Wednesday, 8 June 2011

A suspect closer to home

Geoff Hirst has contacted me to suggest that William Rayner, Liz's father, is worth considering more closely as a suspect. It's certainly true that the murder of a child by a parent is,sadly, not unknown. He points out that there could have been two possible motives - the first that William disapproved very strongly of his daughter's behaviour and a heated argument turned tragically violent. The alternative suggestion is that he may have had an incestuous relationship with her (not unknown in those times) and wanted to dispose of the physical reminder of his actions. I agree that this is possible, but my argument against it is that if there had been some suspicion regarding him, surely he would have been asked to give a deposition before the coroner. The fact he didn't, seems to suggest that plenty people had seen him on the night of the murder, so his whereabouts were not in question.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Just sleuthing

It's great that readers are starting to send me alternative theories about the case. There are quite a few. I'll start with an idea suggested by both Helen Roberts and Eileen Depledge: did Robert Rayner tell Liz to go home because he was concerned for her safety?  Robert had clearly made up the message that their mother wanted her to go home and in the light of what happened to Liz later on that evening, it seems likely his motive for it went beyond that of a joke. Helen and Eileen point out he may have felt concerned her reputation might suffer further damage, or perhaps he had seen the three apprentices hanging around in the street. He may have picked up on a certain atmosphere that made him uneasy. This is certainly a credible idea. My only criticism of it is that if he had been truly concerned, wouldn't he have escorted her home? And later, at the inquest, wouldn't he have mentioned his concerns? Robert's silence seems to suggest quite strongly to me that Thomas Ramsden and the apprentices had something on him that prevented him speaking out.

 I'll be adding other theories later...