Wednesday, 2 April 2014

John Lennon's 1969 documentary on James Hanratty

Did Britain Murder Hanratty?

On Side One of John & Yoko's "Live Jam" album (recorded on 15th December 1969) Yoko can be heard to shout "Britain, you killed Hanratty you murderer!", she then chants Hanratty's name throughout the opening bars of Don't Worry Kyoko.
Back in 1962, James Hanratty was convicted and sentenced to death for the notorious A6 road murder of Michael Gregsten and the rape of his lover Valerie Storie who was also shot and left for dead (she survived but was paralysed from the neck down).
Hanratty was one of the last British citizens to be executed by the state before the death penalty in Britain was suspended in 1965. As the decade progressed, the view that Hanratty had in fact been the victim of a gross miscarriage of justice began to gather momentum, another man was even seen to confess to the murder on British Television in 1967.
Together with Hanratty's parents, John and Yoko discussed the idea of making a film to back the campaign for an enquiry and this was announced at an Apple press conference on December 10th 1969. The one and only public screening of the 40-minute colour result was eventually shown in the crypt of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church, London on 17th February 1972. Here it is again.
29 years later DNA evidence from the exhumed body of Hanratty was said to prove that he DID commit the murder, although it has been argued that the retained evidence may have been cross contaminated in storage.

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