, Menlove Gardens South and Menlove Gardens West, but no Menlove Gardens East and that it was a bogus telephone message. The police said that they were able to trace the call to a public telephone box about 400 yards away from 29 Wolverton Street. It was stated that a great deal of importance was place on who had made the call. The prosecution had said that Julia Wallace's husband had made the call himself, which if true, would make it likely that he had murdered his wife. However, the defence said that someone else had made the call to get him away from his house so that they could raid it and carry off a considerable sum of money. It was thought that Julia Wallace's husband, as a Prudential agent might have been expected to have had £30 or £40 on that evening of the week. The police report however stated that there was no reliable evidence that Julia Wallace's husband had made the call. The person that had taken the call at the City Cafe where the Chess Club had met, who knew Julia Wallace's husband's voice said that it had been a gruff voice and that 'by no stretch of the imagination' could he say that it resembled Julia Wallace's husband's voice.

Julia Wallace's husband later said that he thought that the meeting at 25 Menlove Gardens East might have meant new business for something like a new policy of £100 which he would get a 20% commission on and so he said that he determined to keep the appointment.

Julia Wallace's husband said that the next day, 20 January 1931, he went out on his rounds and got home at about 6pm and then had tea with Julia Wallace. He said that he left the house at about 6.45pm.

The police said that there was good evidence that there was a tram running in the direction of Menlove Gardens which were off Menlove Avenue, a long thoroughfare, at 7.06pm. Tests were made by the police as to the time it would take someone leaving the back door of 29 Wolverton Street to the Lodge Lane Stop where Julia Wallace's husband said he took the tram and it was found to take roughly 20 minutes to walk. As such, the police report stated that it was fair to assume that Julia Wallace's husband did in fact leave his house at 6.45pm or a minute or two after.

Julia Wallace's husband said that when he got to Menlove Gardens he began to search for 25 Menlove Gardens East but couldn't find it. He also said that he couldn't find anyone to call upon in the district with the name of Qualtrough and so he said he went home at 8.45pm.

The police said that they looked into Julia Wallace's husband's movements whilst looking for Menlove Gardens East and said that they found the witness statements and evidence to be perfectly consistent with an innocent man looking for the place.

When Julia Wallace's husband arrived back at home he said that he had difficulty getting in at first at the front door and then at the back door. It was heard that when two of his neighbours appeared, Julia Wallace's husband asked them if they had heard anything unusual because the doors were shut against him. Then just as they said that they hadn't, Julia Wallace's husband managed to open the back door. His neighbours said that they saw Julia Wallace's husband go into the kitchen and then go upstairs hearing him call out 'Julia, are you there?'. It was said then that when he found that she was not there he went back downstairs and lit the gas in the sitting room and found Julia Wallace dead on the hearthrug. He then hurried out and said to a neighbour 'Come and see. She has been killed'.

It was found that Julia Wallace had been struck a heavy fatal blow on the front part of her head with a blunt instrument and then apparently fallen to the floor where she was struck another ten times on the head, each of which fractured her skull. The wall pictures were plentifully spattered in blood and underneath Julia Wallace's right shoulder there was a mackintosh crushed up. The mackintosh had belonged to Julia Wallace's husband and used to hang in the hall. It had been set on fire and was burned about the bottom of the left front of the skirt, and apparently after it had caught on fire it had been trampled out by someone as there were mackintosh ashes on the hearthrug.

Julia Wallace's skirt had also been burned in the front as if she had fallen against the lighted gas fire. There were blood stains on the mackintosh, although not many.

It was noted that during the trial the prosecution had suggested that Julia Wallace's husband had been wearing the mackintosh when he had attacked Julia Wallace and that he had otherwise been naked.

However, his defence suggested that Julia Wallace, who admittedly had a cold, had before she answered the door to a visitor, thrown the mackintosh over her shoulders and that she had then let the visitor into the sitting room and had lighted the fire and was then assaulted by the visitor and murdered.

It was found that some £4 or £5 had been taken from a cash box but that oddly enough, a bundle of notes that were hidden in a vase in an upstairs bedroom were still there and that in the bundle on what appeared to have been the inside note of the bundle there was a smudge of blood.

One of the bedrooms was undisturbed but the other was in great disorder and seemed to have been rummaged either by a robber searching for money, or, as the prosecution suggested, by Julia Wallace's husband in his attempt to fake the appearance of a robbery.

A charwoman was interviewed who said that she had often seen an iron bar, about 15 inches long, standing in the sitting room near the gas fire, as well as a poker, either of which could have been the murder weapon. However, both the iron bar and the poker were missing and Julia Wallace's husband said that he had no recollection of having ever seen the iron bar that the charwoman had described.

The evidence of the medical men called with regard to the time of Julia Wallace's death was described by the police as quite useless. According to one doctor who had seen Julia Wallace's body at about 10pm the onset of rigor mortis had set in.

However, the police said that according to the evidence, Julia Wallace might have been killed between about 6pm and 8pm, or even earlier or later. however, they said that there was clear evidence that Julia Wallace was alive at 6.30pm as she was seen by a boy that had been delivering milk. The boy had first said that he had seen Julia Wallace at 6.30pm but when put under pressure and being reminded of what he had said to other people about the time he said that he had seen her between 6.30pm and 6.45pm and as such the police took 6.37pm to be a reasonable start when considering Julia Wallace's husbands activities, stating that it would have given him only 10 minutes in which to murder his wife in a savage way, wash and clean himself, remove any bloodstains that he might have got on his feet or trousers, even if he were wearing the mackintosh, dispose of the weapon, whether it was the iron bar, the poker or both, and then catch the tram that would have brought him to the Lodge Lane tram stop at 7.06pm.

It was noted that on the edge of the pan of the WC in the upstairs bathroom there was a small clot of blood. However, it was noted that at the trial the judge had practically told the jury to disregard it. The police report stated that it was just as likely to have been dropped there by a robber murderer as by Julia Wallace's husband.

The police drew up a list of details that they felt were suspicious regarding Julia Wallace's husband's statements and the circumstances:

  1. A bogus telephone message was sent at 7.17pm (Julia Wallace's husband left at about 7.15pm) from a call box 400 yards from 29 Wolverton Street, to the Cafe, to which Julia Wallace's husband had not been for two or three weeks. The call box was on the tram route to the Cafe, and Julia Wallace's husband was actually within 100 yards at the time.
  2. If the message were sent by anyone other than Julia Wallace's husband it is curious that he should risk sending the message to the cafe when there was no certainty of its being received, and when he was in fact so near the house. How could the other party be so sure Julia Wallace's husband would go, and would be so long away, where could he watch?
  3. When he found the message was wrong, Julia Wallace's husband was suspicious of danger to his wife, instead of merely thinking the Cafe person was wrong.
  4. Julia Wallace's husband professed inability to gain access to his house until someone had seen him.
  5. His entry to all the rooms before the parlour.
  6. The unnecessary violence used by the murderer.
  7. The attempted burning of the mackintosh, and (a coincidence) the burning of the portion immediately under the patches, and the disposing of the weapon. Only Julia Wallace's husband could have thought of doing so.
  8. The absence of any sign of forcible entry, or of any search for valuables, etc., the absence of any sign of a struggle, the extreme care of the 'burglar' in replacing the cash box, yet wrenching the cabinet door off, leaving 4/6 on floor and £4 upon mantelpiece upstairs, disturbing the bed clothes of front room and leaving things alone, and using the top back room, all pointed to a member of the house, ie Julia Wallace's husband, rather than an intruder. And Julia Wallace's husband had ample opportunity for the crime.
  9. Julia Wallace's husband only knocks gently on the front door, and not at all on the back, though he knows she is in.
  10. There are only a few embers in the kitchen fire, and no smell of the burning mackintosh, so death had evidently taken place sometime before.
  11. Julia Wallace's husband’s attitude at 3.30pm on the day of the murder.

The police also noted other discrepancies with the things that Julia Wallace's husband said. They noted the position of Julia Wallace's body with blood on one side and brains on the other but noted that Julia Wallace's husband said in his statement that when he lit the gas he went to her assistance because he thought that she might have had a fit which implied that he did not see the blood and brains as if he had he would have known that it was not a fit. They also noted that when seen earlier at 3.30pm on 20 January 1931 he had seemed unusually distressed.

The police also noted that Julia Wallace's husband could have found out on the Tuesday that the address he had been given was bogus.

The City Cafe was a big place and about 100 people used it each day and was used by the Chess Club. They used to put the names of people and dates that were coming in for matches on a board. The Chess Club Captain said that the Chess Club met twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays and said that he had known Julia Wallace's husband for eight years and that he might come one night a week. He said that the last time he had seen Julia Wallace's husband was before Christmas noting that he went almost continually. He noted that the board didn't show when people would be there but just when they should be there. He also said that the Chess Club commenced play at 7.45pm but that people could start earlier. He said that on 19 January 1931 he got to the cafe at 6pm and said that just after 7pm a woman working at the cafe told him that there was a call and that he went to the telephone and heard a man speaking in a strong gruff voice from whom he took the message. He said that he later saw Julia Wallace's husband in the cafe about half an hour later and around 7.45pm and said that he started to play a game of chess with one of the other men. He said that he went to Julia Wallace's husband and told him that he had a message for him and said that Julia Wallace's husband said 'Oh' and that he then told Julia Wallace's husband that it was from a man named Qualtrough and said that Julia Wallace's husband then said 'Qualtrough, Qualtrough, who is Qualtrough?'. The Chess Club captain said that he then gave Julia Wallace's husband an envelope that he had written the details on. He then said that he verbally told Julia Wallace's husband what the message had said and said that Julia Wallace's husband had said 'I don't know the chap, where is Menlove Gardens East? Is it Menlove Avenue?', and that he replied 'No' and then went to see if any other members knew. The Chess Club captain said that one member roughly knew where Menlove Gardens was and stated that it was a rough place to be knocking about in after dark.

The Chess Club captain said that he later saw Julia Wallace's husband on 22 January 1931 and said that he asked him whether he could be any closer on the time that he had received the call which he reiterated was shortly after 7pm and said that Julia Wallace's husband told him that it was important to him. He also said that Julia Wallace's husband had been into the police and said that they had cleared him.

The telephone where the call had been made was at the junction of Breck Road and Lower Breck Road and had the number Anfield 1627. It was a Kiosk. The City Cafe number was Bank 3581 and was at North John Street.

A telephone operator said that she was on duty at about 7.15pm when she got a call from Anfield 1627 from an ordinary male voice and said that he wanted to be put through to Bank 3581. She said that then someone else came on the line. Another telephone operator said that she received a caller from call box 1627 for Bank 3581 at 7.15pm and said that the caller, who was an ordinary male said, 'Operator I have pressed button A and have not had my correspondent'. The telephone operator said that she spoke to another woman. She said that she could tell when money was put in and when it was returned and she said that she saw a light that showed that the money had been returned. She said that she tried the number again and spoke to a colleague and then got the connection again, Anfield 1627 and Bank 3581. A supervisor at Anfield Telephone Exchange said that she got the call through at 7.20pm. She said that she had made a note saying, 'Person trying 7.15 to 7.20'.

When the Chess Club Captain spoke about the call he had received he said that he asked if Julia Wallace's husband should go that night and said that the man said, 'No I'm too busy, I've got my girls 21st on, I want to see him about something in the nature of his business'. He said that the man spelt out the name Qualtrough at his request. He said that the voice was confident in that it didn't hesitate. He said that it was a strong confident and gruff voice. He later said that it was difficult to say if it was a natural voice as he had no reason to think at the time that it wasn't.  He said that it didn't occur to him that it was like Julia Wallace's husband's voice adding that he couldn't then say and noting that it would be a great stretch of the imagination. He said that Julia Wallace's husband had been playing chess when he told him about the call and that he had to attract his attention. He said that Julia Wallace's husband won his game about 10.10pm.

A grocer that had been at the Chess Club said that Julia Wallace's husband arrived at 7.45pm. and refused to play with him and instead played with the man that he had the match with. He said that he was with the Chess Club captain when they went to tell him about the telephone call and said that when they told him that someone called Qualtrough had called him he didn't look up for about two seconds and that they then had a conversation about where Menlove Gardens East was and that no one seemed to know and said that Julia Wallace's husband said that he had a tongue in his head and would enquire in the district. The grocer lived about two minutes from Julia Wallace's husband and they went back together. The grocer said that Julia Wallace's husband seemed please that he had won the game. He said that as they got closer to home Julia Wallace's husband asked him if he had heard of the name Qualtrough before and he said that he only knew of one person with that name. He said that they discussed going to Menlove Gardens and he suggested going on the bus to Queens Drive and Julia Wallace's husband said that he would go on to town and from there to Menlove Avenue which was a longer more prominent road several miles long. However, the grocer said that Julia Wallace's husband didn't seem sure about going at all.

A policeman said that he knew Julia Wallace's husband as a collector for the Prudential and had known him for about two years. He said that he was cycling in Maiden Lane in uniform on 20 January 1931 at about 3.30pm when he saw Julia Wallace's husband. He said that he was dressed in a tweed suit and a light fawn raincoat. He said that his face was pale, haggard and drawn and that he seemed unusually distressed and was dabbing his eye with his coat sleeve and appeared to be crying. He said that he had never seen him like that before. He said that he didn't think much of it until after he heard about the murder.

The 14-year-old milk boy said that he delivered the milk to 29 Wolverton Street at 6.30pm. He said that he had known Julia Wallace for about two years. He said that he passed Trinity Church at 6.25pm and that it took him five minutes from there. He said that he knocked at the door and left the milk on the step and then went off to next door and then came back and said that Julia Wallace gave him back the empty into his hand and then told him to hurry up home because he had a cough. He said that he didn't tell his friends that he was there at 6.45pm but had said he was there between 6.30pm and 6.45pm.

The tram conductor said that he left Smithdown Road depot for Pier Head via Wavertree and then went from Pier Head to Wavertree. He said that he left Lodge Lane at about 7.06pm or 7.10pm where the scheduled time was 7.01pm saying that the tram was running late due to subsidence in Dale Street. He said that he had a conversation with Julia Wallace's husband before and after he started for Lodge Lane. He said that before he started Julia Wallace's husband asked him if the tram went to Menlove Gardens East and that he said 'No', and advised him to get a 5a or 7. He said that he then told Julia Wallace's husband that he could take him to Penny Lane and gave him a transfer and at that Julia Wallace's husband then got on the car. He said that Julia Wallace's husband told him that he was a stranger and that he had an important business call and wanted Menlove Gardens East and then took a seat. The tram conductor said that he then went to collect the fares and said that Julia Wallace's husband asked him again about Menlove Gardens East and said, 'you won’t forget friend, I want Menlove Gardens East.'. He said that he punched his ticket and that as he was going back down he said something again about Menlove Gardens East and he told him that he would tell him. The tram conductor said that when they got to Penny Lane he told Julia Wallace's husband to hurry up and catch the No.7 and that Julia Wallace's husband went off towards the car and that he then lost sight of him.

The tram conductor of a 5a tram said that several passengers boarded his tram at 7.15pm including Julia Wallace's husband who asked for Menlove Gardens East. He said that at Menlove Gardens West he beckoned Julia Wallace's husband and pointed out Menlove Gardens West and told him that he might find Menlove Gardens East in that direction.

A woman at 25 Menlove Gardens West said that Julia Wallace's husband called on the evening of 20 January 1931 and asked if a Mr Qualtrough lived there but she said that she told him that he didn't. She noted that her house was built 6-7 years earlier and that they were making fresh streets and that she didn't know their names.

Julia Wallace's husband asked a man in the street at 7.13pm if he knew where Menlove Gardens East was and the man said that he told him that there was no such place.

Julia Wallace's husband then saw a policeman at the junction of Green Lane and Allerton Road and said that he asked him if he knew where Menlove Gardens East was and that he also told him that there was no such place. He said that he told him that there was a Menlove Gardens North, South and West and then advised him to try Menlove Avenue. The policeman said that Julia Wallace's husband then turned away but then turned back and asked if there was a directory and the he told him that he could see one at the police station or post office. He said then that Julia Wallace's husband told him, 'I'm an insurance agent looking for Qualtrough who left a message for me at my club, living at 25 Menlove Gardens East'. He said then that Julia Wallace's husband then said, 'It isn't 8pm. Just 7.45pm' and that they both looked at their watches and saw that it was 7.45pm.

Julia Wallace's husband then went into a news agents shop at 130 Menlove Avenue just after 8pm and asked for a directory. The woman said that he looked through it and then asked whether she knew what he was looking for and that she replied 'No', and said that Julia Wallace's husband then told her '25 Manlove Gardens East'. She said that she then pointed out 25 Menlove Gardens West but said that Julia Wallace's husband told her that he had already been there. She said that he had arrived in her shop at 8.10pm and left at 8.20pm, staying for 10 minutes.

Julia Wallace's husband's supervisor at the Prudential Assurance Company said that he had supervised Julia Wallace's husband for twelve years noting that Julia Wallace's husband had been collecting money for them for fifteen years. He said that Julia Wallace's husband would account to them at their office each week on either a Wednesday or a Thursday saying that ordinarily he would have collected about £30 to £100, anything from £30. He said that Julia Wallace's husband could sell life policies, endowment polices and motor or fire insurance and that he would get 20% of the first premium and no more.

When Julia Wallace's husband got back to Wolverton Street he was seen by his neighbour from 21 Wolverton Street at about 8.45pm, 20 January 1931. The neighbour said that Julia Wallace's husband had just passed from the Breck Road end and was walking in an ordinary way. He said that his wife said good evening and that Julia Wallace's husband seemed anxious and asked them if they had heard anything unusual that night and he said that they said 'No'. The neighbour then said that Julia Wallace's husband told him that he had been to the front and back doors and found them both locked against him and that he couldn't get in. The neighbour said that he told Julia Wallace's husband to try the back door again and that if he couldn’t open it then he would get his key. He said that he and his wife were stood in the entry and that they watched as Julia Wallace's husband tried the door again and saw that it opened easily. They said that Julia Wallace's husband called out, 'It opens now'. The neighbours said that they told Julia Wallace's husband that they would wait outside to see that it was all right.

The neighbour said that the light in the middle bedroom was low and also in the small bedroom. He said that after a minute and a half they heard Julia Wallace's husband call out and then saw the light in the middle bedroom turn up and then Julia Wallace's husband came back out into the yard. They said that he hurried out and said, 'Come and see she's been killed'. They said that he seemed a bit excited. The neighbour said that they all then went into the sitting room where they saw Julia Wallace lying dead on the floor.

The neighbour said that they then went into the kitchen and Julia Wallace's husband pointed out a lid that was on the floor that belonged to the cabinet which he said had been wrenched off and then reached up for a cash box that was on top of a set of book shelves. The neighbour asked if anything was missing and said that Julia Wallace's husband replied 'About £4' but noted that he could not say exactly until he saw his books. The neighbour then suggested that Julia Wallace's husband look upstairs to see if everything was alright and that he would go for the police. He said that Julia Wallace's husband went up and came straight down and said that there was £5 in a dish that they had not taken. The neighbour said that he then went off for the police.

Whilst they waited for the police they found that the fire in the kitchen was almost out. When they saw the mackintosh Julia Wallace's husband asked aloud what she was doing with her mackintosh and then noted that it was his mackintosh. The neighbour’s wife said that she hardly noticed that it was a mackintosh and then asked Julia Wallace's husband if it was his and he said that it was. The mackintosh was partly around Julia Wallace's shoulders as though she had thrown it on. The neighbour’s wife then said that Julia Wallace's husband said, 'Julia would have gone mad if she had seen all this'.

When the police arrived, he said that he had left the house at 6.45pm and gone to Menlove Gardens saying that Julia Wallace had accompanied him to the back entry to see him off and then returned and bolted the back yard door. He said that she would then have been alone in the house and that he then went off to Menlove Gardens but found that the address was wrong and said that he then became suspicious and returned home and found that he couldn't open the front door. He then said that he went to the back door but couldn't get that open and then saw his neighbours after which he was able to get in and found Julia Wallace there dead.

When the police were in the house they noted that Julia Wallace's husband was very calm when he stepped over Julia Wallace's body. They said that Julia Wallace's husband later touched some notes and said that there was a possibility that he might have got blood on them then if he had had any blood on his fingers. The policeman said that Julia Wallace's husband lifted the notes about halfway and then put them back.

When a locksmith looked at the front door lock he said that he took off the back and noticed a little spring missing and said that it was a bit rusty. He said that the lock could slip back but said that anyone that knew the lock could open it. When he looked at the back door lock he said that it was rusty but in working order although very stiff. He said that anyone that knew that lock would also be able to open it.

When the mackintosh was examined they found bloodstains including blood on the right-hand cuff inside and on the left sleeve behind the elbow and shoulder on the front. It was said that the projection of the spurt was if it were being worn and from the front. The other blood on the mackintosh were said to have come from the floor. The police said that it was tucked under Julia Wallace's shoulder and had no appearance of having been worn by her.

The police later found a drop of blood on the toilet seat which was described as being in the shade on the pan.

When the post-mortem was carried out the next day the forensic examiner said that Julia Wallace's husband demeanour was abnormal. He said that he was too quiet, too collected for a person whose wife had been killed in that way. He said that he was smoking cigarettes most of the time and while the man was examining the body and bloodstains, Julia Wallace's husband leaned over so as to not step on the clot and flicked cigarette ash into a bowl on the sideboard. The forensic examiner said that he had been doing post-mortems for more than 30 years and that he had worked on over 100 cases. He said that the attack on Julia Wallace was not an ordinary assault but instead a frenzy. He said that she might have been struck whilst lighting the gas fire.

The forensic examiner said that if her assailant was naked he would still have been covered in blood. He said that he would have had blood on his left hand, not the hand with the weapon, and that he would have had blood on his face and legs. He said that the attacker would have had trouble getting rid of the blood from beneath his fingernails.

He said that when he saw her he thought that she had been dead for about four hours but admitted that if she was alive at 6.30pm then his opinion was wrong.

Another doctor that arrived at 11.50pm said that he thought that Julia Wallace had been dead for about six hours.

The police took away Julia Wallace's husband's suit that he had been wearing on the night but said that they found no blood on it.

It was noted that there were fourteen Qualtroughs in Liverpool.

Julia Wallace had a £20 life insurance policy. In the house, they also found a Post Office savings book with £90 in it in Julia Wallace's name and a Midland Bank bank book in the name of Julia Wallace's husband with £152 in it.

It was said that there was no known motive for Julia Wallace's husband to have murdered his wife.

The police report stated that at the trial, the judges summing up amounted almost to a direction to the jury that they should not convict Julia Wallace's husband upon the evidence that they had heard. It was said that every comment of the judges upon items of evidence contained a warning to that effect. However, the jury convicted Julia Wallace's husband. The police report stated that they were unable to account for the jury’s verdict. It noted that Section 4 of the Criminal Appeal Act said, 'The Court of Criminal Appeal on any such appeal against conviction shall allow the appeal if they think that the verdict of the jury should be set aside on the ground that it is unreasonable or cannot be supported having regard to the evidence.'. The police report stated that it was their opinion that the verdict was unreasonable. Julia Wallace's husband was sentenced to death on 26 April 1931 when convicted. The execution was initially set for 8am on 25 April 1931. However, his appeal was allowed and on 18 May 1931 his conviction was quashed. Julia Wallace's husband had spent three weeks in the condemned cell.

Julia Wallace's husband was born in Millom, Cumberland in 1878. He started work with a firm of drapers in Barrow-on-Furness where he remained for some years before obtaining a position with a firm of cotton manufacturers for whom he then went off to India and China. Then in 1906 he was admitted to hospital in Shanghai where he underwent an operation for kidney trouble. After he returned to England where he went to Guys Hospital on 3 April 1907 and had one of his kidneys removed. He then went to work in Harrogate with a political association where he met Julia Wallace who was at that time keeping a boarding house at 157 Belmont Avenue and they were married. Then in 1914 he obtained employment with the Prudential Insurance Co., and they went to live at 29 Wolverton Street.

They were both reserved and had few friends and were fond of music.

Since having his kidney removed, Julia Wallace's husband suffered considerably from his complaint and for the last five or six years he was attended to by a doctor for it and went into the Royal Southern Hospital in Liverpool between 9 June 1930 and 10 July 1930 for kidney treatment.

In 1932 Julia Wallace's husband was told that he needed an operation on his remaining kidney which would prolong his life for a few years but that without it he would have only a few months to live. He chose not to have the operation and died on 26 February 1926.

A year after the trial Julia Wallace's husband said that he knew the murderer saying that he was devoting his time to rebuilding the scene of the crime and finding out who it was. He said that he had had to move because of way he was treated after he was acquitted and said that at his new house he had fitted an electric switch that only he knew about that would light up both the inside and outside of his house, including all crevices such, that if the murderer was waiting for him, he would see him. He said that he expected to see the figure of the murderer saying that he knew that the murderer had to remove him before he completed his only mission in his life, to place him in the dock where he had stood and in the condemned cell that he had occupied.

Julia Wallace's husband said that whilst in the tiny condemned cell there were always two warders with him and that one of them was never more than a yard from him. He said that for one hour in twenty-four he was aloud outside with the warders in attendance and allowed to walk to and fro along a small garden path. He said that by the edge of the path were growing irises and lupins. He said that the flowers became an obsession with him and remained the sole remaining interest in his life and that on his daily walks his eyes never left them. He said that the flowers were in bud and that almost unceasingly he pronounced to himself the question 'Would they be in flower before he died? He said that he somehow knew that that if he saw them bloom that he would live. He said that when he left the prison for his appeal that the flowers were still in bud and that during the appeal that his thoughts wandered far from his fight for life but to the prison path and the row of plants. He said that that was why, after he was released that he went straight to Kew Gardens and straight to the irises and lupins which he found flowering and said that tears filled his eyes.

After his death, a book on Julia Wallace's husband's trial was published by Gollancz for 10s 6d, which stated that at the appeal Julia Wallace's husband was not found innocent at the appeal but that the charge against him was not proven. The book contained the statement made by the Lord Chief Justice at the appeal which read 'The conclusion at which we have arrived is that the case against the appellant, which we have carefully and anxiously considered and discussed, was not proved with that certainty which is necessary in order to justify a verdict of guilty, and therefore' the appeal was allowed and conviction quashed.’. Commentators stated that this inferred that Julia Wallace's husband might still have been guilty, but that that had not been proven.

The Home Office records contain a letter from a man that said that he saw Julia Wallace's husband in Scotland Road, Liverpool at 8.10pm with a woman that he later determined was his sister-in-law. He said that they asked him if he could direct them to the landing stage and he said that he told them they were going the wrong way and offered to put them on the tram and said that the man turned to the woman who seemed afraid and said 'We. Must. Not. Go. On. The. Car.'. He said that they seemed suspicious and that he reported it to the police after hearing about the murder but was not called again even though he went along a few times to see if his statement was of any use. He said that during the trial he rang up the CID office in Dale street twice to see if his statement had any bearing on the matter. He said that after Julia Wallace's husband was convicted and the appeal was pending he saw a photo of Julia Wallace's husband in the Empire News and said that it favoured the man that he had seen in Scotland Street and said that he was told by the police not to worry as they had Julia Wallace's husband. He said that the photo in the Empire News was a blurred one and he asked for a distinct one or better still an identification parade. He then said that when Julia Wallace's husband had his conviction quashed he again went to the police and that after he read Julia Wallace's husband story in the John Bull, titled, 'The man they did not hang' and saw all the photos he said that he was certain that Julia Wallace's husband was the man he saw in Scotland Street and that the woman was his sister-in-law. He said that he read the section that read, 'I stood with my violin beside the piano above which hangs my wife's photograph. I closed my eyes and tried to make myself believe she was again occupying the piano seat, the chord quivered, broke and was lost, violin and bow dropped limp in my hands'. The man said, 'No wonder'. He said that when Julia Wallace's husband completed his story 'I know the murderer', that he again tried to bring the matter up with the police but was told to wait and then wrote 'Result. Julia Wallace's husband died and the police state in the Empire News that they never had any other clue to the murder and although such a long time had elapsed they would open the case again'. He said that he later went to the police and they took a fresh statement and was later seen by an inspector who told him to forget it as Julia Wallace's husband was dead. He said that the police agreed to keep the stories out of the newspaper to stop bringing it all back that he then later he read of a book to be published called, 'I know the Murderer', a history of the trial and so he wrote to the editor asking why they didn't write the truth and tell of the police blunders and of how if he had been called as a witness the murder would have been solved beyond doubt and the verdict would have been one of guilty. He said that at the trial it was said that Julia Wallace's husband had planned the murder like a game of chess and had made every move carefully and concluded that he did and he won at the finish.

The writer of the letter also wrote to the Secretary of State and received a reply saying that the Secretary of State had read his letter but could find no grounds for taking any action in the matter.

It was later revealed that there was another suspect identified, but that his identity had been suppressed at the time, and that when followed up in 1980 he was dead. It was suggested that he had been hinted at in literature in 1934 via another name as a viable suspect. He had been an acquaintance of Julia Wallace's husband, having having worked with him at the Prudental and had carried out his collections for him whilst he was ill in 1928, and knew where he kept his money box. He was said to have owned a motor car and to have lived a lifestyle which meant that he was always short of money. It was also claimed that Julia Wallace's husband knew that the man had not always paid in the premiums that he had collected but had done nothing about it. It was further stated that the man later left under a cloud around 1929, although he was not fired, and that his father had made up some of his shortfalls in unpaid premiums. The man was said to have been questioned at the time but had said that he was with a his fiancee. However, when man and his fiancee broke up two years later, the fiancee was said to have gone to the police and told them that the man's alibi was false and that he could not have been with her until after 9pm as she had been working at a cinema as a pianist. It was further heard that shortly after the murder the man had taken his car to a garage in Moscow Drive in Stoneycroft which stayed open 24 hours because it was the base for a taxi service and had ordered a man that he knew fairly well to wash his car inside and out. The man that washed the car said that as he was doing so he found a leather glove in a box which he found was covered in blood but that the suspect then snatched it from him saying 'If the police found that, it would hang me!'. The man said that the suspect then became agitated and then said something about dropping an iron bar down a drain outside a doctor’s house in Priory Road. It was said that the man told his boss about the glove and what the suspect had said but was told not to get involved. The man said that the suspect and another man then visited the garage and told him to be quiet. However, the man and his boss said that after Julia Wallace's husband convicted they decided to go to the police and report the suspect. They were questioned by the police who concluded that the man must have made a mistake. It was said that after Julia Wallace's husband was acquitted that the man let the matter drop although he did tell several local people and it was later heard that some people later confirmed to a radio station that the man had told them the story soon after the murder.

No one was ever convicted for the murder of Julia Wallace and her murder has since gone on to prove a classic in unsolved mysteries.


*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.


see Liverpool City Police

see Beetles Liverpool and More

see Liverpool Echo

see In A City Living

see The Unredacted

see Wikipedia

see National Archives - HO 144/17939, HO 144/17938, DPP 2/2