• The Telephone Murder by Ronald Bartle - book cover

The Telephone Murder

The Mysterious Death of Julia Wallace

by Ronald Bartle


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One of a number of real life cases from an era when juries listened with rapt attention to evidence of exact times, distances, estimates of speed and even in some cases whether a clock was fast or slow—from witnesses whose recollections might be first-rate, mildly inaccurate, mistaken or wholly unreliable. A reading of Old Bailey and other Assize court cases from the time suggests there may have been an entire industry centring on the creation of ambiguity, smokescreens and sometimes false alibis. Advocates demonstrated skill, ingenuity and persistence in constructing explanations, favourable or unfavourable, according to whether they acted for prosecution or defence. The Telephone Murder of 1931 in Liverpool, when William Wallace was acquitted on appeal of his wife’s murder, is a poignant reminder of those days. The story is further spiced because prosecuting counsel was a man fighting to restore his professional reputation.

This second edition contains a new Preface as well as a number of textual explanations, enhancement and a fresh index. It complements the author’s series of books on famous cases.

Describes how a man narrowly escaped the gallows in one of the UK’s most famous murder acquittals. Peppered with snapshots of the times. Analyses competing views on Wallace’s story. A key case in the annals of UK legal history.


‘Mr Bartle has done a careful job in examining the evidence with his evident criminal expertise. He takes apart a number of previous theories… an interesting introduction to the case for first time readers and some stimulating material which aficionados…may ponder’—Criminal Law & Justice Weekly


Ronald Bartle was Deputy Chief Stipendiary Magistrate (now District Judge) for Inner London. His books include The Police Witness: A Guide to Presenting Evidence in Court (New Police Bookshop, 1984 onwards), Lizzie Borden and the Massachusetts Axe Murders (Waterside Press, 2017), Three Cases that Shook the Law (Waterside Press, 2016) and Bow Street Beak (Foreword Lord Hurd of Westwell) (Waterside Press, 2016).

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Weight385 g
Dimensions234 × 156 × 15 mm


Waterside Press




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United Kingdom

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