FRESH evidence has come to light in the case of a man hanged for murdering two policemen.
Alfred Moore from Kirkheaton was executed in 1952.
Police suspected he was a prolific burglar. On the night of July 14, 1951, 10 officers surrounded his farmhouse at Cockley Hill, hoping to catch him returning home with his haul.
Two of the officers were shot while trying to arrest a man as he approached the house.
Det Insp Duncan Fraser, 45, died at the scene and Pc Gordon Jagger, 42, was rushed to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
Moore was arrested at his farmhouse a few hours after the shooting – but the gun was never found. One theory is that the killer fled, leaving Moore to take the blame.
As he lay dying in his hospital bed, Pc Jagger picked out Moore from a nine-man identity parade. This evidence was crucial in securing the conviction of Moore, who was hanged at Armley Prison in Leeds in 1952.
But retired detective Steven Lawson, 61, who is investigating the case, has revealed that an earlier statement by the dying officer was never presented at the trial.
Mr Lawson said: “I have recently come into possession of another statement made by Pc Jagger which was taken at 4:10am on July 15 at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary by Supt Sydney Foster and an Insp Knapton.
“The contents of this initial statement differ somewhat to the second ‘official’ statement.
“Pc Jagger’s first statement says his attacker was wearing a white scarf. That scarf was never found and its existence was never mentioned at Moore’s trial.
“It was established that Moore was in fact wearing a Gabardine raincoat, flannel trousers, brown shoes, a shirt and a jacket that night. That was accepted throughout the trial and has always been accepted as fact.
“If the jury had been able to read this initial statement they may have treated the evidence of Pc Jagger somewhat differently. Moore’s defence counsel would surely have made much of the scarf.”
Mr Lawson, who lives in Kirkheaton near where the murders took place, added that Pc Jagger’s later statement identifying Moore as his attacker had been crucial.
He said: “The prosecution case against Alfred Moore was built on it.
“His statement, which was taken after he had undergone major surgery, described being shot and his identification of Moore at the bedside identity parade.”
Mr Lawson said this evidence was presented to the jury uncontested.
He said: “Pc Jagger died the morning after he made the statement. For obvious reasons he couldn’t be cross-examined on his evidence.
“The prosecution read that statement to the jury – evidence which damned Moore – and which defence counsel could not contest.”
Mr Lawson began investigating the case after reading about Moore’s nephew in the Examiner in 2006. David Schofield wrote to then-Prime Minster Tony Blair asking for his uncle to be cleared.
Mr Lawson, who served in the West Riding Constabulary between 1966 and 1974, persuaded the National Archives in Kew to release court depositions, including evidence from the police officers at the scene.
He has asked two people, who were about ten-years-old at the time of the killings, to get in touch.
Mr Lawson said: “I’m interested in speaking to a Geoffrey or Jeffrey Booth who in 1957/58 was living at St Mary’s Fold, Kirkheaton and had a cousin called Douglas Appleyard.
“I would also like to speak to John Holt, who lived in Stafford Hill Lane at Kirkheaton.”
Anyone with information can call Mr Lawson on 07919 006 672 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.